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If you’ve ever watched even one episode of Supernatural you know that happy endings aren’t exactly the crew’s strong suit, but let’s be honest and admit that that’s why we love the show. If we really wanted something gushy we’d just flip on another airing of Twilight and watch tween heart throbs sparkle. But this is Supernatural, and we kill vampires here; we don’t marry them. That distinction is what makes us awesome. The writers are really pushing the envelope this week by bringing back tenacious teen hunter Krissy Chambers (Madison McLaughlin), who hasn’t been seen since Season 7's "Adventures in Babysitting." She's back full-throttle and Dean’s got a problem with it. Yes, I know he’s a hypocrite, but that’s why he’s our hero. Face it: being a hunter isn’t exactly glamorous. It’s a rather desolate life, and even that description is optimistic. Dean and Krissy are almost exact mirrors of each other, and as the friction between them increases we see sparks in her of a past he’s trying to erase (and failing to do with each attempt). Seems like everything in his grasp eventually falters, and this is just another tragedy of his misspent youth (and only the beginning of tragedy for her).
We’re introduced to, interestingly enough, a human enemy this episode: Victor Rogers, excellently played by Adrian Hough. He just reeks of deception from his first scene, and, much like every character in the series, he’s suffered the loss of his family. In his case, he's lost his family to a Wendigo, and then decides to fill the hole in his heart with his own adopted family of teenage super hunters. At first the idea gave me flashbacks to Xavier’s X-Men, but the execution turned out to be a lot more like Buffy the Vampire Slayer where the kids' families are murdered, and then the kids are collected to become elite vampire-killing heroes. In this case the trio (Josephine, Aiden, and Krissy) aren’t exactly elite; however, they have a lot of potential despite the fact that they are still young, immature, and extremely susceptible to manipulation, which makes them perfect for Victor. They seem to have adapted to this double-life: doing algebra by day and training at night, which in turn makes them, by some definition, “normal."
Before he knows the dark truth, Sam seems to agree with Victor’s idea. It’s not the principle behind the hunting but rather the idea of actually having a home. The Winchesters never had half the opportunities growing up that these kids have. The Winchesters moved from place to place, school to school, and they were always the outsiders. As the years passed and as they grew, they still remained the outsiders, so to them home is where the hunt is. At least these kids are getting a taste (even if it’s small) of a life Sam never had. To him it isn’t perfect, but since nothing in his life is, a piece of a family and some stability is better than none at all. But can we really blame him for this slight glimmer of hope, for his wish that there may have been a lighter side to the life he endured? We can’t. Sam has never truly accepted his life as a hunter and has always wished for something else to fill the gaps in his soul, something away from the monsters and demons he slays, but he's never found redemption. There’s a conflict in every option he considers, whether it’s the safety of the ones he loves or the fact that he hates to admit what we all know to be true, that deep down, he really can’t turn away from this life. When attempting to do so, there’re just too many consequences, and he’ll always get dragged back in one way or another. There’s no pension and no retirement, just a tombstone waiting the moment he tries to quit. So why not just give up? It’s just not that easy, and I think we can all emphasize with that.
But when he hears the story that Victor supplies the teens, regarding “finding” that their parents have died, it’s a little hard to believe. Not to mention the fact that his team is well-stocked, with Josephine (the brains), Aiden (the speed or muscle), and Krissy (the natural leader). Even though it seems like nitpicking, and though we can almost feel Sam’s desperate wish to believe in this better life, we know that his experiences should have taught him better by now. If it seems too good to be true, then it is. Later we see the beginning of a flaw in Victor’s perfect world as he pulls the kids from school because he claims he’s found the vampire that killed Krissy's father. I say "claims" because once again Sam notices details that just don’t add up. But Krissy runs out the door with Josie and Aiden following behind, and all of them are itching to deliver vengeance.
As the boys dig deeper they realize that Josephine’s family was killed only three months ago, and that the distance between Aiden and Krissy’s families isn't truly that great. More than that, why would these vampires target these groups? There’s only one thread connecting them: Victor. As Dean says: “Yeah, I never trust a guy who wears a sweater.” I’m not so sure what Dean’s feelings are about Mr. Rogers...oh, wait, yes I am, because that’s Victor’s last name. I’m not sure if that pun was intentional, but it definitely provided a laugh in an otherwise gloomy show. Two things are for sure: 1. Sam doesn’t trust Victor, and 2. Dean doesn’t like his sweater, but even so they have to work together to figure out what the hell is going on. Victor may be delusional, but he sees right through our boys, and his instinct is bad news for Sam as he gets knocked out. Meanwhile, Dean discovers another newborn vampire; she’s in severe pain as her teeth drop. As he watches her struggle, he can tell she's not dangerous.
But the band of novices come racing in ready for the kill anyway. Dean tries to convince them that they’ve got the wrong vampire, which any experienced group would know, but they refuse to listen. Dean has to take action, and in doing so he illustrates the differences between our teen titans and a true veteran. For the first time they get the fact that they may not be ready for this life and they learn one of Dean’s greatest lessons: “Hunting isn’t always about killing.”
Meanwhile Victor falls prey to what I call the classic villain rant, in which the villiain spills his guts about every detail while wasting valuable time. While Victor is talking, everyone walks in to find Sam being tied to a chair. Seriously, how many times is this going to happen? Anyway, Victor’s reputation is instantly crushed in this scene and he finally spills the truth about killing his protegees' families. He says he "had to do something hard” to build a better team to defeat evil, and as always the villain believes he is doing right while instead he is destroying good. He’s been pushing these children to pursue revenge and murder for nothing in the end. Truly exposed, he tells his own vampire to take Aiden as a hostage in order to escape. Krissy responds by firing blood darts into the vampire’s eyes, cornering Victor, and then she pulls the trigger while Dean begs her not to. Mercy is dead, just like the truth. Personally I wanted to see the bastard pay for his crimes, but the chambers empty, and all we get is a few hallow clicks and a bloodless floor. Damn it. The youngers leave cursing Victor with loneliness as punishment, but it’s just not satisfying. What’s stopping him from doing this again? I think we can agree that the guy is totally twisted.
After all this, I have a few questions, just like always. What the hell did the vampire have to gain? Why would he side with Victor? I’m not sure, but Dean does link this all together in the end and succeed in tying up some loose ends. They need to close the gates and finish the trials. To him, it’s certain to be the only way to end this. But even closing the gates of hell won’t eliminate all of Eve’s children, and she still has the power to destroy life as we know it. The demon population would take a severe blow, and so would the need for so many hunters, but it’s not a guarantee. But there’s promise for progress and that’s something. However, as is typical with Supernatural, the hunt is never really over.