Supernatural 7.15 Review: “Good Morning, Vietnam” and Other Things the Devil Says

Supernatural Season 7 Episode 15 (Jack Rowand/The CW)Oh, Sammy. Sammy, Sammy, Sammy. The youngest Winchester is in a very bad state after this week’s new episode of Supernatural. Let’s start at the beginning.

Four Years Ago

Don’t bother doing the math (because I tried and failed). This was maybe meant to take place in season 4 [AN: apparently the S3 vs. S4 debate has been raging. I think we’re all forgetting the most important thing: the Impala & the Samulet were back! Who cares what year it was if they’re present?!]. At the time, they were in a warehouse, trying to deal with a demon they had captured. As it turns out, they had captured this man named Jeffery, who was being possessed by a demon who liked to play serial killer with a group of women. Thanks to help from a woman named Nora, they finally managed to pin him down. Now they were torturing the demon for information on Lilith. The demon gave up some info and Dean exorcised it back to Hell.

Present Day

Sam and Dean traveled back to that same small town in Idaho after learning that more female victims were turning up in the same state as four years ago. Frank still has bupkiss on Roman, so Sam suggests they stick around to hunt this demon because they have unfinished business. They visit Nora for information but she doesn’t have much, although she has spent the last four years immersing herself in mythology. She suggests they visit Jeffrey to see if he remembers more about the demon.

Jeffrey was in a sorry state when Dean dropped him off at a hospital four years ago. Today, he’s in a half-way house, because after he was exorcised, he lost his job and got drunk and started talking crazy talk (about demons), which led to him being locked up. Sam and Dean managed to corner him while he’s picking up his brand new dog and he seems freaked out, but he agrees to help them. He suggests that the demon might be targeting the next woman on his “list”, so Sam heads off to do some surveillance.

Before we proceed, I should mention that ever since Sam rolled into town, we kept seeing Lucifer. Mark Pellegrino returned as as the Devil in this week’s Supernatural. At first, Sam was able to press on the scar on his hand to make the hallucination of Lucifer disappear. But as Sam headed to the library to check on the next potential victim, Lucifer’s presence got more enduring. Sam started seeing crazier stuff, like the other library patrons bashing their heads against the tables repeatedly (gross, Ben Edlund, thank you).

Supernatural Season 7 Episode 15 (Jack Rowand/The CW)Red Herrings

Meanwhile, Dean headed off with Jeffrey to a warehouse that Jeffrey said was important to the demon. Only Jeffrey is a big, fat LIAR, because while the warehouse did exist, Dean found another man tied up there. As Dean went to help him, Jeffrey drugged him.

Back at the library, Sam (with Lucifer’s help) quickly realized that something was off about the recent killings. Why would the demon need to drug the women before killing them if he had demon strength? A tour of Jeffrey’s room led Sam back to Nora, who revealed some important facts: Jeffrey had kidnapped her son. As Sam learned the truth, so did Dean. You see, Jeffrey’s always been kind of crazy and he really enjoyed being possessed, because the demon helped him unleash his inner serial killer.

Jeffrey was the one killing the women in present day, but he did it to catch the Winchesters’ attention and bring them back to town. Turns out he needed Dean’s blood to summon the demon back from Hell. And he wanted to be possessed by the demon again.

Jeffrey performed the ritual while Dean watched on, tied to a chair. He even killed the poor little doggie (Ben Edlund, you monster!) as a sacrifice. And the demon did return. Only it decided to possess Nora’s son instead, claiming that he had no more use for Jeffrey. After all, the demon was basically a talent scout for Hell – trying to make evil people even more evil so that they would end up down there one day. Jeffrey was incredibly disappointed that everything he had been working towards was now lost to him. That’s when Sam and Nora dropped in to save the day. The demon managed to get caught in a devil’s trap and Nora exorcised the demon out of her son (while Dean shot Jeffrey dead).

The boys returned to the motel. While Dean plopped down on the bed to take a nap, Sam was plagued with more visions of Lucifer. You see, the “pressing scar” trick no longer works. Because Sam interacted with Lucifer so much while investigating the case, he has essentially “let him in”. Now Lucifer cannot be banished from his thoughts and is tormenting Sam with visions of Hellfire.

Supernatural Season 7 Episode 15 (Jack Rowand/The CW)Well, that was quite the episode of Supernatural, wasn’t it? It wasn’t always as crazy or gross as Edlund’s episodes tend to be, but it did have its moments. The gross came with the head-bashing exercise in the lobby, while the crazy came with the demon slow-dancing with Jeffrey. All-in-all, this was a great Supernatural that really started addressing one of two outstanding issues for the season.

A Lot on Our Plates

Now, hear me out, because I’m not trying to be really critical here, but I have a legitimate question. Do you think that maybe there’s a bit too much happening this season? Let me explain. Coming into the season we had two major issues for our boys to deal with: (1) the breaking of Sam’s wall and the absorption of his memories, and (2) Cas becoming “God”. Well, the Cas storyline was dispatched with pretty quickly (unfortunately), but it opened up a whole new can of worms: the leviathans. So right now we have two extremely important outstanding issues: (1) Sam’s craziness (again), and (2) the leviathans. The truth is, they don’t really relate to each other, in as much as they don’t technically affect one another. So I’m kind of wondering whether having two major story arcs is a bit much for this season and doesn’t allow us to properly focus on it as much as it deserves.

In previous seasons (not season 6), they typically had one major goal or central villain to defeat. And all of the ancillary stories (like Sam going dark in season 4 while still trying to chase Lilith) were typically very intertwined. It kind of doesn’t feel the same right now. And yes, season 6 had a lot of storylines, but most of them didn’t get the attention they deserved (like the Campbells). I’m happy that the number of main story arcs has decreased this year, but I still wonder whether they compete. Maybe it’s just me. Sometimes I just wish that we were spending the majority of the season dealing with Sam and Dean’s issues because I feel like Sam’s hallucinations (in particular) are incredibly serious and should be given more time. Which actually brings me to….

The Devil Is Kind of OK…Except When He’s Not

Mark Pellegrino was wonderful in tonight’s episode, but he’s always been great as Lucifer. The interesting thing about the Devil is how utterly normal he can be. For a while there, he wasn’t really doing anything bad to Sam. And I was thinking “well, I guess the worst thing about this is just that people might think Sam is crazy because he’s telling his imaginary friend to go away”. It wasn’t until the head-bashing scene in the library that things started to get serious. Then there was the ending, with Sam hallucinating that he was being burned.

Supernatural Season 7 Episode 15 (Jack Rowand/The CW)I find Sam’s current mental state to be interesting, because clearly it’s all in his head (pun not intended) It’s not like he’s always only experiencing memories of Hell, he’s just conjuring up the Devil and these horrible scenes. Sometimes I want to tell him that meditation might help and other times I despair that there is no possible way for him to recover from this. Clearly all of his “coping” techniques up until this point have been less than effective, since we know he’s been seeing Lucifer occasionally, even if we haven’t. But Sam cannot live like this forever, even if Lucifer isn’t taking over his brain. The truth is, the only real option for Sam now is to be healed. I don’t know if this is possible. If maybe God can swoop in and just erase those memories forever or somehow heal Sam’s psyche, but I cannot imagine any other ending to this story that doesn’t involve him becoming a drooling mess for the rest of his natural life. Then again, I’m not a Supernatural writer, so what do I know?

I was glad that Sam’s hallucinations were addressed again on this week’s Supernatural, because, yes, it’s an important story arc that deserves attention. It looks like this will definitely be an issue when the show returns from another mini-hiatus on March 9, because Sam is clearly in a bad state. The question is how to work the leviathan arc in again (and bring Misha Collins back!). How will all of these (seemingly) divergent storylines coalesce during the final 8 episodes of the season? (remember, there are 23 episodes this season). Well, that’s what we’ll have to wait and see.

Like I said, Supernatural is on hiatus until March 9. Check out a trailer with scenes from the next two episodes here. And spend the hellatus browsing through our newest Supernatural slide-show: Best Winchester Brotherly Bonding Scenes.

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