Unlike last week’s Supernatural premiere, things start off a bit slower this time around. In Chicago, an elderly gentleman comes to collect his safe deposit box (elderly is relative considering his box is number one) When he opens it, he smiles gleefully before removing a bone. Evidently said bone requires a down payment of sorts and he uses it on the unsuspecting bank clerk, her blood splashing the safes behind her.
After the beginning interlude, the story’s back on Sam, Dean, and Kevin. The young prophet wants to “swing by” (a day in the opposite direction) and check on his mom. Though it may be the human thing to do, it’s not smart in the tactical sense. While Dean tries to explain to Kevin that his mom is bait, he doesn’t want to hear it. Sam doesn’t offer Dean too much support and the three find their way to Neighbor, Michigan. Things look okay at first until Dean spots two demons (the gardener and mailman) casing the house; they make short work of the two before going to the house. Inside, Ms. Tran is speaking with her friend, Eunice, who’s trying to convince her to stay home and wait for Kevin. It’s not too big a surprise when the brothers enter the house and kill the possessed friend. Afterwards, they give Ms. Tran the lowdown on her son and this new world she’s been thrust in. She takes it rather well. In fact, her strength of character—highlighted again as mother and son are tattooed against demonic possession and her “What, do you think this is my first tattoo?” line—is a driving force behind this week’s episode.
The quartet drive to a bus stop in Laramie, Wyoming. They open a locker where Kevin hid the Word but the tablet’s nowhere to be found. The brothers talk to a transit cop who tells them about Clem Smedley; he was also posted as security at the station and started taking liberty with people’s belongings. They make their way to county jail and Sam tries making a deal with Clem and Dean flashes back to his time in Purgatory where he and Benny questioned a demon about Cas’s whereabouts. Though Benny doesn’t think the demon has no info, Dean uses somewhat brutal persuasion tactics to get the necessary information. In an example of excellent film making, the way the scene works—paralleling Dean’s interrogation of Clem in the present and the demon in the past gives us another hint as to just how psychologically damaging Purgatory has been to the elder Winchester.
Using Clem’s information, they go downtown and meet Lyle, a punk pawn store clerk who think he’s got nothing to worry about re: the Winchester’s threats. He didn’t count on Ms. Tran, who owns him with legal threats. He gives them what they want—info on who bought the tablet. It leads them to a motel where they’re met by Willie Wonka. So he’s not about chocolate and his name’s really Bo and he’s the right hand of Plutus, god of Greed. He offers them an invitation to the auction where the tablet will be sold. Knowing they need some sort of collateral to work with, Sam gives the Impala a meaningful look, one that chills Dean to the core. “If you say it, I will kill you, your children, and your grandchildren.” Let’s not speak of selling the Impala ever again…
When they arrive at the auction, after Dean’s unsuccessful attempts to smuggle in his cadre of weapons, everyone’s favorite King of Hell makes his intentions to buy the tablet known to the four. Introductions are brief and Ms. Tran’s comes in the way of a right cross to Crowley’s jaw. Dean goes to do more but is warned back by Sam, with Crowley cautioning Dean to ”listen to Moose, Squirrel.” If anything, Crowley proves once again his witty rejoinders are completely in tune with pop culture. Just before the auction starts, Dean is confronted by Semadriel, one of the angels who have taken to being in support of Cas. He asks Dean about Castiel and the silence greeting the question is enough of an answer for Semadriel. Dean flashes back to the Purgatory stream where he and Benny find Cas. At once Benny is suspicious of how Cas just left Dean when the two first arrived in Purgatory—it’s a sign of the vampire’s mounting protectiveness over his Purgatory partner, an important aspect that looks to play out as the season goes on. Back to the stream, Cas admits to leaving Dean but not for selfish reasons. The Leviathan has the angel as numero uno on their hit list and the last thing Cas wants to do is drag Dean down with him. Dean gives Cas no choice, promising he’s not going anywhere without the angel being by his side.
The auction starts and it’s not long before the quartet realizes they’re out of their league, especially considering they don’t have tons of Dwarvin gold lying around. Dean goes to Plan B; namely, trying to find a way to steal the tablet. It doesn’t quite work out that way and to top it off, Crowley offers a proper heckling. Before the tablet gets to the bidding stage, the elderly chap from the beginning uses the bone of a frost giant and 5/8 virgin to purchase Mjolnir, Thor’s hammer. His intimacy with the item hints at his identity as a Norse god, possibly Thor himself but it does catch Sam’s attention. When the tablet finally goes to auction, Crowley and Semadriel begin some serious bidding for the coveted Word of God (Vatican City? The Moon?). But when Kevin is thrown in as a complimentary item, Ms. Tran offers the greatest gift of all—her willing soul. Crowley’s a bit pissed at being unable to match such an offering and storms out.
Before the deal is closed, Semadriel tries to talk Ms. Tran out of it; it’s a bad move as Willie Wonka makes a deal with Crowley. He
burns off the anti-possession tattoo and allows Crowley to take over Ms. Tran’s body. Pandemonium breaks out with Crowley running away with the tablet while Sam has to deal with Wonka Bo. He takes out the primly dressed Bo using Mjolnir and, though he starts to give it back to the owner, instead Sam puts the hammer down on the elderly chap. Deeper in the warehouse Kevin runs into the room, catching Dean as he’s about to cut Ms. Tran’s throat. The hesitation is enough to allow Crowley to jump out of Ms. Tran and leave the scene with tablet in hand. His possession has wrecked the once strong Ms. Tran and she sits in a catatonic state. Kevin’s anger at Dean is palpable and despite the logic behind Dean nearly killing her, Kevin can only see his mom. When the brothers give him time alone with his mom, Kevin runs out with his mom but not before leaving a letter telling Dean that he thinks the people of elder Winchester do not need any more ending up dead. The (seeming) proof of Kevin’s last words play out with a dirtied Castiel pleading for Dean’s help while the latter pulls his hand away from the angel.
It’s only been two episodes into the season and we’ve already been introduced to a couple of dynamic characters in Benny and Ms. Tran. While the vampire will play a pertinent role throughout the season, it’s unknown what Ms. Tran was bring after her brain was scrambled by Crowley’s invasion. “What’s Up, Tiger Mommy” did a bang up job showing just how disassociated Dean has become to the human reaction to things. He’s always been about the job but it seems as if Purgatory has truly detached him from basic human empathy. Maybe not all the way, but the ‘360 degree combat’ has affected him in ways that, like an onion, will slowly be peeled away during the remainder of the season. And if the first two episodes are any indication, we are in for a Kripke-esque revelation.
Next Week: Can Dean convince Sam that a normal life will never be able to satisfy them?