With this season opening with so much chaos and change, it’s nice to have a little bit of a change of pace this week with a simpler “Monster of the Week” episode. Normally, I’m not much of a fan of these types of episodes – I’m much more of a fan of the bigger picture – but this was a welcome shift. This being the seventh season ‘Supernatural’ has evolved to the point where even the stand-alone episodes aren’t entirely stand-alone anymore.

[Be warned, this episode recap does contain spoilers]

I must admit that the episode started off a bit disappointingly with Bobby infiltrating Sioux Falls General Hospital to get Sam and Dean out before any major damage from the Leviathan could be done. The entire escape was just a bit too clean for my taste, considering that Sam is unconscious on a gurney and Dean is in crutches. Once they’ve made their clean getaway, we flash ahead three weeks to find Sam, Dean and Bobby now holed up in a cabin in Montana. Dean is recuperating from his broken leg, and Bobby is out getting status updates. The Leviathan have left Sioux Falls General, but there’s no telling where they’ve gone. Sam is still getting distracted by Hell visions, but he is keeping it in check. Simply put, the lightning pace with which the story was going for the last two weeks has slowed to a near-stop.

Dean is still very worried about Sam, and believes that it’s only a matter of time before he snaps. Bobby is a bit more confident, taking Sam at his word that he has the Lucifer visions in check. Bobby also informs Sam and Dean that, while his library at his home may have gone up in flames, he had stashed copies of all his books in different locations, and has to leave to go collect them.

With Bobby temporarily gone, Sam goes into town on a food run. In the general store, he sees a newspaper headline about an “Icepick Killer.” This catches his attention, and we are treated to flashbacks to 1998. A teenage Sam is out on his own, doing research for his dad on a monster known as a Kitsune. It’s a bit like a vampire, only this one goes after the pituitary gland in the human brain. The telltale sign of one is a hole in the back of the head that looks like a brutal icepick stab. While doing research in the local library, Sam meets a girl named Amy. Through sporadic flashbacks, we learn that Amy is a Kitsune, and that she is being dragged around the country by her Kitsune mother, trying to stay one step ahead of Hunters. She is like a mirror image of Sam on the other side. In the end, when John and Dean finally do arrive, Amy turns on her mom and kills her, letting Sam escape with the promise that she will never kill.

In the present, the Kitsune pattern has emerged again, and Sam leaves Dean on his own to do his own investigation. He is finally able to track down Amy, learning that her full name is Amy Pond (and thousands of ‘Doctor Who’ fans just punched the air). The adult Amy is also played by Jewel Staite (and thousands of ‘Firefly’ fans also just punched the air). Sam confronts Amy, knowing that she is behind the recent spate of Kitsune killings. She desperately tells Sam that she has been good all these years, working in a funeral home to take pituitary glands from people who are already dead. She then reveals her son, Jacob, to Sam. He was sick for a while and needed fresh pituitaries. His illness subsided, and she is ready to go back to her old pattern. Sam believes her and lets her go.

While Sam is out hunting down Amy, Dean believes that he has been taken over by Lucifer again, and cuts himself out of his cast to go after him. He quickly finds the Kitsune pattern and is able to track Sam down pretty quickly. Sam tells Dean the entire story of Amy, insisting that Lucifer has no part in what has been going on. Of course, Sam did steal Dean’s car in the process and earned himself a punch in the face.

In a seriously dark turn, Dean goes after Amy on his own. Convinced that, even though Amy has sworn to only feed on people who are already dead, she will revert back to her old ways in time, he kills her himself. Jacob ends up witnessing the murder and vows revenge on Dean. Dean opts not to kill Jacob, but tells him to find him when he’s a bit older.

While all of this is happening, the Leviathan has tracked a credit card with one of Dean’s aliases. They are closing in on Sam and Dean, but their reasons for targeting them are still not very clear. Sam does seem to have control over his Lucifer visions for now, but it probably is just a matter of time before his control slips and he goes off the deep end.

Where this whole season is ultimately heading is a question that is not easily answered, and that’s what makes it all the more intriguing. I’m still not convinced that Castiel is truly dead, and it’s unclear what the final goal of the Leviathan truly is. So far, this season has been a lot stronger than the hit-or-miss pattern of last season. I can’t wait to see what happens next week.

If you missed last week’s episode be sure to read my ‘Supernatural: Hello Cruel World’ recap to catch up.