After a week hiatus for the Thanksgiving holiday, Supernatural is back this week with quite an unusual twist taken right from the pages—or animation cell—of some of the more clichéd cartoon moments. In a word, it’s a whole lot of fun.

The Oklahoma City festivities start off with the poor, unfortunate Gary, waiting in the park for Olivia. When she arrives, they embrace and it’s not long before Gary’s heart is beating out of his chest. Unlike the cartoons, though, things don’t end too well for our friend as said heart winds up all over Olivia.

At a rest stop, Sam finishes talking to the Trans. Evidently Kevin’s having a difficult time translating the half of the tablet they took from Crowley. Dean asks Cas to jump on his Heavenly CB to detect any chatter re: the second half of God’s Word. He brushes off Dean’s request, stating he doesn’t want anything to do with Heaven. Instead, he wants something more…he wants to become a hunter. He points out the OKC death as a case fitting the supernatural and the three are on their way. Clad in their FBI gear (plus one) the Winchesters talk to the detective in charge of the case. She offers them all the information, not to mention the testimony from Olivia, the only witness. After careful examination, Cas can find no unusual traces of supernatural residue (sulfur, EM waves) on the victim. After reading Olivia’s report, however, Sam deduces she was having an affair with Gary. Considering the potential revenge factor and the witchy-ness of Gary’s demise, the Winchesters ready to question his widow. As leave to speak with Gary’s widow, Sam thinks back to the first days of moving in with Amelia and meeting her dad for the first time.

Ready to make his mark, Cas begins the interrogation with Gary’s widow. Olivia’s arrival would seem to complicate things until Gary’s widow admits to the arrangement she and Gary had, extracurricular arrangements, that is. Despite Dean’s thoughts of her being “the best wife ever!”, the investigation is back to square one.

Anvil to the head? Yep, that’s gonna leave a mark…

It’s not too long before we get our next victim; he’s ready to end things by doing a header of a building. When he steps off though, he remains in the air as if on an invisible plank; that is until he looks down–it’s splat city from there. After Cas does a bit of cartoon research and the boys get wind of another incident, this time getting the details on the Black Hole robber, his calling card being a black hole ‘drawn’ into the walls (complete with security guard crushed by falling anvil), there’s no longer any doubt cartoon rules are in full effect.

As Sam researches more on the previous robberies, Dean approaches Cas about the seraph’s current mental state. Cas tries his best to hedge his answers but Dean’s love for his best friend gets to Cas and he admits he can’t go back to heaven because of what he did when he was Leviathan-ized. So many thousands of his kind died because of him and Cas fears he’d kill himself if he saw what Heaven has become due to his actions.

Sam returns with more information on the robberies and cartoon events. It seems that a bubble of weird crops up in a couple hundred yard radius of where the robberies take place. In addition, everything stolen has belonged to someone living in Sunset Fields retirement home. Sam has another flashback, this one to Amelia’s dad giving him a hard time after realizing that Sam is running from something and Amelia is the only thing holding him in place.

The gang arrives at the retirement home and start questioning some of the tenants. Sam is taken aback when he discovers surprising occupant, Fred Jones, one of Papa Winchester’s contacts and a psycho-kinetic. They go to speak with him but Fred is out of it; completely disassociated with the world and using cartoons as his getaway. Before they’re able to decide what to do with him, they are forced to leave after an unfortunate slip of the tongue by Cas. They are called back later after a seriously unfortunate birthday cake mishap and, as luck would have it, they run into one of the nurses who’s sporting one of the patient’s stolen bracelets. She admits it was a gift from her boyfriend. They arrive to the boyfriend’s house and it’s an orderly from the home; he’s bleeding out from a gunshot wound but Cas heals him. He admits to knowing about Fred’s powers and being in cahoots with Dr. Mahoney, using Fred’s gift as a tool to commit the heists. Mahoney has one last job in mind before cutting out any loose ends, namely Fred.

The boys catch up to Fred and try talking to him but he’s out of reach. Using his more than unique abilities, Cas transports himself and Sam into Fred’s mind while Dean is tasked with stopping Mahoney. At first Fred doesn’t believe Sam’s words but the latter’s own pain laced diatribe about being unable to run, how if you don’t wake up, trying to keep the dream alive, it will destroy you and everything around you, reaches past the denial and Fred’s own fantastical constructs. The three arrive in the bank in time for Fred to stop Mahoney from shooting Dean. He vows Mahoney will never hurt anyone again and makes the good doctor turn the gun on himself and pull the trigger.

Though back in his own mind now, Fred knows it won’t last and the last thing he wants to do his hurt someone. Cas offers a

Fred’s overcome his own mind…but for how long?

solution, though there’s no guarantee on how much will be left of Fred afterwards. Cas puts Fred in a sort of peaceful oblivion, as he listens to ‘Ode to Joy’. He starts to tell the boys that he can’t come with them when Naomi swoops him up. She denies his request to come back to Heaven until she calls him. He just wants to help and she says that he is; she asks what he wants to do and what he does know for sure is that he can’t run anymore. He ends up staying with Fred for a bit but the final kick is for Sam. As he and Amelia’s dad slowly begin to get along (with Sam admitting how he was running from his brother’s death) Amelia receives her own punch in the gut when Don, her supposedly deceased hubby, is alive and well.

A testament to a focused theme, “Hunteri Heroici”, showcases all the elements of a great Supernatural episode. Cas’s interactions with Sam and Dean on his road to becoming a hunter are hilarious and despite the brutality, there’s something lighthearted about the cartoon deaths. But the true heart (sorry Gary) is the lynchpin tying together Fred’s journey with that of Sam and Castiel’s. Sam’s plea to Fred was successful because it’s just the thing that happened to him after Dean was snatched into bowels of Purgatory. He and Amelia were both running from past losses and became tethered, the other’s safe harbor, if you will. For Cas, his safety net arrived in the form of helping the Winchesters (though originally not of his own volition). Staying on the mortal plane, shunning all communications from Heaven was Cas’s way of putting aside the carnage he wrought on his heavenly fellows. By the end of it all, Fred, Sam, and Cas learned that, no matter what we do, we have to face our past. It follows you no matter how far you run, no matter the deeds you do to make up for it, until you face it head-on, it will always be there, waiting. And when you let your guard down, it’ll be there, with its painful reminders of mistakes and missed opportunities. The earlier we deal with our mistakes and fears, the faster we’ll be able to move on. It may be a television show, but this is one lesson we can all learn to live by.