A fun-filled filler episode chock full of pop culture references (of course) and some interesting perspectives from our animal friends but little in the way of advancement in the way of the season’s story arc was this week’s helping of ‘Supernatural’.

In Enid, OK, a taxidermist is practicing his craft, ‘Game of Thrones­’style, when a noise captures his attention. He quiets Colonel, his beautiful German Shepherd, before he’s attacked by a guy sporting a cowboy hat and forked tongue. The intruder twists him like a pretzel until, well, until he is dead. Back at their new base of operations (i.e., the Men of Letters bunker), Dean’s still not quite sure on Sam’s condition to tackle anything new but the younger Winchester is ready to go, catching wind of the taxidermist case. Dean relents and they find Max Alexander, twisted and crushed as well as a pagan symbol spray painted outside. They do some research and find the symbol actually belongs to S.N.A.R.T. (Show No Animal Rough Treatment), a grassroots effort founded by Olivia and Dylan, vegans strong in the lifestyle and proponents of PETA. When the Winchesters interview the couple, they admit to vandalizing the sign but that’s it. In fact, after hearing a freaky hissing sound, they were sprayed in the eyes, hence wearing glasses indoors. Sam finds out their condition is necrosis and is caused by blunt force trauma, radiation or venom. Putting together how the taxidermist was crushed and the venom spray, they surmise they are dealing with some sort of snake dude. Later that night, the cowboy snake dude pays an animal shelter worker some dosh to have his pick of the litter. In this case it’s cats and when the attendant sees him scarfing down Garfield, he eliminates the witness with a fatal mauling.

Dean is the Dog Whisperer…and then some

The boys jump on the case the next morning and Dean notices Colonel’s also at this scene. Even more curious is when the dog barks at a cop when he sees the officer’s hat. Dean makes the connection and Sam uses the phone-a-Kevin option and gets an Inuit spell where a human is able to speak with an animal. Still a bit hesitant to put Sam through the paces, Dean takes the spellirific plunge and, though it takes a minute for the “mind meld” to work, it does and the first aspects of episode hilarity ensue. Colonel’s able to give the brothers some details on the killer but Dean’s having a bit of trouble. A call to Kevin confirms some…canine-ish side effects. Scratching behind the ear, playing fetch, barking at the mailman, sizing up a fine French poodle number…the usual. Now that Dean’s in Doctor Doolittle mode, they return to the shelter to ask if any of the other animals have more info on the killer. After its demands for a belly rub from “that big one…over there” in Sam, a terrier offers some pertinent information. It noticed the sack the killer used for the cats had the name of a downtown French restaurant on it. Before leaving the shelter, Dean channels his inner Spartacus, freeing all the animals with a wry and satisfied grin.

They hit the French restaurant and find all sorts of interesting things. On top of some serious meds, they find labeled animal parts as well as a Shaman spell book. Taking in some of the notes, Sam and Dean realizes the killer eats these parts to obtain specific traits from the animal he ingests.

The terrier proves that even dogs have ulterior motives.

When two workers enter because of a private dinner, the brothers send them on their way but split up in search of Chef Leo. Thanks to some chameleon parts, he surprises Sam, slashing him across the neck. It would be a killing blow but Ezekial comes out just long enough to heal it. The change disorients Sam long enough for Chef Leo to KO him and salivate at putting him on the menu.

Have no fear, Dean to the rescue. Or not. The elder Winchester is bested after Leo pulls some fancy ‘Matrix’ moves and gets him down long enough to tie him up.. The dog part of Dean senses the cancer eating away at Leo, the reason he started with all the animal part delicacies. He eats a wolf heart to start tearing Dean apart but, when they run outside, Dean whistles in reinforcements. A bevy of dogs charge around the corner and tear Leo apart. Dean checks on Sam; he’s okay but still a bit out of sorts.

The next day, Dean gives Colonel to Dylan and Olivia. Though the dog isn’t thrilled about the vegans, he knows they will give him a good home. After his journey with Dean, he’s ready to give the hunter the secret on why dogs are here…of course, the meld wears off just as Colonel was about to impart the nugget of knowledge. On the drive out of town, Sam thinks about what Leo had said about him and Dean, stating that you can rationalize crazy and promises that Sam has nothing to worry about.

Pop Culture and Beyond

  • Heavy on fun, light on season story advancement is “Dog Dean Afternoon” though there is no shortage of hilarity in the exchanges between Dean and a pigeon (I KNEW those bastards crapped cars on purpose) and Colonel. Still, the pop culture streak remains strong with the Winchesters, as they throw out references to ‘The Dog Whisperer’, James Brown, Luchadores, ‘Cool Hand Luke’ (“Still shaking the fence boss!”) and ‘Breaking Bad’. That’s not even counting the taxidermist’s foray into ‘Game of Thrones’, stuffed animal style.
  • The one caveat is Sam’s growing suspicions that something’s not quite right with him. It’s only a matter of time before he collects the pieces and assembles the ‘Angel Riding Shotgun Inside Me” puzzle. When that happens, I don’t think he’ll be all hugs and puppies with his older brother.