We are nine seasons in and ‘Supernatural’ continues to impress by weaving Sam and Dean’s undocumented past lives with whatever’s going on in the present. ‘Bad Boys’ continues this trend by examining two months in Dean’s life that helped mold him into the man we see week in and week out.

In Hurleyville, New York, three kids are playing hide-and-seek in a barn when a gruff older man comes looking for them, ready to tear into their hides if they don’t get to bed. Well, things don’t end well for him after the tractor takes on a life of its on and skewers him through the barn door. At the bunker, Sam answers Dean’s phone with the caller searching for ‘D-Dawg’. Dean takes the call; it’s from Sonny, the man that ran the boy’s home Dean was sentenced to at 16 after being pinched for stealing. Sam’s a bit miffed that he never knew about this part of his brother’s life but Dean brushes it off, saying “the story became the story.”

Dean meets Sonny for the first time

The boys arrive at the home when a severe woman, Ruth, answers. When Dean walks into the living room, it triggers a memory of his first meeting with Sonny. The two men embrace and Sonny gives them the lowdown on Jack’s death. He remarks to Sam and Dean that “Somethin’ ain’t right” and the two brothers split up to search the grounds. Sam traverses the house and comes across a praying Ruth. She tells him about the spirits she feels in the home. Dean’s search of the barn confirms it when the EMF readings he takes goes off the charts. He ends up meeting Timmy for the first time, a frail and shy young boy whom Dean ends up teaching on how to shake hands. Timmy’s comment on the air becoming frigid before Jack’s death is another clue pointing towards a ghost. Ruth tells Sam a bit about the history of the farm; the past owner, Howard, killed his wife because he thought she and Jack had been having an affair. He got life in prison and died the week before. The boys think good old Howard is haunting the premises; they find his bones, burn ‘em and head out of town, with a good day’s work behind them.

Before exiting the town, they stop at Gus’s and Dean eyes the waitress. He remembers Sonny taking him to the diner and the pride the man had in him. And then there was the first time he laid eyes on Robin who, to Dean’s surprise, doesn’t really remember him. It’s a punch to the gut and Dean’s ready to get outta dodge, a bit embarrassed. But things aren’t as simple as they first believed, when Sonny calls to tell them about Ruth’s death. They do some more digging with Sam checking out the employee records and Dean threatening two kids bullying Timmy. Sonny shares some of Dean’s hidden accomplishments with Sam while one of the bullies has an unfortunate confrontation with the lawnmower after trying to untangle Ruth’s necklace from the blade. Timmy watches it all from the window with a gentle but burned hand rests on his shoulder.

Sam reads into Timmy’s file and gives the 4-1-1 to Dean. They still need to do some more research with Sam taking the barn this time. He finds a hidden attic where a child’s drawings depict a horrible accident.

Dean and Robin back in the day

Traversing the house, Dean runs into Robin, who really did remember him and Dean’s thinks on their time together when they were teens. Sharing their dreams, kissing her, and promising to take her to the dance. Though she’s still a bit bitter over how he left, Dean tries getting her out the house but the –ish hits the fan and Timmy’s mom starts throwing things around. She traps everyone in the house and Sam barges in, imploring Timmy to tell them about the accident. He tells them about the car accident in the woods and his mom being burned alive. Scared and alone, he ran to an empty house and called for his mom, who gave him the action figure Timmy carries everywhere. Dean burns the action figure but it doesn’t help. They realize that Timmy’s mom isn’t anchored by any one object, rather Timmy himself. Things get really hairy and Ghost Mama starts throwing the boys around and force choking them. Unable to move, Dean tells Timmy he’ll have to send her away. “Sometimes you gotta do what’s best for you, even if it hurts the ones you love.” The words give Timmy the strength he needs to send Ghost Mama away.

In the aftermath, Dean and Robin catch up a bit with her finally understanding why he had to leave. Sam is floored by the revelations into his brother’s life, realizing this was, in fact, the best part of Dean’s life. Dean doesn’t quite share the sentiment; “It wasn’t me,” he tells Sam though the wistful look on his face says otherwise. The final scene is of Dean getting ready for the dance when Sonny tells him his father’s in. Sonny offers to go to bat for Dean but when he glances out the window and sees his younger brother Sammy playing in the car window, he knows he has to go.

Before they’re ready to go, Sam thanks Dean for always having his back. “Look, I know it always hasn’t been easy…” Sam begins though he’s unable to finish as Dean brushes it off with an “I don’t know what the hell you’re talking abou.” The familiar growl of the Impala fills the silence and the Winchesters drive off, awaiting the next job.

Past Lives…

There are so many moments in our lives, some that are often small in the temporal scheme but leaves indelible marks on us. Unfortunately not all of them are positive but for Dean, whose life has always been unpredictable, dangerous, and heavy on the tragic, the two months he spent at Sonny’s gave him strength, hope, and memories untainted by the reality of his life. Reliving his time there as he’s reminded of what could have been. Dean may lament having to leave Sonny’s but he doesn’t regret it. After all, he’s had so much time with Sam. ‘Bad Boys’ is another heartfelt reminder that, underneath all the angels, demons, ghosts and goblins, ‘Supernatural’ is ultimately about family, love, and hope. It’s a message so many of us lose sight of during the disappointments and hurdles life throws at us.