What says Valentine’s Day more than witchified curses, ripped out hearts, and coming face-to-face with your deepest, darkest desire? As they say folks, “Love Hurts”.
We start off with the typical trope: husband Dan’s cheating with he and his wife’s babysitter, Staci. Well, Staci’s ready for a serious relationship, demanding of hubby Dan to break up with his wife Melissa, regardless of it being Valentine’s Day or not. Well, Staci never gets the chance as Dan shows up out of the blue, giving her a nice, welcome massage before punching a hole through her chest, removing he heart.
Sam gets wind of it and the brothers make their way to Hudson. The speak to the shaken couple and pick up on Dan’s strange behavior. Coupled with the fact that the nanny cam’s the only item missing, Dean pays a visit to hubby while Sam stays behind to examine the body. Dan comes clean about the affair and shows Dean the footage on the nanny cam: Dan himself violently removing Staci’s heart, despite the fact that he was at dinner with the wife. Yes, something supernatural abounds.
Dean shows Sam the footage and, judging by the shine of its eyes, they peg the killer a shape shifter. After Dan falls to the same fate as Staci, the boys believe Melissa’s the murdering shifter but when she touches a silver pen with no ill effects, that particular theory is eliminated. It’s not until Melissa’s dead hubby pays her a visit and she barrels into the Winchester’s motel room that they learn the truth: she got a ‘Return to Love’ spell from Sonja, her hairdresser. A bit of research on the spell reveals that it’s actually an Aramaic curse, one quite similar to a chain letter: so long as it’s being passed on, you’re safe. But the moment everyone exposed after you is gone, well, the bull’s eye returns to the originator. Someone the shifter tracks Melissa down and Dean, not knowing what else to do, kisses Melissa to draw the focus to him. It distracts the shifter long enough for the trio to escape. Sam’s livid with Dean’s attempt to play “the martyr” but the trio refocus on the mission and Melissa leads them to Sonja’s shop.
“Well,” Dean says when they pull up to the appropriately named ‘The Art of Dyeing’, “can’t say she didn’t warn you.” The brothers search the shop, leaving Melissa in the car and find more information on the curse. They find Sonja’s witch supplies and one her books identifies the creature as a Qareen. To destroy it, they need to find its heart, kept by the person controlling it. In this case, that person is Sonja. While Sam searches the upstairs portion of the shop, Dean remains in the basement where he gets a visit from his deepest desire. Yep, not hard to guess who that is: Amara.
The creature sees into the victim’s soul, telling Dean “I can see inside your heart. Feel the love you feel, except it’s cloaked in shame.” He continues the cat-and-mouse, trying to stay a few steps away from it but soon enough, the creature attacks and it’s all Dean can do to stay alive. For his part, Sam’s found the Qareen’s heart but then Sonja appears, ready to end him but not before explaining her twisted motivations. Sam’s in a bad way, about to have a violent end when Melissa shows up. She brandishes the knife at Sonja, a distraction that allows Sam to put a few witch-killing bullets in Sonja. He then pierces the Qareen’s heart moments before it delivers the coup de grace to Dean.
Another case closed, Dean admits that he saw Amara but Sam’s not surprised. “Do you honestly think you ever had a choice in the matter?” he asks his older brother. Dean voices his desire to destroy Amara but admits that when he’s near her “something happens”.
“I’m screwed, man,” he says. “We want to kill the Darkness. We need to kill the Darkness…and I don’t think I can.”
- For the majority of the hour, “Love Hurts”, was your run-of-the-mill filler episode but the last five minutes or so was redemption. Not only does Dean face the personification of his darkest desire, he openly admits that, whatever connection he shares with Amara, it will not let him kill her. That begs the question; if he sees her in danger, will he intervene? It’s a question even he doesn’t know the answer and, even if he did, would he admit it to Sam?
- Eighty percent of this episode was, as mentioned above, filler material. In addition, it didn’t have the same pop culture snap many episodes of its ilk have contained to carry us through the doldrums of filler resolution. Wicked witch Sonja gets about three minutes of screen time, though she does an okay job in that timeframe reminding us not to let a witch get the drop on you. Common knowledge, I’m sure.
- Despite lacking in the meta department, “Love Hurts” is not without a few pop nods. Dean’s “finally get some face time with Daisy Duke,” or the I Dream of Genie/Barbara Eden mention were enough to keep this section afloat…just barely.