“I like to watch movies where I know the bad guy’s gonna lose.”
Just in time for Halloween—give or take a day—Supernatural takes on the greatest night for candy wins on the calendar as Sam and Dean investigate a ghostly case of pop culture possession in Salem, Ohio.
With the first three weeks of this season focused on the Michael storyline and everything that goes with it, there really hasn’t been time for Sam and Dean to bond in the ways that keep Supernatural fans coming back every year. “Mint Condition” is the perfect break, not only giving a requisite breather for the season’s primary chase but also giving the Winchester brothers time to bond while finding themselves in quite the meta experience when iconic pop culture toys, props, and life-size replicas come to life.
When Stuart, a combative, passionate “Big Bang”-type geek is attacked by a marvelous ThunderCats Panthro figure, he posts a reaction video online. It gives Sam a reason to drag Dean on a road trip. It’s been a week or so since Dean’s been freed of his angelic houseguest and he’s spent much of that locked up in his room, scarfing down pizza, beer, and all other manner of unhealthy eats. They head to the small Ohio town and it’s not long before they confirm that Stuart’s attacker (first Panthro then a floating chainsaw) is the work of a ghost. After a bit of digging into the history of the comic shop, they discover the ghost is most likely Jordan MacNeil, former owner of the comic shop who recently died. Turns out that Stuart has low impulse control and often steals things he finds are cool. Jordan had fired Stuart twice but Sam, one of the new owners, re-hired her friend. Ghost Jordan didn’t take too kindly to that and, as ghosts are often cantankerous, with no ties to reason, he was out for Stuart’s blood.
“Mint Condition” isn’t the strongest of filler episodes but it’s a fun one. Not only does Dean get to go toe-to-toe with David Yaeger, the Jason Vorhees/Michael Myers star of this universe’s ‘All Saint’s Day’ movie franchise, the audience geeks will love the real-life pop culture memorabilia littered throughout the episode. More to the point though, Sam is able to get Dean out of his funk and into the world. While that may not go a long way in bringing the Dean we all know and love back, it’s at least a start.
- Though Dean’s still taking the onus of Michael’s current one-up on everyone on himself, the fact that Sam was able to get Dean out of his pseudo-funk is a good thing. Trauma like Dean’s experienced isn’t something wiped away by a good road trip and saving someone but it’s gotten Dean’s head back into the game.
- The Impala is the king ring of good conversations between the brothers and, at episode’s end, we get another classic. Sam finally comes clean about his dislike for Halloween. Throwing up in front of and—worse—on your 6th grade crush must be quite the mortifying experience though it’s pretty funny that, after everything they’ve been through, something that mundane sticks with Sam.
- As mentioned, there isn’t too terribly much going on in this episode and it’s not one of those must-see departures from the season’s narrative (like the Scooby Doo-centric “ScoobyNatural” or the TV show jaunt in “Changing Channels”) but it’s a decently entertaining piece. Though the whole David Yaeger character was cool, how cool would it have been if they could’ve gotten a Freddy/Jason/Mike Myers battle going!?
- This show often has some amazing lines that are poignant in the show itself but also in real life. In a moment of honesty with fellow geek Dirk, Stuart’s best friend, Dean admits why he loves movies so much. It’s that one venue where he knows “the bad guy’s gonna lose”. Not to get too heavy but personally, one of my favorite parts of a Captain America or Superman is that the heroes, those with strength of character, find a way, and the will, to win. No matter how much we root for the good guy, in reality, they don’t always win. But in movies…it’s comforting to see the bad guy put down for good.