This episode was a Creature of the Week, which is my favorite kind, and when Supernatural is at its best, in my opinion (I’ll get into how much I hate The Darkness plot in another review, I’m sure).
The episode begins with two young boys, who we quickly discover are a pair of brothers. Jessy, the younger brother is gay, and is warned by his older brother Matty not to make this known to the townspeople. The brothers share a heartwarming moment, reminiscent of Sam and Dean’s youth (which was likely the intent), and Matty promises Jessy that as soon as he turns eighteen, he’ll whisk them out of their conservative Colorado town.
I guess I should have known it wasn’t going to end well.
It’s Matty who is whisked off, and not by anyone with his best interests in mind, but by a monstrous, humanoid creature with glowing green eyes.
Flashforward to Sam and Dean in the Bunker, doing their usual “We’re Nowhere With This Season’s Main Villain So Let’s Go Hunt” routine. The boys go to small-town Colorado to investigate the strange disappearances that, as explained to them by Sheriff Tyson (Battlestar Galactica’s Kandyse McClure! I got very excited! But I wish she’d had a bigger role!), happen every twenty-seven years.
When Sam and Dean go exploring and run into “The Chitters” (so-called for the rattling noise they make), they are rescued by another pair of Hunters. It’s little Jessy, now a nearly forty-year old man, and his partner/husband, Cesar.
Maybe it’s because Supernatural has lowered my expectations to nothing but straight white men all the time, but I was very surprised (and happy!) to see an interracial gay couple on Supernatural! That’s a first for this show, isn’t it? Of course, then I spent the entire episode being terrified that either Jessy or Cesar would die, given what happened to Jenna at the start of this season, but they both survived, hallelujah! Not only that, they decided to ride off into the sunset to New Mexico to live peaceful, monster-free lives. Is this because Supernatural is learning from its mistakes and The 100’s mess, or because Jessy and Cesar are men? (Does the Kill Your Gays trope apply only to women?)
If I’m being honest, in the past two seasons Supernatural has been expanding its horizons in terms of diversity. Sure, this expansion has been slight and incremental, but hey, it’s something. Although, for Supernatural, becoming more diverse just means meeting the absolute bare minimum. I’ll take it for now, but you you gotta keep upping your game, Supernatural.
Altogether this was a decent episode, a lot less high stakes than usual, which was fine! The boys and Jessy and Cesar find the Chitters’ nest and Matty’s corpse. The nest is destroyed and Matty is given a Hunter’s funeral and all is well. Not much prolonged fighting either, which is always great.
The Creatures of the Week, the “Chitters”, were appropriately creepy and even bordered on disturbing. The sight of that nest, with the gestating women, to be discarded after being used as incubators, was utterly nightmarish. The idea of being taken over by a parasite to be a host for its young is terrifying. The guest actors were great, except for adult!Jessy, whose actor played the role strangely stiff and awkward.
And the final scene, with Sam and Dean driving away, a vista of green mountains in their wake? Road trips and weird creatures and small-town Americana, isn’t that what Supernatural is all about? (One of these days I’ll write a very convincing manifesto about this.)