By John Keegan
This was more about character than the bug invasion itself, which is the preference, from my point of view. The bugs were actually incidental to the main thrust of the episode, which might explain why the resolution of the bug invasion was somewhat lacking. That had to be the fastest midnight-to-dawn transition ever seen. Also, I find it hard to imagine that the spiritual bug swarm, which had previously run amok during daylight hours, would simply disappear with sunlight. Killing humans on the land seemed more to the point of the actual curse, despite the time limit.
Anyway, that didn’t bother me so much, because I was too busy enjoying the tension between Sam and Dean. Previous episodes focused on Dean’s bitterness with Sam and the idea that Sam left the family behind. Sam has never hidden his feelings about their father and his very different personal philosophy, but now the writers have shown us how that colors his impressions of family in general.
Dean does a great job of clamping down on his resentments, even if he uses that negative energy in less than perfect pursuits. Dean runs deep, however, as his handling of Sam’s emotional state demonstrates. If Sam’s point of view has been covered rather well, we’ve seldom gotten to hear their father’s side of the equation. Either Dean has a twisted perspective on how things went down before Sam left home, or Sam is a bit too good at holding on to bitterness and anger.
I’d vote for something in between, since Dean tends to romanticize the whole “hunting” to compensate for the lack of much else in his life. Sure, Dean believes in what he’s doing, but one gets the sense that much of his life is distraction. Distraction, in this case, from the fact that he didn’t have what Sam had: the potential for something more. Dean had to focus on his family, so when Sam didn’t, it was a betrayal.
This episode did stray from the typical format in the sense that the primary guest character was not a nubile young woman with an eye for one of the brothers. Sure, there was the realtor, but she was a minor aspect of the overall episode, almost like a token attempt to stick with the style of the series. While the series could do with occasional episodes like this without the eye candy, I personally think that it’s part of the style and concept, and it does much to establish and reinforce Dean’s escapist psychology.
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