I enjoyed this episode a whole lot more than I thought I would. When I read the synopsis a few weeks back about de-aged Dean, I audibly groaned thinking, who the hell is letting these writers read fanfiction and then allowing them to bring it to the screen? I expect a whole lot better. But then Adam Glass did something surprising, he kept Dean in the present in the story. Dean was de-aged, but physically only; mentally and emotionally he was still Dean, and the writing reflected that, as did the acting. Kudos to Dylan Everett who clearly did his homework as his mannerisms and voice inflections were spot on with Jensen’s.
Also, kudos go out to Jared Padalecki who played off Dylan beautifully, from his amazement at seeing his brother transformed, to the brotherly banter, to the continued support Sam has been giving Dean as the latter struggles with the MoC and whether or not he can overcome it. I laughed many times in enjoyment as the episode unfolded and loved that Dean accepted all of Sam’s teasing and either gave it back or simply absorbed it with fairly good humor. Hey, these boys have been to heaven and hell and hell adjacent, so what’s a little de-aging to them – not a darn thing. They dealt with it and they did their jobs.
Yes, the emotional beats could have been explored more fully. There could have been more than just a few lines and glances about staying de-aged and without the MoC rather than just the one moment and then a bit later the crisis when there is no time for self-reflection, only action. Yes, Sam on the sidelines is predictable – and frankly I think these writers just can’t help themselves anymore after all those seasons of writing Sam as helpless or hapless by removing his soul, addicting him to demon blood, and needing an angel to possess him to cure him. I think it’s just habit by now and they’re oblivious to it.
Also, it was more than slightly too good to be true that Hansel would so quickly help them. Come on, guys, you’re hunters with over 40 years of experience between the two of you. Do you really find help that quickly? Nope. But then again there are only so many minutes in the show so allowances must be made, and in reality, I just want to have fun with the show again and not pick every detail to death.
Once again Supernatural gave us some spooky, scary moments, a vast improvement over the soap opera drama of Crowley and Rowena, all while inserting mention of Rowena and that there is something brewing on that front. (Brewing…yeah, I did just do that.) It also managed to keep the Mark of Cain part of the story without having it overwhelm the story. Dean is trying to deal with it, but he really hasn’t ever dealt with anything within himself, not like Sam has. Sam overcame his destiny simply by choosing, on the surface, to accept it. He let Lucifer in, but then overpowered him and saved the world. Dean has always been the good soldier, dutifully following orders and rarely upsetting the boat. Now he has to overcome that which is within him, something he has never done before. It’s harder than he thought, but slowly but surely, with Sam’s constant support and urging, he is finding a way. As Sam said, Dean killed the witch and didn’t “Hulk out.”
About a Boy was a creative way to give Jensen some time off, while keeping Sam and Dean at the forefront of all of the action; no Misha, no Mark, and all focus on the brothers. It worked, for me at least, and I went into this episode determined to grit my teeth and simply get through it. It’s monster of the week, with threads of overarching stories woven into it, and I liked it.
Thanks for reading, Elle2