Adam Glass loves Dean Winchester. No, I’m not creating a new ship, but it’s obvious that Adam feels a special affinity to the character. This week’s episode is a case in point. Just like its predecessor, Bad Boys, About a Boy gave us a view into the young Dean Winchester. Granted, it was adult Dean in his own tween’s body, but still. About a Boy was the comedic version of Bad Boys.
The premise is that adult Dean gets zapped by Hansel, who I must say didn’t age that well from his time in the Grimm Fairy Tale, into a child version of himself. All the better for the witch, of the same fairy tale classic to eat him, my dear – Excuse me while I mix up my fairytale tropes. Supernatural has tackled classic fairy tales before, to varying degrees of success. Last night’s was, in my opinion, how it should be done. While not perfect, see my criticisms below, I loved how the episode took the classic fairy tale, and turned it into a great vehicle for the Winchesters.
Here are some of the highlights:
- Dean was scared to leave Sam during the hunt, to question the bar patrons where the previous victim was last seen. He didn’t trust himself, and recognized that Sam could keep him in check, as far as the influence of the Mark of Cain. While this was subtly played, it is a milestone for Dean’s character. Dean has always been the one that had to be the protector. He now recognizes that Sam is perhaps stronger than he is, and that he needs Sam to get through this ordeal.
- Dean admitted to being a “functional alcoholic” to fellow victim (and boozer) Tina. He has previously always deflected his alcohol consumption. I think his recent attempts at living a clean life in order to mitigate the MoC’s influence has shown him that he does have some dependency there.
- Sam still has total faith and determination that they will find a cure for the MoC. He won’t let Dean wallow in the bunker, and lose hope. I am so glad that the writers have decided to give us the version of Sam that, in the view of many fans, is true to his character and how he feels about his family. Sam’s character was done a great disservice in seasons 8 and 9 (can we please just purge Amelia from our memories?), but this year, Sam is more than making up for it. I really like how Sam is now the metaphorical older brother, protecting his brother. The role reversal is really working for the season.
- Dylan Everett –is- young Dean Winchester. He reprised his role from Bad Boys, and quite simply nailed it. The casting department again showed their prowess at finding young actors to portray child versions of established characters. Just like Colin Ford’s version of Sam, Dylan’s version of Dean really shines. While Dylan is actually 20 years old, playing a 14 year old version of Dean, it was totally believable.
- The pubescent jokes were a gold mine. While we could see some of them coming from a mile away – “It’s up, it’s down, it’s up for no reason…” to Dean moving the front bench seat of the Impala up so that Sam’s knees are jammed under his own chin. They still all worked, and made me really appreciate this season’s ability to have some very dark themes, but still find room for comedy. This was seriously lacking in last season’s unrelenting angst-fest.Now for the lowlights, unfortunately:
- Lesley Nicol, aka the Hansel & Gretel’s witchy version of Rachel Ray, really seemed flat. While she visually fit the bill, her accent was terrible. I think it was supposed to be German, but then it would flip into a childish British accent, and then, who knows what. It was really bad. I mean REALLY bad. I was looking forward to her guest appearance on the show, because I’m a huge fan of her on Downton Abbey. I am at a loss as to what happened there.
- Continuity errors. OK, stay with me here. So, when adult Dean was zapped by Hansel into his younger version, his adult clothes were left at the scene, and he woke up dressed in smaller kid size clothes. However, when tween Dean was transformed back into adult Dean, his actual kid-sized clothes were magically made larger. WTH, people! That just doesn’t work for continuity’s sake, plus it robbed us from seeing adult Dean’s body crammed into too small clothes! We were kept from seeing a hoodie as a mid-riff that would give us a glimpse of Dean’s abs. Even if the show opted to just have the sleeves and slack be too short, that at least would’ve been an additional comedic point at the end. Sometimes I wonder what the wardrobe folks are thinking. First we have multiple layers of clothing, even in summer, and now this. I admit it; I’m a Dean girl, followed very closely as a Sam girl. So, this week’s episode was could’ve been as close to heaven as possible for me.
Having said that, it wasn’t perfection, but it was still one of my favorite episodes this year, and in my top ten for the whole series. I give it a 4 out of 5 rating.