TV REVIEW: Supernatural, Season 7 Episode 3: “The Girl Next Door”

Following from the end of the last episode, we join Dean in Sioux Falls hospital as he fights off the effects of morphine as hospital staff attempt to re-set his broken leg.  Dean loses the battle but recovers to find his leg in plaster.  Bobby walks in suited and booted, not dead (one mystery solved), and after finding Sam they make a quick escape from the Leviathan on their tail.

We join them again 3 weeks later with Dean still in plaster and tearing up over soaps.  Sam is still suffering the effects of Lucifer (although we don’t see him in this episode) and, upon spying a familiar story in a local paper, takes off to investigate on his own, leaving Dean to remove his plaster to chase after him.  It seems an “Ice Pick” killer is on the loose, though he seems to only be targeting unsavory characters.  Sam catches the culprit – sci-fi fan favourite Jewel Staite.  It turns out her and Sam have met before.  A secondary story develops through flashbacks and we see the young Sam, brow beaten in research mode, come across a beautiful girl in the library.  After being given short shrift, he manages to get on her good side by beating up some bullies.  Back in the present Sam tracks Amy, known as “Amy Pond” (a geekgasm nod to our favourite UK sci-fi show Doctor Who). It is revealed that Amy is living a “normal life” – job, mortgage, feeding on the dead and generally being a good person. But it doesn’t stack up, given the bodies showing up, and so she reluctantly reveals to Sam that she has a young boy who was near dying, but who was saved by “fresh meat.”

Dean catches up with Sam by way of a punch to the face, and Sam reveals that back at his childhood meeting with Amy, she not only saved his life but killed her mother to do so.  She also gave him a chance to escape his life, which he turned down.  Dean reveals his prejudices against “freaks” to Sam, but Sam manages to keep well-adjusted and convinces Dean that sparing Amy was the right move.  As they move on to meet up with Bobby, Dean leaves Sam and we find he tracked Amy down easily.  In a confrontation, Dean states the belief that monsters don’t change and that she will kill again.  He kills Amy and is then confronted by her son, who swears he will kill Dean.  Dean says he’s welcome to try.

Meanwhile, throughout the episode we see that Edgar has survived, the Leviathans have spread and have managed to trace and track all of the boy’s credit cards and aliases.  A Leviathan is in pursuit and the episode ends with a horrific image of the Leviathan who is about to eat a clerk that has just been covered in boiling cheese.

The episode quickly resolves the previous episode’s cliffhanger and works its way into the new story.  I find it an interesting tactic; it seems like they could have carried on the hospital story, or completed the story in the last episode without a cliffhanger to begin this episode.  It’s good to try new things, and  seven series into the show you should be trying new techniques. However, I am not sure how well this played.

The story itself was solid, with the usual top performances from the leads.  Jewel Staite is suitable for the role of Amy, but doesn’t really get to do a lot to let her talent shine. Edgar (Benito Martinez) only makes a brief appearance, which is a shame as well.

Once again we are on familiar ground with the Sam and Dean conflict, and no series is complete without Dean punching Sam in the face.  While Sam seems to finally have found acceptance of his nature – “I’m a freak but I’m dealing with it,” – Dean seems to have reverted back to season 1 Dean: black and white, monsters are monsters and that’s it.  I thought that Dean’s view would have matured over 7 years, with all they have been through and his own brother’s nature, but apparently not.  I’m not sure Dean outright killing Amy was what Dean would do at this point in time, especially as she’d had previously saved Sam’s life. However, the opposite could also be said, that with all he has gone through he might keep his old views and reinforce his cynical view of monsters.

There is humour throughout the episode, with one highlight being the “My Bloody Valentine” advert on the TV, although there were fewer laughs in this episode than usual.

A good episode, but it could’ve been better.  With the high standard set by the first episode in this series, it has become notable to me that each episode has a lot to live up to.

Best Lines: “Girl Interrupted over there,” “How do you talk to girls?”

Rating: 3/5
GS  Reviewer: Steven Stone

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