TV REVIEW: Supernatural, Season 7 Episode 4 – “Defending Your Life”

We are back in classic territory with the opener to episode 4.  A terrified man running for his life chased by a mystery assailant, which is revealed to be a car.  The man escapes into a building and into a locked room several levels up…and there’s the car.  The man is killed in true Supernatural fashion – i.e. lots of blood.

The episode continues and the Winchesters find themselves working a normal case; the Leviathans are on the back burner and indeed are not seen through the episode.  There is a call back to the last episode with Sam thanking Dean for trusting him over Amy (Jewel Staite).  The boys work the case and victim number 2 is quickly and violently taken, attacked by a dog.  The boys find that people are being killed based on prior actions in their lives – a victim 1 is killed by a car due him being drunk and killing a little girl years earlier, while victim number 2 ran dog fights. However, these were reformed characters, and neither dogs nor cars have ghosts, so what is going on? After running into an old man who claims he was put on trial for killing a couple in his youth, the boys do some digging. With Bobby’s help it is eventually revealed that the Egyptian god Osiris is in town and judging those who feel guilty. Dean is his next target.

Dean is taken by Osiris and put on trial. Sam finds them just before the trail begins and demands it is Dean’s right to have representation. Osiris agrees out of amusement and we have Sam the lawyer defending his brother’s life.  Osiris claims he could call countless witnesses, but strikes a deal with Sam to only call three.  Jo (played by Alona Tal) is the 1st witness. Osiris claims it was her admiration for Dean that led her into the “life” and her ultimate death.  Sam successfully argues that it was wanting to be like her absent father that lead her to the life.  Osiris calls Sam as the second witness and once again Osiris claims Dean lead Sam into the life, with his reason being “he did not want to be alone.” Sam counters by stating he was always going to be in the life no matter what and counter calls Dean to the stand.  Dean doesn’t feel guilty for his actions, merely saddened by the losses along the way.  Osiris claims the verdict will be decided by Dean’s own feelings on his guilt.  Seemingly Sam has won, but when Osiris asks to call his final witness and Dean believes this to be Amy (last episode), he elects to ask for judgement instead.  He is judged guilty and let go to await his fate.  Sam desperately looks for a way to stop Osiris while Dean seems resigned to his fate, revealing that it will be Jo that will be sent to kill him.  As Dean and Jo talk, Sam gets information from Bobby on how to stop Osiris.  Just as Jo is about to kill Dean in the same manner as her own death, Sam tracks down Osiris and kills/incapacitates him.  Dean is saved.

The episode ends with another  Supernatural classic – drinking on the car in the middle of nowhere.  Sam reveals that he doesn’t feel any guilt for all the actions over the years. He thinks Hell/The Cage purged him of it; he paid his dues and while his slate is not wiped clean – he can move on.

This was a really good, more classic episode of Supernatural.  There is some great humour from both Dean and Sam – Dean with his numerous one liners and Sam really going for it in the trial with numerous “objections” and cross-examination of witnesses.  There are a  lot more laughs in this episode than previously, I feel, and that is what Supernatural does best – real laughs in good, exciting drama.

The criticism I would have is that it is a little slow to get going. We don’t see Jo’s return or the trial until well over half way through the episode.  There are also a lot of flashbacks to previous episodes, especially the last episode, which is unnecessary as it is unlikely we have forgotten what Dean did in the last episode.  While it wasn’t a clip show, it did feel a little like that in some sections.

Once again the theme of mystery is present – we never see the final witness for Dean and while he assumes it to be Amy, it could have been anyone.

Dean’s drinking is presented fairly heavily in this episode, another possible theme but probably just a reflection of reality to the character. How else do you cope with what Dean’s been through?  It does set up a good contrast to Sam, who is equally tortured but very distinct to his brother.  Sam could be seen as the “straight man” to Dean but I think it’s far more complex and realistic than that.  The two brothers have so much in common and have been through so much, yet remain very separate people – something I think also helps the show and has done for 7 seasons.

It was good to go classic again, although I really want to see what the Leviathans are up to.  Perhaps we will see them more in the weeks to come.

Best lines: “With a liscence…liscence to kill!”, “Dead and sober…double crappy”, “Ghostrider”, “I gave up AA for Lent”, “Tell it to the Ghost Dog”, “Are you going to let me finish my sentence?” – “No!”, “I learned it from The Good Wife”

Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Steven Stone

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