Monday, February 20, 2012

Review: Supernatural 'Repo Man'

Sam and Dean Winchester fight demons and Lucifer in the latest episode, 'Repo Man.' The action begins four years ago when the Winchester brothers were tracking down Lilith and trying to avert the apocalypse. 'Repo Man,' which aired Feb. 17 on the CW, has Sam and Dean Winchester on an old fashioned demon hunt and murder mystery. The Winchester brothers have demonically possessed Jeffrey tied up in chains and bound to a chair. It turns out Jeffrey (Russell Sams) has been a busy boy with the brutal serial killing of women.

Normally the Winchester would exorcise the guy and be done with it, but this demon has information on Lilith and they need answers. While the demon taunts Dean in the guise of Jeffrey, the unpossessed version of Jeffrey seems like a decent guy and appears horrified at the killing. Unfortunately it's not that simple. Dean has to beat up Jeffrey pretty bad to get the intel before they send the demon back to Hell.

Four year's later we discover Jeffrey is in sorry shape. After the demonic possession and nasty beating, he lost his job and was considered crazy when he tried to tell the truth of what happened that night. Jeffrey comes back on Sam and Dean's radar when a brutal string of bloody murders crop up with the same emo as the demon. They think the demon might have "repossessed" Jeffrey to relive the good old bloody days.

Jeffrey seems bewildered and frightened when the Winchesters return into his life as he seems to be getting his act together, complete with getting a new dog. It being Supernatural, 'Repo Man' takes a nasty and awful turn. Sam Winchester finds out more about the victims and discovers there was a heavy dose of tranquilizer in the victims' bodies. That raises a red flag as a demon has incredible physical strength and wouldn't need to sedate his victims to overcome them. Meanwhile Lucifer appears as a nagging hallucination to Sam. Lucifer offers to "help" Sam and even points out important clues to the case.

Meanwhile Dean Winchester spends some quality time with Jeffrey, which perhaps is not the best move considering Dean beat Jeffrey to a bloody pulp four years ago. Jeffrey seems more than willing to help and even guides Dean to the demon's old lair. Not surprisingsly that lair is a dark and creepy abandoned warehouse. Dean discovers a man tied to a chair much the same way the Winchesters bound demon-possessed Jeffrey. Perhaps Dean should have seen it coming, but Jeffrey sneaks up and stabs a huge hypodermic needle into Dean's neck and injects him with a tranquilizer. Dean is out for the count.

Sam Winchester freaks out when Dean doesn't pick up on any of his cell phones and is forced to work the case with hallucination Lucifer. Sam pays a visit to Nora Havelock (Nicole Oliver). It turns out Nora's son was kidnapped by Jeffrey and that's why Nora gave Jeffrey the demon summoning spell. Nora also gave Jeffrey some demon-related info before her son was kidnapped. What isn't clear is why Nora even gave Jeffrey anything regarding demons in the first place.

Sam Winchester gets Nora to whip up a tracking spell and they find the creepy warehouse. In a bizarre turnabout, Jeffrey admits he liked being possessed and the demon gave him the guts to launch his bloody serial killing career. Jeffrey wants his demon pal back and completes the summoning spell. There is one problem, the demon possesses Nora's kidnapped son instead. Jeffrey pleads for the demon to take him, but it's no go. The demon is just a "talent scout" and Jeffrey has already reached his full potential.

In a rushed conclusion, the demon is sent back to Hell in short order with an exorcism spell. Jeffrey is also sent to Hell post-haste with a bullet to the head after he tries to attack the Winchesters. This is the second human, not monster killing in two weeks, although it can be argued a serial killer is as horrible a monster as any ghoul, vampire or shapeshifter. What doesn't make sense is the episode is why Jeffrey feigned horror at the killings when the Winchesters first captured him. Wouldn't Jeffrey fight the interrogation and the exorcism if he wanted to keep his demon friend?

The real climactic ending, however, is when Sam and Dean return to their scuzzy avocado-colored motel room. Dean settles in for a deserved rest while Sam sees the hallucination of Lucifer appear. Lucifer gloats with a smile, "No nap for you Sam." Sam tries to banish the hallucination by pressing at an old scar on his palm, but it no longer works.
"I believe you've let me back in," Lucifer says gleefully and laughs.
Next Sam sees his bed consumed with hellfire. Sam's pupil's also glow red, perhaps as his memories of Hell threaten overtake him.

The 'Repo Man' is an excellent episode that is made even better by Mark Pelligrino's absolute delight in tormenting Sam as Lucifer. While I wasn't too much of a fan of Pelligrino's Lucifer during the apocalypse arc, Pelligrino's hallucination Lucifer is a delight to watch. The trap Lucifer set in starting as a distraction to Sam, then acting like a petulant, insistant child in the library was fun and added a levity to a very dark and heavy episode. Jared Padalecki and Pelligrino have a wonderful chemistry, which also was evident in 'Hello Cruel World.'

''Repo Man' definitely has an old fashioned feel, much as last week's 'Plucky Pennywhistle's Magical Menagerie.' The Winchesters are off to fight a monster and are united in a common goal rather than fighting each other. The return of the series' roots seems an improvement rather than a setback in the story arc.
The next episode, "Out with the Old," will air on March 9 on the CW.

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