So, opening person (inevitable victim) is a taxidermist (with another Game of Thrones reference, think the writer is a fan?) His dog acts up which spooks him (and is there anything more spooky than a taxidermy shop at night?) and he manages to scare himself with a grizzly. Don’t worry it was just a false alarm! Hah! As if, a man dressed as a cowboy with a forked tongue appears and folds him up neatly (and painfully).
To the Winchester cave and apparently Kevin is laid up from his little holiday with an eternal hang over (I am putting this down as another “why we don’t have to back up that whole ‘we’re family’ thing Dean pulled and Kevin isn’t going to be in this episode” excuse again). Sam has a case he wants them to investigate but Dean’s still wary since Sam still needs to heal from the trials; of course, Sam feels fine (running on angel power – and he can’t get rid of Ezekiel until Sam is fully healed which won’t happen if Sam is getting active and hurt).
Because of the whole super sekrit thing, Dean can’t tell Sam any of this and is dragged off to investigate the creepy taxidermists. On the door of the shop they see “Die Scum” has been painted on in red – with a little triangle and paw-print symbol in the corner. They pretend to be FBI agents, as usual, to fool the local law enforcement (who, conveniently, stopped checking that since Bobby died; which is good of them). Talking to Stevens, the man who found the body, they learn that all the entrails from the prepped animal corpses are missing (Dean is more than a little squeamish about the whole thing – especially for someone who beheads things). Sam thinks witch but they can’t find a hex bag – and Dean is definitely weirded out by taxidermy.
Back the motel, research turns up that the paw-print symbol belongs to SNART. A local animal rights group. But they need to know if they’re actually witches or just hippies - which means a trip to the vegan bakery (which Dean, avid meat eater, is so very unhappy about). And lots of people wearing sunglasses inside (to Dean for snark: only blind people and douchebags wear sunglasses inside).
They talk to the bakery owners and co-founders of SNART. They admit to spray painting the death threat because of how much hunters are evil evil people to them – but not to killing the man. And it backfired because while spray painting the place someone who hissed caught them and maced them (hence the sunglasses inside).
Looking at their injuries Sam and Dean return to the motel for more research: they weren’t maced, they were sprayed in the eyes by venom. Yes, snakey theme – venom, constriction, hissing. They brainstorm but don’t come up with anything specific.
Meanwhile our snakey guy bribes his way into a pound and pulls out several cats – and swallows them whole. The desk clerk who he bribed (who assumed he was picking up animals for perfume testing) is unfortunate enough to catch him in the act and be brutally clawed to death (why would a snakey man have claws?)
Sam and dean arrive at the scene trying to fit “claws” in with their snakey theme – and notice that the taxidermist’s dog is in the pound. Paranoia takes over – shapeshifter? Skinwalker? They test the dog with silver just to be sure. They do notice that the dog (called the Colonel) starts barking whenever he sees someone in a big hat (possibly a Stetson). They hit on the idea of using Colonel as a witness – and call Kevin for research
Back at the motel, the research has come back; an Inuit spell. Allowing them to mind-meld with the dog; Dean volunteers and makes excuses why Sam can’t (again, trying to preserve his delicate healingness). He drinks the potion (which tastes awful of course) and it doesn’t seem to work –until later and Colonel complains about the radio station (he doesn’t like Foreigner?). They get descriptions of the killer’s smell
All through the conversation Dean keeps picking up the rubbish Sam throws in the bin, harasses the postman and keeps scratching. Yes, mind melding with the dog has caused Dean to become dog-like (I actually liked the fetch thing – the scratching not so much. I can’t imagine a dog would scratch if he wasn’t itchy). Contacting Kevin confirms that these are known side effects. As an added bonus, he can also hear all animals – so he starts arguing with a pigeon.
It gets more ridiculous from there – including Dean being infatuated by a poodle. Inside Dean interviews several dogs – including one who saw everything and will spill in exchange for a stomach rub from Sam. And calls the monster a “total closet case.” Really, Supernatural? They do learn that the sack the killer put the cats in (the ones he didn’t eat) had the name of a local restaurant on it.
After releasing the rest of the dogs, it’s off to the restaurant – which is closed (break in time). In the kitchen they find a picture of chef Leo (the killer though they don’t know that), a whole lot of prescription medication that’s commonly abused and a cage of mice begging to be helped before the chef eats them. In the fridge there are lots of bits of animal viscera carefully labelled and Sam finds a book on shamanism with instructions on how to eat a bit of an animal – and then gain its abilities (hence the guy growing claws after he ate a cat – it wasn’t snaky powers). He also has recipe cards for lots of different combinations.
They hear a noise and go check it out – finding an assistant chef and a waiter apparently the restaurant is shut for the chef hosting a private dinner. Sam and Dean pose as health inspectors (despite their clothes and lack of ID) and kick them both out, shutting down the kitchen. They split up to search – and Sam gets his throat claws by Leo who has snacked down on chameleon parts for perfect camouflage. Any other hunter may have bled to death – but not Samkiel. The angel wakes up and heals the cuts before sinking away again, leaving Sam confused, woozy but very not dead. Leo’s pretty shocked as well – but also intrigued, he punches Sam and intends to make him lunch
He has Sam laid out on the slab – but there’s Dean to deal with, and he’s eaten something that gives him sufficient reflexes to dodge bullets (doesn’t improve his aim any, though). Manimal overwhelms Dean and ties him up. Dean’s new doggy senses let him smell that Leo’s dying – stage 4 cancer; which is why he got into his little food-magic, they provide him with temporary cures. He does blame some of his predatory behaviour on eating predators – though he was always willing to kill to get his own way. Dean makes a weird comment about emptiness in Leo’s life which doesn’t seem to match anything and, for random reasons, Leo goes rooting through his animal supplies to find the ideal thing to kill Dean. Note, this would be Dean that he already managed to overwhelm and tie up – so quite why he needs a new cocktail is beyond me.
His playing with the wolf heart gives Dean chance to cut through his bonds though. Dean runs outside, chased by wolf Leo, and calls a whole pack of dogs he’s rescued who easily rip the man apart.
Dean runs to check on Sam, threatening to lick his face when he doesn’t instantly wake up. Sam wakes up, Colonel gets farmed off on the vegan bakery owners and the spell wears off. And Dean has to make more excuses about Dean’s Ezekiel-ness and why Leo thought Sam wasn’t human.
I actually kind of love how Dean and Sam suspected the dog. It seems silly but after what they’ve been through – including people masquerading as family pets – why wouldn’t they be this paranoid? How can they assume a dog is not the suspect?
So, Kevin is going to be used all episode as a resource for research but is never actually going to be used on screen? I have to say, I’m not seeing Dean’s epic speech being reflected in reality.
And we have some POC woo-woo – Inuit magic – drawn upon for, well, woo-woo.
Unfortunately this episode was meant to be funny and just didn’t hit my humour at all. Supernatural can actually do funny and silly kind of well – but watching Dean run around with a series of cringeworthy antics doesn’t appeal
And, again, this season has barely started – especially since last episode was a filler as well – I would say it’s a little soon to be derailed from the meta – but beyond angels being about and Abbadon wandering around being evil there isn’t much meta. Too soon! Establish some plot before giving us a break from it!