"Playthings" is probably the closest a Season 2 episode has come to a Season 1 standalone episode. The first half of this season just had a different feel to it. Because of the death of Big Daddy Winchester, each episode was blanketed in grief as well as mucho mucho angst. I've pretty much loved most of these episodes (especially "In My Time of Dying," "Crossroad Blues," and "Croatoan"), but the cases they tackled felt different because the boys were also in the midst of mourning as well as expanding their universe with the introduction of the Roadhouse crew. With "Croatoan" and "Hunted," the angst evolved into "the secret" and Sam's destiny - which will probably take us on out through the rest of the season, I would imagine. And while there was definitely Sam angst laced throughout the entire episode, there was also a lot of humor and enough cute brotherly moments to satisfy any
Supernatural fan. They were researching in their hotel room together, walking down halls investigating the case together, saving lives together and, of course, being mistaken for gay antiquers. Dean's more like the Dean from last season: he's shaken off a lot of the angst in favor of being supportive and being his old cocky "lovin' the hunter life" guy we know and love. Sammy's again bearing the weight of the world on his massive shoulders: He can't find Ava, he's dealing with his destiny, and because of this monster he may turn into, he's feeling the need to save as many lives as possible. Something that is different about Season 2 Sam vs Season 1 Sam is that he's full-on embracing this hunting life - at least for right now.
The case of the week takes place at a hotel that's closing down; at first Sam and Dean are thinking that there may be some hoodoo at play here, but it turns out to be a spirit of a little girl who drowned in the pool a long, long time ago. With the closing of the hotel, she's feeling some serious abandonment issues (like Dean?) and is going to do anything in her power to prevent that from happening. This girl kind of reminded me of what Tess the Reaper was talking to Dean about during "In My Time of Dying." She told him that if he didn't cross over he would end up becoming one of the things he hunted: an angry spirit. I knew I recognized the child actress who played the scary little girl - she also played a scary little girl with powers on USA's hit sci-fi series
The 4400 (a show that also, interestingly, films in Vancouver). Much like in "Everybody Loves a Clown," where I was creeped out by the butchering Bozo, this girl creeped me out as did all those dolls in that huge collection. Call me a wuss, but the dolls were creepy. Did you guys realize that Maggie was imaginary right away? I never notice anything until it hits me on the head.
Sam was in serious superhero mode, wasn't he? He saved the hotel lady from the out-of-control car (that no one was driving) and her daughter from drowning in the pool. It's tough for Sam right now because (like I stated before), he's just feeling that in order to counteract this potential dark side lurking inside him, he needs to save all the lives he can. His helplessness at his situation comes out after he can't save some dude from hanging to death. Dean comes back to their hotel room and Sam is drunk. This was a great scene because we got to hear Sam's thoughts and the unrealistic expectations he's set for himself. But Dean reminded his little brother, "You can't save everyone." Sam told Dean that in "Dead in the Water." I hope he remembers that before this whole thing eats him alive. I don't know about you, but I started flashing back to Big Daddy Winchester when Sam in his drunken stupor told Dean that he's going to have to watch out for him and that "if he ever turns into something that I'm not, you have to kill me." I totally understand where Sammy's coming from, but he just did the same thing to Dean that their dad did. Sam fought back with, "Dad told you to do it, you have to." But I don't think he understands something about Dean: Dean will follow orders down to the most minute detail, except where it concerns Sam. He's going to do everything in his power to make sure that it never comes to that. But it's crushing anyway when Dean finally says yes. Now both his father and his brother have laid this impossible burden on him. However, it was pretty satisfying to hear Dean talk about John in this way:
"Yeah, well, Dad's an ass. He never should have said anything. I mean, you don't do that. You don't lay that kind of crap on your kids."
I'm someone who actually does like it when Dean questions his father's motives and the way they grew up. I want him to remain a hunter, but I like him not being so blind to the life their dad drafted them into living. It was even more crushing the next day when Dean thought that Sam was too drunk to remember the promise, only to find out that Sam didn't forget a single thing that was said. Then that brotherly moment after Sam thanked Dean (you know the one I'm talking about) - that was pretty awesome (plus this portion of the scene was accompanied by that awesomely angsty piano music that originated in "Devil's Trap").
- Add "Playthings" to the list of episodes where Sam and Dean are hilariously mistaken for a gay couple. Let's see: There's "Bugs" and "Something Wicked." Am I missing any others?
- Did Sammy call Dean short when he was drunk?
- There's this whole Sam-porn theme that has been going on this season as well. Of course, he was watching the skin channel in "Children Shouldn't Play with Dead Things"; Dean mentioned something about Sam feeling guilty about surfing for Internet porn when he talked to Gordon last week, and now Dean tells Sam not to go surfing for porn.
- How funny was Dean telling the hotel lady that Sam was into dolls and had a major doll collection?
- Loved the nod to the movie
Weird Science. Poor Sammy was hungover so Dean gave him a great hangover remedy while his little bro was hunched over the toilet: "It's a greasy pork sandwich served up in a dirty ashtray." That's a direct line from the movie.
- Just like last week's "Hunted" mirrored some of last season's "Scarecrow", some of "Playthings" kinda mirrored "Dead in the Water." Of course, this time it was Sam saving the drowning kid and Dean telling Sam that he can't save everyone. But just like Sam apologized to Andrea, he also told Susan he was sorry, and she mentioned that he's given her everything. Meanwhile, Andrea said, "You saved my son. I can't ask for more than that." Am I reading too much into things?
- I did like how Sam and Dean didn't really know the end result of things, meaning that the two ghostly sisters were reunited in the hotel. It's nice when things aren't wrapped up in a neat, tidy bow for them.
- "It's not the patented Sam Winchester way, is it?" "Which way is that?" "Just figured after Ava, there'd be more angst and droopy music and staring out the rainy windows. OK, I'll shut up now."
- "We've got to save as many people as we can." "Well, that attitude is just way too healthy for me. I'm officially uncomfortable now, thank you."
- "Old-school haunted houses... you know, fog, secret passageways, sissy British accents; we may even run into Fred and Daphne while we're inside. Hmmm... Daphne."
- "Let me guess. You guys are here antiquing?" "How'd you know?" "Oh, you just look the type. So... king-size bed?"
- "What'd you mean that we look the type?"
- "Wow. There's a lot of dolls. They're nice. You know, they're not super-creepy at all."
- "You're bossy."
- "All right, time for bed, come on Sasquatch."
- "Please, Dean, you have to promise me." "I promise."
- "They're not happy now?" "Would you be? Leaving the only home you ever knew?" "I don't know. I never really knew one."
- "I can still taste the tequila."
- "You're insane." "That's been said."
- "Think you could've hooked up some MILF action there.... Seriously, I think she liked you."
Playthings is probably the closest a Season 2 episode has come to a Season 1 standalone episode The first half of this season just had a different feel to it Because of the death of Big Daddy Winchester each episode was blanketed in grief as well as mucho mucho angst Ive pretty much loved most of these episodes especially In My Time of Dying Crossroad Blues and Croatoan but the cases they tackled felt different because the boys were also in the midst of mourning as well as expanding their universe with the introduction of the Roadhouse crew With Croatoan and Hunted the angst evolved into the secret and Sams destiny which will probably take us on out through the rest of the season I would imagine And while there was definitely Sam angst laced throughout the entire episode there was also a lot of humor and enough cute brotherly moments to satisfy any Supernatural fan They were researching in their hotel room together walking down halls investiga