The following contains MAJOR SPOILERS forÂ “A Very Supernatural Christmas,”Â the latest episode from the third season of theÂ CW Series,Â “Supernatural.”
Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens
Bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens
Human sacrifices tied up with string
These are a few of my favorite things
Sam (Jared Padalecki) and Dean (Jensen Ackles) Winchester decide to spend the holidays together doing what they do best, so they hunt down the evil anti-claus thats been sweeping parents and grandparents up their chimneys and to God knows where. And while Dean tries to convince his brother to celebrate Christmas, Sam isnt interested.
After some initial investigating – and a chastising phone call with Bobby – the Winchesters discover they are actually hunting a pagan god. Make that two pagan gods. And theyre not too happy about playing second fiddle to that new kid on the block, Jesus.
Throughout all of this, both brothers flashback to memories of the childhood Christmas when Dean reluctantly reveals to Sam the truth about what happened to their mother and what their father really does when hes gone. In the present, Dean finally confesses he wants to celebrate Christmas because this is his last, but Sam admits he cant celebrate knowing that Dean will be dead next Christmas.
However, after they dispense of the creepy stepford-couple pagan gods – and get slightly tortured in the process – Sam surprises his brother with a Christmas celebration complete with presents, tree and turpentine-strength eggnog.
Overall, I really enjoyed this episode, even giggling with glee in anticipation of each ghastly Christmas nightmare. The red herring red suited villain taking away the boys father and stopping to eat a cookie was fun and the ridiculously festive evil couple made me laugh. In fact, this was a well directed, well written episode.
Finally, we see how Dean acquired his signature necklace. Uncle Bobby gave it to little Sammy so he could have a Christmas present for his father. However, dear old dad was away fighting monsters and Sam gave it to his big brother for finally telling him the truth about their family and for trying to give him the Christmas their father couldnt. The fact that Dean has apparently worn this everyday of his life since, really speaks to the importance of this brotherly relationship. The closest thing to a home hes ever had is the Impala, the most important people in his life are his family, and the gift his brother gave him is one of his most prized possessions. Dean hasnt had much given to him, but what he has he holds onto tightly.
Continuity with character development was also smooth. Last episode, Sam pleaded with Dean to drop the macho act and just act like his brother again. What he said must have stuck, because Dean was completely open about wanting to celebrate his last Christmas outside of hell. And it was wonderful to see Sam suck it up and do what his brother wanted, considering all the sacrifices Dean has made for him and their father over the years.Â Yet, despite all the warm fuzzy moments, they still have their brotherly encounters on the flip side of the coin. This was made apparent at the beginning when Dean says theres no such thing as Santa, and Sam says he knows; Deans the one who told him.
All in all, Kripke and crew have handed me and countless others another Christmas tradition to watch every year with our Charlie Brown Christmas DVDs. (*Sigh* Thats just so wrong.)
What Didnt Work
I still want to see a return to the dark silhouettes and shadows that gave the first two seasons such a distinguished look. For most of this episode, the change wasnt so glaringly obvious because of the Christmas theme, but the basement scene could have been spookier had it been lit differently.
Speaking of the basement, did the brothers forget to free the squirming body inside the hanging Santa sack?
Giving Credit Where Credit is Due
A Very Supernatural Christmas was written by Jeremy Carver and directed by J. Miller Tobin (Criminal Minds).
Supernatural airs Thursday nights at 9/8c on the CW.
Julie Pyle is a staff writer and reviewer for Airlock Alpha, writing out of Vancouver, Canada.