Supernatural's "Regarding Dean" Brings the Funny and the Heartbreaking in (Almost) Equal Measure
This week's episode serves as an entertaining reminder of what the show is all about.
SupernaturalAirtime: Thursdays, 7pm
Cast: Jensen Ackles, Jared Padalecki, Misha Collins, Mark A. Sheppard
Subtitle: Season 12, Episode 11 – "Regarding Dean"
Air date: 2016-02-09
"I don't know. We kinda sound like heroes to me... And our best friend is an angel -- Whaaat?!"
-- Dean in Regarding Dean
A common complaint among Supernatural’s fans is that the show's actors don't get the recognition that they deserve. After all, shouldn't actors who can effortlessly go from action scenes to comedy, then handle serious drama, and believably deal with this show's often ridiculous plotlines, be celebrated somewhere other than the Teen Choice Awards? One could say that the show is ignored because of mass competition or media bias against its network, but one could also argue that, in recent years, Supernatural hasn't given its actors enough material to really show off their talent.
This episode, however, was rumored by fans online to be Jensen Ackles' acting showcase for potential Emmy consideration. That was overselling it a bit. What we actually got is a pretty good episode of Supernatural, which put the spotlight on Dean's (Jensen Ackles) character, but would also serve as a good introduction to anyone who’s watching the show for the first time. As it turns out, another break from season 12's abysmal "Lucifer baby mama drama" and Men of Letters-related plotlines was more than welcome.
While chasing a suspect in the witchcraft-related death of an accountant, Dean is taken out with a blast of pink powder. Upon waking up in a public park next to the world's most docile wild rabbit, he borrows a cell phone from a nearby jogger and calls Sam (Jared Padalecki). Many jokes were made about Dean's supposed habit of "partying too hard", and of course, as in most comedic episodes of Supernatural, Dean greatly enjoys food, as he scarfs down a plate of waffles at a nearby restaurant. Eventually, however, Sam realizes that something is wrong with his brother. As they investigate the accountant's murder, Dean doesn't remember who Rowena (Ruth Connell) is, how to drive the Impala, or even what a lamp is called (in all fairness, though, it was a strange looking lamp). After a local bartender (Lindsay Winch) shows them security footage from the night before, they discover that Dean has been cursed by a warlock.
Rowena is yet again the villain that we hate to love rather than love to hate, turns up here helping and seemingly showing genuine concern for the brothers, even though Sam accuses her of just trying to score some new magic tricks. She pinpoints the exact spell that Dean's been cursed with, and knows the family of witches who are to blame for it: the Loughlins, who previously used their exclusive book of powerful magic to enslave people and get other witches to do their bidding. As Dean succumbs to the less humorous aspects of his memory loss, determinedly repeating, "My name is Dean Winchester, my brother's name is Sam, my best friend's name is Castiel" over and over again to himself in the mirror, it's Rowena who tries to comfort him with the story of how she once had to run away from the British Men of Letters and ended up at the mercy of the Loughlins. Once again, Supernatural shows us the human side behind one of its villains.
There isn't much sympathy to go around for this week's main villains, however, as we introduced to what remains of the deeply dysfunctional Loughlin family. After Catriona (Tirra Dent) cursed the accountant who supposedly stole some of their family fortune, her brother Gideon (Justin Turnbull) died trying to keep hunters away. Now she finds herself ordering around her weak brother Boyd (Vincent Gale), in order to find an innocent victim for a soul-switching spell that'll bring Gideon back to life. After Sam foolheartedly barges in on them (why wouldn't he call Castiel [Micha Collins] or Mary [Samantha Smith] for back-up?), Boyd prepares to steal his soul.
Even though Dean doesn't remember anything, he manages to read enough post-it notes stuck inside of the Impala (written by Rowena) to find a "witch-killing" gun and save the day. Although, considering how engaging this family of witches was (Catriona's creepily unhinged face-off against Rowena was a particular highlight), it's almost a shame to see them go. I won't give away just how Dean was cured, or what was the first thing he said to Sam afterwards, but it's safe to say that the Winchesters live to fight another day.
This is all capped off with the memory of Dean riding Larry, the mechanical bull, to "Broomstick Cowboy" by Bobby Goldsboro.