Stars: Jared Padalecki, Jensen Ackles, Kevin R. McNally, Madison McLoughlin, Ian Tracey
Adam Glass, series created by Eric Kripke
Jeannot Szwarc
The CW, Fridays @ 9 PM
Original Airdate:
January 6, 2012

In a note that is both poignant and funny, SUPERNATURAL‘s first new episode of 2012 – “Adventures in Babysitting” – shows that Sam (Jared Padalecki) and Dean (Jensen Ackles) do literally almost nothing for three weeks after the death of father figure Bobby.

Dean, drinking more heavily than usual, decides to go visit Bobby’s conspiracy-monger associate Frank (Kevin R. McNally) to find out the meaning of the string of numbers Bobby murmured on his deathbed. Sam goes off solo to investigate when he gets a phone call on Bobby’s phone from a young girl, Krissy Chambers (Madison McLoughlin), who is trying to locate her missing truck driver father Lee (Ian Tracey).

Once the paranoid Frank is satisfied that Dean isn’t a people-eating Leviathan wearing Dean’s face, the two work the numbers. Frank deduces that one number is missing; adding it, he finds they are the coordinates to an empty field owned by the Leviathans. The creatures may be planning to build a base here. Dean simply wants to wade in, fists swinging (even though there isn’t anything there to clobber at present), but Frank persuades him that it’s a better idea to tap into the surveillance cameras already on the acreage.

Sam finds Krissy home alone. He tells her that her dad’s friend Bobby has passed away, but promises to find her father. When Sam investigates a nearby truck stop, he finds two monsters in women’s bodies are working there – one as a waitress, one as a hooker – and kidnapping men to slowly feed on later. Sam leaves a voicemail for Dean and then gets captured by the monsters, who also have Krissy’s dad. Dean comes looking for Sam. This time, Krissy insists on tagging along. When Dean handcuffs her to the steering wheel to prevent her from going inside the monsters’ home, she picks the lock.

Dean gets captured and Krissy gets captured, but there’s a melee and Krissy manages to stab one monster to death and Sam kills the other. Krissy’s dad Lee is still alive. Sam and Dean manage to persuade Lee, who is a monster hunter himself, to give up the dangerous lifestyle in favor of raising his daughter in safety.

There is some agreeable slapstick, with Dean haplessly trying to operate a utility department crane, and a nice bit of revelation when we find that both waitress and truck stop prostitute are monsters, rather than just one or the other. The makeup on the women is pretty nifty also, with snake eyes and fangs to match their venomous bites. As mentioned above, the episode’s opening is both economical and telling, with a few quick shots conveying the depth of Dean and Sam’s pain over their shared loss.

It’s also pleasing to see a competent female character on SUPERNATURAL who is capable of saving herself and others, especially with two female villains of the week, and McLoughlin throws herself into the role with commendable intensity. However, Krissy is so immediately good, brave, knowledgeable and perceptive that she feels like what some viewers may identify as a Mary Sue, someone who is a little too perfect without the buildup to earn it. This series receives a lot of grumbling about its depiction of women – too damsel-in-distress, too brash, too peripheral and too dead are a few of the more common complaints. Krissy is conceptually welcome, but a little more nuance in the writing would have been a good thing.

Overall, “Adventures in Babysitting” works as a way to ease Sam and Dean back into the game, the monsters of the week are properly creepy and it really is fun to watch Dean vs. heavy machinery.


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: TV Review – SUPERNATURAL – Season 7 – “Adventures in Babysitting”


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