When Ben tells Dean that Lisa is in danger, Dean dashes home to save her but no amount of demon hunting can help him now. Sam on the other hand, must contend with a ghost possessing mannequins to takes its revenge.
When we last left the Winchester brothers, Sam had just fallen to the floor when he was overtaken by his memories of his time spent in hell. To Dean's relief Sam awakens after a few moments but he's still a bit shaken and feels the need to redeem himself of his soulless actions. Unwilling to take the chance, Dean suggests that they throw themselves into hunting rather than take the risk that the wall inside his mind will crumble entirely. This week's case had Sam and Dean heading to Paterson, New Jersey where yet another mysterious string of murders without any witnesses besides the mannequins. All the while, Dean has been ignoring calls from Lisa but when he finally answers, it was Ben calling to tell him Lisa is in trouble. Dean rushes back to save Lisa, leaving Sam to handle to the case on his own with mixed results. Waiting for Dean is a confrontation he never expected while Sam connects the dots to stop the mannequin possessing ghost before it is too late.
With a title as good as "Mannequin 3: The Reckoning" how could you go wrong? The answer: every way possible. While necessary due to the ending of last week's show, Sam's returning memory was a wasted afterthought on a key plot point in the season. How Sam was able to recover so quickly from the ordeal was rushed and though I didn't expect any recurring memories from killer dolls, it would have been better if Sam had not had his breakdown so soon and had memories force their way to the surface over the course of several episodes. Had a dramatic build taken place, I would have actually been invested in Sam's breakdown and the inevitable fallout.
Speaking of a lack of investment, this week's plot continued the trend. With a concept as ridiculous as a ghost possessing mannequins to exact revenge on its victims, the episode could have gone any number of ways ranging from the cheesy and humorous to the dark slasher style but instead they opted for bland. If Supernatural had taken the humour route there would have been numerous opportunities to poke fun at the dolls killing their victims. While the ending was quite open ended, there just wasn't enough happening for me to care. None of the victims had redeeming qualities that made me care whether they lived or died and Isabelle's death at the end was squandered just the same.
"Mannequin 3: The Reckoning" also saw the return of two distracting characters: Lisa and Ben. I have never been a fan of the Dean and Lisa story arc and this week only further proved that point. Jensen Ackles and Cindy Sampson don't have any chemistry whatsoever yet Supernatural continues to revisit the Dean and Lisa relationship. The two characters have never appeared to be happy when they were with one another which makes it even less apparent as to why they should be together. Dean has only been better off without Lisa and Ben and I would be ecstatic if the relationship was ended altogether.
After two disastrous episodes in a row, Supernatural definitely has its work cut out for the rest of the season. Although there is plenty of time for Supernatural to get back on track this season, I'm less optimistic a greater story will unfold and just hope the tail end of the season isn't as rushed as previous season have been. Hopefully a certain angel can save bring Supernatural back when Misha Collins returns in next week's "The French Mistake".
Andrew Burns says...
I thought the concept of the ghost's sister having her kidney was an interesting take on them not being able to get rid of the remains. Would of liked it a season or two ago when their cases were stronger.
As for the Ben and Lisa story arc might get more interesting if Sam gets to have some scenes with them. Then again, maybe not.
Kyle Tetarenko says...
I fully agree that if this episode had been a few seasons ago it would not have seemed as bad but it was still quite weak in adisappointing season so far this.
How do you think Ben and Lisa would have some good scenes with Sam? To me, they have always seemed to hold the story back much in the way that Bella and Ruby did in season three.
Thanks for the comment,
Andrew Burns says...
I just was thinking since there have been no scenes between Lisa & Ben and Sam, since Dean had started to be part of their lives at the end of last year, that maybe it would make for a different dynamic than just having Dean there (or not there). But I agree having Lisa & Ben around doesn't quite fit the roadtrip mentality of the show.
With the way Kripke ended the season five finale having Dean join their family after Sam's death made it a great ending for the series, but they obviously kept going. I like that Kripke put them back in last season because it worked then. Now I'm not sure the writers know what to do with those characters. Killing them off like they did with Bella (and eventually Rudy) may not work either. For now they are stuck with them.
Good reviews though Kyle. Hopefully Sarah Gamble has a plan for the rest of the season.