After Crowley killed his ex-girlfriend last week, Kevin Tran needs to make sure the only other woman in his life is safe: his mom.
Still reeling from the loss of Channing, Kevin insists that Sam and Dean take him to see his mom to make sure she is safe. Even after Dean tries to convince him that it's probably a trap, Kevin won't budge and the three of them are off to see his mom Linda. Sure enough, Linda is being watched closely by Crowley's demons but after some quick moves, Sam and Dean save Linda. After that short distraction, it's apparent where Kevin got his stubborn nature from as Linda insists on tagging along. The real problem is when they continue the search for the word of the lord when they see it has been stolen, only to be auctioned off by Plutus, the god of greed, to the highest bidder. With Crowley, several powerful demons and even an angel bidding for the word of the lord, the Winchesters (and Trans) are running out of options.
Following last week's season premiere, What's Up, Tiger Mommy? had its shares of highs and lows. The most predictable aspect was how Kevin's mom, Linda, was handled. Linda was incredibly reminiscent of Estelle Getty in the 1992 Sylvester Stallone film, Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot. Played by Lauren Tom, Linda Tran stubbornness was almost cliché and her dialogue felt stiff and although the episode gave some time to the humour when she and Kevin got their tattoos, they didn't give the same amount of time when she sold her soul for him. It was a tender moment when she held his hand during the tattoo session and they could have built on that if they did it again when she could have said goodbye. If we do see Linda Tran again, hopefully the relationship between her and Kevin will be difficult and more complex now that she almost lost her soul.
The obvious highlight of the episode was the flashbacks from Dean's time in purgatory. Dean was trapped in a warzone for months, constantly living on edge with the fear of being hunted at all times. It was a nice touch to have Dean automatically react during the interrogation, as if a muscle memory or instinct suddenly took over. His relationship with Benny is an uneasy trust but his refusal to not leave Castiel behind reminds me of the time and he and Sam spent with their father John. Thus far, the flash backs have been great and how the show slowly reveals them only further illustrates that Dean has been holding back from Sam. Now if only purgatory didn't look like a Vancouver forest (couldn't they at least film at night?).
Lastly, the funniest part of the episode was Sam using mjolnir (Thor's hammer) to kill a few demons. Jared Padalecki is a big guy and wouldn't it be the best running joke if he kept the hammer? He could start growing a beard and Dean could call him son of Odin in his sarcastic tone. Sam could stand on a mountain top while holding the hammer with lightning in the background and his hair blowing in the wind. It would be worth it!
What's Up, Tiger Mommy? could have been a lot better but the lack of commitment from the tough scenes and predictability held it back from being something memorable. We'll see if the Winchester's manage to catch up to Kevin and his mom in next week's episode, Heartache.