After Sam wakes up with his memory gone and soul intact, he decides to dive back into hunting with Dean. Unfortunately for Sam, his return to the job not only brings him to terms with his soulless actions but force him to face a demon straight from legend.
Apparently it's a short recovery process for having your mystically enchanted soul returned to your body, so naturally, when Sam wakes up he is ready to get to demon hunting. Dean is hesitant at first and doesn't give Sam the full truth about the last year but when a number of girls go missing without any leads to connect them, he's more than happy to have his brother at his side. Even with Sam's help, the Winchesters almost hit a complete dead end until Dean realizes the link between all of the girls is their love of purity rings from which Bobby draws the conclusion that dragons are kidnapping the girls. After the boys track down and kill one of the shape shifting dragon men and save the girls, Bobby informs Sam and Dean the dragons were trying to bring something into our world from purgatory; a being he could only translate as "Mother". Before the episode ends, the dragons succeed in their plan and bring something forth that could make the alphas look like an after school special.
After a few months off from Supernatural, "Like a Virgin" left me with a lot of mixed feelings. I do have to say it is great that Sam Winchester, with his soul, has returned. The complete change of behaviour and renewal of chemistry between Sam and Dean is evident and it was great to see the brothers return to their old ways. What I wasn't especially crazy about was how quickly Sam discovered the truth about the past year he was without his soul. It would have been more dramatic to have Sam discover the truth in a few episodes down the road rather than right away. With the previous warnings from Death about how delicate the barrier protecting Sam's soul is, I just assumed we would learn the truth shortly before the wall breaks down. Lastly, while dragons are a cool idea in principle, Supernatural does not have the budget to pull this myth off. It was clever to turn dragons into shape shifters but what was the point when they could have just called them shape shifters rather than introduce a mythical beast for the novelty?
The return of Sam's soul also meant the return an overall flow to the show as well. The scenes between Sam and Dean did not feel laboured or just progressing the story as not only was there humour with the two of them but throughout the show as well. Castiel and Sam's almost hug moment in addition to Dean planting C4 on a boulder to get the sword trapped inside; especially with his one line, "You rocks think you're so smart". Overall, the tone of the show felt more positive than most of the season thus far and hopefully the show will find a way to balance the doom and gloom with humour and solid dialogue to break up the dreary atmosphere.
Unfortunately, I am dreading the inclusion of the character "Mother" throughout the rest of the season. Her introduction barely made any sense at all which threw off the plot of the episode entirely as it only took one virgin to free her from purgatory. If it only took one, why did the dragons need two vans full of virgins when one would easily suffice (This is also assuming that the character that arose from the abyss was even mother)? While I am pleased that the villain will be another female lead, was it necessary to cast her so young? The best villains in Supernatural (YED, Lucifer, Crowley) have all been older than the brothers and this has always added a very unique dynamic similar of a youth vs. experience/power battle. Characters like Lilith and Ruby have done very little for the story and hopefully Supernatural avoids this pitfall.
All in all, "Like a Virgin" was not great, but it was good. Now that Sam and Dean Winchester are back together the real plot can finally take shape in the second half of the season without too many distraction episodes in between. We'll find out next week when the dark deeds soulless Sam committed catch up to him in "Unforgiven".