Filed under: Recaps & Reviews
When young women in Conway Springs, Kansas, are found dead with their throats ripped out and drained of blood the Winchesters definitely have a vampire problem on their hands. Unknown to them, they aren't the only hunters on the job.
During a romantic night out, it seems like a vampire is about to claim its latest victim only to be surprised by three teenagers who set a trap only to cut off its head. The next day, Sam and Dean arrive in town and check out the local scene with the sheriff who is calling the latest string of deaths, "The Lady Killer Murders". When Sheriff shows them footage from a security camera, Dean recognizes one of the kids as Chrissy Chambers. They track her down to a dingy motel later that day just as her group is about to kill another vamp. The hunt doesn't go exactly as planned but they still catch the vamp and Chrissy's friend, Josephine, makes the kill to avenge her family that the vamp killed. Sam and Dean are quite stunned but Chrissy takes them to their home where Victor took them in after their parents were all killed by vampires. Victor used to be a hunter himself and ran into Sam and Dean a number of years ago while in Spokane. He seems to be running a tight ship as he has the kids in school during the day and hunting and training at night. The whole setup seems progressive to Sam but Dean doesn't like the idea of more kids being turned into hunters. In order to keep the kids safe, Dean looks into the vampires himself but something isn't adding up. Either they are dealing with one of the smartest vampires they have ever seen or Victor isn't the loving father figure he claims to be.
While a promising idea, Freaks and Geeks doesn't quite live up to its potential. It felt as though Supernatural wanted to get into the heavier subject of child soldiers but simultaneously held back with ill placed humor and out of character comments from Sam. From what had recently happened to each of the kids, they were all too well adjusted to living with Victor and hunting at night. It would have felt more organic if they didn't have the same state of mind when it came to hunting and emotional pain. The best example would be in the final moments when Chrissy spared Victor's life after learning that he was responsible for the deaths of each of their families. Victor taught the kids to decapitate vampires without hesitation and it would have made more sense for one of them to kill Victor. While that would probably be too dark for primetime, teenagers are emotional, frustrated and confused and for all of them to be so in control at that moment felt fake. This would have further shown that training kids to kill isn't an exact science but a dangerous gamble no matter who it is.
While the tone of an episode is usually right on, a few things distracted me and the wrong times. When Chrissy was taking Sam and Dean to her home to meet Victor, the light music distracted me from what was happening and didn't fit with the scene. Also, Sam's reactions to teenage hunters was surprisingly off character. As he has always wanted a normal life and spoke on numerous occasions (including the end of this episode) about how he hated his childhood and wanted a normal life), I expected him to be with Dean from the start on that one. Victor's methods may have been superior to their dad's but that didn't make them justifiable by any stretch. If Victor hadn't been behind the attacks on the families, it also would have made his actions that much more ambiguous. What happened to Victor's family was tragic but if he was the force that saved each of the kids and then molded them into what he wanted each of them to be, he would have been a manipulative opportunist, but one that we would have been able to sympathize a lot more with.
Lastly, this episode would have been fantastic if Victor had been using Benny to turn the people into vampires. The last time we saw Benny he was in a bad way and it looked like he might be succumbing to his urges soon. If Victor had trapped Benny and used him to turn the people into vampires it would have given Sam a more active role in the episode and brought his mistrust of Benny back to the surface. We haven't seen Benny in quite some time and although he returns next week, I think it could have been a bit sooner to add more depth to Freaks and Geeks.
Overall, Freaks and Geeks is nowhere near being a bad episode but it could have been that much better. We'll see what happens next week when Sam continues his trials and Benny returns in Taxi Driver.