After a short hiatus, Supernatural is back and the Winchesters aren't going to be tackling their latest case alone.
Following the latest weird murder in Fayetteville, North Carolina, the boys have themselves a case. Sam is still troubled by The Mark of Cain but Dean wants to push past that and get some work done before it's too late. After getting into town, they pull the usual federal agent stunt only to be told the murderer, a former soldier named Rick, drank gasoline and lit himself on fire. With the case seemingly closed, Sam and Dean go to the murderer's widow for just to be sure. She mentions that Rick went to Iraq on a mission but didn't come back the same; complaining of a terrible thirst before changing into a different person. She mentions that another soldier named Kit came back from the same mission and that they should speak with his wife, Jemma. Jemma says that Kit hasn't been home since last night and she's starting to worry which means something is definitely going on. They leave the home only to find Cole Trenton waiting outside for them. Cole is best friends with Kit and wants to see his friend come out of this alive. At first, the Winchesters are reluctant to let Cole play ride along but he has connections to the military and can find out what happened on Rick and Kit's last mission. As it turns out, Rick and Kit's last mission was a bust and to make things worse, Rick and Kit accidentally brought home a monster that takes control of host and forces them to kill. Cole wants to save his friend but Sam and Dean think it may already be too late. Will their tenuous alliance last long enough to save Kit or will they have to kill a war hero to save everyone else?
After Supernatural's latest hiatus, The Things They Carried was a good episode that did little to generate excitement for home last stretch of season. Though the story itself worked well, The Things They Carried had few, if any, surprises. This made the episode feel longer due to slow pacing that felt more like going through the motions after the half way mark. What did work very well is having Cole along for the ride to help. Cole is a fresh set of eyes to the world of Supernatural and the Winchesters haven't really been saving that many people as of late. Cole wanted to save his friend like Sam desperately wants to save his Dean but the final scene summed it up: you can do everything right but sometimes people still die.
When Kit had killed the man in the gas station, he was already too far gone to be saved and the story suffered because of that. What The Things They Carried failed to do was create any story whatsoever for Kit. Cole spoke about how he was a good man and a hero but we needed to see that rather than just hear about it. It would have been far more effective is Cole had flashbacks of his time spent in the military with Kit to illustrate the relationship they had. After all, Kit was a person and not always a monster. Travis Aaron Wade is very good in the role of Cole Trenton and I'll take any excuse to see him go deeper into that role. It was a missed opportunity to not have Kit and Cole have bigger roles in this episode.
Though the 'con worm' has been shown in Supernatural before, it doesn't really fit the lore of the show. It's technically a monster but the worm is essentially a parasite which is no more a monster than a tapeworm or a virus. If the worm had taken control of the minds of its victims, I would have fully agreed but the Winchesters were playing exterminators in The Things They Carried more than hunters.
The Things They Carried is good but gave us no indication as to where Supernatural is headed for the rest of the season. It's great to see Cole Trenton again but hopefully next week's episode, Paint it Black, lets us know where we're headed.