Filed under: Recaps & Reviews
When Dean gets hit with a magic spell that erases memory, Sam has to save his brother before there is nothing left.
After waking up in a forest with no idea how he got there, Dean manages to call Sam and have him meet him for waffles at the nearby diner. It's there that he sees a girl that he has no recollection of from last night and promptly gets a slap in the face. Sam and Dean brush it off as an epic night and head to the morgue to see the body of Barry Gilman. After getting a few minutes alone with the body, they find that that Barry was literally stuffed with money as it was the actual contents of his stomach. It's there that the boys also find a hex bag was also in his stomach which can only mean that witches are in town. Just as they ae about to leave the parking lot, Dean has a bit of a lapse and forgets how to drive the impala – shortly before he forgets his own name. Unconvinced that Dean simply had an epic night, Sam calls Rowena who tells him that Dean may have been hit with a memory spell. At first, his memory will start to go and then he will eventually forget how to breathe and by that time, it will be too late. Rowena says that the spell will likely be lifted if they find the witch and kill them so a pretty straightforward task. Unfortunately, Sam and Dean find the body of the witch that cast the spell on Dean and they are back at square one while Dean continues to forget who he is.
After last week's solid episode, Regarding Dean was a poorly structured story with few saving moments. Though useful to get the interest of the audience in the opening moments of the show, having Dean chase Gideon Loughlin through the forest was a poor way to start the episode. Doing so removed any mystery of what happened to Dean and since this the middle of the season there was no reason to believe that Supernatural might kill someone off. Had the episode started with Dean waking up in the woods and then the story retraced his steps, it wouldn't have felt as though the show was catching up to what the audience already knew. In turn, this made the first ten or so minutes feel like a drag as the pacing didn't suit what was happening. Besides that, Supernatural does not have a good track record with witches and Regarding Dean didn't do anything to change that. The Loughlin family sounded like an interesting story but we learned of their history and watched the last of them die in the span of fifteen minutes. It lead to a weak villain whose motivation was paper thin and their death became comical at the end of the episode.
What Regarding Dean did have going for it were the performances by Jensen Ackles and Ruth Connell. We don't often get to see Jensen Ackles step outside of the usual sulky or arrogant Dean Winchester but the scene in front of the mirror was an exceptionally strong moment for him. The only drawback was that this moment was the only one of its kind for Dean in the episode. At times, it felt like Dean was regressing in maturity rather than losing his memory. His reactions to rediscovering everything were too light and didn't support seriousness of what was happening to him. Connell has been good as Rowena for a number of years now but whenever the character lets her guard down, Connell somehow makes it fresh and we realize how good she can be when given the chance.
On the flip side of Connell and Ackles's performances was Tirra Dent as Catriona Loughlin. Though the writing didn't help her whatsoever, Dent overacted the role and the result was that I could never take the character seriously at any point. The singing as she pinned Rowena to the wall was especially a cringe worthy moment but I owe that largely to the confusion in the writing of the character. I could never tell if she was impetuous witch or suddenly a psychopathic killer but either way, her motivations were near non-existent and it wasn't an enjoyable character.
Besides the above, Regarding Dean's pot had far too many holes to be taken seriously. The biggest being that Dean somehow knew that Gideon was a witch without any context. Supernatural just expected us to go along with it but the only explanation was that Dean followed Gideon outside of the bar for no apparent reason and then chased him down. It was only the next day that the Winchesters discovered the hex bag so how would Dean have known to look for a witch after having four shots of tequila and riding a mechanical bull? Even further, why did Catriona insist on killing the accountant if Gideon told her not to? It's too many points that were glossed over while Supernatural ignored it.
Overall, Regarding Dean is an episode with a few great performances muddled somewhere during a bad episode. I'll be away next week so there won't be a review for Stuck in the Middle (With You) but I'll be back for the episode after that, Family Feud.