Supernatural rolls the dice on the heist genre but comes up snake eyes.
After a mysterious scroll is stolen from a British museum, Dean receives a call from a demon willing to make a deal. With no word on Ketch or Jack, the Winchesters take the meeting with a crossroads demon named Bart. It just so happens that Bart has a tracking spell for Nephilim that he is willing to share with Sam and Dean – for a price. If the two of them are willing to steal something for him with the help of his team, he will hand over everything they need to find Jack. He would prefer to make the deal with the Winchesters but if they aren't willing to play, Asmodeus will likely take him up. With no great options, the boys decide to take the deal but still plan to kill him at the end. The target is a man named Luther Shreik. He has something on his property that is dear to Bart but they need the blood of a man that has been to hell and back to find it. The plan is for Sam to distract Luther while Dean finds and cracks the safe with the help of Bart's crew, Smash and Grab (seriously). Like any heist, this one doesn't go according to plan and becomes even more complicated when the boys discover that Luther is an immortal and doesn't like it when people try to steal from him.
As far as the heist genre goes, The Scorpion and the Frog won't be remembered as one of the greats. While it's refreshing to see Supernatural try something new, there were only a few moments in the episode that actually worked. To begin, there were a lot of elements missing from the episode that are essential to a good heist story such as characters that serve a unique purpose and also have personality, motivations for each character to be involved in the heist and lastly, a clever twist that nicely ties everything together in an unexpected way. That's a pretty general summary of a classic genre but The Scorpion and the Frog almost had none of that. Instead, The Scorpion and the Frog had Smash and Grab. While Smash did play into the story somewhat and was the safe cracker, her problem was solved in a few minutes and Grab was there to...be annoying and die? While Smash's motivations for the heist were to fulfill her deal with Bart, Grab just seemed like he was there; a character because the episode needed someone in a hat. Mathew Kevin Anderson didn't add anything to the role but what did he have to begin with? Throw in Luther Shreik, who knew they were stealing from him, and you realize that the entire story could have been negated if he had just chosen not to open the front gates for them. It's difficult to get into the story most of the fourty minutes don't serve it.
The Scorpion and the Frog was disappointing because it had the potential to a very fun and clever story. While not every heist story needs a planning scene it would have gone a long way to set up the expected plan of events for the rest of the episode. From there, the scene with Asmodeus and the demon should have been cut because it was redundant and removed the surprise of Luther being a real threat. This would also allow the plot to be about Sam distracting Luther until the heist is done. Even though Sam and Dean planned to kill Bart, there was no clever twist moment. They didn't turn the tables on him so much as they managed to improvise in the moment. Had they figured out a way to trick Luther into believing that he had succeeded in some way it would have given the Winchesters a sense of accomplishment and provide a funny moments where the audience can laugh at how they pulled a fast one on a crossroads demon.
Overall, The Scorpion and the Frog left a lot to be desired due to a light plot and even lighter characters. Other series such as Chuck and Leverage used to pull this off on a weekly basis and yet still find ways to tell a compelling story in an hour. Maybe next week's episode will be better when Jack returns in, The Bad Place.