Vampires hunting cheerleaders. That sucks.
After waking from a strange dream where he embraced his demon-blood drinking ways, Sam finds himself back in the bunker; safe but troubled. Not taking no for an answer and determined to get back the horse, Dean has found them a case in Beaverdale, Iowa where a young girl was found torn apart. Sam is sure Dean can handle this alone but Dean insists and away they go. After arriving in Beaverdale, the Winchesters split up to cover more ground. Sam learns that the victim was a popular girl on the cheerleading team while Dean finds a vampire tooth on the victim's body in the morgue. It's strange for a vampire to kill their victim like that but it's not entirely out of the scope of normal for Sam and Dean. The two take off to visit the crime scene but don't see any blood – which doesn't make any sense given what happened to the victim. Moments later, the boys get a call letting them know that another girl has been taken, also a cheerleader, but no body has been found. The Winchesters find another dead cheerleader, they need to find the vampire.
While it's hard to follow up a great episode like The Rupture, Atomic Monsters leaves a lot to be desired. Progressing at a glacial pace, the plot of Atomic Monsters never truly built any momentum and shot itself in the foot when it showed the second girl tied down in the Whitfield garage. Billy's parents were obviously the red herrings but that doesn't make it any less awkward. It took any mystery out of the story and narrowed everything down in a matter of seconds. Besides that, every scene with Chuck only served as a distraction and took time away from the plot. They were jarring and broke the momentum. Is it good to see that Chuck is part of the episode and feeling less sorry for himself? Sure but that doesn't make them less weak. If anything, showing that he still has the power to snap his fingers and make people disappear means that he has far more power than we thought. Atomic Monsters suffered not only because ot it's slow pace but because it was completely forgettable. The opening action scene was fun but I don't dislike the episode so much as it was boring. I'm not against monster of the week stories but for Supernatural's final season, they need to be more than a return from an old guest to mask what the story lacks.
While Becky may not always be right, the character scenes in Atomic Monsters were much better than any of the action. Ending the episode with the car ride home, we learn that Sam is not ok. Drawing some clear parallels to a war veteran and someone suffering from the years of combat, loss and emotional strain, Sam doesn't know if he can move after so many losses. People live their lives while the Winchesters carry that burden on their shoulders until they can't walk anymore. It was a great scene and hopefully something that can carry forward in the season. After fifteen years of hunting monsters, it's not just a matter of broken bones and cuts but if Sam and Dean can continue to survive a life that has taken so much away.
Overall, Supernatural can do much better than Atomic Monsters. It's great character moments show the series is as sharp as ever and the Winchesters are at their best when it's the two of them in the impala but that doesn't make up for a meandering plot and a Chuck story that is only there to string us along. Hopefully next week's Proverbs 17:3 is a step up.