Supernatural "Freaks and Geeks" Review: Creepy Victor's School for Gifted Youngsters

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Supernatural S08E18: "Freaks and Geeks"

The last time we saw teen hunter Krissy Chambers, her dad had just promised to leave the hunting life and raise her like a normal kid. It was Season 7's "Adventures in Babysitting" and Sam wound up tied to a chair, but that's kind of Sam's shtick when he's put in the damsel spot, so, you know, it happens. And since this is Supernatural, where the writers laugh in the face of happy endings for, well, everyone, it was only a matter of time until something evil ate Krissy's dad. 

While "Freaks and Geeks" was ultimately the kind of not-really-essential-to-the-story filler I specifically said I didn't want in the wake of last week's awesome chapter, it at least had two things going for it: 

1. It didn't suck. 

2. It DID fit in with all the gates of Hell stuff, just in a really roundabout way. Kind of.  

Dean was horrified to learn that Krissy had taken up hunting again. I didn't matter that this time, she was backed by a team of fellow vampire-ganking teens and a seasoned mentor in Victor, she was still back in the life. Dean Winchester is a textbook example of a "Do as I say, not as I do" kind of guy, and nowhere is that more obvious than in his stance on young wannabe hunters. He grew up hunting and he can barely, if at all, imagine himself doing anything else, but he will time and again try to talk revenge-driven kids out of it in an attempt to both save their lives and encourage them to choose an existence that isn't absolutely miserable. 

While Sam didn't exactly argue in favor of Victor's machete-wielding patchwork family, he was a little more accepting of the situation. Krissy's experience mirrors his own. They both escaped. They both got dragged back in. Sam has finally reached the point of accepting the inevitability of his hunter role—if not for himself, then for the sake of the innocent people he puts in danger every time he tries to go legit. If the monsters won't leave you alone, you should at least be prepared for them. 

But both Sam and Dean landed on the one endgame that would guarantee a win for everybody, including the kids that Dean, in the end, reluctantly left to their hunting endeavors: Finish the trials, close the gates. Locking down the demon population down would go a long way toward cutting down the demand for experienced hunters.

It's interesting, though, that the real villain of "Freaks and Geeks" was actually a human. Victor was an old acquaintance of the Winchesters and while we're on that topic, let's just take a moment to pause on how ridiculous the parade of old hunting buddies is getting, shall we? It's like the inversion of the issues that plagued the early seasons of the show, where every other hunter the Winchesters encountered was like some rare creature, and apparently there was this whole subculture thriving (as much as hunters can thrive, anyway) with its own hangouts and culture. But at least the endless surprise every time they ran into another hunter could be explained by the fact that the Winchesters were isolated when they were growing up. John didn't care to associate with the rest of the hunting community and, so he kept his children away from outsiders as well. 

Given Sam and Dean's near-decade of working without their father's influence, it makes sense that they'd have contacts and acquaintances of their own, especially considering that, for as anti-social as they can be at times, they aren't exactly at John Winchester levels of self-imposed exile. They certainly have a reputation and their role in the apocalypse put them on a lot of hunter radars, but seriously, is this some kind of overreaction to the realization that at the end of Season 7, the Winchesters literally had zero living allies that we knew of? Is that what this is? This is a cry for help, isn't it?

We get it. The Winchesters know people. But writers, darlings, you've done a fine job of rebuilding the ranks with super cool side characters after the bloodbath of the past several seasons. When you want the Winchesters to show off their ability to socialize properly, pull one of them out. Aaron Bass is cool. His gollum is cool. Mrs. Tran is cool. Garth is a love-him-or-hate-him type, but I personally think DJ Qualls is hilarious. We haven't seen Sheriff Jody lately, let's give Kim Rhodes a call. BUT DON'T KILL THEM. That's what got you into this mess to begin with.

It just wasn't essential for Sam and Dean to have known Victor, even if it was only from that unseen job in Spokane. It had no bearing on the story. The dude blew his brains out in the end, but show didn't even give a nod to the fact that "Hey, it was really tragic that he was so paranoid about the future of the hunter community that he resorted to such drastic methods of recruitment," or "Wow, he seemed so level-headed when we worked with him in Washington,"  or even some passing comment about it always ending "bloody or sad." Nada. No one cared. 

So instead of being the benevolent father figure who stepped in at a rough time in these kids' lives to provide the understanding and guidance that they would only find in a fellow victim of supernatural slaughter, Victor instead orchestrated it all with the help of a hoodie-wearing vampire who murdered Krissy's father and the families of two of her friends in order to breed the new class of hunter—a perfect blend of brains and brawn (dude was dangerously close to quoting that Kanye song there).

I'm still not entirely sure what the vampire had to gain from all of this. Even if Victor gave him free reign over the town in return for his assistance, he was still contributing to the training of a trio of super-hunters who could easily set their sights on him someday, and in the meantime, will totally gank any and every other vampire they come across. I could understand it if the vamp, like Victor, was spurred into action by the reign of the Leviathan, since they were just as much a threat to monsterkind as they were to mankind, but I don't think "Freaks and Geeks" did a great job of explaining it. 


Still, those complaints aside, "Freaks and Geeks" was a solid case-of-the-week episode. The case was interesting. The kids weren't annoying. Peripherally, the debate over whether or not raising children as hunters is okay and the question of what a hunting life ultimately means tied into the Winchesters' motivations for closing the gates of Hell just enough that I didn't feel like we completely slammed the brakes on the bigger story at hand. 


What did you think of "Freaks and Geeks"?


CASE NOTES

– Smart Winchester sighting: They didn't get outsmarted by teenagers, so that's a plus. They remembered that they have a vampire cure. Dean disarmed Aiden like a BAMF.

– Dumb meddling kids sighting: So I guess we're just going to behead this dude and take the time to neatly wrap up his severed head and torso and fumble it into the trunk of a car right there on a city street, across from a hotel and probably apartments where anyone could look out a window at any time. Maybe they were counting on the Kitty Genovese effect? 

– I like how Dean and Sam tried (kind of) to communicate the stuff they usually keep from one another and were totally grossed out by it. "Good talk!"

– I think Victor was creepier as a doting daddy figure than as a manipulative wannabe mentor. 

– Look, I like the scruff, but I feel like FBI agents in real life would be more impeccably groomed. Yeah, we've been overlooking Sam's non-regulation hair for years. But still. 

– Jared Padalecki's nose was really red and it was really distracting. You know, for those of us who spend half the episode leering at Jared Padalecki. 

– Where do you think Cas is holed up?

– Don't you think Sam should be a pro at untying himself from chairs by now?

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