Supernatural: Those Corny '40s

After a solid return from the winter break, Friday's episode of Supernatural was simply an excuse to put Dean in a snazzy suit. "Time After Time" was mostly a one-off time-travel episode that gave Supernatural's writers a reason to visit the 1940s, a time when wiseguys said "See?" in that nasally, "my tie's too tight" sort of way. It's not a horrible idea for TV shows to zip back and forth through history—in fact, I endorse it—but when there's so little substance (i.e. reason) behind it, it's a Supernatural vacation not worth taking.

Here's the gist of what went down: Sam and Dean investigated a string of deaths and ran into Chronos, the God of Time (played by Jason Dohring, who was ultimately underused). He made juice boxes out of his victims to fill his engine with enough pop to bounce from decade to decade, and in the present day, Dean tackled/hugged him just as he was setting out for 1944. Giant flash of red light! Dean "rode" Chronos back in time and ended up side-by-side with Eliot Ness, one of the top hunters from his era. Meanwhile, Sam was remained in the present, where he totally stressed about Dean being lost in time and worked with Bobby's sexy sheriff friend to find a way to bring Dean back.

Eventually Sam whipped up a spell that would force Chronos to return to today, but he couldn't incant it until he knew the exact moment Chronos would be touching Dean, otherwise Dean would be stuck back in 1944... FOREVERRRR! Thankfully, Dean remembered the plots of the Back to the Future franchise and hid a note for Sam to find in the future, leading Sam to Chronos's 1944 girlfriend—who was barely alive in a present-day old folk's home. She thought Ed Sullivan was still on television, but had no problem remembering the exact time Chronos tried to kill Dean 66 years ago. Old people and their wacky memories!

Then the race was on to cast the spell in the present day before Dean got strangled in 1944, even though Sam could have cast that spell at any time and it still would have had the same effect on the past. Heck, Sam could have waited a week and enjoyed a little "Me Time," and also practiced the spell to make sure he got it right, because he was a little sloppy. Nitpick alert: Shouldn't he have written the time in military time, or at least added a "pm" to 11:34? Without that evening designation, Sam should have dragged Chronos away from the middle of his Eggs Benedict brunch to present day. Anyway, the spell worked, yay! Then Sam poked Chronos with a magic stick and Chronos died. But before Chronos's clock stopped for good, he gave the Winchesters some intel: "I know your future. It's covered in thick, black ooze. It's everywhere. They're everywhere. Enjoy oblivion." Well geez, I could have told them that.

I applaud Supernatural's effort to keep the episode lighthearted with wisecracks and Dean's constant geeking out over being partnered with Eliot Ness, but "Time After Time" cleaned out the Low-Hanging Fruit Store with jokes that were set up on a tee (okay, Dean doing math in his head to figure out what year he was in was funny). The episode also continued the lackluster material for Jared Padalecki as Sam, who was stuck in present time while Jensen Ackles hammed it up in a slick suit and rode around in your grandpa's wheels.

"Time After Time" might have had more of an effect had Supernatural not done something so recently in last season's "Frontierland" (when Dean AND Sam went back to the Wild West and partied with hunter and famous historical figure Samuel Colt). I'm looking forward to next season when Sam heads back to the '70s and kills disco demons with Diana Ross.



Notes:
– Hot damn Jensen looks good in a suit.

– Dean! You're stuck in 1944! Stop geeking out and start taking things seriously!

– Did anyone else feel sorry for Chronos? Poor guy was just trying to stay with his best gal, and Sam and Dean had to go and kill him.



Supernatural Season 7 Power Rankings
"Time After Time" didn't add anything to Supernatural's season-long arc, and its standalone adventure should have been more than just an excuse to throw some 1940s flair into the show. It wasn't a bad episode by any means, it just wasn't good. That lands it toward the bottom of the list. Come on Supernatural, PLEASE dethrone "Shut Up, Dr. Phil"! Please?

1. "Shut Up, Dr. Phil" (Episode 5)
A pair of witches needed some couples counseling in a gory fun-fest that guest-starred Charisma Carpenter and James Marsters.

2. "Death's Door" (Episode 10)
Bobby fought for his life and delved into his past as he tried to deliver a message to Sam and Dean from beyond the plane of the living.

3. "The Mentalists" (Episode 7)
More standalone fun as the brothers investigated murders in a town full of psychics.

4. "Meet the New Boss" (Episode 1)
Castiel got all righteous on those who didn't respect The Good Word, and it was great.

5. "Adventures in Babysitting" (Episode 11)
Sam and Dean coped with Bobby's death and met a fellow hunter's young daughter.

6. "Slash Fiction" (Episode 6)
Two Leviathans disguised themselves as Sam and Dean and took off on a cross-country shootin' spree!

7. "Hello, Cruel World" (Episode 2)
The Leviathans set up a buffet at a hospital after spreading into the water supply.

8. "Time After Time" (Episode 12)
Dean traveled back to 1944 and battled the God of Time with Eliot Ness.

9. "How To Win Friends And Influence Monsters" (Episode 9)
Hyperadrenalized cannibals and stoner sandwiches! Dick Roman's plan was sort of unveiled! And Bobby got shot!

10. "The Girl Next Door" (Episode 3)
Via flashback, we saw Sam's first kiss... with a monster! Then Dean killed her.

11. "Defending Your Life" (Episode 4)
Dean went on trial before Osiris because of the guilt he carries. Jo came back to blow him up!

12. "Season 7, Time for a Wedding" (Episode 8)
Too. Much. Becky. Larson.



Follow TV.com writer Tim Surette on Twitter: @TimAtTVDotCom

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Jul 14, 2012
i missed jason dohring
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Jan 30, 2012
Okay, guys, I can't believe everybody missed it, the only excuse for this otherwise time-wasting episode. Didn't you figure out who the red-headed woman was, and that Dean spent the night with her sometime, and who that makes Dean?



C'mon, idjits, think.

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Jan 24, 2012
I'm getting tired of these time traveling episodes. I loved "In The Beginning" and could even tolerate "Frontierland," but those served some sort of purpose to the season-long story. I hope this will be the last of these episodes that we will have to endure since they've referenced all the "Back to the Futures" and now we can move on. The episode was funny and very gif-worthy and I'm not against seeing Jensen Ackles in 40s suits, but really, no more time-traveling episodes please.
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Jan 20, 2012
I really got bored about leviathans. When they will show anything about them? I feel like it is 2nd - 3rd season of SN. Mostly going after the monsters and stuff instead of going after the main thing. I get it it is good to have stand alone episodes now and then but c'omoon!!
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Jan 19, 2012
Dude... I love u're writting;]
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Jan 19, 2012
It wasn't a bad episode, but this time into the 7th season, with Bobby and Castiel gone, and the lame leviathans as main foes, even though the episode was a bit refreshing (in spite of all the inconsistencies, like Chronos' summon spell) it did not helped the main arch.

In fact, that final words by Chronos are plain stupid. Leviathans are tough, I'll give you that, but so far they have proved not a worst threat than common demons.

Maybe the writes have something up their sleeves, but as of right now, I don't think we will see an 8th season.
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Jan 19, 2012
Tim Surette: "Come on Supernatural, PLEASE dethrone "Shut Up, Dr. Phil"! Please?"



They already did, with Death Door, Meet the New Boss, Slash Fiction and The Mentalists.
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Jan 19, 2012
Elliot Ness actor was busy this weekend, he was also on Once Upon a Time!

Show was ok, fun, took me a long time to realize it was Jason Dohring.

Dean geeking out was the only thing I loved in this episode!
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Jan 19, 2012
I really enjoyed this episode, too. I don't think that "Shut up, Dr, Phil" should be at the top, either. The one nitpick I do have is that it should have been Sam's turn to go back in time. But other than that, this was one of the best episodes so far!!!
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Jan 18, 2012
I don't mind the writers playing around. The show is practically over. It might have one more season left in it but it's already in it's seventh season and the ratings have been weak. It's in third place in a three way race, and the second place show probably won't be renewed. This episode had the same ratings as a repeat at the same time last year. They killed Bobby which is something they likely wouldn't have done if they expected the show to last past this season.



Still, this is the CW and they have been known to milk shows to death. But only Nikita has lower ratings on the network. And it's not like the CW has other supernatural shows to draw on.
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Jan 19, 2012
What are you talking about ? SPN is the third highest rated show on the CW, behind Secret Circle and Vampire Diaries
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Jan 18, 2012
Tim Surette..... You really suck dude!!!!!!

This was one of the best episodes of the season!!!
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Jan 18, 2012
I definitely enjoyed the episode. It's nice to have the comedic standalones now and again, and just kinda put the main storyline aside for a week (aside from the tidbit at the end). The back to the future bit, and Dean totally geeking out was great. Also, the bit at the start about how Sam was hoping Dean was watching "cartoon smut", and Dean replies "it's called anime, and it's an artform". Fucking priceless.
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Jan 18, 2012
I have to say I really enjoyed this episode. It was nice to have one of those stand-alone episodes every now and then...



Oh, and surely he did get the time thing right? Hmm, actually I think you Americans write your time differently, we use the 'military' style pretty much exclusively over here in the UK.



He wrote 11:34 yeah? So that's 11.34 in the morning, he'd have written 23:34 if he meant the evening. Simples :-)
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Jan 18, 2012
Kinda have to agree with you on this review. While the episode had some laughs there was little that made this episode exceptional in terms of quality. What a lot of the commentors seem to forget, is that Supernatural is capable of being funny AND having a quality episode. The true spirit of Supernatural isn't just the laughs, it's also about the drama and character development. Apparently the writers have realized the Leviathans were a crappy storyline so they're trying to cover it up with stand-alones. So, while some of the episodes have been amusing (like I said, this one had some great laughs) it is by no means exceptional or better than a episodes in past seasons.
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Jan 18, 2012
It's not a bad episode, but I feel that the writers are starting to get sloppy. They need to come up with better ideas for the nest episodes, or otherwise, the series will have the same fate that the X-Files had (it was an aweosme series but after season 7 it just went down the drain).
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Jan 18, 2012
one of the most enjoable episodes this season and funny! rough review have no idea why...
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Jan 18, 2012
Tim! Come on man! "Shut Up, Dr. Phil" was in the bottom half of this season according to me. "Time After Time" was excellent. It was one of the best standalone episodes of Supernatural, even with Frontierland in mind. And no, I didn't feel bad for Chronos. I was just too excited to see X-FIles guy as Elliot Ness and Dean going all fanboy over him. I haven't laughed this much in months while watching a tv show, comedies included!
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Jan 18, 2012
Chronos wasn't a god, he's a TITAN!
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Jan 20, 2012
Which makes them father of Gods!!!
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Jan 18, 2012
I wish they'd just skip the artificial Bobby's and do a Dean Winchester resurrection on him. You can't replace Jim Beaver, and the more wannabe's they throw at it the more it illustrates the point.



They're even throwing a "Idgit" in there hoping for a spark. It's just sad. I'm losing interest. They need a country boy on the show, and a tech-hermit and plain jane sheriff just ain't doin it.
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Jan 18, 2012
I enjoyed the episode and thought Dean did look smashing in that suit. woohoo! We haven't seen much of the leviathan this season so I wasn't surprised that they were barely mentioned. I think that Chronos' "foreboding" would have had more of an effect sooner after the leviathan were released and before Bobby died.

I was okay with Sam's small part since last season was obsessed with him. And the one before that! I love Sam and all that but I think that Jensen shines brighter in the spotlight.
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Jan 18, 2012
I loved how they made Elliot Ness a hunter. And they made him one that had no tragic backstory, he just saw a need and did the job. He even had his own version of Bobby with Ester. Chronos did push things along a bit. He said that he has seen the future and the Laviathan have taken over.
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Jan 18, 2012
Once again, I skipped your review and went straight to the power ranking. I guess nothing's changed. Your expectations for this show are completely different from 99% of the fandom, me included.

Time After Time was one of the best eps of the season.
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Jan 18, 2012
First episode in ages that felt like the "good old seasons" and ironically enough, the brotherly bond and teamwork shone much clearer in this episode even though being 68 (69) years apart (SPN timeline is 2013 if I'm not mistaken - but nice try Dean!)
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Jan 25, 2012
Actually, you're very mistaken. You're going under the assumption that season six started in 2012, but it didn't, it started in 2011. Remember, season five started EXACTLY after the season four finale, in May 2009. "The End" took place in August 2014, five years to the day the episode took place, August 2009, which means most of season five took place in the summer of the same year. That's how the writers were able to jump season six a year ahead and still keep the show in "our" current time frame. So season six started in 2011 and it was 2011 in show, since Sam had jumped into the Pit in 2010. So yeah, they're ahead of us just a bit, but not by much. Certainly not a whole year...



- May 2009: Sam releases Lucifer

- August 2009: Dean is taken to 2014

- Sam and Dean lose two weeks in "Changing Channels"



By that logic, it was some time in later winter/early spring that Sam dragged Lucifer into the cage, so early 2010. Add a year jump, it's 2011, just a few months ahead of the fall 2010 premiere of season six. Remember, in Castiel's flashback, Dean was raking leaves, so that would make it closer to fall, so we can reason Cas entered his deal with Crowley around the the show would have been premiering for us, therefore, in show time, it was only a few months later. 2011, which makes current show time 2012.
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Jan 18, 2012
I was surprised you weren't keen on this ep until I saw your overall rankings for the season. That was when I realised that your taste and mine are worlds apart. Shut up Dr Phil the best ep of the season?? Seriously? It was enjoyable, throw away filler. A decent MOTW with some fun guest stars. But compared to what is, IMO, by far the best ep of the season; Hello Cruel World it does not stand up on any measure.



I really enjoyed TaT. I was frustrated by the separation of Dean and Sam AGAIN. That is getting very old for me, and 2 weeks in a row was pushing the limits of my patience. But I thought it was a really solid ep. I'd put it in the top 3rd of the season so far.



I do see the similarities with Frontierland you raised. Makes me wonder why they didn't send Sam back instead just to distance it from that ep. Maybe his hairstyle just isn't 1940s material!
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Jan 18, 2012
Why would you feel bad for Chronos? He killed people, no sympathy for killers. Also supernatural has always been just as much about the laughs as about the story, Dean geeking out was for comic relief and it worked well very. Your notes suck.
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Jan 18, 2012
For all its faults, I did still enjoy the episode. I, too, found that it had too much in common with 'Frontierland' and part of me doesn't want to see any more time travel episodes. Nevertheless, I liked it, the guest stars were all great (even if underused/ under developed) and the episode was a fun filler.

Also, I'm shocked that you consider 'Shut Up Dr. Phil' the best episode of the season, aside from the Buffy reunion it was one of my least favorites.
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Jan 18, 2012
Disappointing use of "Chronos"(a f***ing God and thats all?) spoiled this episode, but it was still good and Krijcek from X-Files had some funny moments with Dean.

And is Sheriff -"Mom" replacing Bobby ? Too soon I think ...

Better than "Shut up, Dr Phil" though.
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Jan 18, 2012
i thought it was an awesome episode. i was just upset to see Kronos as such a vulnerable character. He's a Titan [and not a god, as he said in the episode] he's not supposed to be so weak. Even Osiris was better than him.
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Jan 18, 2012
i didnt like the way you talked about this episode dude, this episode was amazing and i dont know how you didnt like it, i just have 1 question are u a supernatural or fringe fan because from what im seeing i think u like fringe more and u r starting to hate supernatural.
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Jan 18, 2012
the two aren't opposing. I watch both. I just don't think Tim is a fan of the Leviathan story-line. I certainly don't see how 'Shutup Dr Phil' beats Deaths Door, Meet the New Boss, or Time After Time.
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Jan 18, 2012
Again Tim WAY off the mark... starting to think your writing bad recaps on purpose. Episode was def one of the better ones this season. All the commenters loved the ep but you disliked it..lol. Not to mention your rankings of eps is awful. Tim always a pleasure. :)
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Jan 18, 2012
They should have struck a deal with Chronos to go back in time and save Bobby!
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Jan 18, 2012
Great episode and I did feel bad for Chronos.
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Jan 18, 2012
I miss season 3 but i am srill happy that they are on air
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Jan 18, 2012
I loved this episode. Sure, it wasn't very "filling" in terms of substance, but it was hella fun. I love the whole Eliott Ness thing. Definitely one of the highlights of the season.
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Jan 18, 2012
For me this was the best episode this season. Shut up, Dr. Phil was well... in my top ten because of James Marsters but not much better than that, not even Top Five.

Nicholas Lea did a really good job, Kim Rhodes was so lovely, in fact each and everyone in this episode did an awesome job. I agree Jason Dohring was a bit underused. They shouldn't have killed Chronos, god of time or not so quickly, not in this episode.

Final conclusion: Favorite episode this season
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Jan 18, 2012
Seriously Tim, I question your mentality when you place "Shut up Dr. Phil" over "Death's Door". Are you for real?

Anyway, this episode was OK, not one of the best but I take it for what it was, a stand alone episode in which we got to see both Sam and Dean still trying to figure out how to move on now that Bobby is gone. It had quite a few funny moments, and Dean looks DELICIOUS in a suit!
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Jan 18, 2012
i didn't really like Shut Up, Dr. Phil at all. I think it should be number 11.
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Jan 18, 2012
- Dethrone "Shut Up, Dr. Phil"?? If anything, I thought that episode was the court jester of this season (if we're using that analogy). "Time After Time After Time" (which was the actual name of this episode) was WAY better than "Shut Up, Dr Phil". I honestly don't know what you saw in that episode, Tim.

And "Death's Door" should be at no.1. I'm sure everyone else agrees.

- If anything, this episode was an important transitional phase for the boys. They got they're rhythm back! I loved this episode.

- I'd be the first person to nitpick about the inaccuracies in the show (Dick Roman's photoshopped montage in episode 9 is a prime example), but I enjoyed this episode too much! This is Supernatural after all. We expect ridiculously unbelievable (and awesome) moments in each episode, and this one had plenty.
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Jan 18, 2012
I actually appreciated this one more than you did Tim. I think they did a great job of tying the past story with Jensen to the current one with Jared and Jodi (great to see her again). And Jason Dohring did a great job, its weird seeing him show so much range, especially seeing as how I have never seen him outside of Logan Echolls.
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Jan 18, 2012
As a standalone, I would have placed this a lot higher up on the list. Yeah, the time travel episodes are done to death -who cares really, with Dean in that get up- but it felt just like old Supernatural again. Great writing, both in the comedy and drama department, both Jared and Jensen were on their game and it had just the right amount of tease to the main mythology of the season to tie it in with the rest of the episodes. And it didn't hurt that Nicholas Lea, the most devious FBI agent ever, stepped in to play one of the coolest prohibition agents ever. The man is a great actor and really delivered, playing the no-nonsense Ness. And yes, his nod to our great state and it's vampire problem around the time he was here chasing the Cleveland Torso Butcher made me a very camper. I love when a show's writers do their homework. But while I do agree that Cronos was just sucking people dry to be with the one he loved, when have Sam and Dean ever really cared about that? Dean ganked Sam's former little girlfriend for killing people to save her kid, what makes you think he's suddenly gonna change? For a show that deals with a lot of gray area, Dean and Sam are usually very black and white.
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Jan 18, 2012
I like Jason Dohring and i was loooking forward for that episode and yes i felt he was underused too.
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Jan 18, 2012
It would have been amazing if they had intertwined this episodes story with the main story. At least more than those final words of Chronos. But I can enjoy this as a ones-shot, this was a fun episode and it had some great jokes.
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Jan 18, 2012
1. "Shut Up, Dr. Phil" (Episode 5)

A pair of witches needed some couples counseling in a gory fun-fest that guest-starred Charisma Carpenter and James Marsters.

This is the only actors you chose as a guest to reveal their names. I was not impressed with that episode because of those two. #5 They had one of the best little actress's on the show that gave Sam and Dean a run for their money and you could not even bother to list her name as a guest. By the way, the name was Madison Blaine. Try not to be so judgemental and give everyone their dues.
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Jan 18, 2012
you are kidding right? that actress was awful...
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Jan 18, 2012
Great episode best of this season!!!
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Jan 18, 2012
Jensen Ackles does look really really good in a suit! *drool*
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Staff
Jan 18, 2012
This episode is Untouchable. Top 5 of the season.
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LMV
Jan 18, 2012
Far better than the previous weeks episode.
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Jan 18, 2012
the best part of this episode imho is "You gonna watch anime again or are you just strictly into Dick now?" and Sam's proud face after saying that joke xD
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Jan 18, 2012
OMG, so goooood, I watched it like 3 times and ROFL'ed.... sigh... thanx for sharing the moment.
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Jan 18, 2012
Yes, he delivered that line perfectly, it had me laughing out loud.
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