Okay, so that was actually really great.
I was worried. Supernatural's crazier installments tend to go one of two ways. They're either amazeballs and among the series' most entertaining and genuinely good episodes ("Mystery Spot," "Changing Channels," "Everybody Hates Hitler"), or they're really, really not ("Season Seven, Time for an Abomination," that WTF one from last season with the dog-witch-slave lady and the weird racist undertones). "Dog Dean Afternoon," even with its sort of awkward animal voiceovers and Sam Winchester being the actual dumbest angel condom, falls into the "good" pile, and it's pretty much all Jensen Ackles' fault.
Ackles hasn't been given much to do in recent seasons outside of playing sad, self-righteous, alcoholic Dean; but the Dean that we saw in "Dog Dean Afternoon" was a nice throwback to vintage Dean, when he was a total goober and actually seemed to enjoy hunting from time to time. (Missed u.)
The case itself was pretty straightforward. Chef Leo had the cancer and discovered that various animal organs in magical combos seasoned with just the right amount of spellwork temporarily cured him—or at least held the worst of his illness at bay. Maybe Chef Leo was always a douche. Maybe his douchiness was actually the result of OD-ing on animal guts and taking on some of their more anti-social traits. But Chef Leo was a douche nonetheless, and after watching Sam-zekiel cure a slit throat on the spot, decided he was going to eat whatever Sam was and live forever. Sam's magical angel mojo is really starting to become more of a liability than a benefit, isn't it?
Like the best of Supernatural's batshit crazy comedy episodes, there was, of course, an underlying current of angst and uh-oh running just beneath that-time-Dean-pulled-a-gun-on-a-pigeon and that-time-Dean-made-sexy-eyes-at-a-poodle, mostly due to the Sam-zekiel situation. Sam is good for generating angst on a massive scale. Dean went from wholeheartedly backing Ezekiel's heal-Sam-from-within plan to kind of regretting it fairly quickly. While Ezekiel hasn't—to our knowledge—done anything too questionable yet, he's just starting to come off as someone who isn't being entirely honest about who he is. Making Dean ditch Castiel raised some serious red flags, especially since those two were supposed to be pals. Cas vouched for Ezekiel. I could honestly see him being kind of okay with the don't-tell-Sam game plan, or at the very least, reluctantly understanding of it, considering the alternative, unless Ezekiel isn't Ezekiel or something.
The question of how much of Chef Leo's villainous nature was genuinely his, as opposed to a side effect of his magical mayhem, paralleled Sam's own predicament with Ezekiel. Ezekiel has shown that he has absolutely no qualms about popping into the Sam-mobile's driver's seat whenever it suits him, and while the shifts in character have been obvious so far, what happens when/if Ezekiel gets good enough to do it undetected? What happens when the line between Ezekiel and Sam gets so blurred that not even Dean can tell the difference?
You can tell that Dean's already thinking it, and his eagerness to get Sam well enough that he doesn't need his angelic pacemaker anymore is so obvious that it's a wonder Sam hasn't picked up on it, which in turn raises another concern: Is Ezekiel even healing Sam? You know, like really healing him, of the trials damage? I guess he probably is, but how will Sam and Dean know when it's safe to kick him to the curb? It's becoming increasingly clear that Ezekiel isn't the type of angel who's going to say "My work here is done!" and WOOSH off to the next available vessel. Given what we've seen of the angel-vessel situation, there's a decent chance that there isn't a next available vessel.
For a goofy episode about Dean talking to the animals, there was actually quite a bit of srs bsns to chew on in "Dog Dean Afternoon." Srs bsns, Jensen Ackles playing fetch, and that sassy little dog extorting Sam for a belly rub somehow combined in a glorious way to make what looked like an unlikely winner (an underdog, would you say?) into an unquestionable champion of the season so far. I'm sorry I doubted you, Supernatural. Here are some delicious Scooby Snax. Good doggie. Sit. Roll-over. Now play dead.
K. Done. Bye.
– Dumb Winchester Sighting: No, seriously, Sam. You heard Chef Leo ask you "what" you are and you woke up covered with blood. COVERED. WITH. BLOOD. Remember last time you woke up covered with blood and sporting a patchy memory? Why was that? OH. OH YEAH. BECAUSE YOU WERE POSSESSED. I really need Sam to stop being dense. It's starting to hurt my soul.
– Also, hasn't Sam almost died, like, three times in five episodes? With a record like that, he's lucky he made it to puberty.
– Favorite Dean-as-a-dog moment? I liked fetch. I also laughed at the car-rant. "You think we'd like that?" And pulling a gun on the pigeon. Don't mess with Baby!
– I'm not sure how I feel about the pack of pound puppies eating Chef Leo. Also, I understand the point of Dean letting all the dogs free at the shelter, but my initial thought was, "Now they're all going to get heartworms and die," because clearly I don't understand freedom I guess. BUT HEARTWORMS.
– Every time a dog barked on the TV, my Stella would stampede out of the bedroom and come growl at the TV. It really amused me. IDK.
– AWW, Sam got to play with a potion. Yay.
– The flashbacks leading into this episode were from all over the place. I'm not entirely sure why Becky and Chuck were in them, either.
– "Witches or hippies?" "What's the difference?"
What'd you think of "Dog Dean Afternoon"?
AIRED ON 10/7/2015
Season 11 : Episode 1
AIRS ON 10/14/2015
Season 11 : Episode 2