What wasn't there to love about this ep!
Sam and Dean heading for Sioux Falls General (current Leviathan Headquarters), both grievously wounded. We get some stoned Dean, unconscious Sam and 'to the rescue' Bobby. Alas, we don't get our beloved boys tracking this season's baddie through undead flooded corridors, which is fine considering how FUBAR'd last seasons 'big confrontations' were once they were executed.
What we do get instead is largely wonderful,.(I say largely because although there was evidence of Sam's new 'tic' [the stroking of his palm scar whenever Lucifer's around or bugging him] I'm worried that they're going to whitewash Sam's fragmenting psyche leaving us wholly disappointed by once more ignoring the incredible potential this psychological stewpot could produce.)
Hiding at Rufus' old cabin, and while on a snack run, a striking headline draws Sam's attention, throwing his memory back to his early teen years, operating as 'professor peabody' while dad and Dean worked the hunt for a rare creature called a Kitsune*.
At the library, searching up whatever information would be available Sam runs across a cute young teenage girl, who obviously lights one of his first fires. The problem is that she won't talk with him, even after he tries to use whatever advice he could get from Dean.
The young damsel falls into distress, accosted by two young bullies who bring to mind all sorts of possibly 'pack' related danger.
Natch, our brave young idealist dashes in to the fair maiden's rescue and all is well, the ice is broken and now a friendship can begin to bloom.
Meanwhile in the non-flashback world of the base ep, people are dying, well scumbags are dying, parts of their mid-brains (*the pituitary glands) are being stolen.
Dean has realized that once again, Sam has ditched him, and stolen the car. I have to say that I enjoyed the boys being separated, each man working their own case; well Sam working his case, and Dean working on finding Sam. (Even viceversa it's a fan-ficcer's dream.)
Back to flash-back land - Sam and Amy? bond over familial angst and the sense of freakish helplessness they both bear while living under the thumb of totalitarian dictators that are their parents. Sam is brought to terms with his 'freakishness' by his new friend's gentle assertion that they're both freaks and that's what makes them special. I hope that what we got to see was Sam's first kiss...Then of course the moment is spoiled when Amy's controlling, dictatorial mother comes home.
Amy tries to hide Sam, knowing her mother will kill the boy if he's discovered. Inevitably young Sam IS discovered, and to save her new friend Amy does the unthinkable, killing her own mother, the very monster Sam realizes his dad and brother have been hunting.
Unwilling to make his first kill on the girl who just saved his life, Sam urges her to run, she asks him to come with, but he knows and we know, he can't. (We also know John would never stop hunting him if he did.)
Back to present - Sam returns to his motel room, opening the door just in time for Dean's fist to explode into his eye. "New rule, you take my car I get to punch you!" Dean growls. (That was awesome and true brotherhood.)
Sam comes clean, explaining the whole story and pleading with his brother to understand that he believes Amy will never kill again. She's found a way to cope with the travails of her existence without hurting others (The murders she'd committed were to protect and heal her child). Dean, to his credit seems to capitulate and trust Sam's judgement, of course we know he can't. And we're right. And a new cycle of vengeance is begun when he's caught killing Amy, by her son.
The ep wraps up with Leviathan's kindred hot on the Winchester boys' heels, using their known alias's to track them down.
Personally, I felt a very deep resonance with this episode, Sam's companionship with a young girl who turns out to be a young Kitsune... something about that just strikes a chord in me, thanks guys!
*(The writers' take on what a Kitsune is, was interesting to say the least, I'm a little surprised that Bobby didn't know what one was given his proficiency with things Japanese - but then again, maybe the writers didn't want to go too far into things...)
So, for very personal reasons I must now count this ep as one of my favorites (strange since when I first learned about it over the past summer I wasn't sure about the concept).
Here's hoping this season will be better than last. So far, so good.
To Kast and Krew, thanks as always for your hard work.
As always, special love to Jensen and Jared, and yes Jim, You too.