"Love Hurts" did surprise me in that most of the above criteria turned out favorable. No, it wasn't a barn burner, but all I had to do is look at the credits to see that the episode was written by Eric Charmelo and Nicole Snyder. I wasn't getting that because fast pacing is never their thing. They believe in the slow unfolding of plot and then throw a twist at you later, assuming you're still paying attention by then. Fortunately, this week I was.
Before I get started, I have a disclaimer. This week I’m actually in sunny Florida enjoying a small family vacation, so I’m not in my usual critical mood this week. I watched the episode on CWTV.com a day after it aired, so what you’re getting is more of a gut reaction than something well thought out with a blur of vacation bliss mixed in for fun. I’m typing this under palm trees with an umbrella drink on the table next to me. So yeah, the Red Headed Monster is notably absent this week.
Sure, “Love Hurts” followed a very cookie cutter pattern, with a slow and not so interesting teaser that clocked in at almost 4 minutes. It was definitely inferior to the previous Valentine’s Day episode, “My Bloody Valentine,” written by the legendary Ben Edlund. But I was just engaged enough where I was left guessing what would happen next and curiously wanted to see it play out. The kiss of death was a great idea for a Valentine’s Day curse. I liked the character of Melissa and thought she was in a relatable situation. Her husband was one dimensional until he caved and showed Dean the nanny cam. Imagine seeing yourself kill your lover and it wasn’t really you! I’m sure that was hard not to share.
What I didn't like the over-the-top monologuing witch with the iffy motives. Witches, again? Last week I complained that “Supernatural” sucks at vampires, and they so far have proven that they don’t do witches very well either. I could tell the second she hit the screen she was toast. I worried more about Melissa, who overcame her timid nature to ultimately save Sam's life (even if it was via distraction), who then in turn rescued Dean just in the nick of time. Sue me, I’m a sucker for the unsung hero.
Speaking of Melissa, did Dean kiss her because he figured he was taking her out of harms’ way (a nobility thing) or is he back to reckless mode? His Valentine’s Day adventures suggested he’s back to his careless ways (speaking of which, what did you do for Valentine's Day Sam?). I think careless Dean is actually more fun, but I would like to think that Sam will try to save Dean from something more than himself. I also wonder if Dean knew it was Amara that would come calling. I think he wanted to find out himself, if anything for a test that the attraction was real as he thought it was. Yep, it is.
Another Charmelo and Snyder trademark is the closing brotherly chat. This is usually a weak spot of theirs but this time they got it right. It's a role reversal for sure from the early days when Dean played level headed brother and then flashed the private look of worry when Sam walked away. This time, Sam offers the assurances then does the look. Was I stunned that Dean honestly told him that Amara surfaced as his deepest desire? I wasn't stunned by Sam's reaction, I did suspect he already knew, but I was more than stunned that Dean confessed it. Well, stunned at first and then totally relived. A healthy brotherly conversation! Who'd have thunk?
It’s been said by many of you, but I for one still continue to not only be impressed with this mature and wise for his years Sam, but that he’s actually being written consistently from week to week. It’s the self actualized Sam that we fans dreamed and talked about for years, the one that only through some rather wicked and often uncalled for hard knocks has found his rhythm and redemption. Gone is the desperate, wild-eyed Sam that was still present as late as the end of season ten, one that was not only worried about Dean, but one who without question committed acts so desperate to save his brother it jeopardized the entire world.
Sam did have that lingering look at the end, "the gaze of Winchester worry” as I call it, something that was previously trademarked by the older brother (my favorite to this day is from season one’s “Nightmare”). He may not have been surprised over the hold that Amara had over Dean, but he was still troubled to hear it. Could this possibly be foreshadowing of a difficult choice that Sam will have to make? With his new found mantra of saving as many people as he can, will he be forced to finally choose the greater good over his brother? The resolved guilt over not looking for Dean wants us to believe that he might, but who knows, it could be another fake out like last season when the writers had us believing that Dean could kill Sam. When facing the ultimate push comes to shove moment, he couldn’t do it. That’s all pure speculation though, which is what I’m left to do since these filler episodes are doing nothing more than raising questions and leaving things up the imagination.
So yeah, another week of having no idea what happened to Crowley or what Cassifer is up to. I guess that answer comes next week, at least with Cassifer. I really hope that Mark Sheppard is enjoying his extended break. So Aloha, or whatever you say from sunny Florida, until next week, when my usually bitter self is back is frosty Ohio and grumpy as ever.