Supernatural Season 13 Episode 5 Review: Advanced Thanatology

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Like many episodes before it, Supernatural Season 13 Episode 5 "Advanced Thanatology" opens with a couple of kids making poor choices by breaking into a haunted house with video cameras and stealing things. 

Enter creepy ghost in a plague mask with a drill. 

creepy plague mask ghost - Supernatural Season 13 Episode 5

It's a good thing at least one of the kids got out of there, although taking the creepy plague mask is not going to turn out well for him.

Sam brings Dean the case while Dean is making a PB&J for breakfast. 

The thing we're supposed to remember here about PB&J, of course, is not only that Castiel loved it while human, but it reminded Cas that one person could mean everything, while also teaching him that people -- and angels -- can change.

The lingering question of course is, what change are we seeing? Something is different in Dean, that much is obvious, but whether or not anyone (including Dean) understands how much is up for debate. The reference is clear, although subtle, and well done.

Sam convinces Dean they need a case with just the two of them because it's been a while, so going back to the basics, they head out to bust some ghosts.

Dean is pretty preceptive of Shawn's mood when interviewing him, and he's even convincing when he says he can help.

You know, I know what it's like to see monsters. And I know that when they're gone, they never really go away. You see them when you close your eyes, you see 'em in your dreams. But you know what? Me and my brother, we're the guys that stop the monsters. We're the ones that scare them.

Dean

If it weren't for the obsessive drawing of creepy plague mask guy, I might believe this kid is going to be fine because that was a solid speech. 

At least Sam got an actual lead for the next interview, but that's clearly tomorrow's agenda, and for now, he has to be awkward as hell about trying to cheer Dean up. 

Sam: So, strip club?
Dean: What?

Yes, Sam. That was awkward.

Sam is trying to be extra nice to Dean, which Dean thinks is weird, but the fact that Sam looked up reviews for a strip club is hilarious. The fact that Dean doesn't laugh at him about this is pretty telling, although he does point out how ridiculous it is. 

Approaching the realm of "talking about feelings," Sam admits he's trying to be nice to Dean because of Dean's recent admission that he has no faith in anything anymore. 

So, Sam offering beer and strip clubs is supposed to help Dean get out of his depressive grief-fueled funk. It's a sweet gesture. 

Dean: Look, I've been down this road before, and I fought my way back, I will fight my way back again.
Sam: How?
Dean: Same way I always do: bullets, bacon and booze. A lot of booze.

Sam waking up in the morning to Dean passed out on the floor wearing a tie around his head and a bra around his neck is, I'm guessing, supposed to point to the fact that Dean went to the strip club all on his own.

He must have been pretty blackout drunk to miss the bed when he passed out.

Sam gets the ghost information out of Shawn's friend pretty quickly, and it was kind of him to let Dean sleep in considering the massive hangover he has when they meet back up for breakfast. 

So now that they know where to find the creepy plague mask ghost also known as Meadows with a nasty lobotomy fixation, and following the missing-and-likely-dead Shawn, they head to the creepy house. 

A quick EMF reading and a not-shy Meadows ghost knocks both the brothers off of their feet pretty quickly. Dean doesn't look like he has much fight in him when that ghost gets a bit too close with that drill. 

Dean versus ghost - Supernatural Season 13 Episode 5

It's a good thing Dean has Sam with some handy iron. They track down those creepy plague masks pretty quickly, burn them, and Meadows is gone. And the problem is not solved. 

With Meadows gone, all the people he killed apparently start freaking out, and Dean goes to the "I'll just kill myself real quick" plan almost immediately. 

How is this a good plan exactly? How is it better than running around the house looking for bodies? Pretty sure it isn't, but Dean didn't exactly wait for another plan before shoving that needle in.

That poor reaper, though. Seriously, meeting Dean Winchester must give them panic attacks at this point. It's no wonder she vanishes with an "oh god" to hunt down her boss.

Perfectly within his three-minute timeframe, Dean finds Shawn, has his 'I'm sorry I couldn't save you, don't worry I'm blaming myself' moment, and gets all the info he needs on body location. 

The interesting part is when he gets back to Sam trying to revive him and meets the new Death.

Help From Billie - Supernatural

Hello, Billie. I missed you, and I'm glad you got a promotion. 

This universe can be so many things, and sometimes it is poetic.

Billie

So Death Billie decides she and Dean need to have a chat. He accompanies her to her "reading room" because she wants to know how Dean and Sam slipped through dimensions. 

So they make a deal: Billie sends a reaper for the ghosts in the Meadow house, and Dean tells her whatever she wants to know.

Here's the thing about Dean's deal with Billie: it doesn't make sense that all he asked of her was to take all those souls away elsewhere. 

He knew where the bodies were, Shawn already told him. He could have just as easily said, "put me back, and I'll tell you," then burned the bodies and released them himself. He didn't. 

It's when Dean agrees with Death Billie that knocking down the house of cards that is the universe does, in fact, sound like something he would do that she notices Dean has changed.

So Death Billie sees it pretty clearly. Dean doesn't care anymore if he lives or dies. Or maybe even that he wants to die.

I'm not sure Death Billie is the best at pep talks, but at least she tells him he matters, he is needed, and he has work to do. So she sends him back.

Unfortunately, Dean has lost his faith in humanity, in the world, and in living, so it doesn't seem to matter to him that Death Billie says he has work to do.

 

Sam: So now you don't believe anymore.
Dean: I just need a win. I just need a damn win.

Dean doesn't consider this case a win. They killed the ghost, Death Billie had a reaper clear the house, but they didn't save anyone, not really. 

Dean thinks he failed. Even having Death Billie return him to his body isn't considered a win for him. But he needs something good. 

I guess this is one of those, "ask, and ye shall receive" moments. 

Enter Cas.

I'm a little irritated that I didn't get a reunion hug, giant smiles, and "Hello, Dean" although I assume that was said on the phone to Dean's stunned silence. 

Supernatural Season 13 Episode 6 better have some major hugs included. Don't let me down, guys. 

As always, send forth your thoughts and feelings in the comments section. How do you feel about Billie's promotion? What exactly does she mean about them being important to the universe that she couldn't see before? 

Anyone else a little impressed with the double relevance of the episode title here? 

And if you missed the live airing, have a weird fixation with creepy plague masks, or want to see Death Billie's excellent entrance again watch Supernatural online.

Advanced Thanatology Review

Editor Rating: 4.6 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.4 / 5.0 (65 Votes)
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Supernatural Season 13 Episode 5 Quotes

Dean: Look, I've been down this road before, and I fought my way back, I will fight my way back again.
Sam: How?
Dean: Same way I always do: bullets, bacon and booze. A lot of booze.

Sam: So now you don't believe anymore.
Dean: I just need a win. I just need a damn win.