Read the previous review here.
This post contains spoilers for Supernatural.
Supernatural has played with all manner of beast and being through its tenure. The only season that played into scary consistently was season one, but every once and a while they surprise you with something spooky. “Advanced Thanatology” is one such instance. We’ve seen plenty of ghost episodes in the past, but something about combining plague masks with an old hospital gives you the perfect creepy combo.
Sam and Dean decide to go on a solo adventure, opting to leave Jack in the Bunker with Sam’s old SciFi collection. It’s a shame, because he would have been quite handy about halfway through their adventure. On the way to their hunt location, Sammy’s being awful suspicious. The king of disapproving puppy faces is giving Dean whatever he wants, and Dean-o can’t quite figure out why. At first my suspicion was that Jack had done something wrong and Sam was trying to butter Dean up, but it turns out he's just concerned about his brother.
When Dean said he didn’t believe in anything anymore, he meant it. Not Sammy, not himself, and certainly not their mission on Earth. The eldest Winchester’s always been a reckless mess, but when he finds himself in these moods things get extra dark. And this is the mood of all moods. He's always kept fighting because they believed that they were making the world a better place, but that belief is gone too.
That lack of belief might be exactly why Billy the Reaper (sorry, Death) lets him live. In a rash act to try to communicate the ghosts in the old hospital, Dean kills himself. For those who may not remember his history with Billy, she was less than pleased that Dean killed her boss (the old Death) to save his brother from the trials he was facing. Last season, Billy promised some cosmic consequences against the Winchester brothers and their mother, but Cas killed her before she could act on them. Apparently, when you kill a Reaper, and no one’s wearing Death’s ring, they take the mantle. Billy holds quite the grudge, but she can see a bigger picture than she could when she was a lowly Reaper. Despite the fact that she cannot fulfill her promise to keep Dean Winchester dead, she seems to relish the idea of sending him back to the world of the living while he’s in the state that he’s in.
When back on the other side of the veil, Dean gets to see the mother of the son that he failed. You can imagine what seeing a grieving mother does to his already shattered morale, but "Advanced Thanatology" doesn't leave things up to guess work. Dean's moods are always pretty easy to read as a viewer, but you know things are dicey in that head of his when he outright admits that he's not okay. Dean won't have to wait much longer for things to start looking up, though. He tells Sammy he just needs a win and, lucky boy, he gets just that in the form of a phone call from Cas.
Cas’ return means several things. First and foremost, we'll hopefully see a little bit of Dean’s old spark return. It also means Sam and Dean will have to play parents not only to Jack, but to Cas, as well. It seems unlikely that going to The Empty changed Cas' baby-in-a-trench-coat ways, and now he's going to have to take care of Jack in addition to his idiot humans. The Winchesters are watching after their celestials. The celestials are looking after their Winchesters. With all this babysitting going around, season thirteen might just be the year that everyone bites the dust after all. If you had thoughts on the episode, you know what to do!