'Supernatural' Versus charmed

It's been over 2 months since we last saw the Winchester boys raise a lot of hell (and look very good doing so) on Supernatural, but tonight saw their triumphant return to the small screen. I had missed the slightly queasy feeling I used to get from their show opener's usual gore and this week made up for it. It seems Janet and Paul are returning home from a dinner party and ready to have a little party of their own. Janet asks for a few minutes to freshen up and while Paul goes to open the wine she gets to brushing her teeth. Toothpaste and wine sound like a bad taste combo to me, but Janet doesn't have to worry about that because the montage breaks up to another woman chanting her way through a ritual right about the time Janet's teeth start falling out and she starts choking on her own blood. I make a mental note to call my dentist in the morning.

Dean and Sam get right on the case, though I am somewhat mystified as to how they found out about it or even where they are. Did I miss something? All the same, they are in their suits and posing as CDC agents, asking Paul if Janet had any enemies. Which doesn't seem like something the CDC should ask by Paul's reasoning. His answer is soon a moot point as Sam has found an object under the sink and motioned to Dean that they can leave. The hex bag proves that Janet wasn't loved by everyone. But Paul loves 80's glam rock, as later that evening he sits in his car enjoying a burger and Poison's Every Rose Has It's Thorn. I, on the other hand, have a vicious Rock of Love flashback and have to visualize my happy place.

It seems that Amanda has an ax to grind with Janet and Paul and she's grinding it directly into a rotten chicken carcass she pulled out of her oven. I can't figure out my convection either. In a car somewhere nearby, Paul's burger starts to crawl and Every Rose turns to I Put a spell on You and he starts choking. Luckily Dean and Sam are nearby and when Paul spills out of his car coughing up maggots, they spring to action. Sam finds another hex bag under Paul's steering column and sets it on fire - giving the witch a nasty surprise when her chicken a'la maggot goes flambe. And then, mysteriously, her wrists slit themselves and she falls over her own altar.

It seems Paul wasn't a very honorable husband and had himself an affair with Amanda, who tried to blackmail him when he ended their illicit relationship. The boys go to pay her a visit and find her dead among all her witchy belongings. Dean is ready to call the who deal a spurned lover's hat trick until Sam pulls another hex bag from under Amanda's altar and our murder mystery is off and running. It seems we have a coven masquerading as a book club (I always thought those were evil. Especially when they concentrate on Oprah's picks. How about some Henry Miller, you savages?). It seems Tammy and Rene are devoted to book club and Elizabeth thinks they've gone too far. You know, what with the murdering and all. However, she has to admit the perks are nice, since she's been winning raffles and trips to tropical islands and all, so she quiets up.

She's especially quiet when the boys show up admiring her beautiful and lush herb garden, full of things like belladonna and wolfsbane and growing far out of season. Nice trick, that. They ask what she knows about Janet and she stutters helplessly until Tammy and Rene show up to provide her with some backbone. Boys, meet the coven. Sam declares that they need to be stopped and when Dean points out that they are human, he doesn't much care. We don't have time to reflect on this new darkness in our youngest Winchester since Ruby shows up and begs Sam to get out of town. Meanwhile, Dean begs for an excuse to mow her down with the Colt. She points out that the witches are not the danger, the one they serve is - but Dean doesn't trust a thing she has to say and he fires the gun. But not before Sam leaps to action and knocks his arm so he misses Ruby, who promptly disappears.

And this is where our brothers have it out. Dean confronts Sam on his new dark side, about how he used to be tortured over the humans they had to sacrifice to rid the world of the demons that possessed them and how now he seems remorseless. And we see the true turning point of Sam. I had suspected that the character was reaching a point of entropy, where he would gradually descend into whatever chaos and darkness was apparently part of him since his return from death. Instead, it seems he is approaching his own singularity. One definition of singularity is, of course, the condition of being singular. Another is a point in the future beyond which overwhelming changes have made events unpredictable. Normally it's the definition we see used in cybertronic dystopian future tales, like Terminator, but I find it apropos for Sam. He knows his Dean only has a few months before his soul is collected and he will be left to fight this war on his own. At which point, the change in no longer having his brother will make a future he can't comprehend, much less see.  But he's doing his best to prepare for it. 

In his own words: "I don't have a choice. You are leaving and I gotta stay here in this crap hole of a war alone. And if I am going to make it, I gotta change.(...)  I gotta be more like you". Ouch.

Dean's pain is more physically manifest, however, as he suddenly keels over and Sam starts to tear apart their room looking for the hex bag he figures must be there. Not finding it, he grabs the Colt and heads out the door to confront the coven while Dean coughs up blood. He breaks open the door on the meeting of the "book club" and tells them to let Dean go. When they act bewildered he tells them if they know about him, then they know about the gun and if they don't stop killing his brother, he will use it. I'm confused again. Does the Colt do anything extra awful to humans? Meanwhile, Ruby shows up at Dean's side and wrenches him back on the bed, grabs him by the throat and squirts a brown liquid into his mouth, telling him that the next time he points the Colt at her, she won't disappear. Is that a dare, or a double dare, I wonder?

Back in suburbia, the witches confess to Sam that they have no idea what he's talking about as they were chanting to get Rene a lower mortgage rate. It's at this moment that Sam realizes that two of the women have come into all sorts of good luck, but Tammy has had no mysterious windfall. He asks her if it's because she's already getting what she wants - their souls - and Tammy's eyes go black. He fires the Colt at her and without even flinching, she stops the bullet cold. Yowza, there's the demon Ruby was worried about!  Sam is thrown against the wall and held there and when Rene asks Tammy what's she's doing, she gets her neck snapped for the insolence. Sam implores evil-Tammy to let the last witch go -and it seems his conscience isn't entirely gone. Little Elizabeth, however, is cowering in front of Tammy, who asks her who she thought she was worshiping. Suddenly The Secret seems less harmless, when Tammy points out that one good book was all it took to get the women to kiss her ass and sell their souls.

In addition to corrupting the neighborhood, it seems Tammy is working with a group of demons that are set to oppose Sam in the coming war, and his being here gives her a good opportunity to shine in the eyes of her superiors. Dean bursts into the room and is tossed aside like a rag doll without so much as a second glance. But when Ruby shows up, Tammy actually pauses.  It seems they have a long history and this is where our episode takes another unexpected turn for me. Ruby implores Tammy to take her back, she outright begs to serve her again, offering the Winchesters as a gift before pulling out her Demon-killing blade. Sadly, Tammy saw that coming and the two have a pretty epic battle. Meanwhile, Elizabeth has been forgotten long enough to run to her altar and whisper a chant while dumping out a bowl of needles.

The demon women continue fighting while Tammy shares Ruby's story. It seems Ruby was once a human witch, dedicated to Tammy's service, but they had some sort of falling out in which Tammy rejected her. In the end, Ruby ended up in hell and that's where Tammy intends to send her again. She starts chanting and Ruby starts choking out the black smoke of her demon soul, but a moment later and it's Tammy who's coughing. Coughing out a handful of bloody pins. She glances up, closes her first and poor Elizabeth drops over dead, but she created enough of a distraction for Dean to grab Ruby's blade and plunge it into Tammy's side about a dozen times. Ruby tells the boys to go, offering to clean up and they stagger out.

Outside their motel, Dean notes the flickering of lights and Ruby is there. She's kind of like Batman, what with the silent and spooky entrances. She reveals more to Dean about her past, having been dead since the time of the plague and informing him that all the demons she's ever met were all human once. However, it seems that hell burns away your humanity while torturing your eternal soul, until you forget that you were ever human and only a demon is left. And then she tells Dean it's what he's headed for. He asks if she can save him and she tells him no, but she had to tell Sam that she could to get him to listen to her at all. And here's her big confession: she wants to help Sam win the war because hell's fire didn't work on her and she still remembers what it was like to be human. And I can't buy it. I would find it far more likely that she's trying to make up for having been a witch, that she's trying to regain her soul and get her way into a heaven - a sort of demon female version of John Constantine. But no, apparently it's out of the goodness of her heart.

At least, that's the story for now.

The Funny
Sam: She's dead.
Dean: Yeah, that's a curve ball.

Dean: What the hell was that? It tasted like ass.
Ruby: It's called witch craft, short bus
Dean: (mumbles) You're the short bus.

Dean: (on hell) I saw Hellraiser, I get the gist.
Ruby: They got that pretty close actually...except for all the custom leather.

What did you think of tonight's episode? Do you buy Ruby's heart of gold? Her desire to train Sam into a demon fighting champ with the help of Dean? Or is this all a clever ruse to trick them into some nefarious scheme in which only she wins?

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