Welcome back, gang. Sorry I missed last week’s episode. I was under the impression that the season resumed this week. I was wrong. However, it may not be so bad after all. I watched last week’s episode a few days ago, and it did some interesting things – things I didn’t expect from Supernatural. Mostly it was able to juggle two story lines that both did some degree of work. The Sam and Dean story was pretty lame, but at least we got to see THE PROPHET KEVIN return for a little bit (this time as a g-g-g-g-g-ghost). The much more interesting plot revolved around Castiel. He finally confronted Bartholomew and the corporate looking angel contingent. In a nice twist, Castiel actually kills Bartholomew. In doing so he inadvertently takes a central role in the heavenly conflict, and, despite his reluctance, begins to accrue followers. The episode wraps up with GHOST PROPHET KEVIN asking the Winchesters to resolve their personal issues and get back to hunting. A promise is made and then promptly forgotten about in the next episode. In fact, in the “last time on” section this episode doesn’t come up once.

Maybe the episodes are being aired out of shooting order. That happens, but this feels egregiously sloppy. This episode doesn’t really have an A and B plot. Instead, what it has is a very obvious (though still effective) contrast of two pairs of ostensible ghost trackers; a contrast that highlights the stakes of Sam and Dean’s relationship.

The other pair in this doubles match? Ed and Harry aka The GhostFacers. You may remember them. They are a pair of “supernaturalists” who travel the country searching for haunted houses and the like to produce their web series about the paranormal. These days they have a new focus. No more broad investigation for these guys. They’re going after Thinman. You may know about The Slender Man, an urban legend that has been making the rounds on the internet. In the world of Supernatural, however, it appears Thinman is real. Bodies start piling up in a small town in Washington, and both parties appear to investigate.

I know that I say I’m going to ignore the story a lot, and then proceed to talk about it at length. This time it will be different. I’ve told you all you need about the story. I’d rather talk about this through the lens of the central metaphor. The GhostFacers, much like the Winchesters are a pair that is bound together by their collective duty. Also like the Winchesters, The Ghostfacers are being torn apart by a secret. The reveal is irrelevant, but the result is fascinating. The two filmmakers have an argument that mirrors the conversation the Winchesters had a few weeks ago. Sam accused Dean of trying to keep the duo together for selfish reasons. Harry accuses Ed of the same thing.

The second half of the episode is more about making the comparison clear than anything else. This is becoming a huge problem with the show. There is not one, but two really interesting running, SUPERNATURAL plots. The angel stuff is just getting good now that we have a character we like invested in it directly. At the same time, there’s all of this awesome Mark Of Cain stuff that hasn’t come up again since it was introduced. This week’s episode wasn’t terrible. It was pretty heavy handed, but still entertaining. The way that it played off of the show’s internet following was interesting – sometimes very clever. There just isn’t a lot to say about an episode that repeats the themes the whole season has been beating us over the head with. It shows the show can still invest a whole episode in an emotional arc. It also shows that the show has no idea when to put this skill to work.