Supernatural: “Girls Girls Girls”

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Supernatural is a great show, but by jove is it frustrating sometimes. Case in point, last night’s “Girls Girls Girls”. It was a middling hour where it felt like nothing much really happened, except for some sex worker shaming and another set of plot points from the beginning of the season wrapped up too soon. There are some good performances, which prevent it from being a complete failure, but it’s a disappointment after a run of really excellent episodes so far.

When Dean Winchester (Jensen Ackles) gets on a dating site, he quickly finds that he’s accidentally arranged a meeting with a prostitute who charges souls instead of cash. Dean and his brother Sam (Jared Padalecki) find out that she works for a demon who runs a whole brothel where the currency is mens’ souls, and they head off to find the offending pimp. They’re beaten to the punch by an ancient, powerful witch named Rowena (Ruth Connell) whose Scottish brogue is almost as strong as her mind-melting spells. She rescues two of the girls from the demon’s grasp and takes them along with her, planning to make them her protégés.

When Dean and Sam catch up with Rowena, she makes a hasty getaway in part due to Cole (Travis Aaron Wade), a young man who has been hunting Dean Winchester for the past several years seeking revenge for his father’s death. Cole is ready to put a bullet in Dean’s brain, but a heartfelt talk from the elder Winchester sets him straight and sends him home. Dean assures him that his father was a monster, that he does remember the man’s name, and that he doesn’t want Cole to face the same fate as all Hunters: the edge of a knife or the barrel of a gun. Cole was set up in the first two episodes as a potential long-term adversary, and however annoying he was, it’s still frustrating to see his plot being dropped so quickly.

The B-plot concerns Castiel (Misha Collins) and Hannah (Erica Carroll), two angels on the lookout for rogues to send back to Heaven. Things have been getting complicated between them, as Hannah’s increased exposure to humanity’s emotional ups and downs have distracted her from the mission and led to some sexual tension between her and Castiel. Things get even more twisty when she’s confronted by a man who turns out to be the husband of the human she’s using as her vessel. Both demons and angels hijack human bodies to walk around on Earth, and Hannah’s vessel, Caroline, misses her husband desperately. In the end, Hannah chooses to set Caroline free and go back to Heaven, leaving Castiel to wonder about his own vessel’s family and what they must think after so many years.

Fans everywhere breathed a sigh of relief last night when they saw Hannah leave. While Carroll isn’t a terrible actress, she was given the worst material and a middling subplot that’s done nothing but spin its wheels. One just hopes that Castiel will actually have something to do going forward and can leave the politics of angels behind.

“Girls Girls Girls” was far from the worst of Supernatural, but it wasn’t great. The two women rescued by Rowena are portrayed as vapid, classless airheads, which is always frustrating. I want to see more positive or neutral portrayals of sex workers on television, not the tired old tropes that prostitutes are stupid or broken women. Also, Cole and Hannah’s subplots were dropped, and while neither character was exactly popular, they were nonetheless set up with a certain amount of weight and the lack of follow-through is just weak storytelling.

Ruth Collins is the saving grace of “Girls Girls Girls” as she struts around as Rowena and is clearly having a very fun time. The final moment of the episode reveals an intriguing twist: she may actually be the mother of Crowley (Mark Sheppard), the King of Hell. At the very least, that dynamic will be interesting to watch.

Supernatural is not always the smartest show on TV, but it can be a lot smarter and a lot better than this. I only hope that “Girls Girls Girls” was a Band-Aid to patch up some of the weaker points from this season so far and that things get stronger again next week.

C

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