Episode Title: "Mannequin 3: The Reckoning"
Writers: Eric Charmelo & Nicole Snyder
Director: Jeannot Szwarc
Previously on "Supernatural":
On a trip to investigate the disappearance of several young woman, Sam Winchester (Jared Padalecki) became haunted by his lost memories of being in the same town a year prior with his grandfather, Samuel Campbell (Mitch Pileggi). Sam’s brother, Dean (Jensen Ackles) eventually figured out that the missing girls were all women that Soulless Sam had slept with, which meant that the entire incident was a trap for Sam specifically. But because of the wall placed within Sam’s mind, he missed most of the warning signs.
Eventually, Sam came face-to-face with Sheriff Roy Dobbs (Joe Holt), a man he coldly executed a year ago after using him as bait for a female Arachne. However, Roy survived the gunshot and transformed all of the missing women into Arachne as well. Roy’s wife helped the brothers dispatch her husband, but she didn’t forgive Sam for his betrayal. Later, Sam had a memory flash of his time in hell and went into a violent spasm.
Moments later, Dean desperately tries to reach his brother and get him to wake up. Slowly, Sam seems to come out of his seizure and Dean warns him again about the dangers of trying to reclaim his memories from his missing year. Meanwhile in Paterson, New Jersey, a janitor named Steve (Nicholas Carella) notices a spontaneously bleeding cut on his forehead before he is murdered by an anatomy dummy. When the brothers investigate his death, Dean gets a call from Lisa (Cindy Sampson) but he ignores it. Their search of the crime scene doesn’t turn up any supernatural elements either. That night, another watchman several miles away also dies just like Steve, with a spontaneous forehead cut and killer mannequins.
When the brothers arrive at this crime scene, they notice that the mannequin parts have high EMF readings and they recall the anatomy dummy at the previous murder and theorize that a ghost is possessing the inanimate humanoids. At the same time, they also learn that the case may be connected to a missing woman named Rose Brown (Christina Sicoli), whose sister Isabel (Rosalie Ward) is her only living relative. Dean also gets another call from Lisa and finally answers it at Sam’s insistence. It turns out to be Lisa’s son, Ben (Nicholas Elia), who tells Dean that they need his help desperately.
Dean leaves Sam with the investigation and races over to Lisa’s home, only to find her getting ready for a big date. Realizing that they’ve been "Parent Trapped," they take the opportunity to finally talk about their relationship. And it appears that Lisa is moving on from Dean because he can’t settle down. Back in Paterson, Isabel shows Sam a photo of her sister Rose at a Christmas party with the two murdered men also in the picture. Sam interviews several people in the factory before finding an extremely nervous man named Jonny (Jake Richardson). When the spontaneous cut appears on Jonny’s forehead, Sam is there to save him and encircle him in salt for his own protection.
Sam finally gets the full story out of Jonny. He and his friends played a cruel practical joke on Rose and made her think that she had a secret admirer before they lured her out to a fake date… which turned out to be a dummy. As the men mocked her and tried to restrain her, she fell and fatally injured herself. Rather than risk legal charges for her death, the men hid her body and her fate from her sister. Sam finds her body and destroys it to get rid of her ghost, but when Jonny goes home to his own love doll (what the f***?!), that doll comes to life and kills him.
Dean has a heart-to-heart with Ben, who accuses him of walking out on his real family. His words haunt Dean as he drives back to meet up with Sam. The brothers eventually work out that Rose is able to stay on Earth because she donated a kidney to her sister, Isabel. When the brother suggest some kind of ritual to get rid of Rose’s spirit, Isabel freaks out and Rose possesses the brothers’ beloved Impala. They survive the car’s attempt on their lives, but a shard of glass fatally wounds Isabel and exorcises her sister as well.
Later, Dean is shaken by having failed Isabel and even Rose so completely, while most of their tormentors got away clean. But Sam reassures his brother that he’s grateful that he restored his soul and he thanks Dean for doing so.
The best thing about this week’s episode was the title. But if you’ve got the audacity to name an episode "Mannequin 3: The Reckoning," then how the hell can you not give Meshach Taylor a cameo? (For those of you playing at home, Taylor was the only actor to appear in both "Mannequin" movies)
The first two murders in this episode actually had a good, creepy vibe. But the story never really comes together. I liked the way that the brothers lost a case (and lost big), but it just wasn’t a very satisfying conclusion. The possessed Impala could have been fun (and it seemed reminiscent of Stephen King’s "Christine"), but the brothers got out of that by just letting the Impala crash through a store front… possibly the most boring way that could have played out. Isabel’s fatal wound was also a bit of a stretch. If she had been accidentally hit by the car, than it would have made more sense.
There were other parts of the episode that were frankly, boring. In particular, Sam’s investigation largely played out in lifeless montages as he interviewed employees. After we learned what the men had done to Rose, I was actually rooting for them all to die horribly. But when it came time for Jonny to face the music, it was the biggest WTF moment of the night. He had his own female sex doll, which he addressed as if it was a real person moments before it came to life and killed him. Think "Lars and The Real Girl" as a horror film… except that might have been more effective.
It was good to see both Lisa and Ben reenter the series this week, but the overall story between them and Dean is really overwrought. Though I loved the "Parent Trap" joke, it was kind of a let down that the B-Story mostly centered around Dean and Lisa going in circles while talking about their relationship. I do like these two as a couple, but this keeping them apart BS is already old. It would be a lot more interesting if Dean was still trying to make his family life work while still hunting monsters on the side with his brother. And if he started training Ben to be a hunter, I would be okay with that too. The Campbells and the Winchesters are kind of f***ed up families as it is, so why not pass that on to the next generation?
There’s no getting around the fact that this was a lackluster episode not only for the season, but for the entire series. "Supernatural" can be so much better than this. But this week was a rare failure.
Crave Online Rating: 6 out of 10.