Episode Title: "Defending Your Life"
Writer: Adam Glass
Director: Robert Singer
Previously on "Supernatural":
The Winchester brothers, Sam (Jared Padalecki) and Dean (Jensen Ackles) reeled from a devastating encounter with the Leviathans, which destroyed the home of their mentor, Bobby Singer (Jim Beaver) in an attempt to finish off the Winchesters once and for all. As the brothers recuperated from their injuries, Sam noticed a series of murders that had ties to his past investigation of a kitsune. In a flashback, young Sam befriended a girl named Amy, whose mother turned out to be a murderous kitsune. To save Sam's life, Amy killed her mother and he allowed her to get away.
In the present, Sam tracked down Amy (Jewel Staite), who had seemingly taken over where her mother had left off. But Amy explained that she only killed the men because she needed to help her son recover from an illness and she vowed not to do it again. Sam was moved by her plight and he let her live. However, Dean was less forgiving and he found Amy in her home shortly before he murdered her. But as far as Sam knew, Dean had taken him at his word and also spared his old friend. Even so, the guilt over what he had done began to eat away at Dean while the Leviathans continued to close in on them.
In Dearborn, Michigan, a man named Matthew Hammond (Angelo Renai) runs for his life as a seemingly possessed car follows him everywhere, even the inside of an apartment before it crushes him to death. Soon enough, Sam and Dean pose as FBI agents and investigate the death. They learn that Matthew had killed a young girl in a car accident ten years ago, which seemed to dominate his life years later. Just as a precaution, Sam and Dean burn the girl's bones in case she was responsible for the revenge killing. Later, a dog chases Christopher Fisher (Teach Grant) into a restaurant, where the other patrons can't seem to see the animal.
And when Christopher tries to hide in the bathroom, the dog appears to him there and fatally mauls him. When investigating, Sam and Dean learn that Christopher was running some Michael Vick style dogfights. After tracking some of the dirt found on Christopher's body to a local apple farm, Sam and Dean encounter Warren (Julian Christopher), an older man who practically jumps in front of their car. After taking him back to their hotel room, Warren confesses that he killed two shop owners years ago before being paroled. And now Warren is being hunted by the very people that he killed.
Dean actually sides with whatever is haunting these people and argues that they deserve what they get, but Sam convinces him to harbor Warren in the room and surround him in protective circle before leaving. The brothers split up, with Dean hitting the bar that was the common denominator between the victims. But he seems more interested in drinking and hitting on the waitress than he is in actually investigating the incidents. Meanwhile, Sam gets Bobby to look up some symbols relevant to the case. He soon learns that they are the emblems of Osiris (Faran Tahir), an Egyptian deity that puts people on trial for their lives based on whether they feel guilt or not.
Outside the bar, Dean is whisked away by Osiris. And back at the hotel, Osiris seems to "Final Destination" Warren into leaving his protective circle and coming face-to-face with his former victims, who in turn kill him. Sam finds Dean's phone outside of the bar thanks to the waitress. He then races to the apple farm just as Osiris begins Dean's trial. Sam offers to serve as Dean's lawyer, but Osiris seems to get annoyed with his constant objections fairly quickly. Osiris even calls the deceased Jo Harvelle (Alona Tal) to the stand about her death and whether she held Dean responsible for it.
Jo tries to absolve Dean, but it's his own guilt that works against him. Sam does a decent job of getting Dean's mindset back in the right place to pass the judgement, but when Osiris seems to threaten to call Amy to testify, Dean accepts summery judgment and he is found guilty by his own heart. However, Osiris allows Dean some time to get his affairs in order before the end. When Sam and Dean arrive at the hotel, they find the cops taking away Warren's body. Sam insists that there must be a way out of this, but Dean seems resigned to his fate. He parts from Sam before Bobby alerts his brother to a potential way to get rid of Osiris for at least a few centuries.
While Sam stalks Osiris at the bar, Jo appears to Dean as the instrument of vengeance against him, even though she clearly doesn't want to hurt him. As she prepares to blow up the room in the way she was killed, Sam stabs Osiris with a holy relic which causes him to disappear. With that, Jo regains her will and she touches Dean one last time before disappearing as well. Later, Sam and Dean celebrate over a beer and Dean shares his theory that Jo was happier dead than she was alive. Sam tries to ask Dean who the last witness would have been, but he denies having any idea.
If this episode had just been an excuse to bring Alona Tal for another guest stint, I would have been happy with it. As it is, Tal doesn't get much to do as Jo other than her brief court appearance and her last scene with Dean. It would have been cool if Jo got to participate in at least part of the resolution, but her role here was a cameo at best.
That said, the idea of putting Dean on trial for what he's done has a lot of appeal. It also seems like a missed opportunity to get Jewel Staite back for one more episode, but I liked Dean's fear of Amy's potential return. He'd rather die than allow Sam to know that he betrayed his promise and killed Amy anyway. It's hard to tell if it's the promise that Dean regrets or if he truly is conflicted as to whether he should have killed Amy. Knowing this show, that secret is bound to come out before the end of the season, and it should be interesting to see what Sam's reaction is.
If anything, Osiris' trial seems like it was only the tip of the iceberg for what could have been a lengthy retelling of Dean's sins. It's not that Dean is a bad guy, but he's done a lot of morally questionable things. You'd think that someone would mention that he allowed his half-brother, Adam to rot in hell when he choose to save Sam's soul, but that point has been danced around a lot.
Faran Tahir was unexpectedly lighthearted as Osiris and the Christine and Cujo inspired deaths were both really amusing. The Michael Vick reference was also a winner, especially since it gave the audience time to make their own joke before the characters did it.
My only real complaint about this episode is that it didn't carry as much dramatic weight as it could have. Even with Dean's ongoing guilt issues, this felt like the Winchesters got off a little too easy. And for an Egyptian God, Osiris went away far too easily for us to take him serious as a credible threat. And again, I liked Tahir's performance, but if the series can't even make an old world God into a compelling enemy then it's just another symptom of the same thinking that has made the Leviathans instantly forgettable as the show's new adversaries. After seven seasons, stories and concepts are bound to repeat themselves, but some of "Supernatural's" charm has been lost in the shuffle. Hopefully the series will be able to bounce back soon.
Crave Online Rating: 6.5 out of 10.