SUPERNATURAL 7.12 ‘Time After Time’

Dean teams up with Eliot Ness while tracking down the God of Time in 1944.

Blair Marnellby Blair Marnell

Episode Title: "Time After Time"

Writer: Robbie Thompson

Director: Phil Sgriccia

Previously on "Supernatural":

Episode 7.11: "Adventures in Babysitting"

Story:

Sam (Jared Padalecki) and Dean Winchester (Jensen Ackles) chase Chronos (Jason Dohring) down an alley, where the God of Time begins claiming another victim. Dean tackles Chronos and they both disappear into a bright flash of light, leaving Sam stunned. Some time earlier, the Winchester brothers move into an abandoned house to hide out from the Leviathans after the apparent death of Bobby Singer (Jim Beaver). While Sam makes light of Dean's obsession with getting revenge on Dick Roman (James Patrick Stuart), Sheriff Jody Mills (Kim Rhodes) calls the Winchesters and she tells them that she may have a case for them.

Following up on Jody's lead, the brothers question a discredited witness about witnessing a man dressed in '40s style clothing draining another man until he was mummified. And while researching past cases of similar incidents, Sam and Dean note that the same man is photographed near several of the murders and he doesn't appear to have aged over the decades. Using his new hacking skills, Dean manages to find footage of the same man, whom we glimpsed in the teaser. The brothers track him down and as we catch up to the present, Dean tackles Chronos and he winds up in 1944.

Disoriented, Dean is immediately arrested by the police for carrying a weapon. At the police station, Dean is regarded with suspicion until Eliot Ness (Nicholas Lea) shows up and starts asking questions about Chronos. Dean realizes that Ness is a hunter like himself and Ness buys into Dean's story that he's from the future. However, Ness seems puzzled by Dean's constant references to "The Untouchables." Deciding to use Dean to help him bring down Chronos, Ness brings Dean to see Ezra Moore (Linda Darlow); who is apparently the Bobby of her era. Ezra hooks Dean up with a sharp suit and she loads them up with specialized weapons. 

In the present, Jody arrives at the abandoned house and she volunteers to help Sam get his brother back. Simultaneously in the past and in the present, the Winchester brothers and their allies realize that Chronos really is the God of Time, just weakened from no longer having any worshipers in the present. While Sam and Jody look for a spell to summon Chronos, Dean and Ness search for a way to kill him. Unfortunately, Sam soon learns that the only way to bring Dean back to the present is if they know the exact moment that he and Chronos are in physical contact in the past.

While staking out Chronos in a diner, Dean mentions that he keeps losing the people close to him while being a hunter. Ness basically gives Dean a verbal smackdown and tells him to man up, because being a hunter is the only clarity that they'll ever find. Then they spot Chronos apparently stalking a waitress named Lila Taylor (Melissa Roxburgh). But to their surprise, Chronos and Lila are lovers and she only knows him by the name "Ethan." Checking in with Ezra, Dean gets a weapon that can kill a god. And the older woman also blindsides Dean with a kiss "for luck." 

Meanwhile, Ness spies on Chronos until the fallen God gets the jump on him and starts beating Ness. Only the temporary distraction from Lila gives Ness a chance to get away. At the same time, Dean visits the same house that he and Sam will inhabit in the future and he leaves a letter for Sam hidden in his bedroom wall with a note explaining what happened and what the date is. Armed with the information from the letter, Sam and Jody find the much older Lila Taylor (Catherine Barroll), who recognizes that Ethan choked the life out of Dean at 11:34PM on November 05, 1944, the night that he disappeared.

In the past, Dean returns to Lila's house and he can't find Ness. And when Dean enters the house, Chronos attacks him. Ness stops the assault by taking Lila hostage. Chronos admits that he's been killing people to prevent him from being bounced to different time periods, but he insists that he's a God not a monster and that he only loves Lila. As Dean moves in for the kill, Chronos begins violently choking him to death. In the present, Sam and Jody cast the spell while in the past, Ness barely gets the weapon to Dean before he and Chronos reappear in the present.

The reunited Winchesters dispatch Chronos fairly easily, but the dying God mockingly warns them that their future holds nothing but Leviathans and that oblivion awaits them.

Breakdown:

"Time After Time" is emblematic of "Supernatural's" seventh season: it had a great setup with a lackluster villain.

Even the final moments of this episode tries to build the Leviathans up into worthy adversaries for the Winchesters, perhaps forgetting that the audience has already learned that Lemon Pledge can seriously wound the monsters from Purgatory. Chronos was also a pretty big disappointment. For someone who was supposedly the God of Time, Chronos was unaccountably weak even factoring in his story about no longer being able to control his own powers.

In addition to not really being all that formidable, Chronos received very little screentime to develop as a character. The root idea of Chronos falling in love with a mortal woman and killing people just to return to her had some promise. Unfortunately, there was never a point in this episode in which the relationship between Chronos and Lila seemed believable or convincing. 

Regardless, Dean's scenes in the past were a lot of fun and Nicholas Lea was terrific as Eliot Ness. The idea that Ness was secretly a hunter is brilliant and I loved the way that Ness tore into Dean's tendency to feel sorry for himself. It was also amusing that Ness was completely confused by Dean's pop culture references and that Dean had no idea who "The Untouchables" were outside of the Kevin Costner movie. It doesn't seem likely that we'll see Lea reprise his role as Ness on this series; but I would absolutely be on board for a '40s era "Supernatural" spinoff with Ness in the lead.

This episode had some particularly strong editing that linked the two different time periods; which made an exposition scene entertaining and it added some tension to the confrontation with Chronos as events cut between the past and the present. The 1944 time period was well realized and it seemed convincing on a TV budget. "Time After Time" also had a lot of funny moments like Dean's attempt to do math in his head or Ness' version of a lock pick. Every time events cut back to the past, "Supernatural" seemed sharper than it was in the last few episodes before Bobby's apparent demise.

Although the characters are still dancing around the final confirmation of Bobby's death, his absence was still felt in this episode. Jody actually seems to fit in better as the surrogate Bobby figure than Frank did in the previous episode, and that could be a way to freshen up that dynamic going forward. It was also hilarious that Ezra was Ness' Bobby in the past and that she had an obvious attraction towards Dean.

It was also amusing that Dean's only idea about getting in touch with Sam caused him to openly admit that he stole it from the "Back to the Future" films. However, Dean's tactic of hiding the letter in the wall of the abandoned house seemed a little risky as opposed to actually hiring Western Union. It worked, if for no other reason than the plot needed that moment to happen. But that was starting to really push my suspension of disbelief.

Despite some occasionally shaky moments, "Time After Time" was pretty entertaining and easily one of the better episodes this season.

Crave Online Rating: 8 out of 10.