The Miller Twins Talk #Supernatural Ep13x5 #AdvancedThanatology via @stacyamiller85 @tdmiller820917

The Nerdy Girl Express writers and twins Stacy and Tracy Miller are back for Season 13 for The Miller Twins Talk Supernatural. They will share their thoughts on heroic Winchester brothers, Sam and Dean (Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles) as well as other characters on The CW’s longest running show.

This article contains spoilers so if you haven’t seen the episode “Advanced Thanatology” please do not continue reading.

capture-pngtracyTracy:

I love learning new words especially when those words encompass unfamiliar scientific disciplines. When I discovered that  Supernatural Season 13 had an episode entitled Advanced Thanatology, I was able to add to my lexicon. Thanatology, according to Wikipedia, is “the scientific study of death.” Upon further examination, I uncovered that the word is derived from Greek mythology where Thanatos represents “the personification of death.” My curiosity was definitely piqued. Supernatural, as much as it is a show that wrestles with questions of good versus evil, equally balances notions of life versus death. After all, who has died more often on this show than our heroic brothers, Sam and Dean Winchester (Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles)? In a marvelously executed script written by Steve Yockey, “Advanced Thanatology” provided the allure of classic Supernatural from the earlier seasons accentuated with some ingenious new twists. The brothers are tasked with a ghost hunt and Dean is reacquainted with an entity from his past who has assumed a more important position.

 Grand Junction, Colorado. Our hapless teaser characters are two teens poised with a video camera seeking social media stardom. Memo to aspiring social media stars: A creepy old abandoned house in the dead of night where a homicidal doctor once lived isn’t the best way to propel your social media profile into the stratosphere.
For me, the initial teaser and later sequences boasted elements of “Asylum”, “Appointment in Samarra” and “Of Grave Importance.” I was giddy with anticipation as each chilling plot point presented itself.
And then there was one: Teaser Teen Evan is attacked by the malevolent spirit of the house while Teaser Teen Shawn flees.
After the colorful Season 13 titular card explodes on the screen, we see Dean fixing himself a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Enter Sam who offers his brother a beer to go with the culinary delight. PB & J plus beer, for breakfast?  Go with it…the Winchesters are the guys who save the world so they are allowed an unconventional breakfast.
Sam updates Dean on the teaser case and then proposes that they go on this hunt alone together. Jack has been a nice addition to Season 13 and has, in my opinion, gelled quite well with the brothers. But I really missed the good old days when the Winchesters worked together on a hunt employing their instincts and skills they learned from John. We even got the familiar FBI aliases Page and Plant (one of my favorites) and some humor. Sam uncharacteristically suggesting a strip club to Dean just to put his older brother at ease. This suggestion elicits a surprised Dean to share some Sam backstory with viewers: Apparently when a stripper in the past gave baby bro a lap dance, Sam tried to convince the woman to go to nursing school.  Another funny scene was hungover Dean partaking in the hotel’s complimentary breakfast. After all these years the Winchesters check into a hotel that serves a complimentary breakfast.
Shawn was so traumatised by his ghostly run in that he can’t speak. His friend Brian is missing. Still, Shawn’s drawings and other clues the brothers piece together lead them to the creepy house belonging to the sadistic Dr. Meadows who inflicted cruelties on his patients. Dr. Meadows is reminiscent of Season One’s Dr. Ellicott who tormented his patients at the Roosevelt Asylum.
The bulk of the episode was centered on the Meadows house. I enjoyed seeing the Winchesters working together. When Dean proposed dying to talk to the ghosts caught in the veil, the plot reminded me of “Appointment in Samarra.” The imaginative twist was having Billie (Lisa Berry) reappear and promoted to Death.
Berry always excels in the material that she is given. I had the pleasure of a phone interview with her earlier this year for The Nerdy Girl Express. I was disappointed when Billie was killed by Castiel in Season 12. Seeing her emerge as Death hopefully is the start of subsequent appearances this season.
While a despondent Dean was ready to die, Billie cryptically told him that the Winchesters were needed. This foreshadowing once again whet my curiosity.
Dean is so disheartened for a win after drowning in a sea of losses. Is the ending scene with Castiel the win that Dean has yearned for? Only time will tell.

capture-pngstacyStacy:

I love when we get an episode of Supernatural that is reminiscent of the early seasons of the series and why I fell in love with this show.  At its heart, Supernatural is the story of two brothers “Saving people, hunting things.  The family business.”  I know that the show had to evolve and expand to include new characters and story lines about angels wars and demons vying for Hell’s top position among other plots, but in my opinion, Supernatural is at its best when we get Sam and Dean Winchester battling a monster. In “Advanced Thanatology” it was a psycho ghost doctor.  Dr. Meadows reasoned that he could heal his patients but broke the first carnal rule of medicine “Do No Harm.” Because Meadow did the worst harm imaginable: He killed his patients. So, “Dr. Crazy” gets executed for murder and continues his deadly work in the afterlife. From the start of “Advanced Thanatology, I was brought back to an early Supernatural episode, Season One’s “Asylum” where we met another sick (in the head) physician, Dr. Stanford Ellicott. The look and feel of “Advanced Thanatology” was classic Supernatural; even Sam and Dean sounded like they used to.  As usual, Dean acted as though he carried the weight of the world on his shoulders. But that didn’t stop some funny moments between the brothers. And as they were dealing with a killing ghost, Dean decided that he had to journey to the veil. So it was off to see the spirit with a ticket to the afterlife. And surprise, surprise…the return of a familiar face.

I knew that Lisa Berry would be appearing in “Advanced Thanatology” as Reaper Billie but in true Supernatural fashion, nothing is what it seems. Meaning a reaper is no longer a reaper when she gets a big promotion and becomes Death.  That’s right, Billie is now the big cheese. Ever since she made her first appearance in Season 10, Billie never hid the fact that she was tired and disgusted at how many times the Winchesters have made deals to cheat death. But in a change of pace, she wasn’t there to make sure Dean stayed most “sincerely dead.”  And instead of trying to bargain for his life back, Dean had accepted his fate. His “Kick it in the Ass” attitude has become “I’ve been kicked in the ass too many times.” Losing Mary and Castiel made Dean feel he was more of a waste and was dragging Sam down. In the vast library where Death Billie had her office, she showed Dean the huge amount of books foretelling every way he died.  But, he wouldn’t be dying that day.  Always the hero, Dean bargained for the souls of all Dr. Meadows’ victims so they could rest in peace.

When Dean was returned to the land of the living, instead of lying or keeping a secret about what he had seen in the veil, Dean was honest with his brother and told him all about Billie being the new Death. If any moment showed character growth, this showed Dean.  Full disclosure meant he finally has total trust in his brother and Sam’s capabilities. Protecting little brother might have worked in the past, but now Sam and Dean are on the same footing. I think this will strengthen their partnership and make them better hunters than they’ve ever been.

As the episode closed, Dean saw that Castiel was back. Will Castiel’s time in the empty help him be a better ally to the Winchesters?

Comments? Sound off below.  Or tweet @thenerdygirlexp and @stacyamiller85 .

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