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.
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.
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?
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