Episode Title: "The Mentalists"
Writers: Ben Acker & Ben Blacker
Director: Mike Rohl
Previously on "Supernatural":
Sam (Jared Padalecki) and Dean Winchester (Jensen Ackles) were on the run from the Leviathans while trying to find a way to kill their new adversaries. However, the Leviathans found a way to strike at the Winchester brothers by assuming their forms and going on a cross-country killing spree… and making the Winchester brothers into the nation's most wanted criminals in the process. Eventually, their mentor Bobby Singer (Jim Beaver) discovered that the Leviathans were vulnerable to sodium borate, but not before the Winchesters were arrested by a local Sheriff.
When the Leviathan duplicates came after the WInchesters at the police station, the brothers teamed up with the Sheriff to take out their doppelgangers and fake their own deaths. However, Dean's duplicate told Sam that Dean had lied to him about killing Amy (Jewel Staite), a kitsune with whom Sam had shared his first kiss. Enraged by the betrayal, Sam told Dean to leave town without him and the Winchester brothers went their separate ways.
In the town of Lily Dale, a psychic named Grandma Goldy (Maureen Thomas) is putting on a show for Cynthia (Tabitha St. Germain), who buys every minute of the séance while Cynthia's skeptical husband (Gary Jones) doesn't bother to hide his disdain for the proceedings. But then things get a little too real when the planchette from the Ouija board rises up on its own and embeds itself into Goldy's throat and kills her. Some time later, Dean is stealing a car in Raleigh as he hears a radio report about the death of two psychics in Lily Dale and he decides to investigate.
Once there, Dean checks out the crime scene as his FBI cover ID, Agent Bourne. And even though Lily Dale bills itself as "the most Psychic Town in America," Dean quickly uncovers evidence that Goldy was a charlatan… albeit a charlatan with style. At a local restaurant that caters to tourists and Psychics, Dean finds his brother Sam already in town and working on the case. Although Sam is clearly still angry over what happened to Amy, he reluctantly agrees to work the case with Dean. A woman in the restaurant also recognizes Sam and Dean from the crime spree their doubles when on, but they convince her that they aren't the Winchesters.
Her husband, Nikolai Lishin (Dmitry Chepovetsky) drops by their table and (apparently unsuccessfully) attempts to bend Sam's spoon with his mind. But when he steps away, the spoon appears to bend by itself when Sam tries to use it. Later, the brothers determine that the link between the first two victims is a necklace that was inherited by Grandma Goldy, so they approach her granddaughter, Melanie Golden (Dorian Brown); who openly admits that she isn't psychic as she uses her keen observation skills to figure out the Winchesters' drama with each other.
The brothers also briefly encounter Melanie's psychic friend, Camille ( Rukiya Bernard) before retrieving the cursed necklace from pawn shop owner, Jimmy Tomorrow (Johnny Sneed). But the necklace turns out to be an ordinary object (made in Taiwan) and Nikolai is the next victim as he dies at the hands of his own culinary utensils. After checking out the latest murder, the brothers return to Melanie's home where she tells them that she found a message from her grandmother that predicted her death. The Winchesters let it slip that they aren't real FBI agents. As they leave, Sam insists that they split up to find new leads.
In her own emporium, Camille is overcome by a vision of her own death at 2AM. She calls Melanie, who relays the info to Sam and Dean. Upon arrival, Dean discovers that Camille's vision was triggered by a ghost captured on camera. The brothers soon learn that the ghost was Kate Fox (Jennifer Koenig ), who with her sister Margaret (Mia Ingimundsen) formed the famous Fox Sisters psychic duo that were among Lily Dale's first residents. After a possible message from beyond the grave (courtesy of Ellen Harvelle), Dean tells Sam to stop acting like a "bitch" about Amy's death. That night, the brothers dig up Kate's grave. Just before they burn her bones, she appears and tries to warn them before they destroy her.
Unfortunately, the brothers should have listened, since the real killer ghost turns out to Margaret Fox, who kills Camille at her appointed time despite the interference of Melanie. Afterwards, the brothers return to the graveyard and find that someone has already removed Margaret's bones. Figuring out the ingredients needed to bind a ghost, Sam gets an address from Jimmy Tomorrow… and finds that it leads to a Lamaze class. Realizing that Jimmy is the mind behind the ghost's rampage, Sam races to his home as Dean fruitlessly tries to defend Melanie against Margaret.
In the end, Sam shoots Jimmy and burns Margaret's bones to destroy her Earthly spirit. Afterwards, Sam and Dean reconcile when Sam says that Dean was right about Amy and Dean says that he was drinking heavily because he couldn't stand lying to Sam. Back together again, the Winchesters drive off in search of their next case.
I may be in the minority, but I was enjoying the more tense relationship between the Winchester brothers since the death of Amy. It was clearly designed to put some emotional distance between Sam and Dean and send them off in different directions. But instead of spending more time apart, they're reconciled and back together again by the end of this episode. If the reunion was earned, that would have been acceptable. But instead it felt forced and it basically required Sam to cave and admit that Dean was right. Sam didn't even have a proper comeback when Dean told him to stop acting like a "bitch!"
And if Dean really only felt guilt about lying to Sam, then why did he keep flashing back to the surprised look in Amy's eyes as he killed her? The whole angle turned out to be unsatisfactory, much like Sam's visions of Hell which have receded into the background. Also unbelievable was the way that the Winchesters convinced the woman in the restaurant that they weren't the Winchesters. Maybe they should… I don't know… get haircuts and disguise themselves? The reference to the last episode is appreciated, but it strains credibility that the Winchesters aren't recognized more often; especially when their faked deaths weren't that convincing.
The case in Lily Dale was fun and the idea of a town full of physics is pretty irresistible. The first séance murder was entertaining and it was enjoyable to see Dean uncover the ways that Grandma Golden had rigged her parlor to mimic the presence of spirits. Maureen Thomas also did a great job of showing Grandma Golden's fear as she realized that the events were real and out of her control.
It was also a nice touch that the Winchesters accidentally targeted the wrong Fox sister and eliminated their only potential supernatural ally in the case. But it was still kind of a dick move for the brothers to not show any remorse over that before going after the right ghost. I liked Jimmy Tomorrow as a potential villain, but he was onscreen so infrequently that the revelation of his true motives and powers came off a little flat. It would have had more of an impact if Jimmy had an active role in the rest of the story or any kind of relationship with his victims. But given that he put a dead woman's bones in his bed, we probably don't want to know what he did with them.
Overall, this episode was just slightly above average thanks to some good jokes scattered throughout ("It's either this or Los Angeles" and "It's Lily Dale" were my personal favorites). But this season badly needs some kind of kick that it just hasn't had yet.
Crave Online Rating: 6.5 out of 10.