Supernatural – A Very Supernatural Christmas
Sam and Dean investigate murders committed by an “anti-Santa” who pulls his victims up chimneys. Meanwhile, Dean wants to celebrate a traditional Christmas since it will be his last, but Sam refuses. Photo © The CW.
The kitsch factor was super high in this one, and the episode was all the better for it. Yes, it’s times like these that highlight why I love this show so freakin’ much. Investigating the murders of people who have been pulled up chimneys at Christmastime, Sam and Dean believe they are hunting the “anti-Santa,” Santa’s rogue brother. [Note: in the Season 2 DVD special features, I learned that every story on Supernatural is based on actual lore. Sure enough, Wikipedia does turn up articles on the “anti-Santas” Sam tells Dean about - yikes]. But after a quick call to Bobby (who, in true Bobby fashion, tells them they’re morons), the brothers realize they’re barking up the wrong tree.
Eventually the discovery of meadowsweet wreaths leads the boys to the home of Madge and Edward Carrigan, an overly bright-and-cheery Cleaver-esque couple that immediately raises red flags for our intrepid hunters. Played by Merrilyn Gann (Everwood) and Spencer Garrett, Madge and Edward turn out to be pagan gods who “assimilated” with the onset of Christianity. They proceed to torture the boys, and Supernatural proceeds to gross me out by showing Sam’s fingernail get pulled off. When a peppy neighbor interrupts the proceedings to invite the Carrigans caroling, Sam and Dean manage to turn the tables. A brief scuffle ensues, ending with the boys ripping apart a Christmas tree with their bare hands and stabbing the Carrigans with the branches.
Seriously kids, this show is awesome.
The subplot was built around flashbacks to Sam and Dean’s childhood. Today, Dean wants to have a “real Christmas” because he believes it will be his last. Sam refuses, partly because he still can’t accept his brother’s impending death and partly because he has terrible memories of the holiday. In the flashback, we see that Sam and Dean spent Christmases alone, with John off hunting. Dean does his best to protect young Sammy from the truth of their lives, but around age 8–10 (I’m really bad with kids’ ages), Sam finds his father’s journal and realizes that his big brother (who’s what, 10–12?) sleeps with a gun under his pillow.
Although I’m not a big fan of the childhood flashbacks, this one did have its moments. I particularly loved the bit when young Sam asks, “So monsters are real? But Dad said there were no monsters under my bed,” and young Dean replies, “That’s because he had already checked.” Then, there was the scene in which young Dean wakes Sam up on Christmas morning. Sam, disappointed that his father has not returned home, gives Dean the gift meant for John. I’m thinking, “Please let it be something he still has,” and lo and behold, the gift turns out to be the amulet necklace that Dean wears.
In the end, Sam decides to give his big brother what he wants. Dean returns to their hotel room to find that Sam has decorated and made some (very potent) eggnog. The brothers exchange gifts wrapped in newspaper: porno mags and shaving cream for Sam, motor oil and a candy bar for Dean. For an instant it seems like Sam is about to get weepy, but instead he turns on the TV and the brothers settle in for a nice holiday together.
Other good bits:
Sam telling the elf at Santa’s village they’re only there “to watch.”
The brothers attempting to sing Silent Night: "Round… the table…"
Dean reminiscing about their family’s beer-can wreath.