When fans heard the premise of this episode, there was--of course--an uproar. Sure, everyone agreed, Dean's a dog and it's highly likely he left something behind somewhere--but don't bring it permanently into our show. No car seats in the Impala!
This was probably the first instance of me hearing a spoiler, watching the fandom freak out, and just trusting Kripke and Co. to do it right. And they did!
Understandably, Dean wants to get his fill of all the good things in life. Bacon cheeseburgers and sex, primarily. And there's this chick in this town where there also happens to be a job.
First we have to focus on the Dean-as-father part. There are a few elements to this. First is Dean fearing he is one, as Ben displays many common traits. Music, girls, cars, and food, to be specific. Lisa insists he's not Dean's, but Dean doesn't seem convinced. Later, Ben displays courage and leadership that also emulates Dean. Lisa's explanation of "having a type" works, but the whole possibility has Dean thinking. He begins to long for a normal life, a life where he could do all the fatherly things his own didn't do with him. But there's a wagonload of poignancy when he says he could never have it.
The "skeery" plot, the job they're there to do, is one of the most creepy ones, and I found it excellently handled. Anything to do with kids is tricky (unless you're a horror flick where that's the whole point, I guess). The girl who played Katie totally creeped me out. Kathleen Munroe, who played the freaked-out mother, was amazing and sympathetic even as she tried to drown her kid. The effects of the changelings was horrific yet subtle, for the most impact.
Oh, yeah. That was the monster-of-the-week. Changelings. Someone was taking the kids and replacing them with these things that sucked on the mother's synovial fluid. The really cool thing is that when Sam and Dean tracked them down, they didn't have to flame the kids. There was a kick-ass mother--no, a literal mother--who beat them up pretty good before they torched her, which made the changelings go fwoosh without anyone having to flame them on the front lawn. Very cool.
The final element of the episode was Ruby, who showed up all cocky and stuff, flashing her black eyes at Sam and giving hints about a deeper mystery, some of which, despite Ruby's revelation and termination in the season 4 finale, remains unresolved. She also claimed she could help save Dean. Thus began the Great Ruby Debate.
Some favorite lines:
"Gumby Girl...does that make me Pokey?"
Ben: "Only bitches send a grownup."
Dean: "You're not wrong."
Ben: "And I am not a bitch."
What are your favorite parts/lines of this episode? Did you like it? If not, why not? What did I miss? Weigh in, in the comments!