‘Supernatural’ Season 15, Episode 4 Recap: “Atomic Monsters”
Last week, we had our hearts ripped out (pun intended) as we had to sit through not one, but three character deaths in a single episode. Rowena, Ketch, and Belphegor (who became a fan favorite with his sassiness, even though we knew he was up to no good) are all gone, and I can only hope that we don’t have to endure character deaths in every episode this final season. Episode four, “Atomic Monsters,” promised to be a “monster-of-the-week” (MOTW) episode that has always given us a slight break from the pain of the current storyline in seasons past. So, here’s to hoping the mood has lightened a bit in this episode written by Davy Perez and directed by Jensen Ackles (for the final time on Supernatural).
The episode opens on an almost surreal scene in the bunker, that’s bathed in red light, a bearded Dean kicking butt. He’s taking out demons left and right in a truly epic opening sequence, as he seems to be searching for something or someone. He moves into a room and sees bodies strewn about and kneels down next to someone with obvious concern on his face. It’s his old vampire friend, Benny, who we haven’t seen since season eight. His return is short lived, though, as he’s been stabbed. He tells Dean, “I’ll see you on the other side, brother,” and dies.
Dean continues on, stopping a demon and asking, “where is he?” The demon doesn’t reply, and Dean takes him out and continues searching. He finally finds who he is looking for, and we see Sam. But this Sam is on demon blood and in his conversation with Dean, where Dean is pleading with him to stop, he states that he has done something to Bobby and Jody. “They tried to stop me, but I will not be stopped.” He kills another hunter sneaking up behind him, and then his eyes go black before he kills Dean. Much to my relief, the scene cuts to Sam waking up in his bed in a panic. It was only a dream, or at least I hope that’s all it was.
Later, Dean is in the kitchen eating bacon and Sam joins him. Dean casually asks how Sam’s night was, and Sam mentions having a weird dream. Not too concerned with it, Dean offers Sam some veggie bacon and refers to himself at the “Meat Man.” This moment gives us a light scene as Sam tells Dean that “Meat Man” doesn’t mean what he thinks it means and that he needs to stop calling himself that.
Then we get back to the angst. They discuss how Sam hasn’t left his room in days and he’s obviously going through some stuff. They talk about Rowena and Jack, and Sam is obviously torn up about everything that has happened. Regardless of the fact that Rowena knew what she was getting herself into, “it doesn’t make it any easier.” In what is perhaps an attempt to take Sam’s mind off of everything (because it usually works that way with MOTW episodes), Dean has a case. Somewhere in Iowa, there have been cattle mutilations, and now there’s a dead girl. At least they have something else to occupy their minds for now. Sam tries the “veggie” bacon and exclaims that it’s real bacon. Dean responds with another “Meat Man” before the scene ends.
The Winchesters are at Beaverdale High School investigating the girl’s, Susie, death, talking to the vice principal. Before they can get too many words in, a couple approaches the vice principal, clearly not upset over the death of Susie, but rather over the fact that the lacrosse game that their son is supposed to play in (where there was going to be a college scout!) is being rescheduled. The vice principal says that’s just how it is, and it’s not changing. The couple walks away, but something tells me we haven’t seen the last of them.
As Sam reconnects with Dean, Dean states that he found a vampire fang at the morgue. At least now they know what they are up against. The boys then investigate the crime scene, noting that there’s no blood or anything, and they’ve already realized that Susie was killed somewhere else and her body was dumped there. Suddenly, Sam gets a phone call. It’s the vice principal of the school letting them know that there was another murder.
Dean gets intel from the school mascot and learns that both victims were cheerleaders. They figure their monster is whichever cheerleader is next up for the part of team captain. They confront the girl as she’s in an empty auditorium, practicing her speech for Susie’s memorial service. It’s only when they realize that she has braces that they know there’s no way she could be the vampire.
Sam and Dean view the security footage of the moment the last girl is attacked. They can’t see the attacker, but they do see a car leave, and they immediately know who was there. Back at Billy’s house, the doorbell rings, and the Winchesters are there. They step in and confront the dad, convinced he’s the vamp. Sam goes off to investigate a noise, finding a girl in the garage. She has been tied up and gagged and is being drained of her blood, and he sets out to save her. Before he can get too far, the mom shows up with a gun and leads them back to the living room with everyone else. The girl isn’t doing well, and the dad is pleading with the mom to stop this. He just wants her to take Billy and leave and let the boys do what they need to do.
Dean is convinced that dad is a vamp, but he’s so wrong. They realize suddenly that Billy is the monster. Billy refuses to let his parents protect him further and gives himself up to Sam and Dean. Here, we are treated to a montage of them taking Billy away and offing him, as his parents play along with the story that Billy kidnapped the girl and then ran away. The real treat, though, was hearing “Sounds Of Someday, a song by Jensen’s band, Radio Company, playing during the scene. Not only did we get director Ackles this week, but we got to hear his new song on the show!
The hunting trip ends with Sam and Dean in the Impala discussing how what they do still matters. Dean is still set on the idea that they have to keep going, just as they always have, and without Chuck around again, they are free. They have to do this to save people, and they have to do this for the people that they have lost. But, in this moment, Sam feels lost. He’s not sure if he really feels free. He even brings up Jessica and how he still thinks of her (break my heart, why don’t you). Sam muses that perhaps tomorrow, he’ll feel better.
Aside from the monster-of-the-week hunting trip, there was a lot more going on elsewhere. We are reunited with yet another previous character as we pop in to see what Chuck has been up to after that painful rejection from Amara in episode two.
We meet a lovely little family somewhere in the suburbs. There’s a couple of kids, a nice looking dad, and a sweet mom…wait…is that Becky Rosen? It is Becky! You remember Becky, right? She was the original Supernatural super fan from early seasons who used to be really wacky, but now she seems…normal. She’s saying goodbye to her family, who are heading away from home. As they drive away, she suddenly spots Chuck standing across the street staring at her. Obviously not thrilled to see her old flame again, she starts to run away, but Chuck immediately follows, calling out to her that he just wants to talk. He’s had a rough couple of weeks and has nowhere else to go, and his demeanor, strangely, is different here. Becky stops and listens to him. Chuck seems sort of distraught and lost.
It’s probably a bad move, but Becky let’s Chuck into her home, and as he is checking things out, Becky talks about her very successful Etsy shop where she sells unofficial Supernatural merchandise (living the dream, girl). She brings up Chuck being a prophet, and Chuck slyly just goes with it, not telling her who he really is at this point. Becky is also normal now because she went to counseling, and she realized that she was never in love with Sam, but rather the character of Sam that Chuck created. Oh, and she also writes Supernatural fan fiction where she leaves out the monsters but has the guys just doing every day mundane tasks. Chuck seems a little offended that she hates the monsters, so he gives on a spiel about how awesome the Leviathans were.
When Becky asks why he is actually there, Chuck talks briefly about his falling out with the Winchesters. He states that he’s low on resources and that his own sister rejected him because “she sucks,” and he went to Becky in hopes that she could make him feel big again. He obviously needs his ego stroked after all that rejection, so who better to do that for him than his #1 fan? But, Becky isn’t really about that life anymore. She has a family, a life, and she doesn’t need Chuck.
We get an interesting moment here as Chuck realizes out loud that he knows no one needs him. He hates himself, and he feels lost. For the first time so far this season, I actually kinda feel bad for Chuck. Writing is apparently the only thing that makes him happy. He talks about how he used to be able to see Sam and Dean any time he wanted to, but he no longer can. Becky tells him he should write about something else, but this is all Chuck knows. It is his favorite story, after all. After a super intense pep talk from Becky (that makes me never want to procrastinate again), Chuck is still unsure of himself. “I’m a writer too, Chuck,” Becky says, and Chuck isn’t super impressed, because she writes fanfic. “Writing is writing!” Becky reminds him, and then Chuck gets excited and sits down to write. Becky obviously didn’t mean for him to write at her home, but she can’t stop him as he starts a new draft to the story.
Later, Becky is reading what Chuck wrote. He’s waiting patiently, obviously pleased with himself. This scene is almost an homage to “Don’t Call Me Shurley,” and is similar to the moments that Chuck shared with Metatron as he was writing his autobiography and Metatron was giving him notes. Only this time, Chuck doesn’t get the same reaction as he did back then and Becky simply tells him that it’s great, and she loves it. It’s obviously an attempt to get Chuck to leave faster, but he’s not convinced she’s being truthful. He begs her for just one note, and this in turn leads Becky into listing everything that is wrong with his writing. It’s a lot. The villains are poorly written, there’s no classic rock, there’s no mention of Cas, no danger, and on and on. Suddenly, we’ve got our end of season 14 Chuck on screen as he gets visibly angry with Becky’s critiques. For a writer who wants feedback so desperately, he sure can’t handle the truth. “You want jeopardy?” He asks, “You want danger?” He shoos her away from the computer and sits back down and starts writing again. “I’ll give you danger.”
We cut to Chuck looking even more pleased with his story as Becky re-reads his edited work. She is far less pleased. The story has obviously taken a different route, and you can tell by that unsettling expression on Chuck’s face that he definitely gave her the danger that she thought was missing earlier. “I can see it now,” he says. “Supernatural…the end. Fans are gonna love it.” But Becky disagrees. She tells him that it’s “awful, horrible, hopeless.” She’s concerned about what he did to Sam and Dean, and her fear in that moment is what excites Chuck so much that I was in awe at the way he turned so sinister so quickly. She’s finally giving him the reaction that he wanted. In this moment, it’s obvious that Chuck is off his rocker, and it is unnerving.
When Becky hears her husband walk through the door, she asks Chuck to leave, but he refuses. It was definitely a surprise for Mr. Becky to walk in and see another man in his house with his wife, but before he can really react, Chuck snaps his fingers and Becky’s husband is gone. We hear her children’s voices next, and Chuck snaps them away as well, much to Becky’s horror. He tells her that they’re not dead, just away, but she’s not relieved at all. As he basks in her confusion over what just happened, he finally tells her what he should have told her all along, “oh yeah, I’m God,” he grins. Becky pleads with him to bring her family back and tells him that he can’t do this. “Oh, Becky,” he replies, “I can do anything.” He then snaps his fingers again, and we watch as Becky also disappears before he completes his thought, “I’m a writer.”
The episode ends with Chuck having clearly made himself at home in Becky’s house. He’s writing at her computer, smiling to himself, as his little bout of writer’s block seems to be over. “This is gonna be good,” he grins as he types away. The camera pans to the desk where little Sam and Dean bobble-heads sit atop an anti-possession sigil with a tree and a black feather in the background.
One has to wonder if that dream that Sam experienced in the beginning of the episode was just that, or if it had more to do with his new connection to Chuck. What exactly did Chuck write that had Becky so upset, and where is he really planning to take the story? Also, about those bobble-heads…what does it mean?