Supernatural S11E13 “Love Hurts” REVIEW
Airing in the UK on E4 on Wednesdays at 10pm
Writers: Eric Charmelo & Nicole Snyder
Director: Phil Sgriccia
Essential Plot Points:
- It’s Valentine’s Day, so of course there’s a guy having an affair with his babysitter – who gets her heart punched straight out of her chest for her misdemeanours.
- Sam and Dean go to check it out. Turns out the nanny cam is missing, and the husband, Dan, is acting weird, so Dean goes to talk to him privately, having cottoned on to the affair quickly enough.
- Dan has the nanny cam, which caught the entire attack.
- The cam shows that it was Dan himself who carried out the brutal attack – but Dan was at a restaurant with his wife the entire time. Sam checks out the cam footage and manages to catch a glare in Dan’s eyes. They have their monster: a shapeshifter.
- Dan has a visitor to his officer: Staci, the dead babysitter, and she wants his heart. And she gets what she wants.
- The obvious suspect is Dan’s wife, Melissa, but she claims she would never have wanted her husband dead. As soon as the Winchesters leave, though, she unearths a box with what looks like witches paraphernalia stored inside.
- In the middle of the night, there’s a knock on Melissa’s door. It’s Dan. Melissa manages to run away and goes straight to the Winchesters for help.
- She explains what happened – that she confided in her hairdresser, who gave her a “return to love” spell to try and earn her husband’s affections back. Unfortunately it backfired in the worst way possible.
- Sam deciphers the spell, and finds out that the so-called “return to love” spell is actually a “kiss of death” curse that passed from Dan to Staci – so not a shapeshifter. If Melissa doesn’t keep paying the curse forward, she’s going to die. Right on cue, Dan bursts through the window.
- To Melissa’s complete shock, Dean kisses her to transfer the spell to himself and head Dan off. Sam isn’t best pleased, but they gotta keep on going. Their next stop is the witch’s salon.
- Sam finds the spell in the salon basement, along with the lore that tells him they’re dealing with a “Kareen”, who takes the form of your deepest desire to get close to you and kill you. Since the hairdresser is commanding the Kareen, she possesses its heart, the key to its demise.
- Sam finds the heart within the salon, but is caught by Sonja the hairdresser. She casts a choking spell on Sam, but luckily Melissa is on hand with a gigantic knife. To save her the trouble, Sam downs Sonja with witch killing bullets.
- Meanwhile, Dean has been left open to the Kareen, who takes the form of Amara. Sigh. With Sonja downed, Sam is able to stab the heart and destroy it before she can get to Dean.
- Incredibly, Dean comes clean to Sam about who the Kareen took the form of, but Sam isn’t all that surprised – Amara is God’s sister. What choice does Dean have?
Love is in the air on this week’s Supernatural! Well, if you define love as affairs, murder and creepy coercion, that is. Ah, SPN.
This episode focuses on Melissa, a misguided woman who just wants her husband to love her, rather than their 19 year old babysitter, Staci. So of course, she turns to witchcraft, a sure-fire, foolproof way of bringing her hubby back around. It’s an act of desperation, and those don’t often go down well. Sure enough, she brings on the death of both her husband and Staci with one damning kiss. And then they come back. All in all, it’s not the best day Melissa’s ever had.
Despite that she’s a great side character, who somehow manages to balance the shock at her husband’s death with the shock of the supernatural circumstances surrounding it. She doesn’t do very much in the way of helping out, but in a way that’s a nice change – she’s just a normal woman who got dragged into something beyond her control, and she’s dealing with it. It helps to have the Winchesters on hand, of course!
Speaking of the Winchesters, this season has really seen them improve on their attitude towards one another, and this episode keeps that up wonderfully. Snyder and Charmelo write in some great “brotherly banter” lines, although arguably the best moment is devoid of any lines at all, with Dean finally winning at rock-paper-scissors. Sam’s abject amazement is practically palpable! It’s also a credit to the boys that they’re keeping up with their “no secrets” policy; it almost feels out of character for Dean to come right out and tell Sam about the “your-deepest-darkest-desires” Kareen manifesting as Amara!
We’re glad he did though, both for the sake of honesty and because it leads to the very overdue conversation about how Dean isn’t actually in love with Amara – in fact, he wants to gank her as much as the next person, if not more – but the second he’s in close proximity to her, her influence takes over. It’s something Dean thinks of as shameful, so it’s not a surprise he hasn’t really breached the topic with his brother yet. But as Sam says: “She’s God’s sister. Do you think you ever had a choice in the matter? If you think I’m gonna blame you or judge you, I’m not.” It’s a wonderful moment for the brothers, plus it’s nice to know that Sam’s got Dean’s back – being in creepy, controlled love with a primal force who wants to destroy the world can’t be fun.
Overall, a pretty cut-and-dry monster-of-the-week episode. Not bad for a casual watch, but probably not one you’d come back to on a re-watch, given the fairly thin plotline. We’re hoping for some more plot next week!
- There’s been no shortage of good side characters this season, and Melissa is no exception!
- The Winchesters camaraderie can really be felt this episode through their banter and fun interaction.
- Dean finally won rock-paper-scissors! That’s one for the history books.
- We finally have confirmation that no, Dean doesn’t actually love Amara, and yes, it is some sort of creepy coercion on Amara’s part. Poor Dean, though. That can’t be fun.
- As an episode, “Love Hurts” is fairly forgettable, with a generic monster-of-the-week plotline and only a thin tie-in to the overarching plotline. It falls particularly short given that the “the road so far” segment is full of arguably better “holiday” episodes!
And the Random:
- In a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it moment, Dean asks what a “dad bod” is – presumably he’s referring to someone telling him he’s got one!
- There’s a whole lotta love references dotted around this episode: all the TV shows Staci flicks through are love-related, Dean references 50 Shades Of Grey (although it’s debatable as to whether that can actually be considered “love” related..!) and Joe Hill’s novel Heart-Shaped Box can be seen on a coffee table.
Review by Jessica Anson