Supernatural rounded up another Creature of the Week episode here, as it continued its "return to the beginning" style of storytelling.
And this installment was chock full of things that brought back memories of the first couple seasons. Hunting ghosts, dingy hotels, Dean picking up girls, working in a small town and even concluding the hour with a heart-to-heart against the Impala while drinking a beer. This was classic Supernatural.
At the same time, "Defending Your Life" wasn't a carbon copy of an older episode. It merely incorporated the past, while finding a way to acknowledge the changes over the years.
Dean certainly recognized the oddness in working a case because it felt so long ago since they had done that type of work. They've been so preoccupied with the apocalypse and fighting against Angels that the simple task of taking care of some ghost had become a backseat problem.
Except the real problem wasn't the terrorizing ghosts, but rather Dean's enormous amount of guilt. How much does that thing weigh?
His life has become one huge guilt trip and the flashbacks to the deaths around him was proof enough. I love that Sam stepped in immediately to defend his brother and throw a positive spin. Who knew that studying pre-law would come in handy when fighting the supernatural? Who knew that Sam watched The Good Wife?
And as much as Dean being on death row was a negative thing, it did mean the return of Jo. I enjoy when past characters pop up. It delivers a strong sense of continuity while generating past memories. Viewers haven't seen her since season five, but even as a ghost she was able to illustrate a connection with Dean. I wonder what would have happened between those two if she hadn't died?
I'm curious as to why they held back Amy as a witness and left Sam in the dark about her death. That betrayal will have to come into play at some point and could (most likely) tear the brothers apart.
Additionally, as much as the trial centered on Dean, it revealed a lot about Sam as well. Sam doesn't feel guilty at all. That seems rather weird considering Sam is usually the one dealing with his emotions. Sam feels as if his time in Hell has allowed him to pay for his sins and move forward with his life.
Can he truly not feel guilty? Everyone feels guilty about something or another.
So, yes, Dean was guilty. We all knew that, especially with all of the experiences he's been through. That said, Dean seemed to get away rather clean considering his predicament. One moment he was preparing to die, the next, he received a miracle.
Should it have been that easy? Will Osiris come to collect years down the road or is the sentence null and void? Moreover, he never had to tell Sam about Amy. That guilt towards his brother is probably the strongest of all, but he needs to tell Sam. I predict Sam finds out by accident and the drama ensues.
All in all, Supernatural delivered a pretty standard episode with a good reminder of the past. Now, on to the future.
Sean McKenna is a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. Follow him on Twitter.