...which have changed this year, and which are now totally awesome. A jaguar-like animal howls just as a burst of flame shoots from the center of the screen, quickly collapsing back into the familiar sheet of fiery ripples from the series premiere. The ripples condense to form the show's title -- the middle A replaced briefly by one of the good-for-you pentagrams -- before the title shudders all over the place, eventually skipping into the black. The Big Gay Supernatural Dragon says: "Now even the titles are flaming? Faaaaabulous!"
Fade up on Spectral Dean frowning at his Vegetable self as Puffy Sam wheels into the room from the corridor beyond. Jared Padalecki's wearing the same clothes he's had on since "Salvation," which is nice continuity, but damn. They've got to stank by now. Also, I suppose it goes without saying that Jared Padalecki needs to CUT HIS GODDAMNED HAIR ALREADY. Ahem. Puffy Sam, the right side of his face a garish mass of purply bruises and tiny crimson cuts, just gapes in dismay at his broccoli-brained brother in the bed while Spectral Dean enthusiastically beams, "Sammy! You look good, considering. Heh!" Sam The Amazingly Puffy Mind-Reader can't hear him, however, and simply steps towards the bed, his mouth twitching with unspoken misery. Spectral Dean, frustrated by his brother's non-responsiveness, pads around to the far side of the room to fluster, "Man, tell me you can hear me." Puffy Sam sort of twitches his head in Dean's direction for a second, but then redirects his attention to the enormous Dean-shaped clump of spinach lolling around underneath the covers, so apparently the answer is no. Incidentally, they pull a lot of effects tricks during the course of this episode wherein both Spectral and Jolly Green Dean appear in the same, continuous shot, and this is one of them, with Spectral Dean disappearing from the left side of the frame as the camera pans down to his body in the bed. They're all pretty seamless, so bravo. I get the feeling they're going to be a pain in the ass to recap, though. In any event, Spectral Dean tries once more to communicate with, "How's Dad? Is he okay?" Puffy Sam just sighs. "C'mon!" Spectral Dean protests. "You're the psychic! Give me some ghost-whispering, or something!" Alas, there is no ghost whispering to be had. Nor much of anything else, to be honest with you. Don't worry, though -- you can use this time to stare at Jensen Ackles's shoulders, as I'm doing now. Or maybe his chest, if that's more your thing. Or even his neck, maybe. Or perhaps that little depression where his shoulders and his chest meet his neck. Yum. Now I know why Kripke & Ko. keep these guys in layers all the time. It's too damn distracting otherwise. Yowza.