Werewolf Kate returns in the brothers' first case since reuniting, but she isn't nearly as big a problem as their emotional baggage.

By Samantha Highfill
Updated March 31, 2015 at 02:51 PM EDT
Katie Yu/The CW

Although I could’ve done with a bit more Demon Dean, there is something about having the Winchester brothers back in the Impala that just feels like home. Add in a familiar face and a plot that forces the brothers to once again evaluate their relationship, their love for each other, and the lengths they’ve gone to, and Supernatural has returned to form in all the best ways.

There might not have been any Castiel or Crowley, but after what the brothers went through, it was a smart choice to focus in on how they’re coping, which of course, involved beer and near-death situations.

We pick up with both Winchesters sitting in fold-out chairs by the water with nothing but a cooler of beer and some unspoken baggage between them. And in what feels like a very rare occurrence for them both, they’re wearing sunglasses. Is it just me or do they hardly ever wear sunglasses? I know they never wear them inside, but something felt off and oddly funny about the visual. But apparently sunglasses are a key component to some R&R, which is what they’ve decided they both need. After all, Sam does have a sprained elbow—but is that all it is?—and Dean was a demon not so long ago.

[Major shout-out to the Supernatural team for sitting the guys near a “No Hunting” sign.]

But these are the Winchesters, and saving people, hunting things is their M.O., so after reading one pesky story in the newspaper about multiple murders, they’re off to find some wonderfully tight shirts and start investigating. So what in their professional opinion is to blame for the “animal attacks”? Blogging, ice caps, and Obama for starters. Just like that, I remember how much I’ve missed these two.

After discovering that they’re more than likely dealing with a werewolf—the missing hearts were a dead giveaway—the guys follow a lead to a nearby barn, where they stumble upon more than one heartless chicken. [Insert “tastes like chicken” joke here.] The heartless chickens take the guys to Kate, whom fans will recognize from the season 8 episode in which the college girl suddenly found herself stuck between her werewolf boyfriend and his werewolf friend. Long story short, the werewolf friend killed her boyfriend, and she retaliated by killing the werewolf friend after being turned herself. She then left Sam and Dean a video confessional where she begged for her life and promised to live on the Stefan Salvatore-approved animal-only diet.

So what happened to Werewolf Barbie? Well for one thing, she got better at escaping. Between her sharp claws and the fact that the boys might be a little rusty, Kate escapes just minutes after they nab her. The good news is that Dean has her phone and they’re able to track her to a motel. And the really good news is that the drive over to the motel gives the boys some time to talk about whether they’re ready to be back on the job. Dean brings up Lester, the poor man Sam convinced to sell his soul and Dean later killed, but Sam claims that he’s okay with the fact that he had to bend a few rules—or “go dark” if you will—to save his brother. Wait, but what’s with Dean’s mention of “others”? What else did Sam do?!

Well, we’ll have to wait to find out because the conversation is put on hold when the boys find Kate. That is, they think they’ve found Kate when in reality, they’ve found Tasha, Kate’s sister. When Tasha gets away—seriously boys, maybe stretch next time before getting back in the game?—Sam and Dean agree to hear Kate’s story over coffee and bear hearts. Ridiculous, right? We know Dean would never drink a coffee over a beer. Sheesh.

At a diner, Kate explains how, after she was turned into a werewolf, she left her family behind to start a new life… until a post on her sister’s Facebook said she’d been in a terrible car accident. The doctors didn’t expect Tasha to make it, and suddenly, Kate realized that her curse might be able to do some good. So she turned her sister, and the two of them started a new life together, a life full of not eating human hearts and doing a lot of yoga to try to stay Zen. It worked for a while, but there’s only so much that a good Downward Dog can cure. Eventually, Tasha got a taste of a human heart, and now, she’s Kate’s mess to clean up. Kate is determined to give her sister another chance to make things right. If not, Kate will take care of it herself. Or so she says. But if anyone knows how hard it is to give up on a sibling, it’s the boys sitting in the booth across from her.

Thinking on his feet, Dean convinces Kate that there’s a cure and that they’re willing to cure both Kate and Tasha. But Sam knows that Dean is lying to get to Tasha in order to kill her. And once again, we’re back in the world where Sam tries to defend the good bad guys and convince Dean that what they’ve done to save each other is no better, but Dean sees a monster. And that means he has to kill a monster.

NEXT: Sam has a confession to make

On the drive to get Tasha, Kate falls asleep, giving Sam the opportunity to fess up about the “others” Dean mentioned earlier. Turns out Lester wasn’t alone in feeling Sam’s wrath, but he swears Lester was the only human. Sam saves his best stuff for the bad guys. That being said, Dean has to understand something: “I watched you die, and I carried your corpse into your room, and I put your dead body on your bed and then you just… yeah.” Dean gets it. He was hoping his note would fill in the blanks, but Sam found it less than informative. But perhaps that was on purpose, because as Dean puts it, “It’s embarrassing.” The note, his time with Crowley—it’s all embarrassing for the eldest Winchester.

But that doesn’t matter now. What does matter is that Dean never said thank you. “You don’t ever have to say that. Not to me,” Sam says. Excuse me while I grab a tissue.

After the brothers’ heart-to-heart, which was the perfect amount of heartfelt without feeling too sappy, Dean wakes Kate up to get directions to the cabin where Tasha is hiding. Kate claims it’s their rendezvous spot, but when Dean handcuffs her to the steering wheel, she realizes that there’s no cure and that Dean has lied to her. Inside, Sam finds Tasha, but before he can shoot her, Dean appears in the doorway… and someone’s got a gun to Dean’s head.

Apparently Tasha has been a busy girl, turning two fellas named Brandon and Travis to create her psycho Brady Brunch of a family. In other words, she’s made herself a pack, and she’s willing to let her sister join, but only if she rips out Paul Bunyan’s Sam’s heart first. Kate isn’t exactly hungry, so Brandon and Travis take the brothers away. The new werewolves feel like they’re all big and bad, but Sam and Dean are well aware that they’re dealing with minor league players. And rusty or not, Sam puts a knife through both of their hearts just seconds later, leaving Kate to deal with Tasha.

It’s evident that Tasha is power hungry, and Kate recognizes that her sister is never going to stop. So she does what the Winchesters never could: Kate kills her sister. And then she leaves before Sam and Dean can find her.

Back in the Impala, Kate calls the guys and promises to stay on the straight-and-narrow, so they agree to leave her alone. But Sam quickly questions if Kate isn’t the only one who would be laying low. Did they jump back into the hunting world too quickly? Honestly, yes they did, but Dean isn’t exactly feeling the whole “talking about what he went through and how he still has the Mark of Cain” thing. Getting back in the saddle wasn’t about avoiding Dean’s problems; it was about doing good. “I am just trying to do the right thing, man, because I’m so sick and tired of doing the wrong one,” Dean tells his brother.

And with that, the conversation is over and the only sound we hear is that of Dean’s baby purring, because the brothers are back on the road, and they’re working through their issues one case at a time. Does life get any better than that?

Final note: We can all agree that when Tasha called Sam and Dean Mary-Kate and Ashley that Sam is Ashley, right? It’s that hair. It’s always the hair.