TV REVIEW: Ghost-Hunting Parallels are Drawn in Supernatural’s “Thinman”
Meem. Me-me. Mam. May-may. Oh, sorry. I’ve been trying to figure out the proper pronunciation of the popular internet phenomena called a “meme.” Supernatural will do that to you; make you question some of the most important things in life.
Tuesday’s episode “#Thinman” (no, I’m not making that up. There was an actual hashtag used in the official name of the episode), was a little emotional and very much ridiculous. There’s really not much more to say other than this filler episode gave us some gut wrenching parallels that delved into Sam and Dean’s continued path to relationship recovery and the return of the Ghostfacers!
It all began on a dark and stormy night. Just kidding, it actually began in the bedroom of a random teenage girl taking selfies. In case anyone isn’t clear on what a “selfie” is, it’s literally just taking a picture of yourself. For some reason this trend is popular within the younger generation to post all over social media and Supernatural wasn’t going to skip out on exploring the cool trends among the youngsters.
The young girl, home alone, began to notice something strange in her selfies: a tall, monstrous creature was standing behind her. She quickly ran to the closet to hide. It was too late, though, as the unidentified monster killed our young friend.
Hearing about the mysterious case, Dean decided to take a trip to Washington. Confused as to where him and Sam stood after last week’s urging from Kevin to let it all go, Dean was ready to pack up and hunt without Sammy. However, the younger Winchester wasn’t going to let his brother go alone; if there was a case he wanted in. The two brothers headed out together.
Unfortunately, the Winchesters weren’t the only ones on the scene. Nope, some “supernaturalists” had made it to Washington first to help solve the crime. To Sam and Dean’s surprise the two boys who had beaten them to the punch were none other than the Ghostfacers! Only Ed and Harry remained now, desperate to solve the case of the “Thinman.” The two Ghostfacers had become internet sensations as they had written an entire book on the Thinman urban legend (very similar to the real life urban legend of the Slenderman. Google it. Or don’t. It’s more fun if you do it with the lights off.) and were convinced that the monster who killed the young teen was Thinman.
The weirder part of the case was the girl’s selfie had suddenly popped up on the internet, time stamped after her death. Who posted the picture? Was it a ghost, a demon, or really the Thinman?
The boys were stumped, but another murder had taken place to provide them with more clues. The manager of the local diner had also been executed by Thinman, the video of the murder being posted to the internet shortly after his death. The Ghostfacers, eager to solve the crime before the Winchesters, headed to the woods to try and find the elusive monster.
Sam and Dean continued their research, but not before sharing a moment from their childhood which briefly bonded the duo back together. The moment was fleeting as Ed popped up to the motel with a secret to spill; his confession sent the boys back to square one. Ed had invented the entire Thinman urban legend to keep Harry from selling out and settling down. He couldn’t sit back and watch his best friend give up their beloved ghost hunting business since all the other members of the Ghostfacers had also decided to settle down with real lives. “Secrets ruin relationships,” Sam spouted to Ed. Drawing on parallels from his own life, he knew the Ghostfacer had to come clean to his partner.
Harry, alone in the woods, finally found what he had been searching for. Thinman appeared, trying to kill him. Harry was stabbed but ran off, colliding with the Winchesters and Ed right in the nick of time. Ed came clean to Harry and the two fought. Harry, heartbroken and angry, lamented that he could not trust his partner anymore.
Sam and Dean continued the investigation, coming upon an old warehouse per the town cop, who tazed them as soon as they entered. The boys woke up, handcuffed and disoriented, questioning the cop as to how he could be Thinman since he was anything but thin(!) and how he moved so quickly when murdering. The cop hasn’t acted alone, apparently, and his partner in crime appeared, removing his mask and revealing he was in fact the busboy from the diner. No monsters, no demons, no ghosts. The cop and the busboy were good ol’ fashioned psychopaths who used the Thinman legend to mask their crimes.
The murderers were about to extend their hobby to include Dean when the Ghostfacers showed up together. They were taken hostage, but not before Sam and Dean escaped their bonds. Dean killed the busboy as Harry killed the cop.
Outside, Ed and Harry had one last conversation about the future of the Ghostfacers. Harry simply couldn’t continue and left Ed with an “it’s complicated” for the ghost hunters. The two sparked a look of humility in the Winchester brothers.
I suspect the return of the Ghostfacers was supposed to be a bigger deal, but in the end felt a little trite. The parallels drawn from Ed and Harry’s relationship brought the boys down a notch. Can Sam and Dean put their pride aside after watching the Ghostfacers disband?