So, last week I was talking about my appreciation for the wider Supernatural "family" and then this week's episode, Don't You Forget About Me, saw the return of the wonderful Sheriff Jody Mills and her two adopted daughters, Claire and Alex.
While Alex (from Alex Annie Alexis Ann) has transformed herself from an angry loner into a popular, successful, high school student, Claire (last seen in Angel Heart) has dropped out and gone 'full hunter', getting into trouble and seemingly seeing monsters where there are none.
Claire calls in Sam and Dean to help investigate a number of disappearances in Sioux Falls, which she believes are monster-related, but Sheriff Jody claims have completely rational explanations.
The Winchesters find themselves drawn into the domestic drama of the womens' lives, until a popular teacher at the school is murdered and suddenly they realise Claire might be on to something.
The primary antagonist of this tale is easy to pick out (especially as they are a recognisable character actor), and no great effort is made to obfuscate their identity. Because that's not what's important here. It's their motive.
On the surface Don't You Forget About Me appears, at first, to be a run-of-the-mill 'monster-of-the-week' story, but as the plot unfolds we discover it's actually about Alex having to face the consequences of her earlier actions.
Bar a passing reference, this episode had no obvious connection to the the main season arc, but this year's run of Supernatural continues to deliver the goods, finding fresh ways to revisit old stories, developing the show's mythology and reinforcing continuity along the way.
If the show can keep up this season's near pitch-perfect level of quality writing and constant reinvention of its core ethos, then I can't see why Supernatural can't keep going and going (for as long as Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles want to keep portraying the Winchesters).
And this from someone who was convinced (well, concerned) that it would all fall apart after Eric Kripke's initial five-year road map ran its course.