Before I start, let me say that before this episode, "Skin" had remained on the top of my list along with "Asylum" undoubtedly for the amount of bro-on-bro crime and just the hotness of the hot that is Evil!Dean and Evil!Sam... And I still do love those eps exactly for that reason but "Provenance" is a whole different thing. Mostly because of everything that happened in just one single episode.
I'll start with why I liked Sam in it.
One of my most favorite things in the world in regard to an established universe of a story is an outsider looking in and observing it. They did a little bit of that in "Hell House" with the ghost investigators and contrary to it seems most, I really enjoyed.
(But I'm into SPN for many reasons and being scared (or moved metaphysically) isn't one of them so maybe that is why I thought the "Hell House" ep delivered on a bunch of fronts just fine. I still say that one of the funniest moments of the entire Season 1 is when Sam-n-Dean come busting through the hell house door in front of ghost guys and literally fall out onto the front yard. ha ha! I'm smilin just thinking about it. Anyway, I was saying...? Oh yeah, outsider looking in...)
So that is why I liked Sarah.
All the giggling eye lash blowing aside, she was for once, a decent chick-of-the-week that I wouldn't mind seeing again. I liked her reactions to their lifestyle and methods. I liked how she made me stand back and look at the Winchesters for the weirdos that they are. I liked her noticing Sam for being just some maybe nice cute guy under his weirdness. (Why this never seems to happen to Dean is another conversation all together...)
Which brings us to the scene in the restaurant. The start of this scene was so different that it actually was kinda jarring. We weren't in a motel, a diner, the car or a sewer! HOORAY! Sam was "in the world" once again and say what many will say about JP and acting, I thought he pulled it off like a champ. Maybe all those soulful conversations on the Gilmore Girls (never saw him in it) finally paid off, but I bought his awkwardness hook, line and wine list.
SPN may give us many things but come on, when it comes to plot development, we are left hanging most of the time. Sam actually moved ahead in this episode, culminating in "the kiss" which was very, I guess in terms of his grief and his misgivings of being cursed, was kinda monumental to his character.
Also, on a side note, we also got Funny!Sam in this episode which they don't give us even close to half enough most of the time. (I direct you to the look on his face when Dean hands him a twenty spot and the delivery of the line: "OH MY GOD.") They write Sam angst and earnest 99.9% of the Season and JP is in all reality a cute goofy spaz that should be allowed to spaz freely at will. Or at least let the guy crack a smile from time to time. He's good at it and it's wonderful to watch. Especially when Goofy!Sam is played off on Jackass!Dean. Everyone wins. Mostly us viewers.
Speaking of Dean.
What about Dean in this episode?
Oh Dean. There is a reason I call SPN "The Dean Show". This writer knew where the Dean was in this one. Don't they know what keeps us coming back?
Banter. BANTER. BANNNNNNNNNNTERRRRRRRRRRRRR.
And Dean being a jackass.
So what did they give all in one little episode on the Dean Front?
-Do I even have to discuss him picking up chicks and then being passed out in the car? I mean I can get into the funny wake up and lip biting if ya really want me to...
-Dean being a food opportunist.
-Dean snubbing authority figure. (Chuckles?!)
-Dean with gratuitous weapon maintenance
-TWO even more gratuitous close up waist level shots of how Dean fits in his jeans. (It was right in my face what do you want from me, I have a pulse.)
-Dean stumbling with words and resisting books
-Dean faking his wallet loss
-Big brother talk about healing and moving on and dare I say, Sam's happiness instead of his "getting some tail-ness"???!!! Finally an explanation for his never ending "gotta get ya laid" talkings.
-Dean with helpful sexa mood music whilst lounging in car. (I'm in love with you girlllllllll)
-Dean using beloved car as a gate opening device when said brother was about to be ghosted to death.
-Dean being retarded with gun hammer.
ALL in ONE episode. A sum total of Dean-ness that I wait for one scrap of in other episodes, all TOGETHER in one glorious heap. And that wasn't even everything.
And what did the episode in general also give us?
-Winchesters as badass ninja gate jumping to rock music, alarm disabling, black gloved doom machines. (More of that please writer peoples.)
-A really good poke (complete with Winchester reaction even) to the motel rooms. Did anyone else notice that wardrobe put Sam in a white and black flannel whenever they were set against those black and white disco walls? Genius! (if intentional) Hilarious! (if not)
-A creepy ghost girl that actually scared me for 3 seconds with her weird screamy freaky ghost head.
Dunno, if it was the director/writer combo or just a bunch of things that just all fell into the right places, but, in my humble opinion, in terms of direction, the funny, the sad, the character movement and the super and the natural, that episode is one of the most well rounded of the season.
Now, if we can just forget about Dean's very last line and that make-a-wish-eye-lash business ...