After three weeks, Supernatural season 8 has finally returned Sam and Dean to their hunting roots, trading in demons and angels for a touching love story about a Mayan corn god in this week’s episode, “Heartache”. Once again returning to direct an episode, series star Jensen Ackles wonderfully delivers this season’s best episode, giving fans a sign of potentially good things to come.

The episode begins in familiar fashion; the unexpected, horrific death of an innocent victim brings the Winchesters to town. What follows, however, is anything but familiar, at least in recent years. Instead of continuing the quest for the Word of God – or even the search for Kevin and his mother (whichever you think the Winchester’s are more interested in) – an unexpected tale turned romantic provides some signs that the series might once again be righting itself from past seasons errors.

In what appears to be a string of unconnected murders, the Winchesters find themselves in Colorado investigating the deaths of people who were left heartless (literally not figuratively – yet), resulting in them vesting with some of the more memorable characters in recent years. An extremely enthusiastic health convert, dropping a bunch of weight following a recent surgery, is the first stop on the case. Unable to provide them with any type of real lead, the Winchesters make like the Walking Dead and head to prison, where Dean shines during the questioning of one of the imprisoned attackers.

Since Dean’s mumbling friend was already behind bars, he couldn’t possibly have committed the previous crime, thus making it even more difficult to track down the source of all the murders. Whatever it may be, the attackers are all prone to one thing: reciting something about “yummy cows.” Not exactly a word-for-word translation, let’s just say that it’s the the Mayan god for maize. The Winchesters may have an aggressive corn god on their hands.

“…OK?!?”

As the Winchesters research the events more, they soon find themselves on the trail of former football player (now dead) Brick Holmes, as his donated body parts are what connect all of the attacks together. When Sam and Dean go visit Brick’s former home, they meet his mother Betsy, who is more than helpful in their investigation, even if it doesn’t provide them with the answers they’re looking for. Not letting their hunches go to waste, the Winchesters find themselves looking more into Holmes’ history. And that’s where they find the key.

By comparing a string a photos from the past, Sam and Dean – with the help of their fill-in Bobby (Jim Beaver), Professor Holmes – are able to figure out that a man who looks like Brick Holmes has lived multiple lives, all while maintaining the same appearance.  Each photo is from a different era – however, there is one thing in common: Betsy. Not only does Betsy appear in all of these photos, but she appears to be aging while Brock, her apparent lover, stays the same.

Sam and Dean return to Brick’s home to question his “mother”/lover, and to their surprise they receive a very honest, heart-breaking story about love and loss. As it turns out, Brick is a warrior from ancient times. Not wanting to die, he made an agreement with the Mayan god of maize to provide him with sacrifices in return for immortality. Making their way across the country, the ruse continued until “Brick” realized that Betsy doesn’t have much longer to live. Since Brick never believed he could love again, he killed himself rather than maintaining his side of the bargain. Now off to the strip club!

“Wow, back it business again. Admit it, it feels good!”  

Betsy tipped the Winchesters off as to who received Brick’s heart – something Brick was told is at the heart of his power. After arriving at the strip club, a one-time Georgia “peach” takes the main stage, surrounded by Brick’s other donor recipients. In what turns out to be a short battle, Dean finds himself pinned while Sam is restrained, which provides him the smallest of openings to stab her with his demon blade, killing her/it/them/Brick.

Finally bringing an end to Betsy’s love story, the Winchesters make their way on to their next adventures, though not without slipping in a little bit of Sam’s love story. In what’s an earned grouping of scenes, we see Sam and his one-time love Amelia sharing a beautiful day together, ending in a birthday celebration for him. Sam, unfamiliar with being able to actual celebrate his birthday, is taken aback before he finally accepts the perks of his new life.

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Supernatural continues next Wednesday with “Biten” @9pm on CW. You can check out a trailer for next week below: