When we saw that Supernatural was bringing back the Ghostfacers, one of the show's many nerd parodies, we weren't optimistic — but yeesh, this was a good episode. The Winchesters investigate an internet meme called #thinman that's apparently killing people, and the results are fascinating.
As you can see for yourself, there's a few interesting things going on in this episode:
1) The notion that #thinman derives his power from internet fame — which the episode seemed as though it was going to make literal, by having this be some kind of monster that derives its power from having people believe in it or talk about it. Hence the huge online following for #thinman. But no — instead, it's purely metaphorical, and #thinman is just trying to get lots of attention to provide cover for a regular murder spree.
2) This week's juxtaposition of someone else's problems with Sam and Dean's is surprisingly subtle. It turns out that Ed made up #thinman because his best friend Harry was finally going to quit the Ghostfacers and settle down — so Ed photoshopped a creepy killer and started an online urban legend, which then grew out of control. Ed's deception of Harry is explicitly compared to Dean's deception of Sam — but the interesting part is that Dean deceived Sam in the name of "family," which is Dean's own personal mythology. The hint that Dean's obsession with family and his willingness to do anything for family is as random and cultlike as the internet obsession with a fake supernatural killer is sort of fascinating.
3) I've been wondering for a while if this show would ever have a purely human killer who's pretending to be supernatural — forgive me if we had that already and I somehow forgot. The fact that #thinman turns out to be just a couple of disaffected wackos in a small town, killing people who annoyed them, is actually kind of brilliant and a nice spin on the show's usual theme of people dabbling in magic or mysticism and causing misery.
All in all, a pretty great episode, in which the nerd humor actually works to tell a surprising story and the Sam/Dean conflict is thrown into a new and somewhat unflattering light. Rock on.