I must admit that I had some concerns when I first heard that an episode of the fifth season would be held at a Supernatural convention. I thought the writers were perhaps going a little too meta in the process. 'm still not convinced that it wasn't a very bad idea, but it certainly had its charms.
Eric Kripke and the production staff love the fans, and they like to show it by gently mocking some of the sacred cows of the fandom. Just the fact that they tolerate the creepy Wincest fans is a testimony to their inclusivity. I think the writers did the fans justice by addressing, on a certain level, some of the common insults tossed at the super-fanatic. And I would hope that the fans enjoyed the recognition for what it was.
That said, I thought the episode was trying a little too hard to push its theme and moral underpinnings at the expense of the story. The entire ghost story aspect felt generic, and when even the main characters are wondering why they are getting sidetracked from their main mission, it's telling. Only the fact that Chuck was able to toss out an unexpected lead on the Colt made it workable.
I mentioned in the review for the previous episode that the current run of relatively light-hearted episodes and side missions seemed to be designed to mitigate the darkness to come. Hopefully this will turn out to be true, and hopefully this trend is about to shift towards the darkness. Because if this continues for much longer, this season of Supernatural threatens to become a parallel to the disappointing sixth season of The X-Files.
As I've said before, comedy is a lot harder than drama. Most people can understand and relate to the core principles of the dramatic material, because it always boils down to the relationship between the Brothers Winchester. It's a common language. Comedy, on the other hand, is largely subjective. Appreciation of a joke relies on relative context.
I also find it harder to appreciate the comedic episodes when the focus is less about revealing something interesting about the brothers and more on something external to them. The previous episode worked because, in the end, it was about Sam and Dean and the big picture. This was closer to "Hollywood Babylon", though this episode did manage to still poke fan at something actually related to the show.
So far, this has been a somewhat surprising start to the fifth season, and not necessarily in a good way. While it has been solid and above average, the fifth season hasn't been as strong as the fourth season. I think there have been some great episodes, but I haven't been as hooked as I have been in the past. At least some of that must be the effect of too much light fare. There's still plenty of time left for this season to ramp up, though, so I'm not expressing too much disappointment yet.