Gaelicspirit (gaelicspirit) wrote,
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Stream of Consciousness, Episode 8.03

Jensen – is there anything you can’t do? You’ve already ruined me for pretty much any other fictional hero ever by the way you portray Dean Winchester, now you have to also be Mr. Impressive Director Man as well? Add to that a soulful singing voice, stop-me-in-my-tracks good looks, a kind heart, and dedication to family and friends and I’m lost.

…maybe he’s a bad cook…



First, I just want to say thank you to those of you who read this but don’t leave a comment. I reply to each comment, so I get to thank those who reply, but I got a couple PMs/emails this past week from people who told me that they read each week, just don’t comment for one reason or another and so I wanted to say that I appreciate your time.

This episode wasn’t what I was expecting, I’ll be honest. I have no time to be spoiled these days, not that I’d look for it even if I did, but based on last week’s previews, I expected to get more detail on Sam’s back story with Amelia and his “year off.” I thought we’d get some questions answered, but I ended up adding more questions to my list. However, now that it’s done, I can see the savvy in the storytelling, parceling out the facts from that year slowly so that we are eager for more, asking questions, speculating.

What I did get from this was a little bit of a softer heart (no pun intended) toward Sam. And to be honest, I wanted that. I don’t like to be irritated with Sam. That’s why the whole first half of Season 6 drove me nuts. I actually kinda hated one half of my favorite brother duo for a bit then. I didn’t want to rehash that feeling this season. I also discovered why I was basically ambivalent toward Sam in the first two Seasons, because I see an echo of that Sam in this one. I’ll explain, don’t worry. When have you known me not to be wordy? *grins*

But before I get to all of that, I have to say that I was very impressed with Jensen’s 3rd foray into directing – especially considering there were very few scenes that Dean wasn’t in. He must have been exhausted after this wrapped. I don’t know much about the movie-making biz beyond what one picks up by watching the DVR special features on various and sundry movies, but I have seen enough to know that some directors are pretty much everywhere at once, getting angles and shots and capturing just the right delivery of a line or a scene.

This episode was a solid MotW case with some brother-angst arc peppered throughout and I thought it was woven together skillfully – so much so that I stopped thinking about Jensen directing the episode and started focusing on the story itself. Could be because Dean is so engaging to watch, but whatever it was, I applaud Jensen’s storytelling choices.

These two have their characters so down – we are able to glean so much by just an expression. There was a bit of manic humor about Dean in this episode juxtaposed with Sam’s more melancholy demeanor and the way each played off of the other was very well delivered and paced. Jensen’s direction coupled by whoever wrote this episode had me seeing into the boys a bit more than I’ve taken time to do so in awhile.

Which brings me to something I’m now musing upon; I hope you’ll bear with me. I’m a little afraid to share this with you because I know a good many of you see things differently, but…it’s driving my thought process as I watch, so I’m gonna give it a go. These are just my thoughts; I welcome others.

If you’d rather just get to the recap, scroll until you see the bullets.

Thinky Thoughts

I have read a few comments over the past week about wanting the brothers to be together again – in sync, united front, fighting side by side and looking in the same direction. I don’t disagree with that desire. In other ‘buddy’ shows – like White Collar, for example – it really bothers me when the main characters are at odds with each other. It throws my whole balance off and I honestly enjoy the show less. And in Season 6 of SPN, I felt that way. Everything felt off, out of step – it was almost a chore to watch at times simply because the brothers weren’t united. Sure, one was soulless, but that’s beside the point. The feeling was there.

Right now, though, I’m not getting that feeling as strongly as some appear to be. I’m actually feeling that the conflict we’re seeing is helping to tell a better story. I think, perhaps, it’s because we’re not talking about partners or friends – we’re talking about brothers.

I am the oldest of five kids. Each of us siblings couldn’t be more different if we tried. We’ve each gone through phases in our lives where we fought – viciously at times. Where we stopped speaking to each other. Where we could not or would not acknowledge each other’s choices as valid or sensible simply because they didn’t align with our own. We have struggled against the idea that because we were brought up in the same house, by the same parents, we were expected to abide by a certain set of rules, a particular understanding. There almost seemed to be this unspoken impression that we’d signed a contract at birth saying that because we bore the same last name, we all had to be Baptist, Republican, love red meat and only buy American made cars.

The fact of the matter is, some of us are now Presbyterian, some are Democrats, and some of us are vegetarians while others drive Hondas. But we had to experience enough life to be able to make those choices. And those of us who no longer conform to the mold had to move away from home in order to feel empowered enough to break free from what we thought we wanted simply because we were surrounded by only those choices.

We still don’t all get along for various reasons – some of us don’t talk to each other to this day – but there’s this bond…. One that says, “I may think you’re an idiot for the choices you make, I may not agree with the direction you’re going, I may hate that you’re not with me, I may struggle with understanding your logic, but you’re my sister/brother. And I’ll love you, even if I don’t get you.”

With Dean and Sam, I’m seeing something similar. Now, before you throw things at me for what I’m going to say, I want to tell you that it took me a while to get here. As you’ll see in my reactions in the recap below, I was irritated with Sam through a good portion of this episode. I felt he was acting selfishly – and that was a feeling hung over from the reveal that he hadn’t looked for Dean or Kevin.

But I wanted to ‘wait and see’ his story and the interesting thing was, the way this episode rolled out for me, despite not seeing his story – logic, motive, reasons – I started to get his choices a little bit more. I credit both Jared’s acting and Jensen’s storytelling for that.

Right now, Sam has me feeling incredibly conflicted. Whereas Dean...makes sense to me. Let me see if I can break down why.

The Sam in S1/S2 never really wanted to hunt. It was clear that he only came on the initial hunt with Dean because it was Dean and Dean’s worry about their dad was enough to compel Sam to go along. I mean, why wouldn’t it? Despite his wanting a regular life, wanting Stanford, Sam couldn’t deny that Dean had given up everything for him, to keep him safe so that he could leave and go to Stanford. Dean was as much a father to Sam as John was (IMO), so of course he was going to go with him.

Then of course Jess died and he was devastated and driven by revenge (which, why wouldn’t he be as that’s the primary parental example he had to follow), and then the visions compelled him, and John died and Dean was tail-spinning and the demon was still out there. But I believe, the way Sam was written, had he not been killed at the end of S2 – prompting the perpetual deal-making saga – Sam would have quit hunting as soon as Dean put a bullet in Azazal’s head. He never really wanted this.

Which, honestly, is kind of why I was always ambivalent toward the character of Sam. From the start, I was much more drawn to the fire, drive, and need that always radiated from Dean. I sometimes find myself reacting for Dean before he has a chance to react himself. *laugh*

Anyway, I kind of forgot that Sam never wanted to hunt as his fervor to find a way to save Dean from Hell swept through his character in S3, and then he did his own tailspin in S4 with the demon blood – which tainted everything inside of him with the thought that there was no such thing as a normal life, not for him because of what he was – and then the whole celestial destiny thing in S5, soullessness in S6, by S7 he was just caught up in the “contract” of family. This is who you are and what you do because your name is Winchester, dude. Haven’t the last four years been proof enough?

But then…it’s all gone, right? The thing that keeps catching Dean up – what they do – is meaningless to Sam without Dean. Sam had never wanted it, not really. He just didn’t realize it – didn’t have a chance to realize it – until everything literally stopped.

He didn’t have to be a hunter anymore because there was no destiny, no brother, no family business. And he found his way back to that person he had always been, the person who’d been buried beneath the hurricane debris that had become his life.

The thing I still fault him for, though – and will continue to do so until they parcel out enough of the story that I don’t have to squint my eyes to see my way clear around his choices – is that he didn’t look for Dean. Yes, granted, he never said the words, “I didn’t look for you,” but when Dean asked him flat out, Sam’s silence was damning to me.

Okay, so let’s go with the theory that he thought Dean was dead. While I’d like to see him actually mourn for his brother, I still have a problem with him not going after Kevin. That he could have done something about. He had the knowledge, the skill set, and the responsibility. Dean is (IMO) well within his right to be disappointed in Sam – angry with him, even -- for “taking a year off” when it put someone they were responsible for in danger. But, I’ll set that aside until we know more.

Because, midst all this Tao of Sam I’ve got going on here, there’s one small problem: Dean.

I'm hung up on the fact that Sam thinks that it would be okay for Dean to hunt alone -- knowing the dangers out there first hand -- while he lived a normal life. And I'm also hung up on the fact that I'm hung up on that. Because should one person be forced into a life they don't want anymore simply because their sibling does, will, and they know how much danger their sibling will be in? I don't know. I just know I don't blame Sam for wanting out...and yet I do because it will leave Dean alone in it. I don't know that Sam can win for me right now. *back in wait-and-see mode*

Dean was riding high on this hunt because it was purpose, action, result. He could do what he has always claimed he excelled at – using skills forged during years of hunting, honed in Hell, and sharpened in Purgatory – and he was a force of good in the world again. He was saving people, hunting things. His world was right: he had his car, a case, and his brother at his side. It’s what he’s always wanted.

I think Dean’s journey was a mirror image of Sam’s. He started out wanting to hunt evil, needing it. It defined him – that and protecting Sam were the two things he would do well enough to earn praise from his hero: John. The only thing he was ever missing was his family. When John left, Dean needed Sam. Not to hunt – for balance. Dean may be perfectly capable to live this life on his own -- though with the amount of times they're outnumbered, I don't think a lone hunter has a long life expectancy -- but it's not a question of capability. It never was.

So he found him and convinced him to come along on the hunt for their dad. But then Jess died and Sam had visions – which was the beginning of the unbalance for Dean – and John traded his soul for Dean’s life and then they’re saving vampires instead of killing them and black is blending with white and his world is turning grey and then he’s dealing with demons and he’s facing mortality and a loss of the life he’d always loved and then he’s broken in Hell.

He gets another chance but everything is upside down now. He pushes through, of course, because that’s who he is, but he is living with the ghost of himself – the person who used to have such utter clarity of who the bad guy was. For all intents and purposes, he is a supernatural creature. And then there’s the whole celestial destiny and Sam sacrificing – which, talk about a tailspin; that just had Dean inside out and backwards from the way things were supposed to be. He made the sacrifices for Sam, not the other way around.

So he tries to fulfill his promise to Sam – he lived the life Sam wanted. Not the life Dean wanted. But he couldn’t ever do it. He never stopped looking for Sam, not really. His hyper-vigilance pervaded any semblance of ‘normal’ he attempted. And after that was over and Lisa and Ben forgot him, he was lost.

Hunting was kludgey. Life was mixed up. He was drinking to numb pain that was coming at him from too many different directions to pinpoint any one source. Sam was healed and guilt-free and Dean was drowning in his guilt. And then suddenly everything was clear – he was in Purgatory where he was once again a hunter killing monsters. No gray, no destiny, nothing but survival.

And whatever happened to bridge the gap between “purity” and the world has Dean fragile again. Being back in the world has him on edge and angry and having to catch himself and draw lines he didn’t have to draw there. In Purgatory, all the skills Alistair sharpened on him in Hell could be put to use and he didn’t have to feel the weight of guilt behind it because he was killing monsters. But in the world…there are people and people bring complications and suddenly the clarity is clouded and he needs Sam again.

He needs Sam to talk to about this stuff – he said so himself. He needs Sam as a reminder of where he is and who he is. Hunting or, as Sam put it, “hacking and slicing through the world’s crap,” is what Dean is good at, yes, but the bottom line is, he needs his brother to act as the grounding for his lightning bolt approach to life until he’s able to find a new clarity. Dean has never been one to hide the fact that he wants his family around him.

Sam saying he wants his normal back is understandable from Sam’s point of view, but from Dean’s, it’s like tearing down the only platform he has to stand on and asking him to walk cross the rubble.

What they need to do – and what I am hoping the writers are working toward – is find a way to say, “I’ll love you, even if I don’t get you.” Find a way for Sam’s normal life not to destroy Dean’s balance. Find a way for them to be brothers again that doesn’t hinge upon the family contract that says that just because they are Winchesters, they are destined to clean up the crap of the world. Or that just because they're cleaning up the crap of the world, they can't also have a good life. They need a unity that doesn’t necessarily come from one person’s vision. It’s not something I think they’ll find soon – and it’s not going to come without some pain, but it’s possible. And I always have hope.

But in the meantime, I am watching an incredibly intriguing story with my favorite fictional hero and I love the questions that are being raised and the new and old characters and the mystery and even the angst and heartache between and because of the brothers. This season has drawn me in and has me hooked – and this time, it’s not just for Dean.

Well, it’s like…80% Dean, 20% everything else. *smile*

Ramble On

Things I loved:

  • The look that passed between Dean and Detective Ackles (as I’m calling him) in the Minnesota police station after the line, “Forgive me for not taking him out back and shooting him.”
  • Dean’s WTH expressions when they were interrogating Arthur the former cop in Ames, Iowa
  • Dean calling Sam “Sammy”
  • Sam fanboying over Brick Holmes
  • Sam’s secret love for all things Richie Sambora
  • Eleanor

Things I liked:

  • The fact that Thor was brought up again
  • The use of Mayan gods
  • This line, “You want me on board, I’m on board.”
  • Dean working a Smart Phone and buying apps (he’s come a long way from “what’s MySpace”)
  • Dean getting pinned to the ground and nearly having his heart ripped out (what? I can’t help it, okay?)
  • That Sam’s dog was named ‘Riot’
  • This exchange: “He wasn’t wearing a heart.” “Heartless.”

Things that underwhelmed me:

  • What we saw of Sam’s missing year
  • Amelia (yes, even with the cake…she still needs to win me over)

Things I missed:

  • Benny
  • Purgatory flashbacks
  • Dean being fidgety/on-edge PTSD-violent (okay, yeah, it’s a sickness, what can I say)

THEN: last two episodes, a quick flash of Professor Morrison from S7’s Slice Girls, the Demon for Dummies tablet, and Kevin is gone.

NOW: The traditional opening with a shocking, violent death – this time with a jogger having his heart ripped out – literally – by a slightly pudgy man who had one of the best lines in the show.

Jogger (stopping his run as the pudgy guy {who’d just passed him} blocks his path): Congrats. You’re fast!

Pudgy Guy: I do a lot of cardio.

*shoves hand in and rips heart from chest*

Cardio is always the killer in my workouts, too.

After the title card, the boys are walking through a farmer’s market. Sam picks up an apple from a basket and starts to nosh and I was all, dude, it’s a farmer’s market, not a free buffet, until I saw him pay the vendor a bit down the way. Then I was all, oh…sorry…carry on.

Dean is working his smart phone and reading about the jogger we just saw die in Minnesota. Then he finds another article (speedy quick, too) about something similar happening 6 months ago. He’s grinning as he tells Sam this news and it’s clear he’s excited to have a clear direction again.

Dean: It’s gotta be ritual. Or a heart-sucking-satanic-crack-whore-bat.

Sam: What?!

Basically, it’s a case. Sam, however, would prefer to avoid MN all together because they are already on a case: Kevin and the tablet. Dean says they’ve been looking for a week with no success – and then he looks up, just cluing in to their surroundings and wants to know where the hell they are.

Sam: Far-Mers Mar-Ket. (holds up apple) Organic.

Dean = totally baffled

Sam: I had a year off; I took time to enjoy the good things.

Now, Dean doesn’t directly react to that – I mean, he does react, but not the way I did. I couldn’t not think about how Dean had spent that year – simply because he’d been the one to deliver the killing blow to Roman. He didn’t make a deal, he didn’t choose to go to Purgatory. But while Sam was “enjoying the good things” Dean was fighting for his life. I instantly wondered if Sam wondered how Dean had slept while there. How his brother ate, drank, all the usual stuff that kept one alive. I wondered how often Sam had thought about what his brother had survived as they spent that week together looking for Kevin.

See? I react for him. *shakes head at self*

Dean, though, is still focused on the case. He needs this. It’s clear in how he convinces Sam to get on board and how he reacts to actually being on the hunt. Plus? He can’t quit digging the knife deeper on his disappointment in Sam’s choices. He’s clearly still angry about it – and probably will be for a good long while…until he gets more answers then Sam’s given him. I'd probably do the same thing, honestly.

Dean: While avoiding what we actually do.

Sam: Does it make you feel better every time you say that, Dean?

Dean: Fine. You had a year off. But I’m back. We’re back. That means we walk and kill monsters at the same time. We’ll find Kevin, but in the meantime, are innocent people supposed to die so you can shop for produce?

Sam comes thisclose rolling his eyes as he agrees to go with Dean.

In the Minnesota police station, the boys are suited up as their FBI personas getting the 411 from the detective in charge of the case – who just so happens to also be Jensen’s dad. Very. Cool.

Detective Ackles tells them the portly guy’s name is Paul Hayes. He shows them a security camera vid and says that Paul was the last one to see the jogger alive. They did a thorough check, though, and he was clean. The boys are doubtful and Det. Ackles gets a bit offended, turning to square off with Dean.

Det. Ackles: Sure, he can run, but Thor he ain’t.

Someone saw the Avengers a few times this summer, methinks. *grins*

Det. Ackles: Think he’s gonna grab Freddy Fitness and rip out his heart? Forgive me if I didn’t take him out back and shoot him.

Dean gives the detective this “size-up” look which the detective returns and it’s a bit awesome. *grins* Sam steps I to diffuse the tension and asks where they can find the guy. They head to Paul’s house and Sam is talking to the man while he makes a green smoothie. Dean walks out of the restroom (“Too much fiber.” HA!) and Paul is saying that he had a health scare about a year ago so now he takes good care of himself.

Later, at a coffee shop, Sam asks Dean what he found when he was snooping around Paul’s house. I liked how they have this routine down – each has a job, does it without really having to discuss it. Even after a year apart, they work really well together; it’s clear why Dean loves it.

Anyway, Dean didn’t find anything weird: no hex bags, nothing. He’s on the computer, though, and tells Sam that he found another “do it yourself bypass” in the Iowa part of Minnesota. Ames, to be exact. It’s the same pattern that happened 6 months ago. He takes another opportunity to make a crack about Sam missing that. He’s going to keep that up until he gets it out of his system or Sam gives him a reason – like more of his story – to stop. And I think the latter is more likely to happen than the former.

They head to Ames and talk to this lumberjack-looking cop who tells them that they arrested a man for the murder of a “heartless” pizza boy, a former cop named Arthur. He tells them they can go talk to him, but it’s not going to be much help. He’s right…in a way.

Arthur is a skinny old guy – looks like the old guy from Monster House to me – with two different colored eyes who has clearly taken a walk right off the map. He sits in his chair at the interrogation table across from Sam, rocking, worrying his fingers, and repeating a phrase over and over and over and over and then one more time.

Once more, Sam is sitting at the table and Dean is standing off to the side – though this time he’s not pacing like before. I liked how when the camera was on Arthur, you could see Dean’s reflection in the mirrored window behind him. Sam’s holding a recorder out to try to capture Arthur’s mumblings.

Dean: So…you getting his statement?

Sam: Uh, yeah. Probably not.

Dean: Too bad I dropped Lunatic 101. (leans in toward Arthur and speaks loudly) Did you do this alone?

Sam: Arthur, did a voice tell you to kill?

Arthur bangs his fists on the table and babbles a bit louder.

Dean: Now you pissed him off. (To Arthur in a conversational tone.) Hey, Art. Can I call you Art? I’m gonna sprinkle your arm with Holy Water and it’s gonna steam and burn if you’re possessed.

Art keeps babbling.

Dean says that he’s a mushroom, pours the Holy Water which only gets his arm wet, so he’s also not a demon.

Dean: Arthur, do you want to tell us why you did this?

Dean’s expressions here cracked me up – he sort of looks serious, like he’s waiting or listening, then gives Sam an oh yeah, he’s cracked look and pushes away from the table.

Later that night, in his cell, still babbling, Arthur breaks off a slat in his bed and uses it to stab out one of his eyes. I know, right? GAH!

The boys are in their hotel room – still in their suits, but with their coats and ties removed – and there is something about seeing them in those white dress shirts that just…. I mean, seriously, it’s just…the pretty. *has to pause a moment*

Okay, I’m back. Anyway, Sam is playing the recording.

Dean: Personally, I prefer the Keith Richards version.

It just sounds like babble to him, but then he remembers he downloaded a translation app (I have one of those, too!) and tries to figure out what it says, but unfortunately the smart phone isn’t smart enough. Sam’s phone rings and he answers it, “Agent Sambora.” Aw, Sammy. It’s always Richie with you – you even sing his part of “Wanted Dead or Alive.” Hee.

Interestingly enough, it’s Dean who goes to the prison to check on Arthur, even though Sam’s the one who got the call. He finds out that Arthur stabbed out an eye that had been transplanted about a year ago. This is where I was like, hey, I saw this movie…but they put a different spin on a familiar plot.

Back at the hotel room, Sam’s on the computer and Dean comes in (in regular clothes) with food. Sam’s telling him that he latched on to the transplant idea and finds out that Paul Hayes also had a transplant about a year ago.

Dean = half turn with a cocked eyebrow

Sam: You want me on board, I’m on board.

Dean doesn’t say anything but his expression shows a little relief and a little it’s about time. Sam says he put a call in to Prof Morrison about the language. Dean’s like, who? And when Sam reminds him about the Amazons, Dean remembers rather quickly and vocally urges Sam to carry on. Not a good memory, that.

Also? Anyone else find it interesting that now that Sam was back with Dean, he’s reaching out to contacts and connecting dots – I mean he’s doing what he should have (in my opinion) been doing to find/help Kevin (at least) a year ago. His argument that he alone and didn’t know what to do isn’t really holding up for me the more impressed I get with him in hunter mode. *is conflicted*

Dean says that if this follows the same pattern as 6 months ago, the next “heart attack” would be in Boulder, CO. So, off to Boulder they go.

Elsewhere, a man is waiting outside of an exotic dance club as a beautiful brunette exits and takes his arm, walking him back down the alley. He’s all, I don’t usually do this, but she doesn’t give him time to feel too guilty about it because she rips out his heart. D’oh!

The boys are in the car at night and Dean is driving and talking a little too fast – almost like he’s trying to remind himself and convince Sam at the same time.

Dean: Things are coming together. You, me, it’s all good.

Sam = quiet, pensive, sulky

Dean: What are you thinking about? Organic tomatoes?

Sam: Nothing.

Dean (with a satisfied half-smile): This last year has given me perspective. I know where I’m at my best: right here, driving down Crazy Street, next to you.

*rubs heart*

Sam: Makes sense.

*frowns*

Sam: Or…maybe you don’t need me. Maybe you’re at your best hacking and slicing through the world’s crap alone. Not having to explain yourself to anybody.

So…right there I realized that Sam was going to break Dean’s heart sooner than I thought – if Dean chose to believe him. Sam had come back out of guilt about Kevin…not to return to the life as Dean thought (or wanted) and not for Dean. And those words sounded an awful lot like someone trying to justify their actions as being better for everyone, when really it was just better for them.

Dean (giving Sam a slightly hurt, slightly incredulous look): That makes sense. Seeing as how I have so many other brothers I can talk to about this stuff.

Sam (rubs face): I’m not bailing on you. I just want you to make room for the possibility that we want different things. I want my time to count for something.

See…he had me until that last sentence. Yes, you’re right, Sam. You should be able to want something different – something outside of the family contract. You should even be able to get it. But that last line tripped me up because he was insinuating that what they do – what they’ve done, all they’ve fought and sacrificed for, all they’ve saved – didn’t/doesn’t count for something. And Dean certainly picked up on that.

And maybe? For Sam? It doesn’t. Not like it does for Dean. I’m not sure…I can’t figure him out to that level. Maybe the fact that they’ve died and come back, that they’ve lost everyone they love, that evil is still out there killing no matter how long they’ve been at it…maybe it’s making Sam feel like it’s pointless. He could work 24/7 at this and there would still be work to do. So, he wants what he does in life to make a different impact.

Whereas for Dean, the fact that there’s always work to do – people to save – is exactly why what he does makes a difference. Someone has to stand between innocence and malice and draw a line.

Dean gets a call on his cell – and raise your hand if you thought it might be Benny (me too) – and it’s the doc from the prison where Arthur is. She tells him who Arthur’s eye donor was and then informs him that the same donor provided organs to 8 other recipients. Dean tells Sam it is a man named Brick Holmes and both know exactly who he is – a quarterback for a team I didn’t catch.

Now, in real life? No way. That information is private – no way he’d get that information from her. But this is a story, so *poof* reality suspended.

Plus I like how his voice softened as he spoke to her. And plus it’s fun when the boys know and talk about sports stuff. I don’t know why – maybe because it’s so “regular life.”

Meanwhile, back in Boulder, the brunette from the strip club – Randa, I think they were saying – is doing some blood ritual and saying the same phrase Arthur was saying…right before she takes a big ol’ bite out of the heart she harvested and dusty, swirly, power stuff flows into her and her eyes turn red.

Not. Good.

Anyway, suited up in their FBI personas, the boys are at Brick Holmes’ house, talking to his mother, Eleanor. I liked her – she was poised, calm, collected, and shut down Dean’s line of questioning without insulting him.

Dean tells her they’re sorry for her loss, but Sam can’t help fanboying about the QB. The sidelong, wow, really? look Dean shoots him is funny. They ask her if Brick was an organ donor and she says he was. Dean tries to get more information about Brick’s death – all, what really happened on that bridge.

Eleanor: When things happen that aren’t supposed to happen, they’re called accidents, I believe.

Dean pulls back slightly, accepting the rebuke, and Sam presses forward about Brick’s personal life – he wasn’t married. There were no changes in his life toward the end. Dean slips in a reference to the occult – as a ‘for instance’ – and Eleanor is like, okay! Time’s up!

As they’re leaving her house, puzzled by the quick dismissal, Dean sees on his phone that another death occurred in Boulder (the guy outside the strip club). Meanwhile, inside, Randa is there being all weird and secretive and threatening about keeping close and protecting Brick.

Randa: You keep our little secret safe and the three of us will be just fine.

Eleanor does not look at all happy about this. I couldn’t figure out at that point if maybe this was going to be a Frankenstein thing – Brick’s body was actually somewhere in the house and his organs were out doing his will. Bottom line: they had me curious.

Back in the hotel room, Sam is taking to Professor Morrison and Dean’s on the computer. Sam finds out the language Arthur was speaking was Mayan. The phrase repeated was: “The divine god Kakow is born.”

Dean’s like Kakow? And Sam tells him it was the god of maize – corn. He says it in that “didn’t you take history class” tone, but Dean is unfazed.  He closes his eyes and shakes his head slowly before articulating that they’re after a 1,000 year old culture’s god of corn. Back on the computer, he finds out that the next person to have received one of Brick’s organs is an Asian man (didn’t catch his name) in Phoenix – who has been missing for a few days.

Plus also? There was an email for Sam from a University answering questions about admissions. Hmn.

Sam: Just an option.

Dean: You’re seriously talking about hanging it up.

He’s processing this possibility and dismissing it all at once.

Sam says again that he’s just exploring options then asks if they are heading to Phoenix to chase their tails until this guy shows up. Dean’s like, no Eleanor Holmes is the key, but nice job changing the subject. He gets up and walks out of the room as he says this – seemingly taking the latest information about Sam leaving hunting in stride…but I had to wonder if he left the room so that he wouldn’t say something he might regret later.

They decide to sneak into the Holmes home. They knew Eleanor was at a dedication ceremony until 10. They head up to the master bedroom and start in the closets – there are two. Dean finds Brick’s and comments how it hasn’t been touched in a year.

Dean: Man, what this stuff would go for on eBay.

He finds some peroxide in a drawer.

Dean: Hey, Sammy? Would it totally crush you to know your boy Brick wasn’t a natural blond?

Hee. And aww. It was just…I don’t know. I like how he was just being big brother Dean teasing Sammy in that moment.

Sam calls from the other closet that it’s weird – is he in Eleanor’s closet? They each step out to the door way and Sam’s holding the shirt she was wearing earlier that day when they interviewed her.

Dean: Maybe she moved into Brick’s room after he died. (He glances at the king sized-bed). Or….

Sam looks at the bed, then quibs slightly.

Sam: Thanks, Dean. Now that image is permanently etched into my retinas.

Dean's shrug = unaffected

In the back of Brick’s closet, Dean finds a false wall that opens into a room filled with sports memorabilia – all kinds of sports: baseball, cricket, racing, boxing. Sam turns into a fanboy again as he looks around at all the stuff. Dean finds a box of letters and they sit down and start reading.

Now, they must be really really fast readers because when they went into the house they said they had to hurry because the ceremony would be over at 10…and they go through a few boxes of letters…. *hand wave*

I liked this part of their investigation, though – from the letter reading to the discovery of the truth back at the hotel. I liked how they were working together, focused on the pieces of the mystery, solving the puzzle, doing the research – together. Dean wasn’t leaving Sam to figure it out while he went out and drank or while he went to kill something. They were working the case.

There were tons of letters, all to “Betsy” and all signed “Love, Me.” The writer was talking about participating in boxing matches with Sugar Ray (would have been in the ‘40’s), on the road with the Red Sox, racing in Les Mans, etc. The last letter tells Betsy that the writer was “so tired of it all.”

Back at the hotel, Sam looks up the names on some of the sports trophies they found, then matches up the faces and they realize that it’s all Brick. Aside – I liked when Sam called Dean over and he pulls up his chair and glides over to the desk all quick. It was cute.

While Sam’s been looking up the sports guys, Dean’s been researching Mayans – which, to me, kinda made me go ‘ha’ about Sam’s tone when he told Dean that Kakow was the god of maize – and finds out that they were incredible athletes and also had this whole heart-eating ritual. They figure out that the spell followed the organs and that the recipients were compelled to continue it.

Sam: Brick Holmes. A heart eater. Who knew.

Dean: Sorry, buddy. The mighty, they fall, huh?

Sam: At least he wasn’t sleeping with his mother.

Dean: Good, Sam. Find the silver lining.

But Sam is serious – he found a picture of Brick in the ‘40’s as a boxer – with Eleanor by his side. SO, they go to Eleanor’s, call her Betsy, and she confesses everything. She didn’t know about the murders – she thought it would all be over when Brick died. She tells him that he actually was a Mayan – over 1,000 years old. He made a deal with Kakow and has to harvest hearts two times per year. Brick and Betsy fell in love, but of course, she aged while he didn’t. At some point she became old enough they had to pass her off as his mother.

She said that Brick could see the end of her days were at hand and couldn’t bear to live life without her. So he drove off the bridge. Dean reassures her that they don’t think she’s a monster – she just married one. But now they have 8 killers out there. And Eleanor’s like, not really. The heart is the key – the focus of the sacrifice. Stop the heart, stop it all.

So, since Randa had received Brick’s heart, the boys head to the Bunny Hole strip club.

Dean: Really? Our King Daddy Monster is a stripper?

Sam (looking worried): This is gonna work, right?

Dean hands Sam a knife.

Sam: You think Brick thought he’d burn to nothing when he crashed?

Dean: Yeah. But he didn’t. Which brings us here.

They have to go in the rear entrance…yeah, okay, bad, bad joke there that we’ll just skip over. They head inside with flashlights and Dean pauses a moment, taking a breath. His grin is just…. *has to grin while thinking about it*

Dean: You smell that?

Sam: You’re gross.

Dean = satisfied grin

Me = BWAH!!!!

Moving further into the club, they make their way to where the stage is and suddenly the lights are turned on. Randa steps out on stage and guesses that Eleanor gave her up. Sam pulls his knife and she says that “we’re not gonna let you do that.”

Dean: We?

And BAM! Sam gets a chair broken over his head and thrown across the room by Paul while the missing Asian man grabs Dean. So, the Organ Recipient Gang’s all here – or 3 of them anyway. There are four others (not counting Arthur) out there somewhere. Dean fights the Asian guy but is body slammed into the stage, driving the air from his lungs. Paul and the Asian man hold him down and Dean tries to struggle by can’t move.

Dean: You guys are stronger than you look.

Paul: Part of the package.

Randa straddles him, telling him who/what she used to be until the transplant an then she became Xena Evil Warrior Princess. She says that, “If I go real slow, and take my time, I can actually show you your own beating heart before you die.”

Yikes. That’s a vivid picture.

She digs her fingers into Dean’s chest and he cries out in pain. Just then, Sam rouses enough to crack Paul over the head with a chair of his own and Dean takes advantage of the distraction to grab his own knife and stab Randa in the heart. She gets all glowy and staggers back. Paul and the Asian guy drop and Dean curls his arm against his wounded chest as he watches Randa die. He rolls to the side to check that Sam’s okay, sees that he is, then collapses back against the stage, breathing hard.

So, guess it worked! But I have to wonder if the other 4 organ recipients just dropped dead elsewhere in the country.

Back at Eleanor’s, the boys are telling her it’s really over. I thought it was an interesting touch that Dean had his jacket fastened up to hide his wounded chest from her. They leave her house, get back on the road to – somewhere else…looking for Kevin, I guess.

Dean (a grin in his voice): We’re back in business. Got the win.

He says he was thinking about what Randa said about what it feels like to be a warrior. He gets it.

Sam: I know you do. I don’t. Not anymore. When we close up shop on Kevin and the tablet, I’m done. I mean that.

(Me: I knew it.)

Dean: No, you don’t.         

Sam: The year that I took off, I had something that I never had: a normal life. I got to see what that felt like.

*is conflicted again* Part of me is like, yeah, I get it, I do. I understand, Sam. But the rest of me is more like, bully for you – you got a year off and a normal life, what you always wanted, and your brother was in freaking Purgatory. I’m going to be conflicted for awhile, aren’t I?

Dean: I think that’s just how you feel right now.

Which makes total sense – since he’s seen Sam say he doesn’t want to hunt, then he does, then when he can make a wish for an ideal future and Dean thinks he’d wish to go back to school, he says he was meant for this life, and now he’s back to not wanting to hunt again…Dean’s very understandably doubtful that this is truly what Sam wants. Plus? Dean wants Sam with him.

But Sam’s back in his memories, seeing a moment when he was on a bridge, on a sunny day, calling for Amelia – clearly worried about where she was – and the dog he hit (totally healed now) runs by him and leads him to a little clearing and Amelia is there with a picnic (what is it about these guys and picnics? Dean had the same kind of dream with Lisa) saying, “Happy Birthday.”

She’d made him a cake. She remembered his birthday, surprised him, and made him a cake. He looks incredibly moved. And happy. But back in the now, he just looks…sad and resigned.

So, how did Amelia go from disapproving vet to girlfriend? And what happened to end that relationship so completely he doesn’t even expect a call from her to find out where he is/how he is? How was that normal life so wonderful he wants to return to it – or a semblance of it – if she’s no longer part of the scenario? *is curious*

In any case, I’m ready for more. More Purgatory flashbacks, more post-Purgatory!Dean, more Benny, more Sam’s story, more everything. I think we might have a few more MotW episodes, though, before we get deeper into that arc.

Just a heads up – next week’s Ramble will be a day late. The hubs and I have had a really tough summer health-wise and next Wednesday is the final MLS Sporting KC soccer game at home. I am going to go with him to that and will watch and Ramble on Thursday the 25th. Hope to still see you then.

Thanks for reading!

Slainte.



Tags: episode review, fandom, stream of consciousness, supernatural, what do you think?
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