In the grand scheme of things, this one wasn't really much of anything. It was a good story, and I can see where tiny elements of that story could potentially come into play down the road. But all in all, this was a very self-contained MotW episode that fit the "how the hell are we going to stretch this story line over 23 episodes" panic that I'm sure enters the writer's room several times a season. I still think that shorter, tighter seasons are the better way to go -- so long as the hiatus isn't practically a year long (I'm looking at you, "Game of Thrones").
For the most part, this was a milk run for the writers; they recycled and reset established patterns and planted seeds of possibility with the careless ease of a hand-wave. This season it's clearly Dean's turn to be the brother plagued by sleeplessness due to a drive to focus on The Problem (i.e., Cas trapped with Lucifer, Amara fixin' to smite the world) and Sam's turn to remind him that they're still hunters and have to keep moving forward. Almost every MotW episode this season, it seems, has kicked off with a similar scene of Dean pouring over the books and finding a whole lot of nothing while Sam pulls up an obscure news article from a random town with a situation that turns out to be Their Thing.
Not complaining, mind you, but it is an easy set-up and premise. Some could call it consistent and applaud them for staying the course, but I say there's consistent and then there's complacent. If I ruled the SPN writing world--which I CLEARLY do not--I would have had Dean reacting like a caged tiger after Amara went undefeated in Round 2 and took Cas (and Lucifer) with her off into the ether. I would have had him restless and anxious and dangerous and needing to move, to hunt, to do SOMETHING with this helpless feeling of powerlessness in the face of the latest Big Bad. And, tasked with a MotW episode to come next in the cadence of stories, I would have had Dean be the one to suggest they go on a hunt with Sam eagerly joining in, rather than have Sam have to talk his brother into it. Again.
But, that's just me. Point is, they came, they saw, they kicked its ass. Mixed in there was a truly poignant story about brothers, some clever dialog, and a couple of plot kernels I wonder if they'll pick up later. I liked that Jesse was actually aware of his own sexuality at such a young age--and that his big brother Matty was not only accepting of it, but highly protective of him, especially in 1989. That was not exactly an era of tolerance regarding "alternative lifestyles." I really liked that when adult Jesse and his partner, Cesar, encountered the Winchesters the four men teamed up (after some initial, understandable resistance from Jesse wanting his revenge) and I liked how they paired up, too.
Finding out the story around the Bisaan was smoothly played out; following a 27 year cycle, similar to Cicadas, was clever (and also reminded me of that movie, Lucas, with Corey Haim and Charlie Sheen--anyone else remember that?) and the Bisaan themselves were creepy. Kind of a cross between the World War Z version of zombies with that raptor-like screech and swift movement and an alien (what with the whole impregnating thing).
And I honestly felt Jesse's grief when he found the skeletal remains of his brother, proven to be Matty by the Buffalo nickel (at least, I think that's what it was) that was still in the pocket of the rotted hoodie. Seriously, there were tears. Though, that did lead to a slightly humorous conversation between myself and thruterryseyes where she said it stretched belief that Jesse would have easily found his brother's skeleton among so many dead bodies 27 years later.
Me: "A town that becomes a monster breeding ground every 27 years you can buy, but a guy finding his brother's dead body in the bone cave you have a hard time with?"
Terry: "Yeah, it was just too easy."
Dean admitting that it might be nice to have some help from qualified hunters in this show-down with Amara was pretty significant. He's typically an "us against the world" type that even mentioning the possibility of help felt like a pretty big step for him. But it was also so true to form for him to end up not asking for help when he realized Jesse and Cesar had an honest-to-goodness chance to get out of the life and living happily in New Mexico raising horses. I found it interesting, though, that they dropped that random tid-bit of information that Jesse used to be an EMT. Having some hunters owe them--retired or no--and having one of them be an EMT might actually come in handy down the road.
At least, it would if I ruled the SPN writing world, so.
In any case, it was a decent, self-contained story, if somewhat oddly placed after everything that happened in the previous episode and knowing we only have four more episodes left. With that, how about some basic lists.
- Matt. What an awesome big brother.
- "Sleeping is the new smoking." "That's sitting. Sitting is the new smoking." "That can't be right."
- "Karma has been kicking us in the teeth." "So let's kick it back."
- The Gunnison Sheriff was Dualla from Battlestar Gallactica! Loved seeing another BSG alumni. :)
- "A trippin' trip." + Dean's grin. I adore that grin.
- D: "Weed alone doesn't conjure up that scenario. Does it, Sam?" S: "Dude, I was 18." D: "Sinner." "S: "I was in college! It was probably oregano anyways." D" "Rebel!" --> I mean, Dean's facial expressions. That was fantastic.
- Etta Frasier's comments: "He was volunteering himself all over the place." "What does diddling mean to you?"
- "Let's pick up a six-pack." "Just six?" "Well, whatever."
- Dean's expression when he realizes what the significant pause after Cesar's comment that he and Jesse actually fight like an old married couple actually means.
- "What's it like settling down with a hunter?" LOVED that.
- Dean and Cesar's whole conversation about loss and revenge. They both knew what they were talking about, intimately, but for very different reasons, and they recognized and respected that about each other.
- The Bisaan thing coming out of the ground behind Dean and Cesar. That was totally creepy, ya'll.
- Dean and Cesar both fighting a Bisaan and winning.
- S: "When you guys used to leave me to go hunting and I wouldn't hear from you for a while...I always figured [something] finally got you. I tried to figure out what next step to take and I was just...lost." *rubs heart* D: "We came back, though. Every time." *rubs heart again*
- Hand-Wavey: I tilted my head when they instantly went to 'demon' when green eyes were mentioned. We've had black, yellow, and red-eyed demons, but I don't think we've ever had a green-eyed demon.
- Mainly the timing of this episode. We went from "holy crap, Lucifer couldn't kill Amara" to "creepy orgy in the woods".... I know we'll get back on track, but it was more like, oh, huh. Okay.
- Kinda random, but...did it sound to you like Dean (read: Jensen) had a cold at the start of the episode?
- Okay, anyone who pays much more attention than I have been lately, Dean dropped "Agent Lewis" as his alias--is he recycling alias'? I am hoping so, for story purposes.