The fantastic thing about this show is that it does not let up. Not once. Even when you're laughing with shocked, partially guilty delight, you're waiting for the sucker punch that will drive the air from your lungs and you are not disappointed. There are certain mannerisms and facial expressions these boys give that are so unique to them -- not just to the actors, but to the characters they embody -- that if I ever saw them in anything else, and saw one of those looks, I'd think "Dean!" or "Sam!" God, I love this show. Like no other.
*deep breath* Here goes nothin'.
When we saw the Trixter in the previouslys, I immediately knew how they were going to get stuck in the time-loop. I had purposely only watched the previews from last week before tonight because I didn't want to be spoiled, but had literally JUST been talking about the time-loop episode of X-files with a friend this afternoon, so I was chewing on the "how" and when we saw him, I was like "ohhhh..." But that didn't ruin a bit of this fantastically layered episode for me.
Okay, rewinding epi in my my head. One of these days, I'll learn to take notes. Maybe for Season 4. Heat of the Moment was hilarious. Although, gotta say, my favorite Asia song is Only Time Will Tell... "You're leaving now... it's in your eyes... there's no disguising it..." Ahem. ANYWAY. Knowing that Sam was going to have a Groundhog Day, I found myself watching every little detail, as if for clues. It struck me as funny how their normal routine in the morning got so many eye-rolls from Sam. "Anytime you're ready" to his big brother. The black bra. HA! Dean not being able to go to breakfast without his .45 (love that guy -- have I said that yet this review?).
Dean's lip sync to Heat of the Moment with the Night at the Roxbury head bob was funny every time we saw it. He's just such a natural big brother. Annoying as hell when he knows he can get away with it. "Rise and shine, Sammy!" I mean, who else but your siblings know how to push your buttons and exactly what order to push them in to elicit the reaction they were going for: annoyance, laughter, tears, anger... Siblings know you like no other and depending on their nature, that can be good or bad for you.
I continued to watch the steps that Sam repeatedly lived through from Doris saying buh-bye to Mr. Picket, to Cal ordering coffee... trying to pick out the tell that would show us where the trixster was. I don't even know if that's how you spell trixster, but we're going with it for this review. I gotta tell you, though, I did NOT expect for Dean to get shot and die before the opening credits. That was one of those gut punches. I was busy chuckling at Sam's eagerness to find something at the Mystery Spot because they didn't know where Bela and the Colt were, Dean's attempt at humoring Sam because what the hell else is he going to do and BLAM. I was choking right along with Dean watching him shudder and shake and look desperately at his brother... and then literally, the light left his eyes. How did he DO that? That was amazing and riveting and painful to watch.
Confused Sam is cute. I think I might like that version of Sam best. Dean's wise-ass "clowns or midgets" when Sam claimed a weird dream had me smirking and the "how is that not deja vu" argument is the 2nd best exchange the whole show. LOVED the "Dingo's ate my baby" crazy reference. The writers of this show are fantastic with their pop culture knowledge, their witty exchanges, their sly remarks that you have to almost watch two or three times to truly appreciate. Not that that's a problem...
Sam not telling Dean that he died the 1st time 'round was going to be a problem, I knew. So... when Dean got hit by the old man in the car, I blinked, but kinda "felt" that coming. Oh -- loved the "What do you want, a Pulitzer?" comment from the two guys trying to move the ginormous table in through the teeny door. Oh, and the blonde -- I KNEW the blonde would be something, but didn't put her with Hasslehoff... or whatever the missing guy's name was.
On of the best lines had to be Dean's "I get all tingly when you take control" to Sam. I laughed out loud. These writers so read fanfic. You KNOW they do. One of Jared's "Sam" maneuvers that I will forever associate with that character is his way of pleading with Dean to please believe him even though he sounds three levels of crazy. He tucks his chin down to the right, and looks up through the tops of his eyes, eyebrows just slightly raised. The limpid innocence held in those eyes just tugs at you, regardless of if you're a Dean girl or a Sam girl. No one could resist that plea, man. No one.
Sam's "you pee'd yourself" comeback when Dean wanted to know if it looked cool when he got hit by the car? Priceless. As was Sam's grab to pull Dean out of the path of the car. The big table falling on Dean second after he declared that all they had to do was to make sure he didn't die TOTALLY caught me by surprise. I should feel shame for not seeing that one coming but I actually gasped and covered my mouth. Those beautiful bowed legs were just sticking out from underneath and I gaped right along with Sam.
But... it was at this point I started to get a bad feeling. Because while it had been traumatic the first time for Sam to literally have Dean die in his arms, he kept waking up. I started to get a knot in my stomach, waiting for the punch that would level me. I even glanced at the clock to time out when they would throw it, because I knew it couldn't be this easy. Dean dying so many times was actually starting to be funny. That's not right. I mean (and I know I'm not the only one) I've actually watched someone die. All the air is sucked out of the room and you can't hear anything and you can't tear your eyes away and all of the ramifications of every day of your life being around without this person in the world hits you like a literal weight and you can't even cry because you know it won't matter. That's not what I was seeing, but that's exactly what I was waiting for.
I loved Dean's reassuring "whatever this is, we'll figure it out" declaration whenever Sam told him (over and over) what the situation was. That's one of the things that makes him an awesome big brother. Sam says it's true, it's true. No matter how implausible. No matter how scary. No matter if he can't see it. Sam said he saw angels. Okay, angels exist even if he had felt betrayed by them from age four. Sam said there was a time loop. Okay, they'll find a way to stop it. Anything to get that freaked out, desperate look out of Sammy's eyes.
When Dean said "If you and I decide I'm not going to die, then I'm not going to die" I actually said "uh-oh" out loud. So this is what the kicker is. A lesson in the futility of fighting the future. And even though I was admittedly grinning through the choking on the sausage (I mean, who didn't see that coming), the "does this taco taste funny," the electrocution (that was fairly intense), the fight over the ax (shakes head at Sam), I felt that knot I mentioned earlier tightening. I don't think I have YET gotten through an episode w/out my stomach in knots.
When Sam declared it was his 100th Tuesday, my heart broke for him. He'd had to watch his brother die 100 times. And hadn't been able to do a thing to stop it. Dude, the joke was SO on him at this point. And what a sick, twisted joke it was. The scene, though when they boys said the same things at the same time... that was PERFECT. Just absolutely, I love these guys, perfect. "Sam Winchester cries his way through sex"?!?! And the RULER... OMG. Brothers. *hugs them both*
Hasselhoff, beck, whatever, was pretty much a red herring the whole time. A non-issue. A done deal. Even when they started down that path, I didn't buy it as any sort of solution. So what if he debunked different mystery spots. Blah blah blah. The point was that Sam was being played and Dean was being Dean, trying to help his brother. As he always does. That's really the thing -- without each other, they don't exist. And really, how true is that of any of us? How much do others that we love, that we care about, feed into the person that we are? How different would we be if we lost the most important person in our lives? If fate took them from us and there was literally nothing we could do about it, there is no way we would come out on the other side unscathed. The same.
Without Sam, Dean is empty -- he's said as much to himself. His whole life, his whole purpose is about his brother. Sure, he'd be someone with Sam gone. But he wouldn't be Dean. Not the Dean we've seen. Not the Dean he knows. And naively, I always thought differently about Sam, but life has put up a couple of mirrors for me personally of late and I realize now that no one is immune to the change that loss brings. Without Dean, Sam has no guidance. No freedom. No one to take care of the details so that he can relax. No one to protect him. And not just from the monsters in the world. From himself. Without Dean, Sam burns up from the inside out.
So, when they encountered the trixster, my heart dropped. He said as much when he called Sam "Bogo" (at least that's what I heard -- as in buy one, get one). The lesson, kids, is twofold. One -- apparently the entire underworld/demon community knows not only about Dean's deal but that Sam is desperate to save him and that Dean is Sam's weakness and Sam is apparently supposed to either lead them or defeat them, and Two -- Dean can't be saved.
I'm stubbornly refusing to believe number two. I think it's gotta be a trick in wording -- a loophole. Perhaps he can't be SAVED, but maybe he can...negotiate, win, barter, defeat, escape... oooo -- escape?? Okay, moving on.
The Huey Lewis touch was hilarious. Nice nod to Back to the Future, which I thought had to be a fav of Kripke's ever since Simon Said and Dean was sleeping in the same twisted, arm-behind-his-back position as Michael J. Fox's Marty McFly in same said movie. But when Sam was giddy that it was Wednesday, I curled up tighter into my Ball Of Imagined Protection because there was too much time left. When Cal robbed Dean instead of the other dude he was supposed to rob, my throat went dry. Sam's little-boy-lost "I'm supposed to wake up..." while he held his brother in his arms once more... after it wasn't have supposed to have happened... GOD. *sob* And although I never want to see it again, Jensen dies so well. He actually manages to look pained and peaceful at the same time. That guy is friggin' AMAZING.
This is what I'd been watching for. The aftermath. The reality of death without deals. Of a life changed irrevocably. Of the person you used to be so far behind you they aren't even a speck in your rear view mirror. I don't think Sam turned into Dean as much as he became his father. The maps and search information on the wall? Very John from Dead Man's Blood. The military-neat room and the way he straightened his bed? I don't see Dean caring that much about the bed. The bed would just be something that served a purpose in an almost meaningless life. For Sam, though, it was a routine. A step in the process of his day, like how he brushed his teeth and held his toothbrush with the glass of water when he rinsed.
He turned into the consummate hunter his father and brother had been, too -- demon thing in Death Valley, Vamp nest in Austin, digging out a bullet and sewing up the hole... damn. Bad. Ass. Especially with the facial expressions of the Terminator. Sam was gone. And this was over a period of three months. In three months time, Sam became a shell without Dean. A machine. When he saw Bobby, he didn't even hug him back. Of course later we saw it was because he totally suspected it to be the trixster, but I didn't realize that at first. I just saw him standing, wooden, while Bobby embraced him. Bobby's soft "you break my heart, kid" was just... yeah. Mine, too, man. Because it's not fair.
The idea of sacrificing Bobby to save Dean... all I could think was nonononononononono do NOT go there. But then I realized -- one second before Sam staked him -- what was going on. Instant relief. INSTANT. Some of the things NotBobby said though had to be true -- about Dean and Sam being the closest thing he had to family, and that he wanted to give Dean back to him. Those are real sentiments. I think the trixster has to have ways of pulling in reality. He must. Sam's scary moment of doubt when he thought for just one instant that he'd made a mistake literally made me sweat.
The trixster driving the point home that Dean was Sam's weakness...I wanted to say, "Well, DUH!" What does the demon population expect? Sam has NOTHING ELSE. They already killed Jess, Dad, Mom... Of course his only brother and the man who not only raised him but literally sacrificed EVERYTHING for him would be his weakness. If he wasn't, there wouldn't be anything inside of Sam worth salvaging and then he would be worthless to them. It's Sam's goodness that makes him so desirable to the demon community. His Clark Kent meets Wolverine drive to do right while trying to hold in his temper and keep his heart camouflaged on his sleeve. Otherwise, they wouldn't care.
The trixster's ominous "He's going to be the death of you" has me thinking, too. About Kripke's five year plan. About Dean's deal. About possibilities and story lines. *knot returns* Oh, and Travis Bickel in a skirt? That trixster is one funny dude. I haven't seen Taxi Driver in years, but that? Was funny.
When Huey returned, I felt tears in my eyes. One, because he was back and Dean was back and two because Sam had lived through all of that and still carried the scars that only memories can dig so deep. When he got up and crossed the room and hugged his brother -- so exactly like Dean's utterly relived hug in AHBL2 -- I felt a tear slip. Dean's quiet, "how many Tuesday's did you have" was perfectly pitched. I think he had to have known from the way Sam held on so tight that this was not a moment for snark. He recognized the same desperate "oh thank GOD" silent cry that he'd had himself not so long ago. And I wonder if he'd been just a little bit afraid at that similarity.
And is it me, or did Dean's eyes and lashes just literally JUMP from the screen when he was saying he remembered Sam had been pretty freaked out and they met the trixster? Whew.
I know these reviews are way too long -- everything I write is way too long, apparently -- but this is my way of watching it twice in one night. Once for real, and once in my head. Just a few more musings and I'll let you go. They have faced death so many times -- naturally and supernaturally. They have narrowly escaped with bruises and cuts, concussions and broken bones. But I wonder if now, now that he's literally seen his brother die, how Sam will react -- I wouldn't want to let him out of my sight (for obvious reasons). I wonder if knowing that Sam saw him die hundreds of times will change anything for Dean.
And I wonder how this repeated affirmation from the demon world that there's no way to save Dean will affect them. Will it defeat them or trigger them? Will they give in and enjoy the time they have left "killing as many evil sonsabitches as they possibly can" while Dean's alive? Or will they rage against the dying of the light? Jeeze, I canNOT seem to leave Dylan Thomas alone when it comes to getting out of this deal...
Sam's sad "had a weird dream" and Dean's half-hearted attempt to lighten the weight in his brother's eyes by the "clowns or midgets" comment was a nice way to get balance back. But Sam still has to carry those months with him. He still has to come to terms with how vital Dean is to him. How if they CAN'T find a way out, he's lived life without his brother, and it was a life without light. Dean, for all of his faults, for all of his dysfunctions, for all of his crass humor and sluttish ways, for all of his teasing and protecting and sacrifice and care... Dean is Sam's light, and Sam got a taste of real darkness. And I don't think he liked the flavor.