Gaelicspirit (gaelicspirit) wrote,

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Stream of Consciousness: Episode 8.01

I think the only above-the-cut comment I can make without spoiling anyone is OMFG I’m so glad to have them back. That? And I have now seen a Dean that has (for me) trumped pretty much all other variations of Dean.

ALL THE THOUGHTS. I have captured them.

I’m going to have to make some adjustments in this weekly Ramble now that we’re back on a school night. In Seasons 1 and 2, when it was on Tuesday, I wasn’t rambling so it wasn’t a big deal. Thursday nights made for a tired Friday, but hey, it was Friday so who the heck cares. Friday night was actually pretty perfect for me to ramble on to you guys for 20+ pages  because who needs to be coherent on Saturday morning?

Wednesdays, though…that’s going to be tricky. So, hopefully those of you who have been following this insta-reaction review will still like what you see and will share with me your reactions so that we can talk until next Wednesday when we get more! *does dance*

I thought I’d shotgun-shell a broad sweep reaction and then get a little more recappy. We’ll see if this formula holds going forward. *hopes to not hear crickets*

To caveat, after I watched the extended promo, I closed the lid on pre-season spoilers. One, because I like going in spoiler free and giving you as fresh a reaction as I can, and two, because I ran out of time. It’s hard, though, to stay spoiler-free when you’re on Twitter, so while I didn’t read any of the recent interviews I saw floating around, I saw some people’s reactions to them and it made me…anxious, for lack of a better word.

My fears were unfounded.

This was one of the best premieres we’ve had in the last several years, I thought. It did exactly what I want premieres to do: it got me revved up about what's to come. It closed out some of the open-ended questions, raised more, interesting questions, gave us back our boys shaken and stirred, and offered us a storyline we can comfortably sink our teeth into over the next 22 episodes. It had action and emotion; nothing felt like wasted space, nothing felt filler. The exposition was covered with events and flashbacks rather than an at-the-car conversation type standstill (not that I don’t love those from time-to-time). And I have to say, if the flashback thing for both guys is going to be a regular storytelling vehicle until that missing year is filled in, I dig it. I’d rather be told three stories at once and marvel at how they weave together than have to pause for one full episode to find out what happened THEN.

There were things I loved, things I liked, things I head-tilted, and things I’m going to just have to wait out and see what happens because I don’t have enough to form an opinion. There wasn’t one thing I didn’t like. Okay, well, maybe Sam’s hair. But that’s it.

Things I loved:

  • Dean: Purgatory!Dean, PTSD!Dean, Dean dirty, Dean on the run, Dean with Benny, and one specific smile he gave Sam.
  • The return of classic rock. I mean, Jethro Tull’s “Shuffling Madness” and Styx’s “Man in the Wilderness” – thank you, thank you Jeremy Carver. I especially loved the timing of “Man in the Wilderness” coupled with Dean’s run/hunt through Purgatory.
  • Kevin. That is all.
  • The fact that the baddies are monsters we’re familiar with: demons, vampires, etc.
  • The friggin’ sound of the Impala. I’m sorry. I can’t help it.
  • The arc about the Hell Gates.
  • The ‘look’ of Purgatory. Loved how the flashbacks for Dean contrasted so sharply with his current reality.
  • Geek/Hacker!Sammy.

Things I liked:

  • Benny. I like his voice…a slow N’Arlins-type drawl. Just, yes. I like it. I also like that he’s a vampire, and I like that I can already see layers of his character.
  • The mystery that’s surrounding Dean and Benny’s friendship and their escape from Purgatory. Can’t wait to find out more about that.
  • Dean’s evasiveness about Cas and the fact that there wasn’t one of the Purgatory flashbacks where he wasn’t searching for him. They’ve got me hooked on the mystery there.
  • Crowley. He just makes me chuckle. He’s an awesome baddie on so many levels.

Things I head-tilted:

  • Sam’s story. If you’ve been reading this ramble for any length of time you know I gravitate pretty instantaneously toward Dean, but that I try to always see Sam’s side. I can see it. I just don’t know if I fully understand or accept it yet. More on that in the recappy portion.

Things I have to wait out:

  • Amelia. I need them to sell me more on why she caught Sam and made him stay (other than the guilt factor for accidently hitting a dog, because come on).

Okay, let’s give our 8th Premiere a run-down, shall we?

But first, a sidebar – in the “Road So Far” when they played Dean’s “saving people, hunting things, the family business” line, did it sound different to ya’ll? I’ve watched Wendigo roughly 30 bagillion times and when he says that line he just sounds…younger. It’s almost like they re-did it so he could sound more like the Dean of now with his (uber-sexy) rough Batman-like voice. Then again, it’s probably me.

When I saw “100-Mile Wilderness, Maine, 1 year later” my first thought was how old are our boys now? Near as I can figure, they’ve basically traveled a decade of real time since we first met them (assuming time passes in Purgatory the same as it does on Earth, which it seems as though it does), taking into account the year Dean was with Lisa, the four Earth months he was in Hell, plus this year. SO – that would put Dean at 36 and Sam at 32.

Why does that matter, Gaelic, you ask? Well, to me, it matters when thinking about the reason and way they’re making decisions now that they’re back together – especially Sam. Honestly, it’s really so I can try to understand Sam a bit better. I assess life a lot differently in my thirties than I did in my twenties.

I can’t wait until we get the story, spell, and background on the journey Dean had to take to get out of Purgatory. As it was, we see two twenty-somethings sleeping in a tent. The girl wakes up to a wicked-bright light and you can hear yelling coming from it. Screaming, really. A shadowed figure runs passed the outside of the tent. The gal wakes her boyfriend and is all, go check it out, to which the guy understandably is like, what the hell am I supposed to do about it?

He steps out bravely anyway – which pretty much breaks the first rule of any horror movie – and thinks it’s just a deer when suddenly Dean is standing there as if he materialized from the dark. But it’s not just Dean. It’s Purgatory!Dean.

He’s dirty – absolutely covered in dirt and blood and who knows what else – his eyes are wary and wild, he’s crouched in a stance that says he’s been fighting everything from all sides for way too long, and he has a scary-assed axe-looking thing held out in front of him. I think my exact words upon seeing him were, “Oh, my God, I can’t even….” The hubs said I squeaked a bit. I feel no shame.

Dean’s first question is, “Where am I?” to which the poor camper has no coherent reply. But when Dean asks where the road is, the guy’s like 20 miles that way, dude. Never taking his eyes off the pajama’d camper, Dean bends down and grabs the guy’s back pack, then hauls ass toward the road.

He was coiled, ya’ll. There was an energy to him that had me holding my breath, eyes pinned to the TV. In those few minutes I felt like I was seeing a soldier who’d been plucked out of the worst war zone imaginable – one where the shelling never stops and rest is a fantasy – and set inside a safe zone with no warning or preparation. The culture-shock was palpable.

Four days later, Dean’s hitched a ride to Clayton, Louisiana. He’s wearing clean clothes – flannel, jeans, boots…y’know, the Winchester Uniform – carrying Camper Dude’s backpack and looking OMG good. Shallow moment 3 of infinity: as he walked down the road in that bow-legged, rolling stride of his, I just found myself thanking the TV gods that this character was back in my living room. *le sigh*

He breaks from the road onto a dirt path, clearly heading somewhere specific, and starts to shake out his left hand like it’s aching a bit. As he continues further through a cemetery and toward an old, wooden windmill, he’s actually gripping his arm – the pain having obviously increased. Going to the front of the windmill, he paces out a certain number of steps, pulls out a camping shovel, and starts digging, saying, “You better be here, you son of a bitch.”

Soon, bones are exposed at the bottom of a grave and Dean’s not only in tremendous pain, but his forearm is glowing. And the skin is morphing a bit like something is trying to get out. With gritted teeth, he mutters, “Hold on, you bastard,” then he cuts the glowing part of his arm, bleeds on the bones and Latinates. When the rite is done, he collapses, winded, by the grave and we see there’s a man standing behind him.

Or rather, a vampire.

The first conversation between Dean and Benny is deliciously cryptic. Dean says something like, “you woke him” and I’ll be honest, I was too busy trying to take in what I was seeing to understand the implications of what he was saying. He asks Benny if everything is working and Benny rolls his neck, baring his teeth and answers in the affirmative. Then he wants to know what now?

Dean’s like, just like we talked about. Benny says that this is goodbye and Dean warns him to keep his nose clean. Just as I was starting to think that something pretty heavy had to have gone down in Purgatory between these two for Dean to allow a vamp to escape and walk away, Benny kinda melts me a bit by grinning at Dean.

Benny: We made it, brother. I can’t believe it.

He grabs Dean in a man-hug and Dean grins against the guy’s shoulder saying, “You and me both.”

I had a weird déjà-vu moment between those two and a story I literally finished this past weekend, “Night of the Hunter.” Different creature, different circumstances, same connection.

We track off of Dean and Benny to Kermit, Texas, at night. Sam’s standing by a bed, packing a bag, and a dark-haired girl is asleep in the bed. Petting the dog as he leaves, Sam pauses just long enough for us to see the girl open her eyes and not call him back before he heads out. He gets in the Impala and the next thing we know he’s in Whitefish, Montana. That is some hike. Like a 26 hour hike.

So, the way I pieced it together was that either in the four days between coming back to the world and resurrecting Benny, or after he and Benny parted, or both, Dean spent a fair amount of time trying to find Sam – as evidenced by the reveal that Sam ditched his multitude of phones and Dean’s comment that Sammy was damn hard to track down. Working backwards from that, I am guessing that Sam got a call that Dean was alive and at Rufus’ cabin, packed up, and left. The way he left, though, told me that things were pretty much done where he was anyway.

When Sam reaches the cabin, he doesn’t get more than 1.5 seconds of nostalgia before he’s tackled from the side and Dean is testing him with holy water, borax, salt, and silver. Reassured that this is his human brother, Dean bops up (seriously, I’m telling you – coiled) and demands Sam test him. Sam’s too busy sputtering to respond to Dean, so Dean does it himself, proving that he’s flesh-and-blood. Then, as if their reunion were a formality that must be observed before they can get down to business, Dean says, “Let’s do this.”

Sam: I don’t know whether to give you a hug…or take a shower.

Dean steps in and grabs him close and for several seconds they stand there and breathe, physically reunited if not quite mentally or emotionally. It was good to see, especially taking into account the tension that ensues after they step apart.

The conversation flows really fast and the amount of information we’re handed is going to take us a few episodes to truly absorb, I think. Dean tells Sam he was in Purgatory, but doesn’t – or won’t, rather – tell him how he got out. I thought Sam’s reaction was a bit mild, at first. I guess I was expecting more of the soft-eyed, omg I can't believe you're standing here Sam. The way he looked when Dean suddenly showed up alive after Hell. But then…thinking about where Sam had been, the choices he’d made, Dean could have said he'd been in The Bermuda Triangle and Sam would have just blinked at him. Sam wants to know about Cas, and this was the first of many elusive Cas-related facts that just has me hungry for more story.

Turning away from Sam, his face tight, eyes troubled, Dean says that Cas didn’t make it. “Something happened to him down there. He just let go.”

Sam pushes for more information, asking if he actually saw Cas die and Dean says, “I saw enough.” I don’t have near enough information to make these types of jumps, but I’m gonna muse about it anyway: I wonder if whatever Benny and Dean had to do to open the human portal out of Purgatory involved Cas in some way. Dean’s eyes – his whole face, really – looked haunted when he said that last line.

Dean tells Sam half his phone numbers are out of service and Sam tells Dean that he doesn’t hunt anymore.

Dean: Yeah, right. And Sasha Gray’s gone legit.

(I’m going to go out on a limb here and guess she’s a porn star?)

Sam: She did a Soderberg movie.

Dean: What?

Sam (more slowly): She did a Soder—

Dean: No, Sam. You. You quit?

He’s sitting for the first of this exchange, but as Sam keeps talking, Dean gets up, beer in hand (it has been a year since he’s had any alcohol, after all) and walks around Sam. He doesn’t look quite comfortable sitting and/or being still. Sam explains that Dean was gone, Kevin and Crowley were gone, Cas was gone, Bobby was dead…. Crowley was right: he was well and truly on his own.

Dean is incredulous that Sam would turn his back on the family business and Sam’s like, there’s no business if the whole family is dead.

Dean: I wasn’t dead!

Ouch. Yeah. He was trapped in a world of half-light, killing monsters. Which is what he thought they do. But Sam argues that as far as he knew, what they do got everyone killed. He had no one, no roadmap. So…he fixed the Impala and he just drove.

Dean: After you looked for me. (Pause, lines around the eyes showing he already knew the answer, expression within his eyes hoping he was wrong.) Did you look for me?

Sam’s silence confirms his suspicions. Now, I had to think about this one for a minute. It’s always bothered me a bit that Sam is able to reconcile his conscience with certain things when Dean is not – perhaps because I am always comparing the two, rather than just letting Sam stand on his own humanity. Once he was healed of the Lucifer-crazy, Sam’s conscience was clear. He said as much.

But Dean, despite having done nothing wrong to warrant the feelings, never has a clear conscience. He’s either feeling guilty about something he did or feeling guilty about something he didn’t do. So, when it was revealed that Sam didn’t even look for Dean, that he lived a normal life, I was with Dean on being hurt. Pissed, even.

Inner-thought Me: How were you able to live with yourself, Sam? Didn’t you wonder, every day? Weren’t you afraid for what might be happening to your brother? Did you mourn? Did you bury him – even symbolically?

But then, in an effort to see where he is and was coming from, I realized that there is Sam, and then there is who Sam is to Dean. And I tend to forget sometimes about Sam.

Blocking Sam out as an individual and thinking about his journey – sacrificing himself, going to the Cage, pieced back together but amnesiac of his time w/out a soul, remembering everything, going nuts, getting healed, losing one of his last friends, defeating the Leviathan Leader, and watching his brother vanish before his eyes to who knows where – I could sympathize with his getting on a road to recovery after losing Dean (again).

I could see why he’d give up hunting – ‘cause really, he’s already done the vengeance thing, he’s already turned into a hunting machine, this was the only track left for him – and I could see why he’d find a way to move on. He’s still alive, on the Earth, and unless he kills himself (which, he’s already been to Hell and Heaven, and neither were all that appealing) he’s gotta do something. So, as Sam the individual, I can see that his choices make sense to him.

What I can’t understand – yet – is how that choice seemed to cause him very little angst. There no indication – so far – that he did anything, not one thing, to figure out if Dean were alive, dead, suffering, free, living in Antarctica…. There’s not even any indication – again, yet – that he really mourned for his brother. Which just doesn’t make sense for the Sammy we know – the Sammy Dean knows – and love. That’s the part I’m head tilting a bit about. Because the ‘who Sam is to Dean’ variation of Sam has really raked his brother’s heart over the coals with his silent response to Dean’s “did you look for me” question.

Dean: Good. That’s good. We always told each other not to look for each other so good for you. (Pause, narrowed eyes, frustrated tilt of the head) ‘Course we always ignored that because of our deep and abiding love for each other. But not this time, right, Sammy?

Sam somehow manages to look guilty, apologetic, and indignant all at once. He can’t argue with Dean – either because he knows his brother is right, or because he recognizes by the sarcasm dripping from Dean's words that Dean wouldn’t listen to him right now any way – and he hasn’t really been able to reconcile the reality he found a way to accept a year ago with the reality that’s staring him in the face right now.

Plus, what I heard in Dean’s voice was a little bit of disillusionment. I got the impression that the idea of someone out there, on the other side, looking for him, seeking a way to get him out, might have been one of the only things that kept him fighting prior to Benny’s Human Portal Escape Plan. Realizing now that it was never the case probably felt a bit like a road rash across his heart.

Not only that? But it’s clear in the Purgatory flashbacks that when it came to Cas, Dean followed protocol instead of promise when it came to that “not look for each other” statement – he looked for his friend in the middle of a monster war zone and his brother didn’t look for him while up on Earth. Yeah, I think that’s going to reverberate a bit through the season.

Sam: I’m still the same guy, Dean.

Somehow, I'm not convinced of that.

Dean: Bully for you. I’m not.

I'm very convinced of that.

Later that evening, Sam’s cooking dinner while Dean rifles through a box of Sam’s discarded cell phones. Sam offers dinner, but Dean passes, intent on listening to the messages. The look on his face when he hears the messages from Kevin made me want to hide under the couch. He. Was. Pissed. He simply stares at Sam while Sam looks back blankly and plays message after message from Kevin to Sam, searching for help, a connection, something. First he’d just escaped Crowley. Then it had been a week later. Then three months. Then six months.

I think something shifted for Dean in that moment – he wasn’t as much hurt that Sam hadn’t looked for him as he was disappointed that Sam had walked away from everything. Especially Kevin.

Dean: He was our responsibility and you couldn’t answer the damn phone.

Sam looks chagrined, but I honestly couldn’t tell if it was because of the way Dean was regarding him or because of the fact that he’d basically abandoned Kevin. I don’t know if Dean’s going to be able to see Sam the individual any time soon. I mean, the guy went from mentally preparing himself to die while killing Dick Roman, to being dropped into Purgatory for a year fighting every kind of monster there is, to back on Earth and he’s not had time to breathe, to remember that there are people in the world to whom monsters exist only in fiction.

And I think that after all they’ve been through, it’s pretty easy for Dean to forget that Sam has always sought a ‘normal’ life. Sam’s had moments where it was clear he didn’t really know what he wanted and decided to “do what Dad would want” him to do, but what Sam wants from life and what Dean wants from life are never going to be the same.

A bit later, Dean is on the couch reading…something. *shrug* Sam is behind him at the table doing computer things with the recordings of Kevin’s voicemail and he is able to pull forward the background noise in the last one, deduces that Kevin’s in Centerville, MI, based on a couple of thin leaps – one of which being that Kevin’s high school girlfriend is attending college there – and decides that Dean was right, he was their responsibility. So, they head out.

I liked the moment when Sam tossed Dean the keys. It felt like a ‘welcome home’ gesture.

Dean (eyeing his car): No visible signs of douchery.

I love the multitude of ways he finds to use that word. *laugh*

He does detect the smell of dog in the car, but Sam’s all, dog? Wha…?

They stop at a motel and while Sam’s carrying his bag into the room, Dean’s standing outside a candy vending machine staring at it with eyes that are both confused and disbelieving. Back in May, I wrote a post about additional S7 thoughts and S8 wishes and in there I said I wanted post-Purgatory Dean to be Hurt Locker!Dean. THIS is what I meant. This scene, this expression, this moment. The whole, how is it possible that there are this many choices when a week ago I had one?

It totally brought to mind the cereal aisle scene in The Hurt Locker. I want more of this. More ways that year has changed our hero and more of him figuring out which of those changes he’s going to keep. *delighted*

Two kids run by Dean play-shooting each other and it pulls him into a flashback of Purgatory where his face is bloody, he’s dirty, and he’s chasing (and catching) a vampire; he then demands the vamp tell him where "the angel" is.

Vamp: You’re him. The human.

Dean beheads the dude when he doesn’t give him anything useful on Cas and is immediately sidelined by another vamp, one he’s unable to get the upper hand on – and who looks rather manic. He’s saved by Benny; the guy slams into the vamp intent on tearing Dean’s face off, beheads it and turns to face Dean who is on his feet, wounded and wary.

Back in the motel, Dean’s now sitting on the edge of the bed, bouncing his knees a bit, visibly anxious, the outside noises – traffic, trains, sirens, voices – working him over a bit. Sam is leaning in the doorway to the bathroom, watching him. He asks Dean if he’s okay and Dean suggests they blow this joint, hit the road, Kevin’s not getting any more found. Sam’s like, he survived a year without us, 12 more hours won’t hurt. He wants to know when Dean last slept.

Evading the question and instead focusing on Sam’s justification that “people will be okay” Dean seems to be trying to get a grip on the way Sam’s mind works, but isn’t able to quite connect.

Sam: I did what we promised we would do. Moved on. Lived my life.

Dean: I’m getting that.

Sam says he wasn’t oblivious; he read the papers. He saw the weird stuff that they used to chase. He just decided that it didn’t have to be his problem. And the world went on. I wonder if that was hard for him, or if after everything, it was a relief.

It’s not jiving with Dean; people died. Sam’s like, people always die. He just realized it wasn’t only up to him to stop it. As if slowly finding a way to accept what Sam’s saying, Dean keeps pressing, finally asking if there was a girl. Sam is very evasive about Amelia. He says that yes, there was a girl, and then there wasn’t. Which is why I think he was on his way out anyway when he found out about Dean.

Time obviously passes a bit – the room is darker, anyway – and now Dean’s sitting on the floor at the foot of the bed instead of on the bed itself. Oddly enough, he looks more comfortable there. Sam’s on the side of the other bed and he’s trying to explain the he didn’t just drop out of hunting; he found something that he never had. Dean wants to know how it happened.

Sam: I hit a dog.

Dean (whirling hilariously to point at Sam): I knew I smelled a dog!

Sam: Yeah, and I knew you’d throw a bitch fit.

Dean: The rules are simple, Sam. You don’t take a joint from a guy named Don (okay, random) and there’s no dogs in the car!

Sam decides to get the heat off himself for a bit and asks about Dean.

Sam: You still got that look…you’re shaky, on edge….

Dean: It was bloody, messy…31 flavors of bottom dwelling nasties. 360 degrees of combat. But it…felt pure.

And suddenly I could see that – like prismatically clear. All he had to do was survive. All he had to be was a soldier. There was no one to protect, no one to fail (except himself), no shades of gray as to who was bad and who wasn’t. There was just him and them. Good and bad. His way was righteous and that was all.

It was probably the most uncomplicated his life had ever been.

He flashes back to the first meeting with Benny and the vamp tells him that there’s basically a loophole for humans. I can’t wait to find out how Benny found out about that.

Dean: Let me get this straight. You want to guide me out or Purgatory out of the goodness of your undead heart?

Well, not exactly. See, Benny wants Dean to “hump out his soul” since it’s a human-only portal. So, that painful glow trapped in Dean’s arm was Benny’s soul, huh? Interesting…. Dean’s like, how do I know this isn’t a set up and Benny basically tells him he doesn’t.

Benny: First rule of Purgatory – you can’t trust nobody.

Obviously, he didn’t see Fight Club.

Dean counters Benny’s offer by saying he’ll do it if Benny helps him “find the angel.” Take it or leave it. He wasn’t going until he found out what happened to Cas. *loves it*

In real time, the boys are suited up and at the campus questioning Kevin’s high school girlfriend, Channing, who says she hasn’t seen Kevin in a year and besides, since he freaked out on a mission from God and isn’t getting into Princeton, she doesn’t want anything to do with him. The boys leave and try to figure out another way to find Kevin and we see that poor Channing isn’t Channing anymore. Demon!Channing kills her roomie to fuel a demon blood phone and informs her boss – Crowley – that Dean Winchester is back. Duh, duh, duhhh!

Sam is sitting at a café table doing computer stuff and sees a dog being walked across campus. We see the moment he rushes into an Animal Hospital, carrying a bloody, wounded dog that he hit. He’s a bit hysterical – which tells me that maybe this happened very soon after the Dean was Leviathaned away and that also maybe Sam wasn’t handling pretty much anything really well right then. A pretty, dark-haired, but totally biting and condescending vet (I’m presuming she’s Amelia) helps him out and eventually guilts him into keeping the dog.

I need more selling points on Amelia and more about Sam’s story to not look at it with a head tilt.

Back in the now, Dean drops down on the seat across from Sam asking to not be judged for getting bupkis. Just then, a waitress sets a basket of fries and a burger next to Sam.

Dean: Sweet Mother of God.

Sam pushes said basket toward Dean.

Dean (looking like he just got a Red Rider BB Gun for Christmas): For me? Seriously?

Sam's small smile = duh.

Dean’s aww, Sammy, you do love me smile is priceless. And it’s the first real, genuine brotherly interlude they’ve had since the hug. I loved it. I loved that smile.

So, while Dean has a moment with his burger and fries (just thinking about that look on his face is making me hungry), Sam starts to rattle off some IP address/router/hacker stuff that I didn’t have hope of following. Dean dead-eye stares at him.

Dean: That is spectacular work. Any chance I can get that in English?


Sam’s like, Kevin’s in a coffee shop in Iowa. And, they’re off! Actually, turns out Kevin’s squatting in an abandoned church. Dean picks the lock, they head inside, Kevin sprays them with Borax-filled water gun (why they didn’t use that in S7 I’ll never know) and then sees it’s really them and is all what the hell happened to you guys?!

Dean: Cliff notes? I went to Purgatory, Sam hit a dog.

A beat.

Kevin: You want some towels?

So to summarize what Kevin’s been up to – without minimizing because I personally dig this kid – there’s another God tablet out there that Crowley had. He wanted Kevin to translate it and Kevin realizes that it’s basically God’s version of "Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Demons But Were Afraid To Ask." And let me tell you, Kevin’s getting into Princeton wasn’t a fluke: this kid is clever and has some serious cajones. It’s clear he earns Dean’s respect by two things: the folded down grin Dean gives Kevin as the kid shares his story, and the fact that Kevin saying the tablet was safe was enough for Dean.

Kevin escaped from Crowley by convincing the King of Hell that there was a Hell Gate in Wisconsin and that there was a formula/spell to open it. In reality, he left Crowley standing in a field surrounded by goats and wiped out the demon henchmen in the room with him. Not only that? But he knows how to close the Hell Gates for good – wipe out all demons from the Earth forever.

Dean’s a bit giddy about this, but Sam suddenly grows cautious. I think maybe it was the effect of reuniting with Kevin, seeing what this kid – who had destiny thrust upon him, just as Sam and Dean had – was able to do in that year on his own, that was causing Sam to pull up short.

Dean: He’s the bomb shell.

Sam: No way he’s getting out of this intact.

Dean: He’s done okay so far. And now he’s in it.

Sam (bitterly): So, free will, that’s only for you?

Dean (incredulous): He has the key to wipe the slate clean!

I didn’t really get Sam’s “free will” comment. Maybe it was in reaction to Dean laying on the guilt about the choices Sam had made after he disappeared? I’m not sure. But it’s not as if Dean has enjoyed the benefits of “free will” lately.

Sam goes inside the church, sits behind Kevin in the rows of old, dusty pews, and apologizes to him. He said that he “needed to clear his head” (and in comparison to what Kevin has had to deal with, that was almost ridiculously off-balance) and that Kevin is one of the things he should never have “dropped.” Kevin says in a tired, sad voice that most days he finds it hard to believe that this is actually his life.

Sam: I know it sucks. And it’s probably going to get worse. But it does get better.

Kevin (half-turning to face Sam): You know I’m not gay, right?


Sam: If you can do this, you get a world where no demon is chasing you anymore.

Kevin knows. He needs a minute to get his stuff and as he leaves, we see that Dean was listening, lurking in the doorway. As they’re gathering their supplies, the Earth shakes, breaking the Devil's Trap painted on the boards of the church floor and Dean is on instant alert. He quickly hands Sam the Demon Killing Knife and then pulls out the scary-ass axe thing. Sam gapes at it.

Sam: What’s that?

Dean: This is Purgatory.

Two demons break in and it’s ON! Sam backs up to protect Kevin and manages to get a lucky swing, stabbing the demon with the knife. Dean is wailing on the other demon. He a little scary in his intensity but it looks good on him. He loses his Purgatory Axe and basically has to keep the demon busy until he can get the Demon Killing Knife. The demon gets its hands around Dean’s throat, but Sam gets him the knife and bam, two demons down.

Enter Crowley and his Ace In the Hole: Channing. Only, of course, it’s Demon!Channing. He tells Dean that Purgatory didn’t do him any favors and Dean replies back with a "your mother" insult. Your basic hi-howaya with these guys. Crowley wants Kevin back, bottom line. He tells the demon to let Channing talk for a moment.

Channing (smile shaking and scared like the girl she really is): Kevin?! What’s going on?

Kevin: There’s a demon inside you and you’re going to your safety school.

Channing: WHAT?! (totally unclear which fact he threw at her is more horrifying, LOL!)

Crowley brings the demon back and Kevin agrees to exchange himself for Channing. Dean’s like, can’t let you do that, and Kevin challenges, what are you gonna do – kill me? Good point.

Kevin goes to get his things and manages to trick Crowley into falling for a Holy Water over the door trick, giving Dean and Sam time to bail, Kevin with them, though they pull away just in time to see the demon in Channing escape to find a new meat suit and Crowley snap Channing’s neck. *frown* Poor Kevin.

They stop at a gas station and Dean asks if anyone wants any food. Kevin’s zoned – seeing his girlfriend’s neck snapped by the King of Hell would do that to you. Dean’s cell rings and he answers, then says it’s the wrong number. Turning around to Kevin he says in a take-no-sass tone that he’s sorry about Kevin’s girlfriend, but that Kevin’s in it now, whether he likes it or not.

Dean: And that means you gotta do what you gotta do.

He says he’s going to the head and Sam sits silently in the passenger seat dividing his worried glance between Dean’s retreating form and Kevin’s dour face. Dean, however, ducks into an alcove outside of the bathroom and returns the call he just got: to Benny.

Elsewhere, the vampire is standing in the shade of a large tree, in daylight, in a cemetery, talking to Dean. He’s wearing a hat and glasses – looks like one of the guys in The Italian Job – and is surreptitiously watching a funeral. We find out from Dean’s comments that it’s been 50 years since Benny’s been in the world.

Dean: Must be a helluva lot to take in.

Benny (glancing askance at the funeral): Mostly it’s the choices.

Dean (fidgeting slightly): Look. We did what we had to down there. Maybe until we’ve adjusted…maybe we shouldn’t talk to each other for awhile.

Benny: And there it is. Think you had it right, brother. Purgatory was pure. Kinda wish I had appreciated it more.

Dean works his mouth around some words but can’t quite get them out. Instead he tells Benny to call him if he had an emergency, which Benny promises to do.

Benny: You keep your nose clean, too, brother.

Annnnnddd…now we wait.

So, Purgatory has me incredibly intrigued. What did they have to do down there? What did they have to do to get out? What is Cas’ story? When will Dean tell Sam about Benny? How will Dean tell Sam about Benny? Will Benny be another Lenore? Will it come back to bite Dean in the ass? And why was Benny watching the funeral like he was? What sort of choices might he have been referring to?

And what’s the deal with Amelia? How did she win Sam over? Was it her or was it the stability she offered, the normalcy? I'm looking forward to getting more Sam info to help me un-tilt my head.

I’m very excited about the way this season has started, the path they’re already starting to lead us down. I can’t wait to see what’s in store for us next.

Thanks for reading!


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