Gaelicspirit (gaelicspirit) wrote,
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Stream of Consciousness, Episode 8.02

This season has me revved up. So far, I’m really enjoying it – even the unanswered questions. And Dean…sweet baby Jane this season’s Dean has me doing mental back flips in Jeremy Carver’s honor.



Okay, first, though, I have to course-correct myself. So, you guys know that I watch the episode once, then hit the computer keys and give you my stream of consciousness thoughts. With that, some impressions can be incorrect. Which is why ya’ll are made of awesome because you bring with your comments clarity and information I didn’t have before. Thanks for that. *smiles*

Wherein Gaelic muses on the brothers for a bit…if you don’t feel like indulging her, the recap is down screen:

One such piece of information is that, apparently, Sam in fact didn’t know that Dean was alive when he came to the cabin. He just wanted some “alone time.” This was provided to me by those who listened to a podcast post episode from one of the producers (I think?), Jim Michaels. So, okay, he was taken totally by surprise – though his reaction felt too subdued. I don’t know how I really expected him to act – emotional, maybe? Kind of like he did when Dean showed up alive after Hell.

But then again, things had changed between that resurrection and this one. Sam says he’s the same guy, but I don’t think he is. Neither of them is; they can’t be. Not after losing everyone they held close, having nothing left but each other, and then being torn apart with no warning and no explanation and no recourse. They may have had very different years, but the catalyst for those differences was them being separated so harshly and that forced some choices.

I’ve been pondering change lately – can people really change, or does life simply force them to adapt? Are you who you are at the core of you no matter what you manage to accept and conform to? Or can you truly become someone different?  I think this season is going to feed into those questions a bit with some possible theories.

Here’s the interesting thing to me about Sam right now. He didn’t know Dean was alive until he showed up at the cabin, and he'd quit hunting, but when Dean gave him those I’m so disappointed in you angry brother eyes about Kevin, he was part of the hunt for the prophet. And he’s obviously not lost his hunter’s edge. In fact, it seems he’s picked up a few tricks he didn’t have last time he and Dean hunted together. However, even with all of that, I can’t help but wonder how long he’s going to be in this game.

He’s not in it for Dean – I think Azazel had it . I don’t think Sam needs Dean like Dean needs Sam. It’s not bad, it just is. It makes me sad for Dean, but I can’t judge Sam for that. I do still kinda judge him for not looking for Dean, but I’m open to hearing his side of the story once it’s told to help me un-tilt my head. But I have to wonder when Sam’s going to decide to remind Dean that he made a choice: he’s done with hunting.

I really only think he’s in this for Kevin. And when they find a way to save Kevin, I think he’s going say he’s done. And I think that’s going to rattle Dean harder than either of them realize.

Because Dean is on edge.

It’s so clear that he’s barely holding it together – his pain and anger and the trauma he experienced and survived in Purgatory is simmering just below the surface. Unlike Hell, this time it’s manifesting itself in anger and very, very controlled violence. He’s wound so tight his internal clock is ticking into the future. He is holding on to haunting remorse – nightmarish guilt – and between that and a years worth of survival tactics, he's ignoring normally instinctive reactions of sympathy. Sam’s always been the “you brave little soldier” emotional part of their partnership, but Dean’s never been cold. He’s close to that now; he’s closed off an emotional part of himself that would have probably strangled him with despair in Purgatory.

I don’t think he realizes it yet, but he needs Sam to remind him of his humanity, to remind him of who he was before Purgatory: guardian, protector, big brother. Especially if he’s going to live in this world again and have any sort of peace. And especially if the only friend he has in this world -- the only other person who knows what he survived and how he survived it -- is a vampire he’s forcing to keep away. Having Sam with him now isn’t just…habit or nostalgia. It’s necessity.

There’s tension in every aspect of Dean – in how he moves, how he watches people, how he talks, even how he breathes. He’s a live wire and he can’t get past whatever happened to him in Purgatory. And until he does, it’s going to eat him up in ways we’ve not seen before. We’ve seen him crumble, we’ve seen him break, we’ve seen him drink himself numb, we’ve seen him shut down, we’ve seen him as raw as any human can be. But this…this is different.

This is a solider walking a knife’s edge between battle and home and not really able to maintain his balance with each step.

And I will freely admit…I like it.

He makes me catch my breath – even when he’s doing something where my heart cries no, that’s not our Dean…he’d never do that I watch in awe to see what’s going to happen next because I think he’s on his way to answering my question about change one way or the other.

Either we’ll see that the soft heart that always beat inside of Dean, the heart that focused on saving people before hunting things is still there, buried under so many walls of protection and survival that it’s flickering in the dark – he’s still the same person, he’s just been forced to adapt – or, we’ll see that his iron will has been heated and reshaped into a warrior that is lost without a war.

I can’t wait to watch how he shares this story, this character evolution, with us.

Dean has always been my hero in this show – I identified with his family duties, his sibling responsibilities, his issues with his father, and then as he morphed, life pushed at me and I found myself managing to even relate to his fears of going to Hell, his survival of that awful place, his feeling betrayed by his brother, his losing his way and going through the motions because what the hell else is he going to do…. And now I can’t help but still find myself connecting with Dean, wanting to see his story play out, attracted to the internal battle, the struggle to remember that the world isn’t all tunnel: there is light. However else Carver intends to play out the conflict between the brothers, I’m caught by the story he’s thus far spooling out with Dean.

And any good story has conflict.

Complication in their relationship – as I see it – is a good thing. It keeps the story unfolding, keeps it real and relevant. If they were always buddies, the fact that they’re siblings wouldn’t feel realistic to me. Especially as different as these characters are. The love is there. The faith in each other is there, even if the trust wavers. They will always be family. So I am willing to wait out the back stories and see where we’re going with their bond and future as partners.

OKAY! So, with that, I’ll get to it.

Things I loved:

  • Dean’s intensity, Dean’s flashbacks, Dean’s crow’s feet (seriously, just Dean)
  • Getting more info on Purgatory
  • Benny (I am ready for more of this guy)
  • CAS!
  • Sam’s concern and confusion watching his brother
  • Sam being wicked clever hunter dude with the reverse Latination
  • Mama Tran. Full stop.
  • Crowley being an evil bastard

Things I liked:

  • Cas with a beard (I’m guessing Dean used the edge of the axe thingy to shave…right?? *wink*)
  • Sam’s soft eyed expressions
  • Kevin’s struggle to deal with...well, everything
  • This line: “I think too much heart was always Castiel’s problem.”
  • Sam channeling his inner Avenger and wielding Mjolnir
  • The return of rock alias’

Things I was slightly meh:

  • The auction/Plutos/Mr. Fancy Pants (never got his name)
  • The random old guy with the giant bone (yeah, I heard it as soon as I typed it)

Things that had me rubbing my heart:

  • Dean’s memories of finding Cas
  • This line: “I’m not leaving here without you. Understand?”
  • Sam instinctively trying to convince Dean Kevin’s note wasn’t true
  • Dean accepting one more nightmare, one more reason to hate himself, as a sacrifice for what he saw as the greater good

THEN – basically last week’s episode. If you saw it, you’re good.

NOW – Chicago, IL, a bank vault.

Okay, I will admit to an eyebrow arch moment. All this stuff with the old guy getting Box #1 from the safety deposit boxes, taking out the giant finger bone and killing the poor (virgin) bank teller was a bit random. Even with what happened at the end. Looking back, it felt…oddly placed.  But we did get our typical splash of blood before the (very cool new) title card.

Elsewhere, Kevin, Sam, and Dean are eating at some outside BBQ place. Kevin wants to go check on his mom. Dean has a one-track mind: find tablet, close Hell Gates, rid world of Demons. For him, pretty much all else should stop until they accomplish this because this is a mission. It’s the mission. He can put his whole focus on it and be justified because it’s a very good thing. He doesn’t have to think about right or wrong – it’s clearly right to rid the world of demons, so why the hell should they worry about anything else until that was accomplished?

But, see, Kevin can still see Crowley snapping Channing’s neck. And he wants to go check on his mom. Kevin's their reminder of what it was like when evil was still shocking and horrible -- not an every day occurrence. When Sam speaks up that Kevin has a point Dean barks at his brother to stay out if it, and interestingly enough, Sam does. He steps back out of the way a lot in this episode – either because he’s just keeping out of Dean’s way and letting his brother take the action he needs to take, or because he wants this Kevin business done as quickly as possible so he can get back to his real life, I’m not sure. But there were times I expected him to protest and he stayed silent and with his silence, gave the impression of agreement.

Dean tells Kevin that his mom is fine because Crowley needs her to be fine – she’s bait. Crowley’s waiting to jump on him the moment they show up.

Kevin: Dean, my mom’s all alone and is surrounded by demons. I just want to make sure she’s okay. How can you not understand that?

Thing is, he does. He does only too well.

Dean: Son of a bitch. Fine! Let’s go.

So, elsewhere yet again – a day’s drive in the opposite direction from where they were headed – the boys and Kevin are sitting in the Impala outside a nice house. Sam is peering through binoculars and calls out, “Tiger mom, 9 o’clock.” Hee. Tiger mom. Such funny guys.

While Kevin greedily grabs the binoculars to see that his mom is okay – sad, but okay – Dean is casing the joint. The cool thing about this is, he doesn’t move, but sees everything. The mailman delivering mail three times, the gardener over-watering the flowers. His eyes are taking everything in. And shallow moment 4 of infinity? He looks so great in this whole scene. apieceofcake, I’ll be watching for your artwork…. *smiles*

Dean sneaks around the house and turns off the water, taking out the demon gardener when he comes to check on it. Then he stands loose-limbed and friendly as the demon mailman walks through the gate and waves as Sam stabs and kills Demon #2. Inside, Mama Tran is talking to her kindly demon!neighbor, Eunice, who is encouraging her to stay where she is and hang in there because Kevin will be back. Then, ta-da!

Kevin is at the door. Mama Tran has about 2 seconds to register shock when Dean splashes her with holy water, declaring she’s clean. Ha! She ignores them, hugging her son. Sam smells something – sulfur maybe? – and the boys head in where the demon in Eunice starts to take the the black smoke escape route.

And here is where Sam impresses the hell out of me by instantly rambling some Latin rite and forcing the black smoke back into Eunice so that Dean can stab and kill it/her. Mama Tran is understandably shocked, but Dean is all, “That wasn’t Eunice.”

The boys sit across from the Trans, giving it to her straight. She takes it in, slowly, but calmly – getting the sense of what demons were, where Kevin had been for the last year. She looks at her son finally and says, “Prophet of the Lord, huh? Does have a nice ring to it.”

Dean declares that Mama Tran is going to a safe house, but she ain’t having none of it. Sam agrees but neither the puppy dog eyes nor the scary threats that Crowley could take her soul and make it burn in Hell – literally – have any affect on her.

Mama Tran: It’s not my soul I’m worried about. It’s my son’s.

Atta girl. I loved this woman. She’s my kind of mom. Tough, protective, savvy, smart, willing to throw herself in harm’s way for the sake of her child. *fist bumps good moms everywhere*

Kevin can’t tell her what to do – especially after she uses the Mom Eye (I’ve put that to good use a few times myself) – so Dean says coming with them has a few conditions like hex bags and…getting inked.

Kevin’s all, wait, what? And Sam pulls out his tough-guy voice and shows Kevin his tat. Nice.

Mama Tran: Fine. What? Like it’s my first tattoo?

Dean’s face was like, well, allrighty then. *grins*

While the Trans get inked, Dean and Sam stand off to the side, talking. Dean can smell revenge, it’s so close. Which caught me – revenge, huh? Not justifiable demonicide, ridding the world of demons for the sake of saving the world? Revenge for all the wrongs that were visited upon them. I’m going to have to roll that one around in my head a bit, especially as Dean scoffed at Sam for wanting revenge – though Sam reclassified it as redemption – when Sam quit hunting before. The shifts in Dean’s approach and perception post-Purgatory are so intriguing.

Kevin is whimpering like a little girl. I’m sorry, but he is. It hurts, but not that bad. I just got my fourth tattoo in the same place that Mama Tran got hers and it wasn’t half as bad as I thought it would be. *shakes head at Kevin* But, Mama Tran reaches out and takes his hand, calmly giving him strength because she’s a good mom.

Meanwhile, Dean’s asking Sam how he did the reverse exorcism.

Sam: Just said the verse backwards.

Dean = huh!

Me = huh!

That’s some quick thinking, there, Sammy. I wonder if it just occurred to him or if he’d had to do that in the past for some reason. *continues to ponder Sam’s story*

Later, they’re at a bus depot and after doing a sweep to make sure there weren’t any demons lurking about, they take a locker key from Kevin and think positive thoughts while opening a locker to find…a diaper bag. No Word of God inside. Oops.

Sam says nothing, but Dean growls, “Shut up,” at him anyway. Heh.

Suited up, the boys play Fed and interview the security guy, discovering that there were a rash of thefts and that he replaced the former security guy, Clem Somebody – who is currently residing in county lock-up. Convenient.

Still playing Fed, they are able to get in to question Clem about what he did with the tablet he stole from the locker. Sam is sitting at the table with the orange-suited former security guard, his voice soft, his eyes friendly, doing all the things Sam does really well.

Dean? Is pacing. Like a caged tiger. He’s listening to Sam but you can see his whole focus is on getting that damn tablet.

When Clem tries to lawyer up, Sam cajoles him by saying they might be able to work out a little “something something” with the locals and that triggers a flashback for Dean that he’s not able to fully pull out of for a bit.

I love how they filmed this scene. Dean fades a bit and we see the acid-washed look of Purgatory: Dean bloody and dirty, holding his wicked-looking axe thingy while Benny interrogates some monster. Benny steps away, saying the monster doesn’t know where the angel is, and Dean surges in, not satisfied with that answer.

In the holding cell, Dean has pulled off his tie and before Clem or Sam know what’s happening, he’s wrapped it around Clem’s throat, hauled him out of the chair, pressed him against the wall, and placed the blade of the Demon-Killing knife at his throat.

Sam: Hey! Dean!

But Dean’s back in Purgatory, his words echoing both in reality and memory as he presses the knife against a throat.

Dean: You feel that?

In Purgatory, the monster tells Dean that he knows where Castiel is and will show him. Dean says he should just tell him. In the holding cell, Clem tells him that the tablet is at a Pawn Shop. In Purgatory, the monster tells Dean that Cas is in a clearing, near a stream.

Dean: You know what? I believe you.

We watch Purgatory!Dean kill the monster and I swear I caught my breath, afraid he wasn’t going to be able to separate memory from reality and follow through by killing Clem, but Sam is half-standing at the table, saying his name in that controlled bark of sound he has: “Dean!”

Dean loosens the tie around Clem’s throat, pulls it free, then turns and he and Sam walk out together.

Whew. I need a drink.

Next we see the Impala pull up and park behind a red Ferrari that would have Magnum grinning. The boys walk in without a sideways glance, but Kevin’s all, Whoa. Mama Tran is not impressed and gives him the follow me, now finger.

They walk into the Pawn Shop and Sam flashes a badge, introducing them as Agents Neil and Sixx (yay! for the return of rock alias! Also, ironic choice as they are, indeed, a bit of a motley crew). He asks for the tablet, but the guy behind the counter decides to be, well, in Dean-speak, a douche. Dean says he’s had a bad day and if the dude wants to do this the rough way, Dean’s happy to oblige. The dude is unaffected by the thinly veiled threat and shows off his security cameras.

Mama Tran: That your car outside?

Pawn Dude: What’s it to you, Mail Order?

Dean (slapping his hand on the counter in anger): Hey! Pal!

*loves*

Mama Tran: I got it.

And she totally does, too. She noticed that his tags where expired, assessing he just got it in trade. She asks Kevin what the Blue Book was on a 2010 Ferrari Spider, which Kevin knows, then she wonders aloud what the Wyoming tax (guess they’re in Wyoming) was and Sam knew that right off the bat (because he’s The Smart One) and she tells Pawn Dude that he’s got about a $10K tax bill and she’d be happy to call her brother who is a Wyoming state tax assessor and bring this to his attention. She’s like, so, tablet or that piece of Eurotrash crap you call a car?

Way to go, Mama Tran!

The Pawn Dude sends them to a hotel where the person who bought the tablet is apparently staying, but before they can knock, Mr. Fancy Pants – the right hand to the god Plutos, all dressed in a dapper gray suit with a top hat – says that he’s been looking for Kevin. Has an invitation to an auction where they’re selling the tablet.

Now, why the guys didn’t immediately think that it was fishy that these gods would be willing to sell the tablet to the only person on Earth who could read it, I don’t know. But there you go.

Dean immediately says that the prophet isn't going anywhere without them and Mr. Fancy Pants says that the auction has a strict, “no casting, cursing, or supernaturally flicking the two of you against the wall just for the fun of it” policy.

Aw, man. Where’s the fun in that? *wink*

Dean’s joke about Plutos not being a planet anymore falls flat and Mr. Fancy Pants says that they’ll add a plus 3 to Kevin’s invite, then vanishes.

Dean: Thank you, Mr. Peanut!

Seriously, he was that, minus the monocle.

Dean asks what they have to bid and Sam’s like, uh…all we have to our name are a few hacked gold cards. Dean demands they get creative and Sam exhales loudly and glances over at the Impala.

Just as I was loudly exclaiming Wait, what? NO! Dean puts his body between everyone else and his baby and says, “Say it and I will kill you, your children, and your grandchildren.”

Man, it’s a real good thing Sam kept hold of that car in that year he was living a normal life. All I’m saying.

Plan A is then concocted: get Kevin inside and close enough to memorize the tablet. Done deal.

They show up at the auction place and walk through a metal detector – which Dean immediately (and predictably) sets off. He has to put his (pretty) Colt and the Demon-Killing knife in a box, declaring that he’ll be back for the knife. They showed the knife for an additional beat and I was almost worried we wouldn’t see that again.

We sweep the room to see what all is being auctioned off – and I laughed out loud when they showed Mjolnir. The hubs was like, is that…Thor’s Hammer? Ayup! The tablet is there, but it's covered up. Curses! So, they try to figure out Plan B.

Before they can, though, Crowley shows up. As he’s being all…Crowley-like…and guessing their Plan A. Dean is just…staring at him with this controlled hate. The look on his face is rather dangerous. Crowley teases Kevin about killing Channing, and is smarmy to Mama Tran, who hauls off and clocks him one hard enough Crowley stumbles back.

Mama Tran: Stay away from my son.

Dean steps forward, but Sam holds out a hand stopping him, saying it’s not worth it. Crowley tells Dean to listen to Moose, referring to him as “squirrel” and I cackled. I’ve been waiting for that, with as much as he refers to Sam as “moose.” All we need now is for Crowley to send a couple Russian demons after them named Boris and Natasha. *grins*

Plutos arrives and everyone starts to go take their seats – Sam complimenting Mama Tran on her nice right hook (*loves*) – but Dean is stopped by a kid in a Wiener Hut uniform. He tells Dean he knew Castiel – he’s an angel named Mandrael (I think that's what he said anyway...feel free to correct me). He wants to know if Cas made it out of Purgatory and Dean is quiet. But at the mention of Cas’ name, Dean's eyes narrow and his mouth gets tight and he looks like he's in pain.

Mandrael: Some in Heaven believe that despite all of his mistakes, Castiel’s heart was in the right place.

Dean: Are you one of them?

Mandrael: I think too much heart was always Castiel’s problem.

*rubs heart*

Dean looks destroyed for a moment and then fades a bit, flashing back to Purgatory. We see Cas – dirty, bearded, still in the trench coat – crouched at a stream washing his hands. Dean and Benny are making their way through the woods and Dean stops in his tracks when he see’s Cas. His whole being lights up and he calls out Cas’ name in this rough, booming voice and Cas stands up, turning slowly, saying, “Dean?” with kind of fearful wonderment.

Dean heads straight for his friend and envelopes him in a hug, which Cas doesn’t return. Dean, though, is all smiles, just utter, complete relief that Cas is there and alive. He introduces Benny – doesn’t say what he is, just his name. Cas just looks from one to the other, his eyes never ceasing movement his body kind of rotating as he keeps an eye out. He exudes wariness. He wants to know how they found him.

Dean: The bloody way. You feeling okay?

Cas:  You mean, am I still (makes coo-coo gesture).

Dean: If you want to be on the nose about it, sure.

Cas: I’m perfectly sane. But then, 94% of psychotics think they’re perfectly sane. So, we have to ask ourselves, what is “sane.”

Dean (reeling a bit from the onslaught of words and logic): Good question.

Benny (stepping forward, unable to stay quiet any longer): Why’d you bail on Dean?

I do love this guy’s drawl.

Dean: Dude.

Benny: The way I hear it, you two hit monster land and Hot Wings took off. Figure he owes you some answers.

Wait…the way he heard it? From whom, I wonder? Curiouser and curiouser. *is loving this story*

Dean (rotated slightly to address Benny, but looking at Cas with slightly desperate eyes): We were surrounded. Obviously some freak jumped Cas and kicked his ass…right?

Man, it's the same expression he had when he said after you looked for me, right? to Sam. A quiet plea that he wasn’t forgotten. A hope that he wasn’t left behind.

Cas: No.

Dean (winces, head tilts): What?

 Cas: I ran away.

Dean: You…ran away.

Cas: I had to.

Dean (angry): That’s your excuse for leaving me with those gorilla wolves? You bailed on me and what? Went camping? I prayed to you, Cas. Every night.

Gah, he killed me there. His eyes.

Benny looks from one to the other, his expression a little smug – as if he knew that Cas had run and just needed Dean to hear it from his friend. Cas says he knows that Dean prayed and you can see Dean hold himself in check, pull himself up tight as Cas continues to talk.

Cas: I am an angel in a land of abomination. There have been things hunting me from the moment we arrived.

Dean: Join the club!

Cas tells him that Leviathans are hunting him and he’s stayed away from Dean to protect him – to keep the Leviathans away from Dean. He tells Dean to leave. Benny’s like, hey that’s cool with me. But Dean shifts tactics and tells Cas that they’re getting out. He makes Benny tell Cas about the human portal, though Benny says he doesn’t know if it would work for angels. Dean says they’ll figure out a way.

Dean: Cas, buddy, I need you.

Seriously, it’s like he’s trying to break my heart.

Cas says it’s too dangerous.

Dean: Let me bottom line it for you. I’m not leaving here without you, understand?

Cas: I understand.

And suddenly I was like, uh-oh…. If Cas wanted to protect Dean…and Dean refused to leave without him…what if Cas’ “letting go” that Dean referred to before was literal, and not an emotional/figurative giving up that I’d originally taken him to mean? What if that flash we see at the end is Cas letting go to save Dean and Dean having to carry the burden that he wasn’t able to hold on…?

Back in the present, we’re starting the auction and Plan B seems to be the motley crew pooling their money…only they were at a supernatural auction so I even before the first item opened with a bid of 3 tons of dwarf gold, I knew money wasn’t going to work. Sam helplessly suggests Plan C and Dean heads to the restroom, following a henchman who is pushing a tray with auction stuff on it. The henchman puts the tray in what looks like a safe and Dean manages to “accidentally” run into the henchman, picking the guy’s pocket with stealth that would make Neal Caffrey proud, and unlocks the safe…only to find that it’s actually another room with two more henchmen guarding the goods (including the tablet).

When he returns, the old dude from the beginning is bidding on Mjolnir with the giant finger bone he got from the safe and “5/8th of a virgin.” Ack, really? Dean tells Sam that Plan C tanked and Crowley mocks them that they should go with Plan D for Dumbass. Dean turns around and glares at him.

When the tablet comes up, Crowley immediately stands up and bids $3million. Mandrael stands and bids the Mona Lisa, Crowley counters with the real Mona Lisa – where her breasts are showing. Mandrael offers the Vatican City. Crowely offers the moon. Yes. The Moon.

Dean rotates around at that and says incredulously, “The moon?!”

Crowley: Think a man named Buzz goes to the moon without making a few deals?

Mr. Fancy Pants says they still don’t have their price and decides to sweeten the pot – and suddenly Kevin's up front chained to a pipe. Well, duh. He offers the tablet with the Prophet as a matched set. The boys are looking a bit gut-punched. Mama Tran stands up and offers her house, her 401K, anything. Plutos laughs at her. She thinks a minute and then, tears in her eyes, offers her soul.

I totally expected Sam and Dean to stop her, protest, something. But Sam stayed quiet and all Dean said was, “Are you sure? That’s a big move.”

Changed or adapted, our boys aren’t who they were 6 years ago. Having dealt with their own soul deals, and Hell trips, Sam’s reached a point where he accepts the fate of the world doesn’t rest on his shoulders – and that includes the fate of a single mom – and Dean is so focused on closing the Hell Gate that one woman’s soul is classified under acceptable losses. Especially as she’s volunteering it.

Crowley’s all, hey, if you want souls I have a ton of those. Dean looks at Mandrael and asks him if he’s going to get in on this, but Mandrael says that in Heaven, they guard souls, they don’t horse-trade them. Crowley thinks they have a deal until Plutos reveals that it’s not about the quantity, it’s about the sacrifice. Mama Tran offered all she had – she wins. Crowley even tried to bid his own soul, but Plutos is like, you don’t have a soul.

Afterwards, the boys are sitting in a room with Mama Tran. It’s quiet and they’re all still and subdued.

Mama Tran: Is it going to hurt?

Dean: Probably.

Mama Tran: Will I die?

Sam: No. You’ll just wish you were dead.

And they would know.

Mr. Fancy Pants comes in and says it’s time. Dean asks Mama Tran if she’s okay, and she says she needs a minute. They head out without her and just as she starts for the door, Mandrael shows up and stops her, saying that Kevin would be safer with the angels. He says that the Winchesters are exceptional men, but they’re just men.

It sounded funny having them referred to as ‘men’ even though that’s what they are. We’ve just always called them ‘the boys’ that the reference caught me.

Mama Tran’s like, no disrespect, but the last time I trusted him with the angels, I watched them die and Kevin went missing for a year. She’s sticking with the boys.

She goes into the room where payment and goods are exchanged and the old man is picking up Thor’s Hammer. Plutos reaches his hands out for Mama Tran’s soul –saying he’ll probably tuck it away somewhere it’ll keep him warm at night (um…totally creepy, dude). As she reaches out her hand, though, Dean sees that her tat has been burned off. He grabs her arm to stop her and her eyes flash read and Crowley’s voice comes out. Unfortunately, he got to her after Mandrael and before she walked into the exchange room.

Crowley!Mom blasts the boys against the wall – apparently Mr. Fancy Pants took an island in Caribbean or some such place as payment for betraying his boss. Fancy Pants kills Plutos as the boys are trying to pick themselves up from getting their skulls rattled. Dean grabs the Demon Killing knife out of the weapons box he landed next to.

Crowley!Mom grabs the tablet.

Kevin: Get out of her!

Crowley!Mom: If I had a nickel for every time someone screamed that at me.

*covers mouth to hide inappropriate laugh*

Crowley!Mom declares one out of two ain’t bad, clutches the tablet and runs. Dean heads after her, bellowing to Sam to watch the kid. Fancy Pants pulls out a gun and starts shooting, forcing Sam and Kevin to dive for cover – and I swear I thought I saw a bullet hit Kevin at one point. Thankfully, I was wrong. Sam takes cover near that old dude who is holding Mjolnir.

Just as Fancy Pants catches Kevin in his gun sights, Sam wields Mjolnir and ker-splat, one right-hand-to-a-god down. Kevin runs after Dean and his mom and Sam turns to the old man, breathing hard. The old man wants Mjolnir back and Sam’s all, “where’d you get the 5/8th virgin?” The old man shrugs and Sam Hammers him, too. RAWR!

Only…I’m not sure the point of all that except to maybe show us that Sam may have turned his back on hunting, but when push came to shove, he would take out the bad guy to both protect and avenge the innocent.

OMG, I just said avenge. *laughs at self*

Meanwhile, Dean catches Crowley!Mom and has her pressed up against a post, the tablet having fallen from her grasp, and he has the knife at her throat. In that split second I was torn – he could do this and kill Crowley, taking out the King of Hell…and…if he does this, he’ll be killing Kevin’s mom right in front of him; neither of them will ever get over that. I honestly didn’t know what Dean was going to do until Kevin yelled, “Mom!”

Crowley!Mom gets loose, then Crowley escapes in a burst of red smoke, reforming (in another room, hilariously enough…poor special effects department) and grabbing the tablet. Mama Tran is slumped on the floor – totally zoned out – and Kevin is crouching next to her.

Crowley: Good luck closing the Gates of Hell without this. Surprising what mommy dearest has rattling around in her head. Want to know who your real father is? Scandalous!

Dean (barking it like, that’s enough): Crowley!

Crowley tells Kevin to run because the Winchesters have a habit of using people up and watching them die bloody. Ouch. He leaves with the tablet and the boys are basically back to square one.

A bit later, Mama Tran is on a chair, but still zoned out. Dean tries to comfort Kevin by saying his mom is tough, but Kevin is focused on the fact that Dean tried to kill her. Dean attempts to offer an explanation that no doubt would have covered sacrifice and the greater good, but Kevin isn’t interested in his “crappy speeches.” No wonder, either. He was doing pretty good on his own for a year. They come back into his life and suddenly he’s confronting Crowley again and his mom gets possessed.

He wants a moment alone with his mom, so the boys head out into the next room.

Sam: Dean, were you really going to, uh….

Dean: What? Slit soccer mom’s throat? Yeah, I was. Wish I had.

Sam (looking slightly sick, definitely pained): Dean….

Dean: It was Crowley, Sam. Doesn’t matter what meatsuit he’s in, I should have knifed him. (pauses, eyes tighten) Yeah, it would have sucked and I would have hated myself, but what’s one more nightmare, right?

Hmmm…doesn’t matter what meatsuit? I wonder. I mean, what if it was Sam? I don’t think he’s as cold as he wants to be or thinks he needs to be in order to keep surviving. I think had he really wanted to kill Crowley!Mom, he would have. He didn’t want to make that sacrifice, no matter how he’s beating himself up for his choice now.

Sam, though, is looking at Dean with a slightly sad, slightly disgusted expression. Not really disgusted with Dean so much as disgusted with the choices their lives – what they do – leaves them with. Soon, though, they both realize it’s too quiet in the next room and head in to find that Kevin and Mama Tran are both gone. Kevin left behind a note saying they’ve bolted and to not look for them. Without the tablet, they don’t need him.

Sam (angry): But Crowley still does! What’s that kid thinking?

Dean (soft, sad): He’s thinking that people I don’t need any more end up dead.

Sam (pulling back, pulling in, and showing an immediate concern for Dean’s feelings that was so good to see): Dean, that’s not true. You know that.

But all Dean is seeing is a tragic memory of Cas, on a cliff or a hill, losing his grip on what looks to be Dean’s hand, and calling Dean’s name in a desperate, ragged voice.

And Dean may know that Kevin is just a kid who is upset and a bit traumatized by seeing girlfriend die – without either of the boys trying to save her – and his mother violated – without either of the boys trying to save her…and with Dean nearly killing her. But I don't know that he knows what Kevin says isn't true; I think he's afraid it is. What Kevin doesn’t know, though is how each of those moments – so many moments throughout his life – have dug into Dean, how they’ve caused tiny cuts on his heart that have just bled and bled until he’s almost bled out.

The comment about Cas having too much heart could easily apply to Dean, too, in my estimation. It’s because of that he’s had to put up walls just to survive.

Tell you what, though, when Mama Tran snaps out of it, I think she's going to make Kevin find the boys. She seemed pretty adamant about his staying with them.

I have a feeling that I’m going to feel wrung out at the end of each episode this season. I’m liking how they’re slowly revealing what happened to the boys over the past year and letting that feed into what they’re dealing with in the now. So far it’s making for an incredibly engaging story – for both brothers. While this review is really Dean-centric, I am a fan of the show, which means I’m a fan of Sam, which means I want to find out his story…because what affects Sam ultimately affects Dean. See? Full circle. *smiles*

Thank you for reading. Hope to hear your thoughts in the comments. You guys are incredible with your input and reactions.

Slainte!



Tags: episode review, fandom, ramble, stream of consciousness, supernatural
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