[Sorry for the day’s delay – LiveJournal wouldn’t let me post last night! *kicks at it*]
So, that was interesting. I like when our show returns the boys to their roots. Even if those roots aren’t quite what I expected.
First, though, a big thank you to everyone who sent PMs, LJ V-gifts (one BIG one in particular), posted on my Facebook wall, or Tweeted a birthday message to me today. It was such a great feeling to see so many well-wishes, despite the fact that I’m trying to not look directly at the number of virtual candles on my make-believe cake (we had cannoli for dessert instead). This is the last year in a decade. That’s kinda big.
Also – to those SPN readers who took a chance and read my SoA story posted today, thank you! Replies may be delayed, but they’ll get there. *smiles*
Okay, so I was looking forward to this one based on the previews – we’d already gotten to meet the Campbells (though once resurrected, Grandpa Campbell wasn’t getting himself invited to too many family picnics), and I was interested in the Winchesters. For the most part, I really liked Henry and the history of his supernatural experiences – leading me to the same conclusion Sam made at the close. I could see why Heaven was so anxious to shift elements to make it right for John Winchester and Mary Campbell to be together and create Dean and Sam.
But there seemed to be a bit of an overlay between the story I thought I knew, and the story they told. I’ll get to that in my lists. For now, I’ll just focus on the story that was told because it was a good one.
I got some not-good news about my dad today – news I’d been expecting, but dreading none-the-less – and it put me in an interesting frame of mind about family, history, what we take from our parents, and what we reject of our upbringing. My family is, in a word, chaotic. I usually say ‘crazy’ but that’s not really accurate. I’ve spent a good amount of time being anxious about the impression my parents leave on the world – especially as they tend to approach situations and people filter-free. But it’s not been until relatively recently I thought about the impression my parents leave on me, throughout my childhood and today.
When I first met my husband – before his uber-mellow, easy-going parents met my uber-conservative, ultra-dramatic parents – I confessed to his father that I was nervous because they were nothing alike and I didn’t want anyone to be offended. My late father-in-law told me something I’ve never forgotten, and thought about a lot during this episode. He said, “You are a reflection of your parents. Pieces of them are visible within you. And we like you, so we’ll like them.”
Now, do I think that’s true of every situation? Heck no. But it was a nice sentiment.
I think some of the elements we reflect of our parents are ingrained – it’s in our DNA. And I think other elements we choose to either embrace or discard. When Henry told Dean and Sam that though he’d never known his son as an adult, meeting them told him he’d have been proud of John, my heart panged a bit. Especially because it was Dean’s struggle with being the oldest and responsible for so much, yet also figuring out how untangle his relationship with his father that I first connected to with our show.
Season 1, I had issues with John Winchester, mostly because I transferred my own familial issues onto him. But as Dean learned to let go of his anger and see his father for the human he was, I also learned to forgive. This episode reinforced the fact that Dean has gone from Dad was an ass to the man did the best he could. I mean, he could still be an ass while doing the best he could, but rather than simply being angry and leaving it at that, Dean has learned that being human means screwing up over and over and making the best of things and his dad was only human.
Sam, I’m not sure. I think when he met young John back in Season 5 (right? S5?) he truly did forgive his father, but I think he still harbors some resentment for the way they were raised – primarily because his upbringing denied him the one thing he’s always thought he wanted: a normal life. And even as an adult he holds his father responsible for that on some level. I don’t think he pushes it much, though, because he knows Dean will fight him on it, but I don’t think he’s truly let it go.
It’s interesting to think that in this ‘verse, these two blue-collar hunters hinge so much of the fate of mankind on their shoulders – “legacies,” hunters, vessels. It’s the two brothers at the epicenter of a centuries-old war between Heaven and Hell. Again. And it seems that it’s primarily because of their heritage.
The Campbells were hunters back through Mary’s father at least. Including her cousins, aunts, uncles, the whole famdamnily. I’d wondered how the Winchesters fit into that whole it’s in your bloodline scenario. I don’t know why, but I didn’t expect it to be the Winchesters who were the ‘brain’ while the Campbells were the ‘brawn.’ Possible it’s because I’ve connected Dean to John and Sam to Mary (due to the aforementioned father issues).
But when I think back, it makes sense. Sam and John always butted heads – not simply because they wanted such different things, but because they were so alike. Though John hadn’t been raised by Henry, there were parts of his father that shown through, that John hadn’t been able to discard. And he passed that to Sam. Mary’s protective instinct – sacrificing a piece of herself to save John, trying to protect baby Sam up to the end – is the back-beat of Dean’s heart. And it’s a common theme that Sam’s the “smart one” while Dean’s the “weapon” (though, to a fan, we’d all argue that both brothers have the capacity to be either).
While I find the whole “watcher”-like theme of Henry’s Men of Letters intriguing, and something that would have changed everything had fate not intervened and Henry been pulled away from John, I have to wonder how they went extinct with just the death of four men? If Henry’s father and his father before him were also part of these supernatural Masons, I’d think there’d be some sort of collection of books, journals, history. If that’s the case, as the boys lost Bobby and his books are…well, who knows – Rufus’ cabin? – maybe this could become a resource for them.
These Men of Letters were ‘above’ hunters, but it certainly seems they didn’t retain any of the hunter’s survival instinct
I don’t know about you guys, but there were several times in this episode where I wanted one of the boys to open the floodgates and share with Henry everything they’ve been through. How they’ve both been to Hell. How they are friends with an angel. How they’ve personally faced and fought Lucifer. How Dean’s survived Purgatory. I wanted someone to know and appreciate it – especially when, at first anyway, he approached their apparent destiny with such contempt.
Family is a tricky thing. It can break our hearts over and over and yet, we return. Maybe after years. Maybe still bitter and angry. But (at least in my observation) at some point, we always return. I am doing a little bit of returning myself, and there were two scenes in this episode where Dean’s lines just hit me – both on a personal level and for the truth of this character. Both brothers were impacted by the realization that a wrinkle in time allowed them to meet a man they’d held in contempt all their lives on principle alone, but it was Dean’s reaction that got to me.
Sam was quieter throughout the episode; to me it felt as if he were more comfortable being the younger brother. The protected. Like in the previous episode, he fell back into the role where he could be a partner and still work on figuring out how to fit back into this life. After all, he didn’t walk out of the lab after Dean vanished on him and immediately step into the motel handyman role, shacking up with Amelia. It took him a few months. I think they’re playing this the same way. And that fits for me.
He made this choice, true, but he needs to work into it a bit. Not only that, Sam tends to see a bigger picture. He may still harbor some resentment over the way he was raised, denying him his one wish, but he didn’t seem to hold Henry responsible for that, recognizing in his grandfather a man who carried guilt and blame for doing one thing he thought was necessary and causing something else to happen he honestly didn’t mean to happen – kind of like…killing Lilith and accidentally raising Lucifer. He wasn’t overly emotional with Henry as Dean was – he didn’t even talk to the guy as much. He did a lot of listening.
Dean, though…Henry sent him sideways. Emotions and memories that most likely hadn’t surfaced in quite some time floated up and were just as raw and painful as they were the day he shoved them down deep. That’s the problem with “stuffers.” Since they never deal with anything, when anything they’ve buried comes back to haunt them, it cuts just as sharp and they bleed just as much as when they shoved it down. Time does not do them a solid by dulling the impact.
Dean’s speech to Henry about how his dad had a raw deal around every corner and it wouldn’t have been that way for him (Dean believed) if Henry had been there for his family rather than following his “duty” had me rubbing my heart. I think this is another example of Dean’s personal issues overflowing into his interactions; sure, he was talking about John and it was all true of John…but I think on some level, he was also talking about himself.
His childhood was lonely, with the one and only exception being his brother. He lost his mom, his dad, his brother, his life. And through it all, he stood stalwartly by his family, which is the only thing, really he ever expects of anyone else connected to him – Sam, Grandpa Campbell, John, Henry…. As he said of John, he’s kept going and while he might end bloody, he’s doing his damndest to leave behind a lot more good than bad.
His other speech – about Sam? Oh, that just held me tight. He’s never wavered from that belief, not once. Even when he was living with Lisa and Ben, he was putting out feelers, trying to find out a way to rescue his brother from the Cage. He will do whatever it takes to keep Sam safe it it’s in his power. Now all I need is for Sam to recognize that (in an overt way that I can point to) and I’ll be happy.
And Henry – at first, I’ll be honest, I wasn’t a fan. Pretentiousness and an elitist, condescending manner always turn me off. And he was not very nice to the boys at the jump. But the moment he flipped me was when he sat in the diner, looking at the picture of himself and John. He, like his son, had only been doing the best he could with the information he had. And, yes, he had some high-minded ideas and needed to be taken down a notch or two, but he loved his boy. And in the end, he showed where the Winchester penchant for sacrifice and putting family before all else originated from.
So anyway, it looks like they’ve introduced us to a new ‘type’ of demon: Knight of Hell. And this Abbadon might be the last of her kind…and she might not be. Just because they chop her up and bury her under concrete I don’t necessarily buy that she’s done and gone. And I’m also not sure I know who the “Dark Angels” that Henry was referring to were, either. Unless one of them was named Max. *smirk*
And, along with the tablets (of which the brothers still don’t know about the Angel tablet), we have a key that will unlock the supernatural mother load – located in a place that could just become a hunter’s HQ. Wouldn’t that be a kick in the pants? Giving the boys the upper hand for once? I’d actually like for them to have a safe haven – especially if it were filled with history’s greatest collection of supernatural artifacts.
It seems these two brothers, who are consistently at the center of universal struggles, now have the potential to hold all the cards. And if that’s the case, they could bring this all down. I’m definitely intrigued by that nugget of plot advancement. Especially when introduced at the half-way point in the season. Well played, writers.
Things I Loved:
- The “THEN” – seeing S1 boys when they looked like babies, seeing all the stuff about John (and brief flashes of JDM), listening to Dean talk about saving people, hunting things, hearing Sam say that saving people is John’s legacy…all of it.
- Dean’s face the entire time he’s sitting at the table in the yellow kitchen, telling Henry about John.
- This line: “Tell you what, when one of us falls out of your closet? Then you can ask the questions.”
- Henry’s handcuff trick.
- This line: “Guess the Mayans were wrong.”
- Dean’s speech to Henry in the Impala about saving Sam.
- The use of the “Brother Theme” music. I love that music.
Things I Liked:
- Henry zeroing in on the Impala.
- Sam’s hair – I’m totally not kidding…did it look shorter to you guys? Because it was the best I’ve seen all season.
- Dean saying “Sammy.”
- Seeing the way the boys slept – Dean on back, arms crossed, Sam sprawled on stomach, feet over end of bed.
- Seeing John’s journal again.
- Josie/Abbadon – don’t judge me. It’s been awhile since we’ve had a new interesting bad guy.
Things that were meh:
- Sam saying “he’s clean” to Dean after he splashes Henry with holy water; uh, duh, Sam.
- Abbadon somehow managing to get to Larry at the same time as Sam.
- The travel loop-hole of finding both Larry and Henry at the same time.
Things to add to my list of questions:
- Okay, I haven’t gone back to check, but didn’t young!John say something about his father being a mechanic? And when Dean was at the diner next to young!John, some guy greeted John with a, “say hi to your old man.”
Could that have been a stepfather and I just missed it? Because I never realized John thought his father walked out on him (and I’ve been watching pretty closely) and somehow he and his mother ended up in Lawrence, KS, after starting out in Normal, IL. And I kinda thought that’s why/how John became a mechanic and opened that garage with his friend. That was the big head-tilt I had about Henry’s story.
I couldn’t believe I didn’t pick up on any abandonment issues with John, even with the previous time-travel episodes. Though, if that is the case? It’s even MORE interesting that Dean carries those same issues, only in a more co-dependent manner. As an adult he sees that John did the best he could (triggered, I’m thinking, a lot from the never-ending guilty of John dying to save him), but as a kid growing up, John’s “best he could” put a lot of weight and responsibility on Dean and just left him feeling…lonely. Seems in the way this story was told, the same was true of John.
- Anyone else know that chamomile was that powerful? *grins*
- What kind of story did Sam tell Larry to explain how he found him?
- Pretty much brought up the rest above: is Abbadon really the last of the Knights of Hell, who or what are these ‘Dark Angels,’ is this key connected to the tablets…your basic plot is thickening queries.
Well, if you read the list, you know I loved it. It was pretty much, saving people, hunting things, family business, baby!boys, Cupid talking about the bloodlines, John and Mary being fixed up, John’s journal, keeping John’s legacy by saving people. You get the gist.
Normal, IL, 1958
There’s a little boy in a room, a thunderstorm brewing outside. A man in a hat and trenchcoat stands next to his bed, watching him. Soon, it’s clear that this is father and son – Henry and John. John asks about the pin on Henry’s lapel and Henry tells him he’ll know about it all soon enough. He winds a music box next to John’s bed and the song “As Time Goes By” starts playing. He leaves and John goes back to sleep.
Henry heads down a back alley to a door with as symbol on it that matches the pin on his lapel. He knocks a “code” knock and is let in. Inside, he sees a pretty red-headed woman in a blue dress sitting in a window seat. He calls her Josie and they exchange some nervous banter – both are here for their “final initiation.” Josie is called back first and Henry makes himself busy hanging up his coat and hat. Just then, he can hear screaming inside the room where Josie went.
He hesitates as first – almost like he’s wondering if this is part of the initiation – but then runs inside. There are two – priests? – leaders of whatever order he’s being initiated in laying on the floor in pools of blood and another is Latinating at Josie. A fourth man, bleeding from the eyes (literally), hands Henry a small box with the symbol from his lapel carved on the top and says, “Do not let Abbadon get it.”
Josie kills the priest guy who was trying the exorcism, then screams like a banshee. Henry beats feet, hiding in a room with a bunch of supplies and chemicals. While Josie is heading room to room, blasting doors open with her demon-force-power, Henry is concocting something – that takes his blood, incidentally – and painting a symbol on his door. Just as she gets to the room where he’s hiding, he starts in on a ritual-spell-thingy and she can’t open it.
The ritual-spell-thingy creates a bright light and blows Henry out of time – and right into Dean and Sam’s hotel room in the future. He lands on his knees and Sam, who is standing, whips around with a startled cry while Dean, who is sitting, simply gapes.
Henry: Which of you is John Winchester?
Henry (standing up): Time is of the essence! Which of you is John Winchester?!
Dean stands up slowly – incidentally, love that flannel…he looks lean, fit and just mmroww. Sam (not looking so bad himself) steps forward.
Henry (looking down, troubled): That’s impossible…what did I do wrong?
Dean (getting those angry folds in his brow): Who the hell are you, man?
Henry (with an irritated wave of his hand): Not now, let me think.
Dean crosses the room in two strides and shoves Henry against the wall, Sam right on his heels, backing him the whole way. That was very cool.
Henry: There’s no need for violence. One of you must know John Winchester.
Dean doesn’t say anything, just keeps Henry pinned against the wall.
Sam: Tell you what, when one of us falls out of your closet? Then you can ask the questions.
Henry: My apologies (to Dean) Is it absolutely essential, Sir, that you keep your hands on me?
Dean eyes him, then drops his hands, but doesn’t pull away. Dude looks dangerous.
Henry: In the absence of any and all explanations, I’m afraid this has been a marvelous, tragic, misunderstanding. I’ll be on my way.
Sam moves to stop him, Dean backing his play.
Sam: That’s not happening.
Dean gets their handcuffs (which is a new addition to their arsenal, I think)
Henry: I do not have time to deal with the likes of you.
The boys grab him and try to cuff him to something – the bed?
Dean: You don’t go anywhere, 007, until we get some answers.
Henry, in this sleight of hand that is almost true magic, manages to twist the cuffs and get Sam and Dean cuffed to each other –and the bed – and leaves while the boys are opened mouthed.
Henry steps outside, staring in momentary shock at the loud, modern cars, the man pushing a stroller and wearing a baby bjorn (sooo not the fifties anymore), but then sees the Impala. He walks around behind it and notes the license plate and that it’s 2013.
Henry: Guess the Mayans were wrong.
He uses his elbow to break the driver’s side window of the Impala – I literally went *GASP!* And also, how easy is that?? You see people do it all the time on TV, but that glass is hard, ya’ll! – and gets in. Before he’s able to hot-wire it, though, Dean appears in the broken window, his gun pointed in Henry’s face.
Dean: Nice taste in wheels.
And if I may go to the gutter once more…he looked seriously bad. ass. in that moment. *YUM*
Sam scrambles to open the passenger side door and back Dean up while Henry gives up. They bring him inside – and I thought it interesting that after they’d gotten free of their cuffs, they’d taken time to grab their jackets before running after Henry – and he’s on a chair where Sam is splashing him with holy water, declaring him ‘clean.’
Dean: Tell us everything before I beat it out of you.
And here is where Henry displays a bit of pretentiousness – and in retrospect, thinking about what it might have been like for John to be raised by this man, I thought of all the things we love about that character (or I love, anyway) like the salt-of-the earth mentality, the classic rock, the classic car, the leather jacket, the way he put his all on the line for family (even if, admittedly, he did have a strange way of showing it at times), and how very different John might’ve been if he’d been groomed by Mr. Violence Will Not Help You.
Henry: This is all beyond your understanding, my Alpha Male Monkey Friend.
Dean draws his head back and Sam squares his shoulders. Y’know, if I didn’t already know who Henry was from the previews, I would wonder if he was an angel because he reminded me an awful lot of Uriel in that moment. Especially the ‘monkey’ comment.
Henry: Violence will not help you comprehend this any easier.
Dean (surging forward and putting his gun in Henry’s face): Let me tell you what I understand. Some asshat pops out of my closet asking about my dad, smashes up my ride, so why am I not getting violent again?
Henry (losing a bit of his lofty expression): John Winchester is your father?
Just then, the room starts shaking. Henry gets up and stands next to the brothers as they look around, confused and not a little bit scared. Henry’s like oh, my God.
But before they can move, Josie/Abbadon bursts through the closet in a beam of light, blood all over her dress.
Josie: Henry, silly man, you forgot to lock the door. But then, spells were never your best subject.
She asks him to give her what she wants, Henry says no, Dean raises his gun and she flings him and Sam to either side of the room, slamming them against the wall. Henry tries to appeal to Josie, but no dice. Dean struggles up, sneaking behind Josie/Abbadon and stabs her in the back with the Demon Killing Knife – which causes her pain and makes her spark, but doesn’t kill her.
Josie: That’s no way to treat a lady.
Sam runs for Dean and the three men high-tail it from the room into the Impala, Dean peeling away before Sam has his door all the way shut. The manager runs after them, but then sees Josie – blood all over her dress – and asks if she’s okay. She smiles at him, pulls him a bit closer and tells him to show her what he’s seen. She breathes the black demon smoke into his mouth – a piece of her invading him – and is able to see the boys arrive, check in, and the Impala’s plate. Then she kills the manager.
The boys are on a frontage road beneath an impressive bridge and they pull over so that poor Henry can bail and hurl. The boys get out of the car and approach, cautiously. Dean with irritation, Sam with a modicum of sympathy.
Henry: All the adventures I enjoy are usually of the literary nature.
Dean: Now that you’re done blowing chunks, you want to tell us who Betty Crocker was?
Henry: Abbadon. She’s a demon.
Sam: No kidding. Where’d she come from?
Dean: Where’d you come from?
Henry: She’s from Hell. I’m from Normal, IL. 1958.
Dean: Yeah, right. (off of Henry’s silent stare) Seriously?! (like again with this time travel stuff?) Dudes time-traveling through motel room closets, that’s what we’ve come to?
Henry: Take me to John and we can clear all this up, I’m sure.
Dean: I told you, that’s not gonna happen.
Henry: Why not?!
Dean: Because he’s dead!
Henry (looking shocked): No….
Sam: What’s it to you?
Henry: Everything. I’m his father.
The boys look at each other like they were both gut-punched. And I have to say, I started softening a bit toward Henry right then. Though it’s, what, 55 years later, it would still come as a blow to hear your child is dead…especially because in Henry’s mind, John’s like… 6. And he just tucked him into bed a few hours ago.
A bit later at a diner, Henry’s sitting at a table looking at a picture of himself and John, fishing, and the boys are at the counter waiting for their food and talking about what just happened. Sam, always the one to consider a broader spectrum of possibilities, is telling Dean how this guy really is their grandfather, based on his driver’s license and his memories of John. Dean, though, feeling protective of John and of how the ripple effect of one person’s actions shook down through time to turn his life into one of blood and pain, is a bit resistant.
Dean: I’m just saying, before we break out the warm and toasties, let’s not forget that HG Wells over there left Dad high and dry when he was a kid.
Sam: Maybe he didn’t run out on Dad. Not on purpose. Maybe he time-traveled here and got stuck.
Dean: Either way, Dad hated the son of a bitch.
Sam: And Dad made up for that how? By being Father of the Year?
They get their food, but pause before taking it to the table.
Dean: Dad had his issues, ok, but he was always there for us. Freakin’ hate time travel, man.
Yeah, I’ll bet. Well, except when he got to be a cowboy. *grins*
They bring the food to the table and Sam asks after Henry, his soft heart surfacing once more.
Henry: I’ll be fine. After all, despite everything, I’ve just met my grandsons, haven’t I?
He shakes Sam’s hand, but Dean just hands him food. Sam introduces the both of them while Dean just wants to talk about how to clean up Henry’s mess. Henry is basically like, we have to stop Abbadon. Dean wants to know why she didn’t die when he stabbed her.
Henry: Because demons can’t be killed by run of the mill cutlery. (Dean’s look is very oh, you did NOT just say that) At the very least, you’d need an ancient demon killing knife.
Dean (tipping the hilt of the DK knife from beneath his jacket while Sam glances around anxiously for wandering eyes): That’s what this is.
Henry (surprised): Where’d you get that?
Dean (suddenly looking so, so tired): Demon gave it to me. We’ve been around this block so many times.
Sam asks Henry if the portal he came through is still open. If they can’t kill Abbadon, maybe they can push her back where she came from (which…that would still be bad seeing as how she came from their past). Henry tells them it’s a blood sigil and that blood leads to blood – he could do it again, y’know, with more of his blood, some dragon tears, and angel feather, and a pinch of the sands of time. *mind boggles* Oh, and his soul would need a week to recharge.
Even without sigils and spells, I swear there are some days I feel the same way.
Sam: Wait, you tapped the power of your soul to get here? I thought only angels could do that.
Henry: You should know this. What level are you two?
Henry: Level of knowledge. You’re Men of Letters, correct?
Dean (puts down his sandwich and brushes his hands): I’m a little rusty on my boy bands. Men of what?
Henry (looking more and more worried and taken aback): Men of Letters. Like your father who taught you our ways.
Sam: Our father taught us how to be hunters.
Henry (scoffs): You’re not. Are you? Hunters? Hunters are…apes. You’re legacies!
Dean’s. Face. That is all.
Dean (barely spitting out the words): Legacies of what?
So, next thing we see is the boys pulling up to that alley where Henry had gone for his initiation. I’d been wondering if the boys had just so happened to be in Normal, IL, as well this whole time, but that was answered by Dean saying they just drove 4 hours to get to that alley. The place that had been their HQ in ’58 was now an Astro Comics store and the symbol from his lapel was painted over multiple times.
Henry (with a strange desperation): This is just a façade. A way to rook our enemies into believing we are hiding elsewhere.
Dean: Okay, enough with the decoder talk. Tell us what this whole ‘Men of Letters’ business is or you’re on your own.
Henry: It’s none of your concern.
Dean: Why? ‘Cause we’re hunters? What do you have against us?
Henry: Aside from the unthinking, unwashed, shoot first and not bother to ask questions later, not much, really.
Grrrr. Y’know, the odd thing is? This type of stereotyping and generalizing is just what makes me cringe about my own family. So when Dean’s jaw set and Sam looked peeved, I was right there with them.
Sam: Y’know what, wait a second. We’re also John’s children.
The word ‘children’ caught me – I would have thought he’d say ‘sons’. But then I rolled it in my head and could only imagine JP cracking up delivering the line, “We’re also John’s sons.” That could also be the 14-year-old-boy sense of humor that I tend to have, so…ignore me.
Henry gives in at that and says they’re more. His father and his father before him were both Men of Letters as John and the boys should have been. They were preceptors, beholders of all that which man does not understand. They’d share their information with some elite hunters and the hunters would do the rest.
Dean: So…you’re the Yodas to our Jedis.
Dean: Nevermind. You’ll get there.
Sam wants to know if they were such a big deal, how come no one has heard of them. Henry realizes it’s due to Abbadon and heads into the comic store – which is decked out in Goth and totally flips Henry out. As they’re approaching the main store, he tells the boys that Abbadon is after the box that was given to him, but he doesn’t know what it is because she attacked before his final initiation when all the secrets were going to be revealed.
Dean: So, you traveled through time to protect something that you don’t know what it is from a demon that you know nothing about?
Henry’s look is basically like, yep, that pretty much sums it up.
There’s a funny, fish-out-of-water scene where Henry talks into Sam’s cell phone like a walkie-talkie and Dean’s like, dude, seriously, just, no. Henry’s starting to realize that he might truly be alone in all of this and Dean goes up to the female clerk – lots of eye shadow, piercings, tats, wild hair, but pretty and young – and asks to borrow her computer.
Henry: Like you could fit a computer in this room.
Dean and the clerk share an expression and Dean’s is clearly don’t ask. Dean turns the computer around to Sam, which I found interesting because we all know he could have easily done the search just as fast, but I think it might have been to both subtly emphasis the brain/brawn combo and Dean’s subconscious way of taking care of Sam, even if it’s his ego on some small level.
Sam types in the names of the order that Henry gives him and finds out that they’re all dead. Through a name planted in the article – Albert Magnus – Henry realizes that they need to go to the cemetery because there’s a message for him as Magnus wasn’t one of the order, he was an alchemist from the middle ages and an alias they would use on occasion.
One at the graveyard, they find the Men of Letters symbol – the Aquarian Star (which as an Aquarian I found kinda cool) – on all the graves except for Larry Gannan (I think that was his last name). He had the Haitian symbol for speaking to the dead. Asking quite possibly the most understated question yet, Henry wants to know if the boys have ever exhumed a body.
They share a tight smile before, quite literally, digging in.
Meanwhile, Josie/Abbadon shows up at the comic book store, still in the blood-stained dress. The poor clerk (too bad I liked her, I should know better), tells her that the Carrie screening isn’t until Sunday…but she likes her costume. Abbadon does her smoke thing and finds out where they boys are next – that smoke thing is pretty cool and rather terrifying – then as the poor girl is begging for her life, sees she’s wearing a T-shirt that says “the Devil made me do it.”
Abbadon: I like your top.
The boys finish digging up Larry’s grave only to find the body of a WWI vet named Captain Thomas J. Carrey III buried there. Dean figures Larry’s hiding out under this guy’s identity.
Henry (standing above them outside the grave and sounding a bit like John here): What are we waiting for, then? Cover this up and let’s be on our way.
Dean tosses up his hands in exasperation. I don’t blame him. *laugh* Back at a motel, the boys having cleaned the grave dirt off of them, Henry is lounging on one of the beds whistling “As Time Goes By” and the boys are at the table, Sam looking through John’s journal, Dean at the laptop, both with a beer. Dean looks up at the melody, saying he knows that tune.
Henry: I should hope so; it’s from Casablanca.
Dean is blank and insulted and Sam comes to his rescue, knowing the reason his brother recognized it was not from a movie. He reminds Dean that John whistled it once in awhile. Henry sits forward, talking about John – his, John…the six year old – and saying he took him to Abbott & Costello meet the Mummy and it scared him so Henry got him the music box to help him sleep.
Dean is reluctantly listening, looking peeved that this man has any good memories of his father. Sam has a soft smile, musing that it’s hard to believe their dad was ever scared of anything. I could relate to that sentiment, especially now. Dads seem to be, by some unwritten rule, made to be indestructible and fearless. It’s a bit disconcerting to realize they’re just as real, fragile, and human as you or me.
Dean shifts the subject, calling up the information that Tom Carrey lives in Lebonan, KS, (which is, incidentally, about 4 hours from Lawrence) and is a happy 127 year old. Dean wants to get some shut-eye and head out in the morning, but Sam finds something in the journal he wants to read him first. Turns out John once tortured a demon who said he “made his bones” working for Abbadon – who it turns out is a Knight of Hell.
Dean: What does that even mean?
I’m glad Henry spoke up, because when Sam first read it, my mind pictured “night of hell” like…man, she’s a holy terror. *laugh*
Henry: Knights of Hell are hand-picked by Lucifer himself. They are the first fallen, first born demons.
Sam (so matter-of-fact, I loved it): So…very pure, very strong.
Henry: Legend has it the Dark Angels had killed all of them. Which is clearly not the case.
Henry wants to look at John’s journal. Dean fidgets, not really liking that, but Sam cautiously turns the book over to him, saying that it’s a hunter’s journal. Henry tells them he sent away for a journal the day before his initiation. Seeing his initials on John’s journal, he realizes that this was his…and he begins to realize that he doesn’t make it back from this time travel thing.
Sam: All we know is that Dad never saw you again.
Henry: What did he think happened to me?
Dean: He thought you ran out on him.
Both boys are sitting very still.
Henry (sinking into a chair): John was to be a Legacy. I was supposed to teach him the ways of the Letters.
Dean (getting tenser as he speaks, his voice tight and pain in his eyes): He learned things a little differently. The hard way. Survived a lonely childhood. A war. Only to get married and have his wife taken by a demon and later killed by one himself. That man had a bum rap around every turn. But he kept going. And in the end, he did a helluva lot more good than he did bad.
Sam is watching Dean quietly, letting him talk. I could hear traces of how’s that for a hunter laced through Dean’s words.
Henry (looking so, so sad): I’m sorry. I wish I had been there for him.
Dean (bitterly): It’s a little late for that, don’t you think?
He gets up and grabs his jacket from the floor, clearly in need of some air.
Henry (over his shoulder): That’s the price we pay for upholding great responsibility. We know that.
Dean (incredulous): You’re responsibility was to your family. Not some glorified bookclub.
Henry: I was a Legacy! I had no choice.
Dean looks at Sam and there’s so much said between the two of them in that glance.
Dean: Yeah, you keep telling yourself that.
He walks out and Sam looks at Henry for a moment , then quietly gets up and lets him look through John’s journal. There’s a great shot of Henry reading the journal while the boys are asleep on their respective beds – on top of the covers, fully dressed, because…you never know. Dean’s on his back, arms folded, closing himself off from the world even in sleep. Sam is sprawled on his stomach, his feet sticking over the edge, not completely fitting anywhere.
Next morning, Sam is jostling Dean awake saying that he found a note from Henry that he’s going to “fix everything.”
Dean: Or screw it all up.
Henry walks into some apothecary shop with hunter symbols on the door. He pulls on his pretentious persona and demands dragons tears and sands of time. The beautiful Indian woman behind the counter calmly tells him they don’t carry those things and offers him some chamomile. He says that she has hunter symbols on his windows and she cocks a sawed-off shotgun so that he can hear it, holding it below the counter.
Realizing he’s not going to get anywhere with his demands, Henry backs down and accepts the chamomile, but as he’s scooping it up, he mutters some random spellish word and blows the chamomile in her face and she’s down for the count. Who knew?
Back at the motel, Dean tells Sam that Henry broke into their trunk and took an angel feather – I had to wonder if it was one of Castiel’s, or if it was just part of their hunter cache. They realize that Henry is going to do the spell to either try and stop Abbadon, or grab John and haul ass. I had to imagine Dean was feeling a bit chagrined at the hard time he gave Henry – his bitter words coupled with reading John’s journal were what pushed Henry over the edge. Guess that’s a lesson in being careful what you tell people you wish they’d done…sometimes they might just try to do it.
Sam figures there’s a place nearby that sells real hoodoo to help Henry with his missing two ingredients. Dean tells Sam he’ll go find Henry and that Sam should find Larry and figure out how to kill Abbadon. This is what confused me. They were in Normal, IL, when they found the graves – and that’s where I was assuming they stayed the night. Dean and Henry would have been in Normal, and they discovered that Larry was in Lebanon, KS. That’s like…9 hours away. Sam was to drive 9 hours, find Larry, talk to him all in the time it took Dean to find Henry and stop him from doing the spell? Unless I missed something, that was a definite hand wave there.
So, Sam shows up at Larry’s, having apparently traveled through a wormhole in the MidWest, and is talking to him about how Henry was dead and he needs to know what happened in ’58. I’d love to know how Sam informed Larry that he figured out he was hiding under the alias of Tom Carrey – and I’d also like to know how Abbadon made that same leap to possess Tom’s loving wife since the boys covered the body back up. *hand waves*
Larry tells him that inside the box is a key that will open basically the supernatural mother load of spells, scrolls, objects, you name it. Aside – when he said “inside is a key,” I couldn’t help but think of Sam “acting” in “The French Mistake.” If there’s a key…then there must be…a lock.
Dean finds Henry just about to cast the spell and stops him, telling him that his soul might not survive this jump.
Henry (angry, hurt): You cannot begin to understand how I felt after reading John’s journal.
Dean: Oh, I think I can. I’ve read that thing more times than you can imagine and it hurts every time.
Henry: Maybe so, but you didn’t let him down, I did! Just like you said.
Dean (realization of the consequences of his words sinking in): I was wrong.
Henry: No! No, you were right. I’m going to go back and give him the life he deserves, not the one he was forced to live.
Dean argues that it might not be meant to be and Henry fires back that he knows it’s the right thing to do. He’s going to pull a Marty McFly and try to go back an hour before to stop the Bad Thing from happening. Dean has had enough experience with time travel to know that if Henry does that, he could alter the past and basically cause himself and Sam to cease to exist. Henry’s all about time being fragile and all of that, but is convinced this is the right thing.
Dean: I understand that this is not your idea of a happy ending and you’re disappointed that me and Sam are mouth-breathing hunters. But you know what? We stopped the Apocalypse!
Henry: If this works the way I plan, there will never be an Apocalypse to stop.
Well, I don’t know about that. A lot of very powerful beings wanted that to happen; pretty sure they would have found a way…only without Sam and Dean there to wage the Vessel War, it could go very differently. Read any Choose Your Own Adventure book and you’ll see what I mean.
Back in Lebanon, Sam’s trying to figure out what this key thing means to them. Larry wants him to throw it inside this building – he gives him coordinates – and walk away. Keep it safe and away from Abbadon because that demon can’t be killed. Sam’s like, but, wait, all that knowledge, gone forever? And Larry’s pretty much that’s the price we have to pay to keep it away from Abbadon. Sam tells him that he doesn’t have the key, his brother does.
And…that’s when Larry’s wife reveals that she’s been possessed by Abbadon. She knocks out Sam, kills Larry, then calls Dean from Sam’s phone. He answers saying, “Sammy.” That gets me every time. Don’t ask me why.
Abbadon is back in her Josie skin, but is wearing the Goth girl’s “Devil made me do it” T-shirt. She wants to make a trade: Sam for Henry and the key. Dean closes his eyes as he listens to where she wants to meet. He hangs up and tells Henry who still wants to go back and fix this.
Dean: What if you can’t? I can’t take that risk, not with Sammy on the hook now.
Henry: I can’t abandon my son, Dean. Not again. I have to do this. I’m sorry.
Dean: I’m sorry, too.
He puts him in a sleeper hold and hauls him to the Impala. When he wakes, Dean says he’s sorry.
Henry: No you’re not. You’ve wanted to do that since we met.
Dean: You need to understand something. When my dad died, I couldn’t save him. No matter how bad I wanted to. (*rubs heart*) I don’t want that to happen with Sam. Ever. If there’s a chance that I could save him, I’m gonna do it. He’s my brother, the only family I got.
Oh, Dean you kill me. The way the muscle in his jaw bounces in his cheek, the way his eyes fill with memories. Hook. Line. Sinker.
Henry and Dean show up at the abandoned mill or warehouse or whatever it was that she dictated and Henry’s hands are tied. It’s pretty clear that they made some sort of plan, but I liked how they played it out so that it looked like Dean was sacrificing Henry for Sam, then played out the plan-making in flashbacks.
Dean pulls a gun at one point and tells Henry he could do it walking or crawling, but when he shoves Henry forward, he slips the gun into Henry’s hands. Sam is standing next to Abbadon (who claims all she wants is Henry and the box), his hands tied. As Henry cross the room, passing Sam, Sam says he’s sorry and Henry snarls, Save it. Totally sells it, he does.
Sam (to Dean): This is a bad idea.
Dean (hurriedly cutting Sam loose): Shut your mouth. Let’s go.
He wants Sam out of there, but before they can exit, Abbadon closes the door behind them all, just kidding. Before anyone can do anything, she plunges her hand in Henry’s gut. Sam lurches forward, but Dean holds him back telling to wait. Henry does that cool trick with his cuffs and uses the gun Dean planted to shoot Abbadon under the chin (which, as big as that bullet was, I was surprised it didn’t blow the back of her head off).
In flashback we see Dean tell Henry that if he can slow Abbadon down, Dean can do the rest. Henry carves a devil’s trap in the tip of a bullet. Dean tells him that he’ll have to get close to shoot her and close could get messy. Henry says he knows, but that’s what you do for blood. *rubs heart*
Abbadon, bleeding from the chin laughs because it didn’t kill her and tries to black smoke Henry, but it doesn’t work. Henry collapses and Sam runs over to catch and hold him. Abbadon does her banshee scream again because she’s stuck. HA! Love it.
Dean hurries in behind her and cuts off her head, saying that they might not be able to kill her, but she’ll wish she was dead after they chop her up and bury her under cement – the devil’s trap in the bullet keeps her from smoking out. Neener-neener.
Henry is weak, and Dean crouches down next to him, his eyes and voice soft as he tells him that for a bookworm, that wasn’t bad.
Henry: I’m sorry I judged you two so harshly for being hunters.
Sam is looking at Dean, his expression making him appear so very young. Dean is watching Henry.
Henry: I should have known better.
Henry: You’re also Winchesters. As long as we’re alive, there’s always hope. I didn’t know my son as a man (he takes each of their hands in his) but having met you two, I know I would have been proud of him.
He dies against Sam and Dean’s eyes go round and soft and sad and just kill me dead. Sam is holding the box, seeming as though he’s trying to catch his breath.
They bury Henry in the Normal, IL, graveyard near his friends, carving the Aquarian Star on the cross.
Sam: I get it now. What Cupid said about Heaven busting ass to get Mom and Dad together. Winchesters and Campbells – brains and brawn.
Dean (staring at the cross): I’m glad you see it. All I see in our family tree is a whole lotta dead.
Sam looks at him and Dean is holding the pic of Henry and John. He smiles, then shows Sam. Sam says that John looks happy.
Dean: Kinda makes you wish he knew the truth, huh? All those years thinking his old man ditched him when the poor son of a bitch really came here to save our bacon. Freakin’ time travel, man.
Sam: You think it would have made a difference? If Dad had had his own father around?
Dean: What? In how he raised us? Sammy, he did the best he could.
Sam (backing off quickly): I know that, I do. They all did.
Sam draws out the box.
Dean: What are the chances that place is still standing?
Sam: A chance we’re gonna take, I guess. We are Legacies, right?
The camera pulls up and the music box plays “As Time Goes By.”
So. Some new beginnings, some old roots, some history, some potential futures…all in all, it was a good episode. And next week’s looks interesting. Slightly bizarre, maybe, but that’s never stopped me from enjoying our boys. I’m looking forward to seeing more of the tablet story and how Castiel plays into that – especially not that they have the key. And I’m looking forward to seeing how their choices to stay together, stay hunters, affects those they left behind.
Just a heads up – next week I’ll be late with the Ramble. I have to go to London for work, so I won’t be able to watch/review until Sunday the 10th. But! I do get the pleasure of meeting several LJ friends while there! I’m quite excited about that.
Hope to see you soon! Thanks for reading.