I think I was making my lists in my head as I watched this week.
- Dean's many, varied facial expressions. Love the stories his face tells.
- Dean playing fetch. Seriously. That was frikkin' adorable. As was his helplessness to explain WTH was happening when Sam called him on it. Both boys' comedic timing in the scene was priceless.
- The expression on Dean's face when he and the Colonel checked out the poodle. I mean...day-um. I know it was weird and all because, well, dog, but that look on his face was all sorts of hot. I don't think we've seen Dean look at an actual woman quite that way. Screencap/.gif anyone?
- Agents Michaels and Deville. I went through a Poison phase at one point. What?
- Dean pulling his gun on the pigeon and Sam's subsequent bobbing-waving, nothing to see here, folks. LOL moment right there.
- Foreigner! Shut up, Colonel. It is so classic rock.
- Sam having to give the pooch a belly rub to get information.
- Dean being able to detect cancer in the baddie.
- Dean calling his pack to help save him.
- Going with an Inuit spell. That was different.
- "Doesn't look so bad." Down the hatch. "I was wrong."
- The fact that Dean's bad-guy speeches always seem to have double meaning for his own life and/or situation.
- The rats telling Dean they have collapsible spines. No, really. Promise.
- Okay, it's not really fair to have this under 'meh' but it doesn't really fit anywhere else. And please don't throw things at me; I'm just rambling here. I know we're only on episode 5 and that typically the big emotional cliffy happens during the mid-season break (and looking down the road at air dates that will be around episode 9-ish in early December) and if I were a betting woman, I'd say that's when the truth about Zeke is going to come out, so I need to just be patient and let the story play on, but...I just have to say that even with a Zekeified mind-wipe, the fact that Sam isn't questioning things more is baffling to me.
He had his throat ripped open -- even if Zeke erased the memory of the ripping, there was blood all over him and no wound. Dean's doing his best, but his tap shoes are getting worn down. Sam needs to stop getting into peril or being around people in peril or the fact that he's accepting this so easily is going to make me think he either a) actually suspects something close to the truth and doesn't want to ruin it or end it, or b) Zeke's magic eraser is going to leave his brain more Swiss-cheesed than Sam Beckett's.
That said? Continued kudos to Jared for his switching prowess. He was able to go from Sam's face twisted in pain and fear to Zeke's empty, serene expression in a blink. Nicely done, that.
- I don't know who did the voices of the dogs, but I would be willing to swear at least the Colonel was voiced by one of the boys. I would crack up if it were Jensen, too, because it was great. Like a tired, overweight cop who'd been on the beat one case too long. Does anyone know who voiced the animals? [ETA: Okay, according to someone who reads Jared's live tweets during the show, neither of the boys were the voices of the dogs. So, there's that.]
- Did anyone else immediately flashback to Season 8 and Dean returning from Purgatory, calling Sam on the Impala smelling like dog when you saw the Colonel in the back seat?
- Is there someone on the SPN staff that also works for the Game of Thrones crew? Or maybe is just a massive fan? This is the second episode in a row to have a GoT shout-out. *laugh*
THEN was basically the whole Zeke is inside Sam because of the reason recap. If you haven't been watching the last four episodes, you're all caught up now. Plus also, a hilarious (albeit brief) montage of the completely bat-shit crazy episodes/cases they've had -- grounding it in the still goosebumps-inducing edict: "saving people, hunting things...the family business," and then going from faeries to anvils falling on baddies Looney-tunes style, to the boys being crazy people because they hunt monsters (Yellow Fever) to Dracula going after Dean to Dean screaming at the cat jumping out of the locker because, "that was scary."
Dean gets a lot of the slapstick, ridiculous humor moments in these episodes. Sam tends to be the straight man. Which that in and of itself is hilarious, considering their real life personalities.
NOW we have Max Alexander, taxidermist extraordinaire. It's night and he's staying late at his shop, apparently creating a Game of Thrones display (complete with Iron Throne)...using stuffed squirrels. Yes, squirrels. You can't make this stuff up, folks. I mean, you can, but...oh, forget it.
Anyway, his "best friend" -- a German Shepard named the Colonel -- is there with him. There's a crash and Colonel growls. Max grabs his shotgun and goes to investigate, moving through the zoo of stuffed animals (many of them exotic) until he gets startled by his own giant bear which, apparently, gets him every time.
Here's an idea: move the bear.
Max returns to his squirrels, but Colonel is barking and Max turns to see Nigel Townsend from Crossing Jordan (Steve Valentine) standing behind him wearing a cowboy hat and western attire. Okay, it's not really Nigel Townsend, but as I never got the baddies real name (did you guys?) I'm going to just stick with Nigel for now. He sticks out a snake-like forked tongue and Max draws back in horror...right before the Nigel breaks him in half. Um...eww.
Back in the bunker, Dean joins Sam at the main table with a tired sigh after having poured "buffalo milk" down Kevin's gob for the second time. Apparently it's hangover cure that has everything in it. Except buffalo milk.
Sam: How is that kid still recovering from Branson?
Dean: Apparently the Slippery Nipple shots at the Dixie Stampede nearly killed him.
I've been to the Dixie Stampede! Didn't do shots, though. Which I'm now thinking was a very wise decision.
Sam says he has something that will get them back on the road (since, I'm guessing, Crowley is being stingy with the names/locations of his demons...maybe he doesn't like the color of crayon Sam brought him), but Dean's worried that Sam's not ready for a case. Poor Dean...he's just a walking worry. He knows Zeke is tapped from saving Charlie (which he blames himself for) and that Zeke is the only thing keeping Sam going and so he's worried about over-taxing Zeke because of what that will mean to Sam and yet he can't tell Sam why he's worried. It's exhausting just thinking about it.
Sam argues that he got 8 hours of sleep the last three nights and he feels good. Okay, now I'm jealous. I can't remember the last time I got 8 hours of sleep in one night.
Dean argues that Sam is still recovering from the trials and should pace himself.
Dean: The sooner you heal...(pauses, realizes what he was about to reveal, does a quick recovery)...I just want you back to your old self is all.
Ain't that the truth.
Sam argues that Kevin is back on the Heaven spell, Crowley's locked up, they need to get on it...unless Dean has a compelling reason why they shouldn't. Which he does but it's not like he can say...so, it's off to Enid, OK! They arrive suited up at the taxidermy shop and see "DIE SCUM" in red spray paint across the door -- a symbol with a paw print inside an upside down triangle in the paint. Which they take as a pagan symbol of some kind, but I totally thought looked like a clothing label.
They introduce themselves as Agents Michaels and Deville and local deputy shows Sam around the shop while Dean talks to Max's pal Dave Stevens, who found the body. You see, ol' Dave comes to Max's shop every Wednesday and Sunday to pick up the animal guts -- can't just bury the guts...you have to burn them. Which makes sense, but still. Eww. Today when he arrived...no guts. Also, nothing missing from the shop and no one else there except Max's German Shepard.
Dean is creeped out by the animal heads -- one of them is looking at him funny, he says -- and the boys leave to talk further at a motel. Sam discovers that the symbol they found was a logo for SNART (which I never figured out what that acronym stood for), a grass roots animal rights group like PETA.
Sam: Are we dealing with witches or hippies?
Dean: What's the difference?
They trace SNART to the "Gentle Earth Vegan Bakery."
Dean: Always knew we'd find the source of all evil in a vegan bakery.
Sam: What's that smell?
Dean: Patchouli. And depression. From meat deprivation.
*pets the carnivore inside Dean*
A couple is working behind the counter, both wearing dark sunglasses.
Dean: You know who wears sunglasses inside? Blind people. And douche bags.
Sam's like, yeah, okay and they head over to question the couple. Olivia and Dylan Camrose - founders of SNART. They admit to 'tagging' the taxidermy shop, but didn't kill Max. They were just protesting his business.
Dylan: His business is supported by hunters, and you know how hunters are -- selfish dicks who define themselves by what they kill.
Hmmmm.... The boys' mirrored expressions here was perfect. A mix of taking exception and having to agree at the same time.
Olivia says they couldn't stand for that, so they tried a scare tactic to "tag the joint" but they heard hissing and when they went to run, someone sprayed them in the eyes with mace.
Olivia: SO now we look like douche bags because we have to wear sunglasses inside.
Well, at least she and Dean agree on that! They take off their sunglasses to show their yucky, angry red, painful looking eyes. Dean's like, gack, okay, put 'em back on.
Back at the motel, Sam is looking up in the computer and says that based on the necrotic tissue around their eyes, it wasn't mace but venom. So...they're dealing with a freaky-assed snake monster. Only snakes are either venomous or constrict, not both. Sam thinks it could be a vetala -- but those use fangs and there weren't fang marks on Max. So, they ask Kevin to look stuff up for them. Hope that buffalo milk did the trick!
Meanwhile, at the Enid Animal Shelter, Nigel (still in his Killer Cowboy get up) pays the night watch kid and slips back into the back with a burlap sack. The dogs go crazy -- and Nigel stops in front of the Colonel for a moment before continuing on and going for the cats. He starts to put the cats in the sack, but the yowls the animals are making finally draws the attention of the night watch kid, who comes back to the back.
To his horror, he finds Nigel eating a cat whole. Like...swallowing it down. The kid's expression is basically like Ho. Lee. She. It. He says he thought Nigel was from a perfume company before he turns and runs. Lightning in a bottle, that one. He doesn't get far before Nigel unleashes clawed fury and kills him. Bloodily.
Next day, the boys show up and check out the body, puzzled because the M.O.'s don't match. Then Dean sees the Colonel and realizes the dog was at both crime scenes. At first he thinks suspect (skin walker, shape shifter, etc) but a quick test of silver on his skin proves him to be a regular dog. The deputy walks in and the Colonel starts barking. The deputy removes his hat and the Colonel stops. He puts it back on and the barking starts again. Dean notices and asks to borrow the hat, testing a theory. When the dog barks at the hat hovering over Dean's head, the boys realize that the Colonel was actually a witness.
As the deputy walks away, Dean leans toward the cage and asks the dog if he speaks in sign language.
Sam: That's monkeys.
Sam remembers he read a book once where a guy tried to teach his dog to speak after it witnessed a murder.
Dean: Did it work?
Dean: And they still wrote a book about it?
Not only that...Sam read it. However, the book people didn't have what the boys have: a Kevin.
Back at the motel, Sam is playing Bill Nye the Science Guy and mixing together ingredients for an Inuit Spell (apparently the MoL bunker has an Eskimo section) that will cause a human-animal mind meld. The boys brought the Colonel to the motel with them (because apparently the shelter rules in Enid, OK, are much more lax than in any of the cities I've lived in) and he looks pretty comfortable lying next to the table where the boys are sitting. I liked seeing them with a dog, actually. It was kinda neat...and, well, homey.
When Sam says that the potion will allow whoever takes it to read the Colonel's thoughts, Dean says he'll do it. While it might've been interesting to see how Zeke would have handled knowing a dog's thoughts, I was more than glad for this.
Dean: I'll do it - you have enough on your plate.
Sam: Like what?
(thin ice, Dean)
Dean: Like...you're tired? Plus you...you've got a sensitive stomach. Last thing we need is you chucking this stuff up.
Not only that, but Sam gets all the tests lately. Let Dean take one for the team.
Sam = *bitchface*
Dean (studying the dark red liquid): Doesn't look so bad. [down the hatch] I was wrong.
His omg that was worse than gross expression had me doing the bad-taste shudder in sympathy. He turns toward the Colonel.
Dean: Tell me everything you know. [crickets] Cat got your tongue?
Sam = *bitchface x 2*
Dean (grimaces): Tough crowd.
Colonel barks. Dean looks at Sam, face blank, and shakes his head. *laugh*
With Foreigner playing "I Wanna Know What Love Is" in the background, the boys are tearing through a burger and fries dinner. Dean says to call Kevin, tell him the spell tasted like ass and was a bust.
Sam: At least it didn't affect your appetite.
Colonel: Change the station.
Dean (double-take) (to Colonel): What?
Sam (to Dean): What?
Dean: It's working!
Colonel: You call this classic rock? Next thing you know they'll be playing Styx. Dennis DeYoung is a punk!
While Dean's all step off of Mr. Robato, man! Sam's staring at him, baffled, seeing and hearing only his side of the 'conversation.'
Sam: Why are you arguing with the dog...about Styx?!
Dean's like, oh, right and proceeds to question the Colonel about the cowboy hat dude, finding out what we already knew -- he killed Max. This whole scene is fantastic. Dean is looking at the dog, concentrating on hearing (in his head) what the dog is saying. Sam is watching Dean, waiting for the intel. Sam wads up his sandwich wrapper and throws it past Dean to the trash and Dean, not really looking at Sam or really away from the Colonel, absentmindedly retrieves the wadded up paper from the trash and hands it back to Sam.
Sam (confused): I don't want this.
But Dean's distracted, trying to pay attention to what the Colonel is telling him about the cowboy hat dude and the cats at the animal shelter. The dog's telling Dean how the guy smelled -- ground meat, upchuck, and old lady cream -- as Sam tries to throw his wrapper away again. Dean gets it for him and hands it over, still not looking at Sam. It's as if it's the most natural thing in the world for him. The look on Sam's face is priceless -- as is Dean's when he starts to scratch the back of his head.
Sam: Dean. What are you doing?
Dean (still scratching, looking a bit helpless and confused): I don't know!
Just then, there's a noise outside and the Colonel starts to bark. Dean goes to the window and sees a mail man outside and in what sounded exactly like a human bark, exclaimed, "Hey! Hey you! You! You!" right along with the Colonel's barks.
Sam's like...uh-oh. He points out Dean's dog-like tendencies -- fetch, scratching, barking at the mail man -- and throws away his trash for the 3rd time. Dean forces himself not to get it and turns genuine puppy-dog eyes on Sam. Hee.
Next thing we know, Sam is on the phone (I'm assuming to Kevin) and finds out that there are some side effects to the spell...such as exhibiting animal behaviors. Dean is sitting on the edge of the bed in a stare contest with the Colonel. He wants to know how long the side effects will last, but that's pretty much anyone's guess.
Colonel: Don't look at me, Hoss. Ain't my fault.
Gloomily, Dean starts to eat a candy bar, but the Colonel warns him off. Chocolate = bad for dogs. They decide to head back to the shelter to, um, sniff out some more clues. A pigeon is sitting on a light just above the Impala and poops on the window, mocking Dean when he exclaims about that. Apparently Dean can understand all animals...and all animals speak "Dean" -- since the pigeon knew the word "asshat." *shakes head*
Dean starts yelling at the pigeon, who continues to mock him to the point Dean actually pulls out his gun which causes Sam to grab his brother and basically stuff him in the car while nervously smiling and waving at the other people in the parking lot. That? Was pretty darn funny. *laugh*
On the way to the animal shelter, Dean and the Colonel both have their heads out of the window, looking thrilled by the wind in their face. Oh, boy. When they reach the shelter, Sam says to leave the dog in the car, since the windows are open.
Dean: You think we like that?
Dean: You think because the windows are open that's some sort of treat? The dog's coming in.
Sam looks baffled by this, but doesn't argue further. I had this quick flash of an E.T.-Elliot like connection between Dean and the Colonel, and wondered if something bad happened to the dog, would it also happen to Dean (it's the fic part of my brain...sorry), but they clearly didn't go that route. As they headed into the shelter, though, both Dean and the Colonel see a white poodle tied up outside and it was basically like a pretty girl in a white T-shirt and short-shorts, washing her car with a yard hose. Dean's expression was...well, we covered that above in the lists.
Sam's like, dude! and Dean snaps out of it and heads inside. He walks down the row of dogs and it reminded me of the "He's a Tramp" scene from Lady and the Tramp -- all the dogs talking to him at once, wanting out of the joint, complaining about the conditions. The dog asking for a Raquel Welch poster was pretty funny -- though it would have been a better shout-out if he'd asked for a Rita Hayworth poster. What can I say...I'm a purist. *grins*
Dean finds one pooch who says he knows something, but wants a belly rub in exchange -- from Sam. Poor Sammy gets hand cramps rubbing the dog's belly, but they get the information they need -- the most helpful being that the dude ate the cat and the bag had 'Avante Garde Cuisine' on the outside of it: a cafe downtown, no dogs allowed. Just before they leave, Dean turns back and lets all dogs out.
Colonel: I didn't peg you for a softie.
Apparently, by his bemused smile, neither had Sam.
That night, the boys break into the cafe. I'm guessing the left the Colonel in the car this time because he wasn't with them. Determining that only homicidal maniacs can afford to be closed on Mondays, they find the office and start searching around. They see a picture of the chef -- our killer cowboy, Nigel -- but Dean says they're in Okie Town: lost of dudes wear cowboy hats.
Sam finds a drawer full of pills: oxycodone, tramadal, methodone....
Dean: Wanted to cook comfortably numb?
Just then he hears a cry for help -- sounds like little kids to him -- and as he follows the sound, he realizes that it's coming from a bunch of rats in a cage. Now, the interesting thing to me here was that I remembered Dean having a fear or intense dislike of rats...he didn't so much as blink this time around. Maybe it was the cage....
The rats tell Dean that the chef is going to eat them. Off of that, Dean finds the fridge full of containers labeled: owl brains, cheetah liver, grizzly heart. Avante Garde, indeed!
Sam finds a spell book that basically says a little hoodoo + some basil + animal part = power of that animal. Owl = higher IQ, cheetah = speed, bear = strength.
Dean (to the rats): Why would he want to eat you guys?
Rats: Uh...we have collapsible spines. We do. Promise.
Sam finds recipe cards where the psycho chef has started to mix ingredients, but just then they hear a crash and go to investigate. They find a sous chef and waiter preparing for a special private dinner for the chef. Claiming to be Health Inspectors (as they stood there in jeans and plaid flannel) and telling the two dumbest employees on the face of the Earth that they had violated penal code 8114, they chase them out of there and decide to search for the chef. Dean takes front, Sam takes back.
Sam: We know how to kill this guy?
Dean (lifting gun): Empty one of these in his head...see what that does.
Brutal, but...I'm gonna guess effective.
Sam follows the sound of another bang and walks right past our killer chef who has noshed on some chameleon recently, it seems, and was able to blend perfectly with the wallpaper (that looked like Christmas wrapping paper to me). He reaches out lightning quick and slashes Sam's throat -- like a full-on, he's gonna bleed out, slash. Sam grips his throat, gagging, gasping, panicking and turns away, blood everywhere.
And then his eyes flash blue, his face empties of expression, and Zeke puts fingers to Sam's throat, healing the slash marks before tucking safely back inside. It's a darn good thing for Sam this arrangement with the angel is mutually beneficial.
Sam turns back around -- still covered in blood -- and Nigel gapes at him, asking what are you. He doesn't wait for an answer, just clocks Sam a good one, knocking him out. Seems Nigel wants a piece of Sammy. Literally. *gah!*
With Sam unconscious on the floor, Nigel The Killer Chef starts sharpening his knives. Dean sneaks up on him from behind, but Nigel can smell a dog and turns to see Dean, surprised that the smell is coming off of him. Dean tries to shoot him, but Nigel has wicked-fast reflexes. Nigel throws a meat cleaver at Dean, but Dean's reflexes ain't to shabby either. Nigel is stronger, though, and strangles Dean into submission with a cord before using it to tie Dean up.
Then Dean sees Sam lying unconscious on the floor across from him.
Dean: What did you do to my brother?
Nigel: Your brother?! What was your mom smoking when she had you two? He's fine, just taking a little cat nap before dinner. I've never had a human heart before. Heard it's chewy. Good thing I'm not a fussy eater.
Dean is working at his bonds, trying to keep Nigel distracted and engaged at the same time. He realizes that the man is sick -- like cancer sick, not sick in the head...but of course, he is that, too. He's right: Stage IV Carcinoma. By the time they found it, it was too late to treat him. But he found a Shaman and a temporary cure. Better living through hoodoo, I guess. He began experimenting and got stronger, plus the effects lasted longer.
Dean: And if you smoked a few innocent people in the process...well, hell, at least you felt better.
Nigel: Didn't mean to kill anyone at first, but they got in the way. Collateral damage. You eat enough predators, you start to think like one.
Dean: You really think the power you hold over other people's lives can make up for what you lack in your own?
Nigel is tired of getting lectured by Dean, though, and decides to figure out what he can eat to take Dean out. Kill Dean, work up an appetite, then eat Sam. Seemed like a good to-do list for the evening. With Sam's "healing powers," he'd be cured.
Dean renews his efforts on his bonds while the Killer Chef eats a wolf heart after muttering some hoodoo words. Dean gets free and jumps up to grab the meat clever from where it was embedded in the wall. Nigel, however, starts to sprout wolf teeth and heads after Dean. Running down the hall toward the back door, Dean manages to get outside, looking understandably terrified.
But then he stops and a small smile crosses his face, having apparently sensed the help was nearby. Nigel follows him outside and mocks that one dog is no match for a wolf and Dean grins, then whistles for his pack to come save him. The dogs he let loose from the animal shelter -- including the Colonel -- round the corner and attack and kill Nigel while Dean watches. He kind of grimaces, but then his expression shifts to a kind of almost...satisfaction. It was intriguing to see; he was disturbed by what was happening -- by what he'd called into action -- but also gratified by it.
Once the danger has passed, Dean heads back inside to do his face-tap, name-call resuscitation maneuver on Sam. I wanted him to lean down and listen for breath at least, but, well, there you go.
He taps Sam's face, his voice going a bit ragged and desperate when Sam doesn't immediately respond. He calls for Zeke, but even Zeke is silent -- probably because he's worn out from saving Sam again. On the edge, Dean whispers, "For God's sake, Sammy," then pats his face again pleading, "Don't make me lick your damn face."
This does the trick. With a rough gasp for breath, Sam wakes up.
The next day (or...some time later) we see that Dean convinced the vegan bakery couple to adopt the Colonel. He would love to take him with, but the road ain't no place for a dog. Dean is going to miss him, though. They shake (even after the Colonel admits to barfing in the back seat).
Colonel: Dogs aren't really man's best friend, you know. It sounds like a conspiracy theory, but the real reason we were put here was to bark bark bark bark!
Dean curses the spell's timing, wearing off just before he was given the keys to the canine kingdom. He heads back out to the car where Sam is waiting for him, all pensive and broody. He's bothered by what the bad guy said to him -- asking what he was.
Dean (desperately working to deflect, feeling the ice under him get thinner by the moment): He was jacked up on juice, possessed by something he couldn't control....
As if realizing that this describes Sam in times past (demon blood, Lucifer) as well as Sam now in a way, his voice softens and tapers as he continues.
Dean: ...only a matter of time before it completely took over.
And the fear that this could happen rings loud, though there's no one around him to hear it. Dean's grateful for Zeke -- without Zeke, he wouldn't have his brother and without his brother, well, he wouldn't have anything. But the more Zeke has to step forward, the weaker he is and the longer he needs Sam. And the longer he's in Sam...the more Dean worries that he'll never have his brother back, not really. And the more he fears that one day Zeke will just take over and Sam will be gone. And on top of that, Dean knows that he has perpetuated this problem by calling on Zeke for help when his friends were in trouble.
It's an enormous weight to carry around.
Dean: You can't reason with crazy.
Sam still looks doubtful, but more like he wants to believe.
Dean: Believe me, Sam. You've got nothing to worry about.
Yeah, because Dean's worrying enough for both of you.
They get in the car, Dean shooting his brother a heavy look, and then drive away.
*glances at my black lab*
I wonder if my dogs like my taste in music....
Thanks for reading!