Apologies for the delay from last night. Turns out I'm not Superwoman. Who knew? But I have Day-Quil now (wha-hoo!) and can soldier on. Which is good because I was really looking forward to writing about this one. :)
Before I get to my lists, I have to just ramble a bit about the thoughts Young Dean vs Dean triggered for me -- especially around his father and his family. With years of experience, loss, and survival under his belt, Dean was able to say with believable fervor that everything that happened to him was his fault, not his dad's. He was the one who made the mistake; he was the one who should have paid for it. He sticks with his Dad did the best he could stance in the face of Sam's incredulity.
But Young Dean looked so wounded and heartbroken when the cop cavalierly said that John found out what happened and left him there. Seeing it from a kid's eyes, it makes so much sense that he'd feel a sense of betrayal and not see the lesson that John was trying to teach him. John knew where he was, knew he was safe -- probably the safest he's been since he was 4 years old -- and knew he needed to learn that if he was going to steal, he could not get caught.
Those of you who've been reading my rambles for awhile know some of my personal story because I haven't been able to not let it leak out through my musings of the show -- especially as it relates to Dean's character. This dichotomy of two very honest, very real reactions by the same person at different points in his life really resonated with me. When I was young, I was put in charge of my siblings. When I was 15, I rebelled -- once -- and wanted to know why, feeling that I was losing my childhood for the sake of theirs. But when I was 30, I saw things differently. I saw how my mother struggled and that she really was, honestly, doing the best she could. And the lessons I learned through that experience made me the person I am today.
That's the lens I'm looking through as I write this; the yeah, okay, I get it lens. There are still things that we learn about John that makes me cringe -- just as there are still things that I remember from my youth that I have to turn away from. But I get it. Doesn't mean I have to like it. Just means sometimes, there's no other way.
- Young Dean. I think I liked this kid better than any of the other kids who came before. He had Dean's physicality (his way of pulling in or squaring off to keep people away) and attitude (tough outside, broken inside) down pat. I could totally see this kid growing up to be our Dean.
- All of Dean's scenes with Timmy -- especially that gravitational pull of a hug at the end. *rubs heart*
- Sam's expressions as he learns about this part of his brother's past, most notably when he sees the wrestling championship award, and at the end when he realizes why Dean left.
- Dean in the red shirt/green jacket -- he looked very S2-esque. *yum*
- The boys digging up a grave again. I know, sounds weird, but I loved that we got back to basics. Especially loved the shot of both of them as the flames caught and whooshed up.
- "Cars are freakin' cool as hell. Fixing them is like a puzzle. And the best part is, when you're done they leave and you're not responsible for them anymore." Guh.
- "Dean. Thank you. For always being there. For having my back. I know it hasn't always been easy." *lump in throat*
- Sam sitting down to read one of the Wizard of Oz stories. Hee.
- Timmy. He broke my heart a bit.
- Dean's Hail Mary plan working. The real face of Ghost Mom and Timmy's farewell totally choked me up. There may have been tears.
- Sam's expression when he found the Devil's Trap on the bed post and peeled away the names until he found Dean's.
- Sonny -- he reminded me a bit of Josh Brolin. Even though he talked like Jeff Bridges. *laugh*
- Sonny's house. Love those big old porches.
- Another full episode with no Zeke to the rescue. By the time we see him again, I'll be nice and ready.
- Not really a true 'meh', because I loved Young Dean, but I felt like their ages were strange. Young Dean was supposed to be 16, but he looked maybe 14 at the most. Now, I get that not all teenagers age the same, and our Dean has a young face, but if Dean were 16, that would make Sam 12, and that kid they showed at the end flying the toy jet out the window looked a lot younger than 12. If they'd shifted it to 14 and 10, with the exact same story, in my opinion, it would have played off better. But, that wasn't enough to detract me from the story. Just enough for me to tilt my head a bit.
- Anyone else wondering if John used those two months that Sam was at Bobby's and Dean was at Sonny's to go spend time with Kate and Adam? Probably just me.
The THEN included several yay! John flashes of JDM as John Winchester, putting Sam in Dean's arms as a baby, telling him to watch out for his brother, etc. The V.O. is Sam saying that he had a brother who was always watching out for him -- making sure he was safe, had food, all that jazz. We hear Dean's voice saying watching out for you is who I am and flash forward to Zekeified Sam healing himself. All establishing Dean's entire childhood, youth, and adulthood centering on making sure Sam was safe and leading up to not only the end of this episode, but also cranking up the tension for when Sam finds out the truth.
We shift to NOW in Hurleyville, NY, and it's night and two boys are running away from someone, through the woods, to a barn and hide. The barn door opens and at first I swear we hear harsh breathing, but then we see it's a little nerdy-ish kid with glasses. He says that the barn is a "no fly zone" during Hide-and-Seek. Just then a muffled voice comes from somewhere outside calling to the boys, saying lights out was 10 mins ago. Nerdy-ish kid hides just as an old guy comes in, flashlight in hand, and calls out again to the kids again, telling them to come out by the count of 10 or else.
Just then, the room goes frosty -- enough to see his breath -- and his flashlight dies. Ya'll, I'm telling you if that ever happens to me, I'm turning tail and running so fast.... These people who bang the flashlight all huh, that's weird clearly have not watched enough scary TV/movies. As the old guy (Jack) is trying to beat his flashlight back to life, the dormant tractor in front of him turns on and after a few tense, scary moments of stumbling and backing away, the inevitable happens: the tractor impales him against the barn wall. Ewww.
Back at the bunker, Sam is walking into the common room with all the big, library-like study tables. It's empty, so he calls for Dean. Nada. Calls for Kevin. Double nada. Shrugging, he picks out a book from the shelf -- a pink one: Marvelous Land of Oz -- and sits down to read...juuuussst as a cell phone plugged in nearby starts to vibrate. Isn't that always the way? All the dude wants is a few minutes to himself, but no.
He gets up to answer just as Dean lopes into the room. Sam's all confused face with a Sorry, there's no 'D-Dawg' here--
But Dean grabs the phone, totally business, telling 'Sonny' that he'll be there as soon as he can. Sam looks at his brother with a wry grin.
Sam: 'Sup, D-Dawg?
Dean turns to face Sam and he kind of braces himself, keeping his voice purposefully casual, but his shoulders are tight.
Dean: You remember that spring in upstate New York? Dad was on a rugaru hunt and we crashed at a bungalow colony with ping-pong tables?
[aside -- spell check keeps trying to change 'rugaru' into 'arugula' - hee!]
Sam: Yeah. You disappeared. I came back and you were gone. Dad shipped me off to Bobby's for a couple months and went to find you. You were lost on a hunt or something.
Dean (realization crossing his face): That's what we told you. Right. [paces a few steps away, turns and lays it out for Sam] Truth is...I lost the food money Dad left for us in a card game. I knew you'd get hungry, so I tried to take the 5 finger discount at the local market and got busted. I wasn't on a hunt. They sent me to a Boys Home.
One of the things I found so telling about this was that he said he knew Sam would get hungry. Not they, but Sam. He just says it without agenda or malice; it's the way he thought then, the way he thinks now. It's very parental -- half the things I do today I do because I know Mo Chuisle will need it, want it, or should have it.
Sam (sitting on the edge of one of the tables): A Boys Home. Like a reform school?
Dean (shrugging): More or less. It was a farm. The guy who ran it -- Sonny -- looked after me.
Sam: Does he know what we do?
Dean: Yeah. He's good people. I gave him the number to the Bat Phone; sounds like he's got something in our wheelhouse.
Sam rubs his neck, yawning a little.
Dean (worried): You gonna be cool to do this, or are you too tired?
Sam: I'll be fine.
Dean (leans in, dropping his chin, eyes up, speaking slowly): And everybody's okay with heading out to the Catskills?
Sam (totally puzzled): I...am...everybody.
Dean: Yeah! Right! Okay. Grab your stuff and we'll head out.
Sam: Dean? I mean...why didn't you just tell me you went to a Boys Home?
Dean: It was Dad's idea. And then the story became the story.
Sam processes this right along with me.
Was it out of guilt, maybe, that John didn't want Sam to know? I bet even at 12 his relationship with Sam was occasionally contentious. If he'd left Sam with Bobby and Dean at Sonny's for two months, did he not want his inquisitive son to dig deeper and try to figure out where Dad had been all that time? I can see Dean just going along with what John said -- especially when he hadn't quite transitioned out of the feeling of betrayal of being left there. He'd not want to make a bigger deal out of it -- just put it behind him. But I do wonder about John's motives.
The boys pull up to a big old farm house on a bunch of acres with a sign for "Sonny's Home for Boys" outside. They get out of the car and Sam looks around in wonder.
Sam: You were here for two months and Dad couldn't find you?
Dean (very matter of fact): He found me. He found me quick. But he left me here 'cause I lost our money.
We can see that someone is watching the boys from an upstairs window as they continue their conversation.
Sam (incredulous and irritation at John creeping into his voice): You were 16! You made a mistake!
Dean: Yeah, I made a mistake. Look, I know how you think. None of this was Dad's fault.
Sam looks doubtful and I echoed his expression. Like I said, I got where Dean was coming from. Not just blind faith in John, but a true understanding of what it had to be like for John fighting evil with two young boys to raise and protect. Dean had been in the wrong and John knew he needed to learn a lesson. But I don't know that I agree John was faultless in this.
I also think Dean defended John so adamantly because of his experiences at the Boys Home. This was a good time in his life. If John had pulled him out right when he found him, Dean would never have had the experience of someone focusing solely on him -- allowing him to excel in school for the first and only time in his life, allowing him to help win a wrestling championship -- and he needed that. Every kid needs that.
ANYWAY. We can see that it's the nerdy-ish (Timmy) boy watching our boys from the window and I swear to Pete, people, right then, I thought that boy was the ghost. I thought it right up until Dean shook hands with him.
The boys go up to the door and a tired looking, older woman answers. Dean introduces them and says they're old buddies of Sonny.
Woman (Ruth): Prison buddies?
Sam gives Dean A Look, but Dean ignores it and asks if she could tell him they were here.
Ruth: I'll go get him. I just mopped this floor, so you take off those road stompers.
The boys quickly oblige and remove their boots.
Sam (judgey face on Full): Sonny's an ex-con?
Dean: What, and we're such angels? Trust me, he's more than made up for it.
They head inside and Dean looks around memories washing over him. He glances at the couch and flashes to the day he was brought in. We get our first glimpse of Young Dean: denim shirt, hands in cuffs, bruises on arms, sullen, rebellious expression at home on his face.
The cop is telling Sonny that Young Dean was caught stealing peanut butter and bread. Young Dean isn't speaking, boring holes in the floor with his eyes.
Cop: His old man was called; once he found out what happened, he said let him rot in jail. He's too young to go to county. Thought he could stay here until his arraignment.
The cop takes off his sunglasses and Sonny gapes at his black eye in surprise asking where he got the shiner. Young Dean chuckles and OMG it's so much an actual Dean-type reaction that I found myself blinking in surprise.
Cop: You think that's funny?
YD: I think you're slow.
Cop: You sucker-punched me!
YD: You wish!
Sonny gets the cop to back down, says he's got this. And good thing, too, because apparently cops in the Catskills are hurting for arrests if a kid stealing bread is worth all of this. Young Dean and Jean Valjean could commiserate. Young Dean waves at the cop as he leaves -- his hands still cuffed.
Sonny: Shouldn't do that, kid.
YD: Why? 'Cause he's a cop?
Sonny: 'Cause when you make him mad he leaves with the key.
Young Dean is all well, sh*t but Sonny has a spare key. ETA: I stand corrected - Sonny used a paperclip to get Young Dean's cuffs off. Which is cooler than a spare key and also has me thinking that's how he picked up that particular habit, rather than from John. Interesting.
As he unlocks the cuffs he sees the bruises on Dean's arms and asks if the cop did it, or his dad? Dean tells him it was a werewolf, his expression daring Sonny to contradict him. Sonny sits back, clearly getting that this kid isn't going to open up. He starts to walk to the kitchen.
YD: How do you know I just won't run away?
Sonny: 'Cause you're hungry.
YD: No, I'm not.
Sonny: Why'd you steal bread and peanut butter?
Young Dean looks away, not ready to divulge information about Sam to a stranger. He looks around the room and asks what this place is. Sonny tells him that it's a place for boys like him -- work the land, stay out of trouble. Young Dean says that's lame, but Sonny counters with a beats jail.
Back to now, Sonny shows up, looking exactly the same, except with glasses and longer hair, tied back in a ponytail. He calls Dean "D-Dawg" and gives him a hug before shaking Sam's hand. Dean and Sonny catch up about the farm -- not as many kids to work it as the system nowadays would rather incarcerate boys than rehabilitate them. Sam is eyeing Ruth in the background, cleaning the table and asks Sonny if they can talk alone. Sonny sends Ruth to check on the boys and tells Sam and Dean about Jack -- whom Dean remembers as a tough, old leatherneck -- and the tractor.
Sonny: Never believed in that mumbo-jumbo stuff you boys are into, but something ain't right.
Starts telling them about scratching in the walls, windows and doors slamming...your basic haunted house stuff. Sonny rounds up the boys -- most of whom are on break, if they have houses to go to -- and Sam takes the house while Dean takes the barn, trying to find what's going on. We first follow Sam into the boy's bunkhouse. He looks around casually and then notices a Devil's Trap carved onto the bed post of one of the beds.
Now, it's probably just me remembering things wrong, but I could have sworn they didn't learn about Devil's Traps until the end of Season 1 when Sam finds it in one of Bobby's books and they use it to trap Meg in order to find John. Ah, well. *hand wave*
The music I like to call "the brother theme" -- that pretty, sad, almost nostalgically haunting melody -- is playing in the background as Sam crouches down by the bed and pulls of several layers of tape with names printed on them until he finds "Dean W." He smiles, kinda sadly, at seeing this evidence of a time in his brother's life he never knew about.
Just then, a flash and a noise comes off to his left and he instinctively pulls out his knife and approaches a door at the far end of the room. We can hear Latin being muttered as he gets closer to the door, but as soon as he opens it, he sees Ruth kneeling and praying with her rosary next to her bed. He instantly hides the knife and apologizes for scaring her, but old Ruth, see, she knows why they're really there and had been praying for the ghost that's haunting this farm to leave.
Sam cocks his head all, tell me more.
But first, we have to follow Dean to the barn where he's slowly wandering through the shadowed rooms, his EMF going batty. He hears what sounds like a little kid's laugh and follows the sound -- and I tell you what, nothing is scarier than creepy kids. Even knowing he's a hunter I wanted him to head back out of that place. ESPECIALLY when he sees a light bulb swinging inside an empty room of the barn. W. T. H.
He stills the swinging bulb, turns around, and suddenly Timmy is there. At this point, I was still convinced that Timmy was the ghost. Dean looks at him, puzzled.
Dean: Hey kid, what are you doing in here by yourself?
Timmy: Fighting monsters.
Dean (slight head tilt of intrigue): What kind of monsters?
Timmy (holds up an action figure): All sorts. With Bruce the monster smasher.
Dean: Is that a cape? Little impractical for fighting monsters. You could get cho--
Timmy (pushes a button on his toy): I clobber evil.
Dean: Yeah, I bet you do.
Dean holds out his hand and introduces himself. Timmy tells him his name and delicately grips Dean's fingers in return. Dean's like, aw naw, not like that, and crouches down to Timmy's level, teaching him how to really shake hands. Timmy smiles and my heart breaks a little at that smile. Okay, so...not a ghost then. Dean asks him if he knew Jack and Timmy says yes, he yelled a lot -- and was yelling when he had his accident. He tells Dean that he and the other boys were hiding when it happened. He didn't see anything, but the room got really cold.
Back with Sam and Ruth, she's telling him about the original owners of the place: Howard and Doreen Wasserlauf (at least I think that's what she said). Basically, Jack worked as a farm hand and Howard thought he and Doreen were having an affair. He tried to kill them both, but Jack got away and Howard killed Doreen with a meat clever. Lovely. He served out a life sentence in jail -- which ended last year. And he'd always vowed revenge on Jack.
Sam's like, yahtzee and finds out where old Meat-Clever Howard is buried. The boys head there that night and start digging up the grave. While they're digging, Sam asks Dean why Dad didn't want him to know.
Dean (panting a bit from the whole digging effort): I don't really remember. [shrugs a bit] Look, nobody 'bad touched' me, burned me with their smokes, or beat me with a wire hanger. I call that a win.
They hit the coffin, open it, do the whole salt and fuel thing, then Dean lights it up and we get that cool shot of them through the flames. They head off, thinking the job's done. However, later -- the times a little wonky here...I thought this happened that night while they were at the grave, but someone references Ruth's accident "this morning" so...? -- Ruth is taking a bath, thinking all is well, listening to Ava Maria. She covers her eyes with a rag and doesn't see the light's flicker. Her breath clouds with the cold in the room, but she probably just figures it's because the bath water is hot.
Just then, the shower curtain comes down and -- seriously, one of the worst ways to die, I imagine -- suffocates her. Gah. Sonny hears her struggling and tries to get in, but the door won't open.
Meanwhile, the boys stop at a restaurant called Cus's Place [which had me doing a double take because at first I thought it said "Cas's Place"] and Dean is checking out a pretty, red-headed waitress. Sam tells him that he's okay with just getting some burgers and heading out, but Dean doesn't want him to miss the best banana pancakes he's ever had.
In that moment, we flashback to Young Dean sitting across from Sonny in the same restaurant. YD's wearing a black T-shirt and the amulet! Love that they remembered to have that detail in there. :)
Sonny is telling him that he takes all the boys to this place when they've been there a month. YD thanks Sonny for getting the charges against him dropped. Sonny's like, no big, only they can't find John, so Dean's welcome to stay. He's doing good in school, making friends, made the wrestling team.... It all sounds really good, y'know? I'm glad Dean had this time in his life; and I'm glad he left it, too, because his father and brother wouldn't have survived without him and he wouldn't be the person we know and love today had he stayed there.
Sonny asks Young Dean if he's into the whole heavy metal, devil-worshiping stuff. Young Dean's like, WTH! No! But Sonny found a couple occult-looking symbols carved into his bedpost. YD says that it's a very long story. Sonny, astutely, asks if it has anything to do with why he pours salt in front of his bunk door every night.
YD gives him this half-grin that just, I mean, holy cow, this kid. It was Dean's grin. He says it's a family thing; he can't really talk about it.
Sonny (hitting below the belt): Same family that left you here?
YD just looks down, not answering.
Sonny: What? Are you in the mob or something?
YD: More like something.
Sonny (taking a breath and accepting that he wasn't going to get YD to talk): I was part of this gang. They were my family. I lived, breathed, and would have died for them. Where did it get me? 15 years in a correctional facility. Should have been loyal to myself. You get one shot at this game, Dean. And when you look in the mirror, you want the guy looking back at you to be his own man.
I think Dean listened to Sonny -- but I think he'd already had years of family loyalty under his belt that he found a way to blend what Sonny told him and what John taught him. Dean is his own man, but he is that man because of what he has done and is willing to do for others.
Just then we see Young Robin come up to the table and she morphs into now Robin, asking Sam and Dean if what they'd like to order. Dean gives her a grin that should have head her weak in the knees if she wasn't working so hard to pretend he didn't matter.
Dean: Betcha never thought you'd see me here, huh?
Robin's all, sorry, who are you? He tells her his name, that he was up at Sonny's, and she's like, hard to remember every name and face. Sam's looking sad for Dean and Dean's looking totally uncomfortable so when someone calls Robin away, they bail, fast.
Sam: What was that?
Dean: Nothing. [his phone rings]
Sam: Obviously it was something. Who was that waitress.
Dean (irritated, embarrassed): I said it was nothing!
It's Sonny on the phone telling them about Ruth. They head back and Sonny's standing outside with them, telling them about it. He says he tried to get in and Sam asks him if the door was locked. Sonny shoots Sam a do I look like a moron to you glance and says that there aren't locks on the doors in the Home. Not only are they already chest-deep in weird, they can't find Ruth's rosary beads, which she always had with her. Dean says he's going to talk to the boys and Sam is going to check the employee records.
Dean finds the boys -- there are apparently only three at the home right now -- ganging up on Timmy and pulls them off. He asks the bullies where they were when Ruth had her accident and the two bullies say they don't have to tell him anything unless he's a cop, so Dean shoves his FBI badge right in their faces. How d'ya like 'im now, boys?
Turns out the bigger boys were in town that morning; they say the only weird thing they saw was Timmy -- who is crouched back against the house, looking small and afraid. *pets him*
Dean (leveling his eyes on the bullies): Either of you touch him ever again, I'm gonna go Guantanamo on you. Now, get the hell outta here.
He turns to Timmy, who has retrieved his toy.
Dean: Listen, guys like that are cowards. All you gotta do is stand up to them one time and they'll stop. I promise. *rubs heart*
I loved Dean with Timmy. He's so naturally good with kids.
Inside, Sam sees the House's "Wall of Fame" -- ribbons and awards from all of the kids who stayed there at different times. There's one there for Dean on the wrestling team and Sam stares at it in wonder, layers of his brother's personality and reality peeling away before his eyes.
Later, the two bullies are in the yard mowing and raking leaves. Robin shows up with her guitar -- continuing her mother's tradition, it seems, of giving guitar lessons to the boys at Sonny's Home. After she heads inside, one of the boys hears a rattling in the lawn mower, turns it off and rolls it over, looking underneath. It's Ruth's rosary. We see Timmy watching from the window as the kid starts to pull the grass from the blades to get to the rosary and I start chanting oh boy, oh boy, oh boy because you can just SEE what's going to happen and then it DOES and AHH!!
The switch is flipped to 'on' and the boy is screaming and sprayed with his own blood as his hand is cut up by the lawnmower blade! It's the origin story of Lawnmower Man! No, not really. But it is rather horrific. Then we see Timmy standing in the window, staring out and for a moment I thought maybe he was using telekinesis and taking Dean's advice to "stand up to" the bullies, but then we see a grayish, wrinkled hand on his shoulder. Creep. Ee.
Later, the boys are in what I took to be Sonny's office, Sam going through files and Dean on the phone with -- presumably -- Sonny reporting that the kid is going to need about 8,000 stitches, but he'll be fine. I'm guessing that Sonny and the wounded kid's friend both went to the hospital with him because neither of them are in the rest of the ruckus, until Sonny shows up at the end.
Sam's been looking at Timmy's record and found out that he was found in an abandoned building, no idea how long he'd been there. They put his picture on the Internet, but no one claimed him. He kept running away from Child Services, so they brought him here. This information and some other speculation leads Dean to wondering if they have a Damien on their hands, but Sam says he doesn't think demon, he thinks ghost possession. Dean looks a little sick at the idea of a forced ejection of a ghost on a kid, and tells Sam he has to take the barn this time.
So, Sam goes to the barn and he finds something Dean didn't because Dean got distracted by Timmy: a trap door in the ceiling leading to a loft. He goes up there -- in the dark, gah, oh, wait, he had a flashlight, I forgot, whew -- and finds a very Mama-esque child's drawing on the wall of the barn depicting Timmy's story. They tell it later, but it's clear that Timmy and his mom were in a car crash, the car was burning, the mom got him out and saved his life, but the car blew up and killed her. Guh, poor, poor kiddo.
In the house, Dean hears guitar music and follows it to see Robin on the couch. Seeing her there has him flashing back to when she was there before, with her Mom, and was giving him guitar lessons. Young Dean is telling her that his dad moves them around a lot, but that the family business is boring. She asks him if he likes it.
YD: Not really. But, my dad expects me to follow in his footsteps, so I've kinda gotten used to it.
Young Robin tells him that her pops wants her to take over the diner, but she wants to be a photographer and see the world. When she prompts him, YD tells her he wants to be a rockstar, but he also really likes cars.
YD: Cars are freakin' cool as hell. Fixing them is like a puzzle. And the best part is, when you're done, they leave and you're not responsible for them anymore.
*rubs heart* Everything he wasn't saying with that just...yeah. I get it, kiddo.
Young Robin leans over and kisses him, surprising the hell out of him. He. Is. Adorable.
YR: Have you kissed many girls?
YD: What? Yeah, of course. Lots! [Plays nervously with his ear.]
YR (grinning, doubtful): Really. Well, we'll just have to keep practicing.
She kisses him again and Dean mentally shifts back to now when grown-up Robin looks at him. Dean asks her if she's seen Timmy and, very serenely as if she hadn't been present at the house for the horrific lawnmower accident and the chaos that no doubt had followed getting the kid to the hospital (I mean, seriously, WTH), she says that Timmy should be in for his guitar lesson. Dean's all lesson's canceled, and tries to get her out of there.
Robin, however, is all what. ever. Like I'm gonna trust you again.
Dean: You DO remember me!
Robin: How could I forget?
We flash to Young Robin and Young Dean making out on the front porch, Journey's "Stone In Love" playing in the background. She stops him from kissing her for a minute and says, shyly, that she just wants this to last.
YD: I'm not going anywhere, Robin.
YR: Says you.
YD: I can't. Who else is going to take you to the school dance?
Aww, Dean. *rubs heart*
In the now, Dean is desperately trying to get Robin to listen to him, telling him there were reasons he had to leave, but he can't explain it to her right now and she has to get out of there. He grabs her arm and tries to haul her out of the room, but just then, the front door slams shut and Dean can't get it open.
Timmy (from behind them, causing them to whirl around): I'm sorry.
Dean: Sorry about what, Timmy?
Timmy: I can't stop it.
Just then the window behind them breaks and things start flying across the room and Dean pushes Robin ahead of him to get her out of harms way, grabbing one of the andirons from the fireplace as he runs to the kitchen -- where Sam is just coming in through the back door. Dean yells at Sam to get out, but the door sucks shut and won't open. Whoops. Dean finds salt in the cabinets, tosses it to Sam, who puts a circle around Robin. Then Timmy shows up.
Timmy: I can't control her.
Sam: Your mom, right? [crouches down to his level] We need you to tell us about the fire, okay?
So, Timmy does, and ends the story with how he ran to that empty building and was so scared and he cried and called for his mom...and she came. But she'd changed. Dean guesses that she gave him the action figure he's playing with -- which she did, when he turned 9. Sam asks for the action figure, but just then the ghost materializes and shoves Sam back and away, slamming him against a wall. Dean uses the andiron to dispel her, then grabs the toy away from Timmy, turns on the flames of the gas stovetop and burns the toy.
That burner is toast, ya'll.
Just then, the wind picks up and breaks the salt circle around Robin. Sam and Dean have a quick aside where they realize that the ghost isn't anchored to the toy, it's anchored to Timmy.
Sam: Mom can't let go and is protecting him from the grave. Doesn't know what threats are real and what's not.
Shoot, and I thought I was a helicopter Mom....
At this, Robin freaks out and runs out of the room, Dean on her heels. He catches her and she's like who the hell ARE you.
Dean: I'm the only thing keeping you safe.
Just then the ghost shows up and attacks Dean, tossing his andiron aside and slamming him against a door frame, then starts to...strangle him or crush him from the inside out...or something. Whatever it is, it looks like it hurts like hell and Dean can't breathe. But then the ghost hears Sam talking to Timmy and vanishes, giving Dean a second to catch his breath before he has to jump up and run to save Sam from the ghost's king-fu grip. The ghost, though, slams Dean into the small kitchen table and shoves him against the all, too, crushing him along with Sam. Strong ghost, that.
I liked that when Dean got thrown against the table, Sam instinctively tried to go for him, but was pushed back against the wall by the ghost. *smiles*
Dean (from the ground, choking out his words through the ghost's pressure on him): Timmy...she came to you...when you cried out for her...you have to tell her...to stop...or go away.
Timmy (scared, desperate): She's my mom!
Dean: She's a ghost...and because she can't move on...she's going crazy. You gotta let her go. [struggles, resists, focuses on Timmy] Sometimes you gotta do what's best for you...even if it's gonna hurt the ones you love.
Oh, boy. I wonder how foreshadowing that statement is right there.
Timmy (to the ghost): Mommy. Stop it. Stop hurting people.
The ghost turns to him and holds out her arms. Good Lord, I'm tearing up just writing about this. I'm such a sap. It's pathetic, really.
Timmy: You have to go and never come back. I'll be okay, I promise.
The ghost face burns away and we see his real mom, all beautiful and beaming, tears running down her face as she stares at her little boy.
Timmy: I love you, too.
Annnddd...with that, the mom dissolves into light and the boys are released from the wall. Without hesitation, Timmy runs across the room to Dean and dives on him, burying himself in Dean's arms. Dean holds Timmy and meets Sam's eyes and they're both like, whew.
Later that night, Timmy's on the porch and Robin's saying goodbye to Dean. He's ruefully saying she can see he didn't run off and become a rockstar. She smiles and says he looked pretty rockin' to her. She says she loves her life, even though she ended up taking over the diner from her dad.
Dean: We didn't know everything we thought we did at 16.
Robin: Not everything. Just...some things.
She kisses him on the cheek and goes up to get Timmy and go inside. Dean heads to the car where Sam and Sonny are waiting. Sonny thanks Dean and gives him a hug and Dean moves around to the driver's side of the car. Sam stops him from getting in, though, with a question.
Sam: How did you know Timmy asking his mom to leave was gonna work?
Dean (with kind of a baffled smile): Didn't. Total Hail Mary. Got lucky.
Sam: Just got lucky. Kinda like you did with this place. Here I was thinking this was the worst part of yoru life...and it turns out it was the best. Why did you leave?
Dean (shrugs): Never felt right.
Sam (disbelieving): Really.
Dean (dismissive): It was two months, Sam. I couldn't wait to get out of here. Don't know what to tell you. It wasn't me.
Sam gets in the car, his face clouded as he processes his brother's tendency to deflect anything that could potentially matter to him as unimportant. Dean has turned lying to protect those he loves into an art form. Lying about what mattered to him, lying when the truth could hurt (or in Sam's case, potentially kill) them -- all to protect these people. He puts himself between them and reality thinking that it's the only way to spare them the pain, and taking that pain into himself.
Dean glances back toward the house, remembering his last night there. Young Dean is tying a tie, getting ready for the dance and Sonny comes into the bunkhouse, telling him he cleans up nice. YD is a little nervous, having never been to one of these before, but Sonny has to tell him that John is outside. He said they have a job and Young Dean would know what that meant.
Young Dean fights to not cry. In that moment he wants so bad to just...not go. To continue in this fantasy life, go to the dance, live with Sonny. He is hurt and angry that his father left him there for two months and only came to get him when there was a job. You can see it's not fair shining in his eyes and I just wanted to hug him.
Sonny: If you want, I'll stick my neck out for you and fight for you to stay.
You can hear a car horn and YD goes to look out the window where John (in silhouette) is waiting in the Impala. Young Sam is hanging out of the window, playing with a toy jet plane. YD's smile is tremulous as he looks at his brother, and suddenly, his decision is made. He can't leave Sammy. End of story. He goes to Sonny and shakes his hand, saying thank you for everything, but I have to go.
Sonny gives him a hug and Dean snaps back to the now, getting in the car.
Sam: Dean. Thank you.
Dean (surprised): For what?
Sam (glancing at his brother with such a knowing look on his face you realize that he totally gets exactly why Dean left that place): For always being there. For having my back. I know it hasn't always been easy....
Dean (half-smile in place, deflecting): I don't know what the hell you're talking about.
They drive away.
I loved how many themes were explored in this episode -- most especially the fact of Dean's sacrifice for his family, for Sam. Having Sam acknowledge what Dean has done all his life to be there for Sam replaces the trial-induced doubt he had at the S8 finale and lays the groundwork for a potentially having Sam not walk away from Dean when he finds out about Zeke. Sam has every right to be angry -- and should be -- but I really just couldn't handle Sam walking away from his brother (physically or emotionally) because of it -- primarly because of what Sam was able to realize in this episode.
Guess we'll see what's in store for us!
Thanks as always for reading and I appreciate any comments you feel like making.
Closing Note: Next week's Ramble will be delayed by roughly a week. The Three Musketeers (Hubs, Mo Chuisle, and I) are going to run away for the Thanksgiving holiday and I'm going to attempt to take an actual, full-on vacation. I'll post the Ramble for 9.08 on Monday the 2nd so that it's up before 9.09 airs on the 3rd. I hope you'll come back to read both!
Those of you who celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday, I hope you have a wonderful one. And for all of you, thank you for reading, commenting when you can or want to, and being part of this crazy run with me. I'm grateful for each of you. /chick-flick moment