Mrs. Peacock: "But look what happened to the cook!"
So, next to The Princess Bride, Clue is probably my favorite movie to quote. And I could do so endlessly. Ask my (poor, suffering) husband. In fact, it became a bit of a family tradition at holidays -- not to watch the movie, but to quote it. Psych had an amusing Clue-esque episode during it's final season, which had me chuckling appreciatively. So, when my friend Terry told me that they were doing an SPN Clue episode, I immediately looked forward to it. This wasn't quite as much of an odd-ball homage as the Psych episode, but it was nicely done.
On the heels of a meta-episode, I think it's a nice rhythm to ease us back into anything too serious. We don't want too many outright slap-stick/funny episodes in a row, but neither do we want funny-drama-funny-drama, or drama-drama-drama-drama. None of us are tall enough to ride that ride. This episode was a decent balance of MotW, humor, and just enough serious there at the end to remind us that all is not rainbows and unicorns in the world of Winchester (Westchester or otherwise).
They're still dealing with some decent-sized issues and searching for ways to work around and through a bad habit of keeping secrets from each other -- out of protection of the other or out of self-preservation. The trust in each other is there, but so is a wariness, a watchfulness, and a caution that speaks of loss. Still, there are plenty of moments each bother has taken the opportunity to share with a stranger how they feel about their brother: Dean in Fan Fiction telling Marie that he doesn't need the amulet to remind him how he feels about his brother; Sam here in Ask Jeeves telling Dash that his family likes each other, even if it is only himself and his brother.
There's a palpable feeling of hope, but it's still fragile. Like a ball of spun glass. With tacks trapped inside. And call me crazy, but...I like that. It's real. These guys wouldn't resonate so strongly with us if they just got over things. "Oh, you were soulless and almost let me die a couple of times, but you're back to your old self now? No big deal, man, have a bruski!" "Dude, you were a demon and ran amok for four months before trying to kill me? Fughettaboutit!"
They are uncomfortable when talking about specifics, but they're still making the effort. And they're both heading toward each other, that's the big thing. It isn't one brother trying in every way to make up to the other while the other is stoic or shut off or angry. They're facing each other and reaching out, and it's such a relief to see.
Okay, yadda yadda yadda, Gaelic, how about some lists! Then, more thoughts. 'Cause I have them.
- Bob Seger's Travlin' Man playing at the end. Because, OMG, Bob. Seger. He's got a voice that melts me.
- The Monster Book of Monsters recap. That was funny. Vampirates. Ha! I still get a kick out of that.
- "Real men don't drink out of cups this small."
- Dean putting on his I drink black coffee, dammit face, then waving Sam off when he tried to take back his cinnamon-roll-flavored bevvie.
- The fact that Dean found one of Bobby's phones.
- Seeing the Impala pull up, all nice and shiny, next to a Jag.
- Sam's term, "Fed threads."
- "You two are aDORable."
- The hilarious, snooty, obliviousness of the LeCoix (TOTALLY guessing on the spelling here) family.
- Dean's teasing, big-brother grin when Beverly overtly comes on to Sam.
- "Loaded, yes. Rich, no."
- The fact that both brothers lit up at the idea that the jewels in the Celtic cross might be real.
- Dean playing with the suit of armor in the hallway.
- The way they covered all the Clue-ish weapons: Dean, in the attic, with the lead pipe. Uh, and the rope. Dean, in the hallway, with the wrench. Sam, in the kitchen, with the knife. Dean, in the billiard room, with the candlestick. Sam (and Dean), in the kitchen, with the revolver.
- The fact that the prop team put an actual game of Clue in all the stuff crammed in the attic (behind the creepy-looking baby doll).
- "Husband-wife tag-team killer ghosts?" "Gotta keep the marriage alive somehow."
- Clown college Collette.
- Seeing the pile of skin to signify the shapeshifter (good to link back to their own canon, which had been forgotten in other shifter epis which shall not be named).
- Sam telling Olivia that there is something "way worse" than ghosts going on, as though that would calm her down, and the irony of his saying that to her.
- Sam distracting the LeCoix sisters by letting them pet him. Heavily.
- Sam's little, squirmy, "He's calling to me," escape followed by his helpless shudder as he gets away from the sisters and joins Dean.
- "Bravo, Rizzoli, you solved the case. Want to weigh in, Isles?"
- The way Dean muttered, "it's locked from the outside," when they're trying to escape from the office/study. It sounded so natural, no sarcasm or pop-culture reference to mask any frustration or irritation.
- "Homosexual murderers! Like Leopold and Loeb!" "Only hotter!"
- "Did anyone else wet themselves?" (Have to admit, the way that actress delivered that line after the flurry of activity had me cracking up.)
- The shot of Sam, sweaty and tense, just as Olivia is about to shoot him, followed by the mix of relief and anxiety on his face as Dean killed the shifter, flinching with each of Dean's extra shots.
- The end shot of the Impala on the highway -- cool FX there.
- Just your basic storytelling method of having the bad guy tell their whole nefarious plot and/or childhood trauma just before they try (unsuccessfully) to kill the good guy. I mean, there has to be a better way to get the backstory of why they're a bad guy out there. And it's not like it's just our Show that does this...it's a common problem among most episodic TV shows, says me.
- I could say the predictability of the storyline (I mean, seriously, raise your hand if you called Dash and Amber having the affair the moment they shared that glance, and realized Oliva was the shifter as soon as Dean stated the knives were stainless steel), but that would just be nit-picking. It was a basic, non-scary, get them back on their feet again, MotW story, and for that, it did just fine.
- So, remember how not killing made Dean sick at the end of S9? So much so he was throwing up blood? How long do you think it's going to be until that happens again, if he keeps himself reined in? And on that note, I'm not so sure I really buy his explanation that his, um, exuberance with shooting the shifter an extra four times was due to anxiety for his first kill since he's been back. I think he wanted to believe that. I think that's what he told himself to settle the racing of his heart and bring himself back from the edge. But the stoic, stone-faced expression he wore when he kept firing, that seemed like a man who knew exactly what he was doing. I think he needed that "hit" of violence. And I wonder how long it's going to be until the Mark flares up on him, dangerously so.
- Wonder how the boys are doing on money lately? They've been away from the bunker for a bit, on the road, staring at motel room walls and all that, trying to reconnect...the way their faces lit up at the prospect of those jewels being real had me wondering if maybe the dragon gold had finally run out, so to speak.
- Anyone else wondering how many times Dean's going to be able to be thrown across a room before he's not going to be able to get back up as quickly? Last two episodes had him absorbing some pretty mean hits, but then moving around like nobody's business. At least Sam didn't get strangled this time out!
- Was that bridge that Sam was playing with the LeCroix sisters?
- Was it me, or did 'Olivia' look like she could be Michelle Pfeiffer's daughter?
It was a clever way of capturing the concept that we all see through our own filters, our own backgrounds. We all have our own interpretations of events. Hearing the exact same story, one saw a cruel act, the other saw kindness. I found that fascinating and it made me both wish somehow they'd known about Bunny before Bobby died so that they could have maybe stopped Olivia from exacting mis-aligned vengeance, and wonder how many other stories or contacts Bobby might have out there that the boys don't know about. Quite honestly, with his Vietnam past, his history with Rufus and with John Winchester...the possibilities could be endless.
I also liked how we had two episodes in a row where our first glimpse of Dean is him caring for his car. He mentions that he found Bobby's phone when he was "dust busting." When I'm overwhelmed, out of sorts, or in "analysis paralysis," one thing that always helps me is to clean something. My office, my house, our back yard, our car. The act of cleaning and organizing and using my hands to put something right is soothing. It makes me feel like I'm in control of something, that I might actually be able to fix what (in the moment, anyway) feels unfixable.
I see Dean doing something similar with his care with his car. The way he focuses on the Impala has been, through the years, a good indication of his state of mind. From beating it until it reflected his battered and broken heart to listening to her purr soon thereafter, showing Sam how to care for the engine pre-Hell, restoring it to his un-iPoded preferences post-Hell, trashing it up with food wrappers tossed in the back when he was alone, then referring to it as just a car when he wasn't himself...now he's taking great pains to shine and tweak the engine, fix the lights, organize the weapons cache, and clean out the inside so thoroughly he found a forgotten phone....
It's Dean's non-verbal cue that he's trying to put himself back together again. Like maintaining a classic car, it's a slow, steady, constant process. The parts aren't all there, or may be hard to come by because of the state of the chassis and the wear and tear on the engine, but a steady, faithful, guiding hand can work around missing parts, can repair broken ones, and can get it gleaming again -- outside and in. It's a project that takes continual supervision and patience and works best when there's someone to hand him the tools and hold the parts in place as he adjusts them.
Sam's watchful eye relaxed a bit this episode, which I liked, and he seemed just as frustrated as Dean that Murphy's Law of when they're ready to get back in the game, the game is rained out was the order of the day. Not only that, he was the first one to jump on the fact that there was a case. The brothers felt very symbiotic this episode in the way they divided and conquered to get the job done old-school. Of course, it helped that the "Gray Gardens" were mentally jumping Sam's bones from the moment he walked in the room. He could easily distract the family while Dean scoped out their sitch.
Which, in a way, kinda reminded me of the same thing that happened in Season 8's Trial and Error (complete with a Dallas-esque rich, oblivious, squabbling family), but with a better end result. As in, no one got snagged for a painful, deadly series of trials.
I will admit that I wanted the boys to clue in (no pun intended) more quickly that Olivia was their shifter when they were trapped in the office -- like before they saw it obviously playing out before them on the security monitors. After all, she was the one to get the 'silverware' that wasn't really silver. But there's only so much one can do when one is trapped in an office. I really liked that Sam was the one to distract Olivia while Dean ran out to the Impala to get the silver bullets (took me a minute to realize that was where he'd gone). It showed their trust in each other's strengths and that Sam had faith in Dean saving his life. May seem like a no, duh, moment, but I think any time we see Sam trusting Dean to save his life in these first few post-cure episodes is big.
Sam's flinching, though, when Dean kept firing, had me rubbing my heart. He can't help but still be a little scared of his brother. Or maybe it's scared for him. But there's fear there, none-the-less. And anxiety. In the "BM" scene at the end, you could see Sam playing out that promise Dean made to him, that if he felt himself go sideways even one little bit he'd tell him, when he asked if the extra shots were due to residual demon or because of the Mark. Personally, I don't think it's residual demon, but I do think they're fooling themselves if they think Dean isn't still feeling the effects of the Mark.
Like I said before, not killing actually made him sick before. Of course, that was after he'd been reunited with the First Blade and it had been taken away, so the effects could be...muted, now that it's once more just the Mark. After all, Cain was able to remain mostly non-homicidal while bearing the Mark for many, many years. But, then again, he was a demon.
It will be interesting to see how this continues to play out. All I know is that I'm glad to see them working together, the occasional protestation and worry to be expected. I didn't think we'd have an episode next week due to the Thanksgiving holiday in the States, but it appears that we do! Which is great because that means we should have three more new episodes before the mid-season break after December 9th.
See you guys then! Thanks for reading.