*is worn out*
*takes ginormous breath*
All ya'll that read my take on these episodes? Settle back, get comfy… grab that glass of coffee or vino, whatever your poison, 'cause I'm all set and ready to ramble.
I always feel like I write these in such a rush… on such a rush. Freakin' time travel, man. I mean seriously? The very idea made me both nervous and excited all at once. Excited because of the possibilities we can now see of the past we'd only guessed at. Nervous because there are so many ways to potentially screw it up.
I was really worried about a time-loop detail with this episode because I know this fan base is a shrewd and discerning lot. I also had a bit of a forewarning about the lack of Samness in this epi, so I was worried about that, too, with the discordance of fans. Dean camps vs Sam camps and all that.
*continues to avoid forums*
It's a lot to worry about heading into an episode, yeah?
But, as the great Van Wilder once said, "Worry is like a rocking chair. Gives you something to do, but doesn't get you anywhere. Write that down."
Overall Thoughts and Observations
Though Sam was only in the very beginning, his purpose, his presence permeated the entire episode. He was never far from his brother's thoughts and was the entire reason Dean had to experience "the truth." Dean may be getting more screen time, but Sam is the reason so much of the mythos occurs in this story. He is the driving force behind the hero that is Dean. He is the axis that their collect fate pivots on.
This episode brought so many things full circle. At last, at last, we see why Mary said "I'm sorry" to Sam in Home. Man, I'm writing this with a lump in my throat. I'll get to specifics in a moment, but first, I have to say how very touched I was by so much of what Dean had to experience in this episode.
Seeing his parents as they were, seeing John before loss changed him so irrevocably, seeing what Mary had wanted for her children… wanted something different for them than the life she'd led... I grew up in chaos. I was able to shield a couple of my siblings from what I went through, but not completely. I learned quickly that survival meant either hiding and watching, or fighting tooth and nail. There was no in between. And I do not want that for my daughter. I will do almost anything to keep her from living that same reality. God, Mary's choice... *heart breaks in two*
Dean sleeping at the beginning brought out an "aww" from me. The boy is sleeping a lot in these first epis. But this sleep was obviously not peaceful. The hellish images, the thrusts of memory — not something that brings true rest. However, it was enough to allow Sam time to sneak out to meet up with Ruby and continue their quest to… uh… do whatever it is they're doing.
Okay, Castiel's "You have to stop it" was so cleverly ambiguous… leading us — and Dean! — to believe during the entire Back to the Future journey that Dean took was to stop the YED from killing his parents. Even though we, and he, knew that he couldn't. No batter how badly he wanted to. No matter how hard he tried. We — and he, on some level — knew he was destined to fail.
Because there have always been sacrifices for the greater good. There have always been those innocents who have had to die so that others could live. And our boys are the prime examples of that. And not to segue too far onto religious turf, but… no one knows the meaning of sacrifice better than someone like Castiel. He knew exactly what he was making Dean face, and why. Dean had to see the truth for himself in order to understand what his brother had been unknowingly struggling with his entire life.
In order to understand what he had to stop, who, and, maybe, how. The Powers That Be are, in a way, giving the brothers a reward. They are allowing Dean and Sam to discover what YED's End Game was, how Lilith and Lucifer fit into it all, and allowing them a chance to be saved. Allowing Dean a chance to save his brother, once and for all. I mean, seriously? Castiel could just kill Sam if they are that worried about the path he's on. But they're using the brother's to find out the plan, and at the same time, giving them a chance for redemption.
Okay, so back to the show. They did a pretty decent job of recreating Lawrence. Dean could have very easily been waking up on a bench on Massachusetts street. And Jay Bird's Diner?? BWAH! Every other thing in this town is Jayhawk this or Jayhawk that. The KU Jayhawk's are Lawrence's life's blood. *Gaelic tips a nod to Kripke* Nicely done, Show!
I loved the homage to Back to the Future when the old guy walked in and called "Hey, Winchester!" Having both Dean and John turn at once, just like Marty and George when "Hey, McFly!" was called out by Biff was nicely played.
I'll get to specifics on the players below, but suffice it to say that I really liked John. Really, really liked John. Oh, and the DeLorean comment? Amy Blair if you're reading this? I cackled. Out loud.
When they were in the car lot, I was a grinning fool. You could see what was coming from miles away, but it was still a beautiful moment when John shook his son's hand — Dean Van Halen, nice one! — and took his advice based on the promise that the Chevy would be "bad ass when it's 40."
Total aside? I don't think I'll ever get enough of that Chevy rumble. Toe. Curl.
Seriously awesome line: "Sammy, wherever you are, Mom is a babe. I'm going to Hell. Again."
I love Dean's humor, and I love that Sam was always on his mind, no matter what. No. Matter. What.
Gotta tell you, I did not see Mary being a hunter coming. Even when I saw the charm bracelets I had a serious "come again?" expression on my face. But as soon as it went to commercial, and I had a second to process, I couldn't believe how unbelievably freakin' COOL that was. Mary is from a family of hunters. MARY. I still have chills. And for all of you who'd already figured that out—good for you! But I was totally shocked.
I love this show.
Loved Dean's "clearly not enough" when Mary asked if he knew of her father. Grandpa Sam testing Dean was nicely played. And Grandma Deanna (BWAH! Love that Mary obviously won the battle of the boys' names) knowing all about hunting was wicked cool.
I was a little thrown when they went to the Whitshire farm and that kid said that the man had yellow eyes and would return in 10 years. I was with Dean on the "sold his soul" angle, but thought the crossroad demons had to be, well, around a crossroad and… that they had red eyes. I didn't really get the significance of 10 years until later when I realized that would be 1983.
Okay, so I'm not sure Dean's stolen Merc Mobile could have made it the 8 hours from Lawrence to the Denver area and back in time, but I'm willing to suspend all kinds of reality for the sake of my hero and his story. And I liked seeing a younger version of Daniel Elkins.
The scene that ripped me up, though, and once again put me in amazement of Jensen Ackles' acting ability, was the conversation with Mary and Dean about what John was like (did I mention I really liked John?) and what she wanted for her children. The knowledge and loss and heartache in Dean's eyes… I was gripping my pillow as I always do and an audible sob actually escaped.
In another shout out to BTTF, but in a much more poignant manner, Dean asks Mary to not get out of bed on 11/2/83, no matter what she hears. "Promise me you won't get out of bed." The tears hanging in his eyes turned them stunningly luminous and I swear, had I been Mary, I would have promised him the moon just to ease that look of pain on his face.
It made me wonder, in Home, did the ghost of Mary remember that face? Did she remember his visit, his plea, and is that why all she could bear to say to him was his name?
I apologize if I'm jumping around too much, missing details. I know that with the amount of reviews out there, someone else will cover the bases superbly, though.
I loved that Dean tried to tell Grandpa Sam the truth, but I held my breath that whole conversation, saying softly, "something's not right" to the empty living room. And when Gramps asked for the Colt, I uttered an "uh-oh"… Dean's twitch, the stilling of his features, the casual sliding away of the gun… Devil's Trap and John with yellow eyes rushed back to me.
The fight with YED/Gramps was so painful to watch, knowing that it was not going to end well… but, I was glad to hear YED tell Dean about what he did to baby Sam. I wasn't sure what Dean would do with that information — I'm still not — but at least he knows. He knows, too, I think, that Sam knows.
2nd Best Line: "I'm the one that kills you." The way that line was delivered, the ferocity in the tone, the truth in that statement literally gave me chills.
I knew Grandma was going to bite it, and I didn't hold out much hope for Gramps when YED stabbed him, but I was shocked when John died. I think I choked on my gasp. The moment it happened though, everything rushed into reality for me like a movie in fast forward. This was why she knew the YED, why she died — because she interrupted him, tried to stop him. This is why she said sorry to Sam.
Mary made a deal — and BLECH, kissed her own DAD!! *Squibs on that for awhile* - to save John, sacrificing the destiny of her unborn child to do so. I can't think of anything more tragic. And now Dean knows. And he has to figure out if and how to tell Sammy.
And no wonder all of Mary's friends are dead — they're all freakin' HUNTERS. Shoot, I just put that together. Geeze, Gaelic.
Castiel's parting words: "You're brother is headed down a dangerous road…you have to stop it, or we will." *chills* Oh. *small voice* So this is what he meant.
My stomach is tight, my heart is pounding, my mind is whirling, and I can't wait until next Thursday.
Dean: There is so much to love about how this character moves through his life. And I know he's had tragedy and he's had loss and he's known pain and he's known suffering… but he's also been more blessed than many others will ever have the chance to be. He's been able to bring his brother back. He's been released from Hell. He's been given a 2nd chance.
And he's seen who he truly came from. We don't really see our parents as people until much later in our lives. Dean lost his father at 4, really. The man he got to know wasn't really John Winchester. He was a shadow of that man. And with this gift, Dean got to see who John really was — the John that Mary fell in love with. The John that held him when he was first born, planned for him, planned for Sam.
His father. And you could see that knowledge reflecting in those freakin' amazing eyes.
I've rambled way too long as it is, but I am forever fascinated by the multi-layered character of Dean. And I'm wondering how he's going to escape those demons in his mind, how he's going to save himself. Or… if by saving Sam from his Destiny, he will grab hold of the one thing that will save him from his own nightmares.
Castiel: Nicely subtle with the ambiguous wording, leading us one way while we think we're going another. And I am intrigued by the fact that the angels — God's warriors — don't know everything that's going on. I kinda…took for granted that they did. But they need Dean. How interesting.
And on a personal level, I think Castiel kinda cares about what's happening to Dean. When he asked him what he was dreaming about, he sounded worried. And when he told Dean that Sam wasn't looking for him, he sounded disappointed.
Oh, and did you catch that cool sound effect of wings when Castiel showed up and took Dean away after John woke up?
John: Sweet, kind, believes in happily ever after, even after the War, even after all he's seen. Dude, John is Sam. Our Sam — before Dean died. Before he found out the "truth"… I loved this John, I loved his care for Mary, and his obvious appreciation for the Impala. I just loved that moment — he was a kid looking into that engine with Dean. It made me so sad to think of what the loss of Mary changed him into, but at the same time, I was happy to see him so innocent. It was an odd dichotomy.
Mary: That girl kicked ass. Literally. And she looked a bit like Jo… which I thought was interesting. I loved what the writers did with her — turned her into a hunter. There had to be things that she left behind, or something she told John eventually after that moment of his waking up next to her father's dead body. Perhaps he didn't believer her fully until she died, but I think there were things that she would have left for him that had to have aided him on his hunting beginnings. Perhaps it was simply contacts… but something. You don't love someone that much — so much that you make a deal with a demon for his life — and not make some kind of preparation for not being around. Not when you know what hides in the dark.
Grandma and Grandpa: Other than "that was one tough lady" I don't have much to say about Grandma Deanna. I love that she knew about hunting and that she let her daughter hunt, believing her capable, apparently. Grandpa Sam was so much like the John Winchester we know that it was spooky. And Mitch Pileggi plays one awesome evil being.
Sam: *is worried* He had continued his self-imposed mission with Ruby... he is sneaking out while Dean sleeps... and he obviously hasn't told Dean he can use the Force. Something shifted inside our favorite little brother the night the Hellhounds ripped Dean to shreds and Lilith couldn't kill Sam. Something that I fear is gone forever... I can't imagine what it was like for Sam to bury Dean. But I can understand his going quiet and broody (mostly because he broods better than anyone) in the 4 months Dean was... uh, gone. Because sometimes, when your world shifts so much, it's too hard to take care of other people. Even listening to them breathe is more work than you can handle.
I can get all of that. But, I don't know where his head is at. I don't know what scares him anymore. And that scares me.
-- John was disturbed by Sonny and Cher's break up. Heh.
-- John was a corporal. I don't know why I'd always thought him a sergeant. I probably read it in a fanfic somewhere. Hee.
-- They were this close to riding around in a VW. Ack!
-- Mary's maiden name was Campbell. Hmm.
-- Dean makes one hot priest. I'm just sayin'.
-- Dean carries John's journal in his jacket? Interesting. Also? I wonder when John gets that jacket…
-- Loved the: "Sam and I growing up playing little league and chasing tail." Heh.
-- "I will always love you for exactly who you are." Mary and John say this to each other. And I think that this is going to ultimately be a theme for this family. Touched by and angel, or bled on by a demon, they are brothers, and they would die for each other, and they will love each other for who they are… they just have to remember that.