Lump. In. Throat. And.... I laughed a heckuva lot. Hmmmm....
I wrote this once and just as I was about to post it, the site ate my review. Plus? It kept saying that the message contained content that might be inappropriate, so... I put asterisks everywhere.
There are times when the absurdity of the job of hunting the supernatural just takes over. It can't all be trauma and tragedy, angst and death, good and evil. Sometimes the ridiculous rears its head. And you know what I love? The way the boys handle every situation with realism. And true emotion.
We've had some funny episodes this season, but what I've noticed is that through the humor, the writers have been slowly unraveling a tightly spooled ball of yarn. We laugh, and then we're pulled up short by a subtle reveal, or quick eye-shift.
When I started my first review, my heart was literally pounding as a result of the end scene with Dean's confession and the
Lethal Weapon-esque, Clapton-like guitar playing the sound of sad regret in the background.
I will say that this episode, like so many others, had me thinking about my life, about what I appreciate and why. And it took me on a bit of an emotional roller-coaster-ride from humor to sorrow, from that gut-tingle that I refuse to examine why I like to a lump in my throat big enough to choke a horse.
The thing I noticed about the very beginning was that Candice Armstrong showered with her diamond earrings in. I don't know why that struck me, but it did. *shrugs* And I never thought "ghost"... I thought "invisible boy." You probably did, too, huh?
Okay, seriously? How many of us can see buttons on suspenders in a restaurant and not think "flair?" *pets "Office Space"* This episode had me flashing to several different movies. Hope you'll stick with me.
Sam referring to Dean's time in H*ll as "down under" had me smirking. I bet the Aussie fans loved that. I liked that there wasn't a big lag time with Sam pushing Dean for answers as only Sam can do. Watching Dean down several shots as he denied any memories of Hell, trying to call his bluff, but getting thwarted by Mr. Flair.
I remember Kripke saying that Dean would be a bit like a soldier returning traumatized from war with PTSD. I can imagine that those watching who have lived through that in one way or another could be troubled by his denial, his turning to alcohol, his nightmares, but I have to confess. As a story? For this character? I dig it. It appeals to me. I haven't had to live through the reality of that, so I'm approaching it from a different angle, but that gut tingle I spoke of earlier? It turned on full force in this epi because of Dean's situation.
I'll get to that in a minute. Hopefully.
I did like Dean checking out the chick in the restaurant. Traumatized or not, he's our Dean. And I love that his attention is quite literally chin-grabbed by what he considers beauty. Atta boy. His reaction to Sam's "haunted showers" reveal for their next hunt was classic. "We gotta save these people."
So, no EMF, no ghost, and we have a disappointed Dean (no saving naked ladies) and a little boy being chased by bullies. I winced a bit at Dean's "run, Forrest, run!" I knew that was going to come back to haunt him. Silly boy.
I think the funniest part of this epi, for me, was the whole section about hunting Bigfoot. Also? They were really in synch for this hunt. I enjoyed that. They may be off-balance with their purposes, they may not know where they've been or where they're going, they may have questions, but bottom line? They're brothers. Partners. Friends. They can read each other. They know each other. And it showed in this epi in classic ways like unison-speak, badge flashes, cover-stories, exchanges of expression, body language.
Sam's "that... is a BIG foot" comment had me on the floor, as did Dean saying that Bigfoot was a "girl-drink"-drunk when he saw the Amaretto and Irish Creme. Heh. Dean's "I got nothin'" as they sat adorably baffled, side-by-side on the bench outside of the liquor store was great. They both do confused-yet-muddling-through rather well. Dean even pulled out a "deep woods Dachovny" quip. Hee.
I mean, it's hard not to be able to get what you think you want, but I kinda think the point of life is to want what you have. To learn why you have it, or to change your situation. But not through wishing. Through choice. Because if you had everything handed to you, you would end up caring about nothing. Dean's comment later in the show that they have to fight tooth and nail to keep what they have is perfect.
Because they value what they have -- the relationships, the connections, the meager possessions. It means something to them. There are not closets full of outdated or wrong-sized clothes, or toys that haven't been played with in years. Okay, I'm veering. Sorry. Back to the boys.
The fountain is drained, and the coins are exposed, and I found myself thinking of The Goonies when the kids are at the bottom of the Moss Garden wishing well and Mouth cries, "This one right here. This was my dream, my wish. And it didn't come true. So, I'm taking it back. I'm taking 'em all back."
And we reach one of the roller-coaster slopes of emotion for me in the show. Dean asking Sam what he'd wish for. Still wanting Sam to want "normal." Wanting to hear that Sam would go back to before all this started, back to Stanford, back to a life of a (presumably married) lawyer. Something that to Dean's way of thinking is still pure.
But when he said "What does Sammy wish for?" he was slapped once more with the reality that Sammy--that Sammy--is gone. Too much has happened. There's no going back. There's just this and what happens after this.
The humor slid back into place, though, when they found the coin and Sam teased Dean with a "lift with your legs." *shakes head* Brothers. Sam showed his quick-witted, skillfully honed lying skills with his 44/16 health code inspector speak. Nicely done.
When Dean took the rubbing of the coin, I was reminded of Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark when the creepy Nazi burned only one side of the headpiece from the staff of Ra into his palm, which led to the bad guys digging in the wrong place. I worried that they might be led astray, but that was quickly forgotten.
What with the puking and all. Terry, I know you were grinning, you evil thing. Dean's pathetic, "the wishes turn very bad" had me muttering, an aww, poor guy. Oh! And I almost forgot! We got another instance of Sam running off to take care of a potential threat by himself. 'Course it turned out to be an uber-pale, skinny, adolescent, invisible Peeping Tom... but still!
You'll have to forgive me a fangirl moment. The gut-twist was on full-force with Dean's nightmare. I can't explain it. Dean sleeping with Sam awake and studying or whatever he was doing was just... storyline perfect. It's one of the first times we've seen Sam see Dean's hidden pain. Usually, Sam uses Dean's frequent naps to sneak out, or he's asleep himself.
But this time, while Dean is seeing flashes of blood and pain on the backs of his eyelids, and hearing the echos of terrified screams in his ears, Sam is seeing his brother twitch and wince, hearing his brother whimper and moan.
Sam's bellow of Dean's name had me jerking. And once again, Dean uses the brace of a hit of whiskey to pull him into the now. I had previously wondered about his frequent sleeping this season, but now, thinking of him as a soldier literally returning from Hell, I think not only would he be physically tired, but... the strain of keeping up the show, keeping up the mask, keeping everything so tightly wound would wear him out to the point that he'd risk the nightmares -- hoping the alcohol would lessen their impact -- just to escape for a short time.
Wes wished for the object of his affection to love him more than anything, but in making his wish come true, he erased the person he loved and replaced it with an echo of what he thought he wanted. And a lonely man became even lonelier as a result.
The amorous kiss Hope gave Wes when she was heading off to get her flower samples led to a rather funny brother moment with Dean and Sam's heads tilted close together to fully take in the effect of the kiss. *grin*
Dean going to take care of Todd while Sam took Wes to the wishing well was fitting. Dean and kids. They just work. Except, I suppose, when the kid has super-human strength. Dean's "With great power comes great responsibility" homage to Spiderman was cut short by a dynamic uppercut that sent him head over rear into a pile of garbage. OUCH!
But. Wes saves the day. No matter how much it hurts. No matter that he's crying out all our hidden frustrations with his "why can't we get what we want?" *sigh* Unfortunately, I agree. This isn't one of those times in my life where I can say "if life weren't challenging, it wouldn't be worth it."
There are times when you just want something to work out. Even if you know it's not going to. So, I hear you, Wes. And yet, he did the right thing by pulling the coin from the fountain, stopping Mighty Todd from crushing Dean's windpipe, reviving Sam, and returning Hope to a Wes-free memory.
I think it's pretty safe to assume that regardless of individual thoughts on this episode or that episode, the MotW, the writing, etc., we can all agree that the actors that embody these characters do so in such a way that they often times leave us trembling in amazement.
There are times when I feel like I need to look away in order to take a breath, and yet, I can't peel my eyes from the screen. I might miss a lip tremble, a tightening of a jaw muscle, a rush of emotion to the eyes.
The final scene, I felt, was fantastic. As I said at the beginning of this web of thought, it laid some fantastic groundwork, shedding light on some of Dean's flinches and anger -- like his rage when he found out about Sam using his powers with Ruby. Packing to leave seemed so unlike Dean, even if it was just for show. But if taken in the context of "I remember Hell. I remember terror. I remember things I would rather die 10 times over than to share with you so that I can spare you the same nightmares. And I'm back. And I'm here. And you're slipping away. You're using powers that a demon gave you. And I'm so afraid you're heading there. Where I was. And I don't know what to do about it." Well, then, maybe that rage was justified.
Dean remembers Hell. And he doesn't want to share with Sam -- he wants to keep at least that bit of protection in his power since Sam's stepped outside his wall and is handling things pretty well on his own now. But... I have a feeling that slip of protection isn't going to last long. Either through Sam's tenaciousness, or the angel's influence, or something beyond anyone's control, Dean is going to share what happened. And it's going to break him far beyond nightmares and alcohol.
It's like the gutting end of Children Shouldn't Play with Dead Things. Dean's unexpected, raw honesty left Sam speechless. And who can blame the guy? There's no prelude with Dean. There's no, let's sit down and talk about a few things. It's just a, oh, hey, by the way? You were right. I shouldn't have lied to you. I remember.
I think in a way, we've all been where both boys are now, somehow or another. We've all felt a pain of some sort so keenly that we believe there is no way anyone could possibly understand. Even those closest to us. Especially those. And on some level, we want to hold onto that pain because it's the only thing we can control, and we're afraid that without that, we might feel nothing and that's a scary thought.
And we've all watched a loved one in pain and wanted to be the one to have that magic word, that one solution that solves everything, that fixes them, that takes away their pain. We want them to look at us with relief and gratitude and we want to feel good about what we did.