I am made of fail.
I fully intended to have this completed last night when I returned from book club, but we were discussing “I Was A Really Good Mom Before I Had Kids,” and if there is anything 8 women can discuss for hours upon end, it’s the ups and downs of motherhood.
Upon returning home, I barely made it to bed, let alone to the TV, so I sacrificed my work-out this morning to watch our boys. I think I chose wisely.
Because? This episode was a kick in the ass. Figuratively and literally. *HUGS SHOW*
I loved this episode. I love how it slipped against my life. I love how it shook Dean up and set Sam sideways and gave them back that synchronicity that they needed to see in each other. My hope from last episode—the hope that Sam cared so much for Dean that he was afraid of losing him, not convinced that Dean was worthless in this fight—was renewed.
As the Kinks roll out with A Well-Respected Man we are treated to a snazzy-dressed (we’re talking tie, collar/cuffs, suspenders, the works, baby) Dean steaming his morning cappuccino in his ultra-modern, very stainless steel, direct from the Ethan Allen catalogue apartment. He heads outside to his *gulp* Pruis and turns off rock ‘n roll in favor of *doublegulp* NPR. No offense to you NPR-lovers out there, but… *yawn*
Heading in to the high-rise office of Sandover Iron and Something (didn’t catch it), he does the nod/wink to fellow corporate forward-thinkers, slips into his office where his nameplate says Dean Smith, Director of Sales and Marketing and slips easily into the Jerry MacGuire BSing role of telling people what they want to hear. Eating salad (SALAD?!) at his desk with dead eyes staring at a computer, he continues his day with his boss stepping in to say “Good stuff” and “Big things” (WTF??), then writes down a recipe for weight loss because of his sad, sedentary lifestyle.
If I might slip into the gutter briefly, the man could wear a burlap sack and I think my pulse would quicken. Make no mistake—I love me some holey jeans, a gray T-shirt, flannel, leather, our Dean. But the corporate suit? The suspenders? The styled hair? Dude, I’d take it if those eyes were staring out and those lips were serious and pursed in my direction. He. Was. Yummy.
Okay, so, the only thing I knew about this episode was what we were shown in the previews from last week, and honestly? I was so shaken up by the events of that epi that I didn’t really let the ramifications of what this episode would include sink in. Now I’m watching my hero live the life so many of us have been doomed to—existing on survival mode because what the hell else is there, learning to like coffee because we need the legal hit of a stimulant and sometimes because we need to fit in. Finding the crack of promise in a two-word compliment from the person that holds your financial livelihood in their hands.
God. Just… God.
Quite literally MOMENTS before watching the epi this morning, I had said to my good friend Ash (and yes, I do have a good friend named Ash) that I wasn’t who I was supposed to be. I’m not kidding—you can ask her. We had been talking about being Mothers the night before and I said that I wasn’t the same person now that I was before I had Mo Chuisle and I didn’t know who I was now, but that I wasn’t sure I was who I was supposed to be. I wasn’t meant to simply be her mom. I had a different journey. She was a crucial part of that journey, but she wasn’t the end of it.
Many of the other ladies said that their destiny was to be a Mom. They are satisfied with this point, but some were fearful of what was going to happen when the kids no longer needed them as they do now. I don’t have that fear. I have different fears, like missing the point of it all, or being so concerned with what I’m not to see what I am, but all I could articulate at the time was that I was meant to be something else. Something more.
And then… I watched our boys. Dude, seriously? I felt all weird and shaky. I can’t tell you how much I loved this episode on so many different levels—the metaphor, the lessons, the correlation with real life. I’m gonna try to get that all out in this ramble if you hang with me.
JazzyIrish, who wrote this one? I didn’t pay attention. Again. Although, I did see that Kim Manners was exec producer. *sniff*
Okay, anyway, day ends and Dean Smith gets into the elevator with a nicely-buff looking Sam in a yellow shirt and khaki’s (which, oddly, worked nicely to frame that sweet ass of his). Sam is looking at Dean strangely and eventually is compelled to ask, “Do I know you?” After some uncomfortable shrug-offs, Dean shuts him down with a “Save it for the health club, pal.”
HA! *Gaelic guffaws*
We head to the yellow-shirt cube farm where Sam Wesson is working tech support, headgear framing his ear while he taps the bobble head of a cartoonish vampire and drones, “Did you turn it off then turn it back on?”
First of all? Smith and Wesson? Oh. My. God. *LAUGHING SO HARD* The writers had an awesome time with this episode. I have never wanted so badly to have been in that room while an episode was being born.
Second? I now feel extremely guilty for all the many times I’ve had to call tech support and/or the IT guy to help me fix something that turned out to be so flippin’ simple he must have just wanted to kill me. I learned a lot from him, though. Enough that I can now run my business from my own house. I only have to call Geek Squad like, oh, once a quarter. *ahem*
ANYWAY, Sam has a rapport with Ian, the flannel-shirt-wearing, devil-may-care tech guy who likes to “shop” in the office supply closet. Sam has shared with Ian his dreams about fighting ghosts and vampires, the most recent being that he saved a grim reaper named Tessa. Ian chortles saying “thank God we have Harry Potter to save us from the apocalypse!”
Bored out of his skull, Sam falls asleep at his desk and dreams quick flashes of Season 1 and Season 2. Jerking awake, another day has ended and he heads to the elevator where he’s eventually left alone once more with Dean Smith, who is looking highly uncomfortable under Sam’s scrutiny.
“Can I ask you a question?” leads to “What do you think about ghosts… vampires.” Dean says he’s not given them much thought and Sam confesses that he’s been having these dreams… Dean does a public service and says to Sam, “You overshare.” *smirk*
Sam returns to his “turn it off/turn it on” excitement and Ian says he got an email to report to HR, hoping they “spank him.” Oooookay then. Paul, an older techie who was previously shown to be REALLY into his work, starts to have a massive freak out about losing a days worth of work and when left behind for the day completely loses his shit, heads to the break room, and stuffs his head in a microwave.
I KNOW! I was skeeved out beyond measure. I mean… guuuhhhhhh.
So, next day, Paul’s body is being wheeled out and both Dean and Sam are watching, both obviously feeling something isn’t right about this. They individually figure out that poor Paul was two weeks away from retirement before he zapped himself. Sam brings this up to Ian, who is now wearing the Yellow Shirt and is as focused on work as Dead Paul had been prior to the whole microwave incident. Sam’s all, wtf, dude, and Ian gets a call to go up and see a manager.
Said manager just so happens to be Dean Smith, who simply wants him to fill out a TPS report. Or something. Anyway, Ian flips out, runs out of Dean’s office with Dean hot on his heels, heads to the bathroom to stare at himself in the mirror with complete self-loathing. Cool air, water and soap coming on and Dean’s creeped out. He demands that Ian Look At Him (and that voice, mrroww).
Ian turns, grabs one of the pencils he’d stolen, then jabs it into his jugular. GORE! Just before calling for help, Dean sees the reflection of an old man in the bathroom stall door. As the police are questioning him, Dean sees Sam standing in the crowd of onlookers looking on and something crosses his face.
So, at this point I’m watching going… okay, what’s the deal? Trickster? Demon? Are they under the same ghostly spell and aren’t themselves??
Dean calls Sam to his office (where he’s changing his shirt like a good little corporate executive) and they start in on the whole what’s the deal conversation. Both started 3 weeks ago, both have an “instinct” that something is going on here that’s all ghosty and stuff. Sam reveals that both Paul and Ian were sent a memo to report to HR in room 1444. Dean reveals that HR is on the 7th floor. Duh, duh duhhhhh.
“You want to check this out?”
“You’re right… it’s getting late.”
“Dude, I am dying to check this out right now.”
Dean’s word for the episode was “Right?!” Loved it.
So now I’m thinking, okay, so this is a lesson for Dean, to teach him what he’s meant to do, right? But if that’s right, then why is Sam dreaming? And why have ghosts in what is essentially an AU? *shut up and watch, Gaelic*
Okay, so they head to 1444, hear some hollering inside from another wayward Techie that has been attacked by the ghostie. Sam kicks the locked door open and Dean’s like “Whoa!” They struggle, fight, and Dean grabs a wrench and swings it at the old man ghostie (that reminded me a lot of the doc from Asylum) and the ghost vanishes.
“How did you know how to do that?”
“I have no idea!”
*Gaelic claps ‘cause she is loving them working together*
I mean, was it me, or were you all feeling a distinct Season 1 vibe through most of this epi?
Okay, so back at Dean’s stainless steel pad, they’re regrouping. Sam wants a beer, but Dean’s “on the cleanse” and got rid of the carbs, so he hands Sam a bottle of water. The conversation segues into “we’ve done this before” territory – but not like Shirley McClain before. Sam’s speech in that moment totally hit home for me.
“Don’t like my job, don’t like my clothes, don’t like my own last name (AWWW!)… think we should be doing something else… something in my blood (ha!)… like we’re destined to be doing something else.”
Dean, however, doesn’t believe in destiny he says. He believes in dealing with what is right in front of him.
How incredibly true to form are both those statements? From the beginning, Dean has been black and white, Sam has been gray. Sam has been the visionary, the “what if” guy. Dean didn’t believe it until he could see, smell, touch, taste. I loved that. I love that they were so very THEM in that moment.
“What do we do now?”
“We do what I do best, Sammy (AWWW! He said Sammy! *sniffs*). Research. “
*Gaelic guffaws at the role switch there.*
We even got a Season 1 throwback of “don’t call me Sammy”… although, seriously? I love love love how easily it rolled off of Dean’s tongue. *pauses for a moment to think about Dean’s tongue*
Annnndddd… high-larity ensues when Dean cries Jackpot and says “I just found the best site ever.” OMG… I needed that laugh. I really did. It came from the belly.
So, we get a little Ghostfacers montage with instructions about what to do (figure out what you’re up against) and how to get rid of it (salt, iron, all that). They bring up the Winchesters – which gets a bit fat nothing from the boys as they watch the “instructional video” – and say that no matter what they learned from the “douchenozzles” that they still sucked.
So, Mr. Smith and Mr. Wesson learn that their ghost is none other than PT Sandover, the founder of the company. They realize that he wasn’t afraid of the wrench, but that it was the iron in the wrench. They figure that the ghost appears during times of great economic stress (17 suicides in 1929 – yipe!), and that they have to dig up the remains (which, as the ‘facers point out, is illegal in some states. Make that all states.) They find out the Sandover was cremated—but are told by the ‘facers to NOT PANIC. There is some genetic material (who says milk teeth anymore??) left behind.
So, they arm up with salt and andirons, unsure where to or how to get guns on short notice, and head to the skyscraper to look for ancient DNA. They synchronize their Swatches—er, I mean cell phones—in case they get lost, and head to room 1444 (which, they found out, used to be Sandovers office once upon a time).
Still with me? Good. Okay, so Sam gets caught sneaking around by a well-intentioned security guard and Dean is left to keep looking. Sam and Guard are in the elevator when it starts to wig out and I got EXTREMELY NERVOUS. We’re talking, roll into a ball and chant omgomgomgomgomg nervous. So, while Dean is finding a picture of some bridge that gives him a clue as to where the ancient DNA is, Guard pries the elevator doors open and shimmies out while Sam’s like, uh-uh, no thanks, I’ll wait.
You totally knew what was going to happen, but still, hearing the Guard say something about waiting the rest of his life just before the elevator literally cuts him in half, splattering his blood all over a shocked and shaken Sam while his legs (ACK!) are still kicking in reaction… GORE!!! Sam answers Dean’s “are you okay” page with a trembling “call you back.”
Dean tells him to meet on the 22nd floor while Sam implores him to “take the stairs.” They find PT Sandovers gloves and…. FIGHT! And, dudes, it was awesome. None of the angst or the stomach clenching of this season. Just straight up swinging iron bars and flinging salt and getting tossed and Sam yelling “DEAN!” and figuring it out in the nick of time and burning the gloves and a “that was awesome” and a “right?! Right?!”
*CHEERS!* Loved it loved it loved it.
Later, Dean claims that was the most fun he’s had in his life while he’s getting bandages out for both of them. Sam says that they should just do this – think of all the people they could save. Dean scoffs asking what, are they going to live on stolen credit cards, greasy diner food, bad motels… Sam’s like, those are just details. Dean argues that the details are everything. They can’t fight ghosts without health insurance. *frowns*
Sam tells him that in the ghostie dreams he had, Dean was there. They were friends—more like brothers. He doesn’t think they’re living the right life. Dean’s like, dude, I went to Stanford, father is Bob, mother is Ellen, sister is Jo. *HA!!* Sam’s like, yeah, he moved here because he broke up with his fiancé Madison, but he called her number and all he got was an animal hospital. *DOUBLE HA!* I’m telling you, the writers had a BLAST with this. I certainly did!
Dean’s like, you’re saying my family isn’t real? Sam’s like, I have a feeling in my gut that we’re supposed to be something else. I know you.
And I swear to you, it was like gears literally fell into place for me. I didn’t quite get it until the very end—the whole WHY that I’d been looking for throughout the entire episode. But it was that statement from Sam that made it clear. I’ll get to it in a minute, but I know you all are already there. You were there last night, man.
Dean says that Sam doesn’t know him and tells him to leave. Sam complies. Next day, Sam is back in tech support staring at the phone while it rings and rings and rings and bloodyhellmaketheflippinthingstop rings. Took me back to my Admin Assistant days when I just wanted to beat the phone to death. And then? Sam does. I’m not kidding. Stands up and beats it to death with a crowbar. “I quit.”
*CLAPS AND WHISTLES!!!!*
Dean is in his office typing typing typing. Mr. Boss Man comes in and I narrow my eyes at him. I didn’t trust him completely. I don’t know if it was because in this universe he was The Man, or because he gave off a vibe, but… yeah. He sits down and tells Dean he’s willing to reward him for his hard work with a generous bonus because he “wants to make sure you’re not going anywhere.”
Ah-HA! Demon! Right?! Wrong.
Dean gives notice, thanking Mr. Boss Man for his generosity and says he very recently realized that he has some work he has to do that’s very important. “This is not who I’m supposed to be.”
“Dean, Dean, Dean…” And, our hero is touched by an angel, returning to himself in a rush, horrified by the fact that he’s wearing a tie and STARVING. *laugh*
Turns out Mr. Boss Man is Zachariah, Castiel’s superior. After the unfortunate incident with Uriel, he decided that he needed to pay them a visit. Dean gets flippant and Zach says, “starting with your attitude.” Dean’s all…wth is up with the hallucination or whatever and Zach says “you should see my decoupage.”
“Gross. No thank you.”
Turns out this is a real place, a real haunting, but Zach took the boys and dropped them in there without their memories. Basically for this:
“To prove to you that the path you’re on is in your blood—you’re a hunter. Not because your dad called you, not because God called you back, but because it’s what you are. You love it. You find your way to it in the dark because you’re miserable without it. You will stop it.”
Dean’s listening, his face set, his eyes deep, his lips twitching. At this he bellows with the jaw muscle rippling along his cheek, “Stop what? The apocalypse? Lucifer? Be specific, man!”
“You will do everything you’re destined to do. All of it. I know, I know, you’re not strong enough, you’re scared, you’ve got Daddy issues…”
Dean: “Angel, or not, I will stab you in your face.” ATTA BOY!!!
“You get a chance to change things,” Zach continues. “Save people. It’s not a curse, it’s a gift. So quit whining about it. There are plenty of fates worse than yours.”
The screen goes black with that call to action and Dean lifts his face, his eyes meeting the angels and something shifts there. A light. A purpose.
This was the kick in the ass that he’s needed. I have friends that do that for me – virtually and in “real life.” I have the ones who will pet me and offer me condolences. I have the ones that I can go to for all my justification needs. And I have the ones that will smack me around like Cher and yell, “Snap out of it!”
This was Dean’s smack. This whole illusion was placed put on so that he can see that this wasn’t thrust upon him. This wasn’t his burden to bear. This was him. And not just Dean, but Sam, too. Sam had to be in this AU for two reasons, as I saw it:
One: He is crucial to Dean’s being whole. Without Sam there, there isn’t a reason for Dean to be who he is. He needed that interaction with Sam to come back to himself. He could have done that whole thing on his own—the research, the fight, all of it. But it was the chemistry with Sam that trigger the want to do it in him.
Two: Sam had the memories, the dreams, the gut-instinct of destiny. But it was more than that—he needed to remember that it was about a journey of two. In all of his dreams, Dean was there. They were “like brothers” in those memories. And no amount of power or destiny or what have you erased that. He needed Dean to walk that path with him. He didn’t want to do it alone. And that’s important—it’s vital that they both remember that.
Zach’s vicious shake wasn’t without understanding, though. It wasn’t as if all that Dean was feeling or suffering from/with wasn’t valid and/or justified. His life has been hard. And Daddy issues suck out loud. And yeah, he’s scared and scarred and beaten and tired. But… all that aside? He’s strong enough. He’s good enough. And he can do this. He just had to be reminded. No amount of soft-eyed gazes and cryptic messages from Castiel or pleas to “get angry” from Sam was going to fix this. The only other thing that might have worked would have been John saying, “I need you to do this.”
But even that would have been a cop-out. Because Dean needed to come back to himself because HE deserves it, because he is worthy. Not because Dad asked him to.
Like I said at the beginning, I loved this episode. I love how it slipped against my life. I love how it shook Dean up and set Sam sideways and gave them back that synchronicity that they needed to see in each other. My hope from last episode—the hope that Sam cared so much for Dean that he was afraid of losing him, not convinced that Dean was worthless in this fight—was renewed.
Tune in next week when you’ll hear Gaelic say…