After the rush of last week, I will admit. I wasn’t really expecting much by the way of Big Important Reveals or Angst That Will Be The Death Of Me in this episode. I expected this episode to be more of a MotW than anything else—with some brothers-back-together moments that would have me rolling into my pillow with the greatness of it all. And I was right. Which is nice once in awhile.
And to be perfectly honest, as much as I’m loving this Heaven v Hell storyline, 22 purely apocalyptic episodes might wear us all down to quivering piles of goo. Well, at least me.
About 30 some-odd years ago, a forest was destroyed somewhere in Eastern Europe. While that is a tragedy in a global sense, it’s particularly supernaturally sucky because it kicked the pagan god, Leshii, to the curb and sent him/her/it searching for a way to feast. Apparently this god has to be adored. Idolized. And then it noshes on its fans. If that’s not meant to be a lesson in priorities, I don’t know what is. Leshii snacked its way through Europe and then to the states until it found Canton.
I didn’t catch it—Canton where? There’s a Canton, MO, is that where they were?
Anyway, Canton Wax Museum. Let me just say that I find wax museums to be full-on creepy. I’ve only been in one—a Ripley’s Believe It Or Not somewhere in the Ozarks. I couldn’t get out fast enough. *quibs*
So, Leshii touches objects and becomes the spirit/idol that the object once belonged to. Which Dean was clever enough to figure out, so go him. I’m probably missing some, but the sad, strange little man who owned/ran the Wax Museum said that they were unlike any other Wax Museum because they had actual artifacts: James Dean’s keychain, Lincoln’s hat, Gandhi’s bifocals, FDR’s iron lung, Fonze’s leather jacket…
I think I fell a little in love with Sam’s reaction of, “That’s really cool…ish,” when he heard this inventory.
Leshii apparently becomes the idols long enough to kill the idolizers (is that even a word?) and then feasts. Because Mr. Sad, Strange Little Wax Museum Man was looking to grab onto the Gen Yers, there was a whole crop of possible idols—including Paris Hilton. Once the apocalypse was triggered, Leshii threw caution to the wind and started feasting.
Then it met its end via the Winchesters. Unfortunately they didn’t kill it before it was able to wax philosophical as pagan gods seem want to do about how we humans are so weakened, cheapened, or polarized by our advancements in technology. Where we once had old-tyme religion we now have USWeekly. We’ve apparently traded our heroes for ghosts.
The baddie in “Long Distance Caller” had a similar message to share. Somehow it meant more to me coming from him than from Paris’ nasally voice. She wasn’t bad. I’m not saying that. In fact, if she wasn’t Paris Hilton, I probably wouldn’t have given her a second thought. But I thought it could have been any idol and have them still try to shame humanity with the same message. I kinda thought having her in the episode was a bit too gimmicky. And, I’m sorry, but I HATE her voice. Nails. On. Chalkboard.
I do have good things to say about those scenes. I just think that it was an idea for ratings that fell a little flat in my book. Supernatural is a cult show. It has rabid and solid fans. Those who would be drawn in by now or would fall off after all this time would do so with or without Paris Hilton in the 5th episode of the 5th season.
However, her presence did allow for a tongue-in-cheek “House of Wax” crack by Dean that earned a double-take with an adorable question-mark expression from Sam. Kudos to you, guys.
Gore was back in style a bit with the deaths. For me, nothing is going to top the man falling on the saw blade in “The Kids Are Alright,” but Cal’s face-mesh with the Porsche’s windshield was pretty nasty. As a side note? Fake Little Bastard or not, that Porsche Spider is one sweet sports car. I felt myself sigh a little when we first saw it. I have a weakness for Porsches. 911’s particularly.
Oh, and speaking of gorgeous cars, when we first see our boys riding in the Impala, that rumble was toe-curling. Seriously. And then when we catch a glimpse of her taillights, I love the way she floats across the road. Big ol’ Chevy boat. When there is no more show (because it will happen one day), I’m going to miss the hell out of that car.
I missed how Dean caught wind of this hunt—maybe just the news?—but while Sam is still in “let’s get the Colt” mode, Dean wants a “real case” and a fresh start. For both of them. And per Kripke formula, it was the right time for a MotW episode. I can’t really tell by those (freaking awesome) previews we were given, but if I had to guess, I’d say we’ll have at least two more “real cases” before we get an apocalyptic one. I think they’re going to have fun with this season even as they rip our hearts out piece by bloody piece.
They investigate the Death By Porsche case as FBI agents Bonham and Copeland. After Dean’s toss-off alias as Bill Buckner in episode 3, I started wondering why certain names were chosen. John Bonham was, of course, Led Zeppelin’s original drummer until he died in 1980. At the age of 32. Dean’s coming up on 31. Hmmm. But Copeland? I’m not sure. Unless Dean was going with drummer themes and we’re talking Stewart Copeland, drummer for The Police. Which, heh. Funny. But… well, there’s a lot of Copelands.
I know. I’m over-thinking it. I’ll shut up now.
The local sheriff thinks that the friend did it, but his guestimations go over like a lead balloon with the guys. The go check out the car—in fact, Dean is practically weak in the knees at the idea—and while Sam holds his “huh?” face, Dean expounds on the kills the cursed car has been a part of. To prove that it’s really James Dean’s Little Bastard, he has to get the engine number. Under the car. Which I thought was strange because Porsche engines are in the back and I’ve seen the engine numbers right up on top. But then we wouldn’t have gotten Super Tense Dean, which I have to admit is pretty cute.
Making Sam’s day (sarcasm), Dean has him research the car’s owners back to 1955 while he goes to a bar—er, correction. A restaurant. With a bar in it. Sam is not exactly happy about this, but sucks it up and continues to play along. It’s a fresh start after all.
Sometime later, we have Mr. Hill. Who is, we later learn, a Civil War buff. And is killed by an uber-creepy Evil Abe. Abe chokes Mr. Hill and then… well, it’ looks like he pops the guy’s head off, but we find out that he was killed by a gunshot to the head… but there’s no gun, no powder, and no bullet. Mm’kay.
The Sheriff thinks they have some professional killer (ala Michael Clayton) on the loose and says the only witness isn’t making sense—in English or Spanish. Luckily, Sam remembers his Freshman Spanish lessons and is able to get a description from poor, traumatized Consuela. Mr. Hill was killed by President Lincoln.
Turns out Dean got a laptop while he was on his own. They boys have dueling laptops set up like they’re playing electronic Battleship, Sam looking into Honestly Evil Abe and Dean reviewing the footage of Death By Porsche. He sees a brief image of James Dean (well, his Rebel Without A Cause red jacket, anyway). Sam says that there’s apparently a lot of lore on famous ghosts…more than the non-famous ones. Why that was funny, I’m not sure, but I giggled.
After Dean has thrown in the research towel in exchange for a beer, Sam finds the Canton Wax Museum. Off they go. They find out the uniqueness that is this particular museum and determine that it’s a simple matter of salting and burning some personal effects—after Dean comments how Gandhi may have been a great man, for a Smurf.
Dean is on the phone with Bobby—and even before he says who he’s talking to, you know it’s Bobby by the ease in his voice—and Sam is prepping the trunk with the salt rounds. Sam walks in just in time to hear Dean say, “…maybe the apocalypse has them all hot and bothered…we all know whose fault that is… sorry, but it’s true.”
Sam closes the door loudly to call out his presence to his brother and Dean gets off the phone. Sam’s face is a big OUCH, but I kinda took it a different way. I didn’t really take it like Dean was all, “yeah, my loser brother started the end of the world… oh, well, what can you do?” He’s said before, repeatedly, that the state of things is their mess. He’s taken on the mantle of responsibility to fix it. And when has Dean been high-and-mighty (except to demons and, now, angels)? He’s never once thought he was better than anyone—up to and including his brother.
I think Sam’s guilty conscious turned that statement into a, “dude, harsh,” but I think Dean was saying it was the fault of the Winchester brothers. “We did this. We started this. We gotta make it right.”
However, that said, I think he was still looking for something from Sam—a sort of “prove yourself to me, brother” something. I think when you’re raw, you lose a filter, and when you’re wounded, you lose an interpreter. Dean spoke without thinking and Sam heard what he’d been expecting to hear and neither of them were on the mark.
They head back to the museum and Dean totally disarms me when he puts on Honestly Evil Abe’s hat. Tell me he didn’t look ten years younger. That coupled with his, “Fourscore and seven years ago, I had a funny hat…” made me think I was seeing Alec … maybe S1 Dean. Not our post-Hell, downtrodden, fight-to-the-death hero. It was cute. Refreshing. And short-lived.
Dean goes out to… get something (I missed why he left Sam) and Sam TOTALLY creeps me out by staring down the wax Lincoln. Seriously, that was mean, Show! I was waiting for Lincoln to blink or smile or turn his head or grab Sam. I was so freaking tense with what wasn’t happening in those ten seconds that when the damn doors slammed shut I yelped.
I love it when they bellow each other’s names in that deep-voiced, panicked, where-the-hell-are-you, don’t-you-hurt-my-brother tone. I know I’ve said it before. But it bears repeating.
So, as it turns out, our Sammy is a “super-fan” of Gandhi. Raise your hands if you’re surprised. That’s what I thought. Of course he’d love someone who would sacrifice so much of himself for the good of so many. Though twisted and gone about in a self-detrimental way, was what Sam did when he took out those demons and killed Lilith all that different? It took a lot for Sam to embrace the violence of hunting. It basically took the death of his family. Fruitarian-ness aside, it totally fit for me. And… made me giggle.
Squirrely or not, Gandhi was squeezing the bejeezus out of Sam by the time Dean torched his bifocals and he poofed. End of story. Right?
Sam still has a hinky vibe, but in a quick-turn of events, Dean is all, job’s done. Cut, print, check the gate. And then we have the standoff I’d been waiting for. Things were said in this tense little conversation that very much needed to be said. And I love to watch how guys interact. For example, if the earlier scene with Dean on the phone had been between two sisters (and I say this from experience) and the elder sister had said something potentially caustic that was overheard and interpreted by the younger sister, there would have been no calm “are we going to pretend I didn’t hear that?”
There would have been tears, yelling, accusations, finger pointing, and at least one slammed door. Sisters might not have even gotten to this next conversation. But guys are different. Their emotions are tempered by logic and/or machismo. They either don’t know how or don’t want to get all worked up. Women/sisters are all about getting worked up. It’s just such an interesting dynamic.
Bottom line, Dean is pulling out that “I’m the oldest, so I’m always right” card. I’ve played that one. A lot. The “listen, you screwed up, so until I know you’re not going to do it again, I’m going to keep a close eye on you.” It’s almost a parental position. A disapproving parent. And it’s instinctive. And it’s unavoidable. And it’s totally unfair.
And Sam had to call him on it. Had to—because Dean wouldn’t have been able to see what he was doing otherwise. Sam’s, “You’ll never punish me as much as I’m punishing myself, but it has to be a two-way street,” was wonderfully put. It was the set before he lobbed the ball over the net and let if fall neatly in Dean’s court by saying, “We weren’t that way before. Before didn’t work. How do you think we got here?... You’re going to have to let me grow up.”
Yep—and guh, how hard is that to realize, to accept, and to allow?? I had a hard time with my own sibs. And I’m going to have a harder time with my Mo Chuisle. It’s this weird line of trust. It’s not that you don’t trust them, it’s just that you don’t trust them. It doesn’t make any sense. You don’t want them hurt, you don’t know if they know how to not get hurt, so you want to be there for everything. You want to watch over everything. You want to check them, make sure they’re holding your hand, make sure you’re there.
Dean’s, “As long as I’m around, nothing bad’s going to happen to you,” promise died a bloody death and yet he still believes it. He doesn’t have another promise to replace it with and until he does, he pulls on the “I’m in charge” attitude and until this moment, Sam’s allowed that to happen—choosing to sneak around behind his brother’s back over manning-up and confronting his brother. Showing him that he’s grown-up enough to cross the street on his own. Showing him that he can be trusted.
So, Sam grew up enough to stand up for himself, and Dean matured enough to accept it. Major, major character development here. Wonderfully delivered. And that alone, without the whole Sam is Lucifer’s vessel conundrum would have been enough of a story for Sam’s character for me. Seeing him become a man and step up into his role as Dean’s partner. Seeing him work to protect his brother as his brother has always protected him. It would have been a great ride in and of itself.
Anyway, back in Canton, it turns out Sam’s hinky vibe was dead-on. Parents, lock up your pubescent boys and impressionable girls. Paris Hilton is on the loose. After a quick aside—“Either Paris Hilton is a homicidal maniac, or we missed something”—the boys go into research mode, figure out Leshii, discover that they have to chop of its head with an iron axe, head back to the museum (where I loved that Sam got Dean’s attention with a whistle… I don’t know why, but it was… fun), find the girl Paris kidnapped, and proceed to get pummeled by the diva.
They awake tied—STANDING UP—to trees. Okay, now, really. Standing up? They were unconscious… standing up?? Was this part of the pagan god power? If she/it had power to keep them standing—like the power that demons have pinning them to the wall—why did she/it bother tying them? Am I being too picky? You can tell me. I just… couldn’t they have been slumped against the tree and have her use her knife to make them struggle, one-by-one, to their feet once they woke up?
Sorry. Moving on. We have the standard Dean Insult Tactic followed by the Bad Guy Plea For Understanding, and then Paris gets face-to-face with Dean. She’s either wearing wicked-high heels, or the girl is tall. Dean’s pretty cocky about how he’s not a Paris Hilton bff—insert HOW crack and Sam double-take—and then Paris/Leshii reveals that she knows who Dean’s hero is—Big Daddy Winchester.
Well, duh. Dean would never have picked a historical figure. A rock star, perhaps. But never someone he’d only read about in books or seen on TV. Dean’s hero would have had to be real and tangible. Someone he’d witnessed firsthand in action. Someone who had shaped him. Made him understand the kind of man he wanted to be—either by what they'd done right, or what they'd done wrong. We’d always known it was his dad. But the idea of this god wearing John’s face was apparently enough to galvanize Dean into action because he got free of his ropes just in time and it’s ON!
‘Course… Paris isn’t Paris… she’s a pagan god… and she’s kicking Dean’s ass. Sam’s doing that watching-at-home-on-TV-pseudo-fight-bob-a
Panting, Sam looks at his brother and we see the first real grin on his face since… uh… wait, lemme think… anyway, still on the ground, looking like hammered meat, Dean points at his brother with a, “Not a word.”
Sam can’t resist, though. Who could?? “Dude, you just got wailed on by Paris Hilton.”
Dean can’t argue and kinda falls back limp.
So, in traditional SPN-fashion, we have the wrap-up speech by the Impala that sets the tone for the next part of the journey. But before I get to that, I have to say this.
Good GOD, Dean looked amazing in this scene. First? The leather jacket was back. His hair is a bit longer this season—a lot like in Season 1. And the way he wears that collar, the way the leather blended with his coloring, the way his face reflected each thought, emotion, word that he spoke to his brother… that chin down, glance up through the lashes look. *Gaelic sigh happily* For all of this character’s flaws, for all of his shortcomings, for all of his mistakes, for all of his failed attempts, he is one of the best damaged heroes I’ve ever seen on TV or otherwise and I think I fell a bit harder in this last scene.
Oh, and Sam looked good, too.
Anyway… this moment is another necessary one. And it’s another one I’ve been waiting for. And cherished for more than the pretty. Also? Call me crazy, but I swear the guitar background music was ala Lethal Weapon. Tara? Back me up here.
Telling Sam that he’d been thinking about what he said earlier, Dean allows honesty to expose his heart for a moment, relinquishing the tight control he’d had since the start of this season. He says he’s, “not completely innocent” either. He did break the first seal. Sam’s quick to defend him—saying he didn’t know. But Dean fires back with a, “neither did you. Not saying that demon blood was the best way to go, but you did kill Lilith.” Sam points out that doing so started the apocalypse. To which Dean replies, “which neither of us saw coming. I mean, who woulda thought killing Lilith would have been a bad thing?”
Dean says, “My point is, I was so worried about watching your every move that I didn’t see what it was actually doing to you. So, for that, I’m sorry.”
Since this season has started, they’ve apologized to each other more than in the past four years. It’s awesome.
And in another turn of events, Sam’s next words channel his brother’s fervent declaration from Season 4—as well as Dean’s plea at the beginning of the episode to just have a fresh start and a “real hunt” – that the apocalypse will still be there when they get back.
“The way I see it, we got one shot at surviving this. Maybe I am on deck for Lucifer, maybe the same for you and Michael. Maybe there’s no changing that…but we can stop wringing our hands over it and grab what’s in front of us, kick its ass and go down fighting.”
“I think the world’s gonna end bloody…but I’m going down fighting.”
“You and me. We're all that's left. So, if we're gonna see this through, we're gonna do it together.”
“Company, always on the run. Our destiny… it’s the rising sun. I was born, a shotgun in my hands. Behind the gun, I’ll make my final stand…”
Okay, so that last was from Bad Company, but I thought it was kinda fitting. I know. I'm a dork.
But the bottom line is, they know this about themselves. Like I said last week—it’s about family. And it will always be about family—about brothers. Not as older and younger. Not as protector and protected. But as equals. It’s a rare sibling relationship that can achieve that kind of understanding.
They keep getting off this track—whether they’ve been thrown, pushed, pulled, coerced, seduced—but they come back. They come back to each other each time and now this is it. They have to make this one count. There may not be any more chances. They have to take all they’ve learned in the last twenty-six(ish) years and wrap it up in a big ol’ball of furious will and angst and throw it at every bad guy they cross. They aren’t coming back as an older and younger brother. Dean is no longer in charge—he’s not Sam’s guardian, his protector. They are, in the truest sense of the word, partners.
And Dean proves it by handing his brother the keys. “You wanna drive? I could use a nap.”
So, with Stevie Wonder’s Superstitious playing in the background, the Winchesters pull away, ready to kick ass and take names. ETA: thatgirlsix posted a note that it's not Stevie's Superstitious... it's Beck, Bogert & Appice's Superstition. My bad.
And then we get… Soon? I don’t know if I like soon. What does SOON mean? Soon like next Thursday? Or like “short hiatus” soon? Plus, what a tangled up mass of previews… I have no idea what to expect. Ain’t it great??
Before I go, I wanted to say really quickly that I appreciate each one of you who reads this ramble and especially those of you who take time to reply. RoweenaC and Arafel979, I’m sorry I never got back to you after the last review. I’ll reply to everyone this go-round.
Also, the next couple of weeks are going to be… somewhat challenging. Assuming that “Soon” didn’t indicate an impending hiatus and the shows are continuing through October, next Thursday, the parental units will be here, and those of you who know me or have read these for long enough know that to view unmolested and be allowed to write up a ramble may be a bit of a challenge. The following Thursday, the 22nd, my Mo Chuisle will coming home from the hospital after getting her tonsils removed on the 21st. Never having had a three-year-old recovering from surgery, I have no idea what to expect from that night.
I’ll still post reviews, but it might not be until a day or two after the fact. But if you enjoy reading these, and you can hang in there with me, I’ll be back to my full rambling speed by the first week of November. Thanks in advance for understanding.
And if anyone finds out a schedule that says our boys won’t be back next week, would you let me know?