Now that I’ve seen the episode, I am sooo glad I waited until today to watch rather than try to watch it with the parents visiting. If you’re still interested in my rambling, here ‘tis. And this is the same as always: first time viewing, right after watching, so I’m sure that by now those of you who’ve been able to see this multiple times will have picked up on many things I miss.
Season 5 is not for the casual fan. Even MotW episodes are arch-driven. And the idea of inserting someone into this universe without them having experienced the journey up to this point is somewhat ridiculous. While good v evil is an age-old concept, angels v demons midst a humanity mired in the apocalypse is something else all together.
What I do love, though, is that the theme that “family is the most important thing on earth” has been constant—sometimes brilliant and loud, sometimes shadowed and whispering, but always there.
I liked the name of the town in Nebraska: Alliance. What a subtle way to have us gut-check our friends and our enemies.
Skipping over the THEN, because we know where we’ve come from, we see a pretty, dark-haired girl perched in front of a TV watching something with the focus I generally reserve for this show. Something makes her get up and call for ‘Jimmy,’ who she finds after a moment ‘dead’ in a closet with an arrow through his head. It’s quickly revealed that she’s Jimmy’s babysitter and, like any good baby sitter, is being paid to be ‘mean.’ Jimmy’s head wound turns out to be ketchup and he agrees to go to bed if she lets him touch her boobs.
*chortle* Anyone else think Dean would’ve been proud?
Babysitter—Amber—goes back to her show and this was a good bit of bait and switch, here, because it looked as if she was watching Cujo, hears a dog barking outside and goes to check it out. When the parents return home and the TV is snowy, the dad tries to wake Amber and sees that half her face is gone. Gouges through her face and skull reveal a disgusting display of her brain.
The boys show up at the coroner’s office, flashing their FBI Page and Plant badges—and we find out later that Sam is Plant when he introduces himself to Jesse as “Robert”—and ask to check out Amber’s body. All thoughts of Steven King’s stories coming to life via a homicidal hound are dispelled when the coroner reveals that he found a press-on nail embedded in Amber’s temporal lobe. Dean checks her hand and sees that one of her nails is missing.
The coroner assesses that she was hopped up on some sort of hallucinogen (which, I’m sure, he’d confirm???) and that she literally scratched her brains out due to a “phantom itch.” Sam reaches up and scratches his neck while Dean works at his ear. Hee. Cute, that.
They go to the family Amber was babysitting for and while Sam does the Sympathetic Interviewer Who Asks Strange Questions, Dean pokes around and finds Jimmy lurking in the adjacent room. In an attempt to bond, Dean tells a story of Ms. Janson who had two concerns: Dynasty and bedtime.
Hmmm. A true, pre-Mary-death memory? Or a fabrication? Can’t imagine John calling up a sitter after Mary died…
Anyway, Jimmy’s quick-fire, I’m so hiding something answers reveal that as a prank, he’d put itching powder on Amber’s hairbrush. M’kay. Just as they reach the car, Sam gets a call from the coroner. They arrive at the hospital—at least, I think it was the hospital—and find a crispy-critter of a guy who had been the apparent victim of a buzzer-handshake joke. Poor Mr. Stanley (who was 85 if he was a day) was traumatized because he "didn’t think it would work."
“All I did was shake his hand.”
Back at their motel/apartment-looking place, Dean has on goggles and heavy-duty rubber gloves. He glances back at Sam. “You ready?”
“Hit it, Mr. Wizard.”
Dean touches the buzzer to a hunk of raw ham and within seconds, his pig is cooked. As they’re grasping at cursed objects, Dean digs into the cooked meat with his switchblade, noshing on the pork. Hee. And, um, slightly gross. Moving on! They head to a joke shop…type-place and Dean picks up a whoopee cushion, which makes Sam roll his eyes, which makes me grin because it’s good to see them bounce off of each other as two guys with different orbits who grew up together and accepted that each had their quirks, but still reserved the right to give each other shit about it.
In other words… brothers.
They confront the shop owner and think they’re onto something when the owner says that he’s angry that the age of iPods and “kissing Vampires” is edging out his rubber-chicken dynasty. However, when Dean liquefies a rubber chicken with the hand-buzzer and the guy practically wets his pants, Sam says they got the wrong guy, Dean quickly agrees, and they skedaddle out of there.
In our next horrifying MotW-type scene, we get a daddy telling a little girl that he’ll put her tooth under her pillow and while she’s sleeping and when she wakes up, she’ll have a quarter. The little girl cracked me up, though, when she says, “So, while I’m asleep, some freak is going to come into my room and take my tooth? No thanks.” HA! The little girl sneaks into Daddy’s room and puts the tooth under his pillow, and shortly thereafter we see a big guy in a beard, wings, and a pink tutu growling in a been-there-done-that voice that daddy’ll just feel a pinch before he pulls all of his teeth out with a pair of monster-sized pliers.
Next thing we know, Dean is flirting with “Jen” the nurse and then comes back to regroup with his brother where they trade Stories of Weird. Sam reports on the Tooth Faerie victim (who made $80 in quarters for his misery) while Dean tells him about a bunch of kids with stomach ulcers who mixed Pop Rocks and Coke and some guy whose face “froze that way.”
Was anyone else reminded of the John Cusack movie, One Crazy Summer? No? Just me? Okay.
Dean’s massaging his face (hee) and Sam’s busy looking like he might have something to say. “So… if you add all that up… yeah. I got nothin’.”
As they start moving down the hall, Dean says, adorably, “I thought Sea Monkey’s were real.”
Sam jumps into his Mr. Science persona saying that they are, but Dean interrupts, explaining he thought the whole Mr. and Mrs. Sea Monkey thing was real. He was six, but he still believed it. So… they determine that what they’re dealing with is something the makes the lies that kids believe to be true. Something with the power of a god… or a trickster.
Dean: “Yeah, and with the sense of humor of a nine-year-old.”
Sam: “Or… you.”
Back at the motel/apartment, Dean’s still eating the ham. “We don’t have a fridge!” (Still… ewww.) Sam lets his brother’s carnivorous habit slide as he lays down a map showing the circle of chaos with a house in the center. Unfortunately, their motel is also in the center.
Dean sheepishly holds up a hairy palm. Seriously? I almost fell off the couch laughing. Oh, that is so much more like it. Dean looks over at his brother, his mouth tugging up in a self-depreciating grin, his eyes lighting up. So. Damn. Cute.
“I got bored. That nurse was hot.”
“Dude! You can go blind from that, too.”
Personally, I wish they’d picked that…would’ve been interesting to see how they’d handle the rest of the hunt with Dean blind from, uh… pleasure. Anyone for an Alternate Version? But the hairy palm still opened up an opportunity for classic Bitch-faced Sam with Dean’s Big Brother Smirk as a reply.
“Gimme five minutes and we’ll go check out that house.”
“Do not use my razor!”
As they approach the House In The Center Of Chaos, Dean checks to make sure his Bowie is in place (yum) and Sam leans down to pick the lock when suddenly, the door is opened by a very cute kid with eyes like an angel. Seriously, this kid looked like sugar would melt on him.
He was a smart alec, though, when the boys finally talked their way inside. They find out his name is Jesse and that he’s home alone. Sam tries to bond with him, saying he had to fix a lot of meals himself when he was a kid, too. Dean finds a drawing of the tooth faerie and Jesse says his dad told him the tooth faerie was a freak. I could see that tactic—if you were compelled to leave your kid home alone, you wouldn’t want them to allow anyone or anything in the house for any reason.
Money in exchange for teeth is definitely something to keep them away from if their parental units aren’t around to protect them.
Dean says, though, that his dad never told him about the tooth faerie. He told him different stories. He also tells Jesse that the hand buzzer thingy can’t hurt him. That it doesn’t even have batteries. He proves this by touching Sam. ACK! Sam, understandably, is not exactly thrilled by this.
Dean was playing a hunch, though, and it turned out he was right. What mattered what was Jesse believed to be true. Made me think back to Route 666 and Sam’s hunch that the homicidal monster truck wouldn’t follow Dean into the cemetery. Karma, boys.
So, Sam plays his role well and digs into Jesse’s past. Finds out that Jesse was adopted and that his birth records were sealed.
I liked Dean’s confident, “So you unsealed them and…”
They find out that Jesse’s birth mother, Julie, is on the other side of the state and so they head that way. Julie has some fear issues. She has about 27 locks on her door and makes them slide their (fake) badges through the mail slot before opening the door. When Sam leads with the “anything weird during your pregnancy” question, she freaks out and runs away. They give chase, of course, and are halted in surprise when she tosses salt on them, then breathes, “You’re not demons?!”
I don’t know the actress that played Julie (mental note: imbd.com) but she looked really familiar. I almost want to say she was in SPN before as someone/thing else… Her story is a bit unbelievably heartbreaking in the grounding of this universe. She was possessed the entire time she was pregnant and when she gave birth. She remembered the horrible things the demon did to others while inside her. The pain of childbirth was overwhelming and I think that when she said she screamed and it came out as a laugh, I shuddered. That? Is pure evil.
Somehow, though, she managed to swap places with the demon in the course of delivering the baby and she found some salt nearby (which… why a demon chose that particular place to give birth I’m not sure) and inhaled it until the demon was expelled from her body. She wanted to kill the baby, but couldn’t, so she put him up for adoption. There was no father; she’d been a virgin.
Dean tells her that her son is a good kid. I liked that—they didn’t know exactly what they were dealing with, but for Dean? Bottom line was that Jesse was a kid and if he could have kept him that way, he would have.
Knowing they need help, they get a message to Cas (though they don’t tell us how). This is an interesting scene. It’s serious and tense, but there is a moment of humor that I’m not sure is well-placed. Weirdly enough, though… it works. I think it only worked because of who these characters are to each other and what they’ve been through. Not everyone could have pulled off a, “you’ve got to kill this boy,” followed by an elongated fart-noise and a dead-panned, “that wasn’t me.”
Dean’s, “Who put that there?” was suitably uncomfortable. He wanted to laugh, but it was so not the time.
When Sam tries to clarify Cas’ declaration that Jesse is the anti-Christ by saying, “So, Jesse is Satan’s son?” Cas scoffs a bit and says, “Your Bible gets more wrong that it does right.”
Hold up. I take a bit of issue with that line. Not in a self-righteous, you’re stepping on the toes of my belief system way, though it does slide a bit sideways of what I hold to be true. More in a, stay true to yourself, there, Cas, way.
Yes, the Bible was physically written by man. Yes, it is essentially up for interpretation. But it is the word of God. It’s the truth of Cas’ father as best as anyone knows it. And for an angel to separate himself from it like that, to depreciate its importance, didn’t ring very true to me. Especially for one of the only angels who believes that God is not dead and is also looking for Him. Say history has it wrong. Say man has screwed up the interpretation. But don’t say the Bible is wrong.
That’s fanning a flame that doesn’t really need to burn. I can’t even step into the “Cas feels bitter about being alone in the angeldom of this war and is lashing out” mindset. My take? He shouldn’t have said that. Not that way.
His point, though, getting back on track, is that the anti-Christ is “simply” demon spawn (not Satan-spawn) but is extremely powerful. More powerful than the boys have seen before. What he can do—what he is capable of—is not even fully known to the angels. But what Cas does know (and I believe him) is that if Lucifer were to get a hold of Jesse, he would twist that power into a Weapon Of Mass Destruction the likes of which would eliminate the Heavenly Hosts.
Or, as Dean put it, nuke the angels.
Jesse’s powers hide him from angels and demons, though, so he’s been protected until now. With Lucifer up and around, though… it’s only a matter of time.
The boys are reeling a bit from this information. Sam stands up and says, his voice trembling a bit, “We’re the good guys. We don’t just kill children.”
Cas steps forward, getting into his face and replies, “A year ago you would have done whatever it took.”
Dean’s eyes are darting between Cas and Sam, his body tense, and his jaw tight. It’s a position he’s been in before—peacekeeper. He steps forward and rests a hand on Sam’s chest, putting another hand out toward Cas. He has to pick his words carefully so as not to offend or piss off either party. In this moment, holding this role, it doesn’t matter to Dean what he thinks. It never does for the peacekeeper. What matters is that no one does anything rash and that everyone stays in one piece.
So, he says that they’re not going to kill Jesse (to appease Sam) but that they can’t leave him here (to appease Cas).
Cas argues that kidnapping Jesse is not a viable solution—all the things that are happening in the town are happening while the kid is happy… there’s no way to know what might happen if he were angry. You wouldn’t like me when I’m angry…
Sam says that they’ll tell him the truth. “He might make the right choice.”
Cas leans close and which his angel-deep voice and cold eyes says, “You didn’t. And I can’t take that chance.”
Before anyone can reply, Cas is gone. Dean looks down and Sam swears. It had to be pretty damn hard for Dean to sit back and let Sam be the man he’d fought so hard to be in that moment. To not protect his brother from Cas’ righteous anger. Because whether or not Cas was right in what he said, it still sucked that he said it, and it hurt Sam to hear it. He didn’t need to hear it to know it’s true. Dean didn’t need to hear it to know it’s true. But Cas, apparently, needed to say it.
And Dean had no choice but to let him. Otherwise, everything Sam fought for with the “we’re equals” arguments would have been for nothing.
It’s hard being a grown up. Being human. Simply… being.
Back on the other side of Nebraska, Julie is leaving her house (for some reason) and runs into a delivery man (for some reason) who startles her. She apologizes (for some reason) and before she can run back inside behind her 27 locks, the delivery man reveals that he’s possessed by the demon that rode shotgun inside of Julie way back when and it slips into her once more. This is bad on multiple levels, but the worst is that Dean told Julie where her son was.
Cas must have also found out from the boys where Jesse was and arrives in the middle of the night. Now, I found it a teensy bit odd that Jesse’s parents were asleep, but he was up—fully dressed—in the middle of the night getting water from the kitchen. If I got thirsty in the night, I’d head to the bathroom down the hall. Ah, well.
Cas tries to gentle-tone Jesse into submission, apologizing for what he was about to do. As he lifts the knife, however, the boys burst into the room. Dean, looking wide-eyed and scared, asks if a guy in a trench coat was there. Jesse looks down. And we have Action Figure Angel complete with knife.
Dean puts Toy!Cas up on the mantelpiece and he tries to get Jesse to come with them by telling him that he’s a super hero, that Dean and Sam work for a secret gov’t agency who find special kids like him, and that they’re going to take him to a special place in South Dakota where he’ll train to fight evil. Jesse, warming to this idea, says, “Like the X-men?”
Dean pounces on that, saying that the guy they’re taking him to is in a wheelchair. HEE! Okay, you have to admit. That was super-cute.
This whole time, Sam’s in the background, out of focus, watching, not speaking. It’s not the truth he’d wanted to tell Jesse, but it could also keep Jesse alive, so he is keeping his mouth shut. However, Demon!Julie shows up and changes the playing field. She slams both brothers against the wall, hard, telling Sam to stay quiet. She can’t hurt him. Orders. Hurting Dean, however, is encouraged.
And with that, she proceeds to slam Dean from one wall to the other rather viciously. If he’d been able to utter a sound, it would have been a whimper. The demon gets all buddy-buddy with Jesse, saying that everyone has lied to him, his parents aren’t really his parents, they don’t love him—because they lied to him. There’s a theme to her argument that the world has lied to him but she’s telling him the truth.
Dean tries to break in, but Demon!Julie tightens her fist and you hear cracking and Dean groans in pain. Jesse’s fists tighten and the demon feeds into his obvious anger. Jesse makes the house tremble, the fire in the fireplace spike high and hot, the walls crack. Sam tries to break in and says he will tell him the truth and the demon twists him, but Jesse makes her stop. She is forced to release Sam, but Dean stays pinned, twisted, against the wall.
Sam starts from the beginning. “I’m Sam Winchester and that’s my brother, Dean.” He tells Jesse that the woman in front of him is, in fact, his mother, but the thing he’s talking to is a demon. Jesse’s large, angelic eyes widen as he listens. Demon!Julie starts to break in, but Jesse tells her to sit down and shut up (NICE!) and she does. She has to.
Sam tells Jesse about the war between the angels and the demons, the role he can/might play… he lays it all on the line. Spares no details. He says that Jesse is half demon, but he’s also half human and that he has choices. That if he makes the wrong one, it will haunt him for the rest of his life.
I wanted to put my arm around Sam in this moment. Not hug him or shelter him. Not protect him or hide him away. But offer him a slice of comfort that yeah, it’s hard as hell, and yeah, it’s not going away, but we see you making up for it, we see you fighting the good fight, we see you atoning. And it’s working, man. It is.
Sam tells Jesse that he, “has to believe that someone will make the right choice—even if I couldn’t.”
I liked that Dean heard this, too. Not because I didn’t think he already knew, but because it’s good for him to hear Sam’s pain, to be reminded that this haunts his brother. Just as I think Sam needs to be reminded that Hell haunts Dean. I just think it makes for good character development.
Jesse looks at Demon!Julie and orders, “get out of her,” and the demon exits, spiraling up through the chimney in a column of black smoke. Dean falls to the floor, released from the demons hold, panting, “how’d you do that?”
Jesse’s like, “I just did.”
Dean, gasps, “Kid, you’re awesome,” before his face collapses into a grimace once more. Recovering, he crosses to the mantle and picks up Toy!Cas saying, “Truth is, he’s kind of a buddy of mine. Think you could turn him back?”
Jesse’s all, “He tried to kill me.”
Wisely, Dean lets it go for now. They brothers talk to Jesse, saying that the demons know where he is, that he can’t stay. Jesse wants to take his parents, which, Sam says, he can do and they’ll back his play, but that it’s going to be dangerous for them, too. That John took them everywhere he went and now… well, we know what happened to him.
After thinking for a bit, Jesse says he wants to go say good bye to his parents. He goes into their room, looks at them (and I was waiting for something awful to be there—them dead, or demonic, or something, but they were just sleeping parents who would wake in the morning to a note and no son…), then goes to his room and looks around.
The boys realize he’s been gone for too long and go after him, finding his room empty. Cas suddenly appears behind them and says that Jesse returned everyone (who was still alive) back to normal, then left. They don’t know where he is, and there’s no real way to find him if he doesn’t want to be found. So, we have a nicely set-up plot device. A possible ally if Jesse remains true to his human side, or a potentially terrifying foe if he gives in to his demon side.
I like it. It has potential.
In the car on the road to nowhere, the brothers discuss how they’ve essentially ruined Jesse’s life by telling him the truth. Sam nods sadly as Dean continues to talk softly, light from the road bouncing up in his eyes, the darkness of the car wrapping around them like a friend.
“I’m starting to get why parents lie to their kids […] if it helps them feel safe, I totally support it […] the more I think about it, the more I wish Dad had lied to us…”
Sam agrees and we fade to black.
Dean has talked about keeping Sam innocent. He’s talked about Dad doing the best he could. He’s talked about living the truth and staying safe as opposed to being protected from it and ending up dead (like Adam). It’s such an interesting journey to watch him travel as he slowly comes to grip with himself through the choices his father made and the methods he’s using to cope.
Makes me wonder what this all might be leading him—them—to, this realization. If it will be something they’ll draw from in the fight, or if it will serve them after the fight. When they’re tasked with the hardest battle of all: living their lives.
I’m glad we have a week off (I know, blasphemy!) because it gives us a chance to take a breath before the next round. I heard that episode 5.10 will be the last of this year, before the Holiday Hiatus. So, we’ll have four weeks of Winchester between the 29th right up to the US Thanksgiving. Nice. I’m ready.
How about you?
Thanks for reading—and for understanding about the lateness of this one. Have a great week!