Okay, so I finally got to watch it!! Seriously? Have never had to jump through so many small firey hoops between weather and downloads and soundcards in computers. I think I was cursed, but the wait was SO WORTH it.
This episode really made me think. It was such a climb through their characters... I found myself really relating to both brothers in different ways -- and usually I'm so on Dean's side I can barely see Sam. But this time, the reversal of roles that had been playing out throughout the season caught up to me and I could really feel for Sam almost as much as Dean.
There were some really clever lines in this, too -- and some places that I commented out loud to my,,, well, computer this time. Usually it's the TV. The idea of spirits reaching out to loved ones through technology isn't new to me -- Michael Keaton was in a totally spooky movie called "White Noise" that did something similar.
But thing about SPN is that they NEVER pull up on emotion. Ben from the beginning...I didn't know or care who Linda was or had been to him, but the way he shook when trying to get her to stop calling had me feeling for him immediately. When he threw the phone across the room, I immediately said "It's gonna start ringing..." And when he pulled out the gun... *sad*
Dean's snarky "pack your panties" and "we were talking about our feelings and our favorite boy bands" was very in character, yet also very telling. I do this thing sometimes--when the attention gets turned on to me (good or bad) for too long, I change the topic in an almost awkward break. Or I get sarcastic. I've seen others do the same -- the character of Dean is no exception. So when, in coversation (damn writer's strike and us not being able to SEE these) they reveal that they'd been on his hunt and had exhausted every avenue they could think of for the moment, his sarcasm was totally dead on as was his need to simply do something else.
Something -- if just for a moment -- not about him. I suspect Bobby knew this, too, which was why he called Dean about the hunt in the first place.
But fate, it seems, loves to be cruel to the Winchesters. Before I go on, though, I loved the tense word exchange about secrets. We all know that Sam is hiding much more from Dean than Ruby's reveal of the Big Bad wanting Sammy dead. And now we know that Dean knows it. Yet... he doesn't press. I mean, he has no time left, and he doesn't press. I don't know if I want to be frustrated with him or admire him. His edict to "watch out for Sammy" doesn't seem to flow into "dig into his life and find out everything he knows" -- guess he took Sam's "You're my brother, and I'd die for you, but there are some things I need to keep to myself" to heart.
I have to say I liked Stewey Miers. The whole porno exchange with Dean... "platinum membership to busty Asian beauties" -- classic!! Then Dean getting all "bad cop" on him with the triumphant grin when it worked... hee. I love Dean's character. LOVE.
Sam in a rental car. Not something you see every day. And actually, very refreshing! I like it when they explain things. What can I say? I adore details.
Loved the fact that Dean just so happened to be talking about the old lady having phone sex with her husband who died in Korea mentioning "necrophelia" just as the cute girl crossed his path. HA!
And then the moment. When Dean said the word "Dad" I think my heart skittered a bit. How is it possible to shove I miss you how dare you die on me what am I going to do without you I need you I'm scared did I do the right thing who is going to protect Sam why did you leave me into one, three-letter word?
Dean and Sam's conversation about the voice being Dad's... Sam's careful, hesitant willingness to accept the reality, Dean's desperate hope that it could be Dad... My mind started to whirl a bit. Sam has been on the Hunt To Save Dean since the day he learned of his brother's deal. He's been searching through everything he can think of. Books, web sites, people... he's hit walls and been hopeless and been scared and felt guilty and felt angry...
At the beginning of that search, Dean was simply trying to wrap his mind around the fact that he'd made a sacrifice --willingly, but still, immense-- and he. was. going. to. die. So while Sam was searching, he was "living" and then accepting and then panicking, and only in the most recent months has he jumped on the Save Dean bandwagon.
Dean's broken "why not us" when he commented that ghosts were calling loved ones in this town. I'm telling you... you could just listen to his voice and choke up, but coupled with the eyes -- the way his skin tightens around the edges and the pain just kinda slices through that green... It's actually hard to believe that he's acting.
Their exchanges were very sibling-true. "Hello? That's all you got?" And then Dean walks out. I would need some space, too. I would be finding it hard to breathe around the one person I gave my life to save. Days before I was destined to die.
Okay, the "we're walking" and the "quotey fingers" comments were a nice slice of brevity in this whole edge-of-angst-without-going-over episode (to this point). I didn't really buy the Thomas Edison Red Herring, mostly because it was too simple. But I liked that Dean found that out when Sam's Stanford education resulted in bupkis. I liked that Dean was digging in and doing the job. That he was good at what he did.
Watching Dean sit up while Sam slept (did you notice that he always sleeps with one arm out of the covers?), staring at the phone, waiting, all I could think was "what is going through your mind right now"... the thoughts, the fear, the what if, the if onlys... And then when Dad did get on the phone, my radar pinged hard. His whole "you're my son and I love you...can't see you go to Hell"... I was suspicious then. Just like Dean in Devil's Trap. "He wouldn't have been proud, he'd have chewed me a new one." Or in IMTOD "This really you talking?"
Lanie did a good job freaking me out with her conversation with her mom -- and I got to thinking about the communication style of the spirits. I spend hours a day... HOURS a day in front of the computer with IM, email, and phone my only connection to the outside world. If a spirit wanted to contact me (assuming for a moment, spirits are real *ahem*)... I'd be easy pickins.
The conversation in the motel room the next morning sucked some of the wind out of me. The role reversal was so plain there -- and yet, neither of them seemed to realize it! In Salvation Sam railed against Dean for having "blind faith" in John. And in HOTH, Sam had "blind faith" in God. In Hunted, Dean asked Sam to "just please give him time to think" before he did anything rash. And in this, Sam asked Dean to "please don't go anywhere" until they figured it out.
Sam skepticism rang true to me. It wasn't that he didn't believe Dean, it was that he'd tried so many things to get to where Dean is now, and Dean's hope and excitement was breaking his heart. Dean's desire to believe that their Dad was coming through for him -- just this one last time, Dad was going to step in and make it all better -- broke my heart.
I think Dean knew in that room that Sam had a point, that Sam could be right, but he didn't want to believe. He pushed Sam away with "still butting heads with the man" arguement because, dammit, he was at the end of his rope and he had NOTHING left. The fear just jumped through the screen at me. So I'm dramatic. So what.
Okay, the toy phone ringing? Creepy. My daughter has a baby that giggles and says "mama" and freaks the shit out of me. I dropped her off at daycare once and forgot to turn off the damned doll, walked back inside the house to hear "mama" and literally about came unglued. I turned it off and hid it under the couch cushions. Just to be safe.
Gah -- this is getting so long and I haven't even gotten to my favorite part yet. Sam coming out of nowhere to save the boy... meh. How the hell did he know where he was? I mean, yeah that he saved the kid, but... meh. Too easy. Also? How did "come to me" totally tell Sam that it wasn't a ghost... I think I missed something there... unless it was one of those "he found it through research and we are just supposed to accept that" moments.
I like how the edited the two searches and fights -- felt like the boys were together, even though they weren't sharing screen time. I didn't know what the MoTW was or anything, but when Dean agreed with Sam's explanation of the crotoca (or whatever) so quickly, I was like... huh? No way. Looking back, the Baddie (that's easier) sure picked up on Dean's sense of humor with the "is that a sandwhich?" BWAH!
Oh, total aside, Dean's VM saying "this is Herman Munster"... *LAUGH* Left field.
Okay, poor Sammy having to get tied to a chair. Again. And forced to watch an innocent be killed. Again. He needs to find a way to stop that from happening to him. Seriously. And the Baddie was NASTY with the whole teeth and the jaws ala Blade II and the sucking the soul. Blech!
The Baddie's whole rant about how we're all so connected yet never more alone kinda struck a weird cord in me. First I thought of Tolkien and his dictum that industry would be the ruin of the world, but the I thought of what I'd mentioned above. About how the majority of my friends I communicate with through email and IM. And I feel like I talk to people all day, but in reality, I'm alone. All day long. I could choke to death on my lunch and no one would know until someone didn't pick up the baby at the end of the day. It was kinda... well, scary.
The one thing that just broke my heart that wasn't bro-related was the man hearing a call from his dead 9-year-old girl. Prior to becoming a mom, it was always sad when you saw stories of children dying, but now... man, I don't know how one could come back from that. And to HEAR your baby on the phone telling you the man who killed her was in the house. Lump. In. Throat.
I know that there was no logical resolution for that -- it was a tool the Baddie was using to incite a possible tragedy -- but that one just really got to me. More than the dead mom or the high school sweetheart.
That fight between Dean and the dad was brutal. I mean, brutal -- and we can totally see why. Both were fighting something they believed to be true evil. Both were determined to win. Dean's poor, beaten face -- beaten physically and emotionally -- when he confessed that he didn't know why he was there... *sob* You just watched comprehension in all of it's vicious cruelty dawn in his eyes and you could see him wanting to just scream and kick and hit and... resist.
I liked (sicko that I am) seeing their faces showing the signs of their beatings. And then comes my favorite moment. Sitting on the end of the beds. Dean in profile so that you could see both his bruises and his lashes (guh, those damn lashes will be the death of me). Dean's version of an apology "I gave you a helluva time on this one," Sam's version of an apology "I'm sorry it wasn't Dad."
When Dean said he was really scared, and glanced at his brother with reddening eyes, and you saw the answering tears of fear in Sam's eyes when he said "I know..." I wanted to hold that moment still for just a few seconds more. Dean's realization that no one was going to get him out of the deal but him... that tickled the back of my head a bit. Because getting out meant Sam died, right, but... maybe there's something about salvation of the self that we haven't learned yet.
The teasing about "me too" and "do you want a poem" harkened back to the earlier sibling-appropriate banter for me. Yes, it's a big deal that Dean's confessing his feelings, but jeeze, Sam's been after him in different ways to do so for a year. He's gotta be tired. He's done everything from yelling at Dean to admit he's scared to begging him to just be his brother again. And sometimes when the person you've been after finally does come around, you don't have the same level of energy to congradulate them on the realization.
The quiet moment at the end, sipping beer, Sam looking at Dean, is, I fear (and secretly hope) the last moment of peace they're going to get. I hear a clock ticking in Dean's heart. We're watching him slowly walk up to the gallows pole. And all of the scattered feelings that go with that reality are being swept along in his wake.
Oh, man, I just realized... I didn't see previews!! I'll have to watch for those.
Well, there you go. I'm exhausted. ;)