So I really thought I’d get this episode watched and the Stream of Consciousness written after returning home from book club last night, but we went to an Irish place to discuss the book and there was nosh like you wouldn’t believe…I got a little caught up in the colcannon and the pints and the conversation and…well, it was after eleven when I got home and I was beat.
Turns out it was a good episode to be late on as it was more of an entertaining story than a pivotal turning point. And it’s a lot more fun to get caught up in Dean when I’m actually conscious…
I will only say one possibly negative thing about tonight: what’s happening in this literally post-apocalyptic world the boys are living in? I really don’t mind the MotW episodes showing that they’re still doing their jobs, living their lives, all the while their very existence flipping off The Powers That Be because neither is saying yes. But earlier in the season, when it was an Apocalypse Episode, we’d at least see news reports in the background about how the world was coming apart at the seams.
And we now have Death and War out in the world running amuck. What’s happening to the world while the guys are helping out old hunter friends in mental hospitals and teaching dumb teenagers that it’s not nice to play with demons? Not complaining, really, just more…curious. It would be a “nice” reminder that the pressure is on and the angels and demons are battling it out somewhere not here if we saw newspaper headlines or TV news reports or even a google search on a laptop that subtly prodded everyone to stay alert because it’s gonna get messy.
Okay, ‘nuff said there.
No previouslies this time, which was kinda nice. Sometimes, those things give away too much of the story that we’re about to see. We have a pretty, blonde cougar sipping a martini at the bar. Boys walk in. Dean keeps going, Sam stops and sits at a stool next to the woman.
S: “Evening, barkeep.”
Gaelic: HUH?? What is this, the old west??
S: “I would like to purchase an alcohol, please…”
He proceeds to pull out his license displaying that he is, in fact, of age and orders a “banana daiquiri, my good man.”
Gaelic: Oooohhhh… I get it.
Martini woman introduces herself as Crystal and tells Sam that he’s a “stunning-looking man.” We shift from Sam’s reflection and see…a nerdy, dark-haired kid we later learn is Gary.
Gary/Sam: “I know, right?” BWAH!
Jared was cracking me up in this scene—playing to the hilt the complete abandon of geekdom. Crystal quite desperately comes on to him and finally Gary/Sam clues in that they’re talking about sex.
“Crystal, I would love to have the sex with you.”
Backup 36 hours and we see the Impala pull up to a house in “H” something Massachusetts. Hey, even the morning after I can’t catch all the names the first time around…
The boys are sitting on a couch across from a different pretty, blonde lady (Donna)—this one with calm, classic, friendly good looks. Not the pounce on you and claw up your back good looks of the woman in the bar. Donna calls them Dean and Sammy Winchester and we find out that the last time they saw her was the summer before Sam was in 6th grade. She used to watch the boys when John went…to work. He once left them with her for 2 weeks, but he always came “limping home.”
Donna: “He sure loved you boys.”
As Dean’s listening to her, I’m caught by his face. I’m all settled in for the story and he does this subtle twitch of features—it’s like a slight, solemn nod with a thought-heavy, downward glance and a sad half-smile—and my mind spins. What is he thinking in that moment? Where did his head go? After all these years and all these episodes, you would think this character (and actor) wouldn’t be able to catch me by surprise with something so minor, but he does.
It makes my breath catch at times.
Anyway, Donna finally believed Sam when he told her what their father did, which is why she knew to call them for help when things started to go bump in the night in their new(ish) house. Dean thinks they have a poltergeist and Donna has her daughter, Katie, show them her belly where the words “Murdered Child” are carved into her flesh.
Dean, eyes flickering in that lit-within way that heats me up, leans forward and says, “Katie, everything is going to be fine. I promise.”
Y’know what I love about this character? That even though we know that his true terror is that one day he won’t be able to keep that promise, it doesn’t stop him from making it. Over and over. And he would kill himself to keep it.
So, Donna and her husband and daughter pack up and leave for safer ground. The boys head to Patriot Burger where Dean orders his usual Grease On A Bun with a side of Hardened Arteries and a “health quake salad shake.” He looks at the kid—Gary—who slides the food over, and says with a truly chagrined expression. “I know. It’s not mine.”
Sam is on his laptop—aside: wonder where Dean’s is? He has one now, right?—shaking his salad and Dean is watching him.
D: “Oh, you shake it up, baby.”
Dude. Words like that? Will get you anywhere.
Changing the subject, Dean remarks that Donna looked pretty good. Sam’s like, you still have the hots for the sitter? Dean frowns and says, “No! That’s…weird.” He just meant that she was doing good with the husband and kid—hanging tough with the poltergeist thing. And then, to zing me a bit, apparently, he does that same contemplative downward glance where you can practically hear the air around him grow tight and still.
He looks up at Sam and says, “Do you ever think you’d want something like that?”
Okay, other than setting up the premise for Sam’s experience in this episode and letting us watch irony play out before our eyes, I wonder why Dean is thinking this all of a sudden. I wonder if he was just making conversation, mildly curious, or if all the death and loss and seemingly inevitable momentum toward some truly awful destiny has gotten this road warrior to think about how the other half lives—and to do so without a bad taste in his mouth.
Anyway, Sam says it’s not his thing anymore to which Dean sadly replies, “Yeah.” Meanwhile? Gary the burger boy? Is watching them with this totally creepy intensity and the boys don’t notice a thing. They don’t even sense his eyes. I don’t know about you, but I tend to feel someone look at me. And if they were looking at me like Gary was looking at Sam—like he wanted to devour him—I’d like to think I’d notice.
But they don’t. Sam finds out that Donna’s house is frikkin’ old and that a former owner—Somebody Pickett—was said to have hung a woman named Maggie Briggs in his backyard because she was a witch. Voila: poltergeist. They decide to split up and search for clues. And with as much late-night TV as these two watch, you’d think by now they’d learn that splitting up is a Very Bad Idea, but then we couldn’t have Brothers In Peril, which I personally enjoy.
Sam’s walking down a sidewalk (I think?) at night, talking to Dean on a cell and saying he’s got bupkis—can’t find Maggie’s grave. Dean tells him to come on back, they’ll pick it up again in the morning. Next thing you know, Sam is shot in the neck with a dart (OUCH!) and goes down. Hard.
He wakes up in the middle of a woods. It’s raining. And he’s wearing Gary’s Patriot Burgers uniform. Slightly stunned and totally disoriented, he starts to walk down the middle of a road and is just pulling an inhaler out of his pocket when a police car pulls up and tells him to get in, his family is worried sick about him.
Sam’s like, “My brother called you??” Oh, Sammy. They pull up in front of a very normal-looking house and a woman (with a very mannish voice, I thought) runs out in the rain to embrace him. Sam’s all, “WHOA! Who are you?” A total WTF implied in his tone. It’s then that he gets a glimpse of his reflection in the window of the cop car and sees…Gary. He freaks a bit, pointing to his own reflection saying, “WHO IS THAT? WHO IS THAT?”
Gary’s parents, understandably, determine that he’s drunk off his gourd.
Meanwhile, Gary/Sam is flexing Sam’s muscles in the mirror back in a motel room. Dean comes in and is all where the hell were you and Gary/Sam placates him with a bag of food—which he’s going to have to eat on the road because the maid came in, saw the multiple guns laid out on the bed, and now the motel staff is freaking out. Dean, irritated that “Sam” let the maid in, says he’s going to hit the head and then they’ll get going.
Gary/Sam takes Sam’s cell, goes to the Impala and digs ALL the cell phones from the glove box and then ditches them in a dumpster behind the car. Total aside: those extra cell phones were how they found out about Ellen and Jo—not to mention John’s storage unit. I wonder if the loss of them will have any ramifications going forward.
Dean comes out and Gary/Sam asks to drive. Dean looks slightly surprised, but, in the spirit (I assume) of keeping things more equal and giving Sam room to grow up and forcing himself to let go, Dean lets him. Gary/Sam revs the engine, grinning like the teenager he is and gleefully declares: “This is so sweet!”
D: “Reverse. Reverse!”
WHAM! Gary/Sam backs the Impala into the dumpster. *whimper* Dean looks at his “brother” with an I so want to kill you right now expression and says in a tight voice: “It’s. In. Reverse.”
As they switch sides, Gary/Sam says he’s really, really sorry. Dean, not in the mood to hear it.
Back at the Walton’s…or, y’know…whatever, Sam/Gary is calling every cell they’ve got leaving Dean voicemails that he’s in the wrong body, needs help, and…has asthma. He calls the hotel where they were staying and finds out that two guys—a leather jacket and a sasquatch—checked out in the middle of the night. Sam/Gary faces himself in the mirror and we see he’s sporting a bitchin’ Star Wars T-shirt.
He begins to search Gary’s room, finds out that Gary’s a smart kid, and then determines by the evident surplus of Star Wars T-shirts that he’s also a virgin. Under the bed, Sam/Gary finds a box with a copy of Busty Asian Beauties (seriously? Is this the only porn available??), random teenage boy paraphernalia, and a knife and cloth with a pentagram on it.
S/G: “Gary, you little satanic bastard.”
Gary’s mom calls him down for breakfast and in a perfectly irritated, snotty teenaged voice, Sam replies, “Alright! I’m coming!”
So, in that ironic twist I mentioned earlier, Sam is offered a glimpse of the “normal” life he said wasn’t his thing anymore as he sits down to breakfast with Mom, Dad, and little sister. Dad starts in on The Plan: SATs, MIT, being an engineer. Getting drunk is not in The Plan.
Sam replies with undisguised irritation: “No offense, but at the moment I could give a rats ass about your plan.”
I wanted to thunk him on the forehead. NOT a good tactic, Sam. You’re supposed to be smart, dude! Yes, you’ve been through the shit and have come out more like your brother than even your brother is right now, but when you’re in a completely bizarre situation such as this, one would think that the best way to get information would be to blend. Ah, well. His way also works for him…more or less.
He’s asking questions, finds out that Gary’s amazing at Latin, mentions a big leather-bound book, which he then surmises that Gary’s probably hidden as he snakes a piece of toast from Mom’s plate—much to her horror. It seems that Gary, poor kid, has an allergy to gluten. Sending Sam/Gary heading right to the bathroom.
Little sis—in awe of her brothers apparent mental breakdown—tells him where the leather book is.
Back with Dean, Gary/Sam is telling him that Maggie Briggs was actually carrying Pickett’s illegitimate child and he killed her and buried her in the basement of the house—hence the words “Murdered Child.” Dean’s like, “How do you know all this?” And Gary/Sam, also not getting the whole blending approach, brags that he’s done all kinds of research on it…*ahem*…y’know…last night.
Dean’s like, good job…I guess. He gets in the car and Seger is on the radio proclaiming that Rock ‘n Roll Never Forgets. Gary/Sam gleefully exclaims, “Turn it up!”
Dean looks at his “brother” with open surprise. “Seriously?!”
Okay, I get not going directly to body swap, but Dean doesn’t think anything here? Not even that Sam is drunk? Or trying too hard? Or…possessed? Maybe here is where he started to suspect, and maybe it was that we all knew and it was achingly obvious to us, but now I wanted to thunk Dean on the head.
I tried to look at it like one of my sisters suddenly enjoying classic rock or asking to read something I wrote…I would think they were on something or after something…*shrug* I guess I just wondered why he didn’t even jokingly say, “Christo” while he was busy frowning. Moving on!
Sam/Gary is in Gary’s high school and runs into two of Gary’s friends—Trevor and Nora—who are worried about him. In a way. He asks what his locker number is, playing off the “still drunk” assumption. He finds Gary’s locker, cracks the combo, digs through the stuff there and finds the book.
S/G: “Gary, this is a very, very bad book.”
Back at Donna's Haunted House, Dean and Gary/Sam are heading down to the basement. G/S has a sawed off shotgun and a flashlight.
G/S: “Booyah! Massa Chief is inna house, bizzaches!”
Dean: “Are you alright?” Meaning, what the hell is the matter with you?
As they explore the basement—a weapon in Gary/Sam’s hand—I found myself thinking, Why Sam? And why now? I mean, if the kid had the power to body swap, why did he wait unil these guys to do it? And what—aside from his physical prowess and dashing good looks (though I really think he could use a haircut…or two)—was so special about Sam??
Anyway, Dean spies some willow moss (I think??) and Gary/Sam’s like, “Yeah, right, it’s supposed to grow over witches graves, right?”
Dean: (incredulous and looking as if he’s really starting to wonder about his brother’s sanity) “Yeah!?”
Dean gets out a shovel and starts digging. And then...Gary/Sam trains the shotgun on Dean’s back. Which we know wouldn’t kill him—one assumes it was filled with rock salt since they were going up against a spirit—but Gary/Sam doesn’t know that and the plot thickens.
G/S: “Man, I’m really sorry about this.”
D: (not turning around) “Sorry about what?”
BAM! The spirit slams Gary/Sam back and against the far wall and Dean turns, hollering his brother’s name and rushes over. Gary/Sam is ready to get the hell out of there, but Dean’s like, “We still have to burn the body, idiot!” He heads to do just that and the spirit slams him against the wall, stunning him. Gary/Sam is across the room and the witch’s spirit appears before Dean.
Dean's looking at her with a puzzling mixture of challenge and fear when she charges him, flaming out as she passes through him. Dean looks over with disbelief to see Gary/Sam standing over her burning grave with lighter fluid in his hand.
G/S: “Dude! That was sweet!”
Poor Sam/Gary is trying to ditch school and his friends are following him. They offer to “talk it out” but Sam/Gary’s like, no thanks. Just then, Trevor shoots Sam/Gary in the neck with a dart. Doh! Layers, people. The story has layers…
Post vanquish, Dean and Gary/Sam are sitting in a bar and Dean orders a bacon cheeseburger with extra bacon and—GAH!—a fried egg on top. Seriously?! I think he’s trying to break down his ‘vessel’ so Michael won’t be able to use it anymore. However, Gary/Sam dittos the order and Dean looks at him, deadpanning, “Who are you and what you done with Sam?”
It’s an obvious crack—a phrase often used when someone acts unlike themselves, but more like how we’d like them to act—but part of me wondered how much truth was behind those words. Gary/Sam says they’re celebrating.
D: “Another one bites the dust. Good job today.”
G/S: “I had a really awesome day.”
Gaelic: *feels sorry for Gary*
D: “Really awesome day? It was a D-list ghost hunt.”
G/S: “I can’t be in a good mood?”
D: “Not really your style, Sam.”
Gaelic: DUH!! HELLLOOOO DEAN!!!
G/S: “Well, it’s a new me. I’ve got a gun. I’m getting drunk. I look like this…” He waves his hand around Sam’s face and I have to guffaw a bit at the eyebrow flick response from Dean—who obviously thinks he’s the good-looking one in their partnership. Not that I disagree.
Gary/Sam rambles about his future being decided and that he can’t stop The Plan—which is just vague enough to totally relate to their Vessel Destiny. Dean’s voice cracks ala John McClain (love Bruce Willis in that role when he’s stretched thin and desperate and rough-voiced) as he says, “Yeah, Sam, I feel like that a lot.”
G/S: “Just nice to do a little ass-kicking for a change.”
Dean takes this in, nods, and says that he’ll drink to that. Then he pauses with the realization that they’re actually drinking together. Which makes me sad that they don’t do that—I get the feeling that Dean would be more than willing, but that Sam’s experiences and reservations don’t allow him to even consider that a possibility anymore.
G/S: “You’re a good guy, Dean.”
D: “You are drunk.”
G/S: “I mean it. You really are a good guy.”
Again with the sad; it would be nice for Dean to hear that from his actual brother. It would be nice for him to say that to his actual brother. I think they need to be reminded—from each other—that they are the Good Guys. And more than that. More than just not being evil. They are good people! Decent, hard-working, soulful and caring.
Gary/Sam bites into his burger and has a moment of ecstasy. “The bread alone…” Heh, poor gluten-allergic Gary. Sometime later, Gary/Sam is gone and Dean is sitting and looking contemplative. Next thing you know, Gary/Sam is walking out of the bar with Crystal—she of the cougar martini in the beginning—and Gary/Sam is pointing to her comically stage-whispering, “We’re gonna do it!”
That seemed…strangely executed. I could have sworn at the beginning we saw both boys walk in and Dean continued on while Sam sat down and ordered—pulling out his ID and everything, as if he was just ordering his first drink--not a one that followed several shots and a beer. If he had just been sitting with Dean at a table in same said bar…ah, I’m not going to over-think it. It would just buff up the edges of a nice story.
So, Sam/Gary wakes up tied to a post—in Trevor’s parent’s basement, turns out—and Trevor is on the phone with Gary (who, incidentally, is nekkid in the cougar’s bed, alone) and Trevor is asking Gary why he hasn’t killed Dean yet.
Gary claims that he’s building up to it and Trevor informs him that he’s looking at Gary’s body with some other dude in it—which seems to surprise Gary, so apparently that didn’t go as planned. Next thing you know, Crystal walks in dressed in leather and carrying a riding crop and Gary accurately assesses that he’s in way over his head.
Trevor, Nora, and Sam/Gary have a tense conversation where Trevor the teen plays mini Evil Genius and informs Sam/Gary that they were “praying to their dark overlord” (insert eye-roll here) and Gary suddenly drew a (very nice) sketch of Dean and they were told that there was a bounty on his head. So…every demon, witch, bad guy around is gunning for Dean.
As if this is anything new for him. And I wonder—if they got him and killed him, would he stay dead? Or would the angels just bring him back? When Dean said he'd kill himself to avoid being a vessel, Zach told him they'd just bring him back. So, would it be any different if someone (or something) else killed him? I really wonder about that because it could come into play later on. Sam is understandably disgusted, angered, and frantic at once, telling these idiots what a Really Stupid Thing they did messing with demons. He almost gets to Nora—telling her this isn’t a game, for Pete’s sake, they were talking about KILLING SOMEONE. As in DEAD.
Trevor, though, is all, I want my money (money, bah—stupid kid!) and pulls out the book. He decides demon summoning would be a good idea.
In the meantime, Gary/Sam is sneaking back into the motel room and sees a figure sleeping on the bed, fully covered. He creeps over, gets Dean’s Colt, points it at the bed figure, cocks it, and out of the shadows to his right looms…DEAN! He grabs the gun and BAM! Punches Gary/Sam in the nose.
D: (menacingly) “You’re not Sam. Who are you?”
So, Trevor in his infinite wisdom, summons a demon and it goes into Nora. Sam is desperately trying to get the stupid kid to shut up, but Trevor reveals that not only do they have Dean Winchester, but that Sam Winchester’s vulnerable vessel of a meat suit is with him in the Blah Blah Blah motel. OOPS! I hadn’t even thought of that—how vulnerable Sam’s body was to Lucifer with Gary inside of him (which, sounds really wrong, but you know what I mean). I actually got a little worried for the first time all episode with the demon there.
I mean, thanks to Cas, their bones are branded and they’re protected from detection, but if that one demon knew where they could be found, what’s stopping her (him? it?) from telegraphing information to other demons—except for maybe the egotistical desire to be THE ONE to turn Dean and Sam over to The Boss.
Anyway, long story short, DemonNora kills Trevor (and it’s really rather bloody, actually) and we go back to the motel where Dean has Gary/Sam tied up and Gary is begging Dean not to kill him, crying and looking terrified. Must’ve been hard for Dean to see Sam that way, since that’s who he saw, y’know?
Dean tells him that he’s not going to hurt him, finds out that he’s a 17 year old kid, and demands to know where his brother is. No sooner does Gary tell him than DemonNora shows up and rips Dean off his feet, slamming him across the room and knocking him out. Ouch.
Back in the basement, Sam is trying to flex out of his ropes, but Gary’s body is too puny. Poor Sammy.
DemonNora is telling Gary he can have anything he wants for giving them Dean, he just has to meet The Boss and answer yes when The Boss asks him one little question. Gary, all gung-ho to be a Real Witch, balks at the idea of actually meeting The Devil—doesn’t want to “bother” him, you know.
Suddenly, Dean is UP and lunging at DemonNora with (what I assume is) the Demon Killing Knife. DemonNora turns on him, though, and crashes him to the ground (like…literally) then starts kicking the ever-loving crap out of him. Dean’s gasping and bucking under the blows. He’s bleeding from the mouth. And he looks up and meets Gary/Sam’s eyes with this commanding, desperate look.
Gary can’t deny that look. He starts Latinating. DemonNora stops kicking Dean long enough to turn on Gary/Sam and lift him up by the throat for daring to try to exorcise her. Dean staggers to his feet and, blood running from his mouth, picks up where Gary left off with the exorcism. DemonNora drops Gary/Sam and turns to Dean. Gary tag-teams with the Latin and DemonNora is caught between them.
Dean is wincing every other word, barely on his feet, but they get the rite out and Dean caps it with: “Adios, bitch.”
G/S: “Ah, I think it’s Audi Nos.” (Or however the hell you spell it… I know Gaelic, not Latin.)
And, we have the aftermath. Dead Trevor. Nora wrapped in a blanket (lucky for her Dean wasn't able to use the Demon Killing Knife). Dean observing while Gary and Sam sit across from each other and Gary reverses the Freaky Friday spell. Yay! Sam is back!
Gary: “My bad…”
Dean: (fists clenched as he barely restrains himself from throttling the teen) “My bad ain’t gonna cut it. See if you were of voting age? You’d be dead. Because we would have killed you. So you straighten up and fly right or we will kill you. Am I clear?”
(Yes, John Winchester.)
Gary: “Crystal.” Heh. Heh heh. I wonder if that was on purpose, that crack. Ah, well.
The brothers drive the kidlets home in the rain and when they get out of the car to send the kids on their way--standing in the rain, which… just added a nice little bit of depth to the scene for me--Sam stops Gary and Dean pauses to listen to his brother.
Sam: “Take it from someone who knows—chill out. Your life ain’t that bad.”
Gary: “You met my parents?”
Sam: “So what? It’s your life. You don’t like their plan? Tell them to cram it. Rebel a little bit. In a healthy, non-satanic way. By the way, you know why Nora’s into witchcraft? She doesn’t like Satan, you moron. She likes you. Kid…I wish I had your life.”
Dean does a little head swivel of huh?! that makes me smile. The kids go inside and Dean looks at Sam across the hood of the Impala.
D: “That was a nice thing to say.”
S: “I totally lied. Kid’s life sucked ass.”
Aw, Sammy. You used to be so innocent. Even though you knew there were monsters in the world, you wanted that life once. You wanted to pretended the monsters didn’t exist. You did tell your family to cram it. You did rebel. So, yeah, I guess you are someone who knows. I’m not convinced it worked out for the best for you, though. I’m not convinced that you’re convinced of that either. And while I think you might be subconsciously thinking about the current Plan that The Powers That Be have for you that you’re rebelling against, this isn’t new behavior for you.
Sticking with The Plan or rebelling against it—either way there are possibilities for good or bad and consequences for each choice. Dean stuck with it, Sam went his own way. And yet, here they are. Both with their own demons. Both with their own strengths. Both with their own regrets.
Sam: “All that apple pie family crap is stressful. We didn’t miss a damn thing.”
Dean: “Or we don’t know what we’re missing.”
*sad* I’m honestly not sure which ways is better. Either way…they don’t have it. Whatever it is. But they have something else. They have their definition of normal. They have their definition of home.
Seger blares on the radio and Sam winces, whining, “C’mon, man, turn that down.”
Dean shakes his head and complies, slinging his arm across the back of the seat with a grumbled, “Welcome back, Kotter.”
Like I said, nice story. And it’s been good to see two episodes with just the boys—no Cas, no Bobby, no angels…just our boys doing what they do best. Makes me think, though, about my musings on Season 6 and the comments that stemmed from that. Will the apocalypse be wrapped this season? We only have 12 more episodes left. Is that enough time? Or will they extend it into the 6th, if the 6th does indeed come about?
I hope not. I’m ready for them to be free of this mantel. I’m ready to be able to breathe again when I watch—gasping out of unexpected, surprised fear and not out of worry for their souls and their fate. And if there is a Season 6? I’m ready to enjoy the MotW episodes (like this one) without being tense about what’s happening outside of the moment I’m seeing.
Next week? I missed the previews. I know! And since I’m basically unspoiled, I’ll just be surprised. But it’s the first epi in February and I heard that we get another mini hiatus due to the Olympics, so I wonder how many epis we’ll get before we have to take another short break—anyone know?
Thanks for reading—sorry again that it was late. Book club is just once a month and most often I can pull this off afterwards, but last night…let’s just say I was feeling my age. Which will be one year older tomorrow.
Happy Friday, all!