I reiterate what I said last week. I think I’m going to like this season!
But first, a quick PSA inserted before I ramble on….
I wanted to write a quick word before I settled in for the 2nd episode of this intriguing season. Ya’ll know that I have a hero in this show, and I make no bones about it. You also know that I write these streams of consciousness with my heart at the tip of my fingers. I work to be as balanced as I’m able, but I admit that this isn’t a completely unbiased review. The closest I’ve ever seen to that isbardicvoice . She writes a very thorough and thoughtful meta on each episode that is posted several days after viewing.
Please believe that I do not set out to offend or insult and I apologize if there was (or is in the future) anything said here that resulted in such a reaction. This is simply my immediate take on what I saw there is of course no obligation for you to agree; while I do enjoy being validated, I also appreciate differing viewpoints. Part of the fun of writing these reviews and reading your comments is seeing how the story comes together and how our various perceptions are woven and shifted and changed as the Show progresses.
I still stand behind my initial reactions to the premiere, but what I can definitely allow for after reading your insights and comments from last week is that we got the start to this story basically from Dean's POV—we don't know much of anything about what's been going on with Sam yet. And (just like with the beginning of S4) we probably won’t get the full Sam story for several episodes. *smile*
I like hearing the differing viewpoints of Sam's behavior because his character is hard for me to get a bead on sometimes, except in retrospect. I tend to see Sam in hindsight while I see Dean in the now. It’s easy for me to find a path to the logic and emotion for why I feel Dean does or doesn’t do something. Not always the case with Sam.
I wrote last week that I thought this season could be seen as a balanced story about two brothers rediscovering themselves and each other. I’m still hopeful that’s the case, regardless of who our individual hero/favorite character is.
Thanks to everyone for spending some time here, reading, reacting, and discussing. I hope this is a place you feel free to share your thoughts.
And with that…let’s kick the tires and light the fires. *goes to watch*
One thing bardicvoice pointed out in her meta for 6.01 is that the passing of a year where Sam was back but Dean didn’t know it aided in the disparity of their reactions to each other upon initial reunion. Sam was quick-worded, careful, calm. Some might even say emotion-free, to some extent. While Dean, in contrast, stumbled through the moment with shell-shocked disbelief. Sam had had a year to think about that moment, run it over in his mind, plan for it perhaps. Dean never saw it coming.
That actually spoke deeply to me because while I try to see things from both sides, I think my last review was probably the strongest pro-Dean one in quite some time. And I think that by going into the premiere spoiler-free (coupled with my natural pro-Dean proclivities), I was unprepared for what I saw and how strongly I’d react to it. I watched this week’s episode with that in mind, and I kept my sense of humor.
There were so many moments in this episode that had me chuckling in memory of when my Mo Chuisle was first born. You parents out there? I’m willing to bet you were either groaning or nodding in many of the same places.
So, now we know why/how they can play fast and loose with the lore: Alpha Baddies. The first of their kind. Interesting. Also? Somebody has Gramps on a leash. Interesting. There are still some leaps of logic in the storytelling—some things that I really didn’t get with one viewing that I normally don’t feel as confused about. I’m not sure if I’m just seeing a different writing style or if this is all very purposeful…breadcrumbs of intrigue.
I was able to overlook pretty much all of the leaps, though, because man…sometimes moments and characters just bring it home for me.
We got our THEN this time, which was pretty much a recap of last week’s episode with reminders to those who don’t live and breathe this story what shapeshifters are. Clips from Skin and Nightshifter were interwoven with last week’s epis. Y’know, I totally get why they do that—need to remind people about some of the details. But sometimes I really wish I could figure out a way to start right at the NOW because with those little clips, you totally knew what the baddie is going to be.
Annnnyway. Not important.
We see a nice fireplace, pretty mantelpiece, pictures of a happy family: mom, dad, baby. Then BAM! Bloody hand crashes against the picture and a terrified mama clutching a baby to her is frantically trying to get away from…something. She runs upstairs and crawls under the bed to hide, covering the baby’s mouth to try to keep it quiet.
Ya’ll, I was full-on terrified she was going to accidentally suffocate that baby. I know that’s totally unreasonable—not what they had in mind, but I almost couldn’t breathe watching her fear as she tried to keep her baby quiet. Then saw her dead husband on the floor of the bedroom. And then was grabbed by the ankles and ripped out from under the bed while the baby watched, unharmed.
After the shattered glass title card, we see a house with a for sale sign in the yard (pretty much my dream house…porch and all) and it took me several moments to realize that the sign had had a SOLD placard on it. Dean, Lisa, and Ben relocated. Dean’s in the garage—the Impala still under a tarp, checking the weapons in the trunk, just making sure.
One sawed-off shotgun in a holster is loaded. Hmmm. Inside, Lisa and Dean are unpacking the kitchen and Ben is pouting a bit. Lisa asks him to keep an open mind—at least check the area out a bit before he decides he hates it. Good mama. Ben tried to go for a bike ride and Dean stops him, his voice a barely-controlled panic.
Mediating smoothly, Lisa suggests they all go out later and check out the neighborhood together. Dean reluctantly agrees. There’s an undercurrent of tension there—and it’s obvious neither Dean or Lisa know what to do about it or what it actually is. Both want to do right by the other, but they’re suddenly in foreign territory. Both of them.
Sam is suited in his FBI persona, checking out the deaths of the parents and finds out the baby is missing.
Meanwhile, Dean side-steps “going out” by getting pizza delivered. Hmmm.
Sam’s on the phone with Gramps saying that there’s no sulfur or anything and he doesn’t think it’s their kind of thing. Yeah, it’s awful, but maybe not supernatural. Gramps is like, 4 dead parents in the same area with 4 missing babies? How is that natural?
Meanwhile, Gramps is totally flummoxed by the computer. That dang new fangled Internetz.
Gramps is thinking it’s monsters making baby stew or yokels making baby stew. Either way, baby stew is bad. Sam’s kinda…tuning out.
Gramps: Am I boring you?
Anyone else say …with this hunting evil stuff in their heads? Yeah. Me too.
Gramps: Sometimes I wonder about you, Sam.
Sam: Sometimes I wonder about me, too.
There were a lot of thoughts about role-reversal after the premiere, but I still don’t see it. I don’t see Sam acting like S1 Dean. I don’t see him acting like Dean at all. I don’t see him as hard-core as he was in Mystery Spot after Dean died “for real.” I don’t really see him as an all-go-no-quit hunter. I don’t really know if I have a place he fits for me yet. It’s like he wants to be a hunter. Or he wants to want to be a hunter—wants to want to care about it. Or maybe live a life he remembers doing well and feeling comfortable in, but it’s not really working for him. I’m still waiting for more breadcrumbs with Sam.
Another part of me wondered if the fact that Gramps reminded him of Dean (or a pre-Apocalypse Dean) made it easier for Sam to leave his brother in the dark for so long. Maybe his need for family—for what he felt Dean provided to him in some ways—was fed by Gramps for awhile there.
But obviously…something changed.
Anyway, Sam sees a sign for a security company and thinks to ask if the other 3 dead parents of missing babies also used that same security company.
Back at the House Of Tangled Emotions, Dean walks into the garage to find Ben holding the sawed-off shotgun. Dean, understandably, freaks, telling Ben to never open that trunk. Ben, eager to find a connection with Dean and also, probably, to make sense of this new life and take back a little control, eagerly tries to convince Dean that he could do what he does. He could shoot a gun—Dean did at his age.
Scared and frustrated, Dean snaps harshly, “Shut up about the freakin’ gun, okay?”
Ouch. Ben apologizes quickly and rushes out of the garage leaving Dean to wallow in self-loathing, yanking the tarp down and running a hand through his hair. Man, I’ve been there. Who of us hasn’t? I mean, long, stressful day, BIG questions you can’t answer, fear for your kid’s safety chasing away rational thought. Yeah, I’ve snapped at my girl like that (not about a gun, of course). And she’s only four.
Sam is having a sandwich on a bench somewhere when Gramps calls (using what looks like a cell phone from 1989) and confirms Sam’s hunch about the security company, finding the next house on the list.
Switching back to Dean, Lisa comes out to the garage to find out why the hell her kid has locked himself in his room and said that Dean yelled at him.
Lisa: What did he do?
L: What did you do?
Hee. I really like this woman. Dean is…twitchy. Restless. Like he can’t stand still or stop moving and he is obviously beating himself up.
And if I might just have a shallow moment here, He. Looks. Awesome. Just…the color, the lines of his face, the scruff, the way his eyes keep shifting emotion, even the way he almost-but-not-quite runs his tongue over his bottom lip. If the Show’s entire connective storyline tissue crumbles beyond recognition, I will still watch so that I can see how he reacts to the chaos.
Dean’s afraid. He doesn’t know of what, but, “something might come.” Lisa, though, needs parameters. They have to live their lives—she has to work, Ben has to go to school. Dean is heart-clenchingly terrified of something happening to them “on his watch.” The responsibility of their well being has grown exponentially since he found out that Sam was alive, that the monsters could still get to him.
I get the impression that while he protected the house and kept the shotgun close that year he thought his brother was dead—therefore still hyper-aware of the dangers out there—his focus had been on living out his promise, surviving his grief, and somehow freeing his brother. He hadn’t pulled this jittery uber-protector on them before. It’s a lot for them to take in. Especially after the year they all just went through, working Dean into their rhythm.
It’s night and Sam’s picking the lock of the next house on the list. He walks in. Dad dead in chair (and, I’ll come back to that). Mom’s dead on floor in a pool of blood. Footprints are leading away from the bodies.
I literally hollered at the TV, “Sam! Don’t step in the blood—never mind.”
They really need to get a little better about forensics, these hunters. He opens a door and—it’s a closet. Dang music during this scene played me a bit too easily.
Out of nowhere, the Security Guard from Hell and slams into Sam, knocking his gun away. Sam grabs his knife and cuts the guys arm—it burns him. The guard…runs away? I think I missed something because Sam is up, unharmed and alone, going into the room that the guard came out of. I think. Or maybe he followed the guard? Who…vanished? Anyway, the point is, he follows a noise, looks behind a towel and his eyebrows go up in probably the cutest expression of Sam surprise in a long time.
He calls Dean for help.
Which…I’m fascinated by that. For a year he handled hunts with Gramps and the cousins. Someone pointed out in a comment that he could have sent one of the cousins to save Dean from the djinn poison. He didn’t have to save him. But he did. And now, on a hunt where he had been using Gramps as his connection, he gets into a strange spot and he calls Dean for help.
It’s harkening back to the old brother dynamic, which is good. But it also makes me wonder (for the eleventy billionth time) what’s up with Sam. Is he lonely for Dean, is he afraid for what he is or isn’t feeling, is he following some secret directive that we don’t yet know about, what? It was just interesting that he pulled Dean into this one when they ended up back with Gramps anyway.
Dean’s reply is instantly worried until Sam says it’s for a job. Dean is moving around his house, salting the windows, and tells Sam he’s out. Sam wants him to make an exception, and that he’s 30 minutes away and will drive to his door if he doesn’t meet him.
Huh, so Dean told Sam where they moved to. I’d wondered about that. Not that I thought he’d not want Sam to know—I just wanted to be reassured that he had. Know what I mean? Anyway, Dean’s like, seriously what is the big deal. Sam apparently tells him because we get the Big Eyes in reaction.
Somewhere on an abandoned road, a pickup meets a Charger in the moonlight.
D: Where is it?
S: Strapped down in the back seat.
Dean peers in, then straightens up.
D: Welcome to the party, Gutenberg.
Gotta say…Steve Gutenberg was always my favorite of those particular Three Men.
And that first baby was aDORable.
Next thing you know, it’s morning and Dean is making Lisa show him what she knows about handling a gun. He reminds her to salt the windows and doors.
L: Of course.
D: Maybe I shouldn’t go. Sam can handle this.
L: No offense, but if you don’t walk out that door, I’m gonna shoot you.
I like this woman.
Dean slings a duffel over his shoulder and smirks, “Bet you’re missing your ex right about now…the boring one?”
L: Shut up.
He kisses her goodbye. I liked seeing that. I have this…worry. A worried theory. I know how the epi ended, but I still have this worried theory that this casual mention of an ex isn’t just a throw-away line. That an ex is going to come back into the picture. Perhaps Ben’s real Dad. And he’s going to offer Lisa and her boy consistent stability. And that’s going to be hard to pass up. Okay, I put that out there, so I’m going to ignore it now and move on.
Dean leaves and Lisa looks…sad. I can’t blame her. He was a mess when he came to her, she just got him balanced, and now he’s a mess again. Hard to not hurt when you see the person you love going through that.
Dean meets Sam…somewhere, puts his bag in the trunk, and asks for the 411 on the baddie—almost like he’s quizzing Sam. But of all the options Sam lists, Dean doesn’t recall “baby ‘napping” on the profile. He gets in the car, glances back at the baby in the car seat and says, “Speak up if you know anything.”
The baby grins—cutest thing ever. Seriously.
Sam’s car is dinging, so he tells Dean to put on his seatbelt.
D: What, am I in the 3rd grade? Car should drive, not be a little bitch.
Heh. That’s our boy.
Dean says they’re going to need supplies. Sam’s like, I got an arsenal in the trunk. *has to giggle* Oh, Sammy. They head to the store where there’s the slightly predictable Two Single Guys Buying Stuff For A Baby scene. In the checkout line, the baby is wailing. Dean’s trying to soothe him with an adorable, “Hang in there, buddy. Hang in there, man.”
S: Make it stop!
Dean picks the baby up and holds him out like he’s a bomb, then starts to wail back at him. *chuckles*
An African American lady comes up, comments on how cute the baby is, and asks after his name.
Now isn’t that interesting.
D: Bobby John.
The lady says he’s a little wet and offers to change him. Dean happens to see her in a security camera (conveniently situated directly behind them). Mandroid Eyes!
D: Gimme the baby before I stab you in the neck.
S: (practically choking) DEAN!
Dean indicates the camera and the lady takes off, holding the baby. Dean grabs her, but pulls off skin from her arm (gack!). Sam cuts her off, body-slamming her and taking the baby. Dean tackles her and pulls out a knife. All this in the middle of a busy grocery store, mind you. The lady plays the “help me, he’s hurting me” card and a security guard grabs him. Dean raises his arms and backs away, then takes off, high-tailing it outside to Sam’s car and dives in the back.
The lady runs out and very obviously gets Sam’s plates. Swell. Dean’s in the back trying to get the car seat buckle to work.
D: Who designed this, NASA?
Dude, I felt the exact same way. Seriously.
The brothers try to figure out why a shifter would want a baby and Sam thinks that maybe it followed him from the house. They have to get Bobby John someplace safe. Meanwhile, the shape shifter grabs a cop (who looked a lot like Riley from Buffy, says I) and tracks Sam’s plate. Swell. Again.
Safely ensconced in some random motel last decorated in 1971, Sam is looking through files (or something) and Dean’s changing Bobby John’s diaper.
D: I’ll pay you money if you sit still.
D: This is like…diffusing an IED with…poop.
Man, I remember how much my girl would twist and turn while I was changing her. There were times I wondered if I could safely duct tape her down.
Sam laughs at him. It was nice to see a genuine smile.
Dean puts the baby on his shoulder and Oh. My. God. I think I might’ve melted into a pile of goo right there. He starts to hum Smoke On The Water and I had to smile. There was a time when Metallica’s Nothing Else Matters was the only thing that put Mo Chuisle to sleep.
D (to baby): If I put you down, you gonna be a man about it?
LOVE how he talked to the baby. And of course the little bugger is asleep. Because it’s a TV show. And in TV shows, miracles happen.
S: You’re kinda…not awful at that. You got a real Dr. Huckstable vibe. Actual father material.
D: Kinda had to be lately. Sink or swim, y’know?
Now, I’ll admit to you guys that my first instinct was to protest and say he’d been doing this ‘father thing’ all his life, really. What did he do with Sam, after all? But then I thought about it a moment. I raised a couple siblings. Diapers, feedings, bedtimes, homework, riding bikes, tying shoes, heartbreak, the works. I thought I had it down. When I got pregnant, I totally knew I could do this Mom thing.
I couldn’t have been more wrong. First, there is no personality test quite like having a baby. A newborn is like the harshest basic training you can go through. Second, caring for a sibling is NOTHING like being a parent. You might have all the same duties, but the level of worry and responsibility is just…different. Greater, more sharpened somehow.
So I hushed myself up and kept watching.
S: You mean Ben.
D: Yeah. I know he’s not my kid but I’m starting to feel like he is. I think about the way we grew up and I feel like I have a chance to do something different with Ben.
That’s our Dean. He wanted the same thing with Sam. Wanting Sam to have “that kind of innocence” at the end of Nightmare. Talking about how he’d wanted to keep Sam a kid at the beginning of AHBL2. Just keep them innocent.
S: You sure about that?
Sam has his ‘careful delivery’ expression charged up, as if he knows exactly how what he’s about to say is going to hit Dean, but he has to say it anyway.
S: You clearly care about the kid—but moving him around, having him on lock-down…how is that different?
D: I’m not shoving anyone into this life. This is temporary.
S: Dad said it was temporary for 22 years. I get it; you want to watch out for them. That’s great. But how do you do that and not turn into Dad?
Dean is clearly thinking about Sam’s words, troubled by where his thoughts are leading him. I found it interesting how they were just…sitting there talking. They really didn’t get a lot of time together. After a year of grief, searching, healing, and accepting, Dean finds out—through rather violent circumstances—that Sam’s alive. They’re immediately whisked into a hunt. Dean’s confronted by MORE family he didn’t know about. Hunt’s over. They go their separate ways. And now…they’re in a motel room, talking.
It was…kinda surreal, actually.
Sam discovers that he missed something—the Dad at the last house was still alive. He wasn’t living at the house when the shifter hit. Um, huh? Did we or did we not see a body in the chair when Sam entered? Are we supposed to think that was the shifter playing dead in the chair? That he turned into the Security Guard from Hell and attacked Sam? *frowns*
Just go with it, Gaelic.
Someone has to stay with the baby, and Dean volunteers. Sam leaves and Bobby John wakes up and starts crying. Dean dips a finger into the whiskey he poured himself and (presumably) puts it in the baby’s mouth.
D: Good, innit?
I know, I know. Horrible. Soooo bad for baby. But fuuuuny.
Okay, so Sam goes and interviews the Dad and we find out that he thought the mom was having an affair because she got preggers when they hadn’t been…y’know…in awhile, but she says the baby was his because he came home early from a conference once day. Whoops.
Dean’s lying on the magic fingers bed—and seriously? Where do they find these motels? I’ve never seen a magic fingers bed in real life—with tired, tired eyes, when suddenly—SPLAT! He sits up slowly as Bobby John starts crying and we see…goop and blood and GACK on the wall. Dean gets up slowly, answering his phone.
Sam’s all—the shape shifter is the baby daddy.
Dean picks up a now African American Bobby John with a, Ya think?
The baby’s still crying and the “manager” knocks on the door, saying they’re getting complaints. Dean tries to deflect them, but the handle rattles and he puts the baby in the crib, goes to the door and cop!shifter busts down the door, shoving away Dean and his knife. Dean puts himself between the baby and cop!shifter.
CS: Get out of the way.
D: Yeah, that’s not gonna happen.
Cop!shifter is all ‘the baby should be with OUR father’ and before I can get past my total “HUH?” moment at that, it attacks. Dean cuts it, it throws Dean across the room, make a move toward the baby, and Sam bursts in and shoots it, dead.
Um, so wait—shooting shifters kills them? I can’t remember, but I thought you had to stab them with silver. Maybe he had silver bullets? *shrug*
ETA: I forgot (and was reminded, thank ya'll, that Dean shot shifter!Dean in Skin. Question answered.
D: Well, there goes our deposit.
As they’re high-tailing it outta there, they’re going over the shifter’s plan and I was momentarily confused. I couldn’t figure out if the shifter was just looking for the right kid all this time and that’s why he took all of the babies, or if he played the same con on all of the mom’s (pretending to be dad) and all those babies (not just Bobby John) were shifter!babies. I’m guessing it was the second.
S: I didn’t even know they had babies! I thought they were just freaks of nature like X-men style.
They debate what to do—it may be a monster, but it was still a baby—and Sam says to take him to Gramps.
D: You want to bring it to hunters?
D: We don’t know them.
S: I do. Not every hunter is a headcase. Samuel is a lot like you.
D: I’m a freakin’ headcase.
Sam was asking something really important there. Trust me. I know them, Dean. I’m asking you to trust me.
My way of thinking, that was a big leap for Dean. He’s never been one to trust easily—no matter who they are. And it wasn’t like Sam had done a lot lately to give Dean reason to trust him—outside of simply being his brother.
When they get there, though, Dean stands in the center of the room holding the (now sleeping) baby while the cousins circle and stare. Gwen strokes the baby’s head with a, “Well, aren’t you just the best disguise a monster ever wore?”
Dean shoots daggers at her with his eyes and she says she’s kidding. Uh-huh. Mark comes up and Dean challenges him.
D: You got something to say? No, alright, well you just stand there and think at me.
Gramps comes in with Sam and asks Dean for the baby. Dean’s like, no, it’s cool I got him. He couldn’t be more tense if he were dipped in honey and standing in a hornet’s nest.
Gramps: What do you think I’m gonna do?
D: You really don’t want me to answer that question.
Christian (who has been sitting back casually working on…some random thing, staring at Dean): Who do you think we are?
C: Oh, and here I thought we were family.
So what? That’s what I want to know. What have these family members ever done for Dean except claim to carry his mother’s maiden name, mock the life he lived for the sake of a promise, and ridicule his absence from hunting after he helped save the freakin’ world.
Blood only gets you so far.
Sam steps in, reassures Dean and takes the baby from him, handing the baby to Gramps. Dean looks completely uncomfortable with this—jaw tight, eyes bouncing from Sam to Gramps. Gramps, though, goes all mushy saying he hasn’t held one of these in awhile and says that their mom was a tiny cue ball. Which, okay, I thought that was kinda cute. But I got over it.
Gramps says they’ll raise the baby. Dean does not like this. Wants to know if they’re going to study him? Poke him?
C: Your mind goes right to torture, Dean. Don’t assume that for everyone.
Oh. My. God. I do not like this guy. Like…more than I disliked Zach. I really really don’t like him.
D: What are you trying to say?
Sam’s face is impassive, his eyes flinty. We’ve seen this expression before. When he’s challenging Dean. When he knows something, or thinks he does, and he isn’t ready to reveal it. It puts me on-edge.
C: I heard what you majored in, down in the Pit.
Sam looks down and away. I had to sit with that a moment. We knew Sam had been living with them for awhile—we could assume almost the whole year. So, he had ample time to tell them of what he and his brother had been through. Obviously, he’d told them about Dean going to Hell, but now I want to know how he told them. Did he tell him that Dean sacrificed his soul for Sam? That he resisted through thirty years of pain and torment? Or did he just say that Dean learned well how to take people apart? And in what context did it come up? When Sam was sharing the fact that he, himself, had been to Hell?
Regardless of what all he told them, he didn’t seem to account for the fact that Christian would take what he’d told them about Dean and twist them into something that put Dean in a bad light.
D: What the hell is your problem?
C: You’re starting to become a pain in my ass.
Sam steps in and asks Christian to take it easy. Dean is his brother, after all. Gramps is back to claiming they’ll raise the baby like a hunter. Mark thinks it could be great. Dean, though, is having none of it. The baby is a shape shifter.
He wasn’t exactly tossing up a Plan B, though, so I was unsure where his head was going. He was very protective of the baby—so he wasn’t going to kill it or anything—but the idea of the baby being raised by hunters (particularly these hunters) was not sitting well with him at all. Gramps wants to know why Dean can’t give him an inch of trust.
D: Maybe because you two are back from the dead and I seem to be the only one who wants to know how that happened.
Sam, the flinty eyes back again, says he’s not the only one who wants to know. Okay, so great. Then…talk to him. They were talking okay in the motel—about everything but Sam. If he wants to keep pulling Dean back in, then talk to him! Quit acting like Dean has to earn the right to hunt again. Erg!
D: There’s too much mystery here for me to get comfy.
Gramps gives the baby to Christian (because, apparently Christian and his wife? Girlfriend? Haven’t been able to get pregnant yet, so congrats, it’s a boy…for now). Dean’s like, no way.
Dean (to Christian): You have no business raising anything.
S: Why, Dean? ‘Cause he’s a hunter?
I was kinda thinking that it was because he’s an asshole, but obviously Sam’s spoiling for a fight about this particular topic since he poked holes into Dean’s “I can make things different for Ben” theory back in the motel, too. I’m really not sure what Sam’s agenda was here, either. Piss Dean off? Make him see reason? Point out that hunters are people, too? What?
We don’t get to dwell, though because the dogs bark a warning and Gramps takes the baby from Christian, gives him to Dean (HA!) and tells the boys to take the baby to the panic room. The Campbell Fight Club square off and turn to face…Shifter!Skinner.
So, I’ll skip past about 10 minutes of my going WTH with the spontaneous shifting because we find out that this is the Alpha Shifter. The first one. So, of course, its powers are different, right? Go with it, Gaelic.
Gwen shoots Shifter!Skinner and it turns to her, but Mark steps in and stabs it, but it breaks his neck (Boo! The only cousin I might’ve liked!). Christian and Gramps shoot it full of darts before it can choke Gwen to death, but it resists the darts and everyone shares a similar oh sh*t expression as it advances.
Down in the panic room, Dean is trying to keep Bobby John quiet while shots and crashes and whatnot are heard from above. Sam tells Dean to stay with the baby, he’s going up. Surprisingly, Dean doesn’t protest. But just as Sam reaches the door, Shifter!Sam is in the window. It rips the door off its hinges and Sam fights himself…and loses. Shifter!Sam advances on Dean, shimmering into Shifter!Dean and demands the baby.
D: No way in Hell.
Shifter!Dean grabs Dean by the throat (lot of that happening so far this season) lifts him up, chokes him senseless, grabs baby, and drops Dean to the floor.
Okay, so one thing I couldn’t quite go with—in the aftermath of the fight, no one even mentions dead Mark. No sign of him. No “that thing killed a member of my family.” Nothing. We just get the intel from Gramps that it’s an Alpha Shifter and there may be no way to kill it. Weird, ya’ll.
Back out at Sam’s car, Dean wants to know if Sam heard cop!shifter mention “our father.” Sam hems and haws a bit, then wants to know why Dean wants to know. Dean’s like, if you did know, then you knew it would be after the baby and you used the baby as bait…so, did you?
Sam says he just figured Gramps’ place would be safest, gives Dean a you’re crazy look and gets in the car. Dean nods back, but the moment Sam is out of eye line, about 10 emotions cross Dean’s face. Acceptance, doubt, anger, worry, fear, loneliness, regret….
Meanwhile Gramps is on the phone with…someone…and promises to find the Alpha Shifter and “bring it to you.” Huh. So there’s a puppet master, is there? I wonder who all knows about this person. Intriguing.
We’re back at Lisa’s. Ben’s out riding his bike. Dean tries to not tense up hearing this, but he can’t help it. With a softly breaking voice he confesses that he doesn’t know what to do…what the safest thing is—staying there and looking after them, or getting as far away as possible.
Lisa moves around the end of the counter, simply listening to him, quietly. Dean rubs his forehead, looking at her with haunted eyes.
D: The yelling…the acting like a prison guard, it’s not me. You tell yourself you’re not going to be something, but my Dad was exactly like this. All the time. It’s scaring the hell out of me.
There are tears in his eyes, but they don’t fall. And man, I ache for him in this moment. I think about that scene in DALDOM when he’s facing off with himself, calling his father selfish, saying he put all his own fears and issues on Dean. I think about how John was Dean’s hero, but that he had to wait until his father was moments from death before hearing that John was proud of him. I think about how much he wanted to be like his Dad in deeds and actions (music, car, clothes, lifestyle) as he was growing up—right up until he saw himself becoming what he thought he wanted.
And the terror was more real than any monster. What he could potentially do to Ben. Turn Ben into. Just because he wanted to keep him safe. It’s a lesson in cyclical behavior.
Lisa: Can I be honest? Maybe we’re safer with you, maybe not. I don’t know. The one thing I do know is that you’re not a construction worker. You’re a hunter. And now that you know your brother’s out there, things are different. You don’t want to be here, Dean.
Dean’s immediate reply of, “Yes, I do,” is almost panicked, his eyes pinned to her.
Lisa: Okay, but you also want to be there. I get it. You’re white knuckling it like this. Like what you are is some bad, awful thing. But you’re not. But, I’m not going to have this discussion every time you leave. And this is just going to keep happening. So, I need you to go.
I have to tell you, my heart cracked a bit at that. Especially when Dean’s eyes swam.
D: I can’t just lose you and Ben.
L: That’s not what I was saying.
Oh, thank God, because if they had gone there….
D: You’re saying hit the road.
L: Dean, if there’s some rule that says it has to be either or, how about we break it? Ben and I can be here and you come when you can. Just…come in one piece.
D: You really think we can pull something like that off?
L: It’s worth a shot, right?
Okay, in real life? No way. She wanted a father for Ben, and she’s going to put any chance of a life for herself and that father for Ben on hold to try to make this work? Really? But…this isn’t real life. It’s storytelling. And as far as storytelling, goes, I was happy with this. It would be like…a soldier on deployment. Always within the possibility of danger, coming back when leave allowed.
The only thing I wish was that she’d told him she loved him. She more or less said it by setting him free, and trusting with her words that he’d come back to her. But I want to hear someone tell Dean they love him. HIM.
So, I am going to go with this, also. They keep Lisa and Ben in Dean’s life, but get Dean back into hunting, and for the sake of the story, I think it can work. Not sure about the longevity of this plan…or how long Dean can ride two horses. At some point, he’s going to have to choose. I would think. He’s going to have to figure out how to be a hunter with a home and not turn into John Winchester…or he’s going to be a lonely hunter, fighting the good fight.
I’m interested in figuring out which way he goes. Because he’s Dean. And he’ll always be my hero.
The grin-inducing, head banging chords of Smoke on the Water score the gorgeous return of the Impala—black body, chrome grill and all. Dean—in blue (guhhhh)—stands staring at her like she is the sexiest thing on four wheels and the grin that curls his lips is 100% pure, bad-ass Dean Winchester.
He roars out of shot in his baby heading…I’m not sure where. Find Sam? Motel? Somehow I don’t see him bunking down at the Campbell Fight Club headquarters.
But he’s hunting again. Now we just have to see what that means for the brothers. Their connection. The truth and the consequences. Plenty to speculate about until the next episode. Especially since—Castiel is back next week!
Until then, Slainte!