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Ten Reasons To Love Supernatural’s ‘About A Boy’

February 6, 2015
WB/The CW

WB/The CW

Worrying that you’re going to be stuck in the ER and miss Supernatural is not the best way to start a Tuesday evening (okay, maybe that’s not what I was most worried about, but it was right up there in my top two). Luckily I didn’t miss it, and even more luckily, I’m home now to finally sit down and write about how much I loved it.

Reason #1: The acting. The only person better than Dylan Everett at playing Dean Winchester is Jensen Ackles. I was impressed with Dylan’s acting the first time he portrayed Dean, but that was perhaps a bit less challenging, as he was showing us Dean as a teenager. If there were some differences, that was to be expected – pretty sure I’m not exactly the same as I was as a teenager. (Unless you’re judging by my fangirl passion which is thankfully still intact). This time, Dylan had to portray adult Dean stuck in his own fourteen year old body, which means the mannerisms and facial expressions and way of speaking that we know and love in Dean Winchester should be pretty much the same. Talk about an acting challenge!

Dylan, however, nailed it. He moved like Dean, he talked like Dean. He held his gun – and his flashlight – like Dean. He even drew his eyebrows together in concern like Dean. And when Teen!Dean found himself grabbed by the bad guy, Everett didn’t hold back in showing us Dean’s all out struggle, the same way Ackles does. Even Dean’s chemistry with Sam was intact, with big kudos to both Everett and Padalecki for making sure it came through. In fact, watching Teen!Dean with Sam was so similar to watching ‘regular’ Sam and Dean that I believed wholeheartedly that I was watching Dean Winchester the entire time.

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Interestingly, Everett gave Padalecki credit for helping him play Dean true to the character. Because, after all, as Jared noted, “No one knows Dean Winchester, other than Jensen, better than me.” In an interview with AfterBuzzTV, Dylan said that one of the best pieces of advice he got was from Jared —

Jared: Jensen’s a model. So he’s very expressive in his face and in his body. That’s what makes Jensen Jensen. It’s his mannerisms and the way he walks and the way he talks and how he carries himself. These are the things that make him stand out and the things people pick up on and love about him, so it’s really important you really nail those and incorporate them into your performance… If there’s anything I think might be out of character or a little thing that I think that Jensen would do, I’m just going to lay it on you and let you know.

A great example of the spirit of collaboration for which Supernatural is known.

Padalecki is in a good position to give acting advice – he too was stellar in this episode. Sam’s face when de-aged Dean knocks on the motel room door was absolutely perfect. Doubt, disbelief, incredulity, dismay, confusion, and a touch of fondness for a teenage Dean who was probably young Sam’s hero all are evident in Jared’s facial expressions.

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Reason # 2: As always on Supernatural, the credit for how well this ambitious episode worked is shared. The actors sold it, which is also due to the superb direction of longtime director of photography Serge Ladouceur. Serge must know these characters and this Show better than almost anyone other than the actors who play them by now, and it’s obvious in how he directs them. I asked Jensen at the last convention what we could expect from this episode and Serge’s direction.

Jensen: Well, we know it will be beautiful, and the composition will be great.

That was almost an understatement. The episode was gorgeous, with so many striking shots. The impala’s tail lights disappearing down a misty moonlit road; the beautiful opening montage of Dean desperate and despondent in his room in the bunker; the dimly lit jail cells and the light coming through the barred window; the use of perspective to show the height differences between the brothers, first with Dean on the floor and later a teenager. I loved that we got an overhead crane shot in the beginning, which will always remind me of Kim Manners. Serge talks about Manners’ influence on the look of the show in his chapter in Fan Phenomena: Supernatural. I could see it in this week’s episode, and it brought that warm feeling that always overtakes me when I recognize the continuity Supernatural has had over a decade.

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Jensen also talked about the collaboration that makes this show such a special one to work on — how Serge helped him when he directed, and how he and the other actors helped Serge. That spirit of collaboration really shows in an episode like this one.

Reason #3: The actors and the director can only bring the episode to life if the writing allows it, and in this episode, wow, did it ever. Adam Glass outdid himself here, especially in managing to put the words in Dylan Everett’s mouth that would allow us to totally believe he was Dean Winchester.

Dean to the witch: “Don’t friggen’ touch me!”

It can’t be an easy thing to make us believe that a fourteen year old boy is still a badass and every bit the big brother to Sam who is towering over him, but the dialogue makes it work. Even the scenes which were a bit heavy on the exposition didn’t jar, because none of the dialogue stuck out as something nobody in real life would ever say in a million years. Sam sounded like Sam, and Dean sounded like Dean, no matter what age he looked at the time.

Kudos to Glass for writing believable brotherly banter too, which I’ve missed more than I even realized. Predictably, a lot of the ribbing consisted of talking about each other’s dicks. Sometimes the Winchesters really are a lot like their fourteen year old selves, aren’t they?

Sam: “Dean, I’m way too big to fit in that.”

Dean: “First time you ever had to say that, huh?”

Everyone watching: Doubtful.

Sam: “Big talk from the guy wearing Underoos.”

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What?

What?

Then there was,

Dean: “I’ve got no grass on the infield.”

Sam (and everyone watching): [looks down]

And of course, nobody will ever forget,

Dean: “I have no control over this! It’s up, it’s down, it’s up for no reason…”

Sam: “Um, yeah, it’s called puberty.”

Glass also excels at giving us something I cherish on Supernatural, because we never get enough of it – Winchester backstory, aka Weechesters canon. This time we got some delicious glimpses into the brothers’ past, and thus into their relationship. I loved the scene with Dean and Tina in the bar, though I was temporarily distracted by the worrisome fact that Dean was drinking by the close-ups of his (moist, pink) lips. Sorry.

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A similar thing happened with Sam later in the car. Thank you, Serge and whoever was the DP for you this episode, for all these lovely close-ups.

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Dean tells Tina about being stuck in a motel with his little brother, desperately adding whatever he could get his hands on to the mac and cheese to make it more exciting for Sammy. The look on his face when he tells her that his more out-there attempts worked – that Sam thought it was “exotic” – speaks volumes about how much Dean has always cared about taking care of Sam. From the time he was way too young, that was his job, and he clearly has always taken it very very seriously. Imagine the pressure on a young kid without resources or any way to get more food, trying so hard to protect his little brother from that knowledge. How determined Dean must have been to keep things “normal” for Sam as much as he could. That backstory sheds a little more light on the desperate measures Dean took to save Sam last season. This is Dean’s entire life, the very essence of who he is. It both breaks my heart and warms my heart simultaneously – it’s what I love about the Winchesters, but Show loves to give me epic love with a big dose of tragedy. I should be used to it by now.

The other glimpse of backstory comes in the conversation between the brothers at the bunker, which is going on my list of favorite scenes. First, it’s amazing because the Winchesters are talking. Not lying, not evading, not deflecting, not attacking – talking. Dean doesn’t hide the fact that he’s freaking out, and Sam doesn’t belittle him for it. He also doesn’t take no for answer. He pushes Dean to face his demons (so to speak…), arming him with the courage of Sam’s faith in him.

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Sam’s the therapist here, gently talking Dean into doing what’s best for him. I get the feeling that Sam didn’t actually believe in the Easter bunny until he was eleven (and a half), considering that he found out that monsters were real a lot earlier, but he goes along with Dean’s ribbing because it establishes a familiar playing field between them. It gives Dean a sense of normalcy (what passes for normal for the Winchesters, anyway) and reminds him that they are still them. They’re still brothers, and Sam knows him – and believes in him. It’s that, more than anything, that gets Dean up off the floor.

While I’m not buying the eleven thing, it does seem like Sam hung onto his belief in positive fantasy figures as long as he could, which is another lovely glimpse of Weechester canon. Perhaps he wanted to believe in some good magic to balance out all the bad that he already knew was real. And clearly, despite Sam’s complaints to the contrary in A Very Supernatural Christmas, Dean helped make that happen. He could have shattered Sam’s fantasies much earlier, since Dean himself seemed to have his own illusions shattered absurdly early, but he didn’t. He tried to protect Sam from the harsh reality of no Easter bunny for as long as he could – and from the harsh reality of hunting. Damn it, excuse me, I need the tissues again. Thanks a lot, Adam. No really, thanks a lot, Adam.

Reason #4: Continuity and the Epic Love Story of Sam and Dean. It’s hard to maintain perfect continuity over ten seasons, I realize. But it never fails to jar fandom (who apparently doesn’t find it hard to remember every single thing that’s happened in ten seasons…) when there’s a break. This time, we got some delicious moments during which Show remembered its own history.

Instead of forgetting that the mark was on Dean’s arm, Sam talks about it. Asks about it. Worries about it. He doesn’t overreact, but he doesn’t ignore it either. That bothered me so much last season, it still makes me grit my teeth. And we don’t just hear it, we see it. The scene where Sam and Dean are about to split up was a perfect example. Sam, trying to stay closely attuned to his brother, notices Dean’s reluctance immediately. And doesn’t ignore it! (Padalecki shows this with nonverbals that work perfectly). And while Dean makes the decision to go into the bar alone and Sam supports it, Ackles shows us Dean’s hesitation just as clearly, with just a fleeting facial expression. Then we see him steel himself, as if to say, I can do this.

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The brothers’ conversation about the mark as Sam tries to convince Dean to leave the bunker is a call back to Sacrifice and one of my favorite scenes of all time.

Sam: “You can beat this Dean.”

Dean: “Do you really believe that?”

Sam: “Yeah, you’re damn right I believe that.”

Jared delivered that line in such a way that I think, at least for a moment, that we all believed it.

Then there were the last few scenes, which were so perfect I think I might have forgotten I wasn’t in my living room and made high pitched squeeful sounds. As much as Dean was considering staying fourteen as the only way to get rid of the mark, when Sam and Tina are in danger, he doesn’t hesitate to make that sacrifice. It’s who he is, and we know it. Threaten Sam, and Dean Winchester will end you! Second chances be damned.

And holy hell, how hot was adult Dean still dressed in his hoodie but going all mark of Cain on Hansel and the witch???

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Later, Dean clearly expects Sam to yell at him for it – and so did I. My Season 9 PTSD had me biting my nails waiting for it, in fact.

Dean: “I know what you’re gonna say, okay, but you were in deep and…”

Sam: “I know, I know. You saved me, and you saved Tina. You pulled a Dean Winchester. Thank you.”

Me: (inarticulate flailing)

And Sam doesn’t stop there. Jensen keeps saying that this season, Sam is there for his brother, they’re in this fight together.

Sam: “Look man, do I wish the Mark was gone? Yes of course, absolutely I do. But, I wanted you back.”

I have to pause here, because those are four little words that I really needed to hear Sam say. That I really needed to know – and I think Dean did too. Too much was left unsaid in Season 9, and too many out of character things happened in Season 8, but I feel like the brothers are finally getting back to being brothers. It takes some actual WORDS, Winchesters!

Sam: “And now here you are and you didn’t Hulk out, so I’ll take the win. As for the rest of it, the mark, everything else — we’ll figure it out. We always do.”

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Another call back to Sacrifice, and a phrase the Winchesters have said to each other countless times over the course of ten years. It’s true. They always do.

Jared and Jensen have both spoken a lot recently about the overarching theme of Supernatural – keep trying. Don’t give up. That scene was a beautiful expression of that sentiment.

The fact that Dean once again sacrificed having a ‘second chance’ for his little brother brought the scene from ‘Bad Boy’s that appeared in ‘The Road So Far’ full circle. Dean sacrificed a chance at ‘normal’ in that episode, the second he saw Sam in the backseat of the Impala. This time, he didn’t hesitate to sacrifice a chance to be free of the mark if it meant Sam (and an innocent young woman) dying. (And thank you, Show, for giving me credit for being able to put two and two together without an obnoxious flashback thrown in there).

Reasons #5: Sam showing that he’s every bit as protective of Dean as Dean is of him. I totally did not see that coming when he slammed the deceitful guy’s head into the bar. Wham! Lest we forget just how badass Sam Winchester can be.

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I also love his expression when he finds Dean’s boot. I might have fumbled for a tissue at that moment, thanks to Jared’s acting.

Reason #6: Dean in a hoodie. And Jensen Ackles as Dean in a hoodie. My only complaint is that when Dean turned back to adult size he didn’t either leave his clothes in a pile on the floor (come on, that’s what happened the first time!) or at least pull an Incredible Hulk and have tattered jeans and a shirt that showed off lots of abs or something. How could you miss such a golden opportunity, Show? Jeez.

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Reason #7: Of all the crossovers I’ve ever seen in fanfiction, Supernatural with Downton Abbey is not one of them – but what an awesome choice for the witch! Lesley Nicol was appropriately revolting yet full of personality. And hmmm, what’s brewing with the Grand Coven??

Reason #8: Tina being smarter than Dean. Now usually I hate when any of the series leads are dumbed down, but in this case, Dean being distracted by the cake and Tina being the one to say “It’s probably poisoned” was a nice surprise. Everett made such a Dean face at that, a complex combination of ‘OMG she’s right’ and ‘Damn I wanted that cake!’ Both actresses who played Tina (Madeleine Arthur and Kehli O’Byrne) were excellent. I particularly loved the adult Tina swapping crappy childhood stories with Dean instead of flirting with him; she came off as a survivor, much like Dean himself.

Reason #9: “Your son is so polite.” Sam’s face, y’all.

Reason #10: My daughter loved it. LOVED IT!!! She loved the dialogue, and that it felt like “an old school Supernatural episode”. She loved that it picked up and followed the myth arc and also was a great MotW. She even loved the whole idea of the Grand Coven being a major player this season. In other words, we agreed. And that always makes me happy.

As always, there were a few quibbles. If Show is ever perfect, I might keel over from euphoria or something. While Sam got to be a badass in the bar scene, he ended up being in need of rescue once again eventually. (Though he did save Dean at one point in that battle). That scene worked really well with Dean making the sacrifice to change back, though, and I loved the parallel with ‘Sacrifice,’ so it didn’t bother me as much as it might. But I’m still craving some Sam-saves-the-day (and Dean) moments, and I hope they’re coming.

Also the crazy homeless person thing gets on my nerves – it’s in every television show, not just Supernatural, and I realize it’s a convenient way to have a not entirely reliable observer comment on what happened, but still.

I saved the end for the end, because I think fandom is divided on whether to love it or hate it. Dean’s newfound appreciation for Taylor Swift was unexpected, and I love that – I also love Sam’s incredulous face and Dean’s hint of a fond smile as he drives off (doing a badass swerve that Jensen Ackles probably had far too much fun executing).

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And I loved that it was “Shake It Off”, which fit right in with the theme of the episode. On the other hand, my mind immediately went to “OMG how much did they pay for this song – why not get some Zeppelin or more ACDC?”

But who knows, maybe Taylor is such a fan, she’s been dying to get herself on the Supernatural playlist.

All in all, the ending worked for me, and it felt so very old school Sam and Dean, when in those early episodes the ending was always the Impala disappearing up the road.

I can’t wait to see where it leads them next.

–Lynn
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Caps by screencapped.net, @Dr_SPN_PHD and @SPNFreaks

35 Comments leave one →
  1. February 6, 2015 12:55 am

    There was SO much to love in this ep! Protective, loving Sam, smart, determined Dean–and of course Dylan did an amazing job imitating Jensen’s Dean. The scene at the end was beautiful and heartbreaking. I hope so much that Sam gets to save Dean from the Mark–I think they BOTH need that more than anything right now.

  2. February 6, 2015 1:30 am

    I’ve been a fan of this show since Season 3; have every season on DVD. Geez though, apart from the brotherly bonding and adorable mini-Jensen, this episode was terrible. Hantzel and Gretel? Really? I wish they would bring back some of the writers from the early seasons which were, in my opinion, the best episodes.

  3. BL - I need a better name... permalink
    February 6, 2015 1:57 am

    My apologies for the essay length response, apparently, that’s my thing. Sorry.

    This episode had some really interesting points that I think will play out in the rest of the season, but wrapped up in a fanfic gimmick, which is very interesting. There’s some fan service there, but still pushing the story along. Well done, writers.

    The “deaged” trope isn’t really my thing, so I wasn’t as squeeful as a lot of fans were, but I did enjoy this. That said, Lynn I couldn’t agree more: the acting was superb. (Although I’m surprised they didn’t further extend deaged!Dean’s part and then let this episode be the one Jensen Ackles could direct.) Dylan Everett absolutely nailed it as 36 year-old Dean in 14 year-old Dean’s body. Mannerisms, tone, frustrations. Really – kudos, kid. You were amazing. As for Jared Padalecki – he adapted to that so perfectly that I didn’t even think about the fact that he was playing off a different actor until you pointed it out. Isn’t that the definition of success? Even if it was ungodly difficult it looks effortless.

    As for adult!Dean, I appreciate the normalness of how he more or less opted out of life for the week and hid in the bunker. Plus that also provided some nice foreshadowing with Dean studying a lore book, his knees up and his back against the bed – the way teenagers study. (Well, at least that’s how those of us Dean’s age studied in the 1990s.)

    The “functional alcoholic” line was funny – but also tragic. While it is sad, I like the realism of Dean not lasting on his sobriety attempt. But functional is at least, well functional, so there you have it.

    I’m glad to see that they aren’t forgetting about Rowena’s Grand Coven problems. The Hansel and Gretel thing, initially was a little groan-worthy, but it grew on me. I would’ve liked some reference to the episode (I think Bedtime Stories) when the little girl was killing people via Grimm’s Fairy Tales and one of her possessions was a knife-wielding grandma in a cottage in the woods. Hansel being evil was a wonderful turnabout! While worrisome for the brothers, the fact that they were betrayed by a brother who was complicit in his sibling’s murder was a nice, creepy touch. In the parallel laden WinchesterWorld, that can’t be good.

    As for the teeny-bopper music, personally, I had Katy Perry’s “Teenage Dream” running through my head for this episode. It seemed appropriate, but the Taylor Swift thing is a nice shot at Jared and one of his “open twitter, insert foot” moments. Odd how much he dislikes teen idols when he’s been acting professionally since he was about 17.

    It intrigues me that the MoC disappeared on a changed body that retained the same mind/soul. Can the Mark be fixed with just body transformation? (If that leads to the gender swap trope I’m going to roll my eyes so hard that I’ll need an optometrist.) If, however, that means that it’s just a matter of Sam going all torture-porn on his brother with the Blade, I can get behind that.

    Again, I agree with one of your quibbles: My biggest problem was Dean saving Sam – again. I get that there needed to be a reason for Dean to have to impulsively change back. But couldn’t he have saved Tina while Sam continued fighting off Hansel? Yes, I know he’ll do anything for Sam – but Sam is big boy. Seriously. Huge. Enormoose. Big dude. And, oh right, a trained killer. And smart. So…. Can’t he just save himself? Once or twice? I like a beat up Sammy as much (possibly more) than the next girl, but I also like him kicking ass first.

    As for your point in #3 about Sam and the Easter Bunny – after researching vetalas and wendigos for his dad, I assume Sam thought the Easter Bunny was just a chocolate loving pooka.

  4. February 6, 2015 2:50 am

    And Lynn, I can’t believe I didn’t already say this, but I hope you are feeling better and that everything is okay now!

  5. maermae permalink
    February 6, 2015 3:08 am

    “OMG how much did they pay for this song – why not get some Zeppelin or more ACDC?”

    Hahah! As someone whose day job is in music licensing, this about KILLED me. Let me tell you: Taylor’s songs are NOT cheap! I hated that the song was used simply for laughs, when the show could have taken that money & used it to create something really special & truly memorable – not just a fleeting “ha ha” moment. SPN’s classic rock soundtrack is just so beloved by so many fans…that the Taylor pop song just felt like a (really expensive) cheap laugh. I also took it as an indicator of just how much SPN has evolved & changed over the years – you just know Kripke would have NEVER allowed that under any circumstance!

    That said, I ADORED this episode. I really have nothing bad to say (Taylor Swift withstanding), which is a first for me in a long time. I completely agree with your daughter – it felt like an school SPN episode. I hate how rare those are becoming as I wish we could be gifted episodes like this every week, but alas. I’ll take the good ones when I can.

    Just gimme all the Sam & Dean. I too have missed the easy brother banter – it felt so, so, so good to hear it again. So many lines made me actually giggle. Oh, boys!

    Going into the episode, I thought I would really miss Jensen/Dean, but Dylan really just nailed it. I was so impressed. I really believed him to Dean. I was also pleasantly surprised by how much of Jensen!Dean we got in episode.

    It was just a very well balanced episode – Sam, Jensen!Dean, Dylan!Dean, Tina, Hansel, the witch – the episode just flowed so well. Adam definitely deserves kudos for this one.

    Hope you are on the upswing & feeling better!

    • February 6, 2015 1:04 pm

      I agree with you about the Taylor Swift Song, it was just a cheap laugh that didn’t really fit and cost money that would’ve been better spent on something else. My other complaint about the episode is Dean not knowing what yarrow flowers are. I generally dislike the writers’ tendency to dumb down the characters for exposition, after 30 years of hunting they would know the lore of these things. In this instance we know that Dean knows about yarrow flowers (Crossroads Blues) so it was both a needless dumbing down and a continuity error.

      Apart from those things I enjoyed this ep more than I thought I would. Dylan is the only other actor who has been really good as Dean (Ridge Canipe was ok but I didn’t like Brock Kelly’s portrayal at all) and Jensen was in it more than I thought. I liked the Hansel and Gretel concept more than I thought I would and the whole thing wasn’t just played for laughs but impacted the MoC story as well.

  6. February 6, 2015 3:50 am

    awesome review, as always. The clothes thing really bothered me (if the clothes were left behind, who put the clothes on the kids at the other end? Yech! And how could adult Dean fit into 14-year-old Dean’s jeans again? Yeah, that got in the way for me — although Jensen did indeed look amazing in kid=Dean clothes, so yeah. Suspension of disbelief, I guess!)

    All the brother-love leaves me terrified that something bad is lurking on the horizon. Sorry.

  7. Andrea Powers permalink
    February 6, 2015 4:12 am

    Since joining the Fandom, about 8 or 9 months ago, you’re reviews are my favorite thing after watching an episode or convention! I rarely disagree with your assessment of the Show and thoroughly enjoy reading them!

  8. Icarus permalink
    February 6, 2015 9:21 am

    I haven’t left any comments recently as I have not wanted to be the downer on your enthusiasm, you like and can seem to find things to like in episodes that I just can’t see. This is the first episode for a while that I really enjoyed, liked the “monsters!!!” laughed at some of the dialogue and just thoroughly got engrossed in the Winchesters again. Okay it was a bit meh Sam needing rescuing again but it didn’t detract too much for me. I have mentioned before that the character of Castiel has so far only worked for me when it is part of the Winchester story, giving Castiel a story of his own could probably work but in my opinion so far it hasn’t. I bring this up because the same seems to have happened to Crowley, loved his character but now so far don’t like nor am I interested in his story. The main reason this epiosde worked for me was it was about Sam and Dean, not a fan at all of Charlie or the characters they make the heroes of the episodes “just because”. Once okay but every time not so much. Anyway hope you are okay and thanks for the work you put in with your reviews, might not agree but always look forward to reading them.

  9. February 6, 2015 10:07 am

    for me this was the funniest Supernatural episode ever. I loved how Dean confessed to liking the Taylor Swift song – it was like he was confessing to being a cross dresser or something (not that there is anything wrong with crossdressing). the pop culture references are sooo Supernatural. You remember the ‘Twihard’ episode? So I don’t think it was completely out of character for them to incorporate Taylor Swift – she is the pop thing of the moment after all.
    I was laughing so hard at them using Taylor and Bieber considering that Jared has had run-ins with their fans on twitter. and that Kanye shrug that Dean gave at the end there….I was rolling on the floor laughing. I think that it worked perfectly however much the song cost. Perhaps Supernatural has a bigger budget these days. if they’ve managed to guest Paris Hilton and Snooki at the height of their popularity I’m sure a song snippet wouldn’t be out of reach.
    Also about Sam showing his badass side to find out where Dean was, I don’t think he’s given enough credit because he does that a lot. He has beaten up a lot of guys over the years to find out what they did/where Dean is. but I do agree that he seems to be knocked out A LOT. and Hansel got his weapon away from him way too easily. but I guess that was what was needed to move the story along so as Jared likes to say, “I forgive them”.
    the brother love in this season is almost dizzying especially coming off of season 9. I see people groaning about the way no bro hugs have been given yet, but I think that the occasion to give one that wouldn’t look gratuitous has not yet arisen. and when it does, it’ll be unexpected and epic – the best kinds.

    • February 6, 2015 2:39 pm

      Apparently one of Sam’s lingering demon blood powers is an unsloshable brain.

      One day they should have a scene (I’d even take it as an extra seen just online) of Sam in an emergency room just massively failing the concussion test. Even if he got his name right, it wouldn’t match his ID.

      Generally speaking the budget seems to be way up – there’s been more CGI this season (not sure why they CGI’d the Impala other than it might be easier to manipulate that than recycle old footage) and Charlie’s body integration and Rowena’s spell vision to spy on Crowley had atypically high end effects.

      • February 6, 2015 2:39 pm

        “extra scene” damn you autocorrect.

      • sylvia37 permalink
        February 6, 2015 2:55 pm

        Bahaha. There’s a fanfic about Sam in the emergency room with a concussion and he’s trying to answer the nurses questions, but he keeps answering them with things from all of the other timelines and lives that they’ve lived. Like when she asks his name, it’s “Jared Pada….something” and what the date is, it’s two years too early because of his missed year in hell. I thought it was pretty spot on.

    • February 6, 2015 7:31 pm

      I’ll have to looking for that! Thanks for the suggestion.🙂

    • Laura in Denver permalink
      February 7, 2015 12:58 am

      I agree with you about the Taylor Swift reference, it was hilarious!! Besides I’m sure her songs are way cheaper than Zeppelin tunes!

  10. Caroll permalink
    February 6, 2015 10:58 am

    Totally agree Lynn, sharp as always… But most of all this episode made me laugh, laugh!!!! I really needed that… Been all so dark for some time now!
    About a Boy was just the right dose of everything I love in Supernatural

  11. sylvia37 permalink
    February 6, 2015 2:15 pm

    I really do come over here to read your reviews for their positivity. I think I’m in the minority being a Sam girl, but I like to read your take on things. It gives me perspective and I look forward to it. I do have to say that I’m surprised that you were shocked when Sam slammed the bartender’s head on the bar. I knew the minute he started smarting off that it was coming. Did you forget pudding guy in “The Purge”?

    I’m also a little surprised that you expected Sam to berate Dean for what he did. I mean, they never got far with their conversation in the car regarding Dean staying a teenager, and Sam seemed kind of shocked that Dean was considering it to me. The point was rendered moot, but did you really expect Sam to lay into him? I think they’ve gone out of their way to make Sam Dean’s biggest supporter this season, to the point of it being a little overbearing. “Pulling a Dean Winchester”? Don’t get me wrong, I’m loving the brotherly vibe going on and I’m especially enjoying not just Sam’s faith, but Dean allowing himself to be vulnerable and honest instead of trying to be “fine” all the time. But the lack of conversation you talked about from last season went both ways. You spoke of needing to hear Sam say those things to Dean, but I really wish it was a little more mutual. I think Sam needs to hear some stuff from Dean too, but that probably isn’t in the cards.

    Please don’t take what I say as negativity toward you or your opinion. As I said, I enjoy your writing and agree with most of what you have to say and except for the ridiculousness of badass adult hunter Sam once again being incapacitated so that fourteen year old Dean could save him, I enjoyed the episode. Oh, and my first thought when I heard that Taylor Swift song was, “how much did that cost them?” Hah.

  12. February 6, 2015 2:28 pm

    I loved the conversations between the brothers, just being smart ass brothers. It was great seeing them on the same page for a change, although I wonder how long it will last. The only problem I had with the episode is the power failure we had here before the show ended. Thanks Lynn for filling in the gap for the last 10 minutes (when the power died) and giving me an idea of what exactly happened. I hope Sam sticks by Dean as he has been doing the last few episodes. I like the brothers being together against the world.

  13. February 6, 2015 3:25 pm

    ….and did you notice the bus waiting in the background in Tina’s farewell scene was headed to Salem? Oh show….!😀

  14. February 6, 2015 4:20 pm

    Reason #7 – Poor Mrs. Pattmore! Can’t even get out of the kitchen when she goes on Holiday to the States (or Vancouver if you want to get technical!)

  15. February 6, 2015 7:24 pm

    Aside from the Demon Dean episodes “About A Boy” is hands down the best Supernatural episode this season, for all the reasons mentioned above. No bird butt, no whiny claire, just the brothers together solving a problem all on their own. Dean being thoughtful and angsty about the MoC, Sam finally being protective and supportive, and Dylan Everett back again for another glorious turn as Teen Dean. Both Deans were BAMF. Doesn’t get any better than this. Why can’t we have episodes like this more often?

  16. February 6, 2015 8:46 pm

    Love your review, as always.

    “And holy hell, how hot was adult Dean still dressed in his hoodie but going all mark of Cain on Hansel and the witch???”- answer, so hot I may have stared fish-like at the screen for a good thirty seconds while my brain caught up with my fangirly heart. As I said on Twitter, it was about a million degrees of badass. I couldn’t get enough.

    I loved this line in your review, “arming him with the courage of Sam’s faith in him”, because that is exactly how I felt. Sam’s faith bolsters Dean, and it gives him the strength to do what he needs to do even when what he needs to do is just go on day to day.

    I love it when that strength comes from Sam actively supporting Dean and not from Dean’s endless sense of brotherly love/obligation. I loved this episode for that reason. It showed that their connection as brothers and as friends is just as strong as the earlier seasons.

    This episode will always be one of my favorites, because everyone is so true to himself.

  17. Athena59 permalink
    February 6, 2015 9:10 pm

    I enjoyed reading your review, as well as all of the comments. It’s given me points to look for when I rewatch the episode this weekend (I try to pregame for Tuesday’s new episode🙂 ). I absolutely loved how it seemed the faith & trust between the brothers are back, and yes, that playful, witty banter.

    As for my two cents re: Taylor Swift …. haven’t many of us found ourselves liking new music that we thought we never would? Through Supernatural I’ve developed a fondness for Classic Rock that I never had growing up (I was thrilled when Garth drove in blasting BellBivDevoe!). Even SNL had a great skit this season about the horror adults felt when realizing they love a Taylor Swift song! I think Dean letting himself enjoy ‘Shake It Off’ was much more than a cheap laugh. I think it showed Dean’s growth, and that he’s human too. A really super hot human, but human. 😉

  18. gigi permalink
    February 6, 2015 10:55 pm

    Great article! Love to read something by someone who has true appreciation and love for the show! It was nice to laugh through most of this episode!

  19. Laura in Denver permalink
    February 7, 2015 12:51 am

    I really enjoyed the show and a great review as always Lynn. I thought the young actor playing yong Dean did a very good job of capturing the essence of Dean. I liked that Dean and Sam really talked to each other. Like you said no deflection, no avoidance, just genuine report and concern. One thing I’ve noticed a lot fans do is keep track of how many times Dean and Sam save each other. I don’t really understand that. In real life I don’t keep a tally of how many times friends or family save me or do things for me. That would be kinda crass. I think that as in real life, whoever can act does act. Just my thoughts, until next week.

    • February 7, 2015 8:38 pm

      It’s not so much about keeping track of who saved who, as much as it is finding it hard to believe that Sam needs saving so often. If course I want the brothers to save each other – no matter which one is in trouble I want the other one to swoop in and make the save. But it seems like Sam keeps getting weirdly incapacitated. Even when Dean isn’t the one to save him he is endangered. (Just last week he was magically bound and Darth Vader choked.)

  20. Tara permalink
    February 7, 2015 2:13 pm

    Thank you so much for writing this. It was incredibly refreshing to read your take on this fabulous episode. I stopped over to “The Winchester Family Business” the next day after watching this hoping to hear excitement and praise for what is certainly an episode going on my top ten list. Instead I read things like “boring” and “predictable”, “snails pace” and comments about Sam being “utterly useless and incompetent”. As for the ending, I can’t stress enough how perfect I thought it was. There was an entire conversation that took place without words between those boys. A conversation full of surprise, chagrin and humor that left me laughing and really marveling at how truly talented they are. The song choice was perfect simply because it was so out of character. I saw it almost as a welcoming in of a new generation of viewers and an admission of guilty pleasures for the rest of us. Don’t even try to tell me you didn’t blast that song on your way to work the next morning.😉
    Thanks again for this wonderful read. This is going to be my new go-to site to read commentaries on the episodes.

  21. blinderd8 permalink
    February 7, 2015 5:21 pm

    Agree with your review. Just notice that when Dean becomes adult, his jacket is a bit too small in the length of the sleeves. Dean’s solo shoe only brought me back to when Sam lost his shoe when he had that rabbit’s foot bad mojo going way back in the early years. The direction was superb. The episode did bring it back to Rowena and the coven arc so that is not always easy to do. It was as much about Dean as it was about Sam except Sam’s role is so subtle. Small group of players made me laugh, cry, and want more. Taylor Swift- well as Cas says If he can change, maybe a Winchester can also. It was cute but Dean is more than his music choices-check out his swerve driving Baby.

  22. blinderd8 permalink
    February 7, 2015 5:23 pm

    Check out the opening song when Dean is in his self-imposed prison. Ashes,The Rain and I by The James Gang. It fit. And when I thought about it more, so didn’t Shake it Off.

  23. Stefania (@s_verasani) permalink
    February 9, 2015 7:54 am

    I really hope you are feeling better🙂

    I’ll add only one thing to your review: my 20 yo daughter, who doesn’t watch SPN anymore, actually watched it after I talked about this ep, and than watched Ask Geeves and Fan Fiction. And loved them all! I’m a happy mom now😛

  24. February 22, 2015 9:26 am

    Reblogged this on jaiwhirl.

  25. March 20, 2016 10:59 pm

    Okay, look, in that single scene at the bar when Tina and dean were talking, I kept thinking.
    “Dean, she’s your damned soulmate!”
    Bring back the adult version of her.

  26. March 21, 2016 1:23 am

    Did anyone besides me think that Dean had FINALLY met his soulmate in the adult Tina?
    Seriously, I want to see her back on the show, and NOT as a one-shot character.

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