I watched last week’s new Supernatural in one of my favorite ways – in a hotel room with a bunch of other Supernatural fangirls. At an academic conference where we had all just finished attending a panel during which we watched ‘The French Mistake’ while eating chocolate pudding. Best academic panel EVER! There’s nothing like watching that particular episode with a room full of fans, because it only gets funnier the more often you’ve seen it. The instant the ‘bad acting’ scene began, the entire room erupted in guffaws. That will NEVER get old.
See? Lots of panels right up my alley.
Then some of us gathered in one of our hotel rooms to watch the new episode, so this is a bit of an off the cuff review consisting mostly of my scribbled commentary as we watched.
Nice choice of song in the opening, perfect for Valentine’s Day coming up. But wait, why is the husband making out with the baby sitter when his wife is about a million times nicer, and hotter too?? What’s he thinking? Everyone in the room shook their heads incredulously.
The next scene is classic horror film. Young nubile babysitter watching television alone. Someone comes up behind her, we hold our breaths – oh wait, it’s okay, it’s just the – oh no! Splat!
Supernatural does it so well.
Then we got the first scene that put smiles on everyone’s faces. Domestic Winchesters in the bunker, Dean staggering in all bowlegged with one dragging sock and Sam’s bemused expression at the (probably familiar for decades) sight. Dean teasing that Sam spent his Valentine’s night curled up in a snuggie…
Everyone in the room: Awwwww
Dean: ….watching 50 Shades…
And Sam’s deadpan: Yeah. No.
We get Sam’s half annoyed half amused face asking Dean if he has a hickey, and we all get to imagine how it got there and ship to our heart’s content.
We now know that the spitting out of the spoiled rice wasn’t scripted, but it was a highlight, so kudos to Ackles for knowing Dean better than anyone else ever could. Sam’s nose-crinkling suggestion that Dean go take a shower was also priceless.
Dean: But first, I need bacon.
Sam: No, first you need a shower.
Of course Dean would shove his nose into his armpit to check.
Dean: You’re not wrong.
Oh boys. Also, the way Dean says ‘ironic werewolf’ really shouldn’t be that adorable.
I live for these family moments, seriously. Then we’re onto the case investigation, which means boys in nicely fitted fed suits, and Sam using words like “hinky”. I read an article the other day about why Supernatural is such an enduringly popular show, and it mentioned the memorable dialogue. I’ll probably be saying “hinky” for days.
So now they’re on a case, which unfortunately means one thing:
Sam: Let’s split up.
All of us: NO!
The Winchesters didn’t listen, but nothing bad happened for once. Sam goes to the morgue and Dean goes to interrogate the husband, which means we get another classic phrase – “schtupping the sitter.” I might not use that one, but I appreciated it coming out of Dean Winchester’s mouth anyway. The husband confesses to the affair but claims that’s not him on the tape, despite how it looks.
Dean: Relax, I believe you.
Cheating hubby: (incredulous) You do??
Back in the aptly named Too Tired Motel, Sam is sprawled out on the couch, all long long legs and fitted white shirt and wow, can we turn the thermostat down in here a bit? More drinks, please!
I love the bunker, but it’s classic SPN to have the boys in a motel, in which Jerry Wanek and his team have worked their magic. It makes me nostalgic for the early seasons, and I wonder if it has that effect on Sam and Dean too.
And we also got to hear Dean say “Yahtzee!” It’s been too long.
Predictably, the not-babysitter kills the husband, which means the boys confront the wife. We get some smart boys action with the silver pen – and nope, it’s not what they thought. I love when the Winchesters are portrayed as the capable hunters they are, but with their goofiness (especially with each other) still intact. That’s the combination that makes them so appealing, after all.
Once again, the boys ignore all of us and split up, Dean going out to ‘get lucky’ and Sam staying in with the lore. Is Dean trying to convince himself that he’s not thinking about Amara with a lot of one night stands? Seems like it.
Sam: But you go be you.
Meanwhile, the wife is flushing stuff down the drain.
Everyone in the room: Uh oh, cat skull. This can’t be good.
And it wasn’t. There was more classic horror when the wife is home alone and DUM DUM DUM there’s a knock at the door.
Everyone in the room: DON’T ANSWER IT!
Instead of running like hell, she dares a look out the peep hole, and what do you know? It’s the scary af dead husband! A few people might have screamed. I might have been one of them.
Meanwhile, back at the motel…
Dean to Sam on returning: Any luck?
Sam: No. You?
Dean: Nah. (deadpans) What’s a dad bod?
Everyone in the room: DEAN WINCHESTER DOES NOT HAVE A DAD BOD!!!!
Seriously writers, can you see?
The terrified wife runs to the Winchesters, which is exactly what I would do if my dead husband was chasing me and trying to rip my heart out. Smart boys figure out that it’s passed along with a kiss, and when the not-husband breaks through the glass doors and goes for the wife, Dean steps in and kisses her, thereby making himself the target instead.
Everyone in the room: Stop being a damn martyr!
Sam is similarly not amused. I love that he calls Dean on it, trying to push him into caring more about his own wellbeing.
Sam: What the hell did you do?
Everyone in the room: Pulled a Dean Winchester and ran straight towards the fire.
Oh, Dean. But I guess that’s one of the things we love about you.
Sam (echoing all of fandom): You think it’s a good idea to give yourself a fatal curse? You don’t have to do this, be the martyr. You don’t have to carry the weight yourself.
Not that Dean is listening – to us or his brother.
Meanwhile, the wife is getting a clue, as she gets a glimpse of the Impala’s trunk.
Wife: What kind of FBI are you?
Dean: The fake kind.
Everyone in the room: Hehehe
The boys head out to find the witch, who works at an establishment awesomely called ‘The Art of Dyeing’. Dean gives the wife a knife, reminding her to do what she has to do, ending his speech with “Drop a freakin’ house on her if you have to!”
Afterwards, he turns to Sam and shrugs, an expression which Sam returns. I love that they’re doing that again – constantly seeking out the other, unspoken communication in nods and smiles and shrugs and monosyllables. It really shows how much they’re back to being brothers, and being a team.
The wife stays in the car, and in go the Winchesters. And then, because it’s dark inside, Serge gets a chance to show his stuff, because we get gorgeous shots of Winchesters by flashlight.
Nobody does it better than Serge, and for a few minutes we were all just struck silent by the beauty of what was on our screens – both the boys and the background.
The boys split up (AGAIN!), this time rock paper scissoring it to decide who goes upstairs. They throw two ties, both of them looking gobsmacked about it, and then, wonder of wonders, Dean wins! Ackles looks about 5 years old as he breaks into a huge grin, and Dean is so distracted he doesn’t even claim his win.
Sam: Whatever, I’m going upstairs!
Dean exits victoriously anyway.
They’ve figured out that the Qareen will appear as Dean’s ‘deepest, darkest desire’ – which sounds like the synopsis of more fanfics than I can count – but Dean jokes that he’s looking forward to finally getting some face time with Daisy Duke, whether Bach or Simpson. (Pretty sure that was nobody’s favorite fanfic…)
We, of course, expect him to meet Amara – and that’s exactly what happens. Once again, she confuses me (and Dean) by pointing out that the love he feels is cloaked in shame.
Well, duh. Though I’m having a hard time viewing it as love.
Also? Again with the cleavage. I’ve said before I have nothing against boobs, they’re awesome. But Show insists on sexualizing Amara’s interactions with Dean even though that doesn’t really seem to be what he’s feeling for her.
Not-Amara: When it comes to these, you just can’t help yourself.
Really? Dean is helpless in the face of cleavage?
She also calls it love, but it doesn’t seem like love. Then again, that wasn’t actually Amara, so maybe it’s just how the Qareen rolls.
(The whole what-does-Dean-feel-for-Amara issue was once again a question for Jensen at his meet and greet at Houston – stay tuned for more clarification from Mr. Ackles himself)
Not-Amara attempts to rip Dean’s heart out, which gives Emily Swallow a chance to be a badass, and Dean attempts to stay alive and looks really really good doing it.
Meanwhile, Sam is tied up by the witch until the wife appears with her knife and distracts her long enough for Sam to shoot her. He stabs the Qareen’s heart just as she’s about to punch out Dean’s.
Sam: Dean? I got it. You good?
Dean: (lying through his teeth) Mm hmm. Yeah.
Sam looks around the wrecked room, and isn’t an idiot. In fact, he looks as incredulous as we all do. Later, back at the motel room amidst the shattered glass, we get the scene that made this episode amazing. We get Sam and Dean talking. For real. Opening up, being honest with each other.
Dean: It was Amara.
Everyone in the room: OMG HE’S TELLING HIM!!!!
Sam: Does that surprise you?
Dean: You think the sister of God is my deepest, darkest desire?
Sam: She isn’t?
Dean starts to struggle visibly, forcing himself to go on.
Dean: She can’t be.
Sam: Why not?
Dean: Because that means I’m…
Oh god, I love Sam in this scene. He interrupts before Dean can say it. All the things he fears he is, all the shame wrapped around those words for him.
Sam: What? Complicit? Weak? Evil?
Dean: (looking very broken) For starters, yeah.
Sam: Dean, do you think you ever had a choice? She picked you and that sucks. But if you think I’m gonna blame you or judge you, I’m not.
It’s that validation – that absolute refusal to shame his brother or lay blame on him for something he didn’t want and can’t control – that allows Dean to keep talking. He tells Sam the truth, tells him how bad it is.
Dean: When I’m near her, something happens, and I can’t explain it. But to call it desire, or love…it’s not that.
He looks to Sam, desperate to have his brother understand.
Dean: I’m screwed, man. We need to kill The Darkness, and I don’t think I can. I’m sorry to do that to you, you know? But when it comes down to it…
He trails off, looking so distressed, so guilt-stricken, and once again, Sam jumps in.
Sam: I got it, Dean.
Oh how I loved Sam Winchester at that moment. I mean, I’ve always loved him, but this season? I can barely see through the warmth in my heart at that moment. We pull back to see the broken window and then hear the car engine, as the Winchesters pick up the pieces and pull themselves together. Together being the operative word. As long as it’s the two of them, on the same page, Baby carrying them down the highway, I know things will (eventually) be all right.
I spoke to both Jared and Jensen about that scene at their meet and greets. About how much I loved what Sam said to his brother, about how desperately Dean needed to hear that. He’s been carrying around so much guilt and shame for feelings he cannot help, that are not his fault. It struck me as an apt parallel for the sort of emotional challenges that the AKF and YANA campaigns are all about. Too often, people who are struggling feel it IS their fault. They may be judged and blamed for what is outside their control. Sam’s words are what everyone needs to hear when we’re in that place, when shame and self blame make everything so much harder. I love when the Show parallels the fandom and the characters parallel the actors and it’s all just one big reciprocal message of hope.
I’m sure tomorrow’s new episode will have me screaming and gnashing my teeth once again, but for now, I’m feeling all warm and fuzzy thanks to Sam and Dean and a little bit of conversation. Love does hurt sometimes – but it feels good too. Remember that, boys.
Stay tuned for much more from Houscon, and lots of exclusive behind the scenes interviews!
Most caps by kayb625
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