Supernatural 12.18 – This Episode is a Memory that will Definitely Remain!
It’s been a while since we’ve had a Supernatural episode that made me so euphoric that I could barely contain myself – those kind of episodes are what made me the passionate fan I am. When it’s been too long between them, my enthusiasm quiets down a bit. Not that I don’t always love the show, but not with the OMG this is the best show in the history of EVER OMG jumping up and down that an episode like this one brings. And damn, does it ever feel good to be that squeeful again!
I would like to give writer John Bring lots of hugs, and my highest compliment – he wrote a scene that could have been written by former Supernatural writer Robbie Thompson. And that, for me, is REALLY saying something.
I’ll get to that wonderful scene soon, but I loved the entire episode. This was an old school Supernatural monster-of-the-week episode, reminiscent of the early seasons in so many ways. I liked the twists and turns of the case, first thinking it was a monster, then a human, then lo and behold it ended up being both. Bring didn’t forget Castiel either. We got another Cas phone call, leading up to the next episode when Castiel reappears. And we got Dean cleaning the Colt and then aiming and fake firing it, which never fails to do things to me.
We also got a glimpse of Sam’s email, which it seems includes Sam looking for parts for Dean’s baby and Dean sending Sam links (to who knows what). Oh, and a subscription to Biggerson’s. I love the detail that Show goes to, assuming that some enterprising fan is going to screencap that. Which of course is exactly what happened. I don’t know who capped this, but thank you!
Also, am I the only one who gets a kick out of Jared saying “Jared”?
The boys look oh so fine in their FBI suits, so who can blame the local diner waitress for flirting with Dean? Not me, that’s for sure.
I’m not necessarily a big fan of Dean detouring from working a case to have some fun, but I did like that the waitress (I wish we’d heard her name when Dean asked it, but I’ll have to go with ‘the waitress’) was as much the pursuer as the pursued and more power to her for clearly having a good time.
Sam: Dean, focus! He lives in the woods, so he’s like the local Jersey Devil. And apparently he has the head of a goat.
Dean: A goat? Like b-eh-eh-eh goat?
Sam: (deadpan) Yeah. A goat.
I don’t know why, but that little exchange made me laugh out loud. And Dean making goat sounds is now all over my Tumblr.
Dean ignores Sam’s admonition and goes off to chat with the waitress, taking his cup of coffee with him.
Sam: Oh, don’t do the hot coffee thing…
Dean: Does the hot coffee thing.
Sam’s face though, so long suffering and yet so fond. I’ve said this before but it bears repeating – it’s the actors’ ability to show so much with so little that makes this show so incredible. Jared shows us a Sam whose affection for his brother is evident right there in his expression – he’s put upon, sure, but he’s also happy just to see Dean smiling and alive and sitting across from him. It’s those subtle acting choices that bring the bond between the brothers to life and makes their relationship so compelling.
Ackles makes some excellent choices of his own. Dean reappears the next morning with the waitress, both of them pressed close together like they’re reluctant to let go of the temporary intimacy. It rang so true, just the way two people would be who know they probably won’t get another chance to be together and aren’t quite ready to let the feeling go. Also, debauched Dean with his tie hanging askew and his collar open is a very good look indeed.
Once again, Sam is mostly just amused. Never mind he worked all night, he still seemed to be happy to see his brother happy. Even that was reminiscent of early season SPN, though I think it made more sense back then. Hearty appetites are part of Dean’s characterization that are sometimes a bit too exaggerated, but it was all in good fun. Dean is so hungry he steals Sam’s food even though it’s very healthy, and later he manages to eat meat (covered in ketchup no less) even after walking through the slaughterhouse. Personally, I was sticking to salad for the rest of the evening.
The side characters were also well written in this episode. Sam and Dean meet the quirky creepy sheriff (taxidermy will never not be creepy), and also the poor traumatized kid who tried to save his friend. No wonder he’s constantly smoking something! I felt exceedingly bad for that kid throughout – scapegoated for being different and then fed to a god. Talk about crappy luck. Kudos to Bring for making me care about him even in the small amount of time we had to get to know him.
The episode was also very scary, filmed in true horror movie fashion, again reminiscent of early season SPN – perhaps because Phil Sgriccia, who’s been with the show all along, was directing. I absolutely loved the iconic scenes of Sam and Dean exploring the abandoned house by flashlight, coming slowly down the stairs, lit brilliantly and beautifully by Serge Ladouceur.
That was such a Season 1 image, I gasped when I saw it I was so happy.
Dean: Hello, goat dude?
Never change, Dean.
The Winchesters are understandably dismayed to find the basement full of knives and cleavers etc.
Dean: Why is it always the rich ones? I mean, what are they like, croquet’s all right, but you know what’d be great? Murder!
I loved Bring’s dialogue – funny but not over the top, and in character for both Dean and Sam.
We get some badass Winchesters as they get the jump on the sheriff, Dean aiming the Colt at him and then holding him against the wall, and wow, is it hot in here?
In true horror movie fashion (and true Dean Winchester big brother fashion), Dean tells Sam to stay put and stay safe with the sheriff, while he goes upstairs to see who/what is making noise up there, armed with the Colt. That was a creepy creepy scene, Sgriccia showing us Dean with gun drawn trying to figure out what’s going on, through the cut out eyes of the goat mask. I was biting my nails waiting to see what would happen.
And also in true horror movie fashion, the person who foolishly decides to strike out on their own gets taken down – in this case, Dean has the gun knocked away and then is tossed right off a staircase! Ouch! The bad guy (who turns out to be the other brother, raised in a double wide instead of the big house and still pretty pissed about it) restrains Dean in an office chair by wrapping him in saran wrap….which is a pretty creative way to do that….and probably shouldn’t make me think of anything other than poor Dean, but come on, this is Dean Winchester we’re talking about. Anyway, bad guy wheels Dean right into the cold storage with the monster, after turning the Winchester family slogan into something horrible.
Bad guy: Hunting people, killing. The family business.
That hit hard for me too. The Winchesters’ mantra is important to fandom, as meaningful to us as it is to Sam and Dean. Hearing it twisted around like that was painful.
The scenes in the meat locker are also beautifully filmed, lit up red and dark enough that we can’t see clearly – which makes the monster lurking in the corner all the more scary. Dean, badass that he is, wheels himself around and then slips out of the saran wrap and arms himself with a meat hook.
Meanwhile, Sam is frantically trying to find his brother, which will never fail to make me happy since it feels oh so very Supernatural. Sam’s yells of “Dean! Dean!” gave me feelings, okay?
Sam and the sheriff eventually take down the bad guy brother, and then it’s Sam to the rescue, breaking into the storage room just in time to save Dean from the god.
Me: Sam F—king Winchester!!
Dean: (wide eyed, looking at Sam like he’s thinking the same thing)
Sam: (smirking and quoting Dean) The Colt. Dusts anything.
In other words, yeah Dean, you were right.
Dean: (falls to the floor)
Sam: (a little later, checking on his brother the way the Winchesters always do): Hey, hey how’re you feeling?
Once again, it’s those little moments and choices that bring the bond between Sam and Dean to life. Those are the moments that make this the show I love. I’ve been writing about how I need to see that relationship – the one that made me fall for the show – more. Finally this episode gave that to me!
I know there are some fans who are impatient for Dean to be the one doing the saving, but I’m pretty happy whenever one Winchester saves the other. Not all that picky about which one it is, as long as in the long term, they take turns. And Dean did get to be the one who killed Hitler not so long ago, after all. He is definitely still badass, of that I have no doubt.
Meanwhile, back at the bunker, Mr. Ketch and his band of BMoLs are letting themselves in and going through all the Winchester’s things. I had a surprisingly strong reaction to this – I think I tweeted “No! That’s the Winchesters’ home!!!”
I actually felt the sense of violation, and it turned my stomach. There’s something so awful about their enemies invading the only safe space Sam and Dean have ever had. Going through their private things, leaving a bug under their table. I hated them for that.
Mr. Ketch, disturbingly charming as always, makes a joke about finding out how Sam gets his hair so shiny, or how many ratty flannels Dean has. And we get a little inside joke too, about the telescope that’s inexplicably inside the bunker.
Ketch: Just as I thought, can’t see a damn thing.
He also goes through Dean’s porn stash of Busty Asian Beauties and I think his drawer of lots of black tee shirts (which Jensen definitely has plenty of to play Dean…) Perhaps worst of all, he takes the photo of a young Dean and his mom. Mr. Ketch has it bad for Mary, methinks, and I do not like it!
Sam and Dean say their goodbyes to the sheriff, who has been talking throughout the episode about wanting to leave a legacy – he now collapses, saying sadly that this is instead his legacy.
That gets Dean thinking about what the Winchesters’ legacy might be. And then John Bring writes a scene that made my LIFE – a scene worthy of Robbie Thompson – a scene that made me so happy, I’m still smiling.
Dean: You know, I was thinking about what Bishop said. About… What do you think our legacy is gonna be? When we’re gone, I mean, after all the stuff we’ve done, you think folks will remember us? You know, like, a hundred years from now?
Dean: Oh, that’s nice.
Sam: Well, I mean… guys like us, we’re not exactly the type of people they write about in history books, you know? But the people we saved, they’re our legacy. And they’ll remember us and then I guess… we’ll eventually fade away, too. That’s fine, because we left the world better than we found it, you know.
(Other than the Winchester gospels, I suppose…)
Dean considers, then gets out his pocket knife.
Sam: What are you doing?
Dean: Leaving our mark.
Me: (bursts into tears)
The look on Sam’s face as he watches — the smile, the pride – it absolutely destroyed me. And then Dean hands him the knife, and he carves his initials too, just as the brothers did as children into the Impala. The flashback comes onscreen, and I sob even harder.
It was a perfect scene, reminding me of exactly why I love this show so much. At the same time, it was an ominous scene, just as the title of the episode suddenly became ominous. A shiver ran through me as I thought about the reality of it – that someday the Winchesters really will be gone. Supernatural will be gone. I can’t think about it, even now two days later, without tearing up. Kudos, John Bring, for making me cry twice.
Onscreen, the brothers check in with Mick – except they get Ketch, which doesn’t make them happy.
Ketch agrees: I’d rather be with your mother…. Hunting…for chupacabra…
In canon, Sam and Dean continue talking after they hang up, not knowing Mr. Ketch can hear them.
Dean: Low rent Christian Bale, really?
Ketch’s face as he listens is stony, repressed anger visible.
But because this was a Phil Sgriccia directed episode, and he’s known for keeping the cameras rolling so that the fandom can have the delectable treats that are the Supernatural gag reel, we also get a bonus ‘Shaving People Punting Things’ video – in which Jensen and Jared absolutely lose it cracking up over David Haydn-Jones’ pronunciation of chupacabra. OMG it is pricelessly edited by Mary Manchin and the talented post production team to cut away to Haydn-Jones’ irritated expression and then to Jared and Jensen doubled over with the most adorable laughter. It’s impossible to watch it without laughing hysterically yourself. And this? This is the other reason I love this show so damn much.
I’m going to remain euphoric for a while, awaiting the next episode in two weeks. Allow me my bliss. And if you’re in the LA area on May 10, come celebrate this amazing show and the actors who bring it to life at the book release party for Family Don’t End With Blood – some of the cast and crew will be there, Rob Benedict and Billy Moran and Mike Borja of Louden Swain will sing us some songs, there will be copies of Family Don’t End With Blood that I (and probably some other authors) will be happy to sign – oh, and free pie, courtesy of The Pie Hole in LA! Jared, Jensen, Misha, Mark, Rob, Jim, Ruth, Gil, Kim, Briana, Matt, Osric and Rachel all contributed to the book – come celebrate their writing and their contribution to making Supernatural the awesome show it is! Tickets at familydontendwithblood.com – or if you can’t make it to the party, you can pre-order your book there too and win free stuff!
Caps by @kayb625