What The Hell Did He See In Dean’s Head? Supernatural 14.05 Nightmare Logic

 

This week’s Supernatural episode didn’t leave me jumping up and down and squeeing to the rooftops – but that’s not actually a complaint. Instead it left me scratching my head and wondering where the hell we’re going from here and what the hell the Djinn saw in Dean’s mind. That’s a feeling I often had in the early seasons of Supernatural, so once again, that makes me a happy fangirl. (Not that I don’t have things to critique, of course…)

The episode started out slow, and at the first break I was feeling a bit meh about it. This surprised me because I usually enjoy Meredith Glynn’s writing quite a bit. It took me a little while to realize that the pace was slower than I’ve grown used to – but once again, that turned out to be a good thing. Instead of ten different plot lines zigzagging through the episode, Glynn and director Darren Grant took their time, following each scene and letting the anticipation or suspense or fear or whatever emotion build before bringing it to a climax. The pace was slower, so you could savor moments like Dean and Sam exploring a dark and scary crypt or Sam fearlessly going up to the attic or Dean quietly bonding with Sasha. I just have gotten used to a faster pace on this Show, so it took until the halfway point for me to realize I was actually appreciating the Show taking its time for a change.

The beginning scene is Maggie, whose name half of my timeline can’t remember, which says something that isn’t good. She’s hunting alone for some reason, and not very competently. Sure enough, she’s attacked and taken down by something that looks like a ghoul. I scratch my head. That’s not the reaction Show was going for most likely, but I honestly cannot manufacture much feeling about the AU hunters. There are way too many of them and I don’t like them in the bunker and that all translates into me just not caring very much what happens to them. Maggie has never seemed like someone who should be a hunter, and we haven’t been given any reason to care about her. It’s like she’s the only one of the random AU people who has a name, so she keeps getting tossed into the story. Sorry, Maggie. At least I’m remembering your name.

Then we’re in the overcrowded bunker, Chief Sam briefing a bunch of AU hunters. He’s all awkward when Dean walks in, which is telling – Sam is clearly not comfortable being the leader when Dean is around. I’m not sure I’m all that comfortable with this new dynamic either, but Dean seems more at ease than either me or Sam.

Dean: You kids have fun out there.

He teases Sam to break the awkwardness, telling him that he did a great job with the whole camp counselor vibe and offering to get him a whistle.

Dean: And they’re checking in? That’s adorable.

It’s not, however, adorable that Sam isn’t getting enough sleep. Protective big brother Dean gets on his back about it, clearly worried. Dean stays in this mode when Sam gets upset that Maggie (Katherine Evans) didn’t check in, trying to reassure Sam that she might still be alive. Poor Sam, his reserves clearly on zero and feeling the burden of responsibility, immediately starts catastrophizing and falling into hopelessness, so it’s a good thing Dean is back to pull him out of it. The brothers are always a good team when they’re together, always knowing what the other one needs to hear in order to keep going. There was a lot of that in this episode, and I appreciate every moment.

Protective big brother Dean
Worried Sam

Dean compliments Sam on his innovation of having the hunters wear body cams, and he’s the one again encouraging Sam as they head out to look for Maggie, saying that they’ll find her and bring her home.

I cringed at the use of the word “home” because the bunker is NOT their home, all the AU hunters. Grrrr.

Anyway, Sam and Dean and the Impala, so yay.

They explore the Rawlings family’s private cemetery, Sam explaining to Dean what a walker is and Dean indignantly retorting “I know what a walker is, Sam!” Then it’s into the crypt by flashlight where they find marks of someone being dragged across the floor.

Dean: But no blood. She could still be alive.

Still the encouraging one.

A shady seeming groundskeeper appears with a dangerous looking pitchfork and the boys have to come up with an explanation on the spot. They morph into the most adorable aw shucks representatives of the Historical Preservation Society you’ve ever seen.

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Gif itsokaysammy

And we’re left with hmmmm that groundskeeper seems shady. The first red herring, but not the last – and I love that! This episode was smart and full of twists and turns and dead ends, which is just how I like my Show.

They come to the house to see the owner and find Mary and Bobby already there. Bobby is even more surly than those ‘The Bobbys are surly’ were in that weird version of heaven. He immediately attacks Sam, calling the headquarters he has set up a bunch of “idjits”, after which Dean looks like he’s barely holding back from tearing Bobby’s head off. I don’t blame him one bit.

Meanwhile, Maggie is strung up in the attic, and oh, that looks familiar…

Me: It’s a djinn! Maybe?

The homeowner himself turns out to be comatose, taken care of by bubbly nurse Neil (Chris Patrick-Simpson). The homeowner’s daughter Sasha joins the party and I immediately like her. Leah Cairns did a fabulous job making Sasha a memorable character who seemed very real even in the short amount of time we had to spend with her. She is 100% done with the Winchesters’ B.S. within about five minutes and kicks them out.

Even though they look like this…

The Winchesters and Bobby argue about what the monster could be. Ghoul? Shifter? Demon possession? Bobby is once again surly and accuses Sam of letting Maggie hunt alone when she wasn’t ready. Dean again is protective and pissed and jumps to Sam’s defense, but Bobby’s not having it. He accuses Sam of not being “a real leader” which of course goes right to Sam’s vulnerability since he’s worried about that very thing.

I mean, I wouldn’t want to keep attacking Dean Winchester’s little brother when that gets you a Dean Winchester who looks this angry, Bobby, just sayin.

What’d you say to my brother??

Mary tries to subvert a showdown by pairing Dean off with Bobby, and she goes with Sam. She tells him that Bobby’s wrong, that what she’s seen is that Sam is doing what he’s “born to do.”  She also tells him far too much about her relationship with Bobby, lamenting that he’s “not open like your dad.”

Sam: (incredulously) Like MY dad??

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It was an interesting little exchange, underscoring the huge disconnect between this Mary Winchester, who only knew John when he was a young man, and the John that Sam and Dean knew. No wonder Mary doesn’t seem like their mom most of the time – not only is she too young, her experience has just been so different from theirs. She has literally lived another life. Mary has more to say about Bobby, but like all the other AU hunters, I find myself not caring very much about this version of Bobby either. That breaks my heart to say, because I would LOVE to have OG Bobby back and I love Jim Beaver more than I can say – but this is NOT our Bobby. He’s lived a different life, he doesn’t even know Sam and Dean. They are not the “two boys he raised and they grew up great, they grew up heroes.” This Bobby doesn’t love them like his own sons. They haven’t fought together, he didn’t watch them grow up. It’s all too different, and I feel like Show is asking me to forget just how different it is and love this Bobby like I loved the other one. It’s….confusing.

Despite the fact that Bobby was just critical of him, Sam Winchester hangs onto his empathy – because seriously, Sam Winchester is the most empathic character to ever empathize with anyone. He tells Mary that if Bobby is closed off, there’s probably a reason, and maybe she should talk to him. (The same advice Sam has clearly given himself when it comes to his brother).

Sam, you are a better man that most of the rest of us. I still want to punch Bobby in the face for what he said to you and you’re already trying to help him.

It’s also weird, though I assume we’re supposed to assume that Mary has had some conversation with Dean over the weeks that have passed, but we’ve never seen it. We didn’t see her react when he staggered back into being himself, and we haven’t seen her ask Sam how he’s doing either. It’s….weird. Sigh. Anyway, Sam and Mary find a pile of discarded IDs and realize they’re from a hunter, who’s nowhere to be seen.

Bobby and Dean are having their own conversation. Dean doesn’t hesitate to defend Sam again, saying that he’s doing his best – better than his best!

Dean: He’s killing himself over it.

Worried protective Dean is my favorite flavor, have I mentioned?

Dean and Bobby find a deserted rustic cabin in the woods, which is always a bad thing in a horror film so is probably a bad thing here too. Bobby mysteriously disappears, Dean discovers a dead body and then gets attacked by the ghoul, so yes, bad thing. He stabs it with his machete and it dissolves into a cloud of dust that gets all over him.

At that moment, Bobby comes back.

Dean: What happened to you?

Bobby: I could ask you the same thing!

Meanwhile, Sasha hears noises in the attic but when she goes to investigate, a vampire attacks her. She does the classic trip-and-fall-over-nothing trope and gives up, hands over her head waiting to die – but the hallway is now empty. She tells the Winchesters about it, and they’re even more confused.

Sam: It makes no sense.

Dean: What kinda vampire lets its dinner go AWOL?

Sasha: (silently but eloquently) WTF?

The brothers consider that maybe this is a manifestation, ala Fred Jones in the nursing home. Another possibility on the table!

Then someone realizes Bobby has once again disappeared and Mary goes off to find him. Everyone is clueless about horror movie tropes in this episode. Of course Bobby is in trouble – he’s met up with a manifestation of his son Daniel, who was lost in the angel wars and whose death this Bobby feels responsible for. Jim Beaver gets a pretty epic fight scene that ends with Bobby pinned to a tree with a blade. Ouch! Mary to the rescue, then Bobby to Mary’s rescue (pulling out that blade? Ewww).

Now Mary really does know that Bobby’s got some issues.

Meanwhile, Sam and Dean realize that the vampire manifestation was probably trying to keep Sasha out of the attic. So of course Sam Winchester, the brave brave Sam Winchester, heads for the attic. This is a great scene, playing out slowly like I mentioned.

We follow Sam down the hall and up into the attic.

And we see through his eyes when he finds Maggie.

Me: It is a djinn!

Sam manages to machete the vampire into dust and free Maggie.

Dean, meanwhile, has a chat with Sasha. This was one of my favorite scenes of the episode – again, it’s not rushed. It plays out organically and realistically, and it gives us a beautiful glimpse into Dean’s headspace by paralleling him with Sasha.

Sasha makes herself a stiff drink, then whirls on Dean, who is making lots of noise with his knife sharpening (while perched provocatively on a chair arm….)

Sasha: There’s a strange man sharpening a… machete?  In my living room. Thank god for benzos.

She’s Dean in her avoidance and use of substances, and she’s Dean when she rebuffs his attempts to talk with a “Not really up for a heart to heart.”

Dean respects that, but Sasha then opens up to him, as people often do with Dean.

Sasha: My dad wasn’t the best person…. Funny thing is, I worshipped him when I was a kid.

Hmm, that sounds like someone else we know, doesn’t it?

Sasha’s dad left them alone and she was the one to find that her mother killed herself when Sasha was only twelve. It’s a tragic story, and Dean knows tragedy. He offers a sincere “I’m sorry.”  And some advice.

Dean: Try to let it go.

Sasha: That what you do?

Dean: I try. I try every day.

He’s clearly talking about both the trauma of his childhood and the recent trauma of being taken for a ride by Michael and all the awful things the archangel has done since.

Oh, and Dean has also figured out it’s a djinn.

Me: Love me some smart Winchesters!

Dean (Mr. Smooth) Sasha, why don’t you go make me a sandwich?

Sasha: (WTF look)

Dean: (mouths) Get out of here.

Sasha: I’m just gonna go make that sandwich…

Dean confronts the Djinn, who it turns out thinks he’s Michael come around to test the Djinn to see if he’s following Michael’s instructions: kill as many hunters as you can.

Dean: (WTF?)

 

For that the djinn gets an upgrade, and is able to read minds and see nightmares and then make them come true. Dean, undeterred by the fact that he doesn’t have the lambs-blood-dipped knife to kill a djinn (thank you Meredith for the canon continuity!), shoots the djinn in the knee and pisses him off.

The djinn attacks Dean, assuring him (and us) that he won’t hurt Michael’s favorite monkey suit, and reads his mind.

It’s scary and disturbing just like it was in What Is And What Should Never Be (back when Show had the best titles EVER) but just as Dean’s eyes go white, the djinn looks positively stricken and pulls back, clearly shocked.

“You…” he mumbles, as Dean looks equally shocked.

Gif winchestirs

Everyone watching: WHAT THE HELL DID HE SEE????

We don’t get to find out, because Dean channels all that rage we know he’s holding inside and bashes the djinn’s head in. Before he dies, the djinn taunts him, as monsters often do. He’s not the only trap set for hunters – for Dean’s family.

Dean sneers, because you do NOT threaten Dean’s family.

Dean: You don’t know my family.

He kills the djinn, and then empties seven bullets into him too, in a moment chillingly reminiscent of demon or Mark of Cain Dean.

We end the djinn saga with Dean unhooking Sasha’s dad and Sasha contemplating some forgiveness (which I can only hope is forthcoming from the dad as well, otherwise, ouch).

I had a bit of a Sixth Sense moment at this point, trying to make sense of how the Djinn was acting with the Winchesters when he must have believed the whole time that he was dealing with Michael. I did a rewatch (like you have to do after the big reveal in the Sixth Sense) and yes, Glynn and actor Chris Patrick-Simpson were actually able to make it work by having the Djinn determined to play along. Nifty!

Sam and Dean bring Maggie back to the bunker (I refuse to say “home”) and the other AU hunters welcome her with hugs and smiles. Nobody thanks Sam and Dean, and in fact they stand on the sidelines in their own home, looking left out, which hurts my heart.

Dean knows how much Sam needs to hear that gratitude and celebrate a rare rescue.

Dean: You did this. You got her home.

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I loved that moment so much, loved that throughout this episode the brothers were entirely tuned into each other and trying to give each other what they need. That’s been consistent for the past few episodes and I really hope it stays that way. They KNOW each other; they care about each other. It makes sense that, even if it’s in an awkward way or with very few words, that they would try to take care of each other (and not just by stitching up wounds).

I tend to really appreciate the way Glynn characterizes Dean, and this episode is no exception. He almost takes a back seat to Sam, allowing him to exercise his leadership muscles, but he’s right there, paying close attention. Mentoring his little brother silently but effectively. He’s protective, encouraging Sam to sleep and eat and take care of himself, but he’s very gentle about it, without any put-downs. He senses when Sam needs to hear that he’s doing a good job, especially when someone who is NOT a father figure to them but feels like it keeps telling him that he isn’t. I know there are fans who don’t like that Dean is suddenly not the leader and that he was on the sidelines this episode, and let me say that I don’t want it to stay like this either, but I can enjoy a little while of role reversal as long as it gives me insight into Dean’s head space and gives him an important role to play.

The brothers switch back and forth throughout the series, one of them stepping up and the other standing back and supporting, then vice versa. In fact, this episode also wonderfully complements the last episode, in which Sam gets to show his protective side and his knowledge of his brother by taking care of Dean – and getting him out on the road on a hunt he can win. I absolutely love the reciprocity of the brothers’ relationship and how that’s shown in these two back-to-back episodes. It’s subtle but powerful, and much appreciated – I’m talking to you, Davy Perez and Meredith Glynn!

There’s a bit of an apology from AU!Bobby to Sam, after Mary has patched him up and followed Sam’s advice to get Bobby to open up to her a bit. (That patch-up scene was well done on the part of both of the actors, but alas, I just don’t care enough about their relationship for it to have much impact. It’s too disconnected from Sam and Dean and their story at this point).

Bobby tells Sam that he realizes this job is no picnic and that he doesn’t know if he himself ever had it in him – but that Sam does.

And then Bobby and Mary leave. They’re ostensibly going up to Donna’s cabin (you know, the one with the garden gnomes…) so he can recuperate.

At this point, Sam and Dean are stoic about their mother leaving, because that’s pretty much what she does. This time is less onerous, with Mary assuring them that she’s just a half day away and she’s there for them if they need her, and Dean assuring her “Mom, go. Be happy.” There are hugs and pats on the back, and the family theme plays, but it rings sort of hollow for me here. I think – like Sam and Dean – I’ve just watched Mary leave too many times. It can’t feel okay, it can’t not be meaningful, but I fear not in the way Show wants it to be. I just feel…numb. And that makes me sad. Mary coming back had the potential to be such an emotional and powerful story line, but it has never entirely gelled for me.

Ackles and Padalecki are such nuanced actors that we can see Sam and Dean’s ambivalence as they watch their mother leave again too. When Mary hugs Sam, Dean nervously scrubs his hand over his face as he watches. As Mary and Bobby climb the stairs, Sam follows them with his eyes, trying to smile, then nervously glances at Dean as though to reassure himself that his brother is still here with him. It’s those little things that let me know that the actors also realize that Sam and Dean can’t be as okay with this as they’re trying to seem.

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It pains me to say that I also don’t feel the way I think Show wants me to feel about AU!Bobby. It could be an interesting thing to explore – how does it feel to have someone who was SO important to you, who was like a father to you, whose death was incredibly painful, back suddenly? And yet not back, because this looks like Bobby and talks like Bobby and is surly like Bobby, but this is NOT Bobby. He doesn’t love Sam and Dean – and I don’t love him. I want to, I do – but I don’t. Why would I? He hasn’t done any of the things that made me love Bobby Singer. It’s almost like Show is saying, love him because I said so, because he looks the same and acts sort of the same. But this Bobby hasn’t earned my love, or even my caring about him.

I was excited about the potential for the AU being a way to bring back beloved characters who I think it was a mistake to kill off, but I’m not sure it really works. Bobby is not Bobby and Charlie is not Charlie. I love having Jim Beaver and Felicia Day on my show, but they are not the characters I loved. Even though I want them to be!

We end with the brothers, because Meredith knows how much this means to me and that this is how Supernatural should always end. They are, praise the lord, still talking to each other openly.

Dean tells Sam that Maggie wants to get out there and hunt again, and Sam is surprised.

Sam: Really?

Dean: (smiling the most proud big brother smile ever) Well, she learned from the best.

Gif sasquatchandleatherjacket
Gif sasquatchandleatherjacket

It takes Sam a minute to realize that Dean means him, then he looks down almost shyly and a trace of a smile crosses his face. Awww Sammy.

They also talk openly about the elephant always in the room – Michael.

Dean: I know, not my fault.

He says he’s been trying to get past what “I…we…HE did” and that he was starting to feel like himself again. Almost.

(Brilliant dialogue here, the progression of those three pronouns perfectly encapsulating Dean’s struggle to not take responsibility for what Michael did!)

Sam: So we work harder.

Dean: How? You only sleep 3 hours a night.

Sam: Then I’ll sleep two!

Me: NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO Sammy!

Sam: We’re going to find Michael. And when we do, we’ll kill him.

Dean: I hope you’re right.

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Neither of them look convinced, and that’s heartbreaking.

The episode didn’t leave me jumping up and down raving about my Show or even feeling happy. It left me wanting desperately to know what’s going on with Dean and what’s in his head (some part of Michael? Some memory that’s so horrific even a djinn can’t stand seeing it?). It left me as fascinated as I’ve been for fourteen years by the way Sam and Dean care about each other, and frustrated with all the people in the bunker who I don’t care about. That’s a familiar combination for this Show, and it feels right – my own emotions about all three of those things let me know that I’m still as passionate about Supernatural as ever. I want the bunker emptier and the cast of characters less like a nameless horde, but I like that this season is spooling out hints about what Michael is really up to and how that is tied up with Dean little by little, and that I legitimately don’t know where that story is going. I love feeling like oooh I can’t wait for next week’s episode, maybe we’ll find out a little more!

The things I’m frustrated about are peripheral story arc problems, not writer problems. Glynn respects and remembers canon, which I greatly appreciate. Sam and Dean feel and act like Sam and Dean. She doesn’t write down to the viewer, letting us be confused about what’s going on just like Sam and Dean are and rarely hitting us over the head with those painful anvils.  So kudos to Meredith Glynn for another solid episode that felt like Supernatural. That’s the highest praise I can give.

Caps by kayb625

–Lynn

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37 thoughts on “What The Hell Did He See In Dean’s Head? Supernatural 14.05 Nightmare Logic

  • Spot on review, Lynn! Once again you captured everything I liked and disliked about this episode (and even this season so far). I also don’t care about Maggie or the AU folks. This episode could have worked better if it were Jack in peril instead. He’s a character we’re invested in (whether you like him or not. I happen to like him). I’m also in the same boat as you when it comes to AU Bobby. I love Jim Beaver. He’s great – both on the show and in RL, but this Bobby isn’t our Bobby and I don’t like him. You nailed it when you said that the Show is basically saying hey it’s Bobby just like him, same with the other AU faces we recognize.

    I loved Dean praising and being protective of Sam. It’s one of my favorite songs. It never gets old.

    I don’t think the writers/showrunners thought through their plan for bringing Mary back. Because she can’t be in every episode, they have to find a way to write her off for a bit which just made her an unlikable character in the beginning. Once again, they have to do the same thing to explain Mary’s absence since Samantha isn’t going to be in every episode this season (or the prior ones). It’s just awkward. I did like that Sam and Mary are having more scenes together but it feels like it’s a little too late. I wanted these scenes when Mary first returned. I couldn’t wait for her reunion with her baby Sammy and Sam finally knowing his mom, but we never really got it. Mary was hyper-focused on Dean in those early S12 episodes.

    I hope we get a payoff for what the Djinn saw in Dean’s head. The Show has been guilty in the past for teeing something up and just leaving it (Example – Cas and the Big Empty. Still don’t know what the purpose of all that was about and why I had to suffer through bad accents to boot). My guess is that it’s the things Michael’s done but being a Sam & Dean fangirl I want it to be Dean’s intense fear of losing Sam or something else Sam related.

    The Show needs to get all of the AU folks out of the bunker. The sooner the better. If these people are going to be hunters than they can just dispatch them across the US. Other hunters can either take them in or help set them up with places to live. Problem solved. I don’t like my show being crowded and it’s been too crowded with side characters this season and once we get back to the main story arch it’s going to be jam-packed with – A, B, C and possibly D storylines. I just want the Dabb and company to remember that Sam and Dean are the heart of the show.

    Thanks again for another great review! I look forward to reading them every week! 🙂

    • That’s really the crux of the problem – it doesn’t feel like Supernatural when it’s too crowded. We have a small group of characters who we really care about and I don’t have it in me to add a whole lot more to that list, especially if it tends to push out the ones I DO care about. Here’s hoping that what they’ve effectively teed up won’t trail off without a satisfying resolution!

  • Lynn, Thanks, as always, for your re-cap. I find myself agreeing with everything you said, especially my disappointment with Mary all the way back to when she appeared and my so not caring about the AU people including Bobby. I wonder about Maggie and why the Show has made sure that she is the only AU person that has a name. I think Michael is still very present in Dean. If Michael is trying to break Dean what better way.
    I want my bad ass Cass back.
    I am a Sam girl all the way, no matter what. Most of us Sam fans don’t waste time with words, we just know..
    Thanks again. Pat

    • I tend to agree, that Michael is still present in Dean, in some way, shape or form. I do really like that Show has made me both wonder about that and care about it – it’s awesome to be invested in a story arc fourteen seasons in!

  • Well as always you got it exactly the way I feel about it all. I never liked the AU “hunters” (using that term very lightly) setting up camp in the bunker. I have never been engaged with any of them and care the least bit about them especially Maggie. I don’t get why they keep centering around her, cause I just don’t care. As for Bobby, I know why they write him this way but I don’t get the warm and fuzzies with his character because he is not “our” Bobby. I have been one of few that kind of get why Mary is the way she is and even if it is painful at times, you got it. She remembers an entirely different life with John and the young Dean and Sam so to adjust and understand the life they had to grow up in is going to take a bit of time to grasp if ever.

    The girls and I were also sitting there watching the djinn scene and we all sat their saying “what did he see?”. So many ways that could go, but makes one think that Michael just might be sitting dormant there just setting up the hunters until he has a chance to pull the plug on the Winchesters. I never felt that Michael just “left” Dean’s body cause he was enjoying it way too much.

    I love how our show does this to us. They throw us a bone then pull the string as we go to grab it. I also love when the writers do their homework and web in the canon from past episodes. I also love that they give us the little bro moments that we have all come to love and expect, after all, that is what that show is about and why we watch year after year.

    Thanks again Lynn, for another spot on review and sharing your thoughts and feelings about the episode.

    • It’s worth another note that YES, it feels so satisfying when the writers remember their own canon and reference it. I appreciate that Meredith is so good at that, and hope she knows that it really makes a difference. The more it seems like my show, the more I care 🙂

  • Great review Lynn, as always. I completely agree. I don’t have to say anything because you said it all, perfectly. I’m wondering though if it’s possible that when Nick/Lucifer disappeared after killing his neighbor that Michael found him and possessed him and let Dean go for now. That knowledge is locked somewhere in Dean’s mind. When Dean and Sam come face to face with Lucifer/Michael both of the boys terrors will be unleashed at seeing what their nemesis’ have done because they once had to say YES for very good reasons.
    Thanks, Debbie

  • Good review. I am glad you are more honest about your feelings of each episode. After reading your review, I have to say you pointed out things that only emphasis what I believe is happening in the show. The problem is both Dean and Sam are much older, experienced, grown-up. Viewers keep looking at the “glory days” and wonder what happened. Storyline needs to focuse on what a 35-plus adult might be facing because they have lived (survived) their 20s. With Dean stepping back from the leadership role, take another look. Dean “raised’ Sam so even through they are brothers, Dean is has also been the parental figure. As a parent, as hard as it is to let go because you alway see your childern as 12-year-olds, you have to let them step out and be the person they need to be (in the shadows, being supportive but not being over protective) That is what I see Dean doing with Sam. And Sam keeps looking back to make sure his safety net is there but still inches out to the ledge because he needs to in order to live/survive. I also saw a lot of adult fears in this episode — trying to let go the things you believe you can blame your parents for because of your troubled adult-life. Dean’s fear of dying alone during a hunt forgotten. Sam’s fear of not being able to save people (his brother) and why he had to rescue Maggie/Maddie/Margret (HA!). And the talk between Mary and Bobby was so reflective of what the Winchester brothers have lived through or off-screen talked about. The guilt, blame, not wanting the life. So yes, the slower pace is weaving a story of adult Winchester brothers and where they are and how they are rethinking their future. I have to say it was at this point last season I had a lot of hope for the season and was very dispointed. So I am keeping my figures crossed that this season continues on this path because I can clearly see where the underlying arc is going for once in a very long time. (Personal note: I have always thought the show was more of a underlying story than the actual surface monsters. I always thougth the Winchesters (and support cast) were reflecting about the monsters within us and the faith, determination, and love that helps us fight them along our life journey. Deep, I know. )

    • I totally agree with you, one of the things I have always loved about this show is that what’s on the surface is never all there is. There’s almost always – or at least in the best episodes – underlying meaning as well. I also agree that Sam and Dean are not just brothers – Dean also played that parental role. And that brings a complicated relationship that is part sibling rivalry and part proud parent. Good call on how that impacts the current dynamic between them re Sam’s leadership.

  • What the heck IS going on in Dean Winchester’s head? Ever since he came back its been clear he is literately not the same man, sure, he’s going through the motions of anger, guilt and grief for his impetuosity, as he would have done with every other major mistake he’s ever made ( Hell, Mark of Cain, to name just a couple) But there has been a seismic shift in how he is dealing, realising and admitting to putting them all in danger, when he ran headlong from his fears and guilt, His quite,measured, almost normal reaction, withdrawing to his room to deal with the changes in the command structure and occupancy of the Bunker, that for so long was his sanctuary and home. Dean was obviously unhappy with the situation, but instead of being angry, he decided to accept and adapt, to make what Sam built in his absence, work. Perhaps he’s had enough time to wrap his head around and embrace Sam’s vision , see it’s a dream they can share for a better world, free of monsters? Dean seems to be choosing life.

    I can’t help but think of the very brief moment in “The Scar” when Dean offers his verbally loyalty to Sam, which he again affirms non verbally, when he hands Sam the Machete to chase the monster this week. He chooses to hang back to take care of Sasha,the way he hung back to take care of Dirk and Stuart last week, and Mary in season 12’s “Who we are”. It feels like Dean is very aware he needs time to heal, more than that, he seems to be tentatively exploring the possibility of a different kind of life for himself, one where he can trust Sam to run the Family Business, whilst he lets go of not just the horror of his life, but of the huge weight of expectation that John placed on him to be something he couldn’t. Dean seems to be allowing himself to breath a little free air, free not just from Michael, but from the ghosts of his past.

    The Djinn saw something bad in Dean’s head, something Dean didn’t know, judging from the surprise on his face, what ever it was, its seems pretty sure Dean knows more now and we will see it unravel, maybe Dean a little with it too, but Dean is resilient, he’ll figure it out. With his new mind set and willingness to be emotionally available to his brother, I believe he’ll overcome any obstacle placed before him, with even greater strength than before.

    Mary, sadly is not the Parent our boys deserve; every episode, I hope, every episode, she disappoints. How could a mother walk out on her clearly traumatised son, who has pleaded with her repeatedly for a connection and her affection. I get she’s a working Mom and I support that, but Mary is not, and never has been, a real Mom to Dean and Sam, she didn’t even take a break when Dean was a baby, she was out hunting, saving Asa Fox (totally not Asa’s fault!). Still Dean found it in his incredibly large and forgiving heart, to wish her happiness. Mary, you need to see what a great family you have!

    As for the AU hunters, its understandable they have no connection to Dean, he wasn’t there to shepherd them through the transition, maybe they are scared of him? not unreasonable, but there been several scenes over the least few weeks where Dean’s been made to feel not welcome is his own home, when he fought to save them in their world. Its left me heartbroken for him, do the AU hunters not have hearts? Sorry, they need to move out and find their own homes, the Bunker belongs to Sam and Dean.

    And Sam, Great job! no need to say any more.

    Great review Lynn, as always, looking forward to next weeks
    Cheers Marion

    • Some great insights about Dean and how he’s coping right now, especially how accepting he’s been about the changes in the bunker and Sam’s leadership. I’m curious to see how Dean’s evolution continues to play out this season.

      • Just loving that finally the boys are being allowed to grow up and mature, well done show, never saw that coming but nicely played!

  • Great review that echoes most of my thoughts, too. I spent the whole hour talking out loud to myself, taking in each twist and turn as it came in an attempt to figure out what was going on. I’m pretty sure my husband thought I was crazy.

    I’ve only been a fan of this show for a year and a half (and yes, I’m kicking myself for not watching sooner), but in that time I’ve learned to love and obsess over the relationship between Sam and Dean. It’s so simple, so complicated, so tragic and beautiful, and I can’t seem to get enough of it. With that being said, I, too, am a little tired of all the new characters now interspersed in the story. I can’t connect with the AU hunters, even AU Bobby and Dean, but maybe that’s the point.

    I think we all want to imagine that our beloved Bobby and Charlie are back, but we keep getting slapped in the face with the truth of the situation, just like Sam and Dean. They’re not our Bobby and Charlie. I imagine that’s hard for the boys to wrap their minds around, too.

    As for Sam’s new role as leader….. well, he’s definitely a different kind of leader than Dean. I’m enjoying seeing that play out and I’m waiting for the (possibly) inevitable moment where he and Dean collide head-on about something big. While I know Dean is trying to support his brother, there will definitely come a time when he will need to pick up the reins again. Dean Winchester is an alpha male and can’t take a back seat for too long.

    As for Mary….. she is the most frustrating part of the show for me. Everyone she walks away from her boys, my heart breaks for them. I don’t know if the writer’s intend it this way, or if Jared and Jensen just brilliantly play it so, but they always look like two little lost boys when she leaves. And I hate it! She always seems to be taking care of everyone else around her first, leaving her own sons to pick up their own pieces. Granted, it does always boil down to the fact that in the grand scheme of everything, Sam and Dean really do only have each other.

    That’s what I love most about the story. There’s a part of me that would be perfectly okay with things going back to the way they were early on, before the bunker was taken over by people I can’t connect with. Before Mary came back and selfishly avoided truly rebuilding her relationship with her sons because it was too hard.

    The show will always be about Sam and Dean, first and foremost. As long as we keep getting episodes where we see their relationship grow, I’m happy. Dean protecting Sam, Sam looking up to Dean, both boys taking care of each other…. it’s the stuff of legends.

    • Yes, it’s true, whether because it’s in the script or because Jared and Jensen are great actors who know these characters, but Sam and Dean do always look like lost little boys as they watch their mother leave :/

  • Two down and a bunch to go! Like everyone else, I don’t really care about the AU people. They could all die in an episode (which I think is what we’re being set up for-especially Maggie) and I wouldn’t really care.
    That means Bobby too. It would be hard for the boys (I would hate that) but I wouldn’t miss him like the “real” Bobby.
    I really was pissed about what he said to Sam, it was a total turn around from what he said when they all got to this world. Obviously a lot of baggage there.

    I feel bad for Mary-one minute in heaven, then with grown boys, then AU with Jack and Bobby, back in other world, I guess because I’m older, I wouldn’t be able to adapt well with all the changes and I think she misses a real connection with someone her age (sixties?). I remember her saying everyone she knew was dead so Bobby would be a logical confidant. Although Bobby seemed to have a thing for the late AU Mary and is possibly a bit confused still.
    What a mess!

    • The thing is, intellectually I feel for Mary too. She’s been yanked out of Heaven ala Buffy and of course she’s in an untenable situation. The problem is, that doesn’t make me feel for her emotionally. My emotional route into the show is through Sam and Dean, so it’s their pov on their mother that I feel as well. As you said, what a mess!

  • Two down and a bunch to go! Like everyone else, I don’t really care about the AU people. They could all die in an episode (which I think is what we’re being set up for-especially Maggie) and I wouldn’t really care.
    That means Bobby too. It would be hard for the boys (I would hate that) but I wouldn’t miss him like the “real” Bobby.
    I really was pissed about what he said to Sam, it was a total turn around from what he said when they all got to this world. Obviously a lot of baggage there.

    I feel bad for Mary-one minute in heaven, then with grown boys, then AU with Jack and Bobby, back in other world, I guess because I’m older, I wouldn’t be able to adapt well with all the changes and I think she misses a real connection with someone her age (sixties?). I remember her saying everyone she knew was dead so Bobby would be a logical confidant. Although Bobby seemed to have a thing for the late AU Mary and is possibly a bit confused still.
    What a mess!

  • Great review and wonderfully stated. My main problem with the show started at the beginning when we find out Sam sent Maggie on a hunt by herself. At this point Sam would NEVER send Maggie alone this is so out of character for him. I don’t know who made that decision, It though me out of the story and I pretty much never got back. Also, I am thinking if Maggie was never in the story again I would never ask where she went.

  • I feel that if the writers had as little as ten minutes of Dean, Sam and Mary together in the bunker talking about the years Mary missed. Dean could tell her about Lisa and Ben. Sam could tell her stories about college and Jessica. They could tell her about the hunts they have been on that were funny, not so much scary. They could talk about the people they have met along the way. They could talk about John as they knew him and the sacrifice he made for Dean, as well as some of the bad things. We wouldn’t need to hear it all, just a word here and there. Dean: There was this one time. Sam: So get this. You could see them laughing together and enjoying themselves. Some FAMILY time. That would go a long way in my accepting Mary as their mother. Doing motherly things like listening to the stories about their lives. Not making dinner, cleaning the bunker or doing their laundry. Those days are over. But being a mother by caring and wanting to understand and listen to their life story that she missed. I so would love that.

    • That’s a good point. I think we’re supposed to assume that some of those conversations have taken place, but because we’ve never heard or seen them, it’s impossible for our view of Mary and her relationship with her sons to change. One of the challenges of television is that if the viewer doesn’t experience it, our pov doesn’t evolve either.

  • Ok I don’t see where the upgrade Michael gave the Djinn helps them. Conventional Djinn feeding is stringing someone up influencing their thoughts while gradually draining their victim dry over time. How does being able to read someone’s mind and then actually dish up their nightmare in real time help them feed? Maggie was attacked by the “old man” and strung up. The only time we heard about a vampire was when NurseDjinn used one to scare off the daughter. So in that case it keeps people away but still… So was Maggie under the Djinn spell?

    • I guess so? But put that way, it doesn’t seem the help the djinn all that much, does it? Unless he just had sadistic streak!

  • Love your reviews, Lynn, and agree with everything here. My sister and I watched it together (she in New Jersey, me in California) and everytime AU characters were on, we were saying, “don’t care, get out of the bunker,” and since she has been on the show, we’ve been referring to Maggie as Enid (a TWD character) and I just CAN’T care. Breaks my heart that I don’t like Bobby, but…he is not Bobby. I’m so over Mary. I did the Sixth Sense thing, too! so happy to see that it was consistent throughout.

    I think the Djinn saw Michael in Dean’s head. Or maybe some kind of artifact Michael left there.

  • Lynn-

    Excellent commentary, as always. Do you think Dean’s “Let it go.” was partly about Mary? That he’s still trying everyday to deal with the Mom he has versus the Mom he wants? The look of resignation on his face when she was leaving again was painful. And she even KNEW it was painful with her emphasis on coming back if called, but she did it anyway. Just… OUCH.

    BTW, I NEVER thought Dean wanted Mary to just cater to them. I think he simply wanted her to care about them. To put their needs first just on occaision. And their needs are emotional, not physical. She’s done the grand gesture (trying to kill herself in lieu of them with Billy, punching out Lucifer)… but it’s not the kind of daily emotional effort they actually are craving. We’re given the impression Sam had some quality Mary time while Dean was a Michael suit, but as soon as Dean came back — she’s out.

    IA with you that the show wants us to care of Bobby & Mary. But I can’t if they don’t show genuine love for the boys. I wouldn’t expect AUBobby to feel that way, but his affection should have at least grown for Jack. Mary seems unable to relate to her boys. She both loves them and is a stranger. It undermines her character. Just a few more scenes to show a growing adult parental relationship with genuine affection would mean so much for Mary’s character.

    Bottom Line question: Was Dean partly referring to Mary when he said “Let it go.”?

    • I think so, yes. I think that’s something Dean is struggling to learn for himself in many areas of his life, but perhaps most when it comes to his parents. I also agree that Sam and Dean never wanted to be babied, they just wanted to be loved. It’s sad that Mary wasn’t really able to do that, and that the show wasn’t able to really make me understand why.

  • Just spitballing here – there was a scene last season – before Michael took up residence in Chez Dean – where Lucifer and Michael met up and made a deal? The one that Lucifer supposedly welched on? What if what’s playing out was more or less set up by the nefarious two? Eh, now that I typed it out I’m thinking that’s an awful lot of things that would have had to fall into place to work so – never mind. 😉

  • I love reading your reviews. We enjoy many of the same things. Personally I have a fondness for the standalone episodes and this was a good one, like the last one was too. Two in a row, yeah, I dig it.
    There was one – or rather two – things in this that really got to me. When AU Bobby rips into Sam about being a bad leader, and you can just see Sam stand there taking the blows, thinking he deserves it. Almost had tears in my eyes, and trust me – that takes a lot, I don’t tear up easily over fiction in general. And then in the ending, when AU Bobby calls Sam over to apologize – The look on Sam’s face when AU Bobby calls, and as he walks over. But particularly that little moment, when Bobby calls, and Sam just looks so dejected and scared – he even glances at Dean before he goes. And notice Dean’s reaction, when Sam sends him that glance? That little movement of his hands? Dean does that a lot when he is worried or upset.
    Kudos to Mr. Ackles and Padalecki who can tell us so much without saying a word, and the sheer brilliance of that caliber of acting, where a simple quick glance between brothers almost brings tears to the viewer’s eyes.

    • Yes yes, those small moments and these actors’ ability to infuse them with so much emotional meaning are what makes this show the extraordinary thing it is. Good catch. And I’m with you on the tears and tissues 🙂

  • I’m late to the party as I just found the emotional fortitude to watch the last two episodes. I *love* this show, but the AU hunters and dopplegangers of characters we loved and lost are exhausting to me. I have spent far too much of this season already yelling at my screen, “WHY DO I CARE?” and we’re only six episodes in. As you succinctly state, Show is trying to make us care about all of these extra hangers-on merely by their proximity to Dean and Sam, and I’m sorry, that’s not how you get your audience invested in new people littering the screen.

    I was fine with Maggie when Lucifer killed her last season and Jack brought her back for the big reveal that Satan himself was back from the AU. I am far less fine with her since all of a sudden she’s been involved in two hunts – one of them solo – when she doesn’t look like someone who could figure out how to call AAA if she had a dead battery and needed a jump without bursting into anxious tears at having to deal with a stranger.

    I don’t like Sam being a camp counselor with a bunch of nameless flannel wearing red shirts who at the end of last season they were actively trying to resettle *outside the bunker.* Particularly when there is no way to explain away how they’re managing to feed and clothe all these extra people unless they’re selling off some of the vintage automobiles in the bunker’s garage. They certainly aren’t all running credit card scams (and don’t get me started on how Sam managed to set up a server – those things ain’t cheap if you’re building a good one).

    I absolutely hate that Sam and Dean, but especially Dean, are being made to feel like their home is some kind of refugee camp, with no end in sight to when these invaders plan to *leave.*

    I couldn’t possibly care less about Not-Bobby, because he’s *not Bobby,* or his blossoming relationship with Mary, since I don’t care about Mary either and am waiting at this point with baited breath for her to die so she can go back to Heaven and be with the two boys she actually loves. It’s funny that the whole premise of this episode was that “everyone deals with their worst nightmare” and yet nothing happened to Mary, really, besides her having to spend time with her two sons. I don’t know if Glynn set it up that way on purpose, but to me it was telling.

    I also really dislike that all of these extra people on the show are being used as an excuse to have the boys in the same episode but not really hunting together. Our leading heroes, who we’ve fallen in love with over the course of 13 years, are now being used as narrative tools to develop boring side characters in ways that feel forced and land flat because we have absolutely no reason this late in the game to start caring about people from an alternate universe who can’t even be bothered to acknowledge their hosts with a “thank you” when they bring home a young girl who shouldn’t have been hunting on her own in the first place and surely wouldn’t have returned without them.

    At least Dean is getting some really good scenes and character development so far, which is good because they owe us that much after hyping Jensen playing a different character and then having him play Michael for less screen time than he was Demon!Dean (and no, I do not trust the showrunner to address this adequately with his overarching “vision’ for this season). But Sam? Sam has so far spent most of his screen time this season acting as a sounding board to develop *other* characters, and it’s incredibly frustrating, even for me as someone who prefers Dean. Outside of Mint Condition I have tuned out nearly all of Sam’s scenes thus far when he’s not with Dean, and I *hate* feeling that way about one of the two characters that I love (slightly less than I love his older brother, but I still love him) simply because they insist on pairing him with all the extra characters that they just won’t kill off already. At least Dean is getting to talk with one-off characters that we can be sure aren’t going to turn into a long-term time-suck away from the epic love story of the Winchesters. Poor Sam keeps being paired up with the AU people we don’t care about and can be relatively certain aren’t going anywhere for a while. Having to focus on these random folks as if they’re important for no other reason than they’re using Sam as a plot device to say, “See? Sam cares about them, you should too!” is doing the character a grave disservice.

    Anyway, spot on review. I liked this episode far more than I was expecting to, which isn’t saying much since my expectations for this season are quite low, but the focus on the Mary-Bobby (is it Mobby or Bary? Has anyone decided?) romance and Maggie-sue being out of her depth left me sighing in frustration.

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