Thursday, April 1, 2010

Dark Side of the Moon

Okay, so, I had a thing to do with Number Two tonight, which got me home late, which meant starting tonight's episode about 45 minutes late. Number One turned on the TV, hit the playlist, and the DVR froze. It acted funky for a minute, then reset.


When it came back on, luckily, we found that despite the ominous black screen when we tried to play the recording the first time, Supernatural did, indeed, record. Except for about six minutes. Let's hope they weren't the most important six minutes of the entire season or something!

Lots of good stuff here, about the boys dying (again and again and again and again and again and then one more time), about God and the amulet. Meaty, yummy foreshadowing. Yay! Good music, too.

Lots of booze in this hotel room, bottles and cans everywhere. Dean sleeping, gun on him, guy has Dean's pistol, now how the hell did he get that out from under Dean's head without waking him? Ah. Bottles and cans. I get it.

Dean recognizes the two guys holding guns on him and his brother, but they don't care. Righteous bastards. They kill Sam, then Dean, but not before Dean makes the scariest eye threats ever. Boom, right to the title card that gives me a thrill every single week. Nice transition!

Knock Knock Knocking on Heaven's Door
Dean's dozing in the Impala in the middle of the road. Then young Sam (yay, Colin Ford!) draws Dean into a truly happy memory. I swear, I've never seen Dean look like this. This music might be nearly as perfect as Renegade was. But the fireworks' sharp reports remind Dean of the shotguns and their deaths...

PAMELA! ASH! MARY! Woo hoo! (Yes, I let the guest star list distract me from the scene. Sorry.)

Cas comes on the radio and tells Dean he's in heaven. He tells him to follow the road, which is apparently symbolic up in heaven there. Dean drives on and finds Sam getting hit on by an 11-year-old girl while her family is nice to him on Thanksgiving. Dean pulls Sam out of the memory (that Sam thinks is a dream) and the memory goes on without them. Nice to know they end up in heaven, though they're both pretty surprised.

They're trying to understand how it works. Dean's not too pleased that one of Sam's "greatest hits" is Thanksgiving at someone else's house. Then there's a very archangel-ish roar-and-shake-and-bright-light. They hide, it moves on, and Dean tries to reach Cas through the radio. This time we get him on a crappy old TV (was Sam 11 in the 1950s?).

"Don't go into the light!"

Cas is excited that the boys are in heaven, though he's also obviously resentful because he can't go back. He wants them to find Joshua, an angel who is rumored to have God's ear. They want to know what God has to say. Cas tell them the road winds through heaven, and they need to follow it to the garden.

Dean's gung ho, Sam's surprised, but Dean says God is the only one who can help. "The last hope of a desperate man."

Apparently, the road is symbolic in many ways. "Finding a road in a closet would be pretty much the most normal thing to happen to us today." And guess what? He finds a road in the closet! A toy racetrack!

It brings them home, where Dean is wearing an "I wuv hugs" shirt that Sam immediately busts him for. Mom, looking young and gorgeous in a sundress, offers Dean lunch.

Pure Torture
Dean revels in his memory, being waited on by Mom, and showered with affection and loving looks. But poor Sam, whom Mary doesn't see because it's not his memory, has to just sit and watch. He wants to move on, but Dean isn't aware of how much it must hurt his brother.

Mary takes a call from John, and Dean remembers that they fought and Dad moved out for two days. Sam says Dad always said it was a perfect marriage. Dean says it wasn't perfect until after she died. He comforts her, says Dad still loves her, and he loves her too, and hey, here's why Dean loves pie!

I had with a friend in January about Dean's love of pie. She pointed out that it was cakehole in the pilot, then piehole after, and did Dean's love of pie really mean anything? I hypothesized that while I doubted they knew at the beginning of season 1 that Dean loved pie and why, its usage wasn't random. That they deliberately sprinkled it into episodes as the seasons went on. She expressed the lack of belief that that was true--not that she thought it was untrue, but that she didn't know. I was absolutely convinced I was right. I have no idea if the writers knew this scene was coming, and deliberately prepped us for it with "I like pie!" and "Bring me some pie!" and Dean being turned off by pie in "Yellow Fever." But I do believe there was at least a subconsciously deliberate plan. I've had it happen to me enough times, where I was writing something, a revelation hits me, and I go back to plant seeds, only to find them already there, perfectly lined up right where they should be. That's got to be harder to do for a TV show, but Kripke did know approximately where he was going, so who knows?

Okay, big tangent! Pie! Geez! But here's some more poignancy, Dean's love of pie keeping him connected to his mommy. *sniff*

Sam comments on how long Dean has been cleaning up Dad's messes, which is enough to galvanize Dean into searching for the next piece of "road." It's a postcard for Route 66, which takes them to another efficiency apartment and Sam's dog, Bones. Dean asks if it's Flagstaff, and while Sam's joyous over the memory of living on his own for two weeks, Dean's angry because of the torment and probably abuse it caused him.

Uh oh.

Jared's real-life love of dogs is apparent in the way he pets and looks at poor Bonesy. He follows Dean out the door, but this isn't good. The new memory is again Sam's. He tries to pretend he doesn't recognize it, but Dean gets it. The night Sam ditched them for Stanford. And Dean doesn't need more to understand the pattern.

Sam's version of heaven is leaving his brother, and I don't know how it works up there, because it's Dean's version of hell—"The worst night of my life."

Zachariah has found them, though. They run, but Zach turns on the sun, and threatens some pretty ugly torture. He's going to make them beg to say yes before he sends them back to Earth. The boys run, and he's there every time, until a guy in a wrestling mask and cape rescues them.

The Roadhouse
It's ASH! "Welcome to my Blue Heaven," he says, and gestures with a flourish at Harvelle's.

"It even smells the same."
"Bud, blood, and beer nuts. Best smell in the world."

Ash explains the Supernatural concept of Heaven to the boys, and IMO, it's pretty cool. Well, that's because it's pretty much how I decided the afterlife must be back when I was in high school. Everyone who goes to heaven gets their own special paradise. Dean doesn't seem too keen on the idea of everyone being alone, trapped. Ash says there are special cases of sharing. You know. Soulmates.

Gah! Why, Andrew and Daniel, why must you feed the Wincesters so?!

Anyway, Ash is, of course, special. He's not like everyone else. He can go anywhere in heaven. He has a "holy roller police scanner" where he can tap into the angels speaking Enochian, and—also of course—he's fluent. He reveals that he's found Dean and Sam up here before, but the angels wiped their memories. Sam asks if he found Ellen and Jo, and Ash is pretty torn up to learn they died.

He hasn't found Mary and John, though he's been looking. Huh. Ash knew the boys for, like, three weeks, lived a whole life before that, but his heaven is tracking down the Winchester parents and (repeatedly) saving Sam and Dean? Iiiiinteresting.

So he hasn't found John and Mary, but he has found Pamela! Kind of odd, since he presumably didn't know her in life. But I could be wrong, maybe he did.

Pamela slaps Dean for getting her killed, Dean says if it makes her feel any better, they got Ash killed, too. "I'm cool with it!" Ash yells. Gosh, I love that guy.

While Ash and Sam work on the laptop, Pamela tells Dean she's happy, at peace, and maybe Dean shouldn't fight so hard against Michael. Sure, people will die, but then they come here. Dean's definitely not convinced.

Ash has found a shortcut to the garden and draws some symbols on the walls, cautioning that Zach will be watching all roads to the garden. Pamela hugs Sam, and gives Dean a big ol' kiss that's "just how she imagined." For a guy who gets laid a lot (or used to), Dean is regularly bemused by a simple kiss.

Heaven is Hell
They exit, but are suddenly back home again. This isn't right. Here's Mary again, looking like she did the night she died. She asks if Dean had a nightmare. He's no longer interested in wallowing, so he tries to leave, but Mary offers to tell her nightmare. The night she burned. Oooh, this is a new side to Samantha Smith. She tells Dean she didn't love him, he was her burden, she was shackled to him. Her eyes go yellow, and we go to commercial...

And FRAK, my recording glitches, and mid-commercial it cuts back to the show, with a stranger telling the boys he just trims the hedges. He says they're going home, but it's different this time. This time, God wants them to remember.

They wake up violently in the motel room, clothes bloody but bodies whole. But not, quite obviously, their spirits. Dean makes a call, then they're packing and Cas is there. He hopes Joshua is lying—clearly, they told him about the six minutes I missed. Cas curses God and gives Dean back his worthless amulet. Sam is determined to find another way, to stop everything, tells Dean "We'll find it. You and me. We'll find it."

But in the worst Supernatural moment EVER, Dean drops his amulet in the trash.


I don't even know why he did it. I mean, we saw it coming, with Sam's heaven being away from Dean, but it had to get worse in those moments I missed. But even without seeing them, they've shattered me.

Sam, if you don't save that amulet, I will kill you.


MJFredrick said...

I was completely unspoiled for this, so I was SO happy to see Ash! Even the dh was happy.

The part you missed--the gardener was Joshua, the angel who speaks to God. He told the boys to stop looking for God, that he knows what's going on and doesn't think it's his problem. Dean is really upset, and since the amulet is the God-finder, he tosses it.

Maureen Child said...

The God Finder and the link to what Dean thought was his and Sam's closeness.

Honestly, can't they give Dean a LITTLE happiness??

Great episode, but so sad. And I'm with you. Sam had better rescue that amulet!

Poor Dean. His happy memories are of Mom and Sam as a kid and Sam's happy memories are of him alone. Notice Jess wasn't in his Heaven?

But come on Dean--Sam was a kid. He's grown up. Realized what's important. They really ARE a team!

AARGH! This show is just killing me.....

Anonymous said...

My final thought at the end of the episode was "that was depressing." IT was seriously hard to watch, especially the garden scene as Dean's faith completely dissolved. Ugh. I read that Sera said she was going to take Dean to his rock bottom. How much more are they going to crush him? I loved seeing Colin, Chad and Traci! I hope that's not the last of them. And Nat, I agree that seeing Dean that happy during the fireworks scene was breathtaking. Both the boys faces were just alight with joy.

Natalie J. Damschroder said...

Grrr, Mary! I know it was my fault, because I didn't say in my post that I was buying the show from iTunes to watch those missing minutes, but your comment came into my e-mail, and I read the first two lines, screamed, and slammed my hand on the monitor. LOL

I just watched it, because I had to spend the day editing my manuscript for the agent who requested it this morning! It was excellent. A downer, yes, but so well done, and in keeping with the rest of the mythology. Wow, did Kurt Fuller kick ass, too!

Anyway...Terri, this should be the black moment. (PLEASE let this be the black moment!) Maybe we'll have an ep or two of Dean not caring and living it up, or apathetically fighting whatever comes his way, or whatever. And then it's racing to the final battle.

Maureen, I bet, if the memories had continued, they'd have gotten to Jess. They ended when Sam left for Stanford. They were chronological before that, at least for Sam. So maybe his reunion with Dean would have been part of it, too. Dean coming back from hell. But we'll never know, and Dean's just been broken and beaten too many times. *sob*

MJFredrick said...

I'm so sorry!!!!

Dean throwing the amulet away because he's upset about Sam doesn't seem like Dean. Dean is too tenacious.

Natalie J. Damschroder said...

It's okay, Mary, I caught it in time, and like I said, it was my own fault!

I don't know, Dean's had some blows from Sam, and just when he thought they were cool, partners, equals, on the same page, the one positive thing in this whole mess, he gets slammed with message after message that all the years that Sam was the most important thing in the world to Dean, Sam just wanted to get away from him.

I think the God thing is just the final blow. The amulet is now worthless in two ways, as a tool and as a symbol.

MJFredrick said...

But Dean holds onto things. Even as battered as he was by his dad's attitude, he still wears his jacket and drives his car and listens to his music. He doesn't give up easily.

Trish Milburn said...

I was really happy to see Ash too. Loved his "I'm cool with it" moment. :)

I will admit to some discomfort during this episode, though overall I liked it. There are moments like when the God depicted by SPN as not caring and the angels being complete a-holes that make me uncomfortable.

You know what was as crushing to me as Dean's faith completely dissolving? The look on Cas's face at the end.

I think Sam probably got the amulet out of the trash, and it'll be important down the road.

Natalie J. Damschroder said...

I think the key, Trish, is to look at it as mythology, not religion.

It reminds me a lot of Piers Anthony's On a Pale Horse, in which God was one of the Incarnations of Immortality, more in line with the Greek/Roman gods than with today's supreme being.

Natalie J. Damschroder said...

Sorry, I'm addressing comments backwards. :)

That's true, Mary, he does, but people do change, and for less powerful reasons than the one Dean's been given. He and Sam have had to rebuild their trust over and over, and it was always possible because of their core relationship. And now Dean believes that core relationship is a lie, that Dean was never as important to Sam as Sam was to him.

Dean never believed God existed, never believed Castiel would find him, or, if he did, that he'd help. So now that all hope for that is gone, why wouldn't the amulet just go back to being his present from Sam? Why wouldn't he put it back on? I really think he threw it away because Sam hurt him, not because God did.