Saturday, November 6, 2010

Family Matters

So after the major walloping Dean delivered last week we open with a bloody and battered Sam tied to a chair and Cas looking over him. Dean and the surly angel are trying to figure out what’s wrong with Sammy.

“What? You think there’s a clinic out there for people who just pop out of hell wrong?” --Dean

After some questioning, they realize Sam doesn’t sleep. He hasn’t closed his peepers since he got back from Hell. Next Cas asks him how he feels and like a fifteen year old boy Sam says, “I don’t know.” The lack of feeling raises suspicion in Cas and he shoves a belt into Sam’s mouth. (Uh oh, I know what’s coming.) Sam bites the leather in agony as Cas reaches into his chest and searches for his soul. It ain’t there.

“One more time, like I’m five.” -- Dean

Dean is stunned. Castiel says Sam’s soul is probably still in Lucifer’s cage. Dean wants to know if Sam is actually Sam then. Cas says that’s a good question. Dean wants to keep his little brother locked up indefinitely, but Sam proves that impossible. (Okay, he escaped some ropes, but to say a panic room couldn’t hold him makes me wonder if he’s capable of more than we know.)

Ultimately Dean and Sam decide the best course of action if to find out who resurrected him. Only Sam doesn’t remember anything. He woke up in a field, but he thinks Samuel might know more since he too was brought back.

The old man says he doesn’t know anything more than Sam does. Samuel just remembers waking on a ridge. Cas does an “angel cavity search” and finds (Whoo-boy. Didn’t expect that.) Samuel DOES have his soul. Hmm. I figured if anyone was evil, it was him. And yet he says he knew there was something wrong with Sam, because at times his hunting abilities actually scared him.

The boys want to know what Samuel's up to now. He reluctantly admits he’s going out at dawn to hunt the alpha vampire. Sam is upset his grandfather didn’t call him. Dean quickly realizes they were left out because the senior Winchester doesn’t like Dean. Dean tells him he wants in on the hunt and he’ll be good and obedient. A minute later he tells Sam he doesn’t trust Samuel, he can feel he’s hiding something.

“If you weren’t RoboSam, you would too.” -- Dean

Dean goes snooping for answers and has a confrontation with Christian. The next morn, Dean is relegated to the back of the line with Gwen, where they’re attacked by a vamp. Gwen beheads the bloodsucker and Dean is sprayed with blood. Nastiness!

Dean hears a shot and tears off after the other team, not following the “stay here” directive he’d been given. Bodies litter the front yard of a house, shots and screams are heard. Dean looks up at a crow weather vane on the roof and flashes on the images he had when he was a vampire under the Alpha’s power. Then he sees a woman beg for help at a window before she’s yanked away.

Dean hears Samuel yelling so he follows the sound to the back of the house where baldy is shoving a hooded man into a van. It’s the guy with the long fingernails from Dean’s vision! Dean hurries back to Gwen so no one knows he saw anything. Samuel shows up and Dean questions him about what happened. Samuel lies. Dean gets in the Impala with Sam and asks if anything unusual happened. Sam lies! Fortunately, instead of merely stewing over his brother’s treachery, as he’s recently done a lot of, Dean pulls over, gets out of the car and tells Sam what he witnessed. Sam admits he didn’t want Dean to know Samuel’s capturing creatures for intel. Dean calls Sam out on his cluelessness. Surely, he must see Samuel is up to no good. Then Dean has an epiphany… Sam has no instincts. Losing his soul also cost him his gut feelings. Sam is blindly trusting Samuel just because of their blood relation. Dean tells him family may not be as important to Samuel as it is to them and he shouldn’t be trusted just because of their familial lines. He then tells Sam he can stick with him, but he has to follow what Dean says since he’s freakin’ clueless, or he can choose to go with Samuel and see how that goes.

Sam shows up at Samuel’s place. He tells his grandfather Dean is gone, that the two of them aren’t seeing eye-to-eye anymore. (I think he’s there at the behest of Dean.) Sam then tells his namesake he wants in, that he’ll help with the interrogations and everything. Samuel says no, because of his absentee soul. (Ha! I’m right.) Sam meets up with Dean and says Plan A didn’t work, but Plan B—which Dean didn’t know about—did. Sam enabled the GPS tracker on Samuel’s phone. They follow him and Christian to a vacant warehouse.

“He thinks Velcro is big news.” --Sam

Oy! The Alpha has bolts nailed through his hands and feet. How biblical. He’s also strapped to a chair with chains and hooked up to electricity. Samuel asks him “where is it?” When the creepy-cool vamp doesn’t answer,Samual sends volts of electricity to the bolts. The vamp laughs and blithely says, “Ow.” A frustrated Samuel leaves and the Alpha invites Sam and Dean out of hiding.

Oh my, they’re pumping the Alpha with dead man’s blood through an IV. He doesn’t look the least phased though and watching his fingernails saw away at his bonds makes me nervous. Even more nerve-wracking is that he knows Dean, since he was his child for a short time. He taunts Dean, wanting to know if he enjoyed it.

“I’m asking the questions here, Frightnight.” – Dean

Alpha tells them he’s happy to answer any questions they have because “soon I’ll be ankle deep in your blood, sucking the marrow from your bones. “ Yipe! Sam marvels over him being the first and wants to know who made him. The Alpha says,“we all have our mothers, even me.” Dean wants to know what’s with the big surge of vamps and Alpa tells him they’re going to war. Then he notices Sam smells cold, that he has no soul and he wants to know how it feels to be so empty. Sam says he wants to know why Samuel is interrogating the Alpha. The Alpha says when freaks like himself die they don’t go to either Heaven or Hell. Dean glibly suggests they go to Legoland, but Sam realizes he means purgatory. Turns out the mid-place is full of every soul, of every hungry thing that walked the Earth. The real question of the day is, “WHERE is purgatory?” The answer to that question is what they’re kind-hearted grandpa is trying to beat out of the Alpha. Sam asks why Samuel would care and Alpha says he doesn’t care, he merely does what he’s told. Dean asks whose hand is up Samuel’s ass when they hear someone behind them cock a gun. Damn! You know it’s the puppet himself.

Yup, Samuel and Christian take away Dean and Sam’s impressive arsenal. Dean accuses gramps of being really stupid, that whatever he’s doing, whatever he’s hiding, will put him and everyone around him in the ground. Samuel takes offense and charges Dean, who disarms him. Sam then gets a hold of Christian and just as Dean’s going for a gun, putting them back in power, Gwen shows up with a cocked gun in hand.

One of Samuel’s minions was left to watch the alpha. Mr. Brawn and No Brains approaches the cage, machete in hand and the alpha asks, “Are you scared of me. I would be.” In an effort to demonstrate his fearlessness the ill-fated guard pulls the switch on the electricity. As the juice goes through the alpha, he breaks his bonds and yanks out the IV. The guard turns to run, takes one of those trite horror movie trips I hate and notices the cage behind him is empty, as he leaps up to run out of the room he finds the alpha standing before him. The camera cuts to the Winchesters who hear an unholy scream. Dumb dude’s dead and the alpha is gone. Big surprise. Not.

Samuel wants to know how much dead blood they have left. Christian holds up two syringes. They’ve got an hour before the alpha will be back at 100%. Samuel wants him back in the cage, Dean wants him dead. They spread out to find the master vamp. Dean says if they make it through this the three Winchesters are going to have one helluva family meeting.

The two Sams are on a team with Christian. Just as they start to wonder if the alpha escaped, he shows up in a blink and breaks Christian’s neck (good riddance). Samuel puts a slug in Alpha before he’s thrown into a wall. Sam attacks the vamp with his machete, but he’s quickly disarmed. Alpha informs Sam he’s got big plans for him. A boy with no soul would make the perfect animal. Just as Alpha flashes fang, Christian (Holy Hell, he’s got black demon eyes!) jabs him in the neck with a syringe. Dean and Gwen walk in on the scene. There’s a flash of light and two more demons join Christian in holding the alpha. Another flash of light and they all four disappear. WTH? Then we hear weak applause offscreen and the camera pivots to Crowley. Samuel tells him to remove the demon he just stuffed into his nephew, but Crowley tells him he protects his investments and he had Christian possessed ages ago. Dean is stunned to learn they know each other and have some sort of business pact.

“You’re Crowley’s bitch.” –Sam

It seems Crowley wants Purgatory as a developer. “It’s vast, underutilized and Hell adjacent.” Crowley tells the boys they’re now his employees thanks to Gramps. He says Samuel knows things, more than any of them. The smug demon also admits he knew the boys misguided family loyalty would have them going froggy if Samuel said jump. Dean assures Crowley they have no loyalty to Samuel, but the King of Hell tells them they can’t pull out of their deal if they want Sam’s soul back. He can return the missing piece with the snap of his fingers. Turns out it was him that pulled Samuel out of Heaven and Sam out of Hell. (I did not see that coming!) And gramps knew all along. (Now that doesn’t surprise me. Bastard!)Big picture—Crowley wants the Winchesters to keep bringing him creatures or he’ll shove Sam back into Hell.

“Me Charlie, you angels.” – Crowley

Crowley bails and Gwen questions Samuel. He says he’ll take care of Crowley, in the meantime they hunt. Nothing’s changed. Sam tells him he’s not the man he thought he was. Samuel says he doesn’t know a thing about him. He’s certainly not apologetic or in any way trying to make good with the boys. He won’t even share his reasons for making the deal with Crowley and I think the boys deserve that much since he dragged them into his muck.

“What’d he offer you, girls, money, hair?” – Dean

Then he has the audacity to pull out the damn family card. They’re all he’s got, but as he sees it they’ve got two choices--put a bullet in their grandfather or step aside. Sam yanks his gun out and I’m inclined to let him shoot his namesake, but Dean stops him even though Samuel sold them out. Dean then lets gramps go. Why? And WHY didn’t Dean insist on answers? He’s certainly been hard-nosed about knowing something was wrong with Samuel and then, once he’s proven right, he does a whole lotta nothing.

Left alone, the brothers talk about how they don’t want to work for Crowley, but really don’t have a choice. So, for now, they’re gonna punch the demon’s timeclock until they can figure out how to get Sam’s soul back and take down the King of Hell. Good news is we’ll see more Crowley, bad news is we’ll see more gramps and we still have no clue why he’s sold them into slavery. Think maybe it has to do with daughter Mary? What’s your theory? As for the episode itself, it was jam-packed, but I didn't care for it much. Some great one-liners and I liked the Crowley reveal, but I'm missing the old spirit of the show. I want Sam's soul back ASAP, more Castiel, more classic rock and a little more levity please.


Natalie J. Damschroder said...

Terri, you did such a good job with this recap I was surprised at your opinion at the end!

I have divorced my feelings from my past passion. I don't want to lament that it's different--I want to appreciate it for itself. In that regard, I loved the episode. I loved Dean, I marveled at Jared's acting (again and still), I appreciated the complexity of Samuel. Most of all, I loved that they revealed Crowley's role so soon. They could be dragging things out, but they aren't, and that gives me hope that Sam will have his soul back soon.

Because like you, I miss Sammy, and I miss the humor. I want it back. I don't know how long I can appreciate the season for what it is without it, but so far, I'm okay. :)

As for Samuel, yeah, I think Crowley threatened or has Mary and/or Deanna, and Samuel didn't tell Dean because he knew he'd want to go rescue them, and Samuel's afraid of what Crowley would do to them if they failed. Samuel obviously thinks it's safer to work for Crowley.

I'm kind of thrilled that Crowley's role goes on. :) I love him, and I thought the writers have done a great job keeping us guessing and speculating but still making the answers feel inevitable once we hear them.

Anonymous said...

I agree that Samuel must think it's better to work for Crowley than deal with the alternative. And yeah, Dean would go off half-cocked if it involved Mary. I certainly can't argue with the things you liked about the episode, I liked the same things, but I'm missing Sammy and Cas. Things just seem as heavy and dismal post-apocalypse as they did during. The writers said they were going back to the basics, like the first season, but I'm not seeing it.

Natalie J. Damschroder said...

I totally agree about it being heavy and dismal, and you're right, it doesn't fit the reports of how it was going to be.

Unknown said...

I'm mixed on this ep. I loved parts and hated others. I sure want Sammy's soul back pronto because I really miss the old byplay. I'm not looking forward to more hunts with cold, souless Sam in the car.

Loved Crowley and the demon in Christian...the fewer Campbells the better.

I hate having only glimpses of Cas. It's like having a plate of fresh, hot brownies, but only allowed one bite. I'm interested in this angelic civil war. Cas's reports are grim and things have to be bad if a demon can sneak into heaven to let Samuel out.

Anonymous said...

Melissa, I'm curious about the war too. It has to bad to make Cas so cross.

Natalie J. Damschroder said...

Me, too, Melissa, on all of that. I'm staying positive, because the writers HAVE to know we feel that way. They understand the fandom and the core of their show and can't be stupid enough to hollow that core all season. Plus, narratively speaking, Sam and Dean would make getting Sam's soul back a priority.

Anonymous said...

Nat, I agree the writer's have to know how we feel, but I'm not good at being patient. LOL. Don't even get me started on how I've lost patience with Christina Yang on Grey's Anatomy!

Unknown said...

Awesome recap Terri!!
You highlighted all my favorite one-liners for sure. And I couldn't have summed up my opinion better than you:
"... I didn't care for it much. Some great one-liners and I liked the Crowley reveal, but I'm missing the old spirit of the show. I want Sam's soul back ASAP, more Castiel, more classic rock and a little more levity please." ITA!! I know they had to come up with some over-arching storyline, but I'm already done with this one. Need Sam's soul back stat!

Anonymous said...

Okay, i'm clearly in the minority but i liked this ep! Not one of my all time faves by any means, but next to wknd @ bobby's, one of my faves this season. (maybe it helped that no one had their eyeballs impaled or tongues eaten etc--I was able to tolerate the vamp torture since he was so calm about it). I liked 1. getting answers 2. Crowley 3. Twists i did not see coming & 4. Moments if dry humor (of course, your problems always come first & esp "hello, Newman"). Granted Sam is not all soulful and cuddly but I laughed out loud several times. I also felt, with Sam's disillusionment in grandpa, we were 1 step closer to the boys being on the same page/same team again

Natalie J. Damschroder said...

I liked it for the same reasons you did, Tanya! Cas's line about their problems was my favorite of the episode. :) And Sam's willingness to shoot Grandpa shocked me a little, but fit with his soullessness--he's operating solely on logic. But he also let Dean stand him down.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Pam. I miss you. :)

Anonymous said...

Tanya, you have a good point about Sam's disillusionment.