Friday, May 20, 2011

Recap of "The Man Who Knew Too Much"

Note: I wanted MJ's first episode recap to appear on the page ahead of this one, but if you get this in a Google Reader or some other kind of feed, please read her recap of "Let it Bleed" first!

We start with the traditional "The Road So Far" reminders to Kansas's "Carry On, Wayward Son, culminating in Cas saying "You have to trust me." Which doesn't bode well for what happens if we do.

We open with Sam on the run from police, frantic. He hides, and a cop car crawls by Castle Storage, which should be a clue (it's Dad's storage place!), especially since Sam doesn't go there. He ducks into a bar and tells the freaked-out bartender that he just needs a minute to think, and he doesn't know who he is. (I love this actress!)

I love the editing on this show. "I don't remember anything" and cut to shattering glass and growls. *sigh* I'm so sad this is the season finale.

The last thing Sam remembers, he woke up on a park bench and clocked the cops trying to take him in (For what, Sam? You hardly look like a vagrant. Clue #2.) The bartender assures Sam it will come to him if he relaxes. He finds an HP Lovecraft book on a shelf, and it triggers a few memories of the last episode, plus a motel. He borrows a laptop and finds the motel, a dump.

Bartender: "Maybe you're a hooker."

She insists on accompanying Sam, who tries to tell her no, but she's as stubborn as he is. When she tells him she's been called crazy, and that she's dying to know how it all turns out, I get a little suspicious that she's not just a random bystander.

They go to the motel and the room Sam would choose, and break in with a credit card. (I did that once when I locked myself out of my dorm room! I don't remember why I had my keycard in the shower but not my key...) Anyway! The room is full of their old research boards, with data on their current case, though this isn't a method they've used in a long time. An image of Ellie (aka Eleanor, aka Bobby's old squeeze the professor with the dragon sword, aka something out of purgatory) triggers another memory for Sam.

Bobby, Dean, and Sam are trying to find Ellie, who called them to this alley. They call her and hear her phone live, and find her dying. She could have handled the demon, but when the angel got involved... She told them how to open purgatory. She manages to tell them the formula before she dies. Cas arrives with an insincere apology. He tells them to stay out of it, but when they refuse, he says, "I promise when this is over, I'll save Sam. But only if you stand. down." Then he touches Sam.

Who is back to himself again, aware of who he is, and just a little unsettled.

Sam: "I just remember I was with two guys. One was a male model type, and the other was an older guy."

Man, would Dean love that!

Sam finds Bobby's address but not phone number, and is going to head to South Dakota. The bartender (whose name we never do learn) says this is where she gets off. Sam finds car keys and they go outside where he says, "That's mine." Um...really, Sam? LOL

The bartender tells Sam that whatever he's looking for, he may not like what he finds. Again, I'm suspicious. Sam senses something, and the world goes slo-mo. He knocks the bartender down before someone fires on them.

Me and Number One: "Noooo! They shattered the Impala!"

The shooter... Sam. Cold, hard, soulless Sam.

And now we get it. The bartender is calling Sam, but when she says "Sammy," we know that's got to be Dean. And sure enough, we flash into the panic room at Bobby's, angel proofed, with Sam on his cot (yum) and Dean hovering, worried beyond sanity.

I think this is about when I said, "How the hell am I going to recap this episode?!"

We come back to the Rolling Stones "Play with Fire" and Dean struggling to find a solution. Bobby clarifies for us that Cas actually removed the wall in Sam's brain. Now they have 15 hours to stop Cas from opening purgatory and Dean frantic to help Sam, and they have no ideas on how to do any of it.

Back in Sam's head, in the Impala, he smells whisky (whiskey? didn't see what they were drinking LOL). Bartender is no longer happy to be with Sam, but he thinks she's safer with him. Then Dean shines a flashlight in Sam's eye and suddenly he's blinded and it's suddenly daylight. He's freaked, she's freaked, but he hears something in the woods and tells her to get in the car. Then he opens the Impala's trunk and is a bit floored by the arsenal. He loads up and heads into the woods to find whatever's stalking him. A very Sam move, and I think he's starting to read the clues.

And now we slide into Jared Padalecki's greatest performance. We have Less!Than!Sam, a diminished, "gawky," frightened version of himself, face-to-face with Soulless!Sam, who explains that when Cas took down the wall, Sam shattered into pieces. Here are two of them. Soulless!Sam waxes rhapsodic about himself and derides Less!Than!Sam, and decides to take charge around here, before it's too late. But Soulless!Sam is a crappy shot, so when LT!Sam takes off, SL!Sam misses, like, five times.

The pathetic infant isn't so much, though. He tricks SL!Sam with a decoy and circles around, shooting himself in the back. SL!Sam says "You think I'm bad, wait till you meet the other one." Then his piece of soul merges with LT!Sam, to create one close to whole. When he comes out of the woods, he's the Sam we know, remembering who he is, everything he did...and the bartender who isn't, as I thought, just a random bystander. Sam pulled a Speed on her when he was soulless, shooting her to remove a creature's leverage. Sam apologizes, and she says "Not as sorry as you're gonna be" before she fades away.

Balthazar shows up at Bobby's. Dean asks what took him so long, and he says he was trying to decide whether to help them or rip out their sticky bits. Ew. He hands over the address where Cas and Crowley are. 221 Piermont Ave., Bootback, Kansas. Which doesn't exist, unless I'm reading it wrong, but nothing close exists, either. Far as I can tell, Bootback or Bootbock is a tribute to the, what, computer geeks?

Anyway. Balthazar won't zap them there, because he's betraying a friend, they all are, and he thinks he's stuck his neck out far enough.

Crowley hands over the purgatory power shake to Cas, who "renegotiates" the terms. Crowley gets nothing. Cas gives him two options: flee, or die. I start to have hope that Cas has a big wonderful plan, when he tells Crowley he wasn't going to hand over souls to the King of Hell because he's neither stupid, nor wicked. Crowley chooses, of course, to flee.

Sam is now in a house full of candles and dropcloth-shrouded furniture that turns out to be Bobby's place. In the kitchen is a half-slumped figure. Sam shouts at him, and he raises his head. "Oh. Hi, Sam." And drops it again. Utterly defeated and despairing. Sam asks which one he is, and a bloodied, battered Sam stands up and says "I'm the one who remembers hell."

Bobby finishes packing while Dean leaves the address with Sam's gun next to him, and begs him to wake up and follow them. "Sammy, please" breaks my heart every time.

Hellfire!Sam says he wishes Sam hadn't come. Sam says he had to, that this is where he is in the real world, right? Bobby's? Hellfire!Sam asks how he knows that, and Sam says this whole time he's been smelling Old Spice and whiskey. He figures if he came here, he could snap out of it somehow. HF!Sam says he has to go through him, that Humpty Dumpty has to put himself back together before he can wake up, and he's the last piece. So Sam has to know what happened in the cage in order to go back. HF!Sam says he doesn't want to know it, and begs Sam to stay. He tells Sam he knows him, and that he's not strong enough.

But...but...he's HIM. If Hellfire!Sam is strong enough to withstand it, then Whole!Sam would have to be, right? Of course, HF!Sam is just a manifestation of Whole!Sam's fears that he CAN'T handle it. But Sam won't leave his brother alone out there, so he will do it.

HF!Sam won't fight him. He hands over a knife and Sam stabs himself, writhing and arching and flailing and arching and... ahem. As his soul pieces merge.

Balthazar appears to Cas, who summoned him. Cas says Dean is on his way, that they have a Judas in their midst, and holy hell, none of these angels can lie worth a damn! Cas reads Balthy, of course, and laments how everyone has turned on him. Then he stabs Balthazar through the heart. When Cas says "Yes, I'll always have you," I think he's taking Balthazar's soul! Hmmm. That gives me some ideas for next season's direction...

But I'm jumping ahead. It's really hard to have hope now that Cas has any good left in him. Bobby and Dean are on site now, and they can't take on a dozen angel-mooks, so Bobby says they'll Ninja their way in. Dean says yeah, until Bobby's knee squeaks. But now they have something thudding toward them, and spot a cloud of demons. They get in the car, which gets utterly plowed over as the demons attack the building.

Cas is distracted from the Latin ritual on a piece of paper by the demon attack and Crowley's return. Cas tries to palm him, but Crowley has switched sides. He's protected by Raphael. Cas reveals utter hypocrisy in judging Raphael for consorting with demons. After a mildly amusing exchange in which Crowley can't decide whether to call Raphael a he or she, Raphael says something very telling. "Taking that much power? If anyone is going to be 'the new God,' it's me." Cas says it will bring on the apocalypse. Crowley doesn't care, he just took the best offer on the table. He gives Cas the same offer, to flee or die.

Cas tosses the jar of blood to Crowley and disappears, and god help me, I STILL had hope for a big meaty awesome wonderful plan in which Castiel is still worthy of our love.

Crowley starts the ritual. Dean and Bobby struggle out from the smashed Impala and get inside. Dean flings an angel knife at Raphael, who catches it—not that it had very good aim, anyway. Crowley flings Bobby down the stairs and Dean over a rail onto a table. A shaky, exhausted Sam, struggling to suppress his memories, stumbles by the Impala, further evidence of that wormhole extending from Bobby's to everywhere else in the country. Crowley finishes the ritual, but nothing happens.

"Maybe I said it wrong."

"You said it perfectly," says a smug, clearly victorious Cas. Raphael isn't as smart as Crowley, and orders Cas to hand over the blood. Crowley knows it's too late, and invites Cas to display his power, which he does, in a flare of light that calls to mind the rise of Lucifer at the end of last season.

Cas is pretty mellow/high. He lets Crowley go, but says he has plans for him when Raphael protests him letting the demon go but not his own brother. Cas snaps his fingers, and Raphael goes all esplodey. The angel knife clatters to the floor.

Cas is very scary, and Dean plays placater, apologizing and thanking and trying to talk Cas into defusing, into releasing the souls back to purgatory. But it's too late. It's pretty clear what's going to happen immediately next: Sam sneaks in and picks up the angel knife and stabs Cas with it, but...

Cas isn't an angel anymore. He says "You're not my family, Dean. I have no family." And we know he's lost to us. When Sam stabs him and nothing happens, Dean, Sam, and Bobby show nothing but terror.

"I'm your new god. A better one. So you will bow down, profess your love unto me, your lord. Or I shall destroy you."


Random Thoughts:

So the theme of season 6 was apparently hypocrisy. I won't explore all the ways we saw it displayed over 22 episodes, but it culminated in the ultimate hypocrisy: In trying to stop Raphael, Cas became exactly what he was fighting.

I half expected Chuck to appear at the end and say something like "I don't think so." :)

Where the heck is Jesse? I really want to see the Antichrist come back and put some mojo on the boys' side for once.

Part of me mourns the loss of Castiel, but I'm strangely not upset by his transformation. I mean, I am, but it was done so gradually and skillfully (maybe...or maybe it was done so poorly I lost all emotional connection, but I prefer to think that's not it) that I'm shocked and dismayed, but not angry or shredded.

I think this can put the rumors to rest of Misha not returning next season.

I don't think we can call Jensen the better actor anymore. While he may still have a more natural ability to display emotion from within, Jared had to play not just two different versions of himself, but FOUR, with varying levels of subtlety (or lack thereof). I think he was brilliant, giving us the extremes with LessThan!Sam and Soulless!Sam, then merging to Our!Sam and facing poor, damaged Hellfire!Sam. We haven't gotten to see Whole!Sam yet, not really, but I can't wait.

So we had a pretty rocky season 6. The loose threads wove a pretty tight tapestry in the end, but the inability to see any of that picture from early on was frustrating at times. Taken as a whole, I think the season was brilliant, and I can't wait for season 7, when I hope they'll have learned from this season and give us one less haphazard-feeling but still with the depth of emotion we had this year.

Your turn! What did you think of the finale, and the season as a whole? Unleash the Kraken!


Pat C. said...

Three words: Dark Phoenix Saga.

I wish Kripke would stop taking inspiration from comic books and do something really exciting.

Gailann said...

I rather liked this episode. I've never been a fan of the Dean/Castiel love fest, so I'm glad that's over. And I was tickled that Kripke came back to write the episode.

I think this sets up next season quite nicely. Castiel becomes the common enemy for the boys. Sort of the new yellow-eyed demon. Too bad the new God is someone the boys have to stop.

Anonymous said...

I really dislike that they've ruined Castiel. When he was telling Dean he's always been there for him and the one time he needs Dean to believe in him he doesn't, I thought he made a good point. I was waiting for Dean to realize that too and then have him help Castiel and learn it was for the betterment and Cas was right. But then they turn Cas into a freakin' psycho God. I'm glad the show will be back to focusing on the brothers, but I just wish they didn't have to ruin Cas in the process. :(

Natalie J. Damschroder said...

Pat, I don't know the Dark Phoenix Saga, but I bet you anything it was inspired by something that came before it. Humans have too long a history of storytelling for anything to be truly new.

Gail, I liked the Cas/Dean relationship, but I still agree with you. :)

Terri, I feel they wrote that whole progression very roughly. Cas DID have a point, but Dean's response wasn't the right one. It should have been "you're right, and I want to support you, but this is just wrong, and I can't." And everyone telling everyone else that they're doing the wrong thing, when it's something they themselves have done already or are doing now...well, that kind of drove me nuts. But maybe that was the point.

Pat C. said...

"Dark Phoenix" was an X-Men storyline back in the '80s. Jean Grey/Marvel Girl became supremely powerful, went psycho and had to be stopped by her teammates. They did a variation of it for the third X-Men movie.

Pat C. said...

So the storyline for season 7 will be what? "Don't piss off the nerd gods"?

MJFredrick said...

Pat, I was thinking it was like the Buffy finale with Willow going dark, which was also inspired by Dark Phoenix, though Jean Grey wasn't who immediately came to mind :)

So do you think they knew this would be only a season finale when they filmed it? Do you think there's another part they might have added had it been a series finale?

Trish Milburn said...

I'm agreeing with Terri here. I love Castiel, and I still have hope that maybe they can save the Cas we know and love somehow next season. Though I know it provides tremendous emotional conflict for the boys, it's going to break my heart when they have to go after him.

I know the focus of the show is the brothers, but I have to say I've loved the episodes where we have them working with Cas and Bobby. They're such a funny foursome.

Natalie J. Damschroder said...

But Pat, wasn't she invaded by an alien lifeform? Did she actually invite it into her body in an attempt to be more powerful herself and take on a big enemy, only to take that enemy's place?

"Power corrupts. Absolute power corrupts absolutely." That's the theme or lesson of a million different books, movies, comics, and myths. I'm sorry, I just get impatient with that complaint. LOL

MJ, I don't think they knew when they filmed that the show was being renewed. I think they were confident that it would be, but it wasn't official, and so if it was a series finale, it would have been the same ending.

Trish, I love the foursome, too, though I never felt it gelled this season the way it did last year. TV Line reported (thanks for the heads up, Terri! :) ) that Misha won't have series regular status next year, and Sera's comments seemed to indicate his god-hood will be dealt with (at least temporarily) early. I may be misinterpreting, though.

Much for us to speculate about all summer! :)

Pat C. said...

I'm sure Dean's love will redeem him. :)

Now that I've had a chance to think about it, I realize it makes sense, especially when you consider who's been Cas's role model for human behavior over the last two seasons. The war in Heaven turned Cas into 2014 Dean.

Unknown said...

WoW! I thought the season finale was brilliant! The way they portrayed Sam's battle between his different parts and weaved in the rest of the story! Brilliant writing for sure!

I also think Misha did a fabulous job of showing Cas's subtle changes as he got drunker & drunker on his power! I could see it coming - he would be God!

As let down as I was for Dean & the relationship with Cas, I also realize that they had to set up a new storyline for next year. And it had to be bigger than the others, which were pretty epic.
So, where else could they go but to God.

Can't wait for next season!

Julia Phillips Smith said...

I couldn't believe how supersonic fast two hours went by during the whole season-ender. I loved the final episode, all the double-crossing and Sam's-United-States-of-Tara and Dean's ultimate rejection of Cas.

But I felt a terrible chill inside when Cas succumbed to absolute power.

No, Cas - not you!

Theresa Meyers said...

But it really makes perfect sense. Oh, and think on this. What if Cas becomes the new Lucifer? You know the angel who was God's favorite, but thought it was just as good at God. What if God isn't really gone and Cas gets kicked in the butt for it next season? Hummm?

Overall, brilliant writing for this last episode. I thought to have all the different parts of Sam was really interesting, and like many of you I was kind of sad to see Cas say he wasn't their family anymore. You would think that as God he would have turned around and forgiven them and called them his special chosen or something.

The first episode of the two part ending had a line that just made me laugh until I cried. "Glad to meet you. Bobby Singer, paranoid bastard."

Sometimes the writing on this show is just all out fantastic. I'm SO glad they are coming back for another season!!!!

Natalie J. Damschroder said...

What if Cas becomes the new Lucifer? You know the angel who was God's favorite, but thought it was just as good at God. What if God isn't really gone and Cas gets kicked in the butt for it next season?

I would LOVE that, especially if God came back as Chuck! :) I miss Rob.

I didn't even know Kripke wrote this episode, but it explained why I liked it so much. :)