hells_half_acre: (Darkness Defines)
[personal profile] hells_half_acre
HELLO!

Welcome to the 300th episode!! I can hardly believe it. I've been doing these Quick Reactions since just before the 100th. 

In those days, I watched the show with my sister on an old non-HD TV that was permanently set to "dark" and so I couldn't see any action that happened in a dark room. MEMORIES! It was the year after that I met my local friend who started having me over on SPN night for dinner, wine, and the show...and that's what we still do to this day. 

So, since I have indeed had wine, the usual rules apply - I have watched the show once, while taking crappy notes and drinking. Quotes are not meant to be accurate.

And before I get into it, I'd just like to thank all those who still read my ramblings all these years later, even though LJ is now a mostly dead platform.

Now, let's actually get into it...

I thought they were going to do an epic recap with a song and everything, but in the end, they actually didn't - it was a fairly standard recap, except for showing young 26 year-old Dean at the very beginning informing us that Dad went on a hunting trip and hasn't been home in a few days.

When we join up with NOW, Sam and Dean are entering a pawn shop - where they show a full billfold in order to get access to "the good stuff" - they claim to be looking for the skull of a witch named Sarah Good from the Salem Witch Trials.... but really, as we learn, they're there to avenge a fellow hunter, named Bart Cam(?), who was killed and robbed. The shady supernatural artifact collector (Bella style, but with a permanent shop, rather than on a by-request business), fights back, but ultimately gloats just a little too long while he's winding up to kill Sam with a sword. Dean shoots him in the back, and tells us "they always talk too much!" And it's hilarious, and also a very small shout-out to the Indiana Jones moment that everyone loves. They decide that the best thing to do is to clear out the pawn-shop guy's place, now that he's dead.

We return to Lebanon, where we meet up with some teens outside a movie theatre (that is, for some reason, focusing on horror movies that month) and young-teen-boy is telling the girls about *someones* that "they say [are] brothers", but how he once heard a knock and breathing coming from the trunk of their car. 

As someone who loves outsider POV - I AM LOVING THIS.

Then the Winchester's pull up, and exit the car talking about whether everything they have in their trunk is lethal or not - and then they go into an local pub/off-sales place (I don't know how it works in the states, but we call bars that can sell alcohol that you can take home off-sales here in Canadaland). We find out that the brother's go by the last name Campbell in town. (Awww).

We also find out that Jack and Cas are currently out on a hunt with "Jules and her crew" - and I had to remember that Jules was a hunter from the AU, and not just my friend Jules, admin of the SuperWiki, but I am thrilled on her behalf that she got a little shoutout in the 300th episode - she does such a great job making sure that such a valuable fandom resource keeps its lights on. I'll say it again, but the SupernaturalWiki has SPOILED me on fan-wikis. 

...Oh, and there's a magical item that will grant your hearts deepest desire and it could be the answer to all their problems.

Back with the teens, they wonder where the Winchesters even came from. Then we start seeing that the blond teen has a crush on the brunette teen... and as the brunette leaves the group, she stops by the car and runs her hand over the hood, complimenting it. And the Lady-Draco teen gets a look in her eye, that has me writing "Is she going to steal the car?" in my notes... and then she DOES.

Sam and Dean see her take off through the window and rush out of the liquor store. Young-boy-teen is still milling around the theatre, dumbfounded as to what he witnessed. He tells the Winchesters "I don't want to die!" much to Sam's confusion, because only we know that he thinks the Winchesters might be murderers. But still, the kid tries not to rat out his friend... though he admits that her name is Max and she's new in town.

The next stop is, surprisingly, the greyhound station ETA: It's the post-office (I always get those logos confused, because I am a weird foreign who doesn't know the difference between an eagle and a dog) - where Sam seems super shady trying to find a young girl's phone number - but Dean comes in and immediately woos the lady (who already knows him) into giving him at least SOME information. She ends up telling them where they can find the girl's mother.

Turns out, she's a waitress at a local restaurant. She is not impressed when she's informed of her daughter's shenanigans, especially since her daughter was SUPPOSED to be in school. The cook pipes up to inform us that it's February 7th, and therefore "skip day" where all the local teens go to an abandoned house outside of town and party... because it's a small town and times are boring.

The teens brought all the stuff into the house to have a laugh. One of those things, as Sam told us when he was itemizing the things for Dean while they talks in the liquor store earlier, was John Wayne Gacy's cigar box. And sure enough, we see the cigar box open and a clown-like smokey hand materialize.

Young-boy-teen comes to worn the girls that the brother's are after them, but they do not heed his warnings.

Meanwhile, another teen goes to use the bathroom and is bemused by the fact that it's super cold in there for some reason...and then he sees Gacy in the mirror. I'm super bummed because that kid looked like a nice kid, and I don't want him to die.

Then Sam and Dean pull up in a REALLY SWEET old truck, seriously.

And the kid is still alive! Yay! He is just leaving the party now because an evil clown tried to kill him! (My notes record this by saying "Cool, he lived!"

Sam and Dean quickly clear out the party by flashing their badges and guns - and then Sam spots the cigar box and goes to burn it. Dean quips that this is the best and worst thing that's ever happened to Sam, because he loves serial killers, but hates clowns. Sam is too busy to engage with such quips, but I enjoyed it immensely. (though, if I were Sam, I would have pedantically pointed out that having-an-interest-in is not the same as 'loving').

The three main teens run back in just as Gacy goes up in flames, so they have to be sat down and given the "truth" speech too. They're warned to keep it a secret.

Back at the bunker, Sam and Dean get out the magic pearl, and Dean makes his wish - for Michael to be out of his head.

They're immediately attacked by someone, as the lights flicker and then flash red. They fight back, but eventually the intruder gets Dean at gun point - just in time for the lights to come back on and have it revealed that it's John. Both my friend and I would have preferred NOT being spoiled for that reveal, but there was absolutely no avoiding it in the last few weeks.

John is confused - isn't Sam supposed to be in Palo Alto? Dean asks him what year he thinks it is, and John tells him 2003. (Fun fact: just because he wasn't mentioned, but my friend and I had this discussion afterwards, it was around 2002/2003 when John was made away of Adam's existence. Sam went to Stanford at some point before the semester started in the fall of 2002). My friend and I also joked about how John didn't comment on Sam's looks - because 30-something year-old Sam looks MUCH DIFFERENT than 19/20 year-old Sam would have looked. "College has NOT been kind to you, son - you look like you've aged a decade in just a year!")

The boys poor some whiskey and bring John up to speed. "Now you live in a secret bunker with an angel and Lucifer's kid?" - Yup, it's a lot to take in. (Also, sidenote: because it confused my friend at the time too - when they tell John about his father, and he repeats "the Men of Letters", he's REPEATING something they already told him that happened before we joined the scene - it's not John already knowing. He's repeating it for confirmation that that's what they had said earlier. It's all in tone.)

Just as they're breaking the news that Mary is alive again, Mary comes home and demonstrates, saving them the trouble - then her and John make out, and Sam subtly suggests to Dean that they leave them to it.

Dean explains why John came back to Sam - that this is what he's wanted since he was 4, to have his family back together.... and ugh, as if that wasn't heartbreaking enough, we still have a lot of episode left to go for even MORE. Sam is all like "this cannot lead to anything good" and Dean gets mad, asking why he can't just have ONE family dinner without Sam harshing his buzz.

We then cut to Sam coming upon John as he peruses the books in the library. John explains that Mary is busy making an inventory of what they need at the store, so that she can make her casserole. Sam laughs and says that he and Dean tried to make that once - and it's the same story that Dean tried to tell Mary last episode, that ended with John losing his temper - because John remembers and apologizes to Sam.

He apologizes to Sam for everything and Sam is like "it's all good", and John can't quite fathom it, because he only knows young-fighty Sam... and Sam explains how, to him, that fight was a lifetime ago. But then he realizes that John needs this conversation, maybe even more than Sam does, so he has it - he tells John that the truth is that John did do some messed up things as their father, but that Sam doesn't think about the fights when he thinks of John - and he DOES think of John a lot - he thinks about John's death and how he never got to say goodbye. 

And John and Sam have a good cry, and John repeats that he's sorry, and Sam says he's sorry too - but he feels that John fought for them and loved them, and that was enough for Sam to forgive him for anything that he got wrong on the way.

Back with Dean, we see Mary handing off the shopping list, and then Sam snags Dean on his way out, tells him he's right and that they should enjoy the time they have - and asks if he wants company going into town. Dean always wants company, so it's a plan!

In Lebanon, things start to go amiss. Jackson at the liquor store doesn't recognize Dean. Sam sees Max on the street and she doesn't seem to recognize him either. He sees the lady in the greyhound place, and she shuts the blinds rather than engage with him - and then he spots a wanted poster for Dean - murder, assault, and credit-card fraud. He catches up with Dean to inform him - Dean already knows and has googled Sam. Sam, as it turns out, runs a law firm, dresses like Steve Jobs, and gives Ted Talks on staying focused by not having any hobbies or family. So, yeah, for some reason yanking John out of the timeline in 2003 REALLY changes things up in weird ways.

Sam believes that it's not so much that they've started another timeline, it's more that they've created a temporal paradox, where they both live in the Bunker with mom and dad, AND are these weird new versions of themselves, who are still a drifting hunter and a weird famous yuppie lawyer respectively.

Then things get really weird, because new paradox-timeline Zachariah and Castiel show up to try to figure out what's going on with time. 

There's some great lines here, btw. Zach calls Castiel "Constantine" and Castiel replies "I don't understand that reference" and it's all great. What's even more great, is that they originally killed Zachariah in the 100th episode, so it's been 200 episodes since we saw him! Wow!

Zach tells us that someone has been messing with time, and that Lebanon is always muddy for angels - that there's some sort of interference there.

They go into the restaurant, where it's just the teens and Max's mom having some hangs. Zachariah starts making threats. My notes say "Castiel vamps" hahaha, which means that he says "I'm an Angel of the Lord" and shows off his (non-broken) wings. The Winchesters see the glow that can only be an angel showing off, and storm in to see what's up. Zachariah is confused, but then puts it together that it must have been them who messed things up - so then it's attack time! Castiel doesn't know them at all, which means that we get a good Dean and Cas fight, while Sam kills Zachariah (My friend yells "And we'll kill him a third time in the 500th episode!") Castiel then bashes Sam's head in a little, but not enough that Sam can't manage a banishing sigil in his own blood. 

Back at the Bunker, Dean breaks the news to John about the temporal paradox. Dean tells him that Sam figures that they'll eventually blend into a new reality - but that Mary isn't alive in that reality, so eventually she'll fade away. John tells Dean that if it's "me versus your mom - that's not a choice." 

Meanwhile, Sam breaks the news to Mary - she is sad. He tells her that they just need to destroy the pearl to send John back to his own time, and then the paradox will go away. But John won't remember.

John and Dean's conversation raps up, and John sends Dean off to help his mom - and I got SUPER NERVOUS that John was going to leave right then, without saying a proper goodbye (since he's done that before), but apparently he listened to Sam earlier, because he doesn't. Instead he stops Dean briefly before he goes, and tells him that he never meant for any of this - that he's proud of Dean - but that he always meant for it to end with Yellow-Eyes and he hoped that Dean would go on to have a normal life and a family. Dean corrects him and tells him that he DOES have a family.

The final family dinner is at first somber and awkward, but John tells them that they have a choice with it - and he chooses to be grateful for the time they've been given, instead of thinking about how it's going to end. After that, they have a lovely dinner filled with banter and laughter.

Afterwards, Sam and Dean are washing the dishes, and Sam says that it's not fair... that it'd be better if John would remember, because think of what he could do with the knowledge! Dean disagrees - saying that it doesn't stop there. He admits that for a long time he blamed Dad for their life, or even blamed Mom, and that he was really angry about it all.... but that he's thought of it before, why don't they even send John further back, prevent it all from happening (like Dean tried to do In The Beginning) - but "problem is - who does that make us?"

At first, I was thinking that he meant who would it make them MORALLY in sticking someone else with the apocalypse problem... but what he actually means is that everything they've been through makes them who they are today, and Dean is GOOD with who he is. "Our lives are ours" and perhaps he's "too old to want to change that."
  
And that sentiment, to me, really does bring this show into middle-age - because when the show started, it was very much a young-person's show. It was asking the question "What will you do with the world you've inherited? How will you approach the great expectations/destiny thrust upon you?"  and now the show is asking the question "Are you satisfied with the decisions that you have made? With the life you are living?" and Dean's answer here is a resounding YES. 

Then we come to the true goodbyes. John tells Mary that he misses her and they share a last kiss. Then he tells BOTH the boys to take care of each other. Sam replies that they always do. He tells them that he is proud of them. Then we get HUGS, and he tells them that he loves them both so much. Dean tells him that he loves him too. 

Then John gives Sam a nod, and Sam destroys the pearl. Leaving John to fade away.

(Here my friend and I paused the show for a moment to discuss the decision. At first, my friend was like "But the only thing wrong with the world was that they didn't have a relationship - arguably, wasn't that timeline better? There didn't appear to be an apocalypse, and Dean didn't have Michael in his head - the only thing wrong with it was that they weren't close. Did they just choose their relationship over saving the world?" And I pointed out that that wasn't actually the case - 1)that was a wonky time paradox, so who knows what might have happened when it evened out, and more importantly, 2)Mary would have died. So, basically, they had to decide between having their mother, their relationship (Cas and Jack) and the world they knew, or having their dad, none of that other stuff, and a world they didn't know, and finally 3)It sounded like they explained everything to John and let him decide, and of course he'd choose to save Mary.)

We rejoin the teens, where young-boy-teen is still geeking out over the fact that monsters are real. Also, Max and brunette teen are now holding hands - so young love wins.

Cas returns to the Bunker to have Dean, Sam, and Mary staring at him strangely (and Dean and Sam with bruises on their faces), and he's like "what happened?" 

Meanwhile, back in 2003, John wakes up in the Impala to the ringing of his flip phone. It's Dean. John tells Dean that he just had a crazy dream... it was a good one, and he's see him soon.

And then my brain immediately flies to fun THEORIES - because the truth of the matter is that by the time we caught up with John in 2005, he was sixteen steps beyond anyone else in knowing what the hell was going on at all times... and we always put it down to him being a bad ass smarty-pants (because he was), but whose to say he didn't get a little tip on figuring things out by a really weird dream he had that one time where his grown sons gave him a run down of a possible future.

Anyway, it was a really good episode - full of feels - closure for Sam with a father who KNEW the state of their relationship one of the last times they truly spoke, and a reaffirming that they're proud of what they've done, happy with who they are, and that they're brotherhood and their chosen family is still the most important thing.

FEELS!

Looks like the show is on hiatus until March 7th! (with a concerning preview for the next episode, that I'll just try not to get too anxious over). So that gives me a whole month to try to get a little bit ahead in my rewatches and other projects!

As usual, let me know your thoughts in comments!!




Date: 2019-02-08 06:25 am (UTC)
yalumesse: (Default)
From: [personal profile] yalumesse
I love that Sam and Dean's logical practical response to a gunfight in the back of a shop is to leave the body and clean the place out. Given what's in there it's so practical but LOL.

Kudos to your friend Jules for the AMAZING work on the fanwiki!

What I really want to know is what that creepy teddy bear with the pull string is. It got way too much screen time (Sam being told not to touch it at the shop, the girl at the party wondering out loud what it does). I think it'll turn up later.

About John theories: THAT'S JUST WHAT I WAS THINKING. John in late s1 and s2 was weirdly gentle and knew WAY MORE than any other hunter (except Bobby) and the first John-Sam reunion in s1 was... really sappy compared to everything else we know about John. And it would explain the choice of what time John was yanked out of, which, arbitrary from the in-universe point of view.

Speaking of, speaking in-universe and not because the writers needed to get John gone again: why tf did that pearl a) not yank John from the moment of his death, b) not yank John from Heaven and put him back in a body since NO TIMELINE WHOOPSIES THAT WAY, c) not properly grant Dean's wish by not changing his and Sam's memories instantly?

Date: 2019-02-08 08:08 am (UTC)
yalumesse: (Default)
From: [personal profile] yalumesse
That's a really good point about Dean's wishes being a mess. It was a very flat and obvious plot device and I wish they'd spent another line or two of dialogue mentioning limits or a historical tendency for things to end baly (hey, how is it all this is known if no one smashed this pearl before?). I especially like the point about how this John is the one Dean knew best *heart breaks*

lol yes, watsonian vs doyalist explainations are always fun. Seriously, I like comparing the two.

Date: 2019-02-09 04:40 am (UTC)
linderhill: (Default)
From: [personal profile] linderhill
cool fact apropos of nothing, here on the east coast of the US, a bar where you can buy alcohol is package store.

did you catch John's wink to Mary right before Sam smashed the pearl?

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