Okay, so, now we launch into the more mediocre episodes in this season. I'm just giving full disclosure here - the first half of S8 was a little weak, in my opinion, even more so on rewatch. I understand why though, Carver had to take it from where Sera had left it (stripped down of nearly everything) and then build it back up to where he needed it to be in order to do the myth-arc that he wanted. Basically, the first half of the season is about getting people into position for the final half of the season. Carver needs Sam to feel like a constant disappointment, and he needs Cas to be confused as to where his allegiances in heaven should lay, and he needs Dean to be enthusiastic about hunting again rather than a horribly depressed alcoholic.
Anyway, technical details: This is the third episode that Jensen has directed for the series! Yay! I've got no problems with the directing of this episode. I know some people don't like the letter-reading sequence, but *shrug* seemed fine to me.
Sam's hair is WAY too long. Sorry.. it's just, he's getting a little European-depictions-of-Jesus.
Dean: "We just spent a week trying to lock Kevin down, and look at us, we're.... where are we?"
Sam: "Farmer's Market. Organic."
- I love the fact that Dean kind of "comes to" and doesn't know where he is - he's probably been looking for potential cases since they woke up and just following Sam and around mindlessly yattering at him.
- Also, I didn't copy out the line, but Sam wanting to just focus on hunting Kevin and the tablet really says a lot about Sam's priorities - because he knows how this song and dance goes. He agrees to help Dean with one task, and then suddenly Dean's got him on every case he comes across, because they might as well, since that one task is taking a long time... and maybe that one task takes a long time because they keep doing these other cases, who's to say. I'm not saying it's premeditated by Dean or anything, I'm just saying that after 8 years on the job, Sam's kind of insane for expecting it to go differently this time, just because he wants it to.
Sam: "What? I had a year off, I took the time to enjoy the good things."
Dean: "While avoiding doing what we actually do."
Sam: "Wow, Dean, does it make you feel that much better every time you say it?"
- You'd think someone who witnessed the entire non-organic food supply being poisoned the year before would be a little more appreciative of Sam going to farmer's markets for his produce. Just saying.
Oh yeah! Jensen's dad is in this episode!!
I love it when they give the small sheriff/cop parts a little more personality. And the little stare down between the two here is cute, especially if you know that it's Jensen's dad. As I recall, Jensen's mother was also in the background at one point in this episode... and Jensen's sister has appeared as an extra before too.... so that's cool.
Dean: "Thanks, uh...too much fiber"
Paul Hays: "No such thing"
Sam: "Thank you"
*Sam looks at Dean*
- I like this, because it's a little domestic moment on the job - Sam bugging Dean to be healtier.
And the cop in Ames, Iowa, played a demon before on the show. They are running out of local actors after 9 years.
The "crazy" dude they interrogate is really good. My tongue would be falling all over itself if I had to repeat the same thing over and over and over again in a scene.
I'm not really writing out much dialogue in this episode - but that's okay, it means I'll actually get through this one faster.
According to someone (Jensen?) they actually filmed the eye-gouging, but they couldn't get it past the censors. I'm... kind of glad.
White shirts! Sorry... it's actually kind of rare that we see them without their ties and jackets, but still in dress shirts and pants. I wonder if this was a director choice? Who's ever choice it was: I approve.
South Asian doctor!! Yay! Realistic diversity. Also, she's got a sexy accent... that's just a lovely bonus. I'm also really liking these later seasons, because Dean doesn't hit on every pretty girl he sees. In fairness, he really hasn't done that since S5 or so... but yeah, it's nice! I know the destiel shippers are all like "it's because of Cas!!" but I think it has more to do with Dean growing as a person, being too busy and stressed, recovering from his failed relationship with Lisa, and being too depressed... and now just reaching a point in his life where getting laid isn't a huge priority. I don't know about men, or really anyone else but me, but I can tell you that getting laid was a bigger priority in my 20s than it is in my 30s... and I did not fall in love with an angel. (I guess I should reiterate that I have nothing against destiel - and I can see it more in S8 than ever before...but in general, I prefer to view Supernatural from a gen-standpoint. That doesn't mean that I'm AGAINST destiel either, if it actually happened in canon, I'd be fine with it - basically, I don't care either way, but unless I see make-outs on the actual show, I'm going to err on the side of gen.)
Sam: "What? You want me onboard. I'm onboard."
- I think this says a lot about Sam's mindset. "Just tell me what to do and I'll do it." If he feels like he fails someone, he commits himself whole-heartedly to trying to make it up to that person.
Sam: "Do you want to guess who else had a transplant in the last year?"
Dean: "Paul Hays"
Sam: "I gave it away, didn't I?"
- I'm writing out the words, but I actually want to talk about their positions in the room. It reminds me so much of some S1 shot, where Sam's in the bed in the exact same way with either his laptop or books or something... but even disregarding that, there's something so casual and familiar about the way their positioned in the room, that you just get the feeling that this is normal - that you can picture Sam at any age leaned up against the headboard with a book or a computer in his lap, telling Dean what he's found - and Dean at any age, taking in the information and putting the pieces together and coming up with a plan of attack... and yeah, I kind of love them.
Sam: "Maybe your translation app said it was "language unknown" because it's a dead language - like ancient greek or manx-"
- I love dead languages. That is all.
Strip club time!! Miranda is pretty damn attractive.... also deadly.
Dean: "Alright, case is coming together! Things are coming together, man! You and me - it's all good."
Dean: "Hey? What're you thinking about? Organic tomatoes?"
Sam: "I'm not thinking about anything."
- I think this is where Sam starts getting a little frustrated and has to reassert his free will - because "organic tomatoes" stands in for "your life without me" and the disapproval thereof, and sounds much like Dean is starting to police Sam's thoughts as well as his actions.
Dean: "I don't know about you, but this last year has giving me a new perspective."
Sam: "I hear you, believe me."
Dean: "I know where I'm at my best and that is right here, driving down crazy street next to you."
Sam: "Makes sense."
Dean: "Yes, it does."
Sam: "Or, maybe you don't need me. I mean, maybe you're at your best hacking and slicing your way through all the world's crap alone, not having to explain yourself to anybody?"
- I wonder if this is Sam's way of saying "maybe you're better off without me. All I do is let you down" only it comes out wrong. Because back in S5, Dean DID give him the speech about how they keep each other human...Dean's like the Doctor (of Doctor Who), he needs a more sensible companion to keep him from dying inside. But yeah, that was years and years ago for them (and they don't rewatch their own lives like we constantly do.)
Dean: "Yeah, that makes sense. Seeing as how I have so many other brothers I can talk to about this stuff."
- ... poor Adam. Hahahaha.... seriously though, I joke, but Adam is gone. If he is in the cage still, then he's been there too long to be rescued. He's mush now.
Sam: "Look, I'm not saying I'm bailing on you. I'm just saying - make room for the possibility that we want different things. I mean, I want my time to count for something."
Dean: "So what we do doesn't count?"
- Different kinds of counting. I wonder if Sam ever wanted kids. I find there are some people in the world who don't believe that their time counts on earth unless they leave progeny behind. There are others who believe that you have to do good deeds - make the world a better place (Dean seems to be in this camp). Still other's believe that we're all Ozymandias, doomed to be swallowed by the sands of time and forgotten, so making your life COUNT means making it count for YOU and you alone, because you're the one that gets to enjoy your life while you have it.
The Brick Holmes conversation... I love that Sam is both the nerd and the jock of the Winchester family. Meanwhile, it's Dean that makes all the LOTR/Star Treak/whathaveyou references. Dean just decided one day that liking sports was for nerds... :P
Eleanor: "Brick lived for competition and athlectic perfection - I don't think it occurred to his fans that he was human, like the rest of us."
- Subtle, Mrs. Holmes.
Dean: "So, no new interests? Stamp collection, fly fishing, the occult?"
Eleanor: "The occult?"
Dean: "Just for instance."
- Subtle, Mr. Winchester.
... just a note: if Miranda had heart surgery, there'd be a fairly massive scar. Though, I'm guessing the fact that she's a supernatural being now probably means it healed miraculously.
Dean: "I got another email here too - this one is for you, from a university, answering questions about admissions."
Sam: "Just something I'm looking into - an option."
Dean: "You're seriously talking about hanging it up."
Sam: "I'm not talking about anything, Dean. I'm just looking at options."
- For someone who had a dark inescapable destiny until he was ~26, you'd think Dean wouldn't be surprised that Sam wanted options in his life. This is, really, the first year where Sam hasn't HAD to do anything... he's not soulless, he's not crazy (arguably), he hasn't got a duty to save the world (except, again, arguably he's got responsibility towards Kevin - but technically Dean could handle that by himself.) I think Sam just wants a choice. He wants to be able to make a choice for himself, actually exercise the free will that he and Dean strived so hard to protect.
Dean: "Hey Sammy, would it totally destroy you to know that your boy, Brick, wasn't a natural blond?"
- Again, another older brother moment - purposefully seeing if he's got teasing material.
Sam: "I knew he had something like this in his house!"
- Did you, Sam? Really?
Sam: "He was fan, any kind of athlete, he respected them..."
- I like how Sam always thinks the best of people (for the most part). Immediately coming to a positive reason why Brick collected sports memorabilia and hid it in a secret room.
Letter reading montage!!
Sam: "Wait, this one looks recent: Dearest Betsy, So tired of it all..."
- So, let's start talking about how this MOTW fits into the character arcs. SPN always tries to find mirrors in it's MOTW for what the boys are going through.... I don't think it's a coincidence that Sam reads this one out, in an episode where he keeps reiterating that he wants out of the business. "So tired of it all..." Like I said in the previous episodes, I think Dean is so focused on his own experience in Purgatory and how that changed him, that he doesn't realize what Sam meant in episode 1 when he said that he was "just the same". Dean reacted with a "bully for you, I'm not!" as though Sam being the same was a good thing and Dean being changed was a bad thing. Only, Dean's change left him more enthusiastic and appreciative for his life, for being a warrior... whereas Sam being just the same means that he's still TIRED OF IT ALL. He's still depressed and tired of watching everyone he loves die. He wants it to END...but because he's a Winchester, he knows that it doesn't end if he dies, so the only way he can get to end is to leave. To run. To pretend he's someone else...to BECOME someone else. (Seriously, this is the only way I can justify what Sam did between S7-S8, but I'll talk about this more in the 8x08 rewatch).
Back to the episode, as they discover Brick's other identities: Okay, so this part is the part that kind of irks me - if he's a Mayan god, how come he's a white dude?! Oh, right, I jumped the gun there - I guess he could have been a European explorer who came over before the Mayan civilization ended? Is that even possible. I'm not up on my central-American history. I thought the Mayans ended before the European's came... whatever...still, it'd make more sense if he was just a LITTLE bit central-American looking, is all I'm saying. I mean, even my cousin, who's only a quarter or less South/Central American native looks more the part then the dude they got.
Sam: "Brick Holmes, a heart eater. Who knew."
Dean: "Sorry buddy, the mighty they fall hard, huh?"
Sam: "At least he wasn't sleeping with his mother."
Dean: "Good, Sam, find the silver lining."
- Again, I just love this for the brother banter. Earlier, Dean was all but eager to knock Sam's idol down a few pegs, but when it actually happens, he's apologetic.
Eleanor: "His Mayan name was..."
- So he IS supposed to be Mayan?! ARG!
Eleanor: "We were deeply deeply in love. So in love, that when I found out how my husband stayed young, I chose to ignore it."
Eleanor: "I am so tired. You can't imagine the burden of it all. I think even Brick was through. He could see the end of my days were at hand, and he had lived centuries all alone, but I don't think he could bare the thought of life without me. That's why he drove off that bridge. You must think I'm a monster."
Dean: "No, just that you married one."
- So, there are a few ways you could interpret this mirror. Destiel fans see it as a mirror for Dean and Cas' relationship - where Cas has lived centuries alone, and possibly can't stand the thought of life without Dean - or that Dean sympathizes with Eleanor because he too is in love with a monster. I've seen people argue for this interpretation far more elegantly than I just have.
- You can also pull it right back to where Sam and Dean currently are too though. When Dean died, Sam possibly couldn't bare hunting-life without him - he drove off the metaphorical bridge and just stopped everything.
I do like that essentially Eleanor and Brick are good people... well, heart-eaters, but whatever. :P
Dean: "Smell that."
Sam: "You're gross."
- Heheh. Brothers. Also, apparently Dean likes the smell of girl-sweat (and possibly body-oil). :P
Guy from Phoenix: "I'm the guy from Phoenix you're looking for."
-Ugh, unnecessarily forced dialogue. Don't treat the audience like idiots. If they don't know that that's the guy from Phoenix, then they don't deserve to know.
Miranda: "So if I go real slow, take my time, and enjoy this, I can actually show you your own beating heart before you die."
- I'm going to go ahead and assume that magic is involved, because otherwise that doesn't make any sense. It'd be better to do it as quickly as possible so that Dean doesn't have time to pass out from the shock of having his chest SLOWLY torn into. This isn't preparing for sex here - there's no muscle that you have to coax into relaxation... there's just muscle and bone that you have to TEAR THROUGH. Going slow would make it worse pain, not less.
Dean: "Well, we better get going. We just wanted you to know that it really is over now."
Eleanor: "Well, it had to be, one way or the other - I half thought you might fail and Miranda would come after me. Either way, I'd finally be at peace."
Dean: "You take care of yourself, Eleanor."
- I think it's also cool that Eleanor was alright with dying, as long as it meant that it would finally be over.
Dean: "Well, back in business, got the win. Feels good, doesn't it? You know, I was thinking about what Miranda said about being a warrior - I get it, man, I do."
Sam: "I know, I know you do....I don't. Not anymore. Maybe I never did....Dean, listen, when this is over, when we close up shop on Kevin and the tablet - I'm done, I mean that."
Dean: "No, you don't."
Sam: "Dean, the year that I took off, I had something I never had. A normal life. I mean, I got to see what that felt like. I want that. I had that."
Dean: "I think that's just how you feel right now."
- Oh Dean, negating your brother's feelings is not going to help. How he feels "right now" is just as important as what he's going to feel tomorrow or the next day... even if it does change, which it won't, if you keep negating it.
- Technically, Sam DID have a normal life before, for ~3 years he had Stanford and Jessica, and a future as a lawyer... so, this desire for a normal life is nothing new. Like I said, between S7 and S8 is really the first time that Sam's had room to BREATHE since S1, and it's not really surprising that he returns to what he wanted back then - he wanted normal, because normal = safe in Sam's mind. In Dean's mind, normal = sitting duck. Even when Dean had his own shot at normal, he couldn't commit to it, he was arguably paranoid the whole time and investigating the first sign of something strange. Dean, ultimately, wasn't happy with normal...now, at the time, he chalked that up to wanting his brother to be alive, but I think it was more than that. Even with Sam alive, I think Dean would be itching for something else. I don't think Dean could ever fully remove himself from the supernatural world, not like Sam can.
Sam: "Amelia! Amelia this isn't funny?"
Amelia: "Happy Birthday!"
Sam: "What is this?"
Amelia: "You've never seen a birthday cake before? Sit. Eat!"
- I've seen people jump on this flashback on Tumblr, defending Dean (because that's what people do on Tumblr), and arguing that OF COURSE Dean would have gotten Sam birthday cakes!! And how dare they say otherwise! Oh people... no one said that Sam's never seen a birthday cake before. Amelia makes a comment because Sam's all flustered and confused, and do you know why he's flustered and confused?
- He just had someone COMPLETELY DISAPPEAR on him AGAIN and he is actually PANICKING...and then he finds her and it's all fine, she didn't disappear, she brought cake!! I mean, I assume that's what happened, because if she told him to meet her in the park, he would have just stood on the bridge until she got there, not call her name frantically and turn around in circles like she had BEEN RIGHT THERE A MOMENT AGO!... which means that she thought it'd be funny to have a friend set up the picnic in advance (or do it herself) and then take Sam on a walk to the park and then slip-away while he wasn't looking and let the dog lead him over to the picnic... not realizing Sam's particular PTSD triggers, which I'm sure disappearing in front of him is probably a pretty big one.
Anyway, I'll talk more about the dreamy-quality of the flashbacks once we get to episode 8, because that's another matter all together.
Eleanor in a graveyard leaving corn on Brick's grave... yeah... I can see why they cut that. :P
END OF EPISODE!
Tomorrow I've got a crazy busy day, so next rewatch may not happen until Monday, or possibly Tuesday before the new episode.