This is the one where they got the bunker! Woo! Or well, the key to it anyway...I still think that's the most awesome addition to SPN since...um... ever? And I can't believe it was introduced in January, and not like a season premire or mid-season finale/premiere.
We beginning in the past, with an adorable little boy and his father... and a music box.
And then we head to Gastown.
I wonder when Josie Sands got possessed. Was she possessed in the hallway with Henry, or did it happen after she got into the room... she was probably possessed already in the hall, craziness.
Also, exorcisms don't work on Knights of Hell apparently - that is not good.
I do love the attention to detail, how Henry's suit is very much a 1950s suit.
This is also the first time we see a HUMAN use enochian in a spell. I think that's also pretty huge, but it's never really addressed and we don't see it again (oh, except Sam uses it in the trials, I think.)
Henry: "Which of you is John Winchester?"
- In some ways, they both are, Henry.
"You're not going anywhere double-o seven, until we get some answers"
*scuffle in which Sam and Dean end up handcuffed to a chair*
"How did he do that? You gotta be kidding me!"
It's interesting that despite Henry being an academic, he does have SOME skills.. apparently very "magic trick" oriented skills.
And Henry realizes that he's in the future...and goes for the one car that looks most like cars that he might know...
Henry: "2013, my god, I guess the Mayans were wrong."
- I like this line, even though technically it's 2015.
Dean: "Nice taste in wheels"
Henry: "Yours I presume."
- Oh man, I remember when Henry busted that window - I was like "You are going to get it now...." And that being said, I love the fact that Dean opens with appreciating the fact that Henry likes his car too. :P
Henry: "I'm sure this is all beyond your understanding, my alpha male monkey friend, and violence will not help you comprehend this any easier."
Dean: "Let me tell you what I understand! Some asshat pops out of my closet asking about my dad, then smashes up my ride, so why am I not getting violent again?"
Henry: "John Winchester is your father?"
*Dean looks to Sam, Sam gives him an 'oh well' look*
- I love the fact that Dean kind of looks over apologetically at Sam, and you can just tell that they weren't going to give up that information so soon, and Sam just immediately forgives him and reassures him that they'll move on from here accordingly, and it's all done with one look!
- Also, I love how Henry's eyes immediately snap up to Dean when he tells says that John is his dad.
Abaddon comes through... the knife doesn't work.
Motel manager: "You okay, lady? What the hell you doing?"
Abaddon: "Show me what you've seen."
- This is a really interesting addition to demon mythology, and extremely cleaver. I can't believe I didn't think about it before, because once demons possess people, they can read all their thoughts and see all their memories, so it makes sense that they could just gain knowledge that way - by possessing the right people. The idea of doing so without having to even go through a full possession is brilliant.
The Ironworkers bridge! The door to the MoL bunker is underneath it.
Sam: "You okay?"
Henry: "Yes, I will be. It's just, all the adventures I enjoy are usually of a literary nature."
- I love the fancy way that Henry uses to admit that he's just a geek.
Henry: "Abaddon, she's a demon."
Sam: "No kidding. Where'd she come from?"
- I love the way Henry says this like it should be revelatory to Sam and Dean, but they're just like "a demon - must be Tuesday."
Dean: "Where'd you come from."
Henry: "She's from hell. I'm from Normal, IL, 1958."
Dean: "Yeah, right. Seriously?" *turns to Sam* "Dudes traveling through motel room closets? That's what we've come to?"
- Hehehe, I love the little bit of meta in there.
Henry: "If you could just take me to John, we could clear all this up, I'm sure."
Dean: "I told you that's not going to happen."
Henry: "And why not?!"
Dean: "Because he's dead!"
Sam: "What's it to you?"
Henry: "Everything. I'm his father."
- I do feel so bad for Henry here. I love how Sam is so confused as to why a complete stranger from 1958 is so upset that John is dead, but then immediately just empathizes as soon as Henry reveals who he is - the "holy crap he's our grandfather" look with Dean is fantastic too.
Now, a note here about canon. We know from In The Beginning that John's "father" was a mechanic. I think this bit of continuity error can easily be fixed by the fact that John's mother must have moved down to Lawrence (possibly to stay with family after Henry left) and then remarried. So, John had a step-father, who was the only father that he ever really knew.
The other continuity mistake is that John should have only been 4 years old in 1958, but whatever. At this point, I just don't care about those little things anymore...technically, it would solve problems if John's birthday was earlier than 1954, because then he would have actually been old enough to serve in Vietnam.
Sam: "...dude, that's our grandfather!"
Dean: "I'm just saying, before we break out the warm and toasties, let's not forget that uh, H.G. Wells over there, left Dad high and dry as a kid."
Sam: "But maybe he didn't run out on Dad - I mean, not on purpose. What if he timetraveled here? and I don't know, got stuck."
Dean: "Either way, Dad hated the son of a bitch."
Sam: "And Dad made up for that how? By being father of the year?"
Dean: "Dad had his issues, okay, but he was always there for us. I frickin' hate time travel, man."
- I love how Dean carries grudges on his father's behalf. I mean, I don't LOVE it, because I don't necessarily think it's healthy - but it's so DEAN. Of course, Dean is judging Henry and finding him lacking for his own reasons as well, but we'll get to that. I just like that Dean carrying on John's work - saving people, hunting things - extends to "holding grudges against those who wronged John Winchester."
- I also love how this addition to the mythology really does help explain some of the decisions that John made, at least in my opinion. For instance - why did he drag his sons everywhere with him? Well, maybe because, in an effort to be better than his own father, he refused to ever leave his kids... to the point where even when they probably would have been happier if he had left them, he didn't. It's like a pendulum - you over correct for the mistakes your parents made and end up making mistakes just as much in the other direction.
Sam: "How you doing?"
Henry: "I'll be fine. After all, despite everything, I've just met me grandsons, haven't I. Henry Winchester, it's a pleasure."
Henry: "Hello, Sam, it's a pleasure." *goes to shake Dean's hand*
*Dean puts a basket of food in front of Henry*
- Awww, poor Henry... maybe you shouldn't have called Dean an alpha male monkey.
- Also, I think it's kind of trippy that Henry is probably younger than his grandsons at this point. I don't know how old the actor is, but as someone in my 30s who doesn't have kids, it baffles me that 20-somethings have children.. YOU'RE TOO YOUNG FOR THAT! Put knowing the 1950s, Henry probably was only in his late twenties at this point, if that.
Dean: "How come she didn't die when I stabbed her?"
Henry: "Because Demons can't be killed by run of the mill cutlery. At the very least, you'd need an ancient demon killing knife of the kurds."
Dean: "That's what this is."
Henry: "Where'd you get that?"
Dean: "A demon gave it to me. We've been around this block so many times."
- Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think this is the first time we're ever told what the demon knife actually is and where it comes from. That's really neat!
- Also, I think here Henry is where Henry starts to assume that Dean and Sam are Men of Letters - because they obviously know what's what and they have access to magical weapons.
Henry: "...I would need those and at least a week for my soul to recharge, but yes, it is possible."
Sam: "You tapped the power of your soul to get here? I thought only angels could do that."
- Interesting... I wonder if enochian spells ALWAYS do that. It would explain why the trials wore Sam down so much, his soul is already in really rough shape. I mean, I know that the final trial was designed to kill him, but maybe the reason he couldn't recover even after he stopped was because of how drained his soul was... or, at the very least, it wouldn't have helped.
Henry: "You should know this. What level are you two?"
Henry: "Level of knowledge. You're Men of Letters, correct?"
Dean: "I'm a bit rusty on my boy bands, Men of what?"
- Henry doesn't even know what boy bands are, Dean.
Henry: "Men of Letters, like your father, who taught us our ways."
Dean: "Our father taught us to be Hunters."
Henry: "Ha, your not? Are you? Hunters? Hunters are... Hunters are apes!" *Dean is getting real tired of being compared to apes* "You're supposed to - you're legacies."
Dean: "Legacies of what?"
- Seriously, Dean is getting real tired of being compared to apes, guys.
"...what do you have against us?"
Henry: "Aside from the unthinking, unwashed, shoot first and don't bother to ask questions later, not much, really."
Sam: "Wait a second, we're also John's children."
Henry: "You're more than that actually. My father and his father before him were both Men of Letters, as John and you two should have been. We're preceptors. Beholders. Chroniclers of all that which man does not understand. We share our findings with a few trusted Hunters, the very elite, they do the rest."
- It's interesting here that Henry is so down on Hunters, yet admits that the MoL deal with the elite Hunters. Sam and Dean basically ARE the elite hunters, so he's actually following standard protocol. Give Sam and Dean the knowledge they need to defeat the enemy (Abaddon) and then let them do it.
- I guess every profession has that sort of weird dichotomy, between the people who study the "pure" subject and the people who apply those studies... One does everything "in theory" and the other is an expert at implementing the theory on the ground and knowing whether or not it works or doesn't.
- going back to this scene though, I do like how the camera lingers on Sam as Henry explains... this episode and the next are really about Sam finally finding his place in the Hunting community. Sam's still an elite Hunter, of course, but he's always been more thoughtful about everything to do with Huntering...he's always been more suited to the thinky-aspects of hunting, where Dean's been the action-man. (And that isn't to say that Dean's not as smart as Sam, just that he enjoys the action more than Sam does, and Sam enjoys the thinking and debate about right and wrong more than Dean does.)
Dean: "Let me get this straight. You traveled through time to protect something that does - you don't know what, from a demon that you know nothing about." *Henry walks away, as if to say 'of course'* "Good."
- I love how we start seeing the fundamental difference between Dean and Henry here. For Dean to sacrifice any part of his family, he has to know exactly what he's sacrificing his family FOR. The idea that someone would just make that kind of sacrifice without even knowing why their doing it is beyond his comprehension. I'll talk more about this in a sec, but basically, I just wanted to remind everyone that the ONLY time that Dean agreed to sacrifice a member of his family was when it was a)his family members' decision and b)would save more than a third of the earth's population from a catastrophic death.
- Also, I didn't write down the line, but the fact that Henry was UNINITIATED is actually a huge character point. He doesn't HAVE any of the knowledge that is supposed to make him so much better than Sam and Dean...well, that's not true, he has SOME, but not nearly enough to be impressive. Also, the fact that he's uninitiated means that he's probably still in the honeymoon period of belonging to the Men of Letters - it's some fantastic thing, an elite society that only the very best are members of, and he's going to join, and it's going to be WONDERFUL. He hasn't gotten to the point in his life where the veneer might come off a bit, where he realizes that maybe it's not as wonderful as it seems, where he realizes that there are things more important than belonging to elite secret societies. Henry is still YOUNG, is what I'm saying - far younger than his grandsons when it comes to maturity and life experience.
Henry: "Operator I need delta-4-5-7"
Dean: "Who are you not calling?"
Henry: "An emergency number."
Dean: "Yeah, not anymore."
- Oh, time humour.
Dean: "Hey uh, hi, can we hijack your computer for a hot second."
Henry: *laughs* "Like you could fit a computer in this room."
Shop girl: "Sure"
Dean: "Thanks. Sam?"
- Firstly, I love this, because it's accurate. A decade and a bit more later, when both my parents were in University, computers still took up entire rooms. My mum actually worked at a job where she had to make punch cards (ie: early computer programming) for a computer that was housed two hours away.
- Secondly, I love how Dean confidentally asks for the computer, gets it, and then sort of looks a bit desperate for a moment and turns it towards Sam. Like, his expertise had suddenly just run out.
Sam: "What's this?"
Henry: "It's our crest. The aquarian star - representing great magic and power. They say it stood at the gates of Atlantis itself."
- That should have been your first sign that you shouldn't use it. Atlantis disappeared, dude.
Henry: "You boys ever exhume a body?"
- Only every fourth day or so.
Awww, I always feel sorry for dead punk girl. She was adorable. Mind you, Abaddon does look amazing in her clothes.
Henry: "Okay, what are we waiting for then, cover this up, let's be on our way."
-This is just a placeholder to say that I love this whole scene, with the dirty boys in the grave, slightly out of breath. So often in this show when they dig a grave, they barely break a sweat - so it was nice to play up how absolutely exhausting it would be to dig a whole that deep in the VERY limited time they always do it.
Dean: "What is that? I know that tune."
Henry: "As time goes by. I hope so, it's from Casablanca."
Sam: "Right. Dad. Used to whistle it sometimes."
Henry: "Your father saw Abbott and Costello Meet the Mummy at the drive-in one night. Scared the beeswax out of him. So I got him this little music box that played that song to help him sleep at night. Worked like a charm."
Sam: "Wow, it's hard to believe that Dad was ever scared of anything."
- First, this is one of those instances where it really would have been cool if they HAD been planning this from the very beginning, because wouldn't it be awesome if back in S1, we had a scene where John was whistling to himself and then 8 years later it PAYS OFF! That would have been awesome.
- Secondly, I like how Sam comments about it being hard to imagine John being scared. A part of Sam's problems with his father is that he never felt like he measured up to his father's ideal - and I think part of that is because Sam didn't realize that his father was scared too. For Sam, John was kind of this all powerful figure who ruled Sam's life and didn't understand Sam's problems. Sam didn't measure up to his father's ideal because his father didn't measure up to the idea Sam had of him.... I'm not sure I'm explaining this well, because I'm not suggesting that Sam didn't think that his father was a very flawed individual who constantly ruined Sam's life, I'm saying that he could know that his father was flawed and wrong and a life-ruiner while STILL believing he was the epitome of some inhuman ideal.
Sam: "Wait, wait wait, listen to this, according to Dad's Journal, he once tortured a demon who said he made his bones working for Abaddon..." *Henry's face* "...who, turns out, is a knight of hell."
- I love Henry's reaction to Sam reading, because they might have already told him that John was a hunter, but he's hearing the practical application of that for the first time - the fact that his son tortured demons.
Henry: "Knights of Hell are handpicked by Lucifer himself, they are the first fallen, first born demons."
Sam: "So, very pure, very strong."
Henry: "Legend has it that archangels had killed all of them, which as we have witnessed is not the case."
Dean: "Unless she's the last of her kind."
- I wonder if she is? I wonder what Azazel was, or what Crowley is... I know that S6 told us that Crowley was the demonized soul of a Scottish dude in the 1700s, but S6 also told us shortly thereafter that Crowley was dead and that wasn't true. So, who knows.
Henry: "It must have arrived after- I'm beginning to gather that I don't make it back from this time, do I?"
Sam: "We don't know for sure. All we do know is that Dad never saw you again."
Henry: "What did he think happened to me?"
Dean: "He thought you ran out on him."
- I feel for Henry here, I do.... but he kind of spoils it in the next line, and I'll explain why in a minute.
- The other thing I want to talk about here is the way Dean says his line, you can tell that it's what Dean considers to be the worst thing that someone could think of another person - for Dean, abandoning your loved ones is the absolute worst sin.
- Also, did the fact that your son and grandsons grew up to be hunters not clue you into the fact that your son might not have been raised by you?
Henry: "John was a legacy, I was supposed to teach him the ways of the letters."
- See, this is the thing with Henry. For Henry, the most important thing is always the Men of Letters. He's told that his son thought that he was abandoned, and his reaction isn't "oh god, I missed my son growing up and he hated me for it." It's "but I was supposed to teach him about the Men of Letters... I was supposed to keep the Men of Letters legacy going." It makes me wonder if Henry got married and had a kid JUST to carry on the legacy. I mean, for serious, at this point I'm wondering if he even loved his wife. He doesn't mention her once in this entire episode... was she just a convenient womb to grow a MoL baby in?
Dean: "Well, he learned things a little differently."
Dean: "The hard way. Surviving a lonely childhood, a stinkin' war, only to get married and to have his wife taken by a demon, and later killed by one himself. He may've got a bum-rap around every turn, but you know what, he kept going, and in the end, he did a hell of a lot more good then he did bad."
- I think this is an important take-away about John Winchesters. As much as the show and the characters judge him for his failures, Dean and Sam seem to have come to the conclusion that even though John isn't going to be winning any father of the year awards, the scales will always balance out with him being more good than bad. They can sometimes dwell on his mistakes, because his mistakes fucked them up a good deal, but when it comes down to it, they love their father and believe him to be fundamentally a good person. That's the reason why I don't really like it when people take the "John is a bad father" trope too far... you get into OOC land that way. John is actually a fantastic GREY character. He's a wonderful anti-hero... someone whose intentions are good, but whose methods are flawed, and the outcomes are a mixed bag as a result, but still put him on the side of good.
Henry: "I'm sorry. I wish I had been there for him."
Dean: "Yeah, it's a little late for that now, don't you think."
Henry: "It's the price we pay for upholding great responsibility, we know that."
Dean: "You're responsibility was to your family. Not some glorified book club."
Henry: "I was a legacy, I had no choice!"
Dean: "Yeah, you keep telling yourself that."
- And here we get to the fundamental conflict between Henry and Dean, it's not the white-collar vs. blue collar - it's the fact that their number one priorities in life are extremely different. John may have been fanatically devoted to hunting, but NOT at the expense of his family... Dean and Sam were more important to him than anything, not necessarily their happiness, but their lives. He was willing to sacrifice himself, but not them when it came to killing Azazel. Dean and Sam are the same. There is NOTHING that Dean believes is more important than his family, even saving the world (though, special exception for billions upon billions of people, as in Swan Song.) Whereas it seems to Henry, there is nothing more important than the Men of Letters. Though, it should be pointed out that in this case, Henry does probably see it as sacrificing HIMSELF, and he doesn't quite understand the effect that it had on John the way Dean does.
You know, some of the illustrations in John's journal are written in pen on the page... little monsters and things. I mean, YES, some of them are pasted in, but some are drawn. I think that's cute and kind of cool, the fact that John Winchester could draw. It makes me wonder a bit about Sam's tendency to take art-related electives at Stanford... I mean, the two probably aren't connected, but you never know. I know a lot of people assume that the easel and paintings in Sam's Stanford apartment were Jessica's, but my personal headcanon is that they were Sam's.
Sleepy time for Winchesters. I love sleeping Winchesters. I also love Sam's feet hanging off the bed, because he's not sleeping diagonally (which is the only way he can fit on a standard motel bed, btw... save that bit of knowledge for your fanfics.)
Speaking of sleeping, just a sidenote here to say that I'm really really tired right now, so if spelling and grammar and sense-making start to deteriorate, please forgive me.
Sam: "Hey, hey! Wake up!"
Sam: "Henry! He's gone."
Dean: "Where is he?"
Sam: "Well, no idea, he just left a note saying he was going to fix everything."
Dean: "Or screw it all up."
- You boys are ridiculous. But hey, t-shirts! And Sam waking Dean up... I really do have a fetish for characters sleeping and characters waking each other up.
South-Asians! Woo! Even if she does fall for the old, "buracado" trick. :P
Dean: "Now we know what he meant by 'fix everything'"
Dean: "Broke into the trunk, stole an angel feather. I'm guessing he's going to whip up another one of those blood spells, and marty-mcfly his way back to the 1950s."
Sam: "And do what? Stop Abaddon before she strikes?"
Dean: "Or grab Dad and haul ass. Point is, he'd doing it."
- Firstly, I love the fact that Dean and Sam just have angel feathers in the trunk... how does that even work? Do they just sweep the motel room after Cas has been by for a visit? Can you SEE angel feathers once their not attached to an angel?
- Secondly, I like how Dean has a suspicion that Henry finally understood... he probably came home, saw Henry reading the journal, and went to bed thinking "by the morning, he'll understand why his son is more important than a secret society."
Reused shot from S5's Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid... I guess they needed a transition between Sam sitting in the motel and sitting in Larry's house a few hours away... but he's wearing a different shirt and has slightly shorter hair. Also, slightly different jacket. :P
Larry: "Abaddon was a hired gun. She killed us all in one night."
- It always annoyed me that they didn't talk about this line ever again. HIRED BY WHO?! Then I put it together with a line that Henry says later... so I'll talk about what my conclusion is then.
Larry: "In the box is the key to every object, scroll, spell, ever collected in a thousand years, all under one roof. It is the supernatural mother lode."
- I love Sam's reaction to this... also, AWESOME.
Henry: "You can't begin to understand how I felt after reading John's journal."
Dean: "Oh, I think I can, you see I've read that thing more times then you can imagine and it hurts every time!"
- Really, by this point, Dean and Sam should have John's journal memorized, the fact that they still have to go through it and seem to find a new piece of information isn't believable. As soon as Henry said Abaddon, Sam should have gotten the scrunchy face that meant he half-recognized it, and then later, he should have said, "I knew it! Look here, Dad tortured this demon who said..." or Dean should have, or whatever. The point is, that book isn't that big, and I know John doesn't have the best handwriting, but if I had read that thing as much as the Winchesters, I'd probably be a walking reference table by this point.
- Also, no wonder Dean holds his father's grudges.
Henry: "That may be so, but you didn't let him down, I did! Just like you said!"
Dean: "Well I was wrong!"
Henry: "No! No, you were right. And I'm going to go back and give him the life he deserves, not the one he was forced to live."
Dean: "And what if it's not meant to be."
Henry: "Then it will be!"
- At first I was a bit annoyed by Henry's over enunciation, but now I kind of love it? Strange, but true.
- Also, Dean trying to say anything to stop Henry - I don't actually believe that Dean thinks he was wrong.
- Henry's conviction that he can change the past is also really cool to me. Mainly, I think, because I love the simple future tense - if that makes any sense. Little does Henry know that time-travel is ALWAYS a closed loop on Supernatural, if it happens, it's because it has happened and will happen. The only time this wasn't the case was My Heart Will Go On, and that had to be immediately corrected by the Fates.
Dean: "If you do that, then you change the past, me and Sam, we might not even exist!"
- There was a time you actually wanted that Dean, only, you and Sam are now not in that dire of a situation anymore, so yeah, I can see why you'd prefer to live now.
Dean: "Look, I understand that this is not your idea of a happy ending, okay? And, and, that you're disappointed that me and Sam are mouth-breathing hunters, but you know what? We stopped the apocalypse!"
Henry: "If this works the way I planned, there will never be an apocalypse to stop."
- Okay, so a couple of things I want to say here. Firstly, I think the fact that Dean says that Henry is disappointed that he and Sam are hunters is a huge thing to point out, because it shows that not all Dean's anger at Henry was on John's behalf. I think it was also Dean projecting a little bit of his own anger at John onto Henry too - because Dean has always felt like his father was constantly disappointed in him, ever since the Striga incident really. Sam's the same, but I'm not talking about him right now. I think that Henry showing up and being disappointed that his grandsons were hunters - insulting them, acting like they should have been BETTER, hit a sore spot with Dean - who constantly feels like he fails to live up to expectations. His fathers, his own... Samuel Campbell also treated him like he was some sort of disappointment, which didn't help Dean's hatred of him either, and now his other grandfather shows up out of the blue and does the same thing.
- Secondly, this is when I clued into who had hired Abaddon, because it makes sense that if you wanted to start the apocalypse, you might want to get rid of the one society that might be able to read the signs and might have the knowledge to thwart your plans. So, someone, demons, angels, either or both, hired Abaddon to destroy the Men of Letters. That's why she needed the key - to get rid of their repository of knowledge. She's successful too in a way, she destroys everyone left behind in the 1950s, Henry messed up and takes the key to the future POST-apocalypse, and the demons/angels have a world where the only people they have to worry about are scattered, mostly independent, hunters who have to gather their own intelligence from scratch - so you get people like Bobby, who BECOME experts, but too slowly and only in a reactionary way, so there's no way they can prevent the apocalypse they can only react as it is happening and that's really too little too late. If you think of it, it was Gabriel who gave them the key bit of knowledge to defeat Lucifer, someone none-human... maybe the Men of Letters would have known about the rings already... maybe they would have known about Sam, about the vessels. There's a good possibility the reason the Winchesters were legacies is because the Men of Letters KNEW that the Winchesters were the Michael Sword... so they kept them close. They also may have known that the Campbells were Lucifer's vessel line, and they would have known enough to keep John from having children with marry, despite the cupids... who knows.
Larry: "If you know where the key is, then take it to these co-ordinates, throw it in, shut the door forever and walk away."
Sam: "Wait, why would I do that?"
Larry: "Because it is the safest place on earth. Warded against any evil ever created. It is impervious to any entry except the key."
Sam: "Right, but then all that knowledge would be lost, gone, forever!"
Larry: "Then that is the price that we have to pay in keeping it away from Abaddon."
- I think though, that Abaddon didn't want to destroy it, she WANTED it lost and gone forever.... but probably the best way to do that would be to destroy it.
- I love how Sam is like "oh god, this is the library of Alexandria all over again! NOOOoo!!!" You can always spot academics/historians, because their still sad over the library of Alexandria.
Abaddon adapts to the new technology well. But then, I guess she possesses people and can see how to use it.
Henry: "If I could just go back - stop this all from happening!"
Dean: "And what if you can't? I can't take that risk not with Sammy on the hook now"
Henry: "I can't abandon my son, Dean, not again. I have to do this, Dean, I'm sorry."
Dean: "Then I'm sorry too."
- Because there's nothing more important than Sammy, even John... also, I think Dean knows full well that time works on a closed loop in his universe. He's time-traveled enough by now to have clued into that fact. I think Dean yelling at Henry wasn't to make him go back in time and fix his mistake, it was to get Henry to feel bad, it was to get Henry to feel regret so that Dean could feel like he successfully... not got revenge, but made Henry UNDERSTAND, on John's behalf. I think, when our father's wrong us, what we really want is for them to acknowledge it, admit they made a mistake, and then we want to move on with a healthier relationship. Dean's just trying to do that on John's behalf. But then, at this point, I could just be projecting.
Dean: "Sorry about that."
Henry: "No you're not. You've wanted to do that since we met."
Dean: "Henry, you need to understand something. When my dad died, I couldn't save him, no matter how bad I wanted to. I never want that to happen to Sam, ever. If there's a chance that I can save him, I'm going to do it. He's my brother, he's the only family I got."
- This is interesting, because Dean is basically saying that he's put all his eggs in one Sam-shaped basket. As long as Sam is alive, Dean is not a complete failure. Also, of course, Dean doesn't want to live with Sam dead. I'm sure Sam being alive was the only thing that kept Dean from killing himself back in S7.
I love the show-down and the whole bait and switch thing and the way they get Abaddon.
Personally, I think they should do those devil's trap bullets ALL the time. Though, another part of me thinks it's far too simple a solution.
Henry: "You did it."
Dean: "No, you did it - for a bookworm, that wasn't too bad, Henry."
Henry: "I'm sorry I judged you so harshly for being Hunters. I should have known better."
Henry: "You're also Winchesters. As long as we're alive, there's always hope."
- Dean and Sam better have some kids soon then. Unless, of course, Ben is actually Dean's son...in which case, god help the poor kid.
- On a more serious note, I like how the tables turn here at the end... although it's been Henry acting as though Dean and Sam had to prove themselves to him somehow (for being Hunters and not Men of Letters), it's actually Dean who gives Henry validation first at the end, and it's only then Henry apologizes for judging them.
Henry: "I didn't know my son as a man, but having met you two, I know I would have been proud of him."
- Awkward! Well, given Henry's single-minded focus in this episode, I'm thinking he would have been proud of John's single-minded focus. Perhaps not so proud of the lifestyle he chose for himself or all the more questionable decisions that he made.
- But of course, what Henry is really saying is that he's proud to call Sam and Dean family, and therefore John must have done something right and therefore he is proud of him too, and he's not wrong about that.
Sam: "I get it now. What cupid said about Heaven busting ass to get mom and dad together - the Winchesters and the Campbells, the brains and the brawn."
Dean: "I'm glad you see it. All I see in our family tree is a whole lot of dead."
- I love the fact that it was Mary who was the brawn, and John, the mechanic, was the brains... it goes against convention so nicely. Also, I love that Dean and Sam are BOTH brains and brawn. People make out Sam to be the brainier, but he's not. They both kick ass and they're both extremely intelligent.
- Also, I love the fact that the Michael line is the academics, and the Lucifer line is the practical. When this episode first aired, I was very reluctant to accept that John's family was anything under than normal civilians, but I love what they did with Henry and the Men of Letters. I just think it's brilliant and fits into the mythology so well.
Dean: "Hey, I uh, found this in Henry's wallet."
Sam: "Dad looks happy."
Dean: "Kinda makes you wish he knew the truth, huh. I mean, all those years, thinking his old man ditched, when the poor sonofabitch really came here and saved our bacon."
Sam: "Do you think it would have made a difference?"
Sam: "Dad. If he'd had his own father around."
Dean: "What in how he raised us? Sammy, he did the best he could."
Sam: "I know that. I do. They all did."
- I love this conversation because it's Sam and Dean calmly talking about their father, empathizing with him, and and... my words are failing me, but it's such an ADULT conversation. It's so unlike the screaming matches they've had about their father in the past. It's so far from the accusations in S2...and it flows so nicely from The Song Remains the Same in S5, when Sam FORGAVE John to his face and told him that he understood. I mean, yes, Dean DOES get defensive about John here, but Sam just answers him with "I know" to remind Dean that Sam HAS changed his opinion on John, that he has come to an understanding that he's happy with.
- And that maturity is reflected in Sam's "They all did" - I love that, because he's saying that Henry also did the best he could, and that both he and Dean have/should forgive him too. And I think Sam's forgiving Henry on John's behalf with that sentence. If John should be forgiven because he only ever did the best he could, then John would also forgive Henry for doing the best he could - and since it's too late for John to learn the truth and forgive Henry himself, then Sam will forgive Henry for him.
Extended scene with the conversation about the music box: after Dean storms out, Henry and Sam talk:
Henry: "He was close to John?"
Sam: "Yeah, very."
Sam: "Our relationship was - well, it was complicated at best."
Henry: "And yet you two are so much alike."
Sam: "No, that would be Dean."
Henry: "That's not what I see."
Sam: "If you want to get to know your son, read that. It's all in there."
- Yeah dude, Sam's a lot like a four year-old. :P
- Okay, I kid about the continuity errors, but I like the fact that someone close to John is pointing out just how much Sam and John are alike. I've said it before, and I'll say it again, the people in your family that annoy you the most are most likely the people in your family that are the most similar to yourself... and they annoy you for the same reasons that you annoy them.
Bob Singer, Jeremy Carver, Adam Glass (who wrote the episode.)
They make fun of Henry looming over the kid's bed being scary.
The original idea for the story was a hotel that existed outside of time... and then eventually become one of the most important episodes of Winchester mythology they have.
They make fun of the Men of Letter's wearing hoods like something out of a Mel Brooks movie.
They talk about how Serge (DOP) directed this episode. I had forgotten! I obviously don't read credits. :P
Andrew Dabb pitched the "blood leads to blood" idea for the spell.
There was a debate over what state of dress Sam and Dean should be in when Henry falls out of the closet... Adam wanted them to have just gotten out of bed. Bob says that pajamas aren't "macho".
He also says that we've never seen them in their pajamas an he doubts they ever will.
- But that's not actually true! I know exactly what Sam and Dean sleep in.
Robbie Thompson is the one who keeps using the word "asshat" in his scripts and all the time in the writer's room.
- I love Robbie.
Joke about how much Sam and Dean are thrown against walls and therefore drop their weapons.
Adam found the idea of Knights of Hell in Dante's Inferno.
Abaddon actually kills the motel manager with her nails.
They talk about the Ironworkers bridge and how the Men of Letter's exterior is underneath.
Talk about the actor, Gill, who played Henry. And how the character was difficult to play, because he's not meant to be like the other Winchesters - has to be more cerebral.
Adam always wanted to write something about John, and he was really happy to do it, even indirectly.
It was an idea that blossomed over the course of the season - and this episode became a family mythology episode. Carver wrote In The Beginning, which was another family mythology episode.
Bob Singer doesn't like the fact that Carver just told everyone that it wasn't planned from the beginning, and was instead a "happy accident." He likes making people believe that they've always had everything planned. (Um, I don't think any of us ever actually thought that!)
"Men of Letters" was a place holder for the name that no one had come up yet, and the more they used it instead while waiting to think of something else, the more they liked it.
"That's a way to endure yourself to your grandchildren"
They explain that they wanted a bit of upstairs-downstairs conflict, white collar versus blue collar.
Any Star Wars related joke is a Robbie Thompson joke.
"Like you could fit a computer in this room" is a Ben Edlund joke.
Carver: "Did you write any of this, Adam?"
- This commentary is actually really cool in that you get a little taste of just how much the episodes are written as a collab, rather than just by the writer who gets the credit. I think this is important to know for episodes we hate as well as episodes we love - we shouldn't vilify one particular writer, because the episode was still reviewed by ALL THE OTHER WRITERS TOO. That being said, I still believe that Ben Edlund had the absolute awesomest episodes and I'm sad he left after this season.
Adam loves the way the show looks, the lighting they use. Carver asks Bob to confirm that the network made them brighten it up after S1 or S2, "it had a much dustier look originally". Bob explains that they had a very desaturated look, and they "strongly suggested" they saturate it a little more.
They had a lot of fun designing the Men of Letters society and what it could mean... "which I think is really going to pay off, as the series goes into it's 16th year."
Both Gill and Alaina were on everyone's preferred list after casting calls.
They talk about how it gets harder as the show goes on, because they keep exhausting the actor pool.
The dogtag is authentic to WWI, and they credit the Vancouver team for being so thorough in their research.
Carver talks about how it fits into Sam's arc, because he was someone who had lost hope/faith in the family business and this was great for introducing Sam as to why he should "be reinvesting himself, or giving him a renewed sense of family and his place in the family."
John's journal actually belonging to Henry was a last minute Carver idea.
Carver talks about how much fun it is that you can still dig a little deeper after 8 seasons.
They talk about the cut scene between Sam and Henry. And how Sam always felt like outsider when it came to John and Dean, and then is surprised when Henry tells him that Sam reminds him of John.
They laugh about how they have Sam and Dean sleeping in their clothes.
They talk about the "hunter's signs" in the shop and how that was introduced back in S6, they think, and they like it because it keeps the hunters just under the nose of the civilians.
They laugh about how twitter exploded about the angel feather, and whether or not it was Cas'.
They talk about the Men of Letters set, and how Jerry Wanek always exceeds their expectations. Men of Letter's set was the most expensive they've ever built.
Carver talks about how Sam and Dean connect to the bunker - a place filled with old books and knowledge - that it would feel like a home to them, like John's journal and Bobby's house... so there's an emotional tie, but it's also a great springboard for story ideas.
They talk about the Poor Man's Process (the night driving scenes) and how it's continually evolving and getting better and better every year, but looks like some sort of Rube Goldberg's machine.
They talk about the showdown scene and how it stems from a conversation Adam had with Andrew Dabb years ago, and he finally got to use the idea of the devil's trap bullet.
They laugh about how they went to a huge effort to make the box a special compartment for the key, and then didn't even show it in the episode, and they had people asking "is the box the key?"
The network didn't want them to kill Henry. And they think he was really cool - but the story worked better with him dying.
They also compliment Jared and Jensen on killing the final scene.
They laugh about Dean frisking Henry after he was dead.
Originally the episode ended with going back to young John again - one version where he slept on, and a second version where he wakes up the next morning and discovers that his dad's not there. But it felt better to end on the boys.
- Oh man, I agree, a young John scene would have RIPPED MY HEART OUT.