St. Louis, Missouri... I love how they always use that dumpster filled alley downtown for St. Louis. Well, I say "always" when I really mean "twice". Also, I feel sorry for the actors filming there - those alleys always smell like urine.
Anyway, we have a hooker getting busted and then killed! But it was all a dream.... or WAS it?!
We're introduced to a man, with nightmares, and his dog... and he seems to be a secret murderer! And the blood on that shirt is far too red. It should be brown by now.
Dean: "Wow, you know of the lame-ass things you've ever said, that's got to be the lame-assiest."
Sam: "I'm sorry, but I happen to think Shemp was a funnier Stooge then Curly"
Dean: "Curly was a freakin' genius!"
Sam: "I always found Curly's work a bit obvious."
Dean: "It's supposed to be obvious, man, they're Stooges!"
- I like the addition of this conversation - it's so rare we get non-plot related dialogue from the Winchesters...or anyone for that matter. I always love it when we do.
Sam: "So are we calling James tonight?"
Dean: "Nah, let's call him tomorrow - drive was a bitch."
Sam: "I wonder what he wanted"
- It always annoys me that Sam uses the past tense there. They haven't spoken to James yet, so James STILL WANTS whatever he wants. It's not past tense until he either gets what he wants, or they ignore him until it's too late, and THEN they could use the past tense. Or, if he called and didn't leave a message - like "one missed calls: James Frampton" - "Oh, I wonder what he wanted?" Nitpicky hells_half_acre is nitpicky.
Dean: "Well, his text said he needed our help, he's a cop, I figured it was work related."
Sam: "Yeah, well we do owe him."
Dean: "The guy saved our lives ONCE, Sammy, I mean it's not like the guy-"
Sam: "-saved our lives?"
- Did I work out when they knew James? I totally forget. Is it in the timeline? *checks* I did! It was either in S5 or S4, but best fits into S4 between 4x10-4x11. Nice work, me!
- Anyway, despite the fact that recalling these people we never met at the time can fuck with the timeline and/or be annoying, I do kind of like it. It reminds us that we don't necessariily see all of Sam and Dean's hunts and adventures - there are things they do without an audience...and, um, now that just sounds kinky.
Dean: "I'm going to go for a beer run, you need anything?"
Sam: "No, I'm good."
Dean: "You sure? Because you did just gank a hellhound, which is no slice of pie, and there is a minefield of who knows what crap ahead, so I just want to make sure that you are, okay."
Sam: "I'm good."
Dean: "Because you know we could find another devil dog, you could tag out, I could snuff the sonofabitch-"
Sam: "Dean! Kevin doesn't even know what the next trail is, yet. So, whatever it is you're worried about, stop. I'll be ready."
- I actually forgot that this episode had so much Winchester-angst in it. Personally, i don't really think that this is about Dean not trusting Sam... but I'll get to that in a minute, when Sam almost comes to the same conclusion but not quite. But basically, I think Dean is still wrestling with what it means that Sam is doing the trials and not him - I think there's more than just the "keep Sam safe" reason for Dean wanting to do the trials, and it has to do with purgatory....
The dog arrives... I like Sam freaking out when Dean comes back. I kind of like the character trait of Dean's where he's not a dog person. I know they kind of ignored that in the latest dog-themed episode in S9, but whatever.
Sam: "Okay, okay, okay, before you get pissed off, I want you to know that this wasn't my fault. She just- showed up at the door, okay? Didn't track in any mud, just wanted her belly scratched. I figured... maybe she could stay the night? And we'd try to find her a home tomorrow?"
*Sam opens the door and reveals a pretty lady*
Dean: "She can stay the night"
- Okay, I love this joke for a couple of reasons. 1)It's just funny, and 2)This suggests that Dean would be perfectly okay if there was one woman between the two of them for a night... which, basically makes all our threesome-Winchester fantasies come true!
Sam: "Two seconds ago she was a dog! Okay, who the hell are you?"
- I just love Sam's face.
Portia: "I'm not a shape shifter so you can stash the blade. I'm a familiar."
Dean: "A what?"
Sam: "Companion to a witch. Some witches. Split their time between human and animal form."
- And THIS sort of annoys me because ordinarily, between the two of them, it's actually Dean that usually knows more about witches. It also doesn't make sense that in all the years of hunting witches, that Dean wouldn't have learned about familiars before. I mean, they research anew for every hunt, and they've been hunting witches since pre-series days, so... yeah, even if they only started hunting witches in their teens, that's still 10+ years of possible research opportunities.
Portia: "My name is Portia. I belong to James Frampton."
Dean: "No, no, that doesn't work for us, because that would mean that our buddy James is a witch."
Portia: "Wow, you're quick"
Dean: "James is a freaking witch?!"
Portia: "He wasn't when you met him, but that last case you worked with him-"
Sam: "Lunatic alchemist, it was nasty."
Dean: "So, you're saying James, the cop, became a witch because of us? Uh uh."
- I think this actually breaks Dean's heart a little. James is obviously a friend, he's obviously a nice guy (who likes eye-liner), and Dean hates witches. Witches are bad. The idea that Dean and Sam NEGATIVELY influenced James has gotta be pretty heartbreaking.
- Also, the way Dean says "cop", you kind of get the impression that despite the way he often speaks disrespectfully to them, he does actually respect the profession.
Dean: "Well, here's the thing - witches, not real fans."
Portia: "Really? Well James is a cop with a spotless record, he's used his skill for nothing but good. So why don't you lose the ignorant bigotry for maybe two seconds and give him a shot."
Dean: "That was incredibly hot."
Sam: "It was pretty hot."
- Okay, I want to say a couple of things about this, so bare with me...
1) I like that witches CAN be good in Supernatural. It's not necessarily like when they were first introduced and they had to draw their power from a demon (Malleus Mallificarum).
2) I like the way Portia calls Dean out on his bigotry - it reminds me of Bloodlust back in S2, when Dean was challenged about his blind hatred of all things Supernatural (which, of course, was already being challenged by Sam's existence - but we didn't know that at the time.)
3) Dean undercutting Portia's speech by calling her hot IS annoying and sexist/misogynistic. He's reducing her by commenting on her attractiveness rather than actually addressing her argument. That being said, it's also realistic and THAT'S WHAT GUYS DO! It actually proves that she just won the argument, because Dean has no counter argument for her - the only thing he can do is turn it into a conversation about how hot she is, get the last word in, and hope no one notices that he didn't actually address any of her points. It's the old schoolyard tactic - just yell, "yeah, well you're ugly/fat" and storm off, and HA, you sure showed them! Only you weren't talking about who was or wasn't ugly or fat, you were talking about who was next in line for the tire-swing. Dean just does the opposite here and calls her hot, but it's basically serving the same purpose.
4) Now, that all being said, I don't think either Sam or Dean are lying - I think they do find Portia hot when she yells at them, and it's because both Sam and Dean (and especially Dean) like women who challenge them and stand-up for themselves. We've seen this trait in nearly every woman they've ever really clicked with, but especially Cassie and Lisa.
Oh yeah, I forgot that James friend reminds me of Michael Fassbender.
Anyway, we're introduced to an underground witches bar. I've said it previously, but this season is very much about building back up the universe - and this episode is another example of that. They're introducing secondary characters that could be the lead in their own shoes. Aaron and his golem and James and Portia are both examples of this.
Portia: "Familiars and their masters - we can communicate telepathically."
- This is pretty cool. Also, I kind of like Dean's face here, I don't know what he's thinking, but he kind of looks a bit freaked out by it...and also glances at Sam? Maybe because Sam used to be psychic? Or there was that one time that Andy communicated telepathically with Dean? There is a good possibility that I'm reading too much into this and Dean just made a face that I like for no reason.
Dean: "But he trusts us? You do know who we are, right? We're the last people James should be telling his troubles to."
Portia: "This was my idea. I'm the one that sent you the text under James' name. He doesn't know you're here, but I think you're maybe all he has."
- Portia's pretty fuckin' bad ass and bold calling hunters into help - not only that, but calling the Winchesters. She has to know exactly who they are. Also, it's kind of sad that the Winchesters are all that James' has... but I think that's what gets Dean and Sam to help him, because they know what it's like to not have anyone.
Then blind guy gets killed.
*James and Portia arguing in other room*
*Dean and Sam sitting awkwardly on couch*
- Always so awkward.
James: "Sam. Dean."
Dean: "Witchcraft? Really? James? What the hell you thinking?"
James: "You come to help or pile on?"
- This relatively simple exchange really does set-up that they're friends, because James' response to Dean is such a friend response - just like, "listen, I have enough problems without you getting on my case too." And Dean just backs off and goes into helping mode. For introducing a "friend" that we've never met before, they did a pretty good job.
Who actually monograms their shirts though?
Dean: "Alright, James, we're going to help you figure this out, but you're going to have to do your part."
James: "Which is?"
*Dean brings out chains*
Dean: "You're going to have to stay put. House-arrest, my friend."
- And Dean thinks James and Portia are the kinky ones. :P
Dean: "You know, we have never actually seen this witch-killing spell of Bobby's work, right? I mean, this is not a sure thing."
Sam: "Is anything we do a sure thing?"
Dean: "No, but I would just like to have the odds in our favour as much as possible."
Dean: "Well, I'm concerned!"
Sam: "Concerned about the witch-killing spell, or that I'm going to mess these trials up?"
- I actually do think that Dean's talking about the witch-killing spell at first, but maybe I'm just naive.
Dean: "Look, we get too far down the road on this, we can't go back, and it'll be too late for me to jump in."
Sam: "Who says that you're going to have to? You know maybe I'll actually pull this one off"
Dean: "I'm just saying-"
Sam: "I know what you're saying, you've said it. You know, I have been going over this and over this, asking myself - why doesn't he trust me? And it occurred to me, that it's not that you don't trust me - it's that you can only trust you."
Dean: "You done?"
Sam: "Yeah, I'm done if you're done."
- So, what I actually think is going on with Dean is this: Dean got back from purgatory and was pretty high on life, or rather, high on his own goddamn skills. Dean hacked and slashed and killed his way through purgatory and NO ONE EVER GOT HIM. He survived for a full year slaughtering every monster that came in his path - and when he escaped, he was recommitted to hunting. Why? Because he felt GOOD at it. He felt like he could take on anything, because he HAD taken on EVERYTHING. So shutting the gates of hell was going to be his coup de grace...or maybe that's the wrong word... it was basically going to be his moment of triumph. It was going to be the culmination of how awesome he is... and then suddenly Sam's doing the trials and all the wind is out of Dean's sails. So, of course he wants Sam to tap out and let Dean take over - because Dean was itching for the fight this whole time.
- That being said, I don't think Sam's wrong. I think that Dean really does only trust Dean - we all only really trust ourselves. Think about when you ask someone else to do something for you? You give them super careful instructions and try to be as thorough as possible, even when a lot of things are common sense - you don't trust that they're common sense because you aren't inside that persons head. So, you give careful instructions and then you keep checking in... are they doing it right? did they do it right? If something is the slightest bit different then you expect, you assume they did it wrong.[long-winded example]My sister asked me to ship something for her the other month, and I did, it cost $70. "$70!" She said, "why did it cost so much?! Did you not ask for the cheapest way to ship it possible?!" "Yes, you told me to insure it for $300 and ship it the cheapest way possible - it was a big item - this is how much it cost." She NEVER BELIEVED ME. I must have done it wrong. The next time she asked me to ship something, she sent all the instructions again - "Make sure you ask them how much it is by each company, they must not have checked all the companies properly before." No, it was just a really large item in a really large box and you wanted it insured, so it was more expensive. But the thing is, she's never going to believe that I did it properly, because she wasn't there - if she had done it herself, she'd be complaining about the cost of shipping things and not wondering if I just didn't do it right.
- Of course, we also have to look at what this is doing to Sam. Dean only trusting himself is kind of human nature, but the fact of the matter is that Sam's always trusted Dean (and times when he hasn't, he's quickly been taught that he should've). Sam's able to get passed the "only trust yourself" aspect of human nature, because Dean's been such an...overbearing...figure in his life. Dean's basically the only "authority" that Sam DOES trust and listen to. Not blindly, mind you - that's important to know. Sam doesn't trust anyone blindly. BUT, I think Sam's hurt that the trust that he has in Dean isn't reciprocated to the same degree...
Dean: "You know, once I get this put together, we can't hesitate, if we gotta use it, we use it."
Sam: "You mean if we find the witch that's doing this to James."
Dean: "Or if there is no other witch."
Sam: "Or - it wouldn't be the first free pass we've given, Dean."
Dean: "Look, I like James as much as the next guy, but people are getting ganked here. Besides, Benny, Kate, they were forced to be what they are, James chose this."
- I like this distinction that Dean makes - because it's true, they DO give free passes. And they have done so with very powerful witches before. Partially because they CAN'T kill them, but it still counts. But the point is that most of their free passes are given to people who didn't have a choice in becoming monsters, or are monsters who are doing their best to live peaceful lives... but someone who choose to become a "monster" can't be afforded the same consideration if they're killing people uncontrollably.
Sam is kind of a badass. I didn't record any of the dialogue, but I really like how he conducts himself in the police station. He's formidable.
Meanwhile, Dean goes to the witch bar... and makes a derogatory comment about familiars... smooth Dean.
Philippe LeChat - haha, yeah, THAT'S not obvious.
And Dean's allergic to cats. I do like the actor they got for Philippe, he's very cat like.
James: "Portia, I believe I'm innocent, I have to do the right thing, and if I'm not innocent - I have to do the right thing."
- Solidifying the fact that James is the good guy here, because he IS willing to have Dean and Sam kill him if he's actually murdering folks.
Then we get to the bestiality portion of the show! Fun! I kid, of course, because she's not a dog while they're doing it, that'd be wrong... and something for the kinkmeme.
Portia: "Tonight, James and I were close, without psychological walls - intimate."
Dean: "Uh...I don't.."
Sam: "They had sex."
- I love how Portia is trying to be delicate and Dean doesn't understand, and Sam is just so blunt about it. It's just hilarious to me on many levels.
Dean: "So, this warlock we're meeting - he's a snitch?"
Portia: "Cops have snitches all over town. James uses Drexell when he suspects someone in the community."
- Again, this is about expanding the universe - there's a whole world here that Dean and Sam aren't part of - a whole other community on the fringes of society, just like Hunters are.
Dean: "I gotta ask, I can't help but wonder-"
Portia: "-which came first, dog or girl?"
Dean: "Yeah, yeah, I mean, I'm just curious about which one you consider yourself, mostly."
Portia: "This have anything to do with what I told you about James and me last night? How you're imagining it."
Dean: "What? No? That's- yes."
- It kind of annoys me that Portia doesn't answer the question and they just turn it into a sex joke. It's the easy way out of writing, or the easy way to leave the mythology open to be pinned down later if they're thinking of using familiars later on and not wanting to put hard rules on them too soon... but I want to know! Are they born like that (like Derek in Teen Wolf) or do they become familiar's later on (like animagi in Harry Potter)? Are they witches too? Or are they something else entirely? Is their ONLY ability the ability to connect and be a companion to a witch (besides changing into an animal, of course)? SO MUCH MYTHOLOGY UNANSWERED!
While we're on the topic of Portia being a dog though - I know dog-lovers out there were upset that in dog form she's had her tail and ears altered. It's a practice that still occurs with that type of dog in North America, but is illegal and considered cruelty in Europe and other parts of the world. Personally, while I feel bad for the actor-dog, I figure that character-wise, Portia is allowed to modify her body in whichever way she wants. And seeing as how she can make her clothes disappear and reappear when she changes, it makes sense that her human hears and... tailbone?.. wouldn't be affected by mods done on her dog form. If she WAS a girl first, and not born that way, then becoming a dog might have just been a matter of envisioning what she wanted to look like and that's what she becomes each time. She may have been given a choice of appearance down to the last detail.
Portia: "I won't let him do that [commit suicide]"
Warlock dude: "Well, the community might do it for him."
- Again, I kind of like the way they introduce this other part of the world to us - this sort of, self-policing protectionist society.
Sam: "Oh, by the way, I gotta hand it to you, it's been 15 hours since Portia mentioned her night with James, and not one bestiality joke out of you"
- I love how Sam's legitimately proud of Dean here and Dean's all proud of himself too.
James: "Dean, a witch can go to a place without having to go to a place."
Dean: "What, like phone sex?"
Portia: "James, are you sure you can even still do this?"
Dean: "Oh, well that's a confidence builder! Anything else I should know before I become some disembodied thing completely at his mercy?"
- Again, all signs point to ACTUALLY FRIENDS with James, despite the fact that we never heard of him before.
James: "...it's not safe for you, our time together is over."
Portia: "Standing by you is my duty, my choice!"
- I also like that we get this mythology pinned down for familiars, because I think it's important. It's the familiar that chooses the master and they stay by choice. So, Spencer is actually the crazy one for going after James because he's made that Portia chose James. Really, he should be mad at Portia... but then, we don't do that with people we covet do we? It's always the people they choose instead of us that are somehow at fault, rather than us (if we're douchebags) or no one (because you can't help who you're attracted to.)
Philippe: "So you don't think it's too late for me to wear braces."
Other guy: "You won't even notice them..."
- I love this little conversation too, because if Philippe was just sitting there silently, then he's a character that has no life outside the plot - but you add in just one line, and suddenly he's more of a person with other things going on than framing James Frampton.
- Also, Asian dude! So few Asians on the TV.
Witch showdown time! And it's all a jealous love-triangle.
Spencer: "It's not only James' head I can get inside."
- So, a lot of people were disappointed by this spell/showdown, because as soon as Dean and Sam started to experience their worst memories, we went into "expecting fanfiction" mode, rather than "remember this is canon" mode. In fanfiction, Dean and Sam would have a)been crippled by the attack, b)had the attack bounce back on Spencer because their lives are so horrible it's unbelievable, or c)all of the above. When in reality, Dean and Sam are very well versed and pushing past extremely horrible experiences. Hell, Sam remembers every moment of the 18 months he spent inside Lucifer's cage - he probably can't touch a hot pizza without thinking "ouch, well, not as bad as the time I was on fire..." and also, I don't think that Spencer is actually seeing what they're seeing when he does the spell.
Portia to the rescue!
And the kill-witch spell actually works, and to my knowledge this is the first time they ACTUALLY KILL A WITCH! Yay Winchesters!
James: "Spencer was right. Ed Stolz has built enough of a case against me to make life hell for a long time, and then community here wants no part of us."
- I didn't talk about the whole "taboo" nature of James and Portia' relationship - but again, I like the fact that the community has rules and James and Portia are breaking them. It just adds extra dimension to the community and that world. Also, it's extremely human of them to leave and try to find a new community when their community rejects them.
Portia: "We start over, we're used to it. It's the way it's always been - for all of us. *to Sam* I'll miss you. *to Dean* maybe even you."
Dean: "I like dogs."
Portia: "No, you really don't."
- Again, I like the fact that Dean's not a dog person. Mainly, I think, because he's like me. I don't hate dogs and I think they're cute/beautiful/awesome/funny... but I don't want one, and I don't necessarily want to play with them. Actually, if you leave me with a dog for too long, I will eventually train it (accidentally) to only expect to be petted with my feet, because dog hair makes my hands feel dirty. And I'm sure all the dog people out there are thinking I'm a horrible person, but again, I LIKE dogs, I just like them when they aren't mine and they don't expect anything from me.
- Okay, now I'm going to sound like a whiny Sam!girl for just a minute here - but it kind of annoys me that Portia obviously likes Sam better, obviously connects with Sam better... and yet the whole episode she hung out with Dean! So, this is yet another instance of "Sam doesn't have any friends, only Dean makes friends" - and YES, I know why they did it - it's more entertaining to have Dean with Portia BECAUSE Dean doesn't like/understand her and hates witches, etc. But yeah, I just... wish that Sam could make friends sometimes, and maybe I shouldn't be blaming the writers, because after all these years, maybe I should just clue into the fact that Sam actually just doesn't make friends and it's a part of his character, but it's an annoying part of his character! Sam basically only has Jody Mills. That's it. That's the only secondary character that spends more time with Sam then they do with Dean. Sam started the series as the Winchester with the most friends and Dean telling him that he couldn't have friends, and now Dean is all friended up and Sam is a big loner... no wonder the man wants a dog.
Dean: "Well, it's possible I was wrong."
Sam: "What, James? Dude, we were both ready to gank the guy."
Dean: "No, that's not what I meant. Back there, when Spencer had us, he screwed with my head. I saw mom, when she died, and some other crap."
Sam: "Me too."
Dean: "You know when I look back at what our family's been through, what everybody's been through - all that pain. I realized the only way we made it through it all was by hanging together. I trust you, Sammy. With this deal, locking those sons of bitches up in the furnace once and for all - it's too important not to. So, if you say you're good, then that's it, I'm with you 100%"
Sam: *cough* "I'm good" *coughs up blood* *casually just wipes mouth and ignores it.*
- Oh Sam, just when things are coming together for you...
- I also think that this is the point where Dean decides that if he can't run this race, then he's going to be the best goddamn support crew that the world has every seen... and seeing as how Sam interprets support and care as babying and not-trusting, this is a slight recipe for disaster.
And thus endeth the episode...
As always, comments are welcome!