Okay, jumping right in - usual rules: 1)I've been drinking and have only watched the episode once. I am not going to have perfect recall and all quotes will be paraphrased, don't correct me unless it's a major plot or character point, or I ask you to. 2)I like liking things. If you don't like things, that's fine, but constructive criticism only please!
So, to the episode!
We begin with the teaser death, which as we find out, isn't a death YET. It's an abduction. I liked the guy who was playing the homeless dude, he did a good job in this first scene of having certain mannerisms that, at least to me, screamed schizophrenia.... which, of course, immediately made me sad, because we need better mental health care in NA. Anyway....
To the bunker! Where Sam and Dean are montage researching again! And then we get to see the CEILING of Dean's room...and I'll admit, I was super distracted by it - was it an actual ceiling? Was it CGI? There was an odd shadow on it that made me wonder... But the point of the scene was actually that Sam found the case and wanted to go check it out, but Dean doesn't trust himself out in the real world, not after punching Dark!Charlie a bunch... I liked te staging of the scene A LOT, even though I was distracted by ceiling... I liked Dean wearing plaid (which, I still maintain, makes him look super vulnerable for some reason - and tends to be what he wears when he's feeling insecure or needing comfort) and I like that he's sitting on the floor leaning on the bed and Sam's towering over him. Sam's the person who has it together this season, and the whole staging of this scene just reinforces that knowledge.
Anyway, Sam says that Dean has to leave the bunker and forgive himself and believe that he'll be okay in order for it to be true... or something like that... so Dean agrees and off they go!
They talk to the homeless dude, who describes smelling "flowery flowers" - which, for the record, is exactly how I would describe any fragrant flowers, since I can't tell different flowers apart unless they are those death flowers that smell like rotting carcasses... in which case I would be like "it smelled like rotting carcasses" and I wouldn't think it was flowers at all. Anyway, off point... the homeless guy then goes on to suspect aliens, and Sam and Dean quickly walk away when talk goes to probing... and yeah, it's funny, but not to get too social-justicy, but again, the guy made me think of my schizophrenic uncle and the fact that mental illness isn't actually funny. That being said, I do have a hilarious story about my schizophrenic uncle coming up with a spaceship story... BUT ANYWAY....
No leads there really, so Sam tells Dean to check out the bar while he checks out JP's (our victim's) place. I love how quick Sam reads Dean, I mean, the hesitation isn't even that long, and Sam doesn't even make fun of him for it - he just offers that they don't necessarily need to split up at all. But Dean waves him away and throws him the keys...
And then goes into the bar and ends up chatting up a girl while drinking. I loved Dean's "I'm going to believe in myself" before he ordered and the bartender being like "that's good." But, I also loved it because last episode was about Dean trying to be someone else (*cough*Sam*cough*) in order to beat the Mark, but this episode is more about him realizing that he has to figure out how to resist it on his own terms... though, whether that's wise or not remains to be seen, since alcohol usually never helps any problem... unless your problem is that you need to sanitize something, in which case rubbing alcohol will do a good job.
Anyway, Dean ends up chatting with a girl named Tina, who had a crappy childhood too and once stayed in the same motel as Dean. And we get a bonus young-Winchester story!!! With Dean telling us that after being left behind by John so much, he's gotten really good at making every variety of Mac&Cheese possible... and how Mac&Cheese with Marshmellow fluff sounds disgusting, but Sam thought it was "exotic" HAHA... part of me wants to believe he actually did, but the more cynical part of me believes that Sam might have just said that to make Dean feel better when he made it.
Tina goes to leave, which I thought was actually pretty neat - that she wasn't someone that Dean was going to end up in some motel room with, but rather just a woman who decided that a couple of drinks would be fun, but that was it. And then Dean sees a huge guy follow her out the door just after answering Sam's call....
Oh, but before I forget - I want to say that I actually liked the joke about the bathroom being like devil's asshole... and Sam saying "I saw it" and Dean saying "the bathroom or....?" I mean, on the one hand, yes, it's alluding to something that was a super tramatic experience for Sam, but on the other hand, it means they haven't forgotten it happened...and also, I might be influenced by the fact that last week I went to a tragedy-comedy show where a bunch of comedians told jokes about the worst things that ever happened to them (and I'm not talking about their dog dying or breaking a bone... the headliner of the evening was a child-rape victim)... in my opinion, joking about something is part of the healing process, and so I kind of like the fact that it's a)not forgotten and b)something that they can sort of mention in a dark-humour sort of way.
But, he's too late to save Tina... and then the big guy gets the drop on him too... and then it's all white light until he wakes up in a basement and discovers that he's a 14 year old version of himself!
And that brings us to our first commercial break! It was 14 minutes! Amazing... I felt like I was back in Europe for a second there.
So, we return... and okay, does anyone else find it creepy that Dean is in different clothes? I mean, I understand why it's necessary, because his grown-up clothes wouldn't fit him... but that means that he was taken naked and dressed by Hansel...and yeah... creepy. Same goes for Tina.
Speaking of, Tina is in the other room, and figures out that Dean is Dean... and then feaks out because if Dean is there, then that means it's not a nightmare. Dylan Everette, who plays young Dean, does such a good job.
This is such a fanfic trope - but it's just physically de-aged, rather than physically AND mentally de-aged, which I think is more popular in the genre, because it's angstier. Supernatural doesn't really have time to deal with that much angst in one episode, so I'm not surprised that they went with the "easier" de-aged scenario. But yeah, I mean, Dylan doesn't get too many heavy emotional scenes, because Dean is VERY case focused, since Tina's life is on the line, but he still does a fantastic job of being Dean, in my opinion.
It's really quite hilarious to see young-Dean with old Dean's attitude.
Anyway, poor JP is taken (and man, they found a good look-a-like young guy for JP... although the young!Tina actress was really good, her jaw was way too soft in my opinion for her to really resemble old-Tina). Mind you, I think Dylan has the wrong colour eyes or something, so *shrug* - it's acting talent that matters, and these young actors were amazing.
Dean breaks out of the basement, with Tina screaming as cover.... oh! First cake!! Haha, I loved the cake... again, I loved the shot of Dean uncovering the cake. Did Serge direct this?! Yes... yes he did. That explains it. Man, he uses such awesome angles and staging.
I also love Dean eating the cake and then Tina is like "it's probably poisoned" and he's like "right, um.." and puts the cake down.
Anyway, THEN Dean escapes, with Tina's help, and promises to come back and save her.
Sam, meanwhile, has gone to the bar to try to find Dean, and instead found the bartender going through Dean's jacket. I loved Sam smacking the bartenders face into the bar when he didn't give a straight answer the first time. I love protective!Sam and that's exactly the Sam that emerges whenever Dean goes missing. I also loved how all the extras in the bar turned to look at what was happening instead of just going on with their business... it's a small thing, but it always annoys me when extra's don't react to major happenings around them because some idiot extra-director has told them not to, even though it makes absolutely no sense for them not to notice.
I LOVE the scene where Dean gets back to the motel - and Sam doesn't recognize him at first... and then when he does, he just stands there with that freaked-out Sam face... and it's awesome. It's played off so brilliantly by Dean just going about his business like he's NOT 14 years old. It's just perfectly done.
So, they go to rescue Tina... and oh man! I LOVED LOVED LOVED Dean getting into the drivers seat as usual and Sam getting into the passenger seat without even thinking about it, and then Dean has to slide the BENCH SEAT forward and Sam's knees are suddenly in his face and only THEN is he like "um, maybe I should drive?"
Anyway, my only quibble is that Sam and Dean already know what yarrow is and can recognize it... they could recognize it on sight way back in S2. MAYBE they didn't know it was used for transfiguration spells, I'll give them that much - but Sam should have been able to say "The flowery flowers were yarrow, which are used in transfriguration spells by witches..." rather than "yarrow is a plant, which is apparently used by witches in...." (again, quotes are paraphrased).. my point is, it's a SUBTLE difference in the dialogue that no one would have noticed but would have made all the difference to people like me who can remember everything the Winchesters know and do not know at any given point.
So, while they drive to rescue Tina, they talk... mainly because Sam is still freaked out by being able to see Dean the 14 year-old again, which probably looks a lot different than Sam remembers from how it looked to a 10 year-old.
It's a great talk... I loved the humour of Dean going through puberty again, and Sam not really wanting to hear about it... and the fact that Dean heard a Taylor Swift song and liked it, like that's even worse than the spontaneous erection problem.
But, the more serious matter is the fact that Dean, as a 14 year old, does not have the Mark of Cain... and this might be their answer - don't change Dean back, leave him a a 14 year-old and have him grow up again. He'll be half Sam's age instead of his older brother, but yet, still his older brother. And, I'm not going to lie, while I was watching, I was kind of wishing that I didn't like Jensen as much as I do, because I think it would have been awesome if that actually WAS the solution... I mean, I would have watched the crap out of that show... but I also would have missed Jensen a lot, or rather, older Dean... and that seemed to be Sam's feelings too. He wanted Dean cured of the Mark, but Sam loves his older brother...and while young-looking Dean was still his older brother, it wasn't the same.
Dean goes to break into the basement, and wants Sam to come in with him - and Sam's like "I'm too big to fit in there!" and Dean, the true 14 year-old that he is, responds with "I bet that's the first time you've said that!" Hahaha...okay, yes, I am also 14 apparently. :P I liked Sam sassing Dean back and Dean conceeding that he didn't have a comeback... it was a cute brother moment.
So, Dean breaks into the basement and Sam breaks into the house... and I bet it was fun for Dylan, because he probably doesn't get a lot of gigs where he gets to pretend he's a seasoned hunter/gun-user.
Hansel gets the drop on Dean, but then Sam sneaks up behind him and saves him... and then they find out what they're dealing with - Hansel and the witch, with Gretel being long-since killed. Hansel tells them he's there against his will and he'll help them... but when they get up to the kitchen (where Tina is) it turns out to be a LIE! Which, I suppose I should have seen coming, because it was all too easy.... but I had already had a few glasses of wine, so I have to admit to falling for it along with the boys.
Unfortunately, they're witch-killing potion gets destroyed in the fight... but then they get a small chance to recover as Hansel has them kneeling at gun point while the witch monologues. Apparently, she's been brought over to America to deal with Rowena.
Dean keeps her talking while Sam gets a knife out of his pocket, and then they attack... only, it doesn't go so well, because yeah, they don't have the witch killing thing.... so Sam gets thrown into a shelf and Dean gets smacked into the fridge until he goes down... and the witch orders Hansel to change Sam into a kid too... and even I knew that wasn't going to happen, because Colin Ford is too older to play 14 year-old Sam now.
And sure enough, Dean recognizes that they need at least ONE Winchester brother to remain an adult, so he takes one for the team and steals the hex bag from Hansel and turns himself big again - blinding the room in the process which allows him to get the jump on both Hansel and the witch.
Perhaps sadly for the audience, but good-thing for Dean - his clothes grow with him. So, he's still in jeans and a hoodie, but they're BIGGER jeans and a hoodie. Still, it would have been pretty neat for Dean to be kicking ass with hulk-torn clothes... though, jeans are pretty touch material, so he might have damaged the goods if that had happened, and that wouldn't have given him an advantage at all.
Anyway, sadly for Tina, Dean uses the hex-bag to stop the witch from casting spells by shoving the hex-bag into her mouth... and then he throws both of them in the fire. Which means that Tina is stuck as a 14 year-old.
In the end though, she decides that's okay, because she gets a second chance... and hopefully she travels to another city and signs herself up for foster-care, because I don't think it's much of a second chance if she's a 14 year-old homeless girl. Sam and Dean give her all their cash - which, um, great, I guess... but doesn't Tina have a house somewhere and a bank account and possibily her own cash? Well, I guess maybe not, because her clothes would have been by the dumpster along with Dean's and she'd probably be declared a missing person...so, nevermind. Yeah, makes sense.
And then it's time for the brother's to talk before they drive off... and Sam asks if the mark is back, and yes, it is. So, sad times, they still have all their problems. I liked Dean trying to explain why he changed back, as if Sam would be mad at him for it, but Sam is actually grateful, because he didn't WANT Dean to be a 14 year-old... and he knows Dean did it to save him... and I love that Sam explains this by saying "you pulled a Dean Winchester" - which basically means that Dean self-sacrificed yet again.
Still, I like that the episode ended on a more optimistic note. And I actually do love the fact that they got in the car, turned on the radio - which was playing Shake It Off by Taylor Swift - and Dean just smiles and keeps it playing. It's a really optimistic song to end the episode on, and I love it for that, and also for the humour value, and also because it tells us that Dean is still capable of change.
Next week's promo didn't do much for me, but who knows!
So, I guess that's it... let me know in comments what you desperately want to discuss!