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Quick Reaction: 12x11 Regarding Dean

Hello!!

Change of plans this week - the weather in Vancouver has been slightly awful and the streets are very slushy, and I do not own waterproof shoes - so the decision was made to NOT go to my friends house. Instead I stayed home where it was warm and dry... but that means no drinking. Don't worry though! I still took horrible notes. :P

EPISODE!!!

Well, at least they put the "witch killing bullets" in the THEN... I thought this would avoid the stilted dialogue of having to do it in the show, but it didn't. It makes sense though, because witch killing bullets are something ONLY the Winchesters seem to have (or, at the very most, only the Winchesters and friends of the Winchesters have) that they have to explain to the witches that YES this gun can kill you. Anyway, that's way in the future...

NOW
Dean's chasing some dude through the woods. It's always interesting when the episode opens with a Winchester kill, because it's the exact same aesthetics and filming (pretty much) as when the episode opens with a victim running away from a monster - I just think that parallel is cool, because it's all about perspective! To the witch, it's the hunters that are the monsters... if you take out the idea that there are objective morals in this world (which is debatable. And also awesomely captured in a fantastic speech in the book Immortal Lycanthropes, which I highly recommend.)

And the famous "cursed by a witch right before the witch dies trope!" I secretely love it, you know. I read this so often in fic, and I know it's horribly tropey, but man, tropes become tropes for a reason. There's just something about the final curse before death that's so fun to read.

BUNNY! I love the continuity here, because Dean treats it nicely, and says "hey buddy!" And is gentle with it, and I just love it - because back in S3, I hypothetized that Dean's main problem with witches really IS that they're always killing adorable bunnies and Dean loves bunnies... and this only supports that headcanon!

That being said, that is definitely a pet bunny in the woods. I mean, it happens, bunnies get loose and multiply, but it doesn't look like a wild breed to me - and no wild bunny would get that friendly with a human.

Anyway, I got ahead of myself - the reason Dean is with a bunny is because he wakes up in the woods - which, apparently, is REALLY close to a walking path. He has to stop people to try to borrow a phone. And man, I don't blame them for thinking he's a homeless drunk person... but I'm glad that jogger guy gave him the benefit of the doubt.

He calls Sam and we discover that Dean doesn't know where he is, but then he sees a sign for waffles and tells Sam to meet him there. All I could think was "I sure hope Sam is in the same city"

But he is!

Sam arrives at the waffle place and we discover that Dean had gone out to get some food the previous night and just never returned. Sam is not particularly concerned about this though and chalks it up to Dean getting blackout drunk - which is also what Dean figures happened. Sam criticizes the behaviour with a "you're not 20 anymore", but doesn't seem entirely too surprised, so this must be something that happens from time to time still.

Then a group of ladies walk in and one of them says "oh my god" when she sees Dean. And I was like "Is she a witch? Was she in on it?"

Sam says they have to go to the morgue and our first true indication (if we hadn't watched the promos) that something is wrong with Dean's memory is that he has to be reminded why they're in town and what the case is.

Personally, I'm surprised he knew Sam's phone number. I haven't been able to remember a phone number since the year 2000. Seriously, all I can remember now is my mother's phone number - if I'm ever lost and need someone else's phone number, I call my mum and tell her to look it up for me. :P

We get another shot of the girls a the table, reminding us that they're important somehow.

And then sure enough one of them approaches Dean, though he doesn't recognize or know her - which causes her to slap him when he asks who she is. So... obviously she's someone Dean should remember.

Next up, we go to the morgue, where Dean is super grossed out by the stomach contents of the victim - which is a whole bunch of money soaked in blood and stomach acid. Yup, pretty gross. Jensen does a really good job of looking nauseated - so much so that it triggered my sympathetic nausea and I was right there with him. Thankfully, Sam gets to the point of the scene quickly, so Dean can stop making those little abortive throw-up noises, and we find a tiny hex bag in with the gross things. Meaning that Sam is now clued in to the fact that witches are involved.

Outside the morgue, Dean forgets which is the Impala key, and that's pretty f*cking serious memory loss right there. Only made worse when he momentarily forgets how to drive, and then forgets his own name.

After the commercial break, we find out that Dean only forgot his own name "for a second" but still, Sam's pretty concerned. Dean is not, and references Dory - unapologetically declaring himself a fan. It's cute.

He then forgets what the word is for lamp though and calls it a "light stick" - for the record though, that's a really weird lamp, and I thought it was a towel rack myself.

Sam decides the solution to this is post-it notes... which, is so Sam, and I love it... also, this love is influenced heavily by the fact that I use post-it notes for everything. Seriously, I am currently sitting at a desk that is covered in post-it notes. Clothing catalogue? Step one involves post-it notes. Timelining? Also on a post-it note. Taxes? Yup. Not saying it's a good system, just saying it's my system.

Anyway, Sam says he has to get Dean some help, and then we cut to Rowena cheating at cards. So, this basically tells us who Sam is going to call even before her phone rings.

Rowena asks for symptoms other than memory loss - the main one being if Dean's lost all his body hair from the neck down. Sam refuses to check. That's my only nitpick of the episode. Refusing to check body hair is maybe something you'd do with an aquiantence or a not-that-close friend, but a brother or a best friend? You'd be like, "one sec... nope! Still has hair!" Seriously, my BFF once got food poisoning while we were traveling and I did all the TMI doctor questions so that we could figure out if it was hospital-worthy or not. Also, it's not like Dean's even unconscious, you could just be like "Dean? Do you still have hair on your legs?" and Dean could lift up his pant leg and report. I mean, unless Dean regularly shaves all body hair except the groin, there's no reason it has to be any more intimate than that.... anyway... this is a super weird tangent to be on. It's just... the writer is a dude, he must know how hairy dudes are - so the fact that Sam won't check suggests that Dean like...regularly waxes everything, and you'd have to check his butt for stubble or something.

We DO find out that normally any memory spell can be undone by killing the witch though - which, in keeping with the trope, we know has already happened. This is like, chapter two of any fic with that trope "This book says we just have to kill the witch!" "But the witch is already dead!" "Oh no!"

While Sam has been distracted on the phone and shushing Dean's complaints about how they don't have ice - Dean has disappeared, more than likely to get ice. Which Sam thankfully figures out too and tracks him down, where he's trying to get back into the wrong room. Poor Dean. I mean, they play this episode a lot for laughs, but anyone who has dealt with someone with dementia or memory-effecting mental disorders knows how horrible these events really are... both for the person afflicted and also for those that care about them. My grandfather, in his later days, didn't recognize my grandmother as his wife, because he assumed "woman looking after me = nurse"... it's both amazing and heartbreaking what the mind can do.

Anyway, before we get to the cold reality of memory loss, we first have more shenanigans.

Sam decides that the best thing is to retrace their steps from the previous day and hope that Dean remembers things when he sees them. They first go to the accountant/money-managers office to figure out which of the people who might have wanted to kill him was the witch. Dean takes a cigar from the dude's cigarbox as a "douche-tax" and Sam informs him that he "did that yesterday too" - which is kind of comforting in a way, because even when Dean doesn't remember, he's still Dean. :)

Dean stares at a picture for a bit with the witch in it, but in the end says no one looks familiar.

Next up, it's figuring out what burger joint Dean ate at. They find one with a mechanical bull that happens to have the girl from the waffles place working in it. Sam weaves a story about how they're FBI and they think that Dean was roofied. She doesn't believe them, but then as she recounts the night - including the fact that he rode the mechanical bull and was "amazing" and then they "let off some steam together" - she realizes that he probably was (he wasn't) and apologizes if she took advantage. I'm not sure how I feel about her apology, like, part of me feels that it wasn't quiet realistic enough - because if I found out that I got it on with someone who was drugged, I'd be like WAY MORE HORRIFIED. I mean, she's somewhat horrified, but she apologizes in kind of a by rote way that seems done more out of pity and social obligation than in a way that suggests she's actually questioning whether she should have been able to tell and what could have been done to avoid what happened, etc. But maybe what I'm doing is not so much taking issue with the writing as the line delivery. I will say that the actresses body language as the scene continues is more satisfying than the way she said the words. Again, I find the stupidest things to nitpick about.

They get the security tape and see that when Dean went outside for some air, he recognized the dude from the photo in the victim's office. Dean, while watching the tape, tries to read his own lips - and then discovers/is-told that he can't read lips. I LOVE that - it actually kind of annoys me in shows when characters can just read lips, because reading lips is SUPER HARD. Seriously, mute the TV sometime and try it. When it comes to lip reading, being amazing at it usually means you can catch 60% of what's said. (The one exception to this is in Leverage - where I don't mind that the characters are amazing at everything, because that's their jam - I mean... it's like getting mad at a Jackie Chan character for being the best at martial arts.)

They then watch as Dean shoots the witch, and Dean exclaims, "I know how to shoot a gun?!" which is hilarious and cute.

They go outside to investigate and Sam finds the shell casing for the 45 - with a W engraved on the side, which marks it as a witch killing bullet.... but meanwhile, all I can think of is Sam carefully engraving stylized roman script Ws on the side of bullet shells. I mean, there's an artistry to calligraphy that I'm not quiet sure production grasped when they decided that this was something that the Winchesters took the time to do when they made witch-killing bullets.... it just furthers my headcanon that it was SAM'S art supplies in his and Jess' apartment (it was the abstract style, not realism, that Sam favoured, hence why he's a horrible sketch artist, but still heavily interested in art). So off track. Do I meander this much when I'm drinking? Or is this a sober Alix problem?

Sam declaring that it was indeed a witch-killing bullet, leads us to learn that Dean has now forgotten that the supernatural exists. Which leads Sam to have to give Dean the "supernatural things are real" talk - which is weird for Sam, but Dean's still Dean throughout this - so his response is "awesome, that's awesome."

Sam does think the talk is weird though and tells Dean as much. They really stick to their base psychologies here, with Sam focusing on how much the supernatural being real sucks for them, and Dean focusing on the fact that they're basically heroes - and "our best friend's an angel! What?!" - AWwww, seriously, you just want to wrap that boy in blankets. Also, "OUR best friend." OUR.

Dean finds the dead guy, while Sam finds the spell glyphs. Dean alerts Sam to the fact that there's a dead guy in the woods and Sam now knows that the simple "kill the witch" cure isn't going to save his brother. We're now finished chapter two of the fic, guys.

Sam and Dean quickly leave the scene of the crime.

And are replaced by two witch friends of the dead guy finding the dead guy... and overacting a little, tbh. Sorry actors.

Sam and Dean are at the motel room, Sam's looking at the dead guy, to which Dean asks if that guy's dead, and states that he's never seen a dead guy before. Aww, Dean, you saw him 20 minutes ago at most.

Rowena then shows up. Dean doesn't know who she is, but enjoys that her "hair's all bouncy!" Rowena is flattered, and perhaps a little surprised. I loved watching the scenes between Dean and Rowena in this episode, because both Jensen and Ruth are great actors and it was fun to see their characters interact in a fundamentally different way than they usually do.

Sam parks Dean in front of scooby-doo so that he can speak with Rowena without Dean interrupting... but right before he does, he asks Dean if Dean remembers HBO or Cinemax - "Skin-amax" rings a bell for Dean - and then he looks between Sam and Rowena and flirtatiously says "is it going to be live skin-amax?!" and Sam practically talks over it, but MY GOD! Dean that's your brother! You can't have forgotten that already?!

Anyway, scooby-doo saves the day there and no cinemax is needed.

Rowena then gives us the exposition. Dead guy is Gideon Lochlan, whose family uses celtic druidic magic from a book called the Black Grimoire (sp?) and the only cure for Dean is to find the book and the specific incantation... and man, this is all sounding familiar, and I even wrote in my notes: "Rowena probably just wants another book."

But Rowena insists that without the book, Dean will eventually forget Sam, himself, how to speek, how to swallow, and then "Dean Winchester will die" to which Dean speaks up from the bed "Sucks for that guy!" And yeah... note the best sign.

Now it's time for a bathroom chat! And seriously, this might be my favourite shot/setting in a while. This is the kind of stuff that I miss from the early episodes of the show, where the reality of motels and the weird intimacy of their lives as a result was emphasized more... but just, the fact that these two large men are having a serious chat in a bathroom for privacy, and they're not even blinking at it. LIke, this is just normal.

Then my notes devolved into "Man, Sam's cute. So attractive, it's painful." because DAMN, I don't know if it's the Clinging Red Plaid or the way they're lighting the scenes, but Jared is SUPER ATTRACTIVE in this episode, it was legitamately distracting at times.

Sam basically explains Dean's life to him and then lays out the problem. And Dean is suitably worried, says he can feel it slipping away... and Sam gets all teary and promises that he'll fix it. And awww....

Then Sam goes out to speak to Rowena and leaves Dean in the bathroom. And Sam tells Rowena, "You know, I've seen my brother die, but watching him become not him, this might actually be worse." ...but... that also happened with MoC too, though. Like, this isn't the first time Dean has become "not Dean" - though, I guess MoC emphasized the darkness in Dean and made him forget the light, whereas this spell makes him forget EVERYTHING. So, I suppose even MoCDean was a recognizable aspect of Dean to Sam... and if you subscribe to the idea that our experiences are what shape who we are, then it stands to reason that forgetting our experiences makes us lose who we are... and I suppose it's even worse if you also lose intrinsic knowledge (or whatever it's called) like, people who can't remember their lives, will still know how to tie a shoe or do stuff they learned how to do in their lives, even if they don't remember why they know it (like Jason Bourne style)... but Dean's losing EVERYTHING, so that's pretty devastating.

Anyway, just to devastate us further, Dean's in the bathroom trying Dory's technique of repetition in order to remember. "My name is Dean Winchester, Sam is my brother, Mary is my mother, Casti- Cas is... my best friend."

Sam, meanwhile, is no dummy and accuses Rowena of the same thing that I accused her off - wanting another spellbook.

But really, as proud as I am of Sam, I wish he'd check in on Dean, because Dean's already forgetting, and can't get past his name on one of his repetitions, and then can't get his name on the next... and he just becomes more and more destraught, because he remembers that he has to remember, but he can't.

Sam decides that the book really is the only way they'll solve this though - so he leaves Rowena to look after Dean, and he takes off to another town to find the book.

The next day, Rowena is getting together the spell ingrediants for when Sam reads her the incantation - and her and Dean have a chat. Rowena tells him about her history with the Lochlan's, how she tried to get their help when she fled Europe because of the UK Men of Letters. I need to go back now because I thought that Rowena didn't know about the Men of Letters before the headwitch she turned into a hamster told her... but maybe it's more that she didn't know that the MoL had devastated the coven? Who knows (well, someone who took the time to go back and read transcripts would, but I'm lazy tonight and have already been typing for an hour and a half.)

There's a great little brief narrative here where Rowena tells Dean that he's a killer, while they cut to shots of Sam killing people.

Dean is distressed to learn this, but Rowena tells him that he did it for the greater good - meanwhile, she's done horrible things and can't claim the same. She then confides in him that she always did things for her own happiness, but after seeing that even God and his sister couldn't find happiness, she has little hope for her own and is now questioning whether the things she's done have been worth it at all.

Dean questions why she's telling him this, and she tells him that's it's because he won't remember. And yeah, don't we all wish we could just unload all our problems on someone who won't judge us because they won't even remember the conversation in five minutes?

Sam gets inside the house and puts Rowena on speakerphone. His victories don't last long though, as one of the witches gets behind him and throws him into a book case, and the other one charms butterflies into emitting a noise that makes Sam's ears bleed. Seriously, what is with butterflies and ears bleeding?!! When I was a kid, I accidentally watched a movie with my dad (who used to leave the TV on when he read the paper and didn't even pay attention to what was on it) and there was a scene where a whole bunch of butterflies swarmed a guy's head and when they left he was dead and bleeding from the ears...and I was afraid of butterflies for years afterward.

Things look grim.

Then Dean wakes up in a the backseat of the Impala - at night.

There are memento style notes in the Impala though, explaining that Dean's brother was kidnapped so Rowena took their car to rescue him. And another telling Dean to stay in the car.

Rowena attempts to come to Sam's rescue! Yay!

Meanwhile, the witches seem to be planning to bring back their brother by killing Sam.

Meanwhile, Sam continues to be WAY TOO DAMN ATTRACTIVE.

Rowena is in their foyer.

The brother witch explains that he's going to put his brother's soul into Sam's body and Sam's soul into the dead body - hence killing Sam, I'm guessing, since humans aren't capable of keeping dead bodies alive like demons are.

Then my notes say - Why do people always have thick rope? I don't have thick rope - because I got distracted by Sam's hands being tied.

We then get more backstory on Rowena - who came to the Lochlan's dirty and desperate, and when they turned her away, she begged to stay and offered herself as whore for them - to which the sister told her brother that it'd be cleaner to have sex with the pigs... and yeah... that's um, quite the backstory.

Dean decides he's had enough of obeying the stay note and gets out of the car. He goes to the trunk, either through another stick note or by habit, and there are instructions left there too - I'm thinking those ones are probably Sam's, from earlier. They lead Dean to the weapons stash, there's a No! on the grenade launcher, but there are labeled witch killing bullets and a "use this gun" - so, yay for someone's forethought!

Then it's Dean to the rescue! And I love how, at this point, you can tell just by the fact that he's not talking, that Dean has forgotten everything about himself, including how to talk (thankfully, he can still read!) and yet there's some base part of him that's a hero - so Dean's right about the hero thing.

Dean saves Rowena first, and then Sam barrels down the stairs chasing the other witch - Dean gets confused about who he should shoot, but thankfully Sam's quick to realize this and yells "No no no BROTHER! WITCH!" with appropriate pointing. And Dean takes his word for it and then gives Sam a thumbs up. Awww.

We then come back to the next scene with Rowena removing the curse upstairs, while Sam eagerly waits for the results. Dean comes down the stairs and asks "who's the hippie?" and then manages to hold his expression long enough that even I started to doubt it was a joke, then he reveals it's a joke to torture Sam - nice, Dean, real nice - and that is face was just like the time that he stole Sam's halloween candy - just to prove that Dean DOES remember.

Then it's goodbye to Rowena time - Sam demands the book, but she willingly hands it over after only a token protest. He then tells her that they owe her one "a small one."

We then get a brother chat, this time as they leave the motel. Sam admits that he was jealous of Dean at first - because they've been carrying the weight of the world and their lives "forever" and Dean was temporarily free of it and looked Happy. Dean tells Sam that if that was happiness, he'd rather remember - because losing what they have was way worse than their lives. Awww.

And then we get a montage of Dean on the bull, interspersed with shots from the episode... and it's amazing, but also super weird, and I kind of feel like the montage might have been a reference to something that I'm unaware of... or, it was just a stupid-fun thing for them to do at the end of the episode. Certainly, I have no complaints about seeing Dean/Jensen ride a bull in slow motion... especially at the end when he lies backwards across it...like, honestly, that should be illegal. Sam's too attractive, Dean's straddling a bull while lying backwards with his head hanging off the end... I mean, how am I supposed to think about the important lessons of life and love being worth the pain?!

Next week promo: looks intense and I'm suitably nervous.


As usual, please forgive spelling mistakes, and also let me know what you thought in comments!!!

Comments

hells_half_acre
Feb. 10th, 2017 10:42 pm (UTC)
I know! I haven't read what I wrote back then in ages, but I can only imagine how it's held up (or not!)... I keep meaning to go back and do another rewatch of the early seasons - but it's on the list with my canon-bible and wound-tracking projects (ie: things I just don't have time for!) so who knows when it'll get done.

I'm glad past!me's musings are there to offer friendly discussion on your rewatch!! :)