Sorry this Quick Reaction is so late. My friend had a REALLY bad day (to the point where some transphobic douchebag made them so angry they cried) and so we went out for "the world is garbage" beers, so they could vent about it to me. It's been a big week for friendship around here!
So, I didn't get to watch the show until 10pm PST... so, as usual - show only watched once, very rushed rough notes so that I can remember scene order, and so all quotes are paraphrased and I might get a few minor details wrong.
Let's talk about this thing!
We begin in Madison, WI, where some dude gets knifed by his dead wife. And he dies surprisingly quickly for what looks like a stomach wound to me. Maybe unrealistic TV and movies have just ruined me and I have a complete misconception about how long one can live (in agony) after getting stabbed in the stomach.
The point is, dude is dead.
Then we cut to Sam and he comes back with two coffees (why just two? Does Jack not deserve take-out coffees? Also, why are you bringing home coffee when you have a coffee maker? Are the boys actually addicted to those fancy Starbucks-esque flavoured coffees or something that they can't make at home? I'm just saying... waste of money, when you have a perfectly good coffee-maker.)
Dean tells Sam about the case he found after a bit of prodding. Sam thinks they should take it, and bring Jack along. Dean is like NOPE! But then Sam is like "DO IT FOR ME!" and Dean is like "Damn, that's my kryptonite." Or we assume that's what he says, because the next scene has Sam asking Jack if he'd like to come along on the case with them.
Jack is watching the Clone Wars - which now I wish that I had watched, because I'm not sure who the first character he references is. He likes Osaku? But not Anakin, so Sam mutters that that's a good sign. Jack initially refuses to come on the hunt though, revealing to Sam that he overheard Sam and Dean's argument and he knows Sam is just using him. (which reminds me of one of my favourite Tragically Hip lyrics - "even babies raised by wolves know exactly when they've been used".)
Sam comes clean and explains what happened to Mary, and that he DOES hope that Jack might be able to help - but he also apologizes and assures Jack that even if Jack can't help, that doesn't mean that Sam doesn't want to help him. Sam does a VERY GOOD JOB HERE.
Jack then brings up the fact that he is essentially afraid of Dean... and Sam tells him that Dean just has to get to know him.
So, it's off to work the case!
Jack learns about hunter IDs and about how ghosts are a thing. He does not obey Dean though, and gets out of the car to look at the crime scene while Sam and Dean are interviewing the witness. They catch up with him and Jack explains that he wants to help. Sam totally plays the thoughtful teacher/peacemaker here, and it's adorable. Anyway, Jack didn't find anything, so they assume it's a revenent and go to check out the grave.
They get Jack started on the digging, while Sam pulls Dean away and chews him out for sounding like John whenever he talks to Jack - that the drill sargent thing might have worked on Dean as a kid, but not on Sam, and Sam (projecting onto Jack continually) warns that it's probably not the best strategy for Jack. Dean doesn't care, he's not the boys mother and neither is Sam! Rar!
The body is safely in the grave, so it's not a revenent, but they salt and burn it, assuming that maybe it WAS a ghost and it was just a weird one. They then explain to Jack about how things that get burned stay dead.
(And I wanted to say EXCEPT ADAM!) But we get an even bigger EXCEPTION when in the next scene, we see Castiel in the "Big Empty" - being not entirely dead.
Then we get our second death of the case - an old woman torn apart by a murderous child named Scotty.
Sam and Dean show up and give us the details - Scotty has been dead since 1996.
Then we're back to Cas, who is walking through emptyness trying to not be all alone... and then a weird mercurial figure comes into being... it's a pretty dang cool effect!
Back with Sam and Dean, now at the police station and/or the morgue - Sam comes out to find Dean alone by the car. He asks where Jack is, and Dean sent him on a "food run" - and Sam glances over and sees Jack waiting by a foodtruck. "He's not our intern!" Sam says - and I laugh, because it'd be kind of hilarious if he were. ANYWAY...Dean is like "he keeps staring at me!" and Sam tells Dean it's because Jack wants Dean to like him (awww).
Turns out that all the victims shared the same grief counsellor. So next stop is to check her out.
They can't use their FBI ids (they assume), so they go in as patient (walk-in patients!) It's quite clearly Sam's idea, and quite clearly he's hoping that Dean might accidentally get some therapy.
They introduce Jack as their little brother. And the proceed to have a family fight instead of an interrogation - since Sam's cover story is their mother's death, and Dean does not want to talk about it. And then decides to dig back at Sam by telling the counsellor (Mia?) that Sam's in denial. Sam explodes at that and tells Dean that Sam's not cool with their mom being dead, because he never got to have a relationship with her - Mary always texted and called Dean, not Sam, and if she's dead, then that means that Sam will never get to have a relationship with her. (Which, arguably, will be the second parent who he did not get to have a good relationship with and who, in Sam's opinion, obviously preferred Dean to him.) Sam storms out of the room... and uses the opportunity to go snooping. Which, in my notes, I just called "Sneaky sneaks!"
He finds blood on the banister and follows it to an upstairs bathtub that's full of skin and hair. Gross!
Meanwhile, back in the room, Mia is trying to talk to Dean. She points out that Jack is obviously afraid of Dean. And they talk about how Dean's angry. I just wrote the word "Angry" so I can no longer remember what exactly they said here.
But, it's interrupted by Sam bursting back into the room and announcing that Mia is a shapeshifter. Surprise, SHE IS! But TWIST - she's not the murderer. She has an alibi for one of the murders. (I mean, how could you really check that alibi, she could look like anyone? Though, I guess if they can't find another Mia whatever-the-heck, then she'd be assumed to be the only one.)
Back with Cas, he comes across the other figure, who has taken Cas' form.... and has a VERY funny voice - Misha obviously had fun with that one. It's sort of a weird old timey trans-atlantic accented clown-type thing. The creature says he's a cosmic entity. He explains that they are in what existed before God and the Universe and Earth, etc... "the big empty" (which totally supports the cosmic set-up that I always assumed SPN was.) All angels and demons that are killed completely go to the Big Empty and "sleep" for eternity. Only, for some reason, Cas has now woken up. As long as Cas is awake, the cosmic entity must also be awake - and it really doesn't like being awake (Same!). He asks why Cas is awake and when Cas doesn't tell him, he lays hands on Cas's head and Cas ends up in a fair bit of pain.
Sam and Dean are finding out more about the Shifter - so, not gonna lie, I'm pretty jazzed about this shifter, because I was talking with Bethany form the Plaidcast about this (I'm pretty sure it was her I was speaking to) about how we never see good shifters (ignoring Bloodlines) even though they're the only monster that doesn't HAVE to kill to survive, so there's no real reason for them to be evil. They're always the case of becoming evil because people told them they were - in that OTHER people turn shifters into monsters, but it's not necessarily a fundamental identity of the shifter to be one. So, not only do we get a shifter who is good, we get a shifter who had a shifter MOTHER! Again, this breaks the mold of what we've seen before, which is primarily MALE shifters (this is, outside of Bloodlines, I believe the first shifter who seems to primarily identify as female) and the male shifters we've seen have always (or at least implied to be) the result of a rape between another male shifter posing as a loved one and sleeping with a human female. So, having a MOTHER shifter is a pretty big deal. Now, of course, maybe it's a "false" claim, because since shifters can shift, maybe they don't really have a biological sex, or only have one, and their gender preferences are just that...so Mia's shifter mother may not have actually carried Mia, and could have still taken a male form and slept with a human female - but the implication that she may have actually carried Mia is there, and that's pretty cool.
ANYWAY, Mia had an old boyfriend named Buddy (also a shifter), who hurt people - including Mia, and was horrible. She broke up with him and got a new identity and fled, but he might have tracked her down, because he loved to ruin people's lives. Part of Mia being a therapist is tro try to atone for the things she did while she was with him. They assume he might be posing as Tom, Mia's assistant. So Dean takes Jack to go check him out...or rather, Dean wants to go check him out, and Sam makes him take Jack.
Dean and Jack talk in the car when they arrive at Tom's house. Jack tells Dean that Sam told him the plan about saving their mother - and Dean tells Jack that the thing he has to know is that Sam's plans don't always work out.
Meanwhile, Sam and the Shifter are chilling, going through the security tapes. Dean calls and says that Tom's human. Sam asks Mia about how the process works - how come no one ever questions why they can see their loved ones in her office. She explains that people want closure so badly, they're willing to make up whatever explanation is easiest for them - hypnosis or a dream or whatever.
Sam finds the shifter on the security footage - it's the guy Jack said hi to on their way in earlier that day.
Cas recovers from what was apparently a mind-reading. Cas argues that the entity will have to send him back to earth, if he wants to sleep again. That Sam and Dean need him. The entity laughs at that - he tells Cas that he's wrong. That he read his mind, and he now knows "what you hate, who you love, what you fear" and that there is nothing on earth for him. (Also, destiel fans are going to go crazy with that "who you love" line, as they should). Then he "shows" Cas how there's nothing for him there - by playing Cas a painful slideshow of all Castiel's bigggest failures.
Dean and Jack return to Mia's to find that Sam's gone. Dean's mad that Sam didn't call him. Jack asks to talk to Mia alone, while Dean calls Sam.
Jack and Mia sit down, and Jack tells Mia about his mother - how he's not really Sam and Dean't brother - and how his own mother died when she had him. And how he really wants to see her at least once.
Mia becomes Kelly, and Jack tells her all about how Sam thinks he's good, but that Jack hurt people - and he know he should feel back about it, but he doesn't really - and now he's worried that because he doesn't actually feel bad, then he must not be good. Mia as Kelly tells him that it doesn't matter what you are, it only matters who you are... and Jack is comforted. (YAY! Theme of both Harry Potter and Supernatural...it's our actions that matter!)
Sam calls Dean and tells him that the guy was already dead and the shifter wasn't there - so he's heading back. Dean is like "well, that was easy" and then we pan over to see that it is NOT ACTUALLY DEAN, because Dean is unconscious on the floor. Why not dead? Who knows! Monsters do not make wise decisions, luckily for us!
Buddy!Dean knocks out Jack, and then he rips Dean's face off to reveal that it is HE - Buddy!
I really love that we've returned to the gore-version of shapeshifters. I didn't like how they had sanitized them, because it lost some of the...dirt? that made the show so grounded in reality, in my opinion, in the earlier seasons. Like... things that are real are dirty and imperfect. Things that aren't real are clean and flawless.
Back with Cas, the entity argues that Castiel should prefer to be a found memory to his loved ones, rather than a constant disappointment. And man, have I mentioned before how much Sam and Cas have in common? Because they really do - I think it's why I like (non-sexual) Sassy so much (I mean, besides that great ship name.)
The entity tries to tell Cas to sleep, and "save yourself" but Cas argues - he's already saved. And he's going to fight the entity forever, he's going to stay awake forever, so if the entity ever wants to sleep again - it should RELEASE HIM.
Dean is still alive! He gets handcuffed to the fireplace, next to an unconscious Jack. While Buddy yells at Mia about their backstory. Dean comes to fairly quickly and tries to get Jack to use his powers to break Dean's cuffs, but Jack says he can't do it. Dean tries to tell him that he can - because Sam believes in him. (so sweet - and is going to be touched on again at the end of the episode.)
Buddy sees that they're awake and tells Mia that she has to kill them, or Buddy will kill her. Mia, being on the path of good, stands in front of the gun and insists that Buddy kill her then, because she's not going to kill Dean and Jack. Then Sam arrives on the security cam, and the shifter gets distracted - Dean tries to warn Sam, but Buddy knocks him out again and then mimics his voice to get Sam to come back to the room - where Buddy lies in wait with the gun aimed. Jack saves the day, by doing his angry scream-thing, and also taking out the bullet. GIving Sam enough time to draw his gun and kill the shifter.
Then we go to commercial, and come back to a SUPER weird very short scene where Mia tells them to leave and she'll take care of Buddy's body etc... and reiterating that she "just wanted to do some good"... and then SUDDENLY WE'RE BACK IN THE BUNKER. I think that's my biggest writing critique with this episode, just the timing and sort of non-thing that was that very brief scene tag.
Anyway, Jack is in the kitchen getting water, and Dean comes in to grab two beers, and they exchange awkward "hey"s and then Dean tells Jack that he did good today. (Also TODAY! Did you drive from Wisconsin back to Kansas in one day?!... oh, okay, it's only a 9-10 hour trip... that's not as bad as I thought...carry on!) Jack then gives a little smile. It's cute.
Dean brings Sam a beer as a peace offering, and apologizes for his behaviour, and admits that Jack is trying. Sam is bummed though, so Dean asks him what the matter is... and Sam wonders if Dean might be right, that Sam's just in denial about Mary. Dean tells Sam not to say that, that Sam needs to keep the faith. When Sam questions why Dean would be upset that Sam's AGREEING with him - Dean tells Sam that he needs Sam to believe, because Dean doesn't believe in a damn thing.
AND MAN I LOVE THAT. Because that's been their relationship from the jump - USUALLY it's Sam whose the optimist, and Dean the pessimist...and the thing is, it works BECAUSE of that, because Dean can follow the path of hope and blame it all on Sam... but if Sam's got no hope, and Dean doesn't have it in him to hope, then all that leaves Dean is the crushing despair that he uses Sam's hope to AVOID. The rare times when Sam's been without hope, Dean's been able to step up to the plate and become the optimist for him - and I absolutely love that Dean's admitting here that he's so devastated that he doesn't have it in him to do that right now, so he needs Sam to stay strong - to be strong for both of them - in his hope and optimism that things might work out okay in the end. And oh man, my heart.
But this is what was alluded to with Dean telling Jack that he can help in the fight with the shifter BECAUSE Sam THINKS he can. Like - that's all Dean needs for something to be possible - is for Sam to believe that it is.
Also, this end scene tells Sam just how devastated Dean is - not that this is the devastation olympics or anything - but the fact that Dean is actually admitting that he needs Sam to be strong for him. And you're damn sure that Sam's going to step up to that plate, now that Dean's asked him to, because a)that's what Sam does, and b)it'll give him something to focus on other than his devastation... which is I think partially why Sam's been a little better than Dean at handling his grief - he immediately shifted all his focus onto Jack, whereas Dean stayed in grief/anger-zone.
And then, as a very final tag, we get Cas waking up in a field...not too dissimilar to the field that Dean dug himself out of the grave in back in S4, but Cas has the luxury of waking up above ground, in what-has-become his body, in repaired clothes.
And he tilts his face to the sun - he's returned!
In a surprise twist, next week's promo seems to not mention Cas at all...so, I wonder why he doesn't join up with them right away... I really want to see that reunion! I hope they don't mess it up!
So, as per usual, let me know what you thought in comments!! And remember the rule - if you're going to hate on things, you have to say nice things too!
This entry was originally posted at https://hells-half-acre.dreamwidth.org/545378.html.