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Quick Reaction: 14x04 Mint Condition

Hello!

Well, that was a fun MOTW! I enjoyed it! There's not that much to talk about, because it was just a fun time, but let's get into it...

This episode seemingly all takes place on Halloween, but in a fun turn of events, the fake movie series they reference is called "All Saints Day" which is November 1st, for those Christians who aren't as in touch with their European routes. (Or at least, in my experience, it's not that wildly celebrated or remarked upon outside of Europe.) In Germany, the tradition is to go to graveyards and visit your dead family - or just walk around graveyards in general and pay respect to the dead. Fun fact: I once honoured this day completely by accident while in Germany, because my friends and I got super bored, got on a train, then wandered around a park that backed onto a graveyard, so we wandered around that too, and then we were like "this is an abnormally busy graveyard...." then we realized is was Nov 1st, and we were probably being disrespectful with our college-student clothing and our talk about whether or not blueballs was an actual thing. Good times.

Anyway, the episode actually opens with a dude in a comic book store unboxing some merchandise. Then he finds a Thundercats figure and steals it. And I'm like "is this your store?" but then someone who is clearly his manager calls to reprimand him for yelling at customers, so no, he's just an employee stealing from the store. My notes say "She should fire that guy."

Then he just LEAVES without finishing the unboxing job or putting the empty box out for recycling. You are the worst, Stuart. Stewart?  Some form of Stuart.

The managers name is Sam though, she seems nice. 

Then my notes just say "Thundercats are go?!" Which means that this is the point where Stuart gets home, and the tiny figurine comes to life and attacks him.

Meanwhile, Dean is watching Shocker TV, which is playing an add for Hell Hazers III - It Lives Again! Haha, awesome. I should also say I loved the callbacks to Hell Hazers in the comic shop too.

Sam comes to see Dean, and he has shaved. Goodbye hipster grief beard, you were beautiful while you lasted - I'd have bought all sorts of organic vegetables at the farmers market from you.

Dean apparently has barely left his room in a week. Awww.... double Awww, when he counters Sam's point with the fact that the "house is full of strangers" - DEAN IS ME. That's what I do as soon as there are people in my house I don't know and didn't expect to have over. HIDE. 

Then we get the first mention of the All Saints Day movies - which are going to be marathoned on Shocker next. Dean just finished the Halloween movies.

Sam presents Dean with the case and at first Dean is reluctant, but as soon as it's mentioned that a THUNDERCAT FIGURE attacked the guy, Dean is ON BOARD. Sam really knows how to win Dean over - I'm wondering if he typed "thundercats" into SearchTheWeb in a fit of desperation.

Then they are wearing SHORT SLEEVE DRESS SHIRTS! What?! My god, these are the most disguisy disguises yet. Also, for some reason short sleeve dress shirts just excentuate the fact that these are beefy guys in clothing that does not fit with their lifestyle. And Dean is wearing glasses for some reason? 

Anyway, they are checking out the comic book store, because Stuart apparently no longer lives at the address they gave for him.

Dean makes fun of Sam for being like Samantha (but screw you, Dean, she's awesome and I love her.) Then Sam compares Deann to the other guy (Dirk) who is, in fact, dressed similarly to Dean and currently sucking on a lollipop like Dean. And it's all very cute and adorable.

Samantha tells them about how Stuart is basically a horrible human being to interact with. And then says that he's moved into his mom's house, because his roommate kicked him out.

Once they meet Stuart, they find out he used to "date" a goth girl/wiccan, but they broke up before they met in real life. When they ask about the Thundercat though, Stuart changes his story and kicks them out.

Knowing that they probably have to search the house for hex bags, they just chill out in the Impala until the house is empty. In the meantime, Sam fields calls from some of their AU!Hunter Posse. 

Dean tries to find out why Sam hates halloween, and quotes Sam to Sam by telling him not to say that "our whole lives are like halloween" because it's not true "we don't eat that much candy." 

Before Dean has any success in getting Sam to confess his reasons, however, Stuart's mom leaves the house, and they both have to awkwardly duck down in the impala. It's hilarious.

Then, not two minutes later, Stuart comes staggering out the front door, bleeding and calling for help. Sam rushes to help Stuart while Dean runs into the house to investigate - and I DO take issue with the direction here, because Sam would DEFINITELY be way more confident than that in an emergency - that is awkward I have never done this before behaviour, not "I have sewn up my brother and myself on numerous occasions with and without anesthetic."

Dean goes to check out the basement and PUTS HIS BACK TO THE ROOM. Dean, really... it's amateur 5 minutes, apparently. Luckily, the flying chainsaw makes a good deal of noise, and Dean has time to turn and dodge.

The report, once they're at the hospital, is that the house was full of EMF.

Sam leaves the hospital to go back to the house and deal with it, once they convince Stuart's mother to stay with him.

As he leaves, a nurse walking down the hall smiles at him - nice work, background performer of BC, I approve of your choices. I too would smile at Sam Winchester if I were to see him.

At the house, there's suddenly NO EMF, and Sam is perplexed. He does find a photograph of the three comicbook kids though, and AN OLD GUY. Dun dun dun!

Back at the hospital, Dean and Dirk have a heart to heart - Stuart is a horrible person in general, but in specific, he's a good friend, because he's always there for Dirk when Dirk fights with his dad and needs a place to stay.

Then a commercial comes on for All Saints Day 3, and Dean and Dirk bond over their love for the series. Dirk argues that hospitals are never that empty, but Dean says that from experience, they actually are.

Dean thinks All Saints Day 5 was weird and bloody, but his favourite is 4, which was called Hatchetman Lives. The killer in the series is called David Jaeger (pronounced Yeager - because OF COURSE it is.)  And the story is that he's avenging a prank gone wrong on the day after halloween. 

Dean admits that he likes to watch movies where he knows that the bad guy is going to lose. Awww... Dean IS ME. Only, I don't like horror movies, just OTHER movies where the bad guy loses.

Sam goes to the comic shop and talks with Samantha, putting things together quickly. He confirms that Jordan was the older guy in the photograph - that he died of cancer, but he left the comic shop to Samantha and Dirk. He didn't leave it to Stuart, because he had fired Stuart before he died for being horrible... but Samantha and Dirk had hired him back on, because he's their friend. Apparently Samantha takes the cost of everything Stuart steals out of his paycheque - but obviously the ghost doesn't know this... because it attacks Sam by possessing the lifesize David Jaeger in the shop. Sam gets knocked out for a hot second and we see Samantha scream, but when Sam comes to, it turns out that the ghost just wanted the shop keys.

He locked up after himself, which is good shop etiquette, except that the Sams are now locked in.

Sam calls Dean to warn him, and Dean's pretty excited!

He tries to get Dirk to stay in the salt circle with Stuart, but Dirk gets scared LIKE A NEWBIE, and runs. Dumb move, Dirk.

He kinda makes up for it by being brave and trying to save Stuarts mom, so that's nice. He leads the ghost on a chase, meanwhile, who the heck knows where Dean is. 

Meanwhile, back at the comic book shop, Sam can't break the front window or pick the lock, so he blows the back door using a homemade explosive. 

"Where did you learn how to do this?" Samantha asks. "I had a messed up childhood" Sam replies, and I love him.

Dirk has run to the morgue, in a shot by shot recapturing of the classic All Saints Day movie that the security guards are watching. Dean catches up with him there and helps fight the ghost.

All Saints Day III: The Reckoning (you gotta love "the reckoning" as title card.

Samantha, with the help of Sam's ghost facts, puts it together that the ghost is traveling by being attached to the shop key.... so when Sam and Samantha run into the morgue, where Dean is being chokeheld by the ghost (that's right, I'm verbing that noun and I'm also conjugating it) , he just has to yell out "shop key" and Dean knows what to grab off the ghost's person to throw to Sam for distruction. 

Samantha quickly gets an accelerant at Dean's urging too. (spellcheck does not like the word accelerant, but it is definitely the word I want, so weird. )

The ghost is defeated and NOBODY DIED! Amazing.

On the way home, they talk in the car - Sam continues to try to get Dean to stop blaming himself for Michael's continued existence, which is nice of him. Dean says he knows Sam's right, but he's not going to get over it. 

Also, Halloween is officially over. 

And Dean FINALLY gets Sam to tell him why he hates Halloween, which isn't at all to do with their messed up childhoods - it's because in 6th grade, when they were in Bismarck, Sam had a crush on a girl named Andrea Howl and he was so anxious about her halloween party that he ended up barfing all over the bobbing for apples game...and Andrea, and everyone. He ran and hid in the woods until Dean picked him up.

Dean is delighted that this is the reason, and vows that they will get Sam over that memory by doing halloween properly next year - he wants to do matching costumes - and starts throwing out suggestions - Batman and Robin (no!), Bert and Ernie (no!) that's weird (yes!), Rocky and Bullwinkle, Shaggy and Scooby, Turner and Hooch, Ren and Stimpy... Thelma and Louise "we just put it in drive and go" and Sam gives him the BEST FACE. And I laugh and laugh.

The episode closes with the security guard finding the evidence in the morgue. Guys, honestly! You're not even going to clean up A LITTLE?! That David Jaeger statue is probably still worth something!

Anyway, there you have it, a simple fun MOTW. I quite enjoyed it! I mean, not the best episode ever done, but kind of had that classic MOTW feel to it.

As usual, let me know what you thought in comments!
This entry was originally posted at https://hells-half-acre.dreamwidth.org/566280.html.

Comments

( 15 comments — Leave a comment )
Elaine McCourt
Nov. 2nd, 2018 09:43 am (UTC)
Much as I'd like to know what's going on with Jack, I liked this as a stand alone MOTW episode. It's very throwback to earlier seasons.

The little in-jokes were fun - the Red Hood costume in the comic book store that Dean makes a face at (Jensen's voiceover work AND his Hallowe'en 2018 costume!), Rocky and Bullwinkle (Squirrel & Moose!), the horror movie cliches. I was also pleased that we got a little young-Sam story, because anything that adds to Winchester history or fleshes out the characters makes me happy.

Great that this episode is so specific about dates for your timeline too!
hells_half_acre
Nov. 3rd, 2018 03:19 am (UTC)
Agreed agreed! And yes, Sam's 6th grade is actually pretty eventful, as that's also the grade he was in at the Thanksgiving meal we saw in Dark Side of the Moon... timeline facts everywhere!
amberdreams
Nov. 2nd, 2018 10:41 am (UTC)
I was really enjoying this one so much! All the lovely jokes and brotherly love - but then - they had Sam flapping ineffectually over Stuart's injuries, and behaving like a hesitant amateur in the shop when talking to the Sam girl, Dean behaving like an amateur in the apartment and hospital, and a movie trailer suddenly randomly inserted for no apparent reason - all of which threw me right out of the episode and left me feeling oddly disappointed, in spite of the two lovely heart to hearts in the car and all the brother moments.

I think I need to watch it again but part of me doesn't want to.
hells_half_acre
Nov. 3rd, 2018 03:21 am (UTC)
Agree with you there! It really took me out of it to basically suddenly have S1 Sam in the middle of S14 - I didn't mind Sam being hesitant and wrong-footed in the comicshop, mainly because that felt just like in his haste he hadn't thought through how to transfer the insurance-agent cover into a cover that could ask the questions he suddenly needed to ask.

I didn't mind the trailer so much either, but that's just personal taste.

I think the little jokes and the lightheartedness of the episode make up for its missteps.
borgmama1of5
Nov. 2nd, 2018 11:47 am (UTC)
We definitely got our Sam and Dean out of this one...Although they worked the 'give the boys time off' angle with all the filler of the horror movie...

Things I loved:
-Sam shaved.
"I had a messed up childhood."
-Dean admitting to liking movies "where I know the bad guy's going to lose." (That line hurt a little.)
-Panthro (My kids were--are--huge Thundercats fans.)
-The characterizations of the comic book store kids. Stuart was a bit of a cliche, but he was played well (and conveniently unconscious through the bulk of the episode...)
-Dirk's moment of bravery challenging Yeager to save the mom.
-Callbacks to Hellrazers :)
-Lots of good banter lines between the brothers (And dressing in costume next year? Priceless examples...though the Thelma and Louise line is funny/not funny simultaneously if you think what happened to them, you know? Also could add Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid to that list...)

Things I could have done without:
Quite so much of the horror film-some scenes were repeated a lot. The most effective use of it was the intercut between the movie and the chase in the hospital that duplicated the movie, and that would have been sufficient for me. Plus I am not a horror film fan at all. And I found Dean's delighted discussion of the various kills in the movies disturbing...I would have found anyone's enthusiasm for discussing horrible ways to kill people upsetting, but knowing what Dean has seen...and done...

Things that bothered me:
Ending discussion in the car and not one line from Sam about he knows what it feels like to do awful stuff while possessed--come on, writers! What is with the refusal to acknowledge Gadreel's use of Sam?!?!?! One sentence--"I know what it's like to know you did awful stuff while not in control of your body." COME ON! Are they afraid fans don't remember season 9 and they don't want to confuse us with referring to it??? ARRGH!!!

Why Sam hates Halloween--I mean, that is a nice add to pre-show canon, and the story is in character...but really I always figured Sam hated Halloween because of what happened in the pilot--that Halloween was his last memory with Jess. So kind of mixed feelings on that explanation.

In summary, though, I did enjoy an episode that was just about our boys taking out a monster and meeting interesting civilians while doing so!

liliaeth
Nov. 2nd, 2018 06:44 pm (UTC)
Except that Sam already mentioned hating Halloween in the pilot, before Jess' death.
borgmama1of5
Nov. 2nd, 2018 08:12 pm (UTC)
I had forgotten that! Makes me appreciate the callback better--thank you!
hells_half_acre
Nov. 3rd, 2018 03:36 am (UTC)
Dean really does have a thing for Thelma and Louise though - I think he references it more than he references Butch and Sundance - probably because there's a car involved.

And I found Dean's delighted discussion of the various kills in the movies disturbing...I would have found anyone's enthusiasm for discussing horrible ways to kill people upsetting, but knowing what Dean has seen...and done...

Having hung out with horror movie fans before (though I am not one) I think this isn't so much as delighting in kills or horrible ways to die, but rather delighting in how cheesy or not cheesy the effects are. It's a different mentality - it's not so much about the death, as the film making, even if horror fans don't realize it. Everytime I've really listened to them talk about things like that, I've noticed they're always really talking about direction and SFX or VFX - they aren't delighting in the death itself, but in what the filmmakers were able to accomplish or not accomplish... or how ridiculous it was (if it was ridiculously cheesy.)

I think Dean would delight in seeing really fake deaths, because he'd know they were fake - because he knows what that ACTUALLY looks like.

But, that's just my interpretation. And I think since Dean is a LONG TIME horror fan, he's really good at separating his love for the horror genre from the actual horror of his life.

COME ON! Are they afraid fans don't remember season 9 and they don't want to confuse us with referring to it??? ARRGH!!!

I actually do think you're asking too much here. Also, last week you complained that Sam didn't try hard enough to get Dean to stop blaming himself - and here he is trying again! Be happy! Maybe next week he'll mention how he's also been possessed and such. I mean, you already know my feelings on this - but I'll add that personally, I can see why Sam WOULDN'T bring that up - because it'd be like saying "Hey, I know you're feeling like shit already - but remember that time you tricked me into saying yes to an angel and then I killed Kevin? That wasn't my fault! (subtext: it was obviously actually yours since you're the one that tricked me, just like you're the one that said yes to Michael - what a coincidence.)"

For the most part, Sam's been lucky that his possessions have left him largely without memory of them. Dean was drowning in his possession. Sam was doing research in the bunker completely unaware that he wasn't in reality. It sucks after the fact, sure, but it's not the same. If Sam was going to bring up anything, it should be when he was possessed by Lucifer and killed Cas and Bobby, however temporarily.



Edited at 2018-11-03 03:36 am (UTC)
supernutjapan
Nov. 2nd, 2018 01:15 pm (UTC)
Everything you said XD
hells_half_acre
Nov. 3rd, 2018 03:21 am (UTC)
Glad you agree! :)
madebyme_x
Nov. 5th, 2018 11:29 am (UTC)
I needed a MOFT episode, and I'll happily that what we got!
kailita
Nov. 7th, 2018 06:16 am (UTC)
I was actually delighted by this episode. It completely took me by surprise. When is the last time we did a Halloween episode? Season 4? This one had that Ben-Edlund-inspired embrace-the-cheese spatter-the-gore vibe, and I loved it. "Knock knock time to die." So stupid and so hilarious. I love how the ghost had to keep pressing his own button to talk.

RIP Sam's beard. This fits my theory (and apparently yours - and maybe fandom wide?) that they only grow facial hair when they are in deep emotional turmoil - but I would have almost been willing to sacrifice that theory if it meant Sam could keep the beard. I was a big fan, and I'm sad to see it go.

"The house is full of strangers" so Dean is going to hide in his room and watch horror marathons. That is maybe the most in-character thing I've seen from any character this season, and I loved it. (And RESONATED with it. Apparently you and Dean and me are all the same person. Why are there people in my space?? Hide immediately.) I'm glad that the writers gave Dean a chance to continue reacting to that over the course of multiple episodes. It's kind of an invasion of his safe space, and he's always been more protective of the homey qualities of the bunker than Sam has been.

OH MY GOD short sleeves?? So confusing with their ties?? With pocket protectors. You are the only other person I've seen who had a similar reaction to me, haha.

Sam continues to be terrible with children (wishing him happy Halloween). This always cracks me up for some reason. I agree with you that he would have been way more competent with a bleeding Stuart, though - that stood out to me as well. Same thing with Dean trying to fight a ghost - after being warned that a ghost is coming - without salt bullets or an iron anything. I know we need to build the tension, but this is ghost 101, and they have decades of experience with this.

Sam talking to himself by name in Stuart's house seemed a little strange as well - "Nice, Sam. Smooth." - but it was also kind of adorable.

This reminded me of earlier times, where we get a silly, fun episode with a couple of stories about their childhood that actually have some weight. I feel like that happened more often in seasons 8, 9, 10 than it does now, but maybe I'm just not remembering. In any case, I will always rejoice over a candid memory from Sam "I had a messed up childhood" Winchester. :) I'm a little surprised they didn't have the radio on during that last Impala scene, though - so many good cues they could have used that might have given that scene a little more texture.
hells_half_acre
Nov. 7th, 2018 06:32 am (UTC)
This reminded me of earlier times, where we get a silly, fun episode with a couple of stories about their childhood that actually have some weight. I feel like that happened more often in seasons 8, 9, 10 than it does now, but maybe I'm just not remembering.

That's an interesting question... I know Edlund and Glass were both fans of that, and Edlund left after s8 and Glass left after S9 (I believe? Maybe S10), so you might be right... to me, I think they've sprinkled them in pretty consistently, but maybe it HAS been a couple of years not that I think about it. The last one I clearly remember was the story about CBGBs in New York, and I can't even remember what episode that was, besides the fact that it was the original Team Free Will and they were talking about fathers.

And yeah, apparently there's only been 3 Halloween themed episodes, the Pilot, It's the Great Pumpkin, and this one! So, it's in rare company.

It was a really solid episode. I'm glad you and I match up on both the beard and the short-sleeved shirts... and also the not liking strangers in our space. I mean, I think I basically had that same reaction in 14x01 when there were all the new people in the Bunker - it was my "well this is generally regarded as socially expected, I am not sure that I like it."
kailita
Nov. 7th, 2018 06:18 am (UTC)
Also...I love that Dean is "Zelda for life," because that game series is near and dear to my heart...but there is no fricking way he ever got his hands on an N64.
hells_half_acre
Nov. 7th, 2018 06:37 am (UTC)
He may have played it at friend's houses? That's what I did. We weren't allowed game systems at our house (until my little sister somehow was the exception after the rest of us had gone to university.) But as a result, I've really only ever played multiplayer games.

We were allowed computer games... so I guess I'm Prince of Persia for life? But like... the original one? Where you can fall for five minutes straight on the final level while screaming. Also Jane of the Jungle? Duke Nukem. Man, the memories. No wait, COMMANDER KEEN!

I am old.
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