I love the time travel episodes. Love them. I love that through them weâ€™ve found out Mary was a hunter, that she made the deal with the YED that sealed Samâ€™s fate, that the vessel thing was in the bloodline of the brothersâ€¦I love that stuff. I love that we can go forward whilst going back to flesh out the story that we thought we knew, add more layers to it and discover new things to over think! So guess what? Pop me into the camp that dug â€œAs Time Goes Byâ€. Sure, it wasnâ€™t perfect. When you take on something as monumental as revealing the true nature of why these boys ended up with the destiny they did, when you boldy tackle the history of a family we all know so well - 8 seasons in to a series â€“ well some things are bound to get lost in the wash. And yes, I felt the mythology bumps in the road and had to side step a couple of plot holes as I careened towards the end of this episode and I acknowledge that, but did it impact my enjoyment of the story? Nup. I was sucked in from the first moment, glued to my couch though out and when it finished, I was very excited where we landed. Very excited.
Anyhooâ€¦ So John Winchester was supposed to grow up as one of the â€˜Men of Lettersâ€™ (not in love with that name btw, itâ€™s a big naff), but instead, he became a Hunter. Iâ€™m kinda glad he didâ€¦I think Hunters are way hotter!
When we first started hearing about this episode, I wondered how Henry Winchester could be a time traveller, what must he be in order to be able to do that, because we knew John came to hunting through the loss of Mary. I also started to think, how much sense it makes for both sides of the boyâ€™s family to be somehow linked to the supernatural, to somehow both have a connection to the family business. Especially off what Cupid said about John and Mary being a priority match up and what the Archangel Michael said about the vessel thing being in the bloodline. All of a sudden it made perfect sense that the Winchester line must have some role in this whole epic tale beyond which we already knew. I started to wonder if they were like â€œWatchersâ€ or something. Not too far off I guess. The Winchester legacy is being the keepers of all the supernatural secrets. They were the ones with the knowledge, knowledge they only shared with a few Hunters. I guess when the â€˜Men of Lettersâ€™ got decimated by Abaddon, Hunters had to learn to find their own way without the help of some elite group of bookworms. Hunters became the bookworms as well as the warriors. Thatâ€™s pretty neat. And seeing as for the longest time, Sam and Dean knew very few hunters and certainly knew nothing of any kind of Hunter network, itâ€™s not surprising that the memory of the â€˜MoLâ€™ was lost â€“ Hunters not being the chattiest of folk.
Itâ€™s interesting that Sam wanted to go to college and leave hunting, making him more like the Winchesters than he could ever have known, hungry for knowledge, with a love of books. Heâ€™s been likened to John because of his focus on the job above all else. Dean called him out on it in â€œJump the Sharkâ€, when he said Sam was more like John than Dean would ever be, but little did they know, he was like a Winchester of the past. Maybe that makes Dean more like Mary and the Campbells. Being the caretaker, the â€œmotherâ€ in the family, raising Sam, making sure his family was looked after, being the peacemaker between his brother and father when they butted heads, being happy to do the fighting and let someone else do the research. There was definitely a picture being painted of the two families that splashed more colour onto the boys in this episode. Even I feel like I have a little better understanding of the brothers and their place in their families, through this reveal of new history.
I get that Sam and Dean were not in a caring and sharing mood though. I mean those guys keep getting royally screwed (and not in the good way that means we get shirtless episodes). I get why they didnâ€™t trust Henry, not just because he popped out of their closet, but also because of the history theyâ€™d been told. They thought he was a deadbeat. Dean, in particular was falling in line with what his father told him about his grandfather and was being ultra-protective of his dad and his memory. At first I thought this was a little bull-headed, even for Dean. But when I watched the episode again, it didnâ€™t come across like that at all. I felt him defending the memory of a man, that sometimes he couldnâ€™t even defend himself. All those feelings coming to the surface again. Like he said, heâ€™s read Johnâ€™s journal more times than Henry could imagine and it hurts every time. There was a lot of pain being relived here. All he could do was back his dad. I get that. Alsoâ€¦Henry called them apes! Well screw you very much buddy! Ooo that sounded like I didn't like Henry. I quite liked him...but don't call the boys apes 'k?
And the brothers backed each other. They really felt like a team in this episode. Moving as one, conscious of each other. After their wonderful LARPing moment last week, I was hopeful weâ€™d see them in a better place and for me, we sure did. They felt pretty solid. I appreciated that Sam never chastised Dean when he was berating Henry, it smacked of solidarity. Also, that even when he had a moment on his own to talk to Henry, he didnâ€™t, once again, backing his brother, his family and not sharing information that Dean was unwilling to share, with a man who was essentially a stranger. Not giving into feelings of sympathy for a grandfather that he didnâ€™t know. I think Sam would have been feeling just as conflicted as Dean was, Sam just has less bluster about such things. It felt like Sam was silently supporting Dean and it made Sam feel very strong to me. Calm and Zen to Deanâ€™s tense and angry.
Beyond all the conflict though, Dean worked with Henry. Dean and Henry nutted out a plan that would not only save Samâ€¦as Dean made it perfectly clear, that was going to be the endgame no matter whatâ€¦but if they pulled it off, it would stop Abaddon forever. Their plan was simple and it worked and it was family working together. It was the Winchester family brains and brawn, coming together to win the day â€“ even though it was at the loss of one of them. And in his final moments, Henry saw the men that his grandsons were and in doing so, got a glimpse of who his son must have been.
I was so worried that this would be another lump of guilt for Dean to drag around, that heâ€™d think he was partly responsible for his father not having a father, but I was happy to see they didnâ€™t go that way. Instead we got the brothers talking, sharing their feelings about what just happened, what theyâ€™d just learnt. Sam seeing some sense in the whole thing, Dean seeing more dead. Even though it was a sad scene, it wasnâ€™t, because they were together, being who theyâ€™ve always been and being it side by side. Boy-howdy, I loved that scene. It packed the emotional wallop Iâ€™ve been pining for.This new layer to the Winchester mythology, this legacy business, this secret batcave joint that they now have the fancy key to, all the knowledge insideâ€¦man, this feels like it opens up a whole lot of story. Iâ€™ve been wondering if thatâ€™s where they end up stashing those damn tablets. My first thought was, oh there will be clues to help with decoding the tablets and then I thought, hang-on, impenetrable supernatural Fort Knoxâ€¦what better place to pop the tablets to keep the demon's and angelâ€™s grubby mitts off them. Iâ€™ve always kind of thought that the comeuppance of using the tablets would be so great that they wouldn't be able to use themâ€¦maybe they lock them up foreverâ€¦like the Arc of the Covenant or something? Anyway, Iâ€™m craptastic at theories, so Iâ€™ll just say Iâ€™m really looking forward to seeing this secret lair of the â€˜Men of Lettersâ€™.
What this show always does best is family. When the show focuses on the story behind these boys, when it focuses on the strength and importance of family, this is where it really flies. â€œAs Time Goes Byâ€ was all about family. It was about Sam and Dean finding out about their roots. It was about them putting to rest something that haunted their dad. In â€œAs Time Goes Byâ€ I felt a little closure somehow, like both Sam and Dean have come to a place within their hearts where they can understand John better. But not only that, in finding out about their family, they were left with a better understanding of themselves and why they were thrust into this life. I donâ€™t know about you, but I felt hope, the most hope Iâ€™ve felt for a long time. As Sam and Dean stood over their grandfatherâ€™s graveâ€¦in my heart I felt this little tingling of hope that maybe they'll be able to put the anger and conflict from the first half of this season behind them and move forward into this new chapter together as brothers, as family. I mean, theyâ€™re Winchestersâ€¦and as long as theyâ€™re alive thereâ€™s always hope right?