If only you believe like I believe baby, we’ll get by

If only you believe in miracles, baby, so would I
 
BWAH!!!  I do believe Supernatural has once again out done itself in turning an obscure pop culture abomination into a funny joke that everyone gets to be in on.  I can’t believe that I’ve got a Jefferson Starship song now ringing in my head and don’t have the desire to pierce out my eardrums with a pencil.  Now I can laugh.  It's Asia's "Heat of The Moment" all over again!
 
I mean, how great is that closing scene?  I didn’t agree with all of director John Showalter’s choices (aka the extreme closeups between Dean and Eve as the latter melted away) but that scene is nothing short of brilliant.  The closeup of the record flipping onto the jukebox, the really bad signature Jefferson Starship coming on (Who called "Miracles" especially since “You Sexy Thing” from the teaser had the line, “I believe in miracles"), and the slow pan forward of the camera toward Castiel from the POV of the visitor approaching the seething angel, highlighting the full and eerie carnage of dead bodies from the earlier showdown.  It’s Crowley!  Now that’s how you do a shocking reveal.  Gotta love that demonic sense of humor through his choice of music.  The king lives.  It’s a miracle!  (Ding!  Yes, for every miracle, an angel gets his wings).  


 
Yes, the Jefferson Starships have invaded and as Dean put it, “they’re horrible and hard to kill.”  I’m not sure what I found better, the whole sorted plot of Eve turning this town into her animal testing lab because demons (and angels) are messing with the natural order or the fact that Sam and Bobby so easily started calling them “Starships.”  Was I supposed to bust out in tearful laughter when Sam is fearfully fighting for his life against these monsters with his hands cuffed behind his back yelling “Jefferson Starships!”?  Honestly, I spent a lot time in the 80’s making fun of that atrocious band, so to see them spoofed so brilliantly a few decades later, I do have to wonder if writer Adam Glass was a fellow tortured kindred spirit back then.  
 
My intense amusement inside, I do need to look at “Mommy Dearest” critically.  There is little to find wrong.  The purpose of this episode is to unravel plot and shock us with some reveals.  Job well done.  I’ve been mildly receptive to the new writers this year, for I don’t think they’ve found the true heart of this show or best captured characterization but Adam Glass did something right here.  He got the call to pull off a rarity this season, all four main characters together on an adventure.  Dynamics between Sam and Dean are rough enough, throwing in Bobby and Castiel could result in a lot of noise.  What we get is perfect synergy instead.  
 
It isn’t just the character dynamics though.  Blending all that seamlessly with a Monster of The Week plot is something that many of the scripts have struggled with this season.  Usually one side does much better than the other.  Not here.  From beginning to end, “Mommy Dearest” has the perfect mixture of strong dialogue, plot twists, story flow, character angst, and humor.  First, a Monster of the Week opening that ended up being more interesting than filler, a guest casting stunt with a familiar face, even if Lenore met her quick yet merciful demise, and without too much plot unfolding the guys are off for their showdown.  In those slower scenes, attention is kept by delighting fans with bits like cranky Bobby cursing at Sam for getting him an iPad instead of a “real” computer (what, like the Windows 3.1 system he was seen using earlier this season?) and having Dean pick on Castiel over his latest misfortune.  Oh, and naming a whole new monster race on a bad 70’s/80’s pop act.  Heck, just the visual off all four guys enjoying a meal in a diner becomes my fan fiction miracle (ding!).  



This episode of sorts had a classic return to form.  Dean Winchester again is confident, wise cracking, bad ass leader of the bunch, with a bit of recklessness thrown in.  I loved his joyful recollection of Sam chopping off Gordon's head with razor wire.  Is that big brother pride or what, not to mention an awesome shout-out to continuity (come on Sam, take it as a compliment!).  He's put in charge of handling the Phoenix ashes, gets the honor of naming the new monster race (naturally a classic rock reference), and of course coming up with the simple plans.  Isn't it always true how Dean's most effective plans have been the simple ones?  Go in swinging.  Okay, drinking the Phoenix ashes is trickery at it's finest, even if it meant he had to spend a few moments as a Starship himself.  


 
This story went for a theme of the universal impact of a mother’s love.  Mess with the natural order and momma gets mad!  I thought Eve’s story and rationale for coming to earth, because Crowley started attacking her children, made perfect sense (being a mother myself) and is sympathetic.  Still, she did want to turn all of humanity into monsters to spite one evil prick (okay and one misguided angel as we find out), so she had to go.  Deaths never stick in this show though.  Remember, where do all souls go when they die?  They have to go somewhere.  I envision her back in purgatory with her children and she can always be pulled back should the writers get bored sometime in season nine.  But for now, she’s gone.  
 
Sticking with the mother’s love though, what happens when Mom is out of the picture?  Simple, it’s brothers left to honor the memories of their mother.  Families stick together.   A while back, Jasminka did an article on this site about how being orphans have really impacted Sam and Dean.  I like the creative choice of dwelling on that through finding the recently orphaned brothers.  Sam and Dean’s intense heartache is shown in a way that hasn’t been done before.  Both instantly let that pain of their own loss come through while remaining subtle and understated.  It’s shown by using these actors‘ strengths, selling a whole life story with pained expressions.  Eve hit home when she transformed into Mary for the point was clear.  Mary sacrificed herself for them.  In the end, the same thing happens to Eve.  If anything that’s going to make her children more defensive and filled with revenge.  You know, following the same path of the brothers Winchester.  I don’t think killing Eve will do them any favors and has set them up for far more trouble.  


 
Speaking of that brotherly bond, I’ve been recently going through old Supernatural episodes with my daughter and we most recently finished watching “The End.”  Seeing the friction between Sam and Dean then makes where they are now feel miraculous (ding!)  It really did take a lot for Sam and Dean to reach this point, and while seeing their close relationship has been pure joy I can’t help but shake the feeling something really horrible is on the horizon for these two.  Knowing that Castiel and Crowley are scheming against them certainly does nothing to ease that feeling.  
 
Oh Castiel, what have you gotten yourself into?  Souls give angels power and that power is apparently needed to win a war in Heaven, but what do demons get with souls?  Just more power?  In following the bouncing ball, are Crowley and Castiel dividing up the souls they get from purgatory?  Was Lenore just another soul for Castiel to harvest?  Eve knew that Crowley’s line about taking over real estate in Purgatory was a lie, but she obviously didn’t know the greater plan.  Apparently we don’t know either.  What does Crowley get in return if Castiel wins the Civil War in Heaven?  Yes I know, these could be answers we’ll get next week, but something about this battle for souls isn’t fitting.  How did Castiel get into this mess?  How will he get out of it?  In the previews for next week’s episode, could he be praying for a miracle?  (Ding!)
 
Of course Dean didn’t want to believe that Castiel is up to something.  How could he considering all they’ve been through?  I love how Dean has officially become the one to make the call to Castiel (nothing like having an angel up your butt).  I wasn’t surprised that Bobby thought it was plausible either.  It was Sam’s reaction that caught me off guard.  I have to wonder, when Sam told Dean and Bobby “It’s probably nothing,” does that mean he remembers something?  Is this the very first clue of the crumbling of that wall in his head?  You know that Sam and his miraculous (ding!) resurrection from Hell has to play into this grand plot somehow.  There are no coincidences in Supernatural.  So, in the end, do Sam and Dean end up grateful (for the resurrection) or disillusioned (over the betrayal) with their angel friend?  Will he get the forgiveness that they’ve given each other or become another foe they need to kill?  I’m sure that’s what the next three episodes are all about.  


 
I do have a criticism, but it isn’t with the plot.  Julia Maxwell as Mother of All is not a menacing villain by any stretch of the imagination.  I didn’t realize how un-scary her little evil smirk was until I saw the one of Granny Goodness on the Smallville trailer for next week.  Now that sends shivers down my spine!  This Mother of All is not a very convincing overprotective mother who’s a really pissed off that her children are being bumped from the natural order.  She more reminds me of a princess who got dissed at the prom.  Samantha Smith makes a far creepier Mother of All and that’s why the scenes with the Mother worked in this episode.  She really had me scared for the boys, especially when she bit Dean.  Good choice there to bring Samantha Smith back. 
 
Onto next week and the “downfall” so to speak of Castiel.  Or redemption.  Either or.  It’s an Edlund script and he also makes his directorial debut (I can’t wait to critique that!).  It’s bound to be loaded with drama.  As for “Mommy Dearest,” I give it an A-.  It’s only knocked down because Julia Maxwell needs to take some horror acting workshops (that and a few directorial choices).  An A+ though on script and plot twist reveals.  After what we’ve seen so far this season, that’s a miracle!  (Ding!)
 
 

Comments  

Sablegreen
# Sablegreen 2011-05-02 15:08
Good review Alice. Nice to see a good bit of the 'old' Dean at his finest. Needed much more of that the whole season! Too bad the promos didn't touch on that more. Dean's been gone so long, no one expected them to bring him back. Wonder if they plan on continuing this or was it a one-time-wonder . I'm guessing he's back to the past for the rest of the season.

So cool Crowley is back too. Nice twist. Leads to a LOT of speculation! Wonder if Crowley makes it to season 7?
nancyL
# nancyL 2011-05-02 18:44
Sablegreen, with the 'death' of the Soulless One, and the 'rebirth' of Sammy, we get the original Dean: smart, sassy, over-protective , etc.

First the Celine Dion dissing, now the Starship attacks. What is next, Chicago, Toto, Survivor????? :lol:

I agree Alice, Sam was matter of fact, when he spoke of killing Gordon, but Dean was bursting with pride for his little brother. Once again, we see the strong bond between them that we have missed since season three.
Also, the difference of Sam's reaction to Eve/Mary biting Dean and the Soulless One's reaction when the vamp turned Dean. Sam looked like he was going to open a large can of whoop ass, while of course we all remember how the Soulless One was smiling.

Season Nine!!!!!!! Alice, what have you heard?????

Three episodes left. :sad: Hope the cliffhanger that we have heard about isn't too heartbreaking.
Melanie
# Melanie 2011-05-02 19:06
Wonderful review, Alice. As you know, I've been loving S6 all along and this was just icing on the cake for me -- Crowley back, Cas with an interesting moral dilema and the Mother almost a red herring rather than a big bad -- loved it. The whole set up with the young brothers paralleling the Winchesters - right down to the younger one having the supernatural taint - was complete awesomeness.
I can't wait for this week's episode!
Holmes
# Holmes 2011-05-02 20:49
Great review!!!
Just as Melanie I been loving this season all along, specially since Sammy got his soul back, because RoboSam and the death of the bond between our boys was the only thing that didn't made me enjoy the first haft 100%. But you're totally right, this episode stands among the rest and it surely deserves an A+, every second of it was amazingly done and it leaves you wanting for more. :-)
Can't wait for this week's ep!!!
Thanks Alice!

By the way, today is May 2nd, which means that is the 28th birthday of our always beloved Sam Winchester, so HAPPY BIRTHDAY SAMMY!!!!!!! ;-)
Pragmatic Dreamer
# Pragmatic Dreamer 2011-05-02 21:38
Hi Alice,

Great review! I loved this episode too -- fast, funny, full of flips (that's like a twist, but it starts with an F)

Things that popped out:

1. The return of Bad Ass Dean and his #1 Hunter in the World ways. Having WholeSam back gives him the confidence to truly be himself. Dean's riffing on the pop culture links, and coming up with the simple, but inventive plans. I love that he drank the Phoenix ash, and conned the MOA into biting him. That takes some creative thinking ahead!

2. The interaction between our Winchesters and the little wounded brothers was so poignant, and full of painful memories. Especially exquisite is the filming in the car. The director paired up Dean/Joe and then Sam/Ryan. It jumped out at me.

3. We've been suspecting for awhile that Cas has been paving his own road with good intentions, but it's distressing to see it confirmed. Always wondered if Crowley was really dead. Guess not! The seed of doubt about Castiel's true motives and actions is now planted in all their minds. It's going to take root, even in Dean's mind. I fear the results are going to Kleenex-worthy.

4. Like you, as a Mom, I could also understand and empathize with the MOA. Her speech reminded me of a neutral country, which has been reluctantly drawn into a war. Then, it turns out she had a nuclear warhead all along. Whoops! She could be an interesting villain to see again. She'll have plenty of time to plot her revenge on the Winchesters, since I think she's just back in Purgatory, biding her time.

5. Loved the vibe of all 4 (Sam & Dean, Bobby & Cas) hunting together. Sadly, that probably means one or two of them will die soon, or be horribly changed, maimed etc.

6. Isn't it curious that Dean has now become a Vampire, been kidnapped by fairies, and was briefly a Jefferson Starship (how much fun is it to write that!)? I think all his flings on the monster side are going to be significant. "It's about the souls" after all. And so maybe his soul has a touch of Archangel, or something else extra special to it. Cas seemed quite worried when Dean was being bitten. I don't think it was just concern for a friend. I think Sam & Dean's souls are vital to his war in Heaven, and that's why he never wanted Dean to resoul Sam. Sam's soul had a value outside his body. And Dean's soul is necessary too.

Okay. I've blabbed enough. Now, I'll go watch the other Supernatural episode tonight - the Canadian federal election!
Julie
# Julie 2011-05-03 05:12
Thanks for this Alice , great review as usual.
Just as I have really enjoyed Season 6 I thought this one was great too, a fantstic set up for the last three.
I love the brothers being so back in sync, working together with all the banter, how sad that we get all excited seeing the four of them sat in the booth eating together, we are so easily pleased. :-)
Ok I know I am totally biased here but I loved Dean in this one, if only for the Jefferson Starships line, he was so pleased with himself about that one bless him! And the method of disposing of Eve, stroke of genius or what?
I think we need to cling onto this as the next three look like they are going to be tough to watch. I am trying desperately to not think about Cas and what is going to happen when all this hits the fan this weekend.
It is so ridiculous that I am actually scared at the prospect of watching these last episodes, remind me again why I love this show so much? Ju
Ginger
# Ginger 2011-05-03 18:31
Nice review. I liked this episode, too, even enough to overlook Julia Maxwell's performance. It's nice to finally be able to say that I have nothing but praise about an episode, since I generally hold nothing but disappointment for S6. Of course, much of it has to do with Dean finally being Dean: "confident, wise cracking, bad ass leader of the bunch, with a bit of recklessness" with his simple, effective plan. Will this Dean be here next week or the week after or the week after? No, no hopes there, but he was very welcome in my home this week.

I don't think Cas is the big bad...just more red herring stuff. I don't think there is a big bad this season; just moral dilemmas with that shades of gray stuff (which isn't really all that interesting if you think about it).

I can't believe Adam Glass was able to carry that silly 'Jefferson Starship' through the whole episode and have it work, but it did! Too funny.

Sam is at the beginning of remembering something, which is a nice set-up for the 'buffet' part of the finale (as TV Guide calls it -- Dean's Lisa story is only the appetizer according to them. Isn't that offensive?).

Nice episode and nice review. Thanks, Alice.
BagginsDVM
# BagginsDVM 2011-05-03 23:24
This was a great episode. It brought the laughs (Jefferson starships, Bobby & a buttonless iPad), the ick factor (gooey hybrid monster bodies), the heartache (the parallels of the Winchester & Silver brothers' lives, the sadness of Lenore's fall & realization that her monster nature had overtaken her will to renounce it), the awesome (Dean's totally badass tricking & takedown of Eve), the ah-ha moment (Crowley's alive!), & the oh no! (Castiel, what have you done!).
I am both dreading & eagerly awaiting this Friday!
Dawn
Yirabah
# Yirabah 2011-05-04 05:16
During the opening sequence I felt betrayed. Remember the pilot. The scene with the cassette tapes. With that scene Kripke set the music for the show. It was all good old rock music. And then the opening of this ep. My heart started bleeding and my rock soul felt hurt so much. But no that wasn't all. Later on in the show there even was a second music betrayal. :cry:

Is it just me or hasn't anybody made the connection yet. In the beginning we see how Dean fills the shells and tells Bobby and Sam that he had a little mishap and doesn't think the ashes will work. I believe his little mishap was pouring the contense of a shell into his whiskey without realizing it and then drank it. He might have only realized that the ashes were in the drink since it tasted funny and a little ash was left in the glass.

I loved this epy and looking forward to the rest of the season. Just because of the music I will give this ep an A-
Suze
# Suze 2011-05-04 11:00
YES! :D

I've been in a black sulk ever since Crowley's untimely exit but now it all makes sense ... WTF has Cas got himself into? :eek:

Love the show all over again, roll on Friday!
Jas
# Jas 2011-05-05 03:21
Oh, Alice, I'm so late to this - but late or early: it's always great joy to read your reviews.
Thank you ever so much for putting them together, even though you are swamped with work on various levels!

I enjoyed this episode, and I guess Jefferson Starships will enter my personal vocabulary :lol:

Love, Jas
Nitewoman7
# Nitewoman7 2011-05-09 01:39
Good episode overall, finally we got some answers. The big bad “Mother of all” who appeared for most of the season seemed to be the main baddy but now it would appear she was just a decoy for the main story. This is the first time I think the casting got a role wrong. Both the actor and the writers did a poor job making this so called big threat scary, dangerous and not all that powerful. When she took the appearance of Mary only then did she become a real threat due to Samantha Smith’s fine performance. Best scheme of Eve’s using orphaned boys exactly the same as Dean and Sam, that’ll get the brothers every time. Clever idea Dean ingesting the ashes (with whiskey of course) and therefore killing Eve when she bit Dean‘s neck (I’d volunteer any time to do that hehe)
I knew Crowley was coming back due to spoilers I meant to miss, just didn’t know when or how he would reappear. Fortunately the way the writers did it was a surprise thanks writers.
Cas is not the lovable, naive angel we first met. He has become a very angel showing a very different side then we’ve been used to. He is more and more a warrior. I keep thinking that we just might get an answer as to why Cas let Sam out of the panic room in “When the Levee Breaks”. Wonder if Dean is going to find out about that. It would sure shake Dean’s foundation.
Sam and Bobby are having doubts about Cas’s behavior but when Dean and us find out Crowley is working for Cas and exactly what he has been doing or become, Dean’s confidence and his world will be shattered.
Best part of this episode Dean, Sam, Castiel and Bobby all working together. Four fantastic actors in an episode. NOTE: writers do it again.
Eve’s children not happy that “Mommy Dearest” was killed by a Winchester was an idea I hadn’t thought of before you mentioned it. I don’t think killing Eve will do them any favors and has set them up for far more trouble. Now that is the first really scary thought about Eve.

You expressed my feelings about how fantastic the scene in the Impala when Dean and Sam are talking the orphans to their uncle nicely described how far the brothers have come back to being brothers.

I’ve been recently going through old Supernatural episodes with my daughter and we most recently finished watching “The End.” I recently started re-watching Season 1 (I’m up to “Hell House” and you forget how great they were even tho the actors hadn’t grown into their parts, but how strong the bond between them was.

The rest of the few episodes left are going to be one hell of a ride. Thank goodness there is a Season 7.
Kaj
# Kaj 2011-05-10 00:50
Great review Alice...
I always read your review first before reading anyone else's. It's because you always give explanation on things that i don't familiar with. Like Jefferson Starship. Thanks!

There is only one thing that bug me about this episode. It's the final scene where Dead said he drank the phoenix ash. Oh no! What would happen to Dean?!

I have learn to believe that everything is possible in Supernatural Universe. Like people come back to life from dead. So, drinking a monster's ashes, a monster as rare as a phoenix must give you side effect. I mean there is very limited recorded history or legend about phoenix. Bobby only found an article that Phoenix ashes can kill the mother. There is no reference of what exactly the phoenix is. And if it's ashes kill the mother does it mean the phoenix is not one of her children? then what is it? where it come from? Isn't she the mother of all monster?

There is only one phoenix in existence, yet. If Sam and Dean did not go back in time to kill one the phoenix would never even mentioned in Samuel Colt's journal. Talk about time paradox.

Perhaps i just looking at something that isn't there but i can't shake this nagging thought.
Any thought everyone? what do you think Alice?
Brynhild
# Brynhild 2011-05-10 04:39
After killing the MOther, Dean asked Castiel to heal him, and he did. So there is no problem. ;-)