‘Just because you’re blood doesn’t make you family. You gotta earn that’
Ten little soldiers went out to dine;
One choked his little self, and then there were nine.
Before the episode follows loosely the plot of Agatha Christie’s genius crime novel after which it is named, we meet the Mother of All again. She hasn’t changed her appearance ever since she came upstairs. She still wears the same young skin, the same nightgownish dress. As she moves in on the Jesus devotee Rick (and a part of me misses Don’t-Play-With-My-Jesus Kubrick from BadDayAtBlackRock at this point and his happy How-Would-Jesus-Drive bumper stickers for a short moment), asking him innocently ‘Did I scare you?’ before she makes it clear to him, that in contrast to God who abandoned his creation a mother would never desert her children like thatâ€¦ yeah, but she kills them occasionally. Or has them kill other children, right? Well done, mommy dearestâ€¦
Personally, I am not very fond of people who stick a Jesus-Loves-You flyer in your face the moment they notice that you are probably not alright and say that the hunger inside of the girl they don’t even know was really a hunger for Him. It’s the kind of attitude that made many missionaries force their belief onto others. Rick, however, doesn’t seem to be the radical type, okay. She is, unfortunately. She answers his try to turn her towards Jesus with a speech how ignorant humans really were, not even noticing the Apocalypse. Naming herself Eve is only a little sign of her arrogance. I don’t think that she is literally Eve, the first woman (but one of the creator goddesses), yet choosing this name might be just a side blow to the idea of creation. And then she uses him for her own purposes. The poor guy doesn’t even understand what happens to him, until he has hammered his wife and found himself in cuffs, interrogated by (fake) federal agents.
Rick is only a part of a ‘Sherman March monster mash’ with vampires, werewolves and ghouls preceding his bashing in of his family’s heads. I still wonder whether Dean was referring to brilliant strategist and Civil War general William Tecumseh Sherman who won a famous victory at Bentonville over Johnston’s troops in March 1865, or to the M4 Sherman tank, widely used by US troops in World War II. Since we know that Dean also reads (he surprised us various times with his knowledge of literature), I wouldn’t be surprised to have studied war strategy under his Marine dad.
That all three of them, Bobby, Sam and Dean, question Rick shows how important an event they deem this to be. Poor guy doesn’t remember what he did, but he knows that he did kill his family. Another heavily traumatized man on the plate of mommy dearest. But, come on, she’s the caring type as opposed to God who abandoned them all and the sarcasm here just makes me sick. Never trust a goddess of old. When we look at mythology, divinity equals selfishness, greed, jealousy. And Eve marvelously fits the profile.
Nine little soldier boys sat up very late;
One overslept himself and then there were eight.
Allow me a shallow moment here, kind readers as the hunters investigate we get a close up of Sam’s perfectly manicured hands working the computer keyboard. Where does he find the time to take care of his hands? Ahem, okay, back to the ugly faced Eve none of them has ever seen anything like her. And, well, they’ve seen a lot.
No time to think about that, since something happened at the Cannery where Rick works. Our heroes split up. Bobby rushes there to investigate on his own, only to meet his fellow agent Rufus. And I can’t help but notice how well these gentlemen look in these suits. I wish Bobby would stop wearing dirty baseball-hats; he looks a lot better in clean clothes. There is actually an attractive man hidden beneath all those layers and smell of alcohol. And Rufus, well, he’s a handsome guy just the same. And I just love their banter. Ah, wonderful! It’s better than grumpy old men, simply because these men aren’t really old. Just a tad older (she smiled).
And the agents indeed find something there is some strange, petrol coloured goo in the perpetrator’s ear. Sticky, smelly, in short: disgusting. But it doesn’t answer any questions.
Eight little soldier boys travelling in Devon,
One said he’d stay there, and then they were seven.
As they meet up with Bobby and Rufus in the dark cannery yard, their greeting is cordial and warm. These men like each other. They’ve come a long way from ‘Do I look like I’m here to help you?’. There is not much time for joking around, as they head straight into the darkness of the place. And don’t you just love the visuals here? There is something incredibly appealing to these scenes the shadows, silhouettes, the lonely beams of their torches. Wonderful and atmospheric.
They run into Gwen Campbell. Okay… this place has already become notorious in the hunters’ local paper, eh, and the Campbells and the Winchesters, their extended family included, seem to be the only ones in the vicinity. As soon as Dean spots Samuel, he remembers his promise: ‘Welcome to next time!’ Yes, he’s about to shoot his grandfather. Now, if Dean indeed already is infected with the wormy monster, its natural aggression might add to Dean’s own loathing of the man. Sam saves his grandfather by a hairsbreadth and takes Dean outside.
And from this moment on, this episode becomes a definition of the show’s position on family. It’s not a new one, but we have rarely been given such a clear statement Dean says later: ‘just because you’re blood, doesn’t make you family. You gotta earn that.’ And Samuel, unfortunately, has proven himself underserving of the family name. Others, like Bobby and Rufus on the other hand, do belong to the inner circle, and even Gwen, who is beginning to grow on me, could have become eventually a part of the tight group defined by these men, had Possessed Dean not decided to kill her.
But before we lose Gwen, who seems genuinely appalled by Samuel who ‘threw his own kin to the ghouls’, the men take out their rulers. They make it very clear who belongs and who doesn’t. Bobby was the kind of father Samuel could have been (had his motives not turned him into a traitor), because ‘somebody ought to.’
Seven little soldier boys chopping up sticks;
One chopped himself in halves, and then there were Six.
But, well, Samuel has his uses he provides them with some background information about Eve, who has been around for about 10 000 years, which makes her a rather young creature, younger than man, actually.
The last ice age ended about ten thousand years ago and environmental conditions improved, marking what scientists call the Neolithic Revolution. During that time man domesticated animals and plants, taking charge of food production, if you like. Man accomplished the transition from being hunter-gatherers to sedentary tribes. Since these societies lived in accordance to the natural cycle of the seasons, life wasn’t depending on successful hunting, but on what the earth was able (and willing) to give, the first mythical images and beliefs of a life-giving mother Earth and weather gods were developed.
Early religions are characterized by the idea of a creative power, epitomized by spiritual beings and magic, because they stem from man’s experiences with nature life returns to its beginning, death and life form a circle whose halves shape an entity, much like summer and winter or day and night. Within the agricultural horizon of experience, all vegetation ripens towards dying during autumn, everything that lives ages towards death, only to return from in spring from the darkness of the soil.
And since the first advanced civilizations began to form in the Middle East (Jericho about 8000 B.C., Mesopotamia between 10 000 and 8000 B.C., Egypt about 3000 B.C.), I’m still thinking of the goddesses Tiamat of Babylon or Anat of Syria, as I described in my Open Couch article to Like A Virgin..
But – I am so very curious who she, indeed, might be the Mother of All denotes a creature of arrogance, hubris and cruelty. I expect her to make more appearances and be a real pain in the ass.
Six little soldier boys playing with a hive,
A bumble bee stung one and then there were Five.
Speaking of, Samuel goes on disqualifying himself from the family, even from Gwen who stood by him. The fact that he might not be the man she has believed him to be hits her hard, it seems. And furthermore, Samuel doesn’t do anything to soothe Sam’s disappointment here. On the contrary, Sam begins to dislike the man more. It’s sad, actually. Samuel could have been a part of the family. But he chose another path.
So does monster-possessed Dean he shoots Gwen coldly. I grab my couch tight. This, I did not expect. I am shocked really. The guys all are.
Dean has to be found. ‘Alive, Samuel. Or I’m gonna put a bullet in your head’, Sam states, and there is no doubt that he means it.
The five little soldiers left on this hypothetical island, just like the protagonists in Agatha Christie’s novel, need to find an answer fast, since there is a killer among themâ€¦ and at present, that killer is Dean.
The guys are very jumpy. No one, except perhaps Samuel, wants to shoot Dean by chance or get shot. Then Sam pulls and old trick calling Dean’s mobile phone. And the re-surfacing Dean is just as freaked out as the rest.
Dean: ‘I just had a twelve inch herpy crawl out of my ear!’
Dean: ‘You heard me. I just woke up on the ground just in time to see this worm thing sliding out of my freakin’ ear and into that vent! So you tell me what the hell’s going on!’
Samuel: ‘You killed Gwen, that’s what’s going on.’
Dean: ‘We were just talking out in the hallway, it’s the last thing I remember. That thing must have jumped me.’
Hm, I’m still not sure about how the whole thing went down. Did the worm jump Dean in that hallway in a second and made him shoot Gwen? This seems unlikely to me. But then again, everything is possibleâ€¦ as we know putting the worm into an ear isn’t a pleasant experience (and quite painful, as Rick’s scream allows us to assume), so the procedure alone would have attracted attention, more or less. How is it then, that it happened so fast?
Bobby: ‘So we’re talking a monster that gets in you?’
Dean: ‘Khan worm on steroids.’
Sam: ‘You mean like a parasite that took over your body?’
Dean: ‘Worm crawls in, worm crawls out.’
Rufus: ‘Monster possession? That’s novel.’
Oh, poor lad Dean really feels dirty right now. And he isn’t comfortable with Rufus checking him and declaring him ‘goo positive’.