Near, far, wherever you are, and I know that the heart does go on…
GAH!!! Make it stop!!! This alternate reality stuff is kil- wait, that’s current reality! Noooo!!! Why cruel world, why????
Aside from the fact that I was positively ecstatic over the idea of a world without Celine Dion, “My Heart Will Go On” is a light and somewhat fun warm up to the big stuff that’s coming (or that we hope is coming). Fun as in toying with our emotions over things that could be. Restoring our hope that there is a better world out there, just that Sam, Dean and Bobby don’t live in it. It’s also very nice to know I’m not the only one that thinks Celine Dion sucks.
This after all isn’t our first brush with Titanic references (See “Heaven and Hell” and the inside joke.), but at least this time I got to see an almighty angel take action on what has always been my wildest fantasy, a world without that awful song and movie. I’m shocked that only a few dominoes fell over the existence of 50,000 new souls because the Titanic didn’t sink. I was expecting a Mad Max type world, not just Detroit and Cuba becoming sought after tourist destinations.
Let’s face it, “My Heart Will Go On” is rather thin on plot, proof coming from the long, drawn out death scenarios that happen all because Fate is having a bad day at work. A moved drink, some dropped car keys, a well timed bus, a lighter working at just the right (or wrong) moment and after a while the sluggish pace had you wondering, what’s wrong with just the common heart attack or shooting? They’re quicker. Ditto for the amount of time devoted to Dean asking lame genealogy questions. Okay, the brilliant montage to what is essentially Fate’s theme song, Blondie’s “One Way or Another,” while Sam and Dean nervously stroll through the main part of town is a great payoff to our patience, but we had to wait a long time to get there (the reflection of them in the falling air conditioner is inspired, as is the juggling knifes and flaming torches). When you’re wishing a chunk of the episode away, pacing is obviously a problem.
Other than an intriguing lesson on what happens when angels tear up the rule book (more on that soon), if you watch carefully this episode becomes a neat little “Where’s Waldo?” game, aka, find the signs that this is an alternate reality:
- Dean wins at Rock/Paper/Scissors
- They’re driving a Mustang (and looking VERY damn good in it!) and Impalas don’t exist.
- Ellen and Jo are alive and Ellen is married to Bobby.
- The posters on the travel agency wall. Detroit is a tourist attraction! Voted America’s Top City. I love it! Being born and raised in the area, that’s just plain hilarious. That’s likely a shout out to director Phil Sgriccia, who’s from Michigan. Cuba is also America’s #1 holiday destination. I must find out what the boat had to do with those.
- The Titanic was saved from sinking by it’s First Mate, Mr. I.P. Freely (that is a shout out to The Simpsons for anyone that knows Bart’s crank call aliases).
- That motel room was looking much nicer than the ones they normally stay in.
- Celine Dion is a destitute lounge singer in Quebec and let’s keep it that way, please? (Plus she sucks).
- Dean’s lighter won’t work.
- They were taken by Castiel to White Russia. That is the literal meaning of Belarus. Am I to assume Castiel took them there because Fate didn’t know the country’s alternate name?
There are some major pluses to this episode. Sam and Dean are working together in perfect harmony, alternate reality and all. Sure it’s been going on for a few episodes now, but it’s still really refreshing. Nah, it’s way more than that. It’s me fighting back that internal burst of pure unadulterated joy with nothing but a huge smile and a couple of tears when I truly want to be doing cartwheels. When the only disagreements they have is over who’s librarian wears clothes, fan girl gets happy.
Oh, but there’s bittersweet in this story, naturally. There is the idyllic pairing of Bobby and Ellen. I’m not sure what scenario could have happened that would have prevented Ellen and Jo from dying in the explosion, but maybe I’ll put some research and thought into it over the summer. The fact is it happened and it’s so wonderful to see Ellen an integral part of that family fold. She’s not only Bobby’s devoted and supportive wife, she becomes the mother that Sam and Dean never had, even telling them how much she worries over “you boys.” (Sniff!) It’s a setup that’s a huge delight for a fan to watch and we held on to the desperate desire throughout the episode for whatever domino that fell in tragedy to be propped up and spared. We knew better though and the end is another awful reminder of just how cruel Fate really is.
Poor Sam and Dean, at least Bobby in the end would stay in the dark. I couldn’t avoid losing it when Dean put the blanket over a sleeping Bobby while Sam watched wistfully. That deep devotion to one another is a sentiment that comes with this show almost weekly but we haven’t seen it delivered in quite this way. It’s tender, caring, and just plain sweet. The losses are plenty and the scars are deep, which makes their bond all that more vital. Little did Sam and Dean know that Bobby could have stayed happy if Fate had killed them. They would have easily made that choice if they knew. We know from the way they couldn’t tell Bobby about the alternate reality.
The consolation is that the 50,000 souls weren’t killed but were never born, which is better than dying bloody. That makes very little consolation to Bobby and Ellen though, and even Sam and Dean. Once again, the greater good bites them personally in the rear.
Celine Dion sucks. I’m sorry, did I blurt that out loud? (I’m challenging myself to see how many times I can slip that in a review without being overly redundant.)
Ultimately, this is another story of the angels completely messing with humanity. This time, it’s Castiel doing the messing! The big theme this season seems to be trust no one. I wasn’t stunned that Castiel gave the order to sink the Titanic, but I was disappointed. I get it, Castiel has been hiding things and he’s desperate. I wonder though, with this whole Titanic scheme, what exactly was it’s purpose and what role do Sam and Dean play in it? Did he honestly re-sink the boat just to save Sam and Dean, or is there more to the story than that? Why does he want all those souls? I do wonder if Fate tugged on his conscience too hard and that’s why he changed his mind. His motives are murky, that’s for sure.
I’m still trying to wrap my head around Fate’s ultimatum. Fate will kill Sam and Dean on pure principle. 50,000 souls are a lot, so are Sam and Dean worth the exchange? What is so important to Castiel that they must stay alive? Did he do it out of loyalty and friendship, or do they play a more vital role than that? I’m certain we’ll find out, but we weren’t learning all we should about Castiel. I do believe he cares about Sam and Dean greatly, but enough to jeopardize the balance of Civil War in Heaven? I’m not convinced, even if that’s what he told them. He needed them to remember all this for a very important reason.
What bothered me the most though is Fate seems to be nothing more than a disgruntled employee who didn’t make the recent round of layoffs. It was hard for me to sympathize with her in this era of corporate downsizing and obsolescence on a whim. I guess she hadn’t been unemployed in a few thousand years though, so I see the bitterness. Was Fate out for payback or was she really taking the role of the moral corporate whistle blower against her bosses? Probably both but she definitely holding onto sour grapes. I get that Castiel is having some management issues but geez. Corporate displacement is the natural order sister! When the new boss tells you the new plan, freedom is more preferable, calling it chaos and demanding to know what happens next isn’t going to save your job. I guess though in corporate line of work, defiance of that sort isn’t going to get you killed either. She and Balthazar should really hook up for a wild weekend. That’ll remove the stick!
The Minor Stuff
Dean called Bobby “Grumpy.” Wasn’t that Pamela’s nickname for Sam?
Did I mention how much I loved the Mustang? (it’s no secret I’m a Mustang girl) That was indeed a 1967 Mustang Fastback. No, it’s not a suitable Impala replacement, but my heart skipped several beats seeing the boys in one. So much pretty!
“Accidents don’t happen accidentally.”
Sam: “So you saved a cruise liner because?”
Balthazar: “Because that godawful Celine Dion song made me want to smite myself.”
Sam: “Who’s Celine Dion?”
Balthazar: “Oh she’s a destitute lounge singer somewhere in Quebec and let’s keep it that way, please.” (Celine Dion sucks.)
“Let’s agree I did a good thing. One less Billy Zane movie and I save two of your closest friends.”
“I’m sorry. You’ve got me confused with the other angel. The one with the dirty trench coat that’s in love with you.”
“Too soon?” “Yeah Dean, I’m pretty sure six seconds is too soon.”
Dean: Did Balthazar really unravel a sweater over a chick flick?
Castiel: Yes, absolutely, that’s what he did.”
Dean: Wow, it might be time to take away his cable privileges. Besides, Titanic didn’t suck that bad.
(Incredulous look from Sam)
Dean: Winslet’s rack.
Overall grade is a B-. It wasn’t a wasted hour of my life, so that’s something. However, when you’re getting this far into a season that’s had a few wasted hours, something light with little plot advancement isn’t something you’re hoping for either. That all could change next week. From all I’ve heard about the Western episode “Frontierland,” we’re in for one for the ages. That makes a world with Celine Dion a much better place, don’t you think?