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Titanic effect:

Changing the past mints new souls
But fate still prevails.

6.17  My Heart Will Go On:  This Is About The Souls

Titanic effect:
Changing the past mints new souls
But fate still prevails.
Episode Summary
A man working in his garage in Chester, Pennsylvania reached for his bottle of ale only to find it wasn't where he'd set it down. Retrieving it from a few feet away, he knocked over a jar full of nails. Reaching for a broom to sweep up the mess, he set a skateboard rolling behind him, and when his heel came down on the skateboard, he lost his balance and nearly skewered himself on a pair of garden shears. Shaken, he clung to a set of metal shelves while he caught his breath, but the shelves shaking when he released them dumped a pail of golf balls across the floor, and he tripped on a ball and fell. The ball he'd kicked bounced across the floor, tripped a mousetrap, and was catapulted through the air to knock away the stick holding up the garage door, which came rattling down onto the man's neck, cutting his throat.

At Bobby's, the brothers watched in worried discomfort as Bobby, poring through books at his desk, finished one bottle of whiskey and promptly started in on another. Losing their game of rock/paper/scissors even though Dean, as always, threw scissors, Sam cleared his throat to try saying something, but Bobby irascibly demanded whether they were going to just stand there or do something to pitch in and help, observing that Eve wouldn't simply gank herself. Dean said  Bobby hadn't slept in days, and Bobby asked if he thought he was Bobby's wife. Sam offered that Rufus's death had been hard on them all, and Bobby angrily responded that it wasn't about Rufus, saying he'd known Rufus was done for the day he'd met him, and the only question had been which one of them would go first. He told them to bring him coffee and make it Irish. Trying to figure out some way to help him, Sam suggested getting him out of the house on a case, pointing to a series of freaky deaths hitting a family in Pennsylvania. Dean started to broach the idea to Bobby, but Bobby said he didn't want to do anything and ordered them to get out of his house. Walking out to their car, a vintage black 1965 Ford Mustang with two wide red-orange stripes blazed nose to tail over the hood and roof and wearing Kansas plates KAZ 2Y5, Sam worried about leaving Bobby alone, but Dean noted she'd called from the road and would be back in two shakes, and they drove off.

Back in the house, as Bobby fetched a fresh glass from the drainboard, he found a shotgun barring him from the bottle as Ellen, with a bag of groceries in her other arm, asked if he'd spent the whole time drinking and complained about things having gone to hell just because she was gone hunting with Jo for a week. When Bobby said he had a good excuse if he needed one, Ellen gently agreed, saying Rufus had meant a lot to her, too, and he accepted her sympathy as he couldn't accept the Winchesters'. When he asked if anyone had ever told her she was a pain in the ass, she kissed his cheek and fondly observed that was why he'd married her.
Searching the dead man's garage at night, the brothers found no sign of supernatural activity, but Sam found a thread of pure gold on the floor where the man died. They split up, with Sam checking courthouse records and Dean interviewing next of kin. One of Dean's targets was an ambulance-chasing attorney, cousin to the dead people, who threw him out after Dean followed up inappropriate questions about skeletons in his family history with a warning that he was in danger. Sam reported finding nothing in the records but four generations of picket fences.
Meanwhile, at a travel agency in town, an agent trying to sell a client on touring Cuba – like Detroit, a favorite tourist destination – suddenly froze in place as time around her stopped. A  young blonde woman wearing glasses and carrying a book appeared in her office, took her keys out of her purse, and dropped them on the floor beneath the paper tray of the copying machine, then walked away. Time resumed as she left, with the agent searching for her keys after hanging up the phone. Spotting them on the floor, she reached for them, only to upset a vase of flowers onto the machine, spilling water into the works that caused sparks and runaway behavior. As the woman reached around the machine trying to turn it off, her scarf was caught in the automatic paper feed, and the machine strangled her to death. The blonde woman returned, examined the scene with satisfaction, and marked off a line of writing in her book as a gold thread from the tassel of her bookmark fell to the floor.

At night, the brothers searched the travel agency office. Dean asked if she was related to the other victims, but Sam confirmed she wasn't. Dean found the gold thread on the floor, so they realized that even though it clearly wasn't a family curse, all the deaths were related. Back at their motel, Dean called Bobby and Ellen to report what they'd found, and Ellen said they'd seen reports of at least 75 similar “accidents” nationwide, including a cluster on the West Coast that Jo and her group had been investigating, and the gold threads were at all of them. Ellen confiscated Bobby's bottle of beer while they talked. Dean asked how Bobby was doing, and she reassured him she was kicking his ass back to health and happiness. Dean asked if she was okay, and she answered that she just worried about them. She also volunteered that she and Bobby had turned up one common element: all the dead had ancestors who'd come to America in 1912 on the same ship, the RMS Titanic. The name meant nothing to any of them. Sam searched for information online and discovered through the Marconipages encyclopedia that it was the largest passenger steamship of its time and apparently had a close call with an iceberg on its maiden voyage, but disaster had been averted by the first mate, who spotted the berg in time to avoid it. Discovering the mate's name was I.P. Freeley, however – an obvious bad pun used on The Simpsons – he pulled up a photo of the crew, and he and Dean recognized “Freeley” as the angel Balthazar.

The brothers summoned Balthazar, who confessed to having prevented the Titanic from sinking ostensibly because he'd hated the movie and couldn't stand the Celine Dion song – and neither reference meant anything to the brothers. Sam protested that he'd thought angels couldn't change history, but Balthazar said since they'd averted the apocalypse, there were no more rules. Balthazar protested that he'd saved people, arguing the Winchesters loved that sort of thing, but Sam noted all those people had interacted with so many others over the years that the angel had totally upset history. Balthazar retorted the brothers had still averted the apocalypse, claiming it was only the small details that changed, like the brothers didn't drive an Impala – and didn't even know what that was – and Ellen and Jo were alive, when they'd been meant to die in an explosion. He argued they should agree he'd done a good thing: he'd saved two of their closest friends. When Sam protested that the descendants of the people he'd saved were all now being killed and there were many thousands more of them than there had been people on the Titanic, and Dean said they had to save as many as they could but they needed to know who was after them, Balthazar said they had him confused with Castiel, because he didn't care, and he disappeared.


# Merannoeu 2011-04-22 20:12
Great review Mary as always. I just have one comment. Unless I missed it in your review, there was an incident in season 5 where Castiel knows he is lying to Dean and can't hold eye contact. It had something to do with Castiel telling Dean that he would be with Sammy. I think it was in When the Levee breaks.
Anyway, I recall we did get a glimpse of Castiel being less than truthful before.
Mary, I really appreciate your effort in doing this--I always enjoy reading your work.
# Deborah 2011-04-23 14:44
Thanks, Mary, for another interesting and insightful revuew. I loved this episode, for the closeness of the brothers, for the relationship of Bobby and Ellen, for the humor, and for the heartbreak - unknown by Bobby but known by Sam and Dean. I loved the last scene - Dean taking the book from Bobby and covering him with the blanket while Sam watched with a look of such love and sadness. I so love these boys.

However, like Merannoeu, I think that, while Castiel may not have outright lied to Dean before, he has certainly been deceitful before. I wonder if Dean will ever find out that Castiel was the one who let Sam out of the panic room and set into motion the killing of Lilith and subsequent rising of Lucifer. I realize he was most likely following orders and that it happened before he got all the "free will" lessons from Sam and Dean, but he still did something that he has kept hidden from Dean that in my mind was not alleviated by the fact that he eventually helped Dean get to Sam, but too late to stop the opening of the final seal.

Thanks again for another wonderful review. I look forward to reading your review of Frontierland!
# BagginsDVM 2011-04-23 20:18
I do so love to read your interpretation of each episode, Mary!

I really like your thoughts on the angels' confusion without God present to give them the guidance & orders they were so used to receiving. Castiel does seem to be floundering with his newfound authority; he certainly wants to do the right thing, but hasn't chosen the best of a cabinet of advisors if he is listening to Balthazar now, & perhaps other less trustworthy individuals. I wonder where Joshua has gotten off to in his garden. I wonder if he has heard any more from God? Cas needs to know that God is still out there & still cares, if our angel is to get his focus back. He's learned the value of true friendship in his relationship with the Winchesters, but he's risking a lot of damage to that if he continues lying to them. Will Dean extend his "blank slate" forgiveness to Cas once the truth comes out?

It's fascinating & heartbreaking to think of how things could have been different in averting the apocalypse if the boys truly had had the family support they experienced in this alternate timeline. I love your view of how Bobby & Ellen ended up together. What an awesome couple they made!