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No more time for the family airing of grievances, for the Heavenly spotlight of doom arrives. Sam and Dean run into the dark woods and then jump behind a log. The big bad Zachariah arrives, noting the irony of running from angels on foot, in Heaven. ”With out of the box thinking like that I’m surprised you boys haven’t stopped the apocalypse already.” Oh, I get it”¦sarcasm. Zachariah snaps his fingers and its daylight now. Zack goes on, telling them he just wants to send them back to Earth, that’s all. Right. It’s a wonder he doesn’t try to sell them swamp land in Florida too. ”I mean that is before I tear you a cosmos of new ones.” Oh, there’s that vindictive spirit I was looking for.
Zack promises that by the time he’s through with them, they’re going to be begging to say yes. Sam and Dean decide to make a run for it, but Zack is right there. ”Guys, come on. You can run but you can’t”¦run.” They go in the other direction and there’s a masked wrestler with a cape there? Okay. He tells them to hurry, draws some sort of sigil on a nearby shed door and they enter a large room. It’s the roadhouse! Sam rightfully asks who he is and he removes his mask and cape. Those long locks of that mullet we all know and love fall out the back. It’s Ash! ”Buenos dias bitches.” He claps and turns on the lights. I love reunions. ”Welcome to my Blue Heaven.” Sam smiles, Dean is a bit bothered.
Dean and Sam come over to the bar, Dean noticing the roadhouse even smells the same. ”Bud, blood, and beer nuts. It’s the best smell in the world,” Ash says. He serves up two beers, letting them know up there’s no hangover. Sam asks the “no offense” question. “How does a dirtbag like me end up in a place like this?” Ash says. He’s been saved. Sam clarifies this is his Heaven. Ash answers yes while cutting a hole in the bottom of the beer can and then downing the whole thing a la a makeshift beer bong. Sam, who’s playing twenty questions, is finding that he starts questions and then Ash finishes the sentences. The angels after them were in his head. ”So there are two heavens?” No, more like a hundred billion. It’ll take the angel boys “a minute” to catch up. Or several. Dean and Sam are totally lost. I’ve just going to transcribe what Ash says, because this does get kind of freaky.
“You see, you’ve got to stop thinking of Heaven as one place. It’s more like a buttload of places all crammed together. Like Disneyland. Except without all the anti-Semitism (strange comment coming from a redneck). You see, you got Winchesterland. (Holds hands out) Ashland. A whole mess of everybody else lands, put them all together, Heaven. Right? In the center of it all is The Magic Kingdom, the Garden. “ Yep, this episode is really loving Disneyland.
Dean asks if everybody gets their own paradise. Ash confirms this. ”A few people share, special cases.” What cases? ”Ah, you know, like, soul mates.” There’s a moment of awkward silence. So Sam and Dean are soul mates? Think about it, isn’t this the first time they’ve died together? Most people can’t leave their “own Private Idaho.” That’s a B-52’s song and title of a movie for anyone that didn’t know that. But Ash ain’t most people. They don’t have his skills. ”I’ve been all over. Johnny Cash, Andre The Giant, (turns to Sam) Einstein.” Sam is fascinated by that one. He can really mix a White Russian. He also mentions the chick who wrote the Kama Sutra, but I’m not about to spell that.
“All this from a guy who used to sleep on a pool table,” Dean jokes. ”Yeah, now that I’m dead, I’m living man and a whole lot more.” So how did he find them? It seems our techno-geek mullet head rigged up his own scanner. He turns it on and the monitor starts screeching. That’s angel speak alright. They’re blabbing Enochian in which Ash is fluent. He heard that they were up, of course he had to come find them”¦AGAIN. Dean doesn’t understand. ”This ain’t the first time you’ve been here. I mean, you boys die more than anyone I’ve ever met.” Dean’s surprised to hear this? You don’t remember dying all those times? Apparently not, for the angels “Windexed their brains.” That’s a good way of putting it. Still, they have to remember dying on Earth.
Sam asks if he’s found anyone else, like Ellen and Jo. Ash is really shocked to hear Ellen and Jo are dead and there’s a small break in his “Mr. Cool” routine. Nice touch. Sam confirms for a few months now and Ash overcomes his upset and comforts himself with the fact they went down fighting. Hmm, this kind of opens the door for them to come back, huh? Maybe not. Dean observes that going down fighting didn’t do much good. Cynical bastard. He asks about their folks. No, he’s been looking all over but can’t find John and Mary Winchester yet. But there is someone he knows for sure that wants to “drive” with them. He goes into the kitchen, comes back out and it’s Pamela! With eyes. And the trademark Ramones t-shirt. This is definitely Heaven for her. “Nice to see you boys again.” Ash “oohs” over the pun.
Sam and Ash are checking out the Enochian monitor while Pamela and Dean drink and talk at another table. Ash tells Sam how nice it is to have a “practical application for string theory.” For the physicist that’s actually watching this show, I hope you enjoyed your private joke. Dean tries to catch up with Pamela, who smacks him on the head. “That’s for getting me killed.” She should have outright decked him. I guess this is Heaven. Dean doesn’t know what to say and we can tell the guilt is still killing him. ”If it makes you feel any better, we got Ash killed too.” “I’m cool with it,” Ash says, giving them the “rock on” sign.
Dean asks Pamela if she’s good. Yep, she’s good. She really means it. She recalls her death scene when she got shot and was coughing up blood, which is interesting considering she was stabbed. Given that fact though that there’s a whole mess of character continuity in this one and that’s the only slip up, I’ll let it pass. She remembers Dean said she would be going to a better place. “I was lying,” Dean says. “You were right,” Pamela replies. “My Heaven, it is one long show at the Meadowlands.” Sorry Pamela, but I can think of about eighty places better for concerts than that.
She goes on, saying how amazing it is and that he should see it. Dean doesn’t like that idea. He believes her, but doesn’t like the idea of spending eternity trapped in his own universe while the angels run the show. Wow, that does sound Matrix like, doesn’t it? Then he goes on to say it’s lonely, it’s The Matrix. Wow, I didn’t catch that reference the first couple of viewings. Strange how we’re thinking alike there. No, it isn’t. ”Attic’s still better than the basement.” Touche Ms. Barnes, Touche.
Dean sees she isn’t getting his point. For example, the roadhouse feels real, but it’s Memorex. Real is “down there.” Pamela doesn’t care, it’s close enough. She’s happy and at peace, so it’s looking pretty good. Oh, plus she has eyes. That’s a bonus. “What, you trying to sell me a time share?” Dean jokes. She knows that Michael wants to take him out for a test drive. ”What happens if you play ball with him? Worst case.” Dean says a lot of people will die. Pamela doesn’t see that as a bad thing since they get to go there. She can tell she’s making him mad, and says he just doesn’t need to fight it so hard. That’s a perfect break for Sam announcing Ash found a shortcut to the Garden. Ash does the “rock on” sign, Pamela does “hang loose.” Par-ty!
This time around, he manipulated which memories were shown to break Dean's faith in Sam. When Joshua told them God had left the building coupled with his faux Mary manipulation, a Dean who had been wounded and feeling like his brother didn't value him and love him and wanted to get away from him destroyed what little hope Dean had. Zachriah knows the brothers are stronger when they are together. Breaking them apart is an excellent tactic.
What helped was Dean's belief in that your greatest memories represented your heaven. There was absolutely nothing to back that up. It was Sam who threw it out there as a guess that heaven may be the reliving of your greatest hits. Ash and Pamela's heaven were completely different in the form it took. Ash had the never changing roadhouse while Pamela had the never ending show at the meadow-lands. None of them said anything about reliving their greatest hits. The fact that Sam and Dean's were so different in form is a big clue that it was not all without manipulation.
And for me the biggest reason that makes me disagree is that when Dean questioned Sam, shocked if that was a happy moment for him? Sam's reply was "I don't know." I don't think he was saying that for Dean's benefit. He genuinely sounded like he really didn't know like he never thought about it. And in all honesty, it probably was more of a victory for him than happy because i don't think anyone would be happy about their father telling them "if you walk out that door,don't ever come back." and leaving the only other person who knows and understand you who would be Dean to Sam. And clearly it wasn't happy for Sam because he was still upset and sad about what their father said to him as he unleashed four years of locked up hurt at John in "Dean Man's Blood" where he yelled and confronted John about it on the roadside. That scene and Sam's "i don't think dad would want to see me" to Dean didn't speak of happy memories.
So with all that contrary evidence, i respectfully disagree that and conclude that it was all manipulated and geared to break Dean's confidence in the one person he needs the most.
In another topic, i actually believe Sam and Dean share the same view of family a lot more than they both think. Sam craves for a normal family setting: thanksgiving with all its trimmings, going to college as a good thing, safe and non-hunting e.t.c All things associated with what we view as a normal family. Dean craves for the period pre-mum burning on the ceiling and Dad's vengeful hunting. He also craved for a simple quality bonding time with Sam rebelling and sneaking behind a parents back. None of his memories were off hunting. Very similar view in my opinion. Sam may have never gotten the crusts cut of his PB&J but he craved for it to have happened.
And last of all, How is remembering your parents being separated and you comforting your upset mother a greatest hit? I honestly doubt that it is one of Dean's happy memory. He didn't look it. Even more proof that it was handpicked to break him even more.
The flipside that i bet Zachariah wasn't counting on was that it would all give Sam an understanding of his brother and energizing him to keep fighting and helping his brother.
P.S: Sam and Dean are total soul mates. It is now cannon. Anyone who watches the way Ash says it to Sam and Dean would totally see that he was referring to them unless why bring it up? In fact i watched that scene a couple of times. Ash looks between them very nonchalant like it was plenty obvious that they were before he went on not to mention the look on Sam and Dean's faces.
Sorry for the long ramble.
I feel more for Dean simply because the whole fiasco had been engineered to destroy whatever hope and faith he had left. After loosing faith in his brotherhood, God checking out didn't get as much thought and rational consideration of it being a test like it would normally take. As fpr Castiel, i was disappointed. For an angel to loose faith in God and curse at him is pitiful and just plain disappointing. Of all three, i expect him to have the most faith left. And the whole he is turning human excuse doesn't fly with me. Angels were not made from humans so i don't understand how they can turn human simply by not being in heaven. Anna had to reap out her grace. Lucifer rebelled from God and displayed the same human weakness of emotions but he never became human. SO yeah, i almost felt sorry for him due to Misha's great acting but caught myself. Until further notice, i don't like this version of Castiel.
I think that Zach chose which memories to show though, in order to hurt Dean the most, take away the last of his faith in himself and Sam, his family and set him firmly on the road to saying yes. I think the memories were real but not necessarily the guys "greatest hits" except for Dean's first memory.
Joshua was a bit odd, oozing sympathy like you said but also managing to hit every one of the hurts Dean suffered this episode. I am very suspicious of Joshua. Pamela was also very suspicious. I agree that the continuity on show is pretty poor at times but I can't imagine that Tracey would not have remembered how her character died. Bit of a clue slipped in there maybe. Coupled with how hard she was pushing Michael's agenda I doubt that Pamela was real at all.
This was one of the better episodes of this season by quite a bit, I have to admit I am surprised considering the writers but kudos to them they did a pretty good job.
Love the recapâ€¦always so entertaining.
I also like your production notes as I donâ€™t always catch them myself.
As heart wrenching this episode was, I loved it.
That firecracker scene has been added to my top 10.
Iâ€™m afraid Iâ€™m one who also believe Zack was choosing which memories to use.
Just like Joshua was able to see Deanâ€™s faith failing, I believe Zack could see it too and played on it. Possibly heard Deanâ€™s plea to God for help, just as Castiel did back in The Monster at the end of this book.
All of Zackâ€™s plans have been foiled, he has now become a laughing stock and is no longer respected amongst his fellow Angles. So he is playing dirtyâ€¦or dirtier.
He needs to break their spirits, their free will, their hope and most of all their alliance.
By breaking their bond and having them turn on each other, he has a better chance of them saying yes. United We Stand. Divided We Fall.
I have to agree with aneneâ€™s arguments here aswell, why were Dean and Sam going thru different memories and not staying in their own Heaven world like Ash and Pamela.
It just seemed too orchestrated to me.
I also thought Pamela was offâ€¦not grabbing Samâ€™s ass, not calling him Grumpy.
Anyway our team free will is in trouble.
Our beloved brothers are falling apart along with Bobby and Castiel.
The next 6 episodes is going to be a killer...going to have to stock up on the Kleenex,smellin g salts and heart medication.
P.S Can't wait for this week's ep!!!!
While other episodes had scenes/moments which reduced me to tears this one sustained the emotional involvement all the way through, the fireworks and the kitchen scene, even the screen caps of this set me off.
Team free will seems to be totally disintegrating before our eyes, held up at the moment by Sam, but how long can he keep paddling for everyone else?
I have no idea how much we should believe and how much is all planted evil from Zach, who I now officially hate as much as I did Alistair , as lets face it, we know what he is capable of and the lengths he will go to to achieve what he wants.
I think the next 6 weeks are going to be a little traumatic for both Team Free Will and for us, after reading what is going to happen in the 100th ,(I cannot resist spoilers!!) just how low can they make rock bottom? I think I will need to share Karens stock of tissues etc.
BTW got great alternative for your `shocked` problem-- good old irish term `Banjaxed`, something I think we are all going to be very soon.
A minor point, but I'm glad I'm not the only one who thought the 'condolences' line was more than an angel-human cultural disconnect. You all know damn well that Cas is learning our ways.
Alright, Misha Collins needs to be in a comedic version of 1984. Big bucks just waiting to be made, I tells ya.
I loved the interplay between the two, that, as you said, Dean is at wit's end and Sam isn't connecting as we beyond the fourth wall are. His burgeoning turn to take the reins of going-down-swinging.
As for the cleaning up dad's messes part, that was another punch to the gut. The dude's been the rock for decades. And I don't think resentment of Sam's "escape" is what fuels whatever discord they have, but merely at a lost opportunity for family because of Azazel's plans. Re: the dog and Flagstaff: when we're in our own world, we're really in our own world. Think of someone texting away on their phone, oblivious to his or her environment. Same gig here. Even if only for the briefest of moments, Sam had escaped the hunting life.
Now, onto Stanford, I can easily see that being both a memory (if not a 100% happy one) and a Zachariah curveball. And yes, those of us that are married know exactly what you're getting at here. Hell, for all intents and purposes, that's how close their relationship is (settle down, Wincesters). The smallest (okay, apocalypse and hunting and such are larger than a foible, affectation or a late cable bill) differences can feed on themselves. Thus, as you say, selective choosing. Choosy angels choose Jif.
Ash! Remember, he's an enlightened redneck. MIT probably soured him on bluebloods.
For a Ramones fan to pick a completely non-intimate megastadium, now that's creepy. What, no CBGB's?
Thesaurus: buy or borrow a copy of the Oxford American Writers Thesaurus. Use that sucker all the time myself. 8-)
Now that I'm reading this recap, I have to amend my Kurt Fuller grade from A+ to A+++ What a supreme fucking asshole. I should be using bullet points in this comment. Heaven would be watching the Browns finally win a goddamn Super Bowl. From the 50-yard line. With Casey. I mean, with my wife.
Yes, Milton! (great poem and all, but still not as cool as Ash). Lucifer is beautiful and a prick and god's just a prick.
Yes, it's now up to Sam. Stop, Redemption Time! No parachute pants though, please. If I can answer Dany, why even intervene in the first place? Because god's a prick. Duh. As Kripke himself has stated, this show is humanocentric. Who are the heroes, whether they save the day or not? Us humans. And hell, given his current mindset and friendship with the brothers, Cas, too.
Oh, Alice, to hit 10000 words next time, add mini-comments under each screen cap. You're welcome.
The scene caps were gorgeous. Thanks to you, I now have so many pretty pics of the boys; itâ€™s hard to choose a good screen saver.
Soul mates concept, at least the one I'm familiar with, is a very sweet thought. I hope that's the one they mean.
Thanks Alice. You put a ton of work into this!
I don't know where I stand on the whole Zach-manipulati ng the memories, but I'm leaning towards the idea that he didn't. I truly believe that the insight Sam gained from witnessing Dean's memories will be an asset, and Zach wouldn't facilitate that. I think the Mary-Dean scene was a greatest hit because it's a sweet memory with his mom, of which he has so few. Yes, he witnessed his parents fighting but he also got to be his mom's "hero", for lack of a better word. Dean always seems happiest when he's taking care of those around him, so for me this makes perfect sense as a happy Dean memory. Also, if Zach could manipulate their memories in that manner it wouldn't have been necessary for the big chase scene, search light, etc. IMHO, anyways.
On the issue of Castiel, Anene, I have to disagree with you. I don't find it pitiful at all, but sad. Yes, he's lost his faith but its taken an awful lot for him to do so - you can only take so much before you're too exhausted to go on. I believe this goes hand in hand with the humanization that Cas has undergone throughout the season. While I agree that God probably hasn't checked out entirely on the end of the world and that yes, perhaps it is an exercise in free will and consequence, I wouldn't say Dean and Cas are failing at all. Cas gave up everything, even to the extent where using his angel mojo is killing him, and Dean has just kept moving forward through everything that has been thrown at him. So they're tired and lost right now - that doesn't equal failing. Dean just can't be the leader right now, someone else has to pick up the burden and help him along.
Let's be honest, Dean hasn't had a break from hunting - EVER. This episode illustrated well that he's been carrying the emotional burdens of his family since he was a small child (and parental fighting - especially to the extent where one moves out, even for a few days, takes its toll on children and leaves a mark) even before hunting was a factor. Add to that the horrific death of his mother, the soldier raising mentality and violent hunting lifestyle, playing peacekeeper between Sam and John, having his brother whom he practically raised leave him for school (not that I'm saying Sam was wrong for doing that - but it had to sting something fierce for Dean), losing John followed by knowledge that John traded his own life for Dean's, Sam's death, 40 years in Hell as both torturee and torturer, the rift between him and Sam (and all of the other manipulations courtesy of Ruby) AND the apocolypse (which thus far has led to his father-figure in a wheelchair and the death of two close friends) of which God wants no part - ya, I'd be done too. None of this is to say that Sam hasn't had his share of heartache and struggles - because he definately has - but he also had break in there during Standford - he got to live some of his own life, and he wasn't as in denial about his feelings as Dean has been. Dean's breakdown has been a long time coming, I guess is what I'm saying here.
I guess we'll all just have to wait and see what happens now.
I love episodes like this where Sam was stupid enough not to realize he hurt his brother and now he does and he can make up for it and he keep going through everything like that clock work toy while all fall around him . Well certainly a roundabout redemption arc but interesting .
Oh I did like this one and loved seeing Ash again and thank you Alice for your review .
This is one of my favourite episodes, again, the range of faves expanding once more, and I agree wholeheartedly with you. This episode had probably the best intro ever - and the most devastating ending. I hate this show sometimes, as it puts my heart through a meatgrinder every once in a while.
Thank you. I need your reviews sometimes like I need hot chocolate. Cheers, Jas
I keep going back and forth about whether I think Zachariah was manipulating the memories the boys saw, though. On the one hand, it's a total dick-move to do something like that, and he's fully capable of something like that. On the other, if he knew enough to be able to control which memories each saw, why did he need the spotlight search to smoke them out? Wouldn't he know exactly where they were since he was controlling their heaven? Round and round I shall go, I think.
And as many others have pointed out, the fireworks scene was just amazing. Brilliantly executed. I really love that they stopped flashing the credits for that scene, too, and let it play out uninterrupted. Good choice, Show. Maybe they can talk to the people who had the V counter on last week's LOST!
I also agree with AmberAnn because what I heard Pamela say was "gut shot," which I immediately took to mean her stab wound to the gut, not a literal gunshot.
Really excellent point about Dean's love of pie being an emotional trigger for him. I didn't even think of that when his mom offered some. I just thought he'd always loved pie, but it just adds a whole new meaning for it now as a comfort food.
Lastly, just a minor thing, but I thought it was such a great detail that when we see Dean in his 4-year-old outfit for the first time, he has little skateboard shoes on with the laces undone! Of course he was a child with perpetually untied laces! I just loved that.
Thanks again for the great recap, Alice.
OK, srsly, there are people who think Axl wrote Knockin On Heaven's Door? Now, I like my GnR from time to time but that, that's sacrilege.
Speaking of, though I totally understand where Cas is coming from at the end and it's heartbreaking, i still think it's pretty ballsy to call the Creator an SOB... I look up nervously everytime I watch that scene, fully expecting to be struck by lightning at any moment