Noooooo!!!! To Be Continued???? Damn you¦oh forget it. I've cursed Kripke's name so many times it's lost all meaning now.
Dean was pulled out of Hell to stop Sam! Mary was a hunter! Mary sold Sam's soul in exchange for John's life! Dean and Sam's grandpa rocks! There I go with those damn exclamation points again!
Deep breath everybody¦in¦out¦better? Hold on. Ahhhhhhh!!!!!! Okay, better.
I know when I've seen a great episode that affects me forever. It's not the jaw dropping intensity of the drama, the out of this stratosphere acting that makes you wonder why genre shows like this are never recognized by the Emmy panel, the superior writing that makes me rush to my laptop to tweak yet again my own manuscript, or the fact that when the episode is over I'm so stunned I'm holding the remote and staring at the screen in disbelief for over an hour.
No, an episode for me is deemed great after the sleepless night. When the events of what I just witnessed play in my head over and over again and I can't shut it off. When I wake up the next morning an emotional and exhausted wreck, so profoundly affected by what I saw that I struggle with basic function, then yes, I've watched the episode of a lifetime. It happened to me numerous times during the second season of The West Wing. It happened after Mystery Spot. It happened after No Rest For The Wicked and Lazarus Rising. Now here we are again, only two weeks later with In The Beginning. Mr. Kripke, you're killing me!
Not just Eric Kripke but everyone. To think, one of the two leads wasn't even in this one (except for a brief glimpse) and they still pulled off a classic with the best guest casting of the series, or of all television. Mitch Pileggi MUST get some sort of award for this one. Misha Collins continues to blow our minds, again giving us a chilling closing line that we can't shake. The young Mary (Amy Gumenick) and John (Matthew Cohen) are two unknowns that we may be seeing a lot of in the future in other places after this one. They made a huge impression.
I did miss Sam, even though this story was for his benefit. His absence served its point, so I'll let it pass. The only thing I won't let pass is why was Dean driving a 1979 Ford Pinto in 1973. My family drove Pintos while I was growing up so I know. There, nitpicks over. Time for the pages of gushing now.
Who Needs Classic Rock?
This is a packed full episode, so no time for musical montages. There's a great recap of season one for those of us that don't remember all those unanswered questions that we're still overly speculating about. They even showed Mary apologizing to Sam in Home. It's about time that one was cleared up!
The writer this week is the most incredible, awe inspiring, master of storytelling and dialogue known as Jeremy Carver (I'm still openly begging for that interview). The director is Steve Boyum, who I haven't had the pleasure of praising before. He previously directed Crossroad Blues and Dream A Little Dream of Me and added a gem here to his list.
Dean is asleep on the bed, and obviously he got back from something exhausting since he's on top of the covers and has his clothes on. Sam has that tough guy ready to waste some demons glare, and he does the sneak out on Dean. Take a good look at that gorgeous face for that's the last you see him until next week. Mitch Pileggi in an interview said that Jared went to Hawaii while this episode was filmed. As a joke, the crew taped postcards from Hawaii on the front of the camera while filming to irk Jensen. That story alone makes Sam's absence worth it.
It's the Willow Tree motel! That's the similiar sign from “Mystery Spot," the motel Sam went to dig that bullet out of his ribs. Granted the inside is different, but I guess reusing signs is allowed. They did that with A Very Supernatural Christmas too (Cicero Pines), so I wonder if this is a norm for Jeremy Carver episodes. Probably just a coincidence.
Dean dreams of the red and black flashes from Hell again and there's Castiel. I heard all those squeals of joy! Awesome how he pops in and out like that and when Sam isn't around. He's an imaginary friend or something. You have to stop it. Before Dean gets an answer, the magic angel fingers go in between the eyes and he's being woken from a park bench. No time for a long slow setup.
Dean's cell phone doesn't work and the park bench says Sugar Free Tab. He ain't in Kansas anymore more. Oh wait¦ Dean, didn't you notice all the classic cars around? You'd think a car guy like him would be in paradise. Also, isn't this the same town square from Smallville? Yeah, I'm sure I could fill a whole article on shared sets of Vancouver shows.
Rambling Man by the Allman Brothers plays on the juke box as Dean enters the diner, which is another time warp error since that song wasn't released until August 25th of that year. Yes, I know my classic rock too. Dean asks the person next to him where he can get reception on his cell phone and I yelled out Starship Enterprise! a second before the other guy said it. Who didn't see that one coming? The kicker though is the devastation of the waiter (I want one of those fuzzy vests) and other man when Dean mentions that Sonny and Cher broke up. He finally figures something is wrong, and the date on the newspaper confirms it. April 30, 1973. Could it be all that nastiness happens on May 2nd, the day Sam was born? Possible, since Jess and Mary both died on November 2nd.
Dean rounds the corner and there's lovely Castiel again. For a guy that never smiles and always has a rumpled appearance, he's great on the eyes. Dean gives my favorite line of the episode. So what is it, angels got their hands on some DeLoreans? I'm still laughing over that, and plan to somehow work that into regular conversation. Castiel says again, You have to stop it. How heartbreaking when we find out what it is. Of course he disappears again before Dean gets the answer. Are you allergic to straight answers you son of a bitch? I don't think that's getting you answers Dean. How about please? Angels are temperamental if you haven't figured that out.
John's car shopping and what a sight for sore eyes. The Metallicar looks exactly the same. It's even dirty. Dean talks John into buying the Impala instead of the VW bus. So who talked him into it before? Oh yes, the destiny thing. $2204 for the Impala? That still seems to be a lot for a used car. Starting price was $2800 new in 1967, and this is not an Impala packed with features. It's confirmed, the Impala is a 327 4 barrel, 275 horses. Ha! Someone's been reading my speculation on the specs for the Impala. Thanks for clarifying that.
Trust me, this thing is still going to be badass when it's 40. Sure, considering she had to be rebuilt, of course she's in great shape. Dean starts the awkward conversation with his dad by asking about cold spots, sulfur, and cattle mutilations. Sure, that's exactly what I want to say to my dad when I travel back in time. Seen any dead cows lately? Dean goes away, John wisely buys the car.
John pulls up in his new Impala, and Dean pulls up in that time warped 79 Pinto. Angels must be pretty talented, for they can transport vehicles too. Dean is in shock over seeing the younger version of his mom. Later, while watching the young, star crossed lovers through the window at the diner, a still in awe Dean admits Mary is a babe. â€œIâ€™m going to Hell. Again.â€ Thatâ€™s so priceless. After John and Mary have a sweet conversation discussing the future, Mary excuses herself. Dean spies on John looking at the engagement ring that he obviously plans to give Mary, and then Mary comes up behind Dean and starts kicking his ass! Dean eventually overtakes her and his shock is the same as ours once he sees her bracelet. Sheâ€™s a hunter! Um, er, yeah, I guess that explains a lot.
John pulls up in his new Impala, and Dean pulls up in that time warped 79 Pinto. Angels must be pretty talented, for they can transport vehicles too. Dean is in shock over seeing the younger version of his mom. Later, while watching the young, star crossed lovers through the window at the diner, a still in awe Dean admits Mary is a babe. I'm going to Hell. Again. That's so priceless. After John and Mary have a sweet conversation discussing the future, Mary excuses herself. Dean spies on John looking at the engagement ring that he obviously plans to give Mary, and then Mary comes up behind Dean and starts kicking his ass! Dean eventually overtakes her and his shock is the same as ours once he sees her bracelet. She's a hunter! Um, er, yeah, I guess that explains a lot.
John brings Mary home in the new Impala (new to him anyway) and I guess they got to finish their date. Dean appears and insists on meeting her family of hunters, pulling the I'm a hunter too card. He gets introduced to Mary's dad, who basically hates other hunters and doesn't want Dean in his house. Mary's mom does an introduction though, Deanna and Samuel Campbell. So Dean was named after his grandmother and Sam grandpa? How funny. Why didn't Dean know this? Didn't he never look at a family tree?
Dean's at the dinner table, throwing around the mistrust with the Campbell family. They aren't the Bradys, that's for sure. Mary wants to know why Dean was following her and John. He thought something was up with her "boyfriend," but apparently he was wrong. Good cover! Samuel talks about John Winchester with a "sour lemon look." John is a nice "civilian" guy. Oh, just wait and see what happens to him. Mary asks if he'd rather see her with a guy like Dean, and suddenly Dean feels a bit awkward, breaking in with the "no, no" answer. After both Dean and Samuel refuse to talk about what jobs they're on, Mary spills the beans about something suspicious at a nearby farm, a death involving a combine when the crops are all dead. Dean gets it, demonic omens. Dean asks, "Did you find anything on the web?" then covers his tracks, throwing in "of information." Deana says it could be electrical storms, and the weather graphs will be there on Friday. Dean says "That long?" and Samuel quips, No, we hired a jetliner to fly it here to us overnight. Ha! How did people survive before the Internet and Federal Express? Dean insists they work together, but Samuel is an old school hunter. "What part of 'we work alone' did you not understand son?"
Samuel and Mary arrive at the farm playing priest and parishoner. Mary goes to talk to a kid while Samuel goes to the door. Dean is already there in his priest outfit! That makes me sad, because it just isn't right without Sam. This is the point in the episode where I realize I'm really missing Sam. Dean plays up that Samuel is there "senior, senior priest" Father Cheney. Good one. Jeremy Carver used the Dick Cheney reference before in Sin City. I know, I can't wait until he's gone too. Did you notice anything unusual? Samuel asks. You mean like my husband's guts fertilizing the back 40? Ask a stupid question, feel lucky you get a great smart ass answer.
Dean joins Mary talking to the kid, the dead farmer's son, who unwittingly made a deal with someone and a week later his dad is dead. The person didn't want anything, just to make a call ten years from now. Then he drops the bomb on the eye color, yellow! He made a deal with Azazel. Cut to one very upset Dean, who tells the Campbells this guy killed his family and they're in danger. He talks about the colt and Daniel Elkins, and Samuel calls it a "bedtime story." Dean carelessly pulls out John's journal and in reading the passages reveals, My dad could see the future. Oh, great cover there. Hunters just love that psychic crap. They identify the next victim.
Now for the scene that tears me apart. I realize when Jensen is in a scene he attracts the best qualities of an actor like a magnet (Jared being the best example), but he and newcomer Amy Gumenick especially had something extraordinary between them. Mary is going through albums (Ha! Anyone remember doing that?) and Dean comes in announcing he's leaving. He tells her it doesn't matter what her dad thinks, that John is a great kid. Yeah, you won't be saying that about him in thirty-five years. Dean asks what John's like and Mary talks dreamily about John, saying "He's sweet, kind, and after everything, after the war, he still believes in happily ever after. He's everything a hunter isn't." She excitedly reveals that he's going to ask her to marrying him, and how about she's finally going to get out of her life. She hates hunting, wants a family, and wants to be safe. Wow, that's exactly what Sam wanted in the pilot too. He couldn't escape though and the life sucked him back in. Turns out his mother couldn't escape either. How tragic. I'll never be able to watch the pilot the same again.
Mary sets off the collective sobbing when she says, You know the worst thing I can think of, the very worst thing, is for my children to be raised into this like I was. I won't let it happen. Dean understandably is crushed. It's so tough for him to hear that knowing the outcome. He fights through his distress to tell her on November 2, 1983 not to get out of bed, but can't make it through without breaking into tears. I'm pausing the TiVo now and going to dig out another box of Kleenexes.
I'm scratching my head, trying to figure out how Dean got from Eastern Kansas to the mountains of Colorado and back to Lawrence in a Pinto so quickly. My mother couldn't get to the other end of town in one of those rust buckets. Climbing hills can't be considered either, so Dean probably had to get out and push once he got to a mountain. But hey, at least the fuel economy was better.
Anyway, Dean's on his two state Pinto trek, and poof, there's Castiel. God is my copilot. He has to be in that death trap. Dean asks why Sam couldn't see this (thank you!) and Castiel reveals Dean had to do this alone. Dean worries that Sam is tearing up the future looking for him. "Sam's not looking for you," Castiel says. Nope, he's off yanking black smoke out of possessed humans. Oh, did I give something away? Castiel also warns Dean that if he tries to save his parents, his father, he and Sam will never become hunters, and all those people they saved will die. Dean is aware, but that's not stopping him. He won't let his parents die again. He can't. Castiel disappears before he gets an answer to that.
While this seems like the same dilemma from What Is And What Should Never Be, this time Dean's choice is different. He has the chance to save his family over saving others. When the choice involved his happiness over other lives it was no contest. Throw his family in the mix though and his dedication to saving the world is bound to change. Plus killing Yellow Eyes lets him carry on his most important task, saving Sam. I wonder if this visit in time is not only a glimpse, but a character test as well. Putting family first means he's more likely to effectively deal with Sam. Maybe that's why Castiel told him the truth in the end.
What I don't understand is how Dean convinces Elkins to let him borrow the colt, but whatever, he got it. I'll dismiss for the sake of plot. Samuel tells Mary about Libby Walsh, she insists they save her since she's a friend of hers. Oh, so a total stranger is okay? Swarmy bible salesman talks to a woman about a deal and Grandpa barges in with a shotgun. Have these guys never dealt with demons before? They're hunters, right? Holy water and rock salt didn't exist in 1973 either? Was the early 70's the dark ages or something? Yellow Eyes has no problem overpowering both Samuel and Mary. Dean shows up with the colt, but as we've seen before, Yellow Eyes escapes in a black cloud in no time.
Dean asks Mary what he said outside. Nothing, just that he liked her. Then she realizes that might be bad. Uh, yeah, considering your son becomes the Antichrist, or at least an Antichrist, it's bad. Red flag alert! Grandpa gives Dean a compliment and says he was wrong about him. That right there is the give away. Just like with John in Devil's Trap, improvement in people skills is a clear cut sign of possession. Dean tells him they need to talk alone, so back at the house, Dean gets honest with Granddad, letting him know that Mary dies sometime in the future. "So what, are you some kind of psychic too." Oh, that hits Dean in a raw spot. How many of us thought he'd respond, "No, but my brother is."
Dean decides its time to come clean with Grandpa. After giving the this is going to sound massively crazy disclaimer, he spells it all out. Mary is my mother, and I'm your grandson, and I know what the Hell I'm talking about. Samuel needs more. My real name is Dean Winchester. I was born on January 24, 1979. My parents are Mary and John Winchester. He goes on to reveal Mary gets killed by a yellow-eyed demon in 1983, and he thinks what happened tonight is how it caught her scent. He needs to stop it now.
Mary goes running into John's arms, very distraught. Um yeah, good reason. She begs him to get her out of there, so he does.
Back to Dean and Grandpa, and Dean is trying to convince him he's not making this up. Samuel says his body is aching to put him six feet under, but there's something about him he can't shake. He believes Dean. Oh yeah, he's possessed. Stubborn old hunters don't turn that easy. Another big sign he's possessed he wants to see the colt, also like possessed John in Devil's Trap. Dean reluctantly pushes it away from Samuel, saying nothing personal, but he should have drawn the gun on him instead. Too late, yellow flashes in Granddad's eyes and Dean goes slamming into a wall. I'm dying for the day when Sam slams Dean into a wall with his mind. Can it happen at least once? They have a fight and boom, into a wall! That would be so cool.
Here is where Mitch Pileggi reinforces why he's an acting God. He switches character fast and picks up the mannerisms of Yellow Eyes in convincing fashion. That's versatility. With creepy delight he figures out that if Mary is Dean's mom could Dean be one of his psychic kids? Damn this is getting good! He smells Dean and finds he isn't, but then asks if it's a sis. Or a bro. Oh there's the reaction he was looking for. He's pleased to see his plan worked out.
He goes further into the ultra creepy territory by in so many words saying how hot Mary is. She's my favorite. Continuity! He told Sam he was his favorite in All Hell Breaks Loose. Throw that in with the red tape comment and the continuity fairy is doing back flips right now. Yellow Eyes tells Dean he makes the deals not for the soul of the dealmaker, but for their children. He's going to go to bleed into the mouth of Dean's sibling and turn the child into a powerful being, a master race. Who's taking bets that Sam won't be able to hide the fact that he knew about the demon blood when Dean tells him? Who's taking bets Dean tells him? At least Dean finally knows and as expected, he's not taking it well.
Dean's got the crazy eyes of anger going while asking why Yellow Eyes needs someone to lead his demon army. Dean's got it all wrong, the plan is much bigger than that. End game. Yellow Eyes won't reveal what that is though and boasts he's covered his tracks very well. Now for the huge treat; classic, angry, over the edge Dean with clenched teeth daring Yellow Eyes to look into my eyes you son of a bitch, because I'm the one that kills you. No wonder Castiel busted him out of Hell. Hot, sexy, tough guys like that are great muscle for your team.
Yellow eyes plunges the knife into his meatsuit, essentially killing Grandpa Sam. Too bad, I loved him. That's probably why he had to die. Grandma is next, for she screams when the knife goes in, so Azazel goes after her and does her in courtesy of a neck twisting. Who's dying to see Sam learn neck twisting with one hand swipe trick? You remember Sam, the brother not appearing in this film. Dean breaks free, grabs the colt, but Yellow Eyes is gone. Dean realizes he's after Mary. Anyone not on the edge of their seat by now? Anyone have fingernails left? Anyone breathing? Anyone wondering why Azazel left without the colt?
John and Mary are in the Impala, by the river, and John sweetly tries to propose. Bad timing dude. The moment is ruined when not!Grandpa shows up and yanks Mary out of the car. Careful John, this is the big bad, don't intervene or¦oops, he gets his neck broken! John Winchester dies??? Holy crap. Mary cradles his body in her arms and Yellow Eyes tells her he killed her parents too. John can live (but only John) and Mary can have her picket fence life if she gives him permission to come back in ten years for a little something. As long as I'm not interrupted, nobody gets hurt.
Mary didn't remember that? Come on, she was warned twice. No, I get it, I'm a mom too. If there's an intruder in my baby's room, I'll ignore warnings to ignore it. As for the deal, what choice did she have? If she didn't take the deal, there would be no Dean and Sam, so she loses either way. Still, whose heart isn't crushed right now by the fact that she unknowingly doomed her youngest son?
Dean arrives just in time to see Yellow Eyes and Mary kiss (no daddy kissing daughter comments please for this follows continuity). Dean was late because he had to gun a Pinto. If only he had the Impala. By the way, was anyone else thrilled that the Impala was there for all this drama? She's been there for all the family heartaches. I'm even feeling sorry for the car.
Dean wakes up in horror and sees Castiel. I couldn't stop any of it. Castiel reveals the real reason behind the time travel. Don't be too hard on yourself. You couldn't have stopped it. Destiny can't be changed Dean. All roads lead to the same destination. Dean was sent back to see the truth and now he knows what the angels know. Dean is angry, confused, and frustrated all in one distressed glare. I love it when Jensen does that. Castiel's head slowly turns toward Sam's empty bed. A trip back in time to witness the tragic family history is a pretty elaborate way to break the news to someone his brother has been lying to him. Those angels do have their quirks.
Where's Sam? Dean is worried. We know what Azazel did to your brother, we don't know why. Dean doesn't care and asks again, Where's Sam? This time, Castiel actually tells him. The straight answer comes with a big tag though.
- Now we know why Mary said I'm sorry to Sam in Home. I'm dying to see if Dean tells him, or if Sam will be too far gone by the time he does. I know, trust in Kripke.
- The Winchester chain went back farther than we thought. Follow the bouncing ball. Mary made a deal for John, John made a deal for Dean, Dean made a deal for Sam. Frightening what the Winchesters will do for each other. I wonder why no one would deal with Sam. Maybe because of that end game thing?
- Samuel involved his young daughter in the family business. That's what John ended up doing to Sam and Dean. That's so tragic.
- Maybe Sam Winchester is the Antichrist. I'm convinced Ruby is evil. That argument will be explored further in another article.
- It was great to see John as the wide-eyed innocent in this one. Boy did he change. Think about it though. He became a cold obsessed bastard without Mary as the stabilizing force in his life. Isn't that how Sam ended up without Dean?
- I loved when Mary looked through the albums. For those of us pushing middle age and beyond, who remembers doing that as a kid? Go ahead, raise your hand. It's okay. I still have albums and turntable in the basement. It's our little secret.
Grade, A+. The greatest episodes list is likely going to be drastically revised when this season is done. The damned Pinto was the only flaw in this one, but not enough to mark it down. I think someone put it there for my amusement. Next week, Dean confronts Sam. Ah the warm glow of brotherhood.