"The Song Remains the Same"
Robin's Rambles by Robin Vogel

That title. What does it mean to Sam and Dean Winchester? That no matter how many times they go to the past, they can't change it? That whether or not they believe about free will, they don't really have any? As a viewer who spent much of last night's episode in tears, I don't have any answers, but I feel like flying them to another planet where no one can ever hurt them again!

Could it possibly be that Anna was told by upper management angels to kill Sam? I thought they wanted this great battle between Lucifer and Michael? What the hell DO they want? I don't know, and apparently they don't either, but I wanted to kiss Castiel senseless when he told Anna that he would stop her from harming Sam because Sam is his friend. I don't know when that happened but damn, it made me feel good. Cas didn't want to shake Sam's hand when they first met, now he's defending him with his life. He isn't just Dean's guardian angel, he's Sammy's too! Awesome. Anna is a traitorous bitch and can go screw herself. I'm really sorry Dean had sex with her in the Impala; she isn't worthy of Dean OR the Impala. Let's clean those seats thoroughly! Ick!

Cas nearly kills himself to get the brothers to 1978, where John learns of his wife's former life as a hunter and Mary learns the horrific fate that is to befall her"”and that these two handsome young men in her home are her sons from the future. The scene in the car where John threatens to turn it around when everyone is speaking at once is both hilarious and sad, something that should haven happened circa 1989, but didn't because Mary was already dead and the boys on their way to becoming warriors. It was so cool watching Mary fight Anna, her hunter moves still slick and fresh. I wondered how she was tossed around like that and didn't miscarry, but I guess Dean was really latched on tight. 

I can only imagine Mary's sorrow at finding out she was to become a victim of the YED after all. She thought her life was going to become and stay normal, but it wasn't to be all because she interfered. Yet what mother, under those circumstances, wouldn't? 

There were three scenes in this episode I especially loved:

1. John insists on helping ward off the angel. He wants to paint that sigil, damn it, in the right size, right place, and if it has to be done in blood, he cuts into his palm then and there. It reminded me of when he cut his palm to summon the demon in "In My Time of Dying" to summon the demon and make the deal to save Dean. John won't be played for a fool! He stepped right up to the plate.

2. Sam tells John that his father raised him and Dean as hunters. John's reaction, calling Sam's father an irresponsible bastard, got an immediate defensive action from Sam, and started me crying hard. Hearing Sam tell his young, unknowing father that he understands, forgives and loves him was one of the most wonderful, terrible, difficult, beautiful and difficult scenes I've ever seen on SUPERNATURAL - next to Sam dying in Dean's arms. Padalecki and Cohen, both with tears in their eyes, nailed the scene brilliantly, too.

3. Dean tells Mary he and Sam are her sons, that she will die on November 2, 1983 at the hands of the Yellow Eyed Demon, and that an angel wants to kill her to prevent the births of her children. Both Sam and Dean urge her to leave John right after all this is over, but it's too late"”Mary is already pregnant with Dean. At first, Mary refuses to believe Dean's claim that she's his mother, but he reminds her that she used to give him tomato rice soup when he was sick, just as her mother used to, and instead of a lullaby, sing him her favorite Beatles song, "Hey, Jude." This convinces Mary he's telling the truth, and it sure brought tears to my eyes, still wet from Sam's exchange with John.

Uriel and Anna show up (she tells him these people they're killing are going to kill him in the future, an out and out lie), and the big battle rages. Anna stabs and kills Sam and is about to finish off Mary when John walks in from where he had been flung outside, now Archangel MICHAEL'S meat suit!

Talk about a huge, unexpected stunner! I am SO glad I stayed spoiler free!

Michael kills Anna, burning her up and turning her to ash (cool special effect). He makes Uriel disappear, to where, I have no idea and couldn't care less. Good riddance to both. I thought Anna a good guy, she obviously was an enemy.

Michael assures Dean he'll fix Sam, but first he must regale him with a long, long speech about how, there is no randomness, no chance, just a plan playing itself out perfectly. "Free will's an illusion, Dean, and that's why you're going to say yes."

Michael promises to return John back as good as new - and both Dean's parents will have their minds wiped of everything they learned from Dean, too. So, yes, Mary will walk into that nursery and die, just as she did before. Hearing this, Dean is in despair. "You can't fight City Hall," says a smiling Michael.

Dean and Sam return to 2010. Cas comes back, too, in pretty bad shape, barely conscious. The brothers pour stiff drinks and glumly contemplate the future. Everyone is predicting both of them are going to say yes. Dean toasts to, "Team Free Will. One ex-blood junkie, one drop-out with six bucks to his name, and Mr. Comatose over there. Awesome." Their father said yes to Michael, right? Yes, but Anna was about to kill Mom. "What if YOU could save Mom?" asks Sam.

Back in 1978, the Winchester nursery has a 25 cent addition - a ceramic angel purchased for her active, kicking baby. Mary likes it, so John loves it. Mary talks to her baby, assuring him, "Angels are watching over you." 

Which begs the question, which ones? Castiel? Uriel? Anna? Michael? Zachariah? Lucifer?

This episode was amazing. It had me engaged and on the edge of my recliner from beginning to end. I was horrified at Anna's plans A and B, wondering when she had turned evil, and why. She had once made love to Dean; how could she kill his brother? 

I was overwhelmed by how willing Sam and Dean were to urge Mary to leave John before they were ever conceived, and took it as a thumbs-up from SOME higher power that she was already pregnant. Their lives aren't much, I guess, but to be willing to not be born? THAT'S sacrifice! I loved them for it, but really didn't want them to go there, and was glad when Mary told them it was too late.

Mr. Cohen did a wonderful job with both a more assured John and Archangel Michael. He was actually a little scary as the latter. Once again, Dean had to suffer listening to things he didn't want to hear from his father's meat suit. Remember when the YED did the same thing to him? Was this really any better? So he has to endure being an angel's meat suit, fighting and killing his brother. That's his destiny, and there is no way out of it. Period. God said so. But where is God, so Dean can check with him? Is this really what the archangels' father wants? Sounds kinda dicey. 

You could see the misery and sense of doom on Dean's face when Michael said he was going to scrub his parents' minds clean of both Dean and Michael, killing Dean's hope to prevent Mary from dying in Sam's nursery in 1983. 

The song remains the same, and Dean can't change the lyrics no matter what he does. Is that going to be true for him and Sam as well? Are they cursed to play out Michael and Lucifer's song whether they want to or not?

Oh, BOYS!

Comments  

Randal
# Randal 2010-02-05 15:14
You really shouldn't hold back your feelings on Anna. 8-)

I really can't wait to rewatch this, especially after reading the comments on the post and your write-up here. It's funny how JDM as Azazel, Jared as Lucifer and Matt Cohen as Michael were all fantastic playing a different character, nailing it in each instance.

The Big Cheese is the great variable. All this destiny bullshit (how I loathe thee, let me count the ways) has gotta be purely a Hierarchy of Angels Production. If not, than he/she/it is as grand a tool as his original creations. Maybe he found a good deal in Bali and is lounging there.

Amazing what all these characters are willing to do for each other, for the greater good and even Cas is on board. But please, writers, diminishing angel powers or not, let the dude throw a few punches AND land them, okay?
JulieUK
# JulieUK 2010-02-05 15:57
At the moment my head is just spinning, so many thoughts and questions! But dont you just feel sorry for people who have never discovered this wonderful show-- they have no idea what they are missing.
It`s amazing that a simple statement like Cas saying Sam was his friend can reduce so many people to tears and that was just the beginning, so many moving moments, Sams defending John to John himself and finally being able to verbalise all those things he has never been able to before. Then before we could recover from that to be followed by the scene with Dean and Mary where she learns the truth about her own future, and again Dean tries in vain to warn her about that awful date in Nov 1983, that scene ITB never fails to make me cry and I have a feeling this one will join it.
This is one of those episodes that needs to be watched over and over to catch all the nuances. I have already quite a few times and every time some new questions arise and all I know is that I need answers soon PLEASE!
Freebird
# Freebird 2010-02-05 16:28
JulieUK, I agree, that a so simple statement like "Sam is my friend" brings out such a huge wave of emotion, only proves again the brilliancy of this show. Misha delivered the tormented angel perfectly.

Robin, the scenes you listed - awsome, with brilliant delivery by the actors! The cast and crew really outdid themselves.

The scenes that especially touched me, were when Sam and Dean first arrived at Mary and John's house. The way Sam looked at Mary - it was heartbreaking. The way he told her "You are so beautiful" - heartbreaking! Kudos to Jared, you are awsome, man!

So is everybody else, Jensen, Matt, Amy, what can I say that hasn't been said before.

Loved Jensen's "This is awkward" awkward mumble when Anna appeared in his dream. Adoreable!

And, yes, I would love to see Cas throw a few punches and land them. I feel so sorry for the guy, as we would say here, he's neither on Earth nor in Heaven, and he literally isn't.
Suze
# Suze 2010-02-05 16:34
Chill out, Randal...

I slept through most of my RK classes but the only bit I can remember ( apart from how to draw donkeys ) was that free will was sort of the whole point ... I'm fuzzy about the details but you have to have the choice to be nasty or nice or the whole deal's totally redundant ( unless you're a gnostic, that is, but there was only one and he got to sit in the corridor as he had a note from his Mum )

My guess is the Lord of Hosts pitches up in a sarong clutching a drink full of fruit and little paper brollies 35 minutes into the last episode and gives all and sundry apart from Cas and t'lads a hearty slap for not reading the small print ( You can all feel free to take the piss when this totally fails to happen ... ;-) )
Jasminka
# Jasminka 2010-02-05 18:27
There is a part of me still hoping that there might be some honour in Michael. Castiel is an angel who chose ‘the right side’, so it is possible that not all angels are dicks.
I am not sure as to which extent Michael’s words were only manipulative. Was he telling the truth, too?
I have to re-watch it to get the whole dialogue. Couldn’t access my online site for a second viewing, but I’m still somewhat an emotional mess.

When Anna stabbed Sam, I felt like my lungs were torn out. I had somehow seen it coming (perhaps I should start to believe that the psychic streak my mom claimed would run in her family came to me, too? Yikes) , but it came like a lightning bolt nonetheless….

Many scenes came back to me during the day, and I was moved to see how the brothers were working together, a well-oiled machine, perfectly in tune, as they used to be.
I think this was the first episode in a long line that did not show any resentment in the guys relationship. Perhaps, finally, they are back to their former trust and love. Just the way they speak about the whole matter in the end, it seems fine.
And yet there is the little devil on my shoulder, nagging – aaah, you know Gamble… she won’t give it a rest! – Ah, shut up, you fiend, she just killed Sam! Again.

I’m talking to imagined devils on my shoulder… Okay, medication…

And Matthew Cohen (that’s his name, right?) blew me away as YoungJohn. The matter-of-fact attitude – okay, a sigil needs to be made from blood, just tell me how big… Wonderful.

By the way, you ever want to nail Anna to some tree – I’m gonna hand you the nails…

You know, that glamouring of Mary didn’t work, really, did it… When we look back to the end of the second season – the high def replay of the nursery scene that Azazel plays to Sam: Mary comes up, recognizes the demon ‘It’s You!’ and Sam cries out: ‘She knew you!’
So – to what extent did they scrub clean her brain or is this just a little error from the writer’s room?

Sometimes I should quiet that analytical mind of mine, oops..
;-) Jas
trina
# trina 2010-02-05 21:07
My take on Anna was that she was working alone, otherwise Michael wouldn't have killed her. Heaven doesn't want Sam dead, they need him to be Lucifer. Anna was indeed trying to stop the apocolypse, she just didn't take into account human emotion. If she had approached Sam and told him her plan he would have thrown himself on her knife. Instead she told Castiel, and since he doesn't want Sam to die (Yay) her plan failed. Plan B was go after Mary and John. Well, a Winchester will sacrifice himself with a smile on his face, but go after a family member, and all bets are off.

Regarding Mary and Sam...oh man was that heartwrenching. Sam has two memories of his mother. One is of her spirit from "Home", and she ...died? (can't think of a better word). The other memory is the "instant replay" the YED was kind enough to show him, in which she died. At least now he as some pictures in his head that don't end with her bursting into flames.
Supernarttu
# Supernarttu 2010-02-06 11:07
Hei Robin, love your review, very fitting.
This whole eppie, from start to the end is just so amazing. Not a boring bit in sight! It seems to end too quickly which is always a good aspect in an eppie.

I love the moments that you mentioned, they were wonderfully acted and really evoking. Sams talk to John was so heartwrentching . I'm so glad Sam got to tell him that, maybe it will do him some good, give him just a little bit of calm. Dean with Mary was just so mournful, you could see how much Dean wanted to save her. Sons willing to "die" in order to save their mother *chinwibble*

I didn't mind Anna. She was ok. I mean I get why she thought it would work. She is an angel, they are (said to be) emotionless - even though they seem to show some emotion... so maybe the point is that they SHOULDN'T feel, as in not allowed. I Think Julie made a good shift in Anna portrayal when she got her grace back. After that she did seem more distant (to humans anyway) and empathy-free. But that didn't reach Castiel, you could tell that she cared for him. I'm a little confused why Dean didn't seem that upset that Cas turned Anna in, he did care for her at some point. And why couldn't she throw in that panic room bit, come on!!! One line, it didn't need any response, just say it for Christ sake :D Yeah, I know, they aren't gonna touch that... *sad mope* But Anna got a really cool death. Smote by Michael, awesome!

Matthew and Amy were amazing! They have wonderfull chemistry and I could see their older versions in their portrayals. I gotta say that Amy has a really beautiful voice. I usually don't notice those kinda things (well, except Dean, Sam and Cas who have lovely deep voices, I love a man with a deep voice *grin*) but something about her tone was just really soothing and serene. Matthew really nailed Michael also. He was really chilling and distant. The way he said "your darling little Sammy" was just, condescending and divine. *shivers*
And Sam died. AGAIN! I never tire of that. Even though some say that SamnDean dying is like a joke these days but it still gets to me.

And regarding Mary remembering Azazel. Maybe it was the same thing as with the suddenly buying an angel statue. Maybe her subconciousness was trying to remind her of her past. Maybe she had many dreams thoughout those next (her last) 5 years that she couldn't remember when fully awake but still left her feeling hollow and sad. I'd like to think that is what happened in the end. And surely yellow eyes might have visited his victims dreams like he used to visit their childrens later on.

Ah, all the new thinkyness that this epic tale brought out :-) I love our show!
Randal
# Randal 2010-02-06 11:24
I'm angry Suze, angry and tired. (+100 points if you get the reference)

As long as we don't get any Michael and/or Lucifer speechifying about freedom and determinism, though if that DOES happen over drinks with little umbrellas in them, 's'alright. :D
Suze
# Suze 2010-02-06 13:11
I never understood the little umbrellas, are they afraid the stuff's going to get sunburnt or what?

I am so with you on that ... Just one more I-know-how-you- feel-but-it's-d estiny-so-just- shut-up-and-giv e-us-your-body monologue from anyone and I won't be responsible for my actions.

Mr. Kripke ... This fatalistic tripe stops now, alright! Enough already! :evil:

PS. Er ... History and Alice's fiendish quiz tells us I'm really, really crap at these, but was it Dean? ( winces in anticipation of tidal wave of scorn :oops: )
Randal
# Randal 2010-02-06 14:03
The tropics can get mighty hot, and have you ever tried drinking a Mai Tai infused with SPF 30? Yuck.

I will say this: the speechifying isn't anywhere near as annoying (read: long) as that of Buffy season seven.

Nope, completely different show. Treehouse of Horror IX, The Simpsons. Colonies 1, Jolly Ole England 0. Hang on a sec, being American, I think I'm supposed to now take steroids, flex and drive my gas guzzler through Piccadilly Circus.
Karen
# Karen 2010-02-06 14:58
Hi Robin
Great review.
I love these episodes that keep the brain constantly thinking and analyzing.
I don’t know any other show that can keep me absorbed on just one episode, like this one.

I think they (Lucifer, Zack, Michael etc) keep pushing the Destiny speeches, because Free Will has been messing up their plans from the start. If they keep pressuring that no matter what decisions they make they will still say YES, then maybe it will break down their spirit and they will get what they want. Being so high on themselves and arrogant they never took into consideration just how stubborn and strong willed Mankind can be, especially one Dean and Sam Winchester.
Evelyn
# Evelyn 2010-02-06 15:13
I loved this episode, yet after my first viewing it left me feeling empty - like a hole had been opened and unfilled. That sadness of all the angst of the family just really moved me in a lot of different ways.

Thanks for the review Robin. Despite how I felt, this was a great episode and I agree with your three favorite scenes. However, I would add a fourth. That scene would be when Dean and Sam first arrive at their parents house, beginning when Mary opens the door to see Dean and Sam. During that entire sequence the unspoken conversation that is going on between Mary and Dean is fun to watch and then counter that with Sam and his reaction to seeing his young parents, especially Mary, for the first time. Most of the comments I have read have been about Sam's reaction when they are in the living room - but I particularly enjoyed Sam's reaction on the doorstep. The tears in his eyes and that whole interaction before they even go inside was just heartbreaking. That whole scene was just priceless and JP knocked it out of the park.

And then the scene between Sam and John when Sam is basically apologizing to his Dad and finally realizing within himself that his Dad was just doing the best he could. With tears in both Sam and John's eyes, I couldn't help but feel that somehow, deep down, John knew that Sam was talking about him. And that even though John wouldn't remember that moment, I got the feeling that they were finally able to resolve their "issues" and Sam was able to emotionally heal himself a little and let go of some of the anger that was so troubling him in Sam, Interrupted.

THE classic scene in this episode has to be the four Winchesters riding in the Impala. It was kind of weird seeing Dean riding in the back seat, since we are so used to seeing him driving. I only wish that we could have a scene like that with a Young Dean and Sam. Wouldn't that be fun?!?

Now, as for Michael, WOW, I would put him at the top of the douchebag list. He had some interesting things to say, but this constant harping that there is no Free Will, that Dean WILL become his vessel - that Dean has no say in what he will or won't do, well, that just makes me mad. I think all these angels are just jealous of us humans because they don't have free will and so they continue to harp on Dean and Sam about this issue because they don't have any other choice but to obey. Look at Castiel. He went against his angel mantra of obedience, he has been cast out, yet he has become a better person because of it.

Jas, as to your question about scrubbing Mary and John's minds clean? My thoughts on that are that Michael just wiped the memories of this most recent encounter with Dean and Sam, but everything else remains intact. He can't wipe everything clean, because as you said it, how would Mary recognize YED when he comes into Sam's nursery on that fateful night.

All in all a wonderfully, classic Supernatural episode. One to be viewed many, many times. All the actors did such a great job with this one and deserve many kudos and then some. And the crew deserve kudos as well (wasn't that scene where Anna burns up just awesome!) Thanks Kripke & Co.

(Sorry for the lengthy comments, I got carried away)
Suze
# Suze 2010-02-06 17:20
Huh ... Well, be fair ... it's the kind of thing Dean MIGHT say.

Drat you Randal, you smartie-pants flee-er from political tyranny, you. To the victor the spoils ... West One and it's ancestral gridlock is all yours to toy with as you will ... My Great-Grandad's in there somewhere with a cart full of by now extremely elderly pigs, so give him a honk as you speed on by ... ;-)
Suze
# Suze 2010-02-06 17:25
PS. Too right about series 7 ... At least we have no God-awful slayerettes to contend with ( yet ... They're probably saving them for S6 :twisted: )
Randal
# Randal 2010-02-07 06:18
God-awful slayerettes? You crackin' on my main man Giles? And Xander saved the world at least three times! :D

Mmmm....bacon.....
Randal
# Randal 2010-02-07 06:19
Oh, and wouldn't Action Figure Cas count as one already, if we're going to be technically technical.
Suze
# Suze 2010-02-07 11:00
Me diss the awesome majesty that is Giles? Never! Bite your tongue! And I'm still treasuring the memory of Xander in Speedos ... Mmmmm
:D

Cas absolutely does not count either, not having sappic tendancies, a dodgy foreign accent or a bottomless fund of hideous leg warmers. So there ... :lol:
Bethany!
# Bethany! 2010-02-08 05:37
Randal, you can try and drive your gass guzzler through piccidilly circus but i guaruntee that you'll be stuck at traffic lights for at least 1/4 hour have to keep breaking for suicidal jay-walking tourists and then get lost in the one way street system around soho and possibly trapped in a winding back road, like a hummer i saw the other day.

Yep - i'm going to wade in on the free will vs determinism thing *ducks flying missiles* i always thought that Kripke has a thing for the underdog so team free will might have a fighting chance after all. It just occured to me that a good question to ask the angels would be that if everything is pre-determined and that's the way it will end up why give them the choice to say yes at all? Surely the ability to say yes or no is the definition of free will and the fact that they even have the choice proves that not everything is determined. At least i hope so!
Bethany!
# Bethany! 2010-02-08 05:41
Also anyone think Michael was a bit like Lucifer, all quiet voice and arrogant assumptions ...
Suze
# Suze 2010-02-08 10:10
Yep, definitely scooped from the same bucket of worms ... Some outfit called Smug Condesending Gits R Us ... :lol:

Those Tracey-Tractors don't really cut the mustard anywhere, do they? Last winter one gigantic one followed its sat-nav up a tiny ginnel near my sisters house in Cornwall and got so well and truly wedged that the Emmets abandoned it and her next-door neighbour keeps his chickens in there now ...
Susan-Daisy
# Susan-Daisy 2010-02-09 11:23
Great review Robin, I love your passion for the show :-)

I liked Anna though and am sad she turned out to be 'bad' and had to die :sad: