“Drag Me Away (From You)”, Meghan Fitzmartin’s debut solo Supernatural script, was a classic monster of the week hunt. She acknowledged it as such (“Going back to the CLASSICS”) during her live tweet of both the East and West coast air times. It was fun to watch her share her excitement and pride over seeing her writing come to life on television. I’m happy she was given this opportunity before the series ended.
Indeed, as a “classic” episode, “Drag Me Away (From You)” was a nostalgic call back to the early years of Sam and Dean’s hunts, on many levels. Visually, fans were treated to one more (last?) motel room with the most extraordinary décor imaginable! This one went way over the top by adding a geometric carpet to “complement” the 1960’s patterned wallpaper and color scheme. Even the desktop phone was bright orange! Musically, the boys’ “family theme” played as a poignant backdrop to Sam unpacking the strained conflicts of his life - a college guide and a Ziploc bag of toiletries alongside a gun and a knife.
The story was also a literal flashback to the early days. Teenager Dean was still babysitting his little brother, who hadn’t yet been allowed to participate in his first hunt, so they were dropped off at a motel while dad sped away solo to take care of business. Dean established more of their early timeline by teasing that Sam was still being visited by his imaginary friend, who we learned in 11.08 (“Just My Imagination”) is the irreplaceable zanna Sully. Dean called Bobby for guidance when he couldn’t reach his dad, and Sam was still clinging to the hope of one day being normal and going to college, an ambition he shared with a sympathetic teacher in 4.13 “After School Special”.
THEN: Mrs. Butters identifies the huge telescope in the bunker as an interdimensional geoscope and says it isn't good when Dean says he can't see anything through it. Dean angrily says he's nothing but a hamster in a wheel and it's all Chuck's fault. Jack says that he's supposed to kill God; Sam tells him he's the only one who can. Jack tells Cas that he WILL kill Chuck and Amara, but he will die too. Cas tells Dean there's something he needs to know.
NOW: The gentle sounds of an old song from the forties, "If I Didn't Care," plays as artificial lights reflect dimly off wet pavement. In the night, a car pulls up outside the Rooster Sunrise Motel, it's facade also advertising "Lounge," and a mid-thirties man exits the car. He is bearded and balding, wearing a white henley under his jacket and some kind of pendant on a necklace. He approaches the desk where a reluctant clerk greets him as Travis Johnson and scolds him for being late to check in. He's been here before and he's getting the same room as before - Room 214 - on doctor's orders. "Welcome back," says the clerk.
Travis walks by two old vending machines and turns down a hallway lined with doors. He hesitates outside Door 214, his hands shaking, and sighs. "You can do this," he says aloud. He slowly turns the key and turns on the light. The room is a little wider than an average hotel room. It has two double bed, both covered with an orange spread. The walls and floor are both covered in differing geometric patterns of various shades of orange and white. As he approaches the bed and puts his duffle bag on it, ominous music begins to play. Sitting at the edge of one bed, he pulls out a bottle of whiskey and drinks. His phone buzzes with a message: "Travis, I'm worried." "Just one night!' Travis says. "Then it's over. It wasn't real." He clutches at his pendant; it appears to be a ring. "It was never real!" Behind him, the closet door opens and a figure approaches him from behind. He spins to see a kid, a teenage boy with brown hair and intense eyes. "Do you remember me?" Travis falls back. The bottles drops and breaks. "I remember you!" he says. The boy steps forward, foot crunching on the glass, and picks up the broken whiskey bottle with its jagged edge. He smiles and leans forward. "Boo." The camera goes black as we hear a scream.
You know, I have been a huge advocate for a while now for Castiel getting his own stories. I always love it when they put him into Highway to Heaven/Touched by an Angel mode and show what he can do to help people out on his own. This time he even got the A plot. I’ve pitched the “Warrior Angel” spinoff before, where he somberly travels from town to town a la David Banner, looking for answers, helping a lot of people along the way. Please tell me this was a put pilot for that concept. Otherwise, I’m not sure what the purpose of this episode was, and it was certainly ill timed.
If it were any other season, in any other early season slot, I would have gladly enjoyed this episode. But we are down to the wire and expectations are high. This episode was tame, slow as hell, predictable and did very little to advance a plot that at this point in the series needs some serious action. More than one layer in the plotting would be wonderful. Case in point, episode 5.15, “Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid.” The raising of the dead by Death himself. That was a pretty significant twist to a multi-threaded apocalyptic storyline. Here, there’s no more time for slow character studies and wrapping up personal grievances by the writers. That should have happened much earlier this season!
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