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Oh show, you’re back.  You’re really back.  (Bites lip, fights off tears of joy to get on with review).  I mean honestly, who didn’t go to bed after the episode with “Dun, duh, da, dun, duh, da da, dun duh da, duh duh” thundering in your brain?  Who was the genius that figured out “Smoke On The Water” was THE Dean Winchester theme song?  

We reviewed the crap out of “Exile On Main Street” here at the Winchester Family Business and out of all our differing opinions there was one consensus, it didn’t feel like the same show.  â€œTwo and A Half Men” succeeded at many things, primarily writing that big wrong of the first episode.  We didn’t care about the flaws in this one.  Sam and Dean were back on the road together, the humor was back, the creep factor was back and this time the MOTW rocked our world.  It’s everything this show has become known for.  
Welcome Adam Glass, first time writer for Supernatural.  One thing I find about the first time writers is that they learn right away to respect the continuity.  I’m sure it’s drilled into their brains that re-inventing the wheel is not an option, greasing that wheel is more important.  So what little things can be thrown into a script that will make fans happy?  Bring back fan favorites like the magic fingers of course!  Make the episode quote worthy.  Also, put Sam and Dean in dream scenarios that fans have chuckled about for years, like Sam and Dean actually walking into a supermarket.  With a baby.  With no clue what to do.  Win, win, and win.  Then, close it all out with an iconic classic rock moment involving the Impala.  Sigh...I’m so yours now.  
It Didn’t Go Overboard
Let’s face it, what long running show with male leads hasn’t tried the “Three Men and A Baby” scenario?  Or at least pitched it.  It’s too cliche, too overdone.  â€œSupernatural” has always wildly succeeded though in taking overdone concepts and twisting them to their universe without going overboard or stale (See “Mystery Spot,” see “Jump The Shark.”).  By the end, the old becomes new and it all manages to make perfect sense in their unique situation.    
Doing a baby story with two clueless single men is too anvilicious for a whole hour, even if one of them strangely knows what to do.  Luckily the show didn’t overboard with the fish out of water jokes so they avoided that trap.  Then they mixed it up by making the baby a shapeshifter and showing it actually change from a white baby to a black one.  That’s now more interesting!  Then there’s the dilemma of what to do with a shapeshifter baby.  How to raise it, protect it, etc.  With that twist, the baby got to be a source of conflict and doubt between the brothers, who were tasked to trap and kill the most dangerous shapeshifter they’ve ever seen.  As has happened many times with “Supernatural,” we ended up both laughing and chilled to the bone.  

Who here didn’t object that the bad guy got away with the baby so easily?  I thought it was a great twist.  The alpha shapeshifter is the new menace to be feared and it can’t be stopped.  To quote Sam from an earlier season, this isn’t the same old demon crap.  Or angels either.  This is the way the show should re-invent itself.  
Just like the premiere though, another whole crop of questions was raised and they involve the Campbells.  Dean doesn’t trust them, showing us that despite being out of the game for a year, his instincts are stronger than ever.  How did Christian find out about Dean’s role as a torturer in Hell?  Judging by Sam’s reaction, he knew Christian knew.  Why would Sam tell him or the Campbells in general that?  Maybe to tout Dean so they would accept them onto their team?  Is it possible they know from another source?  The one that’s behind all this? 
Did you believe Sam when he answered Dean’s question that they still wanted to know how he and Samuel were brought back?  I’m not sure.  I think they know something but I can’t tell.  Either that or Samuel knows but is keeping Sam in the dark and Sam doesn’t want to know because he doesn’t want to go back to Hell.  Who the Hell is Samuel working for?  It’s someone he contacts by a phone?     
Does anyone think that Sam has no choice but to trust the Campbells?  Those looks exchanged between Christian and the “He’s my brother” comment, Dean noticed something weird was up between those two.  Maybe getting out of the cage was part of a deal made by Samuel?  Now Sam has to follow and keep his brother in the dark?  

Then there is Dean’s question to Sam, did he use the baby as bait?  Is Sam really that cold now, or is he just blindly following orders?  Was Dean’s question a sign that his mistrust is now going to Sam?  Dean had shown some trust earlier by giving Sam the baby instead of Samuel, yet Sam proceeded to give it to Samuel anyway.  Dean saw their plan of raising the baby completely nuts and couldn’t believe he was the only one.  You think that intensified suspicions Dean already had about Sam or triggered them?
These are all questions I won’t speculate on further until doing the scene by scene breakdown in the recap.  In just my limited viewings so far, there were a few subtle clues (maybe more) that require further analysis.  This show does love its mysteries and season six was designed to tease.   
Then there’s Dean and Lisa.  When watching the preview clip when Dean was salting the windows I wondered how much of Dean’s overprotective behavior Lisa would tolerate.  I love how Dean’s seemingly inescapable situation was handled.  It makes sense, he had become as protective of Lisa and Ben as John had with Dean and Sam.  Even Sam remembered that John always thought his actions were temporary.  They never stopped though.  
I like how Lisa’s character is tough but believable.  She and Ben have been on their own for a long time so they know how to manage on their own.  Teaching Lisa how to manage a gun certainly gave Lisa her chance to call him out on it.  â€œIf you don't go out that door right now, I'm going to shoot you.”  It made sense by the end that Dean leaving to go back on the road was her idea.  It’s nice though that she’s not an all or nothing kind of person and has left the door open for Dean to return.  She has to be the most extraordinary person Dean has ever known.  
There’s some uneasiness in that situation though.  Ben is an an impressionable age.  He sees Dean as a hero and wants to be one too.  He wants to learn how to fight and help.  Dean’s shut down, his words of warnings never the handle a gun despite his good intentions, doesn’t deter anyone.  He should know that by now!  It never stopped Sam.  That opens the door for Ben getting involved with a hunt in the future, and the idea is both scary and fascinating at the same time.  
Oh, but if Lisa did one thing, she opened the door for the most satisfying closing scene this show has had in years!  You know it, we all were suffering from some intense Impala withdrawal, not just Dean.  The second “Smoke on The Water” came on and Dean threw off that tarp with his big smirk of satisfaction, I scared the cat and dog with my high pitched squealing.  Bravo to Director John Showalter for all those glory shots of the Impala freed from his covers, not to mention the dramatic cuts to one completely overjoyed (yet reserved) Dean.  Now that’s how to get fans excited about next week!  Just like with Dean, suddenly everything feels right again.  
Other Stray Thoughts
Sorry Mark Campbell.  If it’s any consolation, you’re the one I liked. Too bad no one else really gave a crap if you died.  Sheesh Sam and Samuel, a little moment for grief?  As I mentioned on Twitter on episode night, I’m starting a new slogan.  â€œParker Lewis Must Die!”
Yay Lansing, Michigan!  Which makes great sense since it’s a straight shot drive wise from Lansing to Indianapolis.  So I actually know from experience Sam could get there that quickly.  Way to check a map this time guys!
Two of my wildest “Supernatural” dream items were satisfied in this episode.  First, Sam and Dean in a supermarket.  Sure, that wish emerged after seeing them in a laundromat, but it was there.  The baby was a major bonus, but the idea of Sam pushing a shopping cart from isle to isle while Dean fills it with supplies, it’s the stuff only seen in fan fiction.  Second, cross “Smoke On The Water” off my must have classic rock wish list.  
Oh, the quotes and lines!  First, Bobby John is the greatest off the cuff name as they could possibly do.  Dean picks Bobby, Sam picks John.  So dead on, we know who the father figure is in each of their lives.  Of course Bobby John is a fun name too.  â€œUnless you have a badge for Bobby John...”  I’ll have all the quotes in my recap, but there’s something to quote again.   
The brotherly chat in the motel room.  First, it happened in a motel room!  So good to see that again.  There hasn’t been a motel room since (checks the archives) “Hammer of The Gods?”  Ugh, that was such a bad one too.  Not only was it nice to see Sam open up and show some feeling, but Dean looked like he enjoyed having Sam around to share that burden.  Oh, the happiness.  
Isn’t it kind of funny watching these guys manage a baby when both these actors were recently married?  After watching Jensen handle that baby who had in the back of their minds that he was trying to prove something to the Mrs.?  He certainly impressed us!  I’m a momma Jensen, you got it right.  
My overall grade of “Two and A Half Men,” is an A-.  A freaking quintuple A+++++ for the ending alone.  I feel so much better.  Next week though the expectations are really high though.  Castiel is back!  It’s an Edlund script!  Major pressure to deliver.  I have a feeling I won’t be disappointed.     



# percysowner 2010-10-04 15:42
First thank you for being one of the few people who didn't instantly jump to the conclusion that Sam told the Campbells about Dean's time in Hell.

As to Sam using the the baby for bait, I'm going with no. One because, I really can't think of anything else to do with it. Giving it back to the shape shifters, dropping in on Lisa saying "new baby, by the way, it changes how it looks, so everyone in our new neighborhood will be thinking we had octuplets at least", giving it to social services and giving it to Bobby all seem unworkable. The Campbells do have a clan structure and they really did seem okay with raising a baby shifter. They certainly said the right things "When it gets older it can help us or not, it will be his choice."

Plus, Sam knew whatever was killing couples was kidnapping the babies, if he wanted it to be bait for the creature, why call Dean? Why not set up a sting like they did for the Djinn and let the creature come after the baby? The conversation with Samuel was about how until the Alpha shifter had turned up, they weren't sure if there were Alphas out there or if they were just myths. I think they have been working under the theory that the changes they have seen are relate to an Alphas, but haven't had any real confirmation until now, so again the baby as bait would be being a bait for theory and doesn't make a lot of sense to me.

I do like your idea that maybe Sam and Samuel know more about their resurrections than they have told Dean. Although I know Sam did want a normal life for Dean, I think he had other reasons for keeping Dean in the dark, mostly because he came back too soon for Dean to have a life to disrupt. I also think that is why Bobby agreed to hide it from Dean, because he knows there is more behind this and keeping Dean out meant keeping Dean safe as well as normal.

Great review!
# Sablegreen 2010-10-04 15:53
I agree wholeheartedly! This is an episode many fans have been waiting for a long time. Loved the 'Magic Fingers, and Sam and Dean with the baby. That couldn't have been better...loved the old granny and the supermarket scene.

The last scene with Dean and the impala was euphoric. So long have I wanted a happy ending and here it is with two of my favorite stars. DEAN and BABY are back! YEA!!!!!!!!!!

As for Sam, no, I don't think Sam cares why he is out...just that he is! And don't know why he is with Samuel, because it doesn't take much to realize there is something wrong with him. Maybe Sam saw it but just didn't want to accept it. After all he didn't seem to have a whole lot of choices open to him, when he didn't go back to Dean, and seems he didn't want to work with Bobby either.

Did Sam use the baby as bait?.... I don't know. He certainly could have overheard Dean and the shape shifters conversation. But really, what else were they going to do with the child. Neither Sam or Dean could take care of him, Dean wasn't going to bring it to Lisa...not a monster baby. I thought Samuel was a good choice, as he has raised kids before. As for Dean getting all upset about raising the kid as a was a shape shifter...exact ly what kind of a normal life would he expect him to have? It not like he could go into a normal foster home. And if they were being followed, at least they would have hunters to fight with.

Ben wanting to hunt…I think they could go that way. Ben has been portrayed as very adapt and caring about people, and Dean is a hero to look up to. Dean may not realize that, but saving people is no small feat, and Ben is certainly old enough to see that for himself.

Last comment: anyone else surprised to see the shifters shift clothes as well as people? That was a new wrinkle (no pun intended).

Adam Glass did a WONDERFUL job. I hope he writes a whole lot more!
# 9Tiptoes 2010-10-04 16:05
Ever since both actors got married this last spring I've been dying for the announcement of babies. Two such beautiful couples. I'm especially interested to see a Gen/Jared child. We he or she by cute and petite or a handsome sasquatch?
# AndreaW 2010-10-04 17:19
I really, really hope that Samuel is not what he seems to be. He's the first character other than Ruby that establishes a connection with Sam rather than with Dean. All the others, Bobby, Castiel, Ellen, Jo, Pamela, etc, etc, etc, go for Dean. I'd truly hate if that relationship goes the wrong way (again).

@9Tiptoes, interesting question. I have Polish ancestry too and at least in my family the babies take after the Polish side. So I'd put my money in a handsome sasquatch, complete with dimples and catlike eyes. ;-)
# elle2 2010-10-04 17:33

Too funny that we both honed in on that motel aspect...not one since Hammer of the Gods and eesh, I'd rather not think on that one.

Smoke on the Water, Dean has been humming that or having that as his ring tone so long now that it is about freaking time that gets a moment and like you, I love that John Showalter gave the Imapla those glorious shots. That ending was absolutely fantastic. So far the show is hitting all the right notes this season, sure, we're only two episodes in but my gosh the pacing is well-done.

With Cas' return as well as Bobby's front and center the week after, I'm very thrilled with how well this opening to the season is progressing. Ben Edlund and Robert Singer next week...BRING IT!

I'll be looking forward to your recap with all its glorious quotes and fab screen caps.
Michelle McKee
# Michelle McKee 2010-10-04 18:28
I believe I would have enjoyed this eppy if I could have seen all of it. Does anyone know if tnt or cw will show a rerun of it before the season ends? I saw the second episode of House being played again because I missed it too.
# CitizenKane2 2010-10-04 22:49
I enjoyed reading this review, and I agree (among other things), it's great to see Sam and Dean interacting with each other more (compared to Exile on Main Street).

Off-topic, but in the title for 6.01, who is the "Exile" ? Sam ? Dean ? Samuel ? (Exile kinda connotates someone being expelled or banished)
# CitizenKane2 2010-10-05 02:37
Thanks, Alice, for the clarification - much appreciated. :-)
# Suze 2010-10-05 05:46
This was the first eppie in ages that I wanted to re-watch straight away. The ending alone makes me grin hugely every time I think about it and that's from someone whose youngest's guitar-hero asperations should have inured her to Smoke On The Water years ago!

I don't think the bobbit was bait, at least I don't think Sam meant it to be when he handed it over. As the others said earlier on, what else were they going to do with it? I do think Granpa C. has a hidden agenda but I've no idea if it's Heaven or Hell that's got him on speed-dial. Time will tell, it might just be his sinister eyebrows giving everyone the wrong idea! :lol:
# Bevie 2010-10-05 14:29
A great episode ! :D

Loved to see the boys in the grocery store. We had the laundromat in season 4 and now I would like to see them clothes hunting in a Salvation Army or Good Will store. I have strange wants LOL :-?

Still feeling uneasy with Sammy. Wish he had come to Dean's defense more strongly when Dean was being dissed by that @#$% Christian. I certainly hope that it wasn't Sam who told them about Dean's torment in hell. :shock:

I agree with Alice. Parker Lewis MUST die, but only after a well deserved beat down by Dean. 8-)

Boy, those Campbells (and Sam,for that) were really broken up about Mark's demise, weren't they? NOT ! :roll::
# Ashke 2010-10-05 15:34
Thanks for your review. As I said in Elle2's post. I discovered this site over the summer and have grown to love the thoughtful approach everyone takes to reviewing and recapping a show that I love.

It was so nice to laugh out loud to an episode, which I did on several occasions (Dean's "You think?" and his crying back at Bobby John come to mind), after the heartbreak of the back half of last season and the uneasiness of this season's first ep. The Alpha was just cool and who can argue with having the Impala back in action.

I also don't mind having my ten million questions go unanswered . . . for now. I trust Sera, Robert and the crew that they have a plan. They never do what I expect but I've never been disappointed either. I'm just glad I've found like minded people to enjoy the ride with.

# boobula 2010-10-05 21:13
First, I would like to say thanks again Alice. You are awesome! Second, I hate my cable provider! And here's why. I work retail, which includes nights and weekends. So when Supernatural got switched to Fridays, I went to my boss (who is fabulous BTW), and asked if I could switch my night off from Thursday to Friday. She did, cause she knows I work my butt off, I never ask for anything, and am always willing to do whatever is needed for the good of the business. She also knows about my slight obsession ;-), and probably didn't want to see a grown woman cry :sad:. Well about 2 hours before the Two and a Half Men epi started I was checking email and what not and realized Supernatural was being preempted by freaking baseball!!!! and wouldn't be on til Saturday night. Which I worked. I recorded it. It was late Saturday night after work I realized that said cable provider was having issues and the picture and sound kept going off. OMG!!!! I did get to see most of it that night, but missed some of the Campbell Clan conversations, and a good bit of the Dean/Lisa scene at the end but I did get the gist. And I just want to say:

Woo freaking Hoo!!!!! I can be counted among the throng of fans going to bed with a goofy smile and “Dun, duh, da, dun, duh, da da, dun duh da, duh duh” thundering in my brain! I have not been this happy after an episode in a while! It was worth the wait. Our show is indeed back. And I must say, I am still not sure what to make of the new Sam, but he is certainly looking hotter than ever! Lisa is just wonderful, the way she gets Dean. Dean and Baby are back! And for the first time in a long time I went to bed thinking "Maybe you just CAN have it all".
# Jasminka 2010-10-06 03:37
Thanks for this ever interesting review, Alice! This episode was a masterpiece - from my point of view I reacted like: oh, I'm so happy... babies, the brothers together on the road, Dean taking out the Impala... good times, and then:

wait a minute?! What's going on there? What do those smiles mean? Who's Samuels CO? Why doesn't Sam stay with them to fight Papa Shifter?

So many layers hidden in a feel-good episode. Still peeling them off.
Cheers, Jas