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Open Couch Two And a Half Men
Thereâ€™s no smoke without fire, Babyâ€¦
Okay, if you watch horror movies, you know that you should never, ever run upstairs to safety and hide under a bed because something will come and grab your feet. Youâ€™re trapped down there. Plus: you canâ€™t properly see. And never, ever imagine you could keep an infant quiet. When you already have blood covering your arms and then you see a body covered in blood from your hiding place beneath the feathers, chances are you wonâ€™t be able to get away, so donâ€™t bother relaxingâ€¦
But mommy apparently is not an avid horror film fan. With this first scene Iâ€™m suspecting ghoul. Or the-hills-have-eyes-nutcase. Or shifter. Because I am an avid horror fan. Well, not really. I watch the occasional slasher film to calm my nerves (as they rarely scare me. They are just disgusting with their thrown around entrails and their rolling heads (or other body parts). But thatâ€™s just me. When I know Iâ€™m in no mood to stand a sentimental film, horrorâ€™s the thing to watch. Ay meâ€¦ weâ€™ve had some pretty disgusting scenes on our favourite show, tooâ€¦ Valentineâ€™s Day, anyone?)
That entrance to whatâ€™s going to be a lighter episode (so we have been told) doesnâ€™t impress me much. It was to be expected. But â€“ I notice myself worrying: now that mommy is gone, who will take care of a lost baby?! Well, who else but the first choices around â€“ the Winchester Brothers. Fighting Evil and the odd dirty diaper. But not yet.
First, we follow Dean as he checks the trunk of the trusty Impala, going over the gizmos and guns almost tenderly, wistfully. The keys go to a tool box. In the first episode we saw that Dean seemed to carry them around with him at all times (hence he was able to offer them to Sam without having to get them from wherever)â€¦ Probably as a memory of Sam he could touch, curl his fingers around in his pocket without anyone noticing. Grieving people tend to have keepsakes of their passed away loved once close. I presume Dean might have held on to the keys of the only real home the brothers had had for a long time. The only â€˜thingâ€™ that was present when Sam fell into the cage.
Now, there is no need for that kind of attachment. Sam is alive. Dean knows it now and doesnâ€™t need memoranda anymore, which might be a reason for putting them away, under lock and key in a box. Instead heâ€™s bound to help Lisa and Ben to unpack. We didnâ€™t see how Dean must have persuaded them that moving would be the best for them, but both feel unwell. Lisa apparently understands it better, while Ben feels bored within this lockdown.
The tension in the house is palpable. Dean keeping his car ready, the weapons checked, always an eye on the door and salt at the windows, ordering pizza instead of going out for lunchâ€¦ oh myâ€¦ the epitome of relaxed family life is a different one. Itâ€™s some kind of hell, alright.
â€˜If something happens to you on my watchâ€¦â€™
Other families are going through a different ordeal, not less infernal â€“ babies are missing. Sam, looking great in that well-cut suit (no longer the Woolworth ones, eh?) and well-groomed hair (sorry, just entered Salon-de-Drool for a shallow moment), investigates, and it still irritates me to see him confer with the Campbell clan via phone and not with Dean. I am not yet used to that. Especially not when possible â€˜Baby stewâ€™ is the matterâ€¦ ugly idea, really, does it come with fava beans and a nice Chianti?
Sam often wonders about himself, too, and why shouldnâ€™t he? Who could blame him for not being comfortable with this new life heâ€™s trying to find his way about? In all likelihood Sam has not yet understood the change in his demeanour he must be noticing - he is, after all, a man of intelligence. His altered emotional state will be worrying him, and he might be missing that part of himself that used to dash to the rescue of innocents like he used to (something he still saw in Dean and tried to get back into his life by asking Dean to come along).
Well, thereâ€™s more than one danger to kids, like getting their hands on guns. Guns that are supposed to be locked away in a classic Chevyâ€™s trunk. Ben is quite the inquisitive young manâ€¦ and Dean, well, Dean silences the boy very harshly. Heâ€™s freaked out, thatâ€™s for sure. But I think he underestimates the fine antenna children have. Since they donâ€™t yet understand everything logically at a young age, they are very good at detecting changes in atmosphere, particular when their family is concerned. Their instincts often are sharp as broken glass. Of course Ben knows that something is going on. He surely remembers their first encounter and he notices Deanâ€™s checking and re-checking of the house.
Dean, from his protectorâ€™s point of view, is incapable of giving away more than he probably already has and, panicking, closes the door to Ben in regard to weapons training. He clearly wants another life for the boy, even though Ben seems to have the impression that handling guns at his age must have been cool for Dean. It probably was. But Dean will not have it. He will not allow Ben to be drawn into that world deeper. That would substantiate his most intolerable nightmares, as revealed in the first episode of this season by the Djinn poison. Knowing that he already had drawn danger to Lisa and Ben, he had no other choice but to keep them safe. And that he does. Like a soldier stationed in a war zone.
The soldiers I have met so far told me, for the most part, that their biggest asset was their family. Their support, their love, their understanding of what they do. Lisa offers Dean exactly that. But also realism â€“ their life needs to go on. Without any normality theyâ€™d all go crazy with fear. As much as Dean is watching over them, Lisa does the same â€“ protecting her family from imaginably falling apart because of the tension.
Later, as Dean leaves with Sam on their baby-mission, she is calm and reassuring, showing him that he neednâ€™t be worried â€“ she can handle a weapon. And she senses that he wants to go. A fact she will talk to him about at another time. Right now she does what a great partner does â€“ having his back by taking a part of the burden she knows Dean will carry with him the moment he closes that door behind him.
The scene-shifts are marvellous, the differences between Impala and Dodge striking. Sam on a bench, actually eating (yes, this is a new showâ€¦) and auditioning for a shampoo commercial (so sorry, kind readers, Iâ€™ll shut up about that now) and â€“ eventually â€“ finding a slaughtered family, the guy, ahem, shifter responsible and something else (we donâ€™t see the baby right away, but the look on Samâ€™s face is priceless. Confused, incredulous, a tad helplessâ€¦ he was prepared to find something to kill. Not â€˜somethingâ€™ that will need a diaper change in no time.
(One thing I donâ€™t like about Samâ€™s batmobile: the annoying beeping of the fasten-your-seatbelt sign. I share Deanâ€™s reaction with a passion. If my car did that to me, weâ€™d have a serious disagreement. Thankfully, mine only shows me a light when the seat belt is not fastened. Thatâ€™s about as close as I am ready to come to a car telling me what to do.)
One reason for Sam to call Dean right away might be that he counts on their mutual experience with shapeshifters of various kinds. Another might be that he is indeed freaked out about his new passenger (he is quite adamant to get Dean to make an exception). And â€“ well, Sam always used to turn to Dean to help. He was the first one he looked to when in trouble. Despite his detached emotional state, he might still have Deanâ€™s number on speed dial.
â€˜Welcome to the party, Guttenberg.â€™
Okay, I have to admit â€“ Iâ€™m easily bought with big baby blues and a sweet expression, and that baby in the back seat is so adorable, it almost hurts. Two men, however, who have hardly any experience with handling an infant (Dean more than Sam, since he raised him, but that was a long time ago and diapers are different now), will most certainly feel like fish in a desert.
â€˜We need suppliesâ€™ - â€˜Iâ€™ve got an arsenal in the trunk.â€™- â€˜Not that kind.â€™
Here we go. Some of the best lines of this young season are about to come up. I love this episode already. A cute little baby, the expected comedy of two grown men about to be blown to smithereens by a baby, and supernatural creatures with a soft spot for babynapping. Bring it.
â€˜Okay, Iâ€™m pretty sure that thereâ€™s some kind of paste or jelly youâ€™re supposed to put on their butt.â€™ Remembering from childhood days, Dean, when you took care of your little brother? And â€“ Sam finds a package that actually says â€˜Butt Pasteâ€™. Iâ€™m dying with laughter. Please someone tell me that there is no such thing to be found in a US Walmart. They only made this up for the show! Or havenâ€™t they?! Plus: Samâ€™s expression. This is Samgirl heaven. And I love Dean grabbing all the â€˜suppliesâ€™ he can get a hold of and truly looking like an exhausted father.
For research reasons I went to a â€˜baby shopâ€™ here (ha!) to have a look at the men there. Most were dads who seemed cool with getting baby stuff and who knew exactly what size of diapers their infants need. But I saw some who actually seemed very, very exhausted and somewhat scared. Looking into one of the baby buggies I found an toddler of perhaps four weeks, screaming at the top of his lungs. It has a comedic element to it, indeed. Itâ€™s well played out in this episode.
The theme is so clichÃ© it hurts. But this show successfully managed to not make it too cheesy to bear. The comedic elements come from their own tension, Sam counting on his more experienced brother (Dean practically raised Sam, after all), the sudden changes in pace with shifter-danger and later the baby changing from a little blue-eyed white sweetie to the black cutie he saw on the diaper package. Talk about shift-inspiration. I truly felt for that baby â€“ that must have hurt badly. You see a picture, examine it as babies do, and suddenly your skin explodes? Come on. Thatâ€™s cruel. Poor laddie.
The situation in the mart is priceless. Dean is by far more comfortable with the whole matter than Sam who keeps praying for the baby to stop crying (â€˜Dean, make it stopâ€™, Sammy, dear, there is unfortunately no stop button to push. I bet every parent has searched for that occasionally) or to not need a diaper change. His face is that of utter despair at the notion that they might actually have to do that â€“ â€˜God, I hope not.â€™ And later itâ€™s not him who does the dirty work, but Dean. In the chase through the mart, however, Sam gets hold of the kid and knows how to hold a baby properly â€“ supporting his head.
The nice lady turns out to be the shifter. The Winchesters have to chance but to run. And no one of the customers there notice that there is some skin missing on the ladyâ€™s arm and that she doesnâ€™t seem to care? A wound like that would hurt like hell and be in need of immediate medical attention and yet she runs out, composed, to get the licence plate?