All hunters in Supernatural have their reasons for why they do it. They all started because a loved one was killed by a supernatural creature"”demon, ghost, monster, it matters not. In "Adventures In Babysitting," we explore this"”and see the counter argument for why perhaps one should not.   

Hunting has high costs. The initial loss that hurls a hunter into the life may be extremely painful and a powerful motivator, but as they continue to pursue it more injuries and losses are often incurred. Other loved ones are killed. Innocence is lost. Hopes for a normal life cease. The longer one stays in it, the more likely it is they will die on a job or accumulate enemies. Any of the vanquished creatures may have their own loved ones or allies that choose to hunt the hunter for revenge. 
 
Revenge is a common reason for hunters to hunt. In this episode, it is a great motivator to Dean, after Bobby's death. Even so, it is a fast burning fire that will run cold before long. To survive, a hunter must have another reason to continue the practice. They must find their raison d'etre so to speak or they will meet their end quickly. It was Bobby's last words of wisdom to Dean. 

In "Adventures to Babysitting," we see both Sam and Dean explore that wisdom in different ways. Dean, in his grief, allows himself to burn with revenge against Roman. He enlists Frank to discover the hidden message in the numbers Bobby provided upon his death bed. He struggles to find his composure, and more than ever before his old coping mechanisms are failing him. His masks slip, his grip on the things he keeps in his lead box are leaking, and he can no longer rely upon his typical bravado to power himself through. 
 
He takes advice, seeking what he can no longer have with Bobby, from Frank about how to handle the life. Frank states, "Decide to be fine til the end of the week. Make yourself smile because you're alive and that's your job. And do it again the next week."
 
It's false advice that we see echoed in the end when Dean attempts, through a heavy heart and falling tears, a forced and pained smile. He is trying to swap out his old mask with this new and it fails just as badly. He is no closer to dealing with the issues he must face by adopting this than he was before. Revenge is his motivator, but it is leaving him empty and lost. 

 

Dean also wishes to honor Bobby's sacrifice. He is determined and driven to discover what the numbers Bobby left behind mean. It, in many ways, is his way of keeping Bobby with him. We see this manifest in the physical when Dean handles Bobby's flask. 
 
Sam, in a similar way, does the same. He is just as devastated by Bobby's passing. We see it in how agitated he is, pacing in the cabin, and in the sorrowful glance he gives Bobby's contact book. His soft spoken question if they should call those who knew Bobby pulls on the heart strings. And when Bobby's phone rings, Sam answers only to hear a young girl's voice on the other end. She is looking for Bobby and insists that she only talk to him. 

 

As the brothers have had little progress on learning what Bobby's numbers mean, Sam tries to convince Dean to join him in helping her. Dean declines, and they separate to handle their cases. Upon arrival, Sam finds Krissy alone in a motel room. She is defensive, aggressive, and afraid---even if she does hide it behind sarcasm and bravado. She also lies to Sam, pretending that she does not know about the life or what her father was doing. 
 
Sam feels that he should help her rescue her father. He does so in honor to Bobby, to thank him, and out of duty. He is finding his footing in the life with this case, even if he is using faulty information that places him in danger of not surviving it. While he may be going on a rescue mission to save another hunter, Sam acts as if Lee Chambers is a civilian. When the monster prepares to feed more from Chambers, Sam leaps into action, albeit verbally. He taunts, in an eerie echo of Soulless Sam, "No. I just want you to know how much I enjoyed cutting up your sisters." 

 

Sam taps into that nature, hidden inside, in a moment of self sacrifice. Unlike Soulless Sam, he is doing so at his own detriment. The monster feeds on Chambers again and he dies, so, instead Sam offers himself to it in his place. It's the exact opposite of Soulless Sam's behavior. He would have worked on getting free and surviving, rather Chambers did or not. Here, his compassion merged with his calculating nature to give us a Sam willing to give all----including possibly his life---to save others. 
 
Dean, meanwhile, scouts a field---the exact location Bobby's numbers led him. There, he helps Frank set up the surveillance to learn what the Leviathans are doing with it. When they return to Frank's hideout, Dean collapses into a heap and sleeps for 36 hours, missing a crucial call from Sam---in which Sam states, "Dean, hey. So I think this guy was hunting a Vetala. Um, Dad took one down back in the day. Says they're maladjusted loner types "“ like to knock a guy out, drag him home." 
 
Dean attempts to then call, only to get Krissy. He arrives to her apartment and looks for the same information taped in the closet that Sam accessed. Krissy drops her ignorance act and demands that she go with Dean. Dean refuses, demanding that she hand over the information instead. She tells him that she burned it, but has it memorized, making certain that she has to go along. 

 

Dean is reluctant to bring in a child. He didn't want Ben in the life, refused to allow him to touch his guns, and in the end watched him have to shoot demon possessed humans. This is a stripping of innocence, echoing his sentiment in "Defending Your Life," that "Hunters are never kids. I wasn't." Dean does not want Krissy, no matter how tough she acts, to become a hunter and lose what childhood and innocence she has left. 
 
Krissy represents the two fold reasons why one should and should not hunt, just as she represents both brothers. Her pretended innocence points to Sam's before discovering the truth. She is stunned when she finds out that Sam did escape the life---even briefly---to attend Stanford. It seems to have not occurred to her that she could do something like that---while being a hunter's child. She, in that, presents the before the supernatural invades. 
 
Her attitude and behavior inside the monster's lair demonstrates her reflection of Dean. She is cocky, self assured, and swift to action---and yet, much like Dean, it is all a mask. Dean sees through this and calls her on it, remarking, "Well, I hate to break it to you, but it's all over your face "“ you're scared."
 
Dean echoes this sentiment when he hesitates, not once, but twice. It's an odd moment for him to do so, but in some ways it makes perfect sense. Dean is watching a child---a 14 year old---kill a monster in a brutal manner. He is watching not just a violent action, but he is witnessing the loss of innocence. It is a punch to his gut in some ways. It reminds him of when Ben lost his own---but more importantly when Dean himself lost his very innocence. He is watching another child end up in his situation, trapped with no way out. 

 

At the hospital, Dean says to Lee, who is protesting quitting, "I know. Your family. That's the same reason you should get out now." 
 
It makes one think, wonder, if a family member's murder is the reason to hunt, shouldn't the family left alive be a reason not to? One could argue that another supernatural attack could come along to finish the rest off, but chasing after it most certainly will. And yet, both arguments are strong. Sam took on this hunt to help a little girl get her father back. Dean convinces that same father to quit the life so his daughter can have one. 
 
If no one does the hunts, then who would get the loved ones back for those ill equipped or prepared to handle the assault? Sam exhibits this side of the argument beautifully. His determination and drive to return a father to a daughter, to stop a monster from killing more innocent people, points to the very reason the Winchesters truly entered and stayed in the life---saving people, hunting things, the family business. 
 
Despite the desperation and grief consuming Dean, a kernel of hope is encapsulated in the conversation Sam and Dean share in the car. He says to Sam, "Yeah. It's nice to walk away from someone and feel like they could be okay." 
 
This is a win---a small one---for the Winchesters. It might seem insignificant next to the losses and the trials awaiting them, but if Dean can grasp onto this and hold on tight, he won't have to listen to Frank's advice. There is hope in what they do, it is simply waiting for them to see it. 
 
Kevin MacNally reprises a cynical and sarcastic Frank Deveraux. He is more caustic in this episode than the last. Underneath his abrasiveness, MacNally shows that perhaps Frank cares about Dean---at least in terms of killing the Leviathan to keep himself alive---when he says, "You look horrific. When was the last time you really slept a night?" He gets a lot of snappy punch lines, such as accusing Gwyneth Paltrow of being a Leviathan. His speech about his own loss is heartbreaking. In this, we see Frank reflect Dean's inability to work through the grieving process. 

 

Madison McLaughlin gives us a brave yet frightened Krissy Chambers. She allows us to see just how much bravado is in Krissy, and yet her cry for her father reveals the truth: that she is indeed a frightened child. She is witty and smart, and the way she delivered her lines showed how much skill she has for one so young. I particularly adored her scenes with Jensen in the car and at the end. The fist bump tease was endearing to me, and showed their chemistry well. 

 

Paula Lindberg and Meghan Ory play the monster duo in this episode. They set up a perfect bait and switch, while one drugs the victims in the diner and the other waits outside, teasing the quarry through the windows. They were snarky. Marlene's remark that Chambers was "Cabo Wabo," gave us a clue that perhaps she wasn't all she seemed. Sally's snarky line, right before Sam's sacrifice, cut deep, "Strong silent. Fine. I don't need much entertainment with my meal."

 

Ian Tracey gives us Lee Chambers, an echo of John Winchester. He has become a hunter after his wife's demise, and he takes his young daughter with him, leaving her behind in hotel rooms to fend for herself. It is clear from her conversations with Dean that he has been training her. He is driven to hunt to avenge his wife---but we see him change his mind when Dean confronts him. Tracey's small nods and shamed expression in the hospital room indicates that perhaps he realizes that what he is doing is causing harm to his child. Hopefully he'll stick to being retired and give Krissy the chance to go on to college. 

 

Jensen provided a conflicted, grieving Dean. His sadness and anger showed in his interactions with Frank. Jensen showed Dean's exhaustion well, the way his eyes narrowed and his body relaxed in the chair. Dean's anxiety at possibly seeing another child killed in front of him showed in his shocked expression and visible hesitation. Dean claimed not to have any patience left to Frank, and despite snapping at Krissy to "Eat a cookie or something," Jensen showed that perhaps there was more left in the tank for Dean. His character has always had a soft spot for children, and here again we see Jensen bring that trait to life. His fist bumping and teasing showed that he had easily connected with her, and if Dean had not been under such distress and grief it's easy to see that these two would become even faster friends. I found it moving, especially on a rewatch, to see Dean's forced smile and tears at the end. Jensen conveyed so much with a simple gesture to me, and its forced nature falls in line with what Dean is doing. Its power only grew with multiple watches. 
 
Jared gave us a concerned and compassionate Sam. He, much like Dean, is not handling Bobby's death well, and we see this in his tone of voice and actions. Sam spoke softer for much of this episode---first with Dean and then with Krissy. Even so, Jared made Sam flip a switch, and draw upon the colder, calculated personality we witnessed in Soulless Sam. To see Sam employ it in a moment of self sacrifice highlighted just how screwed up Soulless Sam had been. Jared's scene at the end in the car was just as heartbreaking. Seeing Sam confess that he is not okay and that he just wants to work, before nestling against the car window just tugs. They may have found some kernel of hope to latch on to if they only take it, but there is a lot of pain and hurt both brothers must face first. 
 
Now who's ready for Gangster Dean? I know I am! 

Comments  

Ginger
# Ginger 2012-01-11 20:56
Krissy was an anvil, for sure, but did you really believe that Lee and Krissy quit the life when you watched the episode? I didn't and now SG has confirmed that they will be back.

I didn't enjoy Krissy, and not only because it was a sister fic episode, because I did like the episode. What I didn't like was that Krissy, the anvil and Dean avatar, was cute and precocious and more accomplished at a younger age than Dean (and probably Sam, too). More than that, though, it was never made clear whether Krissy was interested in hunting for revenge or whether it was just because she was raised and being trained by a hunter.

We know that Dean was damaged because of what happened to his mother, and he clung to what he had left, turning towards hero worship of a damaged John and determination to keep his family, particularly Sam safe. Krissy didn't seem damaged at all. I had the impression that she just wanted revenge and that's why she put three hunters in extreme danger so that she could be the big hero. I found her stupid, but the show depicted her as the hero over three experienced hunters; two of which are supposed to be the best hunters on the planet.

I know I am in the minority on this one but, quite frankly, I wished the show would just get over all this kid stuff and move back towards more drama, more action, and more plot. I am not looking forward to more Krissy.

As far as Lee Chambers (Ian Tracey), I know he was supposed to represent John, but his character wasn't developed to actually show if he was meant only to be a John stand-in or if he perhaps wasn't as driven as John to the exclusion of not providing his child any emotional support. Krissy looked to me like she had received emotional nurturing, unlike Sam and Dean.

When Lee Chambers comes back, I hope his character is developed somewhat. If I have to suffer through a smart-mouthed, know it all, BDH kid again, I hope this is the pay-off for doing so.

I didn't get a lot of hope out of this episode for the brothers. Sam is crumbling and Dean's last scene was heartwrenching. I did think it was a good set-up episode for the second half of the season. Honestly, I thought it opened up several interesting avenues for the show to take that would help the uneven plotting that has been going on. I'm interested, for sure.

And, excuse me while I slip momentarily into some fangirling -- hot damn, Gangster Dean. You're looking good. Somebody please, please do an Elliot Ness movie and cast Dean as Lucky Luciano.
Far Away Eyes
# Far Away Eyes 2012-01-11 21:19
Thanks for your comments.

I think, rather they quit or not, Sam and Dean got the chance to walk away here with a win in their pockets. It's been a long time since we've seen the boys walk away from a hunt where only the monsters are dead.

I don't think Krissy put her father in danger, however. He had been on the case alone, after all. I do think she wanted to get him back, making that, at least in this case, her motivation. Family is another motivator, so it makes sense to me.

I felt that, while Krissy came off precocious at times, that she was hiding things. I don't think she's facing as much pain as Sam and Dean, and I agree that her father probably gave her nurturing, but at the same time it can't be easy to be a hunter's child.

As a mid season starter, I think it set up some things for the remainder, and for that it worked for me. It isn't the best of the season, but I enjoyed it as is.

I'm really looking forward to Gangster Dean. I think it'll be a good one indeed. And my goodness, it'll be hot.
Ginger
# Ginger 2012-01-11 22:42
Thanks, Far Away Eyes. Everyone takes different things from the episodes. I hope you didn't misunderstand me, though. I actually liked this episode and consider it one of the better first episodes following the mid-season hellatus.
Far Away Eyes
# Far Away Eyes 2012-01-11 22:43
Oh, that's the beauty of sharing. Everyone takes something different.

I figure, as long as it's making me think and feel, it's doing something right.

I'd have to say it was a tighter mid season start than last years---as epic as the Sam and Dean reunion was.
Pragmatic Dreamer
# Pragmatic Dreamer 2012-01-11 23:03
Hi Faraway Eyes,

Really interesting review. I admit I perceived things a little differently. I interpreted Frank's advice to be "Take it a day at a time, and it's bearable." That's actually pretty good advice when you're grieving. I've found if you try to look too far into the future that's when you get overwhelmed and lose it.

And I think Dean was following Bobby's advice too - he has found something to get himself back in the game. Unfortunately, that something is revenge. I don't think Bobby counselled Dean against using revenge as a motivator. I think he kind of sanctioned it when he said "love, hate or a $10 bet.

However, I don't think Dean can fully embrace the idea of revenge though because he knows - intellectually and emotionally - that revenge doesn't change the fact the person you love is dead. That's why it was so easy for him to drop everything to help Sam. Yes, it was Sam and Dean will always drop everything to come to his aid. But, if revenge was his primary goal, he'd have debated it more. In the early seasons the brothers used to split up over the issue of revenge and who was most committed.

I also think Dean was exhibiting some of the old "saving people, hunting things" mentality. Once he got there, he too was determined to save Krissy AND Lee. He kept saying that. He did everything he could to keep Krissy safe, except for removing her barrette. Duh!! Men!!

I've always liked the actor Ian Tracey. I've watched him in lots of stuff, including the excellent DaVinci's Inquest. In some ways, it's too bad the Chambers are getting out of hunting because he is the kind of actor who could create a very credible Winchester ally. However, I suspect they're not entirely quitting, just scaling back so Dad can encourage other options for Krissy.

Finally, your review actually made me think of an interview I heard years ago with the mother of a young girl who had been brutally assaulted and murdered. We don't have the death penalty in Canada, but someone was asking her if she would be in favour of it, should the culprit be caught. (He was eventually but it took more than 20 years.) She was so gracious. She didn't want the man responsible put to death because that would not bring back her daughter. And she said her daughter was full of life and joy, and to kill in her name would just be one more crime against her. It was an amazing thing to hear.

Thanks,

Pragmatic Dreamer
Far Away Eyes
# Far Away Eyes 2012-01-11 23:27
Thanks for your comments.

I guess I never really thought of Frank's advice as being one day at a time type, but now that you mention it, it can be taken as such.

I think, my mistake, was taking it as Dean had. He automatically jumped to the idea that he should fake it. In some ways, I think it's a bit of both. Frank's obviously not handing his own grief particularly well, and while he seems to take it one day at a time he's not exactly in a healthy mind set, either. His wording certainly didn't help matters, either.

As for revenge, I think in some ways it burned out by the time that phone call arrived and Dean realized Sam was in trouble. By episode end, with that win of saving Krissy and her father, we see perhaps the old notion of hunting things saving people emerging. Dean still wants to take out Roman and is angry and hurt that Roman shot and killed Bobby, but I think he realized maybe Sam was right about going and helping a fellow hunter that relied on Bobby as a friend.

And yes, I think the thought that your loved one won't be brought back by killing their killer is a theme they've wisely brought back, too. Dean even wants to call off the hunt for the YED in season 1 if it'll get his family killed. He knows it won't bring back family. And I think, once he calms down and starts to handle his grief he'll see that.

Thanks for sharing the story about the woman. I agree with her, and while I've never been in that situation, I can't imagine that killing this person would honor her daughter.
Ginger
# Ginger 2012-01-12 08:58
I'll admit right up front that if the revenge thing was supposed to have wrapped up for Dean's character, whether it be interpreted as 'fake it' or 'take it one day at a time,' I'm going to find that a most unsatisfying resolution to Dean's emo'ing soul searching 2-year story line. If this is the resolution, then the character has not been moved forward in any way; not to mention in a positive way, and that's been a problem for years with Dean's plot lines. There's just never a satisfying resolution or conclusion.
Far Away Eyes
# Far Away Eyes 2012-01-12 15:41
I don't think that it's a final point on Dean's journey, here. He's been spiraling and it'll take him a long time to dig his way back out in my book. If he can find his reason---beyond revenge---such as saving others and knowing that he made a difference, that will satisfy me.
anonymousN
# anonymousN 2012-01-12 08:58
Very nice review.I felt what you wrote about why Dean froze was perfect.For me the last conversation made me like Sam even more. I just can't explain it but I liked how he handled Dean at that moment.
Far Away Eyes
# Far Away Eyes 2012-01-12 15:41
I'm glad you liked the review. It just stuck out to me that Dean had to be seeing another child losing that innocence they can never get back.
Ravanne
# Ravanne 2012-01-12 09:37
I disagree that Frank gave Dean bad advice regarding how to handle the burden he was so visibly carrying around. He actually gave Dean very good advice and didn't sugarcoat it. Either do the job with a smile, or get out. Right now, Dean is in a downward spiral that is going to get himself or Sam killed. If he can't find a reason within himself to hunt and do so with at least satisfaction, then it's time to get out. I think that Bobby and Sam were trying to be so careful about Dean's feelings at a point when he was so low that neither of them were willing/able to give him the kick in the pants that he needed.

For me, I want to see Dean get to the place where he recognizes that whever his reasons were for getting/staying in the hunting life, that there's great value in it. He's doing a very deeply necessary job that few people are equiped to do. He has deep knowledge and awareness of what really is happening in the world. That gives him both a responsibility and an ability to protect people from what they have no clue really exists. He needs to start recognizing the value in that. There is no end game because there's always going to be another nasty to handle. If he can't accept that, and accept that his life just isn't going to be normal (because he's not capable if ignoring what really goes on - season 6 proved that), he's in for a lot more pain.

As for Sam... he's hiding it but the damage is now becoming increasingly apparent. I agree that Sam wanting to help Krissy and her father did come from that compassionate place within him that was never a part of Soulless Sam (and the contrast between the two is always telling), but I think it also has to do with the damage that he's wrestling with. Sam was always able to focus, like a laser, on what needed to be done. Four weeks of sitting about trying to figure out the numbers that Bobby wrote on his hand before he died had to be grating on him. It's giving him too much time to think, too much time for the crazy that he's been trying to hold back to break free. So the hunt to help Krissy was also about helping him. He needs to be active in order to keep his mind busy.
Far Away Eyes
# Far Away Eyes 2012-01-12 15:45
Thanks for the comments.

As PD pointed out, it is a take it one day at a time type thing, on Frank's part. I'm hoping that Dean takes that into account, rather than the idea that he should simply fake it.

I think you hit it right on what Dean's story is doing here. He has responsibility, because no matter what he says he wants, he can't let that go. And he does make a difference. If he can remember that aspect of his job, remember that he's changing the world, then I think he'll regain his passion for the job. Dean can't have the normal apple pie life and it's something he's been trying to accept since season 2 in my view.

I agree with Sam. Sam wants to work because I think if he sits too long he feels useless and ends up feeding his demons. I think it gives him peace to a degree to walk away from a case like this and know that these people are alive because he cared enough to do something about their situation. I am hoping that Dean can see that and learn to do the same.
Sylvie
# Sylvie 2012-01-16 09:02
I liked your review. I've read it after watching "Time After Time", so it makes even more sense to me. I enjoyed "Adventures in Babysitting" tremendously. I liked the Chambers family and I'm really not surprised that they will be back. Will it be as hunters again? Maybe. I think it is probably pretty difficult to quit that life once you've started it. I mean, are you just going to ignore your neighbor getting eaten by a supernatural baddie without doing anything? I don't think so!

I'm part of the flock that enjoyed Krissy. Yes, she was a smart-ass, but when you live that life, I think that entitles you to a little smartassedness. I work with teenage girls, a lot of them are like that. Tough exteriors, but really sweet on the inside. Sometimes it's an act to make it through high-school without getting hurt. Maybe she will become a hunter/pediatri cian! It was nice for Dean to acknowledge that, I'm taking it as him finally forgiving Sam for going to college.

I certainly understood the advice Frank gave to Dean as both take it one day at a time and fake it if you can. I have faith that Dean will never turn into Frank anyway. He has that tough exterior down pat, but deep down he cares too much about what happens to others.

Boy, I just realized I haven't even mentioned Sam! I'll just say I love his quiet ways very much. The way he's dealing with Bobby's death, and the way he treated Krissy. But then he goes and puts his life in danger to save Lee, so very Sam.

Anyway, enough blathering. I'll look forward to your review for "Time After Time".