My bet on the overall arc or through story or theme for Season 10:  Family. 

Since "Black," Sam has used the phrase “my brother” continuously all the way through Soul Survivor.  In Fan Fiction the theme was blaring from every set on that stage, family, family, family.  In Ask Jeeves we hear the word family as well as ‘feel’ the theme of it running through everything.  Family is dysfunctional, family will betray you, family is more than just blood – as Dean reckons that he and Sam are close enough to be Bobby’s heirs, and once again Sam discusses family, especially how his gets along and doesn’t hate each other.  He says it with pride.

Yes, the episode ended with Dean blaring the music and shutting Sam out, but I think that has a lot less to do with lying to Sam – which clearly doesn’t work as Sam saw what happened, and knows better, but I think it has everything to do with Dean being absolutely shaken to his core at what happened with killing that shapeshifter, and he just can bring himself to face it – yet.

I knew the moment Sam was the one to draw the shapeshifter’s fire that he was, first, buying time for Dean to get to the Impala for the silver bullets, and, two, that the MoC was about to be reawakened.  The quiet time for the boys has well and truly ended.  Ah, well, time to face the reality of their dark and dangerous and burdensome lives, but they do so with a reaffirmation of their commitment to each other, the realization that although their lives are fraught with danger and death, they do make a difference.  Heck, even the shallow Dash wanted them to receive proper adulation for saving lives.

Each of these episodes since Soul Survivor has been a stepping stone to the next moment to come.  The brothers had to first talk through their recent history, then they had to be reminded of why they do what they do, they also needed a chance to save people who weren’t clued into hunting and have yet another win, even as it came at a price.  It’s time for the brothers to tackle the next thing on their to-do list:  the MoC.  Being who they are, I’m sure there will be some procrastination as Dean will try to deny the issue while trying to be stoic, and Sam will tear that down and remind Dean that they have to do things together.  It’s not the norm for them anymore, but I do believe they’ll get there.  (That and I’ve read spoilers from what Jared and Jensen say at Cons and whatnot – I’m totally that way.  :))

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As for the episode itself, I enjoyed it.  I don’t mind this quieter, smaller seeming season.  In fact, I find it a wonderful change from all the heaven and hell and closing gates and stopping Lucifer and end of the world drama.  There’s enough of that in the real world:  sports, politics, stock market, you name it.  Give me Supernatural stripped down to the basics:  saving people, hunting things; the family business – emphasis on the family!

Dean and Sam were able to parallel their lives, and family relationship, to another family’s, and it was Sam who had the interaction and the opportunity to say out loud that his family gets along.  Yeah, Sam, keep it coming with the POV (that’s to the writers, of course.)

Ask Jeeves is a fun episode that keeps it guessing along the way.  The “Then” opening clues us in right away that this is unusual as we see a plethora of monsters from their past showcased, setting us up for the fact that everything isn’t going to be cut and dry.  A simple ghost or vengeful spirit ultimately turns out to be a shapeshifter who is somewhat akin to the human girl locked up in the house from Season 4’s Family Remains.  That girl too was hidden from the world and became angry, just as happens here.  Also similar is the hidden rooms and passageways.  Of course, those ultimately are a nod to the game Clue with hidden passageways, but it is a reminder of episodes from the past, not only Family Remains but also Season 2’s "No Exit."

Sprinkled throughout were other references to Clue from the characters to the scene settings and, of course, all the weapons:  candlestick, pistol/revolver, rope, lead pipe, wrench, and knife.  A killing was even done with an axe.  I’ll have to watch again to see if a chalice, trophy, bat, or garden shears were used.

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The family was over the top, but they were supposed to be.  This was supposed to be a bit light-hearted, but also a way to show that while some families have homes and regular jobs and money, from a little to a lot, sometimes having someone by your side you truly care about, and know truly cares about you, as well as someone who you can fight with, at times bitterly, yet still come back to time and time again is what really matters.  So Sam and Dean wear flannel and drive an American-made car, they have no money and no acclaim – outside of the Carver/Edlund acclaim that is, but they do have each other no matter what, and MoC can and likely will bring its worst, as well as Cole coming for revenge and Sam having to face up to what he did to find Dean, whether we see a lot of it or it’s simply Sam shouldering that burden, and with all the long road that is behind them and all the road still to come, this is family they can count on.  Yes, Dean shut Sam down at the end, but Sam is still right beside him, and that isn’t going to change anytime soon.

Ask Jeeves was fun and silly, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

As always, thanks for reading, Elle2


# NOLANOLA 2014-11-19 23:32
Alliteration is plentiful.
# elle2 2014-11-20 07:21

I loved that: Clown College Collette. I think it was stated at least four times. :D
# LEAH 2014-11-19 23:45
Hi Elle2, I always enjoy your reviews. I agree the chararcters were unlikable and OTT but I got that was how they were supposed to be here in this scenario. Old timey mystery in a mansion populated with rich snoots. I appreciate their little attempt at something different. It won't make my all-time favorites list but it was cute and fun. I do think the show is reflecting the fans cry for the brothers to be more like they were in the early years, still butting heads, but united and working together. The bro love is evident like it hasn't been in awhile. I think Dean will still be stubborn in-denial Dean but I have a feeling they will find a way to work through things this year. Until the MoC hijacks Dean again.:)
# elle2 2014-11-20 07:28
Thanks, Leah!

This is frankly a lot of what I have been looking for, and missing, these past several seasons. While I do enjoy a big story arc (diehard Person of Interest fan here and they multiples large story arcs that ebb and flow), SPN just isn't able to pull it off in an enjoyable way for me. If I compare it to Person of Interest as to the why, it comes down to the construct of the show, two characters traveling arond as opposed to five characters within 8 million (NYC), and thus it cannot do the same things. That's fine though as a character-drive n SPN is very successful when using the events of the episode and the characters/mons ters of the episode as a lens into which the brothers can see themselves.

Ask Jeeves isn't a classic such as What is and What Should Never Be, Born Under a Bad Sign -- heck, the fabulously over the top Bad Day at Black Rock, which hit all the comedic and drama notes just perfectly, with a goodly does of gore as well, but Ask Jeeves was fun and I'll definitely be passing 42 or so minutes during the upcoming *gulp* hiatus watching it again.
# nappi815 2014-11-20 07:55
I laughed my way through this episode and thoroughly enjoyed it. It was fun, as it was meant to be, but I found there to be more to it than that. I do agree elle2 with your take that the underlying theme this year is family. whenever we get an episode like this and one like trial and error, I think it's also meant to represent and compare the Winchesters to other families so they understand how lucky they are. I mean the Winchesters aren't your typical family and that's been shown to us through sam, who we have seen always craving normal and safe. heck we've even seen dean's secret desire for a normal family in s6 when he stayed with lisa and ben. The boys have also had their moments when their "family" has resulted in hurt and is true with all families I think, but with the Winchesters, it seemed to the "nth" power at times:D. for the boys to meet up with a family such as this.....yes over the top...but still a family without real love or devotion, I think is meant to be more of an eye opener for them. the boys know their family is dysfunctional.. ..but never have they been without love and devotion...neve r have they been lacking in that, even if at the time they misunderstood the other and thought it to be so....I think this family, especially for Sam, is just a reminder of what he's always known, what we the audience have always known and now sam truly understands and believes for himself....that as messed up as their lives have been, and even though they have lost many of them, sam and dean's family...both blood related and non blood related all loved one another and were devoted to ea. other and he and dean are so very lucky to be a part of that.... nobody symbolizes family love like sam and dean Winchester..... and it's this love that will give them the strength to get through the days to come...and triumph.;)
# elle2 2014-11-20 12:35
Nappi815, wow, just wow. What you wrote is beautiful, and I agree wholeheartedly!
# Margali 2014-11-20 14:36
The story was blah and the family thing including the guys being family was over the top. Since the beginning of the season Carver's been bashing us over the head with the brothers bit. Seasons 1-7 the bond between the brothers was done less clumsy. They showed 2 guys who get on each other nerves just as any body does but still cares. Carver is trying to force the brothers down fans thoughts as if to say "See they're together!" There is more to Dean & Sam other then them working together. Sam in season 9 said they could work together but not be family. I want Carver to stop forcing it down our throats and realize if you have to hit it to fit it it's not the right thing for that spot. Le4t the brothers be brothers without over the top comparisons. The best/only good part of Fan Fiction was Sam understanding Dean needed to work. Ask Jeeves had nothing.
# elle2 2014-11-23 09:11
Hi, Margali,

I'm sorry you didn't enjoy the episode. I've been there countless times, though, so I completely understand. Hopefully this week's will have more for you. :)
# Nappi815 2014-11-20 14:39
Thank you elle2. One of the countless reasons I love this show is its depth and meaning. No matter how comedic an episode or even how inane it may seem, there's always a much deeper meaning to it. I love that the writers and crew recognize our intelligence. I feel it a sign of respect;)

Did anyone else tie in the boar's head that dean was staring at with in everything that was going on in the house was pure bologna:D
# elle2 2014-11-23 09:12
Hi, Nappi815,

I'm rewatching it today again, so I'll check out the Boar's Head...which is also a type of deli meats. Maybe someone was hungry! I agree, I enjoy finding the layers in any show I watch, and this one was simple to find. I love, love, love that it was Sam making the connections too.
# cheryl42 2014-11-21 19:29
I did end up liking this episode after watching it again. It isn't going to be a classic but it was fun. Out of the whole family I thought Dash was the most hysterical. I also loved the musical score as Dean was wandering through the house picking up "clues". I kind of wish that the boys would have a MOTW episode where they actually cared about the people that needed saving. I would like to care whether the humans were saved as well. All in all it was cute but not a must watch again episode. Of course the dramatic moment with Dean was really intense. Sam's reaction kind of looked like (and did we notice that Sam was drenched in sweat) like he thought Dean just might turn the gun on him. After all it hasn't been that long since Dean tried to kill him with a hammer. And I agree I think Dean was pretty rattled. He just couldn't go there with Sam. I think he wants to be ok, in control.
And please no more CGI Impala. It was cool in FF, it seemed to fit that episode. Here it just looked like a gimmick.
Thanks for the review. I loved the little "clues" you caught in the ep that I missed.
# elle2 2014-11-23 09:16
Hi, Cheryl142,

That ending with Sam worrying what Dean was going to do next is a bit like the ending of The Rapture when Dean first sees Sam pull a demon out of a person -- after powering up with demon blood. It was more intense for Sam here then, but it was similar.

I agree, that CGI with the Impala at the end was strange. It pulled me out of the scene it was so jarring. They rarely make these types of errors, so I have to wonder what caused this glaring and jarring -- just wrong, moment to make it through all the editing passes.

And yes to having people to save that we actually care about...Layla from Faith (even as they didn't save her, but she was crucial) and the family in Dead in the Water, or how about Haley and family in Wendigo...wait, why is it I can only remember the ones from season 1?
# NolaNola 2014-11-24 08:44
Elle2, I hope the CGI that all the KIDS love,
wont be in every episode and substitute for
real costumed MOTW.
# cheryl42 2014-11-23 10:36
Your right it was like the Rapture. Dean gave that little jump when Sam stood up to exorcize the demon. I think you might be on to something with the saving people. After S1 it did become mostly about saving each other.