Supernatural: The Great Escapist

The Winchesters and books. Two of my favorite things.
"Storytelling is the true flower of free will."

I'm a Dean girl. But over the years, I've grown to love Sam. This was, in my opinion, one of the best Sam episodes they've ever done, featuring one of Jared Padalecki's best performances.

The focus on Sam thing was bugging me before, but I get it now. My heart broke for him when he said that when he was little and Dean read stories to him about the Knights of the Round Table, he knew that he could never be that kind of hero because he sensed that he wasn't "clean". Sam was poisoned with demon blood as an infant, he was addicted to demon blood, he was Lucifer's chosen vessel, he started the Apocalypse, and now, the Trials are purifying him, something that is clearly more important to Sam than continuing to live. We're getting message anvils that we're going to lose Sam. Again.

Speaking of terrific performances, how about Osric Chau as Kevin? It was obvious early on that Kevin knew "Sam and Dean" were fake and that he was manipulating them, and I thought maybe he had something up his sleeve, that he'd tapped into some power of sorts from the tablet. But no. Kevin just reached the point where he was ready to die for something so important. We've known Kevin for awhile now and it was so nice to see him confident and strong, treating Crowley like a bug.

The introduction of Metatron worked, too. Curtis Armstrong successfully projected a sort of quiet, nerdy power and while he was clueless by choice, he didn't seem dick-like, like most of the angels. Maybe I just liked him because I could see myself spending millennia wrapped up in books, although I'd also require cats and regular deliveries of Italian food. As much as I enjoyed Kevin manipulating Crowley, and Sam's delirious childhood reminiscences about the Grand Canyon, my favorite scene was the Winchesters noticeably peeved because Metatron didn't know who they were.

Metatron could be an immensely powerful ally. Like, say, Castiel, who just discovered the wonders of coffee. (Let me amend my list: cats, regular deliveries of Italian food, and coffee.) How gross but logical that Castiel was carrying the angel tablet inside his body. And I loved the idea of Castiel using the identical Biggersons restaurants to throw off pursuit, sort of like a chain restaurant multiverse.

Speaking of angels as dicks, we're getting the real Naomi now, and she's horrible. She was taking pleasure in hurting Castiel, in breaking that poor waitress's neck. In seasons six and seven, Supernatural was clearly trying to back away from the angels and demons, heaven and hell thing. But you know, once they'd introduced them, they were too big to ignore. I enjoy them. I'm glad they're back.

Just one more thing. That brief scene that showed the two "Sam and Dean" demons stuck in a devil's trap with the loud Tijuana Brass music blasting (my mother liked the Tijuana Brass) just made me laugh out loud. Creative bits like that are the reason I love this show so much. Okay, one of the reasons. It was perfect.

The third trial is to cure a demon. Anyone we know? I wish Meg were still with us.

Bits and pieces:

-- Sam isn't eating. But frankly, kitchen sink stew does not sound appetizing. (Italian food is clearly the way to go.)

-- I'm assuming that Castiel will recover from the magic bullet. And I have to give Dan some credit. As soon as Crowley shot Castiel, Dan said that Crowley must have made bullets out of the angel sword. And voila.

-- Just loved Crowley critiquing the acting of his fake Winchesters. Of course Crowley wants to play Dean. Who wouldn't?

-- Dean as nursemaid is dear. Of course it's driving Dean crazy that he can't fix things or take over and protect Sam.

-- Metatron was staying in room 366. The books were so artfully stacked. As Sunbunny just tweeted for Doux Reviews, though, Metatron is just now getting around to Oliver Twist?

-- This week: The Two Rivers Casino on Route 34 in Colorado, Santa Fe, and every Biggerson's restaurant in the United States.

-- I'd never heard about the coffee/goat story. Of course, it's on Wikipedia.


Crowley: "I was born to direct."

Dean: "They taught 'Word of God' at Stanford?"

Castiel: "We were supposed to be their shepherds, not their murderers."
Naomi: "Not always, angel. There was that day back in Egypt not so long ago where we slew every first born infant whose door wasn't splashed with lamb's blood. And that was just PR."

Sam: (delirious) "I'm gonna follow the hotel manager, Doctor Scowly Scowl. He's like a villain from Scooby-Doo."

Crowley: "So. My demons were too polite?"
If "Sam and Dean" were demons, how come the holy water pistol at the door didn't work? Because it was a set-up and Crowley was expecting it, I assume?

Sam: "But we're heading somewhere. The end." Again?

Four out of four book deliveries from Amazon,

Billie Doux is the founder of Doux Reviews and has been reviewing her favorite shows for quite some time. More Billie Doux.


Austin said...

What an outstanding episode. I enjoyed it immensely. I loved (and was surprised) how well Curtis Armstrong fit in. Great acting. He sounded so passionate about books and storytelling. Tiny worlds created by authors? Was he being literal or metaphorical? It makes me wonder if they will ever introduce God. Free will is such a big thing in Supernatural that I can't see how they won't ever show God, just so he can gloat about his creation of humans.

I agree with you, Billie. I loved the scene where Sam was indignant that Metatron didn't know who they were. We're the freaking Winchesters!

sunbunny said...

Meg's gone. Ruby's gone. Who will they cure? Crowley is our only recurring demon atm, but he seems a bit far gone to be "cured." Still, more Mark Sheppard is never, ever a bad thing.

There were so many bits and lines that made this episode awesome. Crowley's little play (I knew it was our boys from the beginning; Sam was too chipper), Sam saying the hotel clerk guy looked like a Scooby Doo villain (he totally did!), the Gunderson's social satire thing, and Crowley's angel gun which was awesome. The boys should seriously get to work on some angel bullets. I have a feeling they might be needing them soon...

Also loved Sam and Dean pulling the whole 'don't you know who we are?' thing. That was just funny as hell.

I wish they had explained how exactly Crowley got Kevin out of the demonically shielded boat and why the holy water didn't work on fake Sam and Dean. That seems like a fairly large plot hole, which is highly uncharacteristic of the show.

PS. I'm a Sam girl. Dean's probably the better character, but Sam? I mean just look at him. Yummy. :)

Mark Greig said...

Sunbunny, I assumed, since the boat was just a set, that it wasn't really Holy Water in the Kevin's water pistol. As to how they got him out of the real boat, your guess is as good as mine

sunbunny said...

Unicorns! That's my guess.

Anonymous said...

Unless Sam has to cure himself, Crowley is the only demon left that needs curing.

My great fear is that, in order to close Hell's Gate, Sam and Dean will learn they must never see each other again--a huge sacrifice. Will they be willing to make it? Perhaps not. That's why Metatron warned them about what closing the gate might mean. Not all actions are black and white.

Love, Robin

Jess Lynde said...

I really loved this episode. Clearly, the angels/demons groove is where I resonate with this show, because I've been fairly happy with the series this season.

Billie, you are right. This really was an outstanding Sam episode. (I used to be strictly a Dean girl, but I've come around to being equally attached to both boys in recent years.) The way Jared delivered the line about being purified by the trials was amazing. He had this childlike, hopeful joy when he said it. Despite all the pain and suffering the trials are causing Sam, the potential end result is like a dream he never thought he'd realize. Sad and wonderful all at the same time.

Kevin's goodbye video was also sad and wonderful. I almost cried. Partly because I believed Kevin wouldn't survive the hour, and partly because of Sam's and Dean's reactions. Great, poignant stuff.

Just a great episode overall. I'm looking forward to whatever comes next.

Heather1 said...

And someone finally at least mentioned that they should have had Kevin in the Men of Letters bunker. Dean said it after watching Kevin's video. But if they had thought of it and rejected the idea... why?

Anonymous said...

What an awesome episode! My heart has been breaking for Sam all season - I am glad that they are bringing up the Demon Blood again, since it was such a major part of the first 5 seasons.

On a side note, I wonder if the production crew had to construct a "Sam Winchester sized" bathtub... :)

Can't wait for next week and finale!!!!

Krysty Seayer said...

“You’ve seriously never heard of us? We’re the freaking Winchesters!” How many times I’ve wanted to say that to the world, and after a stellar episode such as this one, to the universe.

This episode really touched me. I have always understood Dean better than Sam – being an older sibling myself; is always harder, in my opinion, to watch someone you love to suffer and it is obvious that Dean is hurting. Having watched a sibling my mine waste away from cancer, I can imagine what Dean has to hold inside, being helpless to help Sam. But this episode allowed me to understand Sam in a why I hadn’t before.

Sam’s degeneration and his regressing/re-accessing memories resonated most. I loved how he has been getting back his childhood memories. They gave the picture that there was a semblance of a normal childhood somewhere in there for Sam, with Dean reading to him and Dad taking them on vacations to the Grand Canyon.
But the most poignant part was the memory about being unclean. Like Jess said, his childlike joy that was in his voice, his hopefulness was dreamlike. The light at the end.

It was also the way Sam said “Go ahead and pull the Friggin trigger!” that cut through me like a knife. Sam wants it to be over, he wants it to stop and he won’t have any of Metatron’s sob story. He wanted out, he got out and responsibility pulled him back. I think the realization that his past year of “hiding” (even though he did say he kept up with what was happening out there) with Amelia, was much like what Metatron had been doing and it irked him.

Sacrifice is the giving up of something that you care about or want to keep; Sam has never wanted out of Hunting more than now, and having spent the year with Amelia he knows it is possible to get out. But it was the understanding that closing the gates of hell was a responsibility that he could not drop the ball on, drew him back. Dean is a hunter; purgatory made him realize that that is the hand he has been dealt. And he is resigned to that. The only thing Dean has to sacrifice is his brother and the life he wants for him.
I have to note that it was so funny that we saw Dean is being “older brother” with his little brother, in the sense that Sam was making Dean feel somewhat embarrassed in the hotel Dean claims Sam has the flu ( the way he rolled his eyes to explain to the creepy manager–priceless!) and when he starts going off about Scooby Doo (which is something Sam would have remembered watching as a little kid).

Gut wrenching, poignant and touching, this episode ranks as one of my favorites this year!

Anonymous said...

I liked this episode a lot and I´m thinking that maybe they´re gonna cure Crowley or maybe Sam will sacrifice himself.

Anonymous said...

I'm guessing Crowleys angel-spy was the one that got Kevin :)


ChrisB said...

The idea of storytelling being the ultimate expression of free will just astounds me. What a wonderful idea. Like some of you, I could spend a great deal of time locked in a room with nothing but books. Sounds a bit like heaven, actually.

A simply wonderful episode all the way through. I, too, have been a Dean girl since the beginning, but have been coming around to Sam for a while now. This episode really made me feel for him. I am interested to see where this is all going to go.

Juliette said...

I thought the same thing about Oliver Twist!

I think my Castiel obsession is showing because all the trials sound weirdly like things Castiel has done, but not quite - pulling an innocent out of Hell, 'curing' a demon (he was Meg's unicorn) and I'm sure he's killed a Hell hound at some point. That's probably just my confused little brain going round in circles though. And the inevitable repetition that happens after 8 years!

Robert Duncan McNeill directed this one - I am way too pleased with the thought of him and Jensen Ackles in the same room...

Metatrons speech reminded me of Chuck. Unlike most here, I actually liked that revelation, and I'm glad they've left it alone - exactly who Chuck was and what happened to him can stay nicely mysterious. Though I did think the quickest way to catch Metatron up would probably be to bring him the Supernatural books.