Supernatural: Bad Boys

Dean: "I want to be a rock star. But I also really like cars."

So I was thinking, well, this is a nice little flashback, but what does it have to do with the ongoing story? And then we got to the end, and I started to cry.

This episode reminded me big time why I fell in love with Dean in the first place. He made a major mistake when he was sixteen, probably because he was sixteen and John expected him to act like he was thirty. While John let Dean rot in reform school (why, John? Why), Dean lucked into a good home and a mentor who truly cared about him. Dean could have stayed with Sonny, left hunting behind forever, and lived a normal life. But he left it all and went back to John -- for Sam's sake.

That last scene elevated this episode. Dean, even at sixteen, didn't hesitate to leave his first girlfriend and his chance at a normal life, for Sam. The fact that Sam realized it and appreciated that Dean gave up so much for him, well, that's why I cried. I hope this isn't leading up to Dean losing Sam in mid-season finale, but it probably is.

John Winchester made a bad decision. I sort of see where he was coming from with the tough love, but not with Dean -- he was never a delinquent. At sixteen, he was trying to cope with a difficult situation the only way he knew how. (Come on. Stealing bread and peanut butter? Isn't there a cliche somewhere about stealing bread when you're hungry?) I think Jeffrey Dean Morgan needs to guest star and have John do something resoundingly wonderful again to clear his name. Because I'm not forgetting that John sold his soul to save Dean's life. Geez, was that seven years ago? Eight?

I'm not going to quibble about how differently Dean was portrayed in "After School Special" when he was only a year or two older than he was here as an innocent experiencing his first kiss. Because after I thought about it for awhile, 18-year-old Dean acting like a hound with the ladies might have logically resulted from what happened in this episode. And I have to give them some credit, because after several unsuccessful attempts, they finally cast a young actor that felt more like Dean. I also liked seeing Sam's amulet on Dean again. I miss the Samulet.

And ghosts. What a nice return to what used to be something of a staple for the series. I'm actually feeling nostalgic about ghosts. Maybe because the Winchesters had to deal with the ghost of their own mother, too.

A brief segue about our awesome Twitter feed

Awhile back, I asked our writer sunbunny (who covers Person of Interest and Scandal) to tweet for Doux Reviews. I'm so glad she did. Here's what she live-tweeted during the episode last night. It deserves a section of its own.

-- Well that was a bloody beginning.

-- @jarpad (Jared) is superhumanly handsome. It hurts.

-- Did Dean just refer to his cell as "the batphone?"

-- John Winchester was a TERRIBLE father.

-- "Werewolf." "Okay." What?

-- Little Dean is going to make me flat out cry in a few minutes.

-- A ghost?! How retro! That's awesome.

-- Correction: adult Dean is going to make me cry.

-- How long has it been since our boys dug up a grave? Awww.

-- I just got nostalgic over grave robbing. Help.

-- I legitimately thought that said Cas's Place.

-- He's wearing the Samulet, guys. I was not emotionally prepared for this.

-- Well that was 50 shades of awkward.

-- There's a dog barking. Maybe Dean could question him.

-- Is the rosary a mislead or could this be angelic/demonic?

-- This message has been brought to you by the pillow I hold in front of my face when I sense something bad is about to happen.

-- Oh I'm dying. Supernatural is killing me. Sweet little Dean. omg.

-- But the big question is, will that stove ever be usable again?

-- Jared and Jensen haven't told me not to text and drive all night!

-- Did they hire that actress specifically because she looked like Mary Winchester?

-- "You look pretty rocking to me, Dean Winchester."


Bits and pieces:

-- I guessed pretty early that little Tim was behind the deaths, but I thought maybe it was a poltergeist situation. I'm glad he wasn't evil. He just loved his mom. Whom, as sunbunny pointed out, looked like Mary Winchester. Also a ghost.

-- Dean was being good with kids again. It's a talent of his that sort of comes and goes.

-- How come Dean and Sam burned the body and immediately left town? Boys, wait until you're sure the threat has been alleviated next time.

-- No, not the lawnmower thing! It's worse than the garbage disposal thing. I don't think I'd allow kids to use gardening equipment when a ghost is going nuts in the house, would you?

-- No Zeke. I was thinking he might emerge during that final standoff with Mommy Ghost, but no.

-- This week: Hurleyville, New York, and 1995. "After School Special" took place in November 1997.

-- "D-Dog." I'm going to mention it, and never say the name again.

Three and a half out of four After School Specials,

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


Jess Lynde said...

I had a very similar reaction to this one (sans nostalgia for ghosts and grave robbing). It was going along like typical, old school Supernatural for most of the running time, and I wasn't overly engaged by it (although I kind of liked Sonny). But then that final sequence completely wrecked me. I was not prepared to be moved by this episode, but when Young Dean looked out the window and smiled at little Sammy with the plane, I just started sobbing. And it only got worse as he then said goodbye to Sonny and shook his hand. The kid playing Dean did an incredible job balancing both his maturity in making that decision to be there for his brother, and his complete heartbreak at losing the comfortable, happy life he was leading. I know Dean prioritizing Sam over everything else isn't anything new, but seeing teenage Dean give up his shot at a normal life (probably the first shot he ever had) to protect his brother just punched me in the gut. And Sam thanking him for it, hit me hard, too. Definitely a final scene that elevated the episode, as you say, Billie. And what a pleasant surprise to discover the show can still get to me after all these years.

Sunbunny, I totally thought the diner was called "Cas's Place," too!

Billie Doux said...

I'm so glad we had the same reaction, Jess.

And I meant to mention, sunbunny, that I find Jensen superhumanly handsome, not Jared. Although Jared is very, very pretty. :)

sunbunny said...

Aw I got my own section! *blushes*

The episode was really good (it was SO nice to see Supernatural return to its spooky roots) but the ending real left me unsettled. Yes, it's very sweet and totally heartbreaking that Dean left his one chance at a non-terrible childhood/teenagehood for his little brother, but it really has troubling implications about their relationship and Dean's relationship with John for me. He's 16 but John's already trained him to sacrifice everything for Sam. That's just not healthy. (I'm much less forgiving of John than you, Billie.)

Billie - Jensen is also superhumanly handsome, but I find Jared slightly more superhumanly handsome. Plus, Jensen's not on Twitter.

Anonymous said...

Do you think that dean on some level hate Sam for having to look out for him his whole life? Or maybe starting too now when he was forced to go back, to his happy childhood.

Jenna said...

During the whole episode I kept thinking "Is this a lost season two episode they shot and aired just now?" But, as I love the early seasons, I enjoyed this one. It wasn't great by any means, but it was a nice little standalone.

Although I was really put off by the actor who played young Dean. He didn't look like a sixteen-year-old, let alone sixteen-year-old Dean. He didn't even act like him. I have to disagree with you Billie, I liked the other actors who played young Dean over the years much better :)

ChrisB said...

Dear God, but this show can wreck me. That final scene was heartbreaking and, by the time Sam was thanking him, I was crying so hard I had to watch it twice.

I agree, Billie, that this episode makes me worry about what is coming up for us.

Austin said...

The best episodes are always the ones that touch on the love these brother's hold for each other. While the car sequence in the Season 5 finale can't be beat, the ending of this otherwise normal episode was very touching. This show still knows how to pack an emotional punch, even after 9 seasons.

And I did feel that the actor playing Dean looked more 13 than 16. But he did an awesome job there in that last scene.

LaureMack said...

Well that was sad. I liked the return to the good ol' days a lot. It's like going home for Christmas and staying with your parents. "This isn't where I want to live anymore, but I still think my wall mural circa 9th grade is pretty amazing." Ha! Getting back to the core of what I love about this show is always fun.

This episode was fabulous. I agree with Billie that this is definitely the best young Dean yet. Like everyone else, that final scene is what did me in. While heart wrenching, Dean leaving his chance at white picket fence happiness for Sam was so in character that it didn't do a lot to shock me. Sam thanking Dean, however, was so touching. Sweet and hard to watch all at the same time. Sam has never struck me as ungrateful to Dean so I'm not sure where the shock value came from, but it was there, streaming down my face.

Sunbunny, your tweets are hilarious! John Winchester was a TERRIBLE father. I secretly hope he found Mary and got a good lecture over the last seven seasons about what terrible decisions he made as a dad. Is that weird?

So now we see that both of our boys had a way out of the hunting life, and both were pulled back into it by the other. Hm...

Ditto on Cas's Place! :)

Abby said...

I need to say a few things on John Winchester's behalf without defending his actions.
To quote Dean himself -The man got a bad rap at every turn. His father "abandoned" him, he survived a lonely childhood, a war, only to have his wife is killed by demons- let’s not forget he saw it too. He was just in the middle of some marital problems as we learned in Season 5. He fell asleep watching tv down stairs and God knows that messed with his head. He was left with a 6 month baby and 4 year old boy. With that under his belt, I think it's safe to say he didn’t know where to start when it came to child rearing.
Fast forward a dozen or so years: Is it possible that Dean was being a problematic teenager and John didn’t know what to do with him? Very possibly. Think about it, Dean was playing card, and gambling what he knew was their food money?? Where was Sam when he did this? Dean dismissed the event as "I was sixteen"--- doing stupid things.
John may have left him to "rot in jail", I feel like he almost knew that he'd be sent to Sonny's, being a Hunter and all he probably did his research. But he could have known that the judge was out of town and Dean was too young for jail? Yeah. Maybe he knew Dean needed to get away, to have a break. Maybe he knew he couldn't give Dean that space and something normal for a little bit, with every intention of coming back.
The fact that John told Dean to keep it a secret from Sam might speak to that possibility. Or maybe he felt bad for leaving him for two months. Or maybe John didn’t want Sam to know about Dean’s mistakes.
Again, I'm not trying to defend him, just understand him. While John didn’t raise his kids to any level of approving standards (didn't Sam let him know it!), but putting it all into the Supernatural perspective, I can almost see it as reasonable. Although your heart breaks for Dean, one of the last things John did was apologize for putting it all on him.
When you think about his last warning about Sam too, which I know a lot of people still hold against him - imagine being a father and knowing that your child has something demonic in him and that you won’t be around to protect him from it- what else was he suppose to do? He knew he could trust Dean keep his eyes open- after all it was the one thing he drilled in to Dean "take care of Sammy!"
John Winchester didn’t raise his children right, but in the end he died trying to save them. He sold his soul to save Dean and spent 100 years in hell for it. If that's not a testament to a how much he loved his son, I'm not sure what is- but, going back to his own childhood - a man can’t give his son what he's never had a chance to know.
Lastly, Dean doesn't hold anything against John for this. If since he doesn’t, I almost find it hard to as well. The man made mistakes, but he did the best he could.
The pain we saw on Dean's face at the end of the last memory was the pain of losing the only chance he ever had to be normal. But he'd do it again for Sam. He'd do anything for Sam.
Thanks for letting me drop my two cents!

Krysty said...

Just gotta say- I love your reviews!
A few things to say about such a great episode---
What a great job young Dylan Everett did imitating the mannerisms of Dean Winchester!! From his nervous tick of touching his head, to his sarcasm, even down to the gestures. I read on a tweet that he watched the first five seasons in a week before coming to set and following Ackles around to watch his mannerisms. Awesome!
I loved this episode!!!!! It began with the whole D-dog thing (OMG) and Dean ripping the “batphone” out of Sam’s hand, all the way to the incredible ending scene. But I only will mention a few scenes-
The episode made so many things about the first three seasons make that much more sense. From “it’s called being a good son, Sam” to Dean’s unflinching obedience to his father, even the story he told Gordon about when he embraced the life- the whole time line fit in. If you remember from Bloodlust, Dean talked about the hunt that made him embrace the life: he was sixteen, burning the body in the wood while Sam was in the car and realizing that he should have been worried about prom dates …ROBIN!!!! That night he embraced the life. Dean gave up working hard for those good grades, gave up the easy life, sports, being a rock star. The “After School Special” episode (I think that was the name of it) actually fit in very well for me. Two years of hunting is a long time with a lot of experience. When you are forced to give up something you really want, the pain of loss serves as a drive. You push it away and everything that makes you think of it. Dean put everything into the family business. Nothing else mattered. I can easily see him turning into the kind of rough on the outside kind of teenager they portrayed.
In the scene where Sam discovered his brother’s name under all those layers, you clearly see the younger brother in awe at discovering something new about his older brother. Same goes for the wrestling championship and the curiosity about Robin. Dean has always been so elusive to Sam about things he felt or experienced growing up. Not that Sam doesn’t know these things, but it was the details that made Sam seem a little mesmerized. I admit, since is a scarce event, that when Sam glanced down and saw the bedpost carved with the marks carved into them, I lost it. Dean must have felt so unprotected and alone, having been abandoned by his father. I know Dean has no problem with the fact that he was left “to rot in jail” but I think It was mostly an after the fact thing- It was the best part of his life; why would he have been upset that he had that?
Lastly, what an amazing job by Ackles in the restaurant scene! His reaction when Robin blew him off as “one of the so many boys who passed through” was so well done. He was crushed to the point of where I thought he was on the verge of tears. Not even a smile from Robin? You’d think she’d gotten over the bitterness of being dumped the night of prom after nearly 20 years?? Or maybe not….after all he was Dean Winchester. Maybe one never gets over being dumped by him. You could tell that he had harbored those warm memories of her and his time there and really wanted them to remember him. He needed to know that he’d not being just one to pass through. I was mad at Robin at her lack of tact.
Some minor things that crossed my mind during the episode --- Spreading salt across the doors each night and for a month Sonny didn’t say a word?? I can imagine someone in the kitchen might have complained about the salt going empty a lot!
They didn’t learn about the pentagram(devil’s trap) until Bobby gave them that book at the end of Season one.
The paperclip—so this is where he learned it. Remember the pilot anyone?
I can’t remember Sam and Dean digging inside a deep grave hole side by side, ever?
The amulet!!!!!! Oh I yelled out loud when I saw it.

sunbunny said...

Abby - Great thoughts! If John's thought process re: leaving Dean at Sonny's was how you described it, it's definitely more understandable. I just tend to look at him in a less forgiving way, my own issues probably have something to do with it...

The bruises on Dean's arm also concern me. I know he said it was a werewolf, but I'm pretty sure (correct me if I'm wrong), Dean hadn't come across a werewolf until season 2. I don't know if the writers made a mistake of if they meant us to infer abuse, but that's where my mind went.

Part of the problem is that we have so little insight on John because they just can't seem to get Jeffrey Dean Morgan back for whatever reason. If he would just come back ONCE we cold clear up a lot about his character.

Billie Doux said...

I love it when an episode spurs such long, interesting, well-thought out comments.

The bruises on Dean's arm? I took the "werewolf" thing literally. The thought of John abusing Dean physically on top of everything else? I can't handle that.

Abby said...

I agree sunbunny! We need Jeffery Dean Morgan back for just one episode- we do have such little insight about John. The flashbacks from “in the beginning” helped show what he was like before becoming a hunter, and learning about Henry helped explain some of where John was coming from, but I lament with you the lack of knowledge we have about him.
The bruises bothered me too when I first saw them because I immediately thought they came from John, but then I realized that he wouldn’t have seen the boys for a while since he had been on a hunt- having left Dean alone with Sam with food money. And I remembered something Sam said back in Season 1 (when they were on the case about the physic kid who was killing all the people who abused him as a child) about how they could have ended up like the abused kid if things had gone differently with John: “a little more tequila and little less hunting and things could have gone a whole different way after mom died”. After that, I assumed that the bruises came from the cop- he did have the black eye? Or the store clerk. Or maybe after losing the card game he got into a fight?
And as far as the werewolf, It was never specified in the episode with Werewolf Madison whether he had or hadn’t encounter one, but Dean immediately told Sam how to kill it, implying at least that John had come across them.

Anonymous said...

I have been re watching the first seasons and strongly suggestpeople remember the scene from "In my time of dying" with "ghost"Dean talking to John... in light of Badboys, WOW. there is so much bitterness and hurt when Dean thinks that his father is just going to sit there and watch him die.
After watching BadBoys, it makes that much more sense!
Love, Love, Love the show!

Anonymous said...

This episode really seemed to generate a lot of comments. I have to admit, it didn't strike me as hard as it seemed to strike some of the viewers, but I still found gems in many of the moments.

The one issue which I found off-putting was the physical looks of young Dean, although the actor who portrayed him did a nice job. I just didn't see any resemblance between him and Jensen. I was more touched by seeing young Sam, who was so innocent of what was being given up for him.

I did have to laugh at the guys both digging up the grave -- I can't remember the last time they were both in hole, so to speak. I liked the idea that Sonny helped Dean out of the cuffs, but I was pretty sure that Dean simply appreciated meeting someone else who knew his way around breaking out of restraints. I thought one of the best moments was the cop with a black eye and Dean's line, "You were slow." I laughed. Personally, I liked the ambiguity of the "werewolf" line; it suggested a kid who took having a rough life in stride. I don't think I buy into the idea that Dean's dad abused him, but I could see him getting roughed up by the cop, with the knowledge that the cop was sporting a black eye when they were finished. Overall, I was delighted with "Bad Boys" as a stand-alone episode.

I don't think that they should have the Jeffrey Dean Morgan come back just to tie up loose ends, although I'd love to see him back at some point, probably toward the end (gulp) of the show's run. There is quite a well that they should explore with the character; he is one of my favorites from the past, and I would hate to see the writers lose such a wealth of material by just "tying up loose ends." As far as that goes, at this point, I have faith in the writers that they're too skilled to waste such an opportunity, anyway; over and over they've proven themselves to be absolutely capable of delighting us.

Juliette said...

Normally I love ghost stories and standalones far more than arc stuff, so this should have made me happy. But for the last season or two they've annoyed me due to Insufficient Castiel. Who is now human so there is no fricking reason he shouldn't be in every. single. episode. (Just how penny-pinching is this show that it won't hire 3 lead actors?!). With the exception of The X-Files, I tend to prefer more than two people, it just shakes things up more and stops you from doing the same thing over and over again. So humph. If Cas had been in it, I'd have loved it.