Supernatural: The Things We Left Behind

Dean: "You're having a midlife crisis?"
Castiel: "I'm extremely old. I think I'm entitled."

Another mid-season finale. Another bloodbath.

This episode was like a mini-parable about the importance of good parenting, and what can happen when there is a lack of it. I loved Dean telling that story in the bar about their trip to New York and John Winchester saving him from his own stupidity, because that's what good fathers do. I even thought for one brief shining moment that we might get the return of Jeffrey Dean Morgan, because we've been waiting forever for that to happen. (A mention of John Winchester! Is that a whole beer?)

Instead, the John story was a contrast to the terrible parenting of Jimmy Novak, who gave his body to an angel instead of doing his duty as a father and raising Claire, who desperately needed his love and guidance. Maybe Hannah was right about the evil of taking humans as vessels, even with their consent. I liked Claire. She was acting out, but she certainly had cause and she deserved better than what she got. At least she has a chance now, because Hannah reminded Castiel of her existence and he decided to check on her. Why didn't Castiel ever answer her prayers? Because there was nothing he could do for her? That didn't feel right to me.

Castiel finally revealed what had happened to Jimmy -- that he had died and gone to Heaven after his body was destroyed, and when God restored his body, only Castiel remained. That made sense, although I wish someone had mentioned it back in season six. Maybe if Jimmy had lived, Castiel would have eventually let Jimmy go and allowed him to go back to his family, as Hannah did with Caroline. Especially now that Castiel has changed so much and assimilated so much humanity, as Claire helpfully pointed out in the "kind of a doof" exchange.

And maybe if Mary Winchester had lived and tried really hard to keep her children out of "the life", Dean wouldn't have ended up on the floor in a house in Pontiac, Illinois, covered with blood and surrounded by dead bodies. Sam's face when he realized that something was wrong was powerful. I thought for a moment that Castiel would take Dean at his word and throw him into the Sun or something. Not that those guys were any loss to the world -- especially "Randy", the substitute daddy who sold Claire into slavery -- but what now?

Could Cas actually kill Dean, even if Dean asked him to? Castiel loves Dean. Honestly, that lunch scene made me start to get the whole Destiel thing. I could swear Jensen Ackles and Misha Collins were deliberately making eyes at each other as they talked about life and death. Maybe the actors and the director were throwing the Destiel fans a little bone there.

And speaking of lunch, Dean was eating almost constantly during the first half of the episode. I'm spacing -- has he done that before when the Mark was gaining ascendance? It wasn't just the lunch scene that was sexy. You can give me Jensen Ackles emoting with a grilled cheese sandwich, any time.


Moving on to the obvious parenting parallel with Crowley and Rowena, Claire's friend Dustin was wearing the Wiener Hut uniform that Alfie/Samandriel the unfortunate angel wore back in season eight when Crowley was torturing him, and I think that was a deliberate callback of sorts to remind us that Crowley isn't just cute and witty. As Castiel was dealing with his vessel's daughter, Crowley started slowly edging into rekindling a relationship with his mummsy. Rowena outwitted her cellmate and got Gerald, her jailor, killed, proving again that she's much craftier than everyone else around her. I wonder how long it will take until Crowley realizes that she's working him?

Maybe he already knows. Crowley is far from stupid. But we all have a blind spot where our parents are concerned, even if they were terrible no good awful parents. Don't we?

Bits and pieces:

-- The premonition dream Dean had at the beginning of the episode was of an unfurnished cell full of bodies, not the same as the house where he killed all those men. I wonder why?

-- Was that same Three Stooges episode shown before? Was Crowley watching it in Hell awhile back?

-- Claire said that her mother Amelia abandoned her to go find herself. I wonder if Amelia was taken by a demon?

-- Rowena abandoned "Fergus" when he was eight, and he never knew his father. I loved how the actress said the name. "Fare-gus." And the Braveheart comment.

-- Claire Novak was played by Kathryn Newton, who I think did a terrific job. In season four's "The Rapture", Claire Novak was played by another young actress, Sydney Imbeau.

-- I feel compelled to mention the obvious, that the name 'Claire' means light.

-- Since the theme of this episode was good parenting, I also feel compelled to remind us all that Dean was a good father to Sam.

-- This week: Pontiac, Illinois. Sam played a detective investigating Claire's escape from the "child prison", a.k.a. the Youth Transition Center.

-- The next episode airs on January 20.

Quotes:

Castiel: "I was convinced I was on this righteous path. Now I realize that there is no righteous path. Just people trying to do their best in a world where it's far too easy to do your worst."
Claire: "Wow. Deep."
Castiel: "Yeah. For a doof."

Castiel: (to the convenience store clerk re: the fan magazine he was buying) "It's for a teenage girl. She's urinating."

Dean: "An emergency is a dead body, okay? Or a wigged out angel. Or the Apocalypse, take three. Some chick bolting on you is not an emergency. It's every Friday night for Sam."
Sam: "Dude."

Castiel: "Is ketchup a vegetable?"
Dean: "Hell, yes."

Dean: "If I do go dark side, you gotta take me out."
Castiel: "What do you mean?"
Dean: "Knife me, smite me, throw me into the freaking Sun, whatever. And don't let Sam get in the way, 'cause he'll try. I can't go down that road again, man. I can't be that thing again."
Awww.

Crowley: "She was a horrible mother. Did I tell you the time she almost traded me for three pigs? Three! I was an attractive child. I could juggle. I was worth five pigs, at least."

Crowley: "'Fergus'. It sounds like a venereal disease, and not the fun kind."

Dean: "Whoa, hey, Miley Cyrus, settle."
Claire: "Eat me, Hasselhof."

Crowley: "I didn't even have a father!"
Rowena: "Of course you had a father. You were just conceived during a winter solstice orgy, and it's not like I was taking names!"

Castiel: "Do you think Claire is in trouble?"
Dean: "She's hanging out with a guy named Randy. She's in trouble."

This was a strong mid-season finale and it upset me. Does it rate four out of four juggling pigs?

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

14 comments:

Juliette said...

I liked it a lot, especially the Castiel/Claire stuff. (I'm less interested in Crowley, but it's not terrible). Glad we got confirmation on what happened to Jimmy. I guess when Claire was praying to Castiel was the same time Soulless Sam was too, and he was ignoring both of them because he was too busy with Raphael? After that he was amnesiac for a while, in Purgatory for ages and hasn't really been himself since.

I thought Dean's nightmare was a flashback to something he'd done as a demon that we haven't seen/got context on yet, but I could be wrong.

Dean refused a cheeseburger shortly before dying and becoming a demon, so I wasn't sure if the food was an indication that he's either not too far gone yet, or desperately trying to stay human.

I liked the cut from the women telling Castiel Claire needed a father to Dean, the only one of them who knows anything about parenting (from both Sam and Ben). It would be nice if she and Cas could stick around a bit, though knowing Supernatural I doubt it, plus Dean's not a great role model right now...

Anonymous said...

I know Jody already has her hands pretty full but she is the only one I can think of that could take in Claire and try and straighten her out. At least keep her out of trouble.

Billie Doux said...

This episode of Supernatural got the highest SPN ratings in four years, according to TV Line.

http://tvline.com/2014/12/10/supernatural-season-10-ratings/

Good point, Anon. Jody does seem to be the one taking in homeless strays these days.

Emily Ecrivaine said...

I really hope that Claire isn't going to be a one-off character. Not only is it good to see someone finally call Cas out on what he did to the Novaks so many years ago, but she was a fun character too.

We also need more of Crowley and Rowena. I haven't had this much fun watching villains bait each other since they killed Azazel! This is one family reunion that needs to stay around for a while.

Anonymous said...

I took the eating, as well as the watching the Three Stooges as ways for Dean to temporarily forget/dampen the Mark and to "try" to be as human as possible.

As for Claire's mother, she was possessed by the demon in the Rapture until Sam exorcised her, it has been shown that when the host survives they still remember the violation. Maybe she just couldn't deal and left. She did leave Claire with the grandmother, so at first it wasn't complete abandonment, she just didn't check back and Claire ended up in the system.

Heather1 said...

I was a bit upset at Dean calling out Castiel on what is an emergency. How many times has Dean called on Castiel for help for Sam? Kind of a double standard. But I enjoyed the episode... and yes, Jody is perfect for Claire. But, I'm glad any time Jody shows up and stays alive.

Anonymous said...

You're imagining things, Jensen made his feelings quite clear on Destiel at JIBcon that he's not "playing" it that way and in fact he's happy about them having less scenes because he's sick of the shippers reading into their scenes. Also Dean obviously asked Cas to kill him, because like he said Sam would try to get in the way and couldn't do it. He knows Sam loves him too much. Cas otoh suggested to Sam multiple times in episode three this season that Dean has to be killed if he's not cured as a Dean. He sounded quite willing to put him down.

Melissa said...

I don't think it's fair or right to tell someone they are imagining things or to generalize everyone as a shipper. Shows are meant to be seen in many different ways. Supernatural said it themselves in the 200th episode. "You have your version. I have mine." For the record (not that it should matter if someone is or not) but I am not a shipper and I saw the same things in that Cas/Dean scene that Billie did. They do love each other. All Sam, Dean and Cas have is each other at the beginning and the end of the day. "Family doesn't end with blood." to quote the wise Bobby Singer (RIP).

Billie Doux said...

Thanks, Melissa. That's exactly what I meant.

Anonymous said...

@ Heather1 That's because the Dean and Cas bond is overhyped. Dean is often dismissive of Castiel and treats him like he's just convenient. Supposed "subtext" aside.

Kate said...

Hey, nice review.
I totally missed that this took place in Pontiac, Illinois. That is where Dean was buried after the hellhounds took him to hell.
Is this a coincidence?

I don't think Dean has eaten this much in an episode ever. I felt like Dean was forcing himself to eat to stay in denial about the Mark.

As usual, mid-season finale's always deliver some kick to the gut before cutting to black; for me it was the way Dean said he didnt need to do it that really got me.
He had said at least twice that I can remember in the previous few episodes that the darkness can't be escaped.
The line was delivered as part confession, part regret, part horror. Dean has completely lost faith in himself.
And Sam seemed truly horrified in a way he'd never been; not even when Dean was a Demon. He had a plan then- there is no plan for this MOC.
There just seemed to be a sort of despair between the two of them and it cut me to the quick.

Anywhoo, some longs weeks ahead of waiting.

Anonymous said...

As always, a lovely review! I enjoyed the ending on this, and I agree that it's been the strongest episode that they've had in awhile. I was annoyed by Claire at first (as someone who works with adolescents, I often find myself surrounded by over-angsty teens,) but they did manage to treat her defiance nicely and engage my sympathies with the character. Well done, again, O authors!

I also enjoyed Crowley's mother tremendously! I think that she's a great character, smirking as she oils her way through people and situations with equal ease. I can't wait to see how they develop the relationship between those two!

I will add, finally, IMHO, that it must be hard enough to play a homicidal semi-possessed Hell escapee befriending a tortured, disillusioned angel without someone popping up at a publicity function dithering about if the characters were making eyes at one-another over sandwiches for six seasons. Isn't the charm of any suggestiveness in its fleeting and elusive nature? Just a thought...

Thanks again for the wonderful column, Billie, and to your contributors for adding such amazing insights. It enhances the show for me tremendously, and I often go back to double check things that I've missed.

ChrisB said...

Oh, dear. This was a gut punch. The way that Cas was looking at Dean and the sheer horror in Sam's was tough to watch.

I'm interested to see how far they push this Dean. Is it possible to go too far? I am fearful that he will reach the point of being unredeemable.

audrey L said...

It is certainly late to post on this episode but anyway. I didn't enjoyed it like you.
I was bored through the all thing. Claire is overacted and annoying and a midseason final shouldn't be about a almost new character.
This show is called supernatural. Would it be too much to ask for something supernatural in it instead of this soap opera.
Crowley is pathetic, where is my king of hell who enjoyed torture.
Cass is as boring as ever.
Sam is still missing.
All Dean did was eat.
What was this crap ??