Supernatural: Baby

"Welcome to the Winchester Motel."

This episode was such a love letter to the fans. It was the world of the Winchesters, but not what we usually see on the show. It was what happens in between and around what we usually see. And it was wonderful.

As Sam said in the end as they were driving off, the Impala is not just transportation; it's their home. It's their living room, music room, kitchen and bedroom, their ambulance and armory. It's hours of talking as they drive around the country. The Winchesters live, fight, kill and die in close proximity to that car, and Baby herself is not just a member of the cast, she's also a combatant. In this episode, Dean used one of her doors to behead a monster, and she got completely smashed up and covered in blood. I loved the set-up with the cooler, the purse full of pennies and the hairpin, almost as if providence was involved. And that one of them got laid in the car. And that it was Sam.

This could not have been an easy episode to film, but they did a beautiful job: the interesting camera angles, as if Baby was actually watching the action; the constant close-ups of the boys and of the different parts of the car, the long views from the back seat. They had to get in Dean's horror of valet parking, too. I particularly loved the long scene where the boys had a serious discussion while they were stretched out and relaxing, Dean in the front seat, Sam in the back. It was smart to do this episode early in a season, too. It would have been distracting if they were deep into an arc story.

Although there was definitely some movement in the arc. Matt Cohen returned in Sam's dream about John Winchester, or something that appeared to be John Winchester. "The Darkness is coming. Only you boys can stop it." Probably because they let it out in the first place. "When has death ever stopped a Winchester?" made me think about the boys no longer having a "get out of death free" card. And "God helps those who help themselves", and Sam's confession to Dean about getting infected, and praying, are making me wonder if this season will ultimately be about The Darkness versus God. Was John Winchester actually God this time?

I particularly loved that dream John told Sam, "I never wanted this for you boys, this life. Not really." It was much the same thing that Mary told Dean in one of my favorite episodes, "In the Beginning". I also thought it was significant that Dean usually dreams about John teaching him how to drive, no shotguns, no hunting, a normal life. During one of their discussions in the car, Dean and Sam talked about never having a real life, someone permanent to love. That gave me the impression that it's something they talk about often when they're on the road together, something they can't quite let go even though they were both unsuccessful at it, even though it might never be possible.

And yet, the basic message was a positive one. The Dean and Sam relationship was front and center for the entire episode. The two of them singing "Night Moves" together was like the best thing ever. The growling head in the cooler made me laugh out loud several times, and Dean using Baby's windshield wiper to push the head off the windshield made me roar. The cherry on top was Castiel as himself again, even though we didn't see him. I absolutely loved his phone conversations with Dean and Sam about pretty much everything. Especially Netflix.

Of course, metaphorically, Baby the car is the Winchesters. She just hangs in there and keeps on fighting when she probably should have stopped a long time ago. Her engine continues to turn over, even when she's battered and bloody. And this episode was a reminder that a "milk run" could turn out to be the end for the Winchesters, every time.

Bits and pieces:

-- "Then" gave us Chuck talking about Baby as the most important car in the universe. Loved seeing the toy soldier stuck in the ashtray again.

-- The episode began with the boys washing Baby, and later, Dean told the valet, "Not a scratch." Nice little contrast with Baby's condition at the end of the episode.

-- The monsters are afraid of the Darkness, too. And the "ghoul-pire" and Sam's vision of himself in the Cage were reminders that Adam Winchester's story is still unresolved. It needs to be resolved. We certainly can't count on Supernatural getting renewed forever, even though it seems that way now.

-- Come on, Dean. Did you have to perv on Sam's one night stand? Also, was her name (Piper) another little Orange is the New Black reference?

-- I've probably noticed this before, but Matt Cohen occasionally sounds like Jeffrey Dean Morgan.

-- This week: Quaker Valley, Oregon. Sam was Agent Walsh.

-- I always enjoy the music on Supernatural, but this week's was something special. Not just Bob Seger's Night Movies, but "Guitar Man," "Someday Soon" which was their mother's favorite song, and "Bad Girls Do It Well".

-- Does Sam always get the back seat because he's taller?


Dean: "Where's the beer?"
Sam: "Under the smoothies."
Dean: "Where's the rest of the beer?"

Sam: "Try and relax. Read a book. Watch some Netflix."
Castiel: "What's a Netflix?"

Sam: "Even Swayze wouldn't come to this roadhouse."
Dean: "First of all, never use Swayze's name in vain. Never."

Dean: "Time heals all wounds, Sam. Especially good times."

Sam: "Don't 'Night Moves' me."
Dean: "Shhh. Just let it wash over you. Just take it in."

Sam: "Is everything a Bob Seger song to you?"
Dean: "Yes."

Sam: "Goodnight, jerk."
Dean: "Night, bitch."

Sam: "So we're looking at a werewolf vampire hybrid?"
Dean: "Say it with me. Were-pire."
Sam: "No."
Dean: "Come on."
Sam: "I'm not saying that."

Dean: "Cas? You okay?"
Castiel: "I'm mostly confused. I'm not sure how orange correlates with black in a way that's new."

Dean: "Turns out I did shoot the deputy."
Another reference to an earlier episode where Dean didn't shoot the deputy.

It's hard to find a new angle when a show has been running for eleven seasons, but they did it, because I watched most of this episode with a huge smile on my face. Four out of four coolers that they're undoubtedly going to have to replace,

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


Anonymous said...

And that's how a filler episode should be done.

William Russell said...

With this episode I am finally completely caught up. No more binging. My life is back. Yay.
Billie, your reviews have been with me the whole time. Great insight and humour. Thanks.
As for this episode when it started I was sure there was no way this could be filmed all from the cars PoV. Boy was I wrong. Maybe a sequel with "Baby" as the star. I'd watch.

Mallena said...

Another classic. Favorite parts were windshield wiper head, Dean fighting the deputy with Cas on speaker, Sam and John scene and the ending with Dean helping Sam into the car. The last part where Sam said they were home while patting the car was a little corny for me and it would have helped if Dean called him on that. I assume they are going to stop somewhere to fix the car, right?? They can't drive it like that even if they just go to Bobby' s place. No windshield or headlights. 4 out of 4 green coolers indeed. Billie, your rating system using something from the episodes you review always crack me up. Keep up the good work.

Billie Doux said...

William Russell, congratulations on catching up! Several of our writers here at Doux Reviews have done the same thing. :)

Mallena, my rating system used to be simpler. When I started doing reviews, I did Buffy and Angel, and it was stakes. Everything else was stars. When Josie Kafka joined us (my god, back in 2008), she was the one who started using something interesting from the episode as a rating system, and I loved it so much that I started doing it, too. Thanks, Josie.

Heather1 said...

There should be a special award somewhere, somehow for shows that know themselves and their fans so well. Of course, after so many seasons, one might be tempted to say that any show should know itself. But I think we can all come up with many examples of shows that simply start phoning it in at this point. And really, Supernatural had this awareness many seasons ago. So it's not just about age and experience. I have compared Supernatural's understanding of its fans to Chuck on a few occasions. But as much as I loved Chuck, that show lost something in its last two seasons. Supernatural has certainly had its ups and down, good episodes and bad... but it always been Supernatural. Not many shows have fans willing to follow wherever it leads, even if it's through the bad times. I can't get over it. This episode is a perfect case in point. It found something fresh, and used that new perspective as a way to remind us all about why we love it so much in the first place. That's a pretty neat trick. I will, indeed, follow the Winchesters until the end. And I will repeat once more, because every now and then I must... please, please, please don't kill Jody.

Billie Doux said...

My friend Nightowl pointed me toward this online interview with J & J about this episode while they were filming. It's about six minutes long and they're even in some of the bloody makeup.

Josie Kafka said...

Happy to help, Billie!

I haven't watched SPN in a few years (although I did watch the 200th episode). This episode sounds sort of wonderful. Would I be able to watch it without much context? I've been reading the reviews, so I know some of the newish players.

Paul Reed said...

Laughed my ass off throughout most of this. It's good to know that eleven seasons in the show is still willing to take chances with its storytelling, and still knows what the fans love.

Billie Doux said...

Josie, yes, you could watch this without context. The Darkness = The First Evil, pretty much.

The Fearless Freak said...

This episode felt like a cop out. "We don't want to do any real location shots, we don't want many guest stars and the people we do have wont have many lines, let's have everything happen in the car!" Fortunately, the writing was spot on and it turned out to be hilarious, which covered any of the flaws I saw early on.

I loved Cas being Cas and the head, both in the cooler and on the windshield. I like the Sam and Dean relationship and how it was just a thing this week. They weren't fighting or making up, they were just Sam and Dean. I'm Mot sure how I feel about the vision of John. When he said they were the only ones that could stop it, I rolled my eyes and told my husband "of course they are the only one" so any profound symbolism from that is lost in me. It just feels done.

I hate to say it, but I feel like Supernatural has run its course. They still pull out an occasional episode that I'm really into but more and more of them are just things I have to get through, hoping to get to something good. The 200th episode is the last one I remember really enjoying and that was almost a year ago. Hopefully, it will either pick up or they will decide to end it on a solid story, on their terms, rather than being cancelled and leaving it hanging.

Juliette said...

Loved it. It had a real season 2 vibe, with Cas as Bobby, which is kind of awesome. Sam wants to be saved, Dean is cynical but keeps going through humour, they live in the Impala, listen to awesome music and talk about their dad. Me and my brother sing along to songs together while I drive him home in my (black) car a lot, so I love any scene where they sing together (the only other major one I can remember was in No Rest for the Wicked, to Bon Jovi). Love that they squeezed in a Swayze reference too (because the episode is all about Baby, geddit?!).

May said...

I'm feeling really stupid now Juliette - when I watched the episode and they mentioned Swayze, my thought process was "that's a bit random, maybe it's a reference I don't know".

I loved this episode (as I love most of the 'something different' episodes on Supernatural). It was funny, endearing and created tension - I was genuinely worried about Baby's welfare at times!

Juliette said...

May, it only occurred to me afterwards, when I looked at the title again! Though I think Dean might have mentioned liking Roadhouse before. Robbie Thompson must binge watch the whole lot every year to remember some of this stuff!

Alexis said...

I thought this season was fairly average until this episode came along. THIS EPISODE WAS WONDERFUL. It was like Supernatural rounded us all up for a group hug and it felt like nostalgia and misty road memories and classic Supernatural goodness! Only Supernatural can accomplish a phenomenal episode on it's ELEVENTH season. Thank you, writers, for reminding me that you guys have still got it, after 11 seasons, you've still got it.

I know people may wave this episode off as gimmicky, and 'trying-too-hard' but I was thoroughly impressed. By the camera angles, the car's POV, the unique and classic Supernatural-ness of it all. It reminded me of the old seasons, when it was all just saving people and hunting things and before all the dumb demon/angel nonsense. This episode humanized Sam and Dean again, reminding us of the show's roots, which was just wonderful. There's nothing about this episode that I didn't like. And I love that Cas - the one we all love, is back!

The Impala is like the Doctor's Tardis, so much more than the heroes' prized possession, but a character on it's very own. Not to mention, Dean's true love.



They're giving the Impala a bath! They must do that a lot.

Sam and Dean: On the road again.


Now 'Night Moves' is stuck in my head.


This is what I would want to see more of. Sam and Dean during the in-betweens, driving down open-roads, living off cold beer and crappy roadhouse food in their crumpled plaid and banging random waitresses.


The song should be: "DUMB BITCHES DIE" instead of "BAD GIRLS DO IT WELL."

Dean and Sam are suss out things all the time but they couldn't figure out their Impala was messed around with? IT PROBABLY SMELLS OF PERFUME AND LIPSTICK AND DUMB GIRLS.


@sam's vision/dream: DA FUQ?

Dean's family dream :(

I want these two to have nothing but happiness by the end of the show. I want Dean to be happily married with Lisa for a wife and Ben for a kid and I want Sam to take over the world. Lol.



Cisco Ramone and Dean Winchester should have a name-off.

I like "ghoul-pires".

The Darkness is basically the First Evil from Buffy, right?



Orange Is The New Black references make me happy.

Castiel mumbling on the phone while Dean fights = television at it's best.



I love your reviews, and I'm sorry for the extremely long and annoying comments. Sometimes, I have to feed the nerdy fangirl inside of me before I piss her off and she gets me killed.

sunbunny said...

This episode was perfect. I seriously cried during the early scenes when it was just Sam and Dean listening to classic rock in the Impala. Telling the whole thing from Baby's perspective was a great way to add interest to what would otherwise be a standard monster hunt episode (not that I don't enjoy the standard monster hunt episodes).

I also loved the way Cas was used. Since the episode was so Sam and Dean nostalgia heavy, it would've felt out of place to have him be with them in the car but I loved his phone calls. Everything he said was so quotable.

Jerk. Bitch. FINALLY.

ChrisB said...

Although I stopped watching the show about this time last year, your review, Billie, made me sit up and take notice. I've always loved the episodes like this and we were treated to another great one.

My favorite part of this series was always the fraternal relationship. We got to see so many aspects of it, from the teasing, to the confiding, to the fighting. Dean's expressions when Sam does or says something that irritates him always make me howl. No exception this time.

But, let's face it, those two boys singing "Night Moves" might be the best thing this show has ever done. That is one of those moments that I will come back to again.

Anonymous said...

I also really like this episode. I also agree that it had a season two quality to it.
I know the Impala is a character in it's own way. She has also been totaled on more than one occasion.
While watching this episode I had a question going through my mind. Are the writers setting Baby up to be totaled beyond Dean's ability to put her back together? Losing Baby would be a serious blow to the brothers, and they have already forshadowed no more coming back from the dead for the Winchesters. Dean had to pump the gas and turn the engin over on two separate occasions in the episode. This kind of hinted at the fragil nature of life.
I could be way off the mark here. It wouldn't be the first time. What are your thoughts on this theory? Thanks!

lesley said...

One of the best episodes. Loved just about everything about it and what a surprise to see Matt Cohen!!!