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?"
Sam: "Goodnight, jerk."
Dean: "Night, bitch."
Sam: "So we're looking at a werewolf vampire hybrid?"
Dean: "Say it with me. Were-pire."
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.
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