Supernatural: Red Meat

"You can't lose him."

Ah, season two. How I miss you.

Dean was ready to die in Sam's place. Swallowing a lot of pills that had barbitol in the name, trying to bargain with a reaper, ready for a permanent stretch in the "Empty", which doesn't sound too good. Actually, it sounds empty. Hell would almost be better. Purgatory would definitely be better. Dean liked Purgatory.

Fortunately, as moving as it was, this death rehearsal was just that. Sam wasn't dead, after all. Dean managed to get back into his body before Billie reaped him away, and let me mention again that I am absolutely thrilled that there is a continuing Supernatural female character named after me. Sam took out Corbin, but not before the guy wreaked a whole lot of havoc and tried to turn his loving wife Michelle into a monster like he was.

Was that the point? The definition of love? Corbin killed Sam, or thought he did, so that he could force Dean to save himself and Michelle. Michelle also realized the limits of love. What she felt for her husband Corbin took a serious hit when Corbin killed Sam, and she was determined to help Dean with whatever Dean wanted to do with those drugs. Good for her.

While Dean tried to sacrifice himself in order to trade his own life for Sam's. Either that, or Dean couldn't bear to live without Sam. Of course Dean would follow Sam into death. I don't slash the Winchesters in any way, but at one point, Dean killed himself and Sam woke up, and I thought, how Romeo and Juliet of them. I also thought at the cabin that Dean was going to try mouth to mouth. Would that have felt awkward?

This episode deviated a good bit from the usual Supernatural formula. There wasn't much in the way of funny or sarcastic; it started out deadly serious, and stayed that way. Many of the scenes were shot in darkness. The National Park cabin in the woods looked realistic -- no poorly decorated motel rooms this time. The focus was on the Winchester brothers, and that their lives are so dangerous that they could die on any old run-of-the-mill werewolf case.

Of course, we were also reminded of what badasses they are. Sam was shot and nearly suffocated, and was staggering around bleeding profusely, but he still took out two pureblood werewolves by luring them into the basement, got to the Impala (that looked so painful) and arrived in the Cottonwood clinic in the nick of time. Dean fought off the cop and the werewolf as well as a handful of pills and death itself in order to get to Sam.

In the end, Dean didn't tell Sam the lengths he'd gone to get back to him. But that's very like Dean. Gold acting stars for Jensen Ackles, who got to me again. But he always gets to me. Which is why I'm still watching, eleven years later.

Bits:

-- 48 hours earlier. Why the in media res, and the back and forth? Just so it could start with Sam getting shot? I thought this episode would have flowed just as well in regular chronological order. But I'm not a showrunner. I'm a reaper.

-- Did Corbin kill Sam because Corbin was already under the werewolfy influence, or was he just a lousy human being?

-- I thought it was something of a cop out that Sam wasn't actually dead, and that Dean was conscious and ready to go after swallowing all of those pills instead of sleeping for twelve hours. But whatever.

-- This week: We were never told where they were, but the cop car was labeled "Orangeville County, Idaho".

Quotes:

Michelle: "What are you doing?"
Dean: "I need to talk to a... well, I wouldn't call it a friend. More like a scary crazy death machine."


Billie: "Just savoring this. Though I have to say of all the ways I thought you'd go: heart attack, some fang, choking on a burger while binge watching Charles in Charge...
Dean: "Well, that was peak Baio."

Billie: "The Empty. It's waiting."
Since it's been brought up several times, I'm betting we'll eventually see The Empty. Maybe in season fifteen.

Dean: (to Sam staggering in the door covered with blood) "It took you long enough."

Perhaps a bit flawed, but I thought this episode was a successful departure from formula and an interesting way to explore the brother bond. Three out of four cabins in the woods,

Billie
---
Billie Doux loves good television, especially science fiction, and spends way too much time writing about it.

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

I'd love me mouth to mouth! Thanks for the idea. And - how gory the whole ep was. I'm still shocked.There is one small question, it's of no import, but what puzzles me is why Dean had to return to hospital (after the phone call from Sam) instead of rushing back to his bro? Did he hear a shriek or what? I don't have a nerve to rewatch the ep, not for a while.

Anonymous said...

All around very upsetting, maximum feels episode. I suspected Sam wasn't completely and most sincerely dead when Corbin strangled him, just a hunch, but I also believe there is some force watching over the Winchesters. Could it be GOD? I don't know, but wouldn't that be a kick if it were revealed in the finale? I need to watch this one again. It was so chock full of emotion and Winchester love, I need to see it with full attention and squeeze all the juicy stuff out of it. Love, Robin

Thomas Ijon Tichy said...

I thought the last couple of episodes were boring as hell. More main plot, please.

Then again I understand why this series survives. It's got very loyal fans and I think in part that's because the actors are extremely loyal to the show. I mean, Jensen and Jared are besties in real life, no joke. They've both said, basically, "well screw a movie career, I know that ship has sailed, I'll keep doing this as long as they'll have us and you're watching." They all seem really content in where they are in life, and that somehow translates to the screen.

Billie Doux said...

Anonymous, I think Dean returned to the hospital because of Corbin, but I'm not remembering exactly what happened. I haven't seen the ep a second time yet. I always watch them a second time.

Robin, you may be right about God being involved,

Thomas, I'm pretty sure one big reason Jensen is hanging in there is because he wants to direct, and the SPN powers that be are giving him that. I don't think J&J need the money anymore. Although they're both fathers now, and college isn't cheap. :)

Mallena said...

If you throw logic out the window then this was a great episode. The bullet couldn't penetrate very far into Sam's rock hard abs. Dean could get the bullet out with tiny tweezers. Dean would leave Sam alone too long to build a stretcher and have a fight with a tree. Then Sam is not dead enough. Romeo scene follows... I liked this one a lot, but I didn't like all of it. The ending was too rushed and left me feeling somewhat disappointed. Man, those Winchesters are tough. They take a licking and keep on ticking.

Lydia said...

This epiosde... What the hell was the point of this episode? Someone please explain to me what the point was. It just felt like a torture fest to me, the whole episode was literally painpalooza, and I was constantly cringing and wincing and weeping. After sticking with a show for eleven years, it really, really begins to get to you. I love Sam and Dean. I root for Sam and Dean. At this point, it's like they're my family also, and I hate to watch them unnecessarily get put through shitstorm after shitstorm like this. Everytime I view an episode like this, i'm reminded of how terrible their lives truly are, and how they never seem to catch a break. What's up with the reaper anyway? Why does she hate the Winchesters so much? Because they cheat death, well, she should take that up with Death himself, but wait, death is dead, right? So whose actually keeping all the dead in balance? They never truly explained that.

I'm left with so many questions mainly, why was this episode even made? To get the point across how dangerous and crappy the Winchesters' job/lives are? We know this already. To remind us that Sam and Dean literally cannot live without eachother and will keep making stupid desperate moves just to keep the other alive? Been there, done that. To kill some more white people? Ok. That i could maybe get on board with. Point is, this whole episode felt very unnecessary to me, and mostly a cop out like here's a bucketload of pain in case we haven't been making you cry until your eyeballs hurt recently! Bleh. There were also a thousand faults in logic, Amara, Casifer and Crowley, they've all just dropped off the face of the earth these past few episodes, Sam may be badass but he's not freaking Superman. Waking up after being choked to death? Ok. I can buy that. Somehow managing to get down the staircase still while bleeding to that? Ok, it's a television show. I'll bite. Killing two werewolves? Sam must be an expert on werewolves at this point, fine. But getting all the way to the impala, making a phone call to Dean, driving all the way to wherever the hell the medical facility was and saving Dean's life? That's a bit of a stretch. Come on, show! You're better than this.

Despite all my frustration with this episode, it made me feel a lot of feels I wasn't prepared to feel and i LOVE suffering and purgatory just as much as Dean Winchester, i'm still going to stick to this show like a leech till the bitter, bitter end. Lovely review, Billie! Oh, and please stop being mean to Dean. ^.^

Lydia said...

damn this is the first time i re-read one of my comments, i can't be bothered to fix the typos i'm sorry i never make much sense, haha.

magritte said...

I didn't like this one at all. Aside from the whole superhuman Sam issue, the "smothering a wounded man to force the group to move on" ploy is such a flagrant steal from the Revenant. Sloppy plotting, and we don't really need any more proof that Dean will do anything to bring Sam to life. It's been a great season but this was a very poor episode.