At first it looked like this week's episode was all about Bobby, and that was cool. It was great to find out more about him, especially the story of how he became a hunter. It was particularly satisfying to hear Dean admit what Bobby means to him, that he's like a father to him. I personally think Bobby treats the boys better than John ever did. It was also a treat to see Jim Beaver have an episode in which he could stretch his acting wings a bit. It made me a little nervous when the boys split up for the investigation part of the story, but considering the urgency of finding a cure for Bobby's mysterious ailment, it made sense.
I've been a fan of Bela since her first appearance, but now I love her even more. She was used to especially great effect in this episode. First, I loved the hilarious exchange the boys had about her: "Crap!" "What?" "Bela!" "Bela? Crap!" LOL! And then, of course, Sam's dream. OMG, I'm just thinking about it, and I'm laughing again! I never expected that pairing, and Jared was absolutely priceless, and OMG, could you believe how funny he was? With the happy sleeping face, and the drooling, and the embarrassment, and the stuttering, and the silly way he acted when she was there in front of him? Jared, you're a genius, you really are. Have you ever had one of those dreams about someone you know, and then you see them afterward, and it just spills into your brain, and you're all awkward for no reason? Because I have, and they got it just right. My favorite part? When Dean asked Sam to come and help him, and Sam looked down at his lap, and said, "Yeah, yeah, just give me a sec." *snerk*
I can't believe a show that tears me up inside like this one does, can also make me laugh so hard. And Dean's double takes at Sam's inexplicably odd behavior only made it funnier. Inspired scene all around, guys! :)
Once the boys made the trip into Bobby's mind, the whole atmosphere turned creepy. BTW, did you hear that high-pitched, incredulous "What?!" from Sam in the hospital hallway, when Dean first suggested they go dream walking? He said it again, to Bela, in his dream. It's a trademark Sammy response, and it's adorable! Anyway, where were we? Oh, yeah, Bobby's dream.
It really felt like a horror movie in Bobby's dream. The musical score was weird, as were some of the camera shots, with unusual angles and lenses. They overlapped images and audio from different shots, for a jarring, disjointed effect. Dean's part of the dream was too dark and dull, while Sam's was overly bright and colorful. Bobby's dead wife was scary, and I felt Dean's desperation as he tried to make Bobby realize it was all in his head. Then Jeremy appeared and attacked Sam with a baseball bat, and I really began to freak out!
How ironic was it that Dean, the ultimate stoic, who keeps every fear and tender emotion buried beneath his bad boy, devil-may-care, hard rockin' facade, was only able to save Bobby by laying bare his innermost feelings and connecting to him on an intensely emotional level? And once that connection was made, Dean quickly convinced Bobby that he was experiencing nothing more than a dream, thus giving him back the power to wake up. Just in time, too, because Jeremy was about to bash Sam's brains in with that baseball bat! Jensen and Jim Beaver both gave that scene an intensity and urgency that had me on the edge of my seat.
Let's take a moment to appreciate this screen cap from the episode:
Don't they look so sweetly peaceful, and yet so painfully vulnerable? I love that shot. (Screen cap courtesy of oxoniensis, with my thanks.)
Back in Bobby's hospital room, we got the first hint that our troubles may not be over, when we found out Dean had handed Jeremy the key to his dream world by drinking a beer he offered to him. And no one knew what Jeremy might find in Dean's mind, and how he might use it against him. In typical Dean fashion, our handsome hero decided to face this threat head on, to force a confrontation by allowing himself to fall asleep. And in typical Sam fashion, our ginormous puppy joined him there.
It all started out innocently enough, as we discovered that some part of Dean dreams of a normal life, with Lisa and Ben. But then the boys got separated, and things quickly turned ugly and truly terrifying. Sam was once again attacked by Jeremy and his baseball bat. And what was the deal with that anyway? Why was Jeremy so direct, personal, and violent with Sam? Was it because he could only use your fears against you in your own dream, and Sam was in someone else's dream both times? In any case, the violence escalated as Jeremy used his mental powers to tie Sam down, and then started beating him in earnest. I was frantic for the boys to find a way to escape!
Over in Dean's part of the dream, he found himself in a bizarre motel room, facing a very familiar back. The figure turned, and of course it appeared to be Dean himself. Not!Dean started right in, taunting Dean with all his innermost fears and insecurities, dark thoughts he's had about his father, Sam, and himself. "Don't listen, Dean!" I found myself yelling at my television screen. And, "Shut up!" directed at Not!Dean. But as it turns out, listening was exactly what Dean needed to do, and this is where this episode really got interesting. Jeremy was clearly trying to kill Dean, to use Dean's inner self loathing and despair to convince him to just give up on life. So was that a gross miscalculation on Jeremy's part, or did Dean's inner hunter rise to the occasion, purposely choosing exactly the right words to ignite Dean's frustration and sadness into the burning self-righteous anger that would finally allow him to fight back? In any case, Dean exploded, into a fury of words and actions, destroying the inner demon that confronted him:
"Son of a bitch! My father was an obsessed bastard! All that crap he dumped on me about protecting Sam? That was his crap! He's the one who couldn't protect his family! He's the one who let Mom die! Who wasn't there for Sam! I always was! It wasn't fair! I didn't deserve what he put on me! And I don't deserve to go to hell!"
Jensen was amazing in this scene. He absolutely slays me not only with his incredible talent, but with the courage that allows him to display such raw emotion purely for our entertainment. His performance was devastating. Preach it, Dean! But the final straw, the last shove that sealed the deal, was when Not!Dean came back, but now as Demon!Dean. Yikes!! Jensen without his beautiful, soulful eyes, with that blank blackness instead, is so far from Dean it's horrifying. *shudders* Way worse, for some reason, than possessed Sam was in BUABS. And that chilling glimpse of his future in the depths finally made it all too real for Dean, I think, and all too impossible to contemplate. In that moment everything shifted, and every particle of Dean screamed out the classic Dean denial, "Nononono!" But wait, we're still in the dream.
In the end, it was Sammy to the rescue. Whether it was his intelligence, his hunter's instincts, or some remnant of his psychic powers, Sam beat the dream walker at his own game, and turned the tables on him, freeing both Dean and himself from the nightmare world in which they were trapped. In the process, Sam rather decidedly killed Jeremy. Not that I blame him, but he's getting pretty comfortable with this whole killing humans thing.
Back at the motel, Bela did not disappoint. Consistent to the end, she used this whole situation as a golden opportunity to steal the Colt from the boys. And right before they raced off to "hunt the bitch down," Dean rather quietly told Sam that he doesn't want to die and he doesn't want to go to hell. And Sam rather quietly answered that then they would find a way to save him. Then Dean said, "Okay, good," with a little nod and a relieved smile. It was a wonderful moment. (And you should have just ended it there, Kripke. That last part was just dumb.) And just like that, we have a whole new show on our hands. Hallelujah, sisters, we have hope!!
Random thoughts: How hot was Drunk!Sam, with his husky, slurred, sad voice? Didn't you just want to comfort him? And how funny was Dean, threatening to put something on that grad student's permanent record? hee! The Doobies! On Supernatural! Although I always thought if they used a Doobie Brothers song on this show, it would be Rockin' Down the Highway. :) Who put a poster of a Canadian indie pop band on Jeremy's wall? I guess Novillero must have a friend in the art department. :) And how much do I hate that the stupid CW logo now includes stupid promos? That was intrusive, distracting, and a very bad idea! Grrr.
Can you believe we only have two episodes left? *cries* Although with late-breaking news that a tentative agreement is out there and the writers' strike is all but over, dare we hope for more episodes this season? In any case, I'll be here next Thursday, spending Valentine's Day in front of my television screen, because I am completely in love with this show! What are your plans?