This was an interesting episode. Our boys were more apart than together, in more ways than one. Dean was determined to carry on, business as usual, while Sam wanted to keep searching for a way to save his brother. The boys argued. I hate it when the boys fight. It's like watching your parents fight; it makes my stomach hurt. And then Dean, pushed by Sam, dropped the bombshell: Ruby had no magic answer for his deal. Sam's ace in the hole was gone. Wounded, both by the bad news and the fact that Dean kept it from him, Sam was near tears. He lashed out and Dean lashed back. Tired of fighting, tired of everything, I think, Sam gave in and agreed to take a job in Ohio.
But Dean was off his game. Burdened by his impending deadline and chased by fear, Dean's judgment suffered. He was on edge, and irritable. He lost some of his customary finesse when the boys went undercover. Then the boys split up to cover more ground, and Dean was alone. When the crocotta came calling, Dean wanted to believe so badly he ignored all the signs that should have told him who, or rather what, was really at the other end of the phone. Desperate and grasping at straws, he heard what he wanted to hear.
Sam became the voice of reason in the episode. His instincts correctly told him something didn't add up, and he tried to put on the brakes. Dean saw him as nothing more than a stubborn obstacle, and thought he was falling back into his old pattern where their father was concerned. Which was kind of funny, because that's exactly what Dean was doing.
At first I was kind of shocked to see Dean instantly become the obedient son again. It broke my heart to hear the plaintive tone in his voice as he tried to justify the deal he made to his disappointed, disapproving father. He sounded just like a little boy. But now I realize that although it was true that Dean had come to terms with John's failings as a father, it was too much to expect that to change how he dealt with John, especially under these circumstance. Face it, when your dad calls from beyond the grave, that's no time to let him know you're mad as hell, and you're not going to take it anymore. :) Besides, faced with the enormity of what awaits him, I think Dean wanted to retreat once more into his childhood days, when John was always there to save him; he wanted to believe that one last time, Dad could reach out and pluck him out of harm's way. Oh, Dean.
The boys continued to disagree all through the episode, but they didn't exactly fight again. Dean did, railing at Sam, making snide and sarcastic remarks, and baiting Sam at every turn. But Sam refused to rise to the bait. In every conversation he was reasonable and logical, and he made a lot of sense as he tried to make Dean see the flaws in his reasoning. Sam seemed sad, and resigned, but he never seemed angry. It was like he could see exactly what was happening with Dean, but he couldn't make Dean see it, and it was tearing him up inside. Because of the events of Mystery Spot, I think Sam actually has a much better handle on what lies ahead than Dean does, and in this episode he was kind of waiting for Dean to catch up. But of course he couldn't tell Dean any of that.
Sam rented a car to do field work on the case at hand, and nothing brought the boys' estrangement home more jarringly than the sight of Sam driving up in that flimsy, silver excuse for an automobile! The hell? And the electronic beep of the car alarm just added insult to injury. No. Just no. But in a funny way it made me remember that things are different now, Sam is different now, and it might be awhile before we really understand the full impact of those months Sammy spent alone after Dean died. Which has nothing to do with that rental car, but that's the crazy way my mind works. :)
So Sam doggedly investigated the case on his own, ultimately figuring out that the voice supposedly calling everyone from beyond the veil was actually a crocotta. And let me take a moment here to say that this creature was one of the most monstrous we've ever seen on this show. Besides the fact that its gaping maw of toothpick teeth was truly horrible, the way it preyed on people grieving for their loved ones was beyond cruel. It not only felt nothing for its victims, it took pleasure in their pain.
Lured to the phone company, Sam found himself facing the crocotta without Dean by his side. And this is where we saw the hardened hunter from Mystery Spot once again emerge. As Sam sat, for the second time in as many weeks, tied up while the MoTW mercilessly killed an innocent man before his eyes, he showed concern only for the victim he could not save, and none for his own plight. He was never afraid, and you could see in his eyes that he wasted no time in coming up with a plan. He quickly escaped his bonds and went on the attack, although he had no weapon. Whatever it took, only Sam was walking away from this fight, and that's exactly how it played out. He dispatched the crocotta with brutal force and deadly efficiency, and his ruthlessness took my breath away.
At the same time, across town, Dean was fighting his own fight to the death. Manipulated by the crocotta, he found himself in a deadly struggle with a grieving father who had also been deceived. Dean thought he was fighting the demon who holds his contract, and the other guy thought he was fighting his daughter's killer. They practically tore each other apart before the fight was over, and Dean just barely stepped back from the brink in time before murdering an innocent man. Horrified by his mistake, Dean was devastated.
As the episode ends, our two battered boys regroup at the motel, where a somber Dean finally confesses to Sammy about the fear that threatens to overwhelm him as his time runs out. "Hell. For real. Forever." Sam is not surprised, because he feels it, too. Dean comes to the conclusion that "the only person who can get me out of this thing is me," to which Sam adds a simple but heartfelt, "and me." Because, of course, they're in this together. Uncomfortable as always with intense emotion, Dean retreats into a joke. But it's okay, they've said what they need to say. I just don't know where we go from here.
There were some other people in this episode, but I barely noticed them. :) I was too busy drinking in Sam and Dean. I'm still not completely over the hiatus. Mrs. Waters was kind of a bitch, even if she did just lose her husband. Stewie was oddly endearing and disgusting at the same time, with his porn addiction, and his workstation where fast food wrappers and action figures warred for dominance. I really liked Lanie, especially in her interactions with Sam. The crocotta was gross, and disturbing, which I guess means the actor did a good job. :) And the chick in the museum was hilarious! I loved her and her "quotey fingers." hee!
Jared and Jensen were awesome, as always. How I've missed their expressive eyes, and the nuances of their performances! They both had intense fight scenes this week, which they nailed. I don't know how they do those without getting banged up for real. The inevitable heart-wrenching conversation, that always seems to take place at the end of a motel room bed this season, was perfect. *sniffles* And nobody delivers a funny line like Jensen Ackles ("Pack your panties, Sammy. We're hitting the road."). So, yeah, the boys are back!!
Random thoughts: The boys suited up again this week! Yum. Did you see the "I heart my gun" bumper sticker on the inside of that policeman's locker? How funny was that sound Sam made when Dean told him about the old woman having phone sex with her dead husband? hee! And I loved Dean's big self-satisfied smile after he delivered his smackdown to Stewie.
This episode made me uncomfortable, but for all the right reasons. My boys were fighting, and having trouble communicating, and breaking my heart, but finally found their way back to each other in the end. I'm more worried than ever about Dean, but what really scares me is what Kripke is bound to spring on us with these last two episodes. Can Sammy please just somehow save the day? Yeah, I know, this is Supernatural. I'm not holding my breath for a happy ending. But whatever happens, I'll be there. I may be trembling in fear, and watching through my fingers, but I wouldn't miss it for the world!