Dean is back!! At first we don't know how, and we don't know why, but we don't care. He's back, and he's whole, and he's not a demon. Huge, collective sigh of relief, right? Dean, baby, I've missed you so! There is something about this boy that arouses every sexual nerve in my body, and at the same time brings every maternal instinct in my heart to life. Sure, I want to jump his bones, but then I want to cuddle him on the couch, feed him the best home cooked meal he's ever had, bring him an ice cold beer, and massage his temples until he falls fast asleep in my arms. *sighs* And keep him safe. Above all else, I want to keep him safe.
This show knows just what a fangirl needs. What do they do first, after showing us that Dean is really okay? Reunite him with his loved ones: first Bobby, then Sammy, and then the Impala. Dean is so happy to see Bobby, so thankful, but Bobby is wary, and takes convincing. But then he's hugging Dean, clutching at him even, and Dean is grabbing just as hard back. Yay! We're all good, when SPLASH, Dean gets a face full of holy water! *giggles* Oh, yes, we are back!
Dean tracks Sammy down by knowing that he would use the name of a Star Wars character as an alias (Sam is such a geek). Bobby is amazed, and Dean growls, "Are you kidding me? What don't I know about that kid?" Oh, Dean. A lot has happened since you've been gone.
Dean and Bobby go to Sam's motel room, and a girl in her underwear opens the door! o_O And then- OMG, did Jared get even BIGGER over the summer? *fans self* Because the boy is ginormous! Where are my ropes and carabiners? I've got a mountain to climb! *thud* Sorry, where was I?
Oh, right, Sam's motel room. The next few moments are simply beautiful, so please indulge me while I go on and on about them. The boys see each other and stop dead in their tracks, drinking in the sight of one another. Dean smiles. Sam gapes. "Hey ya, Sammy," Dean softly says. Sam's mouth starts to form the word Dean, we see the "D" on his lips, but he can't do it. He can't let himself believe it's true, because if it's not, he'll have to live through that loss all over again. As Dean steps into the room, Sam launches himself at him in a fury, knife in hand. Bobby hauls him back (yeah, like that could happen), and tells him this really is Dean. Sam looks at his brother, and his eyes say it all. He wants to believe, but he's afraid. Dean looks back, understands, and gently says, "I know." *sobs* And then, just so we'll all know it's truly him, he cracks a joke.
Sam surrenders to hope, and launches himself again, but with an entirely different intent. The boys grab onto each other like they're never going to let go. Sammy's crying, Dean's crying, Dean hugs Sam even tighter, and now Bobby's eyes are suspiciously bright. We're a family again! And I'm a mess. Oh, boys, I love you so.
After the obligatory gay joke, Sam's girl leaves, and the boys get down to business. Dean learns it wasn't Sam who brought him back, much to Sam's despair. Things are a little rough between the boys, but we write it off to their separation. Everything will be fine. Bobby and the boys set out to see what they can find out from Bobby's psychic friend, and Dean is finally reunited with his baby, the Impala. It's an adorable scene, where Dean lovingly calls the car "sweetheart," is disgusted by the iPod Sam installed in his absence, and is infuriated when said iPod plays folk rock. :) The scene is made even funnier when you realize the offending song is Vision, by Jason Manns, one of Jensen's best friends.
And now is when things start to unravel. At first it's just like old times, Sam and Dean talking in the car as they hurtle down the highway, but later we find out that almost every word out of Sam's mouth is a lie. Uh, oh. The psychic is fun and sexy, inviting the boys to join her in a threesome, and grabbing little Dean playfully under the table. But in the next moment her eyes have been burned right out of her head by the terrible visage of someone or something called Castiel. This is serious. Then Sam sneaks out while Dean is asleep. Castiel visits Dean in the motel room, exploding every mirror and window in a rain of glass. Dean and Bobby decide to confront Castiel, and Dean lies to Sam about it. Sam in turn lies about where he went. Boys, what are you thinking? Stop it right now! Because if you don't, I just know this is going to end badly.
The last eight and a half minutes of this episode leave me stunned, shocked, speechless, and reeling. Sam calmly dispatches a demon straight to hell with nothing more than the power of his mind!! And we see that look again, the one that chills me to the bone, the one that is a combination of grim determination and deadly intent, with maybe just the ghost of a smile. Oh, Sammy, baby, what are you playing with? And Sam's girl from the motel, Chrissy? Is Ruby!! They're working together to develop this power of Sam's. No, no, no, I don't like this.
Sam and Ruby talk, and Sam says he can't tell Dean about his powers. He says it's because Dean will try to stop him (you bet he will, Sammy!), but I'm so afraid it's because he knows it's wrong, he knows it's dangerous, but he likes it, and he's quickly becoming addicted to the power, and the pleasure.
Out in the middle of nowhere, Dean and Bobby set up to summon Castiel. Bobby asks why Dean lied to Sam about it, and Dean says it's because Sam would have tried to stop him. Bobby, can you please knock some sense into these two boneheads? Boys, you're always better when you're together.
Castiel arrives and sends Bobby into unconsciousness with a single touch of his finger. He reveals to Dean that he is an angel!! And shows him his wings!! He's gentle, almost, and yet terrifying. Dude, this is so Old Testament! Oh, and he's hot. Which confuses me no end. And as Castiel starts to explain why he pulled Dean out of hell and put him back among the living, Jensen Ackles quietly breaks my heart. He perfectly communicates the tight rein Dean has on his emotions in this moment, his desperate struggle to conceal any hint of vulnerability. At the same time, those incredible, expressive eyes say it all, betraying the bleak despair in Dean's heart. When Castiel assures him that good things do happen, and Dean bites back, "Not in my experience," I just want to hold him. Finally, Dean bluntly asks Castiel why he did it, and as the music builds, the angel answers, "Because God commanded it. Because we have work for you."
Somebody please tell me that work does not include bringing down Sam Winchester. *is afraid*
I don't want to leave this episode without mentioning at least a few of the little details that make watching Supernatural such a joy. You Shook Me All Night Long, by AC/DC, was the perfect song for the previouslies. While the clips took me on a whirlwind tour of S3, the song revved me up and put me in the mood. Well done, Kripke. Then almost immediately we got two things we rarely see on this show. First, Dean in a single layer, and a short-sleeved tee at that, walking down the road, showing off those impossibly broad shoulders and those adorable bowlegs. And then, a glorious shot of Dean's bare chest (and perky nipples!) as he checks to see if the damage done by the hell hounds has left any marks. It was a nice touch of continuity that we could glimpse the edge of last season's tattoo as Dean pulled his shirt up. And later on, seeing the boys hold hands in the seance was almost as good as watching them hug. :)
Screen caps courtesy of oxoniensis, with my thanks.
There are a few things I'm wondering about. Did everyone else think of Buffy, too, when Dean clawed his way out of that grave? Are Sam and Ruby sleeping together?! If not, why was she hanging out in his room in her underwear, and whose bra was that in Sam's bed? And if so, what the hell?! Have we ever seen Dean smack a girl (even a demon) without her hitting him first before? I think the misogyny theorists are going to have a field day with that one, but I wonder if Kripke wrote it that way with them in mind, just to make a point. And finally, is there any significance to the numbers in this episode? The street address of the gas station was 11768. The license plate of the car Dean borrowed was V6R 1G3. And Bobby's license plate was 607 82E.
Random thoughts: I miss Katie Cassidy. She won me over last season, and it doesn't seem fair to just hand all that hard earned good will to a new actress (no offense to the the new girl). I thought Ruby and Sam were a little too good at pretending when Dean showed up at Sam's door. She didn't even flinch when she first saw Dean, and not one weird look passed between her and Sam. That didn't ring true to me. I loved the way Dean nudged Sam when he spied Pamela's tattoo. It was so immature, and so cute. :) And you know what the best thing about my new HDTV is? Frackles!
So there you have it. The boys are back! As usual, I'm madly in love all over again, and I'm scared out of my wits about what's to come. What does Kripke have in store for us this season? I have no idea. But I'm sure as hell going to stick around and find out. Won't you join me?