Read part one of this episode recap.
Now for the scene that tears me apart. I realize when Jensen is in a scene he attracts the best qualities of an actor like a magnet (Jared being the best example), but he and newcomer Amy Gumenick had something extraordinary between them. Mary talks dreamily about John, about marrying him, and how about she’s finally going to get out of her life. She hates hunting, wants a family, and wants to be safe. That’s exactly what Sam wanted in the pilot, to be safe. He couldn’t escape, though, and the life sucked him back in. Turns out his mother couldn’t escape either. How tragic. I’ll never be able to watch the pilot the same way again.
Mary sets off the collective sobbing when she says, “You know the worst thing I can think of, the very worst thing, is for my children to be raised into this like I was. I won’t let it happen.” Dean understandably is crushed. It’s so tough for him to hear that, knowing the outcome. He fights through his distress to tell her on November 2, 1983 not to get out of bed, but can’t make it through without breaking into tears. I’m pausing the TiVo now and going to dig out another box of Kleenex.
Dean’s on his two-state Pinto trek, and poof, there’s Castiel. “God is my copilot.” He has to be in that death trap. Dean asks why Sam couldn’t see this (thank you!) and Castiel reveals Dean had to do this alone. He also warns Dean that if he tries to save his parents, all those people that he, John, and Sam saved will die. Dean is aware, but that’s not stopping him.
While this seems like the same dilemma from “What Is And What Should Never Be,” this time Dean’s choice is different. He has the chance to save his family over saving others. When the choice involved his happiness over other lives it was no contest. Throw his family in the mix, though, and his dedication to saving the world is bound to change. Plus killing Yellow Eyes lets him carry on his most important task, saving Sam. I wonder if this visit in time is not only a glimpse, but a character test as well. Putting family first means he’s more likely to effectively deal with Sam. Maybe that’s why Castiel told him the truth in the end.
What I don’t understand is how Dean convinces Elkins to let him borrow the Colt, but whatever, he got it. I’ll dismiss for the sake of plot. Swarmy bible salesman talks to a woman about a deal and Grandpa barges in with a shotgun. Have these guys never dealt with demons before? They’re hunters, right? Holy water and rock salt didn’t exist in 1973 either? Was the early '70s the dark ages or something? Yellow Eyes has no problem overpowering both Samuel and Mary. Dean shows up with the colt, but as we’ve seen before, Yellow Eyes escapes in a black cloud in no time.
Red flag alert! Grandpa gives Dean a compliment and says he was wrong about him. That right there is the giveaway. Just like with John in “Devil’s Trap”, improvement in people skills is a clear-cut sign of possession. Dean decides to come clean with Grandpa, revealing that Mary dies, that he’s his grandson, and Grandpa believes him. Yep, possessed.
Another big sign, he wants to see the Colt, also like possessed John. Dean should have drawn the gun on him but too late — yellow flashes in Granddad’s eyes and Dean goes slamming into a wall. I’m dying for the day when Sam slams Dean into a wall with his mind. Can it happen at least once? They have a fight and boom, into a wall! That would be so cool.
Here is where Mitch Pileggi reinforces why he’s an acting God. He switches character fast and picks up the mannerisms of Yellow Eyes in convincing fashion. That’s versatility. With creepy delight he figures out that if Mary is Dean’s mom could Dean be one of his psychic kids? Damn, this is getting good! He smells Dean and finds he isn’t, but then asks if it’s a sis. Or a bro. Oh, there’s the reaction he was looking for. He’s pleased to see his plan worked out.
He goes further into the creep territory by in so many words saying how hot Mary is. “She’s my favorite.” He told Sam he was his favorite in “All Hell Breaks Loose.” Throw that in with the red tape comment and the continuity fairy is doing back flips right now. Yellow Eyes tells Dean he makes the deals not for the soul of the dealmaker, but for their children. He’s going to go to bleed into the mouth of Dean’s sibling and turn the child into a powerful being. Who’s taking bets that Sam won’t be able to hide the fact that he knew about the demon blood when Dean tells him? Who’s taking bets Dean tells him? At least Dean finally knows and as expected, he’s not taking it well.
Dean’s got the crazy eyes of anger going while asking why Yellow Eyes needs someone to lead his demon army. Dean’s got it all wrong, the plan is much bigger than that. “End game.” Yellow Eyes won’t reveal what that is though and boasts he’s covered his tracks very well. Now for the huge treat; classic, angry, over the edge Dean with clenched teeth daring Yellow Eyes to “look into my eyes, you son of a bitch, because I’m the one that kills you.” No wonder Castiel busted him out of Hell. Hot, sexy, tough guys like that are great muscle for your team.
Yellow Eyes plunges the knife into his meatsuit, essentially killing Grandpa. Too bad, I loved him. That’s probably why he had to die. Grandma is next, courtesy of a neck twisting. Who’s dying to see Sam learn the 'neck-twisting with one hand swipe' trick? You remember Sam, the brother not appearing in this film. Dean breaks free, grabs the Colt, but Yellow Eyes is gone. Dean realizes he’s after Mary. Anyone not on the edge of their seat by now? Anyone have fingernails left? Anyone breathing?
John and Mary are in the Impala, by the river, and John sweetly tries to propose. Bad timing, dude. The moment is ruined when Grandpa shows up and yanks Mary out of the car. Careful John, this is the big bad, don’t intervene or… oops, he gets his neck broken! John Winchester dies? Holy crap. Mary cradles his body in her arms and Yellow Eyes tells her he killed her parents, too. John can live (but only John) and Mary can have her picket fence life if she gives him permission to come back in ten years for a little something. “As long as I’m not interrupted, nobody gets hurt.”
Mary didn’t remember that? Come on, she was warned twice. No, I get it, I’m a mom, too. What choice did she have? If she didn’t take the deal, there would be no Dean and Sam, so she loses either way. Still, whose heart isn’t crushed right now by the fact that she unknowingly doomed her youngest son?
Dean arrives just in time to see Yellow Eyes and Mary kiss (no daddy kissing daughter comments please, for this follows continuity). Dean was late because he had to gun a Pinto. If only he had the Impala. By the way, was anyone else thrilled that the Impala was there for all this drama? She’s been there for all the family heartaches. I’m even feeling sorry for the car.
The deal is done, Yellow Eyes disappears in smoke, and Dean stares at a weepy Mary as John comes back to life. Cue the sad music, the touching reunion, and Castiel offering a look of sympathy to a heartbroken Dean. Oh man, I have to pause the TiVo again. I’m a mess! It’s going to take me hours to get through this episode. Poor Mary! She doomed her family to save her future husband. Poor Sammy! He never had a chance. Poor Dean! He had to live a rough life and see all that.
Mary looks back. Dean is gone, but the Pinto was left behind. Castiel forgot to send it back to 1979. How’s he going to explain that one to the man upstairs? John and Mary hug in distress over Samuel’s body and I need this commercial break. I have to pull myself together to get through the rest of this.
Dean wakes up in horror and sees Castiel. “I couldn’t stop any of it.” Castiel reveals the real reason behind the time travel.
“Don’t be too hard on yourself. You couldn’t have stopped it. Destiny can’t be changed, Dean. All roads lead to the same destination.” Dean was sent back to see the truth and now he knows what the angels know. Dean is angry, confused, and frustrated all in one distressed glare. I love it when Jensen does that. Castiel’s head slowly turns toward Sam’s empty bed. A trip back in time to witness the tragic family history is a pretty elaborate way to break the news to someone his brother has been lying to him. Those angels do have their quirks.
“Where’s Sam?” Dean is worried.
“We know what Azazel did to your brother, we don’t know why.” Dean doesn’t care and asks again, “Where’s Sam?” This time, Castiel actually tells him. The straight answer comes with a big tag though.
“Your brother is headed down a dangerous road, Dean, and we don’t know where it leads. So stop it, (dramatic head turn) or we will.” Final shot of Dean’s aghast face, before we get the dreaded “To Be Continued.” Arghhhhhhhh! I’m hysterical again.
Since this was a mind blower, I’m left with several incoherent thoughts.
Was Dean yanked out of Hell solely to stop Sam? It makes sense since he’s the only one who can do it. The possibilities now are huge. What’s Dean going to have to do to stop Sam? Will Dean have to kill Sam like John told him?
Now we know why Mary said “I’m sorry” to Sam in “Home.” I’m dying to see if Dean tells him, or if Sam will be too far gone by the time he does. I know, trust in Kripke.
The Winchester chain went back farther than we thought. Follow the bouncing ball. Mary made a deal for John, John made a deal for Dean, Dean made a deal for Sam. Frightening what the Winchesters will do for each other. I wonder why no one would deal with Sam. Maybe because of that “end game” thing?
Samuel involved his young daughter in the family business. That’s what John ended up doing to Sam and Dean. That’s so tragic.
Maybe Sam Winchester is the Antichrist. I’m convinced Ruby is evil. That argument will be explored further in the next article.
It was great to see John as the wide-eyed innocent in this one. Boy, did he change. Think about it though. He became a cold, obsessed bastard without Mary as the stabilizing force in his life. Isn’t that how Sam ended up without Dean?
I loved when Mary looked through the albums. For those of us pushing middle age and beyond, who remembers doing that as a kid? Go ahead, raise your hand. It’s okay. I still have albums and a turntable in the basement. It’s our little secret.
Grade, A+. The greatest episodes list is likely going to be drastically revised when this season is done. The damned Pinto was the only flaw in this one, but not enough to mark it down. I think someone put it there for my amusement. Next week, Dean confronts Sam. Ah, the warm glow of brotherhood.