Rewind and Repeat: Dean and Sam Remember John “Friggin'” Winchester, Supernatural “The Things We Left Behind”
Here’s the thing. I liked the mid-season finale of Supernatural. I did. But it didn’t give me everything I wanted. Like more action. More Dark Dean. More Sam POV. More mythology.
We’ve been on such a run of monsters-of-the-week cases, that it would have been nice to actually focus on one of the long-term story arcs. We’ve only gotten pieces here and there since Dean was cured in episode three.
I normally can’t get enough of the character-driven stuff like what goes on with Cas and his vessel’s daughter, Claire Novak. Unfortunately, thanks to V the Series, Homeland and countless other shows, I don’t have much patience for rebellious teenagers. I just don’t. I think I would have been more patient had this not been the mid-season finale. For example, I loved that Krissy Chambers girl that’s appeared in a couple of episodes of Supernatural (“Adventures in Babysitting” and “Freaks and Geeks.”) And while I like this journey for Cas, I just wish it happened earlier or later in the season.
Having said that, there are moments in “The Things We Left Behind” that really stand out. Dean’s nightmare, the Winchester brothers watching and enjoying The Three Stooges and Cas and Dean talking over lunch. Dean finishing up his meal and then snagging Cas’ burger is a beautiful thing.
Of course, there’s that whopper of an ending. Dark Dean takes over and obliterates a room full of humans. HUMANS! And even though Randy’s [Roark Critchlow, Days or our Lives, Pretty Little Liars, Battlestar Galactica, Arrow] quite the douchebag, he doesn’t deserve to die. Sam wants Dean to tell him that this is something he had to do. Dean’s out of it. He says he didn’t mean to. Didn’t. Mean. To. Those are scary out of control words even though Dean basically whipsered them. Then the action cuts to black shortly after that. Cue the painful hellatus.
But there’s one earlier scene that sticks with me. I watch it over and over and over again. I can’t get enough of it. I can’t shake it. It’s four days since this episode aired and I’m still hitting rewind. It’s a standout in a season that features some really amazing moments.
Sam, Cas and Dean are sitting at a bar (at a Tahitian Tiki joint, no less). They order whiskey shots. Cas is understandably frustrated. He wants to help Claire but he can’t be a father to her. He just looks like her dad. The guilt he feels is evident.
This leads into a talk about dads. Cas says his was distant. He didn’t know him. He asks Dean if he loved his father. Dean says — “With everything I had.” He pretty much shatters my heart with the emotion he pours into those four words. I like how Sam says he did but qualifies it with, “it wasn’t always easy but…yeah.” We all know what kind of relationship Sam had with John. It was…complicated. But there was love. Lots of it.
I’m going to love Sam forever for getting Dean to tell Cas about that time in New York when they were young. The Winchesters were on a hunt in Long Island. And even though John thought the Big Apple was “too big, too loud, too dirty” and he big time hated the Yankees, he let the boys talk him into seeing some of the New York City sights.
Around midnight, John and Sam were asleep. Dean decided to sneak out and get the nightlife experience. He snuck into the famous rock club, CBGB, where the clientele ended up getting this underage kid drunk. John tracked his son down and made him leave, of course. After all, no kid should be in that environment. And a Young Drunk Dean despised him for it. Thinking that his dad just embarrassed him in front of the entire place. When in reality, John saved his son. Anything could have happened to him.
I’d love to transcribe the entire story but I’m not. Just know that Dean has the ability to tell a great story. He uses the right inflections, changes his voice, uses the perfect hand gestures. And how awesome is it that his cute little brother pipes in every once in a while — it’s almost like the two are finishing each other’s sentences. Sam wasn’t even at the clubÂ but you can tell he’s heard this story a million times because he knows it backwards and forwards as if it happened to him.
In recent seasons, John hasn’t been referred to in the best light. So this moment is extra emotional and touching. The reverence with which Dean and Sam tell this story and talk about their dad is so refreshing. I’ll give you my favorite part of the story. Dean has just told Cas that he doesn’t know what he drank but the room starts to spin.
Dean: “And right about that time, I hear him. ‘Dean Winchester!’ My old man. I don’t know how but he found me. And now I’m really freaking out. Because he’s just standing there. Not saying anything. I look around and everybody else is freaking out, too. In fact, nobody’s even looking him in the eye. And finally, this one guy, with like a safety-pin through his nose and a ‘kill everything’ tattoo looks up and he says, ‘Sorry, Sir.’ Yeah. Sorry, sir. (drinks the shot) To John Friggin’ Winchester.”
Cas (takes a shot): “He saved you.”
Dean: “Yeah. And you know what he got for that? Me whining about how much he embarrassed me. Me telling him that I hated him. But then he stopped and turned around. He looked at me, he said, ‘Son, you don’t like me? That’s fine. It’s not my job to be liked.'”
Sam: “It’s my job to raise you right.”
Dean: “Yeah. And he did.”
How many times on this show do we get a moment like this? Our three favorite guys sitting at a bar having an extended conversation about something that really doesn’t have anything to do with the supernatural? It has to do with life and love and parenting and family. This conversation brings tears to my eyes. I wish we got more moments like this. The thing is,Â when we do get them, it makes them even more special. This scene was unexpected, emotional and perfect. Love that writer Andrew Dabb was responsible for it. And on Tuesday night, during the episode, I don’t know if you Twitter peeps saw, but John Winchester was trending. I kind of wish we had all trended “John ‘Friggin’ Winchester.” The power of this fandom never ceases to amaze me.
Now we wait. New episodes of Supernatural return Tuesday, Jan. 20 on the CW. Will we get a big dose of Dark Dean or will that particular story continue to get measured out in small servings? I do like the looks of this 2015 promo:
I asked this in our preview article. But I’ll ask it again. Where does this episode rank with other mid-season finales? If you so choose, rank the ten episodes that have ended the first half of all ten seasons. I’ll go first. This is actually very difficult since I love most of these episodes:
10. “Citizen Fang” (S8)
9. “Holy Terror” (S9)
8. “The Things We Left Behind” (S10)
7. “Croatoan” (S3)
6. “Appointment in Samarra” (S6)
5. “Heaven and Hell” (S4)
4. “Death’s Door” (S7)
3. “Abandon All Hope” (S5)
2. “Asylum” (S1)
1. “A Very Supernatural Christmas” (S3)
What’s your list?
Happy holidays to everyone! May everyone have aÂ quick and painless hellatus!
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