Rewind and Repeat: Dean teaches Jack to Drive, Supernatural “Unhuman Nature”
Once again, I found myself inspired to write about Supernatural. I haven’t done it in a while, so color me surprised when what compelled me to write was a nice, quiet scene involving Dean and Jack — three of them to be exact.
Actually, it was nice and quiet when the characters weren’t blasting a Bachman Turner Overdrive (BTO) song called “Let it Ride.” It’s all good though. Hearing a classic rock tune belting and blasting away during an episode is a welcome sound. It feels like a rare occurrence these days.
In this episode, Sam told Cas why Dean took Jack’s sickness to heart. Back in season 13, Dean was dead set against Jack even existing. He wouldn’t let his walls down long enough to accept Lucifer and Kelly Cline’s rapidly-aged son into his life or heart. He waited for Jack to show his true colors and go dark side.
As we all know, that didn’t happen. Jack veered but never crossed the line into the big and bad. And Dean did what he always does, he started off hard and steadfast against, and then softened up.
Cut to season 14 and Dean knows Jack is family. Which makes what’s going on with the half-human/half-angel that much harder to take. Apparently, his body is systematically shutting down on him, hence the coughs and the blood spurts and the weakness. He’s scaring the men closest to him. The men he considers his father figures.
While we have seen Jack bond with Sam and Cas, it’s been to a lesser extent with Dean. Jack is trying to prove himself as a hunter. The sixth episode of this season found Dean and Jack teaming up on a hunt where the nephilim proved useful. It’s in “Unhuman Nature,” where the two further solidify their own father-son connection.
Jack tells Dean how he wants to live the normal life. He wants to not be special. He wants to do everyday things. Experience the mundane and extract any joy he can out of life before he dies. He expects Dean to disagree with him. This time that doesn’t happen.
Dean just went through something traumatic. He chose to let Michael in, a decision that proved nothing short of horrifying. He wasn’t locked up in a neat and tidy corner of Michael’s brain. To him it seemed like he was drowning, fighting for every ounce of breath. So Dean has to relate to what Jack is talking about.
The two decide to head out for a drive in Baby. In a recent Collider article, Supernatural‘s Jensen Ackles described what Baby represents to Dean. “If you want to make it a childlike scenario, it would be his blanket,” he said on the red carpet of the show’s 300th episode celebration in Vancouver. “It’s his safety device when things go wrong.”
Dean and Jack drive to a fast food stand where they eat junk food…much like Dean is wont to do. And then he does something surprising. He lets Jack take Baby’s wheel. Mind you, this is a kid that doesn’t know how to drive. So the Winchester is taking a huge risk. It’s definitely an important step in their relationship.
The kid does good…eventually. He wobbles and starts off awkward. Then he steps up. Dean as a teacher is genuinely and wonderfully patient. It felt a lot like one of my all-time favorite brotherly moments. In fact, writing this article inspired me to go back and rewatch it.
In season three’s “Fresh Blood,” Dean knew he was going to hell and so he raced into danger with no care for his life. Well, Sam cared. He simply wanted Dean to act like his brother again.
After Sam brutally took care of a newly vamped up Gordon Walker, the episode ended with the Winchester bros on the side of the road, Dean busy fixing up Baby. He then turned the repair duties over to his younger sibling. He gave Sam pointers and then trusted him to take on the challenge of fixing the car. Because he knew that some point soon, Sam would be the one in charge of the Impala. It was also a huge way to show Sam he trusts him. That maybe he was right about the careless way he was acting. It was Dean’s way of showing Sam he loved him and he was going to be right by his side for as long as he could.
In “Unhuman Nature,” Dean’s patient tips help Jack get the hang of this driving thing (it doesn’t take too long). Then Dean encourages him to let loose and enjoy the open road.
I like Jack but if there’s a scene happening in Baby, I normally want it to involve Dean and Sam. However, I was totally cool with witnessing this awesome interaction. It was all very simple and joyful (and sad at the same time). Dean teaches Jack to drive. Jack comes to life when he realizes he’s achieving this very human goal. Dean pats Jack on the shoulder. Jack emulates Dean. Dean turns on the classic rock.
One particular moment that shined bright — this little exchange of dialogue.
Jack: “It’s like I’m youI”
Dean: “No, it’s notI”
Ackles and Alexander Calvert do such a great job with this sequence. It’s effortless. And unbelievably entertaining. I could have used more of it (and a little bit less of the Nick part of the episode #sorrynotsorry).
Jack has always tried so hard to win Dean’s approval. It feels like he has it unconditionally. They go on to fish, which is another sweet father/son-type scene. After the credits roll, it’s Dean and Jack in the bunker combined with the learning-to-drive and the fishing portions I ended up rewinding and rewatching…multiple times. I couldn’t help It.
Although part of me wondered if Dean let Jack navigate Baby because of the couple hazy flashes he experienced in the bunker. I don’t know what was going on but things got super warp-y while Dean was trying to converse with Sam and Cas and later Sam/Cas/Rowena. It has to do with Michael, right? These were very brief occurrences that left me intrigued. I can’t wait to find out what is going on with him. IF anything’s going on with him.
Until then, you’ll probably find me rewatching Dean and Jack’s adventures with Baby. Maybe I’ll stop when the next new episode of Supernatural unloads. “Byzantium” airs Thursday, Dec. 6 at 8/7c on the CW.
WATCH: Jensen talked to TV Diehard’s Carla Day about Dean and Jack’s quality time with Baby at the 300th episode party in Vancouver.
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