No, Dean, this isn’t The Goonies, it’s more like…well…It.
Tonight’s Supernatural revolves around dual stories of Sam and Dean that tie into each other by way of flashbacks.
As with most flashback episodes, this one is trying to give us a juxtaposition of how far along the boys have come in their relationship. The problem is, as far as I can see, it kind of shows how little their relationship has evolved.
We start the episode with Dean lying to Sam about why Cass skipped town as they are on their way to see an old friend (who died in the opening minutes of the show). In the flashback sequences, we see Dean lie to Sam and everyone else around him. He takes on the role of leader believing Sam to be too “soft” to help out. He also clearly resents Sam’s hidden ambition to go to school and live a “normal” life. By the end of the episode, there is this weird line that Dean throws out to Sam about how they make a pretty good team, but from everything that happens, this line isn’t accurate at all.
See, Dean has Sam stay behind with Travis (Liam Hughes as a young boy, and Ryan Alexander McDonald as a disturbed young man), because he doesn’t trust Sam as a hunter. Meanwhile, he and Travis’ sister Caitlin (Elle McKinnon as a young girl, and Kelsey Crane as a mourning adult) go to investigate the monster’s nest. It works out nicely that when the Baba Yaga attacks Travis, Sam is there to help, even though he doesn’t actually do much and Dean and Caitlin show up shortly after with Dean quickly dispensing of the threat.
But there are two ways to interpret this. The obvious one is that Dean uses the line to guilt his brother into staying in the life, remember he starts out by acknowledging Sam’s school aspirations. The other one is that the show just wanted a feel-good close to their final flashback.
The end of episode finds Sam at odds with his brother once Dean reveals the truth to him – all of it. That Billie visited him with the news that Chuck is done destroying the other worlds, that Jack is going to die to end things, and that he didn’t tell Sam because, once again, he didn’t think his brother could handle it. He also expresses his reluctance to face Sam’s moral judgment.
Sam, for his part, is understandably frustrated and angry. As he had once butt heads with their father for being the questioning son, he now butts heads with his brother for the same reason. Dean isn’t interested in the details. He wants to know the fix, and once it’s clear what that is, he’s willing to do whatever it takes to make sure it happens – unless of course, the fix is Sam dying. Sam, conversely, if always trying to find another way, regardless of who’s life is on the line.
Overall this was another middling episode. Nothing fantastic, nothing terrible. It moves the main plot along just barely and gives us a little more for the Sam and Dean history books. It does have some good moments:
When Sam is trying to find the Baba Yaga and sees smoke under a doorway only to discover the hotel’s front desk clerk (Bernadette Beck) smoking pot, I definitely giggled.
When Dean chides Caitlin for wanting to go on a monster hunt by declaring “this isn’t the freaking goonies” he’s absolutely right. This is way more like It. A trail of dead children, a monster that feeds on the fears of children, and keeps a nest!?
Also, since we’re on the subject: Sam and Dean got back to stopping a more popular monster! The Baba Yaga is a biggie as of late (thanks, John Wick). She’s as well-known as Bloody Mary, or the Woman in White, and yet this is the first time we’ve come across her. Nicely done, show.
And finally, a fun fact: The actors portraying young Sam (Christian Michael Cooper), and young Dean (Paxton Singleton), are actually the last in a long line of childhood actors giving life to the Winchesters in flashbacks – bonus fun–fact: Dean has the most with a total of seven actors taking on the mantel!
Next week looks interesting, we’re going back to biblical lore with Adam. Is Eve going to be there too? They have featured the garden, albeit briefly, but I don’t think that will come into play.