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dean croatoan

Supernatural ep review - Two and a Half Men (6.02)

Posted on 2010.10.03 at 22:38
Current Mood: groggygroggy
Tags: , ,
I'm not putting anything this side of the cut, because I'd hate to spoil anyone, but it has just occurred to me that putting the title in my header could be doing just that, so please let me know in comments if this is the case and I'll stop doing it.


Two and a Half Men

First off, I have to state my position clearly. Dean is being played, totally. I have no clue as to what the game plan is, nor whether he is just being used or is more a target, but the Campbells are playing him one way or another. Also, I’m kind of operating on the theory that the Campbells have angelic connections. Honestly, I was leaning towards all of them being angels until Mark ... well, let’s just say he proved otherwise. The extent of Sam’s involvement is something I’m still pondering.

*ignores ‘Then’ section because of lack of classic rock*

*although it was nice to see the S1 clips*

*especially half-nekkid!Dean* *Anywayyyy*

The opening was a bit of a joy, in that we had a welcome return to the Victim-of-the-week expo section, complete with suitable levels of gore. Obviously I will fast-forward through this bit forever now, but I truly appreciate its existence. Also, what an incredibly well-behaved baby. I have two, and I’m confident that putting my hand over their mouths would not have achieved the desired effect.

Ahh mirror titles. Nope, still not convinced.

Dean, poignantly looking through the contents of the Impala’s trunk. Presumably he must have driven it from their old house to the new one, though, so at least it’s getting a run out from time to time. This garage has jumped to no. 1 in my previously non-existent list of half-hearted set builds. Or, I dunno, maybe they just like houses with a bit of work that need doing, now Dean’s into that sort of thing.

(I think I may as well get out of the way at this point that, once again, Jensen Ackles a) is hot like burning and b) acted his socks off throughout. Saves me continually having to point it out.)

OK, they’ve moved. Seems reasonably sensible, although I think Dean might need to consider ditching his mobile phone for the full safety effect. I have to say, and it’s surprising me, the more I see of Lisa and Ben, the more I like them. Although Lisa is an irritatingly good mother, damn her. What I also like is how the family dynamic is being played – close, but with an edge.

And cut to Sam on the job, and very professional he is too. He was always the better of the two at the ‘posing as an official’ stuff, and clearly nothing has changed in that respect.

Cut back to Dean, ordering in pizza. No way he’s going out, despite what he may have said. Also – ‘one cheese, one everything’ – I’m guessing his is the everything, no? Lisa and Ben can split the cheese. (Notes writer credit is one Adam Glass – this is his first, right? I don’t remember seeing him before.) Delightful synchronised ‘huh?’ look from Lisa and Ben.

Sam’s on the phone, and that should totally be Dean on the other end, even though I’m starting to buy in to domesticated!Dean. I find myself reminded of that scene in – oh I forget its name, Gordon’s first episode with Tara from Buffy – where Sam was berating Dean for trying to replace John with just anybody. And here’s Sam on the phone to Samuel. It’s an insult to Dean’s memory, is what it is. Even though Dean’s not dead. I officially don’t like Samuel. But I do like his frustration with the Internet. Yep, I can totally relate. (Also, anyone who says ‘Either way, it’s baby stew. Which is bad.’ has to be given a certain amount of awesome points.)

Also, while we’re on the subject, the one point where I liked Samuel was the ‘Am I boring you?’ line. If we have to have Samuel back, I want the irascible snarky guy we met in the first place.

Right, the scene in the garage with Ben. Point number one, there is NO WAY Ben should have been able to get at those weapons. Very bad security there. Point number two, yelling is OK as a parent when the reason is you’ve just found your child playing with a shotgun. Point number three, yelling is OK as a parent. Or at least, it’s not really, but all parents do it. All this ’OMG you yelled at the child’ crap is a standard bugbear of mine on TV shows. Are there genuinely parents out there who never raise their voices, never lose their cool, are always totally gentle and understanding? Maybe there are, and it’s just my kids that are bawled at from time to time.

So Dean’s terrible parenting leads to a ‘talk’ from Lisa, and I’m pleased to see at least a nod to reality as Lisa points out that they have a life they’re supposed to be leading while all this instant house-moving and indoor pizza-eating is going on. Dean looks wistful and pensive, which seems to be his default expression with Lisa. I increasingly wonder how they managed to get him to smile long enough to take that ‘happy photo’ pinned on the wall. But hey, wistful and pensive does wonders for his eyes, so I’m totally not complaining.

Sam’s on a hunt, on his own, with a hint of the Blue Steel look as he approaches the house. Lock-picking is always a winner, as is that great gun-and-torch combo that they’re both so good at. And – oops, guess it’s too late for the occupants of this house. I wonder if that role gets featured on the actors’ IMDb entries – ‘2010 Supernatural (1 episode) – dead guy in chair’. Of course, those of us who are paying attention to anything other than how pretty Jared looks snooping around in the dark are now wondering where the baby is. Not in the closet, anyway.

And Sam, who is staring at the baby-free closet for long enough to have me going ‘BEHIND YOU’, is thrown across the room by a uniformed monster. Is this part of the Dean-Sam role reversal, that Sam now gets thrown and Dean gets choked? And are they going to have Dean getting strangled in every ep from now on? And is it bad of me to really really hope so? Sam has his trusty silver knife to hand, though, which certainly looks like the one he used to slice himself last week, so maybe the test was valid after all.

OK, hands up who immediately knew this was a shape shifter as soon as the wound started smoking? Even my OH knew. But maybe, to be fair, the ‘Then’ montage gave us the heads up. I suppose it could have been a zombie, at a push.

I adore both Sam’s and Dean’s ‘OMG baby’ expressions. *pets them*

I have no explanation whatever for why Sam calls Dean for help with the baby, rather than Samuel. It makes me deeply suspicious of Sam’s motives, especially when Sam later insists they go to Samuel anyway. Less about the baby, I think, more about getting Dean and Samuel in one place. There’s certainly no reason to think Dean is some baby care expert. Unless – oh of course, Sam’s been reading all the fanfic about how Dean used to change Sam’s diapers. Never got that, Sam would have been out of them by the time Dean was six, and no matter how dodgy a father John was I simply can’t believe he was leaving them alone at the ages of five and one. But I digress.

This is the first Dean-Sam interaction of the episode (at twelve and a half minutes in, she notes grumpily) and, unlike last week, it actually sounds the way they’re supposed to when they talk to each other. Still not getting any sense of connection between them – even through all the baby related bonding and deep talking later, they still seem very isolated from each other, but that’s to be expected since Sam is eeeevviiiillll and plotting given their separation – but at least they sound like Dean and Sam.

(And yes, I do like the little irony of Dean insisting he’s out, while simultaneously salting the windows.)

First face-to-face, they seem to have dispensed with ‘Hello’ or any similar conversational conventions. The baby is A.DOR.A.BLE! And I’m pretty neutral on babies generally, but both the ones they drafted in for this role are proper cuties. I’m impressed, actually, by how much of the baby action seems to have been done using real babies. Good one, Show.

I don’t write het, but if I did I would be very tempted indeed by the Dean-teaches-Lisa-how-to-use-a-gun concept. It does feel as if we’re seeing the end of the sequence here, with Lisa still in her nightwear and all. And I’m still loving the dynamic between these two – that ‘God, shut up!’ with the grin and the hair-tossing, very cosy feel indeed. These two should be together. I’m not ashamed to admit I’ve had a complete turnaround on this, it’s just lovely seeing someone treating Dean with the gentle teasing affection he deserves.

And the contrast with the scene immediately following, and the cold unsmiling professionalism (and still no ‘hello’, honestly, manners cost nothing), is very effectively disconcerting, and makes me yearn for past times between Dean and Sam, except that they were always like that, pretty much. They do look as if they’re starting to get back on the same page, though, albeit only as colleagues.

BABY SMILE! :D

I join Dean in his contempt for the pingy seatbelt warning thing, and love that he clearly thinks Sam’s car is douchey. I agree a billion per cent – it’s a wannabe Impala without any of the class. So there. *is not reconciled to Sam’s car in any way*

The ‘baby supplies’ scene – was anyone else immediately reminded of the tampon scene in Ten Inch Hero? I wouldn’t be at all surprised if Ms Gamble fancied ripping that off. Actually, I enjoyed the scene more than I thought; they resisted the temptation to make Dean look soft but left him looking competent. I genuinely laughed out loud at the ‘Butt Paste’ packaging – yet another brilliant touch from the Props dept. And the whole ‘Make it stop’ thing will resonate deeply with anyone who’s ever had the dubious pleasure of taking a baby to a supermarket. (And yes, you do get all those disapproving glances from interfering judgmental know-it-all gits who all think they would do far better). (Oh, by the way, Dean – babies really hate it when you mimic them crying. Just so you know.)

Bobby John. Dean says Bobby, Sam says John. I think it’s fair to say that Dean is properly over John, and it may be reading in too much but I like to interpret the name choice as a sign that Dean still sees Bobby as his father-figure, despite last week’s events.

Loved the chase/fight – shape shifter skin coming off in the hand will never not be deliciously gross -and I giggled when Sam seemed to react as though Dean’s whole ‘stab you in the neck’ thing might just be Dean being moody! But no, Dean is ever-alert (and who’s the one who’s been hunting for a year and should be alert for danger signs? And who’s the one who’s supposed to be all rusty? Heh.) But then Sam manages to disappear with the baby, leaving Dean presumably caught on security cameras threatening customers and staff with a knife. Back on the Wanted list again?

‘Who designed this thing – NASA?’ Hee! Damn straight.

And shape shifter has shifted shape again, and is calling in the plates. Apparently a 1028 is a vehicle information search, rather than a request to stop if seen, so I’m none the wiser as to how that helps the shifter locate the baby. Unless Sam is stupid enough to have registered his car at the address where Clan Campbell are hanging out. Actually, even that doesn’t work, because they’re in some motel in the next scene.

And Dean is changing nappies! (Sorry, British, writing diapers just feels too odd). And he does it deftly, holds the baby beautifully, and isn’t it just melting to watch a man taking care of a baby so well, while still managing to be Dean Winchester? Even Sam drags up a look of something approaching affection as he watches Dean at work – and, wonders will never cease, pays him an unbarbed compliment on his skills. Well, slightly barbed and somewhat backhanded, but we’ll let it stand.

Dean, anyhow, is sufficiently disarmed to open up a little about Ben, only to be shot down in flames. I have to take issue with Sam here – while the (justifiable) paranoia may be reminiscent of the John Winchester style of parenting, telling your child there is no way on God’s green earth he will ever fire a gun definitely isn’t. Dean may be over-reacting, but he’s doing it to keep Lisa and Ben out of harm’s way, which was hardly the way the boys were brought up. But then Sam’s motivation appears to be to get Dean away from Lisa, and if a bit of inaccurate emotional blackmail’s what works (and it might) then so be it.

And then, having brought Dean right back to earth, Sam has a timely revelation (and again, this is very ‘carrot and stick’ and I’m still suspicious) and nicks out to do some investigating, leaving Dean holding the baby. And feeding it whisky, which is just sweet, even though it really shouldn’t be.

So, while Sam is off interviewing the ex-husband (IMDb entry: Supernatural 2010, 1 episode, Cuckolded Witness. God, acting is a glamorous life, isn’t it?) Dean is rediscovering the Magic Fingers, trying to catch a few much-needed zees, when –

SPLAT!!! (hee!)

And thus a rather mucky, understandably whingey but highly cute (and unexpectedly black) baby enters the scene, accompanied by a redundant phone call from Sam who has put two and two together. Shapeshifter Baby! Yep, I can get behind that. Especially with Dean being all ‘yes but it’s still a baby and we need to protect it’. Much has been made of the so-called personality swap we’re supposedly seeing between Dean and Sam, but this has been in Dean’s makeup ever since Sam started having visions. Only we haven’t seen it applied to anyone but Sam before this point.

Dean’s reaction – this baby must be cleaned and changed. Which, if I wasn’t already completely besotted with Dean, I would be now. I’m trying not to use the word maternal, but Dean is really good with babies. Clearly Jensen Ackles is not without baby-holding experience.

FIGHT!! Eee. I do love a good scrap. Incidentally, isn’t that Sam’s knife? I noticed that in the supermarket too. Did Sam give it to Dean and I missed it? Or do they just coincidentally now have identical knives? Nice to see Dean getting thrown across the room again – traditions should be observed, I feel. Although, that was a pretty soft landing by Dean’s standards – I’d have expected him to be back up and at it. Maybe the year off has had its effect after all.

But it’s OK, because Sammy saves the day! And it’s time to visit the relatives, show them the new addition to the family. Dean seems none too keen on the idea, and I’m with him all the way – the less of Clan Campbell we see, the happier I am. On the way there’s a nice little talk, although I’m still not picking up much of a brotherly vibe, but it seems churlish to fuss. Did like the ‘Not all hunters are headcases – Samuel’s actually a lot like you.’ ‘I’m a freakin’ headcase!’ exchange, especially Dean’s indignation at the idea that Sam might not have picked up on this!

Aaaand – it’s the SamnDean theme music, from all the way back in Pilot. That’s lovely. Unlike the Campbells, who are even snarkier and more irritating than last time. Loving protective!Dean shielding the baby from a group of people he clearly considers, at best, untrustworthy strangers – and I certainly feel that he includes Sam in this, at least when he’s with the ‘family’. Sure, he hands the baby over to Sam, but with great reluctance and no small amount of coaxing.

(I am starting to enjoy the overt hostility between Dean and Christian, and will await with interest the inevitable violence between them. I actually predict that, once they’ve given each other a good beat down, they’ll end up getting on OK. Or Christian will die. One of those. )

Samuel has crossed over into outright creepy now. Would you give a baby to this man? Dean sure wouldn’t. “Congratulations. It’s a boy. Sometimes.” HEE! Although the ‘raise him’ plan? Not so good. I suspect, for all the lip-service about Christian’s conception misfortunes, the baby would have been getting ‘raised’ wherever they took that Djinn. Sinister Campbells are sinister.

I cannot BELIEVE Sam told the Family about Dean’s experiences in Hell. The man is devoid of empathy. Dean takes it pretty well, considering, but I imagine it’s getting mentally noted. ‘There’s just a little too much mystery with this family for me to get comfy.’ WORD!

(Although again, Christian’s ‘The crap I do for this family’ reminds me a lot of, well, Dean. Actually, his reactions generally are very Dean. Even that snide ‘Leave it to the professionals’ last week isn’t that dissimilar to the way Dean treated ghoul!Adam. Not sure what to make of this, yet, but I’d be surprised if the resemblance is accidental.)

Then – Hellhounds!!! Oh no, turns out they’re just dogs, I’m assuming the Campbells’ guard dogs, signalling the arrival of the Big Baddie, Alpha!Shifter, who can feel the baby and is pretty keen to have it back. Sam rushes Dean and the baby downstairs out of harm’s way, while the Campbells face down Samuel. Oh awesome, now there’s two of them. Shifter Samuel is rather more impressive though, and kills off Mark, which would have bothered me except that, fickle as ever, I’ve decided I like Christian more now. Sadly he fails to finish off Gwen, who does a bit of half-hearted coughing to manifest her pain. It comes as absolutely no surprise whatever to anyone but the Family that tranquilisers are less than massively effective on a creature this powerful.

Sam and Dean are fretting in the panic room. Sam finally can’t take it any more, and instructs Dean to stay with the baby, and I almost have a hissy fit till I remember just in time that guarding the kid has to be the most dangerous job, given the circumstances. Anyway it’s moot, because Shifter Sam rips the door clean off its hinges. Sam does his best (and gives us an absolutely gorgeous shot of the two of them pretty much nose-to-nose – Show is getting very adept at this double vision stuff now) but Shifter Sam throws him out of the way and focuses on the prize.

There’s a properly tense moment as Dean, babe in arms, faces down a monster in his brother’s body, and we can only imagine what kind of memories are being brought back by that, until – oh God yes – two Deans. Two identical Jensens face to face, and I don’t care how many times Show does that, it’ll never get old.

There’s a minimum of talking (Gimme. Nah.) and Shifter Dean cuts to the chase. And we have the new tradition of Dean-strangulation. Jensen really rocks the being choked acting – you know he’s unlikely to die, being the lead and all (not in the second episode, anyway), but it’s frighteningly easy to buy into his imminent demise. For me, the most frightening touch was the ease with which Shifter Dean removed the baby.

Back upstairs, they’re gloomily mooching around and having a bit of a debrief. Christian gives Dean a bit of an enigmatic look, which could be either recognition or recrimination. Turns out the monster is an Alpha, the shifter from which all other shifters are spawned or something such. There’s tons of lore, apparently, which is good, lore is always welcome.

Very interesting conversation between Dean and Sam. Sam has always been an excellent liar (I suppose in their job that has to be seen as an asset) so it’s impossible to be sure, but it seems a fair bet he’s lying now. Dean certainly thinks so, and therefore I hope so, because the one thing I really couldn’t bear is for Dean to have to do some big climb-down and apology thing at some future point.

Who is Samuel on the phone to? I don’t care enough yet to offer any speculation, so I’ll assume it’s no-one we know for now.

Back home with Lisa, Dean is looking like Jensen and sounding like Dean, which I find deeply hot slightly confusing. Dean is all over the shop, no idea what to do for the best (which I would guess is exactly the end Sam wanted to achieve) and generally in a right state. (And I know I said I wouldn’t go on about it, but really. Drop. Dead. Gorgeous in this scene. Lisa shows an admirable grasp of the situation, and almost too much willingness to let him go hunt (his ‘Yes I do [want to be here]’ seems pretty fervent and heartfelt to me – I’d say he wants to be with Lisa and Ben a whole lot more than he wants to hunt at the moment). But I guess she’s taking the long view, and maybe she has a point. At any rate, she’s been set up to be what most fans were coming to expect – a home base, in the same vein as Bobby. We’ll handwave the issue of Ben’s emotional security and comfortableness with this guy coming and going at irregular intervals – plenty of kids whose dads are in the armed forces or whatever manage to live with it, and the parallel is apposite enough – because Lisa has just managed to put herself in a position where she has at least a fighting chance of not being killed off. For a while, anyway.

(There’s a single frame missing in the Dean-Lisa scene. I know it’s meaningless, but it doesn’t stop me speculating! Maybe – just maybe – it’s not just a filming glitch, but a sign that All Is Not As It Seems. *makes spooky hands*)

The last scene – ohhhh. I watched with my hand over my mouth and a lump in my throat. Dean’s face, and the Impala gleaming, and Smoke on the Water, and Dean’s face and what an incredibly moving scene. Perfect finish.

Yeah. Must admit, when I saw the title for this ep I was expecting it to be a lot more twee and cutesy – in fact, it was good old-fashioned MotW stuff with an edge. And cute babies, granted. I need to have more faith. And I definitely want to see more of this Adam Glass guy writing eps.

ETA: Just been Googling, turns out Butt Paste is real! Brilliant! :DDD

Comments:


nastynewfie at 2010-10-04 06:40 (UTC) (Link)
I agree with you about all the fan rumblings about Dean not knowing how to take care of a baby after raising Sam. Fact is, at 5 years old, he wouldn't have had the manual dexterity to take care of a baby, let alone change it's diapers. By the time Dean began taking an active role in taking care of his brother, Sam was probably walking. Plus, Dean most likely wouldn't remember the day to day care of his baby brother that he witnessed. What 5 year old would?
Sorry for the rant. I've been busting to get that out since I read some of the fan criticism. Thanks for listening.
I, being poor, have only my dreams.
bistokids at 2010-10-04 08:56 (UTC) (Link)
You rant away! :D I had no idea there was fan criticism on this, but sadly it fails to surprise me (if you could point me towards some, I'd be interested to have a read - most of what I've seen has been pretty positive).

Dean does extremely well with the baby, for sure, and maybe some of that is based on vague memories of watching Sam being cared for, but not much. His skills in this are presented very much as a learning curve (in the supermarket he doesn't have much of a clue) and Sam's surprise at Dean's prowess lead me to think Sam had no expectation of Dean being any good at it. (So why did he call him? *narrows eyes at Sam*)

I'm putting most of it down to Dean having a lifetime's experience of reacting fast to changing events. Also being intelligent and a quick learner. And having a genuine desire to make the baby feel cared for.

Thanks for responding! :)
waxiloon at 2011-04-08 13:17 (UTC) (Link)
My cousin recommended this blog and she was totally right keep up the fantastic work!

I, being poor, have only my dreams.
bistokids at 2011-04-14 10:42 (UTC) (Link)
Thank you! I kind of stalled on this whole project, being (as my flist would tell you) somewhat sporadic in my LJ attendance, but your lovely feedback may just be the kick up the backside I needed!

(Thank your cousin as well. :) )
goyarook at 2011-04-14 03:28 (UTC) (Link)
You were meant to blog. It has inspired me to start my own blog on barrie dentist

opheliexeg at 2011-11-02 20:53 (UTC) (Link)
Hmmm for some reason only half the post can be seen. I tried reloading but still same.

I, being poor, have only my dreams.
bistokids at 2011-11-02 21:00 (UTC) (Link)
Some bizarre LJ naughtiness, must be. It's showing fine for me, but I've clicked 'edit', checked all the text is still there and re-saved. (This being my version of 'switch it off then on again!)

Any improvement? :)
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