THEN: Lucifer. Mary. Toni. Sam. Bad things.
Well. This was unexpected. We open with Sam and Toni in bed, and it's immediately recognizable as a hallucination, although part of me was afraid it wasn't.
Once again, I haven't read any LJ reactions yet, but I did hit Tumblr after the episode, and this scene prompted a lot of reactions. I know it's difficult for some of you to look at. It's difficult for me to look at. I mean, yeah, so much pretty. But then again... well, let's discuss this under a separate cut, for those of you who want to skip it.
On the one hand, hallucinating that he had consensual relations with a pretty woman probably isn't the worst thing that's happened to Sam today. On the other hand, it probably is, because, you know. Consent and body autonomy and unimportant things like that. But the show isn't going to address it and other people will discuss it better than I can so let's just say that even I find this horrifying for Sam.
On the other other hand, we've got Sam's magnificent back and his hair in his face, and I'm only human, so...
Toni asks about American hunters in a way that suggests Sam has already given her some information. We don't really know what he might have told her, but presumably she didn't get what she wanted. She continues questioning him as "pillow talk," asking who recruited him and Dean, and who they report to, which is kind of ridiculous, considering that she allegedly knows so much about them. She's not very good at her job. When she asks about their "soldiers" being compromised, he finally realizes that he couldn't possibly be having an actual conversation with this twit. Watching Sam realize, inside the hallucination, what's going on? Is heartbreaking.
Interestingly, in his hallucination, Sam doesn't have his anti-possession tattoo.
When Sam yanks himself out of the hallucination (because he's a BAMF), Toni snarks that he must admit "it was fun while it lasted" and I really hope someone slices that smirk off her face before the end of this episode. She tells Sam that the hallucination was the result of "potion and powerful spellwork" that she unfortunately can't repeat, because his brain would liquefy. "Which we don't want, yet." You know, Toni, telling him that he's not intended to survive your questioning isn't really incentive for him to answer your questions. You're not very good at your job. She makes her way to a tray of instruments of torture, even though I thought they had already determined that physical torture wasn't going to do it, and picks up a knife and pliers, and though I think she's a hopeless twit, I do have to appreciate this...
Why is it that I could watch this all day long, but watching Sam roll around in bed with Toni makes me a little ill? (Never mind. I know why. Don't psychoanalyze me.)
Meanwhile, Dean is back at the bunker, leaving Cas to look for Sam in Aldrich, Missouri. Because that's what you do when your brother has been shot and kidnapped and is probably in Missouri. You head back to Kansas and let someone who isn't nearly as good at hunting handle it. Yep, that's a very Dean Winchester thing to do. He wouldn't scour the state. He wouldn't set up a closer command post. No, he'll head back with Mom and poke around on the computer. And when he did talk to Cas about the hunt for his imperiled little brother, he'd interrupt it with a conversation about adjusting to life with Mom, and that would be what he gripes about when he hangs up the phone. And he'd ask for relationship advice from a non-human being who doesn't understand humans or human relationships at all. Yep, he'd absolutely do that.
Oh. That explains it.
Mary naturally hears the conversation (is there a single person out there who didn't realize she would?) and shows up in the dead guy robe, and there's some more "adjusting to the present future" stuff and then something unexpectly wonderful happens.
And when we do find Sam, how am I going to face him?
What do you mean?
That yellow-eyed thing would never have come for him that night if I... I started all of this.
I did not expect Show to address Mary's role in this. Good on you, Show. Now, let's see if we get to witness Mary actually saying this to Sam.
The next morning, Cas calls to reveal he's found a farmhouse that was rented by a woman with an accent, which is suspicious. Oh and also, it's powerfully warded, and it's funny when Dean says "that was your headline," but it's also sad, because Dean's sitting around joking with Cas instead of jumping up and saying "send me the coordinates and I'll be there one hour faster than it would take a normal human being to get there," and I miss that Dean. Instead, he calmly closes his computer and tries to convince Mary to stay at the bunker, and she out-Deans him by insisting that she's coming, and says "good talk" as she walks off. This is very interesting. Canonically, Sam is more like John in personality, so I love this little hint that Dean is a lot like his mother. I also love the possibility that he's not going to get to claim leadership by virtue of being the big brother any more. But on the other hand, this banter is happening while Sam is still being held and tortured and I just really wish there was more of a feeling of urgency.
Also, it's hilarious that Cas is just going to stand right outside this farmhouse, in broad daylight, watching it until Dean gets there. That's not suspicious at all.
Speaking of the farmhouse... inside, Toni wakes Sam with a cheery splash of cold water. His outer shirt has been pushed off his shoulders, because Toni likes single-layer Sam as much as I do. He probably hasn't been out of that chair, or those cuffs, since the night he almost escaped (which, judging by Toni's wardrobe changes, was at least two days ago). She asks him about "your relationship with the demon Ruby."
Like me, Sam wonders if she never got past season 4 in the Supernatural books.
Then someone named Mick calls and informs her that Minion is dead and she's not going to do very well on her annual review.
Oh, look, here's Rowena and some guy who looks a little too much like a sane version of Gary Busey. Rowena's eye shadow is surprisingly unflattering; it's usually quite marvelous.
And seeing her in regular people clothes, with her hair down, is kind of sad.
And also I'm not really interested in her pitiful sucking up to a rich guy, so let's zip quickly through this plotline. Crowley shows up as the waiter, she's annoyed because she wants to leave behind "monsters and demons" and that makes all kinds of sense, but she wants to leave magic behind as well? Is that the reason she's relying on Not!Gary Busey to take care of her instead of conjuring up something on her own? Fair-gus threatens to spill the beans unless she helps him locate Lucifer.
Oh, wait, we're at the end of a rock concert. That's interesting. It's Vince Vincente and he loves Cleveland and he's played by Rick Springfield and guys, if you had any idea how much I loved (and still do love) the song Jessie's Girl, you would understand why my heart does a happy little backflip here. Although it turns out he's aged a lot since 1981 (who would have thought?) and with the eyeliner he looks an awful lot like Alice Cooper now.
Before and after. Look at the cute little face and the cheekbones and the long soft dark hair and the hazel eyes and OKAY, I HAVE A TYPE. SHUT UP.
Let's just get Vince's story all in one go, shall we? Someone who calls him "brother" encourages him to hit the town, but he's going to stay in his dressing room and drink and look sadly at a picture of a pretty young woman. She's young enough to be his daughter (let's be honest... Rick is pushing 70, she could be his granddaughter) but since he's a rock star we're going to assume she's his girlfriend or wife. Brother tells him "it's been years since Jen died" and that she'd want him to be happy and sleep with groupies but Vince sends him away. His name is Tommy. Is he going to be around long enough for that to matter? Time will tell. Vince's lights start flashing and the picture of Jen falls over and he is confused and scared. He goes back to his hotel, where there are more framed pictures of poor dead Jen, which he must bring with him everywhere he goes. He goes into the bathroom for the obligatory Sad Handwashing Scene and the water turns to blood and ew, that's nasty, especially when he splashes it on his face.
And I'm looking in the mirror all the time, wondering what she don't see in me...
(Yes, there will be lines from Jessie's Girl as long as Rick Springfield is on my screen. Deal with it.)
The lights start flickering again and the TV comes on and Vince calls the front desk and pictures start floating and oh, look. It's poor dead Jen. Not in a white nightgown. Huh. She apologizes for committing suicide and calls herself "selfish," but of course this isn't really poor dead Jen.
Are you a ghost?
No. I'm an angel.
Poor dead Jen tells Vince that she can take away his pain, and all he has to do is "invite me in." (Edited to add... I thought I put this here, but I only said it on Tumblr... Lucifer seduces Vince the same way he did with both Sam and Nick; by using dead wives/lovers. Very in character for him.) Bang. Looks like someone's got himself a new vessel.
Just in time, because Rowena is about to summon him for Crowley. She's not happy to be doing this, especially without the proper equipment. "I can't believe I'm once again down some dank hole seekin' the Devil. When does it end?" Oh, Rowena. If I had a nickel for every time I said that. She locates him, and Crowley informs her that the two of them are going to put Lucifer back in the cage. Rowena grabs her crystal ball and leaves the playground, declaring that she won't be involved in this nonsense again, and Crowley says "maybe I should tell Ben about you." Because yeah, that's a realistic threat. Go tell Not!Gary Busey that his girlfriend is actually your 300-year-old mother, and she's a witch. I'm sure he'll believe you and he'll drop her like a hot potato. But it works on Rowena. She then points out that Lucifer can't be sent back to the cage while he's in a vessel. Um. Okay. I guess season 5 didn't happen. I guess this is, actually, a bit of continuity from S11, when Rowena wasn't able to zap him back into the original cage because he was in a vessel. Maybe it only works if the vessel tosses itself into the cage. That's the only way any of this makes sense. Let's declare it true, shall we, and carry on. Anyway, Crowley says Lucifer won't be in a vessel by the time they're ready.
The next day, Tommy shows up to get Vince to go to rehearsal, but Vincifer has plans, so Tommy ends up getting tossed through the door. Buh bye, Tommy. Lucifer trots over to Not!Hell, whereever that currently is, to find Crowley sitting on his throne. Crowley suggests that Lucifer take over Heaven instead of mucking about with measly old Hell, and Lucifer's all, how about I just smite you instead? But Rowena has put a spell on him, making him smiteless. Crowley tosses sulfuric acid on him, intending to destroy his vessel and release his grace, I suppose. It does melt part of his face but doesn't destroy him, and Rowena's spell fails at sending him back to the cage. Lucifer displays his wings and fixes his face (but leaves the unfortunate eyeliner) and calls Crowley a "bad man." Uh oh. Crowley out.
Now THIS is a Lucifer I can deal with. Wait. I don't mean deal.
Lucifer decides not to snap Rowena's neck, but also not to let her go, because she's an awesome witch and has the Book of the Damned, so he's going to keep her as a prisoner.
Now that Storyline B is over with, let's get back to Dean and Mary. They're on the road, and it's nighttime.
I can't believe I let you talk me into this.
I'm your mother. You have to do what I say.
Oh, snap. Dean's about to see some payback for 30+ years of "I'm the big brother." He's also realizing that his mom is a pretty good hunter. They talk about how John changed after she died, how hunting takes over your life, and Dean reveals that Sam actually wanted out and temporarily made it. Mary's surprised that he came back, and Dean says that when John disappeared, he and Sam realized that "the only thing we had in this world, aside from this car, was each other." He doesn't get into the whole "Sam's girlfriend died and I dragged him back into hunting" aspect of it. Surely someone will tell Mary the whole story later.
Don't call me Shirley.
Back to the farmhouse. It's now broad daylight, which means many, many hours have passed since Cas and Dean spoke on the phone. Odd, since Aldrich, Missouri is about 6.5 hours away from Lebanon. I wonder how much time Dean and Mary spent packing. I wonder why they weren't already packed and ready to hit the road. I wonder, again, why they didn't just stay in the Aldrich area. I wonder why Cas thinks no one would notice him standing in the road by his truck for at least 12 hours. I wonder so many things. Cas seems annoyed at first that Dean brought Mary, but when Dean insists on going inside alone, Cas convinces Mary to stay by asking her to keep him company.
Dude, your mom? That's so not cool.
Dean pokes around the farmhouse in broad daylight, not bothering to hide himself at all. He finds the area with wooden slats that I noticed earlier and tries to yank the door open, banging on it long enough to alert anybody inside. And then discovers that he's standing on some kind of sigil. "Whoops," he says, as he's spirited away.
The basement door opens and we see that Toni and Sam have spent some more quality time together. He's in pretty bad shape. He's not going to bounce back from this quickly. (Ha ha ha right.)
"Bloody and battered" is also a type.
He tells her "screw yourself" once again, and I'm glad Dean was there to hear that, because I want him to know his little brother's a BAMF. Sam, of course, is very surprised to find his brother is there to witness his BAMFery. Toni says that maybe Sam can withstand being taken apart joint by joint, but can he watch it happening to Dean? A couple of points here. First, it's interesting that Toni is still insistent on getting information out of Sam. If she'd really done her research, she might come to the conclusion that making Dean watch her torture Sam would be more effective. Second, it's interesting that Sam doesn't even suspect he's hallucinating again. Why not? Sure, Toni told him she couldn't use that spell again, but why believe her? Wouldn't he be more likely to believe that his dead brother showing up to be tortured must be another hallucination?
Eh. Stop asking questions and just enjoy the view.
Dean says "I just came by for some tea and a beating," and he gets it. The beating, not the tea. Although Toni has a slew of interesting tools, she goes with brass knuckles at first. And then she asks him about Benny, because again, she's really behind on her Winchester history. Dean and Sam catch up (I'm alive, she's MoL), Toni mocks them for not doing their research, Dean doesn't attempt to get out of the world's loosest handcuffs, and Toni monologues evilly and threatens Dean's naughty bits.
Well, yeah, I could probably get out of these, but I'd scrape my knuckles all bloody, and I hate when that happens.
Then Mary shows up and instead of shooting Toni, which would be a lot faster and less likely to fail, she tells her to get away from her boys. Which is, admitedly, more dramatic.
And Sam is even MORE befuddled, which is one of my favorite flavors of Sam.
There's a fight. Mary's kind of awesome but it still looks like she's going to lose. She comes through in the end, but then Toni puts a spell on her that can kill her. Dean hands Toni the gun, then punches her unconscious, which stops her "Chinese mind control technique." Then Mick, the Brit who called earlier, shows up with Cas and tries to play good cop/bad cop. Everybody's standing up now, even Sam, with his burned foot and his tortured body, who was barely conscious not long ago. Okay. We do get a funny line when Mick tries to convince the Winchesters that he's on the up and up.
Not to mention, I powered down all the wardings in this shack so your attack dog could come in. I reckon he could finish me off without breaking a sweat. Am I right?
I don't sweat under any circumstances.
I don't know if this is clueless Cas or Cas being a BAMF, but either way I love it.
The next scene is back at the bunker, with the family sitting around the war room eating a bucket of chicken. So, wait. Wait. We're here now? We completely skipped the hug, and Sam throwing an arm over Dean's shoulder so Dean can half-carry him to the car? We didn't witness Sam's first conversation with his mother? WTF, Show???
Okay then. Let's carry on. Dean finds out that Mary doesn't actually cook. And Sammy, dear Sammy, sits there looking at his mother like he's afraid she's another hallucination and he's waiting for to disappear.
I want to tell her that I love her but the point is probably moot. (Oh, come on. You knew another line was coming. Unless you don't know that song. In which case, just move along.)
Dean shoves some pie in his face and Mary still doesn't understand the internets and Sam is precious and his voice, you guys, what happened to his voice over the summer? It's so beautiful.
Later, Mary is in her room, brushing her hair before she goes to bed, which is a thing that Guys Who Write Scripts think that women do (or maybe y'all with straight hair do that? I wouldn't know) when there's a knock on her door and Sam comes in with a cup of tea and John's journal. He's awkard and adorable.
I've been funny, I've been cool with the lines... ain't the way love's supposed to be?
He tells her he knows what it's like to "come back and not feel like you really fit" and that could apply to a lot of Sam's life... his nomadic childhood, going to college, coming back to hunting after Stanford, coming back topside after Hell, coming back to hunting after Amelia... excuse me, I have something in my eye. She's sad over missing "mother stuff" and says she has a lot of blanks to fill in. Sam gives her the journal and says it helped him fill in a lot of blanks. Mary asks him about getting out of hunting, and he also ignores the whole "my girlfriend was killed by that same demon" story and instead says "this is my family; my family hunts. That's what we do." Then he gets teary-eyed and tells her that having her here "fills in the biggest blank" and we finally get an awesome hug with Sam's long arms wrapped around someone and his eyes closed and okay. Okay. It's less than I wanted but it's still awfully damn good.
Ignore me, I'm over here sobbing in the corner.
Then Dean sits on the floor of the kitchen that his mother will never use and drinks beer with a sad face and looks at pictures and Mary looks at John's journal and cries and Sam lies on his bed with not a cut or anything on his face so I guess Cas healed him.
I guess Cas likes Sam's pretty face too.
And one of the pictures Mary finds in John's journal is apparently... the one Dean found in Bobby's abandoned house in The End? The one that led him to Camp Chataqua? A photo that could not actually exist in this timeline?
That is Cas with a gun in the top right row, isn't it?
Well, let's give that one a big "whatever."
And then we cut to Toni getting a lecture from Mick (and I'm glad to see Cas didn't heal her pinched little face). Mick admits he's willing to destroy the Winchesters "if push comes to shove," and reveals that the mysterious Mr. Ketch (who it turns out is the man with the cross tattoo on his hand from last ep's flashback) is already on his way.
New Lucifer = good
Lack of H/C = bad
Lack of brother hug = bad
Mother hug = awesome
MoL = just as we suspected, evil and not to be trusted
Crowena = wasted screen time unless they're sniping at the Winchesters
Sam's hallicinatory interlude = mixed emotions
Mary = not sure; I still don't want her to simply hang around and become part of TFW but now I don't want Sam to lose her, so I'm torn
And now I get to go see what you all thought!
No spoilers in the comments, please!