Blue pentagram

Initial reaction 12.18: "The Memory Remains"

THEN: Mary and Ketch. Mick and Dr. Hess. All sorts of nastiness.

NOW: Campfire. Young people. Lonely Guy realizes he and Creepy Guy are the only ones not making out. Lonely Guy walks off, finds a glowing backpack full of money, and springs a trap that binds him to a tree. He thinks it's been set by his friend Creepy Guy Darren and you're right, Lonely Guy, it's not funny. But as Darren comes to the rescue, someone who looks like Tim the Enchanter hits Creepy Guy in the head with a mallet and it gets a little bit funny. And... scene.

Title card!

The bunker. Dean is still unsuccessful in his attempts to call Cas. He's worried and annoyed, and both of these things are cute on him. (Meanwhile, Sam's wearing a greenish cousin to the Red Plaid Shirt of Awesomeness, and it's cute on him.) Sam suggests they can go find him, but his GPS is turned off and there is no news of weird guys in trench coats getting arrested (though I'm not sure that's the level of detail that usually makes it into a report) or turning up dead, so Dean considers him unfindable. While Sam tries to reassure him that Cas will be fine, because he's dropped off the map before and is always okay (except when he really, really isn't), Dean retrieves the Colt, which is being kept in the under-the-war-table holster, and I don't think that location is really secure enough. While he cleans the gun, Dean asks what Sam has going on, and he says "I stayed up all night going through every book we have on demons, and it turns out we have a lot of books about demons." Hee! Nothing on Dagon, though.

But they've got the Colt, and nothing else matters. See, that's a Metallica lyric too. Oh, never mind.

Sam's surprised to get an email from Mick, but not nearly as surprised as he would be if he'd paid attention during the THEN and saw that Mick was dead. Not!Mick has sent them a case in Tomahawk, Wisconsin - someone named Jared (who I assume is Lonely Guy) (also, hee, Jared) disappeared a week ago, and the place has a history. For about a hundred years, someone disappeared once a year, then it stopped for 20 years and it's started up again. Sam replies "on it" to Not!Mick, who to no one's surprise is actually Ketch. Ketch announces "it's time" to a couple of henchmen, and my immediate suspicion is that they're going to meet the Winchesters in Tomahawk and do them in. (Spoiler alert: I'm wrong.)

Impala shot! Dean's driving unreasonably fast.

We next see the guys in Fed suits, questioning a sheriff who is more interested in his taxidermy project than the missing Jared. If you remember "Dog Dean Afternoon," you maybe surprised that Sam's not the least bit interested in the sheriff's taxidermy skills. But I guess he was only into those because they were Game of Thrones characters. Oh, hey, remember when I recapped 12.17 and said I'd recognize a LOTR parallel if you threw one at me?Well, guess where the little delinquents were hanging out? A place called Weathertop. Thanks, Show. Anyway. Sheriff thinks Jared just bailed, since he's got such a crappy home life. When Sam asks why the boy was left in an abusive home, he says "trying to take a child from his parents, even if they're the worst people in the world... it's not easy." I have an idea this is going to mean something. (Spoiler alert: I'm wrong again.)

Next the guys talk to Darren (formerly known as Creepy Guy), smokin' some doobie in a really depressing little shelter next to a really depressing industrial plant. Darren looks familiar to me, but I can't place him. Agents Stark and Martell want to ask him some questions, and I had to google that one because I assumed Stark was Tony Stark and it was a Marvel thing but no, it's Game of Thrones, and I hang my head in shame, because I should have known that one. (Hope no one loses their head or gets burned to a crisp by a dragon in his episode. Apologies if those are spoilers.) And then I realize - Darren looks familiar because he looks like a low-rent version of Jon Snow. Oh, god, please tell me someone set noticed that and that's why their aliases are Stark and Martel. On the other hand, if that's the case, I'm disappointed they didn't change this kid's name to Jon.

You know nothing, Darren.

Anyway. Darren figures they're there to bust him for the aforementioned doobie, but when he tosses it on the ground, Dean picks it up and hands him back to him saying it must be for "medicinal purposes." This is the same Dean who hates witches because they use bodily fluids, handling someone else's spitty joint? Okay. The guys ask him about the night Jared disappeared, and he explains he didn't tell the sheriff (who now has a name, Sheriff Bishop) what he saw because he knew he wouldn't believe him. On account of the doobie. He blames a monster called Black Bill.

Lovely shots here.

Cut to a diner, with seemingly out of place cantina music. Sam's researching Black Bill, and Dean's making eyes at the waitress. They make a big deal out of this waitress thing, which makes me think she's going to be relevant later. (Spoiler alert: She's not.) Black Bill, formerly known as Black William (but we live in less formal times, now, don't we?) is a local version of the Jersey Devil, with the head of a goat. "So," Dean says, "we got a goat dude with a name like a pirate, which is a little insane, even for us, and that bar is super high." But he soon loses interest and tells Sam "you figure out what it is, and I'll figure out a way to kill it." And then he makes eyes at the waitress some more and declares he's already figured out a way to kill it, because he has the Colt, which "dusts anything." Well, anything but the five mystery things, but yeah, Black Bill probably isn't one of them. He tells Sam not to wait up, and Sam recognizes what's going on as Dean heads for the counter. "Oh, don't do the hot coffee thing," Sam says, but Dean does the hot coffee thing. And Sam's right; it's awful. But it works.

And they're both as hot as coffee.

Sadly, we must leave this cute and lovely scene to go to the industrial plant where we saw Jon Snow Darren. It's some kind of meat processing plant. Darren's doobie break is over and he's back on the job. He gets a lecture from his boss, Pete, who chides him about being late and tells him he can't use his friend Jared as an excuse for poor attendance. And also he needs to lay off the reefer, at least for tomorrow, because tomorrow's a big day. Darren doesn't ask why and Pete doesn't elaborate.

We see Darren leaving the plant after sunset, and since it's snowing we're going to pretend he's at the Wall, because why the hell not. And if he were at the Wall, it would make more sense that there's a horned monster next to his truck. Black Bill smashes the truck's window with his mallet, yanks Darren out, and whacks him with the mallet.

Oh, come on. There's no way this isn't intentional.

The next morning, we're back at the diner. Sam's already there, on the phone, and Dean enters with the waitress. She goes in for a kiss but he turns away and says "I'll see you later." Wow, Dean, that's kind of cold. And again, it's so obvious that it makes me think it's going to matter. (Spoiler alert: I'm still wrong.) But he does make goo goo eyes at her from across the diner and calls it an "awesome" night, so I guess they're good. I can't help thinking about the fact that he's wearing yesterday's underwear, and god knows when he changed it last. I wonder if Sam's thinking the same thing. Dean's hungry enough that he lunges for Sam's eggwhite and vegetable omelet. Sam's night was "a different kind of busy." He has determined that Black Bill is a satyr. "Creatures of uncontrollable lust; they would lead people to the woods for massive orgies, and when the fun was over, the satyr would, quote, feast upon the flesh of his victims until his belly was full to bursting with their moist, slippery meat." That's a little too descriptive for Dean, who pushes Sam's omelet back at him. Sam says he thought they'd go ask Darren if this is what he saw, except Darren didn't make it home from work last night.

More cuteness. I think most of this episode could have happened in this diner and I would have been satisfied.

The guys go back to the meat processing plan, and for some reason, Sam saying "Agents Stark and Martell, FBI" is unreasonably sexy.

Dean tries to remember if he's Stark or Martell.

Pete tells them he hasn't seen Darren since last night, when they talked about the "big day" today. Turns out the big thing is an inspection - the health inspector is trying to shut them down (and yet he warned them ahead of time that he'd be inspecting them, yeah, don't think so) because of their out-of-date equipment. They've already had to shut down half the plant because the owner is too busy playing sheriff to care about the plant and oh, wait. Sheriff Bishop owns the plant; he's the heir to the Bishop meat empire. His family has owned the plant "forever." The Winchesters immediately recognize how hinky things are, with their one witness disappearing and the meat plant connection, and they go talk to the sheriff, who's conveniently at the plant. He tells him he owns it but Pete runs it, and seems surprised to hear Darren's missing too.

They tell him Darren saw Black Bill, and the sheriff explains that Black Bill is the boogeyman; everyone knows he's not real. He says people disappear because they get bored and restless (or is that restless and bored) and move on. And Darren is probably holed up, sleeping one off, maybe waking up right now safe and sound.

Cut to Darren waking up in a meat freezer, neither safe nor sound. He tries to get out but there's no door handle on his side. I don't think this is accurate. I've never been in a meat processing plant, but I've been in food service walk-in freezers, and they ALL have a door handle on the inside. Because it's not like you want people blocking the door open (since it's the only way they can get out) and letting all the cold out. So I'm calling this bogus. (Yes, I know, accuracy must be sacrificed for plot sometimes.) Darren yells and bangs on the door, but it's in the closed part of the plant, so no one's around to hear him. Also, this is the first time I notice the company is called Billhook Meats. Heh. That will be funny later. As the Winchesters walk off, still suspicious of the sheriff, Darren discovers Jared's body in the freezer, and is then attacked by Black Bill himself.

There's a cute little visual where just as we expect to see blood squirting out of Darren, we cut to Dean squirting ketchup on some kind of sandwich that looks too pale to be a hamburger. Which means yay, we're back at the diner! \o/ Sam is surprised Dean has an appetite after seeing the meat plant, and Dean says "Grow up, Sam. Burger's beef, bacon's pig, soylent green is people but this... this is heaven." He has discovered that every single person who disappeared was employed at Billhook Meats. Which means Black Bill is connected to the plant. "Or the family that runs it, or both. Maybe they just run an evil petting zoo on the side."

Sam's been at the hall of records, and learned that the Bishop family founded the town and owned everything in it until a few years ago, when the sheriff sold everything except the plant and the family estate. They're interrupted by a text from Not!Mick, wondering how things are going. Sam replies that they're fine, still working the case.

Don't go to the creepy house guys. Stay here in the diner.

On the other end of the phone, Ketch and his minions are actually at the bunker, and not sneaking up on the brothers in Tomahawk. Which is a good thing. They're ordered to find everything: "Their allies. Their habits. How does Sam get his hair so shiny. How many ratty flannels does Dean have." And find the Colt. (I wonder if they'll find Sam's hidden fancy shampoo?)

The Winchesters pull up to the old Bishop house, which Sam says looks empty, although I don't know how he can tell. But he's right, because inside, all the furniture is covered with sheets, which is a sure sign of an abandoned house. Sam finds a door with three locks on it, and accurately concludes it must be important. It leads to a basement, where there's a miniature explosion when Sam flips the light on. The room is kind of horrifying, with sharp tools and things hanging from the ceiling. "Why is it always the rich ones," Dean wonders. "What are they, like, croquet's all right, but you know what'd be great? Murder!" Apparently Dean has forgotten about the Benders.

They hear a noise upstairs, because the sheriff is here. He gets a set of hidden keys and then sees the door to the Secret Murder Basement is open, so he draws his gun before heading down the stairs. It does him no good because Dean's waiting for him at the bottom with the Colt.

In case you were curious, Dean pointing a gun at someone remains hot.

The sheriff explains that his family has a secret. "All the best ones do," Dean says, and he should know. Bishop tells them "Black Bill is us." His family has a monster that lives under the house and makes them rich, and all they have to do is feed it blood. Which doesn't seem like a problem, except it has to be human blood. Generations of Bishops have slit someone open once a year, wearing a goat mask, and poured his blood into a cage below the basement where the monster lives. The monster is a god named Malek, bound by one of Bishop's ancestors. The sheriff stopped the killing when his father died 20 years ago, and he's been hoping Malek would starve to death. But when Sam peeks inside the grate in the floor, the monster is gone. The lighting and the music and the way Sam slowly looks into the pit build a lot of suspense here. It's nice.

It's very, very nice.

There's more noise from upstairs, so Dean heads upstairs with the Colt, confident he can kill any god he runs into. What he does run into is the Black Bill costume, and while he's distracted by that, he's attacked from behind by Pete from the plant. Sam hears the commotion and he and the sheriff try to run upstairs, but Pete locks the door. Sam pounds on the door and yells "open up" as if Pete's going to say "whoops, sorry, didn't realize anyone was down there."

But it's a lovely scene so we're going to forgive any silliness.

By the time they get out, Dean's gone, but Sam can track him on his cell phone.

Meanwhile, at the bunker, the minions are photographing and recording everything, and Ketch has discovered that you can't see anything through the telescope. (According to a tweet from David Haydn-Jones, who plays Ketch, this was something director Phil Sgriccia has always wanted to do. Ketch may be a monster but David seems like an awesome guy.)

As Ketch's jazzy theme music plays in the background, we see him pawing through Dean's drawers. He pulls out a pile of Busty Asian Beauties (and really, Show, you can drop that joke any time), digs through some mysterious black things (priest outfit?) and ends up in the bedside drawer, where he finds a gun, a copy of Bob Seger's Night Moves album (on cassette, naturally, and I wonder if the sheriff's earlier comment about the kids being "bored and restless" was a Bob Seger shoutout), a bunch of weird wrinkly plastic, and photos. He fixates on the photo of Mary and wee Dean, which used to be on display in his room, and I don't know why it's shoved in a drawer now. I don't know why all of his photos are shoved in a drawer instead of on display or carefully placed in a box like Sam's photos. I also don't know why Night Moves is in the bunker and not in the Impala. I guess he's been listening to it on his old-school Walkman with his Headphones of Angst.

Seriously. What is that plastic stuff?

The minions don't find the Colt ("bugger!"), and before they leave, Ketch puts a microphone on the underside of the war room table.

Elsewhere, Dean wakes up and for once, he's the one tied to a chair. Not tied, actually, so much as he is wrapped in plastic, in the meat plant. Pete reveals he went to the house looking for his brother, Sheriff Bishop (different moms, same father). Pete grew up in a double-wide rather than the big house and is a little resentful. He took Malek because Malek will make him rich, and all he has to do is feed him blood. "I'm a Bishop. That's what we do. Hunting people. Killing them. The family business." Dean doesn't quite look at the camera, The Office style, but it's close.

Don't use that line on me, son.

Dean's going to be the next meal, so Pete wheels him into the freezer. Dean wastes some time looking around and sees something drag Darren's body away, then makes his way out of the plastic wrapping. While this is happening, Sam and Sheriff Butler have arrived. Dean finds a meathook to use as a weapon, and we get some questionable CGI foggy breaths as he stalks the monster, intercut with shots of Sam creeping up on the freezer and being attacked by Pete in full Black Bill regalia. Dean does manage to stab Malek with the meathook (see, Billhook, I told you that would be funny) but that's not enough to kill a god, and he gets knocked aside like a mere mortal. When Sam gets slammed against a wall, Pete points the Colt at the sheriff and says he's going to save the town, but boom, Sam gets him. Sam gets the Colt off Pete's corpse and shoots the lock off the door of the freezer. Our POV switches back to the inside the freezer as the door bursts open and Sam strides in, Colt raised, and shoots the thing dead. And I know a lot of Dean!Girls feel like he's been sidelined this season but damn, I love the way Sam's getting so many big kills. "The Colt," he says, with a grin. "Dusts anything."

That was awesome.

Afterward. Sam's all sweet and concerned about Dean, who says he feels like he went twelve rounds with a god. "So, you know. Normal." The sheriff sends them away, even though Sam offers to help clean up. "This is my legacy," he says.

Back at the bunker, Dean is thinking about their own legacy, and he wonders if they'll be remembered in 100 years. Sam says no, but the people they saved are their legacy, and eventually they'll pass away and the Winchesters will be forgotten. "And that's fine. Because we left the world better than we found it." Dean then ponders what will happen to the bunker, if some other hunters will move in, and he reaches into his pocket and I think he's going to call Cas again but no, it's not his phone, it's a knife. And as we cut back and forth with flashbacks of wee Winchesters carving their initials into the Impala, he carves DW into the library table. Then he hands the knife to Sam, who adds SW, and oh, goodness. This just kind of makes my heart clench up, because it's so sweet but it also feels like the end, you know?

The BMoL are gonna be really pissed about the vandalism.

(This episode is called "The Memory Remains," which is from a Metallica song, which I guess means at least the memory will remain even when the Winchesters are gone, but it also reminds me that I don't think we've ever heard a Metallica song on Supernatural, and that's a shame, people. We were informed of Dean's love for Metallica in S1, and yet the show remains Metallica-free. What's up with that, Show?)

Now that they've had their moment, Dean says they should debrief with Mick, but when he calls him, Ketch is the one who answers. Ketch smoothly lies that Mick's been sent back to England because he's been a naughty boy (maybe it's not a lie... Maybe he went back in a body bag). Ketch says he's not happy to receive their reports either because "I'd much rather be with your mother" and Dean does a "seriously?" gesture.

And we're all with you on that one, Dean.

Ketch clarifies that he means hunting a chupacabra and okay, maybe that's what the kids are calling it these days. He's quite obviously not interested in their report, so he hangs up quickly and then listens (and he hears everything very clearly even though his mike is on the war room table and they're in the library) as they discuss how much they don't trust him... as he gazes at the picture of Mary he stole from Dean's room. Duh duh duuuuuuuhhhhh!!!!!

Anyway. What did you think? No spoilers in the comments, please!
I watched the last half hour on the night and then (I think) deleted it. Sounds like it was a good one; I'll catch it in the reruns. Of course your review as always is delightful, and your Jared screencaps OH DEAR GOD
I was super annoyed at the waitress being a red herring. Not that I wanted her to be evil, but it would have given her character some agency. As it is, I think she was a sexist stereotype, only there to proof how awesome Dean is at getting laid.

I also kind of resent the sentiment going around fandom lately that that makes me sex-negative or something. I'm fine with sex, but please give the girls some agency and realistic characterizations.

Everything else, I loved! This episode looked and felt like a movie! The guest stars were great, too.

(I think Metallica are dicks who like suing people for using their music, so that's probably why?)
What, you're sex negative because you don't want Dean's partners to be living breathing (but not speaking) blow up dolls?
The boys were seriously gorgeous in this ep (and nice caps to show it!)

I want to know if the char-named-Jared thing ever screwed them up (and it's actually, in SPN's great name-repeating tradition, the second time that name's been used in the show, since Jared Padalecki was a character!)

I admit that as a Dean fangirl...I don't begrudge Sam getting the big kills, but I wish Dean could at least get a small kill? Something? For most of this season he's been totally useless, like, Sam would've done the job better without him, and that bugs me. I like the boys working as a team. Oh well. (It especially bothers me because while Sam is generally portrayed as a pretty nice guy, Dean can be an asshole a lot. As he was mildly in this episode, and that's okay, that's part of his character that I enjoy. But the reason I enjoy it is because it's in contrast to his softer side, and his heroic side. And we haven't seen much of either of those sides this season; he hasn't been able to save anyone, he hasn't had so much as a single scene alone with any innocent victim to show empathy. It feels like the writers mostly think he's an asshole whose main redeeming quality is that he can be funny sometimes, and...that's not how I see his char, not the only way I want to see his char, and every ep that he doesn't get to move above that gets more frustrating.)

The end scene was incredibly cute and I think the longest conversation they've had together all season, I will take it!

ETA: Also, is this the first time Sam has killed a regular human being? I mean, he was a human who was sacrificing people to a god. But he wasn't using magic or anything; he was entirely human himself.

ETA2: Re: my rant above, it really isn't that I resent Sam at all, I like him being badass, and I love him getting to rescue Dean! I just would like some balance. And I know Sam fans have felt before like it's gone the opposite way, but...I wish we didn't have to choose, I wish they both could get a chance to kick ass!

Edited at 2017-04-15 01:44 am (UTC)
Has Dean really not had any victim time this season? I hadn't noticed. Yes, I'd love to see both brothers be BAMFs together. But I'm sure appreciating the extra Sam badassery. :)
With one of the boys being called Jared and the other Darren, which is kinda like Dean, and them both having a shitty home life, I'm guessing we were supposed to think of them as a Sam and Dean parallel. Darren probably wasn't meant to be that creepy, just Dean-like, but the writers often fail to realize how creepy they make Dean . . . witness him sleazing after the waitress. Actually, this episode had a very season one feel to it, and not in a good way. I got the feeling that the only part of Supernatural the new writer was familiar with was the series bible, and that clearly hasn't been updated since season one : /
I was hoping it was going to be a "the monsters are just people" story but it was just a lame old god in a hole story, because apparently a god makes you rich if you keep it in a hole and feed it blood because that's all a god wants from life. This plot was already done so much better in Scarecrow. I thought Phil's direction was pretty good on the whole, as it usually is, though I agree we can lose the Busty Asian Beauty (that's racist) gag any time. Maybe it was scripted - new writer trying to prove he knows the show (spoiler alert - no, he doesn't). Also as usual, I'm afraid good direction doesn't compensate for sub-par writing for me. Not that there was anything really wrong with it, like obvious continuity errors, implausibilities, seriously OOC behaviour (if anything, it went the other way: the writer was trying too hard to write them in his idea of in character) I just found the plot seriously unoriginal and uninspired, no matter how much Phil and the boys tried to ramp up the tension. Really surprised they're giving an episode this late in the season to a new writer (though he has assisted before). I was spoiled for the carving scene so maybe it could have done more for me than it did but, as it is, it just felt gratuitous and un-earned. Feels like another scene that was written in case this turned out to be the last season.
The table-carving scene did have a "this is the end" feel to it. And it would have had more emotional punch if the rest of the ep had been more fraught with terror of death or permanent separation. I did love it, though. :)
I really loved this episode. I've watched it three times already (sad, I know).

It was a bit distracting to me to find out the one guy's name was Jared.

But then after seeing our boys, I got distracted for a whole other reason. Holy crap, they just keep getting hotter. (Your caps are gorgeous)
Everybody has great points and insightful things to say. I mostly came out of hibernation to see if you had also noticed discount Jon Snow, because NO WAY that ice scene was intentional. Also, the ending was lovely and it does feel close to the end you know?
I'm so glad someone else noticed that! I was beginning to think I was the only one. (And please come out of hibernation more often if you can. <3)
I loved this episode, and maybe that had something to do with being starved of a MOTW episode with real brotherly moments, but maybe not; it was a solid episode, with like you say actual suspense and tension, and it was kinda scary! LOVE IT, and I WANT MORE!!!

I didn't see the Jon Snow thing, but now that you've highlighted it, it has to be intentional - I mean, come on!!!

I think the photo is going to blow this whole thing up because either Dean will notice it's missing or Mary will find it. Also, I was so much more creeped out by Ketch here than before; the whole blank stare at the photo was kinda disturbing, like this is becoming more of an obsession sort of thing, which I think would be a nice twist maybe.

I loved the table thing, it brought actual tears to my eyes and fells! But man, I'm with you, I feel like this doesn't bode well for the bunker...

Thank you for sharing :)
Everyone else has pretty much covered everything, so I am just going to say this: I am 99.9% sure that the " weird wrinkly plastic" in Dean's drawer is empty candy wrappers. Especially, as it matches the wrappers of the candy that is in there.