caranfindel (caranfindel) wrote,

Initial reaction 15.10: "The Heroes' Journey"

THEN: Monster deaths. Random funny bits. "We're the guys who saved the world." Garth. "That was just the beginning."

NOW: The Octagon! A nice-looking guy is getting the everloving crap beat out of him by a fierce, angry gal. Some kind of MMA fight, or whatever they call it. But. Oh. The guy fangs out. He's a werewolf. And... she's a wraith. And the audience is monsters too. (Or, if you're British, the audience are monsters.) She wins, and the guy appears to be bleeding out.

Title card!

Apparently we're saluting Robert Berens this week, since the little store where Dean's buying beer and munchies is named after him. He's on a first-name basis with the clerk, Teddy. On first watch it looked like he might be giving the ghost pepper jerky another try, since he eats something that causes quite a reaction as Teddy runs his card. (And there's another food-related opening, if you're keeping track.) But on second watch, it's clearly a candy bar that's causing his teeth to hurt. (And in the background, someone in a bright yellow vest is doing something at the Impala.) His credit card is declined, and I'm amused that his reaction is "no, that's worked for, like, five years," like that's how this thing works. Teddy snatches back the half-eaten candy bar and Dean's basket of items (which looks like it includes cooking magazines?) He leaves in frustration, almost getting run over by a skateboarder, and finds a parking ticket on his car.

Meanwhile, in the bunker, Sam goes into the kitchen and hears the smoke alarm going off. Or maybe it's a timer that's been going off for quite some time. Either way, whatever was in the oven is burned to a crisp. Aw, domestic Sam. Something we don't see very often. He takes the pan out of the oven with his bare hands, which is of course a mistake, and quickly shoves it onto the counter, knocking off a pile of plates. Next he goes for a huge (HUGE) pot of boiling pasta, also grabbing it with his bare hands (WHY, SAM?), which means he dumps it all on the floor. And I really, really wonder why Sam is cooking pasta to go with what looks like a roast, but maybe that's just me.

Dean gets home, hollering for Sam. Sam runs into the war room to greet him and trips coming up the stairs, which I think is due to his wet feet but they both consider really weird.

Was that a trip?

Yeah. Weird.

There's a lot of that going on. In town, I just got a parking ticket.

Because you always park in front of that fire hydrant!

No, I mean, yes, okay, I park there every time. I never get a ticket!

Dean also tells him about the credit card, we learn it's a card Charlie hacked for them. "The one that's supposed to be our no more hustling, always working, golden ticket." Sam sneezes a few times (into his elbow, not his hand, like the smart boy he is) and Dean wonders what could be next. The answer is a phone call from Garth.

Hey Garth.

Hey, Dean, it's Garth.

Dean's little frustrated hand motion here is adorable. So is sneezy befuddled Sam.

Garth needs help, so off they go. In the car, Dean declares them cursed. "It's more than just a no good, very bad day. Chuck must have boned us before he left, you know? Or maybe some of that crap you brought back from Rowena's went sideways. Cause this? This is not normal!"

Sam expositions for us that Cas is in Heaven seeing if they know anything about Chuck's whereabouts. And as for Sam being sick, Dean will just have to deal it. Then something goes terribly wrong with the car, and they have to leave her and proceed on foot. Something else to deal with!

Over at Garth's house, he's feeding two adorable little boys. And one of them is named Sammy! He's also got an adorable little girl who looks an awful lot like J.J. Ackles. I covered the guest credits, as always, so I had to spend the whole episode wondering if Jensen found a role for yet another family member. The doorbell rings - it's the Winchesters. Sam deflects Garth's hug, saying he's sick, but Dean gets the full treatment.

You smell so good!

And, we're done.

I bet he does, though.

The guys tell Garth they actually had to walk the last ten miles to his house (why didn't you call him and ask for a ride???) and Dean thinks it's the spark plugs and guys, I know diddly about cars, but I think that squealing noise sounded more like a timing belt. They meet Garth's twins, and this happens.

These are the twins. This is Sam. I, ah, sorta named him after you.

Wow, that's, uh, wow.

That means this one must be...


Okay, I laughed. I'm not proud of it. Anyway, we find out they were called because the cute guy from the fight was Bess's cousin, Ben. He was found near St. Cloud, Minnesota, left for dead. Garth and Bess have figured out that the nasty wounds on his arms are from a wraith. Did Ben tell them, or do they just recognize wraith wounds? And how close to St. Cloud does Garth live?


Fine. Sheesh.

Dean spots a dish of candy in the room and takes a piece, which makes his teeth hurt again. And don't think Garth doesn't notice. Dean complements Garth on his house, and Garth says "better than I ever thought I'd get." And, um, Garth was a dentist, wasn't he? All the dentists I've ever encountered make big bucks. He says he thought he'd go out young and pretty, and Dean snickers, but look, Dean, this guy modeled for Prada, so who are you to judge?

Garth gets Dean to admit his teeth hurt - since yesterday - and takes him downstairs to his in-home dentist office. Dean tries to back out of it, but Garth manhandles him into the chair ("you're very strong!"). Dean says Garth isn't a dentist, but Garth explains he went back to school after he became a werewolf, so, I guess he wasn't introduced to us as an actual full-fledged dentist back in the day? (Could go back and look it up. Won't.)

We learn that Dean has never been to the dentist, and I've thought since season 1 that these guys have unhumanly beautiful teeth (I mean, one does tend to stare at Jensen's mouth, doesn't one, so how could you not notice?) considering that they likely never went to the dentist at all. Garth finds 17 cavities. He wheels a tank of nitrous oxide over, and guys, I haven't been offered nitrous in YEARS and I MISS IT because I get VERY ANXIOUS AT THE DENTIST and I might have to fast forward through this part.

Then Dean's eyes close and he slips into some kind of dream where he's wearing a white coat and a hat and dancing to "Let's Misbehave" with Garth and. Um. I know some of you will really, really like this. But I don't. I mean, sure, he's a surprisngly good dancer. But it's just as organic as Dean's bar concert. I kind of feel like they're spending a lot of time letting Jensen audition for his next job. Which apparently will be on either Dancing With the Stars or The Masked Singer. (In a squirrel costume, I hope and pray.)

Meanwhile, in the kitchen, Bess gives Sam a glass of "my daddy's secret recipe" to treat his cold.

What's in it?

What part of secret don't you understand?

Well, I'd be pretty reluctant to drink any "secret recipe" a pureblood werewolf gave me too, so. He starts to react a second after he gulps it down, which is when Bess reveals it's mostly cayenne pepper. Hilarity ensues. (Not really. But we know it's supposed to be funny because of the music.)

{Sidebar: Jared, if you're reading this, I know you don't think you can do funny. But you can, as long as it's written funny. You were marvelous in Bad Day at Black Rock. You were stupendous in The French Mistake. But you, my dear boy, can do nothing with this crap.}

And while we're at it, I would like to talk about other ways in which you are stupendous and marvelous. Maybe in person. DM me.

Dean wakes up with a mouth full of bloody gauze and he and Garth return upstairs, where Garth says Dean will be fine in an hour (and if so, I want the kind of anesthetic he uses) and then asks what's going on with their sudden attack of bad luck.

Who did you guys piss off?



Time jump. If the Winchesters are the heroes of God's story, Garth wonders if he's a supporting character or special guest star. And he's fine with that. "I want to be the guest star. Being the hero sucks. I mean, sure, you'll probably win eventually, but until you do? Your life blows. Your parents get gunned down in an alleyway, your home planet gets blown up, you interview this good-looking rich guy and it doesn't go well so he shows up at the hardware store where you work and man, it starts to get, you know..."

The Winchesters are thrown by that last bit, but Bess explains it's from Fifty Shades of Grey. And then we learn more about the Fitzgeralds' private life than we really needed to know.

Werewolf style, guys.

Garth explains that the hero never sweats the small stuff, because it slows down the story. They're not cursed, they're just normal for the first time in their lives. But it feels like a curse because they're having normal people problems.

Cousin Ben wakes up, so everyone heads upstairs. And I learn his name is actually Brad. Oh well. He's not thrilled to meet Garth's hunter friends, and doesn't want to tell the truth about what happened to him. Sam tells him they're just there to help and gives him his best earnest face.

You know the one. The face I'd do anything for.

But Brad stares at him for a second and says "Wow. I mean, wow. With the furrowed brow, and the puppy eyes? Did you see that? That never actually works for you, does it?" Yes it does, Brad. It works all the goddamn time. Then Bess digs her finger into his (untreated!) big nasty wound and he admits he was fighting. For money. Because he has three baby mamas. Spay and neuter your werewolves, friends. The fights are broadcast on the dark web, and Brad's happy to reveal exactly where they take place, because he figures the Winchesters will get ripped to shreds. Dude. They're just trying to help.

Outside. Dean's ready to go right now, but Garth tries to talk him out of it, given their current unlucky streak. Dean says it's their job, and they're not going to stop just because "God yanked the magic horseshoe out of our ass." And Sam says "Garth's right. This isn't our problem. I mean, we kill werewolves. No offense, Garth. But if it's just monsters killing each other, and everyone is a willing participant, why on earth would we get involved?"

Sigh. No, he doesn't. And I have no fucking clue why.

Garth wants to come help, but Dean refuses. Garth's a family man now.

Next day. The car is fixed and the guys are on their way. They pull up to an industrial facility that I'm sure we've seen dozens of times. Dean tosses the keys to Sam, who opens the trunk, and guys, if you've never driven a car manufactured before the 80s, you can't imagine how inconvenient it was to have separate door and ignition keys. And to have to get out of the car to open the trunk. Madness. Dean is eating something... it's a grilled cheese sandwich made by Bess. And he's had seven of them. You know, grilled cheese doesn't travel very well, and isn't good for very long. Not even the world's most expensive grilled cheese sandwich. So this was some weird road food to pack. Dean grabs a bag and he's ready to go, but Sam insists on being prepared for anything.

"Well, I guess we need the grenade launcher," Dean says, grinning through a mouth full of grilled cheese sandwich. Ew. And aw, because remember the grenade launcher? How he kept trying to use it? Sam's NO! note? And when he finally did get to use it? Good times, man. He also says "I don't think we've used that .38 in about four years," which I'm sure is significant to someone. All it tells me is that they're going to use it. Or need to use it but won't have it. We get a closeup of what Sam's packing, though I can't tell what it is, and another closeup of Sam taking the keys out of the trunk, so I'm sure these are also going to be significant. {Spoiler alert: I'm wrong.}

Dean taking actual joy in his job is always adorable.

They enter the empty building and Sam immediately trips over a bucket. Dean's mocking is interrupted by a disturbing gurgling noise from his stomach. Guess seven grilled cheese sandwiches wasn't a good idea after all. He runs off in search of a bathroom, frantically looking for a functioning stall, but it turns out he just needs to vomit. And I'm intensely jealous of people who have intestinal issues that result in vomiting. Mine always go the other direction. But you can vomit anywhere, so I don't know why he's making the frantic crouched search for a working toilet. He does find one, and as Sam yells that he might be lactose intolerant, Dean noisily hurls into it.

{Sidebar: I know people think it's canon that Sam is lactose intolerant, but isn't that just something he said when trying to rebuff a woman's advances? Discuss.}

Dean hears a noise and assumes it's his brother. "Sam? Sammy? Oh, please, just kill me now." The door bursts open and it's not Sam, it's someone we saw watching the fight. And he's got a gun. "Can do," he says.

Next we see the guys locked inside the octagon. "Can't believe they got the drop on me," Sam complains. "I didn't even see it coming." Dean says he has it worse because "they got me while I was on the crapper," but really, Dean, what you were doing is not the textbook definition of on the crapper.

Dean grouses that being normal sucks, but then their captor appears, and guys. This is normal. You two idiots can't imagine what it's like to go through life looking normal. No matter what happens to you at this point, you don't look like this.

This guy is basically Jeff Bezos with big glasses.

He tells them his name is Cuddy (waves to cuddyclothes) and this is his place. He's a shifter. ("Shifter? So you chose that face?") and he's got plans. He wants the Winchesters to fight some big bulky fanged guy named Maul. "Together. I don't want to break up the team." Well, that's good. I feel the same way. Dean brags about what the two of them can do together. "We've killed angels. We've killed demons, gods, and alphas." Then you shouldn't have anything to worry about, boys.

We see a promo for the fight that uses the Winchesters' mug shots from Folsom Prison Blues, which I appreciate.


{Sidebar: The ad says the show is streaming live at 8/9PM Central, but I've never seen time given that way. They'd give Eastern time first, so it would be 9/8PM Central. Or is it different if you live on the West Coast? Or in Canada? Discuss.}

Fight night. The wraith from the previous fight takes on a djinn in the opening card (is that what they call it?) while the Winchesters watch anxiously from their ringside cells. Dean manages to get a loose nail, but can't pick his lock. He passes the nail to Sam, who is equally unsuccessful. Because they're "freaking normal."

"So could we ever actually pick locks," Sam asks, "or was it Chuck this whole time?" He doesn't think they can beat Maul if they can't even pick a lock. Well. Things don't look good. Will Chuck just let them die like this? Maybe. Or he leaves them permanently disabled. Oh, how ironic if they die because they were trying to save monsters! Dean gives a rousing speech, accompanied by the sad Winchester music, but it's like a weird, attempting-to-be-funny version of the sad Winchester music. I don't appreciate it. But I do like the way Dean is lit in this cell.

The fight ends and the next fight is introduced. They start with Maul, who supposedly weighs 310 pounds. I wonder if they're going to give the Winchesters' weights. We see the guys looking anxiously through their window grilles, and then Maul's opponents are announced. "Straight out of Lawrence, Kansas. You know them, you don't like them. The Winchesters!" And for some reason, they've overdubbed this announcement. Badly. The words don't match the lips at all. (Or is my video just off?) The guys nod at each other and smile brave little smiles. It kind of reminds me of the last time we saw the grenade launcher. I mean, it's not as good, because damn that was a great little scene there. But there's a similar "at least we'll go out swinging" vibe.

Also maybe I just like the guys behind bars.

We see Cuddy walking to their cell, though it seems like he would have done that before they were actually announced. "It's time!" he says. "Oh, and boys? Shirts off!" I have a wee little moment of glee, {Sidebar: Why can I not find a gif of Gomez Addams throwing up his hands and saying "Denied!" I need it so often.} but Cuddy finds the cell doors open. The guys are gone.

Backtrack! We go into reverse and see a suspiciously skinny guy in a camo earflap hat wandering through the crowd. It's Garth! When he called and didn't get an answer, he figured they were "super boned." True dat. He gets yellow werewolf eyes and calls upon his werewolf strength (is that a thing?) to break the locks off. Yay!

The Winchesters and Garth run outside, accompanied by funny Dukes of Hazzard getaway music so you know this is supposed to be lighthearted. Then Garth reveals that he placed explosives all through the facility. He pulls out a remote control and sets it off and... blows the entire place up? Killing everyone inside? Monsters like his wife's cousin? I just... I don't know what I'm supposed to think about this. It makes no sense. Why is Garth willing - happy - to kill a building full of monsters just like him? They weren't hunting humans. They were entertaining themselves. Presumably everyone except Sam and Dean was there voluntarily. They were getting paid, even. And Garth killed them?

Okay. Carrying on.

Apparently he didn't kill them all. Maul comes out of the building, and he's angry. Garth says he's got it, and goes into werewolf form. But Maul swats him away easily, which means the Winchesters have to fight. And again, the music tells us it's supposed to be funny. And the music is as subtle as a slapstick cartoon. So's the fighting, honestly. It's honestly kind of painful to watch. I'm starting to think a 500 lb anvil is going to land on Maul's head, but Garth ends up stabbing him from behind. "He got Garthed." Heh.

(Sigh. I just can't.)

{Sidebar: At this point, The Husband, who'd been watching on and off, turned to me and said "What is this episode?" I said "It's supposed to be funny. Sometimes they do that really well. Sometimes, not so much."}

Aftermath. Back at the Fitzgerald house, Dean and Sam are holding the babies. {Sidebar: I did see an adorable BTS picture of the guys and the babies on Tumblr, because some people on Tumblr do not use spoiler tags, and they're not even people I follow, but people Tumblr thinks I need to see anyway, grrr}. Dean's holding little baby Castiel, and he says "This Cas keeps looking at me weird."

"So, kinda like the real Cas," Sam says. Hee. Bess gives them another bag full of grilled cheese sandwiches for the road. I hope Dean paces himself this time. Garth walks them outside, and the guys thank him for saving them. And blowing up a bunch of monsters. He's a hero! Well, except, not to monsters. Which he is.


Garth asks if they'll be okay on God's s list, and then says he knows something that might help. A place he heard about where you can go if your luck's gone bad. He doesn't even know what it is, it's just a place in Alaska between Barrow and Kotzebue. But you'll know it when you see it. And keep in mind, there's always a catch.


{Sidebar: When I googled "cities in Alaska", it came up with the search term "cities in Alaska that start with K." Apparently I'm not the only one trying to figure out how to spell Kotzebue.}

Anyway. The thing is, there is a LOT of SPACE between Barrow and Kotzebue. And no road. Mapquest and Google Maps basically said "you can't get there from here." Unless you want to fly. It's a 3+ hour flight, with two or more connections (in the same state) with rates from $178. So. Good luck, guys. Seriously. The next 10 episodes could just be them driving - and inevitably hiking - through the frozen wilderness between Barrow and Kotzebue. Maybe they'll see a moose.

No one cares. Move along.

(Also, Barrow should actually be called Utqiagvik, apparently.)

(Okay. Moving along.)

The guys hug - including Sam this time - and Dean comments that Garth smells good too. "Thanks. It's Hai Karate." Oh, there's a blast from the past.

{Sidebar: I've determined Sam smells like his rosemary and mint shampoo, but what does Dean smell like? Discuss.}

As the guys walk to the car, Werewolves of London starts up, and yeah, it's about time. We needed to hear this song on this show. They watch Garth and Bess dance, and Sam looks a little wistful, like he's thinking about a life with Eileen and maybe his own little baby Sam. Or maybe he's just glad somebody got a happy ending.

Maybe he just likes Warren Zevon.

In the car, they discuss how being normal is fine for "normal people with normal problems." But they don't lead normal lives and can't settle for normal. They can't go up against Chuck as normal guys.

So. Alaska?


Although, the way the car dies before they get out of Garth's driveway, I don't think they're going to make it.

Well. Have the Winchesters been leading a charmed life all this time, unencumbered by the details of normal life? Personally, I don't think so. I don't think they're normal now. I think Dean's first instinct was right. Chuck isn't simply leaving them be, he's actively working against them. No one gets 17 cavities the day after God stops protecting your teeth. We've spent the last 15 years watching these guys rise above the ordinary, and we're supposed to think it was all due to Chuck? John Winchester's relentless training had nothing to do with his sons' skills? Their own tenacity and intelligence had nothing to do with their success? It was all God-given? Anyone would have been equally successful, giving the same heavenly support? No, I refuse to accept that. In fact, I hate it.

And the rest of the episode? Well, there were a couple of cute moments. But the slapstick “humor?” The dancing? The only good thing that came out of this episode, as far as I'm concerned, is confirmation that Garth eventually got out of the Impala's trunk. And named his baby after Sam. I'm going to try pretty hard to forget the rest.

What did you think? And as always, no spoilers (including casting info) in the comments, please!
Tags: 15.10 the heroes’ journey, initial reaction, pretty, season 15, supernatural

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Posts from This Journal “initial reaction” Tag

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