caranfindel (caranfindel) wrote,
caranfindel
caranfindel

Initial reaction 15.14: Last Holiday

Well, friends, here we go. Are you ready?

(I'm not. But here we go anyway.)



THEN: Cuthbert Sinclair. (Really? That's a deep cut.) Abbadon. Larry Ganem. (And S8 Sam, who is fucking gorgeous.) Oh, and God and Jack and all that stuff, in case you forgot.

NOW: Sam's in the library, doing research, and is distracted by some ominous noises. Ominous in a machinery-breaking-down kind of way, not in a monstery kind of way. Enter Dean, wearing an apron. "What's with the apron," asks Sam, "because it's only protecting your jeans, not the Red Shirt of Bad Decisions." At least that's how it sounded in my head. I mean, who only gets dirty from the waist down when they're cooking? (Well, that lends itself to all kinds of double entendres, doesn't it?) Or maybe Sam doesn't say that because he hopes the RSoBD will be destroyed in a tragic burger accident.



Seriously, Dean, that shirt is precious and you need to protect it, no matter what Sam thinks.

Dean complains that the pilot light keeps going out, and the hot water is unsatisfactory (and we know how he feels about his showers), and Sam reminds him that if the bunker was ever state-of-the-art, it was in the 50s. They exposition for us that Jack is hiding in his room. "Can you blame him?" Sam says. "His soul is back. Everything is hitting him. Everything he's done..." And Sam continues, but I'm sorry, I'm stuck here, thinking about re-souled Sam with everything hitting him. {sob} However, neither of the Winchesters seem to be thinking about this, so. Carry on.

The guys remind us that if Jack kills God, he'll have to kill Amara as well. Which I assume means Amara isn't going to get killed? Just saying. As much as I talk about foreshadowing (too much, please stop!) this show teases us with anti-foreshadowing with equal fervor. And Cas is apparently looking for Amara? What does he hope to accomplish? "Excuse me, but we're killing your brother, so you have to die too. Condolences. But if we follow canon - not that there's any reason to assume we will - you have to die at about the same time. So I need you to come with me while we figure out where he is and how to kill him."

There's another ominous noise, and Dean says "Oh, come on. Now the air?" I hope he means the air conditioning, and not the air purifying/exchange/whatever that Ketch shut off when he locked them in the bunker back in... whatever the BMoL season was. Hey, remember when the guys were locked in the bunker and they were running out of air and they wore single layers and goggles and got all sweaty and depressed? Because I've kind of never gotten over it. But I digress.

Sam is surprised that Dean expects them to fix it. "We've fought the devil," Dean says. "I've killed Hitler. I think we can handle a few old pipes." Surely this isn't the first time they've had to do some repairs around the place.


That's okay, Sammy, you look as surprised as you want. It's a good look.

Deep within the bowels of the bunker, Sam reads some ancient instructions and complains that they can't just call a plumber. Dean refers to the bunker as the most "secretive, secure supernatural hideout in the world," which makes me laugh, because remember when Larry Ganem told Sam it was secure against all manner of evil? What a joke. Is there anything or anyone evil who hasn't been able to get into the bunker? My house is more secure against evil than the bunker, and all I have for protection is a circle of termite bait and a couple of ancient dogs.

They locate the "bunker grid control center thing thingy" (oh Sam, I adore you), complete with reset and standby buttons. Standby is glowing. Dean hypothesizes that it will work just like his computer, which needs to be shut down when it gets too many popups (I suspect you need some virus protection, dear boy), and slams down the reset button before Sam can stop him. Everything goes dark, but then starts up again, so Dean considers it a success. He calls himself "Meat Man" again and heads upstairs to finish cooking his burgers.

Time jump. Dean goes into his room, carrying a burger and a beer, and is astonished to find a middle-aged woman there. She's wearing a plaid wool skirt I owned in the 80s and is folding his underwear. "Oh, hello dear!" she says cheerfully. Dean yells for Sam.

Gosh, Dean, it's like this place isn't secretive or secure at all.



The horrified Shaggy and Scooby boxers are *~chef's kiss.~* Well done, someone.

Title card!

Library. The woman tuts at dust and wonders how they've lived in "this filth," which reminds me of an awesome Tumblr post which theorizes that faeries actually keep the bunker clean, and only first-born son Dean can see them. "Lady, who the hell are you," Dean demands, and is chastized for his language. He calls for Sam again, and gives him the story of how he walked into his room and found her "folding my underthings."

She explains that her actual name is indecipherable in "your tongue," but "Mr. Ganem called me Mrs. Butters." She's a wood nymph. And she's not in the woods, nymphing (thank you Dean) because she has more important things to do - she lives in the bunker and takes care of the Men of Letters. I.e., "my boys. My family."

Dean invites her to leave, but this is her home, and she's been here since "before the war." And she thinks it's 1958. "Well, I hate to tell you," Dean says, "but it's 2020." YES, DEAN, WE ALL FEEL THAT WAY ABOUT 2020. Mrs. Butters is horrified to learn all her boys are dead. And for some reason Dean tells her they were murdered by a demon instead of saying old age, or they went to a farm upstate, or whatever. She spots a photo of the last group of MoL, which we've never noticed before, and realizes that this is why they never came back from that last ceremony. When they didn't return, she decided to put the bunker - and herself - in standby mode.

But she also realizes that if these boys are like those boys, it's been a while since they had a home-cooked meal or celebrated a holiday. Or washed their clothes, as she makes a face. That's uncalled for, lady. We all know that Sam Winchester smells like rosemary and mint no matter how long it's been since he did laundry. Sam explains that they're not really "holiday people," which rings true coming from the guy who didn't want to celebrate Christmas and hates Halloween. (And only had one real Thanksgiving in his life and his brother still holds that against him but NO I'M NOT BITTER.)

Dean is more interested in what "standby mode" is. Mrs. Butters says the MoL used her magic to give the bunker "extra oomph," and snaps her fingers. Voila, extra oomph! There's some humming noises, the telescope alcove lights up (!), and an alarm sounds. Because the map table is actually a monster radar, and it indicates a nest of vampires 50 miles away. And gives the address. WELL.

{Sidebar: Why didn't the BMoL know the AMoL had this capability? Why was their focus on "you're not as good as us" instead of "you used to be as good as us; what happened?" Discuss.}





Do I care? No. Because look at these precious perplexed faces.

Dean's ready to go (and it earns him another stern warning about his language), but Sam wonders if they can trust her. "Look at her," Dean says. And I agree. She's a dumpy middle aged woman in a brown plaid wool skirt. She's basically me. And who could be more trustworthy, more concerned with the Winchesters' health and safety, than me?

Um. Anyway.




Not to change the subject or anything, but the pretty is strong tonight, y'all.

Dean suggests they give her the benefit of the doubt, and if it turns out she's not what she says she is, "then we deal with it." The music turns ominous. "What about Jack?" Sam asks.

Oh, Jack is actually in this episode? I thought maybe they were explaining his absence earlier, like they always do with Cas. (Because I always cover the guest star credits on first watch. Spoilers.) But it turns out Jack is actually with us tonight. Sitting on his bed, looking depressed. Dean knocks on his door and tells him they're going out, and there's a "probably harmless" guest making snickerdoodles. This sparks Jack's interest. It would work on me, too. I love snickerdoodles.

Impala. Sam's not sure it's a good idea to keep Mrs. Butters around, even if she is legit. He's concerned about Jack, but Dean brushes him off.

He'll be fine. I mean, I've been through worse and look at me. I'm the picture of health.

Ignoring your trauma doesn't make you healthy.

Sure it does.


Oh, Sam. Just listen to yourself. No, I mean, please. Listen to yourself.

Sam feels like Jack is hiding something, and I wish there were someone around who had also done awful things while un-souled, and remembered what it felt like to deal with that afterward. Someone sympathetic and empathetic. With soft puppy dog eyes and beautiful hair. Oh well. I guess Jack will just have to go unburden himself onto whoever he comes across.

Bunker. Mrs. Butters brings Jack a sandwich. He doesn't open the door, but she leaves it for him.

Vampire nest. A couple of vampires are watching Dark Shadows (so meta) and drinking blood stolen from a blood bank. So, are these, like, maybe not bad vampires? Maybe they don't kill people? We'll never know, because Sam and Dean walk in and cut off their heads. And come home to... Christmas. Lights are strung all over, jazzy Christmas music is playing, there's a huge decorated tree and gifts, and Mrs. Butters has a tray of homemade cookies. "We are so keeping her," Dean says. Sam looks unsure.

Kitchen. Mrs. Butters tells Sam that since he and Dean have been so busy killing monsters, they haven't had a chance to celebrate anything. But I can barely pay attention to a single word that comes out of the woman's mouth because LOOK AT SAM IN THIS T-SHIRT. LOOK AT IT.





Single-layer Sam is something to celebrate.

She insists that Sam "enjoy the world you're fighting for" (which is never gonna happen, lady) and excitedly talks about all the holidays she wants to make up for. Then Jack enters, and her mood changes instantly. Even Jack's adorable little dorky wave doesn't melt her. "What are you?" she asks coldly.

Enter Dean, wearing a real-life version of the purple "sleeping robe" and nightcap he wore in "Scoobynatural." OH MY GAWD. I really hope this was a surprise for the rest of the cast.



And I also hope he's not really going commando underneath... or do I?

Mrs. Butters is distracted enough to decide that if the boys vouch for Jack, he must be okay. She hands Jack a smoothie but tells Dean he must have tomato juice due to his cholesterol. And she pronounces it the Patrick Stewart way, not the Mark Hammil way.

Before Dean can drink his to-mah-toh juice, the monster radar alarm goes off, and the guys rush off to prepare for a hunt. For future reference, when you leave the kitchen, Sam's room is to the right and Dean's is to the left. We next see the guys fully dressed, receiving sack lunches from Mrs. Butters. Dean's sandwich has the crusts cut off. {Sidebar: Sam never had someone to cut the crusts off his sandwich. Hold me. And also, how many reminders am I going to have of "Dark Side of the Moon" tonight?} She tells Sam the monster is a lamia, the blessed knives are in the trunk, and she just waxed the car so Dean needs to take it easy.

As the guys rush off, she turns to Jack and his smoothie mustache. "Well. What shall we do with you?"

NOTHING GOOD, I'M SURE.

As Jack helps wash dishes, he fills her in. Lucifer was his father, Mary was his family and his friend but he killed her. Mrs. Butters is very supportive, telling him "life gives us second chances and it's our obligation to hold onto them." And she presents him with another smoothie.

Montage! Thanksgiving dinner. More hunts. More sack lunches. Halloween (and even Sam seems to enjoy it). Fourth of July. (Yet another "Dark Side of the Moon" shoutout). A hunt requiring the grenade launcher and Thor's hammer from that episode whose title I can't remember! Sam's birthday! By the way, none of these holiday celebrations include Cas.


Mmmm. So worthy.

Time jump. Jack catches Mrs. Butters looking at something in a file cabinet and being very sneaky about it. He requests another smoothie to get her out of the room, and then finds what she was looking at. It's her MoL file, including a reel of film. The film shows Cuthbert Sinclar talking about File 5150 (aw, RIP Eddie Van Halen). The subject was actually recovered from the Thule (aw, "Everybody Hates Hitler") and we learn that wood nymphs "react violently when home or family are threatened." Sinclair says he "conducted a series of experiments designed to show this strange and magical being of our mission" and convinced her to join the MoL family. Huh. Wonder how he did that. Then Mrs. Butters demonstrates her devotion by literally ripping the head off a Thule. "Son of a bitch," says Jack, because he's been spending a lot of time with Dean.

Jack runs into the war room looking for Sam (and yes, I'm petty enough to love that he looks to Sam first), who is off getting ready for a "big date." Huh. Okay. Mrs. Butters offers him soup, but then Sam walks in, giving off some pretty strong Hot Professor Sam vibes (hello again, "Everybody Hates Hitler") with a sweater vest and tie, and I am thrilled with this development.



Thrilled, I tell you.

Mrs. Butters tells him he looks wonderful but offers to trim his hair (back off, lady, I will cut you) and Dean enters in time to make a weak Abercrombie and Bitch joke. Sam tells him Eileen's in town, and he's taking her out to dinner and "some privacy, something."

"Heavy on the something," Dean says, and we're going to talk about that later, I promise. But for now, Mrs. Butters tells Sam to take one of the old cars from the garage. Finally. Can we just make this permanent? Can Sam have his own fucking car, please? She produces a bouquet of roses from nowhere and sends him on his adorably anxious way. Then she tells Dean she found a broken TV in one of the rooms and fixed it. "The Dean Cave?" Dean is off like a shot. I wonder if that's the TV he smashed with a hammer, and if so, how did she fix it? (Also, hello again, "Scoobynatural.")

Jack is still unsettled. He follows her into the dungeon and tells her he saw the film. {Sidebar: The film showed her killing one of their enemies because she's protective of the MoL. Is it really that awful? Discuss.} "And how did that make you feel?" she asks. "You relished his pain, didn't you, Jack?" Oh, turns out that was a setup - she wanted Jack to see the video, so she could confirm that he was a bloodthirsty little monster. And do the Winchesters know how powerful he has become?

They should be scared of you!

I would never hurt them.

You have before, haven't you? Have you ever thought that Sam and Dean keep you in here, closed in, secure, because they're scared you'll do to someone else what you did to their mother?


Well, I mean. Now he has. She flings Jack into the wall. He tries to use the glowy eyes on her, but he finds himself powerless. She snaps the magic handcuffs on him. "You didn't think those smoothies were for your health, did you? Oh, I've learned a few things while I was doing the dusting around here. A little yarrow root, some ground jawbone for texture, and voila! You are as weak as a puppy."

Wait. That's all it took? To power down a nephilim, who is canonically more powerful than his archangel parent? So when the Winchesters were trying to take down Lucifer and AU Michael, all they needed was some yarrow root and ground jawbone? And the answers were all right here in the bunker?

(Sigh. Don't think about it. That way lies madness.)

(Also, canon! Ha ha ha ha.)

She tells Jack she's making the bunker safe again and getting rid of all the monsters. Like you, sweetness. Aw. Sad Jack.

Kitchen. Dean comes in looking for a snack and is immediately presented with some kind of grilled sandwich. She tells him to eat it, because he'll need his strength when they go kill Jack.


Aw, that’s the sound of a heart breaking.

Dean is disappointed that their good thing has gone "full Nurse Ratchet," and glances longingly at the sandwich he has to leave behind. He takes Mrs. B's knife and suggests they let Jack go and pretend this never happened. The only logical conclusion is that Dean is under Jack's spell, so he gets tossed into the dungeon too. Oh, cool. Does that mean Sam gets to be the hero and save them?

Spoiler alert: Ha ha ha ha no.


Hello, Demon Dean. That's the only other time we've seen this expression, isn't it? {Or is it simply the only one branded onto my brain? Discuss.)

Map table room. Sam comes in and is met by Mrs. B. "Bit past your curfew, Samuel," she says curtly. He's no longer wearing his tie. Hmm. So, let's talk about the Eileen situation. Isn't it weird that (1) Dean didn't know she was in town, and (b) she's not spending the night at the bunker? Wouldn't you think she'd be a house guest? I mean, she's not "in town" for the heck of it. The only thing that would bring her to Lebanon would be Sam. So why isn't she here seeing Sam? Is she just driving through on her way somewhere else? She can't even spend one night in the bunker? And the tie? If Sam removed his tie, doesn't that strongly suggest Dean was right about the "something" going on? Did they do it in the back of the old car? At a hotel? I have questions, friends.

Anyway. Sam asks where Jack and Dean are, since it's late and they should be sitting around the map table waiting for him to come home and not, like, in bed or anything. "Well, I have some good news, and some bad news."



HERE IS SOME GOOD NEWS INDEED.

Honestly, I like this look better without the tie.

Time jump.

So, Jack has taken over Dean's mind. And they're both downstairs, right now, ready to be killed by us.

You were always the smart one, yes.


Sam, who is the smart one, says he's going to go to his room and get his gun, and he'll meet her in the dungeon. "And we can... get to the killing." I LOVE HIM. {Sidebar: I have watched his fake relieved sigh several times and it makes me smile every time.} Once he’s safe in his room, Sam calls Dean and starts to tell him about Mrs. Butters.

Went psycho, we know.

Why didn't you call me?

Well, I mean I, you know, I figured you were "practicing your sign language."

And that's more important than coming to save you?

...

Dean?

It's been a while for you, man, you know?


Aw. Always the supportive big brother. {Sidebar: As long as Sam is doing something Dean thinks Sam should be doing. But I digress.}

{Sidebar: I love Dean, y'all know I do. Warts and all. He'd be boring if he were perfect.}

Dean suggests Sam shoot her, although they don't know if a gun will kill her because neither of them got around to researching it because they were distracted by Christmas and Thanksgiving and breakfast on Boxing Day. That's how you get killed, guys. {Sidebar: How much do I love that Sam calls it Boxing Day? For my Brit friends, that's not really a thing in the U.S., although it's gradually starting to become one. And I love it.}



I mean, I also love anything that makes him look like this. Obviously.

Dean then suggests that putting the bunker in standby mode might put Mrs. B in suspended animation again. Meanwhile, Jack and Dean are stuck in the dungeon. Jack suggests using his power to remove the cuffs, but Dean points out that the power surge would catch Chuck's attention. But what power surge? Jack already tried to use his power against Mrs. B and it turned out he didn't have any.

Jack suspects there are other reasons Dean doesn't want him to use his power, and suddenly decides it's time for a deep conversation.

Do you still think I'm a monster?

Okay, I'm just gonna say this, okay? Just get it out there. Jack, I'm trying, okay? I really am. But what you did, that's not easy to forget. Now, I was angry with you. For a while. And maybe I still am a little bit, okay? But I'm not gonna let some evil Mary Poppins take you out. You understand?


Okay. Good talk.

Sam shows up in the library looking for Mrs. B, and trying to hide his gun, as if he hadn't told her he was going to his room specifically to retrieve said gun. But Mrs. B realizes he's trying to kill her, and freezes him. She's not mad, she's just disappointed. She tosses him into a chair and keeps him there with the power of her mind, not with rope or anything, in case you were wondering. {Oh, hello, "Funeralia" and "The Trap."} She tells him that when the MoL first found her, she didn't realize how important they were. But Mr. Cuthbert explained it to her. And since Sam is her favorite, she's not going to give up on him. Yet. She's going help Sam the same way Mr. Cuthbert helped her understand. Well, that doesn't sound ominous at all.




He's my favorite too! And I also think he needs to be hurt! See, she's basically me!

Dungeon. Dean is going to try to chop Jack's handcuffs off.

You're sure this is gonna work?

Let's say yes.


Aw. That was a perfect opportunity to bring back "maybe 90% sure." And it doesn't work - Jack is sent flying into a glassed-in cabinet that I've never seen in the dungeon before. Dean says "dang it" before remembering that he can use his big boy words, which is adorable. And then he gets an idea.

Upstairs. Mrs. B tries to convince Sam that Jack is a monster because he's Lucifer's son. Sam, of course, takes the opposite side of this debate. "Now, Mr. Cuthbert taught me that pain can be a wonderful teacher. Let's see if it can't correct your ways."

I SWEAR, Y'ALL, SHE IS ME.

Sam could sneer at her and say "I've been tortured by the devil himself; what can you do to me?" but we don't have that version of Sam any more. Mrs. B, without tools, yanks off one of his fingernails. {Oh, hello "A Very Supernatural Christmas!"}


It's funny because it's true.

Meanwhile, downstairs, Dean has a different theory on pain. It's just "weakness leaving the body," he tells Jack. We get a little "on three" bit, where he actually does the thing on one. And the thing is that he tries to cut Jack's handcuffs again, but this time Jack is strategically placed in front of the dungeon door. So when he's thrown back by the blast, he ends up breaking the door down.

Upstairs. Sam's been relieved of even more fingernails.

Downstairs. Dean takes a hammer (!) and smashes the reset button. Why doesn't he just push it with his hand? I mean, sure, we get the hammer, and the red lights and warning klaxon, and all of that turns me into Pavlov's dog {Hello, "Soul Survivor"}. But still. Seems unnecessary.

Upstairs. Mrs. B seems to be gone, and Dean bends over like he's untying Sam's wrist. But Sam's wrists aren't tied to anything, so. I got nothin'.

Downstairs. The runes that seem to hold Mrs. B in stasis light up, but do not stay lit. Well, that can't be good. And then the bunker grid control center thing thingy starts shaking and springs a leak. Ooops. Here she comes, complete with glowy green eyes.

Upstairs. Dean finishes untying Sam from the chair he wasn't tied to, and remarks on how gross his tortured hand is. Mrs. B shows up, yells that they've all been very bad, and flings them across the room. She's sure Sam will thank her someday for killing Jack, because it's so important to kill monsters and keep the MoL safe. It's why she couldn't go back to her forest. Sam explains to her that Mr. Cuthbert tortured her and used her, and Dean tells her Jack is going to save the world. Oh, okay then. The regular lights turn back on and Mrs. B tearfully says she misses the MoL so much.

Aftermath. Mrs. B heals Sam's hand and apologizes and all is immediately forgotten and once again, Sam gets to forgive his torturer and turn the other cheek. Yay! Sam, what was it you said earlier?


Gif stolen from @michaeldean on Tumblr.

The guys send Mrs. B back to the woods, but first they have this conversation:

Sadly, without my magic, the bunker will revert to standby mode, so.

Ah well, things were getting too easy anyway, you know? Who needs a monster radar? Or whatever that telescope thing is?

It's an interdimensional geoscope.

It's a what?

I looked in it earlier; I didn't see anything.

Oh. Well that's not good.


Holy crap, you guys. Interdimensional. It let the MoL look at the alternate worlds. And now you can't see anything because all of the alternate worlds have been destroyed. Gotta admit, this is an excellent little twist.

Jack presents Mrs. B with the photo of the MoL. "Oh look," she says. "The man who tortured me and kept me from my home, right here, front and center." Well, no, she doesn't. But I do.

Mrs. Butters gives them some last instruction. "Dean, eat your vegetables. And Sam, cut your hair. And Jack, go save the world." Well, I'm in favor of one or two of those things.




Tty to tell me I'm wrong. Just try.

After-aftermath. Jack tells Sam that he doesn't know if he can kill God, since he was sidelined by a wood nymph "because I was stupid." He asks if Sam thinks he can do it.

"Jack, you're the only who can." No pressure.

Dean shows up with a truly awful-looking birthday cake for Jack. "I made it myself. Obviously." But Jack is thrilled because it's from Dean, and it means Dean loves him and has forgiven him, until the plot requires otherwise. He makes a wish and blows out his single candle. Fade to black.

So! There were parts of this that were simply marvelous. There were parts that were kind of dumb. There were parts that would have made me very angry if I weren't so tired and jaded. But the good parts were darn good, and the pretty was dialed up to 11, and we all know I'm a sucker for a pretty episode. And there was NO B PLOT. AT ALL. Thank you baby Jesus.

And let’s just refuse to consider the possibility that these were, in fact, their last holidays. Thanks.

Now I get to see what you thought about it. And, as always, no spoilers in the comments please, including episode titles and casting info. {smooches}
Tags: 15.14 last holiday, dean's red shirt of bad decisions, episode reaction, initial reaction, pretty, season 15, supernatural
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Posts from This Journal “initial reaction” Tag

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