caranfindel (caranfindel) wrote,

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Initial reaction 15.16: Drag Me Away (From You)

Is this title a reference to "Africa" by Toto?

THEN: Mrs. Butters! I hope you're enjoying your life out there in the woods. Other worlds are gone. Dean is tired of being a hamster. Jack's going to die. Cas told Dean and is looking for another way.

NOW: A guy named Travis checks into a crappy hotel. He has requested a particular room - "doctor's orders." He was here a long time ago. "Welcome back," says the not-very-welcoming clerk. I think we've been here before too; this corridor looks awfully familiar. Travis psychs himself up to unlock the door. The room is ugly and orange and classic Supernatural, in an early seasons way that I miss. Travis drinks whiskey out of a bottle and then gets a text from someone named Caitlin, who is worried about him going back to that place. Travis fiddles with a large pendant and tries to convince himself that whatever happened in this room wasn't real but GUESS WHAT, TRAVIS. A creepy dead child emerges from the closet, causing Travis to drop his bottle, and holds the broken whiskey bottle up to Travis's throat. Screams of horror!

Title card!

Impala. The guys are seven hours away from "back here," wherever "here" is. Sam defends their trip, saying "Travis was a friend." Dean expositions for us that Travis cut his own throat with a whiskey bottle (hmmmm!) and that they haven't seen him in 25 years. So, ten years before the pilot? (Ignoring the skipped years, as we always do.) When Sam was 12 and Dean was 16? That's a long time ago. Dean complains that they've missed funerals for closer friends - friends who were hunters, which tells us Travis was not - but Sam says they don't have much else to do right now, since Chuck is "off world," Jack's hanging around the bunker waiting for Billie's orders, "and Cas just bailed, I guess. He didn't say anything to you? About why he left?"

Oh, Sam! Your brother is a lying liar who LIES! Dean denies he and Cas had a fight (and lord, I love that Sam asked, considering their pointless tiff at the beginning of the season) and says it's just "Cas being Cas." Right on cue, Cas texts Dean. Did you tell Sam yet? Sam berates Dean for looking at his phone while driving, which is a little funny, since Dean routinely does things that are slightly more dangerous, but he has a point.

But seriously, let's unpack this. Cas doesn't want Jack to die. And yet Cas didn't enlist as an ally the only other person who would try as hard as he would to stop that from happening. He's had all this time to call Sam, to text Sam, and instead he's just asking Dean if Dean told him? Why?

(I know why. Stupid plot reasons.)

It's going to take a lot to drag me away from you; there's nothing that a hundred men or more could ever do.

Crappy hotel. We haven't actually been informed of their location, other than it's more than seven hours away from the bunker. (I know. No one else cares. Move along.) "It looks smaller," says Sam. So they've been here, not just to this mysterious unnamed town, but to this actual hotel. "Yeah, or we're bigger," says Dean. So they haven't been here since they were young. And it must not have been a great visit, because neither is thrilled about being back.

The guys open their car doors, and then we see two pairs of knock-off Converse exiting the car, which is nicely done. Teenchesters! It's January 1993, and the boys are being dropped off at the hotel/beer store. Sadly, Dean isn't played by Dylan Everett. I know I hated on the kid when he was in Bad Boys, but the way he channeled Jensen in the Hansel and Gretel episode just made me fall in love with him. Young Dean is annoyed that he doesn't get to go on the hunt with John, and points out that Sam doesn't need him, since he himself was babysitting Sam when he was the age Sam is now. "I'm pretty sure that's illegal," says Sam, as if he didn't live through A Very Supernatural Christmas and has forgotten that yes, Dean did babysit him for multiple days at a time when he was 12. I kinda like young Sam here. He's no Colin Ford, but he's not bad.

Sam's being cagey about wanting to just go to the room, and trying to hide something under his jacket. Badly. So of course Dean grabs it. It's a 2-year-old guide to colleges that he stole from their previous hotel. "I thought your imaginary friend told you it was bad to steal," Dean says, and oh, thank you Continuity Fairy for remembering Sully.

Wait? You think you're gonna go to college?

Yeah. Why not?

Why not? Why?

Cause that's what normal people do.

Right. Because WE'RE normal. Whatever. We barely go to school. So if you think places like that will even think about letting a dumbass like you in? Come on. This, Sammy? This is our life.

OH SAM. Sad Winchester music plays as Sam unpacks his weapons in the ugly hotel room and contemplates his future, or lack thereof. Meanwhile, Dean is pleased to find an old vending machine in the hallway. The same one was present in the NOW. Probably the same candy from 1993. He presses some buttons and gives it a nudge and voila! Free candy. He's surprised by a teenage girl who tells him to freeze, and I don't really think 16-year-old Dean Winchester would be so nervous just because another teenager caught him stealing from the vending machine. I think he would have laughed it off.

{Sidebar: Drinks cost $1. Isn't that a bit much for 1993 prices? Discuss.}

The girl asks Dean to show her the trick and introduces her little brother, Travis. So first it's weird that she introduces Travis but doesn't give her own name, and second it's weird because oh, holy crap, Travis is a live version of the dead kid from the NOW. So if this is the dead friend Travis, that means he was haunted by... a dead version of him as a child? That's new. I'm into it. The girl introduces herself as Caitlin (Caitlin of the text message!) and says her mother works at the hotel.

2020. Present-day Caitlin sits sadly in a diner. She recognizes Dean instantly, even though earlier this season, people made a big deal about Dean not looking like his 15-year-old ID photo but OKAY. She gets some nice Winchester hugs and tells them how rocky Travis's last 25 years have been. He was in therapy, which helped until he did some "immersion therapy" and checked into (duh duh duh) room 214. She also confesses that the funeral was last week, but she lied because she was afraid they wouldn't come. "I think she's back," she says. So Caitlin hasn't seen them for 25 years, and she knows they hunt monsters, and she thinks they'd be more likely to come because of a funeral for someone they met 25 years ago and haven't communicated with since and not because a monster needs killing but OKAY.

Maybe she just wants to take the time to do some things she never had.

1993. Wait a minute. It just occurred to me that 1993 isn't 25 years ago. That would be 1995. (Someone please check my math. It's not a strong point.) So did Sam and Dean actually see Caitlin and Travis two years after all of this happened? Or are we playing fast and loose with the timeline? Or counting the two missing years somehow?


1993. Travis tries Dean's vending machine trick, but a scary monster lady inside the machine grabs his hand. When Dean and Caitlin show up, there's no evidence of the scary monster lady, but I bet Travis will never eat another My Delight bar.

2020. Room 214. Sam runs the EMF meter while Dean reads the coroner's report. He calls it "open and shut," because Travis's fingerprints were on the broken bottle. Because, of course, dead child Travis and alive-at-the-time adult Travis had the same fingerprints. Caitlin is still convinced he wouldn't have killed himself. But they've found no EMF, no hex bags, nothing to indicate monsters. Dean thinks coming to this room might have just been too triggering.

1993. Dean has unsuccessfully tried to contact John. Why, asks Caitlin? Because monsters are real and we kill them, says Dean. "It's kind of the family business," he says, giving young Sam a significant look. Don't you forget it, kid. He asks about any other weirdness in town, and it turns out there are three missing children.

2020. Caitlin is disappointed that the Dean who believed in her brother's monster 25 years ago doesn't believe now. But he thinks it couldn't be the same monster, because it preyed on kids. And there are no missing or mysteriously dead kids in town. And he killed it.

1993. The Scooby gang gathers to research the case. Sam, bless his researching little heart, uses candy to mark relevant spots on a map. And there's an abandoned cannery in the area. Bingo! Dean goes off to kill the monster on his own, even though they don't know what it is. He's got a gun and a knife and he figures that will kill whatever it is. Oh, Dean. I don't think your father would agree. He refuses to let Sam come, telling him to stay here and "be normal." Cold, dude. He also rebuffs Caitlin's decision to come. "This ain't the freakin' Goonies. None of you has been on a hunt before. Just stay. I got this."

{Sidebar: Didn't Sam leave Sully to go on a hunt? Wouldn't that have been before this?}

Abandoned cannery. As Dean picks a lock to break in, Caitlin shows up. Girl's got gumption. Although she gives Dean a hard time the entire time, so I don't think she's such a great partner. At one point he tells her to stay back and she actually listens, which is convenient, because it means she doesn't see the pile of things obviously taken from the missing children. Along with a key to their very own hotel, for room 107. He pulls back a tarp, and we don't see what's underneath, but we know it's horrifying. He quickly leaves the room and tells Caitlin he didn't find anything. "She's not here."

While this is happening, Sam and Travis are playing Boggle back at the hotel. See, children, back in the day, we didn't have Words With Friends or Wordscape. We had analog. Sam comes up with sam kill you now which is gloriously freaky even though you're not supposed to use proper names, and now I want a fic with a ghost threatening Sam through a word game. (Actually, on rewatch, Sam isn't one of the words he found, he just wrote his name at the top of his list.) Travis has come up with an equally chilling set of words: dead death kill you now.

I'm hoping to find some old forgotten words or ancient melodies. But if Dean had been playing, I'm pretty sure he would have found PIE.

Then the board starts jumping and I'm all ready for it to very clearly spell out something very threatening, but all we get are a few minor changes.

But if anyone wants to interpret, I'm here for it.

Then the lights go out, the Boggle game explodes, and the monster shows up behind Travis. She grabs him, but Dean enters just in time. He swipes his knife at her, cutting off several of her fingers. One is wearing a large ring. Then he stabs her and she disintegrates, leaving the ring on the floor. Also, it's the first time I've noticed Dean is wearing the Samulet. Aw. Better days, friends.

2020. Dean stalks down the hall. Something flashes through the hall behind him. "Sam?" he says. Not Sammy. A figure appears at the end of the hall. As the lights flicker, it quickly (creepily!) shows up in front of him. Oh, it's young Dean! Dead version! "Hey, Dean. I've been waiting for you." He nods at a knife in Dean's hand. "You know what you have to do. You failed. Say hi to Travis." Dean sinks to his knees and holds the knife to his abdomen, but before he can plunge it in, we hear Sam say "Dean?" Dean's vision clears and the knife in his hand disappears. So, there was never a knife? Meaning he couldn't have actually committed hara kiri here in the hall? No threat, then? "She's right," he says. "Caitlin's right."

Hurry boy, she's waiting there for you.

Bar. Dean apologizes to Caitlin for not believing her, and blames himself for Travis's death since he didn't kill the monster after all. "Second chances," says Sam, kind of lightly given the circumstances. Sam starts to head out to check the lore, but Dean reveals that the monster has a nest. Which he saw, along with a bunch of bodies, when he was a kid. He didn't tell them "because I'd never seen anything like that before." I actually think he'd probably seen worse at that point, but maybe not a pile of teenage victims. Anyway, he called the cops about the bodies and then "shoved it down the old memory hole." He apologizes to Sam for not telling him earlier.

"No, man, it's okay," says Sam. "I mean, you were just a kid. We were both just kids. And hell, we used to keep a lot of secrets from each other." Yeah, it's a good thing you don't do that any more, isn't it?

You can't hide your lyin' eyes, Dean Winchester. Which is a completely different song, but from around the same time period, so.

Dean says he'll get food while Sam and Caitlin look into the lore. And if I were Caitlin I'd be all, lore, right, but sadly I'm not.

Next we see Dean back at the diner. "Let me do two burger meals, one veggie burger meal, and, cause I know my brother's gonna ask, do you have arugula salad? Or kale?" I love this, I do. Unfortunately, Sammy's gonna get iceberg lettuce. With ranch. As the waitress walks away, she reveals Billie sitting next to Dean, which is also nicely done.

Billie's annoyed that Dean is working a case. She tells him Chuck just destroyed the last of his other worlds, so he'll be back soon. And she's given Jack his final orders to transform him for the Big Bang 2.0.

Yeah, filling him up with your cosmic TNT so he can die. How'd you talk the kid into that one?

I told him the truth. Jack killed your mother, and all he wants is your forgiveness. And I surmise that the only way he can get that is ending God and freeing you from the - what did you call it - hamster wheel. Was I wrong?

Oh. Dammit. She's not wrong, and I guess this is why it was so important to let us know a couple of episodes ago that Dean still hasn't quite forgiven Jack. And I see, in my completely unspoiled way, how it's going to play out. Dean's heart will grow three sizes and he'll forgive Jack and decide he doesn't want him dead after all... just like the end of s14. Just exactly like that.

Well. On to better things. Like Sam, in a less orange version of room 214, sitting in front of a computer. Pity he hid this dark red shirt under a jacket. It looks nice. Very nice.

Sleeves rolled up, even. Damn, boy. Bless the rains.

Caitlin says she's sorry this is his life, and asks if he ever wants to be normal. Oh, Caitlin. It seems like a simple question, but it's not. "Well, we help people, you know?" he answers. "Save them." I mean, not your brother, but you can't win them all.

Diner. Billie tells Dean he won't see her again until the end. "According to Chuck's book, I'm not in this part of the story." Billie seems to put a lot of faith in those books of hers, considering that the one about Dean and Michael was completely wrong. {Sidebar: Or was it? Discuss.} She wants his assurance that they don't have a problem, and he is happy to assure her that he wants Chuck dead, damn the cost.

"And your brother?" she asks. And I love the way Dean looks down into his lap, like a little boy caught in a lie, when he says "He'll get there."

A sweet little boy who is a lying liar who lies. You know that you must do what's right, Dean.

Billie is not happy, at all, to hear that Sam isn't in on the plan. That's a loose end, and she doesn't like loose ends. She warns him to get his crap together.

{Sidebar: Have we ever seen Billie happy? Discuss.}

Hotel. Sam figures out the monster is a baba yaga - a witch that feeds on fear. The giant ring she wears is technically her heart, and is the source of her power. Caitlin notices that the ring worn in an old illustration is the same ring Travis had. Must be some kind of scary accurate illustration. Also, Caitlin must have better eyesight than me, because I can't tell anything about a damn ring. Anyway. Their mom found the ring in the vacuum cleaner and gave it to him. The stone was broken, but he liked the ring and wore it on a chain around his neck. He actually had it fixed a few weeks before he fell onto a whiskey bottle. Sam remembers that Dean cut her fingers off, and theorizes that stabbing her didn't kill her, losing her ring did. Apparently the power of the ring was in the stone, then? But Travis presumably replaced the stone? So why would the replacement stone have any power? Anyway, Sam goes on for a while without realizing Caitlin has actually left the room, which is kind of cute.

Other things that are kind of extremely cute.

Caitlin goes out to her car and opens a box marked New York State Coroner, so at least we know what state they're in. (NO ONE CARES. WE KEEP TELLING YOU, NO ONE CARES.) It contains Travis's last effects, but the ring isn't on its chain. Frustrated, she shut the box and the trunk and oh, crap. There's grown up dead Travis. "Hey, Sis." He holds up the ring. "Are you looking for this?" Scream!

Dean arrives with his bag of iceberg lettuce with ranch dressing and other assorted meals. Sam's on the phone trying to get hold of Caitlin, but she's not answering the phone. He explains to Dean that they didn't kill the baba yaga, they just damaged her source of power. Dean calls the ring her Precious because he knows I love it when he makes Lord of the Rings references. Sam says her nest must be nearby because all of her attacks have happened at the hotel, and the guys split up. First we see Sam at the front desk, where he hears an odd noise. Ooooh, is Sam gonna be the hero? Will Sam be the one who finds the monster? (Spoiler alert: you have seen this show before, right?) No, Sam finds the front desk clerk hiding in the storeroom with a bong.

We do, at least, get a nice anxious swallow as Sam hears only whispers of some quiet conversation. With a bong.

Dean, on the other hand, walks by the haunted vending machine, listens to someone's Casa Erotica rental, and then notices a door swing open in a very menacing way. "I've seen this movie before," he says. Hee! You've been in this movie, dear. Oh, he's in room 214. Except he's suddenly back in the abandoned cannery. But this time when he pulls back the tarp over the monster's nest, the dead kid underneath is Sam. Yikes! He jumps back, horrified. I like it. Finally he finds poor dead grown Travis. He shoots him, but of course it does nothing. Travis, aka the baba yaga, agrees that he normally eats kids, but right now he's starving. Honey, it's okay. You don't have to be starving to want to take a bite out of Dean Winchester. Or just a loving little nibble. We all understand.

In the real world, Sam walks down the hallway. He hears the struggle in room 214 and we see Caitlin unconscious on the bed as Dean fights the witch. Sam runs in, knife drawn, and this is where he gets to kill the monster, right? Ha ha ha nope. He does stab her, though, which distracts her to the point that Dean can remove her ring and crush it. She goes up in green flames. Mission accomplished!

Aftermath. Caitlin thanks Dean and asks if he was scared. "Always am," he says. She remarks that he's changed, since old Dean wouldn't have admitted it. What, a 41-year-old man isn't exactly like the 16-year-old you knew for a few days? Shocking. Then she says "What do they say about getting older? You tell the truth more because you know that lies, they don't make anything better." NO CAITLIN, THEY DON'T SAY THAT. NO ONE SAYS THAT. LITERALLY NO ONE HAS EVER SAID THAT ABOUT GETTING OLDER.

He turned to me as if to say, no, Caitlin, that's not a thing.

1993. Caitlin hugs young Dean. He gives her his number in case anything ever happens that's... "you know." {Sidebar: Cell phones weren't really a thing back in 1993, so what number did he give her? And how did it still catch up with him 25 years later?} Sam asks if he ever found the other victims of the monster and he says he didn't. It's a theme! Then the Impala pulls up, but before they get in, Dean stops Sam and says "About the college thing..." And my heart sank. Because I knew Dean was going to tell him it was okay if he wanted to go to college, that he was good enough and smart enough (and gosh darn it, people like him... sorry, I couldn't resist) and that he'd probably do great. And I did NOT want to her this bit of retconning. So I was very pleasantly surprised when Dean just said "I don't know, but we do make a good team, right?" Then the boys climb into the Impala. We can only see John's arm, but if they'd let Matt Cohen direct this episode instead of last week's, we could have seen all of him, and that would have been an even more pleasant surprise. Oh well.

2020. Impala. Sam tries to call Cas, and Dean tells him to hang up.

I got an update. While you and Caitlin were researching, Billie paid me a visit.


It's go time. Chuck's done with all the other worlds and he'll be here any day, and when he does, we gotta act fast. And there's something else.

Something else?

Jack's gonna die. Apparently it was always part of Billie's plan, Jack's known this whole time. And he's ready to sacrifice himself, so in order to kill God and Amara, Jack has to die.

Wait, so Billie just told you this while you were grabbing burgers?

No. Cas did, before we left. Before we even got the call about Travis.

So you've been sitting on this. What the hell, Dean? I thought we were past stuff like this!

I know, Sam-

I can't believe you, you know that? I mean, how can you keep me in the dark about something so huge?

Because I knew you couldn't handle it! You didn't trust Billie's plan, and then when we found out about Amara, you started second-guessing. You raised these ethical questions!

I shouldn't? Jack's gonna kill himself and I should just shut up about it?



This is how we end Chuck, okay? This is the only way we'll ever be free! So I'm sorry, Sam, you don't get a choice! We don't get a choice!

Oh, WE.


Look, man-

Stop, all right? Just stop. Please.

I'm sorry I had to-

Don't. Don't. Don't. Just, just drive. Just drive.

Ouch! Sam's face, when he realizes Dean's been hiding this from him. It makes my heart hurt. And thus we end, on a car ride very different from the one we began with.

Frightened of this thing that I've become.

So, I was pleasantly surprised to get another MotW case with very little mytharc. But not real thrilled to have the brothers at odds. And dumbfounded at Cas's inexplicable failure to talk to Sam about Jack's planned death. (Yes, I know, it's explicable, but "stupid plot reasons" isn't something I accept.) All in all, it could have been worse, I guess. But is "could have been worse" good enough when we're so close to the end? (The irony is that there is at least one Buckleming episode waiting for us, and I'm sure I'll be dying for "could have been worse" after that one.)

You know the drill. No spoilers in the comments please, including episode titles and casting information. And remember, I love you all as sure as Kilimanjaro rises like Olympus above the Serengeti.
Tags: 15.16 drag me away (from you), initial reaction, pretty, season 15, supernatural

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