It's time travel. It's Mary and John. It's a whole bunch of family angst, Sam DYING... SAMMY!!!!! Then slam! bang! MICHAEL saves the day .... no. MICHAEL saves destiny. Because DESTINY CANNOT (MUST NOT) BE CHANGED... and Dean is left feeling more and more empty inside.
I love every single scene in this episode. I love how we get to see young and neive Mary and John (neive for different reasons...), and I especially love Sam being able to finally meet Mary and say what he wanted to say to John. I love Dean finally being able to tell Mary that he is her son and how destiny forced them to become hunters despite Mary's hopes. It is also an important episode as Dean's first contact with Michael. We've had Sam interacting with Lucifer so much already but finally, we find out what Michael's beef is. Why he thinks there has to be an apocalypse, what he thinks of his brother, and his Father, and destiny. And just as we thought, he is a dick with no mind of his own. A typical angel following orders to the letter.
"Cherry Pie" by Warrant(plays during Dean’s dream of strippers)
"The Creeper" by Molly Hatchet(plays when Anna lands in 1978)
The episode starts with Dean and his awesome dream. Love Dean's version of peace on earth LOL. It actually reminds me a lot of Tall Tales as well. You know that little present by Gabriel/the Trickster? Just shows how much Gabriel knows him and also possibly how much they are similar.
And then suddenly there's Anna, right in the middle of it all, and that lighting makes her look extra beautiful too.
ANNA:This is what you dream about.
DEAN:This is awkward. (I love Anna's smile there.)
But then she tells Dean what happened to her and who had turned her in to the angels upstairs. What is very interesting here, is that Dean goes to Cas with his dream and asks him what to do even after Anna tells him that it had been Cas that had turned her in. He doesn't doubt Cas because of Anna said, and yet he still trusts Anna too.
Cas knows exactly what happens in one of those jails, because heaven's persuasion is what made him turn her in in the first place. He doesn't believe Anna like the boys do and he tells them he will go and meet with her instead.
I don't think we will ever know whether Anna really broke out or not. Sure she was working against Michael and the other apocalypse angels as we find out later, but we also know that there are angels in heaven - factions who do not know about the "destiny" - who think it is their job to try to stop the apocalypse. It could be she was brainwashed by these angels and not the same ones that brainwashed Cas into releasing Sam etc. In any case, Anna seems to decide to tell Cas the truth about why she is there - after Cas points out she has a weapon (and not one that can kill angels). She has come to the revelation that Sam must die in order to avoid the apocalypse. Cas tells her that he will never let her kill Sam because Sam is his friend. I think this is the first time he actually says that Sam is his friend. Cas has changed since he made that first leap into free will and died for Dean, and for Sam. Maybe his programming by the angels was scrapped when God put him back together, although he has already put his loyalties completely with Sam and with Dean in that first act of disobedience. Anna notices this change in Cas and is surprised by it.
Anna disappears once she realizes she cannot turn Cas to her way of thinking, and Cas goes back to the boys and tells them what transpired while also working a spell to find out where Anna went. We find out a bit sooner as we see her crash land on a classic car with a phenix design on it - so that when she sprauls on top, it actually looks like what an angel death looks like aye?
Is that forewarning of what is going to happen to Anna? Anna is spent of energy once she gets to 1978, just as Cas is... which may support the theory that she really had escaped and was cut off from heaven. Cas sure didn't have any trouble zapping Dean to the past in In the Beginning so if she was not cut off, it should not have been so hard on her.
I think this conversation is quite important and special, so I'm going to include it here -
SAM:So the plan to kill me, would it actually stop Satan?
DEAN:No, Sam, come on.
SAM:Cas, what do you think? Does Anna have a point?
CASTIEL:No. She's, uh, Glenn Close.
Sam actually considering whether him dying would stop the apocalypse, and Cas with his brief hesitation and glance at Dean before telling Sam "No, She's Glen Close" ... It is pretty obvious he is lying for Dean's sake.
Cas is then convinced into taking Dean and Sam so they can help their parents which is again amazing, because we know that Cas thinks he might not make it if he takes them - that it will use up too much of his power and he might die.
DEAN:So, what, you're like a Delorean without enough plutonium?
CASTIEL:I don't understand that reference. But I'm telling you, taking this trip, with passengers no less—
CASTIEL:—it'll weaken me.
DEAN:They're our mom and dad. If we can save them, and not just from Anna... I mean if we can set things right, we have to try.
When Sam and Dean find Cas on the other side, he is spewing blood and telling them that he's better than he thought he would be!!
It really makes me wonder why he decides to take them in the first place. Maybe he thinks they have a better chance of saving their parents than he does? He is putting his life on the line again on Dean's hope that they can possibly change destiny... does he believe they can? He said himself after the last trip that Dean couldn't change anything. But Anna being back here has changed things?
Sam and Dean put Cas in the honeymoon suite of a motel and after contemplating the fact that they might never get back to the future (Wait... in which case... no apocalypse???) and maybe they should buy some stock in Microsoft (ok, it was started in 1975 so I guess they could have done that :P), they go off to find the Winchester residence.
Once they get there, Sam is all for barging in and telling John and Mary the truth, but Dean has a bit of experience in this time so he stops Sam and tells him to follow his lead.
We have a cute little scene showing Mary and John as honeymooners, enjoying their first year of marriage.
When Mary opens the door she is not happy to see Dean - a guy who reminds her of her run in with the YED, her parent's death and more but thankfully John comes up just in time to invite them in. I love Mary's killer glares. Sam is just not able to contain his emotions and when John puts out his hand, he grabs on to it and can't let go. That teary little puppy dog face... just feel like hugging him to bits. And it doesn't end there. Once they get in, now he's just taking in his fill of Mary.
JOHN:Are you sure you're okay, Sam?
SAM:W—oh. Yeah, yeah. Um, I'm just, um—You are so beautiful.
Sam, they'll totally take that the wrong way ... Mary looks so totally spooked LOL
Awww... poor Sammy and Dean has his hands full trying to cover for him.
DEAN:He means that in a—a non-weird, wholesome, family kind of a way.
DEAN:We haven't seen Mary in—in quite some time, and—See, she's the spitting image of our mom. I mean, it's—it's—
JOHN:So, how are you guys related?
DEAN:You know, uh, distantly.
JOHN:Oh. So you knew Mary's parents?
DEAN:Yeah. Yeah, yeah. Mary's dad was, uh, pretty much like a grandpa to us.
(I love how they play with words when talking about their family and parents, and their relationship with Samuel etc. We are privy to their little secret and it just makes these simple little dialogue so fun to listen to.)
JOHN:Oh. That was tragic—that heart attack.
DEAN:Yes, it was.
JOHN:So, uh, what are you guys doing in town, anyway?
DEAN:Uh, business, you know.
JOHN:Oh, yeah? What line of work?
Guys... decide on your cover story before you make contact like you usually do, will ya? (All of a sudden I'm reminded of Bobby John :P)
Thankfully, the phone rings and Sam and Dean get a bit of a break and a chance to talk to Mary on their own. Mary wants them to leave until they tell her that she and John are in danger. And I think deep down, she knew it was like that as soon as she opened the door to them. She just didn't want to accept it. Dean's not very happy that Sam tells her an angel is after her - maybe he thinks she would take it badly considering how she seemed to believe in them when he was a boy? But Mary thinks there is no such thing so, interesting again.
They find out that John has left and Mary knows where, so they get to the garage just in time to save John from getting killed by Anna. I must say though, Anna is pretty hesitant here, and it may be because she has been weakened significantly by the travel, or because she feels badly for killing these innocent people, or both. She did kill the garage guy by burning his eyes out and she could have done the same to John. But she apologizes to John and I think she is a bit hesitant as well.
I love the greeting between Anna and Dean and it is also telling.
DEAN:I wish I could say it's good to see you, Anna.
ANNA:You too, Dean.
I'm sure it's not the first time that Sam and Dean have had to fight someone who used to be their friend. Today's friend could easily become tomorrow's enemy in their world.
I guess their plan all along is for Dean to keep her occupied while Sam makes the sigil - because she would not be hesitant about killing him if he went at her directly. But before that happens, Mary spikes Anna's body with an iron tool and Anna pulls it out and it's super gross.
And that look between Mary and John after Sam zaps Anna away... Mary's "I'm sorry" and John with lots and lots of questions.
Mary tells Sam and Dean about an old Campbell hideaway and they decide to go there. While they are driving, Mary, Sam and Dean fill John in on the fact that "monsters are real." And obviously John needs some time to think, and wrap his head around the facts. I love how they are all trying to explain at once. Interesting though is Dean butting in and making excuses for Mary (which is something he may have done long long ago) and all because Sam and Dean see him as their dad. Mary is feeling really bad for having kept her hunter life a secret from John and I'm reminded of that little talk they had in In the Beginning right before YED barged in on them. That was one thing she was planning on telling John until everyone died and maybe she felt she had the chance to pretend that she was normal.
JOHN:Monsters are real.
MARY:I'm sorry, I didn't know how—
JOHN:And you fight them? All of you?
MARY:All my life. John, just try to understand—
DEAN:She didn't exactly have a choice—
JOHN:Shut up, all of you! Look, not another word, or so help me, I will turn this car around!
DEAN:Wow. Awkward family road trip.
John threatening to turn the car around though, shows just how confused he is and having a hard time believing what is happening.
I just realized that if they had had Cas' information they probably could have written sigils preventing angels from entering that cabin to begin with. They could have hidden themselves completely so that Anna couldn't find them. Cas could have carved on Mary and John's ribs so that they could stay hidden, couldn't he? But he is not there and so all they have are sigils to blow the angel away for a time (like salt on ghosts), and holy oil to trap them. John is feeling a bit resentful now of the everyone treating him gingerly like a child. He is a war vet and not the soft civilian they think he is. When Dean explains the sigils have to be made in blood, he cuts his hand to show that he doesn't have a problem with that, and Dean smiles and shakes his head.
(It's the backbone behind the later hunter and Dean recognizes it.)
While John is finishing up a sigil, Sam comes up to him.
SAM:That's really good.
JOHN:You come to check on me?
touchy :P I wonder what is going on in his mind at this point. Maybe feeling a a bit stupid for being in the dark for so long?
SAM:Uh...I wanted to say I—I'm sorry about all this. I—I know it's a lot.
JOHN:Look, how long have you known about this...hunting stuff?
SAM:Pretty much forever. My dad raised me in it.
JOHN:You're serious? Who the hell does that to a kid?
SAM:Well, I mean, for the record, Mary's parents did.
JOHN:I don't care. You know, what kind of irresponsible bastard lets a child anywhere near—Y-you know, you could've been killed!
SAM:I, uh...came kind of close.
JOHN:The number it must've done on your head...Your father was supposed to protect you.
SAM:He was trying. He died trying. Believe me.
That line is the one that kills me in this whole dialogue. It's the one that breaks my heart and makes me cry as I write. Not just the words but the way Sam says them - almost pleading for John to understand. The fact is that raising them in the life and keeping them always by his side was the only way that John thought he could protect them.
SAM: I used to be mad at him. I—I mean, I used to... I used to hate the guy. But now I—I... I get it. He was...just doing the best he could.
SAM:And he was trying to keep it together in—in—in this impossible situation. See... My mom, um... She was amazing, beautiful, and she was the love of his life. And she got killed. And...I think he would have gone crazy if he didn't do something.
And John understands this because he has an amazing beautiful wife and he can't imagine what it would be like to lose her.
SAM: Truth is, um, my dad died before I got to tell him that I understand why he did what he did.
And although John doesn't take this as a message to him, he understands and accepts the love Sam has for his father ...it's almost he's accepting those words on behalf of Sam's father, you know? He's almost crying here...and well, the writers didn't put it in till later but if you think of how John lost HIS dad when he was so young... you could say he understands more than Sam knows.
While that's going on, Anna is getting some backup because she is not strong enough to handle all four by herself. Calling on Uriel as his superior and telling him he can get revenge is very smart :P
Mary, is ready for some real answers. She has trusted them and let them lead until now, but she needs to know WHY angels are after her when she hasn't done anything to piss any off. She didn't even know they existed.
DEAN:I'm your son.
DEAN:I'm your son. Sorry. I don't know how else to say it. We're from the year two thousand and ten. An angel zapped us back here. Not the one that attacked you, friendlier.
MARY:You can't expect me to believe that.
DEAN:Our names are Dean and Sam Winchester. We're named after your parents. When I would get sick, you would make me tomato-rice soup, because that's what your mom made you. And instead of a lullaby, you would sing "Hey Jude", 'cause that's your favorite Beatles song.
MARY:I...I don't believe it. No.
DEAN:I'm sorry, but it's true.
MARY:I raised my kids to be hunters?
DEAN:No. No, you didn't.
MARY:How could I do that to you?
And I really feel Mary's pain here. THIS is just what she was trying to avoid. THIS is just what she had not wanted for her own kids. She wanted a normal life for her kids. And at this point John also could not believe that kids would be brought up in such a life. It just goes to show how much he was changed by his wife's death. Mary had been full of hopes and dreams for a future with her new husband and the child inside her. But we know her future is not rosy. Sam and Dean know that it is not. And they have to break it to her.
DEAN:You didn't do it. Because you're dead.
MARY:What? What happened?
DEAN:Yellow-eyed demon. He killed you, and — John became a hunter to get revenge. He raised us in this life. Listen to me. A demon comes into Sam's nursery exactly six months after he's born. November second, nineteen eighty-three. Remember that date. And whatever you do, do not go in there. You wake up that morning and you take Sam and you run.
The message he tried to give her the last time he was there was to stay in bed and leave the demon to do what he wanted, but now that he knows he can't let the YED do what he did to Sam either.
SAM:That's not good enough, Dean.
SAM:Wherever she goes, the demon's gonna find her. Find me.
DEAN:Well, then what?
SAM:She can leave Dad. That's what. You got to leave John.
SAM:When this is all over, walk away, and never look back.
DEAN:So we're never born. ... He's right.
It seems like Sam has been thinking a lot since Cas told him about Anna's mission.
DEAN:You have no other choice. There's a big difference between dying and never being born. And trust me, we're okay with it, I promise you that.
(And that totally reminds me of the Titanic ep in Season 6 :P)
MARY:Okay, well, I'm not.
SAM:Listen, you think you can have that normal life that you want so bad, but you can't. I'm sorry. It's all gonna go rotten. You are gonna die, and your children will be cursed.
WOW... way to shock someone from their hopes and dreams?
Then the big bombshell by Mary - and I guess the fact that Anna chose this year to come back to just shows how cruel destiny is aye? If she'd come just a year earlier...
MARY:It's too late. I'm...I'm pregnant.
I'm always thinking here, still it's just Dean. What if she did leave John and raise Dean all by herself or even put him up for adoption? In that day and age, yeah, it would be crazy but still possible.... Would the YED have infected Dean instead, I wonder? Interesting to contemplate.
But no time to think of that. John comes in to tell them that all the sigils are gone from the walls as soon as he makes them. Mary checks the oil and finds that it is all gone. And not just one angel but two appear. They are totally screwed.
DEAN:Who the hell are you?
DEAN:Oh, come on.
John gets thrown out the window (again, why isn't Anna killing him?) Uriel has Dean by the throat as Anna drives a piece of wood into Sam's stomach and Dean calls out to Sam in anguish as Sam falls to the floor... he's ... dead?!
And just then, outside, Michael is asking John for permission.
Actually, at this point, Anna has already achieved what she wanted. She's killed Sam. She doesn't really have to go after Mary, but something makes her do what she came to do and in comes Michael in the form of John.
I wonder what Anna thinks here as she sees Michael? If she really had broken out and was on her own, she would know that he was displeased. More interesting though is how Michael has timed his appearance. Does he know what has been happening here and has he timed his appearance right when Sam has died to make it more dramatic?
He burns Anna, snaps Uriel away, puts Mary to sleep then turns to Dean. And this scene is another reason why this episode is so awesome to me. The action is ok but the dialogue, first between Sam and John, then between Sam and Dean and Mary, then between Michael and Dean for the climax. The moment of privacy while Sam is dead. Dean tells Michael to heal Sam and come to think of it, Michael could make Dean a deal right here and now - Dean thinks he will, but he doesn't. He is sure that Dean will say yes in the future. No reason to hurry.
First of all, we find out that anyone in Dean's bloodline can contain Michael, even though Dean would be the best fit.
DEAN:I guess they oversold me being your one and only vessel.
MICHAEL:You're my true vessel but not my only one.
DEAN:What is that supposed to mean?
MICHAEL:It's a bloodline.
MICHAEL:Stretching back to Cain and Abel. It's in your blood, your father's blood, your family's blood.
Father's blood - meaning the Winchesters, and Dean is a descendant of Cain, which means that it's in the blood of Cain? Knowing what we know from Season 10, the righteous older brother makes all kinds of sense hmmm? So Sam is Abel's descendant and the descendant of the Campbells? His mother's blood? Which makes sense when we think of the YED looking for mothers. So I wonder... is Nick a descendant of Abel too? Interesting to think about.
MICHAEL:You know, my brother, I practically raised him. I took care of him in a way most people could never understand, and I still love him.
MICHAEL:But I am going to kill him because it is right and I have to.
DEAN:Oh, because God says so?
MICHAEL:Yes. From the beginning, he knew this was how it was going to end.
DEAN:And you're just gonna do whatever God says.
MICHAEL:Yes, because I am a good son.
DEAN:Okay, well, trust me, pal. Take it from someone who knows—that is a dead-end street.
MICHAEL:And you think you know better than my father? One unimportant little man. What makes you think you get to choose?
DEAN:Because I got to believe that I can choose what I do with my unimportant little life.
MICHAEL:You're wrong. You know how I know?
MICHAEL:Think of a million random acts of chance that let John and Mary be born, to meet, to fall in love, to have the two of you. Think of the million random choices that you make, and yet how each and every one of them brings you closer to your destiny. Do you know why that is? Because it's not random. It's not chance. It's a plan that is playing itself out perfectly. Free will's an illusion, Dean. That's why you're going to say yes.
There are two things I pick up here. First, the idea that the writer is God and everything happens as God plans despite what his characters want. And it is true that every choice the characters make are part of the writer's plan for the ending. The characters (angels) do not necessarily know the true ending to the story. The writer doesn't have to tell his characters the truth, and as we find out, each character only knows what he needs to in order for the true ending to be fulfilled according to plan.
The second thing, if we look at this from inside the story, is our knowledge of how these "random choices" were manipulated by angels over the years. We find out later from a cupid that the Winchester Campbell marriage was something the cupids were told was a priority case. They were told to make it happen. Destiny within this story is to me, the manipulation of angels and demons on the lives of humanity. And how do they know what to manipulate? Because they have a version of the future mapped out. Either they know bits and pieces of what must happen through prophesies and/or they can see how the various roads would pan out. "Destiny" as the angels know it, is a plan carried out by angels and demons for their own purposes. What they don't know of course is that God is only telling them what he wants them to know.
MICHAEL: Oh, buck up. It could be worse. You know, unlike my brothers, I won't leave you a drooling mess when I'm done wearing you.
And then he goes on to tell Dean that he will do better than heal John and Mary. He will make them forget any of this happened. Of course that means that Sam and Dean will still be born, and Mary will die, and Sam will be given the demon blood and basically nothing will change.
MICHAEL:And you always knew that was going to play out one way or another. You can't fight City Hall.
Then he sends Sam, alive, back to the future.
MICHAEL: He's home. Safe and sound. Your turn.
Sam and Dean are ... taking care of toiletries?? Getting ready to leave I guess, when Cas appears behind Sam and they carry him to them bed.
As they get their much needed drinks, Dean mentions how it's just the three of them on "Team Free Will"
DEAN:Team Free Will. One ex-blood junkie, one dropout with six bucks to his name, and Mr. Comatose over there. It's awesome.
SAM:It's not funny.
DEAN:I'm not laughing.
SAM:They all say we'll say yes.
DEAN:I know. It's getting annoying.
SAM:What if they're right?
SAM:I mean, why, why would we, either of us? But...I've been weak before.
SAM:Michael got Dad to say yes.
DEAN:That was different. Anna was about to kill Mom.
SAM:And if you could save Mom...what would you say?
Sam is worried but it's nothing compared to Dean ... he is dead inside, just going through the motions - as we will see next episode. Dean has been spiralling down hill ever since Lucifer came topside. While Sam is determined to make things right, Dean has been discouraged that he could not stop Sam from opening the gates, discouraged that he failed Jo and Ellen by not being able to kill Lucifer with the colt, and becoming more and more sure that he isn't going to be able to save everyone from the apocalypse. Sam's question here is way too close to what Dean actually decides to do.
Then we have our last scene linking to Dean's memories from Houses of the Holy. I don't know if Michael fiddled with Mary there or not, but the woman who hadn't believed in angels before decides that it would be very nice for an angel to be watching over her little boy. And we are all totally creeped out by that.
MARY:Ohh...quite a kick there. Troublemaker already. It's okay, baby. It's all okay.
Angels are watching over you.