If you want a review with a play by play, please read Ikeke’s spot on review of “Baby” Cobbwebqueen has a good one as well. This entry is an editorial to express the joy of superb writing by Robbie Thompson and clever directing by Thomas J. Wright. And we needed this episode after 11.3’s disappointment. My non supernatural friends can’t figure out why my smile is continuous, but I can share with ya’ll.
Not since Ben Edlund and maybe Jeremy Carver dared to write off the wall episodes such as Changing Channels, Mystery spot , Yellow Fever and French Mistake, has a writer reached such a high level of pushing the show. Carver comes close with the finales, but those are usually heavy and breath-taking in a way much different than Thompson’s joyfulness in providing us with “Squee moments.” He unites the brothers in a way that has been absent for a few years. Even jerk/bitch makes an appearance and one imagines that it must be the Winchester version of goodnight as reminiscent as the Walton’s TV classic sign of, ( this goes back many years).
While the 200th episode is an homage to the longevity of the show and the canon, “Baby” is a gift to long time fans. Who have been asking for Sam to be with another woman, for Dean to be, well Dean in with all of his attributes both physical and comic, and for Baby to be acknowledged as the third hunter. Perennial viewers are rewarded with references to past episodes, bro moments, and fantasy fulfillment. Robbie Thompson reaches those lofty heights over and over again while providing a monster of the week episode that ties into the main arc. Sam keeps telling us that this case is nothing- viewers usually comment like this during filler episodes that are off the main arc. Well, it turns out this MOW is forming an army to fight the darkness. She is coming! This episode is much more than a MOW my friends!
Thomas J. Wright photographs every aspect of the show from the point of view of the car. She is the place where the Winchesters, eat, sleep, drink, have sex, discuss their hopes, dreams (literally) and bond. She is home while the boys are on the road. In this episode she even becomes a lethal weapon. Wright’s direction of this episode lets the Winchesters be themselves. There is palpable joy in the performances of Jensen and Jared. I could tell they loved being in the car and set free to say their lines. The opening scene of Dean laying beaten in the back seat is the only evidence of violence for the first 20 minutes of the show. The introduction of Baby as she rolls off the production line and the use of the script used in s 5’s “Swan Song” take the viewer into the world of Baby and her life on the road. She saves the Winchesters at the end of seasons,1, 5, 7 sort of and her lack of presence is noticeable during season 7. Use of this birth punctures the conventional television show and allows us to enter this world with ease of acceptance. No other show has gone there like this that I can recall!
Thompson and Wright combine to give the viewers what they have been requesting: the relationship between the brothers is solid as they wash Baby in the garage together. Rather than showing Dean in those short shorts as he massages Baby, we are left to imagine the shot. Dean’s don’t objectify me line from season 3 rings in my ears. Sam’s encounter with a woman albeit in the back seat of Baby, ( he hasn’t been with anyone since Amelia on screen and he had taken that vow of chastity in s10 ) demonstrates Thompson’s knowledge of the history of Sam and Dean. Sam is not in the shot so, once again, the viewer’s imagination takes over. Remember Anna and Dean in the back seat? Neither the writer nor the director exploit the actors’ good fortune of being physically fit. The scene is important to show us that Sam is back to being Sam( not Samuel or Sammy). Sam says” I needed that”, well so didn’t the viewer! Tasteful and polite- Sam is at full strength. Dean’s curiosity and pride in his brother are well placed and not creepy. (Remember Sam walking in on Dean in a motel room and having that off screen sex scene burned into his eyes?) And the scene is important to explain how the hair pin is in the seat when Baby needs to help Dean free himself. Thompson knows the show well. Echo’s.
Sam’s dream sequence is open to interpretation. His admission to Dean of visions and secrets of infection are tender moments as are Dean’s confession of his dreams of a normal life. Dean acknowledges that he reads, telling us he is as smart as Sam. His playfulness with words is another sign of his higher level thinking skills. The are equals on all fronts once again. This unification is necessary to fight the Darkness. Only the Winchesters can.
It is a smart choice to use young John Winchester in this sequence. The character acknowledges that the brothers turned out okay because of who they are and not what he did. He expresses that he never wanted the hunters’ life for them. Even though we are not sure who this really is or if has a real message or it is a fever dream or if it is what Sam wants to believe in his private thoughts. The scene is beautifully directed with close ups to the point that I almost think I see a family resemblance between Sam and John (I know it’s Jared and Matt). The direction and script collide so beautifully and give fodder to speculation for the future while honouring Sam’s past. John is so connected to Baby why wouldn’t she remember John’s more innocent years when she and Mary were his Babes?
There is plenty of gore and blood, but with so much going on between the brothers(in a good way),I didn’t flinch and even Baby gets messed up. She did at the end of season 1 and 7 and now again she shows the scars and the blood as clearly as her partners, Sam and Dean. Dean even sacrifices Baby’s good looks in order to kill the monster and retrieve Sam who is saving his own batch of people from a bad fate. I am not as shocked by the violence as was my viewing buddy because I have become used to it as a fabric of the show and I was much more focused on the dialogue and from where the story came. It works.
The reviews by other talented writers on this blog can offer you examples of smart writing of Winchester lines that will become classics and shots of the Winchesters doing normal daily events that will supply us with GIFs for quite a while. The choice of music, Night Moves by Bob Seeger now becomes ingrained on the play list of Supernatural’s best songs. And Sam/Jared’s voice singing is finally heard on screen. Even the use of Cas’ voice on the cell phone without his appearance has its own punctuation in the script as he hears the violence, gives information that nobody but Baby hears, and remains Cas- like, offering humour in the darkest moments. The decision to have the character phone in rather than pop into the scene is a smart one as this is about Baby and her boys. So much fulfillment of fan desires but, so tastefully done by Wright and Thompson. It is about time the Winchesters and the fans got one in the win column. This is as close to a 10 as you get, but I save those for the big drama finales.
Baby does have her own moment when the valet and her girlfriend take Baby out for her own good time. It is not just a scene for time filling or comic relief. If Sam and Dean can have a bit of fun, why not Baby? Once again, Thompson puts a woman at the wheel to show the appreciation of the fans who are along for the ride, many of whom are female. Baby is personified as a character in her own right- very novel approach. This is Baby’s way of having a good time out of Dean’s sight. How many times has she had to wait for him or Sam to finish their business? It also sets up the solution to kill the monster. How else could a writer explain the pennies in a purse. Once again, Baby holds the solution. literally in her back seat floor.
As Sam calls Baby home and the brothers and Baby go on their way back to the bunker to figure out the next move against the Darkness, there is a semi hug between the brothers that is shared through Baby’s broken window. All show signs of weariness and being battered and covered in monster blood. Baby hasn’t been this hurt since the end of season 1. Sam and Dean go get some healing from Cas and Baby will be restored once again by Dean. Reset- everyone is on the same page to hunt the darkness.
While Supernatural is never submitted for any awards, clearly the writing and the direction gave the actors the freedom to express an honest portrayal of beloved characters. Somehow, the enjoyment of their jobs comes through in each together scene in the Impala. Thank you to the makeup department as much sugar blood is dispersed so generously and the wounds from last week are healing but visible. Continuity. It took the prop master of the Impala, 8 different cars to pull this episode off. Cameramen were in bucket seats in the trunk to get the shots and the sun streaming in the windows by accident- well maybe there is some divine intervention or kismet at work. This episode goes into the vault as one of the top episodes of the series for me. The writing and direction are superb. Joy is the predominant feeling. As Dean says to Sam,’ Let it wash over you”.
Written By: Debbab
Published By: Bella
Photographs courtesy of: Supernatural fans on-line.com
Photographs: Property of ‘The CW’.