Supernatural has never allowed the Winchesters to truly be children.
This show seems to delight in destroying childhood memories, even ours. It started before “Bedtime Stories”, and now, teddy bears play Russian roulette, clown kill, fluffy rabbits are either cursed (well parts of them) or possessed, and in “Just My Imagination”, you come home to the body of your imaginary friend lying soaked in blood in your room. The little mermaid? Gutted like a fish in a kiddie pool, and did I mention her prince has a mullet? Our fairy tales have turned grimm. Watch your steps! Dead unicorn ahead…
Morning at the Winchester Bunker: “Surprise”, Sam!
6:30 am. Early bird Sam Winchester silences his phone alarm and shuffles down to the kitchen to make a fresh pot of coffee. Breakfast is already set. A feast fit for a boy king awaits him at the table. Candies, cookies, Cheetos, nachos, “Surprise!”
“You remember me, right? I made all your favorite snacks!”
It’s a blast from the past. Sully, Sam’s childhood imaginary friend has come to visit and this time, he reveals himself to Dean. He’s a zanna, creatures who appear as figment of a child’s imagination and guide and protect lost children. Sully needs Sam’s help because someone is killing others like him.
What’s that thing in my kitchen? Dean’s in “crazy town”
“Let me go get my gun.”
Dean isn’t in the mood for this. The man hasn’t had his coffee yet, and here comes this upbeat eccentric, trespassing on his fortress. Dean marks his territory, threatens Sully with bodily harm, insults him and treats him with a level of scorn that the good-natured zanna describes as “offensive”. To Dean, the “fairy Godmother getting capped” is not a Winchester problem. His job is to help people, not “things.”
“As messed up and insane as this sounds, Sully helped me.”
Sam deflates his brother’s anger balloon by explaining that Sully truly helped him when he was a kid. Dean wonders what happened to his life as he listens to Sully describe in dramatic details the way his friend “Sparkles” was murdered, but, he’s a professional and he stays on the case.
Flashbacks to Sam’s childhood: “Ever think about running away?”
In previous flashbacks, we’ve seen the Winchester children alone together while John was hunting. This time, we see Sam alone in a motel while John and Dean are hunting. Based on Dean saying that he’ll call him in a couple days, it looks like Sam was by himself for a while. No wonder he got “lonely.”
The flashbacks also show Sam reacting to the fact that John refused to let him hunt. His confidence takes a hit, especially since he knows Dean was younger than he is when he started hunting. After experiencing what feels like rejection, Sam confesses to Sully that he wants to run away from the hunting life. On the one hand, he wants to be accepted by his family of hunters, on the other hand, he wants the freedom to pursue his own dreams, away from that life.
“You’re not Dean, you’re not your Dad, you’re Sam, and Sam is awesome.”
Sully tries to help Sam see that he is in own person, valuable just the way he is, and that he doesn’t have to live someone else’s life. It seems this is what Sam needs to hear until a call from John brings Sam back into the fold. His father changed his mind, and Sam, beaming with pride, changes his mind right along with John. He silences the part of himself that wants to run and embraces the hunter within. On to the family business.
“I’m a Winchester. I hunt monsters. What would I want anything else?” “I wanna be with my Dad, and Dean.”
Dean feeling threatened? “What did you need drop-dead Fred for in the first place?
“What did you need drop-dead Fred for in the first place? You weren’t lonely, you had me.”
There seems to be more to Dean’s attitude towards the zannas than simple annoyance. Dean, who is something of a surrogate father himself, questions their usefulness.
“What’s so special about you?”
As the one who’s been there for Sam since day one, he doesn’t like a “thing” moving in on his territory. “You had me,” he tells Sam and in his mind, you can hear him saying, “That should have been enough.”
Overall grade: 7/10
I give this one a 7/10. The episode had a little bit of “Bad Boys” and “After School Special” in it, an exploration of the Winchesters childhood with a focus on Sam.
First, I love and I live for Domestic!Winchesters. It gives me with great joy to see them disheveled, sleepy, and roaming in their bunker half-naked (we saw Dean’s legs, and Sam only had one layer of clothing. These are guys who wear a jacket over a shirt, over a shirt, over a tee-shirt. Catching a glimpse of their ankle or shoulder is a big deal!).
The episode was mostly enjoyable, minus the parts where the zannas had me thinking “Let me go get my gun”, as I was starting to buckle under the weight of the combined cheesiness of Sully + Mullet Man. There was also the return of that old “Do I want to run away” Sam angst that always gets me sad and blue.
When it comes to the zannas, the Manicorn was just creepy. I think I’ve seen a character like him in a movie about an alternative adult club. No Bueno. I did like the little mermaid and I will admit that Babyfaced Sully was good to child Sam. I however, take serious issue with some of the simplistic and dangerous advice he gave him, like encouraging Sam to go back to the Cage because heroes like him who save the world have the courage to do things that no one else will. Whatever happened to looking for another way? Sam spent all of season 10 trying to convince Dean that there was another way, but now, he’s getting ready to throw himself off a cliff without a piece of rope (Barb and I talked about this. I was deep in denial but it looks like she was right)?
Best Sam moment: Kid Sam and Sully playing the “Ever Think” game
For this episode, my best Sam moment wasn’t about the dialogue or even Jared’s acting, delivery or facial expressions. It was about a visual and a moment that looked simply magical. The scene shows kid Sam smiling, relaxed and free of the angst he too often carried on his shoulders as he plays the “Ever Think” game with Sully. It’s an example of the kind of magic the zannas try to bring into a lonely child’s often bleak world. One for Sully.
Best Dean moment: Dean tying his robe with authority
Dean was on a roll in this episode. Mr Ghoulpire is combining words again, “a manicorn”, and looking pleased when someone in the audience hesitantly agrees (thank you Maddie’s mom, he needed that. You have to reward that kind of determination).
Dean always shines when he’s confronted with a case that gives him cooties. “A manicorn, a freaking mermaid? What am I supposed to do with that? But a chick in a car, that’s terra firma, I’m home.” It’s ”The Mentalists” all over again and the snark is at an all-time high. “Say Bozo is legit.” Ha! His comment about disposing of the mermaid, “Find a giant toilet and flush it?” before doing his best to look contrite, had me shaking my head while trying not to laugh (sorry, Ariel, RIP).
His very best moment is when he’s using his robe to convey his righteous indignation over what’s happening in his kitchen. Did he not look like a matador waving a red flag in front of a bull? I keep waiting for him to clap his hands and yell “Olé!” I love it when he gets dramatic. The robe and dad slippers are just icing on the cake.
Best broment : “You, me, library, right now!”
Dean is using his dad voice and Sam is sulking and slinking away like a kid who knows he’s in trouble. A former demon knight in a peignoir and the sleepy vessel of Lucifer walk into a kitchen…
Sometimes I have to remind myself that these two kill for a living (they don’t get paid but get my drift).
Funniest moment : “the family that showers together”
Really, Dean? The gentle poet strikes again. This boy is a mess and I love him for it.
Best quote : “Good. The Bert and Ernie pretext.”
I’m sensing a theme here…
My virgin eyes see, “Season 23, Granpachesters!”, but Dean sees a couple. I’ll go with that. Remember, he knows one thing for sure, “Bert and Ernie are gay.”
“Something Wicked” gave us “Two queens”, “Playthings” gave us “Antiquers?”, “Point of No Return” gave us “erotically codependent”, “Ask Jeeves” gave us the “homosexual murderers.”
Keep it coming, Supernatural and lay it on thick.
No need to take a substep back there, this SamnDean girl is diggin’ it.
The brangst (mine) : Vee’s problem with all this
I obviously have a lot of good things to say about this episode. Then why the sad grade?
It goes back to an issue I’ve always had with the writing for Sam’s character. Eric Kripke described Sam and Dean as the ying and the yang, therefore, if one of them embraced the life, the other had to reject it. Sam’s struggle with his identity has always been a part of him and he’s always had a complicated relationship with the family business, torn between love, duty, loyalty and his desire for freedom.
It makes perfect sense as a human perspective and literary point of view, but it’s something that’s always been difficult for me on this show. As I embraced the Winchesters, I embraced the hunting brothers who chose to fight side by side in a world that no longer needed normal. Dean, my soulmate, has always given what I need. Sam, my tormented lover sometimes threatens to break up the band and walk away. Every time I’ve disliked this show, Sam was “running”, rejecting the family business (which inevitably means rejecting his partner, Dean) and looking for that goddamned normal (for the love of Lucifer, Sam, let it go).
This roller coaster might be realistic but I love a man who sticks by his convictions. “The Book of the Damned” told us that Sam finally made his choice. Sam said this before, then changed his mind (to be fair, it was Jeremy Carver). In “Just My Imagination”’ he tells Sully he doesn’t think about running anymore. My wish is for the show to bring Sam to a point where he’s truly at peace with his choice. I want off the roller coaster. Someone bury that decaying chestnut, please.
“When I wasn’t there for my little brother, Sully was.”
One other thing that got stuck in my throat? Dean saying that when he wasn’t there for his little brother, Sully was. I will let the butthurt Dean girl out for a minute and you can all laugh and point. I understand what Dean meant here, but I honestly don’t think this was needed. Self-loathing, guilt and martyrdom are Dean Winchester’s middle names. So, Sully was there? Cool. Dean still went above and beyond when it came to being there for Sam. He was a child himself, and I really don’t think the times he couldn’t be there because he was allowed to be a person for a minute, deserve mention.
Which brings me to Sully and his cheesy good sentiments, thanking Dean for his good job. Mork, Dean’s got this. The “germ” might have been offensive to you, but now, you’re riding on 15 minutes of fame and being semi-condescending. This man went to Hell watching out for Sam. Try not to sound like you’re congratulating him for his lifetime of blood, sweat, sacrifice and tears. He was at it before you came along, he was at it when you were fired, and he’s still got it.
The brangst (theirs): Sam’s lining up to say yes
“We need to seriously discuss me going to the cage.”
In spite of his fears and the “lump in his throat”, Sam is ready to go back to the Cage because he’s convinced this is what God wants him to do, in order to defeat The Darkness. I talked about this at length in the “Plush” report. When Barb and I discussed this, I was optimistic the boys would start working on another avenue ASAP, which should have started in this episode. She patted me on the shoulder (virtually) and let me hold on to my delusions. Barb, you were right. Sam’s not looking for another solution and so far, Dean has zero leads. Aaah!!!
There’s been a lot of talk about God in fandom in relation to season 11. I never really felt he would be a part of this (I’m kind of like Dean, and think the SPN God is mostly a deadbeat who doesn’t care),but I had all kinds of alarm bells ringing when Sam was talking about what God wanted him to do, and how Sam wasn’t sure that he could do it.
Now, I was raised Roman Catholic and I went to Bible study, and if I know anything, it’s that this is God’s M.O. He did it to Abraham, he did to Job, and to the man he called his son. Find a believer, ask him to make a terrible sacrifice. Well, Jared already has the hair. All he needs to do now, is fast for 40 days. Welcome, to our own Jesus Christ Superstar! Nailed to the Cage to save mankind from the original darkness (have I finally reached the acceptance stage?).
I mostly enjoyed the episode. Loved the beginning with the Domestic!Winchesters rolling out of bed and reuniting in the kitchen for a highly entertaining and comedic scene.
Dean’s reaction to Sully, the not-so-imaginary friend was also amusing and grown-up Sam had several child-like and endearing moments, like when he was trying to wrap his head around the fact that Sully was real, or when he obediently went to the library after an outraged Dean put on the Dad voice.
I believe Sully was mostly good-hearted, but I didn’t care for his deadly advice to Sam about being the hero who faces what he’s afraid of because that’s what heroes do. Yes, Sam! Have a snack, and then jump in the Cage. You can do it, you’re awesome! I’m going to need you to take five, Sully. Let Dean handle this. At least, he’s not pushing his brother into a box where the Devil is waiting for him with a saw.
I do feel compassion for Sam’s lifelong dilemma about the hunting life. Might not sound like it, but I do. Still, this is entertainment and I prioritize my enjoyment, so I want him to choose the hunt like he said he did, and truly mean it, for his going back and forth always coincides with the brothers fighting on screen (pretty, please). He’s never getting normal, and this discussion is a cul-de-sac at this point of the series. Let’s not go backwards.
I really enjoyed Dean’s comedic role in this episode. He was on steroids to offset the sadness, nostalgia and angst that was going on with Sam. It kills me to see Sam like this, tears in his eyes, as he readies himself mentally to jump into the Cage, completely refusing to entertain other possibilities. Whatever happened to “the other way”, Sammy?
All in all, a lot of funny, so much sad, but this fangirl always find the brotherly silver lining. Remember when Dean told Tina that he put fluff marshmallow mix in his mac n’ cheese because Sam thought it was “exotic” in “About a Boy”? Sam thinks he only told Sully that he loves marshmallows on nachos, but truth is, Dean’s always known Sam likes marshmallows on practically everything. One for Dean.
Let’s talk about all the scary things that are coming for Sam, for Dean and for all of us who love watching them. I’m not ready. Who wants to sit with me at the bunker’s table? All this upcoming angst calls for a sugar coma.
XI : Winchester Brothers Report
11.01 “We Broke It, We Bought It”
11.02 “That Giant, Crazy Fart”
11.03 “And I have a fake badge”
11.04 “We’re home”
11.05 “That whole sensitive verbal massage”
11.06 “She overpowered me, end of story”
11.07 “What do you mean, killer bunny?”