XII : Winchester Brothers Report : “Where’s my brother?”

Christo! The word you’re looking for, is “Christo”!

Anyway, in “Celebrating the Life of Asa Fox”, the Winchesters visit… Canada with Jody Mills, and reunite with Mary. There’s also a crossroads demon and half a dozen hunters, neither of whom have a drop holy water on them. They all brought their flashlights though, so everything’s cool!

Winchester recap: “Apparently we’re a bit legendary.”

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Sam and Dean show up unannounced at Jody’s door after finishing a hunt in Brookings, South Dakota. Dean proudly informs Jody that he killed Hitler. “Thank you?”, Jody offers, seeing that Dean’s expecting a response. “You’re welcome”. After a Netflix romcom and a snack with the boys, Jody receives devastating news that a hunter friend of hers has died. Sam and Dean know Asa Fox from the story Ellen used to tell about him at the Rodhouse and they offer tag along for the funeral service.

The boys are quite popular at the wake. “The Dean Winchester?”, the one who died “like, four times?” becomes “our famous friend” and the hunters have crazy stories about him. Sam, “the one who’s been “possessed by the Big Bad Devil” also has his groupies. An unexpected visitor joins the wake. Mary saved Asa when he was a kid and we learn that she was still hunting even after Dean was born, tying up lose ends before she could retire. For Sam, the real reason she kept going is that hunting, is in their blood.

Jody’s excited to see Mary. Dean not so much.  “So you’ll text us once a week, maybe, but you’ll drive all the way to Canada to see some dead guy.” Dean takes off and Sam stops Mary from following him. He believes they each need space, Dean because he’s struggling with his fears that Mary will abandon them, and Mary because she has to take the time she needs to adjust to her new world. Jody manages to intercept Dean on his way out. She understands how wonderful, and frightening, it would be to have her own husband and son back, especially if things didn’t work out the way she wanted and she reminds Dean she’s always there for him if he wants to talk.

Sam and Mary go pay their respect to Asa. As soon as they pull the sheet down from his face, blood drips onto it…from the ceiling, where another hunter is strung up, dead. Lights flicker, the smell of sulfur fills the air, the doors are suddenly warded shut. Asa’s best friend Bucky recognizes the signature: the crossroads demon that killed up Asa is back. Outside, Billie appears to Dean. As soon as he hears she was reaping a fresh soul, he tries to get back inside, calling out Sam’s name, but the house in on “supernatural lock-down”. Billie gives Dean a “one-way ticket” inside the house but he will owe her one. Dean has a plan to identify the demon. Everybody inside a Devil’s Trap. The one who won’t get in is the demon. “Smart”, Mary says. “Thank you.”

The brothers identify the demon when a hysterical Jody demands they kill Mary. After a collective exorcism, the demon is expelled from Jody but not before it reveals that Bucky’s the one who killed Asa, although by accident. As the bodies burn on the pyre, Jody tells Mary, from one mom to another that Sam and Dean are the best men she’s ever met. Mary knows. Her sons aren’t the problem. Billie might know what it is, and she’s come to collect. “What’s dead must stay dead”. Dean owes her something: Mary. She has that lonely, “dead man’s look” of the resurrected who no longer fit in the world, and Billie wants to set things straight. “One-way ticket upstairs, away from all of this”. Mary chooses to stay. She will come back to the bunker, soon but “not quite yet”. She needs a little more time. Dean still offers to buy her breakfast: “all the bacon”. Mary would love that. In spite of his offer, Dean remains visibly distant from Mary while Sam who’s been keeping close tabs on her, keeps a comforting arm wrapped around his mother.

Overall grade : 7.5/10

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I really enjoyed this episode. Could have been an 8 but I’ll explain. First, the really good stuff. Jody! Oh, how I love Jody. It’s always a delight to see her back on the show. I especially love the relationship she’s developed with the boys. Having lost so many friends, they have very few places they can call home, outside of the iconic Impala and the MOL batcave, and it is clear that they feel very much at home at Jody’s. In “Don’t You Forget About Me”, Sam tears into her chicken with the kind of abandon we rarely see him demonstrate. In “Celebrating the Life of Asa Fox”, he and his brother show up announced, covered in post-hunting grime, and park themselves on Jody’s couch, eating her snacks and watching the Netflix romcom she had planned for her evening alone (Alex and Claire are at a concert). They’re sprawled across her furniture, revealing embarrassing things about themselves (that’s more Sam ratting Dean out). They’re comfortable.

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Jody’s also comfortable. She teases the brothers and breaks down in front of them when she learns of her friend’s passing. I loved her interactions with the boys and the way she turned the romcom question around on Dean. It’s those warm and authentic moments that make their friendship look so genuine to this viewer. I also like the way Jody tries to get through to Dean when he’s being emotionally constipated. She’s never intimidated by the gruff demeanor he puts on when someone tries to confront him about his feelings and she always offers to listen, should he want to talk. She did it in “Hibbings 911” after Sam semi-cured Dean from his demon sickness, and she did it again in “Celebrating…Asa…” as he was swallowing his disappointment over Mary.

Another wonderful thing, Billie! I have talked about Billie and sang her praises since the first time she appeared on the show and every time since. I was disappointed when they killed Tessa, and I never thought they could top the character of the timeless and impassible female reaper who’s unimpressed by the Winchesters yet still slightly curious about them, and boy was I wrong. Lisa Berry takes the character to new heights and her performance is simply hypnotic. She comes in, takes over the screen, and fills it with rolling waves of gravitas and charisma. Bless whoever cast this goddess on the show.

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I really liked the hunter gathering. It was nice to see fun-loving, loquacious hunters, so far from the antisocial and embittered image they’ve sometimes been associated with on the show. Sam and Dean were taught to avoid such assemblies by John. Of course as we saw, Papa Winchester wasn’t completely wrong when he told his sons that those gatherings, were “trouble”.

It was even better to see the boys not being welcome with hostility as it’s also happened in the past. When Elvis took off after learning Sam was there, I thought he was running away and leaving the party. Quite the contrary. Sam and Dean were welcomed are the Hunter Superstars that they are. Make way for the most powerful of God’s archangels vessels, a former Knight of Hell and a former Boy King.

Speaking of hunters, I loved the callback to Ellen and the Roadhouse. I love the team exorcism and I even love the pyre. I deeply associate it to hunter rituals and I always love it when the boys are in their underground monster-killing world, doing what hunters do. As Sam said, “it’s in their blood”. Which is why you’d think they’d be better prepared…

“Anybody packin’?”
Really.
Really?
You mean to tell me you have half a dozen hunters and not a one had holy water on them? They whipped out those flashlights like they meant business though… For shame! And whatever happened to Christo? Half a dozen hunters looking for the demon among them, and not a one utters the word Christo? Two points subtracted from everybody‘s hunting license!

The Mary issue

On to the things I didn’t enjoy. Mary’s return. I don’t like her coming around anymore, because her presence has a negative effect on Dean’s mood. For the third week in a row, I’m saying that I don’t like how this whole situation has him subdued, melancholy, blue. My vibrant sun of a man, reduced to this, all because of the mother who was supposed to be the last ray of hope in his life.

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Don’t get me wrong, I don’t need Dean to be a clown and the life of the party 24/7. I love and respect him in everything he is. The layers upon layers of rich, glorious, broken and twisted history that made him into a deeply complex character and the most fascinating and beloved of mine in all of the TV landscape. What I don’t like, is that once again he’s hurting, BECAUSE of family.

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“So you’ll text us once a week, maybe, but you’ll drive all the way to Canada to see some dead guy.”

Boom! Drop that hammer on her head one time. She needs it and she deserved it. Mary doesn’t seem to realize what she’s breaking. Even when Dean promised her “all the bacon”, he was  distant, and far away in a way he rarely is around the people he loves. I don’t know how she’s planning on climbing out of that hole she dug herself in when it comes to her first born but as far as I’m concerned, Billie Dear, Sandy is all yours. It’s whenever, babe. Sorry Sam, I know you’re enjoying your mom but to me she sucks so bad right now she’s bringing episode grades down just by showing up.

It is interesting however to see the role Sam’s taking on in the Dean/Mary dynamic. Dean and Mary’s relationship is currently filled with guilt, feelings of inadequacy (Mary), pain and quiet bitterness (Dean) and Sam steps in as the peacemaker. In the Sam/John dynamic, the relationship was full of control, desperation (John), rebellion and loud anger (Sam) and Dean had to step in as the referee breaking up the fights. Can we all get along? Apparently not…

Best Dean moments

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Dean trying to wrap his head around the fact that Jody might be a “romcom chick”. If a Big Bad Scary Hunter like you, can love “chick flick moments” (“Alpha & Omega”), a Badass Sheriff Lady like Jody, can most certainly, be a romcom chick.

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“The Dean”. I got such a kick out of that moment because ever since I started being active in general fandom, Dean has been “The Dean” for me. It’s one of my many names and tag for him. It’s also a nice call back to “I Know What You Did Last Summer” when Anna asked if he was “The Dean”? And Dean replied, with the same amount of pride he now has informing whoever will listen that he killed Hitler: “Well, yeah. The Dean, I guess.” Sweet prince…

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Dean flying through the door. Way to make an entrance, Sir. Those legs can fly through my door, closet, window, kitchen cabinet, shower curtain, anytime.

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Dean’s face after he promises to buy Mary “all the bacon”. This is usually the moment where he smiles. Not this time. I don’t have the words to describe everything Jensen put into that moment but I will say this: Mary honey, you are messing up.

Best Sam moments

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Sam airing out Dean’s dirty laundry : his brother’s love for anime cartoon porn. Such a traitorous little brother thing to do and Sam’s loving every moment. Ha!

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Sam wrapping his arms around Mary as they leave the house. Notice the contrast between Sam-Mary and Dean, the distance. Good thing someone is enjoying this impromptu reunion. Focus on the two lane blacktop, Dean, and leave them in their bubble. You’re still mad at her, and that’s okay.

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Sam’s moments with Mary. I don’t relate to his perspective as well as I do Dean’s because in this situation I would be Dean, without any offers of bacon even, but it’s nice to see Sam enjoying his mom. He’s is all over her, and it’s adorable to see.

Best broment

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Dean “Where’s my brother?” Winchester.
One of my favorite Deans. He doesn’t have time for games, he doesn’t time to chat, he doesn’t have time for demon shenanigans. Where. Is. Sam?

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Ooh, this one is a favorite of ours in the Sam and Dean fandom. The Winchesters once again face their mortal enemy.

A door.

Between them.

And this will not stand! Also, my reckless, don’t-have-time-to-think-Sam-is-in-danger babe strikes again. There he goes making deals without reading the fine prints. He’s lucky Billie’s not devious. She could have made him pay through the nose for this one-way ticket inside the house. Oh, Dean. It’s alright though. I’m not among those who can’t accept that a part of your brain often seems to fly out when Sammy’s in trouble. It’s one of those things I cherish about you. Beautifully flawed you are. Notice how he didn’t call out for Mary? Yeah, I don’t have a problem with that either.

Juicy Bit

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This is the second time Mary gets served with painful reminders of the night she lost it all. In “The Foundry”, it was the doll in the crib that reminded her of the night Azazel visited baby Sam. In “Celebrating…Asa…”, it’s the blood dripping from the ceiling onto Asa’s forehead, like it did from Mary’s guts onto six-month old Sam’s head in “Pilot”. This brings me back to my Juicy Bit from the premiere, where Mary said “And then I burned”, and Sam was burning soon after.

There seems to be a connection here, and it makes me fear that something bad is going to happen to Sam this season… Add to that the fact that the actor who plays Asa seems to have been chosen to be stand-in for Sam in this scene and yikes!

Final verdict

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Overall, a nice episode aside from the goofy hunters with all the flashlights but no holy water and no recollection of the word “Christo”. I said before, 8 is reserved for episodes that are pleasant all-around, and unfortunately episodes featuring Mary, her angst and the effect it has on Dean never are these days, so while this episode had a lot to offer, it’s still a 7.5.

As always I loved seeing Jody, and that warm relationship she’s building with the Winchesters, nurtured and cemented with every appearance of the lovely Kim Rhodes. I remain in awe of Billie. I love everything about her from the actress to the rules the character lives by. She’s never random, always precise, always constant. A true reaper, and an absolute joy to watch.

I also loved watching the boys being treated like the legends they are by other hunters, instead of being welcomed with hostility and suspicion. The Vessels have arrived ladies and gentlemen. Clap for the Knight and the Boy King.

It is obvious that Mary is crumbling under the weight of a certain guilt and inadequacy she feels towards Dean. I wish I cared. She’s been on my natural fertilizer list since “The Foundry” and I can’t imagine what she’s ever going to do to get off it. Jensen put so much in the post-bacon offer moment that I’m haunted by Dean’s face and the fact that every encounter he’s had with Mary lately, brings him a new disappointment and a fresh layer of hurt.

Mary’s messing up big time and like I said since “The Foundry”, she can go back to Heaven whenever if all she’s going to bring to the table is more hurt for her boy. I guess it’s a profoundly selfish thing to say when Sam is enjoying her so much. It’s his mother too. He has every right to a close relationship with her, no matter what else is going on. I can only hope that from now on, she will stay away from Dean until she’s figured herself out because the mere sight of Mary seems to be more salt on Dean’s wounds right now.

At least Dean has the pride of his Hilter kill to keep him warm. May he continue to bask in its glow and milk it for all the compliments, thanks, pies, t-shirts and attention he can get. I enjoyed watching him in hunter mode this episode, flying through doors, sparring with the demon, coming up with the Devil’s Trap test. “Smart” indeed. Brains and brawn.

I wonder what’s going on with all these Sam-Mary “Pilot” flashbacks. I especially don’t like the fact that Asa, seemed to be a stand-in for Sam in the scene where the blood is dripping from the ceiling.

Ending this Report on one of my favorite things about this show. I live for Protective!Dean, so watching him in his “Where’s my brother?” mode is always a treat for me. My jaw is on the floor that he made yet another deal (to quickly to get inside the house) without asking what it entailed. Fascinating. He’s pretty consistent in how reckless he can become, in general, and particularly when Sam is in danger. It’s an integral part of his personality and I don’t ever wish for it to change. It was nice to see it make an appearance again and of course, the return of the ‘no door shall stand between us’ gag that never gets old.

Merci,

Vee

Gif credits

The Winchester Brothers Report by Vee

Season 11: 11.01, 11.02 to 11.23

Season 12
12.01: “If he is not in one piece I will take you apart.”
12.02: “The only thing we had was each other.”
12.03: “Family hunting trip.”
12.04: “I hate you so much right now.”
12.05: “What do you think this is? Tickle party?”

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16 Comments

  1. We all know it–the mother with two sons and one is invisible–no matter what the invisible son does, he can never be seen by his mother.

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    1. Hey Southeast, how are you! 🙂 Do you think it applies to Sam, Dean and Mary?
      I see it a little differently. I don’t think Mary’s playing favorite or that she can’t see Dean.

      When she told the boys she was leaving she turned to Dean first to hug him and he’s the one who sidestepped her. She then turned to Sam and hugged him.

      She embraced Dean in the garden when they met the same way she embraced Sam in her room when he gave her John’s Journal.

      She replied to Dean’s text and didn’t send one to Sam (because Sam didn’t write to her).

      She went after Dean when she saw how upset he was to see her at the wake but Sam blocked her.

      I think she cares about Dean as much as she does Sam. She acts the same towards the both of them. The difference is Sam’s seeking her out in a way that Dean isn’t.

      When you look at it closely, Mary’s very passive in the situation. She only seems closer to Sam because he’s doing all the work. He’s the one seeking her out, talking to her, showing her mercy (okay empathy lol), touching and embracing her.

      She has little contact with Dean because he doesn’t initiate much and for that I’m proud of him. He already had to take care of of John and I don,t want him mothering Mary through her issues. It’s her job as a parent to extend herself to her children. If she can’t do it because she’s swimming in her issues, then Dean’s decision to leave her to her own devices seems very healthy. Mary’s going to have to work a little harder for Dean which is such great progress for the character as far as I’m concerned.

      He’s carried a lifelong burden when it comes to ‘parenting’ his own father (John owned up to it in “In My Time of Dying”) and his little brother. His blind devotion and loyalty haven’t always been appreciated, rewarded and reciprocated. I’d really, really, really hate to see him chasing after his mother too.

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      1. “When you look at it closely, Mary’s very passive in the situation. She only seems closer to Sam because he’s doing all the work. He’s the one seeking her out, talking to her, showing her mercy (okay empathy lol), touching and embracing her.”

        Exactly this ^

        “She has little contact with Dean because he doesn’t initiate much and for that I’m proud of him. He already had to take care of of John and I don,t want him mothering Mary through her issues. It’s her job as a parent to extend herself to her children. If she can’t do it because she’s swimming in her issues, then Dean’s decision to leave her to her own devices seems very healthy. Mary’s going to have to work a little harder for Dean which is such great progress for the character as far as I’m concerned. ”
        She absolutely needs to work harder pfft

        “He’s carried a lifelong burden when it comes to ‘parenting’ his own father (John owned up to it in “In My Time of Dying”) and his little brother. His blind devotion and loyalty haven’t always been appreciated, rewarded and reciprocated. I’d really, really, really hate to see him chasing after his mother too.”
        He needs to be cared for as well-I was hoping Mary would be doing it but it looks like that’s not the case unless she makes a big turnaround. Not a very maternal woman at all.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. “She absolutely needs to work harder pfft”

          I know! I just don’t understand her, sorry. I get needing space, I get mourning. I don’t get telling her kids they’re not the fake babies she’s used to and not making an ounce of an effort to contact them when she will DRIVE ALL THE WAY TO CANADA FOR A FRIGGIN DEAD GUY. Yes, I’m screaming. I don’t understand this at all. She and John make so much sense to me now. Life gets tough and they completely drop the ball as caretakers and parents and it becomes about their QUEST and their personal angst. Deadbeats, the both of them. Rant almost over lmao.

          “He needs to be cared for as well-I was hoping Mary would be doing it but it looks like that’s not the case unless she makes a big turnaround.”

          I know. He needs it and gotdarn it, he’s earned it.

          “Not a very maternal woman at all”

          She’s SUCH a disappointment.

          Like

          1. “I know. He needs it and gotdarn it, he’s earned it. ”

            ABSOLUTELY

            “Not a very maternal woman at all”

            She’s SUCH a disappointment.”

            I so agree! How can she not love our Dean? LOL I loved when Jody said they were good men…no thanks to her!

            Like

  2. Loved this review, which I did read only after writing mine, but I see we had a lot of the same things to say. I gave it a little higher mark, for different reasons, but its not great. I feel like the episodes keep getting better as the season progresses, so I’m expecting at least one truly great episode later this season.

    I tend to identify more with Sam and I love how much he’s loving having his Mom in the world. Dean is entitled to his feelings. They’re totally valid, and I get why he feels the way he does, but I love the way Sam’s reacting because that would be my reaction.

    Excellent review!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. “I tend to identify more with Sam and I love how much he’s loving having his Mom in the world. Dean is entitled to his feelings. They’re totally valid, and I get why he feels the way he does, but I love the way Sam’s reacting because that would be my reaction. ”
      I think I would be somewhere in the middle of their 2 different emotional responses, maybe leaning a little more towards how Dean feels. Although I am loving Sam these days.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Yeah, I think this is the closest we will ever get to seeing the REAL Sam, as he wouldve been without all the trauma , angst, and demon blood, and I really like this version of him.

        We’ve seen glimpses over the years but not for this extended length of time.

        He’s so happy and laid back. Its kind of hilarious.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. “I think I would be somewhere in the middle of their 2 different emotional responses, maybe leaning a little more towards how Dean feels.”

        I love the array of reactions we have here:

        – Lkeke = Sam
        – Barb = In the middle, leaning more towards Dean
        – Vee = Dean, minus the bacon!

        “Although I am loving Sam these days.”

        Me too. Loving the way he’s been written post-season 8/9.

        Like

    2. Thanks, lkeke! 🙂 I’ve been busy this last few weeks and not as present as I usually am. I’ll check out your review soon. Not surprised you (and Barb) gave the episode a higher mark. I’m so stingy lol. I know it. SPN is the TV love of my life. I love it for very specific things, and I become hypersensitive to specific details and situations. At least I’m self aware… I think… lol.

      I also feel like the episodes are getting better and like you, I expect a fantastic episode this season. Last season, I had to wait until “Don’t Call Me Shurley” but I’m always looking for my perfect 10 and I have no doubt it will come 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Great report! I really liked the episode. 8.5/10 for me after rewatch. I mentionned on another thread Peacemaker Sam and I too would wish Mary away except for all the pain that would give Dean.

    We have a gag in my house-whenever Dean yells Sammyyyyy my husband yells it too 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, Barb 🙂 It was a good episode. Very old school.
      Yeah, wouldn’t it be great if Sam could do his thing with Mary without Dean having to deal with her? It’s not happening, ironically for the thing I love the most about this show. Sam and Dean are practically joined at the hip lol!

      Your husband sounds fun and it looks like he doesn’t mind sharing 😉
      We know Dean’s your other boyfriend 😉 😉
      Sisterwives Club, activate! 😉 😉 😉

      Liked by 1 person

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