Meredith Glynn’s script for “Regarding Dean” does not reflect that she is new to the writing team as she captures the funny and the tragic that makes “Supernatural” the genre favorite.Unlike the Winchesters’ investigation into a murder by witchcraft which at first yields a whole lot of jack and a little bit of squat, she power pacts the episodes with reveals not only into the workings of Rowena, but an unburdened Dean and caretaker Sam in a bit of role reversal. On the surface the episode looks contained to a typical witch hunt of greedy witches who have been scammed out of money, until Dean is hexed and starts to lose who he is which has an up side but the down side is it will result in his death. The situation becomes dire and yes the solution happens prior to credits.The hardest part happens with the tag on scene.
Dean’s memory loss does have its comedic moments with Ackles’ facial expressions and physical reactions while Padalecki is allowed to react beyond the scripted word with a subtle physicality in his acting that ranges from the funny to annoyance to desperation. This episode reflects the true horror of someone losing their essence to a brain disease while the caretaker goes through searching for a cure as well as coping with the day to day struggles, whether it be the small things like watching the love one forget the keys, the R for reverse in the car gear box, or having to leave post it notes to remind the effected one what everyday items are called. While Glynn uses humor to show this struggle, she also delves into the impact for the patient and the caregiver.
Ackles, once again, has a man in the mirror moment where Dean loses the names of those dearest to him until he cannot recall his own name.The degeneration of the self in such a short episode- brilliant. Magnificent acting-including the tear.(Heard it was done in one take). Even when Dean wakes up in Baby, he relies on post it notes. Despite his affliction, his hunter’s instinct kicks in as he defies the note to stay and grabs the witches’ bullets and yes he remembers how to shoot a gun. The editing for the mirror scene is brilliant as we see Sam struggling to fix Dean by hunting down the witches. The script stays in format as Dean, even memory-less Dean, rescues Sam. Yes, Sam has to be caught for a soul swap. Begs the question- is being souless worse than not having context to one’s life?
Ruth Connell’s Rowena becomes even more sympathetic as she reveals her true feelings to a forgetful Dean and eventually goes after the witches herself; the back story only adds to the character’s motivations.Nice broadening of the emotions that make Rowena interesting. Smart weave into this script.
There is mention of carefree Dean riding Lenny, the bull, in a bar. Although the waitress and Dean apparently let off some “steam” together, he cannot remember it to which Sam says,”Now, that’s comedy.” Of course the report is that Dean was awesome on the bull.
There are so many favorite lines to quote, that the reader should just watch the episode a few times. While the script and the acting slowly build to a restored Dean teasing his “hippy” brother, the humor balances out the pathos until the bro-talk. Sam’s reveal of jealousy at seeing Dean really care- free and unburdened, and Dean’s admission that being happy is not worth losing what he has with Sam- just hits in the feels, like Sam’s statement in French mistake. Then cleverly, the director edits in a scene with Dean on the mechanical bull- the money scene. Bobby Goldsboro’s “Broomstick Cowboy” plays us into deeper sadness as we feel innocence lost, the childhood Dean never had, and the burden he carries into adulthood. Worth listening to the lyrics. Poignant. Heart grabbing beyond where the plot goes .Worse on the second watch- but in a good way. Glynn gets the show in a way that Edlund did when he was writing it. The comedic, the tragic, the bromance, the reality of illness.
So many highlights: Here are a few.
- Man in the mirror moment for content, acting, editing
- Mechanical bull scene with musical selection and using it as the last scene
- Bromance conversation: what makes Dean Dean.
- Rowena’s description of Dean-eating habit of a toddler
- Waffles, cartoons,bouncy hair,grenade launcher “No”
- Admission that Castiel is Dean’s best friend
- Bunny, (nice echo)”hi, buddy”
- Rowena’s motivation, her back story, Connell being in a 20lb harness for the scene
- No surprises in format, but deep content.
- Dean’s reaction to the waitress’ slap
- a family of witches with their own revenge scheme and soul swapping spell
- “You’re not in your 20’s anymore, put on the brakes”
- Terrific writing-almost every line of dialogue
- butterflies’s wings
- “Epic” “Awesome”, other tag lines
Just go watch it and then watch it again. Deep, really deep. Smaller episode that is huge and destined to be listed as ‘epic’.