The title is a callback to a movie from 1991, starring Harrison Ford, about a high priced, ambitious, lawyer, who finds the meaning of true happiness, after he loses his memory, after getting shot. I really enjoyed that movie, even though I don’t think that’s how memory loss actually works. But Harrison was really good in it, and Annette Bening, as his wife, is great too. The standout though, is the actor Bill Nunn, who plays Ford’s character’s physical therapist, Bradley. Their relationship is really beautiful . I don’t know why, but I’m always total trash for Black therapist movies, even though they’re racially problematic.
Well, this episode doesn’t have that particular problem but still has all the beauty. I really enjoyed this episode and it’s one I’m going to be rewatching many more times in the future. Every season, there are about three really standout episodes that I love to watch over, and over, and this is definitely one of them. It brought all the feels and did some extra. I don’t feel it’s a ten. Not yet. I’m pretty strict with my criteria, and this episode almost made me cry, so I have to punish that bittersweet quality this show is so damn good at doing, so it gets a 8.5/10. Also, we didn’t get to see any rocket launcher action, so I’m saving the 10/10 for that particular episode.
For some reason, I’m a sucker for episodes of Sam and Dean hunting something in the woods. Why? Because Winchesters in the woods is hella sexy, that’s why! I would watch a whole season of them killing various monsters in the woods (I bet you can’t guess what one of my favorite seasons is by that statement! Betcha can’t! Pssst! It rhymes with Slevin!) Dean is hunting an injured witch through the woods, and the witch puts a spell on him, that causes him to gradually lose his memory. That’s one.
The rest of the episode is Sam pulling a Sherlock Bradley for the rest of the episode, as he deals with Deans disability, while trying to hold his own s**t together, and investigate this case, so he can get Dean back to himself. Caretaker!Sam and Smart!Sam is number two. I loved watching Sam put on his deerstalker, or should that be Witchstalker cap, and I like when the show reminds us what a great Hunter Sam is, bringing his determination, love for Dean, and prodigious intelligence to the game. This is what makes them such a formidable hunting team.
Well, that and their humility in being able to put aside their petty squabbles to team up with beings like Crowley and Rowena. Sam calls Rowena, as his nuclear option, when he realizes that the death of the witch that cast the spell, didn’t cancel it out. Rowena is into it, but only because she wants the special Black Grimoire, from which the spell was cast. That book is in the possession of a family of witches that Rowena once groveled to, just to have a glimpse of the book, but they rejected her because they’re snobs. It must have been especialy galling to such proud a beauty as Rowena, to have to do that, but success is its own revenge. It also doesn’t hurt that she gets to witness the actual destruction and/ or downfall of her enemies, at the hands of the Winchesters.
This episode brought plenty of laughs as Dean reverts to an almost childlike state, just like the movie Regarding Henry, he becomes happier, and more carefree, as his memories of who he was, start to fade. The drawback is that he also forgets about Sam, Mary, and Hunting. All the things that give his life real meaning. In the movie, Ford’s character discovers meaning, but in Dean’s case he loses it. Without memories, everything becomes a priority, everything is as important as everything else, and there’s no hierarchy for which feelings are more important than others. Dean becomes easily distracted by anything that crosses his path, and finds it increasingly difficult to stay focused on saving himself. So, it’s on Sam to be big brother, for a change. We only ever get to see Sam in charge a couple of times a season and it’s always interesting to watch.
Seriously though, this ‘verse must really have it in for Dean, because this is about the third time he’s been bewitched, possibly more. He got turned into a kid, turned into an old man, and now memory loss. Yep! The next spell should turn him into a woman so we can see some badass female pretend to be Dean for an entire episode. Hell, we got to see Sam turned into a car. I’m sure we can manage a gender swap episode. (I’d watch the Hell out of the that, as long as its tastefully done, with no transgender jokes.)
Moments I loved:
Sam’s facial expressions. First he’s just exasperated by Dean’s lack of focus, but as the episode runs on, his brows grow increasingly furrowed with worry, until finally, when learning that Dean will die, he just turns off for a few minutes, and Rowena has to bring him back.
Dean, being a great deal of happy at seeing Rowena, and admiring her bouncy hair. Rowena loving the attention.
Sam slapping notes all over everything in the hotel room.
Dean forgets a lot of stuff, but Sam’s name is the last memory to go, and body memory won’t let him forget that either. When Sam yells “witch!” and points at the witch, there’s not a moment of hesitation on Dean’s part. He trusts Sam so implicitly that even his reflexes remember how to obey him.
Sam leaving notes all over the car for Dean. He just knows Dean isn’t going to stay put, or he wouldn’t have bothered to leave notes on the guns.
Dean’s increasingly joyful demeanor, being easily distracted by cartoons, as Sam gently leads him over to the TV, so he and Rowena can talk, is both hilarious and heartbreaking.
I’ve become partial to mirror scenes with Dean. They’re always beautifully shot, with spectacular lighting. Whenever Dean has some deep character moment, it’s almost always while looking at himself. It’s like Dean can’t see himself, unless he SEES himself. This happens a lot: in season nine, when he was struggling with his urges with The First Blade; in season seven, after his escape from Purgatory; in season six, when he got turned into a vampire; and in season five, during The Curious Case of Dean Winchester.
Number three is the addition of Rowena, and watching her get her revenge on the enemies that snubbed her, and acquiring the book they snubbed her for.
Sam remembering that she had the book. She’s such a little minx.
Dean forgetting Castiel’s full name, but remembering some of it.
Dean lost his own name, but the moment Sam was in danger, he remembered that.
Once again, very good episode. There’s lots of laughs, and feels. I’m very satisfied with it as we slowly wind down to the season finale. I think there’s another brief hiatus coming. I’m looking forward to what these storylines are leading up to, and how they all tie together. There’s a thread I’m not seeing right now, but it will come to me.