Supernatural 4.11 "Family Remains"
After the hiatus, this episode has Sam and Dean, after a month of endless hunting case after case, going off on yet another hunt regarding the a particular house in which they suspect might have a ghost or poltergiest living there after a man mysteriously dies. While the house has been emptied, apparently a new family who'd bought the house arrives, settling into their new home. This provides some difficulty for the boys to investigate further. After gathering additional information about the man that died in that house, strange things happen as the two children of the family start having freaky encounters with a "girl in the walls." Sam and Dean burst into the scene hoping to protect and defend the family and take this ghost out, but things get turned around the girl isn't a ghost and they've been rendered defenseless. No weapons of any kind other than the things around them.
Discovering that the girl is merely human, the Winchesters investigate further into this mysterious house and it's non-ghost inhabitant, and find out more than they ever wanted to know. It's a scary non-supernatural episode at its finest, dealing with the terrors of what humanity can do, even when it's just a girl (and her twin brother, apparently) who have been living like animals for most of their lives.
After taking care of that case, Dean's feelings about Hell emerge once again, in another confession to his brother and why he actually empathsized with that particular hunting case. Leaving us to question more about Dean's purpose of being brought back, and if there's going to be forgiveness from others and, more importantly, himself.
Family Remains: It's all you have, even if it haunts you
This episode presented something that this season has been giving to us, that sometimes the worst things are inside of yourself, and without people around you that love and care for you, how will go on surviving if only to dig yourself deeper? The family looking for a fresh start were escaping from a horrible tragedy, the girl and her brother being unfortunate products in the worst kind of abuse and being held captive and imprisoned like animals, not even being regarded as people; these two reflected each other in that the latter had nothing other than what they've known whereas the family had each other, and like the wife said in the end, they are together and that should be enough.
I felt sorry for the girl and her brother living inside the walls of the house. They never asked for something like that, they were automatically placed in that situation and it's all they've ever known. Hunting for food through animals, tormenting adults and wanting other children to play with, not understanding the morality of what they were doing as they were only doing it for survival, protecting their territory and nothing else. While nothing supernatural about it, it's the scariest thing about humanity that even sometimes horrible things happen for no particular reason.
So where does this leave the brothers? Family has always been something they've clinged to, and they do have each other. This episodic story was more in connection to Dean's time in Hell and how he compared himself to the unfortunate case.
Hell, the Literal Kind and the Personal Kind
Dean's recollection of Hell, of what he'd done for the remaining ten years before he was rescued from those fiery pits, is slowing eating away at him. Surely when he came back he was fine, but him remembering and beating himself up over torturing other unfortunate souls is going to break him. This is why I really wish they hadn't allowed him to remember all those years he'd spent downstairs, because even though he's been saved those memories and images seered into his brain like that is bound to make anyone go absolutely mad.
It's obvious that he isn't to blame for what happened. He did what anyone would've done, and he didn't give into Alastair's offer for thirty years in Hell while I'm sure most other souls would've given in a lot sooner. But he's placing all the blame on himself, making a personal hell for what he did, which I can understand his initial mistrust and misunderstanding the reason why he was pulled from Hell in the first place. Why him? Why him and not other souls, isn't he beyond saving? Why should God want him out from the pit when he was the one doing the torturing, when he didn't last long enough, when he didn't give into the selfish need to take away his own pain by inflicting it onto others? Why does he deserve salvation from everything he's done? It places into perspective his mental state, not to mention his conflictedness over believing in heavenly angels and God and all that other stuff. Surely he's battling over his own faith since he didn't really have a strong belief before, but he wants answers to all that, especially why he was pulled out in the first place.
Which is why I believe after everything the time is perfect, now more than ever, for Dean's absolution. He has now revealed his secret to Sam, and it's obvious the angels and even God knows what he suffered through in Hell, his confessions are what I consider something to release him from his pain, that in order for him to move onward he has to unleash his darkest secrets to overcome them. It's apparent he was chosen for a reason, and I seriously doubt that reason is to save Sam, since that's been his lifelong mission all along. No, I think he has to save himself as he's on the brick of breaking. I mean, if Dean was chosen for something larger than life in this Apocalyptic war he can't very well work underneath all that pressure while overcome with all that emotional weight and guilt. He needs to make peace, to understand that he is forgiven and that God Himself forgives him and, most of all, that he needs to forgive himself for everything.
Another belief I have is perhaps this is one of the reasons why Castiel was chosen to save Dean in the first place; he's not exactly of the higher ups in the angelical order, but I believe having him being patient and understanding Dean and entrusting everything with him that it would be a lovely notion that Castiel is Dean's way for absolution.
I don't even know if that makes sense to anyone, but from how they're setting up Dean and Castiel's relationship it's simply more than just business. Of course, I know that Castiel is becoming more fond of Dean and this may or may not serve as some consequence, but there's a reason and I refuse to believe otherwise.
Episodic Memorable Moments:
++ SUPERNATURAL IS BACK, Y'ALL! IT IS BACK! ♥
++ This episode needed some Castiel, dammit. I'll keep saying that in every episode he's not in, because to me any scene with Castiel is worthwhile. At least we saw him in the "THEN/NOW" previouslies? Not enough, but still.
++ The freakiest non-supernatural episode, like for real. Definitely going back to the S1 feel of things regarding suspense and pacing and the OMGSURPRISE! twists and turns. A callback to "The Benders" which centered about the inhumane way of humanity, not demons or ghosts or anything like that, and an episode I really liked so this didn't disappoint. Which is a nice change from everything we've dealt with so far this season. I mean, I do want more things involving the Apocalypse, but after everything we do need something a bit different. This was a great episode to start off the second half of the season, IMO.
++ Dean isn't sleeping, taking on a lot of hunts, wanting to forget everything about his confession. Oh Dean, bb, you're destroying yourself. *sad face* See, this is why I really wish they hadn't allowed him to remember everything, dammit. CASTIEL, HEAL THIS POOR BOY!
++ Incestuous twins who live in the walls of a house, eating rats, terrorizing adults and wanting other children to play with and are kleptomaniacs. Yep, leave it to Kripke to bring some twisted stuff into this show. And I love him for it, that magnificent bastard. *g*
++ SALT LINE DIDN'T WORK, OH NOES! I fully expected it to work too, and when it was revealed that the girl wasn't a ghost but in fact human, I was like WTF OMG SRSLY? Totes fooled me. Nicely done, show. Nicely done.
++ "Humans, man." I concur, Dean. I concur.
++ "NOBODY MESSES WITH A MAN'S WHEELS!!!" LOL, O DEAN.
++ It's interesting I've seen some comments about "OMG IT'S JUST A HUMAN, KILL HER!" when really, it's not that simple. Sure the boys are more inept dealing with monsters and demons and the like, but humans are more complicated and we've seen this before regarding "The Benders", so I don't understand why some are sighing over it as though overpowering two very resourceful individuals is such an easy task to accomplish.
++ I liked Dean's reaction to the whole "the Daddy is the Baby Daddy?" thing. LOL.
++ Dean's utter remorse to not saving the uncle. My God, he really is trying to save as many people as possible in order to make up for his time in Hell, isn't he? Just the look on his face when he turns back and says "I'm so sorry" to the family is just so, gah! That plus the ending scene, which o hai thar exposition, is another reason why Jensen deserves a lot of recognition. Dammit. (I should also be saying this about Misha and his wordless yet expressive scenes because, damn! Just saying.)
++ Also Dean mentions God in this episode. Not directly, but I felt that it was a deliberate mention nonetheless.
++ The only thing I had trouble with this episode was when the brother was introduced like, in the last ten minutes or so. Was there any indication of another sibling before that? No. I felt that was a bit over-rushed to include another shocker, but I don't know. I kinda worked but then again it kinda confused me. Also, what happened to the girl? What dragged her back and killed her? I totes missed that part.
++ This episode was darker than usual, both in content (which I liked) and visually; perhaps it was the screen I was watching it in, but it was the lighting, or lack thereof, in many scenes nearing the end. Adding to the creeptastic atmosphere, of course.
Overall: I really enjoyed this episode, it definitely felt like Supernatural even though it was of a non-supernatural kind of story this time. Honestly, while I am fully engaged with the Apocalyptic mytharc this season, I like the human-based stories a lot too. Because if there's anything more scarier than demons and even BAMF!angels, it's the capabilities of human beings. Or perhaps I'm in anticipation for BSG tonight that'd made me really like last night's episode? IDK, but I did like the amount of suspense, the mystery, the pacing and even the twists they added, plus some stuff about Dean (even though we, the dedicated audience, already knew from the previous episode but hey, exposition is exposition in case anyone had forgotten). Some may consider it filler, I consider it a nice opener after the hiatus without it being boring at all. Kudos to you, show. NOW BRING ME MAH CASTIEL, BIATCHES!