The boys get an unexpected and startling phone call from a nineteen-year-old boy who claims to be John Winchester's son, their suspicions go up, particularly on Dean's end, thinking it's a demon trick. To their shock it isn't a trick, and the boy is truly of Winchester blood. While Dean is trying to accept this and Sam relishing in the fact they have a half-brother, but they end up helping the kid whose mother had disappeared three days prior. The boys find themselves on a hunting case, realizing that John had killed something and now whatever was left is wanting revenge and taking it out on those that were on the case years ago. It is now a case of hunting down this thing that wants the kid dead, but also rises up some angsting drama between Sam and Dean regarding their lives, their father, and who they are as opposed to who they were or could've been.
The episode takes a surprising turn once realizing that the boy and the mother are just mirages created by ghouls who'd killed the real family, in a trick to get fresh human flesh to feed upon. However the kid, Adam, still remained of Winchester blood to them. It ends of a bittersweet angsty note as they burn the remains of the boy and his mother, in true Winchester style.
The Winchester Family: What Brings Them Together, What Tears Them Apart
"All you have is family."
Sam pretty much summed this up for Adam when discussing the job of being a hunter, that it's not really a job description like someone who's a mechanic or whatever. Being a hunter is your life, whether you want it to be or not. Once you enter that world there is no turning back, no way for a normal life. This raises some interesting questions regarding the contrasts between Sam and Dean and Adam. They actually had a conversation about in within the episode, where Dean drags Sam aside and confronts him about the issue of bringing Adam into the mess that is their lives. Sam says that he's a Winchester and it's his curse whether he likes it or not, but Dean argues that they were brought into that lifestyle at an early age and that this kid has a chance. Despite the reveal that this Adam is actually a ghoul taking the form of the boy, who has long been dead before they met him, the subject still stands.
The underlining issue is about Sam and Dean's feelings and opinions about their lives. We know they are continuing to butt heads of their differing stances on their lives and the methods about hunting, though I liked how Dean is actually confronting his brother about it. Growing more and more concerned about the decisions and choices Sam is making, which we all know even though he has good intentions behind it is very in that dangerous gray area.
It's funny, because despite saying that hunting is all about trusting family it's contradicting what he's been doing lately to his own brother, with the lying and keeping secrets.
It's also interesting seeing the differences in roles and feelings on the issue of having a half-brother. Dean had a hard time accepting the fact that his dad would ever keep a secret like that from them, even if it's understandable of wanting the kid to live a normal life. However Sam was rather understanding and forgiving of this fact and against Dean's wishes wanted to help Adam understand that other life, even try to train him much like how Dean took care of and trained him during their childhood; as heartwarming as it was to see Sam take on the older brother role for a change, we also see how Sam doesn't see the positive side of allowing this kid to remain free from that hunter life. Dean doesn't like how Sam seems to think that once a Winchester you're cursed. Also notice how Dean has accepted that they're hunters and it's too late for them, because he's right. They got into the gig at such an early age that a normal life is beyond reaching at this point, no matter how hard they tried. But Sam is so into his revenge kick that he's refusing to see anything but red, and having another Winchester onboard rivets him completely for that said revenge.
We see them at a standstill, Dean has realized that Sam has taken on the John Winchester role. Doing things thinking that is for the best of everyone's sake but it's only digging him deeper into a black hole down the wrong path, and sooner or later something needs to be done or else Sam will fall down that hole and become trapped with no possible way of getting himself out.
The episode didn't really provide anything new, Sam didn't use his powers to defeat the ghouls or anything like that. However we visibly see how differently the events of the episode affected them. Sam took on the role of being mentor and a protector of Adam, whereas Dean felt isolated and even more alone than before, but nevertheless still the same Dean motherfucking Winchester once realizing something wasn't right. But that last exchange between him and Sam near the end, the whole bit about Dean acknowledging the evidence that Sam and their father are more alike than Dean ever will be, and Sam taking it as a compliment. "Take it however you like," Dean replied nearly sullenly. You could tell it was tearing him apart because he looked up to his father, he worshipped him, only to fully understand that John was never the perfect father to them, nor to Adam in fact despite treating him differently than Sam and Dean, and all that he looked up to were lies and a poker face. Surely he did right by them, but he wasn't perfect.
But his comment to his brother about being like John was definitely not a compliment. I took it as Dean being scared of and for Sam, knowing how deep John had gotten into his chase of revenge and arrogance with hunting down the demon. Sam might just go farther than their father went, down that darkside and never turning back.
How much more dysfunctional can this family get, anyway? Sheesh.
The Third Winchester...Wait, What?
I knew from the vagueness of spoilers beforehand that there would be a third Winchester child introduced, and of course this was also heard through the various wankage in fandom. The uproar and anger from the very excitable and rapid fanbase that seem to think every little spoiler tidbit is going to ruin their entire experiece and that Kripke is gonna fuck up the show for them and blahblahblah. That same-old schtick that happens at least once every season, of course. But people should know by now that Kripke loves fucking with fandom, and given the title of the episode it should've been a no-brainer how much he's fucking with us.
Yes, the Winchesters had a half-brother, and surprisingly within the context of the episode it worked. Yes, you heard me correctly.
Thinking about the loneliness of being a hunter, John Winchester spent many years grieving and wanting revenge for the murder of Mary that it completely consumed him. If he was on a job and suddenly had a personal gratitude from a young woman he saved, he needed to fill such void in order to continue on. Humans have needs and drives too, and John wasn't celibate. A loner, didn't hold many friendships with other hunters and wasn't a perfect father, but he had his needs. Sometimes a reckless one-night stand can turn into a bigger responsibility than one would had hoped for. It was noted that John only found out about Adam right after Sam left for college, which meant he had no idea. And you know what? It happens, and especially with leading a life like they do it's harder to settle down and be a good father. Also, think about Dean and all the women he's slept with over the years, post hunts and random hookups at bars and whatnot, and remember Lisa and Ben? Yeah. Shit happens.
Why did John go away and spend quality time with Adam than his own children? Why did he take this kid who he barely knows to ball games and spend holidays with him, send cards and phone calls? Perhaps he felt guilty and needed to be responsible for not fucking up someone else, having already tainted both his children with training them like soldiers. He loved both Sam and Dean, there's no doubt about it, but he also knew that there was no way that either of them would ever live normal, happy lives. Not like Adam. He probably felt the need to make things right with one kid, even if he was a total stranger. Perhaps his dysfunctional relationship with Sam led to such guilt that he needed to have a way of feeling "normal" once and a while, knowing that this kid had his blood and it would be alright. For one of them, anyway.
Does this excuse John's lacking of parental skills and his absolute obsession with hunting down the YED and all other hunts involved? Not at all. But to better understand him from this episode definitely adds more weight, and it also places into perspective.
Also notice how Dean is now seeing the truth of his father, whom he looked up to, while Sam actually sees whatever John did was right the entire time. Again, reversal of roles.
This kid, this half-Winchester kid, died never truly knowing or understanding his backstory or why the ghouls went after him in the first place. Another unfortunate victim that couldn't be saved in time. But the thing to remember is, despite having Winchester blood he wasn't a hunter, nor would he ever become one. Sam and Dean are the only Winchester hunters left, they were trained by John and will continue on with their legacy.
Memorable Moments of the Episode:
++ Dark and gritty and gruesome, just the way I like my SPN. Bloody and gorey, intense and tense in just the right places. The twist about Adam not really being Adam but a ghoul was an interesting touch, especially because I think this is the first time ghouls have been introduced to the show. Kinda awesome.
++ Sam brushing his teeth (a purple toothbrush at that!) and Dean awakening and collapsing out of the Impala passenger's side, and then complaining about being hungry despite being in the middle of nowhere and disgusted with age-old tuna sandwich food! LOL OH BOYS.
++ Dean locked and loaded, ready and prepared for this Adam to be something supernatural. Holy water, silver, gun cocked and ready, eyes determined. Oh Dean, ILU so much. ♥ Also I love the closeup shots of Dean's reactions, the way he face just contorts and his expressions just giving you all what he's feeling in that moment. Brilliant.
++ WHY DO I KEEP TYPING IN "ADAMA" INSTEAD OF "ADAM"?! WTF BRAIN.
++ All those pictures with John in that home. Y'know, it's kinda sad that neither of the boys had that kind of normalcy, even with their own father as a hunter. Pictures with them together, on the road, like vacation snaps except just for safe keeping. But with that job it's more for your own safety to not let yourself be known via pictures, I guess. Also why did that woman keep those photographs if he was never around that much? Idk.
++ LOL ROCK PAPER SCISSORS! "SHOULD HAVE PICKED PAPER!" YES YOU SHOULD'VE DEAN, BUT ILU ANYWAY BB.
++ Sammy teaching Adam the ropes of hunting. Shooting guns and all that jazz. And then Dean looking depressed and isolated, almost kinda jealous too. :(((
++ Oh Sammy, you're becoming more and more irrational with your explanations. Dean is right, do you hear yourself? Are you realizing how you sound? Also, John had been right the entire time? Are you on crack? He's totally becoming John version 0.2, but treading on the demonic darkside, which is a dangerous combination. Hopefully he can be stopped before he goes too far and there's no turning back. :/
++ But that scene with him being tied up and then bled to death....and the ghouls feeding off his blood, deep gashes in his wrists and then the blood filling up nearly immediately? OMGWHUTNOES!!! But then Dean saves his baby brother! WHEEEE GO DEAN! But of course, not without the gore. SHOOTING THE HEAD OFF THE GHOUL, BLOOD AND ALL YAY! SPN isn't complete without the gross factor, and I kinda loved it. Because I am one sick twisted individual. ;p
++ ANYONE NOTICE THE ANGEL ON THE GLASS WINDOW WHERE DEAD WAS TRAPPED, WHERE HE SHINED THE FLASHLIGHT AND THEN SAW THE IMAGE AND THAT'S WHERE HE GOT THE IDEA OF BREAKING OUT?!?! OMG THE ANGELS SAVED DEAN!!!!!! :DDDDDDD
++ Sam suggested that they called Castiel for a favor! OMG EVEN WITHOUT MISHA THEY CAN STILL HAVE CASTIEL MENTIONED! We need to make this a game of how many times the boys reference Castiel without him present within a scene or in an episode, because this is becoming too much to be coincidence. (though really Sam, bringing the kid back? have you not learned the lesson of bringing people back from the dead?)
++ "You are more like him than I will ever be. I see that now." THIS IS NOT GOOD FOLKS. Dean is practically saying that he's figured out what is wrong with Sam, and sees it plain as day. And it's not good, at all. DDD:
Overall: This was not what I expected, and that's a good thing. I know many were wary because of the spoiler regarding the third Winchester, in which fandom exploded. But in fact it wasn't that bad at all, it made absolute sense given the context of everything and added more to the Winchester angst. Nothing incredibly plotty happened but it did give us a chance to see where the boys stand, and definitely gave us a look into their differences once again. That last scene though stood out more than the rest, because this is Dean realizing that his brother has certainly changed, and not for the better, and understanding this he is wanting to take action before his brother does something stupid. Something like John would've done, between keeping secrets and lying and everything. We're also seeing that Dean has finally come to his own from where he had been in the beginning of the season, and although it'll never completely go away and he still needs to forgive himself for what he'd done in Hell he isn't angsting about it as frequently. He's doing his job, and this was more pissy!Dean than angsty!Dean. But still, either way the poor boy needs a hug. :((((
NEXT EPISODE: I WANNA KNOW WHERE CASTIEL WENT TO! WHY HEAVEN HAD HIM SENT BACK, AND WHO IS ORCHESTRATING IT. ALSO HIS VESSEL! I WANNA KNOW MORE ABOUT HIM - HIS LIFE - WHAT HE PRAYED FOR INITIALLY - HOW HE WAS CHOSEN - EVERYTHING! ALSO, MISHA FUCKING COLLINS BEING THE CENTER OF THIS EPISODE!!! YAYAYAYAYAY!!!!! \O/ \O/
Notice my squeeage, how my capslockiness can take over so quickly over Misha/Castiel. Hee. ;D
I have something more serious to announce which is addressed to mostly everyone who's been circulating the little rumor around, and that is nearly half of the SPN fandom, about an actor and his personal life and I just need to add my piece to the pile. We need to treat this as merely rumors until further concrete evidence and confirmation is offered straight from the horses mouth, otherwise it's all assumptions. While fangirling and squeeing and joking around is alright we mustn't forget these actors are human beings as well, and whether this is true or not we should be respectful to their privacy and personal lives.
That is all I have to say on the subject.