After what it seems forever since they returned to the seasonal arc after the hiatus, this episode has Castiel sending Sam and Dean back in time to 1978 to save their parents from Anna, who is gunning for killing Mary and John so neither Sam or Dean can be born in her attempts of "stopping the Apocalypse". Which in case anyone is new to the show, threaten Sam and Dean or their parents you immediately signed your fate indefinitely, so it's no surprise that after several
Meanwhile, Sam and Dean have an awkward family reunion with the younger versions of their parents as they try to protect them from the bloodthirsty angel. It leaves them unintentionally revealing the truth about hunting life to John, revealing to Mary that they are her sons from the future, and at the very end Michael telling Dean that he will consent to being his vessel because it's pretty much what's been sent all the way through his bloodline, it just has to be Dean just like it has to be Sam. This sets up a lot of interesting things about the boys and their supposed inevitable destinies and if they can really beat this monster of a weight on their shoulders. How they are going survive this, that's a mystery we're going to see through this season....
Freewill Versus Destiny: "All roads led to the same destination"
"All of this has happened before, and all of it will happen again...the players change, but the story remains the same..."The above quote is a reference to Battlestar Galactica which I couldn't help but parallel to what was going on in this episode, more importantly what was revealed by the archangel Michael told Dean towards the end regarding his inevitable destiny and what is to be expected of him and his brother in this epic battle between brothers.
The theme of freedom of will and destiny has always intrigued me, and having it present in these last two seasons of Supernatural have been interesting to see and it makes the audience question just how things can work out if, whatever the boys do to change something, it always ends up heading in the same direction anyway. Dean tried averting the possible dark!future of 2014 by letting Sam back into the fight beside him and redeeming himself in that way, but it only upped the date for Sam to consent to Lucifer (at least from what was said in "Abandon All Hope"), Dean had tried to stop the curse of their family with the Yellow-Eyed Demon, but only ended up creating it even more, he even tried warning Mary about it twice and wanted to cease all bad things from happening in the future. But it's always either stopped and erased or it takes another path of leading to where they are in present day, which is foreshadowing for them that no matter what they do, wherever they go, both forces of Heaven and Lucifer will find them.
It would seem like there are these otherworldly forces in the universe conducting this plan throughout time, through the bloodline of the Winchester family, of using humanity as conduits and puppets in their own family feud. Symbolic it is, but it brings up a lot of questions in terms of how our Winchester boys are to avert becoming pawns in this war.
If anything this episode touches on the very fact that it doesn't matter, they'll eventually give into their destinies one way or another, but we know our boys. They are resilient and will maintain their will to keep their freewill and find alternative methods in defeating this war without being used as meat puppets. But at what cost? Both sides are incredibly and arrogantly confident that both Sam and Dean will give their consent, and if they prolong this much further how much are we willing to bet that something horrible is going to go down? It's an interesting concept, they're just two mere mortals caught up in something much bigger than anything else they've come across; they've been in this fight since the beginning without really realizing it, and it really makes you wonder precisely what this means. If it truly is their destiny after all.
But even with those worries, I still have faith that somehow they'll find a way to cheat the system, to break that cycle and to creating their own destinies. I'm reminded of what Laura Roslin said in BSG: "We share a unique destiny, but our futures is ours to shape and our past cannot be forgotten." This describes precisely where the Winchesters are right now, they have been part of this bigger picture from the moment they were born, going far back even possibly to the beginning of time, they can't forget that. They do share a unique destiny together, tied with everything from their family history, but that doesn't mean they should give up and surrender. They'll find a way. In the end, they always do, one way or another.
The Winchester Family: It's The Blood Ties of Sacrificial Love and Angst
I cannot express enough how much I love the Winchester family, and just how utterly broken and doomed yet how loving and strong they are together. All of them powerful in their fierce love for one another, and even when they face impossibilities they always stick together. There's just a lot that I love about the backstory of Mary Winchester, her being with John, and when Dean comes into the picture with Sam during this time period and just being a family even at the moment they didn't realize they were, there's something so heartwarming about it all. The moment which made it though was the moment in the car, John driving, Mary in the passenger seat and the boys in the back. It paints that perfect picture of had they all survived it would have been like this, and it makes you ponder what if things had gone differently. What if Sam and Dean were raised as hunters but still had Mary and John around, which if they all became hunters together? It's an alternative that I've thought about quite a bit, they would have been one bitchin' kickass hunter family, that's for sure.
Plus we see John Winchester who isn't a hunter but just some regular guy placed in this extraordinary situation given the unintentional reveal about this other world, and he doesn't like that parents would subject their kids to this lifestyle. This is something that is really interesting, and it makes you wonder had they grown up relatively normal would John have been a better parent? What if Mary had been the main hunter of them all and John was to stay at home with the boys, then later once realizing they were old enough teach them how to defend themselves from big bads? This is the kinds of things that went through my head, so many possibilities of the could have beens and would have beens if things didn't end up the way they do.
But we're hit with this reality that, no, not everything is going to be okay and that everything is predestined, from their painful familial love and sacrifice to what lies ahead for the boys and their destinies passed down through their bloodline, which brings me to something that was brought up by Michael in this episode.
It's not really new news, considering the background we got about angels and bloodlines in "The Rapture" with Jimmy Novak's family, and considering that Dean is the vessel for Michael it's not surprising that there would be a bloodline, but the fact that it's acknowledged and mentioned to Dean making him understand that you can't run from something like this makes it so much more epic to everything they're going through. Though it does have me wondering, for those special individuals that have sacred holy bloodlines to be angel conduits would it mean they have one specific angel attached to them? Like Michael will always be attached to the Winchester line, Castiel to the Novak line and so forth? Also, what would happen if suddenly that bloodline disappears or is wiped out? What would happen to those angels who are attached to said bloodlines, find new vessels to be attached to?
Also, because John is one of the direct links to this special bloodline, that would also mean that Sam would also be considered a possible candidate to be possessed by Michael? Unless it's always been Sam's destiny to be Lucifer's and if so...would that mean it was the YED's blood that sealed that fate for him? There are just so many questions in regards to this, because what if there's a loophole in this whole thing? That would be kinda interesting if they found that loophole.
Adding stuff to the mythology thus the plot thickens even more, and once again it's the doomed fate of the Winchesters and how they've been conducted into this enormous cosmic scheme since everything began. It's very epic, to say the least.
The Downfall and Ultimate Death of Anna Milton
I'm sure everyone is already aware how I feel about Anna "special snowflake" Milton. I've been pretty neutral with all the characters on this show even with those that I never quite favored, but Anna is the one and only character on Supernatural that I vehemently disliked from the moment she was introduced.
This is partially due to the writing of the character, which we all know sometimes writing for female characters on this show can be either a hit or miss depending on how they plan on making them work into the main story involving the boys (as what happened with Bela Talbot, she never fit into the grand scheme of the story arc which is why Kripke had her killed in season three, it just didn't work out). They made Anna so self-righteous and selfish and whiny and bitchy, throwing a temper tantrum complaining about life as an angel and all this wah-wah pity me bullshit, it got old and tired fast. I'm like, seriously? You expect us to believe this used to be a warrior and superior in Heaven? Pssh, yeah right. Totally unconvincing and they failed to make me like her at all due to that. The other factor is the pitiful acting by Julie McNiven. Now I'm not attacking her, I don't know her and I'm sure she's a lovely person in real life, but she just cannot act. There's no zest in her performance, she delivered deadpan and monotonous lines like she was reading off cards they just put in front of her, she was dull and just ugh, as someone who took acting classes before I cringed and fast-forwarded every single scene she was in because IT WAS SO FUCKING HORRIBLE I COULD NOT STAND IT! DO YOU HAVE BOTOX OR SOMETHING? MAKE A DAMN EXPRESSION ON YOUR GODDAMN FACE! HAVE PERSONALITY! SOMETHING TO MAKE US AT LEAST THINK YOU CAN, YOU KNOW, ACT! It makes me grimace the fact that they paired these amazing actors since as Jared and Jensen and Misha and the two that played young!Mary and young!John with her, because really she just sucked the life out of everything she did. She gave nothing and it came out nothing.
I don't want to be mean but seriously, I wouldn't have minded the character that much if the actress could have, you know, emoted something, but there's no gravitas, just a dead performance. Perhaps she thought that Anna would be so robotic and bored because that's how she viewed angels or thought that was the default for them or whatever, and yet all the other angels we've seen have had colorful personality types, Castiel included. So really she has no excuse other than bad acting.
As for the character herself, I am convinced that Kripke, going with the theme of bringing old characters back to finish off their storylines, did exactly that with Anna in this episode. He needed something to justify bringing her back and making her so unsympathetic and unlikeable to make it alright to kill her off in the end. Which I don't mind, her death was long overdue anyway so making her act irrational in desperation and turning darkside for her own separate agenda made it better for Michael to gank her, so yay for that chance. Now yes, there are some things to consider about her actions in this episode about how she wasn't following Heaven's orders, she wasn't on Lucifer's side either, she escaped because she thought it would be a smart idea to kill off the Winchester line to stop the Apocalypse, and all of that meta stuff. It would have been neat and perhaps a little sad considering if they had done the character right from the start, it would have been devastating to see a character turn like that and do those things out of absolute desperation. But it wasn't. How they wrote the character and how she was presented on the screen made her so insufferable and intolerable that I was like, just gtfo my show already Jesus Christ.
I would also like to point out that she also manipulates others quite a bit, ever since she was introduced she played on other's weaknesses and vulnerabilities to make them "understand" her side of things. She did that with Dean, she tried doing that with Castiel but he wisely refused to listen to her bullshit, and she did so again in this episode. Hell, she fucking lied to everyone's faces and she tried to place the blame about her getting caught by Heaven all onto Castiel? Bitch please, had you not been so careless after knowing that he had been captured by Heaven too, you would have known he would be under close observation by the Higher Ups. So honestly, she has no reason to blame Castiel because he was undergoing serious moral dilemmas of his own because he never intended to turn her in, but it wasn't his fault under his circumstances at that time for goodness sakes. In that same scene too, she undermined Castiel's faith in finding God, and that really pissed me off.
I know some people on my flist actually like Anna so I'm sorry for your behalf, but I'm not apologizing for speaking my mind on the subject. The character was just painfully useless with a trite storyline and had nothing to give other than a horrible performance and just absolute bullshit. I'm happy she died, good riddance I say.
And of course people will interpret this as "omg you hate female characters you are a misogynist" or what the fuck ever people are trying to rant about the show "killing another female". IT'S NOT ABOUT THEM BEING FEMALE, GET THAT THROUGH YOUR HEAD PEOPLE! The show has had its issues with mistreating female characters before, I understand that, but it's not always about them being female you do realize that? It's about the characters themselves and their motives, whether clear or not, and their choices. She made a choice, it was of the wrong kind, she got what she deserved. End of story.
And that's all I have to say, perhaps further in comments if someone has something else to add.
Memorable Moments of the Episode:
++ CASTIEL HAS RETURNED BITCHES! \O/ For a short while in the episode though, which did bum me out but quite frankly I do prefer him to the less screen time he had here because this was more of a Winchester family reunion episode. Even though I would have loved to see him "meet the parents" that would have been sweet. ;) Also, whump!Castiel makes me happy yet sad at the same time, because it's like hi he's been weakened but then we get epic fussing from the Winchesters, so it's all good.
++ "SAM IS MY FRIEND." <---- SEE THAT RIGHT THERE? CASTIEL SAID THAT SAM IS HIS FRIEND! \O/ OMFG I LOVE THIS SO MUCH! We need to see more of Sam and Castiel friendship scenes, or them getting along because after 5.06 I was worried they would still be at odds end with each other for a bit, but Castiel says he's a friend and that just made me all giddy inside. Because Castiel is choosing the Winchesters/humanity over anything else. Such devotion, omg Cas bb ilu never ever change. ♥
++ "I don't understand that reference" = Castiel's equivalent to Brennan's "I don't know what that means" in Bones, y/y? DEAN/CASTIEL ARE TOTALLY BOOTH/BRENNAN Y'ALL, SRSLY! ♥ ♥ ♥
++ Dean put Castiel in the honeymoon suite. Honeymoon suite. That just speaks for itself.
++ That car scene = PURE FUCKING GOLD! LOVED IT!
++ I love Mary, she's so badass and cool. Though love the knife fight between her and Anna, could Anna be more ridiculous with her "slow stalking"? Bitch please, that is just so lame I am fighting back laughter just thinking about how that looked. She really doesn't know how the act, does she? Goddamn. But Mary kicked her ass, hell I could have kicked her ass because she just does not know how to fight, but Mary is so fearless and I love her for it.
++ Also, I WANT MARY'S HAIR!!! Sort of resembled the Number Six hair a bit in BSG, amirite? The style is similar, of course that era had that kind of hair all the time, but it just occurred to me. Loved it.
++ I will say, despite my obvious hate towards Anna I really do wish things could have been different with the character. Like, better writing/storyline and a better actress, they did have some potential for the fallen angel thing but...it just was a huge mess. There's just nothing remotely interesting or "awesome" about this character at all, and that's just sad and kinda pathetic. Also, I did want to have some explanation about her motives here, it was just her being "well I'm going to kill Dean and Sam and their parents" but not very enthusiastically, and not because she was feeling "guilt" over it (hardly guilt was in the picture). It was just because again, bland performance. Le sigh.
++ "I'm really sorry." NO YOU ARE NOT STFU AND DIAF
++ HOLY ARCHANGEL MICHAEL BATMAN! I actually never thought we would actually get to see Michael until a bit later, so having unexpected!Michael possessing young!John was such a pleasant surprise. And he's badass and intense to the motherfucking bone, and I loved it. :D :D :D :D
++ Loved the emotional points in this episode, from both Sam and Dean to young!John and young!Mary. They play off each other so well, it's like you can look at them and go "wow, they really are like the younger versions of the characters" It's just amazing.
++ That ending with them dragging an unconscious!Castiel (again) to the motel bed = win, and plenty of dirty and/or hurt/comfort coming out from that I bet. Also, "team free will" Damn right, boys. Damn right.
++ "Angels are watching over you." It's ominous because of what we've learned but it's still super adorable and sweet. ♥
++ John/Mary = OTP Y/Y? ♥ ♥ ♥
++ I am pondering something: do angels dream when they are knocked out? We're assuming they've never needed to rest or sleep, so seeing Castiel going all unconscious makes me wonder. Hmmmm...
Overall: I really absolutely loved this episode, tolerated the insufferable character even though she's made of epic fail, but then she died so, hallelujah and praise Kripke for that. \O/ Loved all the Winchester family angst and that Sam actually got to see Mary and give his apologies and confessions about his father to the younger version of his dad, which is kinda weird but definitely a place to unload all that weight he carried with him. Also Dean, oh God Dean, stomp harder on him show why don'tcha? Also how can the angels promise that they won't leave vessels are messed up in the end? The angels are manipulative and cunning sons of bitches, but somehow there's something about Michael that I like and somewhere I believe it when he tells Dean that. But still, it makes everything a lot heavier for them all with what is to come. The plot thickens more, kiddies....
AND NEXT EPISODE WILL BE EITHER LOLARIOUS OR DISGUSTING HOWEVER ONE VIEWS THAT PREVIEW! BUT WE GET A NEKKID!CUPID HUGGING (???) CASTIEL, SO THERE'S A PLUS. :D
Opinionated thoughts and personal opinions are opinionated, but this episode was an A+ on the emotional and arc level. We need more of these kinds of eps from here on out.
Also, thanks for your advice last night people. I did take a little power nap for about an hour and a half before Supernatural aired. I just have this funky sleeping schedule that I adopted out of nowhere and now I think, after everything from last night, I just might be getting back to a relatively normal functioning hours of the day.
Caprica tonight, whoo-hoo! :D