“Lost and Found”
October 12, 2017
THE ROAD SO FAR
Mary came back. Lucifer came back. The Colt came back. The Colt was destroyed. Eileen Leahy came back. Eileen Leahy died because BuckLeming are bullshit. The grenade launcher came back. Jody and Claire are wayward AF. Cas almost died. Crowley brought him back. Floating Space Vagina happened. Bobby came back – sort of. Crowley died. Kelly died. Cas died. Lucifer and Mary fell through the Floating Space Vagina.
What doesn’t merit mention in the montage – at least directly – is the British Men of Letters. Because Show has looked at its life and looked at its choices and realized that the BMoL was a poorly executed bad idea.
Sam is in a nursery staring at a thing with glowing yellow eyes. Again.
Dean is kneeling next to the lifeless body of someone he loves. Again.
Kelly’s minutes old, large adult son glowers at Sam.
Jack Evil Jesus EJ speaks a single word – “Father.” Dean comes into the room, takes one look at the kid, and opens fire. Sam bats at the gun and the shot goes wide. EJ unhinges his jaw and releases a sonic scream that blows out every window in the room and lifts Sam and Dean off their feet. The scream ends and its shock wave sends the boys crashing into the wall.
It’s the OH SHIT THIS IS NEW AND TERRIBLE looks on their faces that make the moment poetry.
Mary Winchester snarls at Lucifer to get away from her sons. She stalks towards him, ready to make good on her lifelong desire to punch the devil in the face. There’s the popping sound of ignition and Mary stops short. She screams and rises up into the air as flames engulf her. And then she’s burning again, pinned to the ceiling of wee!Sam’s nursery.
Dean’s eyes snap open. He comes to on the floor of EJ’s nursery. Sam starts awake and confirms that yes, the glowing, screamy naked guy was Lucifer’s kid. Dean gets the ‘oh, it’s dying time’ look on his face. He snatches his gun from the floor and charges outside. He asks the excellent question – can EJ teleport? Does the kid have wings?
If EJ has wings, he hasn’t yet figured out how to use them. He walks along the side of the road until he reaches a Pirate Pete’s Jolly Treats. He stands in the drive-thru lane in front of a life-sized fiberglass pirate and says, “Father?” He repeats himself, enunciating, trying to make the pirate understand. The two employees inside sadly inform him of company policy – No shirt, no shoes, no dice.
The boys roar along the main road looking for EJ. They’re *ding ding* at odds over the best course of action. Dean wants to come at the Son of Satan with everything they’ve got. Shoot the monster. It’s what they do.
Sam wants to take a beat. He argues that they don’t know that EJ is a monster. They don’t know what he is. He snaps that he had the nursery situation under control until Dean came in guns blazing.
Hey, remember that time Sam shot Dean’s daughter Emma? Or sold out Benny to another hunter, even though he was responsible for getting Dean out of Purgatory? Sam’s goal post of who is or isn’t a monster tends to move around a lot.
As far as Dean is concerned, they have a plan – find and end EJ before he can hurt anyone else – and they’re sticking to it. They’ll figure out the whole Crowley is dead, Kelly is dead, Mary is gone thing afterwards. He can’t even bring himself to talk about Cas. Sam asks if the angel is really dead. Dean stares straight ahead, his face a hard mask.
“You know he is.”
Pirate Spicoli calls his mom. Sheriff Christine Barker transports EJ to the station and kits him out in clothes from the lost and found. The sensation of being encased in fabric is new and strange to him. He shakes his sneaker-clad feet like a dog wearing booties.
Christine hands EJ a bottle of water and tells him to sit down. He’s flummoxed by the bottle. I half expected him to try to bite through the plastic, like the scene in Splash when Madison gnaws through the lobster. Sheriff Barker asks for his name, first and last, and EJ is like
When asked about his parents, EJ says his mother is in Heaven and his father was supposed to be here, but he’s not. EJ furrows at the sheriff that he has to find his father. She asks if there’s anything else he remembers. An image of Dagon flashes into EJ’s mind.
“I remember when the bad woman burned. I remember the Universe screamed.”
It’s the way he’s so matter-of-fact about it that makes it poetry. Like, it was Tuesday and those were just things that happened. I was prepared to dislike EJ, but this kid is growing on me.
The boys rumble up to Pirate Pete’s. It makes sense to Sam that EJ might have gone in or been seen there. Dean has his doubts. “He was like, what? Before I destroy the world, let me just grab a bag of curly fries.” Dean is deep into his grief snark. He snaps at Sam to make it quick. He’ll wait in the car and call Jodie to put out a nationwide APD on a “creepy, Satanic nudist.”
Sam goes inside and Dean disappears behind the building. When he comes back to the car the knuckles of his right hand are bloody and busted. The drunk girl standing next to Baby asks if he punched a wall or something. She says she did once. Well, she punched a poster of Elsa from Frozen that was on the wall. It belonged to her freshman roommate, Becky.
Dean pulls a bottle of whisky from the trunk, takes a swig, and pours some over his hand. Drunk Girl continues talking and writing “Bitch” in the dust on Baby’s window. I’m surprised Dean doesn’t shoot her on general principle. She tells him Becky was a giant super bitch who would take things and break things and piss people off and do whatever she wanted no matter who it hurt. So Drunk Girl punched her poster … and set most of her stuff on fire.
Dean cocks his head like he doesn’t condone, but he understands, and maybe he would like to subscribe to Drunk Girl’s newsletter. Sam comes out with intel on EJ and asks Dean what he did to his hand. Drunk Girl tells him not to ask – Dean is super sensitive about it.
She watches them drive off. She is so totally an angel.
The flickering lights in the sheriff’s station seem to confirm imminent angelic incoming. Christine is like, huh. That’s weird. I thought we paid that bill. She hears noises coming from another part of the station and grows low key alarmed. When EJ told Spicoli he was hungry, I half expected he was going to eat the other kid’s face off. But when Christine opens the door to the break room, she finds the two boys sitting on the floor with a pile of snacks.
“I like nougat.”
Sheriff Barker asks her son if he noticed the lights. Spicoli giggles nervously and tells EJ to do the thing. EJ is only too happy to oblige. He hops up, and with a smile, presses his hand to the side of the vending machine. Its lights flicker and candy bars cascade down.
Christine suddenly understands how the Universe felt and why it was screaming.
EJ grins at her. He doesn’t know how he does it, but when the Universe gives you candy, it’s best just to say thank you. His smile turns into a grimace of pain as a high pitched whine pierces his brain. The sounds fade and EJ stumbles past Christine on his way to the open door. She puts her hand on his shoulder and he sonic screams her into the vending machine.
EJ staggers down the hallway with angel radio blaring in his brain and light fixtures exploding overhead.
Christine eases into the squad room, gun drawn. She finds EJ face down on the floor with taser leads in his back and Sam and Dean standing over him. She deposits Sam and EJ in a cell and sits across from a handcuffed Dean. Tell her again what he just said?
“My name is Dean Winchester. I’m an Aquarius. I enjoy sunsets, long walks on the beach, and I kill monsters.”
The sheriff asks Dean if he’s some kind of superhero.
Damn skippy he is.
Dean considers, shrugs, and then says he’s just a guy doing a job. He searches for the words to explain what EJ is, but Christine ran his fingerprints. She knows he’s not human. Not exactly.
EJ comes to in the cell and springs into a defensive position. Sam is like we’re good here! I’m not going to hurt you – again. Sorry about the whole zappy-zap thing. EJ calms down enough to tell Sam that he was scared before. The voices – they were so loud. So angry. And when he gets scared … things happen. He can’t stop them.
When Sam feels reasonably confident that EJ isn’t going to explode him like a bag full of chunky soup, he asks him how they’re even having this conversation. EJ gets a fond look on his face. He says his mother taught him. He talked to her. He was her. His powers he doesn’t understand, but he does remember creating the Floating Space Vagina. He’s not sure if he could do it again, but that’s not important right now. He has to find his father.
He has to find Castiel.
Kelly told EJ that the world was a dangerous place. He says that’s why he had to grow up so quickly. It’s why EJ chose Castiel to be his father. Kelly said Cas would keep him safe. Sam looks stricken. He tells EJ that Cas is dead.
Christine takes a beat to process and Dean tells Sam they’re good to go. Spicoli’s cry for help forestalls their further he’s evil / he’s good bickering. Angel Miriam – Drunk Girl – is holding a gladius to Spicoli’s throat. She says she’ll let the kid go if Christine shoots Dean. She tells the sheriff that, despite what Dean may have told her, he’s not a hero. He’s Becky.
Miriam gets a message from the hench angels in the cell block – EJ has been secured. She stabs Spicoli in the gut. Dean and Sam fight fight struggle fight against the angels. Sam gets beaten bloody, which he uses to make a banishing sigil. Well played, Sam! It expels the two angels in the cell but doesn’t affect Miriam. Which is really just a bullshit way to allow her to tell Dean that the angels want “Lucifer 2: Electric Boogaloo” because he can do anything. Well, almost anything.
EJ can’t bring Cas back.
Rather than taking a run at EJ another day, Miriam decides she can’t fight both Winchesters and stabs the kid in the chest. Sam stabs her. Bye, Miriam! Bye!
EJ grasps the gladius by the handle and pulls it free.
Hey, if Show is going to keep making all these Cas callbacks, can they replace EJ’s boy band flop with some Season 4 sex hair?
Mmm … Season 4 sex hair.
Spicoli is wheeled out to a waiting ambulance, but the boys seem more concerned with EJ’s condition. Angel radio sets his brain on fire, but apparently, he can survive a gladius to the heart. Dean is not comforted by this new information. Sam says they should take EJ back to the Bunker. He’s prepared for a fight, but Dean readily agrees.
Dean says he hasn’t changed his mind – EJ is still evil, he still brainwashed Cas, and he will eventually go Dark Side. Dean knows this because he knows the other shoe always drops. It always does. And so until Dean can figure out a way to kill EJ, they’ll bring him home. He says at least at the Bunker there’s only the two of them that EJ can hurt.
But before they can go home, they have to go back to the cabin. Sam wonders if maybe they can’t bring Cas back. Chuck did. He’s rebuilt Cas more times than he can remember. Sam says maybe if they prayed … Dean gives his brother a hard look. He doesn’t think Dean has tried that?
Dean walks behind the Pirate Pete’s. He looks around to make sure he’s alone. He doesn’t want an audience. Prayer has never come easily to Dean. He said once it’s too much like begging, but that’s where he is now. Loss has made a beggar of him.
He bows his head and asks for Chuck’s help. Dean reminds Him that, when He left, He said the Earth would be fine because it had the Winchesters. But Dean says it’s not. And they’re not.
“We’ve lost everything. And now you’re going to bring ’em back. You’re going to bring back Cas. You’re going to bring back Mom. You’re going to bring ’em all back. All of them! Even Crowley. Because after everything that you’ve done, you owe us, you son of a bitch!”
“So you get your ass down here, and you make this right. Right here! Right now!”
Dean grits out the words through clenched teeth. The anger drains away and he’s left looking heartbroken and lost. He swallows back the emotion, shakes his head, and looks around. He nods like, yup. Disappointing fathers are always disappointing. It wouldn’t be the first time he made a call for help and the old man wouldn’t pick up.
That’s when the fury washes over him and he tries to punch a hole through the men’s room door. The “buccaneers” sign splinters under his fist. Dean flings it away and looks up at the sky. He simply says please. Please help us.
Back at the cabin, Dean tells Sam that God’s not listening. “He doesn’t give a damn.”
Sam takes EJ upstairs to say goodbye to Kelly. Dean is left alone with Cas. Dean pulls back the sheet covering the body, but this is just the vessel. His angel is gone.
Dean splashes gas on the pyre as the sun sets. Sam asks EJ if he wants to say anything. The boys aren’t sure what you say.
“Thank you. You say thank you. And you say you’re sorry. You hope they’re somewhere without sadness, pain. You hope they’re somewhere better. You say goodbye.”
Dean says his goodbyes. “Goodbye Cas. Goodbye Kelly. Goodbye Crowley. Goodbye Mom.” Sam says they don’t know, but Dean cuts him off.
“Yeah, we do. We do, Sam. She’s gone. They’re all gone.”
Dean tosses his lighter at the base of the pyre. The three men’s faces glow orange from the flames. EJ looks thoughtful. Sam looks grimly resolute. But Dean … sweet baby Jebus Dean looks broken. Bereft. Utterly and completely empty.
Not for nothing did Show choose Metallica’s “Nothing Else Matters” to open Season 13. Because for Dean, there truly is nothing left that matters. When stories started coming out this summer that Dean was giving up on Mary, I was annoyed. I was prepared to write a good and thorough rant about why Dean would never in a million years give up on looking for his mother.
But after this episode, I get it, because Jensen sold the hell out of it with his performance, both in the prayer and the pyre scenes. And honestly, after the slog of Season 12, I was not excited about this season. But Jensen sucked me back in.
We’ve seen Dean hit rock bottom before, but even at his lowest, there was always something that kept him going. Some spark of hope, no matter how dim. But not anymore. After losing Cas, he simply doesn’t have it in him to believe that his mother could still be alive.
One thing that I would love to see this season is Sam helping his brother find that spark again. But I hope Show avoids what it’s done in the past. Too often Sam has been focused only on what he needs emotionally – regardless of whether or not Dean has it to give. I mean, in Season 5’s “99 Problems” Sam literally tells Dean he can’t give up because he can’t do that to Sam.
One of the things that I enjoyed about Season 11 were the moments when Sam let Dean have his emotions. He listened and supported. I’m thinking about their conversation in “Love Hurts” when Dean admits his connection to Amara. And at the end of “The Vessel” – yet another time they thought they’d lost Cas. Dean wasn’t willing then to do much talking, but he did feel safe in not hiding how not okay he was. He felt allowed. I’d like to see more of that between the brothers this season, and not just more latherrinserepeat conflict over what to do with and about EJ.
And you know, I like EJ. I was prepared to hate the Son of Satan storyline, but I don’t. I like that Alexander Calvert gives EJ an alien-ness that is similar to Castiel in Season 4. And kudos to Show for casting an actor who looks like he shares DNA with Misha Collins.