‘Supernatural’: Time to slice and dice

Supernatural
“Mint Condition”
November 1, 2018

THEN: We’ve got slicing and dicing, scream queens and killing machines … and racist ghost trucks. Never forget.

NOW

Dean is in his room, living his best surrounded by empties and snacks wrappers sprawled out on his bed eating cold pizza horror movie marathon life.  He’s been holed up for a week. Cas is busy with Jack.  Kaia Ren is in the wind.  They have no clue where Michael is, and—not that he’s complaining—the house is full of strangers.

I would hide, too.

And while Dean’s typical modus when things are bad is to run himself ragged chasing cases, this response is not without precedent.  He retreated in Season 10 when the Mark of Cain still had its hold on him and he beat the crap out of Dark Charlie.  Of all the burdens that Dean carries, the guilt of hurting people weighs the heaviest.

And speaking of Charlie (RIP), didn’t she hack the Bunker’s computer in Season 9 to allow it to track angels? 

Arrested-development-group-nod

(Narrator: She did.)

Sam comes in for a wellness check and Dean is left momentarily speechless at the sight of his brother.  

Sam shaved.  RIP grief beard.

Flowing-beard

“It so smooth.  It’s like a dolphin’s belleh.”

Sam manages to lure Dean out of his cave with a killer toy case.  A nerd in Ohio got his ass kicked by a 15-inch mega-scale Panthro.  

Thunder.  Thunder.  Thundercats HOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!

Their first stop is Smash Pow Comics. The boys pose as insurance adjusters from the 1970s to interview victim Stuart’s boss, Madison from UnREAL.  Dean calls her Sam’s Wonder Twin, what with the soft, delicate features and luxurious hair.

spn_sam-hair-blowing

Dean is immediately drawn to the store’s life-sized Hatchet Man figure from his favorite horror series, All Saint’s Day.  Dirk, the store’s co-owner, tells him to push the button.  

Ren and Stimpy Space Madness button

Dean gleefully and repeatedly pushes the voice activating button, letting the character’s catchphrases wash over him like a balm.  Chuck bless Dean’s ceaseless capacity for childlike joy.  He needs more joy in his life.

Madison from UnREAL directs them to Stuart’s mom’s house.  She says he had a fight with his roommate and the roommate kicked him out.  Stuart is a bit of a pill.  Dean has added large, black nerd frame glasses to his outfit for this portion of the case for no reason other than Chuck is a loving god who wants us to have nice things.

 

Their interview with Stuart is brief and hostile.  He snaps that he made up the story about the toy attacking him and now he will say good day.  HE SAID GOOD DAY.

Stuart does mention that he recently broke up with a hot Wicca chick he met online.  Hex bag seems as good a place as any to start.  The boys stake out the house waiting for Stuart and his mom to leave. 

While they wait, Dean attempts to get to the root of Sam’s dislike of Halloween.  It seems obvious to me that the events of Season 4’s “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Sam Winchester” would have been enough to sour him.  But is there any holiday that Sam does like?  That’s something I kind of wish Show would explore.

Sam, why are you the boy who hates Arbor Day?

Sam, why are you the boy who hates Pulaski Day?

Dean tells Sam not to give him any, “every day is Halloween for us,” crap.  He emphatically says it isn’t.  They don’t eat that much candy.

Which I think we all know is a damned lie.

 

Mom heads out in her 50’s poodle skirt costume.  Stuart soon appears in the doorway, covered in blood and screaming for help.  Sam stays outside with Stuart while Dean follows the trail of blood down to the basement.  He pauses to admire Stuart’s framed Texas Chainsaw Massacre movie poster and only narrowly avoids the actual chainsaw that flings itself at his head.

The boys regroup after getting Stuart to the hospital and convincing his mom not to go back to the house.  Dean says a quick sweep for hex bags came up empty, but that the EMF went crazy.  

They’ve got a ghost.  

ghost pottery wheel

Dean hangs back at the hospital while Sam tries to find out who got dead. He comes back from a vending machine run to find Dirk standing outside Stuart’s room.  Dean offers Dirk one of his candy bars.  Dirk confides how much Stuart’s friendship means to him.  It’s a lovely moment that gets even better when they start geeking out over their shared love of All Saint’s Day.  Dean says that movies were his way of checking out when he was a kid.  

“I like to watch movies where I know the bad guy’s going to lose.”

Oh, Dean.  

Sam strolls into Stuart’s room with nary an iron fire poker or rock salt packed shotgun shell to his name.  I’m going to forgive this otherwise appalling oversight on the basis of the episode just generally being an old-school throwback delight.

Sam does pull out the EMF and is flummoxed when it doesn’t make a peep.  He goes back to the comics shop where Madison from UnREAL tells him Jordan, the store’s first owner, recently died.  She calls him the group’s own personal Willy Wonka.  He taught her, Dirk, and Stuart everything they know about comics and games.

Jordan left the store to Madison and Dirk – but not Stuart.  He fired Stuart after catching him stealing; Madison hired him back.  And that’s why it’s called show business and not show friends, Madison from UnREAL. 

She tells Sam that Jordan was cremated at the same moment that Sam sees frost spreading across the surface of a display case.  The EMF red lines.  Sam tells Madison she’s in danger and needs to leave, but she figures that out on her own when Hatchet Man comes to life.

Hatchet Man knocks Sam out … aaaaaand DRINK!  When he comes to, Madison is curled up in a ball—alive—and only barely processing what just happened.  The good news is that Hatchet Man is gone.  The bad news is they’re locked in the store.  Sam picks up a Cthulhu bookend—“Is this expensive?”—and wings it at the front door.  It bounces off the shatterproof glass.

Sam and Dirk are still in Stuart’s room, eating chips and jerky and sharing their favorite kills from the All Saint’s Day series.  Fan boy Dean is one of my favorite Deans.  He’s just so pure and happy in this moment.  Again, Dean needs more joy in his life.  

And as if the Universe is listening, Sam calls with the update that, yes, it’s a ghost, he’s possessing the Hatchet Man figure, and he’s coming for Stuart.  Dean can hardly believe his ears.

“Hatchet Man … is coming here?”

This is the greatest day of Dean’s life.

SPN_Dean-Rock-Paper-Scissors-Win

Dean gives Dirk the down and dirty on monsters—“Unless it’s Godzilla, it’s real.”—while laying down a salt line around Stuart.  He tells Dirk to get in and stay in the salt circle, no matter what.  When the room goes cold, lights begin flickering, and cabinet doors start banging, Dirk loses his nerve and make a break for it.

Dean is looking for a weapon.  He braces his elbow to break the emergency fire glass but then is like, “Oh.  This isn’t locked.  I could just open the door.”  It’s one of the many moments that make this episode sing.

Sam makes an IED from a vintage Scooby-Doo lunchbox and household cleaners.  He explains to Madison that it’s the by-product of a messed up childhood.  The bomb works, blowing the back door off its hinges in impressive fashion.  

I’m pretty sure that if they didn’t need to save Stuart, Madison from UnREAL would totes be making out with Sam now.

Dirk runs into Hatchet Man and makes his stand as the ghost is menacing Stuart’s mom.  He shouts that if Jordan wants to kill Stuart, he’ll have to go through him.  Jordan is like, okay.  I guess I’m going to kill you, too.  

Hatchet Man’s pursuit of Dirk is mirrored by the All Saint’s Day movie the security guards are watching in the control center.  Their running commentary—RUN, GIRL! RUN! PUSH THAT BUTTON!—is just gold.

Dean and his fire ax find Dirk in the morgue.  Hatchet Man is on a slab under a sheet waiting for them.  Dean squares up and gives Jordan his options—he can either go quietly into the light or Dean will send him there.  Jordan taps the button on this chest.

“Time to slice and dice.”

Dean grins like it’s his birthday.  He was kind of hoping Jordan would say that.  Fight fight struggle fight.  Dean improvises some bedpan-fu and is thoroughly enjoying going toe to toe with Hatchet Man until Hatchet Man gains the upper hand.  He has Dean in a headlock when Sam and Madison burst into the room.  Sam shouts at Dean to grab the keychain—Jordan’s tether—from Hatchet Man’s belt.  

Sam holds the metal keychain up to his lighter while Dean gives him the universal hand spinny signal for, ‘could we please move this along?’  A little ethyl alcohol and it finally catches.  Jordan’s spirit flames out.  The boys tell Madison and Dirk that it’s over.  They’re safe.

As the boys drive home, Dean seems lighter.  He thanks Sam for getting him out of his room and getting him a needed win.  Sam says it didn’t exactly go like he thought it would, but Dean won’t hear it.  This really is one of the best days of his life.  Fighting Hatchet Man was awesome!

Sam lets the moment breathe, but then real talks his brother.  He tells Dean he can’t keep hiding.  That he did the right thing saying yes—because he did it for his family—and anything Michael did after isn’t on him.  Sam emphatically says he doesn’t blame Dean.  No one blames him.  

“You’ve gotta try and stop blaming yourself.”

shangela-halleloo

THANK YOU!  Thank you, Sam, for saying it.  Thank you, Davy Perez, for writing it.

Dean’s not ready for absolution.  He tells Sam he’s never going to get over it.  He’s just not.  His tone is quiet and even but says end of discussion.  He does agree that hiding in his room isn’t doing anyone any good, so. Whatever Sam needs, Dean is there … “Chief.”

Dean’s watch beeps and Sam is relieved that Halloween is finally over.  And the story of why Sam hates Halloween is finally dragged out of him.  Picture it! Bismarck.  6th grade.  Sam’s crush Andrea Howell invited him to her Halloween party, and when it was Sam’s turn to bob for apples, he hurled.  Everywhere.  But mostly on her.  There was running and screaming and Sam ended up hiding out in the woods until Dean came and got him.

I don’t know dude.  It could have been worse.

spn_Apple-Bobbing

Dean declares that next year they’re going to turn things around.  Do Halloween right.  Matching costumes.

Batman and Robin.

SPN Dean Im Batman

Bert and Ernie … On second thought, “that’s weird.”

Rocky and Bullwinkle.

SPN_Crowley_Listnen-to-moose-squirrel

Shaggy and Scooby.

Really?  You sure about that Dean?

SPN_Scoobynatural_Dean-scarf.gif

Turner and Hooch.  I mean, we know who would be Hooch.

SPN_Dog-Dean

Ren and Stimpy.

Thelma and Louise. “We just put it drive and go.”

Which honestly, when the day finally comes, is kind of how I hope Show ends.

Thelma-and-Louise-cliff

Supernatural airs Thursday at 8:00 p.m. (Eastern) on The CW. Follow Whitney on Twitter @Watcher_Whitney.

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2 thoughts on “‘Supernatural’: Time to slice and dice

  1. “You’ve gotta try and stop blaming yourself.”

    I just want to say how much I love this line, and how we are back on the character building train. Because Sam doesn’t tell Dean to get over it. He doesn’t say it’s not your fault. He says TRY to stop blaming yourself. Because he knows it’s not going to happen right away, if at all, and he’s not telling Dean how to feel. He’s just saying please try to give yourself a break here, dude.

    Like

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