The angels send Anna (guest star Julie McNiven) back in time to kill John (guest star Matthew Cohen) and Mary (guest star Amy Gumenick) Winchester before they can conceive Sam (Jared Padalecki) knowing that if Sam was never born then Lucifer won’t be able to use him as his vessel. Castiel (Misha Collins) sends Sam and Dean (Jensen Ackles) back to 1978 so they can stop Anna, and the two brothers are reunited with their parents. Mary recognizes Dean as a hunter since he visited her in the past once before but tries to keep the truth from John.
Steve Boyum directed the episode written by Sera Gamble & Nancy Weiner.
To prevent the Apocalypse before it ever starts, Anna travels through time to kill Sam’s parents before they conceive him.
Dean is having a dream of strippers when Anna appears in it. She’s unable to appear in person because she can’t find him because of the branding that Castiel placed on him. She explains that she’s been imprisoned in Heaven since Castiel turned her in. Anna explains that she broke out and if the angels find her, she’ll be in trouble. She gives him an address and tells him to meet her there.
Anna arrives at the warehouse at the address and calls out. The lights burst and Castiel appears behind her. He tells her that he wouldn’t let the Winchesters come, and that she’s out of prison because they’ve sent her to do their dirty work. Anna is angry that he gave her to the angels, and Castiel admits that he made a mistake. She insists that she escaped on her own, and explains that she wants to help. He points out that she has a knife and notes that it doesn’t work against angels… unlike the one he has. Anna finally admits that Sam has to die and eliminate Lucifer’s chosen vessel. She’ll scatter Sam’s cells across the universe so Lucifer can’t raise his body. Castiel insists they’ll find another way but Anna points out that so far, he’s failed. Castiel still refuses to let Sam die, and admits that Sam is his friend. He warns Anna that if she goes near Sam, he’ll kill her. Anna simply disappears without a response.
A couple are smoking drugs when Anna appears on the hood of their car. They take her to the hospital… past a poster of Grease.
At the hotel, Castiel prepares a ritual to find Anna and warns the brothers that she won’t stop unless they stop her permanently. Sam wonders if Anna might be right and his death will stop the Apocalypse. Castiel completes the ritual and realizes that she’s traveled into the past to the year 1978. He explains that Anna will kill their parents and prevent Sam from ever being born. When Dean insists on going back, Castiel warns that if he goes back with passengers, he’ll be too weak to protect them. Dean insists on going and Castiel reluctantly agrees.
The Winchesters arrive in the past, in the middle of a street, and are almost run over. They quickly confirm they’re in 1978, and find a weakened Castiel nearby, bleeding from his nose. He passes out and they check him into a honeymoon suite to rest. Sam finds their parents’ address, they steal a car, and drive to the home. As Sam goes in, Dean warns that Anna could be there and wonders what to tell them. He comes up with a plan and tells Sam to follow his lead.
John returns to work as Mary prepares supper. She answers the door and finds Dean and Sam there. She tells them she has a normal life now and tells them to go. John comes to the door and she introduces them as her cousins. Sam nervously shakes his hand and John wonders if something is wrong. Mary tries to get them out but John invites them in for a beer. Sam can’t take his eyes off of Mary and blurts out that she’s beautiful. Dean covers and explains that Mary looks like Sam’s mother. John asks what they’re doing in town and they can’t really explain. He invites them to stay for supper over Mary’s objections. John gets a call from his boss, Woodson, who says he’s fired. John pleads for a second chance and Woodson tells him to come in and discuss the matter. He’s unaware that Anna is impersonating Woodson’s voice.
Sam and Dean finally explain to Mary that an angel plans to kill her and John. She accepts what they’re saying and agrees to go with them. They realize that he’s left.
At Woodson’s garage, John calls out to his boss and finds the man, dead, his eyes burned out by the sight of an angel. Anna appears and slams him into some shelves, and then approaches him. Her vision flickers and John hits her, but she quickly recovers and slams him away. Dean tries to stab her but she easily stops him and throws him through a window. Mary grabs his knife and attacks, managing to cut the angel. Anna teleports away and then back behind Mary, and then throws her into a car. As she moves in, Mary grabs a crowbar and plunges it into Anna’s chest, but the angel pulls it out and notes it’s not that easy to kill an angel. However, the attack has distracted Anna long enough for Sam to complete the ward to send Anna away. John looks up as he realizes what’s going on.
As they drive away, John realizes that they all fight monsters and wonders how long it’s been going on. Mary admits she’s been fighting monsters all her life and John tells them all to shut up. They go to a safe house that Mary’s family has prepared, but the Winchesters warn that most of her defenses won’t work against angels. However, Dean and Sam have brought sigils and holy oil and show Mary how they work. John insists on helping draw the sigil, and uses his own blood when Dean explains that it’s necessary. As they work, Dean chuckles and notes that John reminds him of his dad.
As John completes a sigil, Sam comes over to talk to him and apologize for overwhelming him with information. John wonders how long he’s been a hunter and Sam says that his dad raised him to do it. John wonders how any father could raise a child like that, and what it did to Sam’s head. Sam explains that his father died trying to protect him, and that he used to hate his father. Now he gets it: his father was doing the best he could, keeping them together in an impossible situation. Sam explains that when his mother got killed, his father would have gone crazy if he didn’t do something, and now he understands and forgives him.
Anna arrives outside the house and summons Uriel. He warns that they’re under orders not to come to Earth and enter vessels, and realizes that she’s from his future. She insists that she’s still his superior and wants him to kill some humans. Uriel is glad to help, particularly once he learns they’ll kill him in the future.
Mary finally insists for an explanation from Dean. He says she’s going to have to trust him, but she refuses to back down. Dean finally tells her that he’s her son and they’re from the year 2010. He tells her personal things that only her son could know, and reluctantly tells her that she died at the hands of the Yellow-Eyed Demon. After that, John became a hunter for revenge and raises his sons to do the same. Dean tells her the date that she dies and to take Sam and run. However, Sam comes in and warns that the demon will find her no matter what. He suggests that she leave John so that she’s safe and they’re never born. Dean agrees, but Mary says that it’s too late: she’s pregnant.
John comes in and warns them that the sigils have all disappeared. The holy oil has also disappeared. A high-pitched noise build and the windows shatter. Uriel walks in and introduces himself. The brothers try to escape but Anna has blocked their route. Dean and Sam launch themselves at the angels, who easily toss them side. John grabs a knife but Anna slams him out into the back yard. As Sam goes for the knife, Anna rips a fixture out of the wall and impales Sam, as Dean looks on in horror.
Out on the yard, a golden light surrounds John.
Anna approaches Mary and says that she’s sorry. However, John comes in and addresses Anna by name. She realizes that he’s Michael. Michael touches her and burns her into ash. He then snaps his fingers and sends an apologetic Uriel away. When Mary wonders what has happened to John, Michael renders her unconscious with a touch. Dean asks him to cure Sam, but Michael says that they need to talk first. The archangel explains that John allowed him to enter his body in return for saving Mary, and that the bloodline stretches from Dean to John to the distant past. Dean asks what Michael wants, and says that he refuses to help the archangel fulfill his personal grudge. Michael explains that he no longer wants to kill Lucifer then Dean wants to kill Sam, and that he still loves Lucifer. However, he has to kill Lucifer, who knew from the beginning how it was going to end. Dean warns that God is wrong and Michael is a fool for blindly obeying him. Michael responds by noting that all of the millions of random choices are God’s perfect plan. And ultimately, Dean will say yes. Michael assures him that Dean will be fine after his possession. He’ll also wipe Mary and John’s memories. When Dean notes that will mean Mary is killed, Michael points out that Dean always knew that’s what would happen. The archangel then heals Sam and sends him back to his own time. As he sends Dean back, he assures him that they’ll meet again.
Back in the present, Castiel manages to return. After he collapses, the brothers have a drink and Sam wonders if he’s going to give in. He wonders what Dean would say if he was offered the chance to save Mary.
In the past, Mary and John put up a sculpture of an angel in their nursery. Mary notes that the baby is kicking already and assures it that everything will be okay. She tells her child that angels are watching over them.
Review by Gaelic
5.13 – The Song Remains The Same – Gaelicspirit review
This episode is exactly why I enjoy being unspoiled.
Earlier this week, I found myself defending my parenting choices to my 84-year-old Grandfather. He’s a savvy guy, my Grandpa. Is on Facebook, emails regularly. But he is of the belief that his way is the only way when it comes to faith; and, at least according to him and the majority of my extended family, his way is God’s way. So you can see why he might be a bit upset if I choose not to step obediently down his path.
After rubbing a bit at my sore heart from absorbing his email that he felt that Someone was missing from the life of his 51st descendant (my daughter) due to my parenting choices, I drafted a carefully worded email, had my husband read it, and sent it off. Ultimately, it came down to this stance: though we may not travel the same road, I believed we would end up at the same destination. I did not believe there was only one way to salvation, that we were destined to be saved or lost based on one specific choice.
I explained that I was raising my daughter to know the truth as I knew it, and to ask questions, and to discover her own answers. Being a woman of faith, I believed that is my job as a parent—not to simply inform her of the way it must be and pray that she makes that choice.
I haven’t yet heard back from him, though I hope I do.
It was somewhat ironic, as you might guess, to take in the climactic scene in this episode, especially Team Destiny vs Team Free Will. I found myself shaking my head in wonder and a strange amount of delight. But that wasn’t the only OMG moment in this episode. If anyone reading this has read Wearing and Tearing, you know exactly what I’m talking about. *grin*
But I’ll get there in a moment.
First, I have to say that I personally love the actors they picked for young Mary and young John—I just wish young John had brown eyes. I’d put in my head when I started writing fic that Dean took after his mom. With this actress, I can keep believing that. They both have large, beautiful, expressive eyes and a way of setting their mouths that gives you two beats to decide if you want to run and hide or wrap your arms around them.
So, we start with our boy Dean and those expressive eyes. Staring at a scantily-clad devil woman. Who is joined by an equally scantily-clad angel woman. Just before we are able to register strip club, dream, Anna shows up. Dean looks both surprised to see her and embarrassed that she snuck in on this particular dream. She can’t find them, and Dean explains the bone-burning mojo that Cas performed.
Anna is a bit pissed at Cas, though, because he’s the one who turned her in and she’s been in a heavenly prison all this time. I will say that at first, I felt sorry for her, but now that I’ve seen everything, as I write this, my head is whispering, “Cry me a river,” when I think of her talking about being tortured. In Heaven.
She says she broke out of prison and needs their help. Dean’s all where and when. She tells him and he wakes with a start. Next thing we know, Anna’s at a warehouse, walking around looking wary and worried when the lights above and around her blow and Cas shows up. I kinda missed that brooding, Batman-voiced, trench coat stand.
Anna first thinks that the Winchesters don’t trust her, but Cas says, no, he doesn’t. He wouldn’t let them come. Hmmm… I find that interesting. How, I wonder, did he stop them? Especially when, in his dream, Dean looked all-too eager to help his one-time lover. Anna tells Cas that she escaped, but Cas ain’t buying it. He thinks they let her out—reminding us with his suspicion that he’s not connected to Heaven, and, apparently, doesn’t trust any of his ‘brothers’.
As they circle each other, it becomes pretty much a ‘you show me yours, I’ll show you mine’ stand-off and Anna reveals that she’s come to kill Sam Winchester. If Sam dies, she reasons, Lucifer’s plan short-circuits. Cas says that the demons will just bring Sam back (which kinda answers my question about Dean last week when Gary was trying to kill him…I suspect the angels would also simply bring Dean back). But Anna is planning on “scattering his cells across the cosmos.”
And then Cas cements himself in the Gaelic Loves This Character section by saying, “The answer is still no; Sam is my friend.” Followed by, “I know we’ve been through much together, but you come near Sam, and I’ll kill you.”
Next thing you know, we see two hippie-ish twenty-somethings sitting in a Pontiac Firebird with 70’s music playing and Anna falls flat on the hood of the car—the wings of the bird spread out to look as if they could be her own wings. Nice one! She’s unconscious and bleeding from the mouth. Oops. The kids hurry to her side, haul her up and say they have to get her to a hospital. They pass a ginormous Grease movie poster on their way.
Back in the No-Tell Motel, Cas is telling the boys what Anna said.
D: “She’s gone all Glenn Close…”
Took me a minute to connect that with Fatal Attraction. I mean, yeah, the woman was crazy in that movie, but Glenn Close has played quite a few characters. I had to hear the “boiling bunnies” reference to get where he was going with that one. Dean was chock-full of pop-culture references this go-round. I dug it.
While Dean is fiercely frowning over the fact that Anna is nucking futs, Sam wants to know if she has a point. Would all this be over if he were to die? And stay dead? Dean and Cas practically race each other to deny that as a possibility. Cas is trying to find her so that they can kill her before she can kill Sam. So, while Dean looks grim and Sam scared, Cas mumbles a spell, there’s a poof of light and Cas staggers a bit. He’s found her—but it’s not where, it’s when.
Time travel is a tricky subject. Every time they’ve gone there—forward or backward—I’ve thought this. Forward isn’t such a big deal, really, because none of it has happened yet. Though, if you see something you want to have happen, you have a gazillion chances to screw it up somehow. Backward, though…you could risk your very existence just by one maneuver. Seemingly random events, right?
I suppose, if you have angels in the mix, there’s always the chance to keep everything going in the path it’s ‘supposed’ to go… But you’re always left with plenty of but how come they questions when you think into the future events that you already know.
Anna, it seems, is in 1978—before either boy has been born. And she’s gunning for John and Mary. Dean wants to go back with Cas, but Cas says that time travel is hard enough…cut off from Heaven it could be impossible.
D: So you’re like a Delorian without enough plutonium.
C: I don’t understand that reference.
Dean is insistent, though. Despite the fact that it’ll weaken Cas considerably to take them, he says that if they can save them—even maybe set things right—they have to try. Cas relents and they pack an Anti-Angel Bag of Weapons.
Sam: Not really.
D: Bend your knees.
I’m assuming they went to Lawrence 1978, though the town was never mentioned (that I noticed) and they didn’t have any of that Jaybird’s Diner (as a nod to our Jayhawks) type reference. The boys ‘land’ in the middle of the road—almost getting hit by two cars, ala Back to the Future—and Cas ends up on a sidewalk, collapsed against the side of a car. He…doesn’t look so good. In fact, he spits out blood and passes out moments after they find him.
Dean stashes him in a motel for five days and meets Sam back in front of a payphone.
S: Dude, the mustache’s alone. (It took me until then to register that this was the first real time travel experience for Sam.)
Dean says he told the motel manager to not disturb Cas for any reason and the manager asked if he’d like to buy some dope. Really?! Though born in ’74, I was pretty much a child of the ‘80’s. The ‘70’s cracked me up. Dean, too, apparently as he proposes sticking around to buy some stock in Microsoft. Which, if Cas doesn’t wake up, Sam says, they might have to do.
He found the Winchesters at 485 Robin Tree, they boost some nice wheels, and they’re off. They pull up to the house—with the Impala sitting outside, which was kinda surreal—and Sam’s ready to run up to the door and tell the truth.
D: What are we going to say? That their sons are back from the future to save them from and angel gone Terminator? Those movies haven’t even come out yet!
Dean, knowing that Mary is not going to want to see them, gets Sam to follow his lead. We see the happy couple getting the table set and dinner ready when the doorbell rings. The look on Mary’s face—curiosity swept away by recognition and dread—is no match for the utterly heart-wrenching, gobsmacked wonder on Sam’s.
Mary wants them gone. She has a normal life now. But John shows up and Sam looks even more shaken up. Even though he’s looking very large and intimidating these days, I still wanted to give him a hug. Dean’s been through this before, but Sam…talk about knocking the wind out of you. John introduces himself and Sam rouses himself enough to remember that shaking hands is normal, but then he almost can’t let go.
John asks him if he’s okay, “You look a little spooked.” Sam has tears in his eyes, but covers it quickly. They’re invited in for a beer—over Mary’s tense protestations—and Sam still can’t tear his eyes away from Mary.
S: You’re so beautiful.
D: (subtly wincing and rolling his eyes) He means that in a non-weird, wholesome family kind of way.
Mary is so tense at this point you could bounce a quarter off of her. Dean continues.
D: She’s the spitting image of our mom…
John says that Mary’s dad died of a heart attack; there’s no mention of her mom, though we know both parents died on the same night. John invites the boys to dinner—wanting to have more of a connection with Mary’s family. He’s such a sweet guy; it just breaks my heart to think of what’s awaiting him. How it’s going to change him. He’s so in love with his wife it surrounds him in almost-visible waves.
The phone rings and John heads off to get it, leaving Mary with the boys. He’s fooled into thinking he’s talking to his boss about keeping his job, but we see that it’s actually Anna on the other end pulling a Terminator with her voice. Meanwhile, the boys are trying to get Mary to get out. Sam tells her an angel is coming for her.
M: There’s no such thing.
Interesting, says I. One, that both she and Dean automatically had the same reaction when they were informed of the existence of angels (while Sam was eager to believe) and two, because we know she told Dean that “angels were watching over him.” I knew in that moment we were going to get some kind of memory-altering mojo at some point, but wasn’t sure how or when.
Dean tells her that angels do exist and that they’re, “twice as strong as demons and bigger dicks.”
I’ll be honest. It took me a second to realize he hadn’t said, “and HAVE bigger dicks.” *laughs*
Mary still isn’t buying it and Dean tells her to look at his face and “tell me if I’m lying to you.” His face is set, almost stone-like, but his eyes are like two raw wounds and when Mary flinched back, I totally bought it. They go to get John but find instead a note by the phone saying he’ll be ‘back in 15.’
At a garage, John finds his boss, Mr. Woodson, face-down on the floor. He rolls him over and the man’s eyes are burned out. Oops! Anna shows up and flings John into a shelf. Her vision blurs—and we can see some kind of a bandage or maybe an electrode patch on her neck from the hospital. John is up and hits her, but she recovers quickly and flings him again. This time, he doesn’t get back up easily.
Dean is there suddenly (which makes me wonder how they knew where John had gone—they hadn’t heard him on the phone, and his note didn’t say…) and he has the Angel Killing Knife. Anna grabs him, chokes him and holds the knife at bay.
D: (gasping) Wish I could say it’s good to see you, Anna.
A: You, too, Dean.
Kinda made me sad for him, that. He never gets a break when it comes to women. I was sadly reminded of when she just showed up in the back seat last season and his first words to her were, “You look terrific.” Guess there’s no more Bad Company interludes for those two, huh?
Anyway, BAM – she throws him through a window and he’s out. But Mary’s there, wielding the Angel Killing Knife like the pro she is. Their girl-fight is unlike any other—completely absent of clawing, gouging, or hair pulling. Mary ends up stabbing Anna with a tire iron—which, OUCH—after she’s thrown against a car window. Anna pulls the tire iron out, looking like she’s ready to finish Mary off, when suddenly Sam does the bloody-hand-on-the-sigil thing (finally…I’d been wondering where the hell he was!) and Anna is blasted away (temporarily) by the white light.
In the wake of that, we see John, shakily pulling himself up, staring at Mary, shocked.
At that moment, all I could think was, how are they going to explain all of this? Not just explain it all to John, but explain to us how the John we met knew nothing about demon hunting before Mary’s death and how Mary could forget about November 2, 1983, and stumble onto the YED…I’d forgotten the easy plot device having angels in the mix offered. They set it up really well, I thought. I was gripping the hell out of my pillow.
We have—for possibly the first time ever—all four Winchesters riding in the Impala. Perhaps baby Sam sat in the back in his car seat, but I’m betting this was a first. Dean and Sam in the back looked…small, almost. Child-like. John drove, gripping the wheel like he wanted to tear it off the dash. Mary looked heart-broken and apologetic.
J: Monsters are real?! And you fight them?!
Mary tells him she’s done it all her life. Mary and Dean start talking at the same time when John silences them.
J: Shut up! All of you! Not another word or, so help me, I will turn this car around!
I tried not to grin—it was a serious moment—but man, that was classic. Dean looked properly chastised, speaking to Sam in a stage whisper, “Talk about an awkward family road trip…”
They arrive at a run-down house that has been in Mary’s family for years—her parent’s house? I’m not sure. She’s giving them the 411 on the demon-killing stuff they have, but Sam and Dean came prepared. They show her their bag of Anti-Angel stuff while John looks on, slightly shell-shocked.
Sam takes Mary to another room to lay out the special oil and John steps up to Dean, wanting to know about the sigil.
J: Ya’ll may treat me like an idiot, but I’m not useless. How big does this need to be?
Dean, wanting to protect this man as long as possible, tells him to go help Sam. The sigil has to be done in human blood. John picks up the knife and cuts his palm, looking steadfastly at Dean, repeating, “How big.”
Dean has to look away, his jaw muscle bouncing. I can’t even imagine the myriad of thoughts jumbling in his head at that moment. John’s like, “What?”
Dean looks back and his eyes are shadowed. “All of a sudden, you really reminded me of my dad.”
The next two scenes kinda broke me. These guys—characters and actors—have me all wrapped up. And even though I’m not a “Sam Girl,” this character’s plight is so utterly tragic. I spent a lot of this episode rubbing my heart; both boys made it ache considerably. This conversation with his father is one that I hope will ground Sam in the future. Define his choices. Mark changes he will be asked to make in his life.
John wants to know how long Sam has known about this hunting stuff.
S: Forever. My dad raised me with it.
J: (incensed) What kind of irresponsible bastard lets a child anywhere near…you could have been killed!
S: I came kinda close.
J: What a number that must’ve done to your head. Your father was supposed to protect you.
Sam sits as he continues, his face looking almost aged as he speaks. As if suddenly all the crap he’d been through sank in and draw lines on his face that his stalwart drive to win and overcome had kept at bay until this moment.
S: He was trying! He died trying. Believe me, I used to hate the guy. But now I get it. He was doing the best he could. Trying to keep it together in this impossible situation.
Tears gather in his eyes and a lump makes itself home in my throat.
S: See, my mom, she was awesome. She was the love of his life. And she got killed and I think he would’ve gone crazy if he didn’t do something. My dad died before I got to tell him that I understand why he did what he did and I forgive him for what it did to us. And I love him.
Sam swallows hard and John just watches him, his face tight, listening.
Elsewhere, Anna calls Uriel—which, threw me at first. I had to remember that angels were subject to the laws of time just like anyone else. Uriel shows up in the vessel of a young, black man (maybe the younger version of the man we saw???) and they chat about how she’s his superior and she wants him to kill some humans. He, of course, is always ready to do some smiting. *snarl*
And we have the second scene that broke me. Dean and Mary.
Mary reminds Dean that he would explain everything when they had a minute. They had a minute. So why does an angel want her dead? Dean tries to smart-ass his way out of it. Then he tries for the “just trust me” approach. Mary is a tough cookie, though. And Dean is acutely aware of who he’s talking to. So, he goes for the truth. His face pulling tight, a tragic please believe me expression in his eyes, he says, “I’m your son.”
She blinks in disbelief as he continues. He tries to look serious, but has that stuttering, can’t get enough breath motion of his chest as he moves forward.
D: We’re from 2010. An angel zapped us back here to protect you.
M: You can’t expect me to believe that.
D: Our names are Sam and Dean Winchester. We’re named after your parents.
He steps closer as Mary tears up.
D: When I would get sick, you would make me tomato rice soup because your mom always made that. And instead of a lullaby, you would sing, “Hey Jude,” because it was your favorite Beatles’ song.
Mary’s crying at this point, but this is where I was having a serious OMG moment. It wasn’t the same Beatles’ song, but in Wearing and Tearing, Mary sang a Beatles’ song to Dean instead of a lullaby. I love it when paths cross like that.
Mary’s crushed. “I raised my kids to be hunters? How could I do that to you?”
And Dean sees his chance. He goes for the throat, telling her that she didn’t because she’s dead. He tells her that a YED killed her and John became a hunter to get revenge.
D: Listen to me. A demon came into Sam’s room November 2, 1983. Remember that date. Do not go in there. You wake up that morning and you take Sam and you run.
That caught me. He said take Sam. Not take us, but Sam. It always comes down to Sam for Dean. Save Sam, protect Sam. It wasn’t even conscious; he simply spoke from his heart. Take my brother and run. Leave me behind. Don’t look back.
But Sam speaks up from the doorway, saying that it’s not going to be good enough: the demon would still find her, find them. She has to leave John. Dean’s face literally lights up at that.
D: So we’re never born?
Mary says no.
D: There’s a big difference between dying and never being born. And we’re okay with that. Trust me.
*heart breaks* He looks so hopeful. As if he finally found the answer. Mary’s crying, shaking her head, denying this possibility. Sam presses harder, telling her that she’s never going to have that normal life she wanted. She’s going to die and her children will be cursed. Dean tells her that she has to leave John; it’s bigger than just them.
M: I can’t. It’s too late. I’m pregnant.
That sound you heard? Was my heart thudding against my ribs as the realization of what his mother was saying washes over Dean’s face, scattering the light of hope that had dawned there just seconds before. She was pregnant. With him. She couldn’t leave now: even if she never had Sam, Dean—Michael’s vessel—would still be born and hell would still break loose.
Which it did moments after Mary’s reveal. John bursts in, says the sigils he painted were gone. The oil on the floor is gone. Uhhh… how the hell?? Seriously, how did they do that? No other angel has been able to do that… Uriel shows up on one side, Anna on the other.
D: Here goes nothing…
The boys stride into the fray, swinging, while John and Mary tuck themselves back into a corner and watch in horror. Uriel is beating the hell out of Dean—quite literally—and Anna is fighting Sam. Sam drops the Angel Killing Knife and John goes for it. Anna flings him out a window and under a windmill, looking much worse for the wear. Sam goes for the knife and Anna stabs him.
I literally gasped, my hand clapped over my mouth. I knew he wouldn’t stay dead, but guhh… and to make it worse, Dean rasps out, “SAMMY!” as Uriel is choking him across the room. Outside, a light illuminates John’s body. Inside, Sam slides down a wall, bleeding from the mouth, then slumps to the floor, dead. Dean screams in a broken voice, “SAM!”
Ugh. How can one sound be so toe-curling and so heart-breaking at the same time?
Anna steps in front of a terrified Mary and says quietly, “I am really sorry.”
And then suddenly, Mary’s eyes shift over Anna’s shoulder and…John is standing there. Only when Anna turns, it’s not John’s name she speaks.
Gaelic: Ho. Lee. She. It.
Michael/John looks incredibly serene, calm. He touches Anna and she incinerates. Literally turns to flame then ash then nothing. Uriel steps away from Dean, looking slightly scared and says he didn’t know. Michael/John snaps his fingers and Uriel is gone. Mary is pissed.
M: What did you do to John?
M/J: John is fine.
M: What are you?
M/J puts his fingers to his lips, then very gently touches her forehead and she’s out. Dean lurches away from the counter, a hand across his belly, his face devastated. He points a shaking hand toward his brother. “Fix Sam.”
M/J is all, first we talk, then I fix your darling Sammy. Ah, so Michael is as arrogant as the rest of them—with the possible exception of Cas. And as a total aside? John has had to share his body with angels and demons. That’s a body with a lot of mileage, y’know?
This conversation answers quite a few questions, and I swear I heard pockets of fandom bursting right and left as speculations that had been shared with me years ago had a glimpse of light here and there. The only questions that was left in the wake of Michael’s words, for me, was: How are they going to win?
We find out that John said ‘yes’ to Michael simply because Michael promised to save Mary. Makes sense to me; John would sacrifice anything to save Mary. At times, I believe he’d even sacrifice his sons, he loved her that much. We also find out that while Dean is Michael’s “true” vessel, he’s not the only one. It’s bloodline, apparently, that stretches back to Cain and Abel.
Guess that answers a bit why it’s always “had to be” them. Brother v brother. Michael and Lucifer, Cain and Abel. But here’s the thing—Cain was the elder, Abel the younger. Cain killed Abel. And Abel was supposed to have been “the good son.” So with this it seems they’re implying that Sam will kill Dean, and not the reverse as we’ve been almost conditioned to believe.
Dean summed it up in pure Dean fashion: Six degrees of Heaven Bacon.
Michael tells Dean that he simply wants Dean to know what they have to do. Dean says yet again that he’ll never say yes. Michael goes on to reveal that he doesn’t want do to this any more than Dean would want to kill Sam. He raised Lucifer, see. Cared for him. Still loves him. But he will kill him because it’s right and he has to.
D: Oh, because God said so?
Michael/John: From the beginning, He knew this is how it was going to end.
(Destiny can’t be changed… You have to follow this path if you want to be saved…)
D: So you’re just going to do what God says?
M/J: Yes. Because I am a good son.
Dean looks so worn out in this moment. Almost as if he would willingly collapse into a bag of bones if his brother wasn’t dead on the floor across the room and an angel weren’t wearing his father.
D: Take it from someone who knows: that is a dead-end street.
He flinches a bit, as if from pain, or perhaps from the consequences of brutal honesty. Either way, it gives his barely-hanging-on stance a bit of a gut check, and Michael subtly pounces on that.
M/J: You think you know better than my father? One unimportant little man? What makes you think you can choose?
I couldn’t help myself. I had to holler (quietly) back at the TV. Because GOD made us that way. Whatever these arrogant angels think, GOD made humans to have free will. And I cannot believe—I refuse to believe—that there is only one way. There may be only one destination. Well, two if you consider the opposite ends of the spectrum. But there are multiple ways to get there and we get to choose which path we’ll take. It’s not fated. It’s not destined. It’s CHOICE.
Dean echoed me, his whole body trembling slightly as he spat out the words. “’Cause I gotta believe that I get to choose what I do with my unimportant little life.”
And I gotta say—if his life is so unimportant then why is he the True Vessel? Huh? This amazing Archangel who can burn lesser angels to dust with a touch needs this little man in order to defeat his brother, Lucifer. To do what he believes God is commanding him to do. If he could do it without Dean, I’m fairly certain he already would have. So his whole “you’re wrong” and the “1 million random acts of chance” speech turned sour for me.
Even though, as he listened, Dean looked as if the weight of the world was pressing down on him. When Michael mocked that free will was an illusion, Dean winced and I found myself calling out, “Don’t believe him, Dean! He’s not God. He doesn’t know everything. He only knows his interpretations, just like us. He’s no better than you.”
Yes, I realize that this fictional character on TV couldn’t hear me, but if my husband can call out orders to a basketball coach during a Jayhawk’s game, I think I’m entitled to offer encouragement to my hero. *wink*
Here’s where it gets interesting, though. Ever since they showed us what happened to the other vessels, I’ve declared that there would be no way either boy would ever say yes because we’d end up with a Blob O’Winchester when it was all done. But…Michael tells Dean that he won’t leave him a drooling mess when he “wears” him.
Oh reeeaaallly? So there’s our escape clause, huh? Michael’s promise? Now, I know Lucifer didn’t make that same promise, but we don’t HAVE to have Sam v Dean. Maybe to save his brother, Dean does say yes. Maybe to defeat Lucifer—in his burning-out vessel—Dean does say yes. Not that I’m pro-Michael, but I can now see how they might be able to pull that off and not kill or destroy my guy. Maybe that’s how they win.
Michael goes on to say that he’s going to do John and Mary a favor: scrub their minds. Well, that solves that whole how are they going to explain this problem. But Dean is not a fan. Lips trembling, eyes large, he says, “You can’t do that. She’s gonna walk right into that nursery.”
Oh, Dean. Guh—you are breaking my heart.
Michael calmly, almost carelessly, says that Dean always knew that would happen. Dean face in that moment is basically shattered. I was glad Michael had turned away to send Sam home because I didn’t want him to have the satisfaction of seeing how deeply he’d cut his True Vessel. He turns back, tells Dean he’ll see him soon, and BAM. Back to the future.
I didn’t have a lot of time to get worried about Cas being back in the dope-smoking manager’s motel room. Dean is unwrapping a bottle of Jack, Sam is wiping off two glasses, and suddenly Cas is standing in their midst. They catch him as he wavers and he’s able to say he’s “quite surprised” he made it back before he passes out again. The boys lay him on a bed, then pour a couple of drinks.
D: To Team Free Will. One ex-blood junkie. One drop-out with $6 to his name. And Mr. Comatose over there.
Sam, ever they dour one, points out that they all say the brothers will eventually say yes. What if they’re right? Dean still steadfastly stands on his declaration of no, but Sam points out that Michael got John to say yes. Dean says it’s different because Anna was about to kill Mom.
S: And you could save Mom?
Dean swallows hard, not answering. It’s more than that, though. John said yes because his whole world was Mary. An angel shows up—just after he’s learned that impossible is possible—and says he can save her? Sure he says yes. Dean, however, has the weight of the knowledge of the fact that if he says yes, chances are, Sam doesn’t walk out alive. That the whole world depends on his answer. That his salvation depends on his answer. It’s a much different question for Dean than it was for John.
We swing from the boys to a very pregnant Mary standing just in front of a very happy John as they look at the crib for their soon-to-be-born baby boy. Mary is gleeful about a $.25 purchase at a garage sale: a ceramic angel. She doesn’t know why she loves it, she just does. And since it makes her happy, John’s happy.
Baby Boy gives his mama a swift kick and she rubs her belly, saying he’s already a trouble maker. Then softly promises that everything will be okay because “angels are watching over you.”
So Michael didn’t just scrub their memories, he left a little seed behind. One that calmed Mary and that she used to soothe her baby boy for the first 4 years of his life. One that, I’m sure, the angel hoped would soften Dean to the acceptance of the inevitable question. One that, I’m also sure, the angel thought would send Dean down the path of his unavoidable destiny.
The thing that none of the angels counted on is that Dean is a troublemaker. And a fighter. And willful. And if Kripke has any light in his mercenary little heart, he’s going to show us how Free Will is a human gift, and not one any of the angels could understand. And that Free Will coupled with the Search For God will be the solution.
I can only imagine the speculation and pondering that can and will stem from this amazing episode—and I DID see the previews for next week! Yeeowza!
I look forward to your thoughts, those that would like to leave them.
imdb.com | gallery
Official Episode Stills:
Episode Screen Caps:
Dean’s dream scene:
“She’s My Cherry Pie” – Poison
Anna back in time scene:
“The Creeper” – Molly Hatchet
Dean: (After Anna shows up in his stripper dream) Anna! I was just.. uh .. workin’ on a case.
Anna: …This is what you dream about..?
Dean: This is awkward.
Castiel: The answer is still no, because Sam is my friend.
Dean: So, what? You’re like a DeLorean without enough plutonium?
Castiel: I do not understand that reference.
Dean: Really? Anna?
Castiel: It’s true.
Dean: So she’s gone all Glenn Close, huh? That’s awesome.
Castiel: Who’s Glenn Close?
Dean: No one. Just this psycho bitch who likes to boil rabbits.
Sam: So, the… the plan to kill me–would it actually stop Satan?
Dean: No, Sam, come on.
Sam: Cass, what do you think? Does Anna have a point?
Castiel: No. She’s a… “Glenn Close.”
Dean: What exactly are we gonna march up there and tell ’em?
Sam: Uh, the truth.
Dean: What, that their sons are back from the future to save them from an angel gone Terminator? Come on, those movies haven’t even come out yet.
Anna: I need you to kill some humans.
Uriel: Always happy to do some smiting.
Dean: He’s tough for a little nerdy dude with wings.
Michael: And you think you know better than my father? The one unimportant little man. What makes you think you get to choose?
Dean: Because I got to believe that I can choose what I do with my… unimportant little life.
Michael: You’re wrong. You know how I know? Think of a million random acts of chance that let John and Mary be born, to meet, to fall in love, to have the two of you. Think of the million random choices that you make–and yet how each and everyone of them brings you closer to your destiny. Do you know why that is? Because it’s not random. It’s not chance. It’s a plan that is playing itself out perfectly. Free will’s an illusion, Dean. That’s why you’re going to say yes.
Dean: Well… this is it.
Sam: This is what?
Dean: Team Free Will. One ex-blood junkie, one dropout with six bucks to his name, and Mr. Comatose over there. It’s awesome.
Sam: It’s not funny.
Dean: I’m not laughing.
The episode title “The Song Remains the Same” is a song by Led Zeppelin.
In 1978, Dean checks the injured Castiel into the honeymoon suite at The Prairie Court Motel.
John and Mary live at 485 Robintree.
Mary’s favorite Beatles song was “Hey Jude,” and she would sing that to Dean as a lullaby.
This episode was going to be called “Back To The Future II“, but The CW changed it one week before it airs.
Dean: So she’s gone all Glenn Close, huh? That’s awesome.
Referencing the 1987 movie Fatal Attraction with Glenn Close as a woman who has a brief affair with married businessman Dan Gallagher (Michael Douglas) and then becomes obsessed with him when he breaks it off and starts terrorizing him and his family.
Dean: So, what? You’re like a DeLorean without enough plutonium.
Referencing the Back to the Future movies (1985) starring Michael J. Fox as Marty McFly, a teenager who travels through time using his mentor Doc Brown’s (Christopher Lloyd) time-traveling device, mounted in a DeLorean. The DeLorean is powered by plutonium initially, thus Dean’s reference.
Dean: What do I look like-Dr. Angel, Medicine Woman?
Referencing the 1993-1998 CBS series starring Jane Seymour as Dr. Michaela Quinn, a frontier doctor in the 1860s and 70s serving the town of Colorado Springs.
Dean: Six degrees of Heaven Bacon.
Referencing the trivia game based on the concept of “six degrees of separation” where players try to link any actor to Kevin Bacon in six movie/TV steps or less. For instance, Misha Collins would be two steps away from Kevin Bacon, since Collins starred in Girl, Interrupted (1999) with Whoopi Goldberg, who was in Destination Anywhere (1997) with Kevin Bacon. Anyone who appeared with Collins in an episode of Supernatural would thus be three steps away from Kevin Bacon. Many routes can be traced: the person who can trace an actor to Kevin Bacon in the least steps is the “winner.”
Dean: what are we going to tell them?
Sam: The truth?
Dean: What? That their sons are back from the future to save them from an angel that’s gone Terminator? Come on those movies haven’t even been made yet.
In the movie Terminator, the eponymous cyborg travels back in time to kill Sarah Connor in order that her son John Connor will never be born.
Mary: It’s okay it’s all okay. Angels are watching over you.
In the final scene, Mary has bought a ceramic angel to put by Dean’s crib. In 2.13 Houses of the Holy, Dean tells Sam that Mary “used to tell me when she tucked me in that angels were watching over us. In fact, that was the last thing she ever said to me.”
INSIDE THE LEGEND