Ah, Supernatural, let’s talk about heart wrenching things, like the Season One-ness of Dean and Sam’s relationship, while watching people literally get their hearts ripped out! Oh Multi-Leveled Show, you slay me...
“Heartache” was written by Brad Buckner and Eugenie Ross-Leming--a pair we have seen scripts from before. Often times they deal with Dean getting some! Actually, that may be the only decent part of “Route 666”. Sadly, Dean did not get any in this episode, but there were strippers involved? A psychotic heart eating stripper to be exact...Most recently, Buckner and Ross-Leming wrote “Slice Girls...and notice the tell-tale reference to Professor Morrison that was made! With the one sided convo Sam had with Professor Morrison, I could practically hear Harry Groener on the other end! I hope we do get to see him again. I really loved him on Buffy!
The episode was directed by, wait--who directed the ep? Some newbie? Awe, I’m just messing with you. Jensen directed the episode! This is the third episode he’s directed. It’s really fun seeing what each director brings to the table that puts there own little mark on the episode. Jensen really seems to be coming into his own as a director. Jensen did this cool thing where Sam and Dean were reading from the letters, going back and forth--I really enjoyed that. Jensen really seems to be falling into this director role quite well! Finding the cool camera angles--like the camera in the closet looking out at him...
I also really enjoyed Jensen’s dad’s part in the episode. I did like the way they played off each other. His mom was in a scene in the background, too!
I was also excited to see Johnny Smith’s house from The Dead Zone! That, by the way, was the second Dead Zone reference this week (from just the two shows I review)! Kripke’s other show, Revolution, was directed this past week by Jon Cassar--who directed one of my favorite episodes of The Dead Zone--”Dinner With Dana."
Their search for Kevin may currently fruitless, but each of the Brothers Winchester “fruit up” in their own ways-- Sam at a farmer’s market and Dean by going through online papers. While Sam checks out organic produce, Dean finds out about a very bizarre death in Minneapolis, Minnesota...where a runner actually had his heart ripped right out of his chest. This isn’t the first time this has happened, either. There was another incident about six months prior. Sam wants to keep the focus on Kevin, but Dean wants to find out what is going on in Minnesota while they are leadless on where Kevin could be. While investigating the deaths in Minnesota, they find out about similar deaths in Iowa. There is also no possibly way the person they think was the killer in Minnesota could have done the Iowa murders or vice versa..Turns out that the people Sam and Dean are fairly certain have something to do with the incidents have something in common--organ transplants from the same donor...
And on to the analysis...
I know a lot of people who love mythology episodes above all. For me, I’ve always loved the “monster of the week” episodes. They always delve more into character development in those monsters of the week. Through the monsters we see some element of the main characters that need to be worked out or discussed...
Discussed, like the choice of “monster”, for one. I think to make things easier maybe, they chose to use the name they did for the Mayan Maize God. Because I like to look stuff like that up, I did a Google search and came up empty handed for Cacao being the Corn God. From my research, it looks like the Maize God is actually Yum Kaax or Yumil Kaxob. Especially after seeing the first name, I can kind of understand why they wouldn’t use that. Like Dean could take a name seriously that sounds like Mayan porn...Yes, the Mayans most definitely did practice ritual sacrifice. It was actually considered an honor to be a sacrifice...and they did sacrifice by cardiectomy...My guess is that it was important that they used a “corn” god and sacrifice in honor of it to highlight the “produce” element stressed with Sam and the farmer’s market (and he goes and takes a nice big bite from a big shiny red apple...kind of heart like imagery). The sacrifice in the form of battle, warrior behavior, stressed with Dean. The god needed both--the sacrifice to enjoy the harvest...Maybe we need both with the Winchesters, too.
Throughout this episode, we kept seeing that Sam wants out. He realizes his responsibility to Kevin, but other than that, he has romanticized what it would be like to have a normal life. We see this “perfect moment” with Amelia and the cake. He has decided that this is the life he wants. Interesting how much it mirrors a dream Dean had once in “Dream A Little Dream of Me”, of the romanticized life he dreamed of with Lisa. I don’t know if the writers remembered that and the similarity was intentional, but maybe we can just see a little here that maybe our boys aren’t so outwardly different as Sam at times wants to believe.
Dean’s time in Purgatory has given him a new found love and respect for the life he chose so many years ago. Remember back when we first met Gordon in “Bloodlust” Dean tells him about how he knew when he was 16 that this was what he wanted to do with his life? With everything that has happened--selling his soul to bring Sam back, going to Hell, coming back and seeing his brother become a “blood junkie”, watching his brother jump into the pit himself, parking the Impala and trying an ordinary life all made him seriously question things. For the last two seasons, Dean hasn’t really had his heart into it--drinking too much, feeling lost in a sense. But Purgatory changed him and now he sees the importance of the work he has been doing.
I’m not going to lie...I’m less than ecstatic about the Sam storyline. Nothing about Amelia screams out to me that she’s worth Sam hanging up his hat and ditching the family business. I’m sure there has to be more here than we’ve been shown so far. O.K., I understand to an extent why he wouldn’t look for Dean. I understand how he would be surprised about Dean being in Purgatory for the year--a little anyway. Sam is so astute sometimes and so not others....but what bothers me most is that I just can’t wrap my arms around this romanticized version of a “normal life” Sam seems to have. I just agree with Dean. Normal life is boring. How can Sam say that he “wants his life to mean something” like the Winchester Family Business doesn’t mean something? I mean it would be one thing if he said he wanted to have a family, that what they did was important, but there wasn’t anyone to carry it on after they were gone...but he doesn’t. We still don’t know what he was actually doing for money during this year he was with Amelia and the dog (did I hear the name right? Is the dog’s name Riot?). I’m really wondering what is up with Sam...He’s been very nebulous about what he’s found...to the point of being cagey about it...there HAS to be something there, doesn’t there?
I think that one of the things we really see in this episode is this idea of needing other people. We don’t actually meet the man who made the deal with Cacao for eternal life and youth. But we do know that even though he had lived for centuries alone, after finding that perfect, complimentary person, he didn’t want to do it alone again. He couldn’t envision himself being able to do it alone again. Because of this, seeing the end in sight with his Betsy aging, he decided to end his life...
Sam packed it in and didn’t expect Dean to come back (although if that information about him going to Rufus’s cabin every once in a while is accurate, it would seem a part of him DID think that Dean may come back...discuss amongst yourselves). But Dean is back now and has brought Sam back into hunting. When Sam got back into hunting the first time with Dean it was because of revenge for Jess. This time, it is out of guilt for abandoning Kevin. Like last time, Sam swears that once the reason he came back is over, he’s gone. Like last time, we know what Dean wants. He wants the band to stay back together. He wants to continue hunting, driving down crazy street with his brother saving people, hunting things. Since I have complete faith in Sam making the right decision and seeing the importance of the work (and the continued existence of the show), I wonder what will snap Sam out of this reverie and put him back on track.
The Betsy storyline for me was such a sad one for both her and her monster husband. This is one of those themes that comes up time and time again in all our vampire romance anst books and movies. That idea that even if you could stay young forever, how can you cope with the people you love growing old before your eyes? Betsy just kept aging and now she is known as Brick’s mother. He clearly still loved her despite her faded beauty.
Maybe to an extent, this is what happened with Sam. With everyone he loved gone, he had to learn how to deal with being all alone. How do you begin again? Where do you begin again? Maybe what Sam found is that there is life after everyone is gone. Maybe he found that there were other reasons to live...See me trying to rationalize Sam’s actions?
Meanwhile, I’m attempting to remain spoiler free and just take in the story as it comes. This may prove to be a real challenge considering I will be going to ChiCon next weekend. I’ll be writing up reports from my lovely seat in Gen Ad. If you’re in Chi next weekend, stop by and say hi!
Thanks for reading! Please let me know what you thought of the episode and what theories you have about what is up with Sam!
Screencaps from http://homeofthenutty.com/supernatural/screencaps
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