We’ve had several great and introspective reviews this week on this site, digging into the deep layers that this great script offered. Trust me when I say, layers have been noticeably absent this season in most scripts so I’m clinging onto this gift like glue. But me digging into those layers would pretty much end up repeating what’s already been said in the last few days. In the vein of the episode, I’m going to focus more on the superficial stuff. Call this my “post-it note” review. You know, random thoughts focusing on the small little touches that made this episode extraordinary. Why? Because dammit, I’ve been dying for some sort of fun this season and this is the best chance I’ve gotten so far. Most episodes have just left me cold instead of the giant smile that was on my face Thursday night.
It’s an intriguing aspect, isn’t it, forgetting who you are. It’s a tragic circumstance for most but when you are a Winchester, it’s not the worst thing. At least not for Dean. Forgetting all the horrible things that has happened in his life and the tremendous burden he (along with Sam) carries day to day, that can be an upside. But ultimately the condition would result in death, as well as a total loss of identity, so it’s obvious something had to be done. At least he got in a good episode of Scooby Doo before that happened. It doesn’t suck to be you at all Dean.
I appreciated the choice to explore a humorous angle on Dean’s situation. Very little of it was laugh out loud, but it was cute and often endearing. I love seeing that Dean at his core isn’t the killer he’s often been called. He’s really an innocent little boy that thinks the fact the monsters exist is cool, not scary. He finds that having an angel for a best friend is awesome. I think so too! It reminded me that Dean is a complex, good person, who tragically lost his innocence at a young age. It added some depth to a character than I have often complained of being characterized and wooden and one dimensional in that last few seasons.
We got to see layers in Sam too, but in a very different way. He was facing a scary situation that he’s never dealt with before and it delivered quite an emotional blow to him. Sam became that beleaguered family member that is forced to deal with the heartbreak that so many families stricken by Alzheimer’s disease face. It rattled him hard and watching him was far more tough than watching Dean. First there was his panic when Dean wandered off. Being a mother, I related to his fright of the moment. Then there was his talk to Dean in the bathroom, desperately trying to get his brother to remember, which is a story that many loved ones tell when a family member has those bad moments. The talk was far more for Sam than it was Dean. It was important to him that Dean remember. His emotional reaction after the talk really got to me, especially when he said these words to Rowena, someone who he clearly doesn’t trust or like all that much. She just happened to be there to listen at a time when he needed to talk.
You know, I've seen my brother die. But watching him become... not him. This might actually be worse.
Yep, big lump in my throat. Then of course there was Dean’s heart crushing look in the mirror, watching his reality slip away. Yes, it was uncomfortable watching Dean in that state, but it was supposed to be. Losing yourself is tragic. Jensen blew me away on this scene. He can still deliver a crushing blow.
Okay, this line made me laugh out loud.
Rowena: From the neck down, is he smooth like a Ken doll?
Sam: I don't know, and I'm not checking either.
At first I wondered why Sam was so careless and half cocked going after the witches alone, but given his emotional state it made sense. This was personal. That’s usually when Sam loses his normal sense of rationality and luckily Rowena saw that and decided to help anyway. She knows that Winchesters can be stubborn! She also knows how to use…
I loved the whole post-it note strategy. If anyone could see my office, you would notice that absolutely everything is written on a post it note. They are little yellow flags just commanding attention. Listen to them all. “Read me!” See?
Needless to say, they’re very effective, especially for those wayward family members with memory issues. In my household, those people are called teenagers. But they work for Alzheimer’s patients too, and that angle was played very well for laughs. The notes left for Dean were brilliant! Need to point out to Dean exactly where to find the witch killing bullets? All that’s needed is a few well placed post-it notes. I did LOL over the giant “NO” on the grenade launcher and Dean proudly showing off the “witch killing bullets” note before blowing away that horrible hack villain Catriona.
Dammit, he still can’t use the grenade launcher? That better happen by the end of this season.
Alright fan girls (and I’m sure a few of you fan boys too), how many of you out there have a beloved song from your childhood and constantly picture either Sam or Dean having a completely fun scene in a montage to that song? Or a badass scene? Mine, which still remains unrealized, is Sam and Dean having a monster slo motion fight for their lives a la Butch and Sundance to Jon Bon Jovi’s “Blaze of Glory”.
So yeah, among the many things that struck me during “Regarding Dean,” the part I loved the most was the closing scene. Can you imagine writer Meredith Glynn knowing an obscure song like Bobby Goldsboro’s “Broomstick Cowboy” from either her parents or grandparents and picturing a montage of Dean Winchester embracing his inner child? Or, how about the fact that footage was filmed with Jensen riding a mechanical bull and there wasn’t a great place to put it in the script? Dream montage is a reality.
Of course, I’m just guessing. I have no intel that’s the case, but that scene was too fun to pass up. Some thought it might be an homage to a film or have hidden meaning, but honestly it was just pure fun meant for the fans. I enjoyed it. It looks like Jensen had a blast too, so it’s a win for everyone.
Bon Jovi, Circa 1983
Jon Bon Jovi
Alec John Such
The biggest surprise of the episode for me was the personal look we got with Rowena. I’ve never seen her before as a sympathetic character but they pulled it off here. This is a character that has been written all over the map. She’s often portrayed as shallow, evil, power hungry, and pretty damned selfish. Most of the time though her actions really don’t match what we have learned about her, assuming we’re actually learning anything about her at all. No one has taken the appropriate amount of time to peek under her layers. I always thought that Rowena was capable of being sympathetic and I’m very happy to see that side of her. If anything, we got confirmation that she’s turning over a new leaf. She didn’t have to help Sam and Dean. Sure, she claims that having a Winchester owe her one was a nice thing to have, but I think just like her son, there’s something about these Winchesters that she likes. She told her life story to Dean. Sure, she knew that Dean would probably not remember any of it, or did she? Seems like part of her knew that maybe he would. It was a nice moment between the two, and I hope this means that she’ll get some mercy from him after all.
I haven’t seen anyone comment on this, but is was one of the greatest episodes for Sam Winchester’s hair in eons. Heck, I haven’t even done an Enigma of Sam Winchester’s Hair in a few seasons because there hasn’t been enough material for me. But in this episode, oh the bliss! Let’s take in a few of those glamorous shots of that lovely mane…
Some things never change. When Sam's stressed, so is his hair.
There was also a cavalcade of bitch faces, but I'll save those for another montage. (Links to the other hair articles can be found at the bottom of this review).
Did I mention Dean Winchester on a mechanical bull? Oh, I did. I forgot. (Ha, catch the theme there?) But come on, you didn’t find this totally awesome? Who cares if the scene was totally out in left field. This is fun!
Fine, I laughed out loud at this scene too.
Dean: I'm trying to read my lips. 'Now salsa you mittens.'
Sam: You can't read lips.
Dean: I can't read lips.
Dean: I can't read lips.
Despite all the little touches that made me happy, this episode wasn’t flawless. For one, the pacing is still rather slow for my tastes. I did appreciate that the beginning cut right to the chase in the teaser and we didn’t get a slow build, but nonetheless there were places where scenes dragged a bit. I also hated the villains of the week, especially Catriona, the short tempered blonde haired witch. Whoever she was, the acting was terrible. The Raggedy Ann stuff was cringe worthy. The whole whiny bunch were the stereotypical mustache twirling villains, one Styne short of being absolutely hideous. Okay, the confrontation between Sam and her brother wasn’t all that bad. Although, Sam had to be captured for Dean to have his little breakthrough and kill the witch instead of Sam. That was a really nice moment, especially Dean being so pleased with himself. He’s such a child.
I’m still not quite sure if this is the writing or editing, or both, but the movement from scene to scene was really choppy in places as well. It made the hour feel uneven and rough as the story unfolded. That hurt some of the emotional impact that was supposed to be there, which is nothing new this season. There have been some discussions about the editing on this site this year, and I agree something is amiss.
Not sure what I mean? Have you read this review so far? Random, cluttered, no coherent flow with the thoughts? It's a hodge podge of bits thrown together that is probably more perplexing than entertaining (although everyone has their own idea of entertainment). Some bits are thoughtful, some funny, but it's not all blending well together. This is exactly how it's felt like watching most "Supernatural" episodes this season. It's all in the editing.
I think the loss of Todd Aronauer and Nicole Baer in the post production room has become very noticeable. It’s entirely possible that is where some of the blame for the slowness and lackluster stories in season twelve falls. Or the showrunner. Or both. Whatever has been thrown off, it clearly affected this overall pleasant script.
The Red Headed…Tour Guide?
Actually, the monster has been spending too much time lately throwing ire at our current commander in chief and his hapless lackeys, not to mention Ohio’s own sell out Senator Rob Portman (we’re watching you!) so this week you get something different. The Red Headed tour guide! You see, back in August I took my husband for the first time to Vancouver. We had a week long trip where we spent a lot of time checking out locations for our Vancouver favorite shows, “Supernatural,” “The X-Files,” “Arrow,” “The Flash,” etc. A few of those locations ended up in this week’s episode! It was rather exciting to pull out a few shots from our visit and shout with glee, “Been there!”
First sighting happened very early in the episode. Dean awoke in a park. That just happens to be Central Park in Burnaby. The hubby and I stayed within walking distance from Central Park and took a nice hike through there one afternoon. It’s a very gorgeous park with many large pine trees, the kind you’d expect to see in the Pacific Northwest. It’s my understanding the forest in this park has played the part of Lian Yu in “Arrow.” We found a lake in the center part of the park and that happened to be a previous filming location for “Supernatural.” It was in season 11’s “Into the Mystic”. Lucifer in a Castiel suit was free and enjoying his walk in the park. We got shots of the lake exactly where Misha had stood. This episode, Dean was by that same lake, although on the other side of it. We didn’t get exact shots of the lake from that perspective, but we did walk there. We walked across that same bridge as the lady in the stroller. We did get a shot from the other side of that area.
Thanks to our fantastic tour guide Bardicvoice, along with former WFB writer Tigershire playing the role of chauffeur, we went across the bridge to North Vancouver, checking out the infamous Denny’s restaurant and neighboring motels, which have been used multiple times by SPN and other shows. The Denny's, playing Waldo's Waffles here, is best known as the very first “Biggersons” in “Bad Day at Black Rock.” The motel used this week was the nearby Comfort Inn. Here's my picture of the Denny's, with BDABR point of view.
When I’m watching all the Vancouver based shows now, I notice a little something here or there that I’ve seen by visiting the city. Like how “The Flash” likes filming most of its scenes near the inlet downtown. Or how "Arrow" has had numerous scenes in the shipyard in North Vancouver near the Iron Works Bridge…which just happens to house on the other side the entrance for the Men of Letters. You know, that harbor where they put the Black Canary statue and downtown Vancouver is clearly visible on the other side. My favorite was the recent “Heroes Vs. Aliens” crossover with all four of the CW superhero shows. “The Flash” hour had scenes from inside the Britannia Mine Museum near Squamish, a place where “Supernatural” and “The X-Files” have previously filmed. We toured that facility and it was fascinating. Lots of history there...and location shots!
So what’s the point? None really, other than the Red Headed Monster highly recommends a trip to Vancouver if you love this show or anything on The CW. Everywhere is a location. Chances are you’ll stumble on a couple by accident just by walking down the street. You'll probably end up seeing something from future episodes too. It's pretty fun.
Overall grade, a B+. Definitely one of the better episodes of the season, but still far from that amazing territory.
See you Thursday, 8 pm. The angel best friend is back! So is Mom.
Interested in more "Enigma of Sam Winchester's Hair" articles? They can be found below.