Ardeospina is taking the night off, so I'll handle the "Let's Speculate" this week. And boy, oh, boy, what an episode to speculate about!
Oh, I should give the warning, huh? WARNING, if you haven't seen "Trial and Error" I don't advise you go on any further. I'm sharing some very spoilery stuff, aka the plot of the entire episode.
I must say, I'm stunned. And teary. And excited. And scared. And gee, I just don't know what to say. What are you doing to my emotional well being show????
Before I get to the important stuff (aka the very emotional brotherly scenes) how happy are you over Dean having his own room? Yeah, I'm sure Sam has one too, but wasn't Dean's happiness infectious? He got a Led Zeppelin album to go with his room! A new bed! "Memory Foam. It remembers me." Plus it's clean and has no funky smell. Aww, the picture of him and Mary too. But it's not just his room. He's even learned how to make an awesome burger. So awesome that when they had to leave, Sam took his with him. Sam! Mr. Salad himself. No wonder Dean jumped at the chance to man the grill.
Meanwhile, back at the ranch (has there been an episode in Idaho before?) years ago some dude who wanted a girl to love him goes to a crossroads, and lucky him ends up with Crowley as his crossroads demon. You know the well tailored one wasn't going to stop at just one. He knew he had a goldmine with this family. They were shallow, insipid, and not very bright. In other words, Crowley's kind of people. The youngest daughter stupidly thought ten years ago if they had money they would become more like a regular family. As you can guess, it made them worse. I loved the Dad's sarcastic line about them being the Waltons.
Enough about those twits though, for the main crux of the story fell on these brothers, who once again find themselves in the middle of a very strenuous situation. Only one of the brothers can be the one to complete the three trials, and Dean has chosen himself. Up first, kill a hellhound. Dean is very anxious to do this, so anxious he's willing to go down in a blaze of glory in the process. Sam has another plan, he wants to kill a hellhound and live. When their first attempt at killing a hellhound fails, Dean has a reckless plan ready to go. Luckily Sam figured out the family wasn't done with hellhounds and at least one more is coming.
Dean remembers past history, and I squealed over the continuity used that was missing a few weeks ago. Dean's speech got my heart jumping! "God's little obstacle course. We've been down roads like this before man. With Yellow Eyes, Lucifer, Dick freaking Roman, we both know where this ends. One of us dies. Or worse."
Sam protests, but to no avail. Dean has made up his mind.
"I'm a grunt, Sam. You're not, you've always been the brains of this operation and you told me yourself that you see a way out. You see a light at the end of this ugly ass tunnel. I don't. I'll tell you what I do know, is that I'm gonna die with a gun in my hand. Cause if that's what I have waiting for me, if that's all I have waiting for me, I want you to get out. I want you to have a life. Become a Man of Letters, whatever. You with a wife and kids and grandkids living til you're fat and bald and chugging viagra, that is my perfect ending. And it's the only one I'm going to get. So I'm going to do these trials, I'm going to do them alone, end of story. You're staying here I'm going out there. If landshark comes knocking you call me. If you try to follow me, I'm going to put a bullet in your damn leg."
I'm trying to figure out what crushed me more. Sam's heartbroken reaction to Dean's speech, Dean's heartbroken reaction when Sam ended up killing the hellhound to save him (and bathing himself in that black uck to do it), or Sam's speech when Dean wouldn't accept that Sam had to take the role of doing the trials. I don't know, this speech gets you pretty hard too:
Sam: Closing the gates, it's a suicide mission for you. I want to slam Hell shut too, okay, but I want to survive it. I want to live. And so should you. You have friends up here, family. Hell, you even got your own room now. You were right, okay, I see light at the end of this tunnel and I'm sorry you don't. I am. But it's there. And if you come with me I can take you to it.
Dean: Sam, be smart.
Sam: I am smart, and so are you. You're not a grunt Dean, you're a genius. When it comes to lore, you're the best damn hunter I have ever seen. Better than me, better than Dad, I believe in you Dean. So please, please, believe in me too.
Then Dean hands Sam the piece of paper with the spell! If that speech didn't have me in tears, then Dean's horrified reaction after Sam went through intense physical pain following his reciting of the spell pretty much nailed it. No, I wasn't too reassured with his "I can do this" either. Talk about some scary ass foreshadowing! My Chuck, what's gonna happen to Sammy? What's gonna happen to Dean watching Sam go through all this?
So what do you think? Does Dean really have a death wish, or is it he thinks Sam will have a better life? Or is this just another classic example of the Winchesters sacrificing themselves for one another? Except Sam has decided that isn't going to happen this time. They're going to win and live and end up enjoying their lives. It's positively inspirational! This is the mature Winchesters.
What did you think about poor Kevin working himself to exhaustion? Aww, he got a hug from Dean for his efforts though! At least Sam tried to talk some sense into him, "This whole saving the world thing, it's a marathon, not a sprint. You've gotta take better care of yourself." Yet Dean gets him some uppers. "Sam, we are on the one yard line. It's time to play through the pain." Do you think we'll see more of Kevin worse for wear, especially when he has to figure out the next two trials?
Despite the magnificence of this episode, I do have two nitpicks. Crowley may be a sneaky demon, but I don't believe he wouldn't tell someone that the deal lasts ten years. He's usually so meticulous about details, and all the other crossroads demons have obeyed that rule. Remember his speech about integrity in "Season 7: Time For A Wedding?" I just don't buy it.
Second, they showed a calendar??? AGAIN?? Didn't they learn their lesson from the great season six time jump where suddenly it was October 2010 even though Sam and Dean had been separated a year? Now they've been separated again for another year, and we're back to February 2013? It should be 2015 by now. It didn't help that they placed the ten year timeline at 2003. Ugh, way to mess up the fandom again.
Here's a few other random thoughts:
- How many of you started fanning yourselves every time Sam and Dean were seen with those glasses on. The Clark Kent look indeed! I'm dying to get a few screenshots of those tomorrow when I get this episode on iTunes.
- Dean feeding Sam was positively adorable. "I'm nesting, eat." Hee, you know who normally nests? Pregnant women. Kind of a coincidence since Jensen is an expectant father maybe? Nah, I'm probably stretching.
- This time Sammy got called Ken Doll. I don't know, I alway thought Dean looked more like a Ken Doll.
- Line of the night, from Dean with the glasses. "Oh, so you're Crowley's bitch. I guess pets really do look like their owners."
Time for all of you to speak up! What do you think about tonight's episode?