{Note from Alice.  Both Pragmatic Dreamer and Bookdal have found some sheer inspiration is the strange time references/lapses in "Adventures In Babysitting" and beyond.  I'm publishing both these articles around the same time so both these amazing theories can be pondered and discussed.  Suddenly, all may not be what it seems.  Enjoy this take from Pragmatic Dreamer!}

It's About Time that Dean Slept for 36 Hours


 
"Time keeps on slippin', slippin', slippin' 
Into the future."
(Fly Like An Eagle by The Steve Miller Band)
 
The lyrics of "Fly Like an Eagle", a classic by The Steve Miller Band, popped into my mind after this week's episode "Adventures in Babysitting."
 
That's because season 7 of Supernatural has me watching the time, a lot.  In my opinion, the writers and producers are emphasizing time in a way they haven't in the past.  (Or at least I don't think they have.)  It's got me seeing and hearing time references everywhere, and wondering if we're supposed to be using them as hints to solving this seasons' puzzle.
 
For me, the time discrepancies begin in "Meet The New Boss".  Sam falls and cuts his hand on glass contaminated by the mixture Castiel brewed up to free the souls from Purgatory.  It was a nasty, deep gash.  But many things happened before Dean & Bobby dressed the wound again in "Hello Cruel World".
 
For instance:
  • Dean repaired the Impala
  • God!Cas went on his smiting spree
  • Crowley was summoned, disappeared and eventually produced a spell to bind Death
  • Death was bound, broke free and lectured them all on the dangers of some of the monsters of Purgatory, including Leviathan
  • Death arranged an eclipse for the next day, at a precise time
  • Castiel returned most of the souls to Purgatory but became Levi!Cas in the process and died (or did he?)
  • Finally, after a 12-hour nap, Dean wakes Sam up with the command to "hydrate and proteinate" and then he looks at Sam's hand, which is still a mess of blood, goo, and pus.
 
Call me crazy (my family does), and I am not a nurse or a doctor, but that's a lot of ground to cover before one hand laceration heals.  We know Dean works magic with the Impala, but I'm thinking all those repairs and repainting had to take at least a week or more.  He might have been working 18-hour days, but there were dents to be pounded out, bumpers to be buffed, and paint and primer to be applied.
 
I know, from personal experience, that infected cuts take longer to heal.  But generally, after about a day, the wound begins to close, especially if it has been stitched, as Sam's was.  It might ooze a little blood, but the healing process has started. Yet when Dean grinds his thumb into Sam's palm in "HCW" the blood oozing out seems fresh. Of course, is it blood?  It appears very dark on my TV.  That may just be my TV.  Or is it a clue?

 

Time pops up again in the skip ahead of 3-weeks at the beginning of "The Girl Next Door".  Intriguingly, although Sam's cut took forever to heal, Dean's compound fracture of his leg healed in a month.  A compound fracture means the bone popped through the skin.  Not pretty and generally they take a long time to recover from.   As way of comparison, my husband broke his wrist and spent 12-weeks in a cast. He didn't have a compound fracture. 
 
"TGND" also featured flashbacks, Sam's solo trip for a few days, and the citing of a case the boys worked with their Dad in 1998. The passage of time is being noted.
 
Next up we have "Defending Your Life".  There are lots of little nods to time: one victim had been in jail for 30 years; another had been in AA for 10 years.  It could be standard victim background.  But here's an interesting bit of dialogue from the end of Dean's trial by Osiris.
 
DEAN:  Enough Ally McBealing. Just drop the hammer, will ya?
SAM:  Wait, Dean, he's giving us more time! 
DEAN: It's not gonna make a difference, Sam! 
OSIRIS: You need another moment? You done?.. . (Bangs his staff three times on the ground.) The court's reached a verdict. I find you, Dean Winchester, guilty in your heart... and sentence you to die. I'd suggest you get your affairs in order quickly. 

On first watching, it seems like Dean just wants to make sure Osiris doesn't ask him about his decision to kill Amy.  But, maybe there is some other significance to the idea of getting more time.



Time, or at least history, rears its head in "Slash Fiction".  The Levi!Winchesters retrace, in order, Sam and Dean's previous travels, and commit a crime in all the cities where we've seen the brothers.  Is it a coincidence the episode was written like that, or is it a clue?
 
In "The Mentalists" Dean doesn't see, or hear from Sam for a week and a half.  In "Season 7 "“ Time for a Wedding", they've voluntarily separated for 4 days.  It may be an illustration of their maturity, and developing relationship that they can be apart more frequently.  On the other hand, it may be something else. 
 
In "How To Win Friends and Influence Monsters" the boys again talk about hunting with their Dad, and childhood visits to Bobby's.  In "Death's Door" we're treated to a smorgasbord of the Winchesters' and Bobby Singer's greatest hits.  The episode is full of memories, and reminiscing, both painful and joyous.  In both these episodes, time doesn't slip into the future.  It slides into the past.
 
However, the issue, idea or concept of time really takes centre stage in "Adventures in Babysitting".  I'll just list the things that jumped out at me.
 
We have:

- The one week/two week/three week grief montage at the beginning.  I thought it was an effective way of showing how the boys were mourning Bobby, from complete numbing grief to finally desiring to take action.  Skipping ahead has already been used as a plot device once this season in "TGND".  So this time it could be lazy writing, or it could be another signpost.
 
- Dean saying he gave the numbers to Frank 4 weeks ago, but Frank thinks it was 4 days ago
 
-  According to Frank, Dean sleeps for 36 hours straight.  Really?  Sorry, but no.  Unless he was unconscious, he would have had to pee.  Also, he would have fallen out of the chair into a prone position.  If you're so exhausted that you're going to fall asleep in a chair, then your muscles are not going to keep you upright.  Not to mention the head bobs that would wake you up.  
 
 - The missing digit in the coordinates Bobby gave the boys was "minutes".  (Coordinates are given in degrees, minutes and seconds.)  Even the idea of a father figure giving coordinates harkens back to the way John Winchester used to communicate with the boys.


 
- Dean talks about discovering that Vetala worked in pairs, while hunting on his own when Sam was at Stanford.  It's a great premise for a fanfiction (I'm sure they're being written now), but it's also another look backward.
 
- The full beer that isn't.  Sure this could be Bobby's spirit having a cold one.  But what if it's a character like Fate, who could freeze time and then move things around during that momentary Ice Age?  A deity can get thirsty!
 
I admit that I may be more sensitive to time than most people.  For that, I blame my job.  I work in live broadcasting, which means I need to be aware of time, right down to the second.  Office language consists of phrases like "backtime", "hardtime", "top of the clock", "bottom of the hour" and so on.  Managing time, playing with time, and watching the minute hands move make up a huge part of my job.
 
Now, after "Adventures in Babysitting" and including the premise for next week's episode, I'm convinced that Time is an important thread this season.  Okay, I'm 90 % sure.  Still, it's a given that time matters, that seconds count.  So what might it mean in the Supernatural context?
 
I don't have a clue.  



I know I'm not the only one who's wondered if the whole season is taking place in Sam's mind, and that's why we don't see more ramifications of the Fall of the Wall.  It could be that all of this is just a hallucination anyway.  Maybe he's still in the panic room on that striped cot.  Maybe he's in a coma after Edgar knocked him out with the crowbar.  Perhaps what we're seeing happen to Bobby and Dean are Sam's fears for them being played out in his mind.
 
On the other hand, the season could be taking place in Dean's mind.  Maybe the operation to set his leg didn't go so well, and he's in a coma.  His fear that Bobby died in the house fire manifests itself as Bobby actually dying in Dean's dreams.  His exhaustion from all that he and Sam have been through has depleted his will to survive, and that's why he's presented as so exhausted and depressed. 

 
 
It's not as if the season-as-dream is new in television writing circles.  An autistic boy imagined all of "St. Elsewhere". The years Bob Newhart spent running a Vermont inn where just the dreams of Bob Newhart, the dentist.  Booth thought he and Bones were married because he had a brain tumor.  And most famously, Bobby Ewing wasn't murdered.  He was just taking a really long shower.
 
It's also possible the boys are trapped in some strange time loop, a la "Mystery Spot".  Last year, they lived out one possible post-Apocalypse scenario.  Maybe now, they're living out another "“ not quite alternate universes, but perhaps parallel universes?  They went to one in "French Mistake".  Maybe it's a different Sam & Dean having these experiences?
 
Or perhaps, as some have suggested, this is all just a disturbance in The Force.  After all, Dean did compare the field in Wisconsin to the Death Star.
 
I admit I really don't know what all these time references mean.  Maybe they don't mean anything.  Maybe I'm as much of a conspiracy theorist as Frank Devereaux.  However, it does introduce some interesting possibilities, such as Bobby isn't really dead, or that Cas is really okay.
 
On the other hand, I confess I'm a tad concerned.  If all these experiences are taking place in a different reality, or in one brother's mind, then none of this is happening to our Sam and Dean.  For some reason that makes me sad.  However, I do draw solace from Dumbledore's comment to Harry Potter, after Harry has apparently been killed by Voldemort.
 
"Tell me one last thing", said Harry.  "Is this real? Or has this been happening inside my head?
Dumbledore beamed at him, and his voice sounded loud and strong in Harry's ears even though the bright mist was descending again, obscuring his figure.
"Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?"
 
Whatever happens, I know I'll be back to Supernatural, "Time After Time".

Comments  

rmoats8621
# rmoats8621 2012-01-09 23:35
How interesting!!! If this is Dean in a coma state, then that could explain the next episode where Dean goes back to the 40's. He seems to be a fan of past genre's in American history. Or even Sam for that matter.....
NOLANOLA
# NOLANOLA 2012-01-09 23:45
OK I HAVE TO COMMENT ON THIS FIRST AND THEN READ THE OTHER. TIME HAS BEEEN MESSED UP SINCE LAST YEAR. IT IS NO 2012 IT IS 2013!! REMEMBER A WHOLE YEAR WENT BY WHILE DEAN WAS TRYING TO PLAY HOUSE.

ALSO IF ALL OF THIS IS JUST A DREAM I WILL FEEL VERY INSULTED !! like i was at the end of the Wizard of Oz. I WAS A CHILD BACK THEN & SHOULD NEVER BE DISAPPOINTED EVER AGAIN IN LIFE.
rmoats8621
# rmoats8621 2012-01-09 23:53
Just a thought as to the whole year that was lost, both time lines (the shows and ours) could be now in sync and there is no longer a discrepancy.
NOLANOLA
# NOLANOLA 2012-01-10 01:45
:oops: HOW? I GUESS IF IT IS ALL MAKE BELIEVE ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE IS THAT UR ANSWER. CAUSE HELP ME OUT.
rmoats8621
# rmoats8621 2012-01-10 21:54
I guess you're going under the assumption that each season on the show represents a calendar year and what I was saying is that maybe that's not the case. While the show fast forwarded to 2011 last year by skipping forward, just maybe since then time hasn't moved as quickly. Meaning that all the episodes from Season 6 and so far Season 7 occur within 2011. None of the episodes except the first one of Season 6 are time stamped (at least not that I recall). So, what I was saying is maybe now we are caught up from the gap and are in sync with the show's timeline or at least within a couple of months.
Kelly
# Kelly 2012-01-09 23:54
I notice the sutures time and the facture recovery time too, but I thought they were taking artistic license-but maybe not. Because time was definitely an issue on this episode.
I would also be disappointed if it was all taking place in someone's head I think, but maybe not if it was done well they've made me a believer before.
percysowner
# percysowner 2012-01-10 00:16
Interesting theory. You have convinced me that SOMETHING is going on with time, I just don't know what.

Oh and just to show my age, Bob Newhart was a psychiatrist on the Bob Newhart show, not a dentist. His friend Jerry was the dentist. I remember very funny group therapy sessions with Bob. Dental group therapy would be interesting and cause for malpractice suites.
NOLANOLA
# NOLANOLA 2012-01-10 01:47
OK WE ARE IN THE SAME AGE GROUP=D THE JETSONS WERE ON WHEN I WAS A WEE LASS!
paintgirl770
# paintgirl770 2012-01-11 10:01
HAHA! Dental Group Therapy would also be a great name for a band!
fluffy2001
# fluffy2001 2012-01-10 00:33
test
NOLANOLA
# NOLANOLA 2012-01-10 02:12
THE PICTURE THAT JIM JUST TWEETED, I DO NOT KNOW IF IT IS FROM THIS YEAR OR LAST BUT ITS THE MANSION/LAB HOUSE. YAL FIGURE IT OUT AND GET BACK TO ME.
NOLANOLA
# NOLANOLA 2012-01-10 09:03
GINGERS COMMENT ON THE OTHER ARTICLE MAKE ME SAY TO EVERYONE I THINK WE SHOULD ALL LISTEN TO THE PODCAST. SMFH
happyfeet
# happyfeet 2012-01-10 09:06
I'm starting to think thi is all happening in Dean's head hence the very Dean centricness to the season, how it seems to be his fears that are front and centre-Bobby dying, fear of Sam going nuts, Cas, not wanting to be a hunter etc-Madison was supposed to be a young femail version of Dean, Dean had encountered the MOTW before while Sam was in Stanford, Amy being Ruby 3.0. Its all starting to make sense to me.

The only question I have is if this season has been all about Dean in Dean's head then what happened to Sam? Is it possible Dean found himself in a coma after his accident in the season 6 finale and never woke up and Sam languishes either in his own coma back in Bobby's panic room or maybe even died?

Given how much Dean focus the season has had I'm going to go with it all being in Dean's head.
Sylvie
# Sylvie 2012-01-10 12:21
I love a good conspiracy theory, and you and Bookdal sure do present some powerful points. Remains to be seen.

Love that picture of Jensen Ackles in that snazy suit BTW.
Brennan
# Brennan 2012-01-10 23:12
Its CW make-up!!
Junkerin
# Junkerin 2012-01-11 05:19
Interesting theorie. I belive only time will tell......