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Ardeospina and I made a deal.  She’s going to finish all her visual reviews for season six before the season seven premiere, and I’m going to finish all my delinquent episode recaps before then.  So, that means that yes, I get to pour through every single second of episodes like “Mannequin 3: The Reckoning.”  I’m a glutton for punishment.  The episode wasn’t “Bugs” or “Hammer of The Gods,” but it still bugged the crap out of me and earns my title of season’s worst.  Now you get to find out why!  Let’s go. 
Hmm, where did I leave off weeks ago when I got too busy to go beyond “Unforgiven.”  Right... NOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!  OMG SAMMY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  YOU BROKE THE WALL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Ahem.  Actually, turns out he just scratched it.  This is after all only episode 14.  He can’t be a drooling mess just yet.  It’s enough to scare the crap out of Dean though (and me).  I will give MAJOR kudos to the show here.  I remember complaining back in “Like A Virgin” that they opened with that stupid dragon opening instead of going with Dean and Castiel fighting over an unconscious Sam.  That would have been the way better opening.  So, rather go for the really lame MOTW premise here, they cut straight to the drooling mess on the floor. 

Okay, he’s not drooling.  That would have been gross.  The CW must protect the beauty square!  Sam is out cold though.  Lights out.  The moose has left the building.  That’s enough to get Dean all frantic and worked up.  He’s hovering over his unconscious brother, shaking him, grabbing onto his jacket because that usually helps, saying his name over and over again.  Nope, not working.  Dean checks for a pulse.  That’s when we get the beauty shot of Sam’s hair flopped all over the floor.  Yes, allow me my moments of shallowness.  Dean gets really upset.  Does this mean his pulse check didn’t produce one?  

Now he’s shaking Sam.  That will get the pulse going!  Dean looks like he’s going to cry now.  Oh man, that’s getting me upset!  Suddenly Sam’s hazel eye opens, and the burning flames from the end of “Unforgiven” fade away.  Sam opens his eyes and takes a deep breath.  Wow, maybe he wasn’t breathing.  It’s a forgone conclusion he’s disoriented.  Dean asks if he’s with him and Sam hazily nods, not very convincing.  That’s good enough and Dean yanks him up.  Time to get out of there.  

I love how this scene was done, but man, that’s a short resolution to what was brilliantly built up and then played out in “Unforgiven.”  I didn’t think he should be this okay, especially since he ends up staying fine until the finale.  Shouldn’t there be some lasting consequences to him kicking that wall?  Something more than Dean tells him to forget it and he does?  
Now I really cry, for it’s now time for the lame MOTW opening.  It’s in Paterson, New Jersey to boot!  Its the Great Falls Junior College.  Are there really great falls in Paterson, or are they talking about people crashing out of bed or something?  Sorry, but Conan the other day was talking about how 450 people in this country die every year from falling out of bed.  You see how bored I am by this opener already?  BTW, one Google check and indeed Paterson has 77 foot falls off the Passaic River.  You learn something new every day.,_New_Jersey
Um, so what happens?  Oh, there’s a creepy anatomical dummy, a janitor, blood, fog breath, creepy doll brought to life, blood spatter, dead janitor, and the dummy again.  I’m quaking in my boots, yada yada.   

More brotherly drama!  This time, Sam is leaning against the Impala, clutching the bridge of his nose, obviously in some pain.  Okay, a lot.  I mean really, think about it.  Think of all the agonizing things Sam has been through.  He has more than a high threshold.  He can’t be human!  Oh wait, part demon blood, I guess he kind of isn’t.  Of course being giant size could also help.  Interesting to ponder, don’t you think?  Never mind, moving on.  

Dean is at a snack trailer fetching their morning provisions.  He comes over and asks Sam how he feels.  “Like I’ve been hit with a planet.”  Yeah, he’s holding back.  Dean, who’s in a strange good mood, proclaims he is a doctor.  He’s got joe, grub, and his special bottle of magic pills.  It’s also interesting how it wasn’t until this season, and very faintly, that they’ve twice hinted Dean could be using pills.  Not necessarily abusing them, but something that might assist for those times when he needs a...we’ll say a boost.  I don’t know, I’m probably over speculating, but that seems like a sudden revelation to me.  

“What are they?”  Sam asks.  “Effective,” Dean answers.  Sam still has his common sense and decides the coffee will do fine.  Sam reluctantly asks the question, “So how long was I out again?”  Enough to freak out your brother, that’s how long.  Dean tells him a couple of minutes and wants to know how long it felt.  “About a week, give or take.”  Hmm, in other words, Hell time!  That about fits.  So behind that wall is an actual private Hell.  Sorry, but that scares me.  
Dean certainly understands what Hell time is all about and asks if Sam wants to talk about it.  Sam plays dumb with the word “it.”  Oh, allow me to paraphrase.  “THAT FUCKING MISSING WEEK IN YOUR MIND WHERE YOU WERE BURNING IN HELL!”  Dean is more subtle.  “Yeah, whatever that was.  It was like you were freaking electrocuted.”  Sam remains uneasy and really doesn’t want to talk about it, but dances for the right words anyway.  “Look, I mean, it wasn’t fun, but I’m fine.”  In other words, you don’t want to tell your brother, the one person in this whole universe that could actually relate to the experience of trauma in Hell.  Is this to avoid an “I told you so” or is it still too traumatic?  I’m sure it’s both, but it’s also he’s likely trying to spare Dean’s worry.   
Dean knows exactly what’s happening, because he’s not stupid.  “It was Hell, wasn’t it?  You got a big fat face full of Hell.  Ever cross your mind that you could have died?”  Sam tries to brush it off.  “I’m serious, and none of this ‘It’s just a flesh wound crap.’”  A Monty Python and The Holy Grail reference!  I will never tire of those.  One of the best lines of the movie.  That and “What is your favorite color?”  Right, back to Dean being upset at Sam.  “Because we did it your way.  We let you go explore and every bad thing that I said would happen happened.  So guess what?  Past stays past.  You’re not kicking that wall again.”  



# percysowner 2011-08-18 01:49
I can't disagree with how bad this episode is, but for me NOTHING will top the Lucky murdered three people and is programmed to turn anyone who takes him in into more skinwalkers, but we're letting him go because he's a really cute dog and he looks so sad about the fact that his former owner didn't like him watching her get naked and then snuggling in bed while he was in dog shape.

This was boring, All Dogs Go to Heaven squicks me in so many ways and worst of all Soulless!Sam is the one who wants to do the right thing and put down the murderous Lucky and Dean is willing to let the supernatural monster go.

I'm not saying you're wrong to hate this so much. It's just a different strokes for different folks situation.
# elle2 2011-08-18 08:34
You are brave (or cruel) to recap this truly was the worst of the season...and that says a lot!

This is one of many reasons this episode sucks:

"This conversation bugs me on so many levels. Are we to assume that after all they’ve been through, Sam and Dean can’t handle a mature, healthy exchange of words designed to help one another? Come to an understanding that doesn’t involve Dean dictating rules and Sam agreeing even though he doesn’t think it’s right? That usually results in Sam doing what he wants behind Dean’s back."

That and the awful MOTW, add to that the first of two suggestions that Dean is a recreational drug user of the season (yeah, it's a sudden revelation and not a good one, hope they never go there again.) It's bad enough to have him the alcoholic that he is without dealing with his issues in a healthy way but it's character assasination in the making to have him be a drug user too. Hope we sweep it under the rug and never see this brought up again.

Would love to see the brothers dealing with their hell experiences and thus supporting each's rich territory to mine, the kind that SPN used to do so's hoping for better in Season 7.

Knowing how this pained you to write up the article but you did it because you 'vowed' you would...I say thank you.

As the norm, your added comments make it all the worthwhile to read, although rewatching it is another thing entirely.
# Sylvie 2011-08-18 10:08
Oh Alice, thank you for sacrificing yourself to watch this episode again, and having to really pay attention to it for the recap. But I agree with Percysowner that "All Dogs Go to Heaven" was the worst episode of season six, except for it giving us "sniper Dean", now that was worth the price of admission. Oh, I'll just say, let's agree to disagree.

Now that's out of the way, there were so many missing pieces in this episode, it was criminal. These two writers haven't wowed me this season. If they are back in season 7 I hope they step up to the plate. And you're right, they did not get Sam & Dean at all. Sam gets his soul back, what, three episodes ago and you're splitting them up? WTF!!!!

Let's hope you have more fun with the next episode to recap. But I do enjoy how you can rip a boring episode apart, it's a thing of beauty. On to season 7 I say.
# Julie 2011-08-18 10:57
Thank you for doing this Alice! I must admit I do enjoy reading you when you rip into one you don`t like! It`s a guilty pleasure :-*
Every year is the same, there are always a couple of rotten eggs , the ones we don`t endlessly re visit and this, and ADGTH, were this year`s candidates for `runts of the litter`. All this from someone who still loved Season 6 and never once wavered, but really, in parts these were bad. That`s not to say that both episodes did not have their moments, I loved that dog and well – Sniper Dean! I just think it did the Lisa and Ben story such a disservice to be lumped in with this awful plot.
It was as if the writers had no idea about the characters of Sam and Dean at all, everything just seemed `off` and artificial.
How about we just draw a veil over it and move onto the next one, I for one cannot wait to read your recap of that :lol:
# Jasminka 2011-08-18 11:53
GOOD DEAL, ladies!
This was again a fun read... it's not one of my fave episodes, either, but it gives us some nice scenes (and shallow moments... yes, I'm with you there... can't be a sensible woman all the darn time. What was I given eyes for? :lol: )

Thanks, Alice, heroic editor-in-chief ! More of this, please...
Love, Jas
# Ginger 2011-08-18 14:11
What a martyr, Alice. I just can't watch this a second time. Actually, though, I'm undecided about whether this was the worst of the mediocre season, or if it was Lucky, or Unforgiven. I'm leaning forwards a tie between this and Unforgiven, because I thought the Lucky episode had some wonderful camera shots and the boys looked hot in that episode.

Let's see, you covered everything I disliked about this episode: the Lisa most beloved character montage, the dialogue that ensured Lisa/Ben were the loves of Dean's life, the boys splitting up, the kidney seeking shard of glass, Dean being completely dumbed down, the bad characterizatio n of both brothers, the further character assassination of Dean into an boozer, a drug addict, and incompetent hunter....yeah, this episode sucked. But then, I thought all of S6 was bad.

I don't necessarily think that J2 phoned in their performances; I just think they couldn't do any better with the concept and terrible script.
# Sylvie 2011-08-18 14:53
I agree with you there Ginger, I don't think our two leading men phoned in their performance. As the consummate professionals that they are and will always remain, they did what they were told to do with a very mediocre script. Hats off to both of them. I guess we all have crappy days at work, that must count for actors also.
# nancyL 2011-08-18 19:34
Come on guys and girls, it wasn't that bad.
There were worse episodes this season, *cough* 'Clap Your Hands If You Believe' *cough*

We still got Sam and Dean enjoying a beer together. We believe Sam this time, when he says that he has Dean's back.
We heard Dean call the Impala 'baby'. That has to be worth some love. :D
# MisterGlass 2011-08-18 22:07
You managed to make a good review from a bad episode Alice, hats off. The amount of snark in here was well deserved. I never thought I would say I would prefer "Bugs" to anything, but this is it.

You mentioned something that I also found interesting about this season: the idea that Dean is relying on something a little stronger than alcohol. Sam's later reference to "whatever else you're taking" is ominous. I can understand the logic. Every hunter we've seen to date is a drinker; our main characters are increasingly reliant on alcohol. Dean has been through so much, both torture while he was in hell and torturing himself over Sam being in hell. Now that they've introduced the idea, I'd like to see it addressed.

I felt bad for Ben in this awkward mess. I know Dean's personal experience tells him that you can't be a hunter and a father at the same time. All the same, I wondered on some level if at the end of Season 6, Lisa would die and Dean would have had to take care of Ben. I could see him transplanted to South Dakota, making Bobby's life more interesting. Dean and Sam would both hate the idea, but up until Castiel's memory wipe, Ben already knew too much to be a civilian, but not enough to hunt without getting himself killed. Dean would have had to train him or see him dead through recklessness. It would have been more of Chuck's tragic narrative symmetry.
# BagginsDVM 2011-08-18 23:29
Not my favorite episode either, but your recaps are always great!

I still worry about Dean's potential drug abuse...I just really don't like the idea. The alcohol is bad enough, but I don't want my hero turned into a drug addict too. I can understand the temptation, but that doesn't mean I have to approve. That is something that could be addressed & worked through with Sam & Bobby's help this season. I definitely want to see the brothers deal with both of their experiences in Hell & the ensuing ramifications.

This episode left me somewhat depressed, with the whole Dean-uses-drugs suggestion, plus the acknowledgment that Team Winchester was most certainly not having a winning season in the save-the-innoce nts category, and Dean's belief that it was futile to try to maintain a family with Lisa & Ben. His talk with Ben showed how good a father he could actually be, which just broke my heart that he couldn't have that opportunity.

I did like Sam trying to cheer Dean up & thanking him for not giving up on him. I think I saw the hint of a smile in Dean's reaction to Sam professing that he had his brother's back; it was so different from that look he gave to Soulless Sam's empty words after the vampire incident.
# Ginger 2011-08-19 09:00
I actually hope that of all the Dean plots that have been dropped throughout the series, that the alcohol and drug use is one that the writers will just let go. I'm really kind of bored with wandering through the brothers' heads and all of their personal issues, which have never changed. I would much prefer that the writers just get on with telling a story.

But, like you, the brothers never winning anything has put the series in depressing territory. I am hoping that S7 doesn't have them just running away from the big bad and wrestling with their personal problems endlessly. I want them standing tall and ganking for a they were in S3 when they both were depicted as playing for keeps; not just playing like in S6.
Tim the Enchanter
# Tim the Enchanter 2011-08-19 15:47
Am I the only one who didn’t think this episode was the visual equivalent of eating brussels sprouts? (Looks around tentatively and whispers) ‘I kinda liked it.’

Ok, in fairness, it wasn’t the best but it wasn’t the worst. Let’s face it; the whole MOTW element of this episode was secondary. Even I could have solved it. Strangely though, a lot of things people had issue with in this episode, I liked.

For example, I like that Sam and Dean can hunt separately. It shows they aren’t completely co-dependent, that they are perfectly competent on their own. I like that this episode shows that the boys hunt together because they choose to hunt together, not because they have to hunt together.

Secondly, dolls are scary. They have dead eyes. Sharks also have dead eyes and they’re scary ergo dolls = scary. Add to that, the science mannequin thing at the start totally creeped me out. The hook through it’s back was a complete throwback to the image of Dean in hell plus the fact that the model was sans skin was a a nice (!) reminder of a soul skinned alive.

(Actually what I find disturbing about that scene is that there are security cameras in the classroom. You guys are allowed security cameras in classrooms?? We’re not. I’d kill for a security camera in the classroom. Though I obviously wouldn’t kill IN the classroom due to the presence of the security camera that I had killed for but I really want one.)

Next up, the appearance of the, possibly not prescription, pills is a logical and telling step. How on earth did Dean cope with Sam being in hell? The first time Sam died Dean sold his soul. We saw how Sam coped (by going el loopo and being very, very tidy) but we’re meant to believe that Dean coped with Sam in hell by making scrambled eggs?? Not a hope! Dean had to take everything he was and shove it deep, deep down in order to show a (pretty) game face. No wonder the guy is ‘letting it out in spurts of violence and alcoholism’.

Take a look at the first two episodes where Dean was with the Braedons. There are precious few scenes where Dean doesn’t have some sort of drink in his hand. Dean has reached breaking point, the pills are a definite indicator of that, but he couldn’t break. He has everything he should want; girlfriend, kid, job, friends, a house etc. I seriously doubt he told anyone about Sam and the Cage, even Lisa. He wasn’t speaking to Bobby at this stage so how was Dean meant to deal? I think this (escalating dependence) will be addressed in season 7 in some way, shape or form.

In relation to the not having 'the talk', Dean is on tricky ground here. Talking about hell would have led to.... talking about hell which is one thing that Dean doesn’t want to do. He hasn’t a clue how to proceed with this so he reverts back to big brother Dean ‘Trust me on this one’. You can’t change the habit of a lifetime. The time for talking about hell will come later, when Sam isn’t fresh from a face-full of it. It’s why I like that Dean is overly jovial around Sam in this episode. He’s bricking himself but he can’t let Sam know that so he's overcompensatin g. Hence the reiteration of ‘Be My Valentine’, it might serve as a reminder to Sam of things before hell.

The Dean/Lisa scene in the kitchen made me a little sad (and not in the ‘How pathetic’ sad way but more the ‘awwwww...’ sad way). I know Dean & Lisa is never going to work, mainly because it’s a TV show and we don’t like our guys to have girls but the finality of that scene gets me. Dean knows it’s over, Lisa knows it’s over but they both desperately want it to not be over.

Lisa did seem to get it, she was much more pragmatic than Dean in many regards. She knew the story and wanted to work with it but Dean cut himself out of that. Again, this added to the drink/drugs added to Sam’s soul and you have yourself a little Mr Deanuvius (I tried to put Dean and Vesuvius together but it didn’t work. Then I was thinking of Mount Dean but ah.... no. What about Mount Detna??)

It’s interesting that Dean, in telling Lisa to ask him for something, still sees his worth in terms of what he can do for others as opposed to who he is. He doesn’t seem to get that Lisa wants Dean for Dean which is another tragic element of the story. It took Ben, a freaking twelve year old to knock a bit of sense into Dean. I like that it was his words, not Sam’s or Bobby’s that made Dean change his ethos on what constitutes family.

So, in short (for me) I like this episode, a lot! Thanks Alice.
# Bevie 2011-08-19 16:19
Hey, I LOVE brussel sprouts!!!! LOL

Dripping with butter!!! :P

Agree with you about the episode though.
# MisterGlass 2011-08-19 20:04
You do make a good case for the silver lining of this episode. Much as I disliked the monster plot, there were moments that impressed me. Even in lesser Supernatural episodes, there tends to be something to appreciate.

Mount Dean-atoa?
# carolej126 2011-08-21 13:48
great recap of this not-so-great ep! I doubt I'll ever watch it again without thinking about some of your comments. Thanks goodness that, even in the worst of the seasons, there are a few bright lights (sometimes just an expression, just a hairstyle, just a comment) to make me smile.