We've been long overdue for some laughs in the Supernatural world, and while this episode had some great humour, it also had a good deal of heart.
The episode opened with Dean chatting to a waitress in Vegas (who is paying for her education with this job, apparently) who aptly pointed out that Dean looked like someone had kicked his puppy when he'd entered the room. Dean's concern for Sam or "his friend's brother" voiced something the fans have been saying for a while now: Sam's sanity is just too easy. Dean was worried, waiting for the other shoe to drop but instead Sam just seems to be getting better. He doesn't believe it, and neither do I. Furthermore, and the server keenly noted Dean's concern was that his brother no longer needed him as Sam texted Dean and told him to "wear fed suit" and meet him four blocks over.
First - how excellent was the title card this week? Black and white cake exploding and the "Supernatural" appearing on screen as the bride and groom cake topper plummeted. I like when TPTB change up the title card for a "special" episode.
Jared sold this marriage/love thing so very well in the chapel when he was talking to Dean. And the expressions Jensen pulled from his bag of tricks had me in stitches. The reveal of Becky was not a great surprise to me and when I'd learned through spoilers that this was who Sam would be marrying I was skeptical. Having now seen the episode, I think it was well executed without crossing the line of simply eye-rollingly ridiculous. I know many people have an issue with the Becky character - she is annoying, no doubt. Here though, as I've seen some comments identify, she was more fleshed out into her own character (sorry past, traumatic high school experience, lonely, etc) as opposed to simply a voice of the fandom. This was refreshing in someways.
Dean immediately cottoned onto the fact that Becky turning up during their annual Vegas trip seemed suspicious and, putting all that aside, insisted on knowing whether Becky was actually Becky - she was. As Dean tried to wrap his head around what was happening, off went Becky and Sam to celebrate being newlyweds at Becky's place.
Seeing "Yucky Becky" RSVP for the reunion was quite sad to me. As she later explains to Sam, she was a "loser in school, loser in life" and I found that the way this was done in the episode actually made Becky sympathetic to an extent, putting aside the date-rape potion she was using on Sam.
Mr. Wiccan a.k.a. Guy - it wasn't that surprising to see the potion hand off and I admit that I legitimately believed Guy was a witch. What I could not figure out was who this hoodie dude was running around offing people and why. I wondered if we had two rival witches, perhaps? One good and one bad. It just didn't make sense to me. Also - death by baseball - thank you Supernatural, for turning an already scaring thing (hard ball flying at head) into an actual instrument of death. Awesome.
It's during their "romantic dinner" that we see the effects of the love potion on Sam beginning to fade and he can't figure out where he is or what is going on. Becky hastily shoves spiked champagne down his throat and he tells her how much better he is now that Sam is with Becky. Aw, young, chemically induced love and devotion. The solid foundation of any good relationship.
When Sam later pointed out to Becky that there are never two separate bad guys operating in town at the same time, I thought he'd turn out to be wrong in this instance. Alas, when I look back retrospectively this was Sam pointing out the misdirection employed in the episode.
The Waffle Iron
Dean turns up at Becky's place with a waffle iron to "be supportive" of Sam's life decision and finds the lovebirds already in the process of hunting. (Side note: was that John's journal Dean was reading before he finds the case? Yay!) It is during this exchange when Sam softly delivers a knife to Dean's heart - "you took care of me and that's great. But I don't need you anymore." Poor Dean, I think this is his worst fear coming true before his very eyes. This is a running theme in the episode - what does Dean do when Sammy doesn't need his big brother anymore?
By the way - I love the set design for Becky's place. It looked a lot like a recycled motel from Changing Channels (possibly other episodes too, but that flowered wallpaper and neon colours- for sure Changing Channels).
On that note, this episode also reminded me of Wishful Thinking, what with people's dreams coming true in such bizarre ways. Is Becky's relationship with Sam any different than Wes and Hope? Both kind of sudden, improbable and ludicrous. If that mystical coin hadn't been melted down (and was it the only coin?) would Sam and Dean have considered this possibility?
So, off goes Dean and we see Becky writing her and Sam's name repeatedly in her notebook with hearts and swirls in brightly coloured ink. Sam then presents her with "his and hers" fake IDs. Aw, how sweet. One of the greatest moments in this episode was hands down when Sam got all teary-eyed reading Becky's notebook. Watching Jared clutch that little book to his chest and shift closer to Becky on the edge of the bed was just fantastic. Somebody write a comedy starring Jared Padalecki, please!
The CEO's Wife
I would have truly loved to see Bobby's reaction to Dean's message about Sam's wife. Instead of coming to help himself, Bobby turns Dean onto another hunter - possibly the worst hunter ever, which makes you wonder how he's lived this long. DJ Qualls was not too bad in this episode. He isn't my favourite actor in the world, which is no reflection on his talent per se (or the fact that he's said some unkind things about my country) just not my cup of tea. That said, I did enjoy his character in this episode. He was so terrible at the hunter thing, it was shocking. I liked when Sam queries who the "scrawny guy" is and Dean responds with "temp" - just until you come down off the lover's high, Sammy. Then the job is yours again!
As Dean and Garth interrogate the very lucky new CEO, Garth's lack of finesse and discretion is appalling to Dean - "I meant more like black magic or hoodoo?" Though pro-interrogator Becky really went at the CEO it is Dean and Garth who discover that the CEO didn't actually want to be CEO - that was his wife's dream. Despite said wife believing Dean was threatening her -"I'm pointing out a pattern. Why does everyone think I'm threatening them?" - he still made an impressive showing and scooped her out of harm's way from the chandelier after which she spilled all the nasty details about selling her soul in exchange for her husband's promotion.
I wasn't completely sold on the crossroad demon thing at this point, given that (as Garth pointed out) the timeline was completely wackadoo. Nevertheless, Dean quickly realizes they need to get back to Sam before he or Becky is the next victim of deals gone wrong.
The Social Lubricant
Lucky for Becky, Dean's gift came in quite handy when the love tonic wore off a second time and she couldn't get any more immediately. Both of the conversations between Sam and Becky as Sam was tied to the bed are more favourites from this episode.
Becky reveals how the potion was given to her and that Guy promised it wouldn't work unless Sam loved her "deep, deep" down already. And then she shoved a gag in his mouth and ran out the door for more love potion. But this time, it wasn't free.
The Crossroads Demon
It's been a long time since we've seen a crossroad's deal (I don't count Crowley). Guy mock's Becky for thinking they were friends - "you're so pathetic it loops back around to cute" - and then reveals the telltale red eyes. Guy talks about how easy marks are at a reunion and offers Becky 25 years with Sam in exchange for her soul and her silence. I liked Guy as a crossroads demon, he had the charisma we've seen of the red-eyes in times gone by.
While Dean and Garth work out where Sam is, Becky returns, miserable, and talks to Sam who's still strapped to the bed. I truly felt for Becky in this scene, because she seems just so lonely. She connected with Sam's "character arc" about being a freak and wants someone to love her, for her.
The Devil's Trap
Another classic we haven't seen in quite some time - a devil's trap. I have to wonder how the boys and Becky managed to draw it on the ground at the party without someone, if not Guy himself, spotting them. But this is a minor thing.
We get another allusion that we haven't seen in a while - reference to Dean's history as a torture. Guy asks for Dean's autograph and Dean promises to carve it into Guy's spleen as he pulls out Ruby's knife. Guy's not looking so happy now. When it became clear that Guy was exploiting a so-called loophole in the deals, I wondered if they'd call Crowley and notify him. Going back on deal's didn't seem like the king of Hell's style.
Actually, the whistleblower bites the dust at Becky's hand before Crowley turns up to make an example of Guy ("this isn't wall street, this is Hell! We have integrity). Finally, we get a pay-off the Crowley and Dick's limo meeting a few weeks ago. Crowley, it turns out, has been holding off the demons from harassing the Winchesters so that they can continue to go after the Leviathan. He promises to keep clear and even revokes all the contracts so that the Winchesters can eliminate the threat of Leviathan for him. Ah, I do love Mark Sheppard.
Becky, having lost Sam, is understandably crushed. But he kindly assures her that she has "a lot of energy" and the right guy will come along. Garth then begins preening until Dean shuts him down.
It seems that Dean has his own Becky in Garth, who hugs Dean fiercely before heading off. Then we're left with the awkward Sam and Dean conversation. Dean is going to get a lot of mileage out this marriage to Becky. Sam confesses that he is still, more or less, crazy, but he's just adapted his normal barometer to accommodate the crazy. It's good to have the acknowledgement that Sam isn't okay again, directly from the horse's mouth - he hasn't been forgot by the writers, it just isn't the opportune (or in the case of the Winchesters, most inopportune) moment for that to hit the fan.
The episode ended on a melancholic note. Dean admitted he knows Sam doesn't need him all the time. Though he said this, I think Dean was looking for reassurance from Sam along the lines of "I'll always need my big brother" but this didn't come. Instead, thinking he's doing his brother a favour, Sam tells Dean he can take care of himself for a change. Dean nods along genially but his expression is far from relief. Dean has always defined himself in relation to those around him he can care for (even in the time Sam spent in the cage, Dean was caring for Ben and Lisa) primarily Sam. Who is he without this caregiver title? What does he have?
This was a warm episode that left me feeling pretty good about the progress of the season. I'm not one of those reviewers wearing rose-coloured glasses and thinks everything is wonderful all the time on Supernatural, but I've genuinely enjoyed the majority of season seven so far, including this episode. I feel like there is more heart this season over season six, more of what viewers connected with back in the early days of Supernatural. What is great about season seven is that we have really seen the roots of the show come through in various ways, from the old nemesis' resurfacing to the use of classic weapons to the brother's personal issues. The conversation between Sam and Dean at the end of this episode, though it touched on things we've dealt with many times in the Supernatural world, was handled by both with maturity and I really see character growth this season. The old issues may be present, but both boys are approaching them differently than they would have in the past (for the most part).
So - good episode? What did you think?