Okay, not bad?
Don’t get me wrong, “Drag Me Away (From You)” was a solid episode. Well constructed, well paced, a little bit of current day drama woven into a good Weechester flashback, and it closes with a rather powerful argument between the brothers that frames just how much Dean has lost his perspective. Writer Meghan Fitzmartin has a lot to be proud about for this first solo effort. Then why am I not all psyched and singing it’s praises, waiting with bated breath for the next episode? Because, just like last week’s episode, the timing just doesn’t seem right.
Before I get started, congrats to one of our former editors, Ardeospina. Back between season 5 and season 6, one of the creatures on her wish list to appear in “Supernatural” was a Baba Yaga. Yeah, it took about 10 years, but one wish has come true! I hope it lived up to expectations!
The Baba Yaga was pretty creepy. The whole creating hallucinations in her victims was really effective and those cannery scenes where freaky. She reminded me a lot of the Shrtiga from season 1, outside of the hallucinations twist. And...that’s all I got.
I’m sorry, but we’re down here to the wire and I just can’t focus on a good old fashioned monster story, despite the fact that the tone and scene flow were ideal for this kind of episode. Normally I would have loved that. I can’t muster a regular review knowing that there are four episodes left and there’s zero anticipation and excitement over what happens next. I know that the current production team accepted long ago that they couldn’t top the apocalypse, but staging apocalypse 2.0 (or is it 3.0?) should still offer…I don’t know…more.
I’m just going to focus my review on that final scene between Sam and Dean in the car. That was not your normal brotherly tiff. That was Sam realizing that his brother is reverting back to his old ways. He’s keeping secrets. He’s deciding by himself what’s best for the world. He’s going it alone. Sam was furious and I really felt it because I was furious too. What the hell, Dean? How is any of this acceptable? Actually, it fits a pattern and the flashback did a good job showing that even in his first hunts, Dean was prone to this behavior of hiding the truth.
When I look at Dean right now, I can’t help but think of what Castiel said to him at the end of “Swan Song”:
“You got what you asked for, Dean. No paradise. No hell. Just more of the same. I mean it, Dean. What would you rather have? Peace or freedom?”
Talk about a hamster wheel. Dean keeps running like crazy, caught in that freedom cycle in hopes of finding peace, not considering all the collateral damage along the way to reach what is essentially something that doesn’t exist. The freedom he seeks is a myth. Freedom and happiness is an internal concept and an individual one. He can’t have that until he learns to be content with himself. In the meantime, it all skews his view of the greater good.
Amara tried to show Dean his life wouldn’t have changed with Mary around. She thought it would free him. Instead, it just proved that Dean’s idea of “freedom” is wrong. He will never truly be free until he lets go of all that hurt inside. Instead, what is hurting him has to be killed, and he’s willing to let innocents like Amara and Jack suffer horrible fates to make that happen. He’s not seeing the true monster within. As long as Dean keeps hunting and fighting and ignoring that pain inside, he will never get any of those things he supposedly is fighting for. He will always be a slave to his internal rage.
(Think this scene reflected his internal conflict much?)
Dean suffered a great sacrifice in season five for his efforts, Sam. But the fate of the world was on the line in season five and sacrifices were necessary. Lots of people would have died with a Michael/Lucifer showdown. But is what he pursuing now really life or death? Dean is perfectly happy sitting back and watching it all play out with Jack’s death? Dean is trying to recruit others for a noble cause that he decides? What happened to the give ‘em Hell Dean that was always determined to find another way? What happened to going out swinging? What happened to family doesn’t end in blood? This time it seems more like score settling than saving the world.
Dean has been known to make impulsive decisions in the past (see Mark of Cain), but his choice to work with Billie and let Jack make his sacrifice, all while keeping Sam in the dark, signifies that this was anything but an impulsive decision. It’s all been thought through. He knows that Sam will stubbornly try to find another way and ruin his chance to settle a score. He remembers when Sam got Rowena to do the spell to remove the Mark of Cain. He knows Sam will likely succeed in saving Jack. So, that means Chuck lives.
On the other side is Sam, who still to this day hopes for a better life. The college book again reminds us that desire has never died inside, no matter what current day Sam says. He hunts because his brother needs him and they save people in the process, but he wants more like a relationship with Eileen. He loves being a father to Jack. This matches a vision of a happy life that even Dean shared for Sam in season eight’s “Trial and Error.” Dean wanted him to have a family, have a life, and carry on the legacy of the Men of Letters. Sam, thanks to his vivid encounter with Chuck in “The Trap,” accepts that they might have to live with the reality of Chuck being around.
Sam knew something was amiss with Billie and her plan in “Galaxy Brain.” He brought up how the Ma'lak box was her idea and it went nowhere, so why is this new plan good? Dean is blindly following Billie’s plan, not questioning that maybe she is trying to settle a score as well. Just like with season five’s “The Point of No Return,” Dean is stubbornly stuck in the choice he made to fix things and is shutting out Sam and Castiel in the process. Sure, there’s a good chance he’ll eventually come around after Sam, Castiel, and Jack show him the light, but it’s kind of aggravating right now that he is willing to sacrifice one of their own for a vendetta. In the meantime, Sam and Castiel will desperately work to find another way without Dean in their corner.
Why did Billie want Sam to know about Jack? Does he have some important role in all this that is part of her endgame, or does she see a scenario where he spoils everything because Dean didn’t tell him? Or, maybe Billie has grown to care about Jack and thinks Sam might be the one to save him? Or, was it Billie at all? Was it really Chuck trying to push more brotherly drama? No, I have learned with this writing team to accept things at face value, so scratch that last thought.
The ultimate question is, why does Dean want Chuck dead? Is it because he thinks Chuck manipulated his whole life, killing his parents just for entertainment? Does he think he was pushed into this dark life that has slowly consumed him and wants payback? Is killing Chuck truly going to save people? Do they know for sure he’s ready to destroy this world? Chuck destroying worlds seems ominously like the most recent DC Universe Crossover, “Crisis of Infinite Earths,” where all the multiple earths were consolidated into one. I still don’t believe Chuck wants to destroy the only world left, or if he even can. Who knows, maybe it will be destroyed and recreated new just like in “Crisis.” Oh right, the reset button! (Still choosing not to over-speculate on that one).
That ending conversation, as powerful as it was, ran too short. Why hasn’t Sam questioned that killing Chuck might be a bad idea, especially after seeing the future? Why hasn’t Sam reminded Dean of why they hunt, to save people? Why hasn’t Sam mentioned that they don’t turn their back on one of their own? I think he will be the one who will ultimately save Dean, although maybe not in a way we had hoped.
So, whose right? Dean or Sam? Is Billie friend or foe? What are Chuck’s motives? I guess we’ll find out soon but I find Dean’s behavior very unsettling. This is not the hero we know and love. I hope he ends up on the right side of history.
Love the return of the motel room decor! That is all. Glad they had at least one go of it before the series ends.
(So, what do you prefer, orange or lime sherbet?)
Overall grade, I’ll say a B for the MOTW story. Epic D- though for a countdown episode toward the end of the series.
A special thanks again to the screencapping genius from Raloria. You rock!
Read more of Alice's insights on Supernatural! Reviews on every episode of the series are on Alice's Writer's Page and in WFB's Episode Guides!