Hey, look! Amelia’s back! No, no, not that Amelia, thank goodness. It’s Amelia Novak, and, once again she is at the mercy of an angel and her daughter, Claire, is in danger. Time to call in the most important religious step-father since Joseph—it’s up to Cas and the apostles of the Gospel according to Winchester to save the day.
1. Whenever I Want You, All I Have to Do is Dream
Cas’ hair looks like he works for the Daily Planet, and his voice sounds like he has yet to fully go through puberty, which is how we know that, somehow, he is not Cas at all. He is Jimmy Novak, and he has come home to his panicked but loving wife Amelia (who has apparently suffered the Darrin effect, because she sure looks different.) Jimmy apologizes, telling her that Castiel is gone. As they embrace her forearms begin to bleed, making her cry and plead “Not again!”
Sadly? We discover that Amelia is being held captive, and she is trapped in a hellish dream world where she finds and loses Jimmy over and over and over again and has no idea where her daughter is. Sounds like a Djinn’s work, right? Wrong. It turns out that this monster is less bloodthirsty and more all about soul. The captor slashes her arm, sucks in some of her spirit, strokes her soothingly and tells her, “You’re safe. You’re home.” And as Amelia falls back into her fugue all I can think is, “Huh. That’s new.”
2. Claire Apparent
It’s the day before Claire Novak’s eighteenth and her party game is a scavenger hunt. She is looking for her mom, using Amelia’s diary for clues. She ends up in a bar, bribing the bartender to point her toward Amelia’s last known contact—some dude named Ronnie Cartwright. Claire tries to get answers from Ronnie and ends up thrown into a dumpster for her efforts (literally.) Seems like she knows just enough to be dangerous (again, as we will see later, literally.) I know there are those in the fandom that find Claire to be a mere distraction for Cas, but I have to disagree. Claire is very well played by Kathryn Love Newton, who imbues her with just enough angst and misery to make her irritate you a little but identify with her too. I love how her story has shaped her from an innocent little girl into the attitude throwing, street savvy young woman she became. I’ve met Claires a hundred times in my life—the snarky survivalist that life has disappointed and crushed over and over who ultimately longs to be loved and wanted. Newton pulls that off beautifully. If Claire distracts Cas a little bit from the broment at hand? I’m okay with it. As long as it is interspersed with fire and brimstone, I like my Cas humanized every now and then.
3. Paging Doctor Sexy
Claire ends up at the hospital, and Cas, who is listed as her emergency contact because… d’awwwww… goes to her side. Sort of. He calls the boys, telling them he needs them because they were troubled teens and they speak her language (causing much Samusement.) Dean worries that Claire still hates him, and apparently Cas is worried too because he has yet to go inside. He was waiting. For emotional backup. Dean sighs. “Three Men and a Lady,” he says and I am imagining a remake of Three Men and a Baby that features Sam, Dean and Cas and a baby Claire, and how do you launch a Kickstarter campaign again?
Claire is not nearly as Samused at the sight of Cas or, especially, Dean. She tries to dodge their questions, telling Sam that she was in the alley because “Wrong place, wrong time. Story of my life.” (She ain’t wrong.) Finally, after Sam goes all detective, she admits what she thinks is the truth: she is going to find Amelia and give her a piece of her mind, because Jimmy is too exploded for her to yell at. In addition to the diary Amelia has been sending her postcards, and the last one was from the crappy motel (with the AWESOME room divider) that Claire is staying at herself. The boys discuss her situation in the hall, because I guess they don’t think she will do exactly what they would do, and when they come back to tell her they will take her case she is, predictably, long gone. How very Winchester of you, Claire!
4. Bang Your Head
Dean and Cas head for the bar in hopes of finding Ronnie. Cas feels horrible. Dean tries to tell him he may need to let Claire go, but Cas insists that what has happened to Claire is his fault and his responsibility. Dean then says, and I hope not prophetically, “I’m saying she might be stronger on her own.” (Come on, Dean! You just said that you and Sam are stronger together! BE CONSISTENT, MAN!) When Dean and Cas find Ronnie at the bar, Dean slams him into a booth (in the background Cas feebly flashes a badge and it’s pathetically adorable.) Ronnie insists that “that bitch attacked me” and Dean slams his head into the table shouting “Wrong choice of words, pal!” Because even when he’s all murdery, he’s still chivalrous. Dean slams Ronnie into the table again, to Cas’ dismay, but he gets the answers he needs. Ronnie worked for a “faith healer” named Peter Holloway that cured his blindness in exchange for him rounding up candidates for him, some to cure and some to cut on. Amelia was one of the latter. Knowing that Holloway was hurting people made Ronnie quit his gig. OR DID IT? When the boys leave in disgust to look for Amelia, Ronnie calls Holloway to warn him that the guys he just met? They were not feds. Unless you mean fed up. Unfortunately for Ronnie, Holloway is not grateful. He’s pissed. So much so that he takes Ronnie’s sight away again. Not to worry. Ronnie’s blindness is as short lived as he is, as Holloway runs him through with his sword.
5. Hot for Teacher
Sam is waiting when Claire shows up at the motel, offering her a “pro tip”: next time she checks in? Use an alias. (Rookie move, Novak!) Sam tells Claire they just wanna help, and that he is impressed with her detective work. He also doubts she really wants to tell Amelia off. “You always get along with your mom?” she asks. WINCE!!! “Never got the chance to find out,” Sam says. “My mom died when I was a baby.” And it must be said: Sam looks a wee bit smug at Claire’s embarrassment. She stammers an apology and Sam says, “No. It’s okay. I got to know her later in life and yeah. I suppose we got along okay.” (Recapper’s note: They got along okay? For the what—two minutes they actually interacted in Season One and observing her later in Dean’s Heaven? Am I missing something here? I wish they had more time together but that seems like a reach to me, as sweet as it was.) At the news that Sam got to know his dead mom, Claire says “What?” and the look on her face is pretty priceless. “In this line of work, death isn’t always goodbye,” Sam says. (Uh oh. Are we being prepared for something? This episode seems loaded with dialogue based foreshadowing.) Sam knows that Amelia wasn’t planning to abandon Claire. He offers to move the search along by teaching her some credit card hacking. As distractions go, this is super effective, if illegal. Sam teaches Claire the finer points of illegal financial management. “It’s that easy?” she asks. (God, I hope not.) Sam offers to set her up with fake cards, too, to make life on the road much easier. She scoffs, all judgey. “Hunting monsters doesn’t exactly pay the bills,” Sam says. They do it to help people. Make a difference. “That’s it?” Claire asks. “That’s not enough?” Sam replies.
6. They Say it’s Your Birthday
Cas and Dean show up and fill Sam in on Holloway’s weirdness. As the brothers continue to research, Cas goes to Claire and hands her a bright colored bag, wishing her a happy birthday. Awwwwwwwwwww! And what did he give her? A stuffed GRUMPY CAT! I. Am. So. Jealous! “I got it at the Hot Topical,” he says with pride, and Claire looks just like a kid looks when their dad is trying to be cool and it’s pretty funny. It is a great present because it will remind her of the expression Cas uses about 76% of the time. (Recapper’s Note: Maybe it’s too meta, but Cas should have gotten her a Pop Figure. But definitely not the SPN undies. That would be inappropriate.)
A bulletin comes that Ronnie, at the hands of an angel, is now a lot more holey (do you see what I did there?) and Claire is immediately suspicious of Dean. Dean protests that he didn’t lay a hand on him, but Cas says that’s not exactly true. And if Dean is going to investigate, he’s going too. As is Claire. Wait. What? Okay, I guess. Dean and Cas pose as Agents Clapton and Page, excusing Claire by saying “It’s bring your daughter to work day at the bureau.” There is a triad of marks on the body around Ronnie’s wound. Cas thinks it was made with an angel blade but the point of entry is wider. Cas can’t explain the marks at all. “Best birthday ever,” says Claire, deadpan.
7. I Will Pull This Impala Right Over!
Sam at the motel, has a lead on Peter Holloway. Holloway has a farmhouse about 30-40 miles away. Amelia’s cards have been used at Gas ‘n Sips and Biggerson’s all around the area (nice continuity there.) They want to hit the road to check it out, and Claire wants in. Cas says no. “I can’t let anything happen to you.” “Anything else, you mean?” she asks. Again, WINCE!!! And by the way? Dean isn’t going either, thanks to his temper at the bar. Dean is pissed, but agrees to babysit.
“No fighting,” Cas says as he leaves. “Yeah, tell her that,” Dean replies. “Both of you,” Cas grumbles, looking like he will ground them if they don’t get along. There is a fair amount of eye rolling from Claire and Dean as their honorary dad stalks out. They appear to be thinking three little words. What. Ev. Er. It’s always so interesting to me to see Cas as he tries to figure out where he belongs. He’s Claire’s father, but he’s not. He’s an angel, but he only interacts with humans. He’s Dean’s best friend but he hates the Mark of Cain. Metatron wasn’t wrong to ask the question: Who are you, Cas? And what, indeed, is your mission?
As they drive to Holloway’s, Cas asks Sam if he should leave Claire alone, as Dean suggested. “What? No man, she’s family,” says Sam. They have history. Cas muses that Claire just turned 18, the same age Sam was when he left for college. All Sam knows is that going it alone is no way to live. Sam wants him to be there for her even if she says she doesn’t want him (And an anvil drops because of course, that is the exact thing Sam is doing for Dean. Again.) “That’s good, in the end,” Cas says. “In the end,” Sam agrees.
7. A Hole in One
Later, Dean sits with a brew whilst Claire judges him. She wants one too, but alas fails to procure. Dean tries to distract her from her potentially functioning alcoholism by suggesting they get out. “We stay cooped up in this motel room all night I’m gonna lose my mind,” he says. “Spoiler alert. You already have,” she replies and is Dean getting another honorary little sister that he never even wanted? I think maybe he is!
Claire and Dean go to play all-night mini golf. Dean is uh-mazing, if not at all humble. He banks a ball like it’s a pool shot while Claire stands there, mouth agape, stunned. He taunts her with his Caddyshack impression which of course, she has never seen and is “not a fan” of. “How dare you,” Dean replies, horrified. “You done?” she asks. “Yeah, I’m done,” Dean says in disgust. “I’m done with your whole generation.” (Word up, Dean. Also? Get off of our lawns!) On her turn, Claire easily sinks a ball as well, and does a Happy Gilmore impersonation that, since it came out the year before she was born, is also a little before her time. Still, it (begrudgingly) impresses Dean. “Well played” he admits. “Thank you,” she says, catty. Dean mocks her as she walks away, mimicking her impression like the adorable little brat that he is.
Claire wonders if this is what the Winchesters do. Motels, credit cards, minigolf. “We help people,” Dean adds. “At least we try to.” Like Cas helped Claire’s dad? Dean is sorry for Claire, but tells her Jimmy’s sacrifice wasn’t meaningless. Because he gave his body to use as a vessel, Cas was able to save the world. “The world,” he repeats. “Your father’s a hero. He did not die in vain.” Claire says nothing but softens some, sinking another shot and ending the game. She drops her club in the hole to show Dean that her ball has been retrieved, and it sinks to the putter, giving Dean an idea.
8. Someone to Watch Over Me
Dean takes Claire back to do research. He thinks it might not have been an angel blade, but an angel sword (not like the Michael sword, I assume) and that the hilt caused the red marks on Ronnie’s body. “You got all that from a putter?” Claire asks, and I want Dean to yell Boo-yah! and drop the mic. Claire finds the sword in the book. It was owned by the Grigori, an elite band of watcher angels. Some of the lore says they help humans, other lore says they prey on people. When Sam and Cas don’t answer their phones, Dean gears up. Claire doesn’t get it. Why did the Grigori go rogue? “Don’t know, don’t care,” Dean says. His fight has come at last and Claire can come too. He gives her a handgun. “Happy birthday,” he says. “Don’t shoot me. Let’s go.”
Sam searches the house, both his gun and his angel blade at the ready. He steadies his gun hand with the hand holding the blade and I gotta say, it’s pretty freakin’ hot. He doesn’t see Holloway, watching his every move. Sam gets a warning call from Dean. He ignores it, but he still takes a knockout hit to his knockout face and crumples to the floor. Bet he’ll be restrained next. After all, it is Wednesday.
Annnnnnnnnnd there it is. Sam, tied to a chair. This time, by Holloway, who is actually the Grigori angel Tamiel. Tamiel tells Sam that angels have been feeding on delicious humans since the dawn of man. “Your souls are little slices of heaven. That are, if properly kept, delicious meals that can last for years. Decades, even.” Ah. So they are SOUL VAMPS! (I have found the name of the funk act that will perform with the Surly Bobbys and the Angry Cupids. Looks like Angelpalooza is a go!) Sam taunts Tamiel while he picks the lock on his bindings, causing Tamiel to put his sword to Sam’s face. He tells Sam that once there were hundred of Gregori. “A brotherhood of perfectly crafted engineered beings sent to protect you. Pathetic, bottom feeding disasters.” And I am left wondering: since you agreed with him so much, where the hell were you when Lucifer tried to take over the world? Huh?
9. I’m sorry. So sorry.
Cas finds Amelia in the barn, weak and drained. He tries to wake her but she is still stuck in her dream, looking for Jimmy. She wakes and freaks out, screaming “You took my husband!” Cas tries to console her, tries to heal her but he can’t. He is heartbreakingly sorry. “This whole time I was dreaming. Of finding Jimmy. Of putting my family back together. You’re not him anymore. I can tell,” Amelia says quietly. She asks for Jimmy, and Cas sadly tells her he is in Heaven. He says he promised to protect her family and he failed, but Amelia disagrees. If Claire is alive? That’s all she needs. “She’s grown up to be a very strong willed woman,” says Cas, diplomatically. (That’s a parent for you. Always sees the best.) Amelia knows she shouldn’t have left, but she wanted to find Jimmy. Make it right. Dean and Claire arrive, and she sees Amelia, and all resolve to hate is replaced with overwhelming love. And maybe it’s a bit schmaltzy, but when she calls her mommy? It touches me.
Sadly, this SPN mom is going to last about as long as a Disney one, because, after Dean and Cas go to find Sam, Claire and Amelia are found by Tamiel. Claire tries to shoot him, but she runs out of bullets. When Tamiel makes to stab her, Amelia ducks between them and takes the blow. And it is devastating.
Cas saves Claire, and then the knock down drag out begins. In the end, it is Claire who runs Tamiel through. And though Amelia is dead and it is crushing, at least, at last, her dream comes true. She walks into the Novak house and looks around, and Jimmy comes down the stairs. He says he has waited for her for so long. She tells Jimmy that Claire is beautiful and strong and they tell each other I love you as they embrace. Jimmy cries, and it isn’t clear if it is sadness that she is dead, or relief that she is there. So I guess, seeing as how they share a spot, Jimmy and Amelia are soulmates. And I have to say? Again, schmaltzy but touching. If I have to die, let me do so saving my kid and being with my husband in heaven. I think that would be a good way to go.
10. Behind Blue Eyes
The boys are sending Claire to live with Jody Mills. (Excellent decision. Jody’s really good with supernaturally affected girls gone bad.) Before she goes, Dean gives Claire a poorly wrapped birthday present (nice touch) because he took the gun back. In the package? A DVD of Caddyshack and a book called The Enochian Myth. She’ll need that since she, as Dean knows, boosted Tamiel’s sword.
She has also taken the Grumpy Cat. “Really?” Dean asks, and she looks away, sheepish, and it is terribly cute. Dean tells her she got her revenge, and if she goes down their path it’s not a long life. “I don’t know,” she replies. “You seem pretty old.” “Thanks,” he says, and I’m telling you? She is at least an honorary niece.
Claire apologizes to Dean for setting him up and he tells her to forget it—it is in the past. She asks if he will be okay and he admits he doesn’t know but I will keep fighting. “I will keep swinging until I got nothin’ left.” (More foreshadowing? Shiver…) Claire asks Dean to keep an eye on Cas. “He’s been through enough.” “So have you,” Dean says. He tells her to do her homework before doing anything stupid, and that they are there for her if she needs them. The cab comes, and Cas says that if she ever needs anything he wants her to know…and she tackles him with a hug before she leaves. “Someone just tell me she’s going to be okay,” Cas asks, worried. Sam assures him after a bit that she will be. “So will you,” Sam adds clapping his shoulder. “Going home or leaving home?” the cabbie asks Claire. “Just…going,” she says, and Willie Nelson’s Blue Eyes Cryin’ in the Rain plays as we see Claire looking out the window, pulling away from Cas, both of them longing a little for the other.
So close and yet so far! Next week is coming, and you better consider yourself booked. Because Charlie, and the Book of the Damned, will return in “Dark Dynasty.” See you then!