If you ever want to test the true greatness of a television episode, have two people watch it together. Make one, at best, a casual viewer—someone who won’t be annoyed (or annoying) by trying to figure out who is who but still has no true investment in the show. Make the other a rabid fan that will notice every clue—every homage—and swoon and clap accordingly. If both of them love it? The episode is fantastic. Such was the experience that my husband and I had while watching “Baby”, another love letter to the fans written by Robbie Thompson that had humor and intrigue and appeal enough to attract both of those types of viewers and everyone in between.
1. Cold Open
Between the “Then” recap and the opening scene, we were all reminded of that girl of ours, and all the things that make her so special. The army man in the ashtray. The LEGO bricks in the vents. The S.W. and D.W. carved into the floor. The smashed rear windshield. The splatters of gore on the windows. The bloody machete in the footwell. Dean, battered, passed out and handcuffed in the back seat. Wait. WHAT?! I already wanted to watch this episode more than anything, but that opening? What a tease! I wanted to know what happened. Immediately if not sooner. And I wanted a CONSCIOUS Dean to tell me.
2. Workin’ at the Car Wash
I am a HUGE fan of the band Bread (even though my husband thinks most of their songs are so depressing he wondered if the blood spatters in the Impala were from Dean trying to kill himself after listening to “Aubrey”) so for them to wash the car to “Guitar Man” was a thrill for me. I’m not gonna lie—the lack of wet t-shirts and the disappointment of not seeing Dean’s short shorts made the car wash scene a little less thrilling than I’d hoped for, but it more than made up for it in charm. Baby getting a bath from the boys she loves so well—and man, we can’t even be jealous ‘cause we love her so much. And the fact that they then cut to the boys driving in the rain? Dean and I said “Figures” at the exact same time.
3. Baby’s Eye View
Speaking of that car wash, I absolutely loved how it was shot from the Impala’s viewpoint, as much of the episode was. Looking out her windshield, content, seeing the scenery pass as she sped them to the job. Looking up from her floorboards and beaming at her beautiful boys eating road food and hassling each other. Watching her life on the lam under the corrupt hands of a joyriding valet and her selfie-taking friend, and her looking back at them—almost with a bit of reproach?—as her boys drove her away (Was anyone else pissed at their disrespect? Watch the car, bitches.) Seeing the monster kills from her interior (hilarious and tense at the same time.) What a vantage point.
I don’t generally like when things are anthropomorphized, but for Baby? I make an exception. I almost felt her moods, or at least the moods she caused me to feel, as the episode unfolded and that’s no small thing. I’ve always said she was the third most important character on the show. This episode reinforced that in the best of ways.
4. On the Road (So Far)
Sam keeping smoothies in the green cooler, prompting Dean to ask, multiple times, “Where’s the beer?” Sam, teaching Cas about Netflix over the phone. Brotherly laughter over bad burritos (and I swear, anyone who has ever been to convention will agree—weren’t those laughs Jared and Jensen’s as much as Sam’s and Deans?)Sam trying to take the wheel for safety and Dean slapping his hand away. Dean chuckling about one night wonders and Sam asking if he wants more out of life. These little moments were what the episode was really all about—the slices of life we never get to see in the interest of the case.
I get why they edit for time, and why the show can’t include these things on a regular basis. But by doing so now? They put us in the car with them. They showed us Sam and Dean as people, not just as Winchesters, and it was delightful. And seeing so much of it from Baby’s view? Just reminded us of how many times she has carried both them and their secrets.
5. Night Moves
So what moment have I watched multiple times already and is going into the queue of my favorite Supernatural scenes of all time? The Seger theme-songed segment about Sam gettin’ some in the back seat. I was denied shirtless Sam, and was about to complain heartily, but I was more than rewarded with the brotherly banter and Sam and Dean singing along with Bob Seger, a musician Supernatural has used perfectly many times before and did so here again. God, I loved everything about this. From Dean, happening upon them, smirking, sneaking a sniff of Sam’s one night stand, to Sam singing with Bob and paraphrasing about the “backseat of my brother’s 67 Chevy…” and telling Dean, “You started this!”
“Don’t ‘Night Moves’ me,” Sam says, but that’s exactly what we, as viewers, want Dean to do. We want him to lip-synch his perfect description of his brother (“…little too tall, could’ve used a few pounds…”) and car dance and drive with no hands. We want Sam to admit defeat and join in with the teasing, singing that line about his backseat conquest, grinning sheepishly. And we want them to sing together, something we haven’t seen them do since Season Three, and this time in a much lighter tone, if just as doomed. I’ve watched this one scene at least 10 – 12 times. It’s not a fraction of nearly enough. “Is everything a Bob Seger song to you?” Sam asks Dean, who replies, simply, “Yes.” And I would agree that their lives are very much so. Seger’s style is so much them. Simple but nuanced. Poignant but hopeful. Nostalgic but relatable. Plain and honest and fun and sad and sometimes silly and all the things the Winchesters are. The music cues in this show are always good and often perfection. No wonder they’ve used Seger over and over again.
6. John Boy
Dean, listening to Judy Collins singing “Someday Soon?” I mean, I suppose it could happen (after all, he loves Air Supply) but it was a pretty safe bet that something weird was up. And weird it was! I am so thrilled that the return of Matt Cohen as young John Winchester wasn’t spoiled for me—Sam’s surprise was mirrored by my own. And Cohen has never been better on the show—he truly channeled Jeffrey Dean Morgan such in his voice and the way he held his face that, if I looked quick, I might even have been fooled that the elder John had returned.
“When has death ever stopped a Winchester?” the vision of young John asked, and the man had a point. And a message. He confirmed to Sam that the Darkness was coming, and only the Winchester Boys could stop it. Was he God? Lucifer? Who or whatever was he? The chilling way he told Sam “I never could fool you, could I?” made me wonder indeed.
7. What Dreams May Come
And the follow up talk, after young John disappears into the ether, as Sam wakes up? Beautiful. Listening to Sam recount his dream, confused, leading Dean into the recall of the dreams he has of John was heartbreaking. Dean dreams of John being…just his dad. Teaching him to drive so he can earn his learner’s permit. Telling him as he parks, “Perfect landing, son.” As I said, my husband knows the show (you can’t live with me and escape it, frankly,) but he only watches a couple of episodes a year from start to finish. He loved this scene. “Dad’s sitting shotgun, but there aren’t any shotguns” hit him hard, and me too. Knowing that Dean’s best dreams aren’t of excitement and adventure but normalcy. Being boring. And Sam acknowledging that he has those dreams too, but his feature Mary as his normal, loving mom? Crushing. Lengthy conversations like this would be edited down in a normal episode, to avoid pacing issues and include everything we need to follow the Monster of the Week plot. This episode allowed them in full, and it felt indulgent. Like we were privy to the more private parts of themselves and their relationship as brothers. It worked for both of us—both types of viewers—and that’s pretty special. Jensen Ackles and Jared Padalecki sell this stuff so well with the chemistry they show both on-screen and off. When they send each other off with “’Good night, Jerk” and “’Night, Bitch,” before Baby cradles them in sleep? We feel the absolute warmest of fuzzies.
8. Why not Wolvamps?
Oh yeah—there was a Monster of the Week, too! I’m not gonna lie, the MotW case faded into the background for me a bit (except for the adorable way Dean kept trying to sell the word “Werepire” even harder than Rowena trying to sell “MegaCoven”) but it was still amazingly well done.
So many things fell into place to make this one such a bloody good time. Dean’s initial, non-lethal encounter with the Nachzehrer (cool new monster, BTW) was fairly hilarious. Cas, on the phone the whole time, clueless and frantic as usual, trying to help. Dean’s feet going out from under him and then the blood splatter as he (unsuccessfully) tried to shoot the deputy. The gross but casual nature of the beheaded…head…ending up on the hood and still snarling. That head eventually ending up in the…no….don’t…WAIT!…green cooler. There was a lot of meaningful, throat lumping moments in this episode, but there was a fair bit of humor too, which gave the episode perfect balance.
9. It All Comes Together
So that’s how it all happened! One by one the pieces fall into place to show us the shocking state of the Impala from the beginning. The window’s covered in blood because Dean shot the “maker” Nachzehrer. The back windshield is gone because Sam shot it out when one of the pack overtook Dean and drove away with him. Dean ended up on the back seat cuffed because that same pack member trapped him there for killing while she healed the Maker (and while they tried to turn Sam at another location.)
And how is Dean going to get out of this? With a MacGuyver-esque series of events, natch. Sam’s one night stand lost a hairpin on the back seat (perfect for picking cuffs.) The car stealing valet’s friend left her purse on the back seat floor (with pennies in it perfect for shoving in a Nachzehrer’s mouth to facilitate killing it.) And Dean himself dropped the machete he beheaded the maker with on the floor and it slid under the seat (perfect to retrieve and behead the maker. Again. More permanently.) During his fight with the Maker and his made, Baby takes a BEATING. Her windshield is broken out. Her windows, too. She’s crashed into a road barrier, crumpling her front end. But she still maintains enough structural integrity to allow Dean to use her rear door as a decapitation device. It’s crude—maybe a little bit painful even for her—but she’s up to the task. “Oh, Baby, I’m so sorry,” Dean pants as he recovers from his tussle. We know that if she could speak, she’d tell him to shut up. And as crushed as she is? She’ll start. And she’ll also drive him to save Sam. Because hunting has always been her job, too.
10. I Believe in a Thing Called Love
Turns out? The Nachzehrer was trying to build an army to fight (or survive, at least) the oncoming Darkness. But that’s a problem for another day. Sam and Dean and Baby are battered and broken, but they’ll live to fight on. Dean tells Sam it’s time to go home, and Sam pats the dash lovingly, and with admiration. “We are home,” he says, and we are reminded of Season Five, when Chuck’s beautiful voice over told us that, thanks to the Impala, they have never truly been homeless. As they head for the HuntCave, all of them pushing through the pain, we see her for what she is: loyal, strong, tenacious. Just like her occupants. The Darkness doesn’t stand a chance against the love these three share. Nothing ever has.
Well, I about died happy. That could be the last episode I’ll ever see and I would be content. Oh, who am I kidding—no I wouldn’t. Thankfully there’s an all new episode next week. Join me as the Winchesters hit my old home state of Massachusetts and uncover the secrets of one of their oldest legends in “Thin Lizzie.” See you then!