What person in their right mind could forget Dean Winchester? Turns out? Dean Winchester. Ignorance is not bliss on this episode of Supernatural, and the race is on to save Dean from his curse before he forgets to breathe.
We usually see the red shirt in the beginning running from the monster, but this week? The “monster” was Dean. He looked and sounded as menacing as any run of the mill murderer would, and, later, when there were so many discussions of killing and things they’d rather not remember, I hearkened back to this moment of the chase. Sometimes it’s easy to tell who’s the good guy. Sometimes not. The usually merciful Winchesters? In this case? Not so clear.
And in the morning? I’m making waffles!
Dean wakes up in the park, next to a bunny that is decidedly not of the Playboy variety. The fact that he’s more annoyed than alarmed says a lot about this show, doesn’t it? He calls Sam, convinced it was your average blackout/hangover, and Sam meets him at a waffle house where they discuss Dean’s diminished mental faculties (including forgetting the “Devil-Baby-Mama-Drama”.) It’s clear Dean is a truly foggy, and, again, he’s not really concerned. Yet. (Side note? The fact that he doesn’t remember the girl from last night and gets slapped is one thing, but the little thing of forgetting to pay for his breakfast? How many times has Dean flung a wad of bills on a table next to an empty plate without a thought? That struck me as a nice touch.)
Stuck in Reverse
As they FBI out at the morgue, they discover a hex bag that tells them it is a witch that killed the latest vic, and Dean? Has no memory of the fact that he killed what appears to be the perp. As his memory continues to deteriorate we see the most degrading thing of all: Dean forgets to put his car in drive and slams Baby into some newspaper boxes. He looks at Sam, who appears to fade in and out, chastising him to get it together. “Dean?” Sam asks. “Dean!” And his brother looks at him, still reasonably calm, and asks, “Who’s Dean?”
I’m Gonna Hex You Up
At first, Dean’s memory loss is funny. He compares himself to Dory, and professes his love for that fish. He can’t remember the names of circa 1983 Bon Jovi. He calls a lamp a….light stick, prompting Sam to label it (and, eventually, everything) with a post it note (fun fact—these were actually written by Jared Padalecki.) The subtleties with which Jensen Ackles plays Dean are perfect. Dean seems lighter. Happier. More free. (The music cues also confirm as much.) But there has to be a down side, right? Right.
As they try to figure it all out, Sam and Dean end up in the burger bar that Dean met the aforementioned face-slapper in and she tries, begrudgingly at first, to help them piece it all together since she believes he has been roofied. Apparently, Dean ordered burgers, shot some tequila and hit the mechanical bull!!! He was apparently amazing, at that and at…other things he can’t remember. Things are still pretty hilarious as they look at the security footage. Dean reads lips (“Now salsa you mittens!”) and says it’s like watching himself on Netflix. Sam even has to have “the talk” with him about how they kill monsters and Dean thinks it’s awesome, especially since their best friend is an angel. But when Sam and Dean find the dead witch in the woods and see the glyphs he left on a tree they begin to realize: this may be no laughing matter. This is a curse. And they have no idea how to break it.
Rowena the Good Witch
Who else to break Dean’s curse? Rowena, of course. “Oh, your hair. It’s all so bouncy!” Dean says as he greets her, and, in the face of that is it any wonder she doesn’t want to fix him? She explains that he is under an old Celtic curse from the Loughlin family, who possess a powerful Druidic spellbook called “The Black Grimoire.” Rowena explains that they need to cure Dean soon, before he forgets everything, including how to speak and swallow, or, once again, Dean Winchester is going to die. “Sucks for that guy,” Dean says. And somehow? His retort isn’t that funny.
Mystery Man in the Mirror
Wow. Jensen Ackles once again knocks it out of the park as Dean struggles to look himself in the eye and remember even the most basic of facts. “My name is Dean Winchester. Sam is my brother. Mary Winchester is my mom, and Cast…Cas is my best friend.” As Sam and Rowena discuss how to save him (and bicker, it must be said) Dean falls apart in front of the mirror, losing it all until he is reduced to a teary eyed, stuttering, “My name…my name is…my…I…I don’t know.” And it is heartbreaking.
Sam confesses to Rowena that seeing Dean lose everything about himself is worse, in a way, than seeing him die. He’s going to kill those witches and steal their book whilst Rowena, girly and cute, stays behind to tell Dean her stories as he plays with her voodoo doll (gotta wonder who was wandering around grabbing various body parts and screaming in pain, eh?) It’s all kind of adorable until true confession time comes around. She envies his lack of recall of what he’s done. Of the fact that he’s killed scores. At least, she says, all he has done is for the greater good. Would that she could say the same. She has guilt, and she’ll tell him this only for one reason: she knows he won’t remember.
Bad Ass Witches
Sam ends up at the Loughlin estate and the dead witch’s sister, Catriona, casts a spell that causes dead butterflies to flap their wings and pierce Sam’s hearing so fully he bleeds from the ears. As he screams, his phone plays it to Dean, and, for a moment, Dean remembers Sam in his fear for him. Sam ends up tied to a chair of course, because, well, because he is Sam and it is Supernatural, and it looks like Catriona and her brother Boyd are going to kill him to bring their dead brother back. Of course, Rowena doesn’t stay put—she brings Dean to the Impala and slips away while he is sleeping to take on Catriona herself (sadly, unsuccessfully.) Thankfully, she leaves Dean a series of post-it notes that lead him away from his beloved grenade launcher to where she and Sam are trapped, armed with witch killing bullets, which he informs Catriona about with a hilarious holding of their post-it note label. Dean shoots Catriona, and, for a moment, Dean is confused over whether to shoot Boyd or Sam, but the simple word “brother” reminds him who is who, and then? It’s all over but the curse breaking.
Memories of the Way We Were
“Who’s this hippie?” Dean asks, when Sam earnestly asks if he is cured. Of course, he is kidding, reminding Sam that he is making the same face he made when he stole his Halloween candy, and there are chuckles all around. Rowena leaves (sans Grimoire, thanks to Sam) and Dean (falsely?) claims he remembers nothing of their time together. Sam muses that Dean looked happy, free of their past, and Dean demurs. “It wasn’t just the crap I lost. It was everything. It was us, it was what we do, you know. All of it. So if that’s what being happy looks like, I think I’ll pass.” Because Dean chooses Sam, even over being happy. It’s what he does. It’s what he’ll always do. And then? AND THEN? We’re treated to a montage of Dean’s comedic night interspersed with Dean riding the bull and you know what? It’s turns out he was amazing. As if there were ever any doubt.
It’ll take a week to recover from that montage. I’ll see you next time for episode twelve, “Stuck in the Middle (With You)”.