Sex, violence, strippers and one seriously nasty siren all added up to one hell of a Sam-and-Dean smackdown.
"We used to be in this together. We used to have each other's backs."
It's no secret Sam and Dean have been traveling on different paths all season long. Since Dean got out of the pit, he's been in an angelic state of mind with the arrival of Castiel, Uriel and Anna. Meanwhile, Sam has been keeping company with demons; he's had sex with one and sent a bunch more back downstairs with his recently honed powers. We've seen the rift that has developed between the boys. Secrets, lies and omissions have changed their relationship for the worse. And in "Sex and Violence," Dean finally uttered what I think most of us have been thinking. It doesn't seem like they've been in this together for quite some time. The brothers used to talk in synch and play pranks on each other and pretty much shared one brain. Now, it has turned into just the opposite. Thankfully, this episode dealt with a lot of the bad blood that has long been festering between the brothers. And as much as I have loved all of Dean's confessional monologues while leaning against the Impala on the side of some road in the middle of nowhere, full-blown fights are much appreciated in getting the Winchesters' dirty laundry out in the open.
It all started with the most recent case: men have been murdering their wives even though they really didn't have a reason to do it. A quick call to Bobby and it's decided a siren is to blame. Apparently, strippers named after Disney princesses targeted these guys, and mesmerized them with their toxic call. Once they had the men under their spell, they made a simple request — they had to kill their significant other. And they did. All these strippers turned out to be one person. Was it Dr. Cara Roberts, the woman Sam flirted successfully with and then proceeded to have a one-night stand? Or was it Nick the federal agent who was "working" the same case as Sam and Dean? Nick was the culprit. And after he made friends with Dean, he made himself known. That whole scene in the car after Dean drank from the same flask as Nick was so creepy. In fact, everything from the car on was simply creep-tastic — especially when Nick told Dean he would be his little brother, and when he told Sam that Dean was all his.
When Sam and Dean weren't on the case, there was definitely a different kind of vibe between the brothers. At the beginning of the episode, Dean woke up in the hotel and immediately heard Sam's voice. He spotted Sam in the bathroom talking on the phone. He pretended he was asleep when Sam walked back in the room. Once Sam "woke" Dean up, he told Dean he was "in the can." What's another lie between brothers, right? Later, Dean was in the hotel room staring at Sam's cell phone which he left on the table. Dean picked it up and called a mysterious number with the area code "219." It was Ruby. My heart just about broke for Dean when he realized Sam was still in cahoots with Ruby.
During the episode, I kept going back to Sam's description of how sirens lure their prey:
"Sirens can read minds. They see what you want most. Then they can kind of cloak themselves. You know, like an illusion."
I realized Sam was what Dean wanted the most. Dean was solving a case that involved multiple trips to a strip club, and what he wanted most was a relationship with his little brother like the one they used to have. Actually, it was a bit more perfect than the one they used to have. After all, Nick loved the Impala, knew Zeppelin tunes down to the smallest of details, could easily down shots and had no problems putting his trust in Dean. Dean's going to have to come to terms with the fact that things change and so do sibling relationships. That doesn't mean Sam and Dean won't be tight, but their sibling bond will probably have to evolve in some way because Sam is an adult now. It's like Dean can't let go of the way it was between them when he was practically raising Sam. Having said all that, it broke my heart again knowing he just wanted his brother back. Sam has, and always will, mean everything to Dean.
As for Sam, he is used to being independent and doing his own thing. But it's hard to be sympathetic to him when he's sharing secret phone calls with Ruby and then lying about them to Dean's face. I get that he has a noble agenda, and I want him to hunt the evil one down — just not at the expense of brotherhood. What I enjoyed about Sam was seeing his flirty side. I really liked seeing Sam flirt with Cara. It was very refreshing. He doesn't do it often enough. There was no shameless flirting with Ruby. That was all about pain and despair. Sam was beyond cute, and the doctor was aggressive, so it all worked out for Sam. I really wanted Dean to believe in Sam's hunch about the good doc not being the siren, but it was all indicative of what's been going on with them. Dean just couldn't trust anything Sam said. He wouldn't even tell Sam where he was.
The stage was set for a battle royale between the brothers and the show — as well as Jared and Jensen — did not disappoint. In one corner, Dean laid out his issues with Sammy:
"But the Sam I knew, he's gone." "That so?" "It's not the demon blood or the psychic crap. It's the little stuff. The lies. The secrets." "What secrets?" "The phone calls to Ruby for one."
And then in the other corner, Sam gave Dean a verbal beating before giving him a physical one too:
"You're too weak to go after her (Lilith), Dean. You're holding me back. I'm a better hunter than you are. Stronger. Smarter. I can take out demons you're too scared to go near."
Wow. I cringed at those words. I was left wondering how much truth was in them. There had to be more than a modicum of truth. I don't want to think about Sam really believing he's the better brother in every way. It totally made me think of Season 1's "Asylum" when Dr. Ellicott worked his anger mojo on Sam. Sam said these awful things to Dean back then too. And just like then, he told Dean, he didn't mean any of those things. I know he was sincere, but again, there had to be some sort of truth in what he was saying. That was an awesome fight wasn't it? The brothers gave as good as they got. But Dean seemed to win the physical portion of the entertainment. Sam won the verbal. I considered the end result a tie. Bobby saved them in just the nick of time. Very convenient (a little too convenient), but it was still good to see Jim Beaver back on the show again.
I really, really enjoyed "Sex and Violence." It's my favorite of all the standalones that have aired in 2009. Kudos to writer Catherine Humphris; she did a great job. Unfortunately, we're headed into a bit of a hiatus. I checked with one of the awesome Warner Bros. publicists. She told me new episodes start airing March 12. See you back here then.
The role reversal continued. Sam actually called Dean "kiddo." When has that ever happened?
The area code "219" is located in Indiana. What was Ruby doing in Indiana? Was she still tailing Lilith?
Any of you Smallville watchers? Ronald from "Night Shifter" played the bomb-making toy guy during this week's episode.
The siren strippers all were named after Disney princesses: Aurora (Sleeping Beauty); Ariel (Little Mermaid); Jasmine (Aladdin) and Belle (Beauty and the Beast).
Loved the shots of the actual siren in the mirrors.
Dean and Sam's aliases, Agents Stiles and Murdock, referred to the last names of the characters on the TV show Route 66. The 60s series featured two guys, traveling around North America in a Corvette. Sound familiar?
Of course Dean would get excited over the investigation taking them to a strip club.
I wonder how Sam can fall prey to certain supernatural manipulations like Ellicott working his special brand of therapy on him or the siren crudely spewing his venom into Sam's mouth. He can also be possessed. But he's not susceptible to mind control or demonic plagues/ghost sicknesses.
How funny was it that Bobby was Sam and Dean's FBI contact? I loved that phone system they have going on. What did they all say? I think the phones were labeled "Fed. Marshall"; "FBI"; "C.O.C."; "Police" and "Health Center." Not sure about that last one. If anyone could read what it said, let me know.
Bobby in an apron was funny.
Dean still thinks of Ruby as a monster. Awesome. I can't believe he called Sam on his affinity for "monsters." After all, Sam has been with a werewolf (Madison) and a demon (Ruby). Thankfully, Dr. Cara wasn't anything other than a woman who knows what she wants.
I really liked the guy who played the siren. Jim Parrack is used to supernatural-type shows. He's "Hoyt" on HBO's vampire saga True Blood.
Loved all the classic rock references to Zeppelin, Guns N' Roses and Warrant.
The ending didn't really resolve anything. The brothers still have all these issues just lying there like a lump between them. When will these issues come back to haunt them? And will there be another confrontation? Inquiring minds want to know.
"She was a stripper?" "Dude, her name was Jasmine."
"Strippers Sammy, strippers. We are on an actual case involving strippers. Finally."
"Like Greek myth, siren? The Odyssey? Hey, I read."
"Let me guess, 'Welcome to the Jungle. No, no. Warrant's 'Cherry Pie.'"
"I'm not doing this for you. I'm doing it for the girls."
"I gotta tell you. You're one butt ugly stripper."
What did you guys think?
Was Sam's tirade against Dean all lies? Or was there some truth to it?
What did you think of the fight?