Sam and Dean are sent back to the future without the courtesy of Marty McFly's Delorean. Castiel is the one who helps the brothers go back in time to stop Anna from killing their parents thereby eliminating Sam who happens to be Lucifer's vessel. Everything about this episode is big. We get an answer to a big question, we get big moments that will have the longtime fans cheering and possibly tearing up, and we also get one big meeting that we've been anxiously awaiting all season long. Let's break things down from the very beginning.
"The Song Remains the Same" — yet another homage to the great classic rock band Led Zeppelin. Has anyone counted all the Zeppelin references the writers have bestowed on us over these four and a half seasons?
"Destiny can't be changed Dean. All roads lead to the same destination."
Castiel's words at the end of the recap need to be etched in stone because I think it's going to pretty much be the motto for the rest of the season.
Now - First Act
We see a close up of Dean and he's in a strange room with a sexy devil stripper and a sexy angel stripper gyrating for him to the tune of Warrant's "Cherry Pie." It doesn't get as far as a lap dance because unfortunately for Dean, Anna interrupts. Angels like to interrupt Dean in his dreams. Remember Cas appearing to him while he was fishing in "The Rapture?" This time around, Dean's dream isn't as serene.
Right off the bat, Anna's hating on Cas. I get it. He did have her captured. Dean finally finds out where Anna's been and Cas is the one who turned her in. Anna tells Dean she got away and she wants the brothers to meet her at a mysterious address. Instead, Castiel shows up and realizes how Anna "escaped" from her not-so-heavenly prison: she was allowed to break out. The trench coat-wearing angel admits turning Anna in was a mistake. I don't know about you, but I'm loving Cas lately. He's way more badass than he was when he first was introduced to the show. He's not buying what Anna's selling. After all, Anna's carrying a human-killing knife. Good thing he's carrying an angel-killing sword.
Anna's agenda is to kill Sam Winchester. We've been through this before with Gordon. Killing Sam is for the "greater good" so he won't end up going all dark side. Of course the dark side this time around happens to be becoming Lucifer's meat suit. According to Anna, if Sam is erased from existence then there won't be a fight with Michael; there won't be a Croatoan virus; and the apocalypse will no longer be possible. We've seen a friendship develop between Cas and Dean. The angel and Sam's relationship on the other hand is sometimes friendly, sometimes contentious. So it's pretty cool to hear Cas tell Anna there's no way she's murdering Sam: "The answer is still no. Because Sam is my friend."
Cas' true blue angel ways are definitely a thing of the past when he threatens to kill Anna if she goes anywhere near Sam. Go Cas!
Anna disappears before Cas' very eyes and she ends up on the hood of a Trans Am all bloody and injured in what appears to be the 1970s. Meanwhile, back in 2010, Sam's wondering if Anna's right that killing him will avert the apocalypse. Cas' solution is to kill Anna first, which is a plan I can get behind. I realize Anna's motives are logical to her, but anything that threatens one of the Winchesters is bad in my book. Cas tracks Anna down to 1978 and realizes his former boss is going to attempt to kill Mary and John, a move that will not only prevent Sam from being born, but Dean too. One problem, Cas taking both Sam and Dean on his way back machine will weaken him and leave him in an even worse state than Anna's solo trip did.
Now — Second Act
Cas is down for the count. Sam and Dean drop him in a hotel and head to their parents' house. Young Mary isn't digging Dean showing up uninvited. She hasn't told John about her hunting days. In fact, Young John thinks Mary's dad died of a heart attack. Much like "In the Beginning" he's totally clueless to the things that go bump in the night. Dean and Sam pretend to be Mary's cousins.
I love Sam's reaction when he sees Young Mary and Young John for the first time. He's having a hard time with it all. He can barely speak, he shakes John's hand for so long it starts to become uncomfortable and he keeps staring at Mary. Dean's been through this before so it's nice Sam finally gets to meet his parents.
Mary wants Sam and Dean to scram but they warn her about the angels that want to kill her and John. Meanwhile, Anna lures John to the garage on the pretense of a possible job opportunity where she immediately makes her move. Anna's weak but doing a good job of flinging him around. Dean and Mary show up at the garage where Mary gets to show off her mad hunting skills to Anna as well as to a previously unsuspecting John. Sam sends Anna away using the bloody sigil symbol-thingy and the crisis is resolved for the moment.
Now — Third Act
John finds out monsters are real and his wife has been fighting them all her life. John shows shades of BDW with his anger. The four of them drive to safety to an old cabin of Mary's family. It comes complete with devil's trap, iron fixtures, salt, holy water and weapons. Sam and Dean share their tools of the trade too. It's really sad to see John's innocence completely stripped away so quickly. There are definite shades of what he's to become post-Mary's death.
Favorite scene alert #1: Sam and John's emotional talk. John can't believe Sam's dad raised him to be a hunter. Again, it's sad when John can't even fathom doing that to a kid. All John can think of is the danger Sam had to face and the number it must have done on his head.
"Your father was supposed to protect you."
Once upon a time Sam would have agreed, but no longer. Again we realize how far Sam has come since the first season. He tries to get Young John to understand where BDW was coming from.
"I used to be mad at him. I used to hate the guy. But now I get it. He was doing the best he could. And he was trying to keep us together in this impossible situation. See my mom, um, she was amazing, beautiful and she was the love of his life and she got killed and I think he would have gone crazy if he didn't do something. Truth is my dad died before I got to tell him that I understand why he did what he did and I forgive him for what it did to us, I do. And I just...I love him."
I love that monologue. And to me, Sam should have been able to say some of that to BDW before he died in Season 2's "In My Time of Dying." It's awful Sam's last conversation with his father was an argument. And I know that many Supernatural fans ever since have lamented the fact Sam never got to resolve things with BDW and we never saw enough of his grief over his dad's death. Well, Jared really brought all of this home with this speech. I love how this show will tie up loose ends seasons later. The way Sam's looking at Young John but also taking the opportunity to forgive the man that raised him was pure awesomeness. I could go on and on about how much I really loved this scene and how Jared's performance was stellar. I'm wondering if some of Sam's anger issues are resolved with this cathartic conversation. Go Sam.
Up next, we meet a young Uriel. Yup, Uriel doesn't look like Robert Wisdom this time around. Anna enlists Young Uriel in helping kill the Winchesters in a very devious way. She lets him know in the future these humans are responsible for killing him. But hello, Anna's the one that offed him in "On the Head of the Pin."
Favorite Scene Alert #2: Mary wants Dean to tell her why the angels want her dead. Dean just lays it all out and reveals just about everything. He's her son. The yellow-eyed demon killed her and John became a hunter to get revenge. Like "In the Beginning," Dean warns her about what's going to happen in 1983. Sam enters the scene and tells his mom and brother that that's not good enough. He feels Mary needs to leave John all together and never look back so they're never born. You can tell Sam and Dean are okay with not being born. They're willing to give up their lives for everyone's safety. Mary tells her sons that it's too late; she's already pregnant with Dean. Just then John rushes in and lets them know all the precautions the four Winchesters had taken into securing the cabin are somehow gone.
Now — Act Four
Uriel and Anna show up and it's an all out battle. Anna flings John out of the cabin while Uriel goes to town on Dean, and Anna stabs Sammy. Anna goes to take care of Mary when John walks in only it's not John, it's Michael using John's body as a vessel. Michael quickly incinerates Anna and reduces her to ashes. Should we call her Ashna from now on? He then banishes Uriel. Matt Cohen does an awesome job of being badass Michael.
Favorite Scene Alert #3: Michael finally "meets" Dean. Dean wants the powerful archangel to fix Sammy, but that's not going to happen until they talk first. It turns out John said yes to becoming Michael's vessel in order to save his wife. More information is revealed about how Dean has been chosen as Michael's true vessel.
"It's a bloodline."
"Stretching back to Cain and Abel. It's in your blood your father's blood your family's blood."
Michael and Lucifer; Cain and Abel; Sam and Dean Winchester; it all comes down to rival brothers on this show and isn't that such a cool thing? We're once again treated to the similarities between the brothers but this time it isn't from Lucifer's perspective, it's from Michael's. Michael raised Lucifer and despite loving him he's going to kill him "because it is right and I have to." God knows this is how it has to end according to Michael and he's going to do whatever his Father says. Everything that's happened in Dean's life, in his parents' lives, in Sam's life, it has all been a plan, none of it has been random.
"Free will is an illusion, Dean. That's why you're going to say yes."
This is such a depressing thought. It's also a scary thought because right now it's like nothing is going to get Sam and Dean to say yes to becoming vessels for Lucifer and Michael. But we're being told they have no choice in the matter. Events are going to occur that will lead them to accept their destiny. Jensen is just so good in this first meeting between Michael and Dean. Michael tells him he's going to erase John's and Mary's memories of recent events which means Mary is doomed to die in 1983 when Sam's sixth-months old. Michael sends Sam home alive and well and then Dean. I'm left completely devastated at how there's seemingly no hope for Sam and Dean. It's going to come down to brother against brother yet I still wonder how they're going to manage to escape their destinies. I can't close the door on hope just yet this is Sam and Dean we're talking about. They can do anything right?
Now — Act Five
Castiel returns but he's still pretty much useless for the moment. It's too bad he didn't have more to do in the middle portion of this episode, but the hour had to focus on Sam and Dean and their parents. The brothers share a drink:
"This is it."
"This is what?"
"Team Free Will: one ex-blood junkie, one drop out with six bucks to his name and Mr. Comatose over there."
Here's to Team Free Will, may they stand strong in the face of extreme odds. Cut to a very, very pregnant Mary and John. There's an angel figurine by Dean's crib. Mary utters the words we first heard in Season 2's "Houses of the Holy:"
"It's all OK, angels are watching over you."
Wow. What an intense, emotional and even depressing episode. Things don't look good for Sam and Dean. I guess this is the last we'll see of Anna. Jensen and Jared totally rocked in "The Song Remains the Same." Amy Gumenick and Matt Cohen continue to be awesome additions to the Supernatural universe. What did you guys think?
This episode was so epic, I feel like it needed an appropriate classic rock song to serenade the "Then" recap. Of course as soon as I thought that the first shot of the episode is Dean and Warrant's "Cherry Pie" is blaring.
I love Cas' spell to locate Anna. Although she obviously doesn't adhere to Michael's beliefs that there's no free will. It wouldn't matter if she killed Sam a hundred times, he'd probably be brought back every time. This sheds a whole new light on how Sam and Dean's previous deaths haven't stuck. Dean was meant to sell his soul to bring Sam back to life. He was meant to go to hell to break the first seal but he was also meant to be brought back to Earth by an angel.
Michael says he won't leave Dean a drooling mess like some of the other vessels his archangel brothers have inhabited. Will it be easier for Dean to say yes knowing that?
A little off topic but I have to discuss. Other critics/recappers/reviewers have been saying the same thing but I really do believe Lost is starting to look a lot like Supernatural. Did you guys catch this week's premiere? There were two vessels/meat suits; a ring of what I presume was goofer dust to keep the smoke monster away; plus Supernatural's Lucifer and the YED guest-starred on the ABC drama's two-hour season premiere. So happy I like both those shows!
"This is what you dream about?"
"She's gone all Glenn Close on us."
"Who's Glenn Close?"
"So what you're like a Delorean without enough plutonium?"
"I don't understand that reference."
"What do I look like, Doctor Angel Medicine Woman? He'll wake up he's you know tough for a little nerdy dude with wings."
"You are so beautiful."
"Mary's dad was pretty much like a grandpa to us."
"When I would get sick, you would make me tomato-rice soup because that's what your mom made you. And instead of a lullaby you would sing 'Hey Jude.' That's your favorite Beatles song."
"It's all going to go rotten. You will die and your children will be cursed."
"I'd say this conversation is long overdue, wouldn't you?"
"And you think you know better than my Father?"
"You can't fight City Hall."
"I'll see you soon, Dean."
"Quite a kick there, troublemaker already."