Sam and Dean meet their grandfather on the Winchester side. Henry makes the jump from 1958 to 2013 in order to keep something hugely important away from the powerful demon, Abbadon. How does Henry get along with his grandsons? And what do Sam and Dean learn from their relative? So much. It makes my head hurt thinking about all the knowledge that's dropped in this episode — in a good way of course.
I'm still trying to process this whole thing. Like I said, we learn a lot in "As Time Goes By." I wish this had been a two-parter because I wanted more time to witness Henry Winchester interact with Sam and Dean. In 40 minutes of TV, the brothers go from not knowing who the hell this time traveler guy is to establishing an emotional connection with their granddad. So I wanted more time. Sam and Dean deserve that time. Unfortunately, one episode is all they're getting but Henry definitely leaves a lasting impact on their lives.
The previously recap that kicks off "As Time Goes By" may be my favorite of Season 8. It includes footage from the first few seasons. It's like a greatest hits of the entire series thus far. I feel like they should have set it to "Carry On Wayward Son" just because. One of the key sections is when it borrows from Season 5's "My Bloody Valentine." A naked Cupid tells the boys their parents were destined to be together because Sam and Dean needed to be born. I appreciate the reminder.
What We Learned
-Henry's time travel antics involve a blood sigil, a spell, an angel feather, tears of a dragon, a pinch of the sands of time and tapping into the power of his soul. "Blood leads to blood...or their next of kin." A soul needs at least a week to recharge. So you don't necessarily need an angel's mojo to skip through time. Interesting.
-Henry tells Sam and Dean they are something called "Men of Letters." In fact, they are legacies -- it runs in the family. John was one (although he never knew).
-According to Henry, Men of Letters are "preceptors, beholders, chroniclers of all that which man does not understand. We share our findings with a few trusted hunters. The very elite. They do the rest." Leave it to Dean to put it in pop culture terms: "So you're like Yodas to our Jedis?" Are they like the Watchers on Buffy?
-The "Men of Letters" crest is the Aquarian star, representing magic and power.
-John used to whistle "As Time Goes By" from time to time. He got it from his dad. Henry tells the story of how a young John saw Abbott and Costello Meet the Mummy at the drive-in and he got scared. So Henry bought him a music box that played the song -- which helped put him to sleep.
-Abbadon is a knight of hell, hand-picked by Lucifer. They are the first-fallen, first-born demons, making them strong, pure. Legend says the archangels killed all of them, which isn't true because Abbadon is roaming around right now (or at least was until the Winchesters sliced it to bits).
-John's journal is special. It turns out Henry ordered it before he disappeared. It has his initials.
-The box Henry is protecting is "the key to every object scroll, spell ever collected in a thousand years under one roof. It is the supernatural mother lode."
-Sam is given the task to take the box to a specific set of coordinates, throw it in and shut the door forever. "It is the safest place on earth warded against any evil ever created. It's impervious to any entry, except the key." This will prevent any demon like Abbadon getting their hands on it.
How Henry's Presence Affects Sam
Sam: "I get it now."
Sam: "What Cupid said. About Heaven busting ass to get mom and dad together. The Winchesters and the Campbells -- the brains and the brawn."
I don't know about you guys but I felt a lot of hope coming from Sam at the end. As if he's coming to terms with his place in the world. I think this "Men of Letters" thing is right up his alley. He's about knowledge as well as the physical strength. Too bad Henry isn't able to stick around longer to teach him and Dean what he knows. When Sam talks to the blind survivor from the night of Abbadon's 1958 killing spree, you can tell Sam geeks out over finding out what the box truly is. This episode starts to give Sam even more of a reason to stay in the hunt.
How Henry's Presence Affects Dean
Dean holds a grudge against Henry for abandoning his father. By the end of "As Time Goes By," he understands Henry's choices. He wishes his dad didn't have to grow up so lonely, but I feel like he respects Henry. There's a time when Dean's opinion of his dad started changing. At first, he blindly bought into everything John stood for -- but after his death -- he started to question the way John brought them up. It seems like he's, once again, achieved a better understanding of his dad. This episode goes a long way in trying to repair Big Daddy Winchester's legacy and reputation.
I really love "As Time Goes By." When the Campbells were introduced in Season 6, I wanted the show to delve more into the family history. A major ball was dropped because what ended up happening was the butchering of the Campbell side of things. What they're doing with the Winchesters is interesting to me. I like that they are the brains while the Campbells are the brawn. Sam and Dean are the perfect blend of these two families.
I can't wait to find out where things go from here. I feel like what we learned in this episode opens the show up a little more and provides story beyond this season. I also very much appreciate Sam and Dean working together without any big conflict tearing them apart. Thank you, show.
What did you guys think?
-We get to see a wee John Winchester. Makes me want an episode guest starring the adult John Winchester something fierce. This might be the fifth time I've asked to see Big Daddy Winchester this season.
-Twitter was all abuzz with the fact that there was some revisionist history going on here. When we first meet Young John Winchester in Season 4's "In the Beginning," somebody asks him to say hello to his old man. We don't know whether this is his real father or a stepdad, however. Plus, this 1973 John doesn't seem bitter from having a father that left him when he was young. So we're supposed to buy him having abandonment issues even after hearing a Young Mary tell Dean how despite everything, John still believes in happily ever afters? In "As Time Goes By" Dean is clearly angry at Henry for leaving John. So BDW had to feel the effects of growing up fatherless, right?
-I love the use of the song "As Time Goes By" especially when we see the Henry Winchester of 1958 clad in some sort of a trench coat à la Humphrey Bogart in the movie Casablanca.
-Love Gil McKinney as Henry Winchester. I know him from his Friday Night Lights days as Julie's closer than close TA in college.
-Meanwhile, that's Alaina Huffman, who plays Abbadon. She's appropriately scary in "ATGB." She was a series regular on Syfy's two-season series Stargate: Universe. And she was Dinah Lance/Black Canary on several episodes of the CW's Smallville. Wonder if Huffman will ever take the CW express train to Arrow?
-How did Henry get out of Sam and Dean's clutches and cuff them?
-How dare Henry break Baby's window. But at least he had good taste to try to steal the best car in the parking lot.
-Supernatural cinematographer Serge Ladouceur wonderfully directed "As Time Goes By."
-"Show me what you've seen." How awesome are Abbadon's skills at getting people to show her what happened? Of course, she kills them all afterwards. So cold.
-When Henry tells Sam and Dean he's their grandfather, did you hear the music cue of doom play? I love hearing that song. Reminds me of the good old days of the show.
-Sam and Dean had an angel feather just lying around in their trunk. Where'd they get it? Cas?
-Dean appreciating the girl at the comic book store was hilarious to me.
-The devil's trap carved in a bullet trick is pretty cool.
-Henry's death scene was sad. Sam and Dean have to watch everyone die. It's not fair.
A few more quotes courtesy of writer/producer Adam Glass
"Which of you is John Winchester?"
"Who are you not calling?"
"You boys ever exhume a body?"
"You're also Winchesters. As long as we're alive, there's always hope."
"I didn't know my son as a man, but having met you two, I know I would have been proud of him."
"Freakin' time travel, man."
Supernatural airs Wednesdays at 9/8c on the CW.