Saturday, November 10, 2018

Supernatural, Season 14, Episode: 5 Nightmare Logic

Maggie is hunting

It’s possible that, like me, your response is “who”? She’s one of the new Hunters in the Winchester cave from the angel hell dimension. Her hunt goes horribly wrong as a thing attacks her

Back in the Winchester Cave Sam is being the big leader, giving lots of advice and training and hunting tips to his new little army of followers and while Dean is being snarky - because every big brother has to be snarky. But Dean is worried about Sam… while impressed by what he’s doing, Sam is working far too hard, barely sleeping and driving himself to the wall

And I really like to see this- Dean frets about his hulking baby brother… but it’s over big epic things like losing his soul or dying etc etc. But worrying about day to day welfare, if Sam’s mental health is ok, if he’s looking after himself? That’s not something Dean does. In part because Sam is way way better at self care than the reckless, permanently self destructive Dean who generally follows the philosophy of “suck it up and move on”. I like to see the maturity that has developed to be a little more

It’s also really really nice to see Sam step forward a little bit and not be in Dean’s endlessly melodramatic shadow all the time.

When Sam learns Maggie has been attacked he instantly gives up on her - it’s not that he doesn’t care about her but because he wants to wrap his guilt around himself and wallow in it as a terrible leader. While Dean is in the odd place of shaking Sam and being the source of hope - and this isn’t entirely out of character. Sure, Dean rarely expects happy fun results, but he doesn’t give up on a fight until everything has been duly stabbed repeatedly in the face. He doesn’t know what hope is, but he also doesn’t know what giving up is- and he insists they head to see what happened

They arrive to find a household with its own private cemetery and assume the identity of historical preservation society members. They meet the household - a nurse looking after a very infirm old man and that old man ‘s daughter Sasha who is there to provide vast amounts of daddy issues.

They also find Mary and Bobby who have assumed exactly the same fake identity to investigate Maggie’s disappearance as well. This slightly annoys Sam because it means they haven’t checked in at the Winchester cave and are generally operating outside the system he set up. While Bobby thinks the new system is terrible and the people leading this (Sam) are Idjits

And that sound is my heart breaking because Bobby may be wrong and I may be expected to disapprove of him. Bobby. Our saintly Bobby.  Nooooo…

Mary steps in to split everyone up - showing she is definitely a mother. Because I have never yet met a mother who doesn’t have the epic ability to quell bickering. She and Sam go off so she can reassure him that Bobby isn’t himself at the moment being really cut off from Mary, not talking and being all hunting all the time. He doesn’t talk… like their father. To which Sam laughs because their father doesn’t come close to being open and sharing and after Mary died (and came back. It’s Supernatural, it’s complicated). It underscores that Bobby was their father figure even when John was alive - Bobby was the man they (we) revered  and loved… and this Bobby is not necessarily that Bobby - but it also shows just how much Sam is hurt by his criticism.

While Dean and Bobby go off together and Dean politely, respectfully tells Bobby just how hard Sam is working, how much he’s pushing himself and how hard he’s trying to support other Hunters. And, basically, that Bobby is waaaaay out of line.

They do make some discoveries - Mary and Sam find a bonfire full of IDs of Hunters (because several IDs for several federal agencies is pretty much standard Hunter procedure) and Dean finds a body - which matches the ID. He also finds a monster which attacks - but explodes into a cloud of dust when he kills it.

Sasha, checking weird noises in the house, is attacked by a vampire. She desperately runs and then cowers…. Only to have the monster disapperar.

Time for everyone to gather up, tell Sasha about monsters and hunters - I like how Dean is blase about all this, like Sam just took on a mundane but necessary task in telling them

In fact insert on this point - I like how Sam and Dean draw on a lot of their hunting history, lots of pasty hunts in the brainstorming to both remind us WHY Sam is leading the Winchester cave hunters, why they’re such good hunters but also why this is just a day in the life of Sam and Dean

They realised that these monsters, their uncharacteristic behaviour and easy method of death means they’re probably not monsters but some kind of magic creation. And that it’s targetting hunters

It’s about this time that Mary realises Bobby has disappeared and follows him in the woods - only to find him being tortured by his dead son who died in the Angel Wars on their world (oh Supernatural is so complicated with so much that has happened it’s hard to briefly mention ANYTHING). She intervenes, gets strangled and he then frees himself and murders his son to save her… which is full of classic Supernatural angst

They also find Maggie- in the attic, having her blood drained (with another easily dusted monster). And she’s alive

Dean has put 2 and 2 together and seeing the nurse draining the blood he realises he has a djinn - something he’s fought before. Only this is a Michael enhanced djinn which can manifest people’s nightmares into easily killed dust monsters...not that enhanced. Also djinn can only be killed with a knife dipped in lamb’s blood which is fine - but they can also be beaten to a pulp by Dean with a paperweight and a lot of anger issues

It did try to manifest Dean’s nightmares but on accessing them just recoiled in horror. Dean Winchester’s head is not a happy smily place.

Honestly I was going to go through past episodes to find all the previous references in this episode but… ye gods 14 seasons! FOURTEEN!

They bring Maggie home and everyone is praiseworthy and Dean makes a point of telling Sam, he did this. And my heart swells - i want to see more of Dean supporting his family: not protecting them in a kind of paternalistic controlling fashion, but actually supporting them. It’s nice to see

And Bobby and Mary talk… Bobby’s wife died, he raised his son and took him hunting, bonding until the Angel wars in their world happened. Both were recruited into the army and his son died while under his command. Consumed by very Winchester-esque guilt, bobby expected the war to kill him eventually… and now he’s back in the real world he’s throwing himself into hunting for the same purpose. It’s passive suicide.

Mary is not having this.

She and Bobby are going on holiday - Bobby says his apologies to Sam for how he acted (we still love him). And Mary checks that Dean is ok with all this - because Dean is… very very very very sensitive to Mary abandoning him. But again he shows considerable maturity

On Dean’s issues - his advice to Sasha dealing with her daddy issues is “let it go” which i don’t think is necessarily good advice but shows how Dean is working at the moment. He’s fighting to do just that- leave it in the past (which given the last fourteen seasons is reasonable), especially to let the guilt over Michael’s actions go - especially since he now has apparently a legion of hunter hunting enhanced djinn out there. They’ve warned them but Dean is still fighting the guilt with Sam’s support

Which I would generally like but honestly it was nice to see the script switched for once