First off, I can't believe my local newspaper called this episode "Croatian" in the TV Grid. Idiots!
I'm just going to try to hit the highlights and try not to make this too long. Heh, yeah right. I realize some people don't have the time or don't like to read through long reviews. Of course, if they're good, it's usually okay. :p
* The "Then" teaser was almost exactly how I had envisioned it in my mind all week long. Made me squeel with glee when they included the "except when you're hunting, cause then you're downright scary" line with appropriate cuts to Dean killing the vampire and beating up the Impala. *is so happy*
* I just want to say I haven't had this much anticipation for an episode since IMTOD. I was hoping for a great ep and was thrilled that we got one!
* We open exactly as expected...with Sam's vision about Dean shooting a guy. What a way to start an episode...with tension and action. Btw, the stuttering slow motion was a little distracting in this ep, but I tried to overlook it.
* If there is one word for this ep it would have to be tension - it's everywhere. Three minutes in and there's already tension between the brothers as they drive to Rivergrove. Dean gets a little upset when Sam insinuates that he would kill the guy in the vision for no reason. You gotta feel for Sam here. Dean is so hyper-sensitive to everything Sam says that even remotely hints that he doesn't know what he's doing or is out of control in any way.
* It's so cool that Dean recognizes that guy's tattoo! Btw, tattoo guy will now be referred to as Sgt. from now on.
* "That's not school...that's SchoolHouse Rock!" Heh heh. It's so rare for Sam to get a funny line! And then Dean gives his classic "whatever". :p
* Oooh. I love Dean kicking in doors! And he kicks two of them this ep! Whoohoo!
* What is it with Dean shooting everyone 3 times? Just watch...each "victim" gets 3 bullets courtesy of Dean's gun.
* That actress playing Beverly is so lucky. She was sitting in the Impala between Jensen & Jared. I'm so jealous. :) *g*
* I gotta admit I didn't expect to see Dean carrying Mr. Tanner's body into the clinic. Don't ask me why. No wonder he looked a little aprehensive when he opened the trunk.
* Sam: "I hesitated Dean, it was a kid."
Dean: "No it was an it. Not the best time for a bleedin' heart, Sam."
Can you still feel Gordon's influence here? No shades of gray....evil is evil. Someone acts off or "out of their gourd" means they need to be destroyed in Dean's book. Scary.
* The license plate on the car Dean finds was amusing. "WTF 4C7" The first part is kind of obvious...the second...a secret clue???
* Love the long, continous crane shot from the license plate to Dean getting out of the Impala to investigate. Love those overhead shots!
* Okay, the inside of that car was just a bit disturbing. Did you notice the baby car seat in the back all bloody??? Yikes!
* Dean, didn't you learn anything from "The Usual Suspects"? Go ahead and get your fingerprints all over a bloody knife at a crime scene, why don't you? *Sigh* And I do feel a little disappointed with this scene, because we don't get much here. Dean picks up the knife and then we cut away. The car isn't even brought up in conversation later on. It's just felt like we needed more there, but oh well.
* I'm lovin' all the Impala action! We haven't seen this much of the car in quite a while.
* Dean: "You are a handsome devil, but I don't swing that way. Sorry." Heh. Oh Dean. Love his smile here, too.
* How cool was it to see Jensen actually driving the car as it sped off? I'm sure he wasn't the one to pull off that amazing spin, but after that, it was Jensen puttin' the pedal to the metal as they say.
* The showdown between Dean and the Sgt. is great! The quick exchanges and guns drawn reminded me of that classic X-Files episode "Ice".
And this was hilarious...
Sgt. : "My neighbor...Mr. Rogers..."
Dean: "You've got a neighbor named Mr. Rogers?"
and then once they get in the car with their guns pointed at each other...
Dean: "Well this ought to be a relaxing drive."
* Once they find out Beverly Tanner is infected you see the differing opinions of the brothers played out. Sam asks the doctor if there's any possible cure, a way to treat her and Dean is ready and willing to shoot the woman. Dean really doesn't hesitate at all once Sam gives his confirmation about her being infected. And again...Mr. Tanner got 3 bullets, so does Mrs. Tanner.
* I'm still trying to figure out why they show Sgt. looking out the window of the clinic and seeing 3 people gathering outside. Who were we supposed to be seeing? Were we supposed to think the infected townspeople were planning on storming the clinic?
* Ah, the boys and their weapons...gotta love it. Is that Dean's knife that he had under his pillow in Phantom Traveler? Looks similar.
* Fangirly moment here...It might just be me, but I find Dean with a gun and being all manly and forceful "sit down!" to be very sexy and hot. *guh*
* Dean is eager to kill. And Sam realizes his vision is about to come true. Great tension, once again. I'm really starting to get a bad vibe from Dean now. *More on this at the end of the review*
* Jensen impresses again, showing Dean suddenly (finally) struggling with the decision to take a human life. The finger tenative against the trigger, the face twitches, the intense look. Wow! I still wonder what made him change his mind, though. Maybe Sam's comments finally got to him?
* Interesting exchange of looks between the brothers as the doctor asks if she can untie Duane. Dean looks to Sam as if asking for his permission? Sam nods, then looks back as if he expects Dean to speak up and then answers himself when he sees Dean won't.
* Oh man, Sammy's in trouble...again. What is this...the 3rd girl who's tackled him this season? :p Dean kicks the door in again! Yey! And...count em'...3 more bullets. Dean's nothing if not consistent, huh?
* Ah man...Sam reaches up for Dean to help him get up and Sgt. pulls Dean back! I was like, "no!" Heh. Dean's look of horror as he realizes Sam is infected..."sniffle"
* Okay, the next scene just about killed me. They nearly brought me to tears, which almost never happens to me. *sob* What an excellent scene acted so beautifully. Lots of extra cookies to Jensen and Jared for a great job here. Dean is in full-on BigBrotherProtective Mode. They got all the emotion of the scene dead spot on. Sam willing to kill himself so he doesn't "become one of those things", Dean unwilling to leave his brother to die alone. Sam breaks down into tears, desperate for Dean to save himself and heartbreakingly frustrated (slamming his cast onto the table *wibble*) when he won't leave. Then Dean admits that he's tired. Tired of this life, tired of hunting, tired of carrying the weight he's been bearing alone. My heart was just breaking for both of them!
Sam: Dean I'm sick. It's over for me. It doesn't have to be for you.
Sam: No. You can keep going.
Dean: Who says I want to.
*Sniffle* Kripke really knows how to rip our hearts out. BrotherlyAngst! *sob-sniffle* Waaaaaaa! Man, I love this.
* The minute Duane told the Sgt. to pull over I knew he was in trouble, but I didn't exactly expect it to go like that! Shades of Meg all over again. So was this whole infection of the town just a way to test if Sam was immune to the DemonVirus? Hmmm. What is The Demon up to? So we find out Sam can't be mind controlled by other special kids (Simon Said) and now he's immune to this virus. Sounds like this result was expected, too.
* The final scene is lovely. I like the mellow music at the beginning and the nice pan across the Impala. The setting is serene, something we rarely see on this show. Interesting how Dean wants to quit hunting for a while and do something "normal" for once (perhaps in his life) like see the Grand Canyon. This of course, sets off Sam's alarms and he presses Dean on what's really going on. He wants to help take some of the weight off of Dean's shoulders. So Dean tells him that their Dad told him something before he died. Sam asks what, we zoom in on Dean's face, and thousands of SPN fans scream at their TVs as the picture fades to black. I know I screamed at mine. I was hoping for the answer at long last, but half expecting what we got here. I hate being right sometimes. This is almost too much to stand. Another month of agonizing and waiting. I want it to be January...now!
Now to my theories about this ep. Mind you, my theories about this show tend to change by the hour. My impressions/ideas are the following:
- The virus is actually a way that Demons can possess people. The sulfur in the blood samples and the Sgt. pointing out how his neighbors were so strong at the end all point to demonic possession. It would start with one person as a demon who would then infect someone else and so on until everyone has been turned. The town deserted at the end could be from the now possessed humans all leaving for parts unknown to go about their demonic deeds.
- This whole infection in the town was set up as a test by The Demon to see if Sam could be possessed by a demon.
- We know Duane was a demon from the beginning (perhaps he even started the whole thing), but I supect Pam was one also. There was the scene of her spilling the blood, but none of it got on her. I think she was planted in the clinic to make sure Sam got infected. I even have my suspicions about the doctor. They just left her there in town at the end. Why? And how else would Duane have known that Sam was immune if she hadn't secretly told him somehow? She tells Dean and Sam about it, but you can hear Duane and the Sgt. get into the truck before she tells them. So how did Duane know?
- It seems that with each ep Dean is getting darker and darker. He's slipping into someone we've never seen, and neither has Sam. I'm starting to feel that we're being led to believe that Sam is going to turn evil, when in fact, it is going to be Dean who heads down that dark path. He's gun-happy - easily willing to kill anyone who acts suspicious or different. He's definately not himself and Sam knows it. This is about the 4th time Dean has been willing to kill humans. The first was in Faith with Rev. La Grange, then it was with Max in Nightmare, then this season in Bloodlust he relished killing the vampire and was ready to kill more. Now this episode and Sam tries to convince him that these people might not be infected or could be cured somehow. It's fascinating how things have changed. It always appeared as though Sam was the one who needed to be saved, now it's Dean who is falling apart and losing himself to darkness.
Again, just my opinions here. It will be interesting to see how the rest of the season plays out, starting in Jan. If only it wasn't so far away...