Supernatural 12.20 “Twigs & Twine & Tasha Banes” Review

This week’s episode was helmed by two of my favorite people in the behind the scenes universe of Supernatural. One of my new favorite writers, Steve Yockey, handed his material to the ever awesome Richard Speight Jr. to direct. An excellent combination, I thoroughly enjoyed the episode from start to finish.

First of all, the “Then” segment? Season 1 episode 1 Dean? Such a baby, oh my goodness. He and I are the same age. Was I such a baby when the show was born?

To the episode. Since it was two episodes in one, I’d like to take a bit of a different approach. I’m thinking I’ll talk about each story individually, then we can wrap with how they dovetailed together in terms of theme.

I am telling you Ketch caught the feelings.

Let’s begin with Mary and Ketch. Because I love Ketch. Did you know that yet? And yes, after this episode, I still love him. I think he’s beautifully ruthless. And he plays his cards so close to the vest. The exception, of course, was the scene in the corridor with Mary. When she rejected him, reminding him their tryst was a “one time thing”, he was hurt. It could not have been more clear as he verbally lashed her that he thought his charm and good looks would change her mind. If that’s not proof of emotions, I don’t know what is.

And if he’s human, as his feelings for Mary prove, he can be turned.

Now, as I’ve said before, I could be completely off base about this. I know for certain I’m injecting my own desires into this and am coloring my ideas with those feelings. The parallels I see between Ketch and Dean are so clear, I want Ketch to be saved just as Dean has been. But I will admit it would be almost just as powerful to see what would have happened to Dean had he not been redeemed. To watch someone stay on that black and white path and fall because of it.

But I do so love a good redemption arc. I enjoy exploring the dark pathways we can take and still come out into the light at the other end. It’s because of this I see the light in Ketch and want him to be saved.

You can’t convince me he didn’t enjoy this on multiple levels.

We get a glimpse into his methods in the sterile BMoL torture room, where Ketch is in his element. Enjoying the bloodier things in life. Raise your hand if you were surprised he enjoys torture. No? Sorry, Mary, you were the only one not expecting it.

Sort of tells you what kind of lover he must be.

Ahem. Sorry. Anyway, his sense of the Men of Letters’ complete rightness, his total faith in their methods and mission statement, was fully exposed in this episode. He has not only the desire but the need to eliminate the “things that go bump in the night”, and he believes there is a stark divide between humans and monsters. We knew this. But when he fought with Mary and made the statement about the psychic girl, I finally considered what he would have done to Sam if he’d met him in season 4. I honestly don’t think I’d considered that before. He would have killed Sammy without hesitation, and as we know, that cannot stand. The line in the sand was never more clear. Ketch must either be turned, or be destroyed. We simply cannot have that sort of threat running around.

In the end, he defeated Mary in combat, though he got his ass firmly handed to him first. “Enochian brass knuckles only work on angels.” Yeah, they’re still brass knucks, dude. His use of the taser, while a bit dirty, should not have been unexpected. The thing I couldn’t believe was Mary’s total shock at finding the dossiers on each of them.

Raise your hand if you didn’t see this coming? No? OK, just you again, Mary.

Side note, does this mean we’ll get to see Garth again sometime soon??? I hope, I hope, I hope. DJ Qualls is a joy.

Her boys knew what they were getting into the the BMoL. Well, her eldest did. I just can’t believe they haven’t found that damned mic yet.

So, speaking of the boys. Our raison d’etre. We catch up with them talking over what just happened with Castiel. Broke my heart to watch Dean say he didn’t recognize the man staring back at him. I love Cass and so do our boys, but that feathery asshole can make some pretty poor decisions. I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt, again, in that he was being controlled by one of the more powerful beings we’ve ever encountered. But I don’t think Sam can fix the Colt. And if he can, it won’t be ready until season 13, at the least. 

My HEART.

But they get a call from Alicia and Max, the witch twins from Asa Fox. Now see, these two had potential as a spin-off. Believe me, I’ll be getting back to that. We’re going to go a little long because I have a rant about the spin-off situation. I hope you’ll stick with me.

You guys noticed the wallpaper, yeah? Set department shout-out this week.

At any rate, they go on a witch hunt. Enjoyably, they interact with Alicia, Max, and their mother. All the while Dean keeps trying to contact his own and they keep missing each other. Knowing that we saw the twins’ mother get murdered at the beginning of the episode, I spent a large portion of this wondering how they were going to react. What their goodbye scene was going to be like. It was nice to find out more about the twins, to know that Max was the witch and Alicia was basically just the hunter. They have a nice balance, and are certainly people the BMoL would not suffer to live.

The hunt goes as expected, as necessary, and they find their mother is not who she purports to be. The scene where Max finds his mother’s body, after having been so convinced Alicia was worried over nothing, was particularly touching. I love that the Winchesters didn’t really try to talk to him. They’ve been there. They know. They felt his pain as he did.

They’ve been there, Max.

I found myself concerned with the twins’ survival throughout the episode, and when Alicia died I was not sad. I was pissed. This is not how this should have gone, guys. Yes yes of course Max ran the boys off, picked up the ring, and brought his sister back to “life”. Once again, for the second time this season, the Winchesters did something I consider completely out of character. They should have stayed to destroy the ring and help burn the bodies. I wanted to scream at them, if it was one of you dead up there, would you give a shit if you had to sell your soul to bring the other back to life? When the power sat right there on the floor? No. No you would not care.

Good lord, both of them have done that for the other. Leaving without cleaning up the mess was reckless and made no sense. The only thing it did do was leave the door open to see Max and Alicia again. And possibly kill them because now Max has crossed a line. On the rewatch, however, I discovered that Dean very well knew what was going to happen. And he allowed it anyway. So, I’ll give Steve a pass on that one.

Now these two storylines dovetailed quite nicely together. From the shifter Ketch and Mary were interrogating to Castiel running off with Luci’s babymamadrama, this episode was about family.

The BMoL are Ketch’s family, he’d do anything for them. Mary put herself in great peril to discover the secrets Ketch was trying to hide from her, so she could warn her boys. Max lost everything, including his soul, in order to maintain his own family. And the boys watched over all of it, having been in each and every one of these positions before. One of the very best things this season has given us is their bond. They are a united front like they haven’t been in so very long. They have each other’s backs, no matter what. It’s quite lovely.

Also, it’s bad news for anyone that comes between them and what they want.

Notes:

-So Miss Lady Bitch Pants Suit is back. Like she didn’t learn her lesson the first time around.

-Seriously, Mary kicked Ketch’s ass. Girl can punch.

-But it seems no one actually knows Mary’s deal. Hm.

-Seeing the Colt like that is so heartbreaking. I can’t even.

-Witches, man. Witches.

 

Alright, so here’s my P.S.

I don’t know if the CW still wants to do a spin-off of Supernatural. The first attempt failed something miserable. I have thoughts and theories as to why. Think about the successful spin-offs you know. One that comes to mind is Frasier. Look at that character. He was in several episodes of Cheers. I don’t even know how many per season. A healthy handful. We met his wife, we heard about his drama, he dated Diane. He was a part of the show. When he went off to get his own show, we followed, not just because we liked the character and not just because we liked Cheers and wanted more. We followed because we’d heard bits and pieces of his story and we wanted more. We gave a shit about him.

When they tried to spin Supernatural off the first time, they tried to give us a one off. Bones made this same mistake. Just one episode, introduce some random stranger and say “poof! You care about them because we said so!” No. It doesn’t work that way. With few exceptions, we have to meet a character at least twice before we have anything close to empathy for them. Before we want to hear more about their story. I feel like TPTB with Supernatural cannot see the spin-off material literally staring them in the face.

Let’s go back to season 3. I thought Agent Henrickson would have made a wonderful hunter. I would have enjoyed watching him learn the ropes and kick some ass. Nope. Killed him in the same episode where he found out the truth.

Fine. My next thought was Charlie. Her adventures in Oz would have been fantastic! The boys could come to Oz from time to time! She could fight all KINDS of supernatural foes in Oz, and make such a variety of allies it would be stupid. Nope! Killed her.

Side note: I cannot take credit for this idea but someone in one of my groups mentioned that Charlie could have sent a clockwork person back from Oz. Maybe it wasn’t the real Charlie that died?

Ok, so that’s two options down. The first time I saw Alicia and Max, I thought they’d make a great spin-off. I’d watch it, for sure. They have a rich backstory, a great dynamic, and no doubt a very interesting life. Well. We see what happened with that.

I’m sure you’ve all heard of the Wayward Daughters. I’d watch the hell out of that, too. Hire Kim and Briana and make this happen, people.

My point, and what makes me so angry I just wrote like six thousand words about it is that TPTB really don’t seem to be able to see the forest for the trees. They keep taking these golden spin-off opportunities and imploding the shit out of them. Just once, I’d like for them to see what they have.

 

(all pics and screenshots property of the CW)

Supernatural 12.19 “The Future” Review

So, Castiel did a thing.

For starters, he pissed me off. But he earned his degree from the Dean Winchester School of Communication, so I can’t really be that mad.

Alright, let me back up. This week’s episode was entirely plot. 100%. And to be honest, it was forty five minutes in and I said to myself, “nothing of note has happened yet.” Now I will admit that on the first watching this week, I was distracted by computer problems. Not my own, but a family member, which is almost just as distressing. And I’m the house IT person by default, so my attention was split.

A well and tastefully done scene, for what it was.

I saw enough to see Kelly, the mother of Luci’s child, despondent over what was to come. Every time she looks at the child, she knows it’s her child. An innocent. I know that feeling. Everything you do, you do for the little one who has no choice in who it is. Still, I was proud of her resolve. Putting the good of the world above that of not only herself, but her child, that took some real guts. My estimation of her grew because of it. 

As we know, when we’re not watching a monster of the week, the boys are working on the plot. We find Sam, giving the nephilim’s due date for the date of the season finale.

Aside: on which date, we’ll have not one but TWO episodes in one night. I can’t breathe.

And when Castiel shows up, Dean puts it all on the table. He’s pissed. He’s hurt. He’s been betrayed by someone who not only has he put his ass on the line for, just a few weeks ago Castiel told them they were family. But now he’s run off to be with his other family. To Dean, turning your back on family is tantamount to cheating. It’s the ultimate betrayal. It’s untenable.

But Cass apologizes, in his own awkward way. And he and Dean try to fix what he broke.

Go Team Free Will, dumbass.

The angel, however, has his own plans. Always trying to keep Dean and Sam safe, for they are mortals, he deserts them once again. Even though Sam has finally come up with a fantastic plan. Extract the nephilim’s grace. Make it human. I admit, I got a little teary eyed. The Winchesters are such beautiful heroes. They may not be perfect, but they do their best. And their best is nothing short of transcendent. The list about why Dean is my favorite superhero is ever lengthening.

At any rate, Cass goes after Kelly himself, along with two other angels. It was good to see Nathan Mitchell again, as the angel Kelvin. He impressed me with his angelic performance last time, and I wish he’d done more in this episode. As he battled Dagon, Cass took Kelly and ran.

Because though Castiel may have once been a warrior angel, now he’s an honorary Winchester. He can’t kill an innocent, either. He was planning to take her to heaven, however, so they could take care of the problem. But he fell under the spell of the nephilim and its mother.

We all remember what happened with the antichrist, yes? Don’t think this’ll turn out much better.

The nephilim is something I’d like to talk about. It saved Kelly’s life when she tried to kill herself. In point of fact, she did kill herself. It brought her back to life. When their souls touched, she felt its goodness. Its pure heart. I mean, Lucifer was an angel, an archangel, before he was cast down. He was the best and the strongest of them all. And this is his child. It doesn’t have to be the son of the devil. It’s the son of an angel. Now, as we know, in Supernatural land, angels are feathery winged dicks. But still, I almost want to believe Kelly when she says the child is good. And I want the grace removal to work. My caveat to that, however, is that Lucifer is the best when it comes to telling people what they want to hear. His kid definitely inherited that trait. 

I think the grace thing might work, if the Winchesters have a chance to try it. But not until after the nephilim kills Lucifer. Yeah, I’m saying it. I think we’re going to lose Luci for good and all at the end of this season. Hoisted on his own petard, as Gabe would say. Yet I’m not entirely convinced Crowley won’t also be collateral damage. I fear we may lose him. But then, I’ve been afraid of that every single time he’s shown up for like three seasons. That’s my PTSD talking. Thanks, TNG.

So Sam and Dean catch up with Cass, tell him about their plan, and then he runs away again. Granted this time it’s on Kelly, but still. It’s fairly annoying that one week he tells them they’re his favorite things ever, better than his heavenly family, and then he just leaves. Over and over and over again. But at least he’s self aware enough to know it, when he tells her he’s not someone she should put her faith in.

And yet, when push came to shove, he put his big boys pants on, took the power the nephilim granted him, and smote the shit out of that yellow eyed demon with it. 

Three down. One to go. Buh-bye.

I don’t know how all this is going to play out but I hate the following:

-Castiel and the Winchesters being separated

-The fact we’re going to lose either Lucifer or Crowley or both

-Not having seen Rowena in weeks and weeks and weeks

I’d also say it’s likely next week is the last episode that’ll keep the BMoL and Lucifer storylines apart. I figure after that they’ll converge for the following three episodes, and the final showdown. I look forward to seeing all that play out.

Notes:

-The Winchester’s “purse dog” hahahahahahaha Lucifer literally gets the best lines.

-Dean keeps the Colt under his pillow. Come on, Sam, did you have to ask?

It’s a good thing somebody killed her, because that was not going to fly.

-Dagon may as well have reached into each and every one of our chests and ripped out our hearts when she destroyed the Colt. That damned gun has been a part of us since the beginning.  

-Next week’s episode was written by Steve Yockey, who is fast becoming one of my favorite new Supernatural writers. What he has to deliver is no doubt fantastic. Can’t wait.

 

A p.s. for last week’s review. When Ketch looked at that photo of Mary and young Dean, he may have just been realizing how old she should be, yet isn’t. And if that’s the case, he no doubt has some questions for her. But he may be conflicted as to what path to take once he discovers the truth. I’m sure he’s thinking pretty hard about the whole thing. Looks like we’re going to find out next week. See you then, family.

(All screenshots/photos property of the CW)

Supernatural 12.18 “The Memory Remains” Review

This week, I find myself incredibly grateful Supernatural is available to watch in full, including the “Then” segment, on the CW app (or their website) because somehow my broadcast began after the first five minutes.

Though the first five minutes are almost always the same, they’re part of the whole formula that puts my brain in Supernatural mode. Without them, I end up feeling lost for a few minutes, especially when I know they’re missing. What they would have told me this week was that this episode was going to be, for the most part, a Monster of the Week. And the thing about monster of the week is that this show is expert at them. Like a well oiled machine. It makes me quite comfortable, knowing what to expect. Plenty of Sam and Dean, being Sam and Dean.

So, to the case. Sheriff Taxidermy was a great suspect for this case, considering the killer was wearing a stuffed goat head. But I also completely suspected stick-up-his-ass supervisor from the get-go. Especially once the boys interviewed him. He just seemed a little…you know. Off.

Guest star Ryan McDonald, not being suspicious at all.

Side note: in episodes like this, I enjoy the banter between Sam and Dean in places like the diner. Think that’s my favorite part. I mean, do Jared and Jensen even need a script for this anymore?

I love the diner banter more than I can adequately express

Meanwhile, Ketch and some of his boys “broke into” the bunker. I mean, one, I wish the Winchesters would get a run of the mill lock on that place. Something, rather than leave it accessible to the BMoL. And any other Men of Letters in the world. I mean, the Winchesters sleep there. I don’t know if I’d be OK with it once I’d found out there were other Men of Letters, and any of them could get into your home. The Brits have already shown they can’t really be trusted. I mean, the first time one of them came into the bunker, she shot Sam and then had him tortured. Not someone you want with a key to your house. And to top it off, they appear to be thieves as well.

How DOES Sam get his hair so shiny?

Side note 2: weekly shout-out to the set department. I’m pretty sure Bobby was a ghost at least twice on the Addams Family house set, and it’s hard to hide that staircase, but I appreciate the effort. I’m sure it takes a lot of imagination and hard work to make the same sets look different and I like to acknowledge how hard the set department must work. Seems like a huge undertaking. Your excellent work does not go unnoticed.

Backing the sheriff into a corner, Sam and Dean find out the truth about the killings. A pagan god. Yeah, pretty sure Dean was right in that the Colt can take care of this. I mean, we haven’t yet found out the fifth thing the Colt can’t kill (have we? Correct me if I’m wrong), but I doubt it’s some random pagan god. Not considering how many we’ve seen on this show.

As I said before, the formula makes me comfortable, and to my delight they continued to follow it. One of the boys, this time Dean, gets taken by the monster. The explanation of why the monster is getting fed adds up to Will Scarlet, the meat plant supervisor, and we find Dean in the freezer with two dead bodies and a pagan god.

And no Colt.

We know our Dean, though, and we know Sam will kill himself to save him, so the only worry we have is whether or not the good guy of the week will die to solve the case. He lives, Dean gets the crap beat out of him by a pagan god, and every time pagan gods get mentioned I think of the Christmas episode.mr6

All in all, I found the episode itself enjoyable, comfortable, and what makes Supernatural what it is. The backbone of my favorite show. Its meat and potatoes. Our reminder that Jared and Jensen are the heart and soul of this show. They could easily be phoning in episodes like this by now. But never, not once, have I gotten that feeling from them. Not in twelve seasons. Though we know neither Winchester is about to die by the hand of some random pagan god on a Monster of the Week, they still put every bit of effort in helping us believe they are fighting for their lives. And I love them, for that and for so many other reasons.

Notes and theories:

-whoever’s decision it was to not show the god in full form was a brilliant, and I’m sure, money saving one. In horror you do not always need to see the monster. Sometimes, suspense is better.

-poor Dean didn’t get to use the Colt. Again. Well at least he got laid.

-I liked the set-up of the town’s history. You really got the sense of a larger story that will continue once the boys leave.

-The boys carving their initials into the table definitely achieved the desired effect. Got a little misty watching that brother moment.

Seriously haven’t seen a bug this large since those 80’s spy movies about the Cold War I grew up on

-Alright, seriously. Was that a bug Ketch planted? The blond one already planted a bug in the wall speaker. What was up with the one Ketch slapped under the table? AKA the most obvious bug known to man? Even the one in the speaker was unrealistically large. This was is just impossible.

Naturally, I have theories. Was it really a bug? At first I worried maybe it was some sort of explosive device. Or some other sort of BMoL toy that will harm the Winchesters. But. The more I think about it, the more I think it’s some kind of clue for the Winchesters to find. I still think it’s probable that Ketch is going to switch sides. But seeing what he saw along with doing what he did when Mick tried it convinces me he’s going to be a hell of a lot more discreet about it. Some in the fandom have shown surprise Mick was killed so quickly. My answer to that is that he was to be an example. To Ketch, specifically. Don’t be an idiot about it, that’s the example. The old men and their dogs, they don’t care about individuals in the organization. They only, only, only care about their precious Code.

Not to mention Ketch stealing that photograph. What is clearly one of Dean’s favorite possessions. Not only is Dean sure to notice its absence, why does Ketch want it? Because it’s a picture of Mary? Because it stands for childhood innocence or a mother’s love? Maybe something Ketch never had? Or something he misses, perhaps.

Or something else entirely. For a moment, I’ll entertain that I’m giving him too much credit and he’s simply doing these things to follow orders. To find out and understand as much as possible about his adversary. By studying Sam and Dean’s relationships to others, he can understand where their weak points are and leverage them.

Time will tell. See you April 27th.

(All photos property of the CW)

 

Supernatural 12.17 “The British Invasion” Review

Sorry about the hiatus, again, but here we are. No surprise what this episode was going to be about, given the title.

To start, I love recognizing scenery. The set department always does such an excellent job redressing the same sets, and the directors do pretty well shooting them from new angles. Of course they know that we know it’s Bobby’s house, but they work very hard to make it look new. In this case it was their “college” set, where we see Hogwarts. Straight away, they give us an Umbridge to hate. And hate her, we can and do.

I must admit mild surprise to find Mick had ever killed anyone. He seems so soft.

Eileen makes a welcome addition to this episode

So real quick, I was super happy to see Shoshannah Stern as Eileen again. I loved her in the banshee episode, and also I think Sammy deserves to have something with someone. Last season, when they met the hunter couple in “The Chitters”, Sam asked Dean if he’d ever thought about settling down with a hunter or something. Of course, Dean poo-pooed the idea. But I still think Sam deserves it. And she’d make a lovely choice. 

Dean deserves no less than his goddess, but that’s a conversation for another time.

So Umbridge gives Mick the order to “assimilate or eliminate”. I really don’t think she knows who she’s dealing with, here. The BMoL are the ones on the eliminate end of that equation, she just doesn’t realize it yet. But she will. You know it as well as I do. She will.

For all their posturing, the BMoL were honestly impressed by the Winchesters when they learned they’d faced, and beaten, Lucifer. The Winchesters knew about the nephilim. The Winchesters face and destroy at least as many monsters, and those of higher caliber, than the BMoL. Yet the BMoL are coldly efficient. They have some really fun toys. Their research is, now that Bobby’s gone, unparalleled. In all honesty, the Winchesters and the BMoL would make a great team if they could just be friends.

Uhm. Yes, please.

And Ketch and Mary. Raise your hand if you were surprised. Anyone? No? Me neither. David Haydn-Jones is incredible at thinking about and then talking about his character. He’s given a lot of thought to Ketch’s back story, his motivations, and who he really is. I very much appreciate the depth to which he’s considered the character and the sincerity with which he plays him. He’s a credit to the show, and I truly hope we get to keep him. I’ve enjoyed discussing Ketch both with him and others in the fandom over on twitter. There’s a lot of ideas floating around. I’d like to be perfectly clear about mine.

Here is how I see Ketch. He’s a killer. He’s the BMoL’s dog. But he can easily become one of the good guys. He can give himself orders. He can become a true hunter. He’s not only strong enough, he has the emotional fortitude to do it. Someone pointed out he’s much like a Vulcan, and while I disagree with their initial statement he’s incapable of the same depth of emotion as the Winchesters, I do agree he’s been taught to suppress emotion. But he reminds me SO MUCH of the Dean we met in season one.

Take Dean’s conversation with Gordon the first time they met him. He believed it was black and white, us and them, monster=evil. Yet in that very same episode he learned that there can be shades of grey. That you don’t always have to kill the monster, because sometimes the monster is just like you. They just want to live their lives, and if they can do so without harming anyone, are they really so monstrous?

Is Ketch?

There’ve been a few cracks in his veneer that reinforce my belief that he is really just a Winchester in a fancy suit. For example, he has the feelings for Mary. He is definitely more into her than she is into him. So, she’s made a start in thawing the icy exterior he wears like that well fitting suit. He identifies with Dean, and I think it’s working more on him than it is on Dean. I do not feel he has friends, but if he did, Mick would have qualified as one. Though he followed his orders to the letter, it disturbed him. Not only because he probably liked Mick, but also because killing his own people is something he knows, at his core, is wrong.

A spectacularly nuanced and understated show of emotion from our Ketchie. Less than three you, DHJ.

He’ll change sides. Whether this will be his undoing or not remains to be seen. I hope he survives the switch, because I think not only is Ketch a dynamic and interesting character who would add to the essence of Team Free Will, DHJ is a wonderful and thoughtful actor. He does not take this chance to join the SPN Family lightly, and he is dedicated to his craft.

OK, that’s my Ketch/DHJ gushing for this week. Back to the plot. The things I left out.

Dagon, Lucifer, Crowley, the nephilim and its mother. First of all, Crowley cannot be that thick. Please, for the love of Chuck, tell me he’s not actually falling for Luci’s bullshit. Come ON, Crowley. You’re smarter than that.

There’s that scheming Luci we know and love.

Second of all, Lucifer is working on his escape plan, and not doing too bad of a job. It’s killing me to watch him tell everyone what they want to hear and getting away with it. Good gracious but he is smooth. Gotta love that about him. His game is just as on point as ever.

 

Dagon, loyal servant, well I’m still not sure how I feel about her. She’s doing alright keeping Kelly safe and pregnant but I just don’t know about her as a Yellow Eyed demon. She seems a little…I don’t know. I’m going to have to see more of her. I want to like her, but I just don’t have enough information yet.

And poor Kelly. I just don’t know how she’s going to survive this. I can understand her compulsion to save the baby. I honestly can. But. BUT.

All in all, this was a strong plot heavy episode. The fact that Lucifer continues to be a presence each time they also bring up the BMoL tells me these two storylines will converge, either during the penultimate episode or the season finale. The BMoL will, in fact, find out what it’s really like to face Lucifer. There will be blood. There will be death.

There will be victorious Winchesters.

Good to see you home, sweetheart.

(All photos property of the CW)

r/nosleep: what it is, and why i love it

I’ve been thinking about this blog for a bit, and since we’re on brief Hellatus from Supernatural, let’s talk scary stories instead.

I wrote this while it was all bright and sunny outside.

For months last year, I’d been seeing these compilations of “this happened to me and it was really freaky” stories. Some of them were super creepy. Gave me goosebumps creepy. Taking my sister in law’s suggestion, eventually, I looked up the source of many, r/nosleep. This is a subreddit, and on it, the rules are simple.

The stories are real.

Does this mean they are really real? Of course not. But they are told from first person, as though they were real. As the author, it’s against the rules to comment “out of character”, as it were, and indicate it’s a story. As a commenter, it’s against the rules to acknowledge it’s a fake story. It’s against the rules to debunk. Skepticism I’ve seen, but you can’t just say, “oh that’s an awful fake story, FAKER.”

The moon is the only light here.

Here’s the thing, though. This series (link to the first in the series) about the Forest Service? Go read some of that and see if you can tell me whether it’s fake or not. Either this author is crazy talented at sounding like an amateur (and goodness knows people can. Look at the way Jensen sings when he’s Dean), or the stories are for real. Do you know? I don’t.

Some of them are obviously outside the realm of possibility. Like this one (give it a chance. It takes an unexpected and enjoyable twist). But it’s fun to read, and well written. And just this side of believable, in most cases. Which is another rule. There’s also the collected works of Inaaace, including the one which got me started on him, some of which have been assembled into a book. He’s planning another, since he just returned from cancer treatment. Sure, his stories are stories. But writing them in first person grants the reader a feeling of immediacy you don’t get from third person.

The well written ones, the ones that drag you along, like the one that started it all for me, they get under your skin.

I don’t walk at night anymore. No kidding.

Make you think, wow, this could happen to me. And once they get you in that mindset, the goosebumps follow. The chills.

The looking over your shoulder.

Not hurrying down the dark hallway. Swear I’m just walking.

Now, when I read this story, I kinda wanted to give up writing. It flows so effortlessly from beginning to punchline. You can easily believe this is really a person who’s experienced the things they saw, and they’re simply relating the story to you. The ability to write a story so effortless is the result of lots and lots and lots of practice. I envy many of these authors. I haven’t dabbled much in first person, and I’m certain I wouldn’t be able to pull one of these off with the skill some of these authors have.

To me, that is the magic of nosleep. It’s reaching the end of the story and asking…

Was this real? Or not?

A casual walk. Leisurely, even.

Supernatural 12.15 “Somewhere Between Heaven and Hell” Review

In case you’re new here, just as a warning, there are spoilers contained in this blog for everything. All the things.

First of all, I need to address Lucille. I am not caught up on TWD (see this post) although I miss it dearly and intend to catch up after this season is finished airing. I just can’t stay away any longer. Plus I’ve heard good things thus far about the back half of this season.

Anyway, who can forget the twitter exchange that began with this?

I thought they were just joking, turns out they were for real. When I saw Lucille I laughed so hard, I missed the next three or four lines. Maybe even the rest of the scene. The important thing here, though, is that Dean was happy. Drenched in pieces of ghoul and whatever, he’s been out hunting, killing, and saving people. Busy Dean is a happy Dean.

Keep that in mind.

Immediately, Sam gets a notification from his made up computer program. Come on, Sammy. Why you lying? Our boys, off to solve the next case, mention Cass in passing. He’s off to see about some angel killings. Cass and his family aren’t on the best of terms, but random angel of the week was nice and convincing when trying to get him on their side. I felt for Castiel, really I did, when he talked about Heaven. I do hope, though, for Cass’s sake, that it was an act. He told the boys a few weeks ago they were his family and he loved them. But now he’s homesick for Heaven? I, for one, am not buying it. Probably because I desperately wish that Cass is just using the angels to solve the nephilim problem.

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Excellent job by guest star, Nathan Mitchell

Knowing Luci is out and about, sort of, we’re going to need angel power down the road anyway. Let’s cover Lucifer though. From the moment those idiot demons opened the door to Luci’s room, I thought to myself, “this can’t be right. Crowley wouldn’t be so sloppy.”

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Such a treat.

Also, I laughed and laughed and laughed as idiot demon #1 made his demands to Luci. We all know, due to season 5, Lucifer hates demons. Thinks they’re beneath contempt. It’s funny, then, that they love him so much. Indeed, they worship him. But Crowley is aware of both of these things. It made no sense to me he would be so careless as to get pick-pocketed by Demon-Dee and Demon-Dumb. It was worth it, however, to see Luci in the bridle. 

I thought Lucifer’s threat of eating Crowley’s soul was funny. Don’t we all know Crowley doesn’t have a soul? Either way, the banter between the two of them is delicious. I do hope we get to see a bit more of it before one of them dies. Because, make no mistake, I’m 98% certain that’s how this is going to end. Crowley won this round, and it was spectacular. He let the idiot demons pick his pocket just to torture Luci. I love he’s a witchcraft using demon, and I love it when he reminds us of this. He did learn from the best, and seeing him put it to use with Luci is pretty thrilling. But it will backfire, and when it does, I don’t know what’s going to happen. But Crowley is good at making allies, and when it comes time he’ll have the Winchesters, the BMoL, and probably the angels. Maybe the demons. It’ll take that army to defeat Lucifer + his yellow-eyed children. Sounds nice and epic.

The case of the week, AKA our reason for watching the Winchesters and not just the Cass and Crowley show, was interesting enough. Poor random people and their random getting attacked by a random Hellhound. I could understand why Sam Winchester and his much handsomer brother Dean didn’t want to tell her the truth at first. I’m just glad they didn’t leave before they could heroically save her. If they hadn’t, we wouldn’t have gotten my Superman in his Clark Kent glasses.

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Yes, please.

Now, I know Dean made that “heavy lifting” joke at the beginning of the episode, and it’s the truth, but that’s probably why Sammy got to kill the Hellhound. I felt a little cheated, though, because he got the last one. Dean deserves to kill a Hellhound. They’re one of the creatures on his very short list of things he’s actually afraid of. It’d be nice for him to be able to get one, considering he got dragged off by one. But the choice made by the creative team to film from behind the glasses was a beautiful one.

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Bad doggy.

In the end, Sam decided to stop lying to Dean. Our other up from the case of the week. I loved that Dean paused, didn’t fly off the handle, and thought. I do think there are upsides to working with the BMoL, and it was good of Dean to think about it, too. I don’t feel Dean from two seasons ago would have done that, but working with God and being touched by the Darkness did something to him. And considering how happy he was when we caught up with them this week, he was willing to take it under advisement. His work with Ketch also influenced him, I’m sure of it. Ketch wasn’t wrong in the things he said. That said, this relationship is sure to be fraught.

Looking forward to it.

Notes:

-“Not Moose” on Crowley’s caller ID gets me every single time.

-Alien abduction conspiracy theorist guy was probably the first one of these types Castiel had to deal with (excuse me, Agent Solange). I thought he handled it well. Haha.

-The Hellhounds creation story was fun.

-I knew Sam’s “not a scratch” speech was going to go left. He is in So. Much. Trouble.

-Oh man. Looking for screenshots I discovered Nick (Luci’s vessel) still wears his wedding ring. *CRY*

-The demon making it awkward. Best interaction of the episode.

-Lastly, TPTB have given us an incredible gift, bringing back Mark Pellegrino as Lucifer. Incredible. Enjoy it while it lasts, though, because they are about to RIP OUR HEARTS OUT. And you can take that to the bank. 

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Can’t tell you how nice it is to have you back, Mark.

(all photos owned by the CW)

Supernatural 12.14 “The Raid” Review

I’d like to begin by saying I’m sorry. My novel, Reclamation, has been taking up a lot of head space recently. It’s a trilogy, and I’m writing part two, and I’ve made some pretty disturbing discoveries about what’s coming. So I’ve missed a couple excellent episode reviews. Many, many apologies. Trust me, the fault is in me, not the episodes. They were brilliant.

Anyhow, the new episode, “The Raid”. Super ultra mega good.

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We are so lucky to have such a talented actor as one of our leads. He constantly amazes me.

The beginning of it just broke my heart for Dean. Finally pissed at Mary for all the wrongs she’s committed since coming back from the dead, he calls her “Mary” and is done with it. And as we know, Sam is usually on his brother’s side. Can’t say I was sad to see them so harshly judge her. She deserves it. Also, Jensen knocked it out of the park. My god.

So we find Mary with the BMoL at their little base camp. Very fancy, I might add. Though we find Ketch being a typical chauvinist jerk, I also still like him. It’s like I said before, he’s like a Winchester. Kinda stuffy maybe, but there’s nothing he’s done the boys haven’t. No mistakes he’s made in judgement we haven’t watched Sam or Dean make. If he can be given a pair of grey colored lenses, I still think they can be friends. I know, I said after the secret service guys they couldn’t be friends. I changed my mind. Consider me fully in the Ketch Kamp. 

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#KetchIsFetch

Side note, I had to chuckle when Sammy showed up at the BMoL base. Him and his modern muscle cars. Haha. Also, I will fully, shamefully, admit I said to myself “huh, that Pierce guy looks familiar” but didn’t put it together until David Haydn-Jones tweeted about it. 

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Chief!!!

Ps. no BSG spoilers, please. We’re still in season 2.

I must say I was mildly impressed by the BMoL effort against vampires in the US. They organize well, have a good plan, and a solid team behind them. I think they’re not quite prepared for the rodeo that is America, but that’s honestly exactly why they need the Winchesters. This episode backed up that opinion. I am still anti-BMoL, I really am, but if they’re going to stay they absolutely must recruit the Winchesters. And they cannot make enemies of our boys if they hope to make it. The way the Old Men had Miss Lady Bitch Pant Suit come in was a huge mistake. And let’s be clear. She didn’t “go rogue”. That’s crap. We saw her take the call from the Old Men.

Just like Ketch didn’t “go rogue” to make the play for Dean. He was ordered to. It just wasn’t Mick’s orders. This guy has got some rude awakenings coming.

The reappearance of Alpha Vampire was fun. I like him a lot. Mobilizing the troops against the BMoL was a smart choice. Catching them with their pants down.

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Oh see I got all distracted watching Ketch and Dean. It was fun to watch Dean play the good cop.

Back to the BMoL. It’s funny for people who claim to be so good at what they do they were caught so unawares. Have they honestly forgotten how to be defensive? They walk around without blades? Without guns? Totally naked at home? That’s just…not smart. I have trouble understanding that approach. But then I guess I forgot the Men of Letters weren’t hunters, they were scholars. Which is exactly why the American chapter got wiped out. You’d think the Brits would have caught on. One thing this episode certainly did was make me much more interested in their back story. Why are they the way they are? Why do they care about expanding into America? And what’s up with Ketch’s tattoo? 

The most fun part of the episode was, of course, Sammy saving everyone’s asses. Reinforcing why, if they’re going to come to America, the BMoL need the Winchesters on their side. And since they pulled off getting the Colt, it looks like the Winchesters could use their resources. It hasn’t been the same without their own scholar. Who I desperately miss at times. Bring back Bobby? 

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We miss you, Jim.

Speaking of the Colt, GO SAMMY. When’s the last time he got to kill a Big Bad? I mean, Dean usually gets them. I was quite pleased to see him get to kill something with the Colt. Quick notes on the interplay between Sam and Mary. Nice to see her admit the truth about the theft, I don’t think Sam would have gotten past it so quickly if Cass had died. No, not at all. As it was, he pulled himself together quickly, considering the circumstances. When he passed the spell to Mick, though, why did Mary ask about Bobby? Does she know him? And if so, how? Didn’t he become a hunter after she died? Maybe she just mentioned his name because someone needed to.

Overall, I really enjoyed this episode. One Big Bad down, several to go. Could we really get to that world Mary spoke of? A world without monsters? I’ll admit, I’ve considered that possibility once or twice about how to end the show. We’ve all, Jared included, pretty much accepted that the Winchesters’ deaths will end the show. One or both. But what if they didn’t have to? What if they could eradicate the monsters? Or at least most of them? I don’t think demons or angels will ever be gone, but then I guess they could be locked into their respective homes. Remember the Tablets.

What if the Winchesters could retire from hunting?

The other day, I thought about what the boys would do if they retired from hunting. We know what Sam would do. Find a girl. Finish college. Have that family he wants. What about Dean? Maybe become a real cop? A deputy of Jody? Can you imagine? Comedy gold, for one. Also, hunting doesn’t exactly provide a pension.

If for no other reason than those, I’d like to see them work with the BMoL. But also, Ketch is Fetch. We need more of him. I’d like to see him stick around.

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(Supernatural photos property of the CW)

 

Supernatural 12.12 “Stuck in the Middle (With You)” Review

This episode of Supernatural touched me in a way few have. I’m a Tarantino-phile and while I don’t know everything, and could very well miss a few things in this review, I’m officially placing this episode at #2 all time. Which I find interesting, seeing as how last season brought me a new #2 also, in “Baby”. What’s my #1, you ask? “Swan Song”, the season 5 finale. I don’t see that changing any time soon, but thanks for asking.

My game plan for the episode is as follows:

First, I’ll put it in order, including my feelings and conclusions. It’s going to be a little long (very) because I’m doing a full recap. And because this episode was wall to wall packed with goodies for the fandom.

Afterwards, I’ll point out as many Tarantino references as I can and their Tarantino origins. I could get into where Quentin got those from, but I think that would make this far longer than it needs to be. And besides, we’re talking about Supernatural here.

Directed by Richard Speight Jr., who you may know as the Emcee to end all Emcee’s for Supernatural conventions, who you may know as the guy in the Pepsi commercials, who you may know as the Trickster. Yes yes he was really Gabriel. Sorry, he’ll always be the Trickster to me. His chosen identity. The last episode he directed, “Just My Imagination” was nominated for Hugo award. I expected no less from this episode, and I was not disappointed.

First step: put it in order. Discuss the feels.

Mary and Wally sit in a truck, on stakeout. She has photos, photos I should have

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Remember the brother fight?

recognized. Unless I’m mistaken, we’ve seen that painting of Michael before. But I didn’t make the connection because by the time we got to this scene I was too in love with the episode’s style to notice. Anyhow, they sit in the truck and Wally alludes to the lie they’re going to be telling Sam and Dean. Why you lying, Mary? Don’t you know lying to your boys gets people dead? I think you don’t know them very well. And I don’t like you for lying. Also, all the good she’s been able to do with the BMoL sounds great and all, but who feels OK with that? Not me.

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If you didn’t get this Reservoir Dogs reference, you haven’t seen enough Tarantino films.

Next, Mary and Wally meet the boys and Castiel outside the diner. Introductions made, they walk inside to have probably one of the cutest scenes I’ve seen on Supernatural in seasons. The waitress flirts with a mildly hapless Cass, who knows what’s going on but instead of asking her out, awkwardly sniffs her. Sam’s question, “Why would you want them to smell like food?” pretty much perfectly sums up everything that was good and beautiful about this scene. It ends with Mary saying “Everything is going to be alright.” Much as I love the Winchesters, if you’re hunting with them and you hear them say that, RUN. Run fast, run far.

 

They arrive at the demon’s house, ready to set up. While the boys are painting devil’s traps, loading demon bullets, and in general getting ready, Mary disappears. Down to the basement where, honestly, I should have known what she was getting. All the weapons in the room? The freaking thing was right there in the “Then” portion of the episode. I wasn’t paying close enough attention. And again, she lies, when Castiel asks where she was. You know what, Mary? Your boys find out you almost got Cass killed, they won’t forgive you, no matter who you are. He’s proven himself as part of the family. Just because you’re blood don’t mean you’re family.

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And if you missed Pulp Fiction here, I don’t know what to tell you.

 

So home comes the demon. Early, no less. Wonder why? Did someone tip him off? I find that not only possible, but likely. Probably the BMoL. Seems like something they’d do. Although it could’ve been Crowley’s demons. At any rate, he comes in and the boys hit him full force. Don’t even leave a scratch. Mary gets cornered in the kitchen and this is our first BIG revelation.

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The demon has Yellow Eyes. The demon has Yellow Eyes. This is not a drill, the demon has Yellow Eyes.

Sam and Dean fight the usual demons, Wally dies, poor guy I liked him, and Mary and Castiel fight New Yellow Eyes. This demon, he pulls some sort of spear (sorry Crowley, a lance) from nowhere. A magical lance. After he stabs Castiel with it, Mary runs his ass down. Pretty awesome. Taking Cass, she gets down the road and calls the boys. Blood in her hair and on her fingers, she somehow doesn’t get blood on her phone when texting the BMoL, asking what the hell they got her into. They claim “bad intel”. What would the Brits call that? Horse puckey? Haha, what’s the proper British term here?

 

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Stings a little, Dean.

The boys come to find her and Castiel. She and Sam discuss what happened at the farm, and Sam asks the same question. What did you get us into? Meanwhile, Dean checks up on Castiel. Cass says he thinks he’s dying and while Dean denies this possibility, he can hardly look at the wound. He does good not showing any cracks in the veneer though.

 

Then Crowley comes. You idiots, you’re all going to die.

Now, I didn’t start with this, because it is a true flashback. As such, it goes here in the episode, not at the beginning. In it, we see Crowley as he was back at the beginning of season 6. We know this due to the references he made to Azazel, Lilith, and Lucifer. It is at this point, in an incredibly enjoyable scene, we find out Azazel was not the only Prince of Hell. This is his brother, Ramiel, and there are two others. Another brother, Esmodius, and a sister, Dagon (sorry if I screwed up the spelling). Crowley plies the demon with gifts and offers him the throne in Hell. Ramiel rejects it, wishing to be left in peace, and so Crowley makes a deal for the mantle. And now we know. It wasn’t a coup. There was no war in Hell. Crowley was given the crown by the heir apparent. I must admit, I’d been curious about that.

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“Before I was King” Crowley

 

As he explains to the Winchesters, he also explains there’s no cure to heal Castiel. He’s going to die, a slow and painful death. Dean tells him to get out if he’s not going to help, which he does.

It’s at this point, Misha made me sob. For Castiel to say that the best thing to happen to him in a lifespan of over four billion years is the Winchesters, and for him to say they’ve changed him, that they are his family, and that he loves them? Misha delivered a pitch perfect performance. I’m getting a little teary just thinking about it.

But they won’t leave him. And they begin to set up for the demon coming. Because the Winchesters always keep fighting.

Ramiel comes down the road, running into Crowley. Crowley, admitting that the Winchesters are not only an asset but are also allies (yeah sure you don’t have friends. Uh-huh.) tries to broker a new deal. But Ramiel is uninterested, and throws him through the wall.

When Ramiel enters the barn and is trapped in the flaming circle, Mary has a chance to come clean. She doesn’t, though, and instead puts her boys in direct risk of a Prince of Hell. Yeah, that’s really not the most responsible thing to do. She’s about as good a parent as John, at this point. Here we also have a reference to some future plot, in which Dagon takes or joins forces with the nephilim.

The Winchesters win the fight, of course, and Sammy finally gets to kill his very own Yellow Eyed demon.

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On the wrong side of a few Winchesters. No demon can stand up to that.

But Castiel, still dying, calls their attention. Crowley, in a rare moment of sacrifice, breaks the lance to save Feathers. And, I don’t care what he’s done in the past, he is definitely a full fledged member of Team Free Will now. As they leave the barn, Mary has one more chance at absolution, when Castiel asks what Ramiel meant by someone stealing from him. But, she doesn’t fess up. Again. That’s three times she was asked, and three times she lied.

As she sits in the diner, telling the story to Ketch, she questions him about what the BMoL knew. He says they knew nothing about who the demon was and apologizes for putting her boys in danger. Also, Ketch is lying. Of course they knew about Princes of Hell. Give me a break. But, for all the things he does wrong, I still kind of like Ketch. I hope to see the actor at some cons. I wish the Winchesters could be friends with him, though at this point I’m sure that won’t happen. Unpopular opinion or no, I do like him. And what about what he was after?? The Colt?! After all this time, wondering where Crowley had stashed it, it appears.

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AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA

And then.

The icing on the cake.

The absolute proof the people over there doing this show love the fandom. Love us, beyond any shadow of doubt.

 

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DOUBLE AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA

As Crowley pours himself a drink back at the castle, a voice speaks from his dog cage. Now, we could spend a whole other blog talking about the fact that Crowley and Rowena double crossed the Winchesters back in that hotel room, but I’d rather talk about the fact that MARK PELLEGRINO IS BACK AS LUCIFER. I cannot believe this. Like, literally, I screamed. I knew Mark had been in Vancouver working, and I’d heard a rumor he was going to be on the show in the second half of the season, but I couldn’t hope to believe he’d actually be playing Luci. This was the best news of the whole episode. One that included the Colt resurfacing. I didn’t think anything could eclipse that. I was wrong.

 

What an episode. Applause to everyone who made it a thing, and to Rich for making it beautiful.

As promised, Tarantino references, in order of the episode. Let me know what I’ve missed, and if I got any wrong.

1-episode open, the coffee cup :  Pulp Fiction, Pumpkin and Honey Bunny

2-Episode title, “Stuck in the Middle With You” : Reservoir Dogs, Mr Blonde torture scene

3-Menu in the diner : Pulp Fiction, Jack Rabbit Slim’s

4-extra cheese, the wifi password : Pulp Fiction, Royale with Cheese (? kind of a stretch)

5-revolving camera in the diner – Reservoir Dogs, also in the diner

6-every single music choice. The whistling, the western theme, the oldies. Non-specific references.

7-Part titles, i.e. ”The Wounded Angel” : Pulp Fiction, i.e. “The Bonnie Situation”

8-Entrance into the diner from the parking lot : Reservoir Dogs, of course

9-whistling demon approaching : Kill Bill, Elle in the hospital

10-the thing Mary took from the basement safe, the glowing light : Pulp Fiction, the briefcase

11-Ramiel has a pocket watch. Haha : Pulp Fiction, Butch’s watch

12-$5 Milkshake on Ketch’s placemat : Pulp Fiction, Jack Rabbit Slim’s

13-the most obvious one, the layout of the episode. 100% Pulp Fiction.

 

**all pictures are property of The CW**

 

RECLAMATION chapter 1, Meet Addy and Jack

Feet tangled, Adelaide let the box go and grabbed the handrail before she took a quick trip to the bottom of the stairs. The box smashed onto a corner and tumbled into the drive.

“Shit,” she said, standing.

Jane flipped her long red hair out of the way. Once she’d secured it in a bun, she lifted the wooden box and tossed it in the back of the truck. “Addy, you’re the smoothest person I know.”

“Shut it, woman,” Addy said, grinning. “I’ll go get the next one.” Spinning to go back upstairs, she ran face first into her dad.

“Slow down, little girl. Let me help you,” he said, reaching for her arm.

“I got it, dad.”

“Hey, Mr. C., I could use a hand,” Jane said. She leaned against the truck, crossing her arms.

As her dad laughed, Addy stomped up the rest of the stairs and into the house. Leaning to get another box, a strand of her own dishwater brown hair fell in her eyes.

Blinking it out of her lashes, she lifted the box. It clanked against the handle of her machete as she shifted it onto a hip and spun towards the door.

And there was dad again, trying to take the box.

“Seriously, dad. I got it.”

He smiled, corners of his eyes turned down. “Headstrong, just like your mother, baby girl. Makes sense. You look just like her. Especially with those brownzel eyes of yours.”

The edges on her heart softened. Leave it to him to try and guilt her into staying by mentioning her dead mother. “Dad,” she said, easing the box back into her own arms, “by the time you were my age, you had two kids already.”

“Almost. I was twenty-four when you were born.”

“Whatever. Look, I get it. Believe me,” she said, frowning, “I get it. I miss her too. But dad, it’s been over ten years. And now there’s the Cure, and we’re all safe, and I think I can handle living in my own apartment.”

He sighed, glancing out the window. The light shone sideways through his eyes, turning the blue almost white. “We’re never safe. I hear that come out of your mouth again and I’ll chain you in your room till you’re thirty.”

“You know what I mean,” she said, stepping around him and out the door.

Managing to make it down the stairs without falling, she set the box in the truck.

Staring over the top of her sunglasses, Jane grinned. “We about done?”

“What’s this ‘we’ you keep asking about? You’ve carried like two boxes.”

“That’s because I don’t live here,” Jane said.

“Might as well,” dad said, coming down the stairs with a box on his right hip. Each time he stepped, the butt of his holstered gun slapped the bottom of the box.

Eyeing the box, one that had been marked ‘fragile’, Addy frowned. “That the last one?”

Without looking at the stairs in front of him, he nodded. Sure feet never missed a step.

Jane took it from him as he reached the bottom. “Thanks, Mr. C..” Standing on tip-toe, she stretched as far as she could and set it on top of the other boxes.

Reaching over her head, he gave the box an extra push. “Why don’t you just call me Jack, huh Jane? I don’t think we need to stand on ceremony anymore.”

“You got it,” she said, facing him before he leaned back. The corners of her mouth turned up. “Say hi to Michael for me.” She tugged keys from her pocket.

“I’m sure my brother would say hi back, Jane,” Addy said, holding her hand out for the keys. “Let’s get out of here before it gets dark.”

As Jack crossed his arms and stepped back, Jane handed the keys over, green eyes dancing.

“I’m going to come check out security at this new place tomorrow, Adelaide,” Jack said, frowning. “If it’s not adequate, we’ll make it that way.”

“You worry too much, dad.” Addy hopped into the driver’s seat. It took her three tries, but she found the ignition and slid the key in.

Jane jumped in next to her and smiled out the window. “We’ll be fine,” she said, bad imitation of Scottish brogue dripping from her voice.

Brow scrunched, Jack kicked a rock. “Look after each other.” Frowning at the ground, the curls on his neck bounced in the light breeze. “You’re always welcome back here, you know.”

“Of course,” Addy said, starting the truck and turning it towards their new home. Glancing at Jane from the corner of her eye, she whispered, “Dead Heads be damned, we are not moving back home again.”

Spinning to watch Jack recede into the distance, Jane pursed her lips. “You got that right, lady.”

***

Waving a hand in front of his face, Jack coughed in the dusty rooster tail Addy’s truck created.

And there went his youngest, off to face the world on her own.

Swallowing, swiping at his dusty, watery eyes, he spun to trudge back up the stairs. Raising her and her brother in all this hadn’t ever been easy, especially after their mother had died. He probably hadn’t done as good of a job of it as he could have.

Addy had a point, though. With the Cure, they had it a lot better than they had when she’d been born into this.

Top and bottom gates secure, he stood at the top of the stairs and swiveled a handle on the wall. Trip wires popped up along every other step, but the handle squealed as it spun.

Grimacing, he finished its rotation and retrieved the oil from its perch inside the house, above the fridge.

As he stepped away, oil can in hand, the refrigerator’s compressor kicked on.

He leapt eighteen inches from the floor if it was a day. Didn’t matter if they’d been living with electricity three days or three years, he wasn’t used to the sound. Gun halfway out of its holster, he reseated it.

“Damn jumpy ass.” Not quite a whisper, not really out loud.

Did it qualify as talking to yourself if there was no one to hear you?

Back on the landing, he oiled the handle and spun it a few times. The trip wires raised and lowered in silence.

One side of his mouth turned up. Nodding, he started back inside.

The crunch of gravel under a foot.

The hackles on his neck rose, painful pricks along his spine. The base of his skull tingled. Hand hovering over the grip of his gun, he waited for the owner of the foot to round the corner.

The feet took regular, measured steps, and Jack relaxed a millimeter. Only the living walked with a purpose.

As a portly, balding man stepped into view, Jack sighed and pulled his gun anyway.

“Whoa, hey Jackson, good evening,” the newcomer said, stopping at the bottom of the stairs and peeking through the gate.

Jack shook his head. “You can call me Mr. Cooke, Wade.”

Wade grinned, fleshy lips pulling back from his teeth. “OK, Mr. Cooke. Can I come up?”

Jack shook his head and spun, holstering his gun once again.

An audible sigh from the bottom of the stairs followed him into the house.

As the door snicked closed Jack exhaled, shoulders falling. The man might be a worm, but he was Mayor Worm. Frowning, he opened the door again.

Eyes narrowed, he spun the tripwire handle and trudged down the stairs. Dust assaulted his nose as he reached the bottom and he all but sneezed in Wade’s face as he opened the bottom gate.

Wade threw up a hand, spittle covering his palm as he did. “Whoa, hey Mr. Cooke, are you OK? Getting a cold?” His pleasant expression rippled, becoming something predatory, reptilian. His hands disappeared behind his back.

All at once Jack noticed the bulge beneath Wade’s armpit. The pommel of a knife peeking from his belt. Boots wider at the top than they ought to be.

He peered at the man, reassessing. “No, Wade. Just dust. Always happens, this time of year.”

The little man nodded, empty hands reappearing.

Jack shook his head and scratched at his salt and pepper beard. Only little more than stubble, it could use a trim. But who had time for such things? “Come on up.”

Following the mayor up the stairs and resetting the trip wires, he locked and barred the front door.

“Never too many precautions, huh Mr. Cooke?” Wade bounced on the balls of his feet, hands clasped in front of him.

Jack turned, cool blue eyes staring through him. “No.”

Wade bounced.

Jack stared.

Wade shuffled a foot. “Do you think I could get some water or something, please?”

Jack led him into the kitchen, motioning to the table in the center of the room.

Wade took a seat, wood creaking under his considerable ass. He sighed, a smile stretching his lips as Jack filled a glass with cold water and ice.

Setting the glass in front of Wade, Jack took a seat.

Wade took a swig, clapping a hand to his forehead as he sat the glass back on the table. “Brain freeze.” He tittered.

Jack’s mouth twitched, but he wasn’t sure if it was a smile or a frown. He opted for neither and pressed his lips together. Leaning on the table, he sucked a labored breath through his nose. Exhaled. “What can I do for you, Wade?”

Wade nodded, taking another sip from his glass. “Well Jackson, um mister, Mister Cooke, I, that is the I who is mayor, was wondering if you wanted to be on the security committee.”

Chuckling, Jack leaned back in his chair and crossed his arms. “You’re joking.”

“Oh no, Mr. Cooke. About town matters I don’t joke.”

As Jack exhaled a laugh, Wade picked the glass up again. His fingers slipped over the condensation, sending the glass sliding towards the floor.

Jack stuck his hand out in time to stop it falling and sat it back on the table, no more than two or three droplets escaping it.

Wade pointed. “See there? That’s one of the things I, that we, want you on the committee for. You’re so quick.”

At some point, the little man had begun to sweat, upper lip beaded with dirty, salty drops of it.

Also, the longer he sat in Jack’s quiet kitchen, the more it smelled a bit like stale bacon.

Jack lifted his upper lip. If it had taken all of his considerable strength, skill, and smarts to keep his kids alive for the last twenty-five years, how had this man done it?

He cocked his head, tightening his crossed arms. “No, Wade.”

Wade sighed, knocking back the rest of the water like it was a shot of vodka. The ice cubes crunched and squeaked between his teeth.

Nails on a chalkboard.

“Jackson. Jack. We need your help. You’re a great benefit to this community and we need you to take part in its safety.” Reaching to his face, Wade chuckled at his hand and glanced at Jack with the side of his eye. “Heh. I forgot I got contacts again. It’s been so long since I had them, I keep trying to adjust glasses that aren’t there.”

Jack grunted.

Wade stood, sliding the chair back under the table with a prissiness reserved for actors. No one else could be that over-the-top with it.

Herding him to the front door, Jack flinched as the floorboards creaked.

At the door, Wade stopped. He spun, muddy brown eyes narrowed. “Listen. We’re working really hard here on rebuilding this community. The state. Hell, the planet. We need everyone’s help. You have a skill,” he said, motioning to the bar on the door. “We need your skill. It’s been a long time since we were able to have stability. But it’s here now, and you can help us maintain it.”

Jack frowned down at him, nose itching. An interesting proposal, it also sounded like the kind of old world bureaucracy he did not miss. Rather than answer, he reached past the mayor, unbarred the door, and motioned for Wade to take his leave.

Repeating the process of entry in reverse, without all the flying spit, Jack slammed the gate and locked the chain.

“The next meeting is tomorrow. It’s at city hall, noon,” Wade said.

Jack grunted, sun-warmed lock gripped in a tight fist. He glanced up, meeting Wade’s eyes.

“I’ll think about it.”

***

Thank you for reading! Feel free to drop a comment below.

You can read the first draft version here

 

 

Supernatural 12.10 “Lily Sunder Has Some Regrets” Review

You know, every week I watch the recap and wonder how they’re going to tie in the elements they’re showing us. This week I knew there would be a story from Castiel’s past, but I wondered how we were going to get Cass’s past, the nephilim, what happened with Billie, Lucifer…seemed like a lot to cover.

The way writer Steve Yockey tied all these elements together was not only entertaining, it was seamless and fairly brilliant. Just now, while writing this, I looked up his other episode credits. Turns out he also wrote “Celebrating the Life of Asa Fox”. Funny, considering what I said after watching the episode:

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I noticed this week they spoke about the lack of angel wings several times. This is the first time they’ve brought it up so often and said so much about it. So, either they heard us whining about Cass not flying, or it’s going to come up again in an important way. They also gave us a visual cue with Benjamin’s wings, so now maybe I won’t forget they can’t fly.

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Guest Star Ian Tracey

Now, on to Isham. I recognized him, figured it was from another episode. I was correct, he played Chrissy’s father. The merry go round is actually really fun, and it’s kind of a game now to figure out if it’s another episode I know them from or something else entirely. Like the X-Files, iZombie, or another Vancouver show. Timeless (hashtag #RenewTimeless) is in the rotation now, too.

 

Anyhow, back to the episode. This week was a great reminder that most angels are not Castiel. Most angels are dicks. Isham and his friend being no exception, it pleased me to watch Sam and Dean swoop in and stand up for their friend. The bonding between Cass and the boys was actually my favorite thing about this episode. We know Dean and Cass are close, Dean considers him a brother, but to watch Sam stick up for him as well, to watch Sam pull his Sam face on Castiel, it’s something special to see how far their relationship has come.

As they spoke with Isham, Castiel relating the story of Lily and the nephilim, (sorry I just have to mention that Destiel shippers are sure to have a field day with the fact Cass used to be a woman), who else questioned Isham’s version of events? Why didn’t we follow him into the house? Why didn’t we get to see what happened? Why did he leave the angel squad outside while he went, alone, to take care of this supposed dangerous creature?

Everything we know about this story, we know because Isham told us.

Never forget, angels are dicks.

So here’s dick #1, throwing Lily under the bus. And as she heals herself, we see she is most certainly human (no glowing blue light when the angel blade cut her), but she also has some kind of powers. And they are most certainly NOT demonic.

Come on. A deal with a demon to live for 100 years? Yeah, right. I’m kinda shocked the Winchesters fell for that line of crap.

Their little encounter with Lily in the hotel hallway had to be one of the best parts of the episode. I love Dean’s awkward face. It’s always a treat to see it pop up. And at the same time, I was pissed at this piece of garbage for wasting some of Castiel’s grace.

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Really. Look her up if you don’t know Alicia Witt.

The rest of the episode went as necessary. Sam and Dean found out the truth about Lily’s daughter, we found out the source of Lily’s power, and she got her revenge. Guest star Alicia Witt was freaking excellent. I’ve been a fan of hers for a couple decades now. It’s lovely to see her popping up on some of my favorite TV shows recently. And I’m glad the character is still around because it would be wonderful to have her show up again at some point.

Let’s talk about Castiel. I’m certain I’m not the only one who’s noticed he’s more human this season. Sassy. Angry. Emotional. One has to look no further than last week, when he defended killing Billie, to see how emotional he can get. But also remember his smart mouth when dealing with Crowley. Exasperation. Frustration. At first, early in the season, I thought it was leftovers from Lucifer. That Luci had influenced him for so long, some of it had rubbed off.

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Misha’s been excellent this season, as well.

Now, I’m not so sure. I think Castiel has been on earth too long. I think his grace is wearing down. And I think our favorite thing about him, his affinity for our boys, will be his eventual undoing. But until then, watching his bond with the Winchesters deepen is the best thing they’ve done with his character in seasons. I fear where they’re going with him, but I’m enjoying watching him go there.

 

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This leads me to another aside, though.

 

So far, I feel season 12 has been fun but slightly uneven. It’s had highs and lows. Individually, I’ve enjoyed every episode, but the overall theme seems to lack a bit of cohesion. I’m not saying anything bad about it, exactly, it’s only that season 11 was so cohesive. It’s difficult to step back again to the smaller scale without feeling something missing. But “Lily Sunder Has Some Regrets” and “Celebrating the Life of Asa Fox” have been some real high points this season. I look forward to the next episode brought to us by Steve Yockey, because he seems to have a real grasp of what it takes to be Supernatural.