Previously - Sam stopped hunting and found Amelia, Buffy's mayor played a college professor douche who was handy at languages, Kevin found another word of God that will end demons on earth, Crowley got it, Kevin ran away with his mom, the brothers wanted to re-find Kevin, and there was a shot of Dean killing a demon with Ruby's knife - still have no reason why it was in the previouslies
Minneapolis, MN - A Ken doll (not Dean) jogs on a badly lit path. Uh oh. He's outpaced by an older balding, chubby guy and I laugh before instinctively closing my eyes. Blood is imminent. Ken Doll good sports and congratulates Chubster who waits for him on the path. Sorry you must die Ken Doll but Chubster is hungry for a little snack….your heart, but not before spouting, "I do a lot of cardio." Ha! Speaking of healthy living, Sam munches a locally grown apple while Dean researches all he missed in Purgatory - murder, mayhem, horrible supernatural death. Check, check, and check. Dean: "Wow, guy goes to Purgatory for a year all hell breaks out. Check this out. Jogger in Minneapolis gets his heart ripped out." Sam: "I'm guessing literally." Dean: "Only way that interests me." Bwah! I'm with you. No sappy love stories for me. Sam's more into tomatoes than a heart ripping pattern. Dean: "Same thing happens. Also in Minneapolis. What does that tell us?" Sam: "Stay out of Minneapolis." Woo hoo! Snarky Sam doesn't come out to play near enough. Hope he stays the whole episode. Dean won't be upstaged though: "Two hearts ganked, same city 6 months apart. I mean that's has to be a ritual man. Or at least some kind of a heart sucking, possessed Satanic crack whore bat." Ha! I love this scene. This and Lucifer's, " You think this fruit-bat fever dream is reality?" are my favorite bat quotes. Yes, they beat "I'm Batman." Sam's less impressed. Dean wants to pursue the heart rippers but Sam wants to find Kevin. Dean: "Uh we just spent a week chasing our a** trying to lock Kevin down okay and look at us we're…..Where the hell are we?" Sam: "Farmer's market. Organic." Dean's incredulous expression makes me laugh, right until brother rift conversation #1. Hold onto to the airsick bags folks because it's just starting. Sam talks about enjoying the good things while Dean was in Purgatory. Dean slams Sam for letting people die. Yeah, you've heard it all before. Dean: "Ok man look I get it. You took a year off to do yoga and play the lute, whatever, but I'm back. We're back, which means that we walk and kill monsters at the same time. We'll find Kevin but in the meantime do we ignore stuff like this or are innocent people supposed to die so that you can shop for produce?" Ouch!
Mercifully we head to a Minneapolis police station, where Papa Ackles plays the cop. (Hi Papa Ackles! Much better father-son teaming than Devour.) Police are baffled. It wasn't a robbery and the vic was an out-of-towner. They did get Chubster on tape jogging past him and I'm baffled. They couldn't even afford lights on that path but they had video surveillance? Big Brother really is everywhere I guess. Dean smart alecs Papa: "What? You mean he didn't fall to his knees and confess to gutting the guy?" But Papa gives it right back: "I mean sure he can run a little bit but Thor he ain't. You think he's going to grab Freddy Fitness here and throw him down and rip out his heart. I don't think so. Forgive me if I didn't take him out back and shoot him." It's an Ackles family glare-off as Sam hurries them out to the Chubster, aka Paul Hayes. Paul mixes up a power shake of….well something green, grasslike and vomit-colored. Sam passes when he tries to share. Good plan since Paul calls it disgusting. Dean joins the conversation after poking around. There's pointless fiber conversation and Paul says he had a health scare so now he's into health. Dean: "Now your body's a temple huh?" Paul: "Where I worship every day." Ha! I like Paul. Yeah there's that gross heart diet but he's funny. Even more funny - Dean's expression while Paul chokes down the ick.
The brothers recap Paul at a local tavern while I wonder why they didn't talk in the car. Did Sam walk? Dean: "No hex bags, nothing satanic, nothing spooky." Sam: "So didn't seem like a guy to be voted most likely to disembowel." Dean: "Oh they never do." Dean finds another "do-it-yourself bypass" in the Ames, Iowa part of Minneapolis (snicker). Paul is cleared of mass murder but we have to suffer through more brother rift snark. Shut up Dean! "Just sayin'." (By the way, the article isn't about the murder except the headline. It's about gang violence in Ames and then switches to Denves. Huh? I'd skip the Des Moines Herald if this is their "trusted source for local and global news.") Since one state isn't enough in SPN these days, we head to Iowa to interrogate Arthur Swenson, former cop turned heart surgeon sans license. At the local station, the demon Jimmy killed in The Rapture (thanks isleofskye!) has been reincarnated as a punny police officer. Apparently Swenson ordered a pizza with extra heart, but he has an alibi for Ken Doll's murder so back to square one. The cop warns them that questioning Swenson won't be helpful, making him king of understatement. Swenson babbles something that sounds like "Yo Chaka Khan gee" repeatedly. Dean snarks about getting a statement while I sing "I'm Every Woman" in my head. Dean: "Well it's too bad I dropped out of Lunatic 101." Sam notices a pattern while Dean talks very loudly to Swenson because that always makes the insane coherent. Sam uses the same tactic. Bah! On to plan 2. Dean: "Hey Art. Can I call you Art? I'm going to sprinkle your arm with holy water and it's going to steam and burn if you're possessed by a demon." But no dice. Plan C ? Nope, instead we're spared from watching Swenson cut out his own eye with his bed frame. Thanks for small miracles.
Back at the motel, the brothers listen to Swenson's tape recorded babble. Sam: "So what do you think?" Dean: "Personally I prefer the Keith Richards version." Bwaaahhhh! But never fear; iTunes to the rescue. Dean: "Wait a second. I bought a translation app." Sam: "You bought an app?" Dean: "Yeah, here play it….And babble wins, language unknown." Nice product placement in the snark. Sam answers a call as Agent Sambora and I laugh again, flashing back to Dean's reaction when Sam used this alias in Born Under a Bad Sign. So glad rock aliases are back. Agent Smith was so Matrix. Dean questions a Dr. Kashi about Swenson, as I get nutritious snacks for the hiking I'll never do. Thanks Kashi! She explains that Swenson had an eye transplant and cut out that eye. Dean gets the connection and asks about the donor. Dr. Kashi agrees to help as they exchange bedroom eyes. (Someone's getting nookie on this case.) Dean rejoins a researching Sam with coffee and donuts. Ha, you unhealthy eater! It's better than brother rift round 3 where Dean gives snark face at Sam for researching Paul's medical history and Sam responds, "You want me onboard, I'm onboard." My eyes roll so hard the anvil barely misses my head and luckily we move on. Sam: "You want to guess who else other than Arthur Swenson had a transplant in the last year?' Dean: "Paul Hayes." Sam: "I gave it away didn't I?" Ha! I love Sam's dialogue and the return of Geek Boy Sam. He also sent an audio file to Douche Professor so that means they're off to Colorado. Huh? What? Oh there was another "heart attack" in Colorado. I find these puns funny. Sue me.
At a strip joint called the Bunny Hole in Boulder, I wonder if the brothers wanted "me time" after a day of interviewing. Nope, instead a stalker accosts a stripper named Randa. She walks like she's on the prowl and I'm not torn up about it when she rips his heart out. It's better than brother rift #4 (yeah already four) where Sam rips my heart out in the Impala. Dean rejoices about making progress while Sam daydreams. Dean: "What are you thinking about? Organic tomatoes." Ha! Since this scene depresses me I'll transcribe it and you can make of it what you will. Dean: "I don't know about you but this last year has given me a new perspective." Sam: "I hear you. Believe me." Dean: "I know where I'm at my best and that is right here, driving down crazy street next to you." Sam: "Makes sense." Dean: "Yes it does." Sam: "Or, maybe you don't need me. I mean maybe you're at your best hacking and slicing your way through all the world's cr** alone, not having to explain yourself to anybody." Dean: "Yeah that makes sense seeing as how I have so many other brothers I can talk to about this stuff." Sam: "Look I'm not saying I'm bailing on you. I'm just saying make room for the possibility that we want different things. I mean I want my time to count for something." Dean: "So what we do doesn't count?" Argh! It's officially reached Amy subplot annoyance level. We get it writers. Please move on! Jeremy, fix this mess you created or put it on the back burner. I'm sick of this already and it's only the third episode.
Thankfully Dean's phone rings before they can insert their feet in their mouths farther. Doctor Kashi, you have perfect timing. She informs Dean that the organ donor is none other than quarterback extraordinaire Brick Holmes. Both brothers shock me with their in-depth knowledge of football which may be a shout out to Jensen and Jared's love of the Dallas Cowboys. Brick drove off a bridge and donated 8 organs (bad flash backs of the possessed kidney in Mannequin 3 now), none of which went to Colorado. However Smart Dean (glad to see him again) sees a connection so it's to Colorado we go. Just in time to watch Randa put on the worst blood makeup since Lana was possessed by a goddess in Smallville. After forcefully choking back my dinner as Randa feasts on raw heart, smoke appears and Randa's eyes glow red. After Crowley last week, I'm guessing all the cool kids are going red these days. My bloodshot eyes will fit right in - thanks allergies! By the time the commercial break ends, my stomach is newly settled and a gorgeous shot of Baby in daylight is my reward. Ah! While interviewing Eleanor, Brick's mom, Sam fanboys over her son and I laugh to see it. Nice to see Sam smile in the present time. I zone out during the organ donor PCA and Dean questioning how a sober athlete drove off a bridge in decent weather. Nothing comes from this interview and this episode has already been exposition central. You know what could save this scene? Yep, Dean snark. "So no new interests - fly fishing, stamp collecting, the occult?" Ha! Eleanor is less amused and terminates the interview, stopping Sam midstream.
As they leave Dean gets a text message, clocking 20 minutes and 43 seconds for the SOB shout out of the night. Much later than the first two. Sam: "Come on. Don't tell me someone had their heart ripped out here in Boulder." Dean: "Alright then, I won't tell you." Eleanor watches them leave only to get stopped by Heart Sucker Randa. I'm thinking dead Eleanor but she's far too feisty for that. Randa warns Eleanor not to talk to cops. Eleanor: "I'm old Randa, not an idiot." Randa: "I'm just trying to protect Brick." Eleanor: "And so am I." Ooh, the mystery just picked up - Randa has Brick's heart, of course, and Eleanor definitely knows something. Randa: "You keep our little secret safe and the 3 of us will be just fine." Um…creepy. But we interrupt this forward progress for brother rift #5. I sigh so hard my lungs briefly see daylight. Sam talks to Morrison on the cell and while we only hear one side of the conversation, Morrison is as douchey as ever. At least something stayed the same. In a nut shell, Swenson was babbling in Mayan, "The divine god Cacao is born." The brothers (er, writers) mangle Maya history but Dean nicely summarizes, "So this is what we're looking for is…a…a….a thousand year old culture's god of corn?" Dean also exposits that there's another dead in Phoenix and Sam has been looking into college applications. Wow! That totally shocked me at first. In hindsight it makes perfect sense but still. Wow! I would recap this part but we've heard it 4 times already this episode. Sam asks if they're off to Phoenix - I still think they're collecting an American Road Trip tumbler set. Dean: "No, uh Brick Holmes is the way into this. Eleanor Holmes was doing her damnedest not to tell us a thing. Nice job in changing the subject though." Ouch!
Luckily the brothers break into Eleanor's home before I reach in the screen to bang their heads together. Dean thinks Eleanor should sell Brick's stuff on EBay. Sam wonders why Eleanor's clothes are in Brick's room. Dean and I both come to the same icky conclusion. Sam: "Uh! Thanks Dean. Now that image is permanently etched into my retinas." Dean finds a hidden room behind Brick's closet filled with old athletic equipment. Sam: "Wow! I knew he'd have something like this in his house." Love fanboy Sammy! Dean finds boxes of old letters, all addressed to Dearest Betsy. They go back to the 1940's, mentioning Sugar Ray Robinson. Again I'm surprised by all the sports facts the Winchesters know. The brothers read letters for approximately 92 hours, concluding that Brick was really, really old and master of many different sports. Sam confirms it with Google image. Dean: "Wow! For a 95 year old, Brick Holmes could take a hit." The brothers research and Dean finds a theory in an old journal that looks suspiciously like John's. What? John did Maya research? The brothers are lugging Bobby's library? Boulder public library lets you check out old journals? Whatever. Moving on. Brick made a deal with Cacao to stay young and powerful by eating two hearts a year. Surprise it didn't come back to bite him quicker. According to SPN this was common practice with Maya athletes, which sounds more right than anything else they've been spewing about Mayas. Sam: "Wow, so one of the greatest QB's to ever play the game was over 900 years old." They theorize that the spell transferred to the organ recipients. Dean: "It's like getting bit by a werewolf. I mean once you're infected you do what you've got to do especially if you like the results." We have a winner. Now no more exposition. Let's gank something please! Sam: "Brick Holmes, a heart eater. Who knew?" Dean: "Heh, sorry buddy. The mighty they fall hard huh." Sam: "At least he wasn't sleeping with his mother." Dean: "Yeah good Sam, find the silver lining." Bwah! Eleanor is Betsy so it's off to question her again.
Sam appeals to Betsy's compassionate side. Dean asks if she knew the murders continued. Betsy denies it and pleads her case for the love of her life, a 1,000 year mass murderer. Dean: "Betsy, this is not what you want Brick's legacy to be." Huh? What legacy? He killed over 2,000 people in his life including the athletes he killed as a Maya warrior. There's no legacy to protect folks. I don't get why Dean is so compassionate and patient with her. Previous Dean sure, but post-Purgatory Dean hasn't shown compassion to anyone. Why is this lady special? Not that I'm complaining because Post-Purgatory Dean is a bit much for me right now. I'm just baffled by this new old Dean behavior. But I digress. Brick was born Inyo so perhaps that explains why he chose Brick. Brick? He could have chosen any name. Betsy confirms the annual two heart sacrifice to remain young plan. She pushes for my sympathy with her tragic, celebrity athlete/serial killer love story. Not happening lady. You knew he was killing people. Betsy: "I am so tired. You can't imagine the burden of it all." Really? Really? Must be harder than all those people who lost their loved ones to a heart eater. Shut up lady! Brick drove off the bridge so he wouldn't have to live without her. Aww, the serial killer committed suicide. Boo hoo! Betsy: "You must think I'm a monster." Dean: "No. No, just that you married one." What? They're both awful. Who is this Dean? Dean says they have to find and kill 8 people now. Betsy disagrees. Kill the heart recipient Randa and it all goes away. Betsy: "Brick used to say the heart was key. That was the focus of the sacrifice."
(Start opinion) And we get our first Words to Live By in a long time. The heart is the key….to this show and that heart is the brother relationship. They've sacrificed so much for each other, given up everything. I like that the focus is more mature brothers this year. However if they sacrifice the heart of the brother bond, they sacrifice the show. These stupid, created out of thin air, out-of-character brother rifts have got to go. I'm fine that Sam wants something else. I'm not fine with a Sam who doesn't look for Dean or do his best to confirm he's dead before pursuing a new life. I'm good with Sam thinking hunting costs too much and that there are other things to live for. I'm not good with a Sam that basically just told his brother that he was better off in Purgatory because he could kill things without answering to anyone. That isn't the heart of this show. If you want to make them more mature, how about letting them have each other's back AND their own perspectives? How about avoiding the constant lying? How about not having the exact same conversation 12 times in a 42 minute episode? There better be a damn good reason for this brother rift and how out-of-character the brothers are this season. Otherwise a pox on all the PTB and writers! We've done brother rift over and over and over and over again. It's tiring; it's baffling; it's killing the show. End this subplot now and let's move forward with the quest. (End rant)
The brothers head to the Bunny Hole where Randa either has another stage name or she's not a headliner. Guessing the former. She doesn't seem like a second place kind of woman. Dean: "Really? Our king daddy monster is a stripper?" Ha! Then the writers stop the action for bizarre conversation on Brick's motives. Dean and I don't care. Let's kill monsters. Now please! Dean picks the lock to the alley door and the whole place looks skeevy. Smells that way too if Dean and Sam's reactions are correct. Randa turns on the lights for a private show complete with Paul, Phoenix donor guy, and some heart ripping threats. Dean: "Ah…ah you guys are stronger than you look." Paul: "It comes with the package. Plus I work out a lot." Dean eye rolls but I laugh. Randa embraces her inner Amazon but makes a classic villain mistake - she monologues instead of kills. Randa: "You can't imagine who I was before. This shy, awkward little thing from Georgia with a heart condition. Then I had the surgery. I became freaking Xena Warrior Princess. I couldn't dissect a frog in high school, but sacrificing to Cacao…better than sex. So if I go real slow, take my time and enjoy this, I can actually show you your own beating heart before you die." The monologue gives Sam time to bash Paul's head. Dean pulls one of his many hidden knives and one jab to what I guess was supposed to be her heart (although it was more in the diaphragm area) kills her in red, glowing special effects style. Paul and Phoenix go out the same way. It's kind of abrupt after all that exposition but still cool.
The brothers head to Betsy's to set her mind at ease. (eye roll) While she's playing on my nonexistent sympathy, I wonder how they kept the maid from knowing they were lovers when they were supposed to be mother and son. Don't tell me Betsy cleaned that big old mansion herself. Blah, blah, more attempts for sympathy and the brothers are finally on their own in Baby. You know what that means….brother rift #6. Yeah! Dean: "Wow! Back in business. Got the win. Admit it. Feels good huh?" Words to Live By #2. Impressive! More impressive is that they actually acknowledged it. We've gone too many seasons of the brothers being dumbed down, dependent on others, and generally less competent than they were in the first 3 seasons. I'm not saying they need all the answers or can't find allies. I'm saying that I am tired of secondary characters finding all the solutions and saving the day. Sometimes it feels like the brothers are the audience in their own story. The first two episodes this season followed the same pattern. Kevin Tran got them away from Crowley in episode 1. Mrs. Tran got key info from Pawn Guy in episode 2. Now they didn't do everything in this episode by themselves. They had the professor translate for them and Doctor Kashi got info about Brick and the organ recipients. However, these two make sense. I don't expect them to know Mayan so the smart thing is to find someone who does. The doctor can quickly find the info they need. Of course use that resource. Still the brothers did their own research and made the good intuitive leaps they made throughout the entire first season. Those are my smart brothers and I'm glad they are back. Plus we got an added bonus, they actually killed the bad guys. No monsters slipping away like the Amazons and the Starks last year or Crowley in both episodes this season. The strength of this episode is the brothers and that's the way it should be. Please let us continue this pattern throughout the rest of the seasons we get.
And the bad news….brother rift coming in…3…2…1. Dean: "You know I was thinking about what Randa said about what it feels like to be a warrior. I get it man. I do." Sam: "I know. I know you do. I don't. Not anymore. Hell maybe I never did." Dean: "Come on Sam, don't ruin my buzz would ya?" Sam: "Dean listen. When this is over, when we close up shop on Kevin and the tablet, I'm done. I mean that." Dean: "No you don't." Sam: "Dean the year that I took off I had something I've never had. A normal life. I mean I got to see what that felt like. I want that. I had that." Dean: "I think that's just how you feel right now." No, Dean it's not. No, Sam you can't leave your brother to hunt alone. This subplot is nonsensical because we know Sam won't leave hunting. Why waste my time with this brother rift, Jeremy Carver? All you're doing is leaving me numb and/or dreading any brother alone time because this ALWAYS comes up. Give it a rest! And by the way, what was his time with Jessica? Have we forgotten the whole first season now? You can't just ignore or rewrite seven years of the show when you come in. ARGH!!!
Happily we sink into Sam's day-glo flash back world where things are really, really bright - in stark contrast to the dark of the car. The sun beats down on the idyllic green world as a dog frolics beside Sam. A bridge over still waters transports Sam through a park, where he is…..freaking out? Really? Apparently Sam has his own abandonment issues because he practically hyperventilates over Amelia not being in his sight. This cannot be a good sign for the relationship. Take 38 Special's advice Sam - Hold on Loosely but Don't Let Go. You're clinging too tightly and you're gonna lose control. The sadly named dog, Riot, runs off. Sam chases him, right to Amelia. She made Sam a birthday picnic complete with cake and a wayward aww slips from me. I love when the brothers are happy, even for a moment. Amelia by the way looks a lot like Dream Lisa in Dream a Little Dream of Me, except everything here is much brighter. Sam is puzzled and Amelia says, "What? You've never seen a birthday cake before? Sit. Eat." Sam smiles and my heart sings. No, I don't think Jessica skipped his birthdays but Sam hasn't had much to celebrate lately and I'm glad he can here. We need more idyllic flash backs, more happy brothers. Or heck, even extend this one. I'm filled with joy but we segue far too quickly back to the Impala of Brotherly Strife. Sam looks wistfully out the window, a small smile edging his lips. He turns to see Dean driving and he sighs with a grimace and sad eyes. Ouch! Why show? Why? I can't handle a Sam who is miserable that his brother is back from Purgatory. I don't want a Sam who feels obligated to be by his brother's side and looks at his brother like he ruined his life. This sucks out loud. It's not true to the characters we've grown with for 7 years. FIX IT NOW!!!!
There is so much to love about this episode and so much to hate. There are smart brothers and action but there are brother rifts and excessive exposition. The case of the week was interesting, one of the better ones in my opinion, but the pacing was off in the middle. They answered my season 8 wish list and then broke my heart. This episode is tough. So I'm stuck on what grade to give it, wavering back and forth multiple times…..
My Grade (to the tune of Torn Between Two Lovers by Mary MacGregor):
Torn between two grades here,
Feeling lost and used.
Smart brothers vs. brother rift
Has got me all confused.
Smart brothers are a solid A
Their absence makes me blue,
But brother rift….is Jeremy's big "screw you."
Argh! Forget it. Grade = 3
Scorecard - Here's how the rankings break down in my scorecard.
1 = One of the best episodes in all of Supernatural, or in all of TV for that matter.
2 = A great episode when judged against other Supernatural episodes.
3 = A good Supernatural episode, which means it's better than almost anything else on TV
4 = An okay episode when judged against other SPN episodes, meaning still better than most TV.
5 = A poor episode, meaning only better than some TV.
Screencaps by Home of the Nutty