The Super Sleepy Dispatch
Recap and Review of Supernatural 11:04, “Baby”
By P.S. Griffin
Robbie Thompson’s “Baby” is easy on the eyes but like so many of his episodes it doesn’t completely hold together with close scrutiny. In the hands of a master like Robert Altman, having the action restricted to a static set enhances the story, and in fact the limitation becomes a dynamic factor in the storytelling. For instance, the barracks set in “Streamers”emphasizes the fact that these recruits are trapped in the cycle of violence and death associated with America’s presence in Vietnam. Robbie Thompson is no Altman.
The best moments of the script were enhanced by Thomas J. Wright’s excellent direction which creatively made use of the close quarters that the set provided. Overall, Wright went whole hog with the grindhouse/exploitative cinematic themes jammed into the episode, and which color the tone of the season as a whole. Thus far it has been zombies, devil babies and sexy witches, (OH MY!) as the season proceeds with its unique take on low budget horror tropes. The grindhouses/exploitation thrust of the season also complements my theory that Amara’s story is a feminist revenge yarn along the lines of “I Spit on Your Grave” in which all of her male attackers will be targeted for a violent comeuppance courtesy of the heroine reborn as a vigilante judge, jury and gory executioner. In this episode alone we have sex, violence, rock and roll, fast cars, girls gone wild, excessive violence and corrupt cops. It’s Quentin Tarentino’s wet dream. This season “Supernatural” has us losing our hearts and minds at the drive-in theater.
I find Thompson’s writing often to be too cute for the show’s sensibilities. In true Thompson fashion some of the dialogue in this episode felt sentimental and trite. As in “Slumber Party”, Sam is cast as the brother that wants more than the hunting life; however, after the blood splatter and bruises he decides that the bunker or the car is home enough. Yawn. Real men’s feelings please.
And please show me why Sam is now so committed to Dean and hunting. This all talk approach to character development fell flat in “Slumber Party” and provided a real WTF moment in “Book of the Damned”. It’s not any more successful now. I don’t know why they are unable to show actual character growth for Sam or tie these random proclamations to something concrete in his life. I want to hear Sam say that he hunts to make amends for the carrnage that resulted from releasing Lucifer unto the world… and the Darkness and presumably Lucifer once again.
I do think Thompson spent a lot of time giving every single fanbase exactly what they want. There are cute brotherly moments, serious brotherly moments and emotional brotherly moments. It was a BM (“Fan Fiction”) extravaganza. It’s not all Wincest galore however.
Both Dean and Sam get some much needed time apart. Sam gets his flirt on along with getting jiggy with a waitress. In other words instead of being unconscious or tied to a chair whilst Dean gets his kill on Sam makes friends of his own. Sam point of view, Sam making friends and BM’s are the holy graiil of Sam fangirls. You sly dog Thompson… You’re giving them want they want, sweet Sam feels, right before the story tears the brothers apart.
Dean’s fangirls enjoy those times that Dean has alone time away from Sam to drink, angst, bromance and get his kill on. The kills were rather glorious with Dean evoking the badass Patrick Swayze of “Roadhouse” and the exploitation antihero Billie Jack who fights against corruption and hypocrisy, protecting the downtrodden from rapists, evil bikers and in this case, evil lawmen.
Dean’s part of the episode is raw with fast cars and brutal fights, blood spatter and decapitation; black humor and blood,red violence; although an obvious and well earned, “Actually I did shoot the deputy” betrays Dean’s absolute ease with the brutality of it all.
Adding comedy to the moment is the fact that alll the while Dean has been talking to an oblivious Castiel on the cellphone. Dean is the brawling hero that takes a beating and keeps on fighting. It’s all good baby. Especially when Castiel gets more than name dropped.
Both Dean and Sam get to be smart. Praise Benny! Dean admits he reads! Sam infodumps a bit too much. Seriously only Tom Mison’s Ichabod Crane can get away with two verbose nuggets of knowledge in a row! Cas is smart too as he “hhheeelllppps” with the lore. I loved Misha’s delivery of that line!
There were some glaring oddities in the script. Dean not noticing that the valet took his baby for a raucous joy ride. Poor Baby was rode hard. Dean driving around town with blood all over the windows. Sam shooting in public. Dean besting the alpha but being beaten by the newbie monster.
The “Night Moves” moment worked very well; so much so that the historic jerk/bitch moment fell flat. These brothers are not the hopeful young men they were in the beginning; nor are they very much alike. They stay together because they are each other’s only family.
The car’s design was effectively used to show the brothers separation this season. It’s obvious that Sam is feeling guilty about releasing the Darkness because he did not care about the dire consequences of removing the Mark. Likewise, we can see that this season Sam is going to double down on the reckless desperation that leads good men to do dumb things. He’s already made up his mind to go to the cage and release Lucifer because he believes God is on his side, although he hasn’t quite found his courage yet to follow through bond this decision.
In my review of the season premiere I had hoped our designated cowardly lion would find the courage to look long and hard at himself as he seeks redemption. Sam is caught in a circle of blaming Dean, resenting Dean and being unable to cope without Dean; the combination of which has driven him to one big damn solo heroic moment after another which usually end in disaster. Only “Swan Song” was a win because Dean intervened, proof positive that the brothers are stronger together.
I thought assuming responsibly for the Darkness to Dean and God was a step in the right direction. Likewise finally truly embracing the family business of saving people and hunting. Unfortunately, I still feel like I am waiting for yet another train wreck courtesy of Sam Winchester. And I feel like the proverbial Greek choir again. No Sam No. Dean must feel the same way.
Dean is too much a betting man to believe that God cares about them or the world or the latest fire that Sam and Cas started. And he remembers the horror of Lucifer’s last sojourn to earth. Maybe like me he remembers “The End”, especially Lucifer’s prediction:
“I know you won’t say yes to Michael, either. And I know you won’t kill Sam. Whatever you do, you will always end up here. Whatever choices you make, whatever details you alter, we will always end up… here. So, I win.” It’s been six years and counting… Not five as Lucifer predicted, but somehow I think he’s right.
There’s nothing Dean can do to stop the Lucifer train from entering Sam station. The train allusion is for Alycat22 who has been cataloging the pointed train sounds this season on the IMBD’s Supernatural Board. I interpret them as the inevitability of Samifer once again and the inevitable Apocalypse.
Metatron has staged the chessboard well. It only took three seasons for his gambit to undo the Winchester’s big save despite the odds in season 5 when Dean changes the story of the ,Christian Apocalyptic Supernatural style by calling Chuck to find out the location ofApocalyptic battle. We all know that things went belly up for Lucifer when Dean’s presence awakened the deep brotherly love within his vessel. Metatron will indeed rewrite the story of the Winchester Gospels by restarting the Apocalypse through his manipulation of the Winchesters in seasons 9-10 using the Angel Wars, an obvious red herring, as his distraction. Well played you dirty rotten scoundrel.
So the brothers already disagree about God. They’re surely going to disagree about Lucifer. And the show is setting things up for the brothers to disagree about the Darkness too. All signs point to Dean being against God and angels, especially now that he and the Darkness are bound. And Sam is aligning himself as with heaven because he feels chosen to save the world yet again.
Wright elegantly suggests the distance between the brothers and their upcoming choices by having the big discussion about Sam’s visions happen whilst the brothers are in different seats and facing in different directions. He punctuates the point with the flaccid jerk/bitch exchange.
As for the nuts and bolts, the monster of the week story continues the refrain that all of the supernatural world is freaking about the Darkness. God’s PR departure did it’s job well, seeding the world with tales of horror. Of course the ghoulpire and his progeny eat people too and Deputy Ghoulpire Is all kinds of creepy even when trying to pass as human. I remain unconvinced that she is bad let alone the biggest bad of all time.
This weird tale of ghoulpire creation is a mirror for Amara’s story, or at least her betrayal by God. The Sheriff’s wife sacrifices and eats her husband when he doesn’t want to join the new monster family. According to her, if you’re not family you are food.
Her story is a mirror for what happened between Amara and God. My interpretation of events is that God used Amara to create his family and disposed of what remained. The way she grows by consuming souls suggests she is reclaiming the power that she lost, reassembling herself through her feeding. I am reminded of the chorus of the sixties anthem Woodstock: “We are stardust, we are golden, we are billion year old carbon, And we got to get ourselves back to the garden.” There was a big bang of sorts and it involved God the Father sacrificing part of the Darkness, the Mother.
Newbie ghoulpire’ s dialogue is on point for Sam. She would do anything for heghoulpire family. Last season Sam decided he would do anything to cure Dean. Of course now it has gone sideways and to compensate he’s going to double down on going dark and being dumb. Sorry Sam, releasing Lucifer a second time and expecting it to go well… I am with Dean.
The 180 turn that Dean executes in reverse… that tells us that the story is going backwards to Lucifer and the Cage. And I am reminded of Endverse Samifer who in all of his hubris and sweet talk assumed that he had the upper hand because Dean would never kill Sam and Dean would never let Michael ride him.
The universe has been telling Dean to kill Sam for almost as long as this story has been told. Every time Dean finds a way to save Sam. Every time Dean refuses to participate in the universe’s plans to kill Sam. So even though Sam thinks he’s talking to God when he is talking to Lucifer, just like Abel; I don’t think Dean will kill him. Dean isn’t Cain. Even with the Darkness’ influence he won’t kill Sam. Now that the story has .come full circle, the brothers’ roles are reversed. “Heaven” is contacting Sam; he is desperate to defeat the Darkness. and he really isn’t very much like Dean.
This article is dedicated to the always brilliant Paula Stiles of Innsmouth Free Press who inspired me by noting the rampant exploitation themes in passing.