Well, I don't know about you, but that episode broke my heart. And has ratcheted right up to my favorite of the season. Thus far, anyway. Though, to be fair, that's not so hard this season, for whatever reason. But! Yes! Loved it. Loved it so very much. Though I will point out that Mary and John aged A LOT between that last scene of pregnant-with-Dean-Mary and the pilot. My one quibble.
Where to begin? Okay, basic plot. Anna has come back from Heaven. She claims that she escaped in a dream message to Dean, but Castiel thinks differently. No one escapes. And he's right. She goes back in time to kill Mary and John before Dean and Sam are born, thus making it so Sam can never be Lucifer's vessel. After some initial squabbling on the matter, Castiel agrees to take Dean and Sam back in time to stop her.
Once back in time (to 1978, I think), Dean and Sam head over to warn the young, yet-to-be-parental Winchesters that they need to get out of dodge. After some battling with Anna, ending with Sam doing that blood symbol on the wall thing that makes them poof out of there, they head to some sort of bunker the Campbells set up in the past. And here Dean tells Mary that he and Sam are her sons, and it was heartbreaking. They tell her that the only way to stop all of this is for her to leave John. But she says she can't - she's already pregnant.
Eventually they are found, though, and this time Anna brings along help - Uriel. The past Uriel, see, as the other one she actually killed back in another favorite episode of mine, "On the Head of a Pin." After she has stabbed Sam to a swift death (yep, he dies again!), and is ready to kill Mary, all of us get a surprise...
Michael! In John's body! I did not expect this! He disposes of Anna and sends Uriel packing back to Heaven until his later Winchester adventures. Michael-John does the mind whammy on Mary, so she and John, once Michael vacates his body, will never remember what has occurred. He then has a little chat with Dean about capital D Destiny, brothers and fathers, or Fathers. And asserts that Dean will eventually say yes, as he is supposed to. He fixes up Sam and sends the pair of them back to the present, to drink to their Free Will. Do they really have said Free Will? It's a question that will continue to be explored, to be sure.
And the last scene of the night is of young Mary and John, setting up a nursery for the soon to be born "troublemaker" Dean, with a prominent Angel watching over it (which Mary got for 25 cents). Angels are watching over him. I don't know about you, but that was haunting.
Interestingly, my favorite moments all were the quieter ones that weren't necessarily serving the main plot. The little bit in the car where John is dealing with finding out monsters are real and telling everyone to shut up or he'll "turn this car right back around!" Awkward family road trip, indeed. When Sam first saw Mary and John, when he told her how beautiful she was, and his whole speech to John about how he never got to tell his dad that he understands now, that he loves him. Oy mama, pulled at my heart strings! And let's not forget Mary finding out that Dean and Sam are her sons, and Dean's bits of proof about the tomato soup with the rice and... um, excuse me while I wipe a tear. Man. The look on Dean's face when Michael tells him that he's wiped their memories, so upset that she'll still walk into that nursery.
Revelatory fact of the evening: Dean is Michael's true vessel, but John is still a vessel. It's in the bloodline, which apparently goes back to Cain and Abel. He also reveals that his vessels do not turn out to be drooling empty-heads after he's through with them, that they can continue on with their lives - unlike that guy we saw who was taken over by Raphael in "Free to Be You and Me."
Basically: wow. I can't say with certain certainty until the season is over, but this episode could possibly be in my top 10 of all time of the show. In case you want to know some of my other favorites: Mystery Spot, In My Time of Dying, Lazarus Rising, What is and What Should Never Be, A Very Supernatural Christmas.... etc. etc. etc.
Though this was a rather serious episode, there were some light moments that get to be included in my...
"So she's gone all Glenn Close. That's awesome." - Dean
"Who's Glenn Close?" - Castiel
"Just this psycho bitch who boils rabbits." - Dean
"So you're like a Delorean with no Plutonium." - Dean
"I don't understand that reference." - Castiel
"I mean, the mustaches alone." - Sam
"Wow. Awkward family road trip." - Dean
"Six degrees of heaven bacon." - Dean
"I am very surprised." - Castiel
Next week: Evil Cupid. Incidentally, I almost wrote a spec episode with that exact idea. Good thing I did not.
Previous Episode -- Next Episode