After last week’s sort of snoozefest (not to dis on a Bobby episode, but come on), this week really amped things back up! I’d say it ranks pretty high on my favorites-of-this-season list. Could it be because we got to see a bunch of awesome past guest stars? Some more family memories of the Winchesters growing up? Some answers to the whole search for God thing that has not been mentioned but a peep since around episode two? Why Auntie Em, it’s all three!
(I apologize in advance, because this recap is going to be one of the longest on record here. But hey, a lot happened!!)
The episode opens on the boys getting a rude awakening in this week’s random motel in who-knows-where by a couple of other hunters by the names of Roy and Walt. These two aren’t too happy about this whole Apocalypse-schmocalypse, and are there for a bit of comeuppance. They kill Sam, and after debating on whether to kill Dean, pump his guts full of lead as well. And thus begins the episode of awesome, because if you didn’t like that transition from the gun shooting to the title card, then you do not know good when it splats you in the face.
Dean wakes up in the Impala in some abandoned field, and when a teenage Sam (Colin Ford! Always good to see him!) comes up to him with a box of fireworks, he assumes he must be having a wacky dream that has morphed into this specific, totally sweet 4th of July memory. But the memory soon gets disturbed by Dean remembering he’s been killed. Then he gets a call of sorts from Castiel on the Impala’s radio. Castiel informs Dean that he’s died and gone to Heaven, and that he has to follow his “path” – which happens to be just a regular old road, since the Winchesters tend to be sort of literal.
Dean follows the road and finds Sam reliving a memory of his first real Thanksgiving (with someone else’s family, no less). Dean gives him the lowdown, after which some weird light and shaky-shaky happens. Castiel gets in contact with them again and informs them that the light is Zachariah looking for them. They need to avoid that light and follow their road, to get to the Garden in order to talk to the angel Joshua, who apparently has a direct line of communication with the Great Almighty He Him God. Yes, we shall call this “god” whatsit GAHHG from now on. Well, I suppose that may be offensive to religious types, but hey, what do I care?
Anyhow, they follow the road, which leads them to their old house in Kansas back when Dean was a wee lad, and here we get our second guest star in Mary, this time in the form of Samantha Smith. It’s another sweet scene that turns a little sour when Dean remembers that it wasn’t always sunshine and roses for his parents. As Sam puts it, Dean was cleaning up John’s messes even when he was just barely past his toddler years. Aw, wittle Dean!
They head down some more road into a couple of Sam’s memories – both of which feature him running away from John and, by de facto, Dean. Once when he took off for two weeks to Flagstaff (I don’t really remember this being mentioned before, but it probably was at some point), and the second being the infamous “If you leave don’t you ever come back!” time when he left for Stanford. Dean is disturbed that these are his favorite memories, since they happen to be some of the worst times in Dean’s life. Ah, boys, there’s the brotherly angst we know and love! Dean’s favorite memories all have to do with family! Sam’s all have to do with running away from it! Man, these guys have had truly sad and lonely lives. Well, this isn’t news, but it’s always sad to be reminded.
Before they can get into their issues too much, Zachariah shows up with his spotlight. They try to outrun him, literally, but since it’s Heaven and Zac’s an angel, I think we can surmise how that turns out. He taunts them for a bit until, bum bum bum bum, ASH (Chad Lindberg) saves the day! Ah, Ash. So good to see you, too! He gives them some intel about Heaven – it’s not just one place, it’s a bunch of individual places tailor made for each person. And this isn’t the first time Sam and Dean have been behind the pearly gates, they just don’t remember the previous times. He’s figured out how to tap into the Angels’ network and can travel into other people’s Heavens and such, and he also has a visitor wanting to see them. It’s… Pamela (Traci Dinwiddie)!
Pamela and Dean have a chat, wherein Pamela asks Dean whether saying yes to Michael would really be so bad when the people who might be killed would end up in Heaven anyway. Good point, Pam. It’s getting more and more questionable why Dean doesn’t say yes anymore. Ash has, meanwhile, been cooking up a way for the boys to take a shortcut to the Garden.
Alas, however, the door he sends them through just leads them back to their house in Lawrence, to meet a really super creepy version of Mary who taunts Dean, telling him he was a burden and that everyone always leaves him. Zachariah shows up, as it was all his doing, and they have more of their tête-à-tête until Joshua decides to crash the party. He gives Zac a little talking to and sends him packing, then takes the boys to the oft-mentioned (in this episode, anyway) garden.
There in the garden, Joshua does a whole lot of hope slashing. The boys want to talk to GAHHG and get him to help, but Josh informs them that GAHHG’s done helping, he’s already intervened on their behalf more than he has in a long time. In short, they are on their own. Josh sends them back to Earth, but this time they get to remember what happened upstairs.
Castiel is really upset about this news on GAHHG. He looks quite dejected, and gives Dean back his amulet (calling it “useless”! The gall!) before taking off. Sam tries to muster up some good cheer about continuing the fight and finding a way to stop all this Apocalypse hoopla, but Dean’s response is to throw the amulet away on his way out the door. Awww no!
I do have a question, though. Sam makes it up to Heaven, but they send him back down. It makes sense for Zachariah to do that since he wants the whole fight thing to happen, but why should Joshua do it? I guess maybe Lucifer would try to bring Sam back anyway, so it doesn’t matter? Hmm. Hmmmmmm.
“When I come back, I’m gonna be pissed.” – Dean
“You gotta stop poking around in my dreams. I need some me time.” – Dean
“I’m dead.” – Dean
“Condolences.” – Castiel
“How are we in Heaven?” – Sam
“Last time I checked, it wasn’t the road to Heaven that was paved with good intentions.” – Sam
“Yeah well, if this is the Sky Mall, it sucks. I mean, where’s the triplets and the latex, you know? A guy has needs.” – Dean
“What are you doing?” - Sam
“What’s it look like?” - Dean
“Like you’ve lost your mind.” – Sam
“Apparently, you wuv hugs.” – Sam
“You are my little angel. How ‘bout some pie?” – Mary
“This is your idea of Heaven? Wow, this is like one of the worst nights of my life.” – Dean
“Wow. Running from angels. On foot. In Heaven. With out of the box thinking like that, I’m surprised you boys haven’t stopped the Apocalypse already.” – Zachariah
“Guys, come on. You can run, but you can’t run.” – Zachariah
“Buenos dias, bitches.” – Ash
“Like Disneyland. Except without all the anti-Semitism.” – Ash
“Einstein. That man can mix a White Russian.” – Ash
“If it makes you feel any better, we got Ash killed too.” - Dean
“I’m cool with it.” – Ash
“He’s cool with it.” - Dean
“Not to be a downer or anything, but I’m sure I’ll see you again soon.” - Ash
“You can do it all you want, you dick. You’re still bald.” – Dean
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