Of the many things I loved about 10x01, this probably doesn't clear the Top 10--probably, none of this does--but one thing I loved was the way the cars and use of cars signaled the multitude of different storylines casting about over the course of the episode.
We have our classic grill shot, albeit not with our classic grill:
Which is, hilariously, really too big for the shot. XD But the Pimpmobile had a good showing today, cute little monstrosity that it is.
And of course, we have Sam's modern car, with its problematic "electric brain." I'm still wondering what was going through Sam's mind that night, with a car dead in the water and some shady dude walking up to him without immediately announcing his intentions. Inasmuch as Sam probably has a decent capacity to give people the benefit of the doubt (I mean, all things considered), I have a hard time believing that seemed like a good time and place to be practicing that. Granted, Sam's a dude, and dudes just really aren't primed in the same way as women are wrt shady dudes in dark isolated places. But if there were an exception, just based on past experiences, I feel like Sam would be one! So anyway, I'm still trying to work that out. Looped on painkillers and sleep deprivation, maybe? That's an almost lazy explanation, given the Winchesters' high tolerance for both, but man, it's been a hell of a year/decade. I'm not interested, by the way, in questions or assertions predicated upon discussions of authorial intent. That is so seven decades ago! And besides, what kind of fanfic does that make for? XD
But I digress. What I loved about all this was the way these two cars featured, and the way they did this background work in delineating--but also unifying--the three major storylines (Unnamed Action Man's becoming wedded to Sam's once Sam's car takes the stage).
Who's noticeably missing from this signal pattern, of course, is the Impala. The only reason we can assume Dean's driving her right now is because Sam isn't. She exists by process of elimination, and by the ghost of implication only. She's not important, whereas the Pimpmobile, aesthetically, is; and Sam's New Car, plot-wise, is.
She is the least important car in the whole universe of 10x01.
But back to Sam's car. Where'd he get it from? Why'd he choose that one? Hotwiring an old car is a lot easier, and a lot more a part of the Winchester skill set. Not that it's not possible to steal a newer car, but why go the extra mile? Or did he actually legally rent one? As that's also a route Sam's gone in the past.
What if it used to belong to one of the demons he interrogated?
And why didn't he just use one of the cars in the Bunker's garage? When Sam and Dean found them last June, I imagine they weren't in working order; 60 years' silence will do that to a battery. But that's an easy death to wake from; jumpstart it, replace with newer parts--there are so many options.
What if they're cleaning up after Oz, and Dean mentions the cars, and Dean says he'll fix them; they'll be backups, or something. Some of them, a few of them, he says, are cherry. It's a little like cheating, to say that about things that aren't his and aren't the Impala, but a truth is a truth and even if they're not the Impala, lesser by virtue of not being that Impala, that don't mean they're not fine, too. So Dean says he'll get them running.
Sam's amenable. He's always been open to the idea of separate rides. For efficiency's sake. (He doesn't know yet that in under six months they will indeed be driving separately, and he will have his own car. But it won't be one of the Bunker's, and he and Dean still won't be that efficient. They never are. They've been driving the same road for years now.)
What if, a few weeks later, they come back from Enid, Oklahoma. And Sam notices that although Dean's not acting like a dog anymore, Dean's still acting strange. Wired and jittery and a little overextended. Like he's looking past Sam, or through him. His head's in a place that isn't here with Sam, and isn't in the Bunker, and Sam does not know why.
It's unnerving, maybe. There shouldn't be anything seriously wrong right now. But that's generally when (or why?) things tend to go wrong with Dean. Sam's given up trying to figure out whether Dean's disasters are preemptive or protracted--that is, set so far from their source it's impossible to tell the lineage.
Dean's guilty about something, but that's never been a useful metric. That's not something Sam can work with.
So maybe Sam brings up the cars again. The cars Dean said he'd fix, and didn't. It doesn't matter much on its face, but it's part of the nesting process, and however pointless Sam (still) finds the prospect, Sam recognizes that apparently Dean feels differently.
Dean wants permanent things.
Dean can't have them, and Sam knows Dean knows that. It's pure and simple fact that the world is not made up of permanent things. But Sam figures that if they start collecting small change--the relative permanence of the Bunker; the permanence of coffee in the cupboards, the permanence of cars in the garage, water in the pipes, and photos on the dresser--Dean will one day realize that his little brother is not permanent, is not unchanging.
(Sam isn't thinking now about death. He's actually not thinking about death at all. He's thinking of the opposite, of life, and getting older, and driving further. But this conversation he's having with himself, it will all come back in a few months, and then it will be dressed in different colors. Sam will think a lot about death. Castiel will be the only one around to watch him happen.)
Right, Dean says--of the cars. The cars in the Bunker's garage. He was gonna do something about that.
Nesting, Sam reminds him. It's a pointed callback to Oz and all of that, recent in Sam's mind but apparently less so in Dean's. He doesn't seem to get the reference. (And he's still distracted.)
Which leads Sam to believe that Sam is not the only one losing time, in odd snatches and unlikely blips.
They probably both need sleep, is all. They're fine.
What if that's where that project ends, the project of nesting--in the Bunker, with each other, whichever. Dean is supposed to fix those cars, and never does.
And then Dean's gone. Gone multiply, because Sam loses him three times in three hours--to the Mark, to death, and finally, to the wind.
What's left, then, is for Sam to see a girl about a car, and a demon about a direction.
P.S. Okay, so the past tense I played with last time was an interesting toy. But MAN THE SUBJUNCTIVE CASE. I'M KIND OF OVER-ENAMORED RIGHT NOW. *_*