This episode has two of my favorite moments of the season! The first being Linda taking Kevin’s hand as they get their anti-possession tattoos. I love the Tran family to the moon and back. <3333333333
The second being when Sam and Dean and Kevin and Linda are pooling their resources for the auction—which seems absurd, because surely they realize that the auction prices wouldn’t be in US DOLLARS. On the other hand, Bela absolutely traded priceless magical items via US currency, so I suppose there’s precedent. But when Linda throws in her Costco membership and gives them this reassuring nod, it’s so wonderful. XDDD Because it’s so true. Costco memberships are like dwarven gold and what good Asian family would be without one??
Science 101: How to Make a Demon
Sam also said something super interesting: He’s trying to explain what Hell does (because what else would you do with a year in Kermit, Texas but do some anthropological research on demons, I guess) and he says that it burns your soul away until there’s nothing but black smoke. So Sam’s theory is that demon’s present as smoke because there is a metaphysical/metachemical process that directly takes souls and transforms them into smoke.
Maybe it’s something he learned from Ruby (pillow talk one night. Ruby chatting about campfires and long hot American summers. Sam ignoring her. Thinking of fire. Thinking of Dean). Maybe it’s just a theory he has.
Maybe this is totally obvious to everyone else, but I’d never thought about the human soul and the substance of a demon being that immediately and directly related, and I think that’s really neat.
What it makes me think about is how, then, the demon cure works. If demon smoke is what’s left of a soul, if you inject a demon with sanctified blood is it condensation you’re after? Do you want the liquid of the blood to bind to the smoke of the demon, turn it liquid, turn it soul again?
I really love that Sam and Dean are on each other’s edge enough, and Dean seems to have a handle on it enough that Sam’s willing to not press the issue and just act like everything’s normal. I think the fact that Dean’s not really out there, chomping at the bit, has him convinced that Dean’s going to be fine (he needs Dean to be fine). And Sam’s ability to ascertain what constitutes “fine” is definitely skewed, because, well. It’s S8, and they’re Sam and Dean Winchester. What does “fine” mean?
Which is why I love the opening scene where Sam and Dean and Kevin are eating, and Kevin’s trying to convince them that he should get to see his mom. Dean’s super against this and being all jaded about it (and Sam’s not saying shit, either), and Kevin is just like, “Do you really not understand why I want to see her?”
It’s not an accusation. He’s actually asking; and he’s figuring out who he’s dealing with, and what sort of psychology he’s roping his fate to.
At this juncture, between Sam, Dean, and Kevin, Kevin is probably the one who understands them the most. Dean doesn’t even realize he’s lost that step, and Sam isn’t presently capable of grappling with it. </3
Then we get to the interrogation scene (beautiful beautiful scene <3333333) and see some pretty concrete evidence of this. Dean goes off on the locker thief guy, and all Sam does is tell Dean off verbally and bang the table a few times, like he’s trying to obedience train a dog; he doesn’t get up from his chair, or try to get physical at all. He’s super hands off—so he’s lucky Dean doesn’t actually kill the guy, because what would Sam have done, then?
Then Linda bids her soul for Kevin’s well-being, and Dean’s super nonchalant about this, too. And if there’s something Dean feels strongly about, it’s definitely those. Not today, though. Not right now. He doesn’t give a good shit about Linda’s soul, or Kevin’s family, or Kevin’s girlfriend, or any of it. Even though in 8x01 he definitely had strong opinions about Sam not answering Kevin’s calls; by 8x02 he’s actually backslid on that front, and it’s just seal Hell seal Hell seal Hell. (Aside from Hell being Hell and the job being the job, it’s interesting to think about sealing Hell as being a way of warding your space. Like when you salt the doors and windows in a motel room after a hunt—when you’re back from Purgatory, you lock as many doors as you can find.)
Having the appearance of being decently put together and then having that facade steadily crumble is also kind of Dean's MO. (Like in S4's "Afternoon Special," or what Dean seemed to be asking for in the pilot "help me find Dad" and what it turned out over the course of the season he was actually asking ("help"), or Dean's response to having risen from Hell.) I love it. <333
What’s really heartbreaking to me is that Linda turns down Samandriel’s offer of care because the last time she entrusted her son to angels, they lost him. Instead, she chooses the Winchesters. But she makes this decision without knowing the full story—without knowing the very real role Sam and Dean also had in Kevin’s disappearance, and without knowing that she could have been reunited with her son much sooner were it not for the Winchesters’ failings. She puts her full trust in them thinking that they’re something they’re not. (Or they haven’t been—not to her family.)
And Crowley’s comment about the Winchesters’ nasty habit of using people up?
1) Totally true, though not always their fault (and it’s still true. See: the chicken wing-obsessed former atheist chemistry professor prophet from S11/13 whose name is escaping me right now and who I’m too lazy to look up). edit: DONATELLO LOL. THAT GUY.
2) What happens to Kevin, ultimately. What happens to Kevin in this very season, when Sam and Dean lock him on a boat and ply him with migraine pills and amphetamines.
And before I forget! I feel like logic-ing out Dean’s upset at Sam not going to look for him, or Sam stopping his search is kind of a moot point, because the big psychic rift at play there isn’t itself grounded in logic.
When Dean finally tracks down Castiel in Purgatory, he’s instantly at ease (and starts doing this weird borderline “uncle at a barbecue” schtick, haha). But when he finds out Castiel ran away and abandoned him, all of that instantly goes up in smoke. Snap your fingers, and there’s Dean’s rage. Castiel does get a chance to explain that he ran so as not to bring Leviathan down on Dean, which Dean accepts, but the tables turn on that emotion instantaneously. So I feel like the particulars of how Dean came to feel like Sam abandoned him don’t necessarily matter (at least inasmuch as it affected Dean). Whatever the particular, he still would’ve had that same psychological response to abandonment. Maybe if Sam had offered an explanation Dean might have listened, but if that explanation did not involve Leviathan, maybe it wouldn’t have mattered, since fight-or-flight is really the only thing Dean has a 100% handle on right now.
Also, I love that Dean sliiiiiiides right into Benny’s accent. Toward the end of the Castiel-reunion scene in comes in SUPER thick and it’s amazing. I’ll admit I haven’t thought a lot about Dean and Benny, because I spent 98% of S8 being obsessed with Sam and Amelia and Linda Tran that’s about it (what is the rest of this season even? I’m not sure, who knows), but I think that little tic alone would sell me on that relationship, honestly.
I just love Dean’s tongue, okay? I love his makeshift idioms and the drawl he gets when he’s drunk and the wrong intonations he sometimes uses (S9) and the fact that if he spends enough time with Benny he sucks up the accent like pure, thirsty little sponge. :3
Sorry for the big spam day. I can guarantee the rewatch will slow up dramatically so don't worry about this being a whole long-term inundation. XP