Warning – contains episode spoilers.
You’re just as screwed up as I am, you’re just…bigger.
Before I kick off this week’s review, let’s just get this out in the open shall we? It took me an inordinate amount of time to get through the first 10 minutes of this episode. An embarrassingly, inordinate amount of time. Pause rewind pause rewind pause rewind. Even I was starting to think “awkward”. But seriously, these precious, precious moments of Dean getting it on are so few and far between that a gal really has to make the most of them. It wasn’t only the bedroom frolic scene, (intercut with awesome gore and set to an ACaDaCa soundtrack), though that was a visual and sensory delight, it was also the bar room flirtation. The close-ups of the eyes and mouth, the little knowing smiles….. Pause rewind pause rewind pause rewind. Hey, no excuses….I go by the name sweetondean after all….
I was massively hesitant about The Slice Girls for two reasons. The first reason was, the concept of Dean having and instant-child bothered me no end, I mean, please no, we know how he is about family and kids in general, the whole concept squicked me out. I saw angst with a side order of angst and not in a good way. The second was, the episode was written by the same team who wrote Shut-Up, Dr. Phil, but more specifically Route 666, which is not exactly a favourite of mine. The Cassie word tends to make me spill forth with a tirade that is often peppered with expletives. Of course that routinely slammed episode also gave us a shirtless, sexed-up Dean…. Hang on a minute…. hmm…maybe I like these writers more than I thought! But I digress…what I was going to say is, I was massively hesitant about The Slice Girls, but it turned out not at all how I thought it would and ended up being a rather enjoyable, if somewhat sad episode.
You know what I’m really digging about season 7? It’s a character study. More than any other season, it’s seems to be about the nitty gritty of what’s going on below the surface of our beloved brothers. Their relationship and their individual character arcs have been put back into the forefront of the story and it feels like a long while since that’s been the case. Each episode looks like it’s going to be about some monster or another, but what we really get to see is how Sam and Dean are, or more often than not, aren’t functioning and coping with what the Universe is currently making them wade through. I like. The Slice Girls, once again, gave us a good, deep, kinda gloomy look at where the brother’s respective headspaces are at and I liked it, a lot. So you’ll excuse me if I don’t bother going into the monster storyline, as it was secondary to what I saw as the real story.
As I see it, we had two things going on with the boys here, we had Sam in uber hunter mode and we had Dean in I don’t give a flying fudge mode. Neither was surprising but both were pretty disturbing to watch. There was strong vibe of frustration. It was like the air was sizzling with mutual exasperation. Not that they were at loggerheads, in fact they’re working pretty well together, all things considered, but there were definitely a few internal throwing up of the arms moments between them.
At the end of Adventures In Babysitting Sam said that he wasn’t doing so great and he just wanted to work….yep, that’s what we saw here. He was hyper focused on the job. He was right, as Dean so succinctly put it, the murders were in the general vicinity of the ballpark of their kind of thing, but Sam’s drive, his ploughing ahead seemed to reinforce that this is how he's trying to deal, by not dealing. Kind of like his brother. The problem is of course; we know Sammy is hanging on by a fine thread of sanity. We know on the inside it’s 24/7 Satan-vision. We know this because the Leviathan told us. So while Sam is trying to block out whatever is happening inside his melon by throwing himself into the latest job, he also has to watch his usually stoic and resilient big brother continue his tailspin unabated. That’s a tricky balancing act. Stay sane while trying to keep your brother from going off the rails once and for all. He’s obviously very worried about Dean and he’s obviously trying not to beat his brother over the head with it. He even said it at the end, he doesn’t care how Dean deals, he just cares that he doesn’t get killed. Breaks my damn heart. That scene in the not-Impala as they argued about Amy and Emma and Dean choking and not having his head in the game, was so poignant. In that moment, when Sam asked his brother to just don’t get killed, he felt so small and young to me. He needs Dean and he needs Dean to be Dean, now more than ever. Dean’s all he has. He’s been Sam’s rock all his life, he’s always called the shots and now Sam’s in the driver’s seat both literally and symbolically because his brother is finding it difficult to be there. I really feel for Sam.
And Dean… Well I didn’t expect an overnight resurrection off the back of Eliot Ness’ very sage description of what it means to be a hunter, but I was hoping for just a little spark to be reignited. But Dean seems so apathetic. It’s really hard to watch. His drinking, his lack of engagement in the case. He doesn’t want to listen to anyone else because they aren’t Bobby. The “Our expert is dead” line totally floored me. He has been ‘wobbly’ ever since Cas died, but now…well he’s about to topple over. He’s letting his brother drive the car for Heaven’s sake. I mean sure, that’s responsible, being as he’s continually drinking from Bobby’s flask and I’m sure his blood alcohol level would be well and truly over the legal limit across all parts of the day, but he’s letting Sam drive and by that, I mean drive everything. Dean’s going through the motions in the worst possible way and Sam’s right to be worried that it’ll get him killed. I’m not one of those people who think Dean would ever purposely check out, not as long as Sam is in the picture. Even though I think he probably does just want gone, hence the carelessness, but while Sam is still by his side, Dean will keep putting one foot in front of the other whether he wants to or not; “I not going to walk out on my brother.” But is that enough to sustain him? I think somewhere inside he’s paralysed with fear that if something happens to Sam he’ll be totally alone and Dean doesn’t do alone. Neither brother does. There literally is no one else left. That must be a terrifying thought, for both of them. But Dean’s in a bad place and no matter what else is going on around you, it’s hard to pick yourself up when you’re free-falling through grief and despair. He’ll do it though…and when that day comes I’ll be air punching like crazy! I want my feisty, kick-ass Dean back as much as Sam does…maybe even more.
Oh gosh, well now I’ve depressed myself! Let’s talk about something else shall we?
I had zero issues with Sam killing Emma, but then again I had zero issues with Dean killing Amy…though let’s not go there huh? Emma was going to kill Dean pure and simple and had she made a move in his direction or even Sam’s direction I think Dean would have dropped her in the blink of an eye. But I’m very thankful Sam did it instead, as that’s a great big piece of baggage the elder Winchester really doesn’t need to add to his load. Whether Dean knew his daughter or not, it still smacked of tragedy. Here is a man, who all his life has been about family and who unsuccessfully tried to leave being a hunter behind and live a ‘normal’ life with a woman and her son and now after an athletic one-night-stand where he was obviously less than careful, he has a kid and that kid turns out to be a monster and she has to die... This is what squicked me out! No wonder he hesitated. That’s just too sad! How either brother is still standing upright about now baffles me. A testament to their fortitude.
And what about Bobby? Man, you could feel him in the air in this episode. It speaks volumes that the boys still talk about him in the present tense, like they can’t let go. They want to ring him; Dean carries around his flask like it’s part of him. He was everywhere….including prominently in the 'previously on'. Things that make you go hmm. Bobby being around made me happy. He should be everywhere, he was important, he is important; his impact needs to be felt, his loss needs to be recognised. I’m still in two minds about Ghost!Bobby though, but quite frankly, I so want the brothers to have some kind of happiness that I’ll roll with any idea at this point in time if I see a little joy or even some closure for Sam and Dean. I thought the scene where they talked about the possibility of it being Bobby’s spirit who moved the paper was fantastic. It looked like Sam was onboard for a moment there, EMF scanner in hand, but even he can’t get passed the fact that he can’t believe it could be real because that would be something that they’d want and they never get anything they want. Oh dear Lord. Seriously. Heart. Break. Now.
On a lighter note, I really enjoyed the banter in The Slice Girls. There was a fair amount of teasing from Sam of Dean. I figure he was trying to snap his brother out of his malaise with a bit of poking of the fun! Who hasn’t done that when someone around then is down, tried to make them laugh to brighten them up. Either that or Lucifer’s snarky sense of humour is leaking through! Whatever it was, it wasn’t working. Dean was resolutely grumpy….except maybe when he was banging Lydia. But it was fun to watch Sam having a go at Dean for a change! I love Dean’s come back “Are you deliberately trying to mess with me?” Well yes Dean, I believe he is! I also totally dug the moment they both realised that Dean was the baby-daddy and Sam trying to process this says, “But Dean, dude, seriously, a one-night-stand, you’re just going to roll the dice…” Sammy my boy, I was thinking exactly the same thing. I could go all deep and say this is part of Dean’s apathy towards life, that he’d take that kind of stupid risk, but his little remembering back smirk when he was saying accidents happen made me think it wasn’t him being careless, it was just, you know, one of those things and he was, you know, um prepared. Geeze, how often do we get to have these kinds of conversations around the show! Was or wasn’t Dean being ‘careful’! Ha! Anyway, I really enjoyed this whole scene. The dialogue between the brothers was spot on in this episode.
Another thing I enjoyed about this episode was the gore! Good grief, was that the goriest opening ever? When we pulled back to reveal that the dude had his hands and feet chopped off, I seriously gasped. Of course when the next guy was getting hacked up I was somewhat distracted…. I liked how Dean’s ‘love’ scene was intercut with the hyper-violence of that attack happening somewhere across town. This hammered home (no pun intended) two things, one being this was a fast and furious one-night-stand, no romance, no pretence, just need, as sweet as Dean looked about it... *sigh*... the other being this show has monsters, it has horror and as much as we like seeing the boys get, errr, lucky every once in a while, this is absolutely not what this show is about. As hot as the brothers are, it’s not a ‘let’s see them with their kit off week in week out’ kind of show and I’m thankful of that…most of the time...though someone remind me why…because I forget.
I’d also like to mention that Mayor Wilkins from Buffy was the Professor helping with the Greek translations etc. I clapped my hands when I saw him! I always loved that character, even if he was a snake…literally, plus young Missy Bender from the season 1 episode The Benders played Emma! Creepy hillbilly girl grew up into creepy monster girl! And Jerry Wanek’s directorial debut smacked of the beautiful, artistic style that we’re privileged to see every week via his stunning production design. He did some interesting visual work in this episode. I hope to see him get another shot in the director’s chair.
So, I enjoyed The Slice Girls, angsty, heartbreak and all. There was a lot of subtext, gore, brother moments and partially naked Dean! Weee! Plus it further reinforced for me, that as much as I love the characters that have come and gone and as much as I know and appreciate that the Winchesters need other people in their world, the real drama is with Sam and Dean and their journey is still compelling enough to carry an episode and I hazard to guess, given the chance, a season. It’s what it always was and what it always will be, their story…at least for me.
So what did you think? Did you enjoy the episode?
Thanks for reading!
And enjoy the preview for next week! Clowns...why'd it have to be clowns...
And enjoy the preview for next week! Clowns...why'd it have to be clowns...