Sunday, 16 April 2017

Review: Supernatural 12x18 "The Memory Remains" - by sweetondean

Oh how I loved The Memory Remains. It was like a little horror movie! Creepy and cool and super fun. It was a fantastic monster hunt where once again, the monster was not only a monster, but a human - basically we got a two for one, a monstrous human and the monster he controlled. Yep, who is the greatest monster in this situation - a powerful theme of Supernatural through the seasons, and one so relevant to this year's arc with the British Men of Letters, and the devil baby. I ended up feeling sorry for the poor old god, being locked up and starved so that it would grant its captures wishes. The monstrous human turning the monster into more of a monster than it may have been if left to its own devices. Kinda like that werewolf that Claire came across. 

There was so much to love in this episode, from the super fun dialogue-which was so on point with the brothers' banter, to the creepy sheriff stuffing a ferret (was that a ferret?). The hunt scenes with the torches, which were so much like the early seasons…creeping through a building, torchlight shining into camera lenses. I loved the shot through the goat eyes, the flapping painting plastic, which for some reason will never not make me feel like something awful is about to happen! The slaughterhouse and the meat hanging on hooks in the cool room that Dean had to look around as the god hid from and stalked him. So many familiar and awesome horror tropes! John Bring did such a great job with both the story and the script, giving us tingles in all the right places…both from the scares and from the feels!

ALL OF THE FEELS! This was a broment-a-palooza episode!

I loved that Dean hooked up with the waitress in the diner, and  I loved that she flirted hard back at him, because, um, YEAH! And really - how happy he looked that she finally noticed him! I’ll never quite recover from the loved up, smooshing up against the girl, tie all askew, morning after Dean. Never. Ever. I bet he was all warm and…. oops sorry!

I adored the affection Sam showed Dean, praying his big brother wouldn’t use the worst pickup line in history, and his face when Dean did! Brilliant work by Jared in that scene - saying so damn much whilst saying nothing at all. It’s these little nods to how well the brothers know each other and how they are equal parts amused and exasperated by each other that give me life! I swear Sam, head resting on his hand, grinning like crazy as he looked at Dean’s girl, and happily putting up with hungry as a bear Dean beaming with contentment, made my heart go zing-a-ling. Sam genuinely happy to see his brother genuinely happy made me so, well, genuinely happy! 

I keep reading people saying that they just want more of the brothers, more about the brothers, they just want to see the brothers doing the brotherly feels thing, and I am baffled by this. For me, the strongest part of season 12, a season which I think has been consistently delivering great story, is the brothers and their glorious relationship! We have never before seen them so stronger together, so unified, so trusting of each other, so harmonious. They are talking, sharing, joking, smiling, open and obviously loving and affectionate with each other. This is a season with no big lie (Sam’s brief deception forgiven as I always felt he was working up to being honest), no sword of Damocles hanging over them as one brother prepares to give the ultimate sacrifice, no one brother wanting to get out of the life, no supernatural compulsion threatening them from the inside. This season has been 2 grown men, 2 brothers who have learnt through mistakes and experience that no matter what, their brother always has their back. They’ve learnt and now understand, that this life forced upon them is a life they are both okay with - even if maybe they dream of one day hanging up their guns, they now dream of doing it together. They’ve figured out their place in the world, it may not be about legacy, but it is about saving people and leaving everything a little better for having been here. It’s about 2 brothers sharing in something no one else will ever really understand, a history that has joined them forever in a quest, and created a bond that no matter what happens, no matter who tries, it cannot be broken. It’s about 2 brothers, doing the work, looking out for each other, being emotionally open and available, being respectful, being comfortable enough to let the other call the shots. It’s about small smiles, eye-rolls, teasing, little moments of joy and exasperation that come with knowing someone better than anyone but you could. It’s about walking instep, sitting shoulder to shoulder, talking in “us” and “we”. It’s about remembering who they are and what they mean to each other, and carving that out to leave a mark that means something to them, even if no-one else knows or understands or remembers.

Personally, I don’t need hugs, I need all of this. Thank you Show, for giving me the brothers I’ve always hoped they’d become, for letting them grow up and into their relationship in a real and truthful way. Now please refrain from ripping my heart out because we can’t, and the Winchesters certainly can’t, ever be this happy! Lord…I feel something awful brewing in the wind.

The British Men of Letters infiltration and bugging of the Bunker gave me the weebs. That invasion into the Winchester’s private, personal, safe space felt like the ultimate deception. Jokes aside - and there were some crackers - going through Dean’s draws, stealing his prized photo of Mary, which we know he’s carried with him for so long…all the the nopes in the world can’t cover it. I found myself wondering how long until Dean would notice - or would they notice the bug when Dean goes to put the gun back in its under table holster - because it looked like Ketch put that bug right in front of where Dean pulled the gun from. 

Either way - it will happen, and when it does, the British Men of Letters’ future will be sealed…and I wondered if the Bunker will also be sealed? No longer the haven they once felt it to be, no longer a place they are safe from the world, will the brothers turn off the lights and close the doors? Will they be back on the road, possibly on the run? I couldn’t help but feel like there will be a change of relationship between Sam and Dean and the only home they’ve ever really know outside of Baby. I was filled with sadness at this invasion and what I feel it will mean to the boys. It will go beyond the anger of being spied on. I started to wonder if the homey tones in the Bunker, and all the gorgeous domestic moments this season have been purposefully setting something up. We’ve enjoyed this space since season 8. Will we be saying farewell at the end of season 12? Will the only U.S. Men of Letters left alive, do what the Men of Letters did back in the 50’s and abandon the Bunker, leaving it just as a storage place, but no longer a home? Baby, the Bunker, the Colt, John’s Journal, Dean's amulet have all become objects that have been given personality and a real emotional position in the Winchester’s history. We place importance on them because of what they mean to our boys. The Bunker... has been compromised.

The final scene with the boys discussing their legacy and then carving their initials into the table, just like they did when they were children in Baby - their only other home…lord, how I cried…I have those initials carved into my leg in ink! I love that Dean thought to do this - their history together has always meant so much to Dean - and I love Sam’s soft smile and truly touched face as he watched his big brother etch out those letters, and then hand him the knife for him to do the same. All the feels and all the tears. It was beautiful and amazing and such a great recognition of something so important to those of us that love the Winchesters. But it also felt so horribly ominous…almost like a goodbye…the talk of dying, their legacy, whether any other hunter would live in the Bunker when Sam and Dean are gone. A-Wah! Why can’t we ever have (and keep) nice things! Or maybe I should say, why when we get nice things do we automatically start thinking that not nice things are coming? BECAUSE SUPERNATURAL, THAT’S WHY!

We’ve got a week off guys, then it’s full steam ahead to the finale! I still don’t know where we’re heading, which I like, but also kind of don’t like! 

Hang in there! Thanks for reading


  1. The last scene got to me also, how could it not? I just rewatched again with a friend that had to work during air time so of course we had to watch tonight.

    The subject of the gun under the light table just blows my mind that people think it is the Colt. It is not. It is the small gun that Dean handed to Mary when they first got to the bunker in Episode 1 after they saw all the blood on the floor. That holster that is mounted under the table would never hold the Colt. I can almost bet that that Colt rests in Dean's bedroom until they have to go out on a hunt. In fact, the Colt hasn't had a holster ever. Might be a great M&G question for Jensen. Might have to try for that in June.

    I also don't understand why people think there has not been enough of D&S and not enough broments. Just because they don't say all the words, that apparently some need to hear to believe, that doesn't mean they did not say anything. I love the hugs too but they are not necessary every single episode and most of the cases it would not work for the direction the scenes were going. It would be real nice if people could just let the writers do what they get paid to do and do it very well I might add.

    Jared is just making me so dang proud this year. He has stepped up his game and his facial expressions and actions are just as loud as if he spoke the words. He has had a very good teacher for the past 12 years to follow in Jensen's lead and has learned it exceptionally well.

    All that talk about when they are gone, and legacy stuff just pushed my worry overload button. The thought of them not having their safe haven anymore pains me. I think they just need to double up on the locks and get some blasted warding in the place but why else would they be leading us in this direction if not because something big is going to happen. We all know that 5 month hiatus cliff hanger is coming anyway.

    1. Agreed it was NOT the Colt he pulled from under the table! My guess is it hasn't left Dean's sight since he once again laid his hands on it. I wouldn't be surprised to learn he's been sleeping with it.

  2. I totally agree- all the wonderfully harmonious understanding and trust in the brothers' relationship is almost like an ominous flag waved in our faces... telling us not to get too comfortable with the domestic feeling the Winchesters' life has taken on.
    The episode had everything one can ask for- wonderful script, great one-liners, thrilling and scary plot, an early-season vibe mixed with the character growth we've seen the characters go through... and characters that aren't reduced to flat caricatures or simplifying clichees.
    I know people ask for Sam/Dean hugs all the time, but ss much as I enjoy watching them- i dont think they are missing this season, as the brothers seem so in synch in their movements, their talking, their facial expressions, their understanding of their job and their life... why would they need a hug to manifest that? They show it in so many little gestures and expressions (Jensen and Jared being the awesome actors they are)... a hug usually occurs as a bodily expressions of emotional and physical reconnection in times of crisis- and the Winchesters obviously are connected and comfortable enough right now not to need one.
    The visuals in the episode, camera angles, production design, lighting, the earthy/dark colors vs. the frozen cold blue/grey tones in the factory, were all fabulous... and wow, the creepy feeling when the brothers return to the wsrm, soft lights of their home, talking intimstely, not suspecting anything wrong, while we all knew about the BmOl's intrusion! Thats great storytelling, from writers, directors, cameramen, and actors alike... just wow.

  3. I think for some of us that are wanting more brothers this season isn't because they aren't on board or at ease with each other. I think it's that we aren't getting a lot of meaningful dialogue between them that ties us to the story. So much of this season is completely hidden from the brothers. It's a different style that Andrew Dabb has and for some of us it disconects us from the story because the brothers haven't been clued in to most of what is going on. More often than not the episode is ending with other characters having their "aha" moment while dialogue between Sam and Dean is off camera. We have precious few episodes left and some staggering reveals to be uncovered. I don't need hugs or emotional crying but it's hard to feel connected when for 11 years we have had the "Impala chats" that told us how Sam and Dean felt about the events of the episode and their fears, hopes or whatever the road before them meant to them and the story. For me it set Supernatural apart from any other because of the phenomenal acting/chemistry between Jensen and Jared.
    I do like the MOTW episodes this season because they have usually been all about Sam and Dean from beginning to end. I did enjoy this episode even though I did have a little issue with the Bunker being given the same status as Baby.

    1. Hi Cheyrl, I've heard this a bit, but it's not how I'm perceiving this season. We may not have had them having deep and meaningfuls at the end of every episode, but the brothers have had powerful conversations this season that have gone deep into who they are and how they feel about their life and where they are in their relationship - whether it's here and the conversation about legacy, which so reminded me of an earlier conversation between Sam and Dean in Criss Angel is a Douchbag, or Dean talking over the Impala to his brother about everything getting lost in Regarding Dean and passing on feeling happy if it means losing the memory of what they have, to the conflicted conversations over coffee in the kitchen, and around the bunker about their mum, or just comforting each other's concerns - these have been fantastic insights into who the brothers are now. There's a realism to these conversations and a maturity in their relationship that strikes a chord with me. I've enjoyed this closeness - through words, checking in on each other, and supporting each other, but also through actions . One of the things Supernatural, (and Jensen and Jared), has always been able to do so well is say so much without a whole lot of words. That for me is what sets this show apart from others. As you said, it's the phenomenal acting and that chemistry that doesn't need to be written because it bounces off the screen. That has been particularly great this season, because we can actually see their closeness. Sometimes in the past we've heard the words but the words have not matched the on screen dynamic, or what has been happening in the storyline - what we know is going on - and that has been jarring and confusing. It feels like platitudes. Now however, the relationship is there to see every week. I've never seen the brothers so tight. It worries the hell out of me!

      I don't think the Bunker will ever have the emotional importance of Baby - but it has become a home and has allowed them to have a space where they can feel safe and it would be sad to see that go, for them. I also love the crazy motel rooms though, so if they hit the road again, I'd be cool with it! And there's something lovely about the Winchesters on the road. (Though the domestic moments in the bunker are seriously some of my favourite ever).

      Thanks for your comment Cheryl, it was interesting to read and think about. We all see the show differently and I can only write it how I see it.

    2. Regarding Dean is my favorite episode of this season (and very high on my list of favorites of all time) because of the intense relationship between the brothers. That epsode also set up possible solutions to upcoming story arcs for the season. It was satisfying on every level.

      I think maybe I'm not explaining it very well. It isn't the relationship between the brothers that is the issue (at least for me) it is the conection between some of us in the audience to the story through the brothers. In the past we would have the brothers in conversation (usually over the Impala or at the Bunker) tying us to the events of the episode and how it impacted their lives. Because so much of the story is hidden to Sam and Dean it is hard (again for some of us) to connect to the story since we watch for the brothers and how the season is affecting them.
      Like I said Andrew Dabb has a very different style than showrunners in the past. I just miss having Sam and Dean connect us to the arc(s) of the season with their conversations.

      I always appreciate your POV. You always make me see the episode's in a positive light

    3. Which is funny, because I ONLY watch for the brothers, and that is why I'm digging this season so much, because for me everything (other than the Crowley Lucifer arc - we always have other character arcs) is revolving around and affecting the brothers and they are at peak brotherness and I just love how they are with each other! Love it so much. So that shows how differently we see the arc! :)