When last we left the Winchesters, Dean was trying to talk the EMTs out of driving them to Liver Eaters General Hospital and Sam was post-hallucination, mid-seizure and pre-MRI. This episode opens up with the stomach churning sound of a broken leg being set and a doctor telling Dean ever so professionally that his brother has to get his head checked because he “bashed it pretty seriously”. Yes, “bashed”. That’s a medical term. Dean doesn’t care because a bit of something-something gets pushed into his IV and it’s lights out.
We cut directly to Dean (See what I just did there? If you don’t, well, I’m going to go ahead and be amused about my play on words over here. By myself.) coming to. He dopily yanks out his IV and determinedly swings himself out of the hospital bed… right onto the hospital floor. Turns out Dr. Dean Winchester was right last episode and his leg is actually broken. Bobby comes in, looking mighty dapper I must say, and Dean is happily surprised to see that Bobby is alive. Bobby seems to think Dean is an idiot for thinking anything else was the case and is rightfully perplexed that a man who correctly identified that his leg is broken would try to walk on it. Dean explains it simply: morphine by the vein-load.
I know there’s a slew of jokes and pubescent hormone parade levels of observations to be made about Dean in a hospital gown on the floor, but really, I’m just not going to do it. Too easy.
Bobby tosses Dean his clothes and tells him he’s good to gimp out on his own while Bobby goes to steal Sam away from the trained professionals. Dean looks only mildly convinced that he’ll be able to even dress himself, but manages it anyway. Separately, they both navigate their way out of the hospital as, unbeknownst to them, Dr. Creepy Surgeon from last week and his new organ-eating sidekick have been notified and are hot on their trail. Or, y’know, as hot as two steps behind can be. It gets close as the Leviathans spot Bobby and Dean driving off in a borrowed ambulance. The Leviathans start to give chase, but they’re more sprinters than marathoners and quickly give up.
Three weeks later and Dean is firmly in the grips of a novela. If you’re confused about what a novela is I’ll tell you: it’s what Ugly Betty was before Americans got hold of it. We’ve all been there, Dean, I lost months of my adolescence to Soñadoras. Bobby tells them that the Leviathans are coming up from behind, and oh yeah, they’re apparently invincible. Perfect. Sam’s spacing out, Dean’s one-legged and annoyed by it and Bobby’s off to play scavenger hunt for all the copies of his one-of-a-kind dial-a-demon books. The good thing about this season it that injuries are really injuries; Dean’s leg isn’t magically better and Sam’s hand has a thick scar running through the palm that he can rub at like a worry stone and tell the others that he doesn’t see purple people anymore.
Dean sends Sam and his Borderline Personality Disorder out for rations. Including pie. Over bickering and confusion Dean Winchester will always take pie. Of course, Sam, little brother that he is, comes back with cake. Close enough or not even close, you be the judge. Dean clearly has made his decision in the cake or death existential dilemma.
At the store Sam picked up the local newspaper, and in our first flashback we’re going to start finding out why the Ice Pick Killer matters to Sam Winchester. If you’re worried about being able to keep up with the time switches, fear not, you can tell when we’re in 1998 by the flannel, the sepia toned scenery and Sam’s Nokia 5190 cell phone. You can tell when we’re back in 2011 by the flannel.
1998 Sam, hopped on caffeine, has been researching his teenage angst off for John and Dean. They’re hunting a kitsune, which is like a zombie, except alive and it eats brains for nutrition, not just for fun. 2011 Sam’s information highway is a bit of a ten car pile-up, but he remembers how to reconnect the dots like he did back in the hey day of Seattle’s Best and is on the hunt to find what he’d already found thirteen years ago. Fun fact: Sam Winchester is proof that excessive caffeine consumption actually stimulates growth.
As helpful as 1998 Sam is, he’s still a 15-year-old boy and the pretty girl wandering around the library has caught his eye. In all of his 15-year-old awkward glory he approaches her. And gets shot down. No worries though, Sam has the chance to show off his junior USMC training by taking out two guys that follow and harass the nubile teen girl from the library. Sam Winchester, age fifteen, professional scrawny badass.
The girl introduces herself as Amy, and I hope you paid attention to her necklace a few moments ago, because when we slip back to 2011 that’s how Sam is going to recognize and confirm it’s her. I’m not entirely sure how she recognized him though, considering the foot and a half of growth and the extra 80 lbs of pure muscle. Maybe it was the flannel. I’m going to make the decision right now to not dissect the writer’s choice of giving the character the name “Amy Pond”. Part of me feels like it’s a neat little nod to the Dr. Who watchers out there and the other part of me thinks naming her Donna Noble would have been cooler, but then again I have Companion bias.
Back in 1998, Amy is tending to Sam and offers him a drink. We get a glimpse into Amy’s fridge and see a beverage, a tub of cream cheese and chunks of pituitary gland filled brain floating in jars. It reminds me of a frat boy fridge. They flirt to the sounds of the Goo Goo Dolls and the teenager in me is reeling from all the over identifying I’ve got going on. Except I never hunted demons. Or kissed a boy that hunted demons. And I’m not a demon. But I did listen to 90’s alt-rock and gaze adoringly at cute boys, so I totally get this scene deep in my Doc Marten wearing soul.
The Amy and Sam in 2011 are getting reacquainted with each other; Sam scolds her for brain munching and she whacks him unconscious. When he wakes up he’s in her home and she’s covered in blood that isn’t his. She tries to explain, Sam tries to knife her. She pleads that it’s not what he thinks and that she’s off the fresh brain juice, only pre-formaldehyde dead stuff for Miss Pond. We also find out that it’s not just Amy in the house, there’s also her young son, Jacob, who was sick and need fresh brains to get better.
The scene is warmly bathed in orange and yellow so it must be 1998 again and in storms Amy’s mother. With Sam hiding in the closet we overhear Amy’s mother frantically complaining about two guys in a crappy Impala that are onto them and Sam puts it all together. Amy and her mother are the kitsunes they’ve been hunting. It’s almost like Romeo and Juliet. Amy’s mother isn’t just a demon, though, oh no, she’s also nice parental cocktail of Leland Palmer and Mama Fratelli. Amy fearfully agrees to pack and sends her mother off to start the van.
Sam tumbles out of the closet and tells Amy that the jackasses in the Impala are his father and brother. They have their Buffy and Angel moment before Amy pleads for Sam to run. He’s just about to… when Amy’s mom comes back in. Amy should have whined about leaving more, apparently her acquiescence was a dead give away that something wasn’t on the up and up.
Fast forward to 2011 and Dean has just found his Impala thieving brother and cold clocked him. For the second time in this episode Sam is holding a chilled can to his face to stop the swelling. And Dean is lecturing. He reminds me of my mother when I was 1998 Sam’s age. I’d leave a vague note and take off with friends, I’d “forget” to check in and she’d be convinced I was dead in the desert, then when I turned up just fine she’d be so relieved I was alive that it would circle around to her being supremely pissed off. Oh, to be a teenager again.
2011 Sam tells Dean that he took care of the problem. Dean figures, dead demon corpse or it didn’t happen, but Sam can’t produce the proof because he let Amy go. Dean is unamused. Sam explains that…
Flash back to 1998 and we learn that Amy shanked her mom through the heart to save the cute boy with the flannel shirt and the floppy hair. So Sam pretty much owed her a solid.
Back in 2011, Dean says he understands Sam. He trusts Sam and Sam should trust him back.
Don’t move, we’re still in 2011 and Dean has ditched Sam and tracked Amy to the motel she’s hiding out in. She tries to make him see it the way she got Sam to, but Dean doesn’t have the emotional tie to her, he sees her as just another thing to worry about and runs her straight through the heart, clean and simple. Except Jacob is standing in the doorway. Dean asks the little boy he just orphaned if he’s got family and if he’s ever killed. The answer is yes and then no. Dean tells him to walk the line or else he’s coming back for him. Jacob stoically vows revenge. It’s an interesting parallel; Dean began his journey to where he is now because a bad man took his mother away from him at a young age.
The definition of insanity is repeating the same actions and expecting different results.