Fair warning - I like this episode. I like domestic Dean. I love Lisa. Sam was not RoboSam to me, so I was puzzled not concerned. This recap is based on notes I took when the episode aired so it does not presume future knowledge. Over the summer, I had low expectations about a 6th year, going past Kripke's original plan and topping the Apocalypse. I was delightfully shocked at how wrong I was. If you do not like this episode, my relief will annoy you.
One year earlier, the FunPacolypse (sorry, can't remember who said it so I couldn't credit) tried serious for once with Sam sacrificing himself to save the world from Satan's scheme. Beforehand he made Dean promise to live a normal life and not try to get him back. Like that was gonna happen.
We open with a montage of Dean's "apple pie" life set to Bob Seeger's Beautiful Loser. I love how it intersperses scenes from Dean's new life with Dean's hunter life. Dean's now a family man complete with daddy duties and a construction job. I like Family Man Dean; sue me. Aw, he fixes the truck with Ben (aka MiniDean). I've always loved Dean with kids. Dean locks the house down and sleeps with holy water and his shotgun under the bed. I LOVE the broken glass title card. Good choice, Sera.
Dean drinks with Sid the Neighbor Guy, poorly explaining his previous life. He was in "pest control…You have no idea what's in some people's walls. Could eat 'em alive.", but now he's practically respectable. The waitress gives Dean her number, but he's got Lisa and tears it up. Sid is jealous because it happens every time. Dean figures, "It's like chicks specifically dig unavailable guys." I think chicks like guys who look like Dean. He had no trouble scoring while single and no one is picking up Sid.
Leaving Jonesy's Bar & Grill, Dean hears screams in an empty building and checks it out. The music is discordant and horror movie tense and I expect a cat to jump out. Nope -a bird. No Dean Scream though so it's supposed to be serious. There's claw marks and blood but no body and Dean takes his cop show home, checking for missing persons. Lisa comes down, and I'm not sure why he lies to her. She already knows about hunting, being involved in a case herself. I know he wants to separate his new life from his old, but that's extreme. He locks up and hey, there's a devil's trap under the area rug. Might be hard to explain to the neighbors if someone accidentally trips on it.
Next day, Dean sees claw marks on a telephone pole. Hunter instincts at the ready, he tracks the "monster" to his neighbor's shed. Again with the yappy dog. One of these days, Dean is going to ignore the pink-bowed lapdog and it's going to attack him. (Yes, I said this before All Dogs Go to Heaven). Sid sees the gun and Dean backtracks unsuccessfully. "Possums kill." Thanks Dean - one animal I never thought to be afraid of. Unfortunately, even I know sulfur is bad and Dean finds it in the shed. He awkwardly leaves Sid to get his hunting gear from the garage. Poor, poor Metallicar, it hurts my heart to see you under that tarp. Shame on you Dean. Gossip travels quickly in suburbia and Dean pretends to get a hammer while Lisa asks him about almost shooting the Yorkie. Again why lie? He claims there's nothing to worry about, but since he's OCD about safety he sends Lisa and Ben off to the movies and dinner while he checks things out. Lisa doesn't question this (I LOVE Lisa) but tells him to be careful. "Careful's my middle name." Yeah right, Dean. Everything in this scene is awesome.
Hey leather jacket - good to see you. Same to you, John's journal. Lights flicker and I grab my pillow. Sudden noises - check. Objects moving by themselves - check. Sudden swell of music - check. Not good. What the heck - it's YED!!! NOOO!!! He's dead. Dead I tell you. People need to stop coming back from the grave. It's becoming a joke. Thanks Apocalypse; season 2 now means nothing. Don't get me wrong; Fredric Lehne's YED is one of my favorite villains, a perfect blend of evil and snark, but still. Dean shoots YED. "Really? After all we've been through together." YED came to threaten Lisa and Ben and to admire Dean's lawn. "Did you really think you were going to get to keep all this….You can't outrun your past." YED chokes Dean unconsciousness and ..huh…Sam puts a syringe through him? Or his ghost? Whatever happened, Dean jolts awake. As we fade to commercial, I am puzzled and absolutely stoked Supernatural is back. Goodbye hellatus, hello Winchester goodness.
I take it back. YED is a figment of Dean's poisoned imagination. Nice way to bring back a classic character without ruining the mythology. And hello…Sam? Nice to see you back. Hell can't keep a good, self-sacrificing brother down. Dean is justifiably confused. Nope, not in heaven, Sam is real, Sam's not affected by silver or salted holy water. "All me." It gets me every time how they cut themselves like it is no big deal. However it does the trick. "Sammy?" "Yeah, it's me." And they hug. Okay, everyone "fan" out. I'll wait. Awwww! Dean has questions, I have more, but Sam has no answers. He can't reach Cas but he's been looking. Uh oh! Light bulb flashes over Dean's head. "How long have you been back, Sam?" About a year. No shock to those who saw Swan Song, but Dean is understandably ticked. Nothing Sam says will justify this in Dean's eyes. "I wanted my brother….alive." Sam: "You wanted a family. You have for a long time, maybe the whole time. I know you….But you had something and you were building something. Had I shown up Dean, you would have just run off. I'm sorry, but it felt like after everything, you deserved some regular life." It sounds good Sam, rational even, but you know it won't cut it. Great acting all around!
The surprises keep coming. Sam's hunting with his mama's family. And they suck. Every last one of them. I just met them and I hate them. Gwen implies he's too pretty to hunt, Christian smirks and Mark's bored. Lovely kin you have Mary. Dean asks the billion dollar question - How, given that Mary's family is all dead (thanks for that tidbit Ruby 1.0), do they exist without the Winchesters knowing? You'd think John would mention this. What the heck…Grandpa Campbell is back from the dead too. Not jumping to conclusions here after the YED thing, but anyone else popping out of the grave this episode? Seriously folks, the USA will need a Department of Recently Un-Dead Citizens to acclimate all the newly resurrected people here. We flashback to Grandpa's death for new converts, and Grandpa hugs Dean in a way Sam didn't a moment ago. Weird. Grandpa kicks everyone else out. "Lot of resurrections in your face today. Alright, take a minute." Dean: "It's going to take a little more than a minute." You and me both Dean. That's a lot of questions for 20 minutes. That's a lot of Dean face palms for one episode. "No more doornails coming out of that door is there?" Please say no, Sera. Please! Dean: "Am I the only one here who thinks that this can't all just be fine?" I'm with you Dean and apparently so is Grandpa. Yikes Grandpa, twist the knife in further why don't you. He wanted to get Dean right away but Sam said no. That never bodes well.
Sam exposits a new, less friendly djinn and I'm sad because I loved their episode. They give you evil hallucinations and you OD. They got Sam and Dean, but Grandpa knows the cure. Well, isn't that a lucky happenstance? I don't trust you, you resurrected magic brewer. Nothing goes this right with the Winchesters. "Stick around. I'll show you tricks your daddy never even dreamed of." Yeah, that wasn't creepy in the least Gramps. Sam posits the djinn want them because Dean staked one in season 2 and Dean realizes Lisa and Ben are in danger. Grandpa says no worries since he sent someone to watch the place. Just goes to show how little he knows Dean. "You got to take me home right now." Sam's sad car of modern conveniences tears into Dean's driveway and the front door is wide open. That's ominous. Dean dashes in yelling for Lisa and Ben to no avail. Watcher dude is dead. So much for protection. I hate you commercial break. I like Dean's new family; the djinn better not kill them off.
Back from the break, Dean frantically calls Lisa's phone but no answer. Man, they look happy in those photos. I haven't seen Dean look this happy in 2 seasons. Lisa and Ben walk through the door only to be engulfed in a big Dean hug. He tells them to pack their bags and Lisa earns 1,000 extra points by not asking questions. Ben goes to pack his bag, only to be stopped by the sight of Sam. There are no words just confusion. Join the club folks.
At Bobby's House of Monster-Chased Refugees, we learn Bobby has never met Lisa and Ben. That makes me sad. Shouldn't he be the persnickety uncle that lets you sneak things when your mom isn't looking? Bobby realizes something bad happened. That's the SPN universe folks; long-lost friends and family show up on your doorstep and you immediately think apocalypse. It's like living in Sunnydale. Bobby tells them to make themselves at home except there's no TV, the best literature is Readers' Digest, and he reminds them not to "touch the décor, okay. Assume it's loaded." Yep, Bobby's place is home sweet home. Sam steps into the doorway and Bobby is noticeably…um..NOT shocked. What's up with that? Aww Bobby, that's a flat out betrayal of Dean's confidence. I don't care how you spin it this has to sting as much as Sam's deception. You and Sam are the only family Dean has and both of you went behind his back. You had to know it was eating him up inside. I call foul; both of you to time-out.
Great! Bobby's known from the beginning. You royally screwed up this time. I expected Dean to explode at this. Bobby: "You walked away from the life. And I was so damn grateful. You got no idea." Dean: "Do you have any clue what walking away meant for me?" Bobby: "Yeah a woman and a kid and not getting your guts ripped out at age 30. That's what it meant." I get what you're saying Bobby and in all fairness Dean made bad decisions for those he loved too, but it always goes wrong. I hoped that you as wise mentor guy knew better. I'm disappointed in you. Life for Dean was not roses and bunnies. "I drank too much. I had nightmares." He tried everything to get Sam back. Sam protests that Dean promised but c'mon that's one promise neither of them has ever kept. They should stop asking. Bobby tries once more. "Look, I get it wasn't easy. But that's life and it's as close to happiness as I've ever seen a hunter get. It ain't like I wanted to lie to you, son, but you were out Dean." Dean: "Do I look out to you?" And that sums it all up. Man I'm depressed. But that was an awesome scene.
Dean walks out to see Lisa coming downstairs. Ben's adjusting; Dean's screwed up. He tells Lisa he's heading out with Sam but Bobby will protect them. Lisa is incredibly supportive, a nice change from the hysterical, ungrateful or obtuse PiP's in Dean's past. Finally someone recognizes Dean is an expert and moves to help instead of wasting valuable time questioning everything. Dean apologizes for being himself: "I should have known that if I stayed with you that something would come because something always does. But I was stupid and reckless and…you can't outrun your past." YED's not who I would quote, Dean. Lisa calls him on his goodbye and Dean looks up to make sure Ben isn't listening. Dean: "I'm saying I'm sorry…for everything." Then Lisa shows exactly why she is awesome for Dean. Lisa: "Everything? You're an idiot. I mean I know it wasn't greeting card perfect but we were in it together." Dean: "I was a wreck half of the time." Lisa: "Yeah well the guy that basically just saved the world shows up at your door, you expect him to have a couple of issues. You're always so amazing with Ben. You know what I wanted more than anything was a guy that Ben could look up too..like..like a dad. So you're saying it's all bad Dean? Cuz it was the best year of my life." I love Lisa. If people keep betraying each other on this show, she may end up my favorite character. Well, that's an exaggeration but she rocks my world! You should really hug her Dean.
Dean, Sam, and Sam's sad car head to Grandpa's only to find he has no plan. Dean: "Yeah, okay. Well here's an alt. Why don't we go kill the (SOB's) that broke into my home." Sounds like a good plan to me, but Christian's full of himself. "Relax Dean; we got it handled. Djinn are hard to draw out. Now you've been out of the game for awhile. Leave it to the professionals." I hate you. Dean: "Yeah, sure. Tiny suggestion - you see djinn are easier to draw out when you got bait. They want Sam and me. They know where I live. Now I haven't been hunting in awhile but I'm going to stick my neck out and guess that's a pretty good place for us to go. See it's almost like I'm a professional." Yes! That's the Dean I love. Put that smarmy jerk in his place. Gwen laughs and I sense tension between Christian and her. But I can't enjoy her because next she's harping about Lisa's taste in magazines. I hope you all die. Soon. Dean is protective of his home, which is endearing. Sam's thrown by the golf clubs and I laugh. (Jensen loves golf.)
Dean takes a break from the cousins. Man they're annoying. Grandpa tries for less annoying by sympathizing and talking about the "intranet" but he gives off evil vibes to me. Get out Dean while you can. He compares Dean to his mother, especially the attitude, and exposits all the weird monster stuff going on. "I'm knee deep in half-eaten human hearts and exsanguinated ten-year-old and it's all making me…uneasy." Bwah, you may be creepy but that's funny. Grandpa reads from a cult leader manual telling Dean how important the super special Campbell pilgrims were. I expect him to break out the Kool-aid. "What I'm saying is that we're your blood and we're out there dying, trying to get out in front of whatever this thing is. Maybe not the best time for golf." I agree about the golf, but I suggest Dean grab Sam and walk away quickly because once a cult gets you, they don't like to let go. And Grandpa's stocking up on the crazy.
Dean talks to Mark, the least offensive of the Campbell's because he doesn't talk, and realizes the djinn won't attack if the Campbells are there. He tells them to clear out. Sam agrees with Dean and buh-bye crazy cousins. Sam and Dean talk. Sam remembers hell and Dean offers to share, but for once Sam turns him down. I'm excited and a bit unnerved about that. The conversation ends abruptly as Sid and wife die by djinn. Too bad, I liked Sid. Dean goes to Sid's although Sam strongly objects. Anyone else think Sam's a little off after the hell experience? Perhaps talking it out's a good thing. A djinn goes after Sam, revealing its impressive tattoo skills, but Sam has impressive fighting skills. We pan to the dead neighbors and unfortunately 2 djinn get Dean, including the waitress at Jonesy's. Dean, maybe you should have kept her number. Nope, hell hath no fury like djinn kids upset that you killed their dad. Dean passes out, but Sam fights the good fight. Post-Hell Sam has great reflexes, but proceeds to beat the djinn to death with a gold club. Post-Hell Sam has scary rage issues too.
Dean's bad acid trip includes YED going after Lisa and Ben. He's on Ben's bed with Lisa draped on the ceiling. Before she flambées she says it's Dean's fault. In a twist, YED offers Ben his blood and Ben voluntarily drinks it. Unresolved issues there, huh Dean? He can’t protect Ben anymore than he could stop season 4 Sam. Nice little trip into Dean's fears. Meanwhile Sam triesto fight 2 djinn, but takes out Dean's furniture instead. Grandpa to the rescue. He kills one, tells Sam to get Dean, and then Christian abducts the waitress. He's not killing her? What? Since when do they keep scary monsters as pets. The Winchesters won't like this plan, but apparently Grandpa's keeping secrets. Really? That's a change from all the honesty floating around so far. I knew I couldn't trust you Grandpa.
Back at Dean's Party Place, he needs to clean before the parents…er…Lisa gets home. Sam wants Dean to join him but Dean changed his mind. He's staying with Lisa and Ben. Sam's changed his mind too and says Dean is putting Lisa and Ben in danger. Dean counters he already has and now needs to protect them. It's the best option. Aw! Sam wants his brother (aw!) but Dean knows many other hunters more in practice than him. "I did something seriously stupid going out there. I almost got us both killed." Sam: "And that's exactly why I want you." Come again Sam? He's happy Dean cares, because Sam doesn't. I think Sam's suffering from post-Hell Stress Syndrome. Isn't he the gushy sensitive one? Dean tries to soften the blow by giving Sam the Impala. "She should be out hunting." You're darn right she should, or at least not under that tarp! Okay, Sam is an alien or a robot or a doppelganger because he TURNS DOWN the Impala. Yes, you heard that right. I know his car gets better gas mileage and it's quieter so more effective for surveillance. I'm sure his post-rental car even has that iPod jack he loves so much, but this is the IMPALA!!! There is no substitute. You're killing me Sammy. This whole episode reminded me of the pilot, but none so much as Dean walking Sam to his Not!Impala and watching him leave. Great reaction shot by Jensen Ackles as he questions whether he made the right move. For the record, I agree. I'm not in favor of a Dean who abandons his family of one year, especially a kid who counts on him. He's not John and family means too much to him.