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Supernatural 8.16 "Remember the Titans" Review: Family Is Everything

                This week’s episode of Supernatural, “Remember the Titans” was written by Dan Loflin and directed by Steve Boyum. It was great to see Boyum back in the director’s chair as he’s directed some of my favorite episodes, including, “Crossroad Blues”, “Dream a Little Dream of Me”, “The End”, and “Swan Song”, which is possibly my favorite episode of all time. Boyum hasn’t directed since the finale of season five, in fact. I’m happy to say, he hasn’t lost his story-telling touch.
                The episode also sees us wade back into “god” territory as the monster-of-the-week is none other than Zeus (John Novak). There are some great popular culture references and riffs in the episode and the final scene is excellent, but this episode feels a lot like mid-season inertia has set in. I’ve enjoyed so much of the season that I’m still hopeful the main arc will pull the rest of the season together.
                Sam (Jared Padalecki) is still spitting up blood and trying to hide it from Dean (Jensen Ackles), but Dean clearly knows that there is something wrong with Sam. They are still waiting for word from Kevin, so Sam pitches a story in the paper about zombies, relying on Dean’s ever-present desire to kill zombies to distract him. Naturally, it works. I loved that the Montana State Trooper (Ken Tremblett) who found the body is the one who is convinced it’s zombies. The Trooper cautions them to go for a head shot! Dean mentions Dawn of the Dead, but I couldn’t help thinking that it is more likely The Walking Dead that is in the Trooper’s thoughts. And a shout out to Tremblett who was terrific as the Trooper.
                Just as they’re convinced it isn’t zombies, Shane (John Reardon) comes back to life. He tells them that he has no memory of his life before an avalanche and that he dies every day, prompting Dean to call him a “real life Kenny” – the character from South Park who dies in every episode. Shane is an obvious reference to the movie Shane about a mysterious gunfighter who rides into town and saves the townspeople from the local thug – only to ride off into the sunset without the girl or her son and likely mortally wounded.
                It’s a classic brother moment when Sam asks – almost like a game of twenty questions – what has Jason Bourne fighting skills, dies a lot, and has a history with violent women? Dean takes a beat before answering, “I don’t know... You?” Perfect! And that sets us up nicely for Sam to continue to identify with Shane – who we quickly discover is Prometheus who stole fire from the Olympians and saved humanity. Prometheus is a Titan – a proto-god according to Sam who ruled before the Olympians came to power. 
                Sam wants to save Prometheus to prove he can save himself while Dean is all about saving the family, especially Oliver (Callum Seagram Airlie). When Prometheus is going to simply leave, Dean says, “You just discovered you have a seven year old son, and you want to walk away?” Prometheus thinks that going away will be the safest thing for Haley (Brooke Langton) and Oliver, but when Dean says they’re going to fight anyway, he doesn’t need to be convinced to stay and fight. While they are digging up the corpse for the spell, Prometheus asks Sam why he’s helping them when it’s not Sam’s fight. For Prometheus, he wants to save his family. Sam tells him it’s worth it to save the world, which is what Sam thinks he’s doing by doing the Trials – and what he thought he was doing in seasons four and five too. Prometheus, however, says none of it matters unless he can save his son. I suspect that Dean’s answer would have been that he was helping them because it’s the family business, and as we know too well, Dean is all about family- and that’s why he wanted to do the Trials himself: to keep Sam safe.
                Interestingly, while they are researching for a way to kill Zeus, Dean is drinking hard liquor again. In at least two previous episodes, he’s been seen to go for a beer only to change his mind and opt for liquor instead. I wonder if it is possible that his drinking problem is going to re-surface.
                It was a nice moment when Dean is explaining about the Men of Letters and that he and Sam are Legacies to watch him preen over it and see how “secretly” proud he is of that. I wondered when Haley told him about how easy it is to get fulgurite if there had been some discussion among fans or critics about how easy it is to get fulgurite after they stole it from the 1-percenter to summon Death in “Meet the New Boss.” 
                I miss Julian Richings as Death, but I have to say they found another actor with a great – and dare I say god-like voice in Novak. Watching Dean confront Zeus, going toe to toe with the bad guy will never get old. It seemed perfectly logical to me that Sam would have known about the connection between Artemis (Anna Van Hooft) and Prometheus. It would have come up in his research about the gods, so it seemed a bit ridiculous for him to have simply lucked out in assuming that. Prometheus even says she seemed to know him when she first attacked him. In fact, the scene with Sam and Dean pushed against the wall really didn’t work for me. Ackles is a better actor than the one pulling faces in reaction to Sam’s comments to Artemis.
                I wasn’t surprised to see that Dean had built a hunter’s pyre to honor Prometheus. He comforts Haley while Sam tries to take Oliver for ice cream. Oliver is beyond his years when he answers, “No. I’d like to stay.” He certainly seems more god-like than child-like. He may have escaped Prometheus’ curse, but he still seems to be a “proto-god.” 
                The final scene between Sam and Dean saw Padalecki and Ackles bringing their A-game and once again swapping places. Sam confesses that he’s thinking he was naive and that he doesn’t have much hope that he’ll survive the Trials. He still doesn’t tell Dean about his physical issues, but Dean confirms that he knows he’s struggling. He also tells Sam to stow the emo-crap, that Sam had promised to live a long Clark Griswold (National Lampoon’s Vacation series) life. Dean vows he will make it happen.
                Ackles has the final scene and more than makes up for the scene with Artemis. Ackles sits quietly on the bed, all his desperation showing in his eyes and voice as he begs Cas for help. He prays to Cas – but not for himself. All he wants is for Cas to “look out for my little brother.” Dean is also concerned about Cas though as his final words are “Where the Hell are you, man?”
                The big news this week is that Misha Collins (Cas) has been promoted back to regular status for next year, so we will, no doubt, be seeing a lot more of him in the episodes counting down to the season finale. I’m very excited to see what’s in store for his character. This wasn’t my favorite episode even though it had some good scenes and moments and the guest cast, especially Reardon, were very good. What did you think about this week’s episode? We have a two week mini-hiatus coming up – any speculations on what happens next? Let me know in the comments below.

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