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Supernatural - Baby - Review

Supernatural, “Baby,” was written by Robbie Thompson and directed by Thomas J Wright. It’s hard to imagine a better team for this episode unless it was Kripke and Manners, and it felt very much like a throwback episode. There were so many feel good moments in this episode and shout outs to previous episodes. Foregrounding the third lead from the first episode – Baby! – was a long time in coming, but I loved that almost the entire episode was from her perspective.

There were almost too many terrific shots to comment on. But here are a couple of my favorites: Using the rearview mirror, the sudsy front window, fights in the back seat, and the view of the sleeping brothers from above. The episode relies on terrific acting as there are necessarily so many tight head shots. Wright managed to find creative ways to shoot an episode that might have hamstrung a lesser director.

I’m not going to lie – the “Then” scenes of the Baby history from “Swan Song” had the hairs on the back of my neck standing up. This was followed by a lot of the greatest hits of the brothers in her. I loved the close ups on the army man in the arm rest, the legos in the heat vent and the brothers’ initials splashed in blood and then the broken window, bloody machete, and beaten Dean (Jensen Ackles) in the backseat. Then we jump back 48 hours.

The first scene is one that many fans have day dreamed about for about 11 years – the boys washing the car. It’s a brilliant compromise as Sam (Jared Padalecki) comments on Dean’s shorts, but we see it all and hear it all through Baby’s sudsy windshield – preserving the dignity of the actors, who have expressed reluctance to take off their shirts at the drop of a hat. Cas (Misha Collins) is still recovering and Dean is suffering from cabin fever, so the brothers head out on a slim lead for a potential werewolf in Oregon.

We see the brothers driving and a lot of moments that wouldn’t normally be shown – like Sam having his smoothies in the cooler in the back seat – the green cooler that we’ve seen many times before. Dean’s worried about where the beer is! In a real throwback to seasons one and two, we see Dean actually stop at a Roadhouse. The shout out is to the Patrick Swazye movie, but long time viewers had to immediately think of Harvelle’s Roadhouse. Sam insists on simply going to find a diner for food and to dig into the lore.

We watch Dean disappear into the Roadhouse as we hear a cooling Baby’s engine ticking. Next we see Dean emerge in the dawn – is this an all night Roadhouse? Or did Dean spend the night with a resident? He does remark that mistakes were made before being greeted by Piper (Megan Kaptein). I loved how they used the back seat throughout the episode. We only get Sam’s voice in this scene because honestly, does anyone really think Jared fits in that seat?? Significantly, she loses her pin. This is another really nice sequence as we see all the things Dean needs end up in the backseat just as he needs them – Jessie’s friend’s (Catherine Jack) purse and then the machete.

The music throughout the episode is perfect, but perhaps nothing moreso than Dean’s putting on Night Moves. Seeing the brothers singing along together echoes with so many other episodes, must significantly for me, “No Rest For the Wicked.” We also get some of the brotherly banter we’ve been missing: “Digging into the lore – is that what the kids are calling it?” The lighthearted moment leads to a more serious and introspective discussion when Sam asks if Dean ever wanted more – than just the one night stands. Sam is characteristically a little melancholy over Piper’s not wanted to take his number. Dean asks him, “Have you met us?” It’s not like they haven’t tried to have relationships, but it’s the brotherly bond that is the only one to stick.

Dean tells Sam to get some sleep and Sam dreams or has a vision of young John. Matt Cohen reprises the role. It’s an interesting choice given all the rumors about Jeffrey Dean Morgan potentially returning this season, but perhaps they will save that for sweeps week. Cohen is a regular fixture at the Supernatural fan events – which seem to happen almost every other weekend these days! Sam quickly figures out that this must be a dream or vision and “John” doesn’t deny it. He tells Sam that the Darkness is coming and only the brothers can stop it. He then tells him, “God helps those who help themselves.”

Sam wakes up and Dean tells him he was singing in his sleep – that song mom loved. This scene is also beautifully composed and shot with the brothers leaning against opposite sides of the car, Dean in front, Sam in back. Sam reveals that he’s been having visions and that he believes they may be coming from God. He also tells Dean the truth about being infected. Dean isn’t pleased that Sam didn’t tell him but lets it go. He suggests that the vision is just an after effect. Dean clarifies that the “message” was actually not from the Bible but a proverb of Aesop. At Sam’s look of incredulity, Dean insists, “I read!” Which we’ve also heard before – this whole episode was like comfort food! Dean also points out, “And when did God last answer our prayers?”

Dean also shares that he dreams about their father all the time. But it’s a dream of a normal life they never had – his father teaching him how to drive to get his learners permit – not when he was far too young and had to know for emergencies. He tells Sam that he has the dream every couple of months and finds it very comforting. Both Padalecki and Ackles are terrific in this scene, hitting the perfect notes. Their long collaboration certainly pays off in scenes like this in particular. It’s funny that this is the first scene in a while that I’ve discerned a notable Texas twang – and this time it’s from Ackles! Moving back to Texas seems to be having an effect!

Sam responds that he has a recurring “normal” dream of their mother. Dean muses that it’s interesting that anyone would take John’s form to give Sam advice as he never took John’s advice. Sam muses that maybe Dean’s visions come from the darkness, so maybe his are coming from the opposite. It’s interesting that in the fight against the Apocalypse – which this really is again – Dean was on the side of goodness and Sam on the side of Evil – or at least Michael versus Lucifer. Could the visions be coming from Lucifer? That would seem to be the indication from the pit visions. But then Michael is also in the pit and young John did host Michael before. Dean tells Sam he’s just trying to find a greater meaning or fate, but what happened is simply on them.

This scene ends with the classic Jerk/Bitch between the two brothers and that wonderful shot from above – one lying in front and one in back with heads at either end. In keeping with the content of the discussion, they look a lot like the yin/yang symbol.

And then we’re into the hunt. We meet Deputy Donelly (Teach Grant) who sends them off to lunch at Aunt Mae’s where Jessie (Danyella Angel) “borrows” Baby for a joy ride from the Valet parking. After lunch the two split up – Dean to check out the crime scene and Sam the witness, Lily Markham (Sarah-Jane Redmond). Loved seeing Redmond as she’s one of my favorite Vancouver-based actors! Though she did also appear in “Changing Channels.”

I loved the sequence with Cas on the phone, providing support from the Bunker and then Dean fighting the Deputy outside. Fight scenes are always difficult to choreograph, but having to keep the perspective from inside the car, and having Cas share that perspective to some extent with the viewer was simply brilliant. It’s hard not to love the glee Dean has in naming creatures – I loved him trying to get Sam to say Were-pire and then Cas avoiding it – until Dean isn’t in the car to enjoy it! Cas thinks it’s a whisper and that it can be killed by silver bullets or beheading. Cas realizes something’s up when he hears a loud thump and then the gunshots.

So many great lines in this episode – Dean’s “Turns out I did shoot the Deputy” is a nice throwback to the use of the line in “Jus in Bello.” I loved him shooting and decapitating the body only to have the head still snarling at him through the windshield – and him using the wipers to get rid of it! And of course he’d put the head in the cooler! There’s a nice shot of Sam’s messenger bag in the backseat as Dean puts the cooler in with it and then says “Smile Asshat” to send a picture of its fangs to Cas for identification.

Sam meanwhile has “rescued” Lily. Cas calls again to say that the creature is a Ghoul and Vampire combination – a Ghoul-pire to Dean’s delight. They are already dead and simply need to be reminded of it by having copper coins put in their mouth. Cas says if they kill the Alpha the rest will die. Sam gets his nerd-cap on and specifies that they will need pre-1982 pennies.

While Sam is in a store trying to get the pennies, Lily attacks Dean – appears she’s already turned! I loved her look of horror when she sees the Deputy’s head in the cooler. She manages to overpower Dean, and we’re back to the opening scene with Dean beaten and in the back. She horrifically reattaches the Deputy’s head – because he is the Alpha! This is the brilliant scene shot in the rearview mirror as Dean talks to the Deputy. We learn that he’s escalated radically the number of people he turns in the hope of keeping the Darkness at bay. He tells Dean that there’s no way to defeat it, just to buy time. He tells Dean that he’s going to turn Sam and that Dean will be Sam’s first meal. Dean would have made a good soldier, but he can’t let Dean’s decapitating him go…

Dean crashes Baby! We get another fabulous fight sequence, but Dena manages to get the coins in the Deputy’s mouth. Dean finally surveys the damage and mutters, “Oh, Baby. I’m so sorry.” Lily wakes up and realizes what she’s done. I loved Redmond’s ability to go from crazed psycho to Mom, but then, she’s had lots of practice! As Dean drives off to collect Sam, it’s easy to see that the car and Dean are both equally beaten up – but of course, after an initial hiccup, she starts up for his gently touch.

It’s also a nice parallel that they are driving off to collect Lily’s kids and Sam – who is Dean’s kid in many ways. Dean goes to Sam and helps him into the car. Sam points out that even the monsters are scared, and Dean states that they’re getting this thing now. Previously, in the car, Dean was suggesting they go after the Darkness, but keep hunting until they have a real lead. Now he’s more determined to be proactive. If the Alphas are organizing, I wonder if we won’t see the Alpha Vamp again… I’d love to see Rick Worthy back on the show!

Dean suggests they go home, and Sam points out that they are home. Baby always has been their home. And we get ample evidence of that in this episode. They eat and drink in her, make love, sleep, dream, laugh and share confidences in her. As the episode ends, the camera finally pulls out of her POV and we see her from the outside, and with the brothers ensconced within her.

Again, this entire episode was like comfort food. Some wonderful brother moments, a decent monster-of-the-week hunt, but with a mytharc tie-in, and some great echos of episodes past. What did you think of the episode? Who do you think the visions are coming from? What was your favorite scene? Favorite line? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!

About the Author - Lisa Macklem
I do interviews and write articles for the site in addition to reviewing a number of shows, including Supernatural, Arrow, Agents of Shield, Agent Carter, The Walking Dead, Game of Thrones, The X-Files, Defiance, Bitten, Killjoys, and a few others! I'm active on the Con scene when I have the time. When I'm not writing about television shows, I'm often writing about entertainment and media law in my capacity as a legal scholar. I also work in theatre when the opportunity arises. I'm an avid runner and rider, currently training in dressage.
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