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Supernatural - Lebanon - Review

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Supernatural reached a milestone rarely seen by a series with its 300th episode. “Lebanon” was written by the team of Andrew dab and Meredith Glynn and it was directed by Robert Singer. Of course, I really, really wish in a perfect world that they might have woo’d Eric Kripke back to write this one, but it’s no secret that the big news is that they did – finally! – get Jeffrey Dean Morgan back to reprise the role of patriarch John Winchester, and he absolutely did not disappoint. Morgan slipped seamlessly back into the role, and it was really satisfying to see him reunited with Mary (Samantha Smith). There was the humor and the family drama and sacrifice that is really the core of the series and that seemed a most fitting way to mark the milestone. In addition, there were hidden Easter eggs in almost every scene.

The episode begins at Prescious Pawn – the monkey on counter is the same one from Dean’s dream bar. The shop owner (Donny Lucas) has ton of occult items in his backroom and is obviously pretty shady. Dean (Jensen Ackles) and Sam (Jared Padalecki) tell him that they are looking for the skull of Sarah Goode – but it’s actually a trap because it was stolen from a hunter friend of theirs who is now dead.

I loved that the shop owner had bottled dragon’s breath – from one of the worst episodes of the show – but the atomizer was cool! I loved Sam picking up the teddy bear (another nod to a former episode) and the shop owner telling him not to pull the cord! I loved Dean commenting on the monologuing! “They always talk too much!” After they take care of the shop owner, Dean and Sam pack up all the occult objects to take back to the bunker.

In Lebanon, the local teens are discussing Dean and Sam – Eliot (Cory Gruter-Andrew) is scaring the others with stories of hearing something trapped in the trunk of their car. They’ve also noticed the brother’s weird sidekick in the trench coat and the kid. I loved that the movie theatre the kids are in front of is showing a bunch of horror movies like All Saint’s Day and Hell Hazers – from the episode earlier in the season! It’s clear that the brothers are pretty widely known around town as the liquor store owner Jackson knows the “Campbell” brothers – and their usual order. I love how Mary’s last name is their alias.

Sam thinks that doing inventory with the new stuff will keep Dean distracted from Michael, but Dean’s not so sure. Sam also finds that amongst the items is a Baozhu – a pearl that can grant your deepest desires – and of course, Dean thinks his is to have Michael out of his head. While they are talking, Max (Skylar Radzion), who is the new kid in town, steals the Impala to impress Stacy (Zenia Marshall) who she is interested in.

Eliot tells Sam and Dean that Max took the car – but he doesn’t even know where she lives. Sam asks Marta (Catherine Barroll) at the post office for Max’s address – and she is clearly creeped out. As soon as Dean comes in and turns the charm on, Marta tells him where to find Max’s mother. Caitlin (Rose Ranger) doesn’t know where Max is, but the cook (Seth Whittaker) tells them it’s “skip day” – February 7th – when kids blow off steam and head to an abandoned house in the country.

The kids have taken all the stuff out of the Impala – and there’s a great scene as John Wayne Gacy’s clown hand suddenly materializes out of the smoke from his cigar box. Great effect! Ethan (Eric Bempong) shows up to warn them that Sam and Dean are coming, but nobody is too worried. Ethan is in the bathroom when it gets cold and Gacy (Chris Nowland) – as a truly creepy clown materializes in the mirror.

Dean’s first concern is that Baby is ok – which she is. They rush in when Ethan runs out, and they find out that he was attacked by a ghost clown. The kids are impressed when they rush in declaring they’re FBI. They quickly figure out that they are dealing with the ghost of John Wayne Gacy and it’s hysterical when Dean points out that a serial killer clown is the best/worst thing that has ever happened to Sam – cleverly reminding us of Sam’s obsession with serial killers and his fear of clowns! They burn the cigar box – once Sam can get the lighter to catch.

Elliot, Max, and Stacy rush in just as Gacy goes up in flames, so Dean and Sam tell them the truth. Elliot feels vindicated – but Dean and Sam swear them to secrecy.

Sam finds the pearl and figures out how to use it. Dean doesn’t want to wait for Mary or Cas (Misha Collins) – if it works great, but why get their hopes up. As soon as Dean wishes for his heart’s desire, the lights flash and they are attacked…by John!!!

John wants to know why Sam isn’t in Palo Alto because John thinks it’s 2003. The three catch up over a whiskey – or two. I love John’s synopsis. You’ve saved the world several times and now you live in a secret bunker with an angel and Lucifer’s kid – and you’ve done this whole time travel thing more than once. I loved that they were able to give John closure about his own father. And it’s heartbreaking when they have to take it all away again at the end of the episode. John wishes he’d been there to see it, but he’s also ok with going out by killing old Yellow Eyes – getting the thing that killed Mom – that was the whole point.

And then… Mary walks in. The two go immediately into each other’s arms – and the kids excuse themselves. Their reunion is perfect – no words, just rushing into each other’s arms. Dean is thrilled, but Sam wants to know how it happened. Dean confesses that he’s wanted John and Mary together again since he was four. Sam reminds him that messing with time is dangerous – but Dean just wants one family dinner before he has to deal with it.

Sam catches John alone in the library – Mary has gone to make a shopping list to make Winchester surprise. I loved that they revisited this same story from the previous episode. Sam remembers trying to make it with Dean, and John looks regretful and ashamed – he remembers too. He confesses to Sam that he messed up a lot with him. Sam tells him that it was all a lifetime ago. When he remembers his father, he doesn’t remember their fights. He remembers John on the floor of the hospital and how he never got to say goodbye. John apologizes – Morgan and Padalecki both deliver extraordinary performances here. Sam tells his father that he fought for them – and that’s enough.

Sam admits Dean was right to want the dinner and goes with him to get the groceries. Dean goes to get the booze – and suddenly Jackson doesn’t know who he is. Sam runs into Max who has no idea who he is and neither does Stacy. At the post office, Sam sees Dean’s FBI wanted poster in the window – Blue Steel and all – another nice throwback! Meanwhile, Dean has found Sam on the Internet. He runs a law firm – and has done a horrible Ted-talk. Sam figures out that there timeline is self-correcting – and worries about what else has changed. Clearly, Dean never went to get Sam in Palo Alto…

Disturbingly, Cas is working with Zachariah (Kurt Fuller)! I loved Zachariah calling Cas Constantine – and Cas not getting the reference. Fuller doesn’t look like he’s aged a day, and he also slipped right back into the role – snappy dialogue and all. Zachariah goes into the local restaurant and wants to know who’s been messing with time. Zachariah says that Lebanon has always been a bit “muddy” for them – no doubt because of the Bunker being located there. Zach tells them to start talking or Cas will murder them all. Cas delivers the now famous line, “My name is Castiel, and I am an angel of the Lord” before giving us the hero shot of his wings. Another great throw back moment!

The blue angel light catches Dean and Sam’s attention and they head into the restaurant. Neither Cas nor Zach recognize them, but Zach tortures Sam to try to get him to say what they’ve done – while Cas beats the crap out of Dean. Sam manages to kill Zach – again – but I did enjoy seeing Kurt Fuller – even if only for a very brief scene. Cas then starts beating Sam – who uses his own blood on an angel banishing sigil to get rid of Cas – before one of the three have to die!

Back at the bunker, the table is set for dinner, and Dean tells John about the temporal paradox that they’ve created. I loved how proud both John and Dean are of how smart Sam is. In the end, it all boils down to either John or Mary having to die. Either John goes back and resets the timeline – or Mary won’t be resurrected. John tells Dean it’s not even a choice. Meanwhile, Sam tells Mary that if they destroy the pearl, John will just go back – but he won’t remember anything. Samantha Smith really delivers in this scene.

John tells Dean that he never meant for any of it to happen. It was supposed to be his fight and stop with him. He tells Dean that he’s incredibly proud of him, but he’d hoped that maybe one day, Dean would have a family of his own. Dean tells him that he has a family.

It starts out as the most unhappy family dinner ever – until John tells them that they have two choices. They can think about what’s coming or they can be grateful for the time that they have together. And then we get the family dinner that I think we’ve all wanted – not just Dean.

Sam and Dean do the dishes, and Sam remarks on how happy their parents looked. Sam thinks it’s unfair, especially that John will forget everything he knows now. Dean says he used to think that too. For a long time, he blamed both their parents. But if they sent John so far back that someone else saved the world, who would that make them. Dean is good with who they are – and their lives belong to them. It’s nice to see that both brothers have come to terms with their lives.

John says goodbye to Mary – and again Smith nails it. It should go without saying that Morgan is just amazing in every scene – playing a character that he hasn’t in such a long time and nailing it. They tell each other how much they miss each other. John tells Dean and Sam to take care of each other. He tells them how proud he is of them – and we get the Dad hug – and a lot more crying. And then, once again, John takes charge and accepts his fate. He holds Mary’s hand as Sam crushes the pearl and watches her as he fades from their presence.

We see time correct itself. Cas arrives and hilariously asks what happened – as they are still beaten up. In the final scene, John wakes up in the Impala when he gets a phone call from Dean. He tells him that he just had a hell of a dream – but it was a good one…

This was a good dream for the fans too. All the call backs to previous episodes reminded me of why so many people fell in love so hard for this show. The performances of the four main characters were simply outstanding. If I had to quibble, it might have been nice to have a more powerful scene between John and Dean, and while the kid storyline allowed them to bring in a lot of the call backs, more time with Morgan as John would also have been great. What did you think of the episode? Was it everything you’d hoped for? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!

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