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Roundtable Discussion on Supernatural Season 12 Episode 11 “Regarding Dean”

Welcome to this week’s roundtable.  Jackie Bojarski, Emily Swchweitzer, Kelly Silva and me share our thoughts and critiques on the topics below.  The episode was written by Meredith Glynn and directed by John Badham.

Just as a teaser – next week’s episode is directed by Gabriel himself (Richard Speight, Jr.) so you’ll want to make sure you clear your calendar and set your DVR to record!

Dean

Thoughts on what was happening to Dean:

Kelly:  Watching Dean lose his memory and relearn about hunting and Cas was hilarious at first until the scene in the bathroom when he was trying to remember himself, Sam, Mary, and Cas.

That was a heartbreaking moment. At the core of Dean is Sam. When Dean was listening to what was happening to Sam over the phone, and he heard Sam in pain, it brought his focus back to saving his brother. Dean without his memory followed his hunter instincts and post it notes to save his brother.

Dean tells Rowena he doesn’t remember anything from when he was hexed, however, that may not be true because we see flashbacks of Dean riding the bull and things that happened while he was hexed. Kudos to Jensen Ackles for his amazing performance.

Emily:  It is pretty scary to lose your memory and even scarier for those around you to watch it happening. The scene when Dean was facing himself in the mirror and actively watching his memories slip away was so intense, and you could feel his helplessness.

Jackie:  Slow memory loss is an affliction that we haven’t yet seen on this show, and it’s one that Jensen Ackles handled extremely well. In hindsight, the overall message was the same as season’s past: that innocence isn’t worth the cost of losing the sense of one’s self and history. Therefore, it was both original and unoriginal. However, it was interesting to watch the progression of the condition and see the toll that it was taking on Dean and on Sam.

Debbi: While Ackles’ performance was really great – no one has better facial expressions, this was really kind of a slow episode for me.  I didn’t feel any tension; I knew Sam would get the book and get Dean’s memories back.  The script was just an excuse to give Ackles a chance to stretch his comedic talent.  I love Dean when he’s his snarky best – like at the waffle house – so sure he had an ‘epic’ night.  Dean who is unsure of himself and almost scared, doesn’t really play for me anymore.

I agree with Kelly that he remembers what happened during the time he was hexed and it will come back to bite Rowena in the butt.

 

How Dean handled himself:

Kelly:  Dean has a way of accepting what is happening to him and trying to roll with it.  Watching Dean react to Sam telling him that they hunted and killed monsters was priceless.

Emily:  Despite the circumstances, watching Dean become his old playful and regret free self was pretty fun. He wasn’t burdened with guilt or anxiety; he was just… Dean! And yet, despite losing his memories, his instincts never faltered. Plus, seeing the post-it’s that Sam left made me so happy because it shows how well they know each other, even when Dean’s memory was all but gone.

Jackie: I think that Dean handled himself the way that we expected him to handle himself: first, denial; then, resignation; and, finally, a last-minute burst of self-preservation that ultimately serves as his saving grace. More than anything else, the memory loss spell allowed Jensen Ackles to once again showcase his exceptional acting ability more than it demonstrated anything new about Dean. We already know that he would choose his brother and his duty as a hunter over everything else, so I don’t think that we really needed another episode to tell us that.

Debbi: Dean was Dean, and in the end, he saved himself.  Once again kind of anti-climactic.  I never for a second believed he’d shoot Sam by mistake.  I did love the post-it notes, though.

 

Sam

His reactions to Dean and what was happening to him:

Kelly:  It didn’t take long for Sam to figure out what was happening to Dean.  He is so methodical when he works a case. His attention to the details is amazing.

Emily:  Sam is never one to sit by and watch a loved one suffer. He will always go down fighting for the ones he loves, and this episode was no exception.

Jackie:  I was grateful that this episode gave us a chance to see Sam’s emotional point-of-view through all of this because, more often than not, his perspective tends to get overlooked or overshadowed. I can’t help but think that his reaction to what was happening to Dean was similar to the reactions of people watching a loved one succumb to Alzheimer’s or dementia—except, in Sam’s case, he’s intent on curing his brother since a cure is readily available. Nevertheless, there’s sadness that hangs over Sam throughout this episode as he watches aspects of his brother slowly get chipped away due to the spell. And that end scene in which Dean pretends not to know who Sam is and a flash of pain crosses Sam’s face? That was heartbreaking.

Debbi:  I love it when Sam and his intelligence are spotlighted.  Jared Padalecki was really great at communicating the range of emotions that Sam went through while watching Dean fade out of existence.  I also love his eye-rolling and smiles at Dean’s early mistakes.  Calling Rowena for help just shows how far Sam will go to save those he loves.

 

How he went about trying to save his brother:

Kelly:  I love that Sam is willing to do anything to save Dean including calling Rowena.  When Rowena showed up at the motel room, he saw right through her. However, he was willing to do whatever he had to lift the hex off Dean including working with Rowena.

Emily:  Nothing scares him. I cannot imagine anyone taking on a powerful coven of witches alone, but Sam never even faltered. Plus, he knew Dean would find a way to help him and by leaving the post-its, he showed they know how to work together no matter what. Although it was pretty funny when Dean was trying to figure out which person to shoot at the end.

Jackie:  Sam wasn’t about to let his brother go, but did anyone expect him to? Those two have been through so much and lost each other so many times that you’d think they’d be used to it by now; instead, they are more fiercely protective of each other than ever. Sam was willing to do whatever he had to do to bring his brother back. Luckily, all that was required this time was the ganking of a couple of witches and some magic from Rowena. But I have no doubt that Sam would’ve done anything he had to do to save his brother.

Debbi:  These guys really do need bungee cords for their weapons.  I think it’s probably fair to say that one of them loses a weapon at least every other episode!  I know that it enhances the sense of menace and danger, but I confess I laugh every time it happens.  Like I said above, pretty much nothing will stop Sam from trying to (and succeeding in) saving his brother from the memory curse, but that is why we watch…. Right?

 

Rowena

Thoughts on her relationship with Sam and Dean:

Kelly:  Rowena’s relationship with Sam and Dean are very different.  Her relationship with Sam is more of a business relationship. They don’t trust each other but work towards the same goal for different reasons. Dean, he’s friendlier with her.  He’s slowly letting her into his circle like he did with Crowley. Rowena has accepted that the Winchesters are part of her life right now and she will do whatever she thinks will benefit Rowena.

Emily:  I love their relationship. LOVE it! Rowena is always going to be about herself in the end, but she is willing to put herself in danger to help out the Winchesters. Part of me thinks she helped them out of pride in wanting to always show she is the most powerful witch, and revenge for how the coven treated her, but really, I think she cares for Sam and Dean. She could have killed them a thousand times by now, but she always comes to help. Also, when Dean lost his memory, I loved seeing how kind Rowena and Dean were to each other without any vitriolic banter or name calling.

Jackie:  I love Rowena! She may be manipulative and opportunistic, but she’s also such a complex character that I’m always glad when she’s featured in an episode. It seems to me that she’s becoming kind of attached to the Winchesters. Between her teasing Sam on the phone and her willingness to give up the Black Grimoire at the end, she’s a lot less antagonistic toward the Winchesters than she used to be. I especially loved that she used Dean’s memory loss as an opportunity to share some of her own emotional baggage. It’s not often that we get to see her so vulnerable, so I enjoyed the moment while it lasted. I also wonder if Dean was honest with her at the end regarding his own ability to remember what happened while he was enchanted. My gut feeling is that he does remember and that he’s choosing not to share what she told him.

Debbi: I just love Rowena – Ruth Connell does a magnificent job portraying this ages-old witch who is only loyal to one person – herself.  Rowena’s make-up and dresses are always perfection, and she conveys simmering hatred and condescension better than anyone else.  I was surprised she opened up to damaged Dean, and I think it was a bit OOC, but it gave us some good insight into Rowena’s past, so I’ll look past that.  I’m interested to know why she gave up the grimoire so easily; I think there may be more to that simple act than that which appears on the surface.

 

Gideon, Katrina. and Boyd (witches):

Kelly:  I don’t think these witches were particularly difficult opponent, Gideon just managed to get one over on Dean when Sam wasn’t around.

Emily:  I love a good witch episode, but I do wish we got to see a little more about the witches along with more of a battle with Rowena.

Jackie:  I would’ve loved it if this episode had spent some more time fleshing out those three witches’ backstories before dispensing of them. For example, how did they get involved with that investor in the first place? What was their life like after their parents died? We did learn about their connection to Rowena, but I felt that there was an untold story there, too. Maybe their rejection and humiliation of Rowena was the reason that she was so eager to help get rid of them, regardless of if she got the Grimoire or not. I just wish that we could’ve seen a flashback from those younger Rowena days so that we could get an even better sense of her emotional investment in the fate of those three witches.

Debbi:  These witches could have been great opponents had they been given a script and set up as recurring characters instead of one and dones.  This family, with their ties to Druids and even Rowena in the past, could have had their backstory woven through a couple of episodes before they got wiped out of existence.  Of course, I loved The Witching Hour by Anne Rice and would love to see a great family of witches like the Mayfairs were do battle with Supernatural’s hunters.  It just kills me to see wasted storylines.  The last one I fretted about (OK, still do fret about) was the Styne story.  That family and their heritage have been one of the most original to come out of the writer’s room at The CW.  I still maintain (and I will until the show ends) that there was no way every single living Styne was in that New Orleans mansion when Demon Dean cleaned house….

Favorite quote of the episode:

Kelly:

“I know how to shoot a gun?” – Dean Winchester

Emily:

Sam: “My partner was roofied last night.”

Dean: ” I was!?”

Jackie:

“How do you feel about waffles? Dumb question, what psycho doesn’t love waffles? They’re fluffy, they got little pockets filled with syrup, and you just cover them with whipped cream” –Dean Winchester, food connoisseur.

Debbi:

“And we’re friends with an angel…wwwwhhhhaaaatttt??? – Dean Winchester

 

Rating:

Kelly:  A…. My favorite episode this season.

Emily:  A!

Jackie:  A+. This episode was both humorous as well as dramatic and, although it didn’t delve into any new emotional territory, it served as a reminder as to why we became invested in this story in the first place.

Debbi:  B.  This was better than some, but not outstanding in my eyes.  Are the writers at SPN running out of original stories?  The montage at the end was just over the top – clearly done just to show the bull riding. Rowena’s appearance saved this from a C/C+.

 

That’s what we think…. now it’s time for you guys to sound off in the comments.  Did you love it?  If so, why?  Did you not love it?  Again, why?

Also, we’ve changed up the format a bit.  Tell us in the comments what you think.  We are interested in a dialog with the readers!!!

 

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