“All Dogs Go To Heaven” Review
By Bekah James
The first time I watched this week’s episode, I saw it as simply a MOTW/stand alone installment. But then I watched it again and I saw the subtle weaving of mythology. It was a piece of wonderful teamwork between Adam Glass (writer) and Phil Sgriccia (director), both playing on Dean’s unresolved feelings for Lisa and Ben.
While Sam was ever present in this episode with his soulless creepiness, the meat and potatoes of the week were Dean and his issues. Early in the episode, we see Dean’s finger hovering over Lisa’s name in his phone contact list. Well, wasn’t that just the biggest flashing neon “Hey you guys! Lucky’s journey through family life parallels Dean’s own!”? Of course, non-regular viewers (perish the thought!) certainly missed out on the lovely little clues planted throughout the episode. Lucky’s girlfriend, Mandy, (played to perfection by Janet Kidder) resembles Lisa, and she has a cute little boy to boot! Dean tells Lucky outright that he understands why he wanted a family, and why he was protecting them.
When he talks about Lucky putting his family in danger simply by staying with them, my heart gave a little twinge. Didn’t Sam say those very words to Dean back in the Season opener? And didn’t Dean think that very thing after his time as a vampire? I cried a little on the inside when he said “they were the first people in your pathetic life that showed you any kindness”… oh, poor Dean. Jensen Ackles nailed Dean’s stoic and simultaneously shuttered expressions. What a wonderful actor, to be able to express such complex emotions—and to evoke correspondingly complex emotions in viewers! The scene between Lucky and Mandy at the end on the porch was a nod at Dean’s impassioned confession to Lisa in Season 5’s “99 Problems”; of course Lisa was more understanding and loving than Mandy was toward Lucky (not that I blame her). I continue to hope that Dean and Lisa will come face to face one more time this Season so that Dean gets some much needed closure.
Jared Padalecki cracked me up this week as Sam. His merciless teasing of Lucky made for schadenfreude-esque moments. His little laugh in the animal hospital, followed by his: “Soulless or not, that’s funny” was brilliant. I do miss Jared’s softer Sam and can barely wait for his return. That leads me to the little brother to brother chat at the end. Is it just me, by the way, or are picnic tables the Winchesters’ go-to place for painful conversations? Sam admits that he doesn’t give a crap about anything or anyone, Lisa, Ben and Dean (WTF Sam!) included. In his creepy RoboSam way, he tells Dean that he figures it might be best if he gets his soul back after all. I just had to laugh at that. I quickly considered all the previous messed up things Sam has said to Dean this Season and decided that THIS was perhaps the worst of all. He is admitting to the fact that he hadn’t really thought it was important to reclaim his soul… until now. NOW he sees the POSSIBLE benefit for having a soul. Holy crap, Sam. Did anyone else have that same reaction?
The picnic talk was great, but I preferred the chat at the Impala’s trunk. Sam is up for bagging the alleged alpha skinwalker, but Dean puts a kibosh on that idea. Dean disregards the opportunity to get Sam’s soul back, instead putting the safety of the strangers first. I saw this as a clear disconnect between the brothers. Dean loves his brother, but he does not view RoboSam AS his brother. Sam is surprised by Dean’s feelings, which leads him to consider the whole soul business (and therefore leads to the picnic scene). If Dean is not willing to put Sam first anymore, Sam has to figure out how to change that. You could argue that Sam isn’t really interested in his soul so much as he’s interested in Dean’s loyalty/devotion. And, lol, you could also argue that it was the realization of his slipping status that makes Sam WANT his soul again. Lord but there are plenty of arguments you could make!
Mark A. Sheppard showed up as Crowley to set the episode up. In his characteristically sharp sarcastic way, he delivers a lead on a werewolf alpha. The deal is simple: Bag a live alpha, get Sam’s soul back. Easy peasy… except of course that would mean the Winchesters working for Hell, Inc. While that’s not kosher in Dean’s book, Sam’s okay with it. As Crowley puts it to the soulless wonder: “You’d sell your brother for a dollar if you really needed a soda.” Okay, I just love Crowley. Yes, yes, he’s a manipulative little prick who we are supposed to revile and root against… but I just can’t! I have my fingers crossed that Crowley survives the Season to return in the next (yes, I am hopeful for S7!) to continue to harass the brothers.
My favorite part of this episode surprised me. It was the Impala. The lingering shots of the sleek lines of the Impala made me sigh. Phil Sgriccia is clearly a fan of Supernatural’s most enduring symbol. Is it possible to have a crush on a car? If so, I totally have a ginormous crush. The shot of the headlights, chrome glinting, as the boys pull up for recon at Jack’s Fix It All was mmmmmmm. Oh, but hey, is anyone else greatly amused that no one ever hears the Impala approaching? I’d like to think that if I was up to no good, my ears would pick up the grumble of that awesome engine. Or, you know, Dean’s creaky door. Is there no WD-40 in Dean’s toolbox?
So, I do have a complaint about this episode, and this Season as a whole. Where the hell is the music? I miss the weekly dose of Classic Rock like I miss my childhood teddy bear. Is the absence of music unsettling anyone else? Perhaps Sera is keeping the music out to purposefully throw us into an abyss, much like Sam without his soul. I’m just thinking that what Dean really needs is a little AC/DC to feel a wee bit better. A little Metallica to get the blood pumping? Come on, Sera, stop torturing us!
All in all, this episode was okay, but not my favorite. I understand that the mythology had to slow down a bit after last week’s jam packed episode, but I wanted a little more. I guess the furtherance of the idea that monsters all seem to be working toward a common goal (What are we doing tonight, Brain? Same thing we do every night, Pinky. Try to take over the world!). Now, what I want to know is this: Is there a monster committee to plan this stuff? Like, Alphas for World Domination (AWD) or The Committee for Outright Ownership of Humans and the Earth to Include Heaven, Hell and Purgatory (TCOOHEIHHP)? Hm.
Bekah’s Been Drinking (But Not Much):
This week, I took a sippy every time I heard the world “alpha” which didn’t yield the expected results. I only got 5 sips.
Next week we’ll be drinking to every time you laugh, because an episode written by Ben Edlund about fairies? Yeah, that’s promising!