'Supernatural' Recap: Time Travel Takes Daddy Issues to a Whole New Level (VIDEO)
The CW's Supernatural once made an off-handed remark about how it was "top priority" for the angels that John Winchester marry Mary Campbell and have their sons, Sam (Jared Padalecki) and Dean (Jensen Ackles). Then, the show went episodes without mentioning it again. You may have forgotten about it -- you may have thought the show had forgotten about it -- but "As Time Goes By" paid it off big time.
Note: Spoilers ahead if you have yet to watch Wednesday night's episode, "As Time Goes By."
When Henry Winchester (Gil McKinney) came tumbling out of the closet in Sam and Dean's most recent motel room, only to reveal that 1.) He was looking for their father, because 2.) He was their grandfather, and 3.) There was a demon hot on his trail, looking for a magical box he carried across time, "As Time Goes By" seemed to be just another one-off episode that was going to drive home how we can't change our pasts, and our futures are destined, whether we like that or not. But then, things got veryinteresting.
It turned out that Henry Winchester was a "Man of Letters"-- he was a scholar of literature, and more importantly, spells. He dealt with supernatural beings, but from a more educated (according to him and his time) standpoint than the mere "ape-like" hunters. When the boys stepped back to really understand the weight of all of that, this episode became so much more about vanquishing a demon who was almost as strong as Lucifer. Though John had grown up believing his father had walked out on him and his mother when he was just a kid, in truth the patriarch of the Winchester clan had zapped himself to the future with a blood sigil in order to keep the important item out of this demon's grasp. He went looking for his son in the future, assuming he had been brought up with the same "Man of Letters" studies; after all he was a legacy. But when he got there, he found only his two grandsons, angry and aggressive staring back at him.
...Oh yeah, and he found some very advanced technology, which really just made him fill Castiel's (Misha Collins) shoes in the "confusion leads to chuckle-worthy one-liners department"
Though Dean fell in line behind his father and therefore hated his grandfather immediately just because of the image he grew up with in his head, he of course ended up helping Henry on his mission. Even when Henry decided it would be better suited if he just zapped himself back to the 1950s to stop the demon before she was able to ride his coattails to the future, thereby potentially changing Sam and Dean's entire existence. In the end, he and Henry even teamed up to trick the demon. And though it cost Henry his life, setting the course of John's life back in the 50s in motion, it also set up a new story for Sam and Dean to dig further into the "Men of Letters" legacy and what other kind of greatness they have within them.
Supernatural always delivers creative bad guys or monsters or demons of the week, and this week was no different (a demon being able to compel a victim to show her what they had seen was insanely clever, and I kind of wish the show had thought about and used that years earlier). But what really set "As Time Goes By" apart was the profound line of thought it inspired around the Winchester blood line, as opposed to the Campbell blood line. John, and later his sons, got into hunting ultimately because of Mary. Her family was from that stock, and when she was killed by the Yellow Eyed Demon, John wanted revenge. And through a roundabout way, learned enough about the supernatural to go after it. But it was always his destiny to fight the supernatural; he just got off-track before he even knew it. His father time-traveling to 2013 ("Guess the Mayans were wrong!") and getting killed there meant John grew up without ever knowing the truefamily business and therefore creating a slightly different one for his sons.
Supernatural has said Sam and John were more alike than they ever realized before, but finally, through "As Time Goes By," we see why. It was in John's blood line to be a scholar, to pour over books and beakers, and now that Sam realizes that, he already seems much more content with the nature of his work than ever before. Sam tried to run away from his family business by going to college all those years earlier, but who knew he was really just running toward his actual legacy? Supernaturaldidn't know it when they first created the show, but the fact that all the puzzle pieces fit so perfectly together now, eight years later, is what makes it stronger than ever.
OMG!: There were a lot of reasons for Dean to be wary of Henry, even if many of them turned out to be false reasons, but breaking Baby's window? Not cool, dude. I would have held a grudge a lot longer than Dean did for that one!
Thank you, TV gods.: This is apropos of nothing, but I just loved how the title of the episode related to the song that Henry was whistling that ended up being a song that John also, unconsciously, would whistle around his kids. It interconnected everything in a sentimental way without being too over-the-top about it. Watch the scene again above.
Awk-ward: Did anyone notice the motel cleaning lady hovering outside the door when Sam and Dean were cuffed together inside? What do you think she thought was going on?
Hotness: A demon who can compel memories and images out of other people's minds? Wish I had thought of that! That's ultimate power.
Fab-u-lous: Henry's secret club pin, so to speak, was not only dapper on his old-timey suit and tie, but it resembled the devil's trap just closely enough to reveal his true knowledge while still giving something so dark a more elegant look.
Can. Not. Wait.: Was the warning to Dean and Sam to toss that box away and never look back some kind of foreshadowing for what's to come with the tablets? Just what will they find when they visit the so-called "safe haven" Henry's old pal told them about?
Celebuzz Meter (1-10): 7 - Honestly, I would have graded this higher because of the amazing backstory we were given, but there was far too much talk about wanting to change the past for an episode that came seasons after this show explained definitively that such a thing is impossible. Or did no one take Castiel's words seriously when he showed Dean that glimpse into 1974?
What did you think of "As Time Goes By" and are you happy with how the Winchesters' lives turned out, versus what Henry was fighting so hard for their lives to be instead? Let us know your thoughts on the episode in the comments below.