Review: The Song Remains The Same
Summary: Dean is visited by Anna (Who has escaped from Heaven) in a dream and she tells him to meet her in a warehouse. Castiel however, not trusting Anna’s intentions, goes instead. An argument ensues in which Anna tells Cas that she has to kill Sam to save the world from the apocalypse. Cas tells her that if she goes anywhere near Sam he would have to kill her. To get around this, Anna instead goes back to 1978 in order to kill John and Mary Winchester and stop Sam and Dean from being born. Cas realises this and transports himself and the guys back to stop her. Sam and Dean find their parents and try to pass as Mary’s cousins, but after Anna attacks John and Mary is forced to fight her off in front of him, they finally explain that they are hunters. Anna calls on Uriel circa 1978 to help kill them by telling him they kill him in the future. Dean finally reveals to Mary that he and Sam are their sons and tells her to leave John so they are never born and the Apocalypse can never take place, to which Mary replies “It’s too late, I’m pregnant”. In the confrontation between the two angels and the Winchester’s, Sam is killed by Anna and John is thrown through a window. We see John outside where a bright light comes from off screen. Back inside Anna has Mary cornered when “John” comes in. Anna reveals that it’s the Archangel Michael before he kills her. With a click of his fingers he sends Uriel away. He then tells Dean that no matter what he does, there is no way to change his and Sam’s destiny. With that he revives Sam and sends the two back to the present.
Anna’s return to the show was quite a revelation. Since her departure in “4.21 When The Levee Breaks” we were all left wondering of her fate. I for one thought she could have been dead but this episode reveals she was imprisoned in Heaven which she likened to Hell with “All the torture and twice the self righteousness”. In season four I liked Anna but in this episode, while her intentions were good I still found myself disliking her for wanting to kill Sam. This increased more after she lied to 1978 Uriel about Sam and Dean killing him in the future (If you remember, she was the one who killed him in “4.16 On The Head Of A Pin). Her death at the hands of Michael, in terms of special effects, was possibly one of the most amazing deaths I’ve seen on the show. The above mentioned dislike for her also caused me to see this as a victory rather than a sad death.
The relationship between Sam and Cas was also shown in this episode. In the beginning of season 5 their relationship was strained due to the fact Sam had taken the wrong path and started the Apocalypse. This episode however showed how much that relationship had healed with him rejecting Anna’s offer to help her because Sam was his friend. The concern for Cas that Sam showed when he was injured from the time travel also showed the friendship between them. The fact that Cas has “friends” also shows his growth in character and his journey to becoming more and more human.
The main focus this episode was on the boys’ parents. We see John and Mary in 1978 living as a married couple in Lawrence. Mary, having given up hunting is just trying to live a normal life. Unfortunately she remembers Dean from 1973 (When he went back to try stop Azazel). The attitude John shows after finding out Mary was a hunter shows us that hunting may have just been in his blood all along. Being an ex Marine he would have had a soldier attitude, hence why he jumped at the chance to help with the Angel Banishing Sigil. The revelation from Dean that he and Sam were actually Mary’s children had her stumped. At first her reaction was disbelief but then after Dean told her some key moments from his childhood she began to believe him. The family dynamic of the episode also provided a chance for some humour. One of the episodes funniest moments was when they were all in the Impala and John said “Not another word or so help me I’ll turn this car around.” To which Dean muttered to Sam “Awkward family road trip. All in all the return of John and Mary to the storyline shed some more light on the story as a whole and left us with some things to ponder.
John’s reaction to hunting also caused a conversation between him and Sam in which he told Sam he thought it was wrong for a father to raise his kids in that situation. This then evolved into quite a heart-breaking conversation where Sam told him that he used to “hate the guy” but now he understood he was just trying to do the best he could in an impossible situation and that he died before Sam got the chance to tell him he forgave him and that he loved him. The fact that he was able to tell this to his father (even if John didn’t know it at the time) would have provided some much needed closure for Sam and maybe lessened the guilt he felt for John dying thinking he hated him.
Sam and Dean have made a lot of sacrifices throughout their lives but this episode had them making the ultimate sacrifice. Faced with a chance to stop the apocalypse, they were willing to give up their lives. After revealing to Mary that they were her sons Sam told her and Dean that there was no way to avoid what had happened, except one. If Mary left John, Sam and Dean would never be born. The fact that they were willing to give up everything in order to save the world goes to show just how selfless the boys are and the extent they are willing to go to stop the apocalypse.
The appearance of Michael in this episode was a major surprise and the things he had to say were even more so. I knew he would be coming this season but I didn’t expect it to be so early. Using John as a vessel he killed Anna and scared off Uriel and then approached Dean. Like most Archangels in the Supernatural universe he gives off a very authoritative, soldier vibe and seems to be 100% about getting his job done. The conversation he has with Dean reveals a lot about the Winchester family. He tells Dean that his and Sam’s destiny was long foretold and that nothing that had happened in their and their parent’s lives was coincidence. He also mentions that the reason he could also use John as a vessel was because it was in the bloodline, stretching right back to Cain and Abel. He then revived Sam, wiped Mary and John’s memories and transported Sam and Dean back to 2010. The abilities he showed in this episode remind us of just how powerful he is.
This was an amazing episode. Like all time travel episodes it took a while to get your head around some things and there were plenty of times where the writers could have gone wrong. The main worry I had whilst watching this episode was that the revelation to John that Mary was a hunter. This had potential to be a major plot-hole for the series, changing the entire future. But in the end, in typical Supernatural fashion all that was avoided.