Review of Episode 8×16: “Remember the Titans”
Strip away the demons. Peel off the angels. Dig past layers of werewolves and vampires and demigods, and what do you get? A show about two brothers, trying to save the world, and trying to save each other. At its core, Supernatural is a show about family, and whenever the writers remember that, we get an episode that’s not only worth watching, but worth talking about. “Remember the Titans” is definitely one of those episodes.
Dean: A perceptive Dean is always a good thing. Though Sam did his best to cover up some alarming physical symptoms, Dean had more than a clue that something major was off in Little Brotherville. Sam’s secretiveness at the beginning of the ep, combined with his disheartening admission near the end (“Maybe I was being too optimistic…”) gave Dean all the info he needs: Sam’s hurting, and he might not make it out of this. So, Dean did what any amazing big brother would do – he called on his own personal guardian angel to watch over his little bro. The sweetness of this scene stays with me like a sad song, stuck in my head. My heart shattered multiple times in this ep – sometimes for Sam, sometimes for Dean, and yes, at the end there, it cracked a bit for Castiel, too. When Dean said, “Where are you?” I actually howled at the screen: “He’s being tortured by a psycho angel-lady! Save him!”
As always, to see Dean praying is powerful stuff. We know he only reserves that for times of true desperation, so it speaks volumes about how concerned he is for Sam. Their conversation in the Impala ripped right through me: Sam, trying to prepare Dean for the worst. And Dean coming back with: “Oh, hell no. You promised you’d live, so no taking it back, now.” I am behind Dean two thousand percent on this one. Sam is not allowed to die. He just isn’t.
Since this was already a raw and emotional episode for Dean, I really thought he’d be drawn to the little boy, but it turned out he was more connected to the boy’s mother, Hayley. She seemed strong and capable, considering all of the weirdness she’d been exposed to, and I think she reminded Dean of Lisa. There was a definite sense of closeness between the pair of them, from Dean partnering up with her on the research detail, to him putting his arm around her at Prometheus’ funeral, and it felt natural to me. All of the guest cast members did a nice job, helping me become emotionally invested in their characters’ lives and giving the episode just that little bit of extra shine.
Another thing that made the episode sparkle: Dean’s hilarious facial expressions while Sam was talking to Artemis. Just watching the range of expressions cross Jensen’s face, from “Nice one, Sam” to “Hmmm, maybe he’s onto something” to “Crap, we’re screwed!!” was an absolute pleasure. Supernatural may be a show about family tragedy and loyalty and sacrifice, but it doesn’t work without some laugh-out-loud moments to break up the doom and gloom, and Dean always provides more than a few of those precious LOLs.
Sam: I felt for him, I really did. Trying to cover up his pain. Realizing that he’d bitten off more than any one person could chew. It was rough, watching him change his tune from a firm “I’m going to do this, and I’m going to survive!” to a faltering “Maybe I was overly optimistic…” And unfortunately, Sam does have a point: Nobody goes into the battle intending to die. And yet, it happens. Happened to Bobby, Rufus, John, Ellen, Jo, and too many other Winchesters and Winchester-allies to name. But Sam has a weapon that none of those other people had: a big brother named Dean. There’s a reason I’m a Dean-girl. I have faith in my guy. Somehow, some way, he will keep Sam breathing.
Dean wasn’t the only one showing off his skills of perception. Sam took a mighty leap of intuition and basically figured out all the important details of Artemis and Prometheus’ relationship, thereby securing Artemis’ help. Way to go, Sammy! Also, way to go on trying to make a connection with the little boy, which is usually Dean’s department. The kid may not have liked Sam’s ice cream suggestion, but at least Sam got the boy talking again, which was nice. I feel like Sam could relate to this boy because they were both a little “different.” Sam had the whole demon blood/psychic powers/Lucifer vessel thing going on, and this child was the son of an immortal. Not your average kids, by any stretch, and I think this is what drew Sam over for an attempt at interaction.
Prometheus: A sympathetic character with a compelling background. I love how this episode took me back to my AP English class and brought all of those stories to the surface again. I also love how Prometheus’ act of stealing fire for mankind was explained in a way that was very relevant to the subject matter covered on the show: namely, monsters. Without light, creatures like werewolves and vamps ran amok, terrorizing the human race unchecked. A previous episode dealing with Greek and other ancient gods (“Hammer of the Gods”) felt a bit out-of-place in the Supernatural universe. This one, because of the careful way the writers related the story to hunting and hunters, fit right in. The focus on family was strong in Prometheus’ story – his love for his son, his love for Hayley, and his sacrifices for both mankind and his child – which paralleled beautifully with Sam and Dean’s own story. It all came together, making for an emotionally engaging and cohesive episode.
Randomness: Always a pleasure to see actors enjoying their roles, and Zeus looked like he was having a blast. When the performer is really into the scene, the audience gets drawn in, too. I enjoyed every minute Zeus was on screen. And the cop at the beginning – the one who wanted to hunt zombies. He was awesome! Sam and Dean totally need to bring this guy into the fold at some point, because he’s ready (“Aim for the head!”). Hayley had a weak moment, breaking the circle like that, but I forgave her – her boy’s life and future were on the line, and her fear-driven actions were understandable. Stupid, but understandable. Absolutely loved Dean looking at the flame on the lighter, as though appreciating it for the first time. Where would the world be without fire? Where would the hunters be? No burning bones, no fire-related rituals or spells? Yikes. Also love that they continued the focus on fire by showing the funeral pyre burning. Nice, tight writing all around.
Last Thoughts: Sam will survive. Sam will survive. Sam will survive. Sam will survive. (If I keep saying it, that’ll make it come true…right?)