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December 21, 2014

'Supernatural' Season 6, Episode 17 Recap

by Maureen Ryan, posted Apr 18th 2011 10:30AM
['Supernatural' - 'My Heart Will Go On']

So, the Winchesters are finally back from Hellatus and everybody's favorite rogue angel is up to no good.

Add in some Celine Dion and some alternate universe shenanigans and we're all bound to have a good time, right?

Er, maybe not.

Now, this review will be shorter than my usual weekly reviews. Not just because I've had my hands full with 'Game of Thrones' coverage and various other work duties as well as sick pets and a sick kid (and I do appreciate your patience, given that it took me until Monday to post this piece. And not to worry, all pets and children are well now).

No, the real reason this post will be a bit shorter than normal is because I truly don't have all that much to say about 'My Heart Will Go On.' It was not an outright terrible episode, but it wasn't terribly impressive, either. It was good to have Sam, Dean, Bobby, Castiel and even Ellen back on my TV screen, but the episode intentionally left us with a big unanswered question. Sometimes that's a good thing, but here, it felt mildly frustrating.

It seems obvious that Balthazar was indeed carrying out Castiel's orders when he sank the Titanic. But why? How would those 50,000 souls help Cas win the war? We don't know much about three things at this stage: Why souls are so valuable, how they can help Cas' army and, more generally, what's going on in Heaven's Civil War.

All we really do know is that Cas is intentionally deceiving the Winchesters. But I think he had them retain their memories of the alt-universe for a couple of reasons. First, he wanted them to understand how serious it can be to mess with Fate. And secondly, if his deception about the Titanic ever comes out (and I'm betting it will), he wants Sam and Dean to understand why he did it -- he was trying to chart an independent path, a course that was not reliant on Fate and pre-determined destiny but on -- wait for it -- free will. Cas was trying to cover all his bases, essentially, in case the brothers find out what he's been up to as the war in Heaven has dragged on.

Clearly he's been called to do some questionable things as that war has gone on, but it's hard to be invested in any of that, given that the conflict has gotten so little screen time this season. Presumably we'll find out more soon about why the souls matter so much and what they can be used for, but the general lack of detail on the soul/Heaven front meant that one of this episode's central revelations -- that Cas may be engaged in dirty tricks during the course of this conflict -- lost a good deal of its punch.

Otherwise, it was a fairly standard monster of the week story. Fate was a perplexing character, to a degree. Personally I'd have thought she'd be pleased that, in one sense, the Winchesters didn't put her out of work -- aren't there more fates to arrange, given that the Apocalypse didn't end all life on Earth? Sure, maybe she has to improvise more, but the way I see it, she's not out of a gig, thanks to the Winchesters. That's gratitude for you.

Any time you put Samantha Ferris and Jim Beaver in a scene together, you're going to get great results, and that was probably the strongest part of the show. Wouldn't it be nice to think that, in some universe or other, Bobby and Ellen got married? Those two ornery, loyal, dogged hunters tying the knot felt right on any number of levels. Only Bobby could say, "The hell with you" and make it sound like an endearment.

Also, one of my biggest problems with '... And Then There Were None' was that Rufus didn't get a fitting sendoff. There's not a whole lot the show can do to fix that at this point, but it was good to see Bobby still feeling the aftereffects of that death. And boy, what a grim world Bobby is living in, eh? In the "real" world, not only are Ellen and Jo still gone, one of his best friends just died at his own hand (albeit when he was controlled by the Mother of All). It's a pretty sad state of affairs, one that would lead much lesser men to lean pretty hard on the hard alcohol.

So we got to spend some time with Ellen, we got some acknowledgement that Rufus's death was a big deal, and we got to see what life would have been like had the Titanic not sunk. First of all -- no Metallicar. It's a world gone terribly wrong! And in what universe does Dean Winchester put orange stripes on his car? So much wrongness.

In that universe, Cuba is a travel Mecca for vacationers who like to gamble and Celine Dion is a nobody, yet Ashton Kutcher is still a big star and the Winchesters are still hunters who stay in cheap motels. Some things never change.

The set piece in which the boys walked through town, facing near-death at every turn, was mildly amusing, though there was one other visual aspect of the episode that didn't work for me at all. The extreme close-ups during one Ellen-Bobby scene were just odd and unnecessary. Occasionally the directors here feel the need to try something wacky like that, but, as is the case with Random Shaky Cam, it's rarely effective.

One last thought, because I'm not going to do a hail of bullets this time: I'd love it if 'Supernatural' declared a moratorium on the use of the word 'b*tch' as it relates to female characters or women in general. I've just kind of reached that point. To hear Dean use that word again, and then make a comment about Kate Winslet's "rack" a few moments later, took the show and the character to a place that I wish it wouldn't go to at this stage. Among other things, I just don't think it fits with who Dean is anymore. Just my two cents.


'Supernatural' airs 9PM ET Fridays on the CW.

Follow @MoRyan on Twitter.

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AmyinSydney

I enjoyed this episode, mostly because the boys are together and working together and that's a place I like them being. I think Dean's personality is Dean's personality, I don't see any change, this cheeky, bravado side is always just under the surface. The B word doesn't phase me, I think his language would be seriously colourful. I am sure Dean swears a blue streak. It was actually good to see him a bit lighter, a bit more how he was before all this apocalyptic stuff started happening to them. I put this to the fact he's not stressed out of his brain about Sam at every turn. I really loved seeing Ellen again and agree, what a lovely universe that would be with Ellen and Bobby married and the boys dropping around for the occasional home cooked meal. Cas has been hiding something for ages and it's now starting to come out. I actually thought this episode nudged the mystery along nicely. I think Cas wanted the boys to remember more for the reason of hoping that when the lies come out, they will understand how important this war is and how important to Cas the notion of freedom is, something he learnt from them. Not going to help him much when Dean realises he's been lying for a long time, that is going to be tragic for both of them. I thought this was a solid episode and I was very thankful for it after such a long break.

April 21 2011 at 3:02 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Mare

I just want Bobby to catch a break. How much more can that poor guy take.

April 20 2011 at 7:05 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
goreywaif

This episode was like a slowly deflating balloon. There really wasn't anything to it, though it was nice to see Ellen and I laughed out loud at the fan servicey line about Castiel being in love with the Winchesters.

April 20 2011 at 2:33 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
henninggirl

The fact that you don't want b**** said becuase it's not in character and not because it's demeaning and offensive, negates the whole sentiment. Calling women b****** and wh**** and whatever else, and truly living up to the Madonna/Wh*** standard of character development with the vast majority of its ladies up to this point has been fine. But now, it's TERRIBLE because there's a Kate Winslet reference?

Classy.

April 19 2011 at 3:40 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to henninggirl's comment
Mare

I'm pretty sure in previous reviews the point of the mysogynistic language in general has been made - it's not just because it was tied to Kate Winslet that it was mentioned here.

April 20 2011 at 7:02 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Mare's comment
henninggirl

http://www.viddler.com/explore/Luminosity/videos/2/

April 22 2011 at 1:20 PM Report abuse rate up rate down
KathyB

As much as I loved having Ellen around for a proverbial cup of coffee, Irish at that, not a particularly engaging episode. Had its moments but not very satisfying over all.

April 19 2011 at 2:09 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Sheri

Great review, Mo. Pretty much agree with everything except Dean's "bitch." Anytime Dean says SOB or bitch in the same episode, it is a win for me. I do notice that Sera is taking away Dean's drinking now. I marked my calendar as April 15, 2011, being the day that Dean's characteristics were totally erased. I've been wondering when she would do that.

I found the episode enjoyable for the pretty, that the boys were together, and that there were enough hints at what the show used to be, but I've given up on all the storylines this season, so pretty is all there is left.

The brothers really didn't do or accomplish anything in the episode. Just mostly used for the exposition of the story. Once they got to the main purpose of the episode -- to show how much Cas liked the brothers so that when they find out he has done all the regrettable things that we don't know he's done, Dean will be hurt that more of his family deceived him -- the brothers were out of the picture; literally frozen in place the minute the angel story took over.

I have no investment in the angel story. We've only heard that there is one, and by now I have no interest in what is going on with Cas or in heaven. Same with the Mother story. Introduced her and then no development. What I really think is going on in S6 is bringing Misha into one of three leads in the series. The show seems to be taking a slow approach between signing Misha on in S4 and bringing him fully on-board by the end of S6. And, really, I don't give a hoot for a Two Hunters and Their Angel story.

My vote is to just get through S6 and hope for better in S7. Whether I will be back or not will depend on some concrete spoilers coming out over the summer that gives me a reason to sit through another season. This one has been below terrible. I agree with the BYO's post that things seem a little 'off' with even Jared and Jensen. Perhaps all the negative comments about S6 made the showrunner attempt to change direction from her original plans to give us a little bit of what used to be and still tell the stories (and read that as too many) she hoped to tell this season.

In summary, my vote for the episode was enjoyable enough not to complain too much about this specific one. The season as a whole, though, is another tune.

April 19 2011 at 1:23 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Sheri's comment
Dontainique

I don't see Dean's characteristics as being totally erased or fundamentally changed for that matter. I just think the character is evolving. At the beginning of this season Dean is basically a husband and father. He loved his family and was building a life outside of hunting. I think that would've had a significant effect on him. Furthermore, the weight of the world has literally been on his shoulders since he got back from Hell. I just don't think he'd be the same lighthearted guy that he was in previous seasons. Too much has happened to him and around him.

April 20 2011 at 10:43 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Dontainique's comment
Isobel_A

See, but I don't think Dean's character *is* evolving, at all. He's falling back to the S1 cardboard cut-out and losing all the character growth that made S4 Dean (and Sam, and all of them) so compelling.

April 24 2011 at 10:25 AM Report abuse rate up rate down
yim_happy

This episode had all the right ingredients, so I wondered why I didn't love it more. I've missed Cas, but he seemed so sad & tired. Usually, Cas scenes are intense, but I didn't feel that when Cas talked to Fate. I wonder if prior intensity was more due to Jensen???

I love meaty themes. So, I loved the part where Cas tells the brothers what he learned from them, "we don't have to accept fate. we can choose freedom" I personally love that idea. Too bad this season had no theme or stories backing up the "freedom is preferable" idea.

On another forum, some fans complained that they felt "pulled out the story" when Cas appeared. They said that they have zero investment in the angel war ,since they've seen so little of it. Anyway, I'm still trying to put my finger on why I wowed.

Finally, I'm agree with the poster who thinks that all the souls going to Heaven power Heaven/angels in some way. Remember S5 Cas lost his power when he was cut off from Heaven

April 19 2011 at 10:53 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
lmcc

I enjoyed this episode, maybe more because it was so nice to have Sam, Dean and Cas back again. It had the right balance of humor and story for me. Whatever Cas is up to, I don't necessarily think of him as engaging in "dirty tricks", more it seems like desperate acts.

The problem the writers are comping up against now is the same thing that happened with the Apocalypse. They've built up this War In Heaven so much without giving any clues as to what's really going on that my expectations are through the roof. No way can they ultimately reveal something that will not feel like a let down. They need to start moderating our expectations by giving us more details.

April 19 2011 at 9:56 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
kiil

Regarding Fate, for the first time TPTB at Supernatural tied in Greek mythology with Judeo-Christian. Fate and her sisters work for God — they are not monsters. To clear up some possible misconceptions; the three sisters have specific tasks.

Atropos who was featured in 'My Heart Will Go On' job is to cut the "thread of life". She is given leeway to chose how a person/being (perhaps even angels and demons) would die but when is not up to her. More later.

Her sister Clotho spun the individual threads for each person which stated when a person would be born and die while also included how a person would live where as Lachesis' purpose is to measure out how long each thread is to be.

Now according to Supernatural the sisters jobs were decided by God who I am assuming wrote the "book of life" which has the information the sisters needed to fullfil their jobs. Now that God is missing and the book is worthless the sisters have no clue as to what their fates are. Plus I'm sure they were looking forward to a vacation.

April 19 2011 at 1:15 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Nitewoman7

Hi Mo nice to be back from hellatus was a long time. I really enjoyed this episode. I understand where you are coming from and I respect your opinions but I was entertained and even more no when I watched it again.
As far as Balthazar is concerned I loved him. From what we have seen from him I totally believed in his warped mind hating the movie Titanic Celine’s song etc. that scene with the boys was priceless. Loved how Dean and Sam worked effortlessly together like the old days summoning Batli in the motel room. And speaking of the room I thought it was big improvement over the rooms they’re usually in.
I was surprised to learn Cas was actually behind un-sinking the ship for the souls. Big reveal for me was souls are needed for the “war machine” but have no idea what that means. I hope it’s answered. Like you I feel Dean is going to be very hurt to discover Cas has been lying to them. I agree with your reasoning for Cas leaving their memories intact. Cas’s explanation made sense to me. Agree the show dropped the ball on this story line. I’m like at this point I almost don’t care anymore.
Only Bobby could say, "The hell with you" and make it sound like an endearment. How right you are and how great is Jim Beaver.
Loved the story line with Bobby and Ellen being married. Just made me miss Ellen even more than I already do. Jim and Samantha were awesome and so enjoyable.
Every time there was a reference to Sam and Dean they are called “the boys”. Awwww that’s how I always think of them. Might have something to do with the fact that I could be their mother. Ugh what a thought!
Loved all the little differences in the alternate time line. Most were really funny and I totally thought the mustang was perfect seeing that was Eric’s original idea of their muscle car.
Liked Fate and hope we see her again. I love it when Dean says “Son of a bitch” I’ll agree with you on his other comments. Doesn’t fit him anymore (thank goodness) writers smarten up.
The last scene Dean covering Bobby with a blanket and as he turns the light out we see the pic of Bobby alone again instead of the one with him and Ellen – that was heart wrenching. Like Dean and Sam Bobby has lost so much.

I’m pulling for TPTB will tie up all the story lines nicely by the end of the season.

April 19 2011 at 12:21 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Nitewoman7's comment
Dontainique

Hi Nitewoman! So glad to see you back! I'm with you on the relationship between Ellen/Bobby and Ellen, Bobby, and the Boys. One of the reasons I loved Ellen so much was because she was exactly the kind of woman I imagine an older, female hunter would be. Smart and tough but at the same time tender. She was the mother figure the boys needed and the perfect match for Bobby. She was tough as nails and knew when they needed a kick in the butt. At the same time, though, she loved them and worried about them. It was obvious Bobby and the Boys felt the same way about her. I thought it was wonderful that this episode got a chance to kind of see where that relationship would've gone had Ellen not died. She was one of my favorite supporting characters and I maintain that TPTB really made a mistake killing her off. Her presence just adds so much richness to the SPN universe.

Just as an aside, I know the Mustang was Krpike's original idea for the boys car, but thank God someone talked him into going with the Impala. It's just so perfect. My world wasn't right until my boys were back in Metallicar.

April 19 2011 at 9:44 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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