This Supernatural review contains spoilers.
Supernatural Season 12 Episode 11
We’ve seen Sam and Dean face down all sorts of life-ending scenarios. There was Sam stabbed, drained of blood by the fangsome Vetala, and mentally deteriorating after a bout in Hell. Dean has been killed hundreds of times by the Trickster, hunted by hell hounds and reapers, drained of life by Djinn and even hit with an aging spell.
But this time is different. It’s not quick and it’s not an expected consequence of the job. It’s a cruel way to go, because first Dean must lose himself in the process. Dang, Supernatural writers. I didn’t think you could surprise me.
Dean has been hit with a memory loss spell and is going all Memento and freaking Sam right out. Most of it is handled in a humorous fashion – there’s a certain joy in which Forgetful Dean approaches learning about his life. We hunt monsters? Cool! As Dean regresses, more and more funny moments crop up. The beginning of the episode plays much like The Hangover, which provides an excellent cover for Sam to ask around by explaining that his partner was roofied. Meanwhile, Dean is learning about himself. This is a really interesting chance for Dean to take a step back and look at his life.
This is also cause for an appropriate amount of melodrama (and I mean that in a good way.) One incredibly simple yet touching scene is Dean staring straight into his own eyes in the mirror and straight into camera, reminding himself who he is and of the most important people in his life. But with each repetition, he loses a bit more, until he looks feebly around for the answer of what his own name is. It’s devastating.
There is a lighter moment, between Dean and Rowena, that’s also worthy of mention. Rowena talks about her own life and her struggle to fit into witch communities. She admits her faults with such earnestness that you can almost feel bad for her. Since she is aware that her confidant won’t remember, it’s really a futile attempt at acceptance.
I love how the Post-it notes were used as Dean forgot more things. Not only were they peppered throughout the boys’ hotel room, but they were also used to both keep Dean in the car near the end…and entice him to enter into the fray. Pretty clever of Rowena to ensure she had backup when she needed it.
The cinematography used in this episode to show Dean’s memory loss and struggle to remember was artsy without being too heavy-handed about it. When Dean was forgetting, the camera from his point of view would blur and shake. When Dean tried to retrace his steps back to the office, the trek to the office door was shown surreally sped up. These techniques weren’t overused and they still got the idea across.
This was a well put together episode. It wasn’t too heavy on the melodrama, and not too light –though we can all appreciate a classic funny Supernatural episode to lighten the mood every once in a while.”Regarding Dean” managed to bring back witches without it being predictable and boring while at the same time having another mortal crisis that actually got to the heart of the matter. And that last part is really important when you have characters who’ve made a habit of shirking Death’s usual rules.