“Out in the back seat of my brother’s ’67 Chevy…” — Sam Winchester singing to Bob Seger’s “Night Moves”
BEST. SONG. LINE. CHANGE. EVER.
With the episode “Baby,” writer Robbie Thompson has written a Supernatural love letter for the ages and one that is as classic as the ’67 Chevy Impala for which the episode is named. And this love letter covers all bases. It’s an ode to a faithful companion and home for a small, tight-knit family. It’s a love letter to two boys who have grown into strong, brave young men from the nurturing, cocoon-like perspective of their beloved car, Baby. And finally, it is love letter from the writers, crew and creators of this show to the #SPNFamily fans whose love of every single detail (every. single. detail.) of this incredible journey has taken Supernatural from “the little show that could” to “that fan favorite that will not be stopped.”
This is the love letter about two brothers, who would do anything to save the world and each other, and their ’67 Chevy Impala that is their shelter through it all.
**********CAUTION********** SPOILERS DEAD AHEAD **********CAUTION**********
It is a daunting task to shoot an entire episode of a supernatural, action show completely from the perspective of the inside of a car. But director, Thomas J. Wright, completely rises to the task (and beyond) in the episode, “Baby.” The audience sees all of the action from Baby’s perspective, namely the comfy confines of her leather interior. We share in every aspect of the Winchesters life in their car from mundane fast food meals on the road and fun rock sing-a-longs (Bob Seger, yeah!), to soul-baring Winchesters moments and a peaceful birds-eye view of the brothers sleeping — yin and yang — in the cocoon of her front and back seats. And last, but not least, the viewers get a front row seat for one of the best extended fight scenes ever in the entire series. Unfortunately, there were two glaring omissions from this unique peek into the Winchesters lives: a nice shot of Dean in those shorts while he was washing Baby and a glimpse of Sam’s long-awaited clandestine tryst with Piper, the diner waitress. Apparently Baby keeps some things to herself (but a fan can always hope for those extras in the season box set).
The episode was also chock full of inside jokes, special nods and winks to the longtime fans who have been paying attention over the years. It starts at the beginning of the episode chronicling the creation of the ’67 Impala with narration by Chuck (Rob Benedict). The stop at the “Roadhouse” and the deep respect for Patrick Swayze (Texas boys stick together). Dean calling Sam “Samuel” and Sam curtly telling Dean to call him “Sam.” The brothers remembering how Mary Winchester would sing pop songs to her kids instead of lullabies. The Winchester using their pet names for each other, “Goodnight, jerk” and “Goodnight, bitch.” And my personal favorite, Dean declaring,”I guess I did shoot the deputy!” during his fight with the ghoul/were-pire cop. Oh, and the inclusion of the music of Bob Seger was icing on the cake. (As a Detroit girl who grew up listening to Seger, I thank you, Robbie).
Major kudos go to Jensen Ackles on his amazing comedic timing throughout the episode. He was on point in every scene. I will never look at a cooler the same way again.
“When has death ever stopped a Winchester?” – John Winchester, Episode 11.05 “Baby”
And just when I thought I couldn’t love this episode more, up pops young John Winchester (surprise guest star Matt Cohen) in a dream/vision with Sam. Now this is where we are somberly reminded that the current Big Bad, The Darkness, still looms. After failing to convince Sam that he is really his father, John warns Sam, “The Darkness is coming. And only you boys can stop it.” But what are these visions and who/where are they coming from? Is it really John Winchester or is it Sam’s subconscious? Is it God (Chuck)? Or someone or something else? And did we get a clue about the visions during this encounter when Sam says, “This isn’t real,” and John replies with a slight smile, “I never could fool you, could I?” Did that little smile have a Lucifer-like quality to it? Or Michael? Could The Darkness be so scary that Michael and Lucifer trapped in “the cage” are teaming up to get a message to the Winchesters (perhaps through Sam’s tattered soul)?
While the humor was high in this episode — the brotherly teasing, Baby’s wild ride with Jesse the valet girl, the hilarious calls with Castiel (Misha Collins, phoning it in again), and the epic fight with the deputy and Mrs. Markham (OMG loved that fight!) — the emotional moments were deep without being maudlin. Sam finally shares with Dean that he was infected back at the hospital and talks about the visions he has been experiencing and starts to question Dean about what he really wants out of life (which isn’t a new question, but is explored here in a more innocent, inquisitive way than it has been before). Major kudos here go to Jared Padalecki, who manages to bring the feels to these brotherly moments in a subtle, simple, straightforward way.
After Sam tells Dean about the dreams / visions he has been having, Dean shares with Sam a recurring dream of his own.
“I’m sitting in the driver’s seat, Dad’s sitting shotgun, but there aren’t any shotguns. There’s no monsters. There’s no hunting. There’s none of that. It’s just… He’s teaching me how to drive. And, uh, I’m not little like I was when he actually taught me how to drive. I’m 16 and he’s helping me get my learner’s permit. Of course, you’re in the backseat, just begging to take a turn. We pull up to the house — the family house — and I park in the driveway and he looks over and he says, ‘Perfect landing, son.’ I have that dream every couple of months. It’s kind of comforting, actually.” — Dean Winchester
It’s a fantasy of the perfect normal life. And now it’s my fantasy of the perfect life for the Winchesters when all of the monsters are gone. Maybe it’s in a future where the brothers have each become fathers in their own right or maybe it is a massive “do-over” where they get to go back and have the life they should have had all along. Either way, the Winchesters deserve that “perfect landing” moment.
Here’s a look behind the scenes of the making of the episode, “Baby.”
Supernatural airs on The CW on Wednesdays at 9/8c. Full episodes are also available on CWTV.com and On Demand (check your cable listings) as well as on iTunes, Amazon, Hulu and Google Play.