Baby didn’t feel like an episode of TV; it felt like a personal experience. We are there inside the Impala, watching foam drip over the windows, and, later, blood. Sam and Dean genuinely have fun during Baby, with Seger singalongs and hookups and remniscenses. Finally, this is an episode that fills in the gaps- we find out what goes on between the killing and the world-saving and the big emotional showdowns.
If Fan Fiction was the counterpart to A Very Supernatural Christmas, this was the counterpart to Swan Song, which permeates more than just the flashbacks. We see the army men, the legos, the scratched S.W and D.W- now covered in blood and broken glass. Goddamn symbolism.
Supernatural has an incredibly rich heritage- I guess having two hundred and twenty-something episodes does that- and this both expanded upon that and was completely steeped in it, with callbacks everywhere. The ‘I shot the sheriff’ joke, from way back in Jus In Bello; jerk/bitch, last said between Sam and Dean in Season Two’s Hunted; Dean’s comment about Sam’s virginity from Season Nine’s Rock And A Hard Place… this season they’ve even stopped pretending that Season Seven never happened*.
And what was that I said in my last review about how funny this season is? Because Baby was hilarious. The fight scenes managed to feel real and visceral while being completely silly, my favourite being Cas droning away over the phone while Dean got jumped by the nachzehrer. The whole episode had that gritty Season Elevenness to it- the lack of scoring, the fact that apparently for some scenes the Impala was miles away from the crew, cameras rigged and rolling, J2 acting away. What an incredible amount of trust shown between the team, and rightfully so.
This was completely smooth in its tying together of a MoTW and large-arc episode format, unlike the (nevertheless beloved) Season Ten finale, which attempted a similar thing with far less finesse. (No disparagement to Carver- I mean, the guy wrote friggin’ Mystery Spot.) But Matt Cohen’s surprise appearance seemed, in a dreamlike sort of way, inevitable. He spoke Lucifer’s words in JDM’s smoke-and-whiskey voice, giving the episode an ominous undertone.
But despite that, Winchesters have to have fun while they can- as evinced by Sam’s first hookup since Amelia (his voice coming from somewhere out of sight in the backseat just cracked me up). This seemed, to me, to be about getting the brothers to a place where they’re strong enough as a team to stand against whatever’s coming- which is how we know it’s going to be really bad. But the bro-mo scene, probably the longest of its kind in the show, had a lovely sleepy brotherly closeness to it. No wonder the Js were so psyched.
T.J Wright’s cinematography deserves a post of its own (which, incidentally, should be up on A Blog Devoted as soon as screencapped.net gets its ass in gear). I can’t say I’ve ever seen so small a space utilised so creatively before. In fact, I’m not sure there’s ever been an episode of TV set in a car before- there have been several films, but it’s incredibly rare and so hard to do well, for obvious reasons. Massive Hollywood blockbusters have tried and missed the mark, ending up too far into claustrophobia.
But claustrophobia didn’t even factor into my experience here. Every scene’s filmed distinctively. I mean, the car wash scene? Frickin’ bury me.
Such weird great shots, angles ranging from ridiculous to soft, almost seductive.
What a gorgeous shot of Jared’s eyes.
And y’all know about my ongoing IMDB vendetta. But a little trivia for you here- IMDB has rated this higher than any other episode, out of a pick of two hundred and twenty-two. It’s beat Swan Song. Just thought I’d share that, though I don’t necessarily agree- but this has shunted Clap Your Hands If You Believe off my top #3, that’s for sure.
These two guys.
*Okay, mean, but Season Eight didn’t mention the Hell storyline once.