A new column at The Nerdy Girl Express is The Miller Twins Talk Supernatural Season 12. Here twins and The Nerdy Girl Express writers, Stacy Miller and Tracy Miller, will share their thoughts about the heroic Winchester boys, Sam and Dean (Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles) as well as the many other wonderful characters on The CW’s longest running show. Will these twins agree on the characters and plot themes for each episode? Read below to find out.
This article contains spoilers so if you haven’t seen the episode “Regarding Dean” please do not continue reading.
Dean Winchester was tortured in Hell for forty years, became an old man (courtesy of a witch), turned into a teen (also courtesy of a witch), and mind melted with a dog. In the episode, “Regarding Dean,” a spell causes the eldest Winchester brother to suffer progressive memory loss.
Supernatural has had its share of intense emotional episodes and wildly hilarious plots. Combine the two, comedy and drama, and the result is spectacular. We know Jensen Ackles can rip our hearts into a million pieces within his tremendous dramatic range (and his trademark single man tear is legendary). But Ackles is also an underrated comedic genius. The classic Season 4 episode “Yellow Fever” that left Dean paralyzed by fear following being infected with ghost sickness masterfully revealed Ackles’ incredible comic range.
Regarding Dean proceeds along the same vein. The outset of the episode finds Dean in hot pursuit of an unnamed man. When the man puts a hex on Dean, the plot takes off. Immediately Dean is confused by his surroundings (nice touch Supernatural writers with the rabbit!) He calls Sam and admits that he has no idea where he is. But ever the appreciative eater Dean suggests that his baby brother meet him at a restaurant for waffles. Initially Sam reasons that Dean’s bizarre behavior can be attributed to a wild night. Yet, when Dean begins forgetting things (like how to drive the Impala and even his own name), Sam soon realizes that a witch’s spell is the culprit for Dean’s memory loss.
Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles are always attuned to each other’s acting rhythms and “Regarding Dean” offered both men the opportunity to shine. Padalecki’s Sam, I would argue, subtly assumed the role of teacher and protector as Sam began schooling Dean on some of the details of their lives that Dean’s eroding memory had claimed: telling Dean about Mary, the family business, monsters and their angelic friend Castiel. Ackles’ Dean was inquisitive, almost childlike. It was refreshing seeing this side of Dean.
In addition, this episode perfectly integrated Rowena into the narrative. I always enjoy seeing Ruth Connell on the show. Usually the bulk of her scenes are with Mark Sheppard. However, when Rowena gets to play off the Winchesters, the energy is markedly different. Sure there is the one upmanship, power struggle waltz similar to what Rowena has with Crowley. But the boys don’t have the luxury of demonic powers like the King of Hell. Plus, Sam hates being indebted to Rowena: his annoyance and frustration at needing the Queen Mother of Hell’s assistance is palpable. Remember when Sam needed Rowena to help translate the Book of the Damned to remove the Mark of Cain from Dean? Sam will go through any lengths to save his brother even if it means getting into bed with an enemy like Rowena (figuratively speaking that is).
Connell knows Rowena so well that she wears the character like a second skin. Her delivery and timing are always first rate. I thought that it was a stroke of genius for the Supernatural writers to tie Rowena’s history with the British Men of Letters (nice foreshadowing to possible future plot threads).
The clock is ticking away for Dean. The accelerated pace of his memory loss is moving him closer and closer to death. But the most gut wrenching moment of this episode was when Dean was looking at himself in the mirror and trying to repeat his name and forgetting every time. The pain was real. Jensen Ackles’ face and voice honed in on Dean’s turmoil. We felt Dean’s pain. Our hearts broke for him.
I love when the writers have Sam use his intelligence and determination to save Dean. For example, Sam had the foresight to write Dean post it notes that later proved invaluable for Dean as he confronted their nemesis.
Regarding Dean had everything: fine writing, incredible acting, humor and drama. This episode reminds us why Supernatural went from a little show that could to an enduring mainstay on The CW.
For as long as Dean Winchester (Jensen Ackles) can remember he’s been a hunter. It is more than a job, it is who he is. The only other job more important is his one as a brother. But what would happen if Dean forgot he is a hunter and that he has a brother named Sam? (Jared Padalecki). What would happen if he forgot who he was? Would that still make him Dean?
This was the question and focus of the Supernatural episode “Regarding Dean.” When a spell of forgetfulness is cast on him by a witch, Dean becomes a blank slate. Not only does he forget his identity but even simple names of objects, such as a lamp (light stick? Ha, ha). He also forgets how to drive and puts Baby in danger of car damage. (“R is reverse”- Sam). Dean is given “the talk” by Sam, (No, not THAT talk, his memory loss didn’t include that aspect, for which I’m sure Dean was relieved) who explains that monsters exist and that the supernatural is real. Dean is beyond excited and views the idea of being a hunter as something cool. In a way, Dean without a memory was a rebirth for him. As Sam later mentioned in the episode, Dean without memories didn’t feel guilt over anything he’s done. It is an enviable position but also a sad one. Sure, not remembering problems eliminates a burden but it also takes away joy. Because good and bad are the ying and yang of life, without one you can’t have the other. And a part of yourself is gone.
Sam gets to step into the role of big brother and protector. And the first thing is finding a way to restore Dean’s memories. As witches are involved, this means a call to the witch they know – Rowena (Ruth Connell). She’s thrilled (well, not really) to help. Rowena likes the idea of having the Winchesters owe her one. Obviously, Rowena has lost count of how many times she’s helped Sam and Dean because they owe her way more than one from my count. I thought it was interesting to see Rowena as part of Team Winchester without Castiel or Crowley. I always appreciate Ruth Connell’s appearances on Supernatural and her banter with Mark Sheppard and Misha Collins. But to see her just play off Padalecki and Ackles was a treat. Rowena has a lot of baggage in her relationship with Crowley, it was great that her assistance of the Winchesters had nothing to do with the King of Hell. In past episodes, Ruth Connell’s primary Winchester brother scenes were with Samuel (as she calls him), so it was refreshing to see Rowena have more interaction with Dean. Rowena was able to be honest with him knowing that once Dean’s memory was restored, he would remember nothing of what she had told them. Plus, she appreciated the compliments Dean bestowed upon her. What woman even if she is a witch doesn’t like being complimented on her hair? The look on Dean’s face as Rowena told him that he had killed was one mixed with pain and confusion. Even if her own interests come first, I always like Rowena as an ally to Sam and Dean. She is a powerful witch that knows more about that world then John’s journal or The Men of Letters’ massive library of books could teach Sam and Dean. Nothing beats 300 years of hands on experience.
For a serious episode on losing one’s identity, there were many funny moments. Sam leaving post it notes on objects so Dean would remember what they were was cute. I especially loved the scene when Dean pointed his gun back and forth from the deadly witch to brother and Sam said “Brother. witch.”
“Regarding Dean” was a great episode because it wasn’t over powered by a complicated plot with too many guest characters.
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