Mark Watches ‘Supernatural’: S03E15 – Time Is On My Side

In the fifteenth episode of the third season of Supernatural, Dean and Sam clash over whether to pursue two opposing solutions to Dean’s deal: seek immortality or seek the Colt. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Supernatural.

Trigger Warning: There will be a brief bit about abuse towards the end when I talk about Bela.

I have a growing sensation that the next episode isn’t going to end with Dean getting a field of puppies, and I didn’t need Rufus Turner to confirm that for me. I mean, it’s built into the show, particularly this season. I’m not expecting Supernatural to suddenly operate under a massive tonal shift, especially since Winchester angst fuels so much of the narrative. Still, I don’t know how this can end well. I really don’t. “Time Is On My Side” is viciously grim, a story about Sam and Dean recklessly pursuing solutions to a problem that has only one real solution. It’s heartbreaking because both brothers even admit that the know the other one is trying as best as they can to find a way to delay or stop the inevitable.

And it really is inevitable, isn’t it? I’M SO SCARED FOR THE NEXT EPISODE.

So, at the heart of this episode (get it GET IT?!?!?!) is Doc Benton, who looks a whole lot like Frankenstein’s monster. (Seriously, I loved his make-up, especially since it was confirmed that Benton OPERATED ON HIMSELF FOR YEARS.) Sam brings this case to Dean for two reasons: 1) It can keep Dean busy to distract him from the existential horror of his own death, and 2) PROBABLY ZOMBIES. Which… lord, I was excited for that, but NO. NOPE. NOT ZOMBIES. Immortality. And god, the fact that I couldn’t recognize Sam’s interest in this case immediately is a crime, because of course Sam would pursue any possible lead at this point in order to save Dean. But the primary conflict in “Time Is On My Side” stems from the disagreement Sam and Dean have regarding the best choice for Dean. If you have to die in order to go to Hell, won’t immortality prevent Lilith from claiming Dean’s contract? Clearly, Doc Benton found a way to stay alive for 150 years. Couldn’t Dean and Sam do the same thing?

I never felt like this episode made this a viable choice, and I thought it was pretty clear that Sam was pursuing a dead end. At the same time, this is directly paralleled with Dean’s journey. He thinks it’s far more practical to seek out Bela and the Colt, despite that Sam (correctly) predicts that the Col is long gone. But even I have to admit that killing Lilith – if that’s even possible – is the most sensible plan, despite that it’s also horrifyingly daunting. And really, Sera Gamble brilliantly forces Dean to face his future by having him meet Rufus Turner, the man who found where Bela was hiding.

And lord, IT’S STEVEN WILLIAMS. Oh my god, Mr. X from The X-Files! Anyway, ON TOPIC. To make Rufus a glimpse of what is to come for Dean? Y’ALL. IT’S HAUNTING. First of all, Steven Williams is so good at this role. He’s bitter, hateful, and cynical, and it’s all because of his life of hunting. Sure, I would have liked to have more of Rufus’s story and I think it’s perfectly fine to criticize the fact that the show hasn’t developed a person of color beyond a single episode that is also still alive. (OBLIGATORY SOBBING FOR HENRIKSEN. I’M STILL SO UPSET.) I was still entertained by this notion that Dean might be able to escape his deal with Lilith, but he can’t escape the unhappy future that awaits him. He’s never going to have things easily. He’s not getting a happy ending. Of course, that could have been foreshadowing for the finale, but I’d rather not think about that. DENIAL IS TOTALLY HELPFUL, Y’ALL.

Except I can’t be in denial anymore, can I? If there’s anything that should set me on edge, it’s the loss of Bela Talbot. I can’t help feeling incredibly sad about this. It’s no secret that I enjoyed her character a great deal, and I also completely forgot about the hints about her past in “Red Sky in Morning.” I suppose I feel like Bela’s store is more of a tragedy than a comeuppance because of one single scene: the flashback that explained why she made a deal ten years prior. Since it’s heavily implied that her father abused her, that means the demon that sought her out manipulated her at her most vulnerable. That demon fed on her fear and terror, gave her a solution that would get her out of an abusive situation, and set her on the path that she’s on now. Her behavior – her need to detach, her obsession with money, her grey morality – all of it has a new context on which its based. And look, I also can’t deny that her desire to get out of her contract is what put Dean in danger, too. If she hadn’t stolen the Colt and handed it over in the hopes of surviving, then Dean might have had a chance to kill Lilith. But the way that she dies is heartbreaking because she spent ten years free of abuse, and now she has to go to Hell because of it. It’s horrifying for that reason and because of what it means for Dean Winchester. Bela couldn’t get out of her contract. How in the world is Dean going to???

Also, Bela’s dead, right? Damn. DAMN IT, SHE WAS SO GREAT. UGH. 🙁

There are three weeks left, y’all. It explains Sam’s desperation. It explains why Sam was willing to entertain something so horrid as alchemical immortality. It explains why Dean refuses it. And I thought that choice was integral to understanding Dean: he wanted to stay human all the way until the end. He’s already gotten a glimpse of what he might become in Hell, and I’d like to think that is always on his mind. I mean… I think you can see it on Dean’s face in that opening scene where they’re confronting the demon about who holds Dean’s contract. (You can also see Jensen’s goddamn eyelashes HOW ARE THOSE THINGS REAL jesus christ stop it.) As the reality of this deal slides ever closer, he’s starting to think about what Hell might actually be like. AND IT’S TOO MUCH.

I admit that I was far more interested in all of the subject and serialization than the plot surrounding Doc Benson. I’ve mostly been ignoring the details because they’re so horrifying and gross and I CANNOT DEAL WITH ANYTHING HAPPENING TO EYES. EVER. SO FUCK THIS EPISODE FOR THAT ONE MOMENT THAT I REFUSE TO ADDRESS EVER AGAIN. But honestly, the Doc Benson stuff was a vehicle for angst, character development, and tragedy; I don’t know that it was ever meant to be that memorable. Still, this is a great set-up for the finale, and I admit that I’m super nervous about it. I have to go watch it now. UGH Y’ALL, YOU GOT ME INTO THIS AND IT’S NOT FAIR.

The video for “Time Is On My Side” can be downloaded here for $0.99.

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About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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