Mark Watches ‘Supernatural’: S06E02 – Two and a Half Men

In the second episode of the sixth season of Supernatural, EVERYTHING IS REALLY WEIRD. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Supernatural.

Trigger Warning: For discussion of sexual assault/rape.

Oh lord, this season is already so uncomfortable. But I think that, aside from aspect, that’s an intentional thing. Sam’s return, paired with Samuel’s, is deliberately strange, and Dean is faced with a number of tough and complex decisions because of it. So I am (tentatively) fine with the nature of these two episodes so far. I think it’s compelling to make this so bizarre, to make everything feel like it’s slightly off. Doesn’t that make the Impala sequence at the end of the episode a whole lot more meaningful?

Still, I can’t ignore how jarring it is to watch these characters interact, especially the Campbells, who we’re supposed to believe are family but whom we’ve largely just met. Again, I think that’s on purpose, but it’s still weird! Dean and Sam are living two separate lives, and even those aren’t going all that well. There are two plots at work here: the shapeshifter kidnappings of babies and Dean dealing with his life with Ben and Lisa. Both of them are about family and duty, though admittedly the shapeshifter plot is IMMENSELY MORE DISTURBING. But Sam forces these two stories together, and lord, it’s a mess when he does.


Shapeshifter Babies!

There is one glaring flaw that I find particularly unforgivable here: at no point does the show point out that what the Alpha shapeshifter did is definitely rape. A lot of horror and science fiction narratives mess up when it comes to consent, but this episode treats what happened to all the mothers as almost a fascinating side affect. Sam spends time pondering how clever it was for the Alpha to procreate as it did, and all I could do was sit there and wonder if someone would just come out and call it what it was. (It reminded me of the treatment of rape in “Fznyy Cbgngbrf” on The X-Files.) Like, can we not be so crass about it? These women were tricked by the Alpha into having sex, carried children for nine months, and then were murdered by their rapist.

As soon as Sam called Dean in to help them, I then braced for what I thought would be the inevitable gay joke, but surprisingly, it never happened! I genuinely expected that the show would make some sort of crack about Dean and Sam shopping for baby supplies, but it was refreshingly normalized… somewhat. I mean, the mother who treated Dean and Sam respectfully was actually a shapeshifter, but still! I did like that interaction because the character seemed sympathetic and kind. BUT IT WAS ALL TO GET A BABY.

Babies. TWO CUTE BABIES. There was some great humor in watching Dean and Sam be unable to manage a child at all, and then we see that Dean isn’t all that bad, and then the sadness truck rolls in to flatten us all. I’ll address more of that later, but I did want to talk about how the concept of a family affected this story. As you’ll see in the video for this episode, I was utterly perplexed as to how this story could ever be resolved. Dean and Sam could not raise a child while being active hunters, and I really did not think that Lisa would be cool with a random child living in her house. This is complicated by the fact that the child is actually half shapeshifter. How much more complicated? I don’t actually know! There’s such an ambiguous end to “Two and Half Men” that we’re left wondering what it exactly means to have a half-human, half-shapeshifter child.

But before we get to that point, we have to sit through ONE OF THE WEIRDEST SCENES EVER. And I know that’s a loaded statement in and of itself because… well, this is Supernatural. It’s full of weird shit. But because the Campbell family is so “new” to the story, it’s just simply bizarre to watch Sam side with them and agree to let two of them raise this shapeshifter child as if it’s their own. Like… what are the implications of that??? How does that work? When do you tell it what it is? Won’t it figure that out fairly early? How could you possibly control it? How could you expect it to side with you and become a hunter? There are so many unanswered questions here! Yet we don’t get to explore any of them after the Alpha arrives, kills Mark Campbell, and takes back its child.

SO THAT HAPPENED. Is this part of some greater serialized plot? Is this the Big Bad for this season? Or is this just a deliberately unsatisfying end to this story? WHO WAS SAMUEL TALKING TO ON THE PHONE?

Lisa and Ben

Despite stating early on that Dean/Lisa couldn’t last beyond the end of this episode, I think I’m technically wrong on this count. The story here isn’t all that groundbreaking, I admit. It’s not the first time I’ve seen a show or book deal with this sort of dynamic, and Supernatural has definitely tread this ground in the past. Dean’s main fear here, however, concerns the past that hangs over everything he does. After he’s spent years idolizing his father, he’s come to accept that his father was not a particularly good parent. Like Bobby stated in the previously episode, his life with Lisa was an escape for him. It was the closest Dean’s ever gotten to true happiness. (Though not close enough, haahah, BURY ME HERE.)

And yet? He’s both taunted and tempted by Sam’s return. I believe that Dean’s desire to build a life with Ben and Lisa is 100% genuine. But as Lisa puts it in the final scene, he also wants to be out on the road, fighting monsters and demons. Both desires exist within Dean at the same time. Unfortunately, this manifests in some uncomfortable, distancing behavior. Dean is immensely protective of these people, asking them TO MOVE TO ANOTHER STATE. Which is a huge deal! And then we have to watch as Ben desperately tries to find some way to connect with Dean, only to get yelled at. It’s the cycle beginning all over again, only this time, Dean is the father. Is he going to repeat the past?

I know that stating this will activate the Mark Does Stuff curse, but goddamn it, I really like Lisa. She’s got a knack for the kind of brutal honesty that’s necessary and charming. Here, she spells out her own interests while accepting that these only occasionally intersect with Dean’s interests. Honestly, her decision at the end of “Two and a Half Men” to allow Dean to come home whenever he wants fits her character well. She’s raised Ben on her own for years, so I never saw her as needing someone like Dean. She doesn’t, and I don’t even know that Ben needs Dean. There’s a pragmatism to her logic, then, a way that allows her and her son to live their lives without Dean’s erratic and frightening behavior, but one that doesn’t accept that she’s only got dichotomous results available to her. No, she can still keep Dean in her life in some capacity without forcing either party to deny who they are or what they want.

I’m interested to see if this will play out in the future. I say “if” because there’s no guarantee we’ll see them again. This could be the way that the writers move away from Dean’s domestic life. At the very least, his reunion with his Impala is written as a victorious moment, so Dean’s clearly happy to get back out in the world and hunt. But we are definitely watching this story unfold through Dean’s eyes, not Sam’s, so I’m also curious if there’s something I’m missing in regards to the larger narrative. I feel like I’m missing a huge chunk of Sam’s story here, and Samuel’s got something going on that’s being kept away from me. Will Sam be pleased that Dean’s back in on the hunt? Will they drive separate cars??? WHAT IS SAM’S IPOD PLAYLIST LIKE? These are the important questions, y’all.

The video for “Two and a Half Men” can be downloaded here for $0.99.

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About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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