Recap: "Family Remains"


The first new episode of 2009 felt real old school to me. Sam slept in the Impala; Dean uttered the word "Yahtzee;" and the brothers even laid down some salt lines. But Dean's confession at the end of the hour still has me sitting here in shock trying to figure it all out.


Yes, "Family Remains" took me back to a time when the show was less about the mythology and more about the boys digging around for a case and then protecting a family or an individual from whatever evil thing-of-the-week. It was nice to see Sam and Dean do whatever they could to protect this family that was already in a lot of pain even before they got to this "haunted house." And I totally thought of "The Benders" when we found out that the ghost wasn't a ghost at all. It was actually humans that were responsible for the recent trouble. The whole awful incestuous story behind the sister (and in a twist, the brother) responsible for the deaths and the "haunting" was just so sad. To know that these kids had to live like that; you could understand why they turned out how they turned out. They were caged up, forced to eat who-knows-what (and then ultimately had to resort to eating rats); they never got the chance to experience anything in life but pain and isolation. They led a miserable existence. The fact they acted so animalistic and violent towards adults, you just get it. It's obviously not a behavior that is condoned but you get it. How creepy was the part when the teen girl thought their dog Buster was licking her hand, but he wasn't? That was beyond creepy and like I said before, just really, really sad. This was another one of those cases where you want to feel sorry for ones that are being evil, but there's no way the Winchesters could let them continue to wreak havoc on this unsuspecting family.


It has been one month since Dean's confession in "Heaven and Hell." And apparently, all the brothers have been doing is fighting the good fight. Dean has been avoiding emotions and pretending he didn't confess what he confessed to Sam. Even though they just ended a job, Dean was already on the search for another gig. Sam went along with Dean's one-track mind of work, work, work, but you could of course tell he knew that what was going on with Dean wasn't good. Throughout the case, Sam saw Dean getting way caught up in saving the family. It kind of reminded me of Sam in "Playthings," when he was all about saving everyone and every loss was this deep hurt that he couldn't stop. So when Uncle Ted died, I felt so bad that it happened on Dean's watch. Dean's a tough guy, but things like that tend to shred his soul. It seemed like he felt after what he did in hell he needed to save even more people than he ever did before.


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Jan 22, 2009 8:40PM EST

I liked the Old-schoolness about it, but I'm not sure it was the right way to start the second half of the season. Having our guys just park their car randomly and talk about emotions is getting formulaic and it's beginning to lose some of its novelty.
It was nice not to see Castiel for once - he's wonderful in small doses, but again - if they overdo it the fun goes out of it.
Still, it was a valid addition to season 4. Thanks for the review.

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