Supernatural: The Song Remains the Same
August 16, 2021 7:09 AM - Season 5, Episode 13 - Subscribe

The renegade angel Anna escapes from her prison in heaven, and travels back in time to kill Sam and Dean's parents so that Sam is never born, and cannot be the vessel for Lucifer. Castiel sends Sam and Dean back to 1978 to stop Anna.


Dean: So she's gone all Glenn Close, huh? That's awesome.
Castiel: Who's Glenn Close?
Dean: No one. Just this psycho bitch who likes to boil rabbits.
Sam: So the plan to kill me, would it actually stop Satan?
Dean: No. Sam, come on.
Sam: Cass, what do you think? Does Anna have a point?
Castiel: No. She's, uh, Glenn Close.

Dean Winchester: So what, you're like a DeLorean without enough plutonium?
Castiel: I don't understand that reference.

Dean: Well. This is it.
Sam: This is what?
Dean: Team Free Will. One ex blood junkie, one dropout with six bucks to his name, and Mr. Comatose over there. Awesome.
Sam: It's not funny.
Dean: I'm not laughin'.

Dean: What are we gonna march up there and tell them?
Sam: Uh, the truth.
Dean: What, that their sons are back from the future to save them from an angel-gone-Terminator? Come on, those movies haven't even come out yet.

Sam: [after time travelling] Did we make it?
Dean: Unless they're bringing Pintos back into production, I, uh, I'd say yes.

Sam: [back in 1978] I mean, the mustaches alone...
Dean: So I paid for Cas for five nights up in the, uh, honeymoon suite. I told the manager, "Do not disturb no matter what." You know what he said to me? "Yeah. Don't sweat it. Want to buy some dope?"
Sam: [snorts]
Dean: Dope. We ought to stick around here, buy some stock in Microsoft.

Young John Winchester: [to Mary, Sam, and Dean] Look, not another word or so help me, I will turn this car around.
Dean: Wow, awkward family road trip.
Sam: No kidding.


The episode is named after a song by Led Zeppelin.

While in the convenience store, Sam rips out a page of the phone book to find his parents' address, the same way Marty McFly does in Back to the Future.

Dean calls himself, Sam, and Castiel, "Team Free Will," for the first time in this episode. The slogan became popular in the fandom.

Final appearance of Julie McNiven as Anna Milton.
posted by orange swan (5 comments total)
Nice little foreshadowing effect when Anna collapses on a Pontiac Firebird in the middle of the decorative wings on the hood after time travelling and there are wings on either side of her. They actually tracked down a Pontiac Firebird for this episode just to do that. That's... thorough.

Why would Anna hurl John and Mary about the way she did instead of just killing them outright? It also doesn't make such sense that suddenly she's so hardcore as to want to kill the Winchesters -- she's spent many years living on earth, which tends to humanize angels, as we see with Castiel. With her powers and knowledge and intelligence, she could surely have come up with a better and more humane plan than that. It also seems unlikely that Mary wouldn't have miscarried Dean after being hurled onto a car with such force that the windshield cracked.

I just can't believe that Mary didn't tell John what happened to her parents. That's far too big of a secret to keep in a marriage, and anyway I don't think John would have bought that Samuel died of a heart attack given the circumstances of his death. And then there was her murdered mother.

How did Dean pay for the honeymoon suite for Castiel? His 2010 credit cards wouldn't have worked in 1978, and surely whatever cash he had on him wouldn't have passed as current either.

Sam's hair and sideburns were actually close enough to standard seventies male hairstyles to pass as contemporary, but Dean's hair, or more specifically, the gelled and tousled bit at the front, would have stood out. Men didn't start doing that sort of thing with their hair until the late 1980s.
posted by orange swan at 7:27 AM on August 16, 2021

Jim Rockford was ripping pages out of phone books long before Marty McFly ever thought to do so, and we know from an earlier episode, the boys reference Rockford.

Dean joking about buying Microsoft seems so out of character for him. He's not really a long-term investment type of guy, but I guess when obvious millions are on the table, people will put aside their usual behaviours and inclinations and think "what if?"

Before I make my next comment, I want it on the record that I'm an adult who does not shove my preferred media choices down other peoples' throats. I will, of course, recommend things I think they'd enjoy, but I don't force anybody to watch or listen to things just because I think they should.

That said, here is the exact conversation I had with my brother before I forced him to watch a few minutes from this episode (at this point, he has only seen the Scooby-Doo episode and has heard me talk about the show as a whole for a bit).

Me: "You have to see this. It's Supernatural. The brothers are going back in time to 1978. Just watch. It represents our driveway." [Jump to where the tan Pinto goes by.]

Me: "Right model, in the right colour." [Pan over to the shot of the Country Squire wagon.]

Him: "Right model. Right colour*" [He said with a huge smile on his face.]

That 10 or 15 second street shot was absolutely, dead-bang on perfect, and nostalgic and I have so much respect for the car wrangler on this show. If I didn't know better, I'd swear he was one of my former neighbours or relatives. That feeling is even stronger when you add in the opening shot of the screaming chicken, which was the Bandit-styled car my (much older) cousin bought for himself. Whoever the guy is, he gets his cars, and he gets the cars of the ear.

As much as there is to get annoyed about with this show (mainly with its treatment of women), there are so many great little touches to love and the automotive aspect is definitely one of those.

*For REASONS, there was a point in the 1970s and very, very early 1980s where we had nearly every colour combination and model of Ford LTD Country Squire wagon possible sitting in our driveway. The only exception I can think of to the colour list was black. We didn't have a black one. Rolling back over the video, our discussion focused on whether the car was navy or black. We decided it was navy. And even if it was black, we're calling it close enough. And when I say every colour, I do mean every colour including one called "vanilla brown" that was actually kind of a mauvish/purplish beige (that was definitely more purple than brown). It was actually a really good colour on that car and went especially well with the wood-panel trim. We didn't have nearly as many Pinto or Bobcat wagons, but there was definitely more than one, and the tan one was the family favourite of that grouping.
posted by sardonyx at 11:02 AM on August 16, 2021 [1 favorite]

Yeah, in general, the angel's (as individuals) don't really seem to have a very clear motivation or characterization - Uriel's actions as a traitor make less sense in retrospect, either. This is in a large part because the SPN writers don't seem to have a clear idea of what they're doing with the angels long-term either.

This is another episode that is pretty good, but marred by a death of an underutilized female character.
posted by dinty_moore at 1:41 PM on August 16, 2021 [1 favorite]

How did Dean pay for the honeymoon suite for Castiel?

Good call. ref here US paper currency went through a big upgrade with the series 1990. Prior to that, bills didn't change much. 2004 was another big series upgrade. Series 2009 didn't fully enter circulation until the mid/late 2010s. Despite that, by the 2010s, pre-series 1990 bills were probably rare/ no-longer routinely accepted. The US never did switch to polymer bills, but the new colourful (relatively) bills would certainly be derided as funny money.

Writers could have fixed this hole - Cas did pack a bag with a couple of amphorae of anti-angel oil and an angel blade. Period cash, while rare, could still be acquired in 2010. Those old bills are also easily counterfeited (and consciousness of forgeries probably wasn't super high in 1978?).

Or gold, or other trade goods that a pawn store would accept much less a bank. They were planning on traveling back in time.

Cursory research suggests a decent hotel room in 1978 was $20-40 a night (seems high to me).

I wasn't sure if Dean's last trip back in time was for real or in his head. This episode cements that it was for real. &%$#ing time travel.

I liked that the Anna character was given something a little deeper (violate causality, murder mortals) and will miss the actor. But younger Uriel groked right away that Anna's a time traveler... &%$#ing time travel.

Michael says something about bloodline stretching back to Cain and Abel (which one? either?). Ok. Cool. Cool cool cool. Wouldn't just about everybody be a descendant of Cain and Abel - or is most everyone else descended from Seth, and Sethites doesn't count?

Wait. Abel was killed before having kids. So the Winchesters are Cainites. What about all the other Cainites?

Would have made better sense that there were secret children of Abel that mortals didn't know about and the Winchesters are Abelites.

(Where did Cain and Seth's wives come from, or did... ewwww)
posted by porpoise at 6:51 PM on August 16, 2021

Nice little foreshadowing effect when Anna collapses on a Pontiac Firebird in the middle of the decorative wings on the hood after time travelling and there are wings on either side of her.

I never noticed that!

I HAVE to think John is politely staying on side and Samuel's "heart attack" was the best cover story they could come up with. (Maybe, MAYBE he could miss Samuel's giant stab wound but like. did Deanna also have a heart attack? that same night? the kind of heart attack that snaps your neck? and wrecks your living room?) But zero points to John for either being oblivious to or intentionally ignoring how much Mary really, really did not want these men in her home, cmon man.

John hacking open his palm so he can banish angels like the big kids is a sorry fit of masculinity panic to watch. That sounds harsher than I really mean it, but. he's done with wanting to know Mary's cousins any better, I think.

Sometimes hunting is all classic rock and fornication, and sometimes it's Sam and Dean earnestly reassuring their mother that they would be 100% fine with never being born, no worries, a great solution for everyone actually.

I forgot about Anna the other day when I was trying to remember which recurring female characters hadn't been killed yet. welp. 

We never really got a definitive answer on whether Anna escaped from Heaven, or was allowed to think she escaped, or what, or exactly where the idea came from to go after John and Mary, though I think we're meant to believe her. But I kind of like the idea that Michael would arrange this whole debacle and send her back with a plan that he already knows didn't succeed. All the better that when Dean finally does meet Michael, he's that much closer to seeing his consent as not a real choice. "Free will is an illusion. That's why you're going to say yes."
posted by jameaterblues at 7:37 PM on August 16, 2021

« Older The White Lotus: Departures...   |  Star Trek: The Next Generation... Newer »

You are not logged in, either login or create an account to post comments