Supernatural: Baby
October 30, 2015 3:17 AM - Season 11, Episode 4 - Subscribe

Seen entirely from the Impala, the Winchesters travel to Oregon to investigate a suspicious murder.
posted by cfoxhi (17 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Great music, great dialogue, and a great monster, all seen from the Impala. Loved this episode!
posted by cfoxhi at 3:19 AM on October 30, 2015 [1 favorite]

I thought it was the best episode in a long while. I'm not one of those people who thinks the show is played out, but this episode was something special.

At first I thought the direction was just unusually arty, with the cold open flashing around inside the car and then the shots through the window as the guys were washing the car. At some point when I realized we hadn't left the car the whole time and probably wouldn't for the rest of the episode, I actually started to feel slightly claustrophobic. (For various reasons I'm not good knowing I can't leave someplace, even if it's a place I don't really mind otherwise.) But once I settled down and got into the story I thought it was kind of amazing.

They had to do all sorts of tricks to stay in the car, like the valet girl's little joyride with her friend and stuff, but even when I was aware it was a trick it just seemed really clever and entertaining. They had to do monster fights and weird visions and detective work, all the stuff of a regular adventure, while we were stuck in that car. We even got some fun Castiel stuff in there. Wow.

In some ways this felt like the show's creators kind of giving the finger to people who say the show is tired. This was a really daring, strange episode, the very opposite of a show coasting, and it worked. But while it was experimental, it was a throwback at the same time. All the honest talk between Sam and Dean, singing along to a Bob Seger tune, a monster of the week, the (sort of) visit from their dad, the action figure stuck in Baby's vent, there was a lot of stuff calling back to the days when this was a very different show. It kind of reminded you of who these guys really are, to the dopey joshing and those midnight road trip conversations that have kind of fallen away in recent years.

If the show can still be this good, even now, I have zero regrets about sticking with it all these seasons.

So, who was the entity appearing as their dad? Whoever it was seemed rather kindly and fond of Sam, the deception aside, so I'm guessing it couldn't be Death or Lucifer or somebody sinister like that. He said "I could never fool you," suggesting they have some history. Was it God? If not, I really have no idea who we're looking at. I wonder if we'll ever find out, or if maybe they'll leave us guessing on that one.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 3:56 AM on October 30, 2015 [11 favorites]

That cold open with Dean unconscious in the backseat and the train whistle in the distance, I had such a sinking feeling... Considering how often the show has taken our favorite characters away from us, I thought for sure we were going to lose Baby in the end. I would have never forgiven them for such a cruel move.
posted by at 4:44 AM on October 30, 2015 [2 favorites]

Oh, and as much as it seems that God has just abandoned the universe to become a world of shit, I expect when He/She does show up, He'll just say, "You didn't need me around, you had the Winchesters..."

On the other hand, given the little coincidences that helped to save Dean, along with the dream talk with whoever that was (my vote is God), isn't it implied that those "coincidences" are probably the helping hand of God/Whomever.
posted by at 4:52 AM on October 30, 2015

My first thought was God. Then I thought Lucifer. We were told that it was God and the archangels that fought off the Darkness the first time. I'm convinced that will come into play at some point this season. And Sam's first vision was of Hell. So it made sense.

But the more I thought about, "I could never fool you" I started thinking about another archangel, one whose biggest joy in life is tricking people.

posted by 2ht at 6:39 AM on October 30, 2015 [1 favorite]

Yeah, Gabriel was my first thought after the "I could never fool you" line.

What a great episode! Once I recognized the conceit I was totally sold. And what wonderful fight choreography!
posted by brundlefly at 9:32 PM on October 30, 2015 [1 favorite]

This was a fantastic episode. This why I keep watching. No matter how often the boys die/lie to each other/return from the dead there are enough gems like this scattered through the seasons to make it all worth it.
posted by Requiax at 8:46 PM on October 31, 2015 [1 favorite]

I don't know about Gabriel. Gabriel is not shy about his mischief. He's arrogant and playful and he really enjoys messing with the Winchesters. I think as soon as his deception was revealed, he'd probably admit who he was. This entity seemed more serious and seemed to have a gentle seriousness to him. That's not to say it couldn't be somebody evil. But the way he spoke to Sam was serious and seemed to have some fondness to it, which doesn't fit the Gabriel we've seen before.

My money's on God. That "God helps those who help themselves" could be something that God would say, and it could have different meanings. If it's not God, I really have no idea who it could be.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 3:56 AM on November 1, 2015

Gabriel's an interesting thought. Before we saw Matt Cohen, I actually thought it was Mark Pellegrino's voice for a second, and after seeing the scene, I think there's at least an outside possibility it could be Lucifer, and not just because I prefer God to stay out of things on this show (or at least stick to chilling at high school musical adaptations of His pulp novels while a Greek muse tries to eat Him.)

Both Lucifer and Gabriel had their turns at fooling and not fooling Sam, and "God helps those who help themselves" sounds like something an embittered angel might come out with to egg on a poor confused mortal. I feel like there've been a couple of times where Gabriel specifically impersonated someone or something to try and get Sam around to his way of thinking, until Sam caught on, which is sort of what happened here. If Gabriel is alive somehow, I could imagine him intervening to try and get the Winchesters to fix things, without actually wanting them to know he was back in the mix. (I mean, who could blame him.)

I'm still leaning towards Lucifer, though--caged seems less final than dead, even for this show, and it would help explain why, when Sam prayed for a sign of hope, he got a Hell flashback.

Really, really liked this episode.
posted by jameaterblues at 7:40 AM on November 1, 2015

Now I'M starting to wonder about Lucifer too. He's a quiet sort, and often seemed to have kind of a sarcastic sympathetic attitude. Like he'd flay you and say, "Ouch, buddy. Not having a real good day, huh?" So it could be that what I was taking for genuine fondness for Sam was just more of Lucifer's sly, faux-friendliness. And it would gibe with the tortures Sam saw in his vision. If the Winchesters end up allying with Lucifer, that will be... interesting. It sure wouldn't be good news for Crowley.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 4:41 PM on November 1, 2015 [1 favorite]

Is Lucifer still stuck in the cage with Michael and the third Winchester brother whom we shall never speak of again? Also, was there some demon referencing the "cage" earlier this season to Crowley? (I can't recall) Sam definitely had something like a flash to a scene from Hell, so perhaps he's getting messages from down under so to speak.

I do kind of like the idea of God returning, but it definitely wouldn't work well for the show. A lot of the show's underlining premises are based on the idea that God isn't there just to fix it.

I wonder if Dean's surprising bit of knowledge about the origin of "God helps those who help themselves," isn't indicative of the identity of the individual playing their father. Dean tossed it back beyond the Bible to Aesop's Fables and beyond. It's an old saying, so perhaps someone or something from the start of time. Hrm.

Going to the episode...I loved it. First, it was an awesome turning on its head version of a bottle episode. Everything happens in one location, but that location is perpetually moving. It's like setting something on a train car, but far more dynamic. I also felt a little closed in, too, as I watched. Perhaps the one thing I didn't care for as much was the opening shot of Dean in the back of the car. I'm not sure if it was really necessary and I'm just starting to tire of the conceit of "XX hours/days earlier," jumps. The lingering shots on items left or dropped in the car, the waitress' hair pin, the machete and the girl's purse weren't too lingering to overstate their future uses.

The interactions between the brothers was the best. The honesty and dialogue was something I've been yearning for over seasons of this show. I'd like to think that they asked themselves, "What is Supernatural?" And they answered, "It's about two brothers traveling across the country in their black Chevy fighting monsters." That's how this episode was born, I want to believe, and I want to further believe it's a sign the writers are serious about returning the show to these roots.

I guess it's a wait and see.
posted by Atreides at 7:04 AM on November 2, 2015 [1 favorite]

There was definitely a demon talking to Crowley about alarms and the cage. I also wonder how the lowly demon and angel grunts hanging out together will figure into this.

Agree with everyone about how great this episode was. I also enjoyed the flipped version of a bottle episode and shared the worry about them destroying Baby from that cold open.
posted by numaner at 12:05 PM on November 3, 2015

Okay, finally got around to watch this and

(Um, not exact year, but still!)

I felt so sorry for the poor car after all it went through in that episode. Hope they can fix it up.

I'm inclined to say that the dad-vision was God as well. Though "God helps those who help themselves" does kinda sound like a weasel sort of explanation for why God doesn't help when you ask.

"This was a really daring, strange episode, the very opposite of a show coasting, and it worked."

I'm kinda all over the map on this show. It can be very good--especially when they do experimental episodes--it can be pretty bad, it can be mediocre. But there's enough good still going on from time to time that I stick with it, even if I don't watch the show with super urgency these days. This was actually kind of a relaxing episode for the show, at least until the body hacking went on.

I love the image of a machete and Hello Kitty purse being in the bottom of the car.
posted by jenfullmoon at 6:11 PM on November 25, 2015


Castiel: I'm not sure how orange correlates with black in a way that's new.
Dean: Step away from the Netflix.

Dean: It turns out I did shoot the deputy.

Dean: Hey, Cass, tell me you got something that doesn't involve chicks in prison.
Sam: Bet you never thought you'd say that out loud.

Sam: Goodnight, jerk.
Dean: 'Night, bitch.

Dean: All right, well, thanks, Cass. Good work. Way to come off the bench.
Castiel: What bench?

Sam: I mean, even Swazye wouldn't come to this roadhouse.
Dean: Okay, first of all, never use Swazye's name in vain, okay? Ever.

Dean: Who carries pennies these days anyway?

Sam: Don't "Night Moves" me.
Dean: Shhh... just let it wash over you.

Dean: [talking about Sam having sex in the car] Even put a blanket down. Classy and thoughtful as always.


This episode was the highest-rated episode of season 11.

The whole episode takes place inside the Impala. This concept of restricting the show to a limited premise is known as "bottle necking" the episode.

This episode was filmed very differently from any other episodes. Usually for car scenes there's a rig for cameras and a trailer that pulls the car for closeups because the actors can't see to drive. For this episode the crew actually rigged the cameras into and onto the car in a way that Jensen Ackles could still see enough to drive, they would rig the lights and roll sound and then the actors would literally just drive away from the crew up the road. Ackles and Padalecki have said it was weird because they were just on their own with no one to say "action" or "cut", and it was up to them to do most of their scenes without those cues.

During a convention, when asked about ad-lib scenes in the show, Jensen says the moment in this episode that shows the boys eating and laughing was a Jared and Jensen moment, not a Sam and Dean one, because they had to spend so much time driving the car around with all the rigging in place to get filler shots. The shot of the camera flare as the Winchesters were laughing was a prep moment, not actual shooting.

Jensen Ackles actually did the stunt fighting in the car and the reverse 180 driving stunt after Baby crashed.

This is the first and only episode to have no soundtrack. All the music in the episode can be heard from the characters' -- Sam, Dean, and/or Baby's -- point of view, such as Dean's tapes in the Impala, music in the bunker's garage, or music coming from the roadhouse. The term for this is "diegetic" music, as opposed to "non-diegetic" music, which is the normal soundtrack music heard throughout the rest of the series.

The same concept of showing everything from inside the car was used in the 2013 movie Vehicle 19 featuring Paul Walker.

After Sam's night with Piper, Dean congratulates Sam on no longer being a virgin. This is referencing "Rock and a Hard Place" (ep. 9.8) where they both become "born again virgins" for a job.

Castiel notes that "the next solar eclipse in North America won't be for a few years". The episode aired October 2015 and the next solar eclipse would in fact be August 21, 2017 (about "a few years" later). The 2017 eclipse was the first total solar eclipse visible in the Southeastern US since 1970.

Sam, while telling Dean about his visions, says that maybe "the opposite" of the Darkness is sending him messages. He thinks it's God, but it is revealed later that Lucifer has been reaching out to Sam. The name Lucifer literally means "Bringer of Dawn," and was later also translated as "Lightbringer" and "Morning Star". Lucifer is the opposite of Darkness.

A clue that it is Lucifer talking to Sam in Sam's dream of young John Winchester is when John says, "I never could fool you." Sam had eventually learned to tell the difference between Lucifer's tortures and reality during the time when his broken soul was put back into him by Death.

First time Dean has called Sam "Samuel".

Sam asks Dean, "Haven't you ever wanted more?" which weirdly ignores the Lisa and Ben storyline.

After Baby crashes, Dean reaches his hand up onto the rear deck which is littered with broken glass. As his hand brushes over the glass pieces you can see them clearly bounce around, revealing that it is silicon or something similar.
posted by orange swan at 4:07 PM on December 18, 2021

I wouldn't have thought a guy like Dean would reverence Patrick Swayze, but okay.

Sex in the backseat of the Impala with a guy Sam's size must have been... challenging. And I don't know how he and Piper could have been comfortable enough to have just fallen asleep afterwards. Still, I'm happy for him. This is the first time in nearly two years that Sam's gotten laid.

Did Dean have to sneak several looks at Piper while she was in the backseat? She didn't get naked for him.

Dean has bruising around one of his eyes when he gets back into the car after his night in the roadhouse.

Cute lyric improvisation by Sam when he's singing "Night Moves". "Out in the back seat of my '60 Chevy" became "in the back seat of my brother's '67 Chevy".

You'd think Dean would want to wash up and wash the blood off the Impala's window after killing the Deputy, as it would likely get him pulled over. He and Sam would surely have some bottled water in the cooler, not just beer, that he could have used.

The scene with Dean fighting the deputy outside the car while Castiel dryly expounds on the kind of monster he's up against is hilarious, as is the growling deputy's head in the cooler. This show can give me the giggles as few have.
posted by orange swan at 4:11 PM on December 18, 2021

The 'Artful Dodger' pub makes another appearance (from the outside this time).

Surprisingly good episode, and a change of pace.

Dean revers his father's heroes, so Swayze isn't too long of a stretch, hetero male dancers got to have a certain amount of toughness - I think he only lost status after he got older and tried unsuccessfully to hold onto his masculinity instead of adapting. iirc, he peaked at 'Point Break' (1991) as a dude who was past his prime (right after 'Ghost') and rapidly went downhill before trying something challenging in 'To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar' (1995) and didn't really embrace change until 'Donny Darko' (2001) but then kind of petered out.

Cas continuing to be clueless and unable to extrapolate (OitNB reference), despite after getting pop culture infodump from Metatron, is kind of lazy.
posted by porpoise at 6:00 PM on December 19, 2021

This episode is up there with In the Beginning as a premise that sounded incredibly stupid before I saw it, but I ended up really enjoying it, and I’m sure it was a lot harder to make than it looks.

Sam asks Dean, "Haven't you ever wanted more?" which weirdly ignores the Lisa and Ben storyline.

Being generous, I could take that conversation as a whole as Sam asking if it’s something Dean still thinks about, without violating Dean’s commandment to never ever mention the Braedens ever again (and I guess without forcing casual viewers to remember what happened five seasons ago.) At least at this point, it seems like Dean prefers to remember a version of his life that was a lot of Heathers in roadhouses, and any exceptions are not worth revisiting.

Dean having a recurring dream about John teaching him to drive like they’re a normal suburban family, and Sam dreaming about Mary who he’s barely met, facts neither mentions to his brother till they’re in their thirties is, obviously, a piece of canon that got invented for this episode, but also a hell of a thing to have been theoretically happening this entire time.

This episode was trying plenty hard to make you love it, and a lot of it worked on me, but Dean fussily using the wipers to flick the deputy's decapitated, gnashing head off his windshield, ah that’s the stuff.

And, awww, it looks like this thread was my first Fanfare comment ever, back in 2015 ::waves to dumb hapless 2015 me::
posted by jameaterblues at 7:22 PM on January 3, 2022 [1 favorite]

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