Welcome back to our review series, Supernatural: End of the Road. Check out my reviews of last week’s episode and episode fourteen, as well as a season 15 recap here at the Fandomentals. This week, we’re looking at season 15 episode 16 “Drag Me Away (From You)”.
And I’m gonna be honest from the start, this episode is so boring.
We are five episodes out from the finale for a fifteen-season long television show, and we are still getting filler. In fact, this episode was so filler-tastic, I don’t think it even has any themes to explore. But let’s go through a quick (and I mean it this time) recap of the episode before we discuss what we all wasted an hour watching on Thursday night.
The episode starts with a monster-of-the-week opening, which is a classic Supernatural episode structure. A man we don’t know (and spoiler: will never care about) is ganked by the ghost of a kid in a motel. He has a giant inconspicuous ring on a necklace that he holds before his death.
Flash forward to present, Sam and Dean are driving to the funeral of some guy named Travis, for some reason that is so vacuous even the characters don’t know why they are going. Sam points out that they’ve ignored more important funerals in the past. Dean says something vague like “this is different” or some such nonsense. There is literally no more additional information. The true reason, of course, is that the plot requires it!
This episode cuts between the present – the boys going to this motel and engaging in a monster hunt – and the past – the boys also being at this motel and engaging in a monster hunt, but being children. As children, Sam and Dean in the motel meet Caitlyn and her younger brother, Travis. Thus it is revealed that the first unfortunate thing to happen to this little boy is being named “Travis”.
The episode’s weakest point is that, over at Supernatural, they simply do not know how to write dialogue for children. Every child in the show speaks so awkwardly it’s painful. And these kids are no exception. The four of them talk awkwardly to each other until they realize they’re in a Supernatural episode and therefore there is a monster afoot! Dean decides to go looking and is joined by Caitlyn, while the little brothers stay behind to have game night. I’m sure they’ll be totally safe!
Back to the present, Sam and Dead show up and encounter Caitlyn! Yay! She reveals she tricked them into coming because she believes the ghost they previously killed is back! Yikes! Dean is sad because he thought he killed the ghost. He looks sad at the camera. Sam, meanwhile, could have been a cardboard cut-out for all the acting he did in this episode. #sorrynotsorry
The boys discover that the ghost is in fact still haunting the motel. While Sam begins the research by doing the click-clack on his keyboard, Dean takes a break to move the main plot forward two centimeters at a local diner. Dean meets with Billie – A.K.A., Death herself – who tells him that the show is ending soon so they gotta do something big. I mean – I mean, she tells him that God just finished destroying the last of the alternative realities, and so he will be at their universe like literally any minute. She asks if Sam is cool with their plan to rehash season 11 – I MEAN, she asks if Sam is cool with Jack being a bomb to kill God. Dean points out that nobody liked season 11, but they don’t have any other ideas, so Sam has to be good with it.
Billie also reveals that Jack wants to sacrifice himself so he can get Dean’s forgiveness for killing Mary. How is it that Mary Winchester got fridged again?? Twice in one series??
In the past, baby Dean and Caitlyn discover the lair of the creature they’re hunting. Turns out it murders children and hoards their corpses. Dean is understandably a little shook by that. They race back to the motel (their spidey senses tingled), and burst in just in time to save Sam and Travis from the monster. Dean swings at it and cuts off its ghosty fingers, and it disappears. A GIANT INCONSPICUOUS RING FALLS TO THE GROUND AND ROLLS UNDER A BED. God I wonder if that is significant?? Having defeated the monster, the boys leave the motel successful once their dad comes to pick them up.
In the present, Sam figures out the monster is a Baba Yaga, which specifically preys on children and requires a special ring for her powers. Before I could even point out the plagiarism, Dean did it for me: “We track her down, junk her precious, game over?” Ah, I love it when they’re self-aware.
In the show’s very mild defense, the fact that they found a new monster to use after this many episodes is cool. I’m glad it wasn’t a usual ghosty ghost. They engage the Baba Yaga and Dean yoinks the ring right off her finger and crushes it – this definitely belonged in Scooby Natural. Dean and Caitlyn then try desperately to create a theme for the episode, but ultimately fail. Dean says he’s always scared (?). Caitlyn says he’s matured (he is literally an adult now so yes Caitlyn, sweetie, good catch). And the boys leave the motel, having actually killed the spooky scary this time.
The final scene of the episode almost made it worth the watch. On the drive, Dean tells Sam about Jack being a bomb. Sam is not happy about rehashing season 11. The two fight, and the fight is scripted beautifully. Legit you can skip the rest of the episode and just watch this scene.
And that’s the episode! It wasn’t good!
There are No Themes
As previously mentioned, there are no themes in this episode, and that includes the ones the dialogue tried to hand us directly. Instead, I’m going to complain about continuity errors.
First, if the Baba Yaga needs the ring to do her bad stuff, how did she kill Travis in the first place? He had possession of her ring, not her. We saw her disappear once it was separated from her. How? HOW???
Second, baby Dean would not have left the hunt that easily. He was old enough to know what a ghost is, and how you kill one. He would’ve known that wasn’t a ghost; and he wouldn’t have left without figuring out what it was he killed. Also, the episode implies that they did tell their father – John Winchester also wouldn’t have left without knowing what they killed. Plot, meet hole!
Third, and most importantly, why does no one care about the alternative universes being destroyed?? Like it’s the biggest kawaii shrug of all time. GOD IS DESTROYING WORLDS and the Winchesters are like, eh! What can you do?
That gets me into my next point: pacing. Pacing is largely ineffable – it’s hard to know when something is paced correctly, but it’s easy to tell when it’s paced poorly. Pacing applies not only to each episode and each season but to a show as a whole. There’s a reason they keep trying to push the needle forward on the main plot a little each episode – it’s an attempt to pace both the season and the show into the finale. However, I don’t think it’s working as it should. If this were a normal season, that strategy would be fine. But this is the FINAL season. So here’s my theory:
The ending of your 15-season long television show should be complex enough that the last five episodes, at least, are 75% or greater involved in resolving the finale.
This may seem like a lot, but with as much lore and backstory as Supernatural, we need that kind of investment to convince us that the stakes are really higher than ever before. And they need to be higher, since this is the end of the show. Consider Avatar: the Last Airbender. Five episodes out from the finale was “The Ember Island Players,” a classic episode that highlighted everything the characters had to lose in the next four episodes, and helped set the stage for the high stakes. The final four episodes were all devoted to finishing the series.
For Supernatural, we are beyond the monster-of-the-week stuff. We shouldn’t be getting this filler anymore. Our characters are facing literally God, and they have a plan that’s been performed entirely off-screen by side characters. Seriously, who greenlit this?
I don’t have a favorite line from this episode because the writing was really bad. My favorite part was it being over. On my arbitrary ratings scale, I give it a 3; I would not re-watch.
I’m hopeful that as we come into the final 4 episodes, we will get that finale-heavy plot I so deeply desire. I want this show to go out with a bang!
Join us next week for season 15 episode 17 “Unity”.
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