No stranger to mixing humor and pathos, Supernatural turns in one of its strongest episodes this season as Dean both comically and heartbreakingly deals with memory loss.
Thursday’s episode all begins when the hunter is hexed by a witch during a case and wakes up the next morning in the woods, with no recollection of how he got there. After bumming a phone from a jogger who thinks he’s homeless, Dean connects with Sam and arranges to meet up for waffles. Both Winchesters assume that Dean just had a helluva epic night of drinking – “Maybe pump the breaks. You’re not 20 anymore,” Sam suggests – but it becomes obvious that something more serious is going on when Dean doesn’t even recognize his own name. For the record: He also can’t name all the members of his beloved Bon Jovi.
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Sam places Post-it notes everywhere to remind Dean of what things are called and then reaches out to Rowena for help. She instructs him to kill the witch that hexed his brother, but that’s easier said than done when Dean can’t even recall what he did the previous night. They attempt to retrace his steps, leading them to a burger joint where Dean was “epic” on Larry the mechanical bull, according to the waitress he boinked and now can’t remember. Soon, he doesn’t even know that monsters are real or that he and Sam kill them (“Best job ever!” he exclaims when informed). It won’t be long before he forgets how to speak and swallow, as well — and then he’ll be dead, Rowena tells Sam.
“I’ve seen my brother die. Watching him become not him, this might actually be worse,” Sam confesses.
The situation takes its toll on Dean, too. What is first amusing and freeing — he forgets the bad with the good, after all — becomes harrowing as the hunter repeats his name to himself in the bathroom mirror, until it just slips away, leaving him horrified and teary-eyed.
Meanwhile, Sam and Rowena track down the witch family, which has some history with the redhead. After being run out by the British Men of Letters, a lowly Rowena sought refuge with the clan, but they kicked her out for not being up to snuff. When they kidnap Sam, she gets a chance at payback while facing off against the daughter. But the other witch proves too powerful, pinning Rowena to the wall. Luckily, Dean is able to follow the Post-it notes to the witch-killing bullets and comes to Rowena’s rescue. She, in return, fixes his memory problem.
“We owe you one. A small one,” Sam says, collecting the witches’ black grimoire from Rowena. (Sorry, no parting gifts allowed.)
As delighted as Sam is to have his brother fully back, he reveals that he was a little jealous at first. He thought Dean looked happy having the weight of what they’ve done off his mind. But if it means forgetting each other and what they do, then it’s not real happiness, Dean replies.
Plus, he couldn’t remember the fun of riding Larry the mechanical bull, as witnessed in the episode-ending flashback montage, and that’s just wrong. No one, especially the not the viewers, should be deprived of that joy.
Supernatural fans, what did you think of “Regarding Dean”?