Bluebird, Bluebird

Bluebird, Bluebird

By Attica Locke

Source: Received as a gift

Series: Highway 59 #1

Publication Date: September 12, 2017

Published by Mulholland Books

My Rating: five-stars

Cover image and synopsis from Goodreads:

When it comes to law and order, East Texas plays by its own rules–a fact that Darren Mathews, a black Texas Ranger, knows all too well. Deeply ambivalent about growing up black in the lone star state, he was the first in his family to get as far away from Texas as he could. Until duty called him home.

When his allegiance to his roots puts his job in jeopardy, he travels up Highway 59 to the small town of Lark, where two murders–a black lawyer from Chicago and a local white woman–have stirred up a hornet’s nest of resentment. Darren must solve the crimes–and save himself in the process–before Lark’s long-simmering racial fault lines erupt.

A rural noir suffused with the unique music, color, and nuance of East Texas, Bluebird, Bluebird is an exhilarating, timely novel about the collision of race and justice in America.

I’d been hearing that this book was fantastic, so I knew it had to be at the top of my 2018 TBR. I’ve read a bunch of recent big buzzy mysteries and in some cases came away disappointed, but I had high hopes for this one based on recommendations from the bookternet.

And I was definitely not disappointed! Bluebird, Bluebird is a tense, gripping read, and once I really got into it, I couldn’t put it down. There is more than one mystery to unravel in this story, and I was guessing right up until the end. A major part of the tension in this story comes from the racism and prejudice Darren (and others) have to encounter, and the history of families and relationships that connect people in such a small town. Darren was a stranger in a place where it seemed like everyone knew each other, and it turned out that can be dangerous in a place like Lark.

This was a page-turner, but it was more than a ‘whodunnit’. The writing is fantastic, and Darren is a compelling character who’s got complications in his personal and professional life. This was just such a fantastic book, and even though I was reading quickly because I was so into it, I also didn’t want it to end. I so hope there will be a sequel.

If, like me, you are perhaps feeling a bit burned out on mysteries and the same-ness of so many of them lately, I definitely recommend that you pick up Bluebird, Bluebird!

Week In Review

February 12 – 18

Hello and happy Sunday! It’s also a long weekend here and I’m sooooooooo happy about that.

It’s been another week full of Olympics and cheering on Team Canada, and not much reading.

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New books:

I received a few new e-ARCs via Edelweiss (thank you to the publishers!):

 

The Art of French Kissing, Brianna R. Shrum;

Heart of Thorns, Bree Barton; and

The Word is Murder, Anthony Horowitz.

Books read:

I finished two books this week and they were both fantastic!

 

I finished Justina Ireland’s Dread Nation and I LOVED it! I cannot wait to read the sequel!! This is out in April so make sure you pick it up!

I also read Attica Locke’s Bluebird, Bluebird, which was a fantastic book. I hope there’s a sequel, and now I need to read Attica Locke’s other books.

Current reads:

I started reading Mindy Kaling’s Why Not Me? last night, and will definitely be finishing it later this morning. I loved her first book and have had this one on my shelf for a couple of years, and last night I finally decided to read it. I’m really enjoying it so far.

Reviews:

I only posted one book review this past week (American Panda by Gloria Chao – very good!) but I did post a couple of SPN Rewatch posts too (S3E16, No Rest for the Wicked, and S4E1, Lazarus Rising).  I need to get back into watching season four episodes so I can keep posting about it but I have been very distracted by Olympics!

 

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Time to make some coffee and finish Why Not Me? with the Olympics on in the background! Happy (long) weekend!

Project SPN Rewatch: Lazarus Rising

(As I mentioned in my post announcing this rewatch project, there will be spoilers!)

Season 4, Episode 1: Lazarus Rising

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Here we go, season four! In case you forgot (but how could you), at the end of season three, the boys failed to get Dean out of his deal that saw him trade his soul to bring Sam back from the dead. Dean got one year before his contract was up, and as hard as they tried, they could not save him.

So season three ended with Sam seemingly immune to the demon Lilith’s powers, Lilith on the run, and poor Dean in Hell.

Oh no, Dean is in hell!! It looks terrible.

But suddenly…he isn’t. He uses his lighter and finds himself in a box. He tries to call for help but his voice is so hoarse. He pushes on the lid and dirt falls in. Then we see – his hand reaching out of the ground. He breaks through the earth – Dean just crawled out of his own grave!! The camera pulls back and we see that all of the trees in the area have been felled. What happened here? How is Dean back?

What a cool shot.

Dean slowly turns, not understanding what’s happening.

New title card for season four!

Dean is walking down the road in the sun, and approaches an old gas station. He knocks on the door and calls out – his voice is still hoarse – but the place is closed so he breaks in. He chugs some water and looks at the date on a newspaper (September 2008). He washes his face in the back sink and looks at himself in the mirror.

He pulls up his shirt and we see a flashback of the hellhound mauling him – but Dean doesn’t seem to have any scars. Then he pulls up his left sleeve, and he has a handprint burned into this shoulder. Whaaatttt??

He definitely doesn’t seem to know how that got there or what’s going on.

He grabs some food and more water from the gas station, putting it in a plastic bag. He goes over to the register and helps himself to the money inside.

Suddenly the old TV on the counter turns on, and it’s all static. Dean turns it off. Then the radio turns itself on. And the TV turns on again. Dean grabs some salt and lines the windows and door. But a high-pitched frequency starts up and gets louder and louder, breaking the windows in the gas station and throwing Dean to the ground.

Then it stops.

Dean gets up and sees the damage. Then he’s at the payphone, and whatever number he’s trying to call has been disconnected (presumably Sam’s).

Then he calls Bobby, who answers!

“Bobby?”

“Yeah.”

“It’s me.”

“Who’s me?”

“Dean”.

Then Bobby hangs up! Haha.

Dean calls back. Bobby says this isn’t funny and if he calls again, he’ll kill him. Then he hangs up.

Dean hotwires a car and drives off.

At Bobby’s, there’s a knock on the door. Bobby opens and it’s Dean! Dean seems relieved to see him but Bobby is shocked. Dean enters, saying here he is. Bobby comes at him with a knife but Dean swears it’s him. He tells Bobby about their relationship, trying to prove that it’s really him.

Bobby reaches out and touches him, and tries to cut him again with the silver knife. Dean says he isn’t a shifter or a revenant, and cuts himself with the knife to prove it.

“Dean?” Bobby asks, disbelieving.

They hug. Awww!!!!!!

Bobby says it’s good to see him and asks how he got out. Dean says he doesn’t know. He just woke up in a pine box. Midsentence, Bobby throws holy water in his face.

Dean says he’s not a demon either. “Sorry. Can’t be too careful,” Bobby says.

Bobby says Dean was ripped apart and had been buried for four months. What is happening?

Bobby asks Dean what he remembers and Dean says not much. He remembers the hellhound and then that’s it, until he woke up.

Dean says Sam’s number isn’t working. Bobby says Sam is fine, as far as he knows. Bobby hasn’t talked to him for months – says Sam was dead-set on going off on his own.

Dean says Bobby should have been looking after Sam, and Bobby says he tried but these last few months haven’t been easy on them. Dean asked why they buried him (rather than the usual hunter funeral, where you salt and burn the bones).

Bobby says he wanted to salt and burn Dean’s body, but Sam wouldn’t let him. He said Dean would need a body when he got him back home – Bobby didn’t know what he meant by that. Sam took off and wouldn’t return Bobby’s calls.

Dean is mad about whatever Sam did to bring him back, telling Bobby about the destruction at the grave site and gas station, and then he shows him the handprint. Dean thinks a demon yanked him out and that Sam must have made a deal. “It’s what I would have done,” Dean tells Bobby.

Dean tries to track down Sam via his phone’s GPS (in the name of Wedge Antilles, haha).

Dean notices Bobby has been drinking a lot – like Bobby said, the last few months haven’t been easy. I love that Bobby is like a father to Sam and Dean.

Dean locates Sam’s phone: Sam’s in Pontiac, Illinois – right where Dean popped up.

We see Dean and Bobby approach a motel room and knock on the door. A girl opens, thinking they’re pizza delivery guys (without the pizza).

(Sidenote – this girl is of course played by Genevieve Cortese (now Padalecki) – she and Jared met on the show and fell in love and got married!!)

Behind her, they see Sam walk by. He sees Dean and Bobby and stops. Dean smiles at him, saying “Hey Sammy”. Dean walks in and Sam goes after him, just like Bobby did, asking who he is. “Like you didn’t do this,” Dean yells back while Bobby restrains Sam.

Bobby reassures Sam it’s really Dean, and Sam hugs Dean. AWWW!!!!! Bobby looks on with tears.

“So are you two together?” the girl asks.

Sam says no, it’s his brother. The girl says she should go, and Sam agrees. She leaves, telling Sam to call her.

Back inside, Dean asks Sam what it cost. “I don’t pay, Dean”. Dean means to bring him back.

Sam tells Dean and Bobby that he didn’t make a deal for Dean. Dean doesn’t believe him and Sam says he wishes he had done it, but Sam says he tried everything. He tried opening the devil’s gate (remember that from the season two finale?) and he tried to make a deal, but no demon would deal with him. He didn’t bring Dean back. He couldn’t. He says he’s sorry it wasn’t him.

Dean tells him it’s okay.

Bobby says he’s glad that Sam’s soul is intact, but he says it raises the question: if Sam didn’t pull Dean out of Hell, then what did?

Dean asks Sam what he was doing here. Sam says that once he figured out he couldn’t save Dean, he started hunting down Lilith to try and get some payback.

All by himself? “Who do you think you are, your old man?” Good burn, Bobby!

Sam says he was checking out demons in Tennessee who suddenly came up here. Maybe because of Dean? Dean thinks his getting dragged out of hell by a demon has to be connected to those other demons showing up at the same time.

Bobby asks Dean how he’s feeling – does he feel like himself? Dean insists that he’s himself. But Bobby says demons aren’t letting him out of hell out of the goodness of their hearts.

Sam says they need help. Bobby says he knows a psychic nearby who might be able to help them.

Awww Sam giving Dean the samulet back! I forgot about that! Then Sam asks Dean what Hell was like. Dean says he must have blacked it out and doesn’t remember anything. “Thank God for that,” Sam says.

In the bathroom, Dean looks at himself in the mirror – and we see that he does remember what Hell was like. 🙁  🙁  🙁

Bobby and the boys get ready to drive to the psychic’s. Sam tosses Dean his car keys. Baby! He gets in the driver’s side and is appalled at Sam’s ipod jack. “You were supposed to take care of her, not douche her up,” Dean says.

He is also not impressed with Sam’s music taste.

On the road, Dean tells Sam that he thought Lilith was going to kill him. Sam tells him she tried, but her power had no effect on him and she ran away. Dean asks where Ruby is and Sam tells him, “Dead, for now”.

Dean asks Sam if he’s been using his abilities – using negative terms like ‘weirdo crap’. Sam swears he hasn’t been, but this has created some tension between the boys. Dean just got back from hell! Can’t you get along??

We met the psychic – Pamela Barnes. She tells Bobby she’s ouija’d through a dozen spirits and no one knows who broke Dean out or why. She says a séance is the next step – like a crystal ball without the crystal.

There’s some flirty banter between Pamela and Dean – and LOL when Pamela tells Sam he’s invited too!

They’re all set up for the séance and Pamela begins. She tells them she needs to touch something the mystery monster touched, and Dean rolls up his sleeve, showing the hand print – which clearly Sam has not seen before.

Pamela puts her hand on Dean’s shoulder and the rest of them hold hands. She beings the séance, and just like at the gas station, the TV turns on to static. And the high pitched noise is back.

Pamela says a name – Castiel. She tells Dean that’s it’s name – it’s whispering to her, warning her to turn back. But Pamela commands it to show her its face. The table rumbles and Bobby says maybe they should stop, but Pamela says she’s almost got it. Then the flames on the candles get huge and Pamela screams and her eyes burn out!! Holy frick!

Bobby tells them to call 911 while he runs over to Pamela – oh boy, she cannot see. This is not good. Her eyes are gone!

Later at a diner, Sam gets off the phone with Bobby and tells Dean that Pamela is stable and out of the ICU. But blind. And they don’t know what they’re dealing with – but Dean says they have a name (Castiel) and can figure out a way to summon it.

Sam says no way – Pamela took a peek and lost her eyes. Sam says he followed some demons to town and they should find them – someone must know something.

Their waitress brings their food and then sits down. She reveals herself to be a demon! And so does everyone else in the diner. One of them goes to lock the diner’s door.

Their waitress comments on Dean’s journey out of Hell, asking what makes him so special that he can just stroll out of the pit. He says he doesn’t know – he didn’t do it and he doesn’t know who pulled him out.

Dean tells the demon she doesn’t know who cut Dean loose and is just as spooked as Dean and Sam, and is looking for answers. He says whoever it was, they want Dean out – and they are a lot stronger than this demon. Dean dares her to send him back to hell, calling her bluff.

He slaps her! Twice! He knows that these demons don’t know why he’s free and they won’t send him back.

When Sam and Dean get outside, Sam says they aren’t just going to leave those demons in there, are they? Dean says yeah they are – there are three demons back there and the boys only have one knife between them.

Sam says they have to take them out – they’re dangerous. But Dean says the demons are scared and they are dealing with something else right now. One thing at a time.

That night, while Dean sleeps, Sam sneaks out! He gets in the car and drives off.

In the hotel room, the TV and radio turn on. Dean wakes up and grabs a weapon. He sees that Sam is gone. He moves towards the door, but the high-pitched sound comes back and the mirror above the bed and the windows break. Dean is in a shower of glass and Bobby runs into the room.

In the car, Bobby is driving and asks Dean how he is. Dean calls Sam – who says he went to get a burger. Dean tells Sam Bobby is back and they’re going to grab a beer – and judging by the look on Bobby’s face, that’s a lie.

We see that Sam is back outside the diner from earlier. And Bobby asks Dean why he lied to Sam.

Dean says Sam would try to stop them – it turns out Dean and Bobby are going to try and summon this thing, whatever it is. Bobby says they don’t know what it is! But Dean says they need to be ready for anything. And what choice do they have?

Dean says he has no place to hide – whatever this thing is, it’s coming after him. Bobby says they could use Sam for this, but Dean says he’s better off where he is.

Sam enters the diner, and sees a dead body on the ground. The lights are out but there is music playing. Sam approaches the body and rolls it over. The man’s eyes were burned out – just like Pamela’s.

Then he’s attacked by someone – the (demon) waitress from before. They fight and then Sam sees her eyes have been burned out too.

Sam says she saw it and asks what she saw. She won’t tell him but says it’s the end.Then Sam puts out his hand and magically exorcises the demon with his mind! It’s slow but he does it. Woah.

Sam goes to check the pulse of the demon’s vessel, who collapsed after he got the demon out, but she is dead. “Damnit,” he says.

Someone comes in – the girl from his motel room at the start of the episode!

Sam greets her – “What the hell’s going on around here, Ruby?”

IT’S RUBY! So they were pretending not to know each other when Dean and Bobby showed up before, AND he lied to Dean when he told him he didn’t know where Ruby was.

Ruby says she doesn’t know what’s going on. But it isn’t a demon – human souls don’t just walk out of hell and back into their bodies. “It’s cosmic. No demon can swing that. Not Lilith, not anybody.”

She doesn’t know what is doing this.

Dean and Bobby are in an old barn or something, painting sigils and talismans all over. They have an assortment of weapons, trying to prepare for whatever this could possibly be, and get ready to summon whatever it is.

In the diner, Ruby asks Sam if he will tell Dean what they’re doing. Sam says he needs time to figure it out. Ruby says Dean will find out and he will be pissed if it doesn’t come from Sam.

Sam says Dean will be pissed either way: he’s so hard-headed about this psychic stuff that whenever Sam tells him what’s going on, Dean will just try and stop him.

Ruby says maybe she’ll take a step back for a while – she won’t come between him and Dean. Sam says that the doesn’t know if what he’s doing is right or if he trusts Ruby, but he is saving people and stopping demons, and he wants to keep doing it.

Meanwhile, Bobby finishes the ritual but nothing happens. Then the building starts to shake.  Dean says maybe it’s just the wind.

The lights go out. The doors open and someone walks in – a handsome man in a trenchcoat!

He slowly walks toward him as they shoot at him. But it has no effect.

Dean grabs a knife and as the man gets closer. “Who are you?” he asks.

“I’m the one who gripped you tight and raised you from perdition.” What a line! That’s a classic.

“Thanks for that,” Dean says, and stabs him with Ruby’s knife – which has no effect. The man pulls out the knife and drops it. Bobby takes a swing but the man touches Bobby’s forehead, and Bobby passes out.

He tells Dean they need to talk, alone. Dean checks on Bobby – he’s ok. The man tells Dean Bobby’s alive.

Dean asks who he is. “Castiel,” he replies. Dean gets that, but who – what – is he?

“I’m an angel of the Lord”. Oh snap! Angels?? The show has tried to deal with this before, and we saw that Dean does not believe in angels. But apparently that’s what Castiel is.

Dean slowly gets up and says there’s no such thing. But Castiel says this is Dean’s problem: he has no faith.

Then there’s a flash of light and we see Castiel’s wings. SO COOL!

 

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Dean tells Castiel he burned out Pamela’s eyes. “Some angel you are.”

Castiel says he warned her not to spy on his true form. It can be overwhelming for humans, as can his real voice. All that at the gas station and the motel was Castiel trying to talk to Dean. He thought Dean would be able to perceive his true visage.

It turns out that angels have vessels – like demons. Castiel tells Dean that the vessel he inhabits is a devout man, who prayed for this.

Dean isn’t buying it and asks again who he really is. “I told you,” Castiel says.

“And why would an angel rescue me from Hell?” Dean asks.

Castiel tells him good things happen but Dean says not in his experience.

“You don’t think you deserve to be saved?” Castiel asks.

Dean asks why he did it, and Castiel says because God commanded it. “Because we have work for you.” OMG!

Lore:

-demons

-ANGELS?!?

Overall Thoughts:

WOW what a start to season four! I was so happy that Dean came back right away, and the first time I watched this, I had no idea how or why he came back if Sam and Bobby weren’t behind it, but it definitely never crossed my mind that it would be angels. This is going to really expand the show’s world.

I don’t love that Sam and Dean are keeping secrets from each other (Sam and whatever he’s doing with Ruby; Dean remembering his time in hell but saying he doesn’t), but I think the real takeaway from this episode is the introduction of a new character in the coolest way! I just love Castiel’s intro. The lights, the wings, the conversation with Dean – I’m so looking forward to continuing on with season four!

Project SPN Rewatch: No Rest For The Wicked

(As I mentioned in my post announcing this rewatch project, there will be spoilers!)

Season 3, Episode 16: No Rest For The Wicked

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Well, here we are. The season finale. I will do some overall thoughts for season 3 as a whole at the end of this post, but I have to say that I’ve really enjoyed seeing this season again. And heading into this episode, as ‘The Road So Far’ (and Kansas’ ‘Carry On My Wayward Son’) reminds us, Dean seems to be pretty out of options as far as trying to find a way out of his deal that will send his soul to hell in exchange for Sam’s life…

The episode opens on Dean running through the woods, like something’s chasing him. He stops, stares at something, and turns to run the other way. He’s being chased by a hellhound! Oh no!

Phew, it was just a dream. Dean wakes up, and we see he’s been researching hell hounds. He tells Sam he hasn’t found anything good but Sam says Bobby has! Apparently Bobby has figured out a way to find Lilith. That’s good news! Dean remarks that there are 30 hours to go before his deal is up. He jokes about making a run for it to Tijuana.

Sam tries to comfort Dean, telling him that they’re cutting it close but they’ll figure it out, whatever it takes. Sam tells Dean he won’t let him go to Hell. As he swears to Sam that everything’s going to be okay, Dean sees Sam’s face get all weird and distorted (like we saw in the season 2 episode Crossroad Blues: when someone’s time is almost up, they start seeing things like that).

Hi Bobby! He tells Sam and Dean that having Lilith’s name is key. With the right name and the right ritual, they can suss anyone out. Sam asks if that includes the town Lilith is in. Bobby says they’ll know the street she’s on when he’s done with the ritual.

Oh I just love Bobby!

The ritual is quick! According to Bobby, Lilith is in New Harmony, Indiana. While Sam is raring to go, Dean says to hold up. They’re going off Bela’s intel? And even if they could get to Lilith, they have no way to kill her. AND let’s not forget that Lilith wants Sam dead.

Sam asks are they supposed to do then. Dean says that just because he is going to die doesn’t mean they have to too. He insists that they go in smart, or they don’t go in at all.

Sam says that he has a way to confirm it’s Lilith, and to kill her. Sam wants to summon Ruby but Dean is against it. Ruby has lied to them time and time again but Sam says that Ruby has that demon-killing knife.

Bobby tries to tell Dean that Sam is right, but Dean says no – they won’t make the same mistakes again. No dealing with demons. If they want to save him, they have to find another way.

We see Sam drawing some sort of symbol, doing some kind of ritual. He summoned Ruby! Sam asks her if she knew about Dean’s deal – that Lilith holds the contract. Ruby says she knew. Sam wants to know why she didn’t tell him, and Ruby says they would have charged after Lilith before they were ready and Lilith would have killed them.

Sam says they’re ready now, and he wants her (demon-killing) knife. Ruby says that if Sam is ready, now is the time. Lilith is taking some time for some R&R and the hex bags Ruby gave them a while back will make it so Lilith doesn’t sense them coming.

Ruby won’t give Sam the knife, and she tells him she can save Dean. Sam calls her on that lie. But Ruby insists that there is a way, that Sam can save Dean. She says he has talent. Sam says his psychic abilities went away after the yellow-eyed demon, but Ruby says his powers are dormant. And that’s why Lilith wants Sam gone – she’s afraid of his power. Ruby says she waited until now to tell him because he wouldn’t have gone for it before. But as Sam puts it, now he’s desperate enough.

Dean walks in, calling Ruby their slutty Yoda. Dean says he knew Ruby would show up, because he knew Sam wouldn’t listen. Dean says he won’t let Ruby teach Sam anything. He wants her knife but Ruby says they’d be stupid not to use Sam’s abilities. Dean doesn’t trust Ruby at all – shocker – but Ruby says she wants Lilith dead. Ruby and Dean argue, and Dean punches her! And then Ruby kicks both of their butts.

Dean smiles – he swiped her knife during the fight, and now Ruby’s stuck in a devil’s trap. Dean says again, he knew Ruby would come.

Sam and Dean leave, with Ruby yelling at Dean that he deserves hell for leaving her there.

We see Sam and Dean getting ready to fight. Sam asks what if Ruby’s right and Sam can take out Lilith. Dean is sceptical. But Sam reminds him that they have one shot at this, and if there’s a sure-fire way, maybe they should talk about it.

Dean reiterates that they are not going to trade one of their lives or souls for the other. No more dealing with demons. But Sam asks what Dean is afraid of – Sam says he can handle it. And he’ll take the risk because Dean is his brother, and Dean would do the same for him. “And look how that turned out,” Dean says. Dean tells Sam that they’re each other’s weak spot.

Their enemies know it – what they’ll do for each other and how far they’ll go. It’s time to stop being martyrs. Dean says they should take the knife and go after Lilith their way, like their dad taught them. And if they go down, they go down swinging.

Sam reluctantly agrees.

Then we see what Lilith is up to in New Harmony, Indiana.

Two old men chat at their mailboxes, one of them saying his granddaughter is home sick. As they shake hands and walk away, the grandfather with the sick granddaughter passes a note to the other man and goes inside. The note says “Help us”.

The man locks the door as he enters the house and passes the dead body of a woman – presumably his wife – lying in the hall.

As he enters the kitchen, a man and a woman are in there, making a cake. The grandfather asks, “Where is she?”

“Upstairs,” the woman replies. They all seem quite nervous. They argue about what to do, with grandfather saying there’s something inside ‘her’.

The ‘her’ comes down – a little girl, with her dress covered in blood. “Freckles was mean to me,” she says. She asks her dad to push her on the swing, and Dad suggests she change so the neighbours don’t see all the blood. He then asks hesitantly if she could let them go.

Her demeanour changes. “Don’t you want to be here? Don’t you love me?”

Her mom insists they all love her, but she threatens her dad to not be mean to her. Dad apologizes, and she says “That’s okay silly, now let’s go and play”. Creepy!

We see Sam and Dean ready to hit the road, but Bobby stops them. Dean says they got the knife, and Bobby is mad they they’re ditching him. Dean says it isn’t his fight, but Bobby says it is. “Family don’t end with blood”.

Bobby asks Dean about his hallucinations – that’s what happens when hell hounds are after you.

Bobby says he will follow their car. Yeah Bobby!

They’re on the road. Sam tells Dean that if this doesn’t go the way they want – but Dean cuts him off. He says that they will not have a misty goodbye speech. And if it’s his last day on Earth, he doesn’t want it to be socially awkward. He turns on the radio and Bon Jovi’s “Wanted Dead or Alive” is on. Dean sings along and encourages Sam to sing along. Sam is reluctant but he joins in. They share a smile. For just a second, they could forget what’s ahead of them.

A cop car on the side of the road sees the Impala and pulls them over. Dean says he has a busted tail light. Dean rolls down his window as the cop approaches, handing over his license and registration (Sammy Hagar haha).

Dean suddenly attacks the cop, and stabs him with Ruby’s knife! It turns out the cop was a demon! Bobby is now right there, running out of his car to them. Sam asks Dean how he knew the cop was a demon. Dean says that he just knew. He could see its real face, under its vessel. Yikes.

The boys move the cop car off the road. Dean says he’s been seeing all kinds of things lately, not just demons. Bobby says that with just over 5 hours to go, Dean is piercing the veil and can see things like that.

Bobby says they have to make sure that Lilith and her demons don’t know the boys are in town.

Meanwhile, we see Lilith and ‘her’ family eating a birthday cake. As she blows out the candles, Dad says “Cake again”.

Then Lilith asks why Grandpa tried to get help from the neighbour. It turns out that she knows about the ‘help us’ note from before! Grandpa says he’s sorry and it was a mistake. Mom and Dad swear they didn’t know about it. Grandpa looks nervous. Lilith says Grandpa doesn’t love her and is a mean old man. He begs for help from Mom and Dad, but Lilith says she doesn’t like Grandpa anymore and with a flick of her hand, breaks his neck!

Mom slices a piece of birthday cake with a shaky hand.

Through the window, Sam sees Lilith, telling them he can see her true face under the vessel (the little girl). Sam wants to barge in but Dean says to wait. They need to be careful.

Dean points out the other demons in the neighbourhood (mailman, the old man that Grandpa tried to get help from earlier). Sam says this isn’t just about saving Dean – it’s about saving everybody. Bobby says she’s gotta be stopped.

Inside Lilith and Mom are laying in bed, with Lilith telling Mom to read a story again.

The mailman, who is a demon, sees Dean and gives chase. But Sam stabs him with Ruby’s knife! That’s one demon down. Meanwhile, Bobby is making some holy water.

We see that the boys and the knife have taken out another demon. As Dean approaches the house, Ruby grabs him and demands her knife back. Dean asks how she got out but she won’t tell him.

Haha Dean says she’s one ugly broad, now that he can see her true face. She demands her knife from Sam, who says she’ll get it when this is over.

“It’s already over,” Ruby says. She gave them a chance and they shot her down. Now it’s too late and Dean is dead, but Ruby won’t let Sam die too. Sam refuses.

Dean notices that the neighbourhood demons have all found them. They run to ‘Lilith’s’ house while the demons chase them. And right as the demons hit the lawn, Bobby turns on the sprinklers – full of holy water. Good trick!

The boys and Ruby enter the house, with Ruby saying Lilith probably knows they’re here. As they slowly make their way through the house, Dad jumps out. Dean says they’re here to help.

Dad tells them the little girl is upstairs in her bedroom. Dean tells him to get in the basement and get behind a salt line. He won’t go without his wife, but Dean knocks him out and takes him to safety.

Ruby and Sam creep upstairs, Sam armed with the demon-killing knife. They split up, and Sam enters the little girl’s room. She’s sleeping on the bed with Mom beside her. Sam creeps over, with the knife at the ready, and pulls back the bed curtain. Mom is awake and quietly tells him to do it. Sam raises the knife and the little girl screams, but Dean grabs his arm and says Lilith is not in the little girl anymore. Phew! Close call!

Bobby is hiding out across the road, looking at his watch. He sees a line of demons waiting outside the house.

Sam, Dean, and Ruby tell Mom and the little girl to get downstairs and stay there. Ruby and Sam walk through the house, looking for Lilith. Sam asks her what he has to do to save Dean. Dean shows up and doesn’t like this conversation. Ruby tells Sam they needed time – he can’t just flip a switch.

Dean says Sam has to let him go. Dean says he’s sorry, he knows this is all his fault, but they can’t save him.

Sam asks what he’s supposed to do. “Keep fighting,” Dean says. He tells him to take care of the car, remember what their dad taught them, and remember what he (Dean) taught Sam. Oh man this is giving me emotions!

The clock strikes midnight. Dean’s time is up.

With tears in their eyes, Sam and Dean look at each other and Dean smiles.

“I’m sorry Dean,” Ruby says. “I wouldn’t wish this upon my worst enemy.”

Dean hears the hell hounds. He turns and, even though Sam can’t see it, Dean sees a hell hound in the doorway. Ruby can see it too I think. Dean tries to run, with Ruby and Sam running with him. They barricade the door and windows with goofer dust. Ruby tells Sam to give her the knife so maybe she can fight off the hell hound. Sam looks like he’s considering it, but Dean tells him to wait.

“Do you want to die?” Ruby asks.

Dean says it isn’t Ruby in there! She throws Sam up against the wall and throws Dean around.

Dean asks how long Lilith has been in Ruby. “Not long.” Sam asks where Ruby is, and Lilith says she sent her far, far away.

Dean says the demons all look alike to him.

Lilith approaches Sam, saying she’s wanted to meet him for a long time. Ick she kisses him.

Sam says to Lilith that she has him – so let Dean go. Lilith says if he wants to bargain, he has to have something she wants, and she doesn’t.

Dean taunts her – is this the plan? Drag him to hell, kill Sam, and become Queen Bitch?

Ruby goes over to the door and opens it for the hell hound, who claws at Dean, dragging him to the floor, and we see him getting torn apart screaming in pain while Sam is helpless and can only watch. Oh man.

Ruby gets ready to blast Sam with some demon-y magic, but it doesn’t work! For some reason, her power didn’t work on Sam. They realize this at the same time, and Sam picks up Ruby’s knife. As he’s about to stab her with it, Lilith smokes out, leaving Ruby’s vessel crumpled on the floor beside Dean’s dead body. What an image!

Sam, crying, goes over to Dean and holds him. This makes me so sad!!

via GIPHY

Then we see Dean, in hell, calling Sam’s name.

MY EMOTIONS!

Lore:

-demons

Overall Thoughts:

What an episode!! The first time I watched it, I was so sure that they would find a way to save Dean at the last minute, and when they didn’t, I couldn’t believe it. It was such a shock to me, but I totally love that they showed that the boys couldn’t find a way out and couldn’t save Dean. It was so sad and powerful and I was so impressed with the story and the acting, especially Jensen Ackles.

I love that Bobby came with them in their showdown against Lilith, and that Ruby tried to help (although she is a demon, so you can’t really trust her, can you). I really liked the addition of Ruby to the cast this season, because we know the boys shouldn’t trust her, but it’s hard to tell what her real motives for helping them are – and her help has paid off at times.

And of course, what does it mean that Lilith’s powers didn’t work on Sam? That was interesting, since, as Sam said, whatever psychic abilities he had disappeared (or so we thought) after Azazel was killed last season.

Man I am an emotional wreck after that last scene. I need to move on to season four right away!

Overall Season Three Thoughts:

On one hand, I wish this had been a full season (it was shortened due to the writer’s strike), but on the other hand, I think having only 16 episodes helped push the main season’s story forward.

I really liked seeing Gordon and Bobby again this season, and of the new characters introduced, I liked Ruby and Rufus. I did not care for Bela, but as I have already mentioned on the blog, I think she had potential, but the show didn’t do a good job with her character.

And this season’s arc is one of my favourites, especially knowing that whatever the boys try, they can’t save Dean in the end. Dean made a deal, and crossroad demons always come to collect – especially for someone as valuable as him.

I loved seeing Sam try to save Dean, since so much of seasons one and two were about Dean trying to save Sam. It’s so clear by now that they would do anything for each other, and as Dean points out in this finale, the demons know that too and will use that against the boys.

So going forward, the major questions are:

-what will happen to Dean now that he’s in Hell?

-what does it mean for Sam that he seemed to be immune to Lilith’s powers?

-what will happen to Lilith? She smoked out at the end of this episode, so she is still out there (as is Ruby, we assume).

-how will Sam cope without Dean?

I am really looking forward to season four, because it introduces one of my favourite characters, and it really changes the game in terms of the show’s universe. As much as I love season three, it kind of feels like the end of an era, pre (SEASON FOUR SPOILERS) angels.

Watching these first three seasons feels like looking back at an adult’s baby pictures! Aww, what a cute little show this was. You know? And now, the world is so big and the storylines are so epic. But this season, the story was just about saving one person – Dean.

And they didn’t save him. I’m sure they exist, but I’m having a hard time right now thinking of another show that would set up its main characters – its heroes – with such an important mission (and make it the focus of the entire season), and have them fail (another show I love, Angel, comes to mind but that’s it). There’s something about it that I really like (even if it breaks my heart every time I see this episode!).

Here are my favourite season three episodes:

Bad Day at Black Rock

A Very Supernatural Christmas

Mystery Spot

Jus in Bello

Ghostfacers!

-No Rest for the Wicked

American Panda

American Panda

By Gloria Chao

Source: Received from the publisher

Received from the publisher, for free, for review consideration. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Publication Date: February 6, 2018

Published by Simon Pulse

My Rating: four-stars

Cover image and synopsis from Goodreads:

At seventeen, Mei should be in high school, but skipping fourth grade was part of her parents’ master plan. Now a freshman at MIT, she is on track to fulfill the rest of this predetermined future: become a doctor, marry a preapproved Taiwanese Ivy Leaguer, produce a litter of babies.

With everything her parents have sacrificed to make her cushy life a reality, Mei can’t bring herself to tell them the truth–that she (1) hates germs, (2) falls asleep in biology lectures, and (3) has a crush on her classmate Darren Takahashi, who is decidedly not Taiwanese.

But when Mei reconnects with her brother, Xing, who is estranged from the family for dating the wrong woman, Mei starts to wonder if all the secrets are truly worth it. Can she find a way to be herself, whoever that is, before her web of lies unravels?

I was really looking forward to this book, and it was a cute, funny read.

It was also a tense story at times, with Mei’s desire to live her own life conflicting with what her parents want for her. Her parents want her to graduate from MIT and become a doctor, but Mei is a germaphobe and would rather dance and study math than biology. There were some heartbreaking moments as Mei’s dreams collided with her parents’ expectations and she had to weigh whether to follow her heart and risk being disowned by her parents – as her older brother Xing had – or follow the path her parents had planned for her and forego what she wanted for herself.

The romance was cute, and I thought the scenes between Mei and her brother were great, but story’s pacing felt off to me at times (sometimes events were mentioned in passing after they had already happened, which was a little jarring and made me wish I had been able to read about those things taking place).

But my heart went out to Mei right away, reading about her straddling two cultures at a time in life when many of us are trying to figure out who we are and what we want, and the pressure she was under was so palpable. I didn’t know how this book would end but I was hoping for a happy ending for Mei.

Recommended!

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