Supernatural recap: 'The Memory Remains'
Sam and Dean head to Wisconsin to investigate a disappearance
Well, what started out seeming like it was going to be a fairly straightforward case-of-the-week episode somehow evolved into something more. From the countless Dean one-liners to the meta jokes and then that almost jarringly emotional final Winchester scene, I really liked this episode. Let’s get into it.
We start in Wisconsin, where a teenager is getting a beer out of a cooler. No, this isn’t a flashback to Dean’s glory days. Instead, we’re at a bonfire, complete with a bunch of couples and then two friends named Jared and Daryn. When the couples start to get a little too couple-y, Jared decides to call it a night. Only, when he starts to walk home through the woods, he finds a backpack full of money. Fair warning, kids: If you find a backpack full of money, it’s probably a trap. No one is that lucky. (And if you are, can we be friends?)
So long story short, it is indeed a trap, and because of it, Jared finds himself face to face with a man who has a goat head – I’m just going to accept that because this is Supernatural — and a sledgehammer, which he uses to knock Jared out. But the trick? Daryn witnesses the whole thing.
Back at the bunker, Dean still can’t get in touch with Castiel, and Sam has had zero luck finding out a way to defeat a Prince of Hell. Just then, Sam gets an email from Mick, who, need I remind you, is dead. The email suggests Sam and Dean head to Wisconsin to check out Jared’s case. It seems the town he lives in has a history. For 20 years, one person went missing each year… until 1997. And now, it could be starting again.
Of course, Mr. Ketch is the one who actually sent the email in order to get the Winchesters out of the house bunker. As soon as they hit the road, the British Men of Letters invade the bunker to find out everything about the Winchesters and their allies, down to how Sam gets his hair so shiny — wouldn’t we all love to know? — and how many ratty flannels Dean owns. (Joke is on you, Ketch! Because he owns way more black T-shirts than flannels! Ha!) And, of course, Ketch tells his men to find the Colt.
Spoiler: They don’t. But they do plant a listening device in the bunker, and as for Ketch, well, he steals Dean’s childhood photo with his mom, because that’s not creepy. Could Ketch be ketch-ing feelings for Mary? (Get it? Sorry.)
Getting to Wisconsin and the case at hand, the local sheriff tells Sam and Dean he simply thinks Jared ran away from his horrible life, but when Sam and Dean find Daryn, they get a more intriguing story. Darren claims that “Black Bill” took his friend.
At a local diner, Sam explains that Black Bill is a local urban legend who lives in the woods and reportedly has the head of a goat. As Dean puts it — in between glances at the cute waitress —”So we got a goat dude with a name like a pirate, which is a little insane even for us, and that bar is super high.” Very true. And yet, Dean still isn’t fazed. As far as he’s concerned, he has the Colt, which can kill anything, so he’s got a game plan… and that means he can go tell the waitress she’s as hot as his coffee and hope his pickup line works. (It does.)
The next morning, Dean rejoins his brother at the diner after an “awesome” night with the waitress. His morning, however, isn’t as awesome because all he has to eat is Sam’s egg white omelet. And considering that Daryn never made it home last night, they’ve got work to do.
Sam and Dean head to the meat plant where Daryn worked, which is apparently owned by Sheriff Bishop. It seems the Bishop family pretty much runs the town, which makes the sheriff suspect No. 1. The one problem? Well, Daryn’s currently in a meat freezer with some sort of creature, so the sheriff might be involved, but it’s looking like there’s a lot more to this story.
Reconvening at the diner, Sam and Dean catch each other up on what they’ve found. Dean, unaffected by the meat plant and able to eat without hesitation, tells Sam that everyone who’s gone missing in this town was an employee at the Bishop family’s meat plant. With that, Sam and Dean head to the Bishop estate, or as Dean puts it, the “Addams family house.”
Once there, they find a locked basement door, which is typically a good indication that there’s something lurking down there. And what do they find but a full-on torture chamber. As Dean says, “Why is it always the rich ones? I mean, what are they like, ‘Croquet’s all right, but you know what would be great? Murder.'”
Of course the sheriff arrives home just as Sam and Dean find the basement, and here’s where we get the full story. The Bishop family is wealthy for one very specific (and twisted) reason: They have the God of Sacrifice in their basement and they feed it human blood in exchange for wealth. The goat head? Well, it was just something they wore when they went out hunting victims. Got it?
Apparently it was a tradition the sheriff learned about from his father, but when dear old dad died in 1997, the sheriff tried to put an end to it. But now, when Sam realizes the god isn’t where he’s supposed to be, we figure out why there have been more missing people lately.
However, we don’t get the rest of the story until Pete, the guy from the meat plant, knocks Dean out and brings him back to the plant. As Pete explains, he and Barry — the sheriff — are half-brothers. They shared the same father, but while Barry grew up in the big house, Pete grew up in a doublewide. It might sound unfair to some, but to Dean, it just “sounds like a bad episode of Dynasty.”
When Barry recently decided to start selling off the family businesses, Pete went snooping through the estate. That’s when he found the god, and that’s when he decided he could feed it in exchange for wealth. In what might be my favorite moment of the hour, Pete tells Dean: “Hunting people, killing them. The family business.”
With that, Dean becomes the next victim when Pete leaves him in the meat freezer with a growling god. But thankfully, Sam and Barry are able to take out Pete and get to Dean in time for Sam to use the Colt on the god. Barry then tells them to get out of town. He will clean up this mess. It’s his family’s legacy.
So as Sam and Dean return to the bunker, the topic of legacy is on their minds. At least after Dean tells Sam, “Next time you hear me say our family is messed up, remind me that we could be psycho goat people.”
On a more serious note, Dean asks if Sam thinks they’ll be remembered 100 years from now, but Sam says no. After all, they’re not exactly the type of people you’d find in history books. But the people they saved are their legacy, and even after they fade away, it will be okay, “because we left the world better than we found it,” Sam says. And I don’t know what it is about this moment, but as much as I know this show isn’t about to end, I almost felt like this was a conversation for them to have before a series finale, and it made me very emotional thinking about the eventual day when these two won’t be hunting. Needless to say, I am not ready for it.
They both agree that they hope another hunter will move into the bunker and “keep fighting the good fight” after they’re gone, but for now, they’re leaving their mark… literally. Just as they did in the Impala all those years ago, Sam and Dean carve their initials into one of the tables in the bunker library.
Then, they call Mick to report back. Ketch is the one who answers and is quick to make up some story about how Mick had to return to London and how Sam and Dean are now to report to him, the “low-rent Christian Bale,” as Dean calls him after they hang up. And Mr. Ketch hears that dig, because don’t forget: He’s listening to everything they say in the bunker now. And to make things even creepier, he’s doing so while staring at young Dean’s photo with his mom. Seriously, Ketch. Stop.
All in all, I’m a big fan of these final moments and all the fun the episode had before them. Well played, Supernatural. Keep on leaving your mark.