Filed under: Recaps & Reviews
Every motel has a sad story.
Travis John arrives at Rooster's Sunrise Motel late at night. He's tired, scared and wants to be anywhere else but there. Something deep inside pushes him to carry on and check into room 214. After settling in, he takes a swig of whiskey before something old, dark and violent slinks out of the closet. He doesn't believe it's real and those were the last moments of his life. Some time later, the Winchesters are on their way into town for Travis's funeral and Dean still hasn't told Sam about Jack's plan to sacrifice himself. They remember being at the hotel in January of 1993 when they were kids so long ago; Dean made fun of Sam for wanting to go to college, thinking that the life of a hunter would always be waiting for them as they got older. The Winchesters meet with Travis's sister, Caitlyn, at a local diner to catch up before the funeral after so many years. She tells them that Travis hadn't been doing well since Sam and Dean saved them from a ghost all of those years ago. He had turned to drugs and was getting worse with immersion therapy from his psychologist but she never thought that he would take his own life as the coroner report shows. The boys check the room but they can't find anything to suggest it might be a case. Dean is sure it isn't anything until he sees something strange at the end of the hallway. It's a young version of him and suddenly, he's on his knees and about to plunge a knife into his chest until Sam shows up. Whatever they thought they killed all of those years ago – never left.
Continuing the annual trend of subpar, monster of the week episodes before the exciting finale, Drag Me Away (From You) was a farewell to the motels, hotels and roadside inns the Winchesters and fans alike used to love but failed to capture the memories and feelings we shared with Sam and Dean for so many years. In traditional Supernatural fashion, the mystery of whether Travis Johnson killed himself was dismantled within the first five minutes of the episode. Right off the bat, the audience has to wait for Sam and Dean to catch up rather than enjoy the story as it progresses. This hurt the present timeline story and the story in nineteen ninety three where Sam and Dean though they killed the witch because we already knew that they failed as soon as they started talking about the past with Caitlyn. Ruining the mystery in the opener is a mainstay of Supernatural but never made their episodes better or particularly good whenever they traded storytelling for shock. After that, the episode never truly recovered. Sure, some of the moments in the past had promise but suddenly Sam had confirmed the witch was Baba Yaga and it all felt like throw away lore that no one had taken any time to explore leading up to the reveal. As experts in monsters and demons, the Winchesters reaction to fighting an ancient Slavic myth were that of any other creature they have slain. Drag Me Away (From You) just didn't work and was a poor showing for one of Supernatural's final five episodes.
Building on that, The Winchesters relationship with Travis and Caitlyn Johnson didn't have the same connection as they have had with many friends they have made over the years. Before Drag Me Away (From You), Travis and Caitlyn have never appeared in an episode of Supernatural. For a season that has largely been built on farewells, this one didn't have the punch that so many before have had. Even Dean's goodbye with Caitlyn managed to drive in a forced life lesson to awkwardly get to the final scene of the episode.
With Drag Me Away (From You), I'm left with the same question that Billie had for Dean of why they were working a case when there are more important things going on around them. Their reality is the last one and now Sam and Dean are at odds over how they will save the world. Will Sam's eternal optimism somehow find a way to save Jack or will they be forced to accept a victory at a great cost and lose another member of their family. Let's see what happens in next week's episode, Unity.