'Supernatural': Road Trip to the Undiscover'd Country

Supernatural-Dark-Side-of-the-Moon.jpgIn "The Dark Side of the Moon," tonight's "Supernatural," Sam and Dean get a hard lesson in what dreams may come when we have shuffled off this mortal coil ... or are blasted off of it.

The boys wake up with masked men pointing guns in their faces. It's a helluva way to start a day, improved slightly by the fact that Sam and Dean know their assailants -- and they're also hunters. Sam goes down hard, but they're pondering the fate of Dean, who's promising to be more trouble dead than alive.

Boom! Red splat!

It's night, Dean's in the car in the middle of nowhere, and there's a kid version of Sam. Which is reality, which is a dream, and which is a wacky weird version of the afterlife?

Lil' Sam wants to shoot of fireworks, as it's the Fourth of July 1996, and Lil' Sam's awful happy to see big bro and gives him a big hug.

Awww... "Knockin' on Heaven's Door" ... Lil' Sam's dancing in the sparks, then Dean remembers a whole lotta shotguns.

Dean goes back to the car, only to have Cas talking out of the radio. He claims this is no dream -- and Dean surmises he's dead on the bed, and this is really the Great Beyond. Dean's not too sure what he's doing in Heaven, and he's really not sure where Sam is (or isn't). Cas tells Dean that, for him, Heaven is being on the road, and down that road he will find Sam (big Sam, not Lil' Sam).

Dean arrives at a house, where Sam's rocking the white shirt and tie and having a nice dinner with a nice family in a nice house, and Sam wants to know why Dean's arrived to harsh his mellow (and his memory of his first real Thanksgiving at 11 years old).

Dean informs him this is Heaven, and Sam is pretty sure that he shouldn't be there. He thinks Dean does belong, but he's just decrying the complete lack of triplets and latex.

A weird force blows through with a bright light, and Heaven's looking nothing like harps and clouds. Cas appears on the TV, warning "Don't go into the light." It's not light, it's Zachariah, who wants to reanimate Sam and Dean so they can become Satan's and Michael's meat puppets. Cas informs them they have to find an angel named Joshua in Heaven, who actually has a direct line to the Big Man himself.

Cas wants them to take the Heaven Brick Road to the Garden, where Joshua can dial up the Almighty, and everybody gets their questions answered. Dean's up for it, but Sam's holding back.

Outside, it's a big dark nothing, so Dean goes in search of a road, and lo and behold, there's a toy car and track in the closet, which leads to a bedroom somewhere, and now it's daytime (and Dean has a cute teddy-bear T on). They're home, and there's Mom.

Things don't turn out well when Mom appears, but this time, it's all about the crustless sandwiches and milk (and Mom not seeing Sam there). Dad calls in,and Dean recalls that his parents' perfect marriage was somewhat less than after all. Dean delivers a comforting hug and a promise never to leave (technically true, since Mom is the one that did the leaving).

The boys start searching for the road again, which leads Sam to a Route 66 postcard and to Sammy's golden retriever, Bones. It's Flagstaff, Ariz., and apparently Sam being left alone for two weeks was a good time for him. But, he had run away, and things weren't so good for Dean, who was left behind to explain stuff to Dad.

Whoosh, and we're back in a dark street, and neither brother knows where they are. Dean then realizes it's the night Sam took off for Stanford. Turns out that all of Sam's happy moments are about getting away from Dean and Dad. Dean's having serious abandonment issues, and zap, the big spotlight is back.

The boys flee into the woods, but Zachariah finds them anyway, shiny shoes and all. He snaps them back to full daylight, but there's no running from an angel, especially not in heaven. But, then there's a Mexican wrestler?

I only know one guy whose version of Heaven might be a Mexican wrestler, and he produced "The Middleman."

Anyhoo, the boys are back in the old Roadhouse with a mullet-wearing guy who was his congregation's number-one snake handler. It's none other than mad genius hunter Ash, who died when the Roadhouse burned to the ground.

He informs the boys that the angels will take some time to find them, since there are 100 billion Heavens, a "buttload of places" crammed together like Disneyland "without the anti-Semitism." At the center of all these individual Heavens is the Garden.

Ash is a rare person who can hop Heavens, and he's visited Johnny Cash's, Andre the Giant's and Einstein's (it seems that the fuzzy-haired mathematician can mix a mean White Russian). Heaven is a blast for old Ash, with a homemade angel scanner and everything.

Telling the boys they "die more than anyone he's ever met," Ash tells them they're heavenly frequent fliers, and when he heard they were back, he just had to find them. Then Ash gets the bad news about Ellen and Joe, but no luck finding the Winchester parents.

But there's poor Pamela Barnes, who gives Dean a smack for getting her killed. He points out that he also got Ash killed, but he's "good with it." She's dead, but she's good, and she recalls that during her death scene, Dean told her she was going somewhere better -- and she did. For Pam, Heaven is one long "show at the Meadowlands."

Dean isn't buying the big Heaven happy, but Pam's just glad she's up and not down. She tries to sell Dean on the joys of the Great Hereafter, and what would be so bad if a ton of people croaked in the Apocalypse and wound up in their own personal Paradise?

Meanwhile, Ash is figuring out a way to the Garden, and a way around Zachariah. But Ash isn't interested in going with, so the boys head out ... and right back home. There's Mom again, but Dean doesn't want to play Ghost Mom right now. Oops, looks like we're actually in Mom's heaven, and she's not playing any harp.

She drops on the guilt and the anger and the abandonment ... and then there's glowing eyes. Bad Mom bricks up the house and starts recalling, in detail, how she was barbecued to death. Like Sam, her Heaven is all about being away from Dean and Daddy ... and Sam, too, for good measure.

No, really, she just blames Dean.

Then there's Zachariah, and he's the one behind Bad Mom ... and the one snuggling in her neck. May I just say ... ick. Oh, and Zach really has six wings and four faces, one of which is a lion. Pretty sure this show doesn't have the budget for that. He snaps Bad Mom away, and now, with the help of some goons, it's smackdown time.

The boys have tarnished Zach's rep, and now he's out for payback. This time it's personal.

But an elderly black man arrives, apologizes for interrupting, but he must insist. Hmmm, looks like he has his orders from the top, and Zach must dance to his tune.

Say hello to Joshua, and he snaps the boys into the Cleveland Botanical Gardens, the boys' version of the Garden. They need to chat up the Boss, but Joshua says he's out, somewhere on Earth, and he didn't leave a number. Joshua gets calls, but he can't place them.

The Big Man has a message, "Back off." He knows what's going on, but doesn't think it's His problem. From His perspective, he's saved the boys a bunch of times, including giving both of them a ticket Upstairs, and that's more than He's done for a lot of folks. He doesn't want to be found, and He doesn't want to get in the way.

Joshua doesn't have an explanation, and Dean chalks it up to yet another deadbeat Dad. Joshua reminds him that he can't kill the Devil, and he's losing faith in everything, and now he doesn't have Almighty assistance.

What's to be done?

According to Joshua, the boys must go back, and this time, he says, "God wants you to remember."

And we're back, beer cans, blood-spattered sheets and all, and the boys gasp back into existence. Cas drops by for the bad news, and it bums him out and pisses him off. He hands off the magic amulet and ... poof.

Sam's still in the fight, but Dean's not so sure. He ditches the amulet, and he's out the door. Sam heaves a big sigh ...

Well, if this show were ending this year, I might think differently about all this. It could be the end of the world, but in the TV universe, the end of the world might be a whole new beginning. Should the boys give in? In some realities, is giving in the only way out? Could be. If a caterpillar never dies to itself, it certainly can't become a butterfly.

Can't wait for next week.