Recap: Supernatural, Episode 7.12 – Time After Time

Dean cracks him a good one across the jaw, sending Lester sprawling from the chair. Ness gives Dean a mildly disapproving look.

Dean: What? I learned it from watching you.

(That reminded me of this really bad anti-drug commercial from the ‘80s, but I digress….)

Ness uses that, though, in this really awesome (Sorry! But it was!) tag-team, good-cop/bad-cop questioning style. As Dean steps back and removes his overcoat and suit jacket, starting to roll up his sleeves (and OMG that shoulder holster…crimeny, he needs to go back to the ‘40’s more often…I just wanted to pause my TV…), Ness rests his hip on the table and leans close to Lester and talks to him almost sympathetically, saying he seems like a nice guy, and he wants to help him, but his partner (looking at Dean) just got back from the war.

Ness: He spent the last two years kicking in Nazi skulls and if he doesn’t kick in a skull every few days…he gets a little touchy.

Dean (not missing a beat): Lester. Is that a German name?

Lester (appropriately freaked out) says that he cut Snyder off from payment because the guy creeped him out, but when Dean steps in kind of threateningly, Lester says they could find Snyder at a diner called the Early Bird.

Back in 2012, Sam is reading by halogen lamplight, Mills reading behind him. He sits back with a frustrated, “Dammit,” just as she sits forward, declaring, “This is it!”

Sam: Okay, yours sounds better. You first.

HA! That was funny. I liked them working together. I like her, period.

Mills tells him that she found out that people can summon Chronos to get him to tell their future. Sam says he has the spell to do it. She’s all, why the dammit, and he says that the problem isn’t summoning the god – it’s making sure Dean is right there when they do it.

Mills: We have to get the time right or we get an angry god, but no big brother.

Sam: And he’s trapped there forever.

This is really small, but…I kinda liked how she referred to Dean as a “big brother.” Partly because she was working with Sam, but also because it identified him as something other than a hunter. He’s Sam’s big brother. And that’s the biggest reason to get him back. Y’know?

Sam leans back, frustrated, and just then Mills finds a bottle in one of the boxes – a note wrapped around it. She reads the note aloud.

“Fine, you ass. You win for once. Enjoy. – R.”

She asks Sam who ‘R’ is and he says (with a small, sad smile) that it’s Rufus. A family friend. *rubs heart* He wonders aloud what they were betting on.

Mills: Whatever it was, Rufus sure was a sore loser.

Sam (looking sad): Yeah.

Mills (her voice tight with emotion): It’s weird, huh? Like their life’s a big puzzle, and we just keep finding pieces of it scattered all over the place. We should drink this. He’d want us to.

Sam (listening quietly to her tight grief): It would be rude not to.

*rubs heart* Gah, this show. Seriously.

In ’44, Ness and Dean are sitting in a car, staking out the diner. They see Snyder/Chronos in there and Ness thinks he looks a bit puny for a god. Ness takes out a flask and sips. He offers it to Dean, but instead of taking a drink – did you notice? No drink – Dean says he thought Ness was Mr. Boy Scout.

Ness (grinning): Why do you think I went after Capone in the first place? Guy had the best hooch in Chicago.

Ha! Totally made me think of Ness’s parting line in The Untouchables  when asked what he’d do if Prohibition got overturned – “Have a drink.”

Dean: Who died in your life to make you a hunter?

Ness: Nobody died, you morbid son of a bitch. I stared doing this because vamps were turning folks in Cleveland.

Okay, funny. Literally just last Ramble I talked with several peeps about how it would be nice for the writers to pick a different reason for someone to get into hunting other than seeing a loved one ripped to shreds and voila! This time, you guys, let’s talk about getting the Impala back! *wink*

Dean’s watching Ness talk (and…YUM…those profile shots…seriously) and surmises that’s when he got the hunting ‘bug.’

Ness: Sometimes you just want to punch through the red tape with a silver bullet. Hunting sets me free. That why you do it?

Dean (pensive): Used to do it ‘cause that’s what my family did. (softer) But they just seem to keep dying. Tell you the truth…I don’t know why I’m doing much of anything anymore.

Ness: Boo-hoo! Cry me a river, you Nancy. All hunters as soft as you in the future?

As Dean gives Ness this side-long WTF glance, I swear I heard some of fandom groan out loud because once more Dean gets the ‘boo-hoo’ speech when he exposes a piece of his heart. And, yeah, maybe the writers are trying to hammer a point home or maybe there’s a legitimate argument that they need to allow Dean a moment to just break down for Pete’s sake. But, in this situation, I thought it worked. And I’ll tell you why.

Ness: Everybody loses everybody, and then one day, boom, your number’s up. But at least you’re making a difference. So, enjoy it while it lasts, kid. ‘Cause hunting’s the only clarity you’re gonna find in this life. That makes you luckier than most.

Okay, so…let’s consider who Dean exposed that little corner of his heart to – a lawman in the ‘40’s who has experienced his own losses of friends and loved ones and has hardened himself against letting those feelings get in the way of his job and who knows literally nothing about what Dean’s been through and survived. His response to Dean’s inadvertent admission was totally in line with the time and character (as I know it, and as they show it) of Ness.

But, now Dean’s had the “smile because it’s your job” speech and the “at least you’re making a difference” speech. I have to think that the writers are grooming him to be able to withstand something big coming up. Something that he’ll have to handle on his own – maybe Sam losing his grip on his hallucinations at a really inopportune time, or something. I don’t know – I’m unspoiled and want to stay that way, but all I can think is that this is the writer’s way of pushing Dean past his pain and grief. Not allowing him to work through it, but rather forcing him over it so that he can handle what comes on the other side.

In real life, I’d wonder when the pain he’s leaping over will steam roll back across him – because in real life? It always does. But in Supernatural, I gotta wonder. It’s been a long time since we’ve seen Dean really be allowed to cry.


Gaelicspirit is a storyteller. She is a recent addition to Whedonverse Network, but has been writing and posting recap/reviews of Supernatural on LiveJournal since 2007. She works as a freelance writer and consultant in the real world, and is ever-connected to the six-degrees of Joss Whedon.


Gaelicspirit is a storyteller. She is a recent addition to Whedonverse Network, but has been writing and posting recap/reviews of Supernatural on LiveJournal since 2007. She works as a freelance writer and consultant in the real world, and is ever-connected to the six-degrees of Joss Whedon.


  1. Solid episode. Good as a stand-alone monster-of-the-week, with enough of the ongoing plot to keep it interesting. Elliot Ness as a hunter was pretty clever– although, a quick check of his Wikipedia article has him as the chairman of the Diebold Corporation in 1944, which I suppose could be a good cover, but doubt it has any pull with the police.

    Speaking of police, wonder if Sheriff Mills is being groomed as a Bobby surrogate. Will she have to haul around those storage boxes everywhere?

    • Hi Simon — love when an episode is able to draw a comment from you. I almost checked Wikipedia before I wrote to see where Ness was in 1944, but decided to just go on the energy of the episode and worry about the ‘real’ stuff later. :) Thanks for the update!

      I hope they keep Mills around for more interaction with the boys — I really like her chemistry with them (in a mother-ish role, that is). And good question about the boxes. Wonder where they’ll keep/store them after they leave the Winchester Temporary HQ?

      Thanks for reading!

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