“Left side…strong side!” Okay, so this ain’t Denzel’s “Remember the Titans”. Instead it’s the ballad of an unsung hero who drew the ire of a god that hocks thunderbolts for a living and has propensity for holding grudges. Oh, and let’s not forget Sam and Dean caught smack dab in the middle of things.
Drinking and driving is never a good thing, especially if you’re walking on a dark, abandoned road. Said pedestrian is clipped by a hit-and-runner, left dead in the road. He’s found the next morning, cold and with an eagle happily going to town on his insides. Soon as Ranger Rick turns his back, our corpse is animated and running off into the woods.
Meanwhile, back at the Winchester lair (sounds like a comic book segue), Sam’s realizing the little cough up of blood is getting worse. Dean comes in, robed up and coffee in hand and notices Sam’s skittishness. It’s been three weeks since they’ve heard from Kevin, who’s still trying to finish ancient language translations 101, but fear not, there’s the interesting case of the zombie they can investigate. When they get to the police station, Sheriff Jack’s quite confident in his zombie assertion, one that’s solidified when a call from Livingston, MT of a grizzly bear mauling turns out to be the same John Doe run down by the drunk driver. They make their way to Livingston but not before the Sheriff offers the sound advice to “aim for the head.”
Dead guy’s resting on a slab, sans his liver, which was eaten in the attack and they think it’s an open and shut case until he gets up and tries exiting stage right. The brothers catch Shane—that’s the name someone’s given him, for he has no memory of his past life, save for the last few years where he only knows that every day guarantees him another death. Basically, he’s a real life Kenny (from South Park, for those not in the know). They take him to a motel and put him through a gamut of tests to confirm he’s human. Each one comes back negative and they decide to get their own room. While Shane’s in sleepy land, a leather clad beauty finds her way into his room. She’s disappointed when he doesn’t remember her but doesn’t stop her from attacking him. Sam and Dean enter in time to get dealt with but Shane doesn’t need the help and after some serious Jason Bourne moves, has turned the hottie’s knife on her. Promising retribution, she dissipates, leaving even more questions. After all the excitement, Shane’s body decides it’s high time to drop dead again and he does, this time of a heart attack.
Sam and Dean wait by Shane’s bedside, still at a loss at his condition when there’s a knock at the door. Her name’s Haley and she’s in town with Shane’s seven-year-old son, Oliver. She fills in some of the games from Shane’s previous memories of being found on the mountainside. The avalanche that killed her friends brought her and Shane closer and they had a one night tryst where Shane had a heart attack but not before giving her Oliver. Speaking of the youngin, seems to be since turning seven, Oliver has the pesky death curse (and inability to talk) of his father who, after some research Sam surmises to be Prometheus, the Titan that provided man fire, going against Zeus, lord of the Olympians. The Xena lookalike was none other than Artemis, goddess of the hunt. So now instead of solving this every day death riddle for one person, they have two. You know what that means…further research is needed. To the Winchester Lair, with speed!
They car pool it to the Men of Letters Lair in Lebanon, KS—did you know their legacy?—and lay down the plan. They need to summon Zeus and get him to remove the curse. During a bit of research, they unearth a journal detailing Dracopolis, someone who tangled with Zeus and provided the ingredients to summon him as well as kill him (using wood from a tree struck by lightning). Sam and Shane go off for some bones of a worshipper of the Olympian, getting into a conversation about why the brothers are helping him; Sam’s response is because it was worth it. For his part, Dean lets a slowly believing Haley (no idea how she’s okay to believe someone resurrected every day but not that there are gods out there) that Zeus is not a friend, rather it’s their job to convince him to do what’s right.A dapper man, Zeus
Having gathered everything they need, they summon Zeus and his appearance is full of pomp, circumstance, and lightning. The dapper chap reminds me a lot of Esteban, the most interesting man in the world except, Zeus is quite a bit cooler. And deadlier. He agrees to help so long as they free him from the summoning circle and the boys are ready to walk away, knowing if, given time, he’ll relent. Haley, on the other hand, is not quite as bright. She frees the Olympian and he’s ready to bring the pain to all of them, most especially Prometheus. Enjoying his hold over the Titan a bit much, the boys are ready to skewer him with stakes galore until Artemis shows up and puts them out of commission. He’s ready to take a pound of flesh (or two-hundred) out of Prometheus and is ready to revel in every second of the latter’s pain.
Not having a need to have the Winchesters skulking about, Zeus has Artemis take the boys out back, most likely toArtemis has dear old dad in her sights
be fricasseed but, as with all gods, Artemis isn’t immune to attacks on her prowess or jabs at her heart. Sam is ready to go down swinging, using a bit of intuition, human (and god) nature, and luck to convince her to side with them against her father. She does, holding Zeus at arrow point (a weapon that can kill gods) asking him to stop this madness. Zeus still blames Prometheus for giving humanity the gift of fire, a gift that, in its own way, prevented the Olympians from forever ruling earth. She knows he won’t let it go and lets her arrow fly. Zeus is faster, pulling Prometheus in the way. It hists the Titan right in the chest but he’s not dead yet. Sacrificing himself, he pushes the arrow through him and into Zeus, killing both Titan and Olympian. Though she is stoic in her actions, Artemis is heartbroken at losing two men she loves; she gives Haley a poignant look before disappearing with her father’s body.
Dean and Haley offer Prometheus a most apropos funeral, burning his body, as Sam keeps a now-talking Oliver company. On the way back to their Lair, Same admits to Dean that he’s having doubts about surviving these trials sans injury. It’s the closest he’s been to coming clean about the physical scars he’s already experienced since the hell hound incident. Dean will have none of it, refusing to believe anything of the supernatural variety will clip Sam’s wings and send him to the never never. But his bravado is just that and, alone in his room, Dean prays to Cas, asking the angel to keep his little brother safe. His words go unanswered and his worry for Cas end up exacerbating his fears for Sam’s health.
Though another one-off episode, “Remember the Titans” does a much better job than last week’s Supernatural driving the overall story arc forward. The end of last week hinted at things not quite right with Sam’s physical health and, based on this week, it’s only going to get worse. As a standalone, the episode worked pretty decently, though I often have unspoken gripes about introducing characters with such dynamic potential like Zeus or Prometheus and the episode narrative calling for their heads. Yes, sometimes it’s necessary but every now and then, let’s find a solution (for storytelling purposes) not to have things end in death so much. Then again, it wouldn’t be Supernatural without our good friend Death milling about here and there. It really makes me think there will be blood and loss of a beloved character before all is said and done. As much as I don’t always like death being the final judgment, it wouldn’t be Supernatural without it.