No two ways about it, they are pains in the proverbial buttocks. Though the Winchesters are quite familiar with that prospect, Dean gets quite the reminder on that when, after tracking a witch down in the woods, he’s blasted by a spell that, over time, continues eroding his memories.
Losing any part of one’s mind isn’t a joking matter but the initial tone of Dean’s memories slipping away are, in fact, more on the light-hearted side. Forgetting how to drive, getting smacked by a woman he hooked up with the night before, childishly entertained by Scooby Doo. As the memory lapses progress to the point where Post-Its are stuck to everything in in Dean’s purview and Sam calls in his witchy reinforcements—none other than Rowena—we get the other side of the coin: this is serious business.
One scene encompasses this harsh reality all too well and, for anyone who’s ever watched a loved one suffer from the effects of Alzheimer’s or dementia, Dean’s repetition of his life in the mirror as the memories of that life dissipates as he speaks, puts a damper on any aspects of levity. It’s a sobering reminder that everything we are—our likes and loves, our happiness and heartbreaks—are tied up in those computer-like neurons in our noggin. Without those, we are a blank slate, devoid of truly being.
Back to the story, with Rowena’s help, Sam is able to track down the origins of the curse affecting Dean. It’s Druidic magic from the Loughlin family of the old world. Turns out the three siblings who’d gone into hiding years ago—Gideon, Boyd, and Katrina—were involved with the murder investigation the Winchesters began prior to Dean being zapped. In fact, the now-dead Gideon is responsible for Dean’s condition and, in order to cure him, they need to retrieve the Lockland’s Black Grimoire. Rowena does indeed volunteer to assist but we know she’s not doing it out of the kindness of her soulless ginger heart. No, she wants the Grimoire and all the delicious spells harnessed within.
The climax is pretty-straightforward. Sam tries taking on the two remaining Loughlin but gets handed his lunch and Rowena, with Dean in tow, attempts to slither in for the save. But it’s Dean—forgetful memories and all—who saves the day, pumping the two remaining Lockland witches with some witch-killing bullets. Score one for the good guys (and not-so good witch).
Rowena keeps her side of the deal, lifting the curse and though she doesn’t get to keep the Black Grimoire, Sam promises that the do owe her a small favor. After seeing her off and heading out to their next adventure, Sam admits that, for the briefest moment, he was jealous of Dean’s blank canvas. The idea of being able to start over, to forget all the horrible things over the decade plus of hunting, killing and stopping apocalypses, of losing good friends and family…those are things that would wear on even the strongest of souls. But, as Dean says, if being happy includes forgetting the good times along with the bad, “I think I’ll pass.”
Me too, Dean. Me too.
- Despite being a ho-hum episode insofar as the action and how it pertains to the overall season 12 arch, there were a few good moments to “Regarding Dean”. The comedy of Dean’s forgetfulness induced some chuckle-worthy moments but as reality came crashing down on him, the bathroom scene, where he’s reiterating his name and those of his family until all of it is gone, is an emotionally impactful moment that hits home in reality with things like Alzheimer’s and dementia.
- Also, watching the Dean’s adventure montage at episode’s end—paced to “Broomstick Cowboy” no less—was a fitting way to end such a one-shot episode.
- Emotionally impactful moment notwithstanding, not much truly memorable (PUN!) happened here. The history Rowena weaves about the Loughlin family could have been something that could have been ridden for a few more episodes but it was understandable why they used the family in a throwaway “villains of the week” role. Still, a bit more history on the Black Grimoire and the nature of their Druid roots would have been great fodder down the road.
Other than Rowena, there weren’t too many non-Winchester Supernatural moment saves for oh so many pop culture references. This may not be all of them but some of the more fun moments:
- Bon Jovi
- Dean’s “Mo money, mo problems” line.
- Not only is the episode title “Regarding Dean” a play on the Harrison Ford drama “Regarding Henry” but Dean also likens his memory issues to the Chris Nolan uber flick, “Momento”.
- “It’s like watching myself on Netflix,” Dean says after watching himself confronting Gideon on camera.
- Sam mentions HBO and Cinemax (or by its other name: Skin-a-max).
- Dean even drops a Dory reference and, after Sam’s confused look: “Not gonna apologize for loving that fish; not to you. Not to anyone.”