Now that’s how you do a monster story!  
 
If there’s one big strength to season six, it’s that Supernatural is managing to mix it up every week.  Sure the experiments haven’t always worked, but at least they’ve been trying.  Coming off of last week’s howler, I found no issue moving into this tragic, good ole fashioned creep fest.  The two actually seem to blend well.  After all, this is often what the Winchester’s lives are like, a roller coaster of extreme predicaments.  When the latest predicament mixes Star Trek lore with an X-Files feel, it wins.  
 
This is easily one of the best paced episodes of the season.  It’s flow and intensely creepy drama kept me grossly involved (not to mention breathless) the entire hour.  I couldn’t believe it was over so quickly.  This season has been plagued with choppy writing but not here.  I definitely appreciate Brett Matthews’ ability to get the plot exposition done in the first eight minutes and move to the action in enough time to give such a thrilling hour.  In other episodes this season too much time has been spent routinely unfolding the mundane details of the case.   
 
Yeah, I know, parasite in the head is really Wrath of Khan: The Redux but Supernatural has always thrived at taking something that’s been done before and making it their own.  In the case of “And Then There Were None,” it becomes the perfect opportunity for the characters to revisit lingering personal wounds while stalking the monster that lurks in the dark.  As we’ve learned before, hunters leave plenty of messes behind.  Some of those messes tend not to stay in the town that ends up in their rear view mirrors.  They get even bigger when allowed to fester a while.
 
It’s incredible how a standoff in a locked cannery with a new creature that no one knows anything about becomes such entertaining group therapy.  Sam and Dean have a chance to take up their lingering issue of betrayal with Grandpa.  Gwen has a chance to see Samuel’s true colors, just seconds before joining the death pool that is.  Rufus and Bobby end up going to a place that they’ve long avoided before now, Omaha.  It’s even a chance for Sam and Dean to explore some of their own lingering brotherly issues, but it’s done so subtly and maturely that it ends up bringing not so much drama as intense relief.  One wonders how all of that could be done satisfactorily in an hour, but it happens.  
 
Eve
 
Score a big one for Ardeospina, who in her speculation over "Like A Virgin" called it that Mother of All could be Eve.  Granted, we don’t know if she really is or is merely using the name, but since “Winning” has been a big theme in the entertainment papers this week, score one for her.  I loved Eve’s conversation with the trucker.  It’s a chance to learn right away where she’s coming from.  She’s ready to conquer this world and feels she can do so simply because she hasn’t abandoned her creations, unlike our Chuck, I mean God.  It makes her feel better, feel worthy of rule.  “Your father made you and then abandoned you, so you pray.  You see signs and there’s nothing.  The truth is, your apocalypse came and went and you didn’t even notice.  A mother would never abandon her children like he did.”
 
I really applaud how this episode finally addressed Jesus, a name that was ignored throughout the entire apocalyptic arc.  “You do know that Jesus was just a man?”  It’s about time we heard the show’s stance on that.  In other words, Christianity is not exactly right.  Given the references in the past to things like the “lesser known translation of Revelations” I’d say that reveal is consistent.  Sure it’s bound to piss a lot of people off too, but Supernatural has never shyed away from these sort of controversies.    
 
It’s so nice to see the boys back in Ohio and Sandusky nonetheless!  As someone who’s caravanned to that town enough times to get rained on and frozen at Cedar Point, I easily go with the notion that it’s the starting point for a new circle of Hell of earth.  I do have a question though.  Are Sam, Dean, Bobby, Rufus, and Samuel the only keen hunters on earth?  Given the blatant warning signs, I would have expected a freaking hunters convention.  I let that nitpick slide though for without the proper players, we don’t get the airing of dirty laundry with guns anxiously pointed at one another and suspicious glares galore that made this story exceptional.  
 
Dean shooting Gwen happens mostly for shock value and I must say it works.  I gasped.  She was always the most expendable of the recurring characters and given the fates of her other two cousins in Campbellhood, her demise was inevitable.  Coming from Dean like that though, even if he is possessed by the Khan worm, a wow is all I can muster.  That makes other deaths less shocking by comparison, but I did yelp when Sam ganks Samuel.  Did not see that coming.  I also didn’t see Bobby being the one to kill Rufus, but by that time we knew that Rufus’ survival prospects weren’t looking too good.  
 
This episode becomes the chance to expand in a full hour a comment made by Bobby all the way back in season three’s “No Rest For The Wicked.”  You all know which one I’m talking about, “Family don’t end with blood.”  It’s clear there’s some unfinished business between Sam, Dean and Samuel.  It’s also fascinating that when this showdown does finally happen, Bobby is there.  It’s only fitting since he is essentially Sam and Dean’s father.  When Bobby and Samuel meet, there’s a clear understanding of Samuel’s warped idea of family.  He shuns Bobby for being his grandsons’ so called father, like he didn’t earn that right because he wasn’t blood.  I can see now why Samuel hunted with Sam, Gwen, Christian, and Mark.  Because they were blood.  That meant something to him, but they never became his family.  Maybe because they didn’t adore him or honor him like Mary did.  RoboSam just plain sickened him, and he wasn’t about to find out what Sam was like if he had his soul back.  Sam hadn’t earned that kind of loyalty.  
 
I’m actually haunted by the whole drama over Sam shooting Samuel.  Sam clearly experiences deep remorse over the act.  He feels guilty and is stunned that he did it.  What’s interesting about Sam’s kill as opposed to Dean’s and Bobby’s is that Sam wasn’t possessed.  Samuel was, but is that why Sam pulled the trigger?  I’m not sure Sam really knew why he put that bullet in his grandfather’s head.  He swore he’d do that earlier, but I don’t think he intended on that to happen.  I wonder if the worm managed to affect those with a connection to the possessed. Sam certainly had a deeper one to Samuel than Dean just because they spent that year together.  It forced those it possessed to kill those they cared about, what if it also worked in reverse?   
 
Then there’s the next scene, where a literally restrained Sam (both physically and emotionally) has a chance to ponder over what he’s done.  He tells Dean he didn’t know the man, didn’t feel anything for him and what he remembered about him wasn’t good.  Yet he’s bothered with a question burning inside. “I just can’t help but think what would mom say?”  Dean, who is very wise above his years in this episode, has the perfect answer and one that Sam needs to hear.  “She’d say just because you’re blood doesn’t make you family.  You’ve gotta earn that.”
 
You’ve gotta earn that.  You mean when a worried Sam sternly warns Samuel not to hurt Dean after he killed Gwen?  When Bobby exclaims “Thank God” when Sam is found safe after he was separated from them?  That’s concern that the brothers and Samuel never shared.  No, they only shared blood.  By the final showdown, we know there’s only one person that fits that definition in the Winchester world.  Bobby.  
 
After Bobby kills Rufus and they tape him to that chair, that entire scene is gut wrenching.  Sure, possessed Bobby shares the dastardly plan that Mother of All wants to have monsters take over the earth, but that isn’t anything surprising (although MAJOR kudos to Jim Beaver for making possessed Bobby so eerie).  What makes this scene so effective is that Sam and Dean have a tough choice to make.  Killing the creature means killing Bobby.  Together they know what Bobby would want them to do and there was no heated discussion over the choice.  It KILLS them to do it but they did.  My heart dropped into my stomach when Dean forced himself to electrocute Bobby and a distraught Sam turned away, unable to watch.  When it was over Sam and Dean rushed to Bobby’s side, both frantic over the fact he wasn’t breathing, and we learn under no uncertain terms that’s what earning it means.  They are truly family.  Like we had any doubt.  Still, it’s good to get these reminders.  It’s rewarding that despite all the losses and heartache, they have each other.    
 
Sure it’s all got to end with an emotional graveyard scene.  Poor Bobby, you have to wonder how he’s feeling, the guilt of knowing that his friend Rufus went to the grave unable to forgive him.  That makes Dean’s speech that much more important.  I know he says it for Bobby’s benefit, but I think it has a far greater impact on Sam.  It is the ultimate declaration that in their little family unit, all is forgiven no matter what.    
 
Dean:  I mean at the end of the day you two are family.  Life’s short, and ours is shorter than most.  We going to spend it wringing our hands?  Something’s going to get us, eventually, and when my guts get ripped out just so you two know, we’re good.  Blanket apology for all the crap anyone’s done all the way around.  
Sam:  Some of us pulled a lot of crap Dean.
Dean:  Well, clean slate.    
 
I’ve never found a speech on this show to be more refreshing.  Just when I think I couldn’t love Dean more he pulls this.  He is indeed back to being the wiser older brother, the one fully responsible for his family.  I think back to the end “Sympathy For The Devil,” the first episode of season five, where Dean gives Sam a very different speech.  The one where he can’t forgive and doesn’t think he can ever trust Sam again.  You know the lingering resentment from Sam’s betrayal has hung like a dark cloud for a while and it even made a full blown comeback with RoboSam’s actions with the vampires.  For all that to FINALLY be behind them, it’s a whole new ballgame.  I’m ecstatic.  Okay, weepy ecstatic.  Damn you show!   
 
I do come out of this with dissatisfaction in two areas, but that feeling doesn’t necessarily come from just this episode.  The Campbell story line was disposed of a little too quickly and neatly.  It’s almost like TPTB realized that this arc didn’t work out like they had hoped and it was time to deep six it before any more time was wasted.  Gwen and Samuel’s deaths, while not surprising, still leave me feeling the entire Campbell story was a waste.  Why even bring Grandpa back from the dead?  I don’t think we ever really got to know him or what kind of a hunter he was.  Why he was so important to Crowley’s plan?  Where was he before this all happened?  Perhaps Grandpa was nothing more than a red herring like Crowley turned out to be.  Too bad, because the potential there was excellent.  Sure the execution ended up being lousy and I don’t think he’ll be missed, but an awful lot of time was spent on Samuel just to have this quick dismissal.  
 
Second, I know that this show has a long history of killing all it’s recurring characters and none stung more than The Trickster/Gabriel, but Rufus dying really hurts too.  I mean, do they all have to die?  Sure we know no one stays dead on this show, but most do and their deaths sometimes feel pointless.  I’ll really miss Rufus for he added something different every time he was on the screen.  In the grumpiness department, he made Bobby look like a cub scout.  
 
I do appreciate how they managed to work in some humor during this intense ordeal.  I laughed over the shot of these four butch hunters checking their ears at once for goo.  I also giggled over Rufus checking Dean’s ear after he woke up.  “You could at least buy me a drink first.”  You have to admit too, even though it also cringeworthy, cutting Samuel’s skull with a cranial saw only to have him wake up and go nuts evokes more laughs that screams.  
 
I finish this review with a grade and a quote.  My grade is an A.  A well crafted good old fashioned horror story with the perfect blend of character drama thrown in.  The quote, well, it’s comes from one of my sister’s favorite songs.  It ended up being this lyric, not William Shatner’s shout of “Khan!” that ended up ringing in my head after watching this episode.  “On with the body count!”  Enjoy the six week Hellatus everyone, because the rest of the season is gonna be bumpy.
  
 
 

Comments  

purplehairedwonder
# purplehairedwonder 2011-03-05 19:32
There were a lot of excellent things about this episode, but my favorites had to be Dean's graveside speech and the fact Bobby seemed at ease around Sam for the whole hunt. The last time we saw him, he could barely look at Sam and now he's working closely with him, showing true relief when he was alright, and not shying away from his presence at all. Oh, and standing up for the boys to Samuel: "You must be the guy pretending to be their father." "Someone ought to." As if I couldn't adore Bobby any more.

I found Dean's graveside speech interesting. It makes sense that Rufus taking resentment toward Bobby to the grave would affect Dean, who is the type to shove stuff down and hold onto it for the long haul. I'd figured by the end of season 5 that Dean had more or less forgiven Sam for the demon blood/Ruby crap, but with Robo!Sam's actions still fresh in his mind I could see where old hurts might fester. As much as Sam needed to hear the blanket apology (and can I say that I was really pleased to see him just accept it rather than stew on it as he's wont to do), I think Dean really needed to *say* it. Trust and forgiveness is a two-way street. Really a great moment for the little family unit there.

And speaking of family moments--Sam and Dean kicking the door in together? It was such a quick moment but it made me so freaking happy to see them in sync like that.
Alice
# Alice 2011-03-05 21:12
I agree, there was so much goodness in this. Just like the previous ep, it's so hard to mention it all! I assure you one thing, the two brothers kicking in the door together is being earmarked for an upcoming "sexiest moments" slide show or something like that. It was definitely made of win.

I think this episode went out of its way to show how Bobby and Sam's relationship has mended. For example, Bobby was really concerned about Sam when he separated from them with his "thank God" but he didn't show that same concern for Dean. Not that he wasn't concerned, it just wasn't the same. Or how about when they went looking for Dean together? Ditto showing Sam at the end clutching onto Bobby after they killed the worm. It was kind of heavy handed in that regard. That's okay though, for it's nice to see the three of them all in sync again.

Thanks for the comments!
Ellie
# Ellie 2011-03-06 07:51
I do agree we see Sam/ Bobbys relationship mended however the grip is again off screen rather than actually progession . We jumped from Bobby barely able to be in the same room has Sam to this weeks episode with a gap inbetween. It is a aspect of the way the writers do things that causes frustration particually something that important.As I have stated I dont really believe in the Sam/ Bobby relationship has really not enough time has been spent on it . I am glad that he and Sam seem to of mended broken fences but ''shrug'' it was behind closed doors and that was disappointing.

I did enjoy the episode but was gutted that we have lost Rufus he and Bobby played off each other so well .
orangecane
# orangecane 2011-03-05 19:57
Good episode, good review! I'd just like to add another perspective on "Mother"/Eve's sermon; I'm not so sure that we're meant to take the words of the mother of all evil creatures as "gospel" or as the show's official stance on what is right and wrong in their world's theology. I'd like to think that they leave things open-ended enough so everyone can draw their own conclusions (just like the whole Chuck is/isn't God argument).

I'm glad to see Jim Beaver getting recognition for one of the creepiest performances ever seen on this show - scary!!!!!
Alice
# Alice 2011-03-05 21:05
Ah, you see, I accept it as Supernatural's truth, but in the same way we were to accept truths revealed by a monologuing demon. They exist to mess with someone's head, but there's usually an element of truth behind it. Sure everyone can draw their own conclusions, but now the stance is out there that Jesus was just a man. I don't think we'll get a solid answer on that for sure, no more than we did about the whole Chuck as God thing. However, it's a big implication!
Laurie
# Laurie 2011-03-11 00:12
I agree witgh your comment. Eve [and perhaps the writer] dismiss the Christian worldview, but the show as a whole leaves it open. There are several comments as to Jesus = God through the episodes. "Christo" is used a few times as the "name of God." The old pagan gods lamented in a couple episodes the "new guy" Jesus... etc. And fraknly, the angel/demon apocalypse itself is Judeo-Christian .
nancyL
# nancyL 2011-03-05 20:24
Alice, doesn't it seem that this season so far has been in two parts. The first part is the somewhat suckier episodes with the Soulless One. But since Sam has regained his soul, each episode seems to hit it out of the park. (spring season has started, time for the baseball analogies :D ).

PurplehairedWonder, 'and speaking of family moments--Sam and Dean kicking the door in together? It was such a quick moment but it made me so freaking happy to see them in sync like that'.

You hit it on the head, with one look and a mental count of 1 2 3, the Winchester brothers showed themselves and us, that they are back together as one unit. Please Sera, we beg you, please don't change that.

You had the feeling that Gramps was not going to see the next episode. Someone was going to kill him. Dean wanted to kill him since 'Caged Heat'. Sam wanted a piece of him. He insulted Bobby. Of course, once you realized that the hunters were going to end up killing each other, then who is expendable? The Campbells and Rufus. Even though, I was worried about Bobby, and was on the edge of my couch all through the commercial. Damn you Sera.

Alice, I know that you and your writers have a lot of articles planned for this hellatus. The only good thing is, after this hellatus, we have straight episodes except for May 13, when Smallville finally ends.
Alice
# Alice 2011-03-05 21:16
I have loved four out of the five past episodes (Mannequin 3 still rubs we wrong) far more as a collection than any grouping we got in the first half of the season. I've said it before and I know I'll say it again, soulless Sam was a good idea, but not for half a season. It went on six episodes too long.

I honestly find this episode to be more refreshing in terms of the brotherly relationship than even last year's "Point of No Return." Probably because since "Hammer of The Gods" that whole thing imploded. I do fear that could happen again but hopefully not right away. Give them some space and show a gradual disagreement brewing. I agree, don't change this anytime soon.
Katie
# Katie 2011-03-05 21:10
Hey kids - don't try this at home! Being a Theatre Electrician I must admit seeing the liberal use of electricity used as a worm purgative made me very nervous - even the low 110V in the US ( We have 240v here in Aus) But then the Microwave trick in "The End" was disturbing to concerned parents no doubt.
I loved this episode for its character development - wasn't too fussed about the lack of plot or the overall big picture - just enjoyed seeing Dean find his inner strength again and Sam being more human.

I absolutely agree with your A grade and description of this episode.
KatieV
# KatieV 2011-03-05 21:18
Ok - microwave trick in "Its a beautiful Life". Don't think any microwaves were working in Post-Apocalypti c Kansas city.
nancyL
# nancyL 2011-03-05 21:48
You also had Dean taking out the fairy with the microwave, in the forgetable episode 'Clap your hands..'.
Alice
# Alice 2011-03-05 21:19
The hubby was nitpicking the crossing of the wires in the electrical shocking thingy, as well as Sam being able to electrocute himself like that. I told him to shut up and enjoy it! :-)
nancyL
# nancyL 2011-03-05 21:47
:lol:
Alice, tell Hubby, that if he wants realistic electrics than he should watch Mythbusters. Of course, tell him this during a commercial, because THERE IS NO TALKING DURING SUPERNATURAL (at least in my house). :lol:
Alice
# Alice 2011-03-05 22:25
Oh, we watch Mythbusters religiously. I even got to interview them at Comic Con last summer! I got to tell Adam and Jamie my story of how their episodes have fueled my 8 year old son's imagination with duct tape. Adam's response, "You're welcome and I'm sorry."

As for no talking, that's what TiVo is for! Luckily, he's learned not to talk.
Kayo
# Kayo 2011-03-05 21:18
Great episode. I really don't agree that the show has taken a stance on Jesus, though. Yes, Eve states that he "was just a man," but the trucker replies that he was "the son of God." That pretty much covers both sides.
Alice
# Alice 2011-03-05 22:27
Yeah, but I'm going with the history of this show that demons and hunters usually had a more accurate view than men. But you're right, it does cover both sides!
fanotheboyz
# fanotheboyz 2011-03-06 00:19
I agree with you and I'm glad the trucker wasn't made to look like a wack job because he believed in Jesus. Unfortunately, there have been shows where the Christians were made to look very extremist or foolish. I'm glad they chose a higher road this time.
morganslady
# morganslady 2011-03-05 22:38
I'm glad someone else thought the Campbells were misused. There was so much more they could have down with Gramps,I think the writers missed the boat with him.
I did like the shout out to Mitch Pileggi's movie "Shocker".
I hope they find a way to bring Rufus back. He and Bobby made me think of Grumpy Old Men..
Henry
# Henry 2011-03-05 22:46
Great review Alice. I need to hear your opinion on why Rufus didn't get a "Hunter's Funeral". If he trained Bobby, you would surely think he deserved it.
Alice
# Alice 2011-03-05 23:53
He was Jewish. He had to be buried in a Jewish cemetery (I think within 24 hours). It was implied to be Rufus' last wish based on what Bobby said about not burying a body during the Sabbath.
rmoats8621
# rmoats8621 2011-03-06 02:08
I agree, but I also think that this leaves the door open for Rufus to return since they didn't cremate his body. This is similar to Sam's treatment of Dean's body.
Deborah
# Deborah 2011-03-05 23:26
Great review, Alice! Thanks! And I agree that this one had an X-Files feel - in fact, people keep comparing it to Star Trek and Khan but it reminded me more of an early XF episode Ice - do you remember that one? I loved it, and it had the same feel as this ep and much the same plot - a group of people in an isolated location with a creature that could invade their bodies and make them do things they wouldn't normally do, with everyone suspecting someone else had it in them.

Man, I love this show and all its flavors! Next up - cowboys! April 15 seems so far away. This will be the first year I'll be looking forward to tax day!
faye
# faye 2011-03-05 23:39
I loved this episode. For me, it seemed to flow naturally from "The French Mistake", despite their different moods.

My take on who killed who: Dean killed Gwen while possessed, she didn't deserve to die, and Dean felt guilty that he had killed someone innocent. Up until that time they didn't know what they were up against. It was learn as you go with unfortunate Gwen the price they paid for knowledge.

Sam killed Samuel, because he knew Samuel was possessed by the thing. The real Samuel would not have thought Sam would back down from him. Sam didn't want to kill him. He wanted to know what only Samuel could tell him: what he did when he didn't have a soul. I don't think there was anything remotely RoboSam in his motivation. It was a hunter thing. He did what he had to do. As an aside (because no one else has mentioned it), I want to observe that Sam really committed patricide here...

Poor Bobby killed his best friend and his mentor into the hunting world, while possessed.

At the end, when Dean makes his speech at the graveyard, what makes both Sam and Bobby accept the "blanket apology" (which I think Dean felt that HE was apologizing to THEM) as a sort of hunters' pact: that they have made messes and mistakes, and they will continue to do so until they die, but they will forgive. I wonder if Dean really knew that Sam and Bobby need forgiveness as much as he does.

My question: what does Eve want with Sam and Dean? I think she has them singled out, and not just hunters in general, because the worm kept Dean alive by leaving him so quickly. It seemed like a deliberate choice, that the worm saved its talking until he was in Bobby, with Sam and Dean his only audience. Anybody got any ideas?
rmoats8621
# rmoats8621 2011-03-06 02:21
Faye, I agree. I think the worm did want Sam and Dean alone and had their undivided attention once Rufus was dead. I think that Eve knows the link that the boys have to the Angels and she's trying to get to them through the boys. It can't be forgotten what clue the Angel of Death gave in regards to the souls. It appears to me that we're being lead down a road of confrontation. Similar but different. Evil vs. Good. Eve and all her minions versus Sam, Dean, Bobby and Cas with all the other hosts of heaven on the other side. The prize...Our souls and total domination.
Yirabah
# Yirabah 2011-03-06 03:13
Wow I loved this epi and I don't know where to start.

Well since it has been mentioned before. I do miss Rufus. I loved the grumpy old men conversations, his attitude well his whole character. Damn you Sarah for killing of once more a beloved character. It just seems to get harder everytime a loved character bits the dust.

I am not sorry about Samuel though. I never was able to warm up to that character same thing with Gwen. But in the end I at least feel sorry that she died. But Samuel - when Gwen got shot Rufus and Bobby took care of her while Samuel just stands there. Makes me wonder if part of his soul was left behind too when he came back.

Now to the living. I loved the facial expression of Dean and Sam when they met up with Rufus, an old friend, again. There was so much genuine happiness in it. Had to rewatch that a few times.

And then there is something else I noticed. Sarah Gamble once said that she likes it how the guys can exchange a whole conversation just by looking at each other without saying a word. And in this episode we get a few of those silent conversations (I truly love those moments) e.g. when Samuel takes a bathrom break the boys just look at each other and then follow him or the moment before they kick the door in or before they tape Bobby up. It just shows how much unity there is between them now.

One thing I didn't get was the herpes remark. Did I miss something there?

I do admire the whole cast for pulling up this episode during a time when just about everybody was sick. I remember Jim Beaver tweeting something about how hard it was talking with a rough voice while his throat already hurt. Was thinking about that during his speach when he was taped to the chair.

Dito on the Grade A for this episode.
Marisol
# Marisol 2011-03-06 15:18
Maybe herpes was Dean's version of some ancient god name that he somehow picked up from the creature, like Hermes, who was a messenger of the gods or in this case goddess.
Alyssa
# Alyssa 2011-03-15 01:27
I assume the writers had Dean call the worm a “herpe,” because it was an unknown reptilian like creature, and “herpetologyâ € is the study of reptiles and amphibians. Presumably, they had Dean refer to the creature as a “herpe” so they could set up the joke of having Sam ask why Dean kept talking about “herpes” (the viral disease). In my opinion, having Dean making a reference to herpetology and having Sam getting it confused with “herpes” just didn’t work as a joke. It needed to be the other way around. It would have been funny if Sam had called the worm a “herpe” and Dean had delivered the line: “Why do you keep talking about herpes?” I might be totally wrong about why the writers had Dean call the worm a “herpe,” but if it wasn’t a reference to herpetology, then I can’t imagine what else they had in mind.
Julie
# Julie 2011-03-06 05:53
Wow Alice, loved this episode and this review.
For me it was like Asylum on speed, I was on pins all the way through it and, like after any one which moves/freaks me out I needed to discuss it with a friend who understands, much of everything I said to her is mirrored in everything you wrote.
I love Dean Winchester but there are times when he says and does things that makes me love him even more, some of his pearls of wisdom here were perfect. The speech about earning the right to be family and the graveyard scene were vintage Dean. I loved the family moments, the connection to Bobby and the unspoken bonds between Sam and Dean. Sam standing and moving in front of Dean when Samuel moved towards him, the way they both followed him after just a simple look at each other and the way they carried out the gut wrenching electrocution of the thing inside Bobby, no discusiion about what they were to do, words not necessary anymore, they are back as one mind! And, yes I also loved the synchronised door kicking too!
I must admit my jaw also dropped when Dean shot Gwen , I had warmed to her , she was the only Campbell I could stand, I did not see it coming either when Sam shot Samuel, or that it would be `Bobby` who ended Rufus. Rufus you will be missed ! I was so sorry that he had to be a casualty in this as I just loved the interactions between him and Bobby, I now wonder will we ever discover what actually happened in Omaha and how sad that poor Bobby can never get the forgiveness he so obviously needs from the only man who could give it to him.
How great that even in this episode, the only one this season so far to actually move me to tears, I still also laughed out loud, especially at the sight of the 4 of them checking for `goo` at the same time. I am also pleased that we do not have a cliffhanger like the last time to cope with over the next 6 weeks. (6 WEEKS!!!! I will never understand the US Tv scheduling !!!)
If you had not already guessed I so agree with the A for this one !
Thanks again Alice, Ju.
CitizenKane2
# CitizenKane2 2011-03-06 07:45
Just adding my small note here. It was a very intense episode (quite a change of pace from French Mistake !) and certainly, I am sadden by some of the deaths (Rufus, Gwen).
alysha
# alysha 2011-03-06 09:38
This episode explored family and relationships so well. The monster part was secondary, but isn't that really how Supernatural works, at least at its best. It's a show about family.

I LOVED Dean's speech at the end. He's Dean, pure of heart. It all just made me love him more!!!!

I loved Rufus' and Bobby's backstory that gave them both such depth. I'm glad show decided to use Rufus again after season 3. I'm not happy we had to let him go.

I think the Campbells turned out to be S6's "Roadhouse". Remember how Kripke hated it once he created it? I think the grandpappy resurection may have turned out that way too.

I'd easily give this episode an A also. :)
Melanie
# Melanie 2011-03-06 14:11
Season Six's Roadhouse -- The Campbells! I thought that too!!
paintgirl
# paintgirl 2011-03-06 11:02
Alice - thanks for another great review.
I second the lovefest for this episode. The brothers so in sync, so protective of each other, Bobby's "Thank God!" for Sam, the fast pace of the story and the many revelations - it's a definite A from me.
I'm a huge fan of the "we're all locked in together with something evil, who can we trust" horror trope (John Carpenter's "The Thing", anyone?). I would NOT have let Grampa be the last one to throw his weapon in the bag - I had a very nervous moment that he was not going to do it. So any shocking scenes, but none more than Sam shooting Samuel. Still pondering that...
Jim Beaver was AMAZING in the whole episode. It would have been so easy to overact the possessed scene but he aced it in such a chilling way.

I agree with the commenter who thought Eve's message was rather lame. Reminded me of Buffy facing the The First:

The First : Blah, blah, blah, blah, you're all going to die. You have no idea what you are up against!"
Buffy ; "Let me guess. Is it . . . . EVIL?" (eyeroll)

The boys have defeated Lucifer, after all. This is the big leagues, babygirl. Game on.
Nitewoman7
# Nitewoman7 2011-03-06 12:57
Just knew this would be an angst episode. Loved it though. Loved seeing Bobby and Rufus in suits. (Bobby is very spiffy in a suit! Is this the first time we’ve seen him in one? Don’st recall any other time. Loved the look and first words Dean said to Gramps “Welcome to next time”. Think it was a good idea Sam shot Samuel than Dean. BUT don’t see the point in killing Gwen and Samuel at this time. Samuel had important info he never shared and what was the point of bringing him back period? This story wasn’t finished. Sorry Gwen got caught in the middle. Another female bits the dust! And Rufus, don’t even get me started on him. Don’t see why he had to die either. Loved him from the start and Bobby and Rufus were funny and great together. Reminded me of grumpy old men Bobby and Dean, Bobby and Rufus were the same and that was funny. RIP Rufus I will truly miss you. BAD MOVE WRITERS another great opportunity missed (again). Was ROFLMAO in the scene of everyone checking to see if yuck worm was in their ears, hilarious. Regarding The Mother of All Monsters or as we know her as Eve, he character is a great idea and can certainly be “A Big Bad”, not crazy with the casting. IMHO she would have been much better as someone like “Mother Nature” only not as pleasing to look at but a more mature woman.
Jim Beaver was awesome. His performance as possessed Jim was terrific. Like the boys he hit it out of the park!
Alice I so agree with “a sexy moment” Dean and Sam kicking in the door together. What a wonderful way to show the boys are back on the same page without stating it. So much more effective.
Side note: the graveyard scene was wonderful but seeing the rain and knowing how cold it was from their breaths showing just how cold it was and knowing at that time Jim and Jensen were sicker than a dog at the time. Such trouper our guys are, I appreciate their sacrifices!
Here’s to “Hunting thinks, saving people, the family business”. I love the fact for most of us someone just has to say “Kahn” in reference to that creepy crawly thing coming out of the ear for us to remember and make the connection. I concur “Ugly Bug – icky!

Boo to hellatus again, but can’t wait for “Frontierland Episode.
nancyL
# nancyL 2011-03-06 15:04
I knew that Bobby was in a suit in a season 3 episode, and after a lot of research, I found it.

'The Magnificent Seven' Dean even comments on how good Bobby looks:

'BOBBY enters - in a suit. His hair is slicked back. DEAN and SAM look at him, impressed.

DEAN
Whoa.
(whistles)
Looking spiffy, Bobby. What were you,a g-man?

BOBBY
Attorney for the D.A.'s office...'

This comes from SupernaturalWik i. I love that webside.
Bevie
# Bevie 2011-03-06 13:37
I loved your review Alice. It helped me to understand more than I had at the time of viewing. (I have trouble hearing properly on the Friday night viewing, so have to wait until Wednesday when it is shown properly on Space to hear all the dialogue).

I think I was so shocked when Dean shot Gwen I failed to know he was possessed. Then just bang bang bang Sam shoots his Grandpa and Bobby knifes Rufus! Wow! Fast and furious action indeed!

Yeah, it sure reminded me of poor Chekov with that thingie in his ear. Yuck! And also that great X-Files eppy "Ice".

Loved loved the boys in sync again, finally, and I hope permanently. Warms the cockles of my heart. (What are cockles anyway?) Loved how Sam was being so protective of Dean for a change from the last few years. Made me love Sammy like I used to long ago.

The big downer for me was losing Rufus. I liked that snarky guy so very much and I will miss him so. Poor Bobby! :cry:

I so hope they bring back Gabriel as I love him to bits and he didn't deserve to die. Chuck/God should bring him back as a reward for trying to do the right thing. After all, he brought Cas back TWICE!!!

Anyway, a real thriller of an episode indeed.
Melanie
# Melanie 2011-03-06 14:21
I'll join the chorus too -- loved it!! I was shocked when Dean shot Gwen -- yaay to show for being able to do that to me again! (I didn't mind her being killed off - didn't warm up to her much and always figured her for a redshirt.)And then damn if show didn't hit me again when Sam shot Samuel. That really surprised me. I thought they would keep him around as a link/source of info about what Sam was up to for the year they were together. But oh well, guess not. Maybe the boys will go back and clear out the Campbell Compound and find something out.
And the last one - Rufus killed by possessed Bobby. I was kinda spoiled for that one. But by the time it happened, I thought maybe the spoilers were wrong . . . but bam! Show got me three times -- and I even knew about one ahead and they still got me!!
Excellent, excellent story execution.
nancyL
# nancyL 2011-03-06 14:40
Wow, I just read the review that Diana Steenbergen did over at tv.ign.com for this wonderful episode.

SHE GAVE IT A 7 OUT OF 10. :o

She just ranked on the whole episode, she concludes with:

'It is a little unfortunate that out of the last few episodes we had, we are sent into a break with the least entertaining one, but with only six episodes left in the season when the show returns, there is still hope that they will be able to pull the elements of the season together into a satisfying conclusion.'

Wow. I guess you can't please everybody.
Yvonne
# Yvonne 2011-03-06 16:46
Great episode and great review.

Won't reiterate all the awesomeness mentioned above, but since no one else has mentioned it, I thought the score of this was fantastic!! All through the warehouse? Wow. It just added a level of awesome that made my heart happy.

Oh and I think the show is trying to kill me. Seeing a pissed off Dean being pissed off for that long...thud. So much intensity!!! Mad looks good on Dean.

Am I the only one that thought when the boys cornered Samuel by the lockers, it was like something from an 80's Highschool movie? And why on earth would that make me so happy? Jas! Need therapy.

Question, what the heck is a con (Khan?) worm? Ya'll seem to know but I'm lost.

Loved how the episode gave me flashbacks to Croatoan and Fresh Blood. Felt Old School good! :-)

Did I mishear, or did Rufus call Bobby 'Beav'? Or maybe just 'B'?

And I found my heart pounding and gut twisting when WormSamuel said "I'm still Mary's Father". As in present. Not past. I'm totally reading into that. Right? RIGHT?!

Great ep. Sad bout Rufus dying. Loved the fingers in the ears.
orangecane
# orangecane 2011-03-06 23:17
re: "Khan worm"
From the movie Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan - a very similar-looking worm was put into Chekov's ear, controlling his mind. the SuperWiki has more info on this!
Pragmatic Dreamer
# Pragmatic Dreamer 2011-03-06 20:43
Thanks for the great recap! I loved the episode for all the reasons listed above, and had a few of the same, small quibbles.

1. I think it was sad that Gwen died. It would be an interesting change of pace to see a strong, female hunter survive for awhile. But, I understand the need to kill her. Once Supernatural has set up the Monster of the Week in the opening teaser, there aren't many RedShirts to kill off.. So, the writers end up killing off the slightly-recurr ing characters. I think Gwen would have been a good ocassional ally for the boys though. And I think she might have gleaned some useful tidbits of info from Grandpappy Samuel, which could have come in handy.

2. Didn't warm to the Grandpappy Samuel character, but his death leaves many questions. Especially, why was he brought back, and where is Mary, and how is all that going to play out? I understand the grief of a parent whose child has predeceased him. Except, he actually died before Mary.. at least the first time! Maybe if he'd had a few soft, emotional moments (aside from the wistful gazing at Mary's photograph), I might have liked him more. He also didn't seem eager to truly get to know the Boys. He seem to genuinely know and like Mark and Christian and Gwen, but not really Sam, and certainly not Dean. Yet, he had been above ground for the same time as Sam, so he could only have know those other 3 for the same period (and he can't have known them previously because they weren't even born when died!)

I also think it's sad that all that hunter lore died with him. Who knows what cures and remedies will remain a mystery now? He's kind of like the Brazilian rainforest!

3. Still in mourning over Rufus. He was a great character. Again, I think the story was served by his death, but not necessarily the Show. He & Bobby had great chemistry, and that would have been fun to keep watching.

4. I'm not totally convinced that Sam killed Grandpappy Samuel just because he thought he was possessed. I think that was part of the reason. I think he was also really, REALLY scared of what Grandpappy was going to tell him. I think Sam knows he did more than a few terrible things. I think he's also realizing the fact that if he could hurt or kill innocent people, he was also capable of hurting Dean. I think he's already surmised that he did something unthinkable, unimaginable to Dean and he's really starting to worry just what that was. He can sense the elephant in the room. I think he killed Samuel out of a sense of self-preservati on. Not so much because he was worried about the Khan worm, but because he was more worried about what Samuel might tell him. He was afraid Samuel's stories could make the wall fall. He wants to know that stuff, but he's also terrified by what could happen with that knowledge.

5. I think they should have said a few words for Samuel and Gwen. They were part of the hunter community and their deaths - anyone's death - deserves to be noted. That too keeps us human.
BagginsDVM
# BagginsDVM 2011-03-06 22:02
I give this one an "A" too. It really had me on the edge of my seat during the 1st viewing, & reminded me of "Ice" from the X-Files too.
I am really going to miss Rufus. The dynamic between him & Bobby was so much fun, & he had great rapport with Dean & Sam too.
I agree that the whole Campbell clan storyline was wasted if it has truly come to an end with the deaths of Gwen & Gramps. There are a lot of questions I still had there.
Dean's speech about family & forgiveness... well, you're right, Alice, just when I don't think I can love that man any more than I already do, he goes & says that!
Jas
# Jas 2011-03-07 06:44
I’m a bit late to the party, Alice, but I didn’t want to read any reviews before I finished writing my Open Couch, to keep the impression I got from the episode fresh and without any outer influence...

I liked your review a lot! This was indeed a classic monster –horror story, and I have to admit, I don’t know the Wrath of Khan (not exactly a Star Trek aficionado here, well, I watched it occasionally but could not say that I know the lore of it… my fave episode of the classic Enterprise is Trouble with Tribbles, though…). To me it had more an X-Files feel to it, and that made it especially creepy.
The idea that a few people are trapped in one place with a killer around is wonderfully spooky (just like the Agatha Christie novel where the episode borrowed its title from). Loved it!

You are quite right, Supernatural gives another statement on their approach to Christianity, and, though I am Catholic, I like their twisted ideas a lot. If you can’t take religion with a bit of humour, something is very wrong.
Somehow I don’t believe that Eve actually is Eve, the first woman (though I would love Ardeospina to be happy about her idea back then!), it would be a tad lame to go there… My personal favourite theory is that she is one of the creator goddesses of old, and since she is supposed to be around for 10000 years, well.. that would make her younger than ‘the first woman’, because man has been around longer.
Ah, theorizing (is that a word?) is such fun, really. ;-)

I am not really fond of this hiatus, since this curious cat is waiting to see what will happen, but on the other hand, this break will allow me to finish some articles I’ve been dying to work on. Not the worst deal for this gal here.

Thanks again for this labour of love, Alice! Love, Jas


P.S. looks like I'm going to watch The Wrath of Khan soon, you inspired me. If only to meet Bones again. Love that doc.
MisterGlass
# MisterGlass 2011-03-09 11:08
Nice review! You touched on all the points that struck me.

The loss of the Campbells, without any more revelations about their purpose and history, does seem odd. I never expected that Sam would be the one to kill Samuel. On some level I thought it would be Bobby, defending the boys. But the family bond he showed with the brothers in this episode, and that they showed with him, was so reassuring. And pouring that last shot of Blue Label for Rufus was a great touch.

Dean's "clean slate" speech was a great bookend. It reminds me just how much he has matured in the last two seasons. And maturity has added to him as character. I read a commentary on Wrath of Khan (I'm afraid I don't remember the author or site) that suggested that the best thing the Star Trek franchise did was give Kirk glasses, because it meant that the characters were finally allowed to grow and change, and even age. It added to the humanity. The character progress in the last few episodes of Supernatural reminds me of that. It feels like the brothers have grown up, and that it is nothing to be ashamed of.

There were others at the Campbell compound, so maybe Sam and Dean will still encounter a few cousins. Or perhaps they will finally have a chance to go through Samuel's office uninterrupted. If I remember correctly he had a hunting journal of his own that could be useful.

But of course now we're in Hellatus. :sigh:
Robin Vogel
# Robin Vogel 2011-03-19 17:21
I also feel that the storyline with the Campbells was wasted.

Alice, I was wondering if Dean's comment about forgiveness extended to his grandfather, too? Knowing how desperately Samuel wanted to bring back Mary, didn't Dean have any empathy for his grandfather after what he himself did to bring back Sam?

I have no idea what the original intention was, but killing Gwen off this hastily, a fascinating character with so little development, really bothers me. Gwen was cool, seemed fun and funny. Seemed a waste of time to introduce her and red-shirt her this way.

Mitch Pileggi, introduced with such fanfare as Mary's father and Deanna's husband back in "In the Beginning," deserved better in his resurrection than this.

Love,
Robin