A human, angel, and vampire walk into a bar...tell me if you've heard this one.  Sorry, its an Edlund script.  Might as well start with a joke. 

Fine, "Blood Brother" was one of his heavier scripts, but it goes to prove you're never sure what you're gonna get from Ben except a well written story.  It saddens me that we haven't gotten a real screwball one from him in a while, but as Supernatural's most competent writer by far, someone has to carry the weight of strong character development.  Besides, I know someday Jeremy Carver is going to cave and let Ben do that episode of Sam and Dean on a spaceship.  


The episode at hand though is "Blood Brother" so what was brought to the table?  For one, the wedge between Sam and Dean is quite deeper this week. So much so, they're both at wits end with one another.  I was half expecting them to wrestle over the Toblerone that Dean took on the road.  This is the most fire and emotion we've seen from Sam all season, and Dean is letting that grudge against Sam over not trying to find him really fester now.  He's still rubbing it in, but now its with far more anger.  "Last I counted you took a year off from the job. I need a day!"  Bitchface alert!  Oh yeah, Sam is mad.  Conflict is imminent and Benny's call is just the right thing needed to blow this thing wide open.  

Fan favorite Guy Bee is the director, and there's just something about Guy's work that resonates with paired with an Edlund script.  The first stunning visual is Dean's first flashback to Purgatory.  The very jagged memories of fighting monsters in Purgatory all to Benny's eerie whistling to "In the Hall of The Mountain King"  (credit to Supernatural Wiki for the info) is top notch film making.  That wiki page BTW shares that Guy Bee said it was an homage to the Fritz Lang movie M.  

Another shot I absolutely loved is the off camera viewpoint of two vampires pursuing Dean in the house around the hallway corner.  All that we see of the encounter is a vampire head rolling across the hallway, then Dean emerging unscathed.  Classic!  The best shot though is the closing one, but more on that later.  

I do admit this episode was really hard to hear.  I didn't pickup on a lot of what was said by Benny until the rewatch.  Once I heard though, I was thrilled over such amazing dialogue and ended up feeling sorry for Benny in the end.  As a matter of fact, we got a story with several characters.   

Castiel

Castiel!  Nothing thrilled me more than seeing him do the soul sucking death grip on a monster that was wielding one of those Purgatory axes.  Would Castiel have died if he was stabbed by one of those things?  Isn't an angel blade the only thing that can kill an angel?  Another thing that thrilled me, Castiel is verbalizing things we are wondering in our mind.  Sort of.  Remember, this is Edlund writing, and Cas has always been big on words.  "It does present a curious curl in the metaphysics, doesn't it? If you murder a monster in monster heaven, where does it go?"  

Castiel is a beacon for all sort of attacks, including Leviathan.  Dean takes care of one, and Benny takes care of another, just in time to save Castiel from the Levi bite.  Dean watches this and that is likely the point that Benny starts to win him over.  I have one question though.  How is chopping of a Leviathan's head killing them in Purgatory?  Isn't that where Dick Roman went when he died?  Dick's death rendered them vulnerable to death by head chops in both worlds?  I'll put that in the "curl of metaphysics" department.  

Benny and Dean

Ben Edlund already spilled the "Vampirates" line at Comic Con, but it still tickled me to hear Dean say it.  Dean was obviously thinking that Benny had done something horrible as he was driving up to Washington, and as soon as he found out Benny was seeking revenge, he was all in.  Dean wanted to text Sam, but changed his mind.  It wasn't until he needed a vampire distraction, like a loudly protesting Sam going nuts on the cell phone over Dean being in a vamps nest alone, that Dean decided to call him.  Does that make him clever or mean?  Both probably.  It does show that Dean still wants his brother to have his back, but is having enough doubts where he's talking himself out of it.  He's unable to give Sam a chance.  This ties into last weeks episode, "Bitten," when Dean is caught on camera chastising Sam for being out of practice.   

Benny is a perfect parallel to Sam, circa season four.  Benny maybe a monster, but he longs for his humanity again.  He just wants his revenge against the vampire that turned him, and then plans to walk away from it all and live a normal life.  Sadly, the memory of the woman he cherished, Andrea, the memory that got him through the ordeal of Purgatory, wasn't for real.  His "old man" turned her and gave her high ranking in the nest.  She became a savage, just as bad as the others.  Considering it was her that helped him find his human side before he was killed, he's devastated to see her become this, and loses any hope he had for himself.  Foreshadowing for Sam's plight perhaps, or is it only a parallel to Sam of the past?  


Dean kills Andrea to save Benny, but the question is, has he truly saved Benny?  He even asks Dean why he resurrected him.  He knows Dean could have dumped his soul anywhere.  "I don't know what I am."  So, what does Benny do now?  Will he embrace that human side or the monster within?  I sense this is where his friendship with Dean will become important.  

Sam and Amelia

Sam is worrying me a bit.  He's not as stable as he seems.  Why in the world was he checking Amelia's credit card statements?  "Not stalking, concerned," he tells himself.  No, that's obsessive.  Didn't he walk out on her?  Perhaps she's the one that told him to go?  His flashbacks involved their awkward encounters at a motel where both were staying and where Sam had become the handyman.  Amelia thought he was creepy.  It wasn't until his dog, aptly named "Dog" (he should have tried d-o-g.  Say it out loud) runs into her open room and they have a chance to talk.  She's been there 3 months, but hasn't gotten to know anyone or tried to put down roots.  Mostly though, she has no idea where she's going.  "That's because you have no one," Sam tells her.  They've just found something painfully in common.  

It's Sam's reactions with Dean though that's the most troubling.  Dean's been in lots of dicey situations before.  Then why was Sam having a borderline freak out over Dean going away for a day and then being in a vampire nest?  He was quite agitated on the drive up to Washington.  Pushing his foot on the accelerator was the greatest tell.  When he stood on the dock, seeing that Dean was okay, he was angrier though, not relieved.   

So what's up with Sam?  I sense that's what we'll find out in future flashbacks, or maybe even next week, but his extreme reaction reminds me of the season premiere when he hit the dog.  He's not alright.  Losing Dean again must have had a terrible effect on him.  It's in a way "Mystery Spot" all over again.  Just how many times can Sam endure losing Dean?  That ordeal just about broke him.  It's breaking him here too.  

That sets up the AMAZING closing scene and reminds us under no uncertain terms that Guy Bee knows the strengths of the actors he's working with.  The art of letting Sam and Dean sell an whole scene with nonverbal glances was lost for most of season seven ("Hello Cruel World", another Edlund/Bee collaboration, being a notable exception) and is soooo welcome here.  

Sam angrily waits on the dock for Dean.  He sees Sam isn't too happy and gets angry himself, flinging his items out of the boat without even looking at him.  Sam notices Dean's passenger so Benny gets out, and introduces himself to Sam with a handshake, telling him he heard a lot about him.  When Sam gets the cold feeling from Benny's hand, his livid glance slowly turns to a stoic Dean, and then back to Benny as he calmly reaches for his weapon.  Dean's face is shot from a low angle and he subtly shakes his head, calling Sam off.  Sam lets go of Benny's hand.  Benny understands.  "I can see you two have a lot to talk about."  He walks away as Dean flashes him a look of approval, then brothers stare at each other in defiance.  It closes with Sam's angry stare.  Just Wow.  You can cut that tension with a knife.  

 So what can we take away from this ending, other than Sam and Dean are fist fighting in the preview for next week?  Dean just made his choice, and it's not Sam.  In a way, Sam is again alone, which seems to be a big problem for Sam these days.  This is reminiscent of Sam choosing Ruby over Dean in season four.  This is different though.  Dean isn't running off with Benny, yet anyway.  The brothers are still sticking with each other for now.  The commitment to find and protect Kevin is the only thing keeping them together.  Now a big part of the story becomes seeing how the fractured bond survives the process.    

Coming up next week, Garth plays marriage counselor.  Hey, they could do worse.  I give "Blood Brother" an A- overall, and I'm tagging it as the best of the season so far.  This show sorely needed a strong character study, and Mr. Edlund once again delivered at the right time.    

 

Comments  

Bamboo24
# Bamboo24 2012-11-02 01:00
Excellent review! You hit all the major notes of this great episode. Thanks for sharing the name of the song Benny whistled in Purgatory - man what a kicka** scene that was!

I think your analysis of Sam was spot on. Another thing I noticed was how 'jumpy' he was - noticing the fly that buzzed against the outdoor motel light, bothered by the sound of broken air conditioners and fans. I seriously think this is a subtle, indirect reference to his lingering mental struggles after the hallucinations of S7. If it's not intentional, then it's certainly plausible. And you're right - Sam's reaction to Dean's situation bordered on a panic attack. Anyone who refers to Sam as being uncaring or detached would be hard pressed to go against this evidence. It was very obvious that he was afraid of losing his brother again, and I appreciate your analysis here:

[H]is extreme reaction reminds me of the season premiere when he hit the dog. He’s not alright. Losing Dean again must have had a terrible effect on him. It’s in a way “Mystery Spot” all over again. Just how many times can Sam endure losing Dean? That ordeal just about broke him. It’s breaking him here too.

Another thing I noticed in this episode regarding Sam - his protectiveness. The small gesture of taking Amelia's keys out of her door before leaving was very touching, IMO. He's very giving of himself. He cares that the motel owner is ill and tries to encourage his son. He picks up on the fact that Amelia's bitterness is linked to something traumatic, that they have that in common.

This episode had themes of empathy and protectiveness all through it.

Another thing I noticed was how Benny described life in his nest. It was parallel to Dean's life with his dad and brother and what he viewed his role in the family as. Something else they have in common. I think Benny's problem will be finding a way to not lose himself in this new world that doesn't seem real to him after Purgatory. His fatalistic manner when speaking to Dean seemed poignant to me - it's a struggle to be a morally upstanding monster. Benny has no one on earth but Dean, it would appear. And the loss of his girl, his hope, well - could it result in him going over the edge? We'll have to wait and see.

On a separate note, I disagree with notions that Dean is choosing Benny over Sam. Why must everything be mutually exclusive? Dean can have a brother and a friend, and vice versa. Of course, the brothers have to get over this immature co-dependent thing they've had going on for forever. :P But, choosing between them? They aren't even in the same ballpark of a choice. Benny's a close friend, a brother in arms, but he's not family. Dean even has distrust there, as evidenced by his question as soon as Benny said he screwed up - "what did you do?" Bottom Line: Just because the brothers are at odds, doesn't make them any less family.

All that being said, I loved the episode. Thought it was superbly written, visually stunning, well-directed and acted, etc. I too would give it an A. :)
mer
# mer 2012-11-02 06:33
You noted how Sam took the keys out of Amelia's door for her and that's good but I am more wondering about why he suddenly started to take her food out of her shopping bag...strange.

Another strange thing, I had brought up the point elsewhere, is that I think there is something more with the dog (I'm not a dog expert but I thought 'huh?" when the dog ran into Amelia's room and made himself at home on her couch).

Definitely more going on with these two than now meets the eye.
E
# E 2012-11-02 08:38
Hi mer,
Sam started taking Amelia's shopping out of the bag? That IS a weird thing to do. I didn't notice that, so I'll have to go back and watch again. There is a strange vibe over everything in Sam's flahsbacks. Considering that he keeps referring to this time as his perfect 'normal' none of it seems normal at all. Everything is layered in "weird," from the saturated color, to the odd phrasing of the lines ("That's why you are here in this place" ). I am surprised that so many fans find this storyline boring; I think it's fascinating, and compelling. Maybe some are tired of Sam being the mystery, and I can certainly understand that, but I am quite enjoying this subtle storyline, its a nice contrast to the in-your-face obviousness of Dean's story.

And at the risk of starting something, once again all of the flack between the brothers seems to be resting at Sam's door. Yes, as it stands now, he didn't look for Dean, and Dean absolutely has a right to be upset about that and about Kevin as well. He seems more upset now than at the start of the season, like it has been festering in him. A very true reaction and one that I do not blame Dean for in the least. But has anyone else noticed that Dean's infamous "little brother radar" seems to be totally and completely missing? He hasn't asked Sam about his year off at all. He seems to just be content to bust Sam's chops without asking for any details. Can't he see how off Sam is? We, the viewers can, why can't he? Yes, I realize that this has something to do with Deans own PTSD, but its like Dean has forgotten his moral imperative, his prime directive, and I think that Sam is floundering a bit because of it. Just because he is angry with Sam doesn't mean that he doesn't or shouldn't care about him, but I am not feeling that from Dean at the moment. Sam may want to pretend he's all independent, but it's been shown time and again that he does not do well without Dean. He makes questionable decisions, and his more alarming character traits (his OCD and his ruthlessness) are allowed to come to the forefront.

Not only do I want to learn more about Sam (although I am quite satisfied with the progression of the storyline at present, and am willing to be patient) I also want Dean to think about Sam a little bit more also, to notice that he's not OK.
Bamboo24
# Bamboo24 2012-11-02 08:54
Quote:
Not only do I want to learn more about Sam (although I am quite satisfied with the progression of the storyline at present, and am willing to be patient) I also want Dean to think about Sam a little bit more also, to notice that he's not OK.
I agree. They're clearly both messed up, but Dean is the one being extremely abrasive, secretive, and detached. It's in-character and understandable, all things considered, but still disturbing. And up until now Sam has just kind of taken it without responding (which I give him great credit for). But now that he knows about Benny, I'm sure things will quickly come to a head, and they will get their issues out in the open. I think we should be prepared for things to get much worse before they get better - as that is per usual with good storytelling, and especially Supernatural.
KELLY
# KELLY 2012-11-02 10:16
Alright you guys are making like the Sam parts more, which is really the only problem I had with the episode. I already liked the angry lady line, the fact the he was connecting with people again and his panic at Dean's situation.

I thought that him looking her up on line was just suppose to show concern and that he was in love. But now that I think about it- credit cards? that IS a bit stalkerish. Oh at the Chicago Con, Jared was talking about changing a line he didn't like when he was sitting in front of a computer by himself in this next episode and them making him say it in ADR anyway- I didn't think it was bad, so I wonder if this was his or the one he changed it to. If they definitely wanted the stalker line in then maybe that is the reason.

@E That's true about the little brother radar, although I have to admit he didn't show too many signs of having it last year. But this year, just coming back from Purgatory with his anger with Sam, it would make sense that he was missing the signs.

So if we are getting a more of a Mystery Spot Sam, that could be extremely interesting. I could love that. But WHY DIDN'T HE LOOK FOR DEAN? I know I'm like a freakin' dog with a bone -sorry. And I don't mind the subtly in the storytelling as long as it's going somewhere. I had a lot of faith last season and felt a little burned by it so I probably just need to let that go and deal with this season on its own merits.

I didn't have trouble hearing or understanding Ty that could be because my brother always keeps the volume at earpounding levels anyway or maybe because I grew up listening to similar slow drawls, though they were from small town Missouri there a similar cadence.
Grace232
# Grace232 2012-11-02 12:27
Kelly - if he was talking about this episode, I am betting it was the "wascally wabbit" line.
KELLY
# KELLY 2012-11-02 12:31
OH YEAH! I bet your right. I bow to your greater logic. Although I didn't mind that either, but can see how Jared would.
tia
# tia 2012-11-02 17:47
yea i agree-i think jared was talking about the wascally wabbit line-that is so not a winchester line.
emmau
# emmau 2012-11-02 10:47
I agree that Dean is very abrasive at the moment, as well as secretive and a bit detached. But Sam is also extremely detached from Dean, and he's not particularly forthcoming either. All he's told Dean is that he found things he never had before in his year away and that he wants to go back to it. So Dean is taking him at his word. Should Dean's little brother radar be up at that? Maybe, but I hardly think that's a sign that Dean doesn't care about Sam anymore.

If that can be said about Dean, however, I'd say the same could be said about Sam. Dean point-blank told him that he's not the same guy he was before purgatory and has shown signs of being off. Sam isn't pursuing that any more than Dean is--on the contrary, he's trying to convince Dean that he'd be happier without anyone to answer to as recently as 8.3. He doesn't seem very concerned about Dean's damage at this point, any more than Dean is Sam's, but Dean was up front in stating that he's different. Sam's the one in denial, insisting he's the same guy when he's clearly not. Should Dean see through that? Maybe, but Sam's not doing any reading between the lines here either.

So I think it's much more accurate to say that neither boy is really able to look beyond their own damage at the moment to see what's truly going on with the other. I don't think that burden should be placed solely on Dean or Sam, as it's an issue they share equally. I similarly am hoping for a clearing of the air in the next episode, and I think there are signs that it's there. When Sam loses his temper, he tends to let all of his issues out at once, and Dean will finally drop the "You can't quit hunting" shield and deal with what's really hurting him--the fact that Sam for all intents and purposes appears to have immediately given up on his brother after he disappeared. So getting those problems out in the open will be a good step, I think.
Bamboo24
# Bamboo24 2012-11-02 11:10
Quote:
So I think it's much more accurate to say that neither boy is really able to look beyond their own damage at the moment to see what's truly going on with the other. I don't think that burden should be placed solely on Dean or Sam, as it's an issue they share equally. I similarly am hoping for a clearing of the air in the next episode, and I think there are signs that it's there. When Sam loses his temper, he tends to let all of his issues out at once, and Dean will finally drop the "You can't quit hunting" shield and deal with what's really hurting him--the fact that Sam for all intents and purposes appears to have immediately given up on his brother after he disappeared. So getting those problems out in the open will be a good step, I think.
I agree.
st50
# st50 2012-11-02 20:11
Quote:
Quote:
So I think it's much more accurate to say that neither boy is really able to look beyond their own damage at the moment to see what's truly going on with the other. I don't think that burden should be placed solely on Dean or Sam, as it's an issue they share equally. I similarly am hoping for a clearing of the air in the next episode, and I think there are signs that it's there. When Sam loses his temper, he tends to let all of his issues out at once, and Dean will finally drop the "You can't quit hunting" shield and deal with what's really hurting him--the fact that Sam for all intents and purposes appears to have immediately given up on his brother after he disappeared. So getting those problems out in the open will be a good step, I think.
I agree.
Yes! I am ready for this. Hopefully next episode, but I somehow think they'll draw it out longer.
KELLY
# KELLY 2012-11-02 12:03
I wasn't criticizing Dean (ok maybe a little about his detachment in S7 for no obvious reason. Although that was more of a criticizing of the writing than Dean). I've really liked what they are doing with Dean this year. Yeah, he's a bit of a dick sometimes but it's understandable considering what he's been though. And like I said I can fully understand him not pick up on Sam's subtle signals or asking about his year, since the fact that he didn't look for him is still a sticking point for Dean. So far I recognize Dean. Yeah I think he's stuck on warrior mode, but he's just the darker version of himself.

My impression is that Sam has noticed the changes in Dean and is simply letting them all slide. Now Sam's behavior is definitely still a mystery to me this season, so I could be easily misinterpreting that.
emmau
# emmau 2012-11-02 12:14
Maybe Sam is noticing all the changes in Dean, but is ignoring them really any different than what Dean's doing? We can call it letting them slide, but it still amounts to the same thing. He's no more able to understand and deal with what's happened in Dean in the last year than Dean is with Sam. Sam's not asking about Dean's time in purgatory, and Dean's not asking about Sam's year of having something he's never had before. So again, I think it's pretty easy to see that they're both equally having trouble adjusting back to the hunting life with each other.

I wasn't referring to you when it came to criticizing Dean--I was responding to the posts of someone above that basically said that Dean doesn't care about Sam this year. I think he's had his faults and his share of dickish behavior this season, but I think the bottom line is that Dean still wants to be with Sam. I don't see how that means he doesn't care about Sam. I agree that he's stuck in warrior mode at this point, though I'm not sure how "dark" he really is here. For me, though, it's hard to criticize Dean for being detached while ignoring Sam's detachment here.
KELLY
# KELLY 2012-11-02 12:28
Oh no I definitely believe Dean loves about Sam. (And for that matter that Sam loves Dean-although there hasn't been a whole lot of evidence of that this season). And again wasn't criticizing although can see were calling him a dick looks like that (even that was more his treatment of Kevin than Sam). But I completely understand were Dean is coming from this year. I can understand him being hurt by Sam not looking for him. I can understand his darker outlook. But by dark I don't mean evil, just militaristic to the extreme, more like his dad. I don't want him to remain this way but I'm fully enjoying exploring that aspect of his personality.

Again it's Sam's reactions to Dean (other than the panic in this episode) that I AM having trouble understanding this season. But I'm still hoping that future episodes will make them more clear.
percysowner
# percysowner 2012-11-02 13:35
Quote:
Maybe Sam is noticing all the changes in Dean, but is ignoring them really any different than what Dean's doing?
I went to the transcript for episode one www.supernaturalwiki.com/index.php?title=8.01_We_Need_To_Talk_About_Kevin_%28transcript%29. It contains both Sam and Dean's reactions when Dean returned from Purgatory.

The dialog in the first episode indicates that Sam DID ask Dean about Purgatory, what happened there, how was Dean doing, what it was like. Dean was deflecting. Sam knows Dean well enough to know that he won't open up until he is ready.

After Sam tell Dean about changing his life Dean reacts with anger (understandable about the not look) guilt (how could Sam let people die) and dismissing Sam's choices (Did you put your peanut butter in her chocolate is trying to reduce Sam's relationship to mere sex).

Both boys are damaged and not responding to the others pain, but Sam did at least make an initial attempt to find out about Dean's year in Purgatory and to get him to talk about his emotions. Dean wanted to know as little as he could about Sam's year. Sam wanted to tell Dean what had happened and Dean was unable to listen, only to impose his view of what happened to Sam on Sam's story.

Neither one is perfect and the gap is there and growing, but Sam did at least try. Perhaps he should push more, but Dean was like this after Hell and Dean didn't open up until he was ready.
emmau
# emmau 2012-11-02 14:40
Gigantic quote blocks aside, I still feel that Sam and Dean are in the same place. They each know basically what happened to each other, but they don't know a lot and neither one is really digging. But the fact is Sam isn't doing any more than Dean to try to mend fences here, so I don't feel like he's a victim in this scenario. Both boys equally share the blame and the pain.

Yes, Dean only gave Sam the bare minimum about purgatory, and he always takes a while to talk. I still don't see Sam showing much interest or concern about Dean's changes or behavior at the moment, certainly not much more than Dean's shown Sam. In 8.3, when he was trying to sell Dean on being happier hunting alone I found myself wondering if Sam knew Dean at all. He certainly wasn't taking Dean's damage into account there. And that's fine, because he's human and he's flawed, but the poor communication and projecting isn't all on Dean's side here.

Sam told Dean the minimum about his year off, and Dean reacted with anger. But that's normal for Dean, and he usually finds his way past that to find more common ground with Sam. It's taking him longer at this point, but I have no doubt that Dean wants Sam to be happy in the end. I also think Sam wants Dean to be happy, but I don't think he really understands what that entails any more than Dean understands what making Sam happy will entail at this point.

So I think I'll agree to disagree that Sam's one "What was purgatory like?" somehow puts him miles ahead of Dean in the connecting to your brother mission.
percysowner
# percysowner 2012-11-02 15:11
I apologize for offending you by my gigantic quote blocks. I was trying to make certain that I was not going by my memory of episode one and to provide concrete reasons for my belief. I will withdraw from this conversation since my opinions are unwelcome to you.
emmau
# emmau 2012-11-02 15:31
I'm sorry for offending you. It wasn't my intention., and I shouldn't have been flippant about the quote blocks. I full out apologize there.

However, I never said your opinion wasn't welcome--I simply thought we were debating the issues at hand. I didn't doubt your understanding of episode one, I was just offering a different interpretation.

So again, I apologize for my impoliteness and will leave it there.
percysowner
# percysowner 2012-11-02 18:09
I understand. We all say things without meaning to offend anyone. I do enjoy exchanging ideas. Apology accepted.
Bamboo24
# Bamboo24 2012-11-02 15:17
Quote:
Dean was deflecting. Sam knows Dean well enough to know that he won't open up until he is ready.

After Sam tell Dean about changing his life Dean reacts with anger (understandable about the not look) guilt (how could Sam let people die) and dismissing Sam's choices (Did you put your peanut butter in her chocolate is trying to reduce Sam's relationship to mere sex).

Both boys are damaged and not responding to the others pain, but Sam did at least make an initial attempt to find out about Dean's year in Purgatory and to get him to talk about his emotions. Dean wanted to know as little as he could about Sam's year. Sam wanted to tell Dean what had happened and Dean was unable to listen, only to impose his view of what happened to Sam on Sam's story.


Well said. I agree.
st50
# st50 2012-11-02 20:14
Quote:
Sam's not asking about Dean's time in purgatory, and Dean's not asking about Sam's year of having something he's never had before.
... At least that we've seen. Remember that in 8.04 the kids said they were talking about their year apart. I wish we knew what they'd been saying. (Can you tell I really hated 'Bitten'? For many reasons.)
emmau
# emmau 2012-11-02 20:43
That was such a tease of a line, wasn't it? A throwaway that really only leaves the audience going, "Why aren't we watching that conversation?"

*And I kind of liked Bitten, but yeah.
wunderpat
# wunderpat 2012-11-04 16:25
Dean was seriously depressed last season. Hence the drinking and behavior changes. Extreme apathy is a common sign as is no longer caring about things that were formerly important to you. Both the writing and the acting clearly indicated his mental state. So it is no surprise that he was unable to put his own serious mental health issues aside to care for his little brother at that point.

From my perspective I truly hope that Carver plans to course correct this dysfunctional relationship. It is bad enough that Dean lost his childhood having to put Sam's needs before his own. They are grown men at this point. Dean needs to learn to put his own needs first. I think he has from a combination of purgatory clearing his head, and Sam having no problem putting himself first when the rest of TFW and a teenage boy needed him. I also think the comparison between Sam and Benny includes the fact that they are both brothers to Dean. Sam may be the real brother, but Benny is the true brother that Dean can truly count on to have his back, return his loyalty and affection, and to support him out of friendship and respect - no questions asked. I think the hunting scenes in purgatory and earth emphasize just how sympatico Benny and Dean are.
percysowner
# percysowner 2012-11-02 09:28
For the record, I don't find the Amelia story to be boring. I don't know how it can be boring because until episode five, it has been almost non-existent. I'm frustrated that we're not seeing MORE of Amelia, so we can understand Sam's reactions.

Yes, at this point in the story Sam is being portrayed as being in the wrong for not looking for Dean and if there is going to be a switch up, it will happen later in the season. However, that has not gone well in years past and with Benny suddenly being the newer, shinier version of Sam, I worry that yet again, Sam's story will be forgotten.

And you are right, Dean has never asked about what happened to Sam during the year he was gone, that we have seen. Not only is his Sammy radar broken, but his interest in Sam is at an all time low as well. It may be understandable but with the show normally being in Dean's POV, it makes it very difficult to see what is going on with Sam other than disappointing Dean, AGAIN.
Sharon
# Sharon 2012-11-02 10:10
Amelia comes across as the acid queen right now no idea why damaged or not couldnt Sam have a character that was kind .
And then we have Benny the friendly vampire who has a sad past who although seems to mumble at the moment come's across as genuine .
Ann
# Ann 2012-11-02 10:22
I don't find the Amelia story boring either. It's sad how many people (at least on another website) want to see the character get killed instead of having the interest or the patience to get to know what's motivating her. The whole thing reminds me of the Bella hatred. Bella didn't become sympathetic until the last ep. she was in when they finally revealed how her past influenced her present behavior. I hope some of the fan negativity doesn't cause the producers to kill the Amelia character off prematurely.
etheldred
# etheldred 2012-11-02 10:32
I hope they don't! I'm finding Benny extremely bland, to be honest. Amelia isn't a hundred percent likable, but that's a plus in my book. Sam and Dean don't always express their damage in likable ways, either. With Benny, I don't know if they are setting up the nice vamp thing to lead to an eventual betrayal or to go with the "some monsters are good" thing, but neither twist would be very twisty and interesting to me. Amelia's lack of a plotty role is actually making her characterizatio n work better for me, I think, where Benny feels too much set up to play one of a set of roles.
Katiki
# Katiki 2012-11-02 12:08
But why write a character who is only likable in the very last episode they are in? I blame not the fans, but the writers. The fans can only react to what they see on the screen now, and if the character is unlikable now, then they will be disliked. You can't ask viewers to wait whole seasons before they make up their mind about a character. If they are writing Amelia as a bitch now, people will react to her like she's a bitch.

And sure the boys don't always react well to their own damage, but we know they risk their lives to save other people on a daily basis, we know they are brave and caring and selfless and have tons of qualities that outweigh what flaws they might have. We don't know that about Amelia. And I guarantee you that whatever damage Amelia has, Sam has suffered a million times more damage, and yet he's not verbally abusing her. So what excuse does she have to verbally abuse him?

And people did not suddenly start liking Bela when they found out about her tragic past. It was too late. They were just happy she was gone. (I personally got a kick out of Bela, but I could see why other people didn't like her. )
emmau
# emmau 2012-11-02 12:23
I was one of those people who didn't like Bela, and you're right, by the time they brought in her tragic past I didn't care. For me, a character that shows up for multiple episodes to make your heroes look like fools and generally behave like a smug, superior sociopath isn't fun. Trying to counter all of that with an 11th hour Lifetime movie past doesn't work.

The problem for Amelia is pretty much exactly what you're stating for me. I don't think it's too late to make her sympathetic, but I don't understand the point of presenting her as such a heifer at the beginning. It's not charming or endearing. Yes, Sam and Dean have their prickly times, and they both have flaws. But you're right in saying that their heroism and good points outweight that. Why present all the negative with no positive upfront, only revealing her good points later? I don't see how this approach helps her character.
lala2
# lala2 2012-11-02 21:55
Quote:
But why write a character who is only likable in the very last episode they are in? I blame not the fans, but the writers. The fans can only react to what they see on the screen now, and if the character is unlikable now, then they will be disliked. You can't ask viewers to wait whole seasons before they make up their mind about a character. If they are writing Amelia as a bitch now, people will react to her like she's a bitch.

And sure the boys don't always react well to their own damage, but we know they risk their lives to save other people on a daily basis, we know they are brave and caring and selfless and have tons of qualities that outweigh what flaws they might have. We don't know that about Amelia. And I guarantee you that whatever damage Amelia has, Sam has suffered a million times more damage, and yet he's not verbally abusing her. So what excuse does she have to verbally abuse him?

And people did not suddenly start liking Bela when they found out about her tragic past. It was too late. They were just happy she was gone.
Oh, I couldn't agree more w/you! They introduced Amelia in a very cliche, bitchy way. Guess what writers? Not every relationship starts off w/the people hating each other or one person being unnecessarily rude.

I don't like Amelia, and nothing about this past episode changed my opinion about her. They haven't written her in a likeable way so it's not surprising she's not liked. I'm not sure why Sam spent as much time w/her as he did. He should have gotten the dog and left.

I hated Bela and was happy when she died. There was nothing fun or interesting, IMO, about her. Kripke wrote Sam and Dean as clueless morons around her. It just wasn't fun to watch. I wasn't on the boards at the time but remember thinking, "Why does this girl keep coming around, and why do the boys continue to speak to her? She's proven she's shady beyond belief!"

So if Amelia suddenly turns nice, it may be too late.
Bamboo24
# Bamboo24 2012-11-02 08:47
Well, what happened with the shopping bag scene was that Sam had just fixed the sink because someone had stuffed a bunch of limes (was it limes?) stuffed down the garbage eater. Then he noticed that Amelia had a bag of more limes on top of her grocery bag. He picked it up as if to say, "oh, it was you." He wasn't just unpacking her groceries. :)
Fool For Dean
# Fool For Dean 2012-11-03 03:23
Quote:
He picked it up as if to say, "oh, it was you." He wasn't just unpacking her groceries. :)
Oh, it was her with the limes! I missed that implication, even after the second viewing of the episode. Good catch!
MindiWynne
# MindiWynne 2012-11-02 08:54
Quote:
You noted how Sam took the keys out of Amelia's door for her and that's good but I am more wondering about why he suddenly started to take her food out of her shopping bag...strange.
Sam had just pointed out that Amelia's disposal was shot because "someone" had stuffed a bunch of limes into it and the grocery bag happened to have a net of limes sitting in the top of it. I don't think Sam was unpacking the groceries, I think he was subtly pointing out that Amelia was the one who screwed up her own garbage disposal.

And Amelia is the vet that took care of Dog after Sam hit him with the car, so for the pup to run into her apartment and jump on her lap isn't so far fetched ( no pun intended) because the dog probably has a bond with her.
eilf
# eilf 2012-11-02 11:42
The limes thing (once you can hear it due to sound issues) is a subtle/unsubtle reference to the fact that Amelia appears to be a (heavy) drinker - there is a bottle of whiskey or similar on the counter beside where the limes are. And if you had just spent 20 minutes unbunging a garbage disposal you would totally react like that to the idea you would be back in a week doing it again. It was a funny and believable reaction - I like Sam and Amelia, I believe their friendship.

Now dogs...I am not a dog person (one should never admit it but it is true) ... however dogs ADORE me, and what they really want to do is lick my face and I really do not want that. In that situation that dog would have been in my apartment up beside me too and I would be fighting it off. Just sayin :D Mind you, it is a very cute dog.
mer
# mer 2012-11-02 11:56
Your explanation fits about the limes (I couldn't tell what he was saying about the garbage disposal at the time).

I can now picture if that was what he found, it is normal to notice the new batch and try to hold it up as an illustration or as his way of emphasizing his statement.

As for the dog issue, I guess that works or maybe when I think about it it just was the way the writers thought of to bring together Sam and Amelia for a scene.

Now I can stop thinking about it!LOL!
Katiki
# Katiki 2012-11-02 12:20
I have never met a dog who liked a vet. My dog loves people and my vet loves dogs, but she tries to get away whenever we go see him. He's also a friend of mine and even outside of the clinic she hides from him.

Here's a real life story I read in Reader's Digest:

A cop was responding to an alarm at a commercial building and sent his police dog in first. Moments later the German Shepherd scurried back out with its tail between its legs and hid in the cruiser. Knowing his dog was fearless and had never retreated before anything, the cop thought there must be something really bad in there, so he called for back up. Lots of back up. A whole police battalion armed to the gills entered and swept through the office and couldn't find anything. One of them found the light switch and turned it on--and they realized they were in a veterinary clinic.

But the bigger question is, if Amelia thinks Sam is basically the Unabomber, why would she force him to take the dog? No self-respecting vet would force a stranger to take a dog, especially not one they thought was a creep. Does she not care what a Unabomber might do to a poor helpless dog? My friend the vet watches the show and he really did not like that scene.
PENNY JAIME
# PENNY JAIME 2012-11-02 19:12
He grabbed the limes in her bag because he just told her someone (meaning her, obviously) broke the disposal by shoving a bunch of limes down it.

It doesn't seem strange to me for the dog to go to her; she was the vet who fixed him up. But I could be wrong
PENNY JAIME
# PENNY JAIME 2012-11-02 01:07
I am loving everything this season. From the camera angles, to the lighting, to the brotherly quips. When he told Sam to "stop talking", I thought I was gonna die laughing. That was perfect!! Just the look is better even.
What can you say about that final scene.Perfectio n.
No big comments from me. Just really, super enjoying it
rmoats8621
# rmoats8621 2012-11-02 01:12
Alice, this is a wonderful review. I totally agree with you. I really like this episode a lot! The insight that Edlund has on these two characters is terrific. This was a really good episode. I've had such high hopes for this season and so-far, it hasn't disappointed me. However, the next one is pinned by Glass and I'm not a big fan of his...Actually I see him as one of their weakest writers. I've seen the preview of the episode and I'm holding out hope that maybe JC gave Glass some pointers on writing for the guys and to stop putting out such below par work.
Tigershire
# Tigershire 2012-11-02 01:42
I'm sorry to say I can't recall where I read it, but someone else postulated that when the monsters die in purgatory it's like a reset and they come back again. Killed over and over, never to die for real. Never getting any peace or redemption.

I think that is what is happening. But because Dean and Cas are real....well... ..
Lynx
# Lynx 2012-11-02 03:08
Quote:
Benny is a perfect parallel to Sam, circa season four. Benny maybe a monster, but he longs for his humanity again. He just wants his revenge against the vampire that turned him, and then plans to walk away from it all and live a normal life. Sadly, the memory of the woman he cherished, Andrea, the memory that got him through the ordeal of Purgatory, wasn’t for real. His “old man” turned her and gave her high ranking in the nest. She became a savage, just as bad as the others. Considering it was her that helped him find his human side before he was killed, he’s devastated to see her become this, and loses any hope he had for himself. Foreshadowing for Sam’s plight perhaps, or is it only a parallel to Sam of the past?
I have to say that I saw a completely different parallel here. I saw Benny as part of a "family" (vamp nest) involved in the "family business" (pirating) who meets a woman and leaves said family business for love, and his "family" then resent him for leaving. Sounds a lot like Sam meeting Amelia, stopping hunting, and being castigated adnauseum.
The way the camera focused on Dean's reaction while Benny was talking about meeting what's-her-name (the greek godess) and settling down with her, I thought that was the parallel they were pushing.

I did like this episode but I have a couple of little nitpicks: It's been established in previous episodes dealing with vamps that they can smell/hear other vamps and humans from miles away (didn't Dean say that he could smell his maker from a long distance off and could hear human heart beats from half a city block away and Luther from Dead Mans Blood could smell his mate in a truck passing by on the road some distance away from the barn) so why the hell couldn't Benny smell where his maker was and how the hell did he and Dean sneak around the house with out being heard/smelled by the vamps?
percysowner
# percysowner 2012-11-02 09:37
One of the more interesting things in this season is that we are suddenly getting resets on the mythology of how monsters operate. Werewolves suddenly don't always change with the moon. Vampires don't hear and smell with the same acuity as they used to. Crowley shows red eyes for the first time in 4 years. Things are slightly off in the monster world and I don't know why.
Darya
# Darya 2012-11-02 13:01
Oh, they explained away the werewolf thing by bringing in the line about the Alpha, but I'm bothered by the vampires too. Don't they have super hearing? Super smelling, too? Maybe they were all @ sea too long and around humans so much that they tend to overlook such things.
Lynx
# Lynx 2012-11-02 23:23
It's probably just artistic license to make the story work more easily, but a brief mention of using those herbs or whatever it was in Dead Mans Blood that masked their scent might have made it seem a little less jarring.
As it was, it threw me out of the episode a little. I was sitting there yelling "Yeah, right" sarcastically at the computer every time the vamps just walked straight past Dean :D
Darya
# Darya 2012-11-02 13:04
I agree with you about the Sam-Benny parallel.
Even the wording "We found something" is similar to what Sam has been saying from the premiere.
Lynx
# Lynx 2012-11-02 23:16
Yeah, that parallel really stood out to me, but I wasn't sure whether we were supposed see it as Dean getting some insight into Sam's motivations or whether it was just there to make the audience even more aware of Benny as a potential Sam replacement? I'm still scratching my head about that one. I definitely need to watch the episode again!
percysowner
# percysowner 2012-11-02 23:23
I think there is a chance that Benny will be at least a temporary Sam replacement for Dean. Just a hunch that they are moving in that direction. I hope that eventually Dean will want Sam back and that he will realize that Sam being and thinking differently from Dean is an asset not a problem.
Lynx
# Lynx 2012-11-02 23:53
I agree Percysowner. I think that they are deliberately ripping Sam and Dean apart at the moment so that they can actually address and hopefully resolve (if not all then at least most of) the issues that have been building up and festering between the boys since season 4, and then bringing them back together better than ever.
I'll admit to being nervous about how well they'll actually resolve and rebuild the relationship, but I'm trying to be optimistic, and wait and see how it goes. :-)
lala2
# lala2 2012-11-03 07:50
I don't know. If Dean raises the Ruby issue at this point, I'm not sure how I would feel, and I'm one who thought Sam was dead wrong in everything he did in Season 4. I found no fault on Dean at all b/c IMO Dean didn't do anything wrong to Sam in S4.

That said, I feel Sam did his penance in S5. Dean didn't trust or like Sam for most of S5 until the last two episodes. S5 Sam - from what I recall - didn't say much or do anything. He followed Dean's lead and accepted all of Dean's criticisms. Dean tossed the amulet. Sam didn't protest. Dean flat out told Sam he had no trust or faith in him, and Sam didn't protest. In the premiere, Sam willingly isolated himself from Dean and Bobby b/c he knew they were disgusted w/him.

I guess what I'm saying is I don't think it makes sense for Dean to raise S4 issues now. IMO, the boys were fine and in a really good place in the second half of Season 6. I was happy to finally see them on the same page and like the boys of old. I'm not sure what happened in S7 and why they only seemed like co-workers after TGND.

What relationship issues do you feel they have that require discussion at this point - aside, of course, from the hunting v. normal nonsense?
Lynx
# Lynx 2012-11-03 21:03
It seems to me that Carver has taken the episode Sex and Violence, from season 4, and made an entire season out of the themes from it. This was the point in that season where Sam and Dean's relationship was really being ripped to shreds and this episode exposed and examined the issues by letting the brothers actually let rip with their anger. It didn't resolve any of their issues, that was left to season 5 (and not done very well then), but at least we got a look at what was going on in their heads.

This season seems to be ripping them apart again, Dean's the one lying and hiding stuff this time, he has a new ideal brother in Benny the vampire instead of the siren and Sam still wants to go his own way. Dean still thinks that Sam is choosing others over him and Sam still thinks that Dean doesn't understand or care what Sam wants.

The Commentary and Meta Analysis of Bardicvoice's episode review of Sex and Violence (bardicvoice.livejournal.com/49487.html) puts it way better than I ever could and it's also worth reading the comments section as one of the responses towards the bottom by "Cathy" is just as meta and "thinky" as Bardicvoice herself. I won't quote all of it but here is part. As I said, do take the time to read her whole comment, it's really insightful.
Quote:
To S, the way you relate to someone you love is to find out what they’re thinking and feeling; to D, the way you relate to someone is to love them and protect them without asking questions. As S got older and showed more of who he was, he met with disapproval and fear from John. D, as peacemaker, tried to smooth things over, partly by glossing over the ways in which S was different, leading S to fear that D disapproved of aspects of him too, or at least couldn’t really understand or accept them. As a result, throughout the series, we’ve seen S be more internal with his thoughts and feelings.
For me, Ruby herself was never the issue. The issue is how Sam and Dean relate to each other. The siren becomes the perfect match for your desires, so Dean's perfect brother is one who shares the same interests (classic Rock, strip joints) and follows Dean's lead without question. So, essentially Not!Sam. We don't get to see Sam's perfect brother but I'm betting that it was Not!Dean. Really, they don't need to even mention Ruby, they just have to deal with the issues.

*edited for spelling - when will I ever learn to spell?!
Fool For Dean
# Fool For Dean 2012-11-03 03:28
Not to mention that for the brief time that Dean was a vampire, he did NOT feel that his maker (surly gay vamp) was God. The vampire lore in this episode seems to go against what has already been established. But oh well. Wouldn't be the first time there's a plot hole in a show, I guess.
eilf
# eilf 2012-11-03 11:57
But Dean was never entirely a vampire, he was in transition. Also he is strong willed so maybe that helped?

There is a line in one episode about how rules aren't the same since the apocalypse (hah, get out of jail free card). All those vampires were turned before the apocalypse.

Someone, I think it was DJ Qualls, who was going to a con for the first time (Chicago) asked Jared if he didn't know the answer to some question about the show should he make something up? Jared's answer was something like: no, no, no they will catch you out on it!

They KNOW we won't accept too much unexplained retconing.
Sylvie
# Sylvie 2012-11-02 08:22
My first opinion is that I really liked this episode. I need to watch it a second time to concentrate on all the nuances that a Ben Endlund script brings to the table. I had a problem with hearing some of what Benny was saying too Alice, I don't know if it's the Southern accent (which I love) or just the sound editing. The thing that really got me in this episode though is the beautiful direction. Man, Guy Bee is a genius. The slow-mo shots were absolutely phenomenal. And Serge Ladouceur has done it with the lighting again, this episode was just gorgeous overall.
st50
# st50 2012-11-02 08:45
Great review, Alice!
I really enjoyed your comments on Sams uneasiness. He is definitely not all right.
I disagree that Dean just chose Benny over Sam, though, just that he was letting Sam know there was more to Benny than he seemed.... Benny obviously has some idea of the brother bond, and seemed willing to let them work it out (or was he just getting away from angry little brother with the knife?)
The Sam/Dean/Benny triangle is going to get interesting! And where does Cas fit in? Bring on the big brother blow-out!
E
# E 2012-11-03 07:13
And speaking of Cas; did anyone else see the shout out to season 1? When Benny and Cas were going at each other in purgatory and Dean was in the middle, the whole set up looked amazingly like when Sam and John were going at it and Dean was in the middle. I don't know if that was deliberate, but I like to think so... it adds so much layered complexity to things to think that this kind of thing is deliberate.
eilf
# eilf 2012-11-02 09:07
Can someone help me out here? Dean doesn't belong in purgatory because he is human and Purgatory is going to spit him out if it gets the chance, ok that works. And Dean got there by a spell anyway so that is two strikes against him belonging there.

Benny was killed and ended up in purgatory. Because that's where monsters go. Therefore Benny is a monster and that makes sense.

Castiel is two different beings. One is a human, who is innocent and ended up in purgatory by accident due to a spell...and the other one is an angel, and (fallen) angels go where? And do they only go there when they 'die' instead of being magic-ed there? Why is Castiel more likely to be unable to escape than Benny? And if rebelling angels who get killed end up in purgatory does that mean we might get Balthazar and Gabriel back?

Surely its Benny who should be the one unable to escape and at least Castiel could release his vessel to escape even if the angel can't.

I will accept any logical solution on this :D
KELLY
# KELLY 2012-11-02 10:33
Well here's my thoughts, for what they are worth. If Jimmy isn't dead (which I kind of hope he is), then Cas could release him and purgatory would want to kick him out too.

Benny got out by "riding" Dean out in his arm. But I don't think that is possible for Cas. 1. he is too powerful of being to be reduce so easily and what was in Dean's arm was Benny's soul, I'm assuming. Cas doesn't have a soul he has his grace. 2. Cas can't enter anyone but his own vessel and the minute he enters them that person (Jimmy) is basically an angel, so the same problem exists.
eilf
# eilf 2012-11-02 10:58
Ok, yes, maybe when Castiel went back into Jimmy's body he sublimated him completely - I can't imagine that he 'killed' him because that contradicts angel lore - though I guess the Leviathins being in Castiel means all bets are off with regard to the human soul. Ok then, like Ruby, maybe Castiel has an unoccupied vessel. So there is no point in him abandoning it. And the lore of an angel getting out of Purgatory is whatever the writers want it to be :-) That works, thanks!
KELLY
# KELLY 2012-11-02 12:11
Oh I wasn't saying Cas killed Jimmy. I have just always hoped that Jimmy died when Cas was killed that first or second time so Cas was wearing an empty vessel. Because I don't like the thought of poor Jimmy being trapped in there. AND if he was an empty vessel there would be no point.

Glad to help, have no idea if that is anywhere close to the truth.
eilf
# eilf 2012-11-02 12:16
Now I am replying to myself which I am sure is bad etiquette but whatever... I just came across an article on TV.com asking the same question, here is her take:

Mary-Ann Sleasman at TV.com:

However, Castiel's plight threw up a red flag with me. I could very well be missing something, but my logic alarms are buzzing and I need someone to shut them off. Okay. So, Dean could hop through the magic Purgatory portal because he's human and Purgatory isn't for humans. Benny could hitch a ride because he USED to be human. Castiel, however, could not, because angels are icky.

Is Castiel's vessel—Jimmyâ €”not, in fact, human? Even if, say, something in Castiel's angel DNA turned the meatsuit full choirboy, wouldn't he still fall under the "used to be human" clause? If it's a matter of souls, then perhaps we should make the nuts and bolts of Purgatory's functionality more clear. In Purgatory, Benny was a formerly human, vampire soul. We know for a fact that his body was on Earth because we saw Dean put him back inside it during the Season 8 premiere.
Dean and Castiel, however, were sucked into Purgatory body and all. So, until we're told otherwise, I'm assuming that they're running around the Pacific Northwest, I mean, PURGATORY, in their meatsuits. By my calculations, that means the human thing should extend to Castiel. Unless what Supernatural is saying is that, upon jumping into the magical person portal, Castiel's grace/soul/what ever he's working with these days would be yanked out of his vessel and stuck behind in Purgatory, leaving Dean with what is essentially a corpse upon return to Earth. That is a totally fine argument.

Hi PTB - if I shouldn't borrow text from other articles like this please let me know, but I am not sure if linking is frowned upon either?
Sharon
# Sharon 2012-11-02 12:33
It's not helping her at all Emmau and for Sam's sake we need to relate to Amelia as she clearly is of major importance to Sam.
Grace232
# Grace232 2012-11-02 12:35
Alice, thanks for this wonderful review. I loved this episode. Every single part - and the last scene just splayed me! I cannot wait for next week. The writers are unraveling the mystery of both brothers nice and slowly so we will have great reveals, and the acting is better than anything else on tv.

I had one additional thought while watching the episode. I saw a parallel in the scene of Dean keeping the peace between Benny and Cas to the scene in season 1 when he did that between his father and Sam.
Grace232
# Grace232 2012-11-02 12:37
Darned auto correct - that was supposed to say "slayed" not "splayed"
Katiki
# Katiki 2012-11-02 12:39
Thank you for your insight that Sam is jumpy and edgy and not all right. It's the first thing I have read that renews any hope I might have for that storyline. Now that Carver has said there will be no supernatural twist to it, my only hope for it is that Sam has PTSD or something like that, and was in a fugue state when he abandonned Dean. Your observations about Sam's behaviour would seem to fit with that.

But I still think it's a serious showrunning and storytelling error to have a season-long arc that so many people are going to have so much trouble accepting for so long. Even if there is some redemptive reveal at the end of it, for a lot of people it will be too little too late.

It seems possible that what they're doing with Sam's seasonal arc they are also doing with Amelia: writing them in such a way that a lot of people are having a hard time with them, with the long-term goal of giving us some reason to change our minds in the future. But you can't expect everyone to change their minds once they have strong feelings about something, and you can't expect everyone to enjoy having bad feelings about something for a long time just because you intend to make it better later. It's television. It's supposed to be enjoyable.

For my part, I have always loved Supernatural. I had never met a single episode I didn't like, and I have always enjoyed the hell out of it. Even when a lot of people were complaining about this, that and the other thing, for seven seasons I kept loving it without reservation. I loved the film noir theme in S6. I loved the Leviathan in S7. And now for the first time, I can't anymore. This whole thing with Sam's storyline is a hurdle I can't get over.

I'm sticking with it because this show has earned my love and loyalty, and I hope to get back to a place where I can enjoy it again. But I'm not enjoying it right now.
E
# E 2012-11-03 07:20
Did JC really say that Sam had no supernatural twist to Sam's story? When did he say that? I wasn't aware that he ever disconnected Sam totally from all supernatural events. Can you provide a link to the source for this? Thanks.
lala2
# lala2 2012-11-03 08:01
Apparently, he said something about not understanding Sam's history on the show or being confused by it. He thinks Sam became weighed down by mythology so he wants to "reset" Sam to the S1 Sam or something like that.

After reading his interview, I got the feeling that Sam having had a breakdown after Dean vanished or his hellucinations returning b/c Castiel was removed to another realm wouldn't be in the works.

I believe the link to the interview was in the "Let's Speculate Bitten" thread.
E
# E 2012-11-03 10:12
Thanks! I'll see if I can dig it up. Like everyone else, I am confused about the hows/whys of Sam's story so far (although, not actually unsatisfied ATM). If it's true that JC is trying to make Sam's character and motivations more clear by somehow resetting him, he's not doing a very good job of it. His Sam is currently more muddled and confusing than ever and is being shown to have zero character motivation that might help us understand or sympathize with him. Although, to be fair, since season 4 (which I loved btw) Sam has been more of a device than an actual character, changing and morphing to suit the plot without much regard to consistency. I can understand why CJ might want to clear this up. But to do this he has to MAKE SAM A CHARACTER AND NOT A DEVICE. I mean geez, You can't fix past mistakes by repeating them. Duh!
Darya
# Darya 2012-11-02 12:55
Actually, I think we should just wait a bit before branding Amelia unlikeable. I don't think the writers want us to fall madly in love with Amelia because she's all sweet and honey and roses. That she has flaws and is the queen of sarcasm makes her a person we can choose to like or not like, not just a cardboard cut out love interest we like for the sake of Sam. It's obviously not Sam-Amelia-inst alove, so as the flashbacks unfold we'll be able to make up our minds better.
As of now, I like her, which is in sharp contrast to the annoyance I felt watching her in the premiere.
The sound really was bad, huh? I was wondering why I couldn't understand half the lines being said. I was even cribbing about my less-than-stell ar skills @ understanding US English to my friend. Glad to have my faith in myself restored.
I'm also loving the flashbacks fror both Sam and Dean's storylines. I actually find Sam's arc quite interesting. You're right, Alice, he really seems unstable. If he indeed wants to quit, it stands against logic that he'll panic every time Dean doesn't pick up his phone. That he's checking Amelia's credit card statements probably means he's checking to see if she's still alive, which says a lot about his state of mind. (that's another line I couldn't catch at all, I just kept hearing 'concerned' and nothing else)
And this season, I am so in awe of the visual effects team. I can't stop gushing about the Leviathan Meteor Goo!
Great review as usual ;)

PS: (did anyone in India actually notice that AXN is showing Season 8 Fridays @ 9 pm? I didn't! And does anyone in said country know when the repeats are? I need subtitles for when Blood Brother is going to show!)
Katiki
# Katiki 2012-11-02 13:23
I don't want female characters to be perfect, and certainly not all sweet and honey and roses, I'm not into saccharine at all. But I think they shouldn't introduce her with such a blantant flaw. And that wasn't just sarcasm, she hurled some very cutting insults at Sam, a man she doesn't even know, based on his clothes and his lack of a permanent home (which she doesn't even have either.) Once we know someone also has a lot qualities, then it's easier to like them in spite of their flaws.

I've waited three episodes before reacting to her. How long do I have to wait before I'm allowed to have a reaction? I really wanted to like her, and after the picnic scene I thought I might be able to. But once she went back to acid bitch again, I just can't.
Darya
# Darya 2012-11-02 13:37
She was a bitch to him when he showed up at her place fixing the sink, yes.

But can you blame her? I mean, the guy is TALL. And a stranger. And, as she pointed out, kind of creepy. He makes vague statements and seems to be going nowhere. If a big guy seemingly pops up in your life more often than you like, and seem to have no roots or intentions, you're entitled to an is-he-stalking- me freak-out, especially if you're already in a fragile state of mind.

Actually, Sam did point out that she doesn't seem to be going anywhere, either. Upon which Amelia kind of relented, and had a not-very-acid-b itch conversation with him.

Out of the three episodes we saw her in, the first was a scenario where Sam's just hit a dog, and is yelling blue murder at the poor nurse. Which would put anyone off. I'm still skeptical about why Amelia would ever give him a dog (total dick move if it is never addressed), but I'll wait on that. The second episode is in a memory after he had already known Amelia for a while. That is SUPPOSED to show her in a very warm, good light. But it doesn't mean that she has to be like that before she gets to know him.

The last scene with her on the couch with the dog showed an Amelia that I really started to like. She's had her time to think about Sam and maybe he doesn't seem like a bad sort after all. I thought the white-supremaci st thing was more amusement than sarcasm, just her pointing out why someone might be wary of this man. He didn't seem all that insulted, and she was smiling sort of sardonically. Amusement.
etheldred
# etheldred 2012-11-02 14:24
I agree with you, Darya. I really didn't like Amelia in 8.1, but she grew on me a lot here, and I agree that her outsider POV of Sam made a lot of sense (a lot more, I thought, than in 8.1, when her whole thing about "my hero" and responsibility felt too contrived to fit themes the audience knew about and she didn't -- taking Sam for a stalkery serial killer type is a much more natural reaction for someone who is speaking as a character who doesn't know Sam, rather than as the voice of the author that I felt waay too clearly in her scene in 8.1). I thought her dynamic with Sam this week was a believable beginning to friendship.
Katiki
# Katiki 2012-11-02 20:36
Quote:

But can you blame her? I mean, the guy is TALL. And a stranger. And, as she pointed out, kind of creepy. He makes vague statements and seems to be going nowhere. If a big guy seemingly pops up in your life more often than you like, and seem to have no roots or intentions, you're entitled to an is-he-stalking-me freak-out, especially if you're already in a fragile state of mind.
If it had come across to me that way at all, then yes, that would be understandable. But that's really not how I see that scene. She didn't seem the least bit scared, she just lit into him pretty viciously. The correct response is "What are you doing here?" and then if you don't like the answer, you hightail it out of there and go into the motel office and call the police. A verbal barrage of insults is not the reaction of a woman scared to find a tall man she has meant once before in her motel room fixing her sink. Hey there's a man I'm afraid of in my room, I think I'll provoke him with a verbal assault. I really don't think that's what they were going for, or if it was, it was damn clumsy. I've read a lot of reviews and comments, and a lot of people thought she was bitchy, not scared, and not just the fans but several TV critics as well.

And the whole thing of her thinking he's a creep, no. Sam is not creepy, and I don't know why you would agree with her on that. She doesn't know Sam. She is judging him on his clothes and the fact he was upset he hit a dog and he doesn't have a permanent home (even though she doesn't even have one either.) She has seen him twice, both when he was doing something completely legitimate like bringing an injured dog to the vet and working as a handyman (which she would've known had she asked.) He hasn't done anything creepy.

And I didn't see any amusement in her barrage of insults, it seemed mean-spirited to me. And anyway, how is she supposed to be both scared and amused at the same time? And because I was still mad at her for the way she treated Sam earlier, I couldn't like her nor feel sorry for her in the second scene.

Obviously, you have every right to like her, and I wish I did too, and maybe I still will at some point in the future. I'm certainly going to keep an open mind because I want to like her. But my point remains that it is a mistake to introduce her in such an unfavourable light. Why make it more difficult for viewers to like her? A lot of viewers already don't, and it will now be harder to change their minds than when they were first meeting her with open minds.

What pisses me off so much (aside from the fact that I'm a raging feminist when it comes to female characters and I don't like them being written as stereotypically bitchy) is that with all the baggage we have with female characters, why write an important female character in such a way that a lot of people will not like her? Why not put some care into writing a female character everyone could like? Did they not even realize writing her as bitchy would make a lot of people not like her? Do they just figure it's all our fault because we're supposedly all sexist-against- our-own-sex jealous fangirls?

Under Sera, I thought we had mercifully gotten past that. I loved all the female characters, and I didn't see anyone else having a problem with them either. And I'm pissed we're back there again.
lala2
# lala2 2012-11-02 22:09
I completely agree w/you! I found Amelia bitchy in the premiere, unbelievable in that one episode w/the picnic, and bitchy again in this past episode!

If you open your motel room door and see a man under the sink, I would assume he was fixing the sink. As you said, if she was unsure, go to the motel manager. Plus, her barrage of insults was simply unnecessary, not funny, and did nothing to endear her to me. Their later conversation was boring, and I wondered why Sam was even speaking to her. He should have just gotten his dog and left. I'm not sure what attracts Sam to her. She is completely unlikeable.
E
# E 2012-11-03 08:27
Lala2 OMG, Haha! Would you really assume that if you came home to your LOCKED motel room that you are using as a residence to find a strange giant of a man under your sink, that he really was just there to fix the sink? Really? Truly? You wouldn't have found it strange, or threatening at all? I would have had a monumental freak out of the call the police, pick up a bat and bash him in the head variety. Maybe it's because I live in a big city that I feel this way. Hotels/motels in my area would NEVER send a maintenance man into an occupied room to do work A) without the occupants express permission in advance, and B) while they weren't there.

Please know, I'm not criticizing, I just find our different perspectives really funny! I totally got Amelia's reaction, I actually though it was mild compared to what I think mine might have been (lots of screaming, running, grabbing a rolling pin or large kitchen knife maybe...911)

I am sorry you find Amelia so bitchy. Lots of fans are looking for SOMETHING that can be construed as a good thing for Sam, and it's too bad that Amelia does not seem to be it for many when I think that the intention of the show is that she is supposed to be. Hopefully there will be more information on her later that will make her more satisfying. I really like her already, so I am ok with where this is going.
Sharon
# Sharon 2012-11-03 08:42
I think the problem might be that people have waited for Sam to have a 'person' and he gets Amelia and well we know sometimes first impressions can be influential .

Like you although I havent quite taken to her yet that more information and a futher look at her and Sam's relationship well help the situation.
lala2
# lala2 2012-11-03 08:47
If my motel room had a sink and I had made a complaint about said sink (didn't the kid offer Sam a job and tell him to immediately go Amelia's room to fix her sink), then, yes, I would probably assume the guy was there to fix the sink. Didn't Sam also have tools w/him?

The only way that kid knew something was wrong w/her sink was b/c she made a complaint about it. Why would I be surprised that motel management sent someone to my room to fix the sink I had issued a complaint about?

Now,I've never lived out of a motel and have no idea what motel management told Amelia. When she made the complaint, did they explain that someone would be coming by that day to fix the sink? Did they leave her a message on her cell phone that they were sending someone that she did not hear? I don't know. Her complaint is w/the management though, not Sam. And her bitchiness, IMO, should be reserved to them.

What would I have done? Assuming I had issued a complaint about the sink, I would have asked Sam why he was there and would have given him a chance to speak. I would not have fully entered the room b/c as you mentioned, a strange man was in the room and I would want to be able to make my escape if needed. Once Sam explained that he was there to fix the sink, I would have immediately gone to management to complain about them allowing someone to enter my room w/o my being present and for not telling him he was coming. That's what I would have done.

Yes, I am not liking Amelia at all. I honestly have no idea why Sam sat down and spoke to her. She doesn't have a winning personality or anything. I think it was a mistake to introduce her in such a bitchy, rude way. I always learned that the first impression you make is the most important. I think that applies here. Or maybe a second scene in the premiere w/Amelia recognizing her bitchiness would have been good.
percysowner
# percysowner 2012-11-03 09:36
I can only go by my few experiences in a hotel on vacation and my experiences as a tenant in an apartment. In hotels when I have a problem I call the front desk or notify them on my way out to sight see. When I come back the maintenance elves have entered my room and fixed the issues. If I happen to report a problem and I am in my room the worker knocks loudly, and announces that he is here to fix the problem. In a rental situation if there is an issue I call my landlord and tell him the problem. I am usually told that they will send someone out and tell me if it is today or another day. If I'm going to work or shopping I usually come home to find the problem fixed, or occasionally I have found someone working on it. Sometimes I have been told that the maintenance person is backed up, or unavailable and if it is a non-emergency situation, that they will send someone up by 2 days from when the complaint happened. So, if I were Amelia, and I reported a clogged sink and I went to work and then went shopping I would not be completely startled to find a tall man fixing my sink, especially if there was no sign of a break in. Since Sam was told the motel didn't have a regular maintenance worker on staff, then the front desk would probably have said they were short staffed and they would get someone there as soon as possible. So no, I wouldn't have freaked. I would have waited long enough for Sam to answer "what are you doing here" before I started complaining.
lala2
# lala2 2012-11-03 09:46
Percy, your last sentence is my main point. I would have allowed Sam to answer the question before freaking out, esp. since I likely reported a problem to motel management.

They are writing Amelia in a way that alienates her from the viewers - not all viewers of course - but from enough that it really makes no sense. Instead of being fleshed out like a real person, she comes off like a bitch for no reason. That's the impression I have of her.
anonymousN
# anonymousN 2012-11-03 09:51
I have read fanfictions with such characters and have stopped after the first chapters..
E
# E 2012-11-03 11:03
Ok yes, I get both yours and percysowners point for sure. But to me, a motel that you are living in is more like an apartment, not a place you stay for a few days and then leave. Most maintenance work of this sort is done after a person leaves their hotel room and the work is done while the room is empty, (unless there is water overflowing everywhere!). This is more like her apartment, and as an apartment dweller, I can tell you that you don't EVER come home to find someone there without your knowing about it in advance no matter how many times you've complained or what the problem is. That you could arrive home to find a stranger in your house without your prior knowledge would make me more than touchy if it were to happen to me. The hows and whys of her complaints to management about her sink, if there were any, weren't shown in this episode, but it seemed to me that she was not only not expecting to see Sam again, but that she was not expecting to see anyone at all. She was taken completely by surprise to find a strange man (a GIANT, strange, and beautiful, beautiful man) had somehow gotten into her apartment without her knowledge or consent. For me, that would be freak out time! Especially for a woman living alone; a woman all alone. (Of course I live in NYC, and this is podunk TX, so things may be different in the willy-whacks) And Amelia has been shown to be guarded and surly at the best of times. I can understand her reaction in this instance. But, then again, I like her so I am willing to cut her some slack.

And Sam mentioned to her that he knew she had been living in that room for 3 months, revealing to her that he had been asking about her, checking up on her or whatever, no wonder she sees him as stalkerish. I find her refreshingly interesting and outside the box and far more real than Lisa was. What a lovely contrast Amelia makes to Lisa's "whatever you want, Dean" "we're totally behind you 100%, Dean", "best year of my life, Dean" attitude that was so totally unrealistic to me in season 6.
Sharon
# Sharon 2012-11-03 11:15
While I can agree to a point for somebody to be real doesnt mean they have to be abrasive. I dont need a Doris Day who is all smile and meek personality however I didnt need to see this abrasive woman treating Sam like dirt she jumped to alot of conclusions , now I know clearly something happened that caused this prickly attitude but it got her off on the wrong foot.

Sam obviously sees something there a kindred spirit type of thing so I will assume the writers will get us to a point where we see what Sam ended up seeing .
Bamboo24
# Bamboo24 2012-11-03 12:40
I find this conversation interesting because I am ambivalent about Amelia. I don't have a strong like or dislike feelings about her, mostly because I'm still trying to figure her out.

That being said, I don't agree with the harshness of those calling her a "bitch" and don't think that her interactions with Sam rise to level of verbal abuse or "treating Sam like dirt" as some have claimed. I do agree that she "doesn't have a winning personality" - but that's the point. When someone is hurting, I mean really, really hurting - they oftentimes don't have the greatest attitude/person ality. But that hurting person often either doesn't realize or secretly feels bad for lashing out. And Sam's a perceptive guy. I'm sure he senses her pain and has picked up on all the other clues - he knows it's not personal, that she's angry and bitter for a reason. And to his credit he doesn't write her off as a "bitch", but actually takes time to sit down and talk with her, breaking right through her mask and getting to the heart of things.

Her strong reaction - freak out - to seeing Sam fixing the sink was due to the coincidence factor. This is the guy she had seen at the vet's weeks earlier, and all of a sudden he shows up in her motel room. Regarding her having known a maintenance person would be around to fix things - the fact that she filed a complaint about the sink does not diminish her reaction - walking through the door and being startled by another's presence, then finding out it's a guy she's seen around before. Who knows what her past is, but it struck me as the kind of reaction that might come from someone whose been stalked and/or attacked before. Either way, it was a reasonable reaction.
eilf
# eilf 2012-11-03 12:31
Maybe it's because I lean towards ascerbic humour rather than sweetness that I totally don't see that Amelia is being bitchy. She is being a slightly cantankerous woman with a professional job where she sees a lot of pain and injury and likely a lot of things that would make you wonder about human nature. She is inclined to say the first thing that comes into her head in a given situation and then when the person responds in a way that shows they get her attitude she continues on being acid because that is how she interacts with people. She is being a person.
Also yes, she wasn't really afraid of Sam because she came into the room, so then you could say that her subsequent comments the next time they meet were meant jokingly rather than as insults.
They both know that is Sam was actually the sort of terrible awful serial-killer drifter etc etc that she was calling him that he wouldn't still be in town doing a handyman job and taking really good care of the stray dog.
Storywise if she were all nice to Sam in the surgery he wouldn't have kept the dog, he wouldn't have stayed in town. And both in the surgery and in the apartment Sam has this look where he has just had a load of cold water thrown at him - he has been snapped out of his depression and whatever else he is dealing with. In the later scene he is amused by her commentary on his clothing - I am pretty sure Jess would have not let him spend his life in army surplus clothing.
The actress who plays Amelia was on the Winchester Bros podcast the other night and there was this absolutely hilarious section where the ladies who do the show were explaining the situation with Sam's previous hookups / girlfriends, she apparently had NO idea.
As far as the mystery goes I am assuming that Amelia is in witness protection for some reason. The entire thing has a sort of 'Sleeping with the Enemy' vibe to me.
etheldred
# etheldred 2012-11-03 12:44
"The actress who plays Amelia was on the Winchester Bros podcast the other night and there was this absolutely hilarious section where the ladies who do the show were explaining the situation with Sam's previous hookups / girlfriends, she apparently had NO idea."

I find that really depressing. It sounds like, as of wherever they were filming when she did that interview, that means Sam hasn't actually talked to Amelia about his history and issues in the sex and relationships department, if it hasn't come up in any scripts that she's read. Not that I'm expecting Sam to sit down and give her the whole, horrific catalog, but one of the things about Sam having a new relationship is that I personally won't find it believable unless there's some sign that his relationship history is impacting him, that he's struggling with what happened to Jess, what happened with Ruby, what happened with Madison, what happened in the Cage. Now, maybe they are doing that obliquely, in a way that Liane wouldn't be able to decode when she hasn't seen the whole series, but I really hope they aren't just pretending that Sam comes to the relationship with no baggage except the loss of Dean.
eilf
# eilf 2012-11-04 00:46
Well she had probably not done very much filming at that stage...but honestly how long would you have to be getting to know someone before you let them know your history with women if you were Sam Winchester?

He doesn't need to tell her details of his relationship history. I wouldn't normally say that, but with Sam - well extenuating circumstances!
E
# E 2012-11-04 10:57
Yeah! What woman would want to hear that all the past lovers of the guy she's thinking about dating are dead? If I were Sam, I'd keep that tidbit to myself or she really will think he's a serial killer.
Vyper
# Vyper 2012-11-06 22:11
Quote:
And Sam mentioned to her that he knew she had been living in that room for 3 months, revealing to her that he had been asking about her, checking up on her or whatever, no wonder she sees him as stalkerish..
Actually, Sam had no idea she lived there as well. He asked her how long she had been there, she replied "3 months" so he hadn't been checking up on her or doing anything even remotely stalkerish at all. She was judging him as creepy purely on his clothes and seemingly drifter lifestyle.
E
# E 2012-11-03 08:05
The Amelia scenes are not being shown in a linear fashion. We saw their first meeting at the Vet's office and then the birthday cake scene which was much later on in their relationship. The scene in her motel room was obviously a much earlier scene again; actually probably only their second or third meeting. It's not like she's being nice to Sam one moment, baking him a cake, and then going back to being a bitch randomly, we are being shown the evolution of their relationship out of order on purpose. We still have yet to see how Sam gets past her guarded surliness to find the warmth underneath. Without this information IMO its maybe too soon to be judging her and labeling her 'acid bitch.'

You obviously don't have to "wait to have a reaction"; you can have any type of reaction that you like at any time, but maybe you can leave yourself open for your reaction to change? A reaction to a character is not the same thing as a decision about a character. If you decide you hate her, that she is an 'acid bitch', that idea could be very hard to change down the road, and there is still so much to learn about both her, and her relationship with Sam.
E
# E 2012-11-03 07:43
Darya,
I can't agree with you more. It seems that some fans were perfectly willing to condemn Amelia before she even had a single scene on screen. I too think it's interesting that she's not all sweetness and light and understanding; it's a more natural normal reaction which creates a more real character. That she has sarcasm and is impatient makes her an actual human being with her own perspective, unlike Lisa. I wasn't a huge fan of the Lisa storyline and one of the major problems I had with her as a character was that she was just WAY too understanding about Dean's past and his issues and we got nothing about what she wanted or needed. She was totally subservient to his wishes and his needs in a way that I found absolutely unrealistic. She didn't seem to care that he had horrible nightmares constantly, was drinking to excess, had weapons everywhere, and strange paranoid rituals about security, or that he kept both herself and her child on lockdown and constantly on the move. Pretty accommodating wasn't she. There's no REAL person anywhere in the world who would put up with that. Amelia's reaction to Sam and his baggage is much more real. She's clearly got her own issues, and not much patience for Sam's at the moment, and I find that compelling and realistic. It makes it seems as though the relationship ended up happening despite both of their wishes; and isn't that how it goes in real life? You end up in a relationship when you least expect or want to half the time. I just hope the rest of the fandom gives Amelia half a chance.
E
# E 2012-11-03 08:33
Wow that's a lot of comments by me that ended up in a lump. And all about Amelia too. Yikes.
eilf
# eilf 2012-11-03 12:43
I think you are totally right about Amelia as I have just written in a comment further up. I started watching the show after the Lisa and Ben storyline had finished so I got to follow it all reasonably quickly and I have to say that I totally could see Lisa's willingness to deal with Dean on the terms he brought with him, because she is drawn to that sort of person. She was willing to have a distant relationship with him because she is not a person who requires a man in her life 24-7. She loves Dean and if he wants to be with her she wants that, but she was a single mom doing ok when he came back into her life.
I think if she wasn't ok with what he needed than she would have told him so. It wasn't a subservient thing to my mind so much as free-spirited.
Bamboo24
# Bamboo24 2012-11-03 12:52
Quote:
I have to say that I totally could see Lisa's willingness to deal with Dean on the terms he brought with him, because she is drawn to that sort of person. She was willing to have a distant relationship with him because she is not a person who requires a man in her life 24-7. She loves Dean and if he wants to be with her she wants that, but she was a single mom doing ok when he came back into her life.
I think if she wasn't ok with what he needed than she would have told him so. It wasn't a subservient thing to my mind so much as free-spirited.
I agree 100%, eilf. I think the kind of woman Lisa was, free-spirited, independent, etc., was the only kind of woman Dean could have stayed with for any length of time. Many other women, and I'd say most, would have cut that relationship off fairly quickly due to all the extenuating factors. They also would have put demands on him that Dean would have been unable to fulfill. Lisa didn't; she was unique.
eilf
# eilf 2012-11-03 13:58
And you know what, even Dean didn't entirely get that about her - his attitude when he explained that he had to go back on the road was 'I am sorry that I have to make this choice because I know you are not the sort of person to put up with being messed around' which says volumes about their relationship to me.
The scene on the stairs in Bobby's house where she explains her outlook to him causes him so much astonishment, Dean's inability to understand that he is a valuable person in his own right is so sad. This season seems to be working on that issue too :-) 'bout time!
Fool for Dean
# Fool for Dean 2012-11-02 13:20
Alice,

THANK YOU for a very intellectual and rational review of this episode. I have been frantically searching for an outlet of my excitement from 8.05 and for 8.06, and you have delivered just that. No Sam gripes, no Dean gripes, no missing-the-bon d gripes, just good analysis of what we saw.

I too, fell in love with SPN all over again after the ending scene, which - as you say - really played up the strength of the actors. I'd give this episode an A - it's probably one of my favs since the 100th ep. (I didn't really connect with seasons 6 & 7).

I am with you on all points except "Dean made his choice and it's not Sam." I have to agree with Bamboo24 on that. Dean maybe mad at Sam for the not looking thing (I would be too) and things will get worse before it gets better, but everything I know about Dean in the last 8 years tells me that he'll choose Sam when it comes to the bottom line.

Again, thank you for a wonderful review!
Ali
# Ali 2012-11-03 19:15
Yeah, I wasn't sure at all that this episode was about Dean making a choice between the two... he was always going to come back to Sam, but Benny needed him. So he went, for one night. And when Sam asked if he should kill him, Dean just indicated that he shouldn't... he didn't let Benny kill Sam while not letting Sam kill Benny (which would've been choosing Benny over Sam).

Right now, I think he's walking a line. He's got his Purgatory bros, and he's got his real-life bro. None of them have done anything to merit being killed, and all of them have some claim on his loyalty. Unfortunately, they will likely conflict with one another, and he may have to choose, but right now it seems like he's doing everything he can to avoid that situation. And as long as Benny continues to walk the straight and narrow, I think Dean will continue to support him.
eilf
# eilf 2012-11-06 23:44
Why would Benny want to kill Sam?
Ali
# Ali 2012-11-03 19:15
Yeah, I wasn't sure at all that this episode was about Dean making a choice between the two... he was always going to come back to Sam, but Benny needed him. So he went, for one night. And when Sam asked if he should kill him, Dean just indicated that he shouldn't... he didn't let Benny kill Sam while not letting Sam kill Benny (which would've been choosing Benny over Sam).

Right now, I think he's walking a line. He's got his Purgatory bros, and he's got his real-life bro. None of them have done anything to merit being killed, and all of them have some claim on his loyalty. Unfortunately, they will likely conflict with one another, and he may have to choose, but right now it seems like he's doing everything he can to avoid that situation. And as long as Benny continues to walk the straight and narrow, I think Dean will continue to support him.
Ginger
# Ginger 2012-11-02 16:12
Good review, Alice, although I think you could have written volumes about the nuances in this one. I'm not going to go into all that I got out of it, but will address a couple of points.

I think you're right that Dean chose Benny over Sam in this episode. Interestingly enough, both Sam and Benny are trying out new lives (Sam with his idealized 'normal' and
Benny walking between being a vampire and living with humanity). There were several little scenes that showed Sam still doesn't have his foot out of hunting, regardless of his longing flashbacks and stalking. There were also several scenes that showed that Benny is conflicted about the real world and want to be in 'pure' Purgatory. I see both Benny and Sam conflicted about their 'identit,' and Dean as the center of the triangle.

Benny has clearly become Dean's friend and has earned his trust. We saw that evolution in the Purgatory flashbacks, first with them literally fighting back-to-back, then where Dean was bitching at Benny about not understanding humanity, and then when Benny earned his trust by saving Cas. And Dean isn't anything, if not loyal to his friends.

Sam has always been able to depend on Dean 100%, no matter what he did, but I don't see Dean willing to do that right now. I think Sam will see Benny as a threat to his position with Dean. I never saw Cas as a threat to getting between Sam and Dean, but Benny sure can. Right now, Dean is not trusting Sam to have his back; first, because Sam just dropped hunting the minute Dean was gone, because Sam has put him on notice that he's leaving hunting because he found something he never had before (not Dean), and; third, mostly because he is deeply hurt that Sam didn't look for him. I, too, am really curious to see how Sam is going to win Dean's loyalty and trust back. I don't think it will be so easy this time.

I'm still not warming up to Amelia, and I don't think I ever will, although I definitely realize what her role in the season is all about. Running the two love stories in the same episode really brought that reason home.

The problem with Amelia is they introduced her as a cold, bitchy fish and, although she was rehabilitated a little bit in this episode, the actress doesn't give off any warmth at all. There's just no charisma between her and Sam -- and maybe there isn't supposed to be, since they are both 'damaged souls.' The good thing is that this episode gave me interest in Sam's story, whereas, before I could have cared less.

I'm with you. That closing scene was electric in all aspects, and I'm looking forward to the big blow-up....but cringing at the thought of Garth and at the thought that Dean may, once again, apologize to Sam. I'll be ticked off if he does, as I'm liking Dean pushing back at everyone for a change.

ETA: I believe this is the last day to vote in the People's Choice Award nominations. If our boys win something this year (and I hope it's two or three somethings), maybe they won't be ignored again this year.
Sharon
# Sharon 2012-11-02 16:30
And I hope Sam stands his ground. I dont really want a season where Sam has to win Dean's trust again or loyalty because outside of not looking for him where I can understand Dean feeling 'angry' it isnt something I support from Jeremy myself however having said that it certainly doesnt and shouldnt equate to Sam not having his back now it shouldnt keep coming down to all this . I couldnt support Dean if that is what he assume's because Sam wants out of hunting after the gates are closed' I would rather the pair parted company right now .
And frankly I am not interested in some sort of 'triangle' between Sam and Dean and Benny . I dont really want Sam involved in anything like that if Dean wants to trust Benny thats down to him but Sam doesnt have a obligation esp after Ruby and the flak he was given from Dean over her. Nor does he need to walk egg shells around Dean. Argue , fight it out but I dont want Sam's year to be reduced to some sort of wrong done . I know Sam will have to stay in hunting but seeking normal has never been a rotten thing for Sam to do . It wasnt when he was 18 and it is not now.

Dean and Benny is something I can live with and dont have a issue with Benny at all but if it becomes a scenario of Dean having to choose or Benny being used as some big stick to beat Sam up with personally I would rather see Sam walk away .
Ginger
# Ginger 2012-11-02 16:51
Honestly, I think you're way off base here in assuming this season will turn into a Sam done wrong thing or, for that matter, either brother being wrong. I think it's a season where all parties are seeking to discover their own personal identities after all they have been through and all the losses that they have incurred, and that includes Cas and Benny.

As far as the Winchesters go, they need to establish who they really are individually and what they really want individually, and then they can re-establish what they are as brothers.

I think that is being done in a very interesting way this season.

P. S. I just saw a promo for Southern Comfort, and I nominate Garth for Benny's first dinner -- sock puppet and all.
Sharon
# Sharon 2012-11-02 17:05
Well I thought my response was quite valid :-) we can all be off base , we all could be barking up the wrong tree and actually I wasnt refering to the whole season but Dean's response. However the idea of some triangle with Dean at the center isnt something I honestly want too see . Sam can choose something else , doesnt mean he doesnt love Dean but he can go another way.



I hope they do find themselves as individuals and that brings them back to the brothers they are in that I can agree .
Amy
# Amy 2012-11-02 20:32
Well I thought my response was quite valid :-) we can all be off base , we all could be barking up the wrong tree and actually I wasnt refering to the whole season but Dean's response. However the idea of some triangle with Dean at the center isnt something I honestly want too see . Sam can choose something else , doesnt mean he doesnt love Dean but he can go another way.

It doesn't but Dean DOES see it this way. And if Dean can't see its not the truth then Sam needs to walk away (even if he ends up hunting by himself - hopefully he makes his own friends in the process and not Deans hand me down Angel friend) Cause after 8 years if Dean doesn't get it he's never going to get it.
Fool For Dean
# Fool For Dean 2012-11-03 03:32
Quote:
Honestly, I think you're way off base here in assuming this season will turn into a Sam done wrong thing or, for that matter, either brother being wrong. I think it's a season where all parties are seeking to discover their own personal identities after all they have been through and all the losses that they have incurred, and that includes Cas and Benny.

As far as the Winchesters go, they need to establish who they really are individually and what they really want individually, and then they can re-establish what they are as brothers.
My sentiments exactly!!!
anonymousN
# anonymousN 2012-11-03 09:55
I would have agreed too if every instance where Sam wanted to "establish " who he was was not deemed wrong.
percysowner
# percysowner 2012-11-03 10:29
This is my problem. In storytelling terms Sam is only right when he decides that what he wants coincides with what Dean wants. Sam is forced to admit that he was wrong every, single time he left the family, including by implication college. Dean forgives Sam only after Sam tells Dean he trust Dean implicitly to do the right thing with Michael. Sam wants to give Amy a chance and then has to admit that Dean was right to kill her and these are the little things. On a cosmic scale, Sam trusting his own judgement results in Lucifer rising and the Apocalypse. The guy can't do anything that contravenes Dean's wishes. That annoys the heck out of me.
eilf
# eilf 2012-11-03 12:50
Garth is funny and I could totally deal with him as being the hub guy instead of an active hunter because there is NO WAY he should still be alive as a hunter in a world where Sam and Dean working as a pair get killed every 5th episode or so (joke).
But yes, that promo is not encouraging and I freaking hate that sock puppet. Hate it...fire of a thousand suns etc...(not sure why).
lala2
# lala2 2012-11-02 22:15
Sharon, I agree w/you. I have no desire to see Sam lecture Dean about Benny or to be a foil to their relationship. As you said, if Dean wants to hang around Benny or be his new BFF, I really don't want to see Sam interfering w/that relationship. Dean can do what he wants.

I also have no problem w/Benny. As I mentioned elsewhere, at this point, he seems like Edward Cullen to me in that he's a vegetarian vampire. That's fine! But it would bother me to see Benny used as the weapon by which to beat Sam so that's why I'm hoping Sam stays out of that relationship.
anonymousN
# anonymousN 2012-11-03 09:53
Quote:
And I hope Sam stands his ground. I dont really want a season where Sam has to win Dean's trust again or loyalty because outside of not looking for him where I can understand Dean feeling 'angry' it isnt something I support from Jeremy myself however having said that it certainly doesnt and shouldnt equate to Sam not having his back now it shouldnt keep coming down to all this . I couldnt support Dean if that is what he assume's because Sam wants out of hunting after the gates are closed' I would rather the pair parted company right now . And frankly I am not interested in some sort of 'triangle' between Sam and Dean and Benny . I dont really want Sam involved in anything like that if Dean wants to trust Benny thats down to him but Sam doesnt have a obligation esp after Ruby and the flak he was given from Dean over her. Nor does he need to walk egg shells around Dean. Argue , fight it out but I dont want Sam's year to be reduced to some sort of wrong done . I know Sam will have to stay in hunting but seeking normal has never been a rotten thing for Sam to do . It wasnt when he was 18 and it is not now. Dean and Benny is something I can live with and dont have a issue with Benny at all but if it becomes a scenario of Dean having to choose or Benny being used as some big stick to beat Sam up with personally I would rather see Sam walk away .
Exactly my thoughts.
cd28
# cd28 2012-11-02 16:51
A couple of comments about some of the discussion - it's not a Sam/Dean/Benny triangle if Sam chose Amelia, or at least the idea of Amelia and normal, over hunting with his brother. It seems more like a shifting of alliances rather than a competition for Dean's affections.

Quote:
So what’s up with Sam? I sense that’s what we’ll find out in future flashbacks, or maybe even next week, but his extreme reaction reminds me of the season premiere when he hit the dog. He’s not alright. Losing Dean again must have had a terrible effect on him. It’s in a way “Mystery Spot” all over again. Just how many times can Sam endure losing Dean? That ordeal just about broke him. It’s breaking him here too.
Didn't we just get something like this last year? The source of Sam's pain was Hell memories, rather than Dean's disappearance, but it feels like we just did this - watching Sam coming undone over a traumatic event, with the trigger for a meltdown being the fear of losing Dean.
Katiki
# Katiki 2012-11-02 20:48
But Sam didn't choose Amelia. He chose Dean. The very first thing we see of Sam this season, he is leaving Amelia to go to Dean and hunt with him. Sure he said he's thinking about going back to school some time in the indefinite future. But that doesn't change the fact he left Amelia for Dean.
etheldred
# etheldred 2012-11-02 20:52
We are told that he didn't. He didn't know Dean was alive when he left Amelia, and he wasn't expecting to find him at the cabin. Sam and Amelia's break was for an as yet to be revealed reason.

Though he is choosing to go on with the mytharc quest, and even reluctantly continue regular side hunts, rather than either try to restart things with Amelia or do his own normal.
eilf
# eilf 2012-11-03 13:00
I was saying I think that Amelia is in hiding from someone or something though I wasn't sure why I thought that. What if she thought her past was catching up on her and wanted to get him out of danger. Sam wouldn't leave her if he thought she needed his help so she would have to make it about their relationship being over. Sam is a smart guy so he might guess there was something up so he would keep an eye on her,

That works for two of the seasons plot points (or maybe 3)
1) Sam leaving quietly and Amelia watching him go
2) Sam spying on Amelia's credit cards etc because he is suspicious
3) Maybe the person in the shadows when Sam leaves is keeping an eye Amelia and not Sam
nick23
# nick23 2012-11-02 17:25
remember that dean told cas in 5x2 that he was happy without sam may be dean try it now and see if he will be happy, just saying.
Katiki
# Katiki 2012-11-02 20:45
Dean wasn't really happy without Sam in 5x02, he was just saying that. It was bravado, a front. And say all you want, the show is always going to be about two brothers.
mcf
# mcf 2012-11-02 17:57
This episode reminds me why I fell for this show in the first place. The gritty look and feel and dark humors. I love the vampirates line and how the editing just let that hang there. No queuing up of the "this is a joke" music they have fallen into doing so often making it campy feeling. It reminded me of JIB and the I shot the sherrif line is S4. I have been missing that black humor
One thing I always have a problem with is the love interest portrayals. All the women have the same traits- fiesty and antagonistic but will have a heart of gold. Its like the writers use the exact same scenario for every introduction. Jo pulling a rifle Lisa not wanting Dean etc. Maybe they could just meet someone they like and are drawn to.
. Maybe they could just meet someone who they
cd28
# cd28 2012-11-02 20:27
I just watched the whole episode through and wanted to comment on some of the points in the article. I don't think there's more to Sam other than resentment. You know how sometimes when you go along with something you don't really want to do - that you've moved past - you resent it every minute and it comes out as passive aggressive anger? That's what I'm reading from Sam. I think he's tired of getting hit with the crap that flows their way and isn't taking Dean's detours - which will likely lead to more crap their way - lightly. He just wants to get the job done and go back to whatever his plan was before Dean came back.

On the Benny parallels - I agree that he's a Sam substitute. He rebelled against his family and didn't realize it was such a big crime until they killed him. As for the Ruby comparison, Benny is reminding me more of the siren who morphed into the agreeable little brother Dean never had but always wanted.

I think the credit card thing with Amelia is in part concern over self-destructiv e/depression tendencies Amelia has, and part ex-girlfriend cyber-stalking - kind of like Googling an ex. It was also a joke that Amelia accused Sam of being a creepy stalker in the past (which wasn't true), but he really is in the present.

I love it when Cas points out the mythology holes that viewers are wondering about (in this case what happens to monsters who die in Purgatory, or in season 6 if Sam was still Sam without a soul), but I hate that this is the writers' way of saying they never plan to answer them.
shamangrrl
# shamangrrl 2012-11-02 20:34
This is just my opinion, but Sam is trying to deal with Dean in the exact manner he always has, and it isn't working because Dean has changed. And Dean is trying to reclaim his place in the here-and-now, and he can't because... he has changed. And this episode brought that change out into the open in such a way that neither Sam nor Dean can ignore it. Dean was *much* more comfortable hunting with Benny than he has been with Sam. The old behaviour patterns don't work. Hopefully this will lead to the new "mature" relationship that Carver has been touting. Personally, I'm loving this confident, no excuses Dean. We're getting dribs and drabs of his journey to this new self-acceptance through the Purgatory flashbacks. Sam hasn't begun his journey yet - he's stuck in the waiting position. But with the catalyst of Dean's return, he can't just hover in this half-life anymore. I think that's what Sam's story will be this season. It's slow going, but I really believe it will lead him to firmer ground by season's end.
E
# E 2012-11-03 09:15
I am loving this confident, moving-ahead Dean as well. He is, in some ways, content and happy. I am sure that problems arising from his Purgatory PTSD will come up to cause him even more problems as the season goes on, but in many ways Dean's outlook hasn't been this healthy since seasons 1 and 2.

And like you, I hope that what is going on with Sam (whatever it is) will ultimately lead to this much touted "maturity" we have been hearing so much about. My main concern is that Sam's story show him in a good light. Currently, the situation they have set up for Sam reflects very, very badly on him. His decisions show him as disloyal, uncaring, selfish and a quitter; all tropes that have been used on him before. There has not been a single story line in 8 seasons (a long term character arc) that has shown Dean in as negative a way as Sam has been shown on multiple occasions. I don't understand it. A show CAN have two hero's, two likable characters who often disagree with each other, but who aren't relegated to the simplistic formula of the "right brother" and the "wrong brother". But once again, this is where we currently stand, at least at the moment. I still hold out hope that Sam's story will be shown to be more generous, loving, selfless and brave than it currently seems to be. It is my everlasting hope for the season.
Katiki
# Katiki 2012-11-02 20:49
All right, I reread the review and then read all the comments to find all the positive points, and armed with that next week I'm going to try my best to enjoy it.
Nicole
# Nicole 2012-11-03 09:39
wow Alice, I guess as a Sam girl you see things differently, your reaction gives some stuff to think about! I loved the episode! I saw some of the comments, and didn't see him touching the limes as him taking the food out of the bag for her but being Sam-accusatory regarding the fact that he found a ton of limes in the garbage disposal--what was stopping up the sink. Amelia's guilty look showed she understood Sam's intimation and was just giving a slightly bitch "Dean"reaction to being called out...

I felt Sam in the end was more frightened of losing Dean than anything else. And probably more pissed that Dean kept the vampire friend from him than for any other reason. I'm not worried about Sam and Dean. They'll work it out... :D
dinkwerks
# dinkwerks 2012-11-03 10:56
My question, is where's the music? They used to always have music when the show opened up with the "then" and "now" segments. I miss it...Anyone have any ideas as to why they have taken that off?
E
# E 2012-11-03 20:21
Hi dinkwerks,
Supernatural's budget is small, especially for a show with as much CG as it has, and the rights to classic rock songs are high = not as much music. Jared even said that they wanted use something really mainstream in an episode one time, something like Ozzy's Crazy Train or AC/DC, but then found out the rights to the song for a single episode was $100,000. :eek:
dinkwerks
# dinkwerks 2012-11-03 22:17
Thanks for the info E....it's just that they used to do music at the beginning of the show....I miss it. You'd think as long as it has been on the air and it's following, they could ante up some money.
Nate
# Nate 2012-11-03 13:06
Flawless episode. Season 8 REALLY took off with this episode. I feel nothing but great things the rest of the Season, and Seasons to come!
Scullspeare
# Scullspeare 2012-11-03 15:34
Maybe everyone is fed up with discussing this episode by now, but I wanted a chance to rewatch before commenting because I wasn’t quite as blown away as most by Blood Brother. Please forgive the length of the post but a few thoughts have been percolating/festering….

First, I didn’t dislike Blood Brother – in fact, there were parts I liked a lot – but until the very last minute of the show, I remained like I have for all of this season thus far – strangely emotionally disconnected.

Among the likes:

- Cass’s metaphysical musing on ‘If you kill monsters in Purgatory, where do they go?’ was very Edlundian and my favourite line of the night.
- Benny whistling Hall of the Mountain King made me giggle. Like many of us, my early introduction to classical music came via Bugs Bunny :lol: and, with apologies to Grieg’s Peer Gynt, that’s right where my mind went with this refrain. Of course, the Bugs Bunny seed was already planted by the ‘Wascally Wabbit’ line – which makes me think that WAS the line Bob Singer asked Jared to put back in, and why! (Ben Edlund messing with our heads? Hey, it’s been known to happen.)
- Loved Guy Bee’s direction of the Purgatory scenes and fight sequences, and the Terminator-esque Leviathan bombs were really visually effective.
- I like Benny and think his character has great potential – although he and Dean both seemed to have a serious case of the mumbles in this episode.

As for what didn’t work so well for me:

- As much as I want to, I’m still not connecting with Amelia. I get that they want to portray her as damaged, stubborn and strong-willed (an echo of a certain Winchester), not a woman who’d get all weak-kneed at the sight of a handsome stranger. Kudos for that, but we went from bitchy and unprofessional in her first appearance (even after a couple of viewings, this is the one scene I really wish they’d taken another pass at; as the introduction of a major character in a season-long arc, IMO, it fails miserably) to shrill or bland in this one. Where’s the chemistry that would draw Sam to her? I was looking forward to this storyline before the season began, and I’m ready and willing to warm up to Amelia, or at least empathize with her, but they have to give me something to empathize with.

- Sam has been noticeably OOC this season. Alice, I agree with your take – he’s not alright, but I think what’s really irking me is that most of the explanation we have for his behaviour (not looking for Dean, his overt panic at Dean hunting the vamps on his own) has come from Jared in interviews and at conventions rather than through the proper channel – the story. It appears TPTB think they’ve offered a valid explanation, but the number of times poor Jared’s been asked about it begs to differ. I would have been quite content to hear, ‘Be patient, all will make sense eventually,’ then I’d at least know an explanation was coming. As an eternal optimist, I’m still holding out hope.

- After this week’s episode aired, I recalled one of Bob Singer’s comments from before the season began. He said they’d chosen to tell the story this year via flashbacks because the fans didn’t like the brothers apart. How ironic because, based on the first five episodes, I don’t think the Winchester boys have ever been further apart.

Some are suggesting the fact that J2 negotiating more time off is behind this onscreen disconnect. After seven seasons in a two-lead show, in a job that takes them away from family and friends, I think more time off is well-deserved but, as an audience member, that’s a business decision that shouldn’t be noticeable in the final product. Think back to Scarecrow: the brothers spent much of that episode apart (meaning the Js could film their scenes separately) yet the onscreen connection was still there. Re-watch the operating room scene from Changing Channels; I’d bet money that the Js were never on that set at the same time and yet the scene works. In the Beginning and The End were both fantastic episodes, even though Sam and Dean were not together for much of the story. So, yes, it’s completely possible to write engaging episodes that don’t have the brothers together in every scene, and that’s what I’m hoping for as the season progresses.

- I will admit I’m not thrilled with the overt focus on guest stars this season. Cas and Bobby are now irreplaceable members of the SPN ’verse, but how long had they been around before a Bobby-centric or Cas-centric episode was written? They were introduced into the mythology gradually, embraced by viewers and the payoff was an eventual exploration of their background. This year, in only five episodes, we’ve had one (Bitten) that focused entirely on three characters who in previous seasons would have been monster chow before the title card flashed, and a Benny-focused episode in only his second appearance on the show. I like Ty Olsson’s performance, I welcome the addition of his character but give me a bit of time to learn to care about him before he takes over the screen.

Can you imagine if the writers had served up a Bela-centric episode in Season 2, or a Ruby-focused episode in Season 3 or 4 ("I know. Let’s use the brothers as bookends while we focus this hour on how the witch Ruby became a demon in the time of the Black Plague."). Oy. My brain hurts just thinking about the online commentary that would have generated.

Supernatural has entertained me for seven years now, moreso than any other show on TV, and that earns my loyalty; I’ll stick with it through thick and thin. Things are just feeling a little thin for me, right now. The last minute of Blood Brother was the first time this season I really felt the spark that has defined SPN for me. I hope it’s a turning point because I want to love this show again.
cd28
# cd28 2012-11-03 15:51
Excellent post. I agree with most of what you said, especially the last part about the character centrics and the Sam & Dean time apart. I liked episodes like WIAWSNB and The End. My only criticism is that Sam wasn't given his own episodes like that, so it left a sense of inequity. But if the writers were to balance those types of episodes between both brothers, it could make some very powerful storytelling and character development.

I also agree that they are writing centric episodes for side characters too soon. I see Bitten differently than you do. To me it wasn't about getting us to care about these characters. Rather it was a different spin on telling a monster of the week story, so I liked that episode. But the Garth and Charlie centrics last season were introduced too soon. And all of the focus on Benny is too much too soon as well, unless they plan to kill off Benny before the hiatus break. What I'd love to see is an episode focusing on the day in the life of Crowley.
etheldred
# etheldred 2012-11-03 16:10
Quote:
I liked episodes like WIAWSNB and The End. My only criticism is that Sam wasn't given his own episodes like that, so it left a sense of inequity.
WORD. As long as they are shaking things up this season, now would be an excellent time to give one of those episodes to Sam. (Of course, WIaWNSB wouldn't work for the actor problem, since 'Sam' was in that quite a bit, and therefore Jared was in that quite a bit, but I'd still be happy to see an episode where 'Dean' was the Dean in Sam's head -- Deanifer in 7.2 and hallucinated Dean in 4.21 were an intriguing glimpse, but I'd like to see that play out for a whole story, like WIaWNSB).
LEAH D
# LEAH D 2012-11-03 21:02
A day in the life of Crowley, what a great idea. I could get behind that. :)
lala2
# lala2 2012-11-03 18:45
I feel the same way and stated the same thing in the "Let's Speculate" thread.

I didn't hate this episode but it did feel misplaced. For me, it's way too soon to have an episode focused on Benny when I have no clue what is going on w/one of the main characters: Sam. I don't mind getting Benny's backstory, but I would prefer more info on why Sam is behaving so OOC this season. Once Sam and Dean have been fully fleshed out then they can tell all the stories about Benny, Castiel, and Garth that they wish.
E
# E 2012-11-03 20:31
I'll bet it has to do with the reveals. JC and co. aren't ready to get to the type of reveal that I think more Sam centric episodes might contain, and since Benny's character development IS important in the grand scheme of things we are getting it now rather than later when I am sure things will be heating up. Just a theory anyway.
E
# E 2012-11-03 21:07
OK, since Scullspeare brought up Grieg's In the Hall of the Mountain King, I am going to geek out in a metaphorical way for a minute. I am probably WAY over analyzing, but I can't help myself. As soon as Benny started whistling that tune, my brain went crazy deducing all of the hidden meanings that could be associated with it. In the Hall of the Mountain King has long been associated with Halloween so at the most basic level this was a nice cheeky shout out to the fact that the episode aired on Halloween. But it's also from the incidental music from Ibsen's play Peer Gynt and I wonder if this whole episode is a really complex metaphor that BE set up between the themes in the play and the current themes in Supernatural. Anyone have an opinion? Too much maybe to make that kind of connection after a 12 second scene where a character whistles a few bars of a well known tune? Id love to think that this level of complexity is being included in an episode on purpose and if anyone is clever enough to do so, it would have to be Ben Edlund.
Scullspeare
# Scullspeare 2012-11-03 22:47
I have no doubt that Ben Edlund has read Ibsen and if he picked the music, it was there for a reason.

There are all kinds of parallels between Dean's Purgatory story and Peer Gynt. The Mountain King of the title is a troll - a monster, some may say. The troll kingdom is, metaphorically, between worlds, much like Purgatory. And Peer's humanity is ultimately questioned - is he man or troll? As a hunter, someone who kills for a living, Dean has often questioned his humanity.

I haven't read that play in a long time *blows dust off copy* but this discussion has made me want to read it again and see if it offers clues, or if we are really reading something into nothing. :lol:

Out there, where sky shines, humans say: 'To thyself be true.' In here, trolls say: 'Be true to yourself and to hell with the world.'" - Henrik Ibsen (Peer Gynt)
E
# E 2012-11-04 11:24
Yeah, this is exactly what I was thinking too! It can be applied to Sam as well, with Peer fighting for his soul at the end of the play... he's neither good enough for heaven nor bad enough for hell, relegating him to him being melted down to nothingness, kind of like purgatory maybe. Then he's saved by the love of a faithful woman, whose been waiting for him. And the themes of being oneself, and true to oneself can apply to both brothers. Oooh, I am such a geek. I love stuff like this!
Scullspeare
# Scullspeare 2012-11-03 23:27
:lol: Only Ben Edlund could spark a discussion that includes both Bugs Bunny and Ibsen. :lol:
Jules
# Jules 2012-11-05 11:51
Everytime I see Ben Edlund's name as writer, I know it's going to be a thought-provoki ng hour. Edlund-goodness doesn't always have to mean a perfect episode, but a well-written, well-paced, excellent dialogue filled time. Little things like Benny whistling and Dean muttering to himself while Benny and Cas are arguing. Major things like Dean shaking his head at Sam at the end. No, this episode did not answer every single question we have, and maybe even added a few, but I was riveted. THIS is why I love this show. It reminded me of the season 3 and 4 goodness that I could not wait to see each week. Dean and Benny standing back-to-back, waiting for the next on-slaught. Sam trying to be patient and wait for Dean, while remembering what was obviously a bright time in his life. Why was Sam so ticked at Dean for entering the Vamp nest alone? Because he doesn't want the life anymore, wants to be back in those sunny days with Amelia, and yet here is Dean calling to tell him about yet another thing he has to care about and deal with and doesn't want to. Emphatically doesn't want to. Thus the anger at Dean on the docks. Anger at the whole situation. Thank you, Mr. Edlund.
percysowner
# percysowner 2012-11-05 12:37
Quote:
Why was Sam so ticked at Dean for entering the Vamp nest alone? Because he doesn't want the life anymore, wants to be back in those sunny days with Amelia, and yet here is Dean calling to tell him about yet another thing he has to care about and deal with and doesn't want to. Emphatically doesn't want to. Thus the anger at Dean on the docks. Anger at the whole situation.
I don't agree with this reading on Sam. I think he didn't want Dean to go into a vamp nest alone because it is a suicidally dangerous thing to do. Sam has just gotten Dean back and knowing that Dean is walking into a situation where he can be killed or turned and Sam may never find out what happened AGAIN has to be frightening.

I know that one argument against this is that Sam suggested Dean continue to hunt alone, BUT people keep leaving out the rest of the conversation. First Sam suggests that Dean will be happier without a partner who disagrees with the way Dean is handling the hunts i.e. Sam. He does suggest Dean go it alone, but he also encourages Dean to find another partner, one who wants to hunt unlike Sam. Sam was mostly restating the fact that Sam doesn't want to hunt and that if Dean does he has options that don't involve having Sam as a partner. Plus, even if Dean was hunting alone, he has the option of calling in a partner for difficult hunt, like going into a vampire nest. Heck that was how we met Garth, Bobby felt it was a 2 man job and sent Garth since Sam was married to Becky at the time, and working with her.
Lilacgirl
# Lilacgirl 2014-06-03 18:37
Rewatching for the second time. What happened to vampires being able to hear a beating heart five blocks away?