Expectations. Once again, the network baited the Supernatural audience with previews that raised expectations for a spectacularly intense cliffhanger. The promotional and the sneak peek trailers showed two scenes, one that teased the aftermath of a Mark of Cain bloodbath and a second of a touching heart-to-heart talk between Cas and Dean about the MoC. Both of these teasers understandably led Supernatural’s loyal and invested fans to believe that the primary theme of the mid-season finale would be the Mark of Cain.

The CW’s official primer accurately described all three plot lines that were covered:
Dean finally makes a decision about the troublesome Mark of Cain plaguing him. Elsewhere, the daughter of Castiel's vessel, Jimmy, convinces the angel to break her out of a group home -- and then she ditches Cas leaving the Winchesters to search for her. As for Crowley, the King of Hell will face his biggest challenge yet.

The order in which the story lines were listed and the “elsewhere” modifier used to downplay Cas and Crowley’s situations subliminally led me to believe that the MoC would be the primary plot line, and that Cas and Crowley’s dilemmas would have less importance, and less air time. That is not what we got though. The mid-season finale was about Castiel and Claire with a short and long-awaited punch line delivered by the Mark of Cain.
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Dean's Nightmare Comes True in "The Things We Left Behind"

The episode was enjoyable; it just wasn’t what was promised. I’m left feeling like a dupe who fell for a mass marketing ploy. I wouldn’t think that purposely making your audience feel foolish is a good way to strengthen the bond between a show and its fans. I am also, though, left disappointed that I did not receive what I expected to receive. Yes, they got me to tune in to this show and they may have bolstered ratings in the short term. http://tvbythenumbers.zap2it.com/tag/supernatural-ratings/ quoted:  “Last night’s midseason finale of Supernatural was the series’ most watched episode (2.81 million) in more than four years…”, so the strategy worked brilliantly. If viewers were ultimately disappointed in what they saw, though (only because they thought they would see something else), doesn’t that whittle away at their on-going trust in the show?  Was a short term boost in pre-show excitement worth the aftermath of “was that all there is”? Although manipulating an audience to lure them in is an age-old tactic used successfully for countless blockbuster movies, it is a dangerous game to play with a show that has survived ten years entirely through a bond of loyalty and devotion from long-term fans.

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The MoC from "The Things We Left Behind"

I am also a bit perplexed. If the people in charge of such things understood that the fans, above all, wanted to see an emotionally intense revelation about what the Mark of Cain is doing to Dean, why isn’t that what they wrote for us? Granted the last two minutes of “The Things We Left Behind” were revealing and heart wrenching, but was that enough to make up for five episodes of monster-of-the-week focus? I have to pause here and clarify that I have enjoyed the majority of season 10’s episodes, including this last show, and I will eventually get around to analyzing its contents and judging it on its merits. I wonder about this season’s main myth arc, though. As might be obvious from my choice to write reviews which analyze the overarching “Threads” that run through the season, my enjoyment of Supernatural stems mostly from the brother’s intense bond and the larger-than-life complexities they must face together. Kate and her sister making opposite decisions about the abuse of power, Olivia’s emotional scarring from imposed isolation, Jody’s worries about Alex working her way through her teenage years after experiencing trauma, and Claire acting out because she lost both parents to Castiel’s interruption of their lives were all interesting stories by themselves and they showed me the personal fallout from the supernatural’s interference with humanity. They did not, however, greatly affect Sam and Dean, nor did they give me insights into the more important battle going on between “one of the oldest symbols known to man” created by Hell to destroy humanity that happens to be currently consuming one of the two heroes destined to fight said war between the supernatural and humanity. Each sub-story contained symbolism and subtle messages about the brothers’ situation, so from that standpoint, the main plot hasn’t been forgotten. I was just expecting the subtle subtext to come to the forefront and actually occupy the majority of the “climactic” mid-season finale.

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The Doomed Sisters from "Paper Moon"

Taken together, the personal stories that have been shared with us this season were also about whether a family’s love can save someone from the supernatural, which is of course a central theme of the series. Kate tried to use the supernatural to save the life of her sister (as both Sam and Dean have done for each other) but Tasha wasn’t able to control nor channel her supernatural abilities for good, despite Kate’s constant vigilance and mentoring.  Similarly, the moment her family wasn’t present to stop Olivia, she also used her supernatural powers to kill rather than honoring the gift of life her family pleaded to give her. Both stories exemplified that supernatural powers corrupted endeared family members beyond the reach of the redemption of love, no matter how intense or how vigilant it may have been. Obviously, the exact same thing could happen to Dean. Sam made the choice to constantly remain at Dean’s side, as Kate did with Tasha, watching his every move and trying to keep him from straying into evil. From what happened to Tasha, and to Dean in “The Things We Left Behind”, that doesn’t bode well for Dean’s future, though. Sam could also try to lock Dean away if and until they find a resolution to the Mark of Cain’s influence. Given what happened to Olivia, and the dreams that are plaguing Dean, the message seems to be that won’t work either and that the Mark of Cain just won’t be that patient.

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Caroline's Reunion with her husband, "Girls Girls Girls"

On the other hand, Joe's unfailing love for Caroline convinced Hannah to return Caroline's humanity to her. Cole was obsessed with avenging his father’s murder, but it was thoughts of Cole’s family that pulled him back from self-destruction. Cole is and always has been human, though, and could make clear and rational choices without being influenced by a supernatural power.  Alex and Claire are also human, but they both once had supernatural powers inside of them. They are struggling to find their own humanity again, even though in both cases it is hard to tell how much of their conflict is understanding what it means to be human versus the normal teen search for identity and self-control. Still, the question remains if a loving guardian’s guidance will bring them successfully through to the other side of their current darkness.

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Claire and Cas in "The Things We Left Behind"

Dean also was recently rescued from the grips of a supernatural power. While he is technically human again, he is still being affected by a lesser yet ancient and prolific power. So the tragic Kate/Tasha and Bunny/Olivia stories that directly relate to how Sam is trying to save Dean don’t bode well for his chances. Tasha and Olivia were 100% supernatural "monsters", though, while Dean is only being "pushed" by the supernatural. The more optimistic stories of Caroline, Cole, Alex and Claire can also only partially be used to foreshadow Dean. While they are all human now, unlike him, they never had or have shed completely their supernatural inducements. So all these monster of the week stories have presented possible outcomes for Dean, and Sam, but we can’t reliably predict Dean’s fate because none of them are an exact match for his circumstances.

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DemonDean's Capture, "Reichenbach"

So why has season 10 thus far focused so much on monster of the week stories? I actually have a theory about that. The fifth episode of this year marked the 200th episode in the series, a major milestone for any television show. Dedicating that episode to celebrating the show’s first 10 years created an artificial deadline for resolving the DemonDean issue. Obviously, Dean couldn’t be a demon if that episode was going to present a balanced view of the overall Supernatural series or of the many stories that had unfolded over 200 episodes.  The writers also had to expect that it would be watched by a lot of people who were not in the loyal fanbase and who had tuned in just because they were curious about the landmark episode. So to simultaneously showcase what the show is really about for the curious, while thanking loyal fans for their long-term, intimate knowledge and investment in the brothers’ lives, the demon storyline had to end by a specific date, dictated by a calendar instead of by story dynamics.

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The Musical Cast of "Fan Fiction"

There was also a great deal of marketing hoopla surrounding the 200th episode. There was a huge party for network executives, and a major public relations event for fans. Jared and Jensen had to give interviews to numerous major news outlets and film extra on-camera shorts which promoters could use to pump the episode. All this marketing put extra demands on their time. Jim Michaels (the executive producer of Supernatural) and Jared both tweeted that “The Things We Left Behind” was filmed during the week of the long anticipated 200th episode party. Jared tweeted: “Fun Fact: this episode was filmed when we had our 200th episode party in Vancouver. So, LOTS of big-wigs on set!” The last several episodes of season 10 have been noticeably light on both story and airtime from Sam and Dean. That may have been intentional to allow Jared and Jensen the time they needed to attend to the press activities that would benefit the show long term. Short term pain for long term gain!

Still, it’s hard to say why the first half of season 10 has been so different from the heavy myth-arc seasons we’ve experienced for the majority of the last several years. While many people are disappointed, others are relieved and truly enjoying the break in the emotional upheaval. They see the simpler monster hunts and the emphasis on family and personal stories as true to the core of the show. I am personally more drawn to myth arc, so I was elated with the intense first three episodes this year. I loved “Fan Fiction” and “Hibbing 911”, though, and I have to admit that I also to varying degrees enjoyed “Paper Moon”, “Girls, Girls, Girls” and “The Things We Left Behind” even if none of them reduced me to a crumbled heap of emotional wreckage on the floor.  

So I don’t object to the quieter, simpler episodes. I submit that the season desperately needs more even pacing of storytelling with more consistent myth arc development. I’m still hoping for an intense second half of the season but I’ll be elated with character stories that include a pronounced use of a focused, steadily progressing myth arc.  If I quit being fooled by the heartless exploitation of my expectations, I will thoroughly enjoy the simple story about families that is being told as long as the larger picture is omnipresent. It may not be the apocalyptic season 4, 5, 8 or 9 Supernatural, but it has the potential to be classic Supernatural.

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Sam and Dean in "The Things We Left Behind"

P.S. Now that season 10 has found its themes and we can "leave behind" the distractions of our past success, could we please have more Sam, and more Dean, and more Sam interacting with Dean, and more Castiel interacting with Sam and Dean, and more Crowley interacting with Sam and Dean, and more Sam telling us what he's thinking, and more Dean telling us what he's thinking, and …well, you get the idea. Those will be my everlasting expectations of the show I love called Supernatural.


What are your expectations for the rest of season 10? What have you thought of the season thus far? Do you agree with my assessments of themes, pro and cons of the first third of season 10? Remember that we also have the happiness thread, the bitterness thread, and the dedicated Sam and Dean discussion areas if you want to drill down on a specific hot point!

Screencaps courtesy of www.screencapped.com.


# cheryl42 2014-12-10 19:11
I've said this elsewhere but being on the west coast I cheated and read comments from the east coast feed. So I was prepared for a Sam and Dean light episode. I knew it was going to be about Cas and Claire. So I went in with those expectations instead of what the misleading promos promised. That being said I will have to say that even though this was a good episode it should have been a great one. It should have finally started dealing with the MOC and what that was doing to Dean (probably before this episode even). I hope you are right and the rest of the season deals with the brothers primarily with dashes of Cas and Crowley mixed in. But with Cas now having to deal with Claire and Crowley and mom who is supposed to be a major part of the second half, I have a feeling we are going to get maybe 5 or 6 more episodes with the brothers front and center and a big rush to the finish where Jeremy Carver once again delivers enough of a punch to take us into what will probably be the last season. That is if he hasn't already departed or is too busy with his new project to write for SPN. I'm not saying the rest of the season is going to suck I just think expectations should probably be the brothers aren't going to be in every episode. Like I said maybe 5 or 6 at the most are going to be Sam and Dean heavy. I hope the writers can pull it off.
Edit: I just watched the episode again....uh I actually loved it. I think it wasn't what we expected but when I just watched the episode for what it was it really worked on all levels for me. I laughed, I was touched emotionally and now I'm terrified for Sam and Dean (mostly Dean). And now it is doing to me what the show does...I can't stop thinking about it.
# BookLady 2014-12-10 19:20
Hello Nightsky,

I just posted on the bitterness thread how much the brothers are the heart of the show and they need to be front and center, not on the sidelines of the episodes. Whether they are less present due to network press obligations or because they want more time off to spend with their families (which I don't begrudge them), it has made the show much less involving for me. I, too, hope the second half of the season is stronger and focuses on the brothers.
# LEAH 2014-12-10 21:07
Hi Nightsky, totally agree with you here. I like, Cheryl, lowered my expectations before I saw the actual episode based on some of the early reaction. I enjoyed it in many ways but the promos seem to promise one thing and deliver another as you say. Anti-climactic to say the least. If it were not the mid season finale it may have been judged a little less harshly. Maybe not. The focus needs to be on the boys, I think we can all agree on that. I want to be shocked and awed like I was in some of the past premieres and finales. At the same time I am enjoying the low key more personal nature of this season also especially the calmer relationship the brothers have. Heck they even have a laugh or two together. I missed that. I think this show I still love has a lot to offer. I hope the second half picks it up a bit. Thanks for your thoughts as always.
# Ginger 2014-12-10 22:38
I will address your main point before reverting to and sticking strictly to the questions you pose.

This is how I view the deceptive marketing of this episode. Every person and every culture have their own values, traditions and customs, but everyone the world over values honesty. What the CW did in promoting this episode was unethical and disrespectful to the fans; especially the long-term loyal fanbase. I am livid, and I have a right to be, because I have not missed one live airing since this show started. I am actually going to try to get an email through to the CW about this, and I sure do not want to hear one more word out of the mouth of anybody connected with this about how much they value the fans. I will leave it at that.

What are your expectations for the rest of season 10? Sadly, the show is never going to get any better than it is right now, and I think that because the writers have lost interest and the J2s, I feel, have lost faith in the show, too. I expect to see the majority of episodes dedicated to obscure characters with a little more baiting about MoC Dean until the last episode while the Winchesters act as bookends or stage furniture.

What have you thought of the season thus far? Terribly disappointed. I did not expect the Winchesters to become just two other regulars in the show, I did not expect to see the show turned into a caricature of itself, I did not expect to see backstories for a cast of obscure characters, I did expect the Winchesters to have some kind of a story, and I did expect to see a show about supernatural stuff; not mommy/daddy/fam ily issues that aren't even good enough to be put on daytime TV.

Do you agree with my assessments of themes, pro and cons of the first third of season 10? I can't even answer that based on what I have seen so far. I don't think there is any thought put into 'themes' by these writers; just a general broad stroke idea of 'let's have each of the regulars take a personal journey.'
# sugarhi15 2014-12-10 22:49
I don't have any expectations when I watch this show or any other show or movie. this is just my very own opinion, but I believe expectations and the need for their fulfillment takes away the enjoyment that comes when watching a show. I watch a show to be entertained. I watch to laugh or cry or to be scared or to release anger...I may not like everything I see, but I never go in expecting anything....bec ause in the end it often leads to disappointment and a lot of unhappy fans. I watch supernatural for jared and Jensen. I watch for Sam and Dean and the brotherly love they share....While I may not love every minute of every episode, I never go in expecting anything and I never feel cheated or disappointed because I didn't see what I wanted to see. It's like we were taught in nursery school and it's an important life lesson: you get what you get and you don't get upset, or in other words...be grateful for what you have.....becaus e you could have nothing at all. I'm thankful every day for this show. I'm thankful every day for Jared and Jensen and the smiles they give me. I'm grateful to be a part of this fandom. I have been watching this show since day one....and as much as I've been a loyal viewer for the last ten years, and as appreciative as I am for this show and these boys, I don't think that I have a personal privilege to dictate to the ptb how and what should happen in this show simply because it's what I personally desire . yes there is a mutual symbiosis between the fans and the show, but imho, it's not my place to expect what I want when I want it and then when I don't get it....yada yada yada, there's the bitterness thread:D look don't get me wrong...there are things that I wish for and sometimes they happen and sometimes they don't....when they do, i'm thrilled beyond thrilled and when it doesn't, well i'm still ok with it....and hold out hope for that wish coming true somewhere along the line....not every episode is perfect. I can count on one hand how many eps I really dislike. I've been aggravated just like everyone else for one reason or another....but never because I expected something and it didn't happen. look I don't begrudge people having expectations. it's probably a natural inclination. It's not like I never have expectations about anything....I just don't have expectations when I watch a show. I watch for fun. I watch for pleasure. I don't want to get bogged down in disappointment because what I expect to happen didn't...or what I thought would happen didn't....look I know my positive outlook annoys people....but then again, I think I have such a positive outlook because I don't have any expectations from this show and therefore i'm not disappointed or unhappy when things don't end up the way I expected them to go.... I can honestly say without exaggeration, that while I may not find every ep to my liking, you'll hardly, if ever, see me disappointed and unhappy regarding this show ....;)

given all that: I did not feel manipulated by the promos at all. first off, I know from past experience that promos are never what they seem. secondly, I know from experience that whenever Crowley and cas are on in the same ep, it's because jared and Jensen need time off.... I knew from the start, even without the description, that cas and Crowley's presence would mean sam and dean light. the cw gave a specific description of the eppy and that description was pretty cut and dried for me....again, my personal opinion only...for me I knew from the description that the main focus was going to be cas. So based on that I was not at all surprised at the way the ep went down....actuall y I was a little pleasantly surprised because sam and dean were in it more than I thought they would be....given recent past history concerning cas/crowley storylines. I also know from past experience that mid season finales aren't necessarily epic in nature. as a matter of fact, I can't recall an epic mid season finale. I felt the pacing of this episode was par for the course regarding a midseason finale.....an interesting story with a slow build up to a nerve racking ending in which all excitement happens in the last few seconds.....thu s leading the fans to want to know what happens next, reassuring that we are ever vigilant in making sure we have our dvr's at the ready when we come back from hellatus. The midseason finale is the segue to a more exciting second half...more myth arc based second half....which I have no doubt is what we will get....and that's not expectation.... that's absolute faith. :D
# cheryl42 2014-12-10 23:19
Ok this is freaky weird. I just now finished watching the episode again. I knew what was going to happen so I just let the story flow. I had no expectations other than to watch the episode for what it was. I have to say I absolutely loved it. I see now why it has been so positively reviewed by so many. It was well written, acted and kept me riveted the entire time. Then I see your comment that pretty much summed up how I should have watched the episode. I just about said the same thing on the cbox (you should come visit there it is a lot of fun. You would fit right in.) I have to quit making my comments about an episode until after I watch a second time.
Also something just occurred to me about the promo. The first one showed the Dean scene but the extended promo had Dean and Cas sitting in a restaurant eating (or Dean over eating) and sharing their feelings. So I guess that one is on me.
# sugarhi15 2014-12-10 23:31
I wouldn't get in trouble in cbox would I...:D I liked this episode. Most of the time i'll watch an eppy twice....except during sam and dean light eps....even though I enjoy them most of the time, I only watch those once and then wait for the rerun til I watch again.... I agree that this ep was well acted and written....I didn't get up and walk out of the room until the commercials.... so while not riveted until the very end....I enjoyed every minute of it....most especially sam and dean. ;)
# cheryl42 2014-12-10 23:48
No no trouble at all. We talk about all kinds of things and post videos, gifs and pretty pictures of the guys. We talk episodes but leave all the heavy stuff for the main board. Leah is our fearless leader. She would love to have come visit and see what you think (me too). As far as this episode on first view I thought it was Sam and Dean light but watching it again I was surprised at how much they were in it. A tired brain doesn't absorb as much as it should I guess.
# Bevie 2014-12-11 16:34
Ditto for everything you said here! With the possible exception of "Man's Best Friend with Benefits" and "Bloodlines", the only 2 I won't watch while doing my endless rewatching.:p;)

I don't think we have to apologize for loving our show (especially for me as it is one of the extremely few things I have left in the world to enjoy, and I enjoy it absolutely). Thank you Sam and Dean and all of you who contribute to the making of it, and Eric for "creating" it! :)
# sylvia37 2014-12-11 17:27
No one needs to apologize for enjoying the show. It's why we come here to this site so we can all express our feelings without being blasted for them. And I'm glad there are people who just watch it for enjoyment. That's why the guys keep doing what they're doing. I just wish I felt the same way you do.
# novi 2014-12-10 23:31
In reply to sugarhi15
Agree. As I see it, season10 is developing in the direction Carver (truly) told us about in his interviews, - it's about inner demons hiding in a man's soul, and they are more dangerous and more powerful that any monster from outer world. Carver has consistently switched the focus of the show from mythology to psycology. Dean now has the Mark, but this killing mechanism - it's been ingraned into him long ago. He was raised by a soldier to become a soldier, he was trained in hell as a master torturer, and look at him in purgatory - he was terrifying and so happy! Pure, indeed! The Mark just intensifies what has already been there, so I think neither Sam nor Cas could save Dean but himself. I like the episode, actually more than the previous one, though it's good that people warmed to Donna, now they may like my favorite Purge better, I hope.
# sugarhi15 2014-12-11 07:45
novi, i agree. there are countless interviews by jeremy carver where he explained to us how season ten is going to play out. i've provided links myself to a few of those interviews, and if one just googles jeremy carver s10 interviews, there are even more. Carver flat out told us in specific detail what to expect from this season. Nothing we have gotten so far veers from what he promised we would be getting. now whether some have stayed away from interviews or whether some dismissed what carver told us what would happen....is it fair to condemn carver, cast and crew for not fulfilling one's own expectations given what we were told we would be getting in the first place?

as far as carver and his vision go.....well as i recall many fans complained about s7. Most of the complaints came from the fact that there was a disconnect with sam and dean and they were just going through the motions of the characters. I believe that was the number one complaint regarding s7. Leviathans coming in a close second. Under carver's reign, all of that changed. He brought the boys back together again, albeit there has been angst, but at the root of the angst was love....as much as we didn't like it, this angst connected these brothers again....becaus e there was passion between them and heart again. the connection was/is back. it was aggravating, yes....but it was love....the bond was reignited and it is now burning ever so brightly. With this our numbers have increased as our viewership. we have more press now then we've had since show began. we are on the homepage of yahoo nearly every week in one form or another.....say what you will about carver, but he brought new life to a ten year old show ....a show that for soooooooooo many see no end in sight nor want one. ;)
# Ettie 2014-12-11 12:59
How can Sam and Dean be back together again when all Dean does is lie and keep things from Sam? Is this what their 'bond' and connection is based on, Sam being Deans scapegoat and having to instantly forgive and forget everything Dean has done to him whike knowing that Dean still hasnt forgiven and forgotten anything Sam has done. Thats why this incarnation of their relationship feels so wrong, because they fixed nothing, they just ignored all the problems (which they always do when Dean is the one who is in a position where he has done something wrong). Its still not an equal relationship, and won't be while Dean always expects to get what he never gives.
# Kelly216 2014-12-11 13:15
Absolutely. I cannot believe Dean tried to kill Sam and hasnt apologised, and doesnt, in fact, seem bothered at all. He said he was fine. Very strange. And not love, yet the writers keep throwing in lines suggesting the "bond" is what it once was. All characterisatio n has gone out the window, but it suits the motives of Carver and the writers. I can laugh about it because I can see what they are doing and am not too emotionally invested, but I dont like the minds of fans being played with.
# cheryl42 2014-12-11 13:31
In the episode Paper Moon Dean thanked Sam for saving his life. Sam told him he never had to say that to him ever. I think Sam meant apologies as well. This isn't the first time Dean under some spell has tried to kill Sam and vice versa. These guys could spend the rest of the series apologizing to each other but that wouldn't be very productive.
# Kelly216 2014-12-11 17:21
He wasnt a full demon at the time.. Dean never resented Sam or blamed him before, he protected him out of devotion. I just dont think the powers that be love the bond Sam and Dean had. That is why they sell Cas, Kevin as additional brothers, to dilute the bond so it is no longer unique. In my mind this has caused all kinds of hooha in the fandom and they know what they are doing. Seems like mind games.
# cheryl42 2014-12-11 19:03
I am not really sure what you mean. The brothers bond has always been the most important aspect of the show. They have always populated their world with other characters that were considered family. Bobby, Rufus, Ellen, Jo, Charlie to name a few. Cas has been considered a brother and family by both Sam and Dean since S4. Half the time when they really needed him it was Sam that Cas answered. Kevin was a little brother by necessity. He needed protection from angels and demons and only Sam and Dean could protect him. But when push came to shove they always chose each other. Even Benny didn't stand a chance when it came to the brothers. They have been in each others back pockets from the beginning. Their bond has gone through the wringer but in the end there they are just the two of them. I'm not sure what about this episode has shaken that bond for some. Sam was right there holding on to a devastated Dean just as crushed as he was by what happened.
# anonymousN 2014-12-11 23:27
Cas has been considered a brother and family by both Sam and Dean since S4.
Not really.
Even Benny didn't stand a chance when it came to the brothers.
# cheryl42 2014-12-12 00:06
Well Sam didn't know that Cas betrayed him so he still thought he was one of the good guys. I would like to see Cas confess to that some day by the way.
I don't know what you mean by no to Benny. Didn't Dean chop his head off to save Sam?
# anonymousN 2014-12-12 07:55
good guys
yes,neither brother nor family.Quote:
I don't know what you mean by no to Benny. Didn't Dean chop his head off to save Sam?
Yes,but that was with the knowledge that benny could come back...he did not have to choose.
# cheryl42 2014-12-11 13:19
I don't know about past issues with the boys but in this case I think Dean was lying to himself. It was after his nightmare that he confided in Castiel (and only after Cas a celestial being knew that Dean was not ok). He wanted Cas to end him because he knew Sam wouldn't and probably couldn't do it himself. He is afraid that Sam may get caught in the crossfire. If Sam had been in that room Dean would have probably killed him too. Dean is still trying to protect Sam and it always backfires on him. That is one lesson Dean never seems to learn. The inequality I always see in the brothers relationship is that Dean is the older brother and Sam is always going to be his responsibility. I can't see that ever changing. But I think from interviews I've read Sam is going to go to some pretty dark extremes to save Dean.
# Ettie 2014-12-11 13:35
No, Dean is definitely lying to Sam. Hes being doing it since he csme back from Purgatory and hes just doing it more consistently now. Hes been doing it since he told Sam hed tell him if there was anything going on with the moc. Not telling Sam about the moc has nothing to do with protrcting Sam. The mark makes him want to kill his brother so telling Sam would be protecting him. And yes, Dean will never see Sam as anything other than his responsibility. However, responsibility is not relationship, its dictatorship. Its dean deciding he can do whatever he wants to Sam because Sam is his 'responsibility '. And i assumed Sam would go to dark extremes for Dean. Anything to tske the spotlight off Dean when Dean does wrong.
# cheryl42 2014-12-11 13:41
Well that is certainly a POV that is shared by many. Mine is just a little different. I have never seen either brother as bad or evil or doing something to the other with nefarious intentions. I have always loved the brothers relationship no matter how dysfunctional it seems at times. They have been lying to each other in one way or another since the beginning of the series. Plus I think the cat is out of the bag now. I think Sam knows that Dean is not alright.
# LEAH 2014-12-11 19:38
Could not agree more!
# Ettie 2014-12-12 10:26
I'm not sure what you mean by this post. Do you think that just because i dont agree with you about why Dean is lying that i believe one brother is 'bad or evil or doing something to the other for nefarious purposes'??
# cheryl42 2014-12-12 11:09
No I don't.
# anonymousN 2014-12-11 23:03
Not telling Sam about the moc has nothing to do with protrcting Sam. The mark makes him want to kill his brother so telling Sam would be protecting him.
1)Dean has Mark (2) History of the Mark ---intimately connected to Brother killing.(3) Does not tell his brother so as to protect him.It doe not make any sense to me.If Dean wanted Sam to be safe tell him about the mark so that Sam can be safe .Quote:
However, responsibility is not relationship, its dictatorship.
It has been for a long time and Sam has been called selfish in the show for trying to break away from it.I want Sam to give similar verbal lashings to Dean like Sam got .Dean was the ever supporting brother, wasn't he?lolQuote:
And i assumed Sam would go to dark extremes for Dean. Anything to tske the spotlight off Dean when Dean does wrong.
Iagree,agree agree.perfectly stated.I also predict we are going to get the story from Dean's POV,Cas's POV , Crowley's POV ...heck even throw Claire ito that mix...Sam ?well he will...his thoughts...who cares.I also think there will be an episode where they will show Claire's childhood and parallel it with Dean ....because we don't know about Dean's suffering as a child enough..Sam? he was having fun at Ritz..While dean was sweeping the Chimney.
# Sharon 2014-12-11 04:39
After last season I had zero expectations of season 10 especially with Sam. The show is what it is and there were better mid season finale's done that incorporated it,s lead characters better than Supernatural, and Sam is so devoid of pov he might as well be invisible so the show has ran to its normal storytelling pretty much.
# nickmaniac 2014-12-11 05:14
I've always watched the show with low expectations, even though I love spoilers and like to know what's going to happen well in advance! Strangely knowing plot-points and general storylines doesn't affect my viewing of SPN - what changes is the degree to which I've enjoyed an episode. (200th episode? Enjoyed it VERY much! Things We Left Behind? Enjoyed it NOT as much.) :)

What I find HAS affected my viewing is when I opt to read comments BEFORE watching an episode and get bombarded with negativity left right and centre. Of course, the solution then is simple: stop reading comments and judge the episode for myself. ;)

I concur with your theory about the 200th episode... but maybe they should've pushed 'Paper Moon' to another slot and allowed Demon Dean to go for another episode instead of ending at three? Or maybe they thought a 'trilogy' worked better? :)
# Jo1027 2014-12-11 09:00
I had zero expectations of season 10 and have pretty much gotten what I expected.
# sugarhi15 2014-12-11 12:08
With respect....I believe you just contradicted yourself. You said you went in with zero expectations, and got what you expect. If you got what you expected, then you had to have expectations:D
# anonymousN 2014-12-11 22:51
I believe you just contradicted yourself.
People who have been reading Jo's comments for quite some time know what she/he is talking about.:(
# njspnfan 2014-12-11 09:23
Nightsky - interesting article; when I read the episode description and saw the promo, it appeared to be a misdirection, at least to me. After all, it's the job of the network to get people interested in watching the show and I'm not sure how you could make an interesting promo out of what happened with Castiel and Claire this week.

Count me among those that were extremely disappointed in this episode. When Jeremy Carver said the story would be more personal this season, I had no idea that meant he's out of ideas and would start phoning it in. Dean has had an interesting arc the last two seasons but that's been very predictable in how it's played out. Crowley has mommy issues. And Castiel, what happened to his primary mission of rounding up the rogue angels? Claire was right - he is solely responsible for the death of her father and I'm just not sure how someone can make amends for that. And Sam... well, since "curing" Dean, we have found out he can make a mean grilled cheese sandwich.

That's not to say there haven't been some good episodes but the overall arc and pacing have been poor. For me, the only surprising development this season was when Hannah chose to give up her vessel.

And to those who wonder why those of us who criticize the show continue to watch, I remember what this show was at its best, and the excellence it can still achieve, and am disheartened when they don't even seem to try anymore.
# sylvia37 2014-12-11 09:44
Let's just say that my expectations for Season 10 are low. I have enjoyed most of the episodes more than I did season 9, and I was heartened by the fact that Sam was actively involved for a while there, but this past episode was disappointing to me and not because I had any preconceived notions about it. Although I watch previews after an episode airs, I avoid teasers. I don't like to see full scenes and conversations taken out of context before I watch an episode, so I did not know anything about this episode other than the description and that it was going to have Castiel and Crowley as well as the boys. I found myself bored with the beginning and mildly interested by the end. It wasn't so much that it wasn't done well for what it was, it's just that I'm not interested in watching a whole episode about Castiel with a few moments of Crowley and a few moments of Sam and Dean thrown in. It makes more sense now that I know that it was filmed during the 200th episode hoopla, so I guess I get it, but I'm still disheartened.

I also find I am a glutton for punishment. No matter how much I tell myself that I am not going to get my hopes up, I always think, "well maybe they'll let Sam do something interesting later" or "they'll eventually talk about something important in another episode." Or really stupidly, "they'll have a Sam-centric episode eventually because he's a lead on this show still....I think". Reading interviews like Misha's doesn't really help, because it now sounds like it's even less likely that Sam will have much to do besides stand around with a wrinkled brow while Castiel saves his BFF. So like I said, expectations are low, but my stupid Pollyanna heart can't help but have a tinge of hope that I will not be disappointed and that they'll remember that there are TWO leads on this show and he has fans too.
# debbab 2014-12-11 13:37
I think a re-watch of the mid season finale will give you insight as to how the threads are all connected. It is genius to distract us from the opening dream sequence and lull us into a sense of Dean is okay, only to have his nightmare become the fans nightmare without resolve until January. I do agree that the 200th episode quickened the demondean, but the MoC remains. That MoC will carry us forward in the second half of the season. This episode had Sam taking the viewpoint of the audience in wanting to think Dean is okay but our gut is telling us he is not. The people left behind in the wake of parenting decisions are intertwined in this script. There is humor, pathos, and SPN doing what it does best, so I don't feel it as baiting as much as pacing out the main arc. it did answer some questions: Jimmy is dead. Dean did love John. Family don't end with blood(Randy/Cla ire)/ The episodes made us laugh only to hit us with the feels in that final scene reminiscent of the season 2 scene when Dean holds a lifeless Sam in his hands. So it does work as a mid-season finale, perhaps not as epic as other seasons but solid. Every network has taken on the get the fans into a midseason finale frenzy, not just the CW. It has become an industry standard. Let's not just hold the CW to the fire. Take another look.
# sugarhi15 2014-12-11 13:45
Yes to that. I totally agree:)
# sylvia37 2014-12-11 13:46
I'm not being snarky, but was there ever a question that Dean didn't love John?
# cheryl42 2014-12-11 13:48
I agree, on second watch I really understood and appreciated this episode so much more. It wasn't what everyone thought it was going to be but it was a solid episode that set up the questions for the rest of the season. At least for me.
# sugarhi15 2014-12-11 21:36
you know you've convinced me to watch again sooner than wait for the rerun to air. it is true that the eppy is always better on second watch. you know, and i'm not sure who said it, but it seems to me that the theme this year is in fact family....that would be considered a thread right?

first and foremost there's sam and dean....brother s, friends, family. They epitomize the truest example of what family means.
then we have Crowley, who seems hell bent on having his own family, enough so he decides to take sam's family and make him part of his own. thankfully that ship never sailed, but now we have a mother/son reunion of sorts.....it'll be interesting to see this family at work.
there is Hannah who with the aid of cas is in search of her family....rogue angels who she wants to bring home.
we have cole, who has a family and because of family is bent on revenge.
we have kate who kept away from her family only to return and leave again....then she saves her sister, her family by turning her into a monster. too bad that didn't work as she planned.
we have Olivia who was bent on revenge for what was done to her....but she loved her mother who was always devoted to her. then of course we have the dysfunctional family who absolutely represent everything the Winchesters aren't.
in fan fiction, the supernatural family, the fandom is represented.
Hannah returns to her family in heaven, while her vessel returns to her family, her husband.
cole returns to his family.
cas then seeks out jimmy's family.....and in the end, returns to his family.....sam and dean. now cas will be trying to help all members of his family.....
which brings us full circle to sam and dean....who are all that's left of the Winchesters, but by no means are the only ones left of their family........c uz family don't end with blood.

i'm really enjoying this theme this season...it gives this season a real personal feel to it which i'm totally loving. ;)
# Rene4 2014-12-11 14:34
I agree with Sugarhi15. Every episode I tune in to watch the characters I love and the actors I enjoy.
# nightsky 2014-12-11 19:49
I am about to do my first rewatch now. Given what several of you have said above about liking it better the 2nd time, I am anxious to see what happens. I'll be taking notes for "Threads",so I'll let you know in that review!

**spoiler**I just read Misha's interview too. I learned that claire will be in several episodes after the break. Since mid-season finales are supposed to set up the latter part of the season, it makes more sense to me that so much time was spent reintroducing Claire. I can watch with that in mind too***

Another question that I almost put into the article above but pulled at the last moment: Kate, Tasha, Claire, Alex - we are getting a lot of teen angst all of a sudden. What are your thoughts that the network/writers are trying to appeal to a younger audience? We know that the 2nd generation of viewers are now watching the show (they've grown up enough to watch it!). The Js have commented as such at conventions. When the show started, the Js themselves represented the younger audience, being early 20s. Now at 32+, they are not in that demographic anymore. I'm thinking they need the younger cast/storyline to appeal to/keep the younger audience members who are just now joining the SPN Family. Thoughts?
# cheryl42 2014-12-11 20:48
That is an interesting thought. The other day I was watching a CW mash up promo of all of it's shows and it really struck me how much more mature the cast of SPN is than any of the other shows. There could be something to that. I liked Claire well enough but I liked Alex the best so far. Of course if that were really the case why did they kill KEVIN!!!!
# BookLady 2014-12-11 22:03
Nightsky, I sort of replied to this post in my post to Alice's article, but I'll add that Supernatural has never featured teen angst nor should it. The demographic interested in seeing that can be fans of lots of other shows on the CW and elsewhere. Supernatural is about these two brothers battling supernatural forces and that is the fan base the writers need to be catering to. I believe in young people's ability to be interested in great stories, whether the main characters are their age or not. The Flash is a young hero and the Arrow is an older one, but there is an audience for both. Same with Supernatural. I don't believe it it is a great strategy to shift the focus from Sam and Dean. heir story and the amazing chemistry between Jared and Jensen is what has generated such a devoted fan base. Those fans have followed and supported them from the beginning. I hope the TPTB don't forget that.
# cheryl42 2014-12-11 23:05
During the 200th episode party in all of the interviews it seemed that was the general theme. The show rises and falls with the brothers. It seemed to me TPTB were trying very hard to make that clear. Hopefully they were listening to themselves.
# njspnfan 2014-12-12 07:33
This was one of the few times that my rewatch made matters worse because I paid closer attention to the sloppy and hackneyed writing. Won't get in to all the issues here - Alice covered them in her review. Your theory makes sense but I sure hope that's not the case; I can't see that working for a show like Supernatural; are we going to end up with One Tree Supernatural? I'm getting bile in my mouth just thinking about that. There are plenty of ways they can go after a younger demographic while remaining true to the show.
# cheryl42 2014-12-12 16:26
Maybe a future spinoff? If they do decide on another spinoff maybe it will be with the younger actors that we are being introduced to now- Alex, Claire, Kate, Chrissy (an all girls Hunters Buffet?) not necessarily turning the current show into a all teenage girl show. It still wouldn't be a show for me.
# spnlit 2014-12-15 21:17
Nightsky, The only saving grace to this episode was the juxtaposed scenes of Dean laughing while watching the Stooges and his shock, dismay after the blood bath along with Sam's reactions in both scenes. I posted my complaint about this episode elsewhere and I have to agree with Alice on this one. Too much was wrong. Just a few points: The JW story did not ring true. Cas would not ask if Dean loved his father..... he knows the complexity of the feelings S&D have for their Father. Dean, was not a childish teenager who would just lash out and tell his Dad in a drunken/ drugged stupor that he hates him. Dean was old beyond his years. As an adult Dean had difficulty disagreeing with his father. Sam would never have left Dean to remain in that room, long enough to kill everyone. Sam was used as plot device. Finally, the whole Claire story was contrived and boring. It was not a SPN script... it was Touched by an Angel. Furthermore Claire's mom knew the score about angels and demons and would never had just taken off to find herself... killed by a demon or gone crazy yes. Claire herself was possessed by Cas, she knew the power and purpose, so I expected more from Claire. The story of lashing out, teenage angst suffering so I am going to rob a store was everyday non- supernatural boring stuff. Thus, I am extremely disheartened to learn that Claire will be back. I have no interest in watching Cas struggle to be a Dad. I think if the executives are calling the shots on the show and want to pull in teens with the same devices they use on other shows, they will cause the complete demise and destruction of SPN and I think Sam and Dean would rather be killed. I think there are plenty of teenagers out there that still like Sam and Dean and have not yet pushed them in the over hill 40's crowd. There are many teenage fans that like the show as it is; without the teenage angst crap. Sam and Dean are living in the quintessential powerhouse of supernatural knowledge and are heirs to the MOL legacy. If the writers could tap into that and go down the supernatural road, I think many teens may still go along.... but if they continue with more of this past episode.... the larger fan base will disperse.
# ThisOldBag 2014-12-15 17:13
Season 10...sigh...I want to know what was the point of Naomi, does her CIAngles impact what Cas did from the beginning? What were her agents talking about when they said they knew the truth...?
I want to know who that person was outside of Amelia's house at the beginning of Season 8 (not just a tweet by the AD, but an In-Show explanation). I would like to know if the comparison to Dean's taking a year off to be with Lisa (and tarp the Impala) will ever be compared to Sam's time off. Plus I'd like an explanation of why Bobby was mad at Sam for not looking but mad at Dean for (saying) he looked. I'd like Chuck never to be seen again (I know, I'm bad but it would have been so much better if Ash was God imo). I'd like Dean to not just be willing to Die for Sam but (like Sam) be willing to Live for him, to decide to Live even if there are consequences. I'd like Cas to get his grace back OR decide to be human. I'd like to never see Claire, Alex or any other snotty teenager again, but I'm getting snotty now. I'd like the Winchesters to find a cure for Garth. I'd like to see the return of the Golem. I'd really like to see some call back to dangling threads of prior seasons, it would be so easy. Mostly, I'd just like to enjoy the beginning, middle and end of the story, to have it flow and build and thrill and hurt.
# spnlit 2014-12-15 20:23
Nightsky, I agree, I share your expectation." P.S. Now that season 10 has found its themes and we can "leave behind" the distractions of our past success, could we please have more Sam, and more Dean, and more Sam interacting with Dean, and more Castiel interacting with Sam and Dean, and more Crowley interacting with Sam and Dean, and more Sam telling us what he's thinking, and more Dean telling us what he's thinking, and …well, you get the idea. Those will be my everlasting expectations of the show I love called Supernatural.
# Migmom 2014-12-17 11:56
I want my Bobby bacK!!!