The second episode of the ninth season of Supernatural shows us exactly why this show has endured and thrived for this long. Originally, the series was billed in the horror genre---filled with monsters and ghosts and gore galore. The goal was to explore what goes bump in the night and to investigate what frightens us most. In many ways, that's exactly what it has done. Yet, the episode “Devil May Care” also shows us that Supernatural has much more depth than that---and how it's kept that depth fresh all these years. It is, as always, a story about family. In this episode, we see the two concepts blend together beautifully, making it the unique show it truly is.




On one hand, we have the supernatural world---with its demons and monsters, its angels and spells, its dark forces and otherworldly surprises---that affect the world for good or for ill. These elements are intriguing, fantastical, and allow for us to escape from the humdrum of our everyday. We can imagine a demon being able to revive her meatsuit with a spell or an angel unfurling his wings in a display of massive power. It enchants us, and we return again and again to see just what we might see next. Supernatural has spent nine years showing us as many different creatures and beings as it can---often standing in opposition to the Winchesters.  

On the other, we have the hunters---also fantastical in their own way. After all, no one in our world can profess to be a “hunter” of things that go bump in the night. Here, Supernatural shows us the best and the worst of ourselves in the humans who take on this profession. Most notably, each week we tune in to watch the Winchesters. Through them, we learn about our humanity in clear juxtaposition to the supernatural world that surrounds and shapes them. They may hunt monsters and fight demons, but they do all of these things for one reason: family. Their story is human. We watch because we wish we could be as brave. We watch because we, too, feel devoted to family. We watch because we can see slivers of ourselves in each or both brother as they stand together. Certainly, season 9 has shown us that the brothers are a single unit---and that they truly have much left to teach us about our humanity.     

But first, let's start with our “demon-y” element, shall we? Just what questions did “Devil May Care” raise?

There are two sides to the demon coin in this episode: Crowely and Abaddon.   

Both are extremely evil, cruel, and vicious. Both are adversaries to the Winchesters. Both seek to dominate the world, at the head of demon kind. And yet, their approaches are drastically different in every way. These differences open up doors to questions: what makes a demon? What makes them tick? How should a demon go about running Hell and seeking dominion over the earth? Do demons feel anything beyond hate or anger?   



Crowley is, as Abaddon points out, a “salesman.” He barters. He swindles. He sweet-talks. He lies. His weapon is his silver tongue---and he wields it expertly. To gather more souls to Hell, he will get his victims to sell their souls to him---or another crossroads demon---in order to swell his demonic ranks. Its underhanded yet cleverly effective. Crowley's strategy is to do it all without letting anyone know until it's far too late to stop it. Once you've signed the contract, he owns your soul for eternity---putting it in Hell's vault. After all, there's an endless supply of human beings willing to deal their souls away. Why bring too much unwanted attention to matters?      

Abaddon, on the other hand, prefers to fight. She attacks swiftly and violently. She tells the demons she's gathered that they shouldn't be “paying for what we should be taking.” The grandma cross roads demon objects, telling her that Crowley is the King---and Abaddon calls up the medieval notion of the Warrior King. She declares emphatically, “A King fights. A King conquers. A King does more than sit around reading contracts. But the King's dead. Long live the Queen.” To her, it is a waste of Hell's potential to simply buy up souls like they're poker chips.     

So, which side is right? Which side is more “demon-y?” In a word: both. But what do their differences really say about them in the show---and how do they correlate with us, the human viewer?    



In many ways, Abaddon's style recalls the first demons we meet in the series. They're violent, vicious, and ruthless creatures hellbent on exerting their wills upon their victims and the earth. There's no mercy in their brutality and they stand in stark contrast to the Winchesters. Abaddon certainly does that here in her actions and her words. But what does it mean? What is her type of demon telling us really?    

Her violent and evil behavior can be dismissed in some ways---after all there aren't actual demons walking around wreaking this kind of havoc as shown on the show. And yet, Abaddon stands in to represent the worst of ourselves. Supernatural may have pulled in its viewer based on these fantastical elements, but they're showing us our darker selves. It is a frightening notion that we could possibly be so malicious---and yet we know it exists in the everyday. It's what makes her a chilling mirror to ourselves.     

And yet, one has to wonder if Abaddon is simply just evil for evil's sake. Perhaps she simply just enjoys it. She uses a trick that Meg had used once upon a time. Gather some of Sam and Dean's hunter friends up, hold them hostage, threaten to kill them if the demand isn't met, and follow through. She knows if she puts out a ransom note the Winchesters will have no recourse but to fall into her trap. She needs to eliminate them or get them to hand over Crowley or both if she intends to set herself up securely as the Queen of Hell.    



Abaddon succeeds in getting Dean right where she wants him---almost ready to claw off his anti-possession tattoo and possess him instead. It'd send a strong and clear message to demon kind if she could subjugate a Winchester and use one to reach her goal of taking over Hell. She is obviously following her talk up with big actions. After all, in her view, to rule Hell, you must be willing to conquer. Why not force Dean to do unspeakable acts in his body?    

Crowley, however, isn't quite at his full power. He's still experiencing after effects of his near cure---and a truth about him and nearly all demons is largely exposed. We see him hauled into the Bunker, a black hood obscuring his view and demonic handcuffs keeping him docile. He's truly been cut down to size in many ways here---and as he is placed into the Bunker dungeon, we see flashes of his biting wit. It's different, however. There's a defensive edge---and a truth that's never been there before. The brothers want names, and Crowley assumes it means that they'll torture him. He tells them, “Honestly boys, what are you going to do me that I don't do to myself just for kicks, every Friday night?”    



From what we understand about Hell and its torture, we know that the worst fears and pains are inflicted upon the soul. It's what twists someone into a demon in the first place. For some, that can be physical agonies---as it was with Dean under Alistair. For others, it can be psychic or emotional, as we see Bobby tormented by seeing “his boys” as demonic monsters. Whatever our deepest pain is, Hell will use it to make a human soul into a demon. It's partially why demons lash out with bursts of violence when topside. They want to dish out what they have had done to them. It's why Dean got off the rack to torture others, after all. So, the question becomes, do demons truly relish the agony they inflict on victims---or are they just projecting their own pain to wash it away temporarily?      

Knowing that they can't force Crowley to talk by using any of the torture techniques or tools at their disposal, the Winchesters decide to let Crowley do it for them. The brothers back out of the room, turn off the lights, and shut the door. Crowley is left alone to face the thoughts and feelings stirred up inside him from the failed Third Trial---and it turns out that underneath his cruel and vicious nature is a wounded and broken soul. There's nothing worse for Crowley than having to face what he's said and done in that Trial---and all the terrible deeds he's done. He must face the monster that he truly is---alone.  

  

We can tell that these thoughts are eating at him most, however, when he catches Kevin in his web. Sure, he's poking at Kevin's psyche by bringing up his mother and what may or may not have been her fate---and that is extremely cruel---but it makes sense. Crowley does these things so he doesn't have to pick at his own scabs. He won't have to look in the mirror and see the real him. He prods Kevin viciously, telling him that the Winchesters don't care about him, that they're both prisoners---and then he goads the prophet into beating him. Physical pain is preferable to the psychic pain he's inflicting upon himself.     



So, we're left with a question: just what makes up a demon? Are they “salesmen” or “conquerors?” Do they inflict pain on others because they enjoy it---or are they hiding from their own sins and hurts? Supernatural has raised a very thought provoking question underneath the horror story it tells---making it transcend genre here. It's one of its biggest strengths. Under the guise of fantasy, magic, and supernatural beings, we are being told about humanity's darker traits---and sometimes it makes us examine our own.  
 


But Supernatural wisely also tells us about our better qualities and virtues, too. It tells us a story about family and devotion---of love and trust---of unbreakable bonds that tie us together. Supernatural shows us hope and forgiveness. It allows us to see the very best in us---and allows us to aspire to be more than we ever dreamed to be. It shows us what it means to be selfless. Most of all, it shows us how to be human and how beautiful that can be. This show endures mostly because it tells us a story about how choosing family conquers evil.    

The Winchesters have little choice but to spring Abaddon's trap. They need to stop her---and save the hunters she's captured. And so, they head into danger. On the surface, it's a simple story---the Winchesters are hunting an evil demon threatening people. But underneath we see our human story told in various threads. The brothers arrive to find the victims tied up, and quickly test to make sure they're not decoys.     



They don't have much time. It won't be long before Abaddon's demonic soldiers attack. We get to see Dean's genius—-this time in the form of a phone message decoy---while they slip out the back to regroup. They'll split into teams and take opposite directions to perhaps surround and flank the demonic enemy.    

However, an old wound is brought up---targeting Sam. One of the hunters is angry with him. Her family was killed by demons after Lucifer was set free---and she blames him for it. On one hand, she has every right to hold this grudge. It's human, first of all. In her shoes, we'd feel the much the same way. If he hadn't let Lucifer out, her family might still be alive---and we need someone to blame and to be angry with. But she's also didn't know Sam's intentions or reasoning---nor did she take into account that he's just like her: human. He made a mistake---albeit a massive one---and he has done much to atone for it.     



As the brothers each pair off with a hunter, Dean tells Tracy, “Sam's not the only guy who thought he was doing right and watched it all go to crap.” She instantly thinks that it applies to being a hunter, but Dean simply tells her gently, “human.” It's a profound moment---showing us just how far Dean's come, and the beautiful ability he possesses to forgive. It builds upon moments---such as the one at the end of “And Then There Were None,” where Dean wiped everyone's slate clean, declaring everyone, “all good.”    

It's a fundamental lesson we must all learn not only in order to forgive ourselves but to forgive others around us, too. We're human---and that means we will make mistakes. Some of those mistakes will cause others pain. Some of those mistakes will wreak havoc. But it's part of being human. It's what we do after we mess up that counts. How do we respond to our failures? What actions do we take to make amends? And for the injured party: do we try to forgive and understand? Supernatural teaches us this lesson here in a graceful and subtle method---all through Dean himself.  

  

And Sam sees someone in need of forgiveness in Irv. He blames himself for what has happened with Abaddon. He was tortured by the demon and he tells Sam, “I gave 'em up. Pete. Tracy. I gave 'em all up.” He tells Sam to let him go and use the angel blade in a suicide attempt to kill Abaddon while everyone else gets out. Sam can recognize Irv's agony. He's had the same pain himself. Unfortunately, he can't save Irv as a demon guns him down viciously, leaving Sam to fight alone. In some ways, Irv's death is a symbolic death of Sam's own guilt. He must let go of his own guilt and sins to move beyond them or he will end up the same way Irv has. As much as Dean is trying to teach Tracy to forgive Sam, Sam must learn the hardest lesson a human has to learn: to forgive ourselves.  

And yet, Dean must do the very same thing. When he arrives after Ezekiel has saved Sam by revealing his angelic power, he tells the angel desperately, “Yeah, it’s just, this is all me. I was the one who talked Sam out of boarding up Hell. So every demon deal, every kill they make, you’re looking at the person who let it happen.” Dean has wrestled with this beast before---and yet Ezekiel, in the guise of Sam, tells him that “what you did you did out of love.”     



To prove the angel right, Dean returns the favor to Sam, telling him about what happened with Lucifer, “That was then. Here's to now.” He is closing the book on the matter, proving what he said in that church is truth. He won't put the past ahead of Sam---and he truly forgives his brother completely. Love is what makes these two brothers so cherished and why Supernatural is the enduring show that it is. “Devil May Care,” has so many moments like these that emphasize why we watch each week and why we champion them against so many evils they've faced in the series.    

The ability to forgive is only one element. Another is that of family. For the Winchesters, that is the only thing that matters. They must spring Abaddon's trap to save those they consider part of their family—even if they're not close. They're hunters and allies---and so they'll willingly walk into it to help. But really, they're fighting for their closest family. Kevin. Charlie. Garth. Castiel. And all those that they've lost along the way.  Most of all, they are fighting for each other, as brothers.    

After Crowley has rattled Kevin, the prophet has no desire to stay. He wants nothing more than to put the Bunker and the Winchesters behind him, to get out before it's too late. And yet Dean tells him flat out why he must stay. Kevin is convinced it's “Because I'm useful,” but Dean says, “Because you're family.” Bobby once said that “Family don't end in blood, boy,” and the Winchesters have adoped that credo completely. 



Dean tells Kevin clearly here why he and Sam went out and fought Abaddon. It was to protect him, to protect the family they're building. Sam tells Dean, “I see friends and family.” Family is what gives them hope. It's what gives them ability to get up again when they've been knocked down again. Their vision of family is one we aspire to in our own lives---the close knitted and do anything for you type that will see you through thick and thin. That's the kind of family the Winchesters build---and it says a lot about a “horror” show.   

But what makes the family element special is how Sam and Dean interact with one another in “Devil May Care.” They've embraced in many ways the “Sam&Dean” that they are, and it shows in how they interact with one another in beautiful ways. Sam and Dean are united on this hunt on every level. And it shows in the way Sam carries himself. While Ezekiel may be the angelic glue holding him physically together, there is a new confidence about the younger Winchester that has everything to do with his brother. Lucifer goaded Sam once, “---how odd you always felt, how... out of place in that... family of yours,” cutting deep into his sense of self. It hurt because in some ways Sam did feel out of place---as if he didn't truly belong.  
Not anymore.   

Sam has spent his whole life craving his brother's acceptance and trust---and after failing Dean at the end of season 3, he has spent the rest of his time trying to make it up to his brother. Ever since the speech in the church, however, Sam knows that he truly has that acceptance and trust from Dean. It shows in how he carries himself, how he talks and walks and hunts---he's certain and strong---and he knows that if he needs to be buoyed a little Dean will lend a hand.   



And Dean, in return, knows that his brother has his back. When he asks Sam if he's with him on going after Abaddon, Sam answers firmly, “You know it.” They will stand together, fight together, and build a stronger family together. Their bond is what makes us tune in every week. It's what makes us care deeply. We can see so clearly in their brotherly relationship the real heart of Supernatural beating: that of family and love. We saw it in every thing they did in “Devil May Care.”    

Love. It is also another human trait that seems to give the Winchesters the upperhand over their supernatural adversaries. It's also what allows them to gather their family to them. It is these people that will give them the strength that they require to win.   

It is also something the Abaddons of the world do not understand. To them, there are two people in the world: those who conquer and those who are conquered.    

To the Winchesters, there is family and those that threaten family. To protect family, they'll do whatever it takes.   

And really, isn't that the real story of Supernatural?   



Alaina Huffman reprises the evil Abaddon with flair. She is vicious and cruel---and she easily stomps her way to to the top. Huffman makes it look fun, too. Between the witty banter, the subterfuge, and the glee in torturing her various victims from the demons she gathered to Dean, we can tell that the Knight is enjoying her stay topside. Abaddon is setting herself up as an alternative to Crowley---and that alternative is much more violent and frightening. Huffman brings Abaddon's wickedness to life in a way that makes us want to like her. She's interesting and intriguing, and it's largely due to her charisma on screen. Her facial expressions tell it all---from her smug delight in pinning Dean down, to the shock of an angel in vicinity to her disgust at the demons being afraid of the “salesman,” Crowley. Huffman's best scene was with Ackles as Abaddon tussles with Dean. She is cocky and cruel, presenting a horrifying future to Dean. Even though Abaddon is evil for the sake of evil, Huffman makes her fun and a delight on screen and her performance is reminiscent of demons from earlier seasons of the show---and with no easy way to stop Abaddon, it's a certainty we'll be seeing much more of Huffman in this season going forward.   


Osric Chau continues to grow in the role of Kevin Tran. It's hard to imagine that he's the frightened rabbit we met in “Reading Is Fundamental,” running frantically from Sam. That element is there---especially when Sam and Dean return to the Bunker and Kevin fires his arrow or when he frantically explains what happened during the Fall---and it is most certainly there when Kevin realizes that Crowley is being hauled inside, but Chau shows us Kevin's steel the most in this performance. He shines best in his one on one scenes shared with Sheppard. Kevin is face to face with his tormentor, and Chau puts everything into this dramatic moment. He is resolved, angry, and wound tight. Chau tells Kevin's story through body language and vocal tone brilliantly, making us sympathize with Kevin's situation. But Chau's best scene comes with Ackles. He is beyond breaking, worn and frightened by what Crowley has said, and Kevin wants nothing more than to run. But Dean is there to stop him, and our hearts break when Chau delivers the line, “Because I'm useful.”---and Dean tells him that they need him because he's family. Chau's expression crumbles and Kevin realizes that he's really and truly a part of the Winchester family---no matter what Abaddon said. As the season goes forward, it'll be interesting to see how Kevin's relationship to the Winchesters continues to develop.    

Mark Sheppard is nuanced and subtle in this performance of Crowley. His banter is familiar, yet we can tell its delivery has changed just so slightly. There's a defense mechanism element here, and Sheppard makes sure we can pick up on that in the way he says his dialogue---especially in the scenes he shares with Chau. Sheppard has great chemistry with Chau, and while Crowley is the one in chains, he easily taunts Kevin, maneuvering him just to where he wants him. In many ways, we can see Sheppard using this scene to show Crowley finding his footing and pulling back from the near cure---yet we can see underneath that he's still shaken by what has happened to him in the way he delivers this dialogue here. When we see Crowley left alone in the MOL Bunker Dungeon, Sheppard shines best. There is a look of horror and agony seen on his face---an expression not seen on Crowley's face before. There's an element of despair in that expression, as if the demonic mask that Crowley hides behind has been stripped away---and the man he may have once been is exposed to see. We can tell that the thoughts plaguing his mind are effecting him greatly here---and we see Sheppard shrink away from them by making himself smaller in the shackles. It's a powerful moment in his performance---and we as the viewer almost want to sympathize for the King of Hell---yet know we simply can't. As we go deeper into the season, it'll be interesting to see if Crowley reverts back to his former self or if he is more and more affected by his near cure.     


Jensen Ackles gives us two Deans in this episode: the hopeful and guilty. On one hand, he is back in his element, on the road with his brother hunting evil and following through with the Family Business. Dean is on the case, going through the normal steps and routines as they investigate what is happening with demons and Abaddon. Ackles puts a lot into showing this side of Dean---getting us to laugh and fall into the routine right along with his character. He draws big laughs for being worried about the toxic waste and for quips like “The stink, the freak thunderstorms and every cow dead within a three miles? I'll take demons for a thousand Alex. ” He shines when we see Dean have to stop Kevin from leaving, and his line “Because you're family. After all the crap that we've been through, after all the good that we've done...Man if you don't think that we would die for you, I don't know what to tell you. Because you, me, Sam and Cas - we are all we've got,” is delivered with such love and confidence that we can almost feel that Ackles is summing up the show's heart with it. It is a touching moment that brings out the very best in Dean---showing him the hope that is there with him in the Bunker---Sam, Kevin, and the other family they have in the outside world. Ackles also shows us the guilty weight of keeping Ezekiel's possession of Sam secret in body language alone---when Sam tells him things are good for him, we see Ackles clench his fist tight, indicating that Dean wants badly to spill the beans, yet hide it enough so Sam should never suspect. It is heavy on him and yet we can tell this is different than secrets he's kept in the past just by the performance Ackles gives here. When we see Ezekiel confront Dean, we see the other Dean guilt come to the forefront. Ackles breaks our hearts when he delivers the lines “Yeah, it’s just, this is all me. I was the one who talked Sam out of boarding up Hell. So every demon deal, every kill they make, you’re looking at the person who let it happen.” Dean has always taken on more guilt than he deserves, and Ackles shows us how that wears on his character here, his expressions full of sadness and desperation. He is also a fish out of water with Sam not being present yet being present---and Ackles shows just how that effects Dean on a fundamental level. It is always jarring how the chemistry is different between Ackles and Padalecki when one or the other is playing a different version of their characters---or a totally separate character---and this scene is no different. It makes the scene between the brothers later on in the Bunker all the more cherished.     


Jared Padalecki brings us his talent in two roles in this episode: Sam and Ezekiel---and both performances are brilliantly acted. As Sam, we see a rebirth and renewal in the Family Business. It is as if his last words in the premiere, “'Cause we've got work to do” has energized Sam beyond just Ezekiel healing him and we saw it all over Padalecki's portrayal of Sam here. He is hopeful and determined---and Padalecki shows all of Sam's steel when they are faced with Crowley or hunting the demons Abaddon has set for them to fight. He also shows Sam's subtle humor when when Dean is concerned about the toxic waste effecting certain parts of his anatomy. Padalecki has two best scenes---one as Sam and one as Ezekiel---his best one as Sam is back at the MOL Bunker, when he tells Dean, “I’m happy with my life for the first time in forever. I am. I really am. Things are good.” Padalecki makes sure we hear the happiness in Sam's voice and his expression softens to reflect that, too. There's such ease in his performance here across from Ackles. Often, we see the brothers discuss dramatic or tragic things to emotional effect, and here we see Sam talk about being happy. In his delivery, Padalecki puts a lot of hope into it, making us the viewer feel it, too. His best scene as Ezekiel is when Dean confronts him about what happened. His portrayal of Ezekiel is completely different than any version of Sam that Padalecki has ever played. There is an other-worldliness in this performance---and yet we can sense so many familiar human emotions in Ezekiel, too. He has compassion and understanding and love---making us want trust him all the more. There's an earnestness in him that matches well with the earnestness we see in Sam, and yet it is completely different. Padalecki also makes sure these two characters mirror one another well so we can see their distinct differences. When Sam is knocked out by the demon and in danger, and Ezekiel wakes up to defend him, he thrusts his arm out, palm open to push the demons away. It is a firm gesture full of intent. We see Sam, as he wakes in the same place later, hold the same arm up the same way to deflect Dean away---but Padalecki makes this version of the gesture reflexive and defensive. It is a clear delineation between the two characters---and yet the same actor gives them to us. It will be a fascinating journey going forward as we see Padalecki work with these two distinct characters throughout the season.    

Best Lines of the Week:

Dean: Check the net for anything angel-y.

Sam: Or demon-y.

Dean: Or monster-y or ghost-y. It’s going to be a busy year.

Dean: For the record? Sam's not the only guy who thought he was doing right and watched it all go to crap. That's part of being-

Kevin: It's been a bad couple of days, I haven't slept, I haven't eaten... I’m pretty backed up.

Ezekiel: You were protecting your brother. I am in Sam’s head. Everything he knows, I know. And I know that what you did you did out of love.

It would seem that we'll just how becoming fully human has affected Castiel next week.



Comments  

Ginger
# Ginger 2013-10-19 20:18
I think a lot of viewers forget that the SPNverse is a dark, scary, cruel, violent and cruel world and that this is where the Winchesters live. I think they forget that hunters, by nature of living in that dark world, are not nice people that we would have over for Sunday dinner. Dean is a dark, tough, scary, lying, sneaky killer who wears his heart on his shoulder. Sam is much the same; maybe not as sneaky, scary, or lying liar who lies; one who has a softer side and always struggles with what he must do as opposed to what he would rather do. All-in-all, it is that love the brothers have for each other, for family, that allows the audience to connect to their humanness and keeps us coming back for more.
I like the parallel stories Carver has going this season. The Abaddon/Dean scene was so hot, because the two characters were equally matched opponents – evil going toe-to-toe with the good guy, up close and personal, can’t be anything other than good drama.
I find Crowley and Sam’s story as a parallel story two. Sam has always been tainted with his demon blood and destiny, he has always struggled with that and his desire to do the right thing. Now, Crowley is doing the same thing. What I am hoping for this season is that we end up seeing Sam as the person he would have been without the demon blood and dark destiny. I think Zeke is going to help with that as he heals Sam from the inside out.
Carver has had a strong ‘vessel’ thing going these two episodes and I that Cas not being an angel, being human, and the vessel thing is going to somehow all come together.
As far as I am concerned, the season is off to a great start and I like what Carver is doing with both Winchesters.
Far Away Eyes
# Far Away Eyes 2013-10-19 20:37
Quote:
I think a lot of viewers forget that the SPNverse is a dark, scary, cruel, violent and cruel world and that this is where the Winchesters live. I think they forget that hunters, by nature of living in that dark world, are not nice people that we would have over for Sunday dinner. Dean is a dark, tough, scary, lying, sneaky killer who wears his heart on his shoulder. Sam is much the same; maybe not as sneaky, scary, or lying liar who lies; one who has a softer side and always struggles with what he must do as opposed to what he would rather do. All-in-all, it is that love the brothers have for each other, for family, that allows the audience to connect to their humanness and keeps us coming back for more.
I like the parallel stories Carver has going this season. The Abaddon/Dean scene was so hot, because the two characters were equally matched opponents – evil going toe-to-toe with the good guy, up close and personal, can’t be anything other than good drama.
I find Crowley and Sam’s story as a parallel story two. Sam has always been tainted with his demon blood and destiny, he has always struggled with that and his desire to do the right thing. Now, Crowley is doing the same thing. What I am hoping for this season is that we end up seeing Sam as the person he would have been without the demon blood and dark destiny. I think Zeke is going to help with that as he heals Sam from the inside out.
Carver has had a strong ‘vessel’ thing going these two episodes and I that Cas not being an angel, being human, and the vessel thing is going to somehow all come together.
As far as I am concerned, the season is off to a great start and I like what Carver is doing with both Winchesters.
Thanks for the great comment.

I agree. In the real world, I'd never, ever want a hunter over for any reason (unless it was to save me, thanks!). You're right. They are dangerous people who engage in some very nefarious behavior. In many ways, Sam and Dean are anti-heroes, and I think that's allowed them to open the door to exploring flaws along with showing us more real people dealing with the otherworldly or mythical. It's also allowed them to build a lot of that questionable behavior on a strong and powerful emotional foundation of family and love, which makes me watch not just every week but over and over and over. You're making me think about all of this again in terms of overall show---who knows, you may have inspired an article looking into it!

I also think it'll be interesting to see how Sam comes out the other side of Zeke's healing. I think Sam's already free of the taint of the demon blood(see his near cure of Crowley)---and even more the dark destiny. And I love that about this season so far. Sam doesn't have that dark cloud following behind, making him question stuff anymore. I am also hoping we'll see the brothers keep walking this together path they're on as we get deeper and deeper into the season. This season has renewed my whole faith and love in the SamANDDean brotherhood.

Interesting thought on Crowley. I'd love to see Crowley have to actually address who and what he is with some form of conscience that questions everything from his motives to his deeds. I also wonder, over time, will he become more ally or remain a total foe? So many possibilities and all of them seem rather delicious.

And Abaddon over all? LOVE her. She's a great adversary and I hope we get to see more of her throughout the season---especi ally toe to toe with both brothers!

Thanks for the great comment again!
Trucklady
# Trucklady 2013-10-19 21:19
Beautiful writing farawayeyes. I felt all the feels all over again. This season is proving to be the most amazing of all. I am just loving Jared's dual role with Ezekiel and what an awesome job he is doing in making the two characters separate and yet one. Of course that also moves me to mention Jensen and his always amazing way of making one feel everything he is with not only the words he speaks but most times, with those that he does not.
Crowley, Abaddon, and Kevin are all giving us some gritty material to grow on. This is the reason we continue to come back week after week, season after season. The brothers, family, the big bads, the tears, the snarkiness all make up the best dang show on tv IMO.
Ginger
# Ginger 2013-10-19 22:10
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I think a lot of viewers forget that the SPNverse is a dark, scary, cruel, violent and cruel world and that this is where the Winchesters live. I think they forget that hunters, by nature of living in that dark world, are not nice people that we would have over for Sunday dinner. Dean is a dark, tough, scary, lying, sneaky killer who wears his heart on his shoulder. Sam is much the same; maybe not as sneaky, scary, or lying liar who lies; one who has a softer side and always struggles with what he must do as opposed to what he would rather do. All-in-all, it is that love the brothers have for each other, for family, that allows the audience to connect to their humanness and keeps us coming back for more.
I like the parallel stories Carver has going this season. The Abaddon/Dean scene was so hot, because the two characters were equally matched opponents – evil going toe-to-toe with the good guy, up close and personal, can’t be anything other than good drama.
I find Crowley and Sam’s story as a parallel story two. Sam has always been tainted with his demon blood and destiny, he has always struggled with that and his desire to do the right thing. Now, Crowley is doing the same thing. What I am hoping for this season is that we end up seeing Sam as the person he would have been without the demon blood and dark destiny. I think Zeke is going to help with that as he heals Sam from the inside out.
Carver has had a strong ‘vessel’ thing going these two episodes and I that Cas not being an angel, being human, and the vessel thing is going to somehow all come together.
As far as I am concerned, the season is off to a great start and I like what Carver is doing with both Winchesters.
Thanks for the great comment.

I agree. In the real world, I'd never, ever want a hunter over for any reason (unless it was to save me, thanks!). You're right. They are dangerous people who engage in some very nefarious behavior. In many ways, Sam and Dean are anti-heroes, and I think that's allowed them to open the door to exploring flaws along with showing us more real people dealing with the otherworldly or mythical. It's also allowed them to build a lot of that questionable behavior on a strong and powerful emotional foundation of family and love, which makes me watch not just every week but over and over and over. You're making me think about all of this again in terms of overall show---who knows, you may have inspired an article looking into it!

I also think it'll be interesting to see how Sam comes out the other side of Zeke's healing. I think Sam's already free of the taint of the demon blood(see his near cure of Crowley)---and even more the dark destiny. And I love that about this season so far. Sam doesn't have that dark cloud following behind, making him question stuff anymore. I am also hoping we'll see the brothers keep walking this together path they're on as we get deeper and deeper into the season. This season has renewed my whole faith and love in the SamANDDean brotherhood.

Interesting thought on Crowley. I'd love to see Crowley have to actually address who and what he is with some form of conscience that questions everything from his motives to his deeds. I also wonder, over time, will he become more ally or remain a total foe? So many possibilities and all of them seem rather delicious.

And Abaddon over all? LOVE her. She's a great adversary and I hope we get to see more of her throughout the season---especially toe to toe with both brothers!

Thanks for the great comment again!
That article sounds like something I'd be very interested in.

I am loving this season, and this comes from a person who had decided not to watch the show anymore. Premiere night, old habit, I decided to give it one more try. That one was so good, I decided to give it one more chance. I'm loving this season and I'm really interested in seeing how all these parallel stories come together (if Carver's stable of writers can pull it off).

While my heart will always belong to Dean (unless they pick that apron up off the floor again), I am really, really hoping to see who the real Sam is now that he has been 'purified' (the confession scene in S8 finale made that clear).

And, yes, more Abaddon, pretty please. And more Tahmoh Penikett wouldn't bother me one bit.
Far Away Eyes
# Far Away Eyes 2013-10-19 22:57
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Beautiful writing farawayeyes. I felt all the feels all over again. This season is proving to be the most amazing of all. I am just loving Jared's dual role with Ezekiel and what an awesome job he is doing in making the two characters separate and yet one. Of course that also moves me to mention Jensen and his always amazing way of making one feel everything he is with not only the words he speaks but most times, with those that he does not.
Crowley, Abaddon, and Kevin are all giving us some gritty material to grow on. This is the reason we continue to come back week after week, season after season. The brothers, family, the big bads, the tears, the snarkiness all make up the best dang show on tv IMO.
I'm glad you enjoyed my review so much!

Yes. Both Jared and Jensen have been knocking it out this season so far. My favorite moment for Jared playing Zeke so far has to be when Dean calls Ezekiel that first time and there's this funny flit of a look that comes over Zeke's face, like "Whaaat? Okay, then." Jared is amazing how he can just do stuff like that and you don't even think he's the same character at all---based on his performances alone, I've split Sam from Zeke as two totally separate characters entirely just because of his acting alone.

And Jensen? My heart hurts for Dean and his situation about the secret---and then it swells with joy about his ability to forgive and it's all on how Jensen delivered those lines. He really can tell Dean's story with just his facial expressions or body language, too, and it's just killer to me how he's able to do that just by clenching a fist or averting his eyes or tensing his body. So great.

And yes, I think Supernatural will always be my favorite show because of all these things!
Far Away Eyes
# Far Away Eyes 2013-10-19 23:00
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I think a lot of viewers forget that the SPNverse is a dark, scary, cruel, violent and cruel world and that this is where the Winchesters live. I think they forget that hunters, by nature of living in that dark world, are not nice people that we would have over for Sunday dinner. Dean is a dark, tough, scary, lying, sneaky killer who wears his heart on his shoulder. Sam is much the same; maybe not as sneaky, scary, or lying liar who lies; one who has a softer side and always struggles with what he must do as opposed to what he would rather do. All-in-all, it is that love the brothers have for each other, for family, that allows the audience to connect to their humanness and keeps us coming back for more.
I like the parallel stories Carver has going this season. The Abaddon/Dean scene was so hot, because the two characters were equally matched opponents – evil going toe-to-toe with the good guy, up close and personal, can’t be anything other than good drama.
I find Crowley and Sam’s story as a parallel story two. Sam has always been tainted with his demon blood and destiny, he has always struggled with that and his desire to do the right thing. Now, Crowley is doing the same thing. What I am hoping for this season is that we end up seeing Sam as the person he would have been without the demon blood and dark destiny. I think Zeke is going to help with that as he heals Sam from the inside out.
Carver has had a strong ‘vessel’ thing going these two episodes and I that Cas not being an angel, being human, and the vessel thing is going to somehow all come together.
As far as I am concerned, the season is off to a great start and I like what Carver is doing with both Winchesters.
Thanks for the great comment.

I agree. In the real world, I'd never, ever want a hunter over for any reason (unless it was to save me, thanks!). You're right. They are dangerous people who engage in some very nefarious behavior. In many ways, Sam and Dean are anti-heroes, and I think that's allowed them to open the door to exploring flaws along with showing us more real people dealing with the otherworldly or mythical. It's also allowed them to build a lot of that questionable behavior on a strong and powerful emotional foundation of family and love, which makes me watch not just every week but over and over and over. You're making me think about all of this again in terms of overall show---who knows, you may have inspired an article looking into it!

I also think it'll be interesting to see how Sam comes out the other side of Zeke's healing. I think Sam's already free of the taint of the demon blood(see his near cure of Crowley)---and even more the dark destiny. And I love that about this season so far. Sam doesn't have that dark cloud following behind, making him question stuff anymore. I am also hoping we'll see the brothers keep walking this together path they're on as we get deeper and deeper into the season. This season has renewed my whole faith and love in the SamANDDean brotherhood.

Interesting thought on Crowley. I'd love to see Crowley have to actually address who and what he is with some form of conscience that questions everything from his motives to his deeds. I also wonder, over time, will he become more ally or remain a total foe? So many possibilities and all of them seem rather delicious.

And Abaddon over all? LOVE her. She's a great adversary and I hope we get to see more of her throughout the season---especially toe to toe with both brothers!

Thanks for the great comment again!
That article sounds like something I'd be very interested in.

I am loving this season, and this comes from a person who had decided not to watch the show anymore. Premiere night, old habit, I decided to give it one more try. That one was so good, I decided to give it one more chance. I'm loving this season and I'm really interested in seeing how all these parallel stories come together (if Carver's stable of writers can pull it off).

While my heart will always belong to Dean (unless they pick that apron up off the floor again), I am really, really hoping to see who the real Sam is now that he has been 'purified' (the confession scene in S8 finale made that clear).

And, yes, more Abaddon, pretty please. And more Tahmoh Penikett wouldn't bother me one bit.
I'm glad you decided to give the show another shot!

I think you're onto something about Sam, too. He's finally able to explore who he really is without the dark destiny or what not and that's gotta be invigorating.

Oh man, I'd kill to see Tahmoh Penikett's Ezekiel face off with Jared's Sam after Zeke's done healing him. I think it'd be a fantastic scene with emotion and drama and make for killer TV.
leah d
# leah d 2013-10-19 23:48
Thanks for the great review Far Away Eyes. I am enjoying this season and view the show and the characters much the same way. I hope Sam's happiness is real and not Zeke influenced in any other way but healing Sam. I am concerned that when Sam finds out about the possession he will doubt his feelings and that bothers me because Sam has had such rare moments of happiness. I hope he and Dean can work through this without a leaving a lasting scar on their relationship. I don't want them to go backwards.
Far Away Eyes
# Far Away Eyes 2013-10-20 00:30
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Thanks for the great review Far Away Eyes. I am enjoying this season and view the show and the characters much the same way. I hope Sam's happiness is real and not Zeke influenced in any other way but healing Sam. I am concerned that when Sam finds out about the possession he will doubt his feelings and that bothers me because Sam has had such rare moments of happiness. I hope he and Dean can work through this without a leaving a lasting scar on their relationship. I don't want them to go backwards.
Thanks for the great comment. I'm glad you liked my review on this one.

I, too, hope that Sam hangs onto this happiness he has right now and that when it comes out that Dean helped Zeke to possess Sam in order to save his life we don't see it blow the closeness they've built lately. I think we've had our first clue that Sam just might not be entirely in the dark in this episode. Zeke says to Dean, "That's why I said yes." I'm not sure if that just means that Zeke said yes to helping Dean in the first place OR if somehow that was a flash of Sam saying that or what, but it sure makes you wonder, doesn't it? I really hope we see them stay right where they are as brothers and that conflict is ALL really with whomever they're fighting be it Abaddon or Crowley or some other monster/demon/e tc.

Thanks again!
CJ
# CJ 2013-10-20 09:23
That's a beautiful review Far Away Eyes. Loved your analysis on all aspects of the episode. Your take on Abaddon and Crowley's brand of evil got me thinking. I never thought I would say this but Crowley is better... I mean he is the lesser of the 2 evils. At least he gives you something in return (10 yrs worth of success, fame or whatever in exchange for your soul). Abaddon is pure evil. I love her btw. She gives me the chills and does remind me of the demons portrayed during the earlier seasons. Wonder which of them will survive at the end of the season. With Crowley's humanity peeping out the Winchesters might just think its better the devil they know than Abaddon. What do you think?

I loved the way Jensen portrayed Dean in this episode. It was such nuanced acting. Simply amazing. I got how uncomfortable he felt speaking to zeke just by his mannerisms and eye contact. His confidence in the beginning, his guilt towards the end were all beautifully played out. I liked his speech to Kevin. I may or may not have teared up a little.

Jared was outstanding too. It showed in his performance as zeke. When he was talking to Dean it really felt like someone else not Sam. That's really hard to do. There was that puzzled almost otherworldly look he had which reminded me of Cas in season 4.

Overall I loved the episode and I loved your review of it just as much. So thanks for that :)
Far Away Eyes
# Far Away Eyes 2013-10-20 12:04
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That's a beautiful review Far Away Eyes. Loved your analysis on all aspects of the episode. Your take on Abaddon and Crowley's brand of evil got me thinking. I never thought I would say this but Crowley is better... I mean he is the lesser of the 2 evils. At least he gives you something in return (10 yrs worth of success, fame or whatever in exchange for your soul). Abaddon is pure evil. I love her btw. She gives me the chills and does remind me of the demons portrayed during the earlier seasons. Wonder which of them will survive at the end of the season. With Crowley's humanity peeping out the Winchesters might just think its better the devil they know than Abaddon. What do you think?

I loved the way Jensen portrayed Dean in this episode. It was such nuanced acting. Simply amazing. I got how uncomfortable he felt speaking to zeke just by his mannerisms and eye contact. His confidence in the beginning, his guilt towards the end were all beautifully played out. I liked his speech to Kevin. I may or may not have teared up a little.

Jared was outstanding too. It showed in his performance as zeke. When he was talking to Dean it really felt like someone else not Sam. That's really hard to do. There was that puzzled almost otherworldly look he had which reminded me of Cas in season 4.

Overall I loved the episode and I loved your review of it just as much. So thanks for that :)
Thanks for the great comment!

It struck me, that so far this season seems to be questioning a few major things. What does it mean to be an angel? What does it mean to be human? And in this episode, the show asked us in a big way what it means to be a demon. I think you may be onto something about the Winchesters having to choose between one evil over another. The other question, however, becomes will a third contender for the Throne of Hell emerge? And if so, will that person be even WORSE? It makes for lots of story.

I have to agree about Abaddon and earlier season demons. They're more kick your teeth in type than "sign the dotted line" and that can be really exciting and such a contrast to Crowley's silver tongued approach. She's so much fun and I hope we get to see a lot of her.

Jensen Ackles is fantastic, and on my many watches to write this article, I was struck by just how a simple gesture or the way he would say a word would tell us about Dean. I loved that he stood up for Sam, even if his brother didn't hear it, and it wasn't in an angry way or a defensive way. it was all gentle with Tracy, and it was ALL in the way Ackles delivered those lines to show us Dean's big heart and ability to forgive. So awesome.

As for Jared, holy cow. I love that this man can play more than one role so seamlessly and seems to relish doing so that it floors me how he can just flip that switch and you KNOW he's a different character. And yet he makes them similar enough in gestures so we can see those contrasts even more. Awesome all around. Totally wicked acting.

But most of all, I LOVE the way that Jared and Jensen act together and it's just killer how they can pull everything out of a scene and make us feel and escape into the world of Sam and Dean just by their acting alone. Stellar work and I think they're having a blast telling the story this season.

Thanks again for the great comment!
st50
# st50 2013-10-20 17:59
Thought-provoki ng review, FarAwayEyes!
I'm also in the camp of those that hated the story of season 8, and really considered not tuning in this season, - but I'm sure glad I did.

I really liked your comparison of Crowley and Abbadon, here. Just which is the more evil, and inflicts the most harm.... the manipulator or the conqueror? Fascinating.

This show sure has some stories left to tell, and definitely more to explore about humanity. Here's hoping the Js keep wanting to tell it, too.
Far Away Eyes
# Far Away Eyes 2013-10-20 18:06
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Thought-provoking review, FarAwayEyes!
I'm also in the camp of those that hated the story of season 8, and really considered not tuning in this season, - but I'm sure glad I did.

I really liked your comparison of Crowley and Abbadon, here. Just which is the more evil, and inflicts the most harm.... the manipulator or the conqueror? Fascinating.

This show sure has some stories left to tell, and definitely more to explore about humanity. Here's hoping the Js keep wanting to tell it, too.
Thanks for the great comment.

I'm glad I gave you something to think about. I think it'll be a neat progression in the season to see which side is worse and which side wins between Abaddon and Crowley. They're both such delicious villains, and I think it'll make for great TV to see them go up against both brothers and each other.

I think this show has a lot of stories left to tell in it, and I think the back half of S8 and now into S9 shows that they're building something that will give us a lot to think about. Sam and Dean are such beloved characters. I think the Js are really enjoying the direction this season and the challenges the story is throwing at both of them so far. I can't believe how much has happened in this early season and how awesome their performances have been thus far.

Thanks again!
Ale
# Ale 2013-10-21 12:03
I agree. In the real world, I'd never, ever want a hunter over for any reason (unless it was to save me, thanks!). You're right. They are dangerous people who engage in some very nefarious behavior. In many ways, Sam and Dean are anti-heroes, and I think that's allowed them to open the door to exploring flaws along with showing us more real people dealing with the otherworldly or mythical. It's also allowed them to build a lot of that questionable behavior on a strong and powerful emotional foundation of family and love, which makes me watch not just every week but over and over and over. You're making me think about all of this again in terms of overall show---who knows, you may have inspired an article looking into it!

Would you write an article about this? Pretty please?? I would love to read it!
Sylvie
# Sylvie 2013-10-21 15:03
Great review Far Away Eyes. Love is indeed the glue that keeps the Winchesters together. And they will make anyone who's with them on this good fight an honorary member of that family. I teared up when Dean told Kevin that they wanted him around because he was family, and I think Kevin finally felt like he was. I also think Abaddon will be defeated, she is doing what so many baddies before her have done. Underestimate the Winchesters. That's why Crowley is still around and kicking, he knows better. Speaking of. I loved that the worst torture for him is to leave him alone in a room with no one to gloat to. :lol:

Season nine is off to a great start.
Far Away Eyes
# Far Away Eyes 2013-10-21 17:21
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I agree. In the real world, I'd never, ever want a hunter over for any reason (unless it was to save me, thanks!). You're right. They are dangerous people who engage in some very nefarious behavior. In many ways, Sam and Dean are anti-heroes, and I think that's allowed them to open the door to exploring flaws along with showing us more real people dealing with the otherworldly or mythical. It's also allowed them to build a lot of that questionable behavior on a strong and powerful emotional foundation of family and love, which makes me watch not just every week but over and over and over. You're making me think about all of this again in terms of overall show---who knows, you may have inspired an article looking into it!

Would you write an article about this? Pretty please?? I would love to read it!
It would seem I have to now, huh? I've kinda started it, but I need to sit down and do an outline and think it through, so it might take some time. It's really a neat topic.
Far Away Eyes
# Far Away Eyes 2013-10-21 17:26
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Great review Far Away Eyes. Love is indeed the glue that keeps the Winchesters together. And they will make anyone who's with them on this good fight an honorary member of that family. I teared up when Dean told Kevin that they wanted him around because he was family, and I think Kevin finally felt like he was. I also think Abaddon will be defeated, she is doing what so many baddies before her have done. Underestimate the Winchesters. That's why Crowley is still around and kicking, he knows better. Speaking of. I loved that the worst torture for him is to leave him alone in a room with no one to gloat to. :lol:

Season nine is off to a great start.
Thanks so much for the comment.

Yes, Abaddon is going to learn that lesson the hard way---although you'd think she would already know that considering they already had put a bullet in her head and chopped her up once.

Crowley's always a bit more frightening for me for that reason. He KNOWS better than to underestimate them and that he had best be two or three moves ahead---and even he got caught! And his torture is probably the most effective eve for him. As long as Kevin stays far far away from him and doesn't give into his taunts, Crowley will be left to stew in his own juices all by his lonesome. What will come from that? Who knows.

But what made me little girl clap for glee was all those family moments. Dean standing up for Sam. Sam admitting he sees family around. Kevin being accepted as a family member. That's what makes it great. And I admit, I tear up when I see those scenes in my rewatches, too!

Thanks again!
Ale
# Ale 2013-10-21 20:34
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I agree. In the real world, I'd never, ever want a hunter over for any reason (unless it was to save me, thanks!). You're right. They are dangerous people who engage in some very nefarious behavior. In many ways, Sam and Dean are anti-heroes, and I think that's allowed them to open the door to exploring flaws along with showing us more real people dealing with the otherworldly or mythical. It's also allowed them to build a lot of that questionable behavior on a strong and powerful emotional foundation of family and love, which makes me watch not just every week but over and over and over. You're making me think about all of this again in terms of overall show---who knows, you may have inspired an article looking into it!

Would you write an article about this? Pretty please?? I would love to read it!
It would seem I have to now, huh? I've kinda started it, but I need to sit down and do an outline and think it through, so it might take some time. It's really a neat topic.
GREAT! Thanks! Looking foward to read it.