Oh show, what are you doing?  Last week held such promise.  There were hints that we were finally going to be rewarded for our patience.  What happened?  

I don’t expect all episodes to be loaded with action and jaw-dropping brotherly drama, not to mention ground breaking plot twists.  Some episodes need to just be two brothers working a case.  â€œAll Dogs Go To Heaven” was all about that.  Unlike “Weekend at Bobby’s” though, instead of getting something that felt right, I got that uneasy feeling that again something is just too wrong. Instead of that wrong gradually progressing toward being a right, it’s just frustrating me with more inconsistencies and back steps.    
 
However, Let me start with the good stuff for “All Dogs Go To Heaven” wasn’t a total waste. It actually had some really good qualities.  For one, it’s the strongest monster of the week story we’ve gotten all season.  The monster, despite killing three people, turns out to be a sympathetic and relatable character, something that’s been sorely lacking from the other stories thus far.  He was turned into a skinwalker because he had nothing and was finally given a purpose just by being part of a family.  Even though his instructions were to become the family pet and wait for the order to turn them, he fell for his family though and became overprotective.  For the first time we see a wrinkle in this master plan of monsters to take over.  What happens if there’s thousands out there like Lucky?  The kind that won’t turn on those they love and will fight back?  It says something about the human spirit triumphing over all threats, much like we saw in the first five seasons.     
 
This MOTW plot would then seem like an ideal parallel for Sam and Dean, wouldn’t it?  Dean is a loved one dealing with his own monster.  He’s a lot like Lucky the dog, he has a mission, but ideally must protect his family.  So, that’s when we get that glimmer of hope, right?  Dean somehow manages to get through, to prove that Sam does have good inside him and will do the right thing we push comes to shove.  No such luck.  When I end up rooting for the dog more than Sam, something’s terribly wrong.  
 
Speaking of Lucky the dog, where did they get this animal?  That German Shepherd is easily one of the best acting dogs I’ve ever seen.  Heck, he’s better than most people.  How can a dog be so expressive?  You actually believed there was a human inside longing for love and companion. More so, how can a dog show more compassion and sympathy in two scenes than we’ve gotten from a lead character all season?  Bravo to Lucky and his handler.  Get that dog a lead role in a movie now.  Better yet, there’s your skinwalker spin off series.  
  
The monster story too had plenty of suspense the way it unfolded. Guessing who the culprit was in the murders was quite interesting.  The idea of skinwalkers turning into family pets was creepy and yet another sacred family institution is blown.  As Dean said, “I don’t think I can look at a dog the same way again.”  The chase scene between Sam and Lucky had me quite captivated as did the entire shoot out in the warehouse.  Very well done.  
 
Also well done?  Dean Winchester, sniper.  Me, thud. There were also many great lines, something that always sets a “Supernatural” episode above the rest. 
 
However, it is really hard to enjoy a good monster story when a character that you have grown to love over five seasons ends up distracting by being an insufferable bastard. It becomes more uncomfortable than enjoyable after a while. So, for those that find nothing wrong with the season six Sam Winchester storyline, let me say I’m pleased it is connecting with you and you can stop right here knowing that the episode succeeded in the capacity you had hoped. For the rest of you that are having as much trouble as I am, the rest of this review is for you.  
 
Let’s Get Candid Now  
 
I apologize fandom, for I do love my show, but my usual strong patience is wearing thin.  â€œAll Dogs Go To Heaven” finally pushed my buttons.  What you are about to read is the opinion of one reviewer. I do not claim to speak for a group of fans or a fandom, so take it for what it’s worth.  I’m finally going to let some doubts loose, for eight episodes is enough time to absorb what’s been given.  I’m going to speak my mind and then look forward from here. 
 
For those of you that are familiar with “Smallville,” do you remember this?  At the end of season two/beginning of season three, Clark runs off to Metropolis affected by the red kryptonite and gets to live the life of evil Clark for a while.  He is without a doubt a total jerk. It’s fun for a small bit but then gets unsettling. Eventually he gets the sense knocked into him by Jonathan in a spectacular way and goes back to normal.  Let me recall, that happened in episode 8 right?  10?  The whole season?  No, it was the end of episode 1.  That was about all we could take of that insufferable Clark Kent. 
 
That’s all I could think about after watching the end of “All Dogs Go To Heaven,” episode 8 of this season. Sam Winchester still isn’t getting anywhere with this new immoral and heartless jerk persona. I’m waiting patiently for Dean to remove the red kryptonite and bring back the Sam we all know and love but it’s not happening.  Is this the Sam I’m supposed to accept now? I can’t watch this Sam Winchester anymore. It isn’t the character with whom I grew emotionally attached.  He isn’t the flawed yet sympathetic man that does everything in his power to save the world from the horrors he knows while making a bunch of mistakes along the way.
 
Why is Sam even hunting? There’s no desire, no passion, no belief in the good of humanity.  Not to say that doesn’t make a compelling storyline.  It does.  For about two or three episodes. When you’re building your whole season on that or even half, it eventually becomes more about alienating the viewer than extending a storyline.   
 
I’m not sure I needed another episode to drive home the point that Sam’s a lying bastard.  There’s no way he was telling Dean the truth at the end about wanting to go back to the old Sam. How do I know? Watch the signs. The whole episode Robo-Sam was in full force without giving us even a tiny hint that the old Sam is there. Sure, he was brutally honest with Dean the entire episode (which was hard enough) but that doesn’t mean that he was honest at the end.  We can’t take his word for it and even Crowley acknowledged he’d sell Dean for a dollar if he needed the soda. I want to believe Sam.  I honestly do.  But I have no reason to believe him.  Nothing happened in that episode, even the tiniest hint, that Sam remembered his old self. Why would he tell Dean he remembers that Sam and wants to go back that way? Because he’s trying to manipulate Dean. He can tell Dean is frustrated and ready to bail and for some reason unbeknownst to us wants Dean around.   
 
Yes, part of me was hoping for even a tiny breakthrough in this episode. Perhaps a memory from Sam of what he used to be like that shakes him.  Maybe something in Dean’s possession triggers it, much like the army man in the Impala.  Anything!  Give me some hope, even faint hope.  The sign that Sam isn’t so far gone he’s beyond redemption. After all, hasn’t that been the true spirit of this show? Two dedicated brothers fighting insurmountable odds together with nothing but hope and family loyalty on their side? 
 
What if Sam never gets his soul back? We know Crowley isn’t going to give it to him. I’m still not even convinced this is the real Sam. I still hold out hope there’s a punch line here somewhere but my patience is out. We need hope by episode eight.  We need to know that recovery for the brothers possible.  We want to see Dean get some sort of relief, not continue to be beaten down by this “crap” situation.  It’s a dog episode, right?  Throw us a bone!  
 
I never really saw it this way before, but I’m beginning to think that Sam’s soul has been the real heart of this show. Since that’s been missing, so has the main appeal of “Supernatural.”  The rich brotherly relationship.  It’s okay that they’re broken, scarred, have some disagreements and have personally experienced the most unimaginable horrors going. The fact is, after all that, they never stopped trying to make the world a better place. Until now.  I don’t think either is even trying anymore. The only thing they’ve determined in season six so far is that they can’t work together that well.   
 
I accept characters must change.  Characters must evolve otherwise they get stale after a while (and so does a show).   I do like some of the changes to Sam's character, like his ability to be more candid with Dean.  Dean’s evolution this season may be very painful but it's also been quite good.  He finally got his chance at what he always wanted only to find it wasn’t what he needed.  The problem is Sam isn’t fulfilling that need either and it's killing his fighting spirit.  They're in a pattern of misery and mistrust with no hope of relief anytime soon.  It’s just plain depressing. If I wanted to get this depressed, I just have to turn on the nightly news.   
 
I’m also pragmatic.  When Sam gets his soul back, and that’s assuming if (yes, the writers would go there), things just all of a sudden won’t be hunky dory.  The brothers aren’t going to ride off together in the Impala all smiles. Absolutely not.  The fact remains Sam experienced the worst possible hell anyone can imagine.  Even possibly worse than Dean’s.  When the emotions come with those memories, the results will be quite devastating.  It all goes back to that heart thing.  Who’s going to help him through it?  Sam helped Dean through his trauma by just being there, sympathetically listening and having his brother’s back.  Dean will have to come through in ways he never has before. 
 
Isn’t that though what drew us to these brother’s Winchester? No matter how bad their situation, how dire their outlook, they were able to honestly share their fears and concerns?  For example, remember the talk at the end of “Long Distance Call” even though they were at odds the entire episode?  How about Dean finally coming clean about Hell at the end of “Heaven and Hell” and “Family Remains?”  Even the words of extreme hurt and betrayal in “When The Levee Breaks” made for some great brotherly drama.  Then there’s the bittersweet and oh so devastating parting at the end of “Good God Y’all.”  What did these have in common?  Brutal, heartfelt honesty that happened after we saw in fantastic detail what led up to these moments.
 
Sam’s confession at the end of “All Dogs” just ended up being one more inconsistency of his rather erratic behavior all season.  I don’t believe him. I don’t think Dean does either.  I’m not sure either cares. I’ve been giving season six a fighting chance.  It’s caught my attention for being at times avant-garde, inventive, intricate, different.  There have been some great story lines this season.   I for one absolutely loved the shocking twists from “Live Free and Twihard” and “You Can’t Handle The Truth.”  To see the brothers like that with each other takes them down a very intriguing path.  The acting has been better than ever. Jared and his challenge of playing this new robo-Sam is knocking it out of the park.  Jensen has been incredible as the barely holding it together Dean, uneasy over the fact that his brother could turn on him in a seconds notice.  
 
But the truth is we viewers are simple folk. TV is entertainment. TV is escapism. We watch shows like this for the flawed hero. In the case of “Supernatural” we watch for TWO flawed heroes, brothers that will do anything for each other and cover each other’s weaknesses. Even if we took Sam out of the equation this season look at poor, poor Dean.  He doesn’t know what to do either and his frustration reflects what this fan is feeling. He doesn’t feel like a hero. He at this point is going through the motions. We’ve clung on each week waiting for something to give, something to break in the true soul of this show. Still nothing.  Does anyone find it strange that the feel good episode of the season has been "Weekend at Bobby's" which had about five minutes of Sam and Dean in it?
 
Anyway, I do feel guilty for this rant, for I should have no say in creative license. I have to take what I’m given. Unfortunately, and this is the perils of a show in its sixth season, a deep emotional attachment happens. What I’m feeling now is not unlike what many felt at the end of “Swan Song.” I have two choices. See how it plays out or move on. I’m naturally going to see how it plays out because I’m in too deep. The question is how deep will my emotional investment be from this point forward? That is what makes this show unique for me. When the emotional attachment is broken, I’ll end up watching “Supernatural” the same way I do “House.” Casually, when there’s time, as background noise while I’m working on my laptop. â€œSupernatural” isn’t there yet, but it’s getting oh so close. When I’m more emotionally engaged in a season of “Smallville” than “Supernatural,” something has indeed changed.  I’m thinking not for the better. 
 
Moving On
 
Okay, rant over. I’m not going to dwell, because that ruins the fan experience and there’s still plenty of season left.   Let’s move on, especially since this week will be a much needed break with an Edlund wacky concept. No grade for “All Dogs Go To Heaven” for I just can’t objectively rate this one. Why don’t you all tell me your grade?  I'm curious about what everyone thinks. 

 

Comments  

Nancy.
# Nancy. 2010-11-16 13:46
I HATE that Sam doesn't have a soul, but I really like what Sera's doing with the show. Yes, it will be different than Eric, but I love hating and waiting for my show to come back, because that's what's this is about to me - Sam doesn't have a soul - the entire show can't feel the same until Sam does. Sera's gonna probably jerk our hearts around and make us cry when he finally does get his soul back (and I HOPE Crowley will still be in the show - I LOVE TO HATE HIM!!!) But I really do love where this show is going. Happy Holidays.
Rose
# Rose 2010-11-16 13:56
Alice, you reflect my feelings exactly. I've only watched this episode once so far because I was so down by the end of it I didn't want to put myself through it again! That said, I will watch it again, if nothing else than to try and get some perspective without all my churning emotions getting in the way.

In the meantime, thank God for Ben Edlund and his whackadoodle sense of humour, of which I'm in dire need of at the moment!

Cheers and thanks, as always, for your thoughts on our show!

Rose
Ellie_444
# Ellie_444 2010-11-16 14:31
I just wanted Sam to be treated like a hero and a person after his sacrifice guess I got that wrong. That isnt to say I am not lapping up Jareds performances all kudos to him but this isnt what I wanted for him.
Sablegreen
# Sablegreen 2010-11-16 14:33
Yes, this is going to be a loooong season. I had hoped the 'soul' issue wasn't going to be the story arc, but it looks like it is. Hence, he won't get it back for a long time, so no brothers anymore.

I really think with all the talented writers that have on the series, they could have come up with a more uplifting season than this. Really I wonder whose idea this was.

I wish for nothing more than the story to get back to the quality it had in the earlier years. I want nothing more than to see them once again be a family, live to help people and protect each other. And for them to realize that what they are doing is a good thing, a gratifying thing, and that they are willing to make the necessary sacrifices to do it, like all heroes do.

I had really hoped the series would end the myth arc and go back to season one. But alas, they have done neither.

As for the episode, I really did like the MOTW part, and, of course, Lucky was the star. And that 'human' quality is in all shepherds. I know...I have own shepherds all my live for that very reason. I was sad to see him lose his family, but given this is SPN and we NEVER get happy endings, I wasn't surprised.

Weekend at Bobby’s was the best episode this season, and it had the least amount of ‘brothers’ in it. What does that say for the season?

They really need to lose the depression BIG TIME!!!
Jules
# Jules 2010-11-16 14:42
Alice, I understand how you feel. But you know what, I am just going to see how it all plays out and most importantly, I have faith. I believe in the show and I trust the writers so much... somehow, I feel, no, I know that Sam will get his soul back. Things are going to get better, just wait and see :-)

BTW, I did not like this episode at all, but I believe next episode is totally going to make up for this one!
Karen
# Karen 2010-11-16 14:50
Hi Alice
I’m pretty much in the same mindset as you.
When I think of all the other great and intriguing storylines they’ve brought in this season. Castiel and his civil war in heaven, Crowley and his Alpha/Purgatory plans, Samuel and his secret agenda, the motw and their building of there own armies. They had more than enough to carry this season without adding the destruction of the brother’s relationship and of Sam’s character.
I really thought after Swan Song that we were finally done with this storyline. To me they’ve made what transpired in SS seem like it was all for nothing.
I am trying to keep positive, but I really hope they resolve this soulless issue soon. Otherwise like you Supernatural will just become another show that I watch out of loyalty and not for the love I once held for it.
Bevie
# Bevie 2010-11-16 14:50
Alice, I agree 100% with your rant. I hate what the writers are doing with cold uncaring Sam. I have been depressed every episode with the lack of the brotherly bond that I fell in love with when I began watching. "A Supernatural Christmas" was the first episode I really paid attention to and it just blew me away with the loving bond between these two. Just remember the ending of that episode. It was simply beautiful! And I was hooked for all time.

No, I will never stop watching as I am too deeply involved with these boys now to ever stop voluntarily. I keep telling myself there is still hope, and I desperately hope for a mind boggling solution to their estrangement in an episode very soon. But right now I am thoroughly sick of the continuing depressing situation between them, and Sam gets worse every dang episode with the culmination of "I don't care about you" remark. Barf!

Agree that Lucky, that wonderful acting dog, was more sympathetic in two scenes than Sam has been since the season began. Perhaps Lucky could ride shotgun with Dean until Sam is returned to normal. Lucky would be way more trustworthy. :-?

Looking forward to Edlund's episode and hope the depression can be lifted a bit.

Definitely agree that the feel good episode this year so far has been 'Weekend at Bobby's".

The two J's are doing excellent work this season, and if this was just some other show rather than 'Supernatural" I could appreciate that. But I really don't care how great a job Jared is doing or how much he enjoys being a dick on the show, I for one am not enjoying the performance as I should be.

What I'm wishing for is Dean and Sam having a relationship as good as the one Jensen and Jared have in real life.
Mandy
# Mandy 2010-11-16 15:55
I'm a new fan and I started watching the show this spring. I've really enjoyed the past seasons and grown attached to the charaters on a level I didn't even know existed. And I want to thank you and everyone who contribute for keeping this site up and for the wonderful articles! :D
that being said I would also like to comment on your review:
And I agree with absolutely everything you say. This whole season is so out of tune with the show in general. Reading everyones comment on sam not ever getting his soul back makes me depressed but I don't see how they can put so much effort into a charater just to make him evil and leave him at that. They could, but they just... can't, it makes so little sense. I want to believe the writers will fix it and make it a worthy and redeemable ending for them. I didn't like this episode, it felt like a set back (couldn't they just have had the talk in the beginning of the episode and used the 40 min hunting for his soul instead of shooting dogs?) I'm out of patience, sam's been my favorite from the start and this is not funny anymore. I don't find him amusing, I just find him creepy. And it breaks my heart. I'm going to watch the season but if they really decide to leave sam without a soul i'm going to disown it and pretend everything ended with swan song.
I still have hope, but they need to fix the soul problem soon. And I don't hate everything about this season either, and I enjoy the angsty stuff as well, but right now I can't focus on anything else than setting sam back to normal. Castiel's heavenly war, the monster stories and Dean's issues w/Lisa and whatnot seems irrelevant. All I want is for Sam to come back and them to be brothers again!
Zach
# Zach 2010-11-16 16:30
Alice,

I will try and not to get too worked up during this post, but I feel precisely as you do. I love this show probably a bit too much. Since I started watching, I find that I relate more closely with Dean, as I am also an oldest child, and I completely get the older brother vibe. Many story arcs have made me angry at Sam. I still have never really bought the demon-blood story line.

In short, I have never been accused of being a sam!fan. That isn't to say I hated the character, but he had a propensity to piss me off. Season 5, to me, demonstrated growth on the parts of both brothers. Sam redeemed himself at great cost. We have watched these two amazing characters get the ever-loving crap kicked out of them for years. When I heard there would be a Season 6, I thought "Thank God! The Brothers Winchester, and by extension, us, are going to get a much needed break!"

I couldn't have been more wrong. To me, Sera Gamble and the creative powers that be at Supernatural have gutted this show. The huge mytharcs were compelling television, to be certain, but we watch for Sam and Dean. We watch for the amazing rapport and chemistry between them. We watch because we completely and utterly BUY that relationship.

Its all gone now. Gamble & Co. have surgically removed the heart of this show. As much as I love Dean, he is not enough to carry this show. Whoever the giant automaton is riding shotgun, he IS NOT Sam. And now, Fridays have become almost days of dread, to see how long they are going to drag this garbage out.

I have enormous problems with things as they have been set up, in terms of consistency with the mythology they set up for five years. Lucifer's cage is Archangel Proof. Even the one time Queen of Hell, Lilith, feared archangels. So suddenly Crowley has the mojo to do what the most powerful beings in the mythology cannot? Not buying. No hellish royalty has ever been able to get into that cage. Crowley is no different.

Sam appeared, out of the cage, under a street light in front of Lisa Braeden's house. The light flickered out, something powerful was at work. Yet, not!Sam is telling us he appeared in a field. None of this adds up. If Sam's soul is still trapped in that cage, whatever they manage to fish out would no longer be Sam. Over a century trapped with two very pissed off archangels does that to a guy's soul.

So, as bluntly stated as I can make it, none of this bullshit works for me.

Kudos to Jensen and jared for their amazing work with what has been given to them. Kudos to so many creatively brilliant ideas we've seen this season. To the individual responsible for the "Quest for Sam's Soul," please resign. No matter how they resolve this, the show and many of her fans have been diminished by this. This isn't entertaining. This isn't amusing. This is abusive. This is torturing two characters that deserve more. Frankly, we the fans deserve more.

No possible resolution of this will redeem the choice to remove Sam's soul, to desiccate the relationship between our favorite brothers. All that Crowley says is true? You've gutted your own mythology. This person you've called "Sam" all season really isn't him at all? Then you've cheated all of us.

And frankly, this whole season feels like cheating. Let's beat the crap out of the brothers. Let's turn Sam back into the freak that is broken and possibly evil, and turn Dean back into the one who has to be responsible for him. We've done that. The show and the characters grew beyond that. To go back is creatively bankrupt and nothing more than a cheat.

Will I watch to the end? I honestly don't know. This has become so unentertaining for me, I don't know that its worth my time. As it stands, I really wish they would have stopped at Season 5.

The only good news I can report is that I have it from a very good source that cannot officially make the statement, that this Sam story line will be resolved closer to mid-season than the end of the season. This source also said that Jensen and Jared were not particularly pleased with what was being done here. This person has never reported falsely about Supernatural so I trust what was said.

For whatever that is worth.

For those who enjoy how the show is going, congrats. Please watch and enjoy for as long as you can. For the others like myself, I can only hope that somehow the powers that be behind Supernatural hear the fans. In the past, I have had faith in the creative talent that made this show great. I had patience when things looked grim and hopeless. Those are both exhausted at this point. Even the previews for Edlund's fun episode feel awkward and uncomfortable. Sorry Ben, even your hi jinx can't seem to make this enjoyable.
maggie
# maggie 2010-11-16 16:41
OMG I love your writing!!!

(Does anyone find it strange that the feel good episode of the season has been "Weekend at Bobby's" which had about five minutes of Sam and Dean in it?) You know? the other day I was thinking the same thing :-)

I hope they bring Sam's soul back for episode 10 or 11 cause this is not working anymore, they already film them thats why I'm saying I hope.. Do you imagine if they go to hiatus without Sam's soul? it would be a sad hiatus more like depressed, and I think a lot of people would stop watching the show.

I want my show back...
Tim the Enchanter
# Tim the Enchanter 2010-11-16 16:41
Alice, thanks so much for validating how I feel about this episode (if the boss says it, it must be true.....)

Like you said, it’s not that the episode was bad because it wasn’t (it was actually really good) but it’s just that, when you think you’ve reached rock bottom, there’s another layer. I thought things couldn’t get any worse than Sam watching while Dean got turned but this was topped by Dean beating the bejaysus out of Sam. That in turn (for me) was topped by Sam saying ‘I just don’t care about you’; words you’d never expect to hear Sam say in ANY circumstances. The writers are playing a pretty daring game here. How far is too far? If it works, fair play to them but if it doesn’t.....

For me, it’s the sheer frustration at the way things are progressing. Last week I said the show was like a slow strip tease, a gradual reveal. Well this week, (after going so far last week) the stripper has just put their coat and scarf on and Tim needed nudity!

I’m a little fearful that it might end up like last season where, if you liken it to a race, it was like taking one step forward, and ten steps back so that when it came to the last 2 episodes, there was a mad dash to the finish line. The resolution came so fast, and was so unexpected; it was difficult to comprehend it. I was like ‘Wtf, where did that come from?’

I’ve no doubt at all but that Sam will get his soul back and there’ll be hugging etc but whether the resolution to this storyline can be what we hope it will be... that could be another story. I’m just living in hope that the aftermath to the soul return doesn’t get brushed over for the civil war/Samuel/Crow ley story.

Next week (rubs hands together gleefully). Fairies, fun, hippie sex, squad cars, and that’s only the promo! Maybe a bit of light-heartedne ss is what’s needed at the moment.
oliviasky
# oliviasky 2010-11-16 17:55
thank you for your thoughts alice-- i am right there with you sister! i've never posted before, (and in fact didn't watch tv for 5 years until i stumbled across SN a year ago and fell in love with the show enough to buy all the previous seasons. i adored the beautiful bond between the brothers -- not to mention the incredible humor, deep love and gritty human relationships it portrayed); but i was so disappointed after this last episode that i've had to sit on my hands not to whip off a "rant" of my own.

please know: i so appreciate the positive and respectful commentary on this site, and i have ENORMOUS respect for the supernatural creative team -- the producers, writers, actors, set designers, music directors, and on & on. really, they are a brilliant lot, and i only wish sera and her team the best. but, i am also bummed by this season and its disjointed, and somewhat lackluster presentation. i keep hoping and waiting for things to turn around and chalk it up to the learning curve of a new administration -- in this i feel very forgiving. but now ... i wonder where the magic has gone? last week's episode was the first time i said to myself: uh-oh, if they continue to deliver episodes like this, SN is probably not going to get another season. (i felt like i was betraying my beloved show by even thinking this, but it was my unfiltered response.)

alice, you wrote: "love my show, but my usual strong patience is wearing thin. “All Dogs Go To Heaven” finally pushed my buttons. ... I’m finally going to let some doubts loose ..." thank you for putting your doubts out there! i've been feeling those same concerns.

i have been surprised that the show has prolonged the souless sam story arc -- i always thought is could have been a richly explored topic covered in 2-3 very interesting episodes, but dragging it along like they have, it doesn't feel 'mysterious' or interesting -- just extremely disappointing. (esp. for those of us who were drawn to the show mainly through the character of sam and jared's beautifully sensitive portrayal of him.) i'm starting to be left with an empty feeling for the show and for the brothers relationship. alice, you also wrote in response to the 8-episode story arc: "it eventually becomes more about alienating the viewer than extending a storyline." gosh, i couldn't agree with you more. and you also write: "I can’t watch this Sam Winchester anymore. It isn’t the character with whom I grew emotionally attached. He isn’t the flawed yet sympathetic man ..." I so disheartedly agree ...

while i love dean's irreverence, juvenile humor, bravado & heart (and jensen's fantastic portrayal of him), i also agree with alice that Sam’s soul has been the real heart of this show. "Since that’s been missing, so has the main appeal of “Supernatural .” sigh, yes.

finally -- and i promise to stop quoting alice now (but you sum it up all so perfectly!) -- "We’ve clung on each week waiting for something to give, something to break in the true soul of this show. Still nothing." yes.Yes.YES. sigh.Sigh.SIGH.

a few other thoughts: over the past few seasons there seems to be fewer and fewer episodes told through sam's POV. and now that he is portrayed as soulless, their isn't really any sam point-of-view episodes, b/c how can you show the inside of someone's head, their motivations, their humanity, etc. if they have no feeling? (at the very least it presents an interesting creative challenge) the lack of sam POV creates a further disconnect with the character, because without getting sam's point-of-view, it is hard to relate and empathize with his character and to understand the choices he makes. so .... it makes it difficult, if not impossible to stay emotionally attach to this formerly beloved character. as i stated above, i would have loved exploring soulless sam in 2-3 episodes, but 8+ episodes isn't working for me.

like ellie_444, i feel it is such a downer that after an entire season of sam redeeming himself and then making the ultimate sacrifice, not to have any of that acknowledged or explored on season six.

finally, i miss how cleverly the reveals were paced and woven into storylines in past years- including in so-called "filler" episodes. if you go back and watch prior years it is incredible to see how they pulled this off.

ok, i hope my first post hasn't been too negative or alienated anyone. my comments just reflect my disappointment and high expectations for a show that has captured my heart and imagination. having said that, i still have immense respect for the creative team and all they are trying to do. the very nature of art and production is one of risk-taking, so even though i don't agree with the current trajectory of SN, i still admire what they are trying to accomplish and will continue to watch the show. and i DO thank those of you that have another take on all of this -- it keeps me hopeful and (somewhat?!) open-minded. i haven't lost all faith as is evidence by how much i laughed watching the bar room, pick-up scene/soul conversation between dean & sam in the preview for next weeks episode. (it is lol hysterical!) there have been so many brilliant moments throughout the show's history and even though i am struggling with the season thus far, i think jensen and jared are doing a terrific job & i only wish the best for sera and her team.

thanks for letting me jabber on .... cheers!
CitizenKane2
# CitizenKane2 2010-11-16 19:32
Hi Alice,

Some quick thoughts.

I agree with your rant - the prospect of watching obnoxious Sam (aka total lying jerk who can't feel any hurt)for a whole season, or even half a season, isn't particularly entertaining.

And you highlight one very telling point - yes, I felt more empathy for Lucky (skinwalker and dog) than Sam. Not good (however excellent a job Jared is doing in protraying soul-less Sam).

I remember Sam being possessed and taunting Jo in "Born Under A Bad Sign". That was brillant - for one episode. I'm fairly sure not many would have wanted more than an episode or two of demon-possessed Sam.

Watching Supernatural now ... I don't know. It's technically a great show (wonderful acting, it is an interesting story line, great lighting :-)), but somehow for me, the feelings of frustration seem to grow with each further episode of soul-less Sam.
BagginsDVM
# BagginsDVM 2010-11-16 20:06
Agreed, Alice!
I'm trying to remind myself that this is just a TV show, but it is so difficult to do when I am completely "head over heels" invested in these characters.

RoboSam obviously is not aware of it, but I think the separation of Sam from his soul is perhaps the cruelest thing that he or Dean has ever experienced. What is happening to his soul, still in the cage? I cringe to even imagine, & to quote Crowley, one can imagine a lot! Will the show actually explore what Sam must suffer when he does get his soul back ( yes, I think the show has to go there) & tries to come to grips with all that he did while soulless, or will it be swept by as was done with Dean's PTSD after his tour in Hell?

And Dean...again, everything has been taken from him. Enough, already! I want to see that adorable, light-up-the-ro om smile of his.

On initial viewing, I thought maybe Sam told the truth to Dean at the picnic table, but I think I just WANTED to believe he was. I wanted to believe things were not as depressing as they truly are at the moment.

I still enjoy moments of each episode. Lucky the dog was great, Dean's empathizing with the skinwalker made sense, & I will rewatch the episode just to see WakingUpDean, SniperDean, & HunterSam chasing the skinwalker & taking the others down in the warehouse.
Jensen & Jared & everyone else are still bringing their A games with the performances, & the storylines introduced so far with the Campbells, Crowley's plans, the Alphas, etc. are engaging. I'm in for the long haul, but I need some happiness soon!
Mellie
# Mellie 2010-11-16 20:32
My response to the episode was much like my response to most of the rest of the season thus far, the brothers earned better than this. They did the epic heroes journey. They made the sacrifices. They earned redemption. They won! They got robbed. The growth experienced by both characters in Season 5 seems to be gone. I expected a matured Sam who finally could be at ease. I expected a Dean relieved of the heavy weight of responsibility for his brother. I expected two brothers who could finally have an adult relationship undefined by birth order and destined heaps of crap. My expectations for this season have not simply been unrealized. They have been utterly trashed.

My biggest issue lies in the inconsistencies of Soulless Sam. In my opinion, most of human action is given impetus by human emotion. And, what isn't emotional in origin is typically spurred by survival. If lacking a soul means one lacks the ability to emote, the writers are failing. For Sam to be believable as soulless, he would not be immoral; he would be amoral. He would have no reason to kill monsters no reason to hunt. For the Winchesters, it's always been about "saving people, hunting things." If Sam can't feel, why save people? An aggression argument doesn't work to clear this up since anger precedes most aggression, and Sam is incapable of anger. If he cannot emote, why bother to try to convince Dean that Sam is really Sam? He simply wouldn't care, again, there would be nothing to spur action. In fact, there would have been no reason for him to look up Dean again at all. There would be no sense of humor. There would be no dick moves. The whole lack of emotion doesn't work. And, it really can't. Who would watch a character completely without affect? How would a writer create that character? The fact is, they haven't. Sam has affect. Sam shows emotion.

This isn't working for me precisely because each time he shows some affect I am jarred from the story. I start deconstructing what the writers are trying to do. Supernatural has such a deliberately crafted mythos executed with such skill that it lends itself to deconstruction. Typically, it holds up under scrutiny. Soulless Sam doesn't survive close examination. It's a flawed concept which fails in execution.

I would have bought into a 5 episode arc where messed-up-been- to-hell Sam was restored to himself. At this point, it feels very much as if Sam has simply been killed off. He's entirely absent. The dangling carrot is his restoration, and I'm getting tired of running after it. The show has become exhausting, not entertaining.

Had Supernatural not been built on such a detailed mythology, if show had not adhered to it's own rules within that mythology, if logic never applied in its world, I would have much less difficulty with setting reason aside and simply not caring when something like Sam without a soul reared its ugly head. I watch Smallville knowing that words like logic and reality need not apply, and I remain unbothered by inconsistencies . It's light. It's pretty. It's fun to watch. It does not invite close examination. It does not adhere to a self-defined set of rules. It simply is. I care that Clark is Superman by the series finale. I am not concerned with how the writers get him there. Supernatural, by contrast, has made me care not only about the characters, but about the mythology, about the rules that govern the SPN universe. I wonder if the writers can write their way out of Soulless Sam without breaking that universe.
alysha
# alysha 2010-11-16 20:43
Yes! You said what I did, Sam is lying at the end. I think the only truth he told was that he did not care for Lisa, Dean or Ben. I loved how he told Dean, not once, but twice, that he'd double cross him. And that's what I think this "thing" is doing.

I also agree the heart of the show is the brothers' relationship. When one brother is missing, there is no relationship!!! And one brother is missing. Sure, Jared Padalecki is there, and giving one hell of a performance, but he is not playing Sam Winchester. I'm ready for Sam to return! I hope it is soon.
Mardem Jr.
# Mardem Jr. 2010-11-16 20:49
So, let me tell you a little bit of my viewing habits. It is the best way to show how much I'm disliking this season.

I live in Brazil, so I watch the episodes online. There's a time difference of 1, 2 or 3 hours, depending on DST here or there. As of this time of the year, there's a 3 hour difference from here to the US east coast. So it's 1am here when the episode ends and about 30 minutes later it's available for download. I always stayed up waiting anxiously for the episode, but now? I go to bed and watch on Saturdays IF I have time.

I will not stop watching, but my interest in the show has been very low. Supernatural used to be the highlight of my week, unfortunately it is has become the most dreaded moment.
violet
# violet 2010-11-16 20:58
I don't comment here much, but am a dedicated lurker. I totally agree with your comments, Alice. I actually think the show is better, more consistently written this year than last. I think Jared and Jensen have both done an amazing job with Sam and Dean this year also, and I find the nuanced acting superb. I love that even the way they hold themselves is different.

I was intrigued by the earlier episodes when Sam would seem normal then not normal just with a small change in facial expression. That kept things interesting. But once Sam is open/finds out about his missing soul things became much less interesting. Even Crowley can't help, and I really like Crowley. But I don't love him. I love Sam and Dean, and I love them most together.

The thing that elevates this show is the relationship between Sam and Dean. The chemistry between the brothers is everything. While I can admire the pacing of the writing and the acting that kills that previously undeniable chemistry and even makes the brothers' relationship feel uncomfortable, I can't love that show.

I, too want to love my show again.
Marisol
# Marisol 2010-11-16 22:12
Many people have commented that the pacing in the episodes has been off this season, and I agree, but so has the pacing for the season. With all the plotlines floating around - the war in Heaven, the Alpha collection, etc., the least interesting and easiest to fix is Sam's lost soul. So fix it and give the season a mythic arc instead of the pedestrian Sam's soul arc. They surely can't intend that to be the big plot for the season. Please, say it ain't so.

The writers have thrown out wonderful potential storylines, but have kept the show in Purgatory - or Limbo. I really wish they would just follow through with their promises and take the show where I know it can go. Season five promised a lot, but only followed through with maybe one of them which wasn't all that great. I was so hoping this season would be different, but at this stage, I am seriously worried about Sera Gamble being able to make things right in the time that's left.

I love this show, and will watch it till the bitter end, but I am boarding on bored right now. I am disappointed in Sera Gamble's version of this program because it is so scattered that there is no version yet. I can't think of any episode that I want to watch again. I hate that. I hate reading negative posts about the show and it's creators because I so enjoy it, but here I am with a negative post. It's just kind of a bummer that Sera and the writers have let the ball drop here when there is really so much more they could do. Can they fix it in the second half? Maybe, but that's one half of a season wasted.

Still, I hope they keep going, I'll take it anyway I can get it. I just wish the writers would get it.
Pragmatic Dreamer
# Pragmatic Dreamer 2010-11-16 22:42
Interesting discussion. I actually really enjoyed the episode. I liked the parallels between Lucky and Dean (Dean was definitely referring to his own "pathetic life" when he said Mandy and Aidan were the only people to show Lucky any kindness. In his case, he meant what he'd received from Lisa and Ben.) I adored SniperDean (sign these guys up for a cop or military buddy show!) And I liked the end scene. It makes me think of the brothers as two guys stumbling around in the dark, hoping they can find each other in a huge, empty room. Dean realized that all of the times he's lost Sam, this is the worst because Sam's body is there, but HE isn't. Instead Dean is stuck with a sad, sorry Samitation of the brother he loves.

And for Sam, I know there are lots of inconsistencies about how being soulless is portrayed. I'm not sure how else they could do it without him becoming Data from Star Trek: The Next Generation. I think Sam is kind of like Mr. Spock instead. Maybe there are residual soul-bits that still cling to him and that's what causes some of the more emotional responses. On the other hand, maybe he's just being manipulative. There are real life instances of psychopaths, who until they are arrested, their violent crimes go completely undetected. They were incredibly convincing at fooling the people around them because they knew the right emotions to show at the right time. (I live in Canada and we just had one such case. It's horrific because the victims and the perpetrator are all real people.)

I'm likng this season so far. I find it really compelling, and I don't mind the unfolding mystery. Of course, I am a bit strange because I have been known to read the end of mystery novels, and then going back to finish the book. I appreciate the How-dun-it, almost as much as the Who-dun-it.

But about the flaws thus far, I'm a journalist and in a strange twist of timing, I just did an interview with the director and one of the actors from a very difficult, provocative play. We discussed how you convince an audience they actually want to watch a play about hate crimes, and torture and murder, even when those subjects aren't shown on stage, just hinted at. It's compelling theatre, but not always warm and fuzzy entertainment.

We decided (and my job rests on this principle) that all good storytelling comes down to tension and release. If you're going to ratchet up the tension, you better make sure you have a way to let the audience release those stress emotions. Humour is one way. Slowing down the pace is another. And offering kind words, proof of love or something redemptive is another way. I think maybe the Show needs to provide a little more release and a little more hope. Just a few scenes here and there would likely suffice.

With respect to souls, I don't think Sam's soul is the heart of the show, any more than Dean's is. They're two halves of a whole (and maybe that's where the Season 6 road will lead us. Maybe Dean holds Sam's soul?) It is their relationship, and the fact they are "soulmates" which makes the program so engaging.

So, since I'm thoroughly convinced that Sam will get his soul back, and there will be a big hug eventually, I'm looking at Season 6 kind of like Labour and Delivery. Bear with me (pun intended.. See!! Tension and release!)

Sometimes it's long. Often it's painful. And it's almost always frustrating because you are absolutely powerless to control what is happening. But the reward is oh so sweet and worth it.
Kayo
# Kayo 2010-11-16 23:15
I don't watch for entertainment and I don't watch for escapism. I watch for drama, and that's all this is: good drama. I just relax and enjoy the ride.
stacey cp
# stacey cp 2010-11-16 23:47
very interesting review alice. I am finding it curious how others are taking this season, I for one are on the love side of the field. I think its as good as season 4. what i really like about season 6 sam and what i feel some are missing the point on is, he cant feel so he cannot understand because understanding comes from emotion, and he is nothing but a child in a sense. the way I see sam this season is its like someone with autism or aspergers, he just doesnt know or understand and is clueless about everything. but as you have hypothosised and I am thinking too that when he does get his soul back, I think it will hit him hard. for me I have always felt that Jensen is at his best when he is emotional and Jared is at his best when he is dark, insensitive, and I like to think that this storyline is leading to a really good payoff.
anonymousN
# anonymousN 2010-11-16 23:48
Like Ellie i too thought may be Sam's sacrifice in swan song would give him some peace but no .It is like every decision he makes pushes him to a worser situation than before. But not to say i don't like the season .Just the wait for Sam to be complete is frustrating.And i don't think Sam is going to feel redeemed after he gets back his soul because only Sera&Co know what he has done in the missing year...from Azazel's manipulations which (hopefully) came to an end at Season 5 to Crowley's now (Still am not able to believe or convinced Crowley's mojo is so strong)
Alice
# Alice 2010-11-17 00:22
Thank you so much everyone for all the replies, especially you lurkers coming out for the first time. I always love it when that happens. I'll have more coherent thoughts tomorrow, but I do love everything that's been said here. You all make very good points and none of these posts have been overly negative at all.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not hating season six. It has many good qualities and some of the episodes have been mind blowing. However, the lack of chemistry between the brothers has been the gaping hole overshadowing the season and that is the subject of my deep frustration. Of course that's blamed on Sam's missing soul, but it obviously affects Dean's as well. It's a chicken and egg thing, or a domino effect, whatever overused analogy fits! I can even accept the inconsistencies if there were traces of Sam, or glimmers of hope. As Pragmatic Dreamer just said, I need my release. Since we are getting none of that though I'm not sure how else to make sense of my reactions.

I also believe Sam will eventually get his soul back, but I was speculating that what if he didn't. The writers could go there. I really hope your intel is good Zach! If this goes on beyond midseason, I'll just fall apart. Of course we'll have to see what happens when he gets his soul back. That's a whole other portrayal issue. One I'm dying to analyze!

I still feel very guilty about turning on a creative vision like this, for I know how dedicated everyone is to making this show every week and I have nothing put the largest respect for everyone involved with the show. However, the frustration can no longer be ignored. I refuse to carry on the bitterness though. It's time to look forward and fight some fairies.

Oh and Mellie, you so nailed my feelings on Smallville too! That show definitely does not have the depth, but it was been less depressing this season compared to Supernatural.
Suze
# Suze 2010-11-17 04:51
I was quite taken with RoboSam for a while, what with the snark and the nudity and the taking charge in a Manly Fashion, but he's getting a bit past his sell-by date now. I want the old, fuzzy, guilt-striken model back. The show feels all hollow in the middle at the moment.

I don't see this happening any time soon though, as the writers need a reason for the brothers to be dancing to Crowley's piping and with Sam re-souled ( is that a word? ) they'd be free to go after him instead, which sounds like a fine idea to me ... :D

I don't watch Smallville but I used to love Prison Break with a deep and passionate love ( nothing to do with all the sweat, tatoos and running around in skimpy vests, honestly! ) and but the show eventually lurched so far away from the storyline and characters I first fell for that I couldn't be bothered with it any more.

I'd be bloody annoyed if that happened here. :evil:
AndreaW
# AndreaW 2010-11-17 05:03
Mardem Jr., I live in Brazil too. Could you please, please, tell me WHERE do you watch online and download it 30 minutes later? I used to, but that site went down. So I have to wait until Saturday morning and it kills me having to wait that long.

I'd like to say too that I think it's very brave of Sera Gamble to try something so different and, for that same reason, so dangerous. Even if I find it painful to watch (never thought I'd ever hear Sam say that he doesn't care about Dean), I'm intrigued as hell by what is going on and I have no doubt that the payoff will be incredible. So I keep faith.
JessM
# JessM 2010-11-17 09:41
Alice, I understand your concerns and as someone who doesn't hate this season (but doesn't 100% love it either), I am frustrated seeing Sam without his soul for so long. However, I want to say that I respectfully disagree with you that Sam was totally lying to Dean in the last scene. Did you see the look he shared with Amanda at the end of the previous scene? The camera lingered on the look they shared for just a little while. I can't think that this was done without a reason. I think that seeing Lucky protect her and her son perhaps did affect him slightly, and might have been part of the reasoning behind what he said to Dean about remembering what he was like before and wanting to be that person again. You might say that he wasn't telling the 100% truth, but I do think there was some element of truth in it. Of course this is all subjective, but I just wanted to explain why I disagreed.

That said I am eagerly awaiting the return of the Sam we know and love. I agree with AndreaW... I think the payoff will be big in the end - at least I hope it is.
Lindsay Warren
# Lindsay Warren 2010-11-17 13:26
"Sam’s soul has been the real heart of this show." You said it. And I'm getting really impatient for him to get it back. GREAT job, Alice.
Mardem Jr.
# Mardem Jr. 2010-11-17 14:21
Olá, AndreaW. Eu uso este site: up.tl
Às vezes os episódios demoram uns 10 minutos a mais. O supernaturalisl ife.com é bem rápido também. Espero que seja útil ;-)
Jeannine
# Jeannine 2010-11-17 15:52
Hear hear, Alice! I agree with you 100%. You have put into words exactly how I've been feeling since last Friday.

I think it says a lot that we at this site are complaining. One of the things that has been great about this site is that we have always had faith in our show and the direction it was heading. So for us, of all people, to be unhappy I thinks says a lot about the shows current direction.

I want to continue to believe that they will get back to what many of us here find important in this show, the brotherly bond. The very thing that even Kripke found important. I want to believe that Sera and company will continue in that vein. If they don't, I truly fear for our beloved show.
AndreaW
# AndreaW 2010-11-17 16:26
Mardem Jr., puxa, muito obrigada!!! Eu usei o All Series durante toda a 5ª temporada, mas o site fechou e eu fiquei na mão. Valeu a dica. ;-)
Robin Vogel
# Robin Vogel 2010-11-17 16:47
Allow me to state one fact: I will watch SUPERNATURAL until the final episode, and only my death will prevent that. I have totally, utterly, completely loved this show ever since "Born Under a Bad Sign", and I eagerly watched every single episode before that one, completely alone in my excitement. I jumped into on-line fandom after BUABS because I just HAD to share my love of the show after that!

Having said that, I confess that the first episode of season 6 disappointed me so much, I was afraid Sera had been taken over by SUPERNATURAL-ha ting demons. Episode 2 and 3 showed improvement. Four, 5, 6 and 7 were good enough that my hopes began to spiral again, with the latter sending my hopes sailing to the skies. It appeared that the Winchester brothers had chosen to be a team again, working together to get back Sam's soul and beat Crowley!

Then we had episode 8, and we were back to lying Sam telling Dean he DOESN'T CARE ABOUT HIM, has done some terrible things, and Dean agreeing to help anyway. WTF?

Maybe this season is all just a terrible dream, like DALLAS? We'll find out S6 is Dean's nightmare; he'll awaken next to Lisa in bed and tell her all about it, they'll laugh at the absurdity of it all. The doorbell will ring, and Sam will be standing there, hearty and whole, soul intact. He'll say, "Dean, wanna go hunting?" Lisa will say, "Go on, Dean, you know you want to, just grab the Impala out of the garage!" The brothers will hop into the Impala and the REAL season 6 will begin!

Gang, I have my doubts about Sam being Sam at all. I also have my doubts about Crowley being able to get Sam and Samuel out of their respective places in heaven and hell; I think Castiel is in cahoots with Crowley and not to be trusted. The writers have made a big mistake with us, the audience, by allowing the Sam-Dean bond to be broken for so long, but if they are perusing the boards (and watching the ratings), they will realize their mistake and fix it soon. When die-hard fans are complaining about the show, they know it's time to dive in and do something about it. Thing is, SMALLVILLE's ratings weren't great at first, and they took time to climb on Friday nights. To expect big ratings for SUPERNATURAL isn't really giving our show a chance.

Incidentally, I think there is SO MUCH left to be revealed to us! We need to have just a little more patience.

Love,
Robin
spacedkids
# spacedkids 2010-11-17 16:49
Jim Beaver (Bobby Singer) has tweeted in his acoount "Be patient there`s great things to come". So i have hope
Scarlotti
# Scarlotti 2010-11-17 17:09
Looks like I'm in the minority here, since I like RoboSam. He's a fascinating character. He's got Sam's memories, likes & dislikes, anger -- but not Sam's empathy for the feelings of others (the capability to love). Was his confession that he thinks he should probably try to bring the old Sam back sincere? If so, it means that RoboSam *wants* to, in effect, become human (shades of Pinocchio/A-I). Plus, it raises the question: Can a souless human body develop a soul (distinct from its true soul which remains in Hell)?

Then there's the even more interesting concept of Dean's attempt to reconcile his love for Sam with the soulless thing that is still most of Sam. His first instinct is to murder him in his sleep, but otoh, he still wants to protect him and to bring the whole Sam back.

I'm hoping they don't restore Sammy until much further into the season. Right now there are still too many threads in the Mytharc: Civil War in Heaven; M.I.A. God; The Campbells; The Alphas; Crowley; Ben & Lisa -- I wish they'd saved at least half of these developments for future seasons, but I certainly don't want to see any resolved prematurely. Best (IMO) to take each of them slowly -- continuing many into season 7.

Of course the current explanation for Sam's return (Crowley) is troubling, but I don't believe Crowley for a second. I'm sure that the writers will reveal the truth before the season ends.

Anyway, I loved All Dogs Go to Heaven for the same reasons you did: It was a good, solid monster story, with a sympathetic monster who challenged our concepts of "good" and "evil."
Melanie
# Melanie 2010-11-18 01:20
Well, I agree with one thing you said, Alice. That Sam's soul is the heart of the show. It always has been. And it still is. I think its interesting that it being gone is what has emphasized that for you.

I took particular note of the poster above speaking about building tension in the drama. There is no lack of chemistry/ tension between Jared and Jensen in their performances -- its there -- its what's driving everyone crazy. Its like -- teasing. Foreplay, maybe. To me its exciting to have Sam be different and unpredictable. To have Dean truly out of his comfort zone dealing with an unpredicable Sam is interesting. Far moreso than his very familar angst over Lisa and Ben.
(As an aside, I loved the red krytonite episode of Smallville and I always wished that Clark hadn't been turned back so quickly)
To me, the relationship between the brothers is still driving the show. Dean will do anything, even work with a demon, to get his brother back.
I think of it like this -- Dean's brother, Sammy is being held hostage by Crowley (or someone) and has to be rescued. On a straight -up procedural show, that wouldn't leave Jared with much to do, would it? A few shots of him tied to a chair or in a cell or something while Dean and Bobby run around doing whatever to find him.
But its Supernatural so instead, we have Sam with his soul torn out (heartbreaking in his un-Samness, yet totally bad ***) working with Dean to rescue - himself. Personally, I think it is a very clever plotting device and I really like it.
I'm sure we'll eventually get Sammy back (a really big release of tension, I'm sure ;-)) and he'll be all messed up by hell and there will be angst and bonding and so on. So far, I don't think that there are inconsistencies in Sam's behavior per se, I think we don't have the whole story yet on why he's really hunting and what his true motivations are for his actions.

It is hard for us fans to be missing the brothers' usual comfortable connection but I think the show is depending on us, like Dean, to love Sammy enough to be invested in getting him back. I know I am. But in the meantime, I'm enjoying the heck out of Robo!Sam -- just like I enjoyed Lucifer!Sam and Meg!Sam and every other variation that Jared (amazing actor that he is) has given us over the seasons!!!
Syd
# Syd 2010-11-18 12:01
I guess if "Sam's soul is really THE heart of the show" then there's no real point for Dean being on the show at all?

No wonder Dean is getting so much criticism here -- apparently doesn't care *enough* about his brother and he isn't really all that important to the show at all. Dean can't win for trying.

*sigh*
strangelove
# strangelove 2010-11-18 21:42
I'm sorry, I'm still mind boggled by you stating that Sam was there for Dean when Dean got out of hell. I must have missed that part. Was it before or after Sam called him weak and told him boo hoo?

I don't really think Sam's soul is in hell or suffered more than Dean, but the show will, of course, give that part of Dean's story to Sam also and will make sure that poor Sam suffered much more, if only to satisfy the fans of Sam who wish for Sam to have everything Dean has, only more of it.

I agree Syd. Really, what need for Dean? I wish Sera would have left Dean with Lisa and I wouldn't have any reason to keep watching. Dean is the only reason I watch, and Sam isn't the soul of the show for me.

But Sam treating Dean like a human being would certainly be something new. I haven't seen that since season 2. Too bad Sera didn't bring that part of Supernatural back.
celiana
# celiana 2010-11-18 21:47
You know, Syd, I was just thinking the exact same thing when I saw your post-I really don't see the need for Dean if Sam is the heart of the show. I mean, what purpose does Dean then serve? The muscle? The chauffeur? The trusty, wise cracking sidekick? For some odd reason, I'd always thought the brother were equal partners on the show and their relationship was its heart.

(But I agree about soulless Sam. Bring back the real Sam already!)
strangelove
# strangelove 2010-11-18 21:55
you know what the real problem of this season is Alice? It's not the lack of Sam's soul, it's the lack of story for Dean. Once again, Dean is only and all about Sam and instead of getting some great stories about the weapons of heaven being stolen, or the civil war in heaven and hell, we get Dean being all about Sam, and it's just boring. Sam's missing soul is a boring story, especially since this Sam acts just like season 4 Sam.

I bet if Sera gave Dean something more to do than be there just for Sam, the season would pick up. But, since it seems she listened to you and fans like you, once again, we have a season that's all about Sam, and yeah, it's dull.
Amelia
# Amelia 2010-11-18 21:57
"Sam helped Dean through his trauma by just being there, sympathetically listening and having his brother’s back."

Oh my. Lying to him constantly, sneaking around with the demon who crowed at his impending torture, seeing him as weak and pathetic... if Dean does all that in response to Sam coming back, are you going to describe it as "having his brother's back"?
Natalie
# Natalie 2010-11-18 22:13
I usually just lurk here. Delurking to say I'm just sorta bored with yet another season of something being wrong with Sam. It might have been interesting the first time but I'm honestly not interested in it any more and also not really interested in what was a really unique story arc for Dean being trotted out for Sam. If I don't start seeing more in this story for Dean than just revolving around Sam, and more Dean-Castiel, I won't watch to the end of the season that's for sure.
Alice
# Alice 2010-11-18 22:58
You know, I honestly haven't had to do this for months. Seriously, everyone has been really good until today. It took you guys long enough to find this.

I have some strict rules on this site. NO, I REPEAT NO, Sam vs. Dean nonsense. This is the only warning. Next comment that gripes about one character at the expense of another is edited or deleted. The purpose of this review was to point out concerns about soulless Sam. If you have a problem with Dean's story line, please share, but NO slams on Sam in the process. No NEGATIVE TONES either. We are constructive and respectful on this site.
Huppy
# Huppy 2010-11-19 01:09
Alice, I agree with your comments. The brotherly bond is the best part of the show, and I hate it when there is tension and dishonesty between the brothers. Season 4, when Sam trusted Ruby instead of Dean, was my least favorite season for that reason.

Sera Gamble is new to being the showrunner, and there are new writers too. Jeremy Carver, one of my favorite writers, is gone. I am not trying to bash Sera and the writers, but it might be that the newbies got in over their heads, and what sounded good in the writers' room is not translating well to the screen. Hopefully they can right it, because SN is not as special to me as it once was.

I hate the Soulless Sam storyline, and Dean has also not been written well this season. Dean doesn't have the humor and swagger he once had; he is angsty and whiny. I want Sam to get his soul back and Dean to be able to reconcile having Lisa and Ben, as well as Sam, in his life. And then let's move on, and have SN be the special show it used to be.
Shelby
# Shelby 2010-11-19 09:53
I've actually been enjoying S6 much more than S5, but much less than S4, when I thought the writers were on the road to some real and genuine growth for Sam regarding his brother. Unfortunately, that never really panned out for me because, as we've since learned from Comic Con, Kripke wasn't watching the same show that many in his audience were since he said that he felt that the biggest problem with the brother bond was that Dean didn't love Sam, as he is, enough. I'm STILL trying to get over that. And I surely hope we are not headed for another round of it in S6. I didn't think so at first, but with this one, I'm beginning to fear it happening again.
I'd like Sam to get his soul back, too, but more because I'd like to see him show his brother some appreciation and respect again on a more permanent and episode spanning basis than what we've gotten in the last 2 and 1/2 seasons. And they should be very careful of how they handle Sam's hell time, IMO, being as Dean's was basically pushed to the side in S4 because of Sam's supposedly "greater need" of support in his having become a demon blood addict in Ruby's thrall in Dean's absence. Sam did not support Dean at all, IMO, during Dean's time of greatest need. In his defense, he was in no shape to; and yet, Dean was expected to help Sam when he also was in no shape to help anyone, least of all himself. But he somehow found the strength to put his pain aside and to help Sam as best as he could-a Sam who at that time also didn't feel like he needed help. And now he's having to do it yet again after having been told last season by everyone and their mother that his role as Sam's caregiver and big brother were basically passe and a part of the reason that that Sam went with Ruby?! Shoot, no wonder he seems so detached and emotionally exhausted from this NotSam-maybe it's because deep down inside he knows that NotSam's uncaring, self-centered, and self-serving attitude is also an aspect of HIS Sam-and that this was a large part of why the rift happened, also.
Still, and as is usual with the writing on this show for me, I'm not sure if this is inconsistent storytelling because of the change in showrunners or if there is actually a method to Sera's madness. Does she actually plan on giving BOTH brothers some more genuine character growth this time around and rectifyng what many saw as grave mis-steps in last season's "fix" of the brother bond? Not holding my breath on it, but I'm curious enough to keep watching, and yes, Dean is my favorite. To me, his great love of family and his predilection to put those he loves before himself has always been the beating heart of this show-not sure that Kripke originally meant it to be that way, but that's how it's shaken out for me-and I'd like to see Sam emulate Dean in this way more than any other in the second half of 6.
Amelia
# Amelia 2010-11-19 11:48
"You've been warned. Next comment like this is edited or deleted. How about less bitterness and a more descriptive and constructive answer? You've done this on this site before. I'm not allowing it again."

No bitterness here, Alice, just pointing out what happened in season 4. Dean got a wee bit of support in trying to get over what happened to him in Hell, and after that minimum, he was subsequently considered weak and pathetic for being harmed by it, and underwent constant lies and betrayal. Really, he mostly had to get past it himself, in a hurry, and get on to worrying about what Sam was doing with Ruby.

Look, whether it bothers you to hear it or not, you really can't expect to rewrite the history of the show without getting comments about it, even if you choose to delete them.
Shari
# Shari 2010-11-19 13:16
I'm not frustrated with the Dean character at all. I'm frustrated beyond words with Sam, though. I'd like to see some long term concern for Dean from him-spotlight on long term. I can't understand this storyline that almost seems like a good excuse(being soulless) for Sam to treat Dean terribly and yet again. And then what?-he gets his soul back and his horrible, worse than Dean's hell experience will be the underlying, real reason and we're just supposed to feel like It's okay, Sammy.-it wasn't your fault this time, just as it won't be next time, and just as it's never been. If that's the direction they take, my hope will be that S6 will be the last.
Freebird
# Freebird 2010-11-19 13:52
It wasn't until "Weekends at Bobby's" that I thought "Here's my show, yay!!!". All the other episodes didn't feel like Supernatural to me, sorry. I did like the MOTW stories, that's SPN right there, but the Winchester's story doesn't fit. I agree with you Alice that the story is just too depressing. We had so much tragedy the last 3 seasons, I really would like to have some light now (like S1). And after everything the brothers have sacrificed, especially Sam, I can't believe they didn't get any reward. At least some peace of mind and soul.
Sablegreen
# Sablegreen 2010-11-19 14:11
Shari, I agree. Dean's character needs to be corrected. Actually the 'role reversal' they are trying can't work because the 'old' Dean and Sam, from s1-3, had many more layers than they are giving this 'new' Dean and Sam. If they didn't have 'limp noodle' Dean now, the 'soulless' Sam would have gone down easier for everyone.

And yes, Lisa and Ben could have fit into the story much better than the writers did it. But the objective wasn't to add depth to the series, just provide another source of angst between the brothers; to widen the deterioration, like the year separation wasn’t enough.

All they had to do was keep the brothers as brothers. That’s all the fans wanted.