Thoughts on Like a Virgin, by Elle2
  
Ah, yes, this is why I love "Supernatural"; Dean and Sam are brothers.
 
*Note to Ms. Gamble, please keep it that way.*
 
Of all the characters in "Like a Virgin," I identify with Bobby’s particular mindset at this moment, wary.  Bobby wants to forgive Sam.  In fact, I’ll hazard to say that Bobby doesn’t even believe Sam needs forgiveness.  Bobby has been hurt, scared and facing the end of his life at the hands of someone he loves and then in the next instant (all right, ten days) he finds himself face to face with the physical manifestation of that very same person who actually isn’t that very same person.  
 
As for me, I want to love "Supernatural," want to trust that the writers are completely done tearing apart the heart and soul of the show; yet at the same time I find myself wondering just when that ‘other’ shoe is going to drop.
 
In various interviews it has been said that the Sam and Dean train are back on track and that the ‘feed your brother to the vampires’ kind of bumps are done with; I hope so.  I want to believe.
 
So, was Like a Virgin all that I could have hoped for?  Yes and no.
 
I’ll keep this short and just make a list of sorts:
 
Funny – check
Chick flick moment – check
Brotherly banter – check
Brothers working together – check
Classic Rock – check and check
Wow of a monster – miss
Wow of a reveal of the mytharc – miss
 
Overall, this episode still works for me much more than it doesn’t.
 
So there was a lot of razzle dazzle in the first half of the season, Crowley, missing souls, Samuel, soulless Sam, Dean a vampire, sniper Dean, fight the fairies, shirtless Sam but there was no heart and soul; no brothers.
 
So, "Like a Virgin" had very little razzle dazzle but lots of heart and soul.  For me it’s a winner and I’ll be happily watching it several more times to drink in all the small brotherly moments and they abounded.
 
The opening montage was every bit as good as I had been led to believe, whoever cut that together is a master!!!
 
Jared’s return of Sam shows just how brilliantly he portrayed soulless Sam.  As brilliant as he was with soulless Sam, I never want to see him again aside from flashbacks – which I believe we’ll be getting next week which I am looking forward to for it gives us some insight into what Sam did and how he’ll deal with that.  That being said, I do hope Sam (and by proxy me) are not in for the remainder of the season being a long apology by Sam.  While it is an interesting inner dilemma for him to deal with, “I’m the one with the Zippo in my pocket so I’m not sure it isn’t me” and I am hoping it will be fascinating to watch provided it does not devolve into Sam beating himself up over it.  I want to see him wrestle with it but not if it’s going to drag him into depression.  It’ll be a fine line to walk.
 
On the other hand, I was very grateful for Sam’s apology to Dean.  I’ve had time to think about things so before you cry foul on me let me say that I appreciate the apology because it shows that Sam is really and truly back.  We know that Sam without a soul didn’t care at all what his actions did to Dean, only how they impacted the hunt.  The fact that Sam apologized here shows that it is, in fact, Sam.  The fact that Dean wouldn’t allow Sam to stay in that apology mode also tells me that Dean sees a distinction between Sam without a soul and Sam with a soul; something Bobby is having trouble with at the moment.  I’m not blaming Bobby mind you, having an ax coming at you, being hunted in your own home and having a knife to your throat while you’re tied to a chair is not something you let go of instantly.  Still, it speaks volumes of how Dean views Sam now as opposed to before his soul was returned and it also speaks volumes that he did the right thing. For me this is an indication that Dean will not be looking at Sam as he did in Season 5 when he wasn’t sure he could trust Sam.  It’s obvious Dean trusts Sam because he left him alone and went in search of the sword; had Dean not trusted Sam he never would have left him behind.
 
Now, how about that part with Dean not being able to easily pull the sword from the stone, come on all you out there complaining that Dean was made to look the fool; I don’t buy it at all.  When have our brothers ever been able to easily do anything?  Never.  As for him not being worthy?  I don’t buy that either.  The dragon type lore with knights in shining armor, full of virtue and without a flaw do not exist in the realm of Supernatural, they don’t exist in life either but that’s for another topic on another day.  Our heroes lie, cheat, steal and sometimes kill their way through their battles; to say they are flawed is to say they are good looking; in other words, obvious.
 
Dean’s battle with the sword in the stone may not have left me breathless on the floor in hysteria but it did leave me smiling and saying; ah, that’s true to the character.  Dean tried the obvious route and, when that didn’t give up the sword, he didn’t give up; in fact, he went back more determined than ever.  Dean was going to get that sword and that stone WOULD release it; and it did, mostly.   
Who can complain that we’ve gotten sniper Dean and explosives expert Dean all in the same season, and by the same writer thank you very much, Adam Glass.  You’ve penned three episodes in this show and I’ve enjoyed them all, this one by far outshines the other two but that’s because the boys are back in town!!!
 
I love the motel room, charts and papers stuck to the wall, fast food being brought in for a meal, another spectacular mural on the wall that is used as wonderful backdrop for both the brothers and for Sam alone; brilliant.  And as many others have stated over the last several weeks, Dean is not Dean when Sam is not there; this episode that back into sharp relief as well.  Dean was the Dean we know and love because Sam was the Sam we know and love.  I also loved the little comments by Sam regarding wanting to join the hunt: “Yeah, because that’s what you did when you came back from hell.”  It’s these moments that give me threads to cling to that the writers intend a more equal footing between the brothers going forward and that it will be built on the foundation of shared experiences, granted they’re hellish experiences but hey, both brothers have been tortured and both did horrific things (some of which we saw Sam do and some of which we’ll learn about next week).  Shared experiences do a relationship make.
 
And what about those two nonchecks I have above, the dragon and the mytharc reveal; yeah, those are big misses but in a season of no brotherly relationship and lots of reveals and ‘guns firing’ I’ll take an episode with the brothers back together with a lame monster and a nonreveal anytime.
 
Why was the dragon lame?  Because it’s a dragon and this is Supernatural.  I applaud the effort for, if you never try big things, you’ll never do good things, much less great things.  There’s a quote by someone:  “Show me a man who has never failed and I’ll show you a man who has never accomplished anything.”  Yeah, the dragon is a fail in my book; but Supernatural has accomplished so many things that one or two fails do not destroy anything.  The opening teaser and the abduction a few minutes in worked well, the guys with the now-you-see-them-now-you-don’t wings and hands that glow were simply below the standard of even the wendigo back in Season 1.  Too bad, should have stuck to shadows and crane shots…ah, but that’s hindsight for you and yes, that’s me with my critic’s hat on.
 
As for the big reveal, I don’t mind the actress that played ‘mother’ didn’t show much menace to me, for really, how much could she ‘sell’ menace when dangling above an abyss and no real buildup to her; the menace will come later.  Admittedly, Lilith as the little girl with the English accent really sold it in Jus In Bello but that was helped by the fact that we’d heard a bit about her in MM as well as in JIB and all the characters around her reacted with fear when she stated her name.  Here, ‘mother’ just appeared with little to no preamble as to her danger.  So, ‘mother’ doesn’t earn the noncheck of above, what does is that I still have no idea why she’s here as well as why dragons are here and why did they kidnap so many virgins when apparently all they needed was one.  Since Sera Gamble stated outright in the TVGuide article that this episode would explain all that and it didn’t, I’m left flat.
 
I don’t beat on the show over it though so don’t get depressed, there’s ten more episodes to come and that information will be revealed, but as for building this up to be the episode that answers the question of why dragons are back, um, I’m still waiting for the answer.
 
There are so many more hits than misses that I’ll happily -- and with my rose-colored glasses firmly in place -- say I enjoyed this episode and unlike the others this season, I’ll be cueing it up for several rewatches between now and next Friday.
 
As always, thanks for reading, Elle2