(Author's note - As you all can tell, I'm going a bit out of order here.  My review for "Let It Bleed" will be coming later this week.  After seeing the two parts, this is the one I couldn't stop thinking about.  There are some great reviews already on this site for "Let It Bleed" so why not do this one first?  There's just too much to consider.)

Whew, “The Man Who Knew Too Much” is certainly a brain twister, isn’t it?  It’s a much different season finale from the previous five, but it’s also one of the most fitting given the theme of this show.  Sam faces survival on a much different level and in the end, it’s his love for his brother that gets him through.  Sure, that happened last year when the brotherly bond helped Sam take over Lucifer and jump into the cage, but here he has to  fight something even more terrifying, himself.  This time he can’t perform his usual act of self sacrifice.  He has to accept who he is and all the horror that comes with it.  That’s an impossible cross to bear when your name is Winchester.  

On the other end is Castiel, who without the support of his friends just goes off the deep end.  He, much like season four Sam, gives into obsession and we’re left with a humdinger as a result of it.  I’d almost feel sorry for the bastard, but he is the one that took down Sam’s wall as a strategical distraction to get Dean to back off.  That’s just cold.   
“I’m so sorry.”  “Not as sorry as you’re gonna be.” 
Let’s face it, Sam Winchester hasn’t been whole or complete since soulless Sam was pulled out of the cage.  When Castiel intervened, that created two Sams.  He definitely changed in that cage.  He essentially became pieces, divided between a weary, bloody, and broken man that didn’t have anymore strength to carry on and a sociopath that didn’t stop at anything, like killing an innocent girl because of demon used her as leverage.  
But wait, weren’t there three Sam’s in this story?  Who is this third man?  He’s the one created by Death, the one put in front of the wall.  Sympathetic Sam.  The loyal brother, the fighter, the caring one, someone that won’t give up no matter what.  It’s an echo of what Sam was before his trauma, perhaps the piece burned away in the cage.  It’s the brother Dean desperately wanted back.  Dean didn’t realize, and neither did we, that this Sam wasn’t the real Sam either.  It’s almost no different than when Soulless Sam was around.  He’s a variation.  He may have the best qualities of Sam, but everyone has to carry their burdens and pain.  It defines who they are.  This Sam knew from the moment he came back he wasn’t right but carried on anyway.  Hmm, sounds a lot like soulless Sam, huh?  

The wall, as suspected, was the only thing holding the three parts of Sam together.  They were still separate, still at odds with each other, but without that wall they were forced to coexist.  The dilemma now becomes that they all must merge into one or the host stays a proverbial drooling mess in Bobby’s panic room.  One thing I keep wondering is if Soulless Sam succeeded in killing Sam, would that have meant a lost fight and life locked out of reality forever?  Or would Sam have woken up soulless?  Or worse would the real Sam have died?  It’s hard to say but I suspect only the Sam with a pure soul could of succeeded in making them whole.  He is the moral center, the one with the core qualities that make the man, the one with the purity and true identity.  Without that part he is nothing.  He had to be in control.  After all, he was created with fighting spirit, the one that would do whatever it takes for his brother above and beyond his own welfare.  He’s the hero in this story.
As with any self struggle, there are obstacles.  Robin, an intriguing character to say the least, ended up representing Sam’s deep subconscious.  She raises doubt, but more for protection than harm.  She’s the secrets locked deep inside.  She knows what awful things are being kept from this Sam and even warns him he wasn’t going to like what he found.  Sam needs to hear her warning, but he has to fight it too.  What he has to do is greater than him.  He also must protect her, if anything for self preservation as well as making amends for the awful things he’s done.        
That’s exactly what Cas wants, for you to fall to pieces.  Try to think of what Sam would want.  
Poor Dean.  His frustration is apparent because he can’t fix his little brother, but he ends up playing a role more valuable than he realized.  The use of light throughout the episode is nothing short of brilliant.  It becomes what guides Sam, what triggers him to pull himself together.  Sam said in the bar that this all started when he woke up on a park bench, flashlight shining on his face.  How much do you want to bet Dean was in the panic room using that flashlight in his eye for the first time?  That light becomes a beacon for Sam.  Who but Dean should be the one to trigger that beacon, sending him along the proper path?  

There’s the powerful message that’s the epitome of the brotherly relationship.  Dean has always been the one that’s guided Sam from darkness to light.   One scene I absolutely love is when “Play With Fire” by The Rolling Stones is playing on Dean’s radio in the panic room.  Aside from the obvious cautionary tale the song has about what happens when you mess with someone who’s unstable (in this case Sam and Castiel), the music made it’s way into Sam’s subconscious as well as the smell of the whiskey and Old Spice.  All were triggers that hinted to him his whereabouts and in a sense who he was.  It was key to putting all the pieces together.  
The bright light though ultimately triggered Sam’s crucial showdown between himself and his soulless self.  In the light he could see, unlike at night when he couldn’t make out what he saw.  The way that light is presented in that scene is so artfully done.  The fade between the headlights of the Impala back to Dean, who uses the flashlight to check Sam’s pupil, then Sam being blinded in the darkness before ending up in daylight, just brilliant.  That’s story telling gold right there.  The lights are there again in the form of candles and the fireplace burning bright when Sam arrives at Bobby’s.  They were the only things illuminating the dark, telling him he was in the right place. 

Of course Dean had no idea that just being there at Sam’s side and the small things he was doing were helping.  Dean has never been able to sit still and do nothing with loved ones in peril, which is why Bobby is so important in this story.  He gives Dean the much needed the voice of rationality, something Dean must have when Sam is in trouble.  By the time Dean left with Bobby to try and stop Castiel and Crowley from opening purgatory’s door he was not only doing what Sam would have wanted, but he’d already done all he could to help Sam.  The rest fell on Sam himself.   So how do you make a fan girl weepy?  By showing Dean give his fallen brother the ultimate show of faith as they parted.  He puts beside Sam on the cot the address and his gun.  Oh Kripke, you magnificent bastard. 
“You know me, you know why.  I’m not leaving my brother alone out there.” 

There you go.  With those words the entire series has been summarized.  Sam knows he can’t ever disappoint big brother.  The times he did were the worst of his life and resulted in catastrophe.  He will risk everything.  Once he puts it all together and realizes in the real world he’s laid up at Bobby’s, he’s again given a terrifying choice.  He has to remember Hell.  He gets to see visually what it’s done to that part of him.  That part of him doubts whether he’s strong enough.  It doesn’t matter.  He has to try.  His brother needs him.  Yep, that’s enough right there to get my water works going again.  So beautiful and goes to show once again what these brothers will do for each other.  
When Sam does arrive to help Dean though he’s in bad shape.  He’s staggering, physically unstable and the flashes of Hell are killing him.  He pushes it all aside and moves on.  Even with doubts and all that horror inside Sam as a whole is stronger, especially with the part that believes in his brother in control.  That’s the Sam that ends up having the power to get the job done by stabbing Castiel (even if the result was not what he had hoped).   
Strength can only go so far.  That’s what’s taking us into the next season.  Now that Sam’s whole again, he’s also very broken.  His inner self, through Robin and his tortured soul, all sternly warned him there would be consequences.  There always are with Sam.  He makes one choice and no matter what the reason, it leads to other dangerous paths.  Will Sam regret making this choice, will he seek out help to restore the wall?  Will Dean be the only one that can help him through this?  Stay tuned, season seven.  
“First Sam and Dean and now this.  I”m doing my best in impossible circumstances.  My friends they abandon me, plot against me.  It’s difficult to understand.”
On the other end is Castiel.  Plain and simple, the angel threw everything he had away.  The way he saw it, everyone gave up on him so he had nothing left to lose.  He carried exactly like season four Sam did.  Stopping Raphael became an uncompromisable obsession.  Balthazar betrayed him, so he killed him (So we think anyway.  We didn’t see angel wings, but I’m assuming he’s dead).  Castiel saw this as a suicide mission.  Stop Raphael and then cease to exist.  He would explode.  He would do so alone.  

Something went very wrong though.  How does the saying go?  Power corrupts, but absolute power corrupts absolutely.  That kind of power was exactly Sam’s undoing in season four.  He sought and craved his power for his own purposes of revenge.  Castiel is using his to gain respect and worship, something he hasn’t gotten in a very long time if ever.  It’s something he expected from friends, and when they turned away from him in his hour of need the power of friendship lost all its value.  Power twists a mind into hidden agendas.  
The question is, can Castiel be stopped?  Again, stay tuned, season seven. 
The Nitpicks
Eric Kripke, the writer, gave us many wonderful gems in this episode, but the script wasn’t flawless.  As much as I like Crowley, he isn’t that impressive in this episode.  The acting by Mark Sheppard is great but it’s what his character is given in the script.  Sure he is his normal scheming self, but he’s strangely not all that smart when it comes to dealing with Castiel and Raphael.  The fact that he didn’t see through Castiel’s scheme is actually kind of disappointing.  I expected that of Raphael but not Crowley.  Ah well, he’ll be back, and I do wonder what Castiel has planned for him.  It can’t be good.     
To be perfectly honest, when I saw the ending, Castiel declaring himself to be the new God after Sam tried to kill him but couldn’t, I wasn’t excited nor upset about it.  My reaction was “Okay, if that’s the way they want to go.”  Cliffhangers anymore are just teasers to get you to tune in to what’s next.  Hey, they already have me.  I personally would have liked to see more time devoted to Sam and Dean and their drama.  While we have no doubt about Sam’s inner strength, he did pull himself together rather quickly.  A few more scenes of his struggle, with Dean by his side, would have been nice.  Maybe even a few lines where they exchange some words of concern during the Castiel drama.  I’m not impressed that a lot of this angel drama was ignored for most of the season and then slammed in at the end, but that’s a reflection of the season and not the beautiful workings of this episode.   
I know this complaint has been registered numerous times throughout the fandom and critical circles, but come on show, stop creating great characters just so you can kill them.  Balthazar was a perfect addition to season six and the fact he helped Sam and Dean out of concern for Castiel is not something that earns him an angel killing blade through the heart.  I don’t care to see it anymore.  These deaths are no longer poignant or tragic.  They’re annoying.  I’d rather this show not create entertaining characters anymore played by entertaining actors.  The killing spree is really getting ridiculous.  Did they not learn from Gabriel?  
I’m also not very happy that more harm has come to the Impala, but like her owners, it’s a wound she can bounce back from.  She’s made of tough American steel.  That’s hard to crush, flip over or not.       
Overall, this season finale gets an A- from me.  I can’t even muster a “Damn You Kripke” this time.  Plotting and pacing is what knocks it down.  The acting is especially brilliant though, and this comes from three guys who have given us a long line of brilliant.  Jared Padalecki gets an A+, again delivering with magnificence his dual role scenes.  I can’t imagine that’s easy, playing three very different aspects of your character at the same time.  Jensen Ackles too earns huge marks for his somber vigil over Sam or trying to talk some sense into Castiel.  Dean is forced to react to a completely out of control situation and his helplessness and frustration blows us away.  Misha Collins too gets major kudos for showing Castiel as a broken and betrayed angel with nothing left to lose as well as being transformed into something unrecognizable by all that power inside him.  He sells so much with those deep looks of contemplation.  The directing gets the same A+ from me, for there was so much eye candy and many artful choices.  
The script gave us so many wonderful things to ponder, something that I’m sure will keep us busy for a summer, but too much purgatory drama at the end killed the pacing and consistency of what was until then a captivating episode.  Hellatus is on everyone.  Keep coming back here daily for all the fun.  We’ll get through this together.  


Veronica Bianchi
# Veronica Bianchi 2011-05-23 10:52
Excellent comment! I'm with you my greatest concern is the aftermath of Sam.! I hope Sam in the 7th season of love and real protection need only Dean knows him!
# rmoats8621 2011-05-23 10:59
Wonderful review. I agree with many of your points concerning this season, but I also feel that this may be a bigger story arch lasting over 2 seasons, not just one. There are many threads still hanging for me. Supernatural is still the best in my book and I look forward to Season 7. Hopefully, the guys will find love and friendship with others that the writers don't feel the need to kill off. As for Cas, I hope Chuck/God comes back and takes him down a peg or two.
# miggymom 2011-05-23 11:03
Thank you for a great review. I loved this final episode, I actually loved the entire season. I do think they left loose some ends (will Death pop back in to fix things?) but I'm ok with that.
The acting, directing & writing, casting and wonderful FX, I've enjoyed this ride even when it made me uneasy. That is the true mark of a good show, or story - not that it treat the characters exactly the way you imagine them, but that it send you curve balls , keep you on your toes, and leave some things to your own imagination. At least that's what I like about it. I don't like predictable, guess I'm too old for the same old thing.
I am looking forward to how the boys get out of this spot because we know they will not bow down to Cas. Season 7 is already fun, and not yet begun.
Thank you!
# ChristopherH 2011-05-23 11:49
Very nice review. When I read articles like this, I wonder how it is that so many can be so down on this show. No show is perfect, but we're blessed with such fantastic acting from both Jensen and Jared and company. And the reality is that this show wouldn't air on the major networks. Major kudos to the CW for keeping it running this long.

Onto season 7!

Note--I thought Crowley had the line of the night when he sniveled at Castiel, "run or die."
Pragmatic Dreamer
# Pragmatic Dreamer 2011-05-23 12:03
Hi Alice,

Brilliant recap! I especially appreciated your comments about the lighting, because it connected the dots for me.

I love the symbolism that Dean is Sam's guiding light, his beacon as you put it, the one to steer him away from treacherous shoals and towards safer waters. And I really appreciated Sam's strength in pulling himself together to go help his brother, and not leave him alone in the darkness either.

I agree that all the characters were fairly consistent, with the exception of Crowley. I expected him to be the devious, double-crossing one, not the other way around. I was surprised that he hadn't gone to Raphael, long before Castiel said he wanted to re-negotiate.

It seems to me the Cas storyline is almost identical to Sam's. It's a tale of what happens when pride, and the desire for power become your main motivation for getting up in the morning. In fact, this whole episode was thick with echoes of past episodes. Even Hell!Sam telling himself he wasn't "strong enough" to incorporate his Hell memories, was exactly what Sam used to think about Dean and his struggles after returning from the pit.

Speaking of Dean, he was just so Dean. He was doing all he could to save Sam, but still so frustrated and guilt-ridden that he couldn't do more. Still, he knew he had a job to do, and that was making sure Cas did not open the door to Purgatory. Dean has always been motivated by the need to save the Innocents. Sam is the primary Innocent. After that it's Bobby, Lisa, Ben, and the 6-billion other people on the planet. If Dean couldn't immediately pull Sam back from the brink, he could make sure the rest of us didn't get sucked over.

I also think he still cares about Castiel, and wants to save him (big storyline for Season 7 I think). You get a sense of that in his plea..
Please. I've lost Lisa, I've lost Ben, and now, I've lost Sam. Don't make me lose you too. And he offers to help defuse him. There may be bad water under the bridge, but I don't think the bridge is burned yet. That of course assumes there's a bit of the original Cas left in Mr. Old Testament, Wrath & Venegeance.

I also agree that they have to stop killing off intriguing secondary characters. They add a richness and texture to the program. Ultimately they help tell the boys story by offering different perspectives, and pushing the narrative in new directions. And realistically, how many deaths can two people cope with before they end up as drooling madhouse messes, regardless of whether or not they've been tortured in Hell?

Finally, I want a little hope for the boys. To quote Kansas, I want a sign that there will be some peace for them, when they're done, and maybe even before that! I know it's a dark show, but I could sure appreciate being guided back into the light!
# geordiegirl 2011-05-23 12:38
Great review Alice. Thanks. I hadn't noticed the use of light, but then I have only managed to watch once so far.
The cries of outrage from the Cas fans echoing around the fandom are IMO drowning out the voices of the mainstream of the fandom who watch for Sam and Dean and their relationship. I am worried that all the complaints to the CW about Cas and the negative comments about the finale from Cas fans will sway the writers into losing their nerve.
I want a s7 focused on the boys and their relationship. The summary for next year indicates that is what the writers are planning so I have my fingers crossed.
I totally agree that this ep, and ep21, could have served the brotherly relationship better. There were some missed opportunities (eg when Dean threatened to break Sam's nose if he asked about Lisa in LiB) among the good moments. I suspect those opportunities weren't taken up because the writers were too busy writing for Cas and Crowley and the civil war. This is indicative of the way they have taken for granted what is for me, and IMO most SPN fans, the heart of the show ie the brothers relationship over in s6, (and to varying extents since s4).
I agree with your views on the high body count. MYWGO made me realise what a huge mistake killing Ellen was. How much richer would the show have been if they had kept Ellen and she and Bobby had got together? Ditto Gabriel, Balty, Dr Visyak and many other great characters. It makes you stop getting invested in them because you know they are going to die, and that is bad news for a show that wants to draw in and keep an audience.
Thanks again for a great summary.
# Elisa 2011-05-23 13:56
Yes! A very thorough review right after my heart!
I agree with you all the way through! And I'm glad you took up not only the issue with Castiel but came around what happened in Sam's head and with Dean worrying about him - an aspect I've missed from other reviews I've read.
The brothers' relationship was a huge part of the episode and I'm so happy that you didn't just skip that part and only focused on the deal with Cas..
Loved the review. Thanks a lot Alice :)
# Bevie 2011-05-23 14:08
Like your review a lot Alice. What you liked I liked also. The brotherly stuff for example and how each of them is like a light in the dark for the other. Loved how Sam took the others back into himself so he wouldn't leave his brother alone. Sniff! That was the best part of this finale. I found myself not caring too much about the Cas and Crowley confrontations as I was wanting more of Sam and Dean after Sammy stabbed Cas.

I hope next season is more the brothers show than the Heavenly War and angel and demon apocalyptic scares that take away the intimate personal drama of the two brothers, which is why I watch and will keep watching until the very end. I want more of "saving people, hunting things" than we have had for the last 3 years. Give them things they can actually accomplish without deus ex machinas and teleporting angels and all the things that take time from the brother's story.
Why does the next season always have to top the previous in , what to call it, world ending scenarios?

I love Cas too, but demote his ass so that he is no longer omnipotent and can fix anything by lifting a finger. Let him relearn humility by perhaps Chuck/God smacking him down a peg or two.

And give Dean a reason to laugh and tease again and Sam to make his bitch faces. Lighten up just a bit and quit killing everybody they ever meet!

Bring bsck Gabriel PLEASE ! Love that character. Let him pop up now and again creating problems and how about another visit with the Ghostfacers? Hell House is one of my favourite episodes I can watch over and over again.

Well, I don't write the show, so whatever they do I'll be watching and will never desert my favourite brothers.
Far Away Eyes
# Far Away Eyes 2011-05-23 16:06
You hit everything and more that I thought about this episode and this finish.

Sam isn't done with this struggle to mend his broken self together. I just don't believe it. I think he's much stronger than a lot give him credit for. I think it's precisely why HellSam tells him that he's not strong enough. HellSam knows how determined Sam will be to prove him wrong---thus giving him the strength to carry on. I have a guess that in season 7, when they get away from Cas that it will become a crucial storyline---one where I hope both boys come clean entirely about their Hell experiences.

As for Cas and what has happened with his character, the sign posts were there all the way back to his introduction, really. Raphael said that Angels aren't meant to think for themselves, to have free will, and he's right to an extent. Cas is no exception, really. He followed his Garrison's orders up until he chose to side with Dean and in season 5 Dean called all the shots. After Swan Song he needed someone to guide him---and that's where Crowley stepped in.

I actually liked that Cas got the jump on Crowley. Crowley probably thought he was the one in control and let himself get too comfortable. He was the little bird whispering and scheming and probably had cards he had hoped to play, but Cas knows what Crowley is. He knew he had to have a plan to back stab the demon first. So, that's why I actually liked that aspect. Why Crowley thought selling his wares to Raphael would be a good idea is the question.

All in all, I found this season to be a wonderful trip. It wasn't perfect, but none of the seasons truly have been really. It was a great ride, giving us all the things we need that fit this show. Sam and Dean are a unified team, one singular unit---but better than they have been even in season 1. They're true equals now. Sure, Dean will always be protective and want to call the shots, but Sam is not just the little brother. They have the mutual respect and love back and it is stronger than before.

As long as the show has this---no matter the conflict that might arise---they'll have me hooked.

Thanks again Alice for the excellent review.
# ChristopherH 2011-05-23 16:35
... I hope both boys come clean entirely about their Hell experiences.
I do too. It always perplexed me that the show explored Dean's experience so infrequently. One question occurs to me though: if everyone's Heaven experience is unique, does it logically follow that the Winchesters' Hell experiences will have been similarly different?

Really hopeful that all the whiners will just take a flying leap and find another show to sabotage--and very much looking forward to next season!
# biggsy 2011-05-23 17:45
I'm recovering slowly....havin g vented some. The scattershot-nes s of the last season has irked me quite a bit. It didn't feel so much like loose ends, at times, as being buried under a trailer truck full of red herrings (Samuel, Alphas, Purgatory, Robo-Sam, Eve, Crowley, Dark-side Cas). I'm so glad the boys are standing shoulder to shoulder again. I'm glad the Impala shelters them from yet another storm. I'm so glad Bobby is still alive, but I agree...they've got to stop coming up with awesome characters, only to kill them off, and characters who seem like they could be doorways into cool new plots only to abandon them (Samuel & Gwen and 100's of years of Campbell history...poof! Balthazar and visions of rogue angels...poof! The Alphas...poof! Eve, mother of all monsters...poof ! War in Heaven...poof! Even Lisa and Ben...now, seemingly, poof!) I was choked up over so many parts of both episodes. Bobby and the elderly inmate, "I'm sorry about your mom." All interactions between Ben and Dean. Dean' s painful channelling of John when he slapped Ben...and the line "Do you want your mom to die?" Sam's iron will to stay with his brother. Even the thought that Bobby once dated Cuthulu, did not lose me...but, Cas swallows millions of monster souls and turns into an evil god? I'm still here, I'll be back next season, but...really? We're going THERE?
# nancyL 2011-05-23 17:57
Once again Alice, you recap a great episode, greatly. :D

Like I've said since 'Samarra', I love this episode. You are forgiven for doing this part first, 'Let it Bleed', was ok, but this is the main finale.

Cas (you SOB) knew after three (four?) years that if Sam is hurt, Dean will drop and forget about everything else. Episode one of Season Seven (yeah), has to be Dean putting Cas in a ring of oil (would that still work?, the angel killing sword didn't) and leaving him there for a month. :lol:

I LOVED the battle of the Sams. The Soulless One never stood a chance. That SOB let Dean get turned into a vampire, Sammy wanted some payback. \o/ :-)

I saw Robin as a representation of all the innocent people that the Soulless One had directly or indirectly killed.

The Soulless One is the darkness inside Sam (and all of us, b/c if you don't have a soul you are just evil :lol: ), and Dean is the light in Sam's life :lol: .

'I'm not leaving my brother alone out there', yeah, b/c he may do somethng stupid like sell his soul to the nearest demon. Hello Crowley.

'He carried exactly like season four Sam did', how true. Crowley is the new Ruby, and stopping Raphael has replaced stopping Lilith.

Poor Impala. Hope all she needs is to be put back on her wheels. Dean is going to have his hands full, putting Sam back together.

When Dean left Sam in the panic room with the address and gun, I wanted him to touch Sam. I'm not talking about a kiss on the forehead, but just a squeeze of the shoulder, something. But being the light of Sam's life is pretty sweet. :D

I thought this season ended in a happy note. Sam and Dean are as close as they were in season one, Bobby lives, ok Cas is now a very powerful dick, I mean angel, we lost Rufus (RIP) the Impala got abused (again), but all in all, the season ended on a high note.

Lisa and Ben are out of the picture, sorry, still enjoying this development. I need to send Sera a fruit basket. :lol:

Looking forward to your review of 'Let it Bleed', so I can do more of my happy dance. :lol:
# AndreaW 2011-05-26 21:44
People at another forum think that Robin represents Jessica and Sam's guilt over her death. Both were hurt in the same part of the body and HellSam even mentions Jessica to our Sam. :-|

I'm very surprised that Dean didn't jump at Castiel's throat in Brotherly Wrath after what he did to Sammy. :-?

NancyL, can you add my name to that fruit basket? Sorry guys, not a fan of the Lisa/Ben storyline. ;-)


Loved Dean watching over Sleeping Beauty. :-)

Sa won't leave his brother alone out there. :cry:
# Melanie 2011-05-23 22:27
Alice! Rockin' review!! TMWKTM was a wonderful episode -- the use of light was brilliant. I loved the Three Faces of Sam! I could have watched a whole episode of just humpty dumpty putting himself together again.
I wondered about that - what would happen if Robo!Sam had killed Soul!Sam? Would it 'kill' that part of him? I'm thinking yes. You know, is it bad of me that I'm excited that Robo!Sam is now part of Sam? I can't help it -- I liked Robo!Sam! I had been noticing how very, very empathetic and quiet Sam was -- and I was starting to wonder if he was Ok. Then I realized, as you said -- Jared was giving us yet another variation on Sam. Jared is just fabulous. FABULOUS.

So, is it Dean or Bobby that's wearing the Old Spice? LOL

Poor Cas -- its gonna be a heck of fall . . . .

Season 7 here we come!!! \O/
Far Away Eyes
# Far Away Eyes 2011-05-23 22:34
I liked Soulless Sam, too. Sure I wouldn't want to know him personally or run into him or anything considering his penchant for killing people, but hey he made you think.

I think it was such a fascinating look at what makes us human.

And the Old Spice, probably both.
# ChristopherH 2011-05-23 22:56
After the end of season 5, I read an interview with Jared Padalecki in which he commented that he would remain on the show as long as it remained relevant and challenged him as an actor. The way the statement was delivered gave me the impression that perhaps he had been thinking about whether to remain.

So throughout the entire soulless Sam thread, I couldn't help wondering if the writers were trying to give him something more "relevant". Sam certainly was in the forefront for at least the first half of the season.

Supernatural would have a difficult time continuing if either Padalecki or Ackles were to leave. I can't help but wonder if this plays into the creators' tendency to delete other characters that develop too much of a fan following. I would bet the economics of the show include making sure Padalecki and Ackles are kept happy at all costs--while other actors may not be paid quite as handsomely.

Economic considerations can certainly be cited to explain many of the decisions made this year by the creative team.

Curious to know what people think.
Far Away Eyes
# Far Away Eyes 2011-05-23 23:23
It sounds like a fairly standard answer for any writer/actor/mu sician to me. We've seen him pretty much say that he's willing to do more than next season just recently at one of the conventions. He couched it by saying if season 7 is it he'll be happy, but he'll be willing to go into an 8th or more, too. I think it's his humility to a degree---and he comes off as a humble type---that he's just honored to have this show last as long as it has. He can't really ask for more than the success he's already had.

I do think other budget issues do play a factor into creative decisions---for good or for ill---and I do think they find ways to challenge both Ackles and Padalecki.

People don't do writing/acting/ whatever form of art for long if they don't grow in it someway. Why work on stagnant project that doesn't provide some form of stimulation and growth? So far, I think both actors feel that they are still growing in the roles they play, so are satisfied.

I am with Jared more ore less. If season 7 should be its last, I won't be disappointed--- as long as we get a proper and fitting ending to the series. Hopefully we'll find ourselves with a season 8. Just give us compelling story telling and now that they've managed to unify the brothers keep them that way.
# Melanie 2011-05-24 18:28
It was fascinating. Robo!Sam is one of my favorite guest star characters --LOL. I can think of a few scenarios where meeting him personally would be OK . . . . ;)
Far Away Eyes
# Far Away Eyes 2011-05-24 18:52
Are we talking about his hyper sex drive? Okay....I'll give you that, but even so, who says he might not shoot you in the face after the fact?
# Melanie 2011-05-25 00:16
Why, yes. Yes, I am talking about his . . .drive. Some things might be worth the risk?

Seriously, there is absolutely nothing stopping him from shooting me in the face - before during or after - that's correct and why Robo!Sam was so very, very unpredictable and scary.
But - he's not a rampaging lunatic either. He did have reasons for doing what he did - reasons not tempered with compassion and empathy and conscience.
Far Away Eyes
# Far Away Eyes 2011-05-25 06:09
He did seem rather enamored with that hippie chick, didn't he?

I just don't know if I could have stomached the thought of going through with it----if I KNEW what he was, I suppose. If I didn't know, than perhaps.

And yes, his unpredictable nature was what made him the most frightening character in a lot of ways. When you thought he might zig one way he zagged the other, usually with drastic consequences.
# Alice 2011-05-24 00:22
Wow, now that I'm going through the episode thoroughly to get screen shots for the photo gallery, I'm seeing a lot more light references. Like the light that the police car was shining in the alley. Sam was afraid of the light and that's why the episode started in the dark. He couldn't find who he was until he saw it.
# Melanie 2011-05-24 18:23
In the panic room, Sam on the cot w/ the overhead fan throwing his face into light and shadow - nice underscore to the internal struggle.
Hellmemory Sam - almost all of his face is in the dark - what is high lighted (his eye and lips) is just beautiful.
# Jasminka 2011-05-24 00:45
oh Alice, I am so very eager to read this, and curious, but try to stay firm ( :o ) to not do so before I have written my own thingy about this episode - so I'll come back later with a comment to this...

Not easy, since I simply love reading your thoughts.
Love, Jas
# BagginsDVM 2011-05-25 13:31
The use of light & its symbolism was magnificent. I also liked how the Impala's headlights were still shining brightly as she was flipped by the black demon smoke.

Jared was all kinds of awesome playing the "pieces" of Sam & I did love how he fought to put himself together in order to get back to his brother. He was still awfully shaky at the end, & I think the show MUST explore his Hell trauma (and Dean's!) further next season. It felt like this was just a quick fix due to the immediacy of the situation at hand.

I admit I'm not happy about Castiel's predicament. I've always liked his character & I want redemption for him too, but I'm willing to see where the show decides to go with him as long as there is hope for him.

I'm eager for next season. How about starting things off with scenes of the boys working together in Bobby's yard, getting the Impala back to her shiny self!
# Rae-Rae 2011-05-26 13:29
Re-watching beginning of Season 4.. and it isn't too far-fetched that Cass would act this way.. I guess we got too used to his kindness and humanity but with all that power.. the humanity within him is squelched.. much like when he was a soldier for Zachariah..

Season 4 we see and obedient soldier in Cass; unforgiving, cold and precise.. I think we shall see a return to that Cass with the major exception now being all the power he possesses..

The only way I want to see this play out is... Will the real God please stand up? And get his angels under control.. I see that Cass will only listen to his real father.. and I think they have all waited long enough (including the boys).. I wanna see God talk Cass down..
# Jasminka 2011-05-27 02:54
Alice, I am so very late to commeting on your amazing review here. As usual, I didn’t want to read anything about this episode to not disturb my own train of thought.
And now I read this and find that we are very much on the same page. This is lovely, I think. I am happy that I was not the only one to see the technique and metaphor of light in this episode, and you point that out wonderfully.

It was light that saved Sam, and it was light that destroyed Castiel – in a way, all those souls he ingested changed him and sealed his fate, not permantently I hope.

I agree wholeheartedly about Crowley’s character. A demon of his reputation should have been able to smell Castiel’s plan from afar. But there is still season seven, and I trust we will see him again.

The acting was simply fantastic. I expect more of this to come. Gosh, I am so happy to be a fan of this show. It’s joy, it’s pure masochism, and it’s simply great, great fun.

Thanks a lot for this great review! Love, Jas
# Lori 2011-05-29 16:21
Hey Alice --

I was heartbroken over the Impala flip too, but if you go back and watch Let It Bleed, if you look closely behind Sam in the scenes where he's on the phone with Bobby in the junkyard while Dean's in the shed torturing demons, behind Sam in those scenes is what looks to me to be a red Impala the same model as Dean's, or close enough to it to scrounge for parts. Hope!!
# Nitewoman7 2011-05-30 01:27
Alice your review was terrific. You summarized this episode so completely. All the part about the light and dark was truly revealing. I saw that but it didn’t sink in or did I truly understand and interrupt it until your review. At first I thought the episode was good but after seeing it again and I want to watch again keeping in mind what you pointed out.

The reveal about Castiel didn’t excite me either. Just thought oh so that’s the direction they are taking. I too would have liked more with Dean and Sam. Castiel’s story all season was strangely handled, but for the most part I was ok with that.

So what is the death count on the Impala now!!! The black smoke whipping the Impala and being blown away just to end up crushed and flipped over reminded me of season 1 finale with the semi, Impala didn’t do well against that either. Poor baby :sad:

Everyone in this episode hit it out of the galaxy, especially Jared he did the three Sam’s to perfection. Over all my grade was A-.
Looking back in hindsight and knowing what I know now the Season was better than I first perceived. Watching the season over again over the summer I can now see what the writers were trying to do. In many cases it worked really well with just a couple of episodes that weren’t great, but there were some really awesome ones. I like Season 6.

I so hope writers read your blog I’m so very not impressed with all these deaths. Introduce another character (preferably female, as a hunter perhaps) and keep said character around. The SPN world needs to expand a bit! “You think!”
Great review thanks, can’t wait to read your review on Let It Bleed. BTW loved that one.
# AndreaW 2011-05-30 17:58
Thank you so much for this review. I realize I hadn't given the use of light in this episode the attention it deserved, so your review was very "enlightening" to me.

I'm also also glad that you chose to focus on the brother's drama. Most reviewers I read thought the angel drama was more important.I'm not in the least interested in the angel part so I too would have greatly appreciated to see more of Sam and Dean in the finale. It's their show after all, and that's what I want to see in season 7.