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"I'm a Grade A Freak. But I'm managing it."


"The Girl Next Door" revives several issues that have been lingering since the Pilot itself. While the boys recover from the Leviathan attack, Sam investigates murders linked to a case he solved as a teenager. The monster this time is a kitsune, and they feed on human pituitary glands to survive. But as Sam says, "nothing in our lives is that simple," and that holds true for this very case. 

From the start, Sam has been trying to be normal, to get that "apple pie life" without hunting. It really isn't until this episode that we see how comfortable he has become with his life as it is, not what it cannot be or will never be. This contrasts the trajectory Dean is now embarking and has been on since season 6 started more or less. Dean's difficulty with "the life" could be traced back as far as season 2's episode "Croatoan" in fact. 

Sam's buying of cake instead of pie for Dean is also symbolic here of the unattainable for both brothers. The "Apple Pie Life" is just out of reach, impossible to keep, and doomed from the start every time a Winchester attempts it. Sam has accepted this more or less by this time, Dean has not. It is tugging upon a thread that has long woven through Supernatural's fabric, and one that will probably never be fully resolved for either brother.


In flashback episodes, where a young Sam is encountering first love, he meets a pretty blonde named Amy. They bond over the hardship of life on the road, agreeing that the World's Biggest Ball of Twine is highly overrated, and that they are always the new kid in school. Sam laments that everyone views him as a freak, and Amy agrees, stating, "Sam, you are a freak. But so was, I don't know, Jimi Hendrix and...Picasso. So am I. All the coolest people are freaks."

It's the first acknowledgment that being different, being the freak isn't always bad or wrong. Sam has fought his true nature and self for so long that it has exhausted him. It has always failed, too. No matter what he tried to do, Sam ended up back "in the life," back hunting and dealing with the monsters that lurk in the dark. Running never fixed the problem, neither did ignoring it. Sam has learned a very big lesson from this episode, one that Dean has yet to truly learn or embrace.

It isn't until Amy's mother returns in a hurry, panicked about the hunters in the "piece of crap Impala," that young Sam realizes what Amy truly is. She is a kitsune. Her mother is the monster they're hunting. In the present, Sam remembers and confronts Amy, who has resumed hunting humans for the brains she needs. He stays his hand to ask her why, to get answers rather than just outright stabbing her. 


Reflecting the episode "Heart," Sam gives Amy the benefit of the doubt as he had given Madison so long ago. And yet, we can't help but feel that as Sam's fate had been sealed before he ever began to fight against it, Amy's is, too. She may be killing low life criminals in order to provide the needed glands for her sick son, but that doesn't mean she won't necessarily kill for pleasure later. Sam is willing to trust her to return to harvesting from the dead, but it is on faith he is doing so. It is a shade of gray that Sam has often tried to see through the series. 

While Sam is investigating, Dean is freaking out. He calls Bobby in a panic, shouting, "Other shoe!"  

After seeing Sam struggle with reality in "Hello, Cruel World," Dean knows that it is possible that Sam might have gotten himself into trouble. He states to Bobby, "Yeah, but his me-time ain't just him. I mean, for all we know he's road trippin' with Lucifer somewhere. Left me here like Jimmy friggin' Stewart." 

The monster in this episode may be the kitsune, it may be a reference to Sam's history with demon blood and being Lucifer's vessel, it may be the Leviathan slowly chipping away at the Winchester's resources, but the true monster, by his own making, is Dean. He has every reason to freak out over Sam here, but his reactions and his statements as we go further into the story are really metaphors for himself. 

Since returning from Hell, and after his history of torture down stairs was revealed, Dean has struggled with what he became because of those experiences. He has turned it towards Sam, an obvious target due to his ability to sympathize with monsters. He takes the black and white look to shield himself from dealing with his own issues. A monster is a monster is a monster in Dean's eyes, and therefore rather than debating on whether they have a right to live if they are finding "humane" ways to do so is pointless. They will kill. It is only a matter of time. He might as well be talking about himself, and when one reads between the lines, we find that he truly is. Dean is truly afraid that he will become the monster that he was in Hell for 10 years. Yet, he will not openly recognize this, much to his undoing.

When Sam returns, Dean's anger has fully boiled over. Upon opening the door, Sam is greeted with Dean's fist full force to the face, laying him flat on his back. Dean's anger is rooted in his paternal instinct, and also revives another issue that is left unresolved by episode end: that of trust. Sam may have left a note that he was taking the car and that he was fine, but he did not answer his brother's calls nor did he leave his GPS on so Dean could locate him if necessary. Sam isn't entirely trusting Dean here or he would have told Dean about this case and had him help. His argument for doing so alone is because he feels that it is his mess to clean up---and yet he leaves it undone. 

His not finishing the job detonates the explosion that bubbled through the whole episode. Dean snaps, "Look, man, I get it, okay? You meet a girl, you feel that spark -- there's nothing better. But this freak?"

Sam clenches his jaw tight, and snatches his jacket, intending to leave. Dean tries to plead with Sam, claiming that he "didn't mean it," but he clearly did. Sam's statements in response reveal his acceptance of his life and who he is, while Dean's reveal his shaky state, his feeling awkward. When he asks Sam how Amy is dealing, he asks in disbelief, "Is she? How?"

One can't but help notice that Dean is floundering. He is trying to understand who he is and what his place is. It was once a clearly defined place, as we see him in season 1, answerable to their father, defined again in season 5 as leader of "Team Free Will" resisting the apocalypse, but now that he has no real direction set entirely before him---Leviathans aside"”-he is trying to piece together his reasoning for being. 

The things he's locked in his box are now leaking, and while he is watching Sam outwardly deal with his inner demons, Dean is hiding from his. The result is disastrous. His internalizing of his experiences in Hell and his resentment of the life thrust upon him, something we heard about as far back as "Skin," has now bubbled completely over. He projects onto Sam the feelings about his own character and self: that he IS the freak, that he IS the monster. 

It's no more apparent than when Dean ditches Sam to track down Amy to her hotel room. He lies in wait for her, a knife ready. We know he views himself as a monster, a killer, from his speech in "You Can't Handle the Truth." We know that he feels hopeless about changing his identity or fate in that regard. He sees Amy as no different, again projecting his inner turmoil on her. 

He states, his voiced cold and crisp, "I know. I know. But people... They are who they are. No matter how hard you try, you are what you are. You will kill again."


Even before he does it to her, before he stabs her and apologizes for doing so, before her son enters and threatens to kill him someday, we know Dean is referring to himself. He knows that he cannot change, and yet unlike Sam, he has not fully accepted who he is. It is a true role reversal for the brothers. Dean used to revel in being the freak. He tells Sam at the end of "Skin," "Well, I"™m a freak, too. I"™m right there with ya, all the way."

This is also mirrors the deep set trust issues the boys have to deal with. Just like Sam neglected to bring his brother into his hunt, Dean has gone and cleaned up what he felt was Sam's mess, all behind his back. This is after he promises to trust Sam. It should have been a red flag, the way it was for Amy's mother when Amy did not freak out over moving again. Sam's radar should have picked up on the fact that Dean wasn't pushing back here, and when, as Dean said through the episode, that other shoe drops, another fight will break out. 

These crucial issues must be addressed between the brothers. They must take any fracture in their relationship and fix it. The Leviathan have taken away credit cards, unknown at this time to the brothers. They are using them to track the Winchesters. They must be a unified force in every way or they will die. These are long standing issues that may never fully find resolution, but must be at the very least acknowledged. Unlike the foes of the past, the Leviathan hold all the cards on the Winchesters. 

Thus far, the Leviathan have taken away Bobby's house, a refuge for many years. They have taken away credit cards in this episode. They are pushing them into a corner, trapping them, and until they get a handle on the issues this episode brought up, they will fall into it each time. The Leviathan know all their aliases, their habits, their strengths, and their weaknesses. The tools they used to defeat the likes of Azazel and Lucifer will not work here. 


What makes this episode such a treat is how intellectual it is. "Meet the New Boss," and "Hello, Cruel World," were romps through action and introduced us to the big bad of the season. This episode allows us to breathe a moment, gives us a chance to delve back into the heart and soul of the show itself: the Brothers Winchester, and gives us a lot to think about. We can recover some from what happened to Bobby's, the struggle Sam had with his visions of Lucifer, of losing their Angel ally Cas, and Dean almost quitting all together as he almost did in both the first two episodes. 

It, too, has the first season flavor, all without ignoring how far the boys have truly come. The story of season 7 is still largely unfolding, but it is only getting better and better as we travel further down the rabbit hole. Seeing a blend of new monsters and conflicts emerging while old and long standing concerns be thrust into the front and center makes for good story---proving that there is still a lot of story left to tell in this series. 

The directing done by Jensen Ackles, on this much darker episode than last year's "Weekend at Bobby's" was wonderfully done. His choice of filtering the flashbacks through a different lens color is a great choice, bringing us into that aspect of the story beautifully. That we do not see the monster in this episode make any actual killing on camera heightens the horror. The only actual killing on camera is Amy killing her mother and then Dean killing Amy. It is darker, and done by human tools like knives rather than monster attacks or claws. Even the Leviathan at the end pouring the cheese on his victim is done off camera. Allowing the viewer to fill in the blanks enhances the horror that is shown on screen all that much more. In an age where gore and blood fests are common and popular, it is nice to see a return to a much more subtle undertone as Supernatural has taken in this episode and season.


The suspense carried over from "Meet the New Boss," and "Hello, Cruel World," in the escape from the hospital before settling into the much more muted pace of "The Girl Next Door" was brilliantly executed. It certainly had my heart beating wildly! Seeing Dean get his leg set was hard to watch, mostly because of how much pain he was in. I held on tight, knowing in the back of my mind that they had to get away, but couldn't help but worry that they might have more of a fight to get out than they did. 

Having heard Jensen discuss his directorial style, I can clearly see his touch about having a motivation for his character's movement. It was clearly all over this episode, from the way Dean went about cutting his cast off, to young Sam's method of diffusing those targeting Amy, to the Leviathan pouring the nacho cheese on its victim at the end. Each movement the characters made had purpose in this episode, and it helped enhance the story as it unfolded. No movement was ever done without reason. It clearly speaks to the fact that an actor was in the director's chair. It also brought the story much more fully to life on screen, sucking us in and holding us there until the very end. While it didn't have the massive blows and twists of the first two episodes, it really didn't need to with such attention to the littlest details. 

Acting wise, Jensen was spot on, seen much more in this episode than his directorial debut. He gave us a frustrated and bored Dean, a frantic and fatherly Dean, a confused but dejectedly resigned Dean, and a cold Dean. Each facet of the character was brought to full life on the screen. His anxiety at a missing Sam, his anger when Sam strolls back into his hotel room and their subsequent fight, all gave us insight into Dean mostly through Jensen's body language and diction. I can't imagine it is easy to direct one's self, but he most certainly handled the dual hats for this episode really well. While I don't entirely agree with Dean's actions in this episode, I give Jensen kudos for showing us Dean's thoughts just through facial expressions and movement. The dialogue gave us insights, of course, but it didn't tell the whole story. 

Colin Ford, more than anything, was the star of this episode. Somehow, he's managed to capture Jared Padalecki's style, and translate it onto the screen flawlessly. His mannerisms, his speaking style, everything reflected the way Jared presents us Sam as an adult. It really showed in the library scene most, seeing him look through the map, putting the trail the kitsune was taking together. Seeing that paired with Jared giving us adult Sam doing the same only highlighted how well Colin pulled this together. 

While Colin's Sam has not endured everything Jared's Sam has, we can sense the sorrow that hangs around his character. We, perhaps because we know what is yet to come, feel heartache at seeing Sam receive his first kiss. It is the tragedy of Sam's life. Jess. Madison. Ruby (even if she wasn't technically a true love interest). And now Amy. Each one has met a dark end for entangling with Sam. 

Young Amy, presented to us by Emma Grabinsky, is a mirror of Sam in every way. She doesn't enjoy the road, wants to be normal, and is at odds with her mother as Sam is with John Winchester. Emma played off well from Colin. Her version of Amy seemed tough, but vulnerable. Despite her matricide, in order to save Sam, there is a sweetness to her that appeals. Again, sorrow hovers over her character, and while we're uncertain until Dean kills the adult Amy what her fate will be, we know that it will not be good. 

Jewel Staite gives us the same Amy Pond, older and desperate. She is the mother now, trying to care for her son. She continues to reflect Sam's old desire for normalcy, and while Sam caves and lets her go, he has to know that she will break this word. Jewel, famous for her stint on the short lived Firefly, fits seamlessly into the Supernatural fabric. We can almost sense that if she had lived she might have been an ally of sorts, already soft for Sam. Sorrow marks her character, too, and Jewel gives us this in the way she delivers her lines with desperation. Her expression of shock at first meeting Sam again and later when Dean stabs her is executed brilliantly. It is a shame that we didn't get to see a bit more of her in the episode, as she seemed to have great chemistry with Jared. 

Jim Beaver, less in this episode than the previous two, gives us smart ass Bobby. Sure, his house burned down, sure he lost his "one of a kind" library, but this is Bobby! The way Beaver gives us the line, "Yeah. That's why I stashed copies all over the place," makes us smile. Bobby may have lost everything he had more or less for being a Winchester ally, but he is amused at outsmarting the enemy that probably doesn't know that about him. He continues to give the boys a much needed fatherly figure. Since season 1, no other character has been through as much with them for as long and lived. It is hoped that we get more chance to see him on screen as the season continues! 

Jared gives us a determined and focused Sam. While there is a brief taunt in whispers from Lucifer, it seems that Sam has adjusted somewhat. Jared shows us a Sam of old here. He's the one that sets up the hunter's wall with efficiency, tracking his prey. He gives us a Sam that wears the struggles of the past well, while giving us that niggling edge that "the other shoe will drop." We see it in the way he spaced out with Lucifer's taunts. Jared also gives us an accepting Sam, all through much more relaxed body language until provoked by Dean's exclamation that Amy is a freak, therefore making Sam a freak. Jared shows us a patient Sam, listening to Amy's explanation with sympathy, this portion of the story told through his eyes.

As we go further into this season, so far it hasn't disappointed. We're encountering a mix of old and new, issues that trace their origins to season 1 while heightening the concern of season 7's big bad in the Leviathan. It's only a matter of time before both issues intersect and explode beautifully on our screens. I am certainly looking forward to seeing how they twist these two together. The story has certainly shifted back towards the boys themselves, and that is only good for Supernatural.  


Ginny Anderson
# Ginny Anderson 2011-10-10 13:37
Absolutely beautiful review and right on! I love the way you looked at this episode - it mirrors what I was thinking in watching it. Very thought provoking and I can't wait to see how this all plays out this season! Thanks for the review!
# rmoats8621 2011-10-10 15:04
I couldn't agree more. Excellent review and wonderful analysis!
# Bevie 2011-10-10 17:10
I agree. Beautiful review. My thinking also.

Far Away Eyes
# Far Away Eyes 2011-10-10 18:48
I'm glad you found it so thought provoking. Upon my first reactions, I noticed how this was a slower paced episode, and yet I was still reeling from oh so much. This is what came out after seeing it a second time and taking the time to translate what I felt the story was telling me.
# subwoofer 2011-10-10 13:45
Yowza that was epic...

First off I'd like to say "Happy Thanksgiving" to my fellow Canadians. To those folks south of the border- "Happy Columbus Day".

The Apple Pie Life- well I happen to like pie. I'd take pie over cake any day of the week. I plan on going on a road trip through pie country. I'm sure Dean has heard the Stone's song "you can't always get what you want", it applies here. Dean tried the family thing, and it ended, badly. It tore him up to walk away from all of that and have memories wiped out. But when you are down and out, sometimes you look for "comfort foods", pie, a slice of that Americana. Dean can't get it, but there is nothing wrong with wanting it.

The other shoe. Reminds me of that "rabbit foot" episode where Sam loses his shoe. heh. Dunno, I think paranoia has to run deep as a hunter, it's a matter of survival. Sam goes off grid, Dean is bound to get his panties in a bunch.

The big unresolved. Well, the brothers have both been to hell, and to date they have yet to compare notes. Sam needed a fancy "wall" put up by Death, Dean seems pretty good at suppressing these things with alcohol. On some levels both brothers are dealing, the question becomes- "how well?" Dean seems to be Dean and Sam is having hallucinations. Reminds me of "A Beautiful Mind", hopefully Sam is truly able to live with the other voice in his head. Dean... well, I think we'll see what comes.
Far Away Eyes
# Far Away Eyes 2011-10-10 18:54
Thanks for mentioning the Stones song, btw. I always smile at the mentions of my favorite band.

Personally, I think this is clearly part of Dean's issues here. He wants, and I think has secretly always wanted it, the normal life. Unlike Sam, he actually had it for a period of time, without monsters and hunting, before their mother died. So it's not a shock that he would grasp at it and be a bit more devastated to an extent when it blows up in his face.

I think it's a given that Sam's actions amped up a lot of Dean's reactions in this episode. He goes out of his head with worry and upon Sam's return shows his emotions through anger.

There is so much unresolved, from Dean in Hell to issues as early as season 1. Sam has always hidden his freak nature from Dean. I think that it is time a lot of issues, such as that one, get addressed. Perhaps not fully resolved, but at least dealt with on some level.
# KazKriz 2011-10-10 13:50
Great review... I'm kinda worried about Dean and how his box is about to explote, Jensen did a great job (both as an actor and director) . I love how you understand the characters and read between lines. Yeah I do think Dean has a lot more to fight with his own demons and it feels weird that Sam is accepting his life and Dean can't or doesn't want to do it. I'm pretty much excited to see what's next for him but scared as well, I wish he could just talk about it.
I think this episode is great, of course it wasn't like the first two but I liked thae way they introduced Dean's issues this season because according to what Sera said we would see a little about Dean storyline in the girl next door.
I'm waiting to DYL .. can't wait.

P.S: Jensen did a great job (I loved the flashbacks)

great job!!
Far Away Eyes
# Far Away Eyes 2011-10-10 18:56
I think this episode set up so very much for both brothers. They must talk about their times in Hell. They must talk about the rifts that remain between them---and most of these aren't from season 4. They're from season 1! And I am very excited to see how the show addresses this aspect of the brotherly relationship in juxtaposition to the Leviathan hunting the boys down.

I'll say it again: either the boys handle these issues between them in some capacity, or they will DIE. Plain and simple.
Bharti Bedi
# Bharti Bedi 2011-10-10 14:18
Really like the review. The cake-apple pie analogy was brilliant, I did not think of it while watching. A really well thought and analytic piece.
Far Away Eyes
# Far Away Eyes 2011-10-10 19:01
It occurred to me on second viewing. Certainly it's one take on a running gag, but to me it's a deep thread we've been following since the Pilot. "Apple Pie Life" has been a symbol in this show, and pie---or the lack of it----is a physical representation of it to me.
# sofia 2011-10-10 14:54
I really liked your take on this episode. I've heard so much frustration with Dean's killing scene (some of which came from me!)and I honestly assumed everyone felt that way. I don't think any of us agree totally with Dean's decision to lie to Sam and kill Amy but I liked the way you unpacked his point of view. There have been signs that Dean is struggling, I guess I just wish that there had been a little more obvious unraveling before Dean reverted back to his season one self. I hope they delve into this topic more. This should be an interesting season!

Great review!
Far Away Eyes
# Far Away Eyes 2011-10-10 19:05
I think there was really no choice in killing Amy, but the issue most have is from how Dean did it more than the actual killing itself.

I'm glad you liked how I dug into his reasoning. It bugged me and I wanted to understand, so this is what came out! I was more pleased with what was shown, knowing we're still early on in the season and really can't have everything shoved into it right away.

I am pleased by this season so far. I enjoyed season 6 immensely, mainly because I actually enjoy noir, but having us drift much more towards the original formula more or less is nice. It should be about the boys---and thus far this season has been just that---about the boys.
# Daisymae 2011-10-10 15:16
Wow, Dean as monster. I love it. Your review was so insightful. Many are upset over how Dean killed Amy, but I knew he was going to do it. However it was cold blooded and he lied to Sam.

My two favoite scenes were the one when Sam was stalking Amy. He reminded me of Soulless Sam-being so focused and relentless. The other was after Dean killed Amy and the son walked in. Jensen showed a number of emotions all at once. Dean seemed to be embarrassed at being caught and regretful because he left the boy an orphan.It also seemed like he felt he should be punished for what he did-shades of next week's episode?
Far Away Eyes
# Far Away Eyes 2011-10-10 19:08
I think Dean's seen himself as a monster for a long time. He is aware of it, but he uses projection to hide it from himself---unsuc cessfully. There is no doubt in my mind that Amy had to die, but the big controversy seems to come from how Dean did it---behind Sam's back, ect.

It's funny you mention Soulless Sam. He's a part of Sam now--and was before---and he certainly came out in Sam's personality up until he listened to Amy. Shades of gray are always tricky and cause conflict between the brothers---and the viewers themselves!

I'm glad you picked up on Dean's regret, too. He, in that moment, realized without his filters that he hides behind that he was the monster he feared becoming. Sure, he had to kill Amy, but I think he really hated how he did it after the fact.
# Sonni 2011-10-10 16:07
I want to marry this post. Bravo. Your insight actually made me feel so much better about the episode.
Far Away Eyes
# Far Away Eyes 2011-10-10 19:09
I'm glad I could make you feel better about the episode. I really enjoyed it, and the story seems to make me think. That's always a good thing. As long as it does that, I'm pleased.
# soniama 2011-10-10 16:16
incrible reiew , life cruel. analys perfect
Far Away Eyes
# Far Away Eyes 2011-10-10 19:11
Glad you liked the review. It was a cruel episode in some ways, sweet in others.
# Lindab30 2011-10-10 16:20
I enjoyed your review very much. I have the feeling you are being open minded to what is being presented and not jumping to conclusions about what the entire season will be about based upon this one episode.

For me it goes without saying that Dean would kill Amy. (Loved the name Amy Pond by the way.)And he had to keep Sam in the dark. I appreciated that he told her Sam didn't know and he told her precisely why she had to die. It was cold but then he was so gentle with her body. Quite touching actually. As far as the boy goes, Dean's first question was do you have somebody to go to. I am glad he didn't kill him.

There's also been lots of discussion about Sam bringing back cake and what that means. I think it means nothing, it's just a running joke. Whenever Dean asks Sam for pie we know it won't happen. Just like rock, paper scissors. Dean will never win that game. The one time he did win the game that was a clue to the viewer's that something was amiss.

I needed a slower paced episode, The first two wore me out, and, it didn't bother me that three weeks went by in this one without us. I obviously don't analyze the show to the same depth as others. It would take away from my enjoyment. Now, I just need to conquer my need to watch and read the spoilers. My goal is to know absolutely nothing about episode 5. Wish me luck, I'm gonna need it.
Far Away Eyes
# Far Away Eyes 2011-10-10 19:15
I have always taken the ride this show provides for the ride. I love how it does unexpected things and twists me around. I don't really know where this season is going entirely, but I've learned that a season cannot be fully judged until it has been fully seen.

Oh, I'm sure that the cake/pie thing is a running gag. It might mean less than I read into it, but that's the fun thing about this show. Everyone seems to see something different. It's one of those beneath the surface things. On one hand it's a running gag that Sam never gets Dean his pie, on the other it can be a metaphor if one chooses.

I agree that we needed a slower pace. Too fast and it gets confusing and dizzying sometimes.
# purplehairedwonder 2011-10-10 17:27
Lovely review as always! You've pretty much echoed all my thoughts on Dean that I long-windedly unpacked on Alice's review, so I won't get into that here.

My favorite part of this episode (besides any scene with Colin Ford in it) was Sam telling Dean that he'd accepted that he was a freak. That word has been loaded since season 1--even in FTBYAM when he told Jess/Lucifer that now he knew he was a freak, there was still obvious pain at the thought. But now he seems OK with it, that this is his lot in life. Sam's been fighting against his life, his "fate," and really himself since probably learning about the family business. It really astounds me that even with hallucinations of Lucifer and memories of 180 years in Hell bouncing around his (oft-abused) head, he's more or less at peace. We've really never seen that from him and in that moment in the episode, the realization just blew me away.
Far Away Eyes
# Far Away Eyes 2011-10-10 19:18
I felt Sam being at peace with who he is what his life has become in Frontierland, really. He tells Samuel Colt flat out there is now way out, but it's not tinged with anger or regret. It is just acceptance. After all he's experienced and done, it's no wonder that Sam would be able to accept being the freak. Now it's Dean that has to work his way to realizing who he is---and it's not the monster he thinks he has become, either.
# purplehairedwonder 2011-10-10 19:42
I think the difference for me between now and "Frontierland" is that now Sam is complete; there's no longer a Hell wall holding back nearly two centuries worth of memories, which are a huge part of him, as there was when he met Samuel Colt. And I think that's what really amazes me about Sam at this point--that he willingly took in those memories so he wouldn't leave Dean alone, is dealing with the horrific consequences of them and is STILL at peace, so to speak. That's a level of peace I honestly find hard to comprehend.

And now I have the sudden urge to write a meta tracing the use of the word "freak" through the show's run.
# Alice 2011-10-10 19:56
I'll publish that meta on this site too! Sounds like it'll be a real good one.
# purplehairedwonder 2011-10-11 09:07
Then I'll definitely have to take you up on that, Alice! To work!
Far Away Eyes
# Far Away Eyes 2011-10-10 20:35
I wanna read it! I touched on it here, pulling some from earlier episodes, but I'd love to see what you come up with!
# Brynhild 2011-10-10 18:35
In general I agree with your take on the episode. I just don't agree on Dean not being aware of his internal issues, and the way they are leading his choices, actions and reactions. IMO he's perfectly aware of him being or becoming like the monsters he hunts. When he talked to Amy, his look clearly showed such awareness, it was clear he was thinking of himself. Or at least this was my first thought when I watched that scene. I didn't have the feel he was talking about Sam, or at least only about Sam. In fact, I thought he was talking about ALL his life: himself, Sam (who, dont' forget it, just reversed to his old habit of sneaking out of him without telling him anything, wothout a clear explanation), Castiel, Amy.

Speaking of the latter, I just don't understand why Dean's decision is regarded as so cruel and "monster-like". Yes, she was doing that to save her son. And so? She killed people. People who didn't do anything to her or her son, who didn't threaten her son's life in any way. She did exactly what her mother told her so many years ago: she regarded people just as food.

Like others said (and I was surprised in reading it, since me too I thought of the same example), is like someone whose son is needing a heart transplant would go out killing a person to have a heart to transplant. Is such an action justifiable? IMO no, it isn't. Understandable, tragic, human, all you want. But it is a murder anyway, and it has to be judged like a murder.

Moreso... why on earth everyone seems to be so ready to give her the benefit of the doubt, when it is SO CLEAR she said those words to Sam just out of fear? Just to placate a possible threat to her and her son's life? Amy NEVER showe ANY regret or repentance at her behavior, on the contrary, she was jusfying herself with her son's condition. To me, it's clear that, if Sam never showed himself, she never had a problem and never felt the need to swear to not kill again. Should her son fall seriously ill again, it seems highly likely she would kill again.

Everyone seems forget that when Sam caught her she were going to kill again. Still, she told Sam that it wasn't necessary anymore, that her son was already recovering, so she didn't need to kill further. If so, then why she was going to kill the drunken man before?

So why on earth someone should believe her vows to not kill anymore in the future? What kind of trust can be bestowed on her? In a few words: why Sam could trust her so much, though knowing her so little, ad seeing her so obviously speaking just out of fear of being killed?

Sam was "human" and sympathetic, and that's surely a good thing. Sometimes. Because ill placed trust can be dangerous, and in the present case could mean other humans murdered in the future. Yes, we can't foresee the future, but, I would emphasize, for what we could see in the episode,neither us viewers nor Sam had ANY real, solid reason to trust her.
Far Away Eyes
# Far Away Eyes 2011-10-10 19:26
Dean was fully aware. He just tried to push it aside and project his own issues onto Sam and Amy. When he tells Amy that people can't change what they are, he was talking so much more about himself than he was her and he knew it.

I think you're absolutely right on Amy's nature. She was killing for her son and while I see Sam's sympathetic view on Amy's situation, I have to agree with you in many ways, too. She is a monster killing people and there is nothing but her word that says she won't do so again.

I think the issue is more about how Dean went about it than why. He didn't tell Sam. That is really what bothers people more than anything in my opinion. Unlike in Heart, when Sam pulls the trigger after all hope has failed, Dean doesn't give Sam the option to do it. He takes the black and white view, takes control of the situation because he feels that he doesn't have any, and that's what bothers people here.

I do think it's a tragic story line none the less, though. The gray areas are always harder to wrap our brains around. We, as humans, want to live and any monster that kills our kind must be eliminated, but the question becomes in some ways, do monsters have a right live, too?
# Brynhild 2011-10-10 20:02
For me too, what really bothered me was Dean doing what he had to do behind Sam's back. He NEVER did such a thing in the past, and THIS is really a red flag here. It's like he felt that arguing and fighting with Sam over something doesn't really matter anymore. Like he had given up on Sam like he did on himself and their whole life, because hoping something sometime would be better is an illusion. Dean's really in a hard place at the moment. I hope so much he'll find something to hope and believe in, he'll come to terms with himself and be abe to see his job as a hunter as something more than just "cutting throats".

Yes, the old question about monsters having or not a right to live is always a tough and interesting one! But so is in our real world about more human "monsters". IMO, the problem is just in the hunter job's nature: since it is not something issued from the human society, it can't be limited or controlled by any external power, like law codes and judges do in our world on police and military actions (Police and Army being the forces delegated by society to using violence to defend people against "monsters" of human nature).

In our world dangerous people can be controlled and stopped from killing other people not just killing them, but also putting them in prison and under therapy, hoping in their recovery. But there are no prisons for non-human monsters. In the "normal" life they don't exist. So, how can you stop them without killing them?

And stopped they have to be, if and when they kill people. It can be a very "speciesistic" position, I realize, but any species try to defend itself. We defend ourselves even from humans who attempt to our life, so why not from monsters?
Far Away Eyes
# Far Away Eyes 2011-10-10 20:32
I think Dean has allowed himself to lurk in these thoughts unchecked for far too long, and because they're this ugly, he doesn't want Sam to see them anymore than Sam wanted Dean to know about his visions or the demon blood or his memories of the Cage. They both do some of the same things in an attempt to protect the other. It doesn't work, and while Sam ran off to work the case, once outed by Dean he came clean. Dean must do the same and soon.

I think that's one of the fascinating things about Supernatural. Human laws don't apply really to either the monsters/demons that hunters hunt, and they don't really apply to hunters, either.
# Annebeth 2011-10-10 18:57
What a great review! It made me stay up too late, haha.

But seriously, you somehow voiced what I was feeling and deducting (half subconciously) about the episode. I couldn't agree more with everything you said, and it helped me to understand certain aspects more clearly.

Thanks again, very much. I just discovered this site last week and you are my favorite reviewer for sure. I am used to great reviews about Lost, and you certainly met that standard. Which is pretty hard because in Lost the deeper themes lay closer to the surface than Supernatural most of the times. I think.

Do you also have reviews about season 1-5?
Far Away Eyes
# Far Away Eyes 2011-10-10 19:50
Blushes. I'm so touched that I'm your favorite reviewer. I'm fairly "New" to the fandom, myself.

I've never actually watched Lost, though it has been recommended a few times.

I would like to do some "retro" reviews during one of the Hellatus, but we shall see. So no, I don't have anything about earlier seasons, outside of my Meta Fiction article that talks about all of the first six seasons.

I hope to see you comment again on my next review. Made my day!
# Annebeth 2011-10-11 14:54
You're welcome :) I can recommend LOST very much. It is my favorite show ever, partly because of the fandom (right now it is Supernatural, but Lost was just so epic to me, except for some things of season 6)

In my next reactions I will add some more of my own thoughts about the episode, is that okay?

I have two little things that I missed in this episode, namely the 3-weeks skip and Lucifer.

- I would have loved to see the three weeks that were skipped. It's understandible that the writers wanted the boys alive and kicking again, but it felt too abrupt. I think they could have easily spend an episode with the escape, recovery and living on a lowdown of the Winchester boys and Bobby. Now we missed how Sam's injury apparently wasn't that bad (which I found a surprise) and how Bobby reacted to his burned down house. And where was he at the end of last episode, why didn't he pick up his phone? (maibe that will come up in an upcoming episode?). Also, I would have liked to see the talk Bobby must have had with Dean about the voicemail...

-No Lucifer/Mark Pellegrino!! All we got was a whisper :( The continuity of Sam touching his wound was a nice touch btw.

What do you think?

PS: I will go and read your meta review, and am really curious
Far Away Eyes
# Far Away Eyes 2011-10-11 22:15
I understand the consternation with the time jump to an extent, but I get why they did it, too. It would have been nice to have them slide into it a bit more cleanly, but I think they didn't want to bore us to tears with Dean watching soaps on the couch and such, either.

As for not seeing Lucifer this time, I rather liked that touch. We, as the viewer outside the story, SAW what Sam saw with Lucifer the two weeks prior. I liked that we got to see here how Bobby and Dean saw it. Sam looks lost and scary when he spaces that way, which made it a bit more heartbreaking for me. I did like seeing Sam using the wound on his hand, too, though.

And I do hope you'll like my long winded review of the meta fiction of the series and hey, I've also got one on just Soulless Sam.

I shall check out Lost someday. I have such a long list of shows to catch up on already. . .
# Annebeth 2011-10-12 16:36
Haha, I would say, start with Lost. Watch the first 4 episodes and you'll be hooked ;)

I agree with you why they didn't do the 3 weekd. We didn't miss something hugely important or anything. I think it was a bit out of place for me because of the flow of the last few episodes, spanning days rather than weeks :)

Now that you mention it, it is interesting to see how the others watch Sams hallucination moments. It is very heartbreaking indeed. I just hope that Lucifer will make a return on screen. Maibe not next week necessarily, but in a couple of episodes.

I liked the meta-fiction review, it was great. An interesting way to go over these episodes again. Do you think that Tall Tales (rewatched it yesterday) is also a meta fiction episode (mostly indirect)? Most of the episodes rank among my favorites by the way. The show is so good at mixing (black) comedy and thriller! The only thing that's missing is an indirect meta fictional musical episode! Or... Maibe not :P It's just that Buffy pulled that one off so well.

I'm gonna move on to the Soulless Sam piece.

When I read my post, I realise that maibe I seem a bit too into supernatural at the moment. But I'm going through a bit of a rough time right now, and the show really helps me to get through it and to put my problems in perspective.
Far Away Eyes
# Far Away Eyes 2011-10-12 17:39
Oh, I think they could have done the 3 week time jump much more cleanly. I blame editing for TV more than anything. Jensen, I guess, from what I've heard, had a montage or snippet section for the cabin before the time jump, but it got cut. I hope that it's on the DVD. I'd like to see it.

I do think it's very heartbreaking to see what Sam looks like outside to those who love him. He's struggling and when we're in the midst of seeing what Lucifer is saying to him, it's heartbreaking, but seeing just him sitting there faraway is sad, too.

Tall Tales is very meta fictional, but nearly as direct as the others, hence why I left it off the list. I adore meta fiction to pieces and so it's why I targeted that.

Nah, we're all really into the show here, don't be bothered by being too obsessed. That's why we're all here, right? And I do hope the show keeps helping you. I know it's inspired me!
# MetamorphicRocks 2011-10-10 23:43
Very nice review. You touched on so many points in a concise way. I also love that you include your take on the actors' performances and what stood out for you. I find myself watching for the story the first time I view an episode, then watching for all the other things (including the acting)on subsequent viewings.

I liked this episode. I didn't love it in the same way I loved the previous two, but I thought it brought out some really interesting issues.

I think the boys do still have some of the same issues internally and with one another, that we saw from the start of season 1. As you said, though, Sam seems to be moving towards acceptance and some level of peace (within himself of course, not his situation considering the Leviathans are coming after him and his brother). Dean however, still seems to be struggling a great deal with his inner turmoil.

I think they are setting things up for Sam and Dean having to deal with the issues in their relationship as they will be having to rely on one another and kind of be isolated from everything/ever yone else.

I just love how this episode has everyone talking. What cool discussions I am reading about! That alone makes this episode stand out, because it has generated such debate and thoughtful analysis!
Far Away Eyes
# Far Away Eyes 2011-10-11 07:10
I think this episode probably did exactly what the show wanted it to do in terms of reactions. It most certainly got people talking and that is only a good thing.

I really like to include what I thought of the actors, since they're a large part of how this story is told. Sure, the words and actions aren't entirely created by them, but they give us story by how they present those words and actions.

Sam isn't going to be totally Zen or anything by an means, but I feel that he has embraced his lot in life and who and what he is and this episode highlighted that clearly for me.

Dean's issues are largely internalized and ignored by Dean himself, and that leads to what we're seeing. I do think that we're going to see the boys have to get a handle on all these issues, and this episode is a great start.
# Junkerin 2011-10-11 06:01
Everybody sad it but I´ll do it agin. Great review.
I totaly agree with you that Sam is at peace with himself. I mean clearly he has a lot to deal with, but he has aczepted what he is and I would say a long time ago back in Season 5! When he started to think about to say "Yes" to Lucifer.
Dean on the other hand. Wow he likes to hide his issues and don´t talk about (he probely learned this from John). Dean seas himself very clear but dosen´t see the hole picture, I mean he is defenetly more than a killer. I hope that is something he learns this season maybe start this friday, the trail could be a good oppertunity.
As for the trust: I don´t like that Dean liede to Sam. And basicly saying Sam is a freak (I realy like you point of view there) is so way back. It may be bad writing as Alice (I belive was it) pointed out or just an outburst from the past with no deeper meaning or the start of Dean dealing with his issues (as in an interview Sera hinted).
Well at least it gave us something to talk about :lol:
Far Away Eyes
# Far Away Eyes 2011-10-11 07:15
Pretty much after his last attempt to flee "the life" in Free To Be You And Me, Sam has been resigned that there is no way out. I think at first he was more or less pissed about it, but over time he's come to accept it.

Honestly, how can you even THINK of being normal when you've been Lucifer's actual vessel, ran around for over a year WITHOUT your soul, had a wall put in your head by Death himself to hide your memories of Hell, only to have that ripped down by an Angel on power trip. None of that is normal.

Dean is far more than what he is depicting himself as. He's caring and forgiving. He's stronger than he's giving himself credit for. I do think a number of his issues do trace back to John. The whole "You do your job and you don't talk about it" seems to have totally shaped Dean's view on hunting and "the life" and now it's biting him hard in the ass.

I can't imagine that they would bring up all this up in this episode to drop it, quite frankly. These are issues long standing to the beginning and with the current enemy after them, they will have to try and get past them in some capacity.

And yes, it most certainly got more talking going than the first two episodes if you ask me.
# Tillyputian 2011-10-11 12:37
I really enjoyed your fair and indepth review! I so appreciate that you actually looked at the episode in depth instead of with a gut-rant. The whole point of this episode was to show the interior of Dean and Sam. To let the viewer know in no uncertain terms, where both characters are coming from as they face this season.

Their actions here were so much of a mirror for what they are thinking about themselves right now. Sam -- believing he is a monster and accepting it by trying to forgive himself, and Amy, so that he can make it through another day. Dean believing he is a monster, a thing he has been programmed since childhood to destroy, trying to destroy himself symbolically by killing Amy. I think one of the reasons for Dean's unstable mind set here is that he is acknowledging just who he believes he is and has since You Can't Handle the Truth. He believes he is a monster just like the things he hunts. When he went behind Sam's back to kill Amy, I think he just thought that Sam was too damaged right now to see clearly what needed to be done and did not need to be burdened with this particular kill. At least what needed to be done in Dean's mind (mine too). Right or wrong, I don't think it was done behind Sam's back because Dean was sneaking around, so much as it was to protect him.

I have so enjoyed this season, and this episode was pretty neat. It is going to be so fun watching how it all comes together -- plot and Winchesters, and how united they whomp those leviathan back to Purgatory.
Far Away Eyes
# Far Away Eyes 2011-10-11 21:44
I'm glad you liked the review so much. A season is hard to judge in so many ways until it has been fully seen. I knew that this episode was a lot of set up, and you're right. They have to let us KNOW where the boys stand mentally.

I think Dean did what did behind Sam's back to protect him, too. He's protecting Sam from himself, from the monster he feels that he is. I think you hit it, Dean's never gotten over Hell, and this is how it is coming out.

They have to work through these things if they intend to win against the new beasties on the block.
# Marilyn 2011-10-11 18:41
Thank you for a balanced , insightful and in-depth review. I, too, had to watch this episode twice to make sense of it. The first time my reaction to the end was an "Oh, no." The second was yes, it had to be done. It was too bad Dean felt he had to take it on without telling Sam, but they have a lot of trust-building issues since season 1 they need to work on.

I agree that Dean has never really forgiven himself for so many things, but most grindingly burdensome to his psyche was what he did in hell. To turn from thinking of himself as part of a hunting family whose motto includes saving people, to someone who enjoys torturing helpless people, has cast a dark shadow on his soul that he is covering up with alcohol, violence, and possibly pills.

As he said in You Can't Handle the Truth, he is a killer, not a father. That is his perception of himself. Yet Lisa and Ben considered him a wonderful father and look at how well he cared for the little shapeshifter baby.

Anna told him it wasn't his fault and he shouldn't blame himself for what he did in hell, but he has never accepted that.

I have enjoyed this season immensely and look forward to the writers spending more time on the brothers and their internal demons. It looks like next week is going to focus on Dean's. I can hardly wait. :lol:
Far Away Eyes
# Far Away Eyes 2011-10-11 21:55
This season has been one of those crazy ones so far, with a lot thrown at us.

I think Dean is doing exactly what Sam did in season 1. When Sam had the visions, he hid them until he couldn't anymore, when they happened in front of Dean and he had to fess up. He hid them because he didn't want to be concerned a freak or monster by his brother. Dean's behavior here reflects that for me. He doesn't want Sam to see him this way, as a freak, a monster, evil, so he went behind his back on this one.

I am so glad you liked what I covered in my review. It was a treat to write, and wouldn't really leave me be until I had it written.
Pragmatic Dreamer
# Pragmatic Dreamer 2011-10-11 22:52
Great review Far Away Eyes. I had many of the same thoughts myself - Dean seeing himself as the Freak (he really should remember what a trigger word that is for Sam), and seeing himself only as a Cold-Blooded Killer.

I also wonder if Dean is doing the Supernatural equivalent of Suicide by Cop. Maybe he's hoping he can taunt a Monster (Kitsune, Vampire, Werewolf) into killing him and putting him out of his misery.

I don't think killing Amy was a character regression. More a retreat. Dean has tried the shades of grey and they're so complex and painful. He longs for the simplicity of black & white. But he's not really comfortable with black & white either. He's far too intelligent and compassionate for that attitude now.

I think the gentleness with which he killed Amy was quite profound. He held her so softly and lowered her to the bed. You could see the regret and the remorse. It's as if he's resigned himself to being the Hired Killer of the Winchester Duo.

There have been many hints that Dean's arc this season will be to find an identity, separate from that of just being Sam's Big Brother and protector. (It's kind of like re-defining your life as a mother once your kids have grown. Gulp. Luckily, I'm a long way from that.)

I think tonight's episode has launched him on that journey. It will be quite a rocky ride for us all.
Far Away Eyes
# Far Away Eyes 2011-10-11 23:11
I do think Dean is very much in suicidal mode. He isn't sure what he's supposed to be doing and yeah, I noticed how tender he was with Amy. It's like "I have to do this, but I hate it." He feels he is a monster and that this is all he has, but he wants out somewhat. Sam has done that and could tell him to just accept the life cause there is only one way out.

I do think that it is time that Dean gets an identity outside of just Sam. Sure, they're going to end up closer than ever because of the Leviathan, but even so. Dean needs to realize who he is. His music is his dad's. His car is his dad's. His jacket (oh where for art thou, jacket?) was his dad's. He needs something that is HIS alone. And he can't just be Sam's protector and big brother. I do think it's time.

Glad you liked the review. I hope I can deliver another like it on this coming episode.
# Sylvie 2011-10-12 09:43
I'm with Auntzukie on this one. I wish I had read your review before anyone else's. Your characterizatio n of Dean was so spot on. I couldn't put my finger on it, and after reading your review, I just thought to myself, that's it! Everything Dean is doing has been about himself becoming what he is most afraid of. Him and Sam need to talk about their time in Hell, I hope TPTB have that in the works. Perhaps next weeks episode will shine a light on Dean's darkness.

You write most eloquentely. I loved it.

edit: I'm going to have to come back and read everyone's post. I've been at work since 8:00 and it's now 9:45 and I haven't done a stitch of work! This is what this show does to me, if I get fired, I'm going to SPN for a job! I'm a high school librarian, maybe they need someone for research?
Far Away Eyes
# Far Away Eyes 2011-10-12 15:38
Blushes again. I'm amazed at how much this review is getting in response. I just tried to interpret the episode best I can. I'm glad you liked my take.

I do hope we'll get to see/hear more about both brothers time in Hell. Sure, they don't have to give us every damn detail or rehash old story, but it'd be nice to see the brothers use it as a bonding tool and to clear the air on issues that date to pre-Hell for both of them.

I'm glad you think I write eloquently. I try!

And are you Dean's kind of librarian or Sam's?
# Annebeth 2011-10-12 16:50
I agree. And there is still so much not clear about the broad lines of their time in Hell. Well, maibe Dean's story is kinda clear. But there is still the things like: what was the final straw that made him give up after thirty years? Only time, or was there more? And did he really enjoy it? I just can't believe that. Maibe it was cognitive dissociation. To make himself think that he liked it to justify the act or something. That's my 'professional' opinion at this point ;) (I'm a psychologist, finished my education last year)

About Sam's time, we know almost nothing. And I think Sam himself knows almost nothing about it at this point. It's like he can't conciously recall that time yet and is only getting subconcious hints at the moment. Obviously he must be scared to gain that knowledge. How long was he there? What was done to him? Was Michael and/or Adam present? etc. etc.

I hope they can use it to bond with each other. The tricky thing is that maibe Dean will downplay his misery because he views Sam's experience as worse (probably longer, and tortured by the boss himself, who has a personal grudge against Sam). Also Dean will probably feel guilty about it too, because he let Sam sacrifice himself.
Far Away Eyes
# Far Away Eyes 2011-10-12 17:30
I've always wondered what made Dean snap and say yes to Alistair. I think it'd be interesting to hear. I do think he enjoyed torturing others, but not because he "liked" it as much as he could use it to scar himself all that much more.

I also think that's another reason he's acting like Sam's time was worse. He is seeing what someone looks like AFTER being tortured in Hell and having tortured others he's having what he did shoved in his face all over again.

I do think that it'd be nice to hear more about both their times, considering. Sam's time is clouded with hallucinations and half truths so far. If anything, I think they must share so that isn't a divide between them.
# Sylvie 2011-10-14 14:52
Unfortunately I'm Sam's kind, but I'd turn in a heartbeart for Dean!
# LordAniline 2011-10-13 23:06
I knew there was a reason why I look forward to your article the most. Concise and without the psychobabble, well, some but you seem to be able to keep it dialed down.

Dean's recent actions in killing Amy is, in my opinion, part of the fallout of Dean trusting Castiel above all others, including his own brother. Dean choose to trust ONE supernatural creature even though angels had shown themselves to be worse than demons, and choose to ignore the many red flags waved by Castiel, and who paid that price? Sam, as it always seem to be the case.

So as you eloquently put, Dean is projecting all his issues, angst, fears, and everything else but the kitchen sink on to Sam. While Dean is waiting for the other shoe to drop in regards to Sam (same speech he gives to Amy), Dean is failing to realize that it will be HE who drops said shoe. Sam the most well adjusted person on the planet is coping remarkably well, where as Dean is not coping at all.
Far Away Eyes
# Far Away Eyes 2011-10-14 16:05
Thanks for liking what I had to say. I just try to figure the story out and this is what came out.

I think Dean is reeling from grief, as he did when his father died. Yes, I think you have a point that Castiel was someone Dean trusted and cared for very much and it rather bit Dean in the ass. I just don't think it's that simple. In some ways, a lot of what Cas did was selfish and he didn't take the blame for those things, but on the other he was taking what he had learned from observing the Winchester brothers and thought he was trying to do the right thing. It's one of those damned if you do, damned if you don't. If he hadn't tried to resist Raphael, it's likely the Cage would have been reopened, Sam repossessed by Lucifer, and the stupid death match fight back on. What went wrong for Cas here is his methods, not his motive and I think that rattled Dean. He feels that he's not worthy of anyone trying to do so much for him.

Not to mention seeing a struggling with his memories Sam shoves his own torturing time in Hell back into his face---both as victim and torturer.

And yes, Dean is projecting on not just Sam, but Amy and all monsters. He seems himself AS one. I don't think Sam's totally adjusted by any means, either. I simply think what we learned here is he's fully accepted and is at peace with who and what he is. This is new for him. He's not dodging his true self any longer and I think it's another way for him to cope with things.

I do think Dean is the other shoe. He is barely holding it together and when he asks Sam how Amy is managing, I can't help but feel my heart break for him. He's breaking apart and he can't hold onto that lock box he uses much longer.
# LordAniline 2011-10-17 22:41
To this day I am not convinced that Raphael was as much as a threat as Cas believed. Didn't season 4 & 5 taught Cas that it was very difficult to start the Apocalypse and neither Sam nor Dean would give their consent again. Further more neither Sam nor Dean were all that concerned during season 6 about Apocalypse II because they lived through the first attempt and it ended a bloody failure for the angels.

If Raphael was a legitimate threat, then he became less of a threat when he retreated in The French Mistake once Castiel captured all the heaven weapons.

The writers consistently showed Castiel as not being very bright, in fact the popular online nickname is "dumbest angel in the garrison". So maybe in Castiel's own mind he was doing the right thing by leaving Sam in hell, lying to Dean, and killing untold number of angels and humans.