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Metaphors and parallels have run through Supernatural throughout its existence. The episode "Scarecrow" is a metaphor about the so-called apple pie life and how it isn't everything as it's cracked up to be. "Heart" and "Metamorphosis" are metaphors for Sam's growing destiny. Castiel's season 6 trajectory parallels Sam in season 4. Dean's attempt to live with Lisa and Ben parallels Sam's attempt to do the same with Jess. Jess's death on the ceiling parallels Mary's. 

"Shut Up, Dr. Phil," is a mixture of both. The metaphors here run from the obvious to the extremely subtle. The parallels are striking for what they parallel and how they differ. 

The case focuses upon the Starks, a married couple that happens to be struggling due to an affair. They also happen to be witches, and in the process are taking the town out with them in their anger. This is what brings the Winchesters to the town to investigate. 

Don Stark, the husband, had an affair with the victim, Wendy. The brothers discover that his wife, Maggie, is a witch. She is punishing everyone involved with her husband's business development project. In the process, she discovers that Don could be potentially having another affair with his assistant, Jenny. This only infuriates her further. 

The obvious metaphor here is that these two are not talking. Sam spends the episode trying to coax Dean into doing the same---and by episode end the witches have reconciled by doing just that. Sam, again, tries to get Dean to open up afterward, only to be shut down. This is an issue the brothers must resolve between them, but Dean's stubborn streak with not talking things through is rearing its ugly head. 

Maggie's assistant Sue is also a metaphor. She stands in as a Ruby like character, whispering into Maggie's ear against her husband. If they can get rid of Don, they'll be happy and able to do whatever they want. She's the biggest road block for Don simply talking it out with his wife, too. Sue is a brown noser and says exactly what Maggie wants to hear at the right time to sway her. She builds Maggie's ego up while tearing Don down. Don hates her emphatically and confronts Maggie about her, stating, "The fact is, none of this was my fault! Maybe if you'd been around a little more. But between the art and the charity and that evil bitch Sue, I was edged right out of your life."

In an odd way, the inedible cupcakes Jenny makes is another metaphor for Dean's inability to ever eat his much wanted pie---also featured in the episode itself. Maggie has hexed them, making them have beating hearts inside, choking Jenny. Hearts are metaphors as well, standing in for the supposed love affair Maggie suspects is going on. 

The style of this episode is where the parallels begin. It runs like an old school episode from seasons 1 and 2 to mid season 3. The boys are on the case, stopping the baddies while the big bad is on the move. We see the Leviathan skulk throughout, tracking Sam and Dean down. Much as the demons did in seasons 1 and 2, they are communicating by cell phone, traveling towards them, and their motives are largely masked in mystery. It really wasn't until the end of season 1 that we really learned why Meg and Yellow Eyes had targeted the Winchester Family---and so the Leviathan's motives are hidden at this stage. It can be assumed that their knowledge received from possessing Castel that they know that the Winchesters are dangerous. 

It's a stripped down feel for the show, taking it to the basics while keeping the deeper layers. 

Before the Brothers Winchesters get to Prosperity Indiana, though, we see Dean struggles with nightmares. He watches Castiel walking into the lake, Sam struggling with his hallucinations of Lucifer, shooting at nothing, and the killing of Amy, the kitsune---only to wake up alone. He grabs a bottle to push these aside and goes over to the table to look up information on the next case they'll investigate. 

His behavior---and the acknowledgment of the empty bed---harkens back to Season 4. When Dean had been raised from Hell, he had similar nightmares, struggling with his time downstairs. He had often woken up from one of these to find Sam gone. It would seem that his ability to shove these aside and ignore them has lost its foothold. The nightmares might be different than in the past, but they are back full force. As he did in season 4, Dean copes the only way he thinks he can: by pushing it down and by drinking heavily. 

He is also struggling and shutting down much the same way that he did after John's death. He has never truly mourned their father---and now the fresh mourning of Castiel has thrust this old issue back into his face as well. This season has been bringing back older and unresolved issues and putting a new spin upon them. This is yet another one that we're going to see weigh on Dean's mind. It won't be surprising if Dean has a break down as he did in "Everybody Loves a Clown" at some stage in the season. What will be the ultimate target of Dean's wrath---especially since the Imapala is already repaired? 

Yet, there is a stark difference here that is being subtly slipped in under the viewer's nose. As Dean gets hits on the next case, Sam jogs by the window and enters the hotel room, out of breath. He may have not been in bed when Dean woke up from his nightmares, but unlike in season 4, Sam hasn't run off to make a secret meeting with anyone. In fact, since he is not distracted by Ruby or demon blood or anything else, Sam can focus his attention on his brother as he didn't then. He does this primarily for two reasons. 

First his concern parallels his concern for Dean in both seasons 2 and 3. Dean is behaving exactly as he did after their father's death in season 2. This time he is mourning Castiel. Sam knows that Dean does not grieve well and is hyper aware that his brother is floundering. Sam keeps trying to draw him out, asking, "You know, one more thing. What's going on with you?"

In Dean fashion, he shuts him down. 

Sam focuses intensely on Dean to combat his own struggle with Hell. In "Hello, Cruel World," Dean tells him to make him "stone number one," and it would appear that Sam is doing just that. Take away Ruby, the demon blood, the revenge pact against Lilith, and Sam really can do things over with Dean. This is, despite being the one freshly plagued by Hell memories, his chance to make right what he felt he did wrong in season 4. 

Along with his attempts to get Dean to speak, he calls out Dean's drinking. Again, hyper aware of Dean's state, he is concerned. He snaps at him, "Really? From a freaking flask? What are you, bad Santa? On the job?" 

Sam is worried and rightly so. Dean is a powder keg waiting to explode.  

After they manage to get the Leviathan into the car for transport, Sam tries to tease Dean into talking again. He says, "I'm talking about whatever you're not telling me about. Look, Dean, it's fine. You can unload. That's kind of what I'm here for."

In season 4, when Sam tried to do the same thing sporadically, Dean would shut him down. Dean is no different here. He pushes him away again with just a glare. The question is, will Sam give up on getting Dean to open up to him as he did in Season 4 (despite Dean's confession to the fact that he had tortured others while downstairs) or will he continue to pursue the matter? If only for his own sanity, Sam must. If Dean is to be his foundation stone to build his reality upon, he must have Dean solid himself. 

Especially now that it would seem a weakness in the Leviathan has been revealed. Don arrives to pull the hex coins Maggie left behind to kill the brothers, only to end up using his magic on Chet, the Leviathan that had been stalking Sam and Dean all episode. It is the first time anything has been effective against these creatures, even if it is temporary. Now that they have him, the question is how do they hold him and what can they learn about the enemy while they have him? It would seem that the Leviathan are determined to eliminate the Winchesters, and unlike the demons before them, they have no plans to use them for anything. The brothers are in their way and that is all there is to it. 

It's interesting, and brings up another parallel, that that the Leviathan is hurt by electricity. Don's spell seemed to be electrocuting Chet, after all. It's also what was found to be effective against the worm that the Mother of All created in "And Then There Were None..." Is an electric weapon the weapon of choice to at least stop the monsters? 

Dean shoots the Leviathan in the chest, only to have the bullet expelled. Its obvious that this is another tool being taken away from them. They still don't know that credit cards are no longer an option. Their preferred weapons of knives and guns are ineffective. Salt and holy water is meaningless. But now that they have the clue to something that at least slows the Leviathan down, they may have a chance to actually stop them. 

It's apparent, by Don's disgust, that the Leviathan are a threat to all in Supernatural. Even as old as he is, he doesn't know what to make of them, either. It's not hard to imagine that witches, vampires, demons, and other monsters are all in danger from these creatures, not just humans or the Winchesters. 

This episode dabbled repeatedly in the gore, and it was somewhat of a treat---even if it made me never want to necessarily eat a red velvet cup cake again. It really brought out what Dean hates most about witches---feeling that they are messy creatures. This episode seemed to relish in the gross out factor from the hearts in the cupcakes, the nail gun in the porta potty, and the dead guy in the Leviathan's trunk. For being on network television, they most certainly got away with quite a bit. 

The guest stars, both from Buffy, were standouts this week. Charisma Carpenter and James Marsters bring us vivid and dynamic characters in Don and Maggie Starks. They seemed to fit into the Supernatural fabric easily. Their bantering behavior and chemistry underscored and contrasted nicely with their gruesome feud. They played off of one another well, and their wit was sharp. It's not hard to imagine that these two might come up again later on in the season as allies against the Leviathan. I found them to be highly entertaining and fun. They both seemed to capture the tongue in cheek and playful nature of the show very well. If they should come back as allies to the Winchesters somehow, I hope to see them continue the banter and the playfulness---without as much gore. 

The actress who played Jenny was a scene stealer when those cupcakes turned sour on her. If any quote seems to be rocketing around the most from this episode, it is her "There were tiny beating hearts in my cupcakes. There were hearts in my cupcakes, hearts in my cupcakes! That's never happened before! Hearts in my cupcakes!" She was an innocent in every way in this episode, and when confronted for a potential affair with Don, her obvious confusion and disgust was hilarious. She just happened to be caught up in the feud unknowingly. 

We've seen Chet the Leviathan, played by Sean Owen Roberts, a few times this season already. He seems really snarky and creepy in many ways. I am reminded a bit of the first Meg by having those qualities. He's not the big leader by any means, but he is most certainly determined. I can only imagine what might happen with his role now that he's a captive---depending on how long they can actually hold him without getting killed. I like how sharp and witty he is---even if he seems a bit of a dullard in some ways really. He follows orders but really doesn't seem to have the cunning Meg had. 

Jensen was a combination of a ready to hunt Dean and a struggling Dean. He was the one looking up the hunt information---not Sam after all. His one liners were highlights again and the flash of the real Dean, trapped under his guilt and depression, shows that he's not unreachable. He sells us a closed off Dean well at the beginning and end, yet gives us this spark that there is hope that he can crawl out of the hole he's dug for himself. It's not hard to draw another parallel here that he has created his Hell this time rather than simply recovering from his actual Hell experience. If anything could give Dean a bit of a spark, it is a witch hunt. I feel that we got a bit of a glimpse of that here through Jensen's portrayal this week. 

Jared gave us a concerned and determined Sam. I felt his frustration each time he tried to coax Dean into talking. I also liked seeing how Jared shows that Sam is most certainly Dean's partner through and through. He knows that Dean's hiding something and he's worried, and I felt that, too. I sensed from his performance that the longer Dean pushes Sam away the more it is likely that he may slip at some point back into his hallucinations. He is hanging on tight to his brother here, and Jared kept showing us that by insisting that they talk or that Dean not drink so much. 

This episode played a lot with parallelism and metaphor. It looks like next week will bring in yet another parallel with the boys being put back on the FBI's Most Wanted list after the Leviathans take their form to commit crimes. What's wrong with two Sams and two Deans? I'm not complaining!  


# Sylvie 2011-10-24 08:03
That was very interesting, all the metaphors and parallels you managed to pull out of this episode. I especially like the way you compared the bickering couple to Sam & Dean, no communication between these two. Sam was actually like Don, trying to make Dean open up about what the hell is up with him. And comparing Sue to Ruby, priceless! Thanks to Don, they seem to have found a chink in the Leviathan armor. I'll be anxious to see how that develops.
Far Away Eyes
# Far Away Eyes 2011-10-24 15:36
I'm glad you liked what I managed to glean from watching this one. It was fun to see just how many things they touched on---some obvious, some subtle. And yeah, I couldn't resist putting Sue in Ruby's shoes. To be honest, the surface view of her character is certainly just that of being a clingy brown nosing bitch, but hey.
# purplehairedwonder 2011-10-24 10:19
Ah, so that's what you meant when you said you realized something about Sam. I think it makes a lot of sense, too, that he'd be putting all his focus on Dean both to make up for what he didn't do in season 4 and as a means of keeping the hallucinations at bay. I don't doubt we're going to see him slip back into their grasp at some point, either. The more Dean pushes him away until he reveals the truth about Amy, the worse the effect is going to be (I just have this feeling that hearing about Amy is going to cause enough of a chink in Sam's slowly rebuilding walls that Lucifer will slip back in).

It's also interesting to me that we've seen Sam fully engaged in the hunt (GND, DYL) and focused on Dean since semi-getting the memories under control, which says to me that he needs to keep his mind engaged or he'll slip. That also parallels Dean in season 4 when he took them both on that insane hunting spree, barely going a few hours without a job, because he needed to hunt so he wouldn't have to (or have the time to) think about Hell. For all their differences, they're remarkably similar in a lot of ways.
Far Away Eyes
# Far Away Eyes 2011-10-24 15:39
I think it's interesting that you mention Dean's hunting jaunt in season 4. I think you're onto something with Sam here. He has to stay busy, because if he allows himself to stay still there's nothing else to do but think. Sam's always been cerebral and as such I think it'd be easy for him to fall into the trap of over analyzing and hallucinating again.

It just struck me that the bed was unmade and slept in---something Dean rarely if ever woke up to in season 4 when Sam wasn't sleeping really as he was off with Ruby. It clicked in my head that "hey, Sam's kinda getting a season 4 do over with a struggling Dean." We'll see if they choose to bring that really into play or not.
# Melanie 2011-10-24 15:27
Thanks for this and last week's too - I'm sorry I don't think I had a chance to comment last week, although I read and enjoyed your review.
I'm very much enjoying your reviews with the calm and positive tone and that you're pulling out these interesting themes and paralleles, some of which I've noticed and some not. This is the sort of discussion I adore to have about Show but lately such a lot of the discussion has been shrill with discontent. I dunno, maybe I just have a really good pair of rose-colored glasses but I'm not having any major problems with S7.
Far Away Eyes
# Far Away Eyes 2011-10-24 15:43
I figure, really, there's an awful lot of people that can nit pick and look at the negatives currently going on in the show. I much rather focus on what's good and be there for the ride. I can't say that I'm not concerned to an extent, but I just don't feel like nit picking. I let my ability to do that in the past ruin other shows for me, so I just won't do it here. Doesn't mean I don't see some points, but yeah, I just figure there's enough people saying it already why add to that?

I have enjoyed season 7 thus far, and I have never truly been able to judge a season of this show until I can see how it fit together in the end. Hell, even in season 1 there's a handful of not extremely well written episodes so I feel that you can nit pick the entire series if you chose to do so.

I also like to see what hidden things I can dig up, so that's what came out in this one. I do hope that things will get a bit tighter as we go ahead, but other than that, I don't feel it's been overly horrible or painful to watch, either.
# Melanie 2011-10-24 16:32
Not painful at all. Is some of the dialog a little clunky? Yeah, OK if you hold a gun to my head, yes it is upon occasion. But I truly don't see a problem with the overal pacing or the story development so far. This is very similar to both S4 and S5 which started with bang!bang! myth episodes and then slowed down for some MOTW eppies. If anything I think this season is incorporating the mytharc more consistently in the MOTW episodes.
Far Away Eyes
# Far Away Eyes 2011-10-24 17:02
I think I agree with that. S4 and 5 did have a huge mytharc dump right at the start then a couple of alright MOTW with little to no mention really of the over all myth. I think it'll be interesting to see how they tighten the ship, which I hope they do.
# rmoats8621 2011-10-24 16:57
Good review. Some great thoughts were shared. I liked the witches. They were fun and I hope they will come back in the future.
Far Away Eyes
# Far Away Eyes 2011-10-24 17:03
I don't know if they will come back. I'm guessing probably not, but I like that they're out there potentially.
# Margaux 2011-10-24 18:43
Great article!
Really enjoying to read your reviews! :-)
I like the kind of metaphoric interpretation a lot.
Also like to hear your thoughts about the song-choice - we hear 'See the Funny Little Clown' while the Leviathan is driving the car. Is it a subtle hint on how both boys feel inside... the lyrics imply a few things. I tend to think it's more pointing to Dean.
Far Away Eyes
# Far Away Eyes 2011-10-24 18:49
That song was an interesting choice. It's not a song I'd necessarily listen to for fun, but I think it's a good choice. I think it does pin point both brothers---and I'd say more Sam than Dean here. Sam seems to be pretty upbeat and ready to go, hiding the mess inside his head more or less.

I'm glad you like my take. I like to look at it in the meta rather than a straight "I liked, I didn't like," aspect because I've found that every episode has something to offer us in terms of story.
# subwoofer 2011-10-24 18:56
I think Sam has it figured out, at least in terms of therapy speak. The hunter lifestyle kinda reminds me of the old West, where the hero rides off into the sunset. The last couple of episodes reminded me of The Searchers with John Wayne where a girl was captured by Indians and JW goes on a 10 year hunt to find her and should she be turned into a squaw, then he'd do what had to be done. And at the end we see him head off into the sunset.

Dean, well, he's got his own personal demons aplenty here, only he doesn't seem to be handling any of them. It is good that you mention the various seasons because it seems like he is carrying around all the issues from past seasons on him. Pity. Sam practically pleaded with the guy to open up. Sometimes it is hard for the "Strong tough guy" to admit weaknesses. Dean needs some humility here and he needs a rock bottom. Don't think he's touched down yet.

The girl that played Jenny was actually a full time cast member of the show "Heartland" until this season.

Spike and Cordelia- loved 'em. The years have been good to them too. I would love to see them in reoccurring roles on this show. I especially loved the off handed way James/ Don saves the brothers' collective bacon. I am very interested to see what new tricks the boys have to come up with to deal with this evil. Accident with power tools- falling on dynamite- real "Monster Squad" stuff.

I love this show.
Far Away Eyes
# Far Away Eyes 2011-10-24 19:02
I think Sam is using his hunting as a crutch, now that purplehairedwon der mentioned it, the same way that Dean did in season 4 to an extent. Dean is his main concern and so he's focusing on him here to build upon a strong foundation.

I looked EVERYWHERE for the name of the actress that played Jenny and couldn't get it. I really liked her, wished she had been in it just a bit more maybe.

I don't think Dean's bottomed out yet, either. He's getting there. I'm glad you liked how I mentioned older seasons in play. I think Dean's carrying stuff that goes even further, to pre series really. His childhood wasn't much of one after all.

I'm really glad you liked my review here.
# subwoofer 2011-10-24 19:17
Her name is Cindy Busby- I follow her on Twitter.

Sam- well, on some level at least he is dealing. Lets be "real"... or as real as we can be when talking about fictional characters on a fictional show- I don't think a lifetime on some shrink's couch talking with puppets would be enough to cope with the issues that going to Hell bring up. They're scarred for life. It's kinda like Frodo, Bilbo and anybody else that carried the One Ring- it leaves a mark on the bearer. Remember, those midgets Hobbits got a free ride to elf land where all is sweet and light. I think unless there is Divine help here, the boys are going to be coping with things for the rest of their lives. Some days are just better than others.
Far Away Eyes
# Far Away Eyes 2011-10-24 19:42
I like that they're not just magically fixed here. They have to figure things out for themselves and I think you're right. There is no way that Hell doesn't affect them at this stage and they will spend the rest of their lives dealing with it. They are both marked by it forever.
# subwoofer 2011-10-24 20:10
I retweeted a couple of her last posts so as I follow winchesterfamil ybusiness on twitter too, you may pick it up. One of her tweets is a pic with her and Jensen.

I do agree with the magic fix- sometimes that just seems too easy when Cas waves a wand and all is well. The average folk would be messed up if they saw a fraction of what the boys deal with daily. Glad there are some war wounds.
Far Away Eyes
# Far Away Eyes 2011-10-24 20:13
It's one of the things I like so far about this season. The boys have to figure things out themselves---an d I think it's partly slowed some things down in terms of showing them having to do that. Cas can't just zap them here or there, and while I love Cas, I like seeing the boys having to think and do it alone. And yeah, I don't like the idea of someone just fixing either brother's mental mess with a magic fix---be it angel or other origin. It'd kinda negate them experiencing it at all.
# kaj 2011-10-25 00:29
It's one of the things I like so far about this season. The boys have to figure things out themselves---and I think it's partly slowed some things down in terms of showing them having to do that. Cas can't just zap them here or there, and while I love Cas, I like seeing the boys having to think and do it alone. And yeah, I don't like the idea of someone just fixing either brother's mental mess with a magic fix---be it angel or other origin. It'd kinda negate them experiencing it at all.
Definitely what i have in mind Far Away Eyes. I really love your review, always. You always trying to look into an Episode from different perspective. Metaphor and Parallels aplenty, yep! I like Castiel too as a character but just like i said from the beginning of S7 Angels make our heroes lazy. I am exited to see Sam and Dean are back to brawl and muscle.
As far as i am concern S7 is enjoyable. Lots of Metaphor and paralels since the beginning. Even the Stabbing of Amy last two Episode is also a parallel with Dean stabbing Ruby at the end of S4 and for me definitely makes sense. Only he does it now at the beginning of the season. Perhaps to eliminate a threat before she evolves into another pain? a threat to Sam? Who would have thought that Ruby was manipulating Sam since S3? And according to minor, harsher legend on Kitsune, this fox creature often appeared as a beautiful seducer who seduces wayward men and eating their hearts
I read other reviews at other sites and i am saddened by the harsh critics since Episode 3.
Far Away Eyes
# Far Away Eyes 2011-10-25 07:14
I'm feeling this whole "Season 7 is going down hill vs Season 7 is good/great" debate going on in fandom. I think it's this issue in some ways that dictates the views of people to an extent. If you were getting the point where you wanted the angel storyline over with, then it seems you're pretty happy. If you liked the angel storyline, you're a bit upset that its over. It's a bit more simplified, I think, than everything going on in it, but I seem to remember last year being full of people squawking that they wanted the angels to get out of the picture somewhat so that the boys can do things as a team without a magic fix in their back pocket. Now that has happened and we're seeing the opposite in response in some way. I don't know. I think it's fascinating to see how that works.

I think you're right, though, about Amy/Ruby being a bit of a metaphor/parall el. I like that.
# MetamorphicRocks 2011-10-25 00:13
Interesting parallels and metaphors that you discussed here. For me, this was an ok episode. I never watched Buffy, so I couldn't get as excited over James and Charisma being guest stars as others did.

They are continuing to set us up for the fallout of Dean lying to Sam. The one thing that bothers me, though, is that we haven't seen much fallout from anything else, including Cass' death (but at least now we know Dean is having nightmares), Sam's wall (like many others have said, he seems to have recovered too quickly, even if it's just temporarily), and Bobby's house burning down. If we are going be shown these major events, I think we should see a bit more of the ramifications these events have on our characters. That way as an audience, we care more about all of it. But maybe we are getting there, so I will be patient.

I do think it's interesting that now there may indeed be something that affects the Leviathans. It will be fun to see how the show runs with that.
Far Away Eyes
# Far Away Eyes 2011-10-25 07:10
I never watched Buffy, either. I just liked how these two worked in the episode somewhat. I thought they were kinda funny.

I agree that I'd like to see them show us more about Bobby's house being torched. There's a goal for the boys: rebuilding Bobby's house to not just withstand the demons, the angels, the monsters, but now the Leviathan.

I wonder what the big weapon will really be against these monsters. I'm thinking electricity perhaps.
# subwoofer 2011-10-25 17:51

I wonder what the big weapon will really be against these monsters. I'm thinking electricity perhaps.
Proton Packs.
Far Away Eyes
# Far Away Eyes 2011-10-25 18:07
Riiight. But wouldn't that kinda be cool?
# subwoofer 2011-10-25 19:31

Sam already has his PKE meter... like the ghost busters... Doe, Ray... Egon. 8)

Maybe the boys find the Key of Solomon or something. Get old school Biblical. It could happen :lol:
kay kay
# kay kay 2011-11-01 23:22
i love supernautral. but ever since cass has not been on the episodes the show has really been crap... they need to put cass back on and actually make a good storyline. its like the writers dont know what to do anymore with the show.