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What’s Happening to Sam and Dean?
I’ve been doing Supernatural reviews consistently since season three.  Now, you may have noticed, there’s a level of frustration with Supernatural in the critical community these days.  It’s causing a lot of controversy and a lot of harsh exchanges in comments on sites where there are usually more level heads.  This site is no exception.  
As someone who has in exhausting (and I do mean exhausting) detail dug into every tiny aspect of Supernatural, I will say with extreme honesty that when I see a disturbing pattern that continues to get worse based on everything I know about the history of Supernatural, I have two choices.  Speak my mind (which I’ve always done) or drink the kool aid and pretend everything is okay.  I can even throw in a few cheerleading phrases like “It’s better than last season,” or “The brothers are together again, everything is great!”  I was never cheerleader material.  
It’s okay to be a happy fan.  It’s okay to love this show.  I love Supernatural still, despite the glaring shortcomings I see from a critical basis.  As someone that reviews TV shows, I have to look at the whole package.  Plotting, direction, acting, character development, production value, etc.  I don’t want Sam and Dean to cry in front of the Impala (or whatever car it is they have these days) every single week.  I do want to see character progression that makes sense.  Tight writing that builds on what they’ve presented in episodes prior.  Consistency in plotting and episode flow.  Production that gives the viewer something as believable as possible given the realm in which the characters live.  Read every single review I’ve done since season three.  It’s obvious.  Season six took a turn and it’s not getting better.  
I’m not here to harp on season six though.  I've already done that.  The writers have chosen through every single episode preview and brotherly dialogue over the last four episodes to raise and drive this Amy issue into the ground.  They won’t let the issue die, so I’m going there.  It all just plain sucks.  There is no other way to explain it.  

Here’s the scorecard.  Dean lies to Sam, goes behind his back and does something Sam begged him not to do (not exactly an original idea on this show).  Dean won’t tell Sam the truth and tries to cover it up with avoidance and lots of drinking (again, been there done that).  Sam gets frustrated (echo!) and then finds out anyway through another source (okay, that’s a been there but the reveal was kind of cool).  The brothers have a big fight over it and Sam leaves (geez how many freaking times has he done that!).  
In this episode, Sam is angry, Dean yells at him, Sam forgives, and they have a two minute adult and rational conversation that seemingly fixes everything.  Um, yeah, okay.  This whole Amy strife was a poor creative decision, however, since the writers chose to go there, they at least should have the decency to play it out.  A quick, convenient, ending without any understanding how the characters got to that point?  
I’m going to throw a couple of examples your way as to what I’m mean about understanding what’s going on in a character’s head.  The first comes from season two’s “Bloodlust.”  That episode is a brilliant character study.  Dean is obviously suffering over the loss of John.  It’s all in his actions, like the aggression in which he killed the vampire.  We really don’t know what’s going on in his head though until he has that conversation with Gordon in the bar.  Suddenly it makes sense why he’s hiding his feelings from Sam.  “Gotta keep my game face on.”  It makes sense when he lashes out and punches Sam later.  It really helps explain his actions in the next episode, “Children Shouldn’t Play With Dead Things.”
In “The Mentalists” I’m still trying like mad to figure out what is going on in that head of Dean’s to get him to lash out at Sam like that, calling him his very overdone words of “dick” and “bitch.”  More importantly, I’m trying to figure out why Sam didn’t get furious over that.  In would have been more in character, but then again I don’t get where either of these guys are coming from these days.  If we had any clue, like Dean telling Melanie in confidence his frustrations over Sam right now, what’s been going on in his head that week and a half apart, then his anger at Sam would make perfect sense instead of fans fighting over whether Dean is turning into an asshole or not.  In other words, without understanding his motivations, he’s unsympathetic.  For such a beloved character, why in the world would they go there?  I dare say it, it’s character assassination.

I’m not saying Dean is wrong.  He isn’t.  I’m not saying he’s really a jerk.  I do know his character better than that.  I know that he at least admitted at the end that he’s having trouble trusting people.  That makes perfect sense.  There’s just a lot of holes in the path to that confession.  We aren’t seeing his true feelings and he becomes erratic because of it.  Sorry, but for me, a character’s progression involves a journey, not a quick stop at the final destination.  It’s just proper writing.  
For Sam, I take you all back to season three’s “Bedtime Stories” (a personal favorite of mine actually).  Season three was really the first season which some effort was put into Sam’s character development.  It’s obvious with scenes like the one with Dean in the hospital (“Is that what you want me to do Dean, just let you go?”) that Sam’s frustration over Dean’s deal is growing.  So much so he’s almost like a time bomb waiting to go off.  He confronts the Crossroads Demon with the colt, gets his no answer, then loses his temper and blows away the CD anyway!  That was a “whoa” moment for sure, but the signs were all there that Sam would do that.  Couple his frustration with Ruby at the end of the previous episode telling him that he would have to set aside that gentle nature of his, and we have a big moment in character direction.  

In “The Mentalists” Sam sets aside his anger and forgives Dean for killing Amy.  Fans are wildly speculating how he got to that point.  One is the parallel of him killing Jimmy Tomorrow vs. Dean killing Amy.  How so?  The situations weren’t even remotely close.  He killed Jimmy in self defense.  Amy was posing no threat.  Also, if that did affect him, why didn’t he say so at the end?  That would have been something.  Could it be he’s more forgiving these days because of his new outlook on life?  Maybe, we DON’T KNOW.  Some clues would be awesome guys.  Sam didn’t get a message from the great beyond, Dean did.  Sam didn’t even hear Ellen’s message.  So that couldn’t have shaken him up any.  I don’t know, it just doesn’t add up.  
It’s like the Campbells last year.  Somewhere along the line, the writers wrote themselves into a corner and had no easy way out.  Killing them off senselessly and quickly was the only option left.  It’s lazy, it’s piss poor, and as a fan, it really insults my intelligence.  Sorry, but I was very spoiled during the first five seasons.  Sure, they did things during those seasons I didn’t always agree with, but I never felt alienated by the arc choices.  
Enough show.  You don’t need tricks and sudden contrived story lines to get fans to stay engrossed.  We’re pretty damned loyal and easy to please.  Two brothers and a classic car was the premise we bought into originally, and it’s the only one we need today.  Why in the world did you have to pull the “big secret” card again only to take it to this?  Sure, that’s worked before, but the circumstances were riper.  
Remember season four?  When Sam was lying about Ruby, the brothers were in a far different place then.  Sam had already been using his powers for months and believed what he was doing was right, but also knew Dean would have a fit when he found out.  What did Dean do when he found out?  He had a fit, and punched Sam twice.  That only drove the wedge further.  That led to the long slow descent of the brotherly relationship that was hard to watch, but brilliantly plotted.  So was Ruby’s manipulation of Sam.  
In this case, the whole killing Amy and lying about it made no freaking sense other than its desperation to chew some scenery until the heart of the season begins.  Which better be really soon.  If this Amy crap comes up again now after the brothers declaring in two minutes they’re square, you’re gonna get half of the fandom going “Oh please, aren’t we done with this?” and the other half beating their heads on the wall over the piss poor plotting and blatant manipulation that won’t die.   
The writers already have tons of rich material to work with.  There’s Sam’s hallucinations and Satan vision (which have been barely touched), not to mention a lot of unexplored ramifications over the acts of his soulless self (only getting a few scenes in last season’s finale).  There’s Dean’s fragile mental state over losing Ben and Lisa (which hasn’t even been a mere thought at all since “Let It Bleed”) and Castiel (barely scratched the surface).  There’s so much potential here for rich character exploration.  It can be woven into the monster of the week plots.  It’s been done before.  Everything since the beginning of season six in that regards seems ill focused.  Stop trying to do so much and focus on the basics.  Since when did the writers gets such short attention spans?
I guess we have learned something important with this entire Amy debacle.  The writers have tons of excellent setup at their disposal and aren’t taking advantage of it, instead going stupid places that ends up alienating a lot of viewers instead of entertaining.  I’ll close by sending one huge plea to the writers.  We fans aren’t looking for a ton of shock value or rocket science here.  Work with what you’ve got, unpeel those layers inside Sam and Dean that are haunting their existence.  The setup is already there.  We’re continuity hounds, so the better things tie into previous events, the happier we’ll be.  No more forced drama and out of nowhere character behavior please.  
Thank you.  
Deep breath.  (In...out...)  
Looking forward, it’s my understanding the next two episodes are going to be comedy episodes.  Bring them on! We freaking need it.  I’m dying to know myself what sort of screwball scenario has Sam at the altar and who the mystery lady is.  NO, I don’t think it’s Becky.  If it is, there has to be one very believable twist at work.  Wait a second, Sam is getting married.  The believability is already gone!  Just no “jump the shark” moments then.  


# Sharon 2011-11-07 16:32
Alice when you do find out what is going on with Sam can you let me know? because that is all I am asking for.
The Amy sl left me baffled I have to say that it made no sense . Sam is not being dealt with despite some voices saying otherwise. I dont know Dean or why he went for Sam the way he did?. Sam is not struggling with anything he is actually doing the opposite.
This episode in itself had good quallities but I dont like the whole Amy sl and least Sam who is again something we are having to guess over .
# Alice 2011-11-07 16:37
Trust me, it's both Sam and Dean. What's going on with both of them makes no freaking sense. It's rather frustrating.
# Ginger 2011-11-07 20:56
Trust me, it's both Sam and Dean. What's going on with both of them makes no freaking sense. It's rather frustrating.
I know you don't mean it this way, but what's been going on with both Sam and Dean is that the show has role reversed the brothers.

Sam used to be the mediator between the normal human world, the brother who was the front man in the cases; and Dean, the brother with the crippling lack of social skills and the one who mostly dwelled off in the corners of the supernatural world.

I used to think Sam was this way because he was still looking for the life he had with Jessica; or at least he liked that life and learned from it over how he was brought up.

Now it's Dean who is the front man and Sam is off in the supernatural corners. That role reversal is quite evident in this episode. Perhaps we are to believe it was that atrocity of the Lisa/Ben storyline that caused this. I don't know, but I don't like it. It's just not right to switch characters that fans have viewed for years and loved for who they are.

As to how you meant it, Alice, it would appear that SG hasn't decided what (or which) characterizatio n to give either of the brothers. She tried last year to define a new Sam and Dean, and it fell pretty darned flat with the loyal viewers. Now she is pulling back a little. She needs to pick a path, IMO.
# airbat 2011-11-07 16:39
Thank you Alice!

This episode was hauting me and now I understand why. I do agree with you in all you've said.

The Amy story was wrong from the start to the end just there to create drama but in all the wrong ways.

I admit I was high up the foodchain of the SPN cheerleader fanclub. Shouting our my love for season 1 after the premiere and even claiming it to be my favorite season after episode 2.

And then suddenly for me it went from hero to zero. I'm still reading the overjoyed comments and love confessions of the fans that seem to enjoy each episode. I admit at being envious. I want to desperately to be one of those fans. But I get bummed episode after episode (with the exception of "slash fiction", which I really enjoyed). We're near winter break and the ending of "Mentalist" had my patience worn thin.

I love Supernatural. Hell, I even loved most part of season 6! So this sudden change in my fiew of SPN was confusing and unexplainable to me. I didn't get, why I just couldn't enjoy the last episodes everybody was so fond of, more so, I got downright pissed with the last one(which has never ever happened to me in six years).

Like you I put my hope in the upcoming episodes and hope for lighter ones to lift my mood. I just keep hoping, since I am not one to just give up on my beloved series because it's a bumpy ride.

But please writers, do as Alice says! Work with what you have, you have enough: Sam's hell, Dean's guilt issues, Cas (although I am not keen on necessarily getting him back-sorry Misha, love you!), Bobby....
# Joe 2011-11-07 16:45
Thank you for your restraint in articulating your frustration with the show. It is quite the contrast to Mo Ryan’s epic meltdown and all the more convincing for it.

I see where you are coming from. I myself have been annoyed by the Amy issue to no end, but I see it as metaphor for where the brothers are these days. It should have been a no brainer if killing a people-eating monster and its brood is right or wrong. The fact that it caused so much friction says to me that both brothers are in a bad place and not thinking straight.

I personally do not have to see Lucifer in every episode to know that Sam is barely hanging in there – see his overdone health routine or his teenage rebellion act of disappearing on his brother at a moment they are both being hunted. Nor do I need any tearful confessions by Dean to know that all the losses he suffered have finally broken his back – see his terrified blathering at the beginning of the episode. He was barely drawing breath for fear Sam would just get up and leave; and he looked so pathetically relieved when Sam agreed to work with him. Ellen’s message served the same purpose in this episode as the conversation with Gordon in 2.03 IMO.

I found Sam and Dean’s interactions very believable and there was definite progress in their relationship. They both started the episode in a bad place, but ended in a far better one. I’m happy.
Rachel Little
# Rachel Little 2011-11-07 17:35
Totally agree. I'm happy too.
# kaj 2011-11-09 03:25
I personally do not have to see Lucifer in every episode to know that Sam is barely hanging in there – see his overdone health routine or his teenage rebellion act of disappearing on his brother at a moment they are both being hunted.[\quote]

I definitely agree. I have been saying this for 2 reviews already. No one is listening :( Sam is definitely not fine. 'Nothing but satan vision inside' He is coping desperately. What we see here, all the odds and weird acts is the result of that mess inside his head.
The writers has done this trick before many times. They hold their card so closely until the end of season. Remember when we were outraged last season before we know that Sam is soulless. Before we know that Ruby is a bitch. Before we know that Cas is corrupted. It will be explained guys.

Nor do I need any tearful confessions by Dean to know that all the losses he suffered have finally broken his back – see his terrified blathering at the beginning of the episode.[\quote]

I am honestly happy that there's no tears. Because i don't like it that they do sharing and caring beside Not!Impala. If we want them to have chick flick moments they better be doing it beside Baby.
# Miggymom53 2011-11-07 16:54
I guess I'm seeing something different here. I've read enough reviews for this season and am feeling lonely. Yes, there are issues as there have always been, open holes and silly resolutions. But, I see a pattern here and I am enjoying the hell out of it. Redemption. Sam believes, Dean does not. That is the other shoe. Just my opinion and I'm likely wrong. But I'll enjoy the ride wherever it takes me.
# Alice 2011-11-07 17:18
You aren't wrong! I don't see a lot of right or wrong in viewer opinion. I'm pleased you're enjoying it.
# TeresaPezzino 2011-11-07 17:06
Alice, I agree with much you have said here. I am one of the mixed-feelings fans who adore this show and I take each episode as it comes and enjoy what is put in front of me as a stand-alone. But what I am definitely missing is the writing on the deeper level that this show is known for. Character exploration and motivation is becoming....'ch oppy' for want of a better word, and it is all the more frustrating when there is SO MUCH still to be explored with these brothers. These actors, this crew, and this show have given and accomplished so much and are capable of much more. I join Alice's pleas to the writers/powers that be to add back in the depth that has worked so well with the formula we all love.
# Gerry 2011-11-07 17:07
I've been waiting to read your write up and I did expect it wouldn't be all roses. (-: I'm hoping you wrote it to inspire conversation, because I'd like to engage with it, not out of disrespect or thinking you can't hold your opinion, just because I see things so differently. And I don't think it's because I'm drinking any koolaid. (-:

I don't think there is critical consensus that Dean's journey this year is hard to understand. There's a wide range of opinion on season seven and a lot of it is positive.

I think both Sam and Dean are processing a lot of emotional baggage they've been carrying for years. Sam's baggage is easier to spot because that's the kind of character he is. He talks about his issues, unless he's physically running away from them. So we know he's frightened of the SatanVision, but believing in Dean's ability to ground him. We also know that though Castiel et al thought the damaged soul would most likely kill him, no one realised surviving its return might actually give Sam strength. Sam's in an interesting place, but it's a place which relies heavily on Dean believing in him. Pushing on the scar only works because of what Dean said it meant.

Dean is reeling from a number of losses, most of which he feels guilty about. He forced the soul back into Sam and he left his family. I don't think he exactly feels guilty about Castiel, but he is left with unresolved unhappiness because when Castiel asked him to forgive him, he refused. Losing Castiel on those terms make it very difficult to move on.

I think it makes sense that Dean has not articulated these things to Sam yet. But the writers have not forgotten them. We know what Dean's nightmares consist of. We know he's drinking so much he's possibly not a functional alcoholic at this point. His responses are all in character for him.

And in my view, so was his killing of Amy. I understood his decision, just as I understood why Sam made his decision. The show made the bold move of showing one of the hunts from the monster's point of view. But all of the monsters have had points of view. In the end, the issue is: would you want to live next door to Amy during flu season? Do you decide its OK for her to eat your kid because hers can't survive well on carrion? The next time Amy or her son needed better nutrition, she'd have killed again. Living humans are her natural prey.

However, Sam's feelings for someone who saved him as a child and was his first crush influence his gut instincts. Sam has always been able to identify with monsters. It's been both a strength and a weakness. He was able to defeat Lucifer because of everything he's been through, including questioning his own nature. But Ruby was able to play him like a violin and it didn't set off his radar.

Dean knows Sam's instincts on pretty women who promise to be good are not stellar. It's not like he's afraid to broach these things with Sam as a rule, but he's afraid of Sam's mental state right now. And why not? Sam tried to kill him while hallucinating not long ago. Dean trusts his instincts with monsters, but he's a bit at sea about Sam.

So then we had the build up of each brother trying to assess each other's mental state while dealing with his own pain. I liked that this wasn't all resolved in an episode, because it raised the stakes higher for the reveal in "Slash Fiction." The end scene was powerful because we knew how much Sam wanted to help Dean and how let down he was. At the same time, we could see the relief in Dean at the lie finally coming out. Writing that leads to a final scene like this one I don't see as weak. I see a payoff.

In "The Mentalists," we saw Sam punishing Dean by pushing on the buttons that have worked since they were kids. Dean raised Sam and he suffered every time Sam ran away. Besides worry, his father blamed him--one of the reasons Dean feels responsible for everybody is that his father unreasonably made him responsible for holding their family together. Adult Sam knows what running away does to Dean. He also knows Dean will never give up trying to find him. This is a brotherly game between the two of them of very long standing.

Which is why I had no problem with Dean yelling at Sam about being a dick and bitchy. He admitted the anger had a basis. But he also pointed out Sam's response was the immature one of his childhood. Since I think Dean's Amy action was as understandable as Sam's, I think he had some reason to feel frustrated with Sam trying to pretend he doesn't know Dean. I also didn't find anything odd in Dean's choice of language. He's always used words like dick and bitch--to Sam, to Castiel--and it never means he doesn't love them.

I do think Sam's killing of Jimmy was a catalyst in going to talk to Dean. If he steps back from his own personal involvement, can he really justify judging Dean for killing Amy? I think he was finally allowing to himself perhaps the killing was not black and white. Jimmy's killing reminded him they both have to kill those who prey on others. Jimmy's felt less grey, but in the end, Amy's victim's families probably would have felt killing Amy should have felt less to Sam. In the end, Sam understands having to make these kinds of decisions and that they are hard.

Which leaves the lie as the key issue, which I think was the track the writers were always on. Amy was never meant to split the brothers up; she's a way for them to bring some issues to the surface that need talking about.

EvilDean articulated what Sam's real fear is: that Dean thinks he's insane and untrustworthy. And if Dean thinks that, then that undermines the talk Dean gave him to anchor him in reality. That's what really driving Sam's refusal to deal with Dean.

I think Dean knows that. He knows Sam won't really refuse to acknowledge killing Amy was not a black and white decision. I doubt Sam would expect Bobby to back him, for example. Dean knows the issue is: why did he lie? Does he trust Sam? So when Sam finally talks to him, that's where the conversation goes: Dean's trust issues. He's got them. And he tells Sam he knows Castiel's betrayal plays hugely into them and he regrets lying to Sam--that didn't feel right in his gut.

So, for me, I understand why Sam got in the car. Far from assassinating Dean's character for me, I am really concerned about him. I know he's teetering on a breakdown and that he needs Sam more than ever.

On an even bigger picture front, I think there are good reasons to have Castiel off the playing board at the moment, but hovering just out of sight in Dean's nightmares. But this is way too long as it is. Ooops.
# Jasminka 2011-11-07 17:23
I'd like to second your opinion, Gerry. I don't see an assassination of Dean's character, either, because from my point of view, he still acts, despite appearances, according to his character -
we have seen Dean unstable in the past, but there still had been some kind of stability (in the 'life', knowing whom he could trust, knowing what to do or which goal to pursue...), but now I believe that Dean has lost almost everything which kept him stable, more or less.

I think trusting Castiel was one of those things that provided some stability. After losing other factors in that department (e.g. the home Lisa/Ben gave him, albeit for a short time, knowing (more or less) what was happening to Sam and what he could do about it), the loss of Cas in that cataclysmic manner - this unexpected betrayal - I am sure that Dean has even lost his own sense of judgement. I wouldn't be surprised if he doubted his own insight. For a man who very much had to rely on that for most of his life, this must feel devastating.

He has no tools as to how to handle this situation. He doesn't know how to deal with Sam, the ticking time bomb. He doesn't know how to mourn a friend who betrayed him and whom, despite that, he misses (I'm sure).

It's a very lonely position. And one that probably scared the living daylights out of Dean.

So, naturally, he resorts to the one thing that used to provide stability, once, when they were "just" hunters, when the world was black and white to him. I do worry very much about these brothers.
And this, I fear, was way too long, too.

Cheers, Jas
# Fluffles 2011-11-08 15:28
Interesting how everyone goes on about Dean suffering because of all he has lost but fail to realise that Sam has probably lost more than Dean?

Dean can build relationships with others , he is Bobby's favourite and when Cas comes back he'll have his profound bond back again, the biggest thing standing in the way of Dean having relationships and being happy is Dean himself. In Sam's case who exactly does he have outside of Dean? Yes Bobby and Cas care but they're closer to Dean, Sam doesn't really have either of them to really talk to. Every time we meet a friend of Sam's past and potential they end up dead, so who does Sam have have? Why isn't he considered to be suffering? or alone? If Sam isn't considered enough for Dean then why should Dean be considered enough for Sam?

Sam has lost everyone and everything including Dean and potentially his sanity yet he isn't wallowing in the loss. He barely seems affected by it now days and I wonder if it isn't because he is so used to being alone and only really being able to rely on himself or on occasion Dean. If everyone in his life has been killed or turned out to be a monster/demon then can Sam really trust anyone? Is that the reason he doesn't even try to have relationships outside of Dean or is it simply a case of Sam is a plot device so he doesn't need to have relationships outside of Dean? Or maybe its just bad writing? All I can see is Sam lost yet another friend/ally in his life in Amy and I'm not entirely sure why that had to happen other than as a plot device to further Den's storyline?

In all I have to say I'm not worried about Dean at all because he has enough people in his life he can turn to if and when he falls apart. Trust issues can be mended, he will always be Bobby's favourite and if and when Cas comes back I have no doubt Cas's redemption will rebuild the bond between him and Dean. Also its not hard to see Dean settling down with a girl one day, look how he was with Melanie?

Sam on the other hand? It seems like he has given up on ever having anything outside of hunting, the chances of a romance seem so far of the cards and friendships don't seem all that much like a realistic option either. In a way I'm not worried about Sam either because he seems like he might be the strongest and most well adjusted man ever, I guess I worry about the character in terms of what might be next for him. If he's almost completely isolated and the writers don't seem to be all that interested in any kind of POV or emotional storyline then outside of a plot device what exactly is/will be his storyline. There is only so much mileage they can get from the broken wall and Sera Gamble has already said they have a resolution for that storyline set for the second half of this season.
# Ollie 2011-11-08 01:17
I agree with a lot of what you said, but not this part:


In "The Mentalists," we saw Sam punishing Dean by pushing on the buttons that have worked since they were kids. Dean raised Sam and he suffered every time Sam ran away. Besides worry, his father blamed him--one of the reasons Dean feels responsible for everybody is that his father unreasonably made him responsible for holding their family together. Adult Sam knows what running away does to Dean. He also knows Dean will never give up trying to find him. This is a brotherly game between the two of them of very long standing.

Which is why I had no problem with Dean yelling at Sam about being a dick and bitchy. He admitted the anger had a basis. But he also pointed out Sam's response was the immature one of his childhood. Since I think Dean's Amy action was as understandable as Sam's, I think he had some reason to feel frustrated with Sam trying to pretend he doesn't know Dean. I also didn't find anything odd in Dean's choice of language. He's always used words like dick and bitch--to Sam, to Castiel--and it never means he doesn't love them.
Sam wasn't punishing Dean or trying to hurt him. I'm a little annoyed, because I've read this a few times in the fandom and I really disagree. Sam was not trying to hurt Dean. He was the one hurting.

That's part of the problem I had with this episode. It was incredibly one sided and Dean's side was the only one hurting or mattered. I didn't see the episode as a character assassination, but Sam wasn't the one I thought was bitch in that scene. For me, Dean was getting angry because his jokes weren't funny to Sam and Sam was just working the job. I can understand all the other stuff going on with Dean and I don't fault him for saying what he said to Sam.

We don't know a lot about the times Sam ran away as a kid nor do we know why he does it. It's used throughout the show, but for the most part it's coping tool or independence streak. It's never been used maliciously. And clearly in this episode, Dean was waiting for Sam to call. Dean wasn't looking for Sam. It wasn't a game int this episode. Sam was hurt and Dean knew that he had to give Sam room. But it was never a game of who can hurt who more. Sam wasn't punishing Dean. Sam wasn't looking to make Dean suffer or he would have fought back more when Dean yelled at him. How come Sam walking away for some time is viewed as immature? Because Dean's feelings are hurt? Because Dean can't handle alone time? He handled it fine in this episode.

I just don't understand why Sam's actions are seen as immature when he wasn't calling Dean names, he wasn't trying to pick a fight with Dean, and he just wanted time to process. But Dean is in the clear with the name calling and telling someone just to stop being angry? Again, I don't fault Dean for getting angry, but why is Sam seen as this petty spiteful character when we're taught to walk away from a fight and cool down? Why are Dean's emotions of responsible and abandonment the only ones that are important, but Sam is only trying to hurt Dean? Sam couldn't handle being around Dean. It wasn't about hurting Dean or trying to play a game with him. Dean understood that or he would played along and gone after Sam.

It's probably just a matter of opinion, but I'm frustrated. I can fill in the blanks and see where the characters of Sam and Dean are coming from, but I don't want to. It's not my job. I don't want to have to go online and debate motives. I rather debate the actions. I want to see more of what is going on with Sam and Dean's mindset. (I would love to know more about what is going on with Sam, because he's this shiny happy person who is not consistent at all, but that's just me.)

Still, you make a lot of good points!
# Gerry 2011-11-08 08:57
Hi Ollie, I think some of the disconnect is just me communicating what I mean to say, because I adore Sam and do not think he is mean or spiteful. I think all relationships and especially family relationships come with a lot of baggage from when we are young and don't have a lot of relationship skills.

We know from the ep the boys went to heaven that Sam coped as a kid by running away and it never occurred to him what Dean went through when he did. I think that is completely age appropriate and not in any way a knock on him. But Dean was incredibly hurt, especially as he was held responsible.

I also think that it's a strategy Sam needs to examine as a grownup, because it's not a healthy strategy to have something you need to work out with someone and instead give the silent treatment. Dean has his issues and so does Sam. I think that's the point of the episode and so far of the season. The boys have default modes of dealing with emotional issues with each other.

I'm sorry it sounded like I think the issue was all Sam, because I don't. I was responding to the feeling in some quarters (not here and not Alice) that Dean is the big bad guy and poor Sam the victim. I think the emphasis in the ep is that neither is the big bad or the victim. Sam does need to stop running away or withdrawing and Dean needs to stop using self-destructiv e habits instead of admitting he hurts. Sam isn't a mind reader and he cares.

I think that's why I had no problem with Dean yelling at Sam. Sam was doing his own version of yelling by being so silent, oddly enough. He was making a very clear and not altogether mature point of his feelings and in a way he knew hurt Dean. Dean finally did the same, but in his own way and at least it cleared the air enough to have the boys talk. Something had to shift. I also think Sam has no issue with Dean using "dick" and "bitch." He has used the same kind of language himself, if not as often, and he knows that's part of Dean's vocabulary and those words never mean Dean doesn't care. Often, they mean the opposite.
# Joyful 2011-11-08 04:34
Thank you, thank you Gerry (and Jasminka) also for your deep analysis and thoughtful consideration of this episode (and the underlying issues this season). Wow, such a shame there is so much of the opposite occuring in this fandom currently.
Dean is still the deeply tragic and yet heroic character I have loved from the first moment I 'met' him, and Sam is still the complex stubborn but caring younger brother. Can't wait to see more of their continuing journey together which sparks such emotions in myself and many others.
# Fluffles 2011-11-08 15:39
Sam is also tragic and heroic I wasn't aware Dean was the only one of the brothers to suffer or save people or sacrifice or be a hero.
# Sylvie 2011-11-08 10:14
I do like what you have to say Gerry. I'm a little tired of reading certain things about how the writers are killing the show by not staying consistent with the characters. Maybe I'm a little blind when it comes to this show, but I'm not seeing the negative like some people are. Granted, I'm not a critic and I wouldn't make a very good one obviously.

I thought both Dean's & Sam's behaviour was true to form and what is going on with them at the moment. Am I bothered by the "dick" and "bitch" comments? Not really. And I was satisfied with the way the brothers came back at the end.

The way Dean was talking non-stop to Sam when they first reunited, you just know he was afraid Sam would just stand up and walk out again. But he is mature enough to realize that they do their best work when they are together. Has he really forgiven Dean for lying to him? Yes and no in my opinion. You can forgive certain things without forgetting them.

Anyway, that was way too long. But I do like season 7 as a whole.
# Jasminka 2011-11-08 13:24
I believe Sylvie, in addition to your thoughts, some of the reasons why Sam was forgiving Dean's lying to him so quickly might stem from his personal growth – with all what he has been going through for, oh my, for so long, it is a marvellous development.

I don’t buy his Zen-attitude entirely. He surely tries to deal with his ordeal in this quiet manner, but, on the other hand, I believe it is also a front he is putting up in order to not crumble.

Perhaps everyone of us remembers moments when someone asked you how you were doing (and meaning it) while you were in a bad state – and that question touched the wounded part of you and tears began to well up and eventually you wept, perhaps even broke down.

To shield yourself from that painful moment, you try not to go there, sometimes by playing the role of someone else, perhaps a Zen-like character (to connect this picture with this season’s Sam).
I see that almost every day in my line of work and I know it from personal moments when I had spent a lot of energy on establishing a strong armour and then someone touched the most delicate, tender wound with a question, a remark or simply a caring pair of eyes – and I had problems pulling myself together.

Since Sam’s soul is at its sorest these days, I think it’s safe to assume that he’s acting similarly – hiding behind this calm exterior, trying to convince himself that he can do it.

I also believe – since both brothers have had a long history of lying to each other and experiencing the sometimes devastating results – Sam actually might have learned that forgiveness and mercy are far more healthy and disburdening than holding on to a grudge. Why should he harbour bitterness when he is capable of finding forgiveness in his heart – for someone very close to his heart?

For me this is one of the signs that show how Sam has grown. And so has Dean, in his own way, too, though he is thrown back into the kind of pain he's been enveloped in during a long period of his young life and we don't see it clearly. But their growth as men has been evident throughout the past seasons. I don't see them moving backwards. What I do see, though, are two men in pain, two men that are lonely despite their deep bond. Perhaps that is the most devastating tragedy here...

Take care, Jas
# Fluffles 2011-11-08 15:49
I personally saw plenty of growth in Sam and yes why should he hold onto such bad feelings of anger and bitterness? Those are feelings that make us feel like crap and he doesn't deserve to feel like crap because he didn't do anything wrong, he wasn't in the wrong here. So I'm glad he let go of those feelings and doesn't have to carry them.

Next time though I'd like for Sam to just haul of and punch Dean's lights out, don't walk away all it gets him is abuse and it'll only get thrown back in his face somewhere along the line.

I'd also just like to point out that while everyone thinks Sam immature for physically running away no one has called Dean out on emotionally running away. Its the same song different tune (or something like that).
# Gerry 2011-11-08 16:00
Actually, I agree with Dean also needing to not emotionally run away--that's what he was doing for the preceding episodes and it was driving Sam nuts. Both brothers have issues. I don't think this was Sam vs Dean. I'm just glad the boys found a way to talk to each other. Silence and denial, on both their parts, was not helpful.
# Fluffles 2011-11-08 16:31
Maybe this is the mark of change? Maybe the writers have been purposefully high lighting all the character flaws that have lingered over the years and are finally trying to allow the boys to grow out of them?
# Gerry 2011-11-08 17:14
That's my take, yes. I think the point of this argument was for the boys to take a step forward in how they handled it. They each first handled it in an unhelpful way and then they finally listened to each other. The real issue was not Amy, as Sam admitted. It was whether Dean trusted him--which is what is anchoring Sam to reality right now. Dean admitted his lie did not show trust of Sam and that it felt very wrong to him and that he is still very hurt from Castiel's betrayal--inclu ding the bit where Castiel hurt Sam. The boys are not really at odds, they are just struggling to open up and talk about the real underlying issue. IMO! Mileage of course may vary.
# Bevie 2011-11-08 11:30
I agree with your post entirely Gerry.

And Alice, I am so sad you are feeling unhappy with the show lately. At least you are not so viciously vitriolic as Mo. I agree with your likes about this episode but definitely don't with your dislikes. I hope I am not being rude as I don't mean to be, but this is how I'm feeling.

This season so far is shaping up to be my most favourite since season 3. I'm loving it so far as it reminds me of those most enjoyable seasons 1, 2 & 3. (I have 3 friends who are feeling exactly the same way. They were unimpressed with the apocolypse and heavenly wars. Different strokes for different folks).

I just wonder sometimes why reviewers give Sam so many passes and excuses for his secrets and lies, but never allow Dean to have any resentment and call him a dick when he refuses to lie down and be a forgiving doormat. And I am not putting one brother over another as I wouldn't be watching without the both of my dear boys. I love both their characters and their brotherly spats and arguments seem true to me as with most siblings. Different people have different reactions at different times in their lives and I haven't seen anything to put me off about the show yet and am really happy the apocalypse stuff is over and done with and we are forging ahead with what was successful at the start. The journey of the brothers and how they cope with their togetherness 24/7.

And we have the most amazing 2 actors who have never phoned it in and have always given their best even when the writing has been not quite up to par, and I'm forever grateful those two were chosen for their roles. Also, the co-stars and other actors picked for this show have been outstanding. What more could I ask for? :P

Still loving this show more than any other show at any other time in my long life! ;-) :-)
# RGNYC* 2011-11-07 17:14
Hi Alice thanks for your review. While I agree with a lot of what you say, I am with Joe here—I’m happy. I feel that the argument outside of the museum was great—with Ellen’s push Dean said what needed to be said (I don't think he came off here as a dick at all) and I think Sam really heard him. And Joe--spot on about Dean in the cafe. I love Mary's theory about Sam thinking Dean was a hallucination at first—that was very subtle but I’ll take it.
# Alice 2011-11-07 17:20
Oh, I just thought of something else! Remember in season four's "Death Takes A Holiday?" Pamela's dying words were a warning to Sam about his "good intentions." Wouldn't that have been great if Jimmy called out Sam during their confrontation on what he's seeing inside? How much it's tearing him apart, or that he's not as fine as he lets on? That would helped in explaining his forgiveness. Another missed opportunity I guess.
# Sharon 2011-11-07 17:27
Some of you have summed up the problem here.Who said we need to see Lucifer in every episode? Really is he the only way the writers can give us Sams hell? . Subtle that is the problem again , you can speculate that Sam might of been hallucinating but you cant say for sure. You can speculate that Sam is struggling but neither of these things are evident.

Dean acting the way he did outside of the museum maybe alright for some but calling Sam a dick and bitch seriously .it made me want to slap him.
# Fluffles 2011-11-08 15:54
Apparently its the mature thing to do now days. Next time Sam just punch him, seriously it'll get you a hell of a lot more respect from the fans.

Dean acted like a bitch and a dick for the previous 4 or so episodes shame Sam didn't call him out on it either. Sam's 5 minutes of being pissed was a lot easier to handle than Dean's constant stream of bitterness and self pity.
# Geordiegirl1967 2011-11-07 17:31
Sorry Alice, but I totally disagree with your negative take on things. While I wish they had never gone down the route of creating more conflict between the brothers - which I am sooooo sick of - they way they dealt with it was fine with me, and I absolutely loved this ep.

Of course you have a right to your own opinion, but what I really disagree with are your statements that imply all critics are as uncomfortable with the way things are going as you are. While I love your site and I appreciate the passion you have had for the show over the years, you and Mo Ryan do NOT represent the critical community.

My reading of the general consensus out there is that there is broad satisfaction with s7, and most critics are giving the eps good reviews. Just using ep 7 as an example, even on your own site, Robin, Sofia and Elle all enjoyed it. Elle loved it and says s7 is shaping up to be her favourite season. Bekah from Support Supernatural loved it. It got a good write up from Rachel Reitsleff on AssignmentX. Dahne at Spoiler TV gave this ep a B and said "So far season 7 is shaping up to be better than seasons 4, 5, and 6 for me". Spoiler TV also gave the previous ep 10/10 and have been very positive about this season so far. Daemon's TV gave ep7 a good review, and interestingly one of the contributors there actually asked "By the way, what is going on with Mo Ryan? She has been acting like a fan girl rather than a critic. So sad...I really did value her opinion in the past". IGN gave it a great review. I could go on and on. I am sure there are 1 or 2 more negative takes out there, but your portrayal of a consensus among the critics / reviewers of the show that something really fundamental is wrong with the show is in my respectful, but strongly held, opinion totally false.

I looked at Mo's latest article, and the first page or 2 of responses. Most of the responses I saw were expressing their strong disagreement not just with Mo's views, but also with her (let's charitably describe it as) 'less than objective' (or if you wanted to be more accurate, but less polite, 'highly emotional and melodramatic') take on the show.

You have a right to your view Alice, but it is just that; your view. It does not represent the fandom of SPN or the critical reception. And as for Mo Ryan, I personally feel that she is no longer even able to make any pretence of an objective take on the show, and if she is unable to correct that I think she should step down and let someone else take over the reins.

Edit: I have just spent a good while looking through all the comments on Mo's article, and the likes/dislikes are very interesting. Almost every comment disagreeing with Mo's stance has loads of 'likes' (over 20 in many cases) while those agreeing have many 'dislikes'. Almost every response to a comment by Mo herself gets lots of 'dislikes'. All this, and general the tenor of a lot of the comments (including from people who say they have enjoyed Mo's reviews in the past) shows clearly that she is not chiming with most SPN fans.
# Alice 2011-11-07 17:48
You know, you just actually broke one of our coveted rules here. You're putting words in my mouth. I won't hold it against you, but man, I have not "implied" anything.

I read a lot of critics, TV critics, and it's more than Mo Ryan, trust me. These are people that have been doing Supernatural reviews for a long time. I'm not saying they're completely right, but there are troubling issues with the show.

My issues are not with this episode either as I said in the intro. It's how this episode flows with the others this season. I also chose to avoid phrases like "this season is better than last" because I wanted to push the discussion. I've made it clear many times before though, this season is better than last. Better than four and five? Not by a long shot.

I never said that everyone hated it, just that some in the critical community were raising issues and it was causing controversy. Yes, the reviews on this site are prime examples of those that love it. I LOVE how all our reviewers have varying opinions. It's what makes our site strong.

Your comment here is exactly what I've had such a hard time recently trying to grasp. How can you take one's opinion (not just me but Mo and others as well) and think that we mean everything and everyone agrees with us? Of course not! But we have a right to state our concerns. It's actually nothing new for us. Instead of attacking the critics out there, why don't you follow a page from Gerry's book and give a constructive, well thought out dissent as to why you are loving this season.
# Geordiegirl1967 2011-11-07 19:17
You know, you just actually broke one of our coveted rules here. You're putting words in my mouth. I won't hold it against you, but man, I have not "implied" anything.

I read a lot of critics, TV critics, and it's more than Mo Ryan, trust me. These are people that have been doing Supernatural reviews for a long time. I'm not saying they're completely right, but there are troubling issues with the show.
Alice you say I am putting words into your mouth,but I am absolutely not as you have just confirmed in your response. In your article you say "Now, you may have noticed, there’s a level of frustration with Supernatural in the critical community these days." That clearly implies that you believe lots of critics are getting unhappy with the show. Then in your response to me you say again "I read a lot of critics, TV critics, and it's more than Mo Ryan, trust me" and you state as if fact that "there are troubling issues with the show". Well I read a lot of reviews too - and I don't accept your version of events on this.

You are saying in the comments I quote that your view (which I respect) is not just yours, but is shared by lots of other critics who agree with your take that there is something going wrong with the show. It is this assertion that I am disagreeing with. I quoted lots of examples of critics and websites that follow SPN who were happy with this ep, and the season, and are expressing none of the unease you describe. You just say "it is more than Mo Ryan trust me". Well I'd actually prefer evidence rather than to take it on trust, so would you mind sharing with us who these other critics are that agree with you and Mo?

I don't want to come across as aggressive or nasty. That is not my intention, and as I say, I love your site and all you have done to promote the show. To be clear, I am not attacking critics. Of course you / they have a right to say what you / they think. What I do take issue with is your implication that your views (and Mo Rs) are representative of a consensus view out there among critics. I genuinely don't see it. And the reaction to Mo's latest piece that I referred to in my previous post corroborates my view that Mo in particular has lost her way with the show, and is losing the respect of the fandom as a result.

Sorry to disagree so strongly. I hope I have put across my views politely though. They are not meant as an attack.
# Alice 2011-11-07 19:54
Okay, I'll accept that you aren't trying to attack. Opinions are strong, so I'll take it as that.

Just because there is a level of frustration with "critics" and yes I didn't specify a number but I certainly didn't imply "all" doesn't mean we are all on the same page. We all see the issues in different ways. BuddyTV thought the MOTW was boring. AV Club is just plain frustrated with the way Dean is being treated as a character but thought the episode was OK, and echoes that same sentiment, decent MOTW, issues elsewhere. If you want a comprehensive list, I'll see if I have some time!

The point is, the critical community is making some noise. Not everyone. There are way too many Supernatural reviews out there (hundreds if not thousands). But a lot that get eyeballs are. You don't get bigger than AOL TV for a Supernatural review. I'm sorry, but Spoiler TV, Support Supernatural (even though we love them to death here), and Assignment X doesn't get the widespread attention that the others raising concerns are. My reviews get a lot of attention too. I know that sounds like bragging, but I see numbers on this site. We are one of the biggest fansites for Supernatural. The most read reviewer on The Winchester Family Business by far is me. The most linked reviewer by far is me. It's because I've been doing this a long time. I still love the reviews and reviewers on this site and I'm proud to showcase them, but they don't get as many reads on their reviews.

Don't take this comment the wrong way either, I think all reviews are important. In my weekly review roundups, I try to profile new reviewers and reviews from smaller sites as well as the bigger ones. Support Supernatural for example always gets a mention. I'm just saying, some have a bigger reach. The ones making noise are the ones I was referring to in the "critical community" comment.
# Joe 2011-11-07 20:19

The point is, the critical community is making some noise. Not everyone. There are way too many Supernatural reviews out there... But a lot that get eyeballs are. You don't get bigger than AOL TV for a Supernatural review...
The examples you provide are wildly different. On the one hand you have reviewers noting a peeve or two but in a generally positive tone, as is common in most reviews of most shows out there. On the other hand you have Mo Ryan, who could not have been angrier in her review if she tried. That level of disenchantment with the show of ONE person, even if it were the Pope, in no way whatsoever translates to “noise” in the critics community.

And please don’t take this the wrong way either, but the so-called reach of a site can change overnight. It is the internet. If people stop liking a site, they will find an alternative fast enough.
# Alice 2011-11-07 20:57
You so right! If we're bringing up tone, that's a different matter. Mo is alone in her tone. She was pretty angry, but as someone who knows Mo personally, I also know she deeply cares. Her intentions are good, but her frustrations are high. Other reviewers are expressing concerns, but they're not that vocal. Some are getting noticed though.

You speak massive truths about the reach of a site! I'm so with you there. There are always other alternatives. I'm just stating the here and now.
# Jasminka 2011-11-08 00:51
You see, personal anger and bitterness don't belong in a professional review. Stating what one doesn't like is perfectly alright and important, but getting too emotional is unprofessional for a person who wants to be taken seriously as a critic.

But that's just me. Perhaps it's a cultural thing. Over here in Europe it's done differently.

I have never read criticsm in any of my preferred papers or magazines with that kind of personal emotionalism. To my mind it doesn't belong there. Not in the manner I found in the mentioned review.

When I get angry at a patient,I couldn't express it the way I perhaps liked. It would be highly unprofessional. I need to find another way or, if I am unable to, keep it to myself and deal with it quietly. But, well, it might well be an European thing. We do things differently. And personally I prefer that.
Cheers, Jas
# Fluffles 2011-11-08 16:03
You ahve to admit Mo had some good points. I agree a lot with what she's been saying about the lack of quality in writing and I also agreed with her view of Dean in a certain scene in the last episode. I did however think she could have been a lot more tactful in how she said it. Given that the vast majority of her readers are Dean girls was it wise to write a review that wasn't exactly complimentary? I think she could have handled her growing discontent with the show much better.

I also have to put the question out there-would there have been this kind of uproar over her review had she called Sam a dick and an asshole? I don't think so.
# lianne 2011-11-08 20:05
I don't recall that ANY professional reviewer has EVER referred to Sam as a "dick", have they? Even when Sam actions could be considered questionable, he has never been called names like that by Mo or any reviewer that I've seen.

So I guess since it's Dean, he's fair game?

The biggest problem for me and for many commenters there, is that Mo makes a big point that she will not tolerate "DeanGirl" nonsense, yet she is the one who created the "hateful" atmosphere by bashing Dean in the first place.
# Hooligans 2011-11-09 14:37
I did say I didn't agree with her method and yes she definitely did set herself up by making that comment then telling fans not to get into a Dean V Sam fight. It was stupid on her part.

Reviewers may have not called Sam a dick out right but there have been plenty who have not been kind about the character and there is a large group of fans who do plenty of name calling for them so why do they need to bother?

The point is she thought Dean behaved like a dick some agree and some don't, doesn't really matter its her opinion she isn't forcing anyone to comply with her views.

Also can the viewers and reviewers who didn't condemn Dean's name calling be considered to be agreeing with Dean's view therefore not openly calling Sam a dick buy more than implying that they agree? How many reviews have actually said Dean was right to say what he did? Therefore how many just called Sam a dick and a bitch?

I've already stated my opinion on the scene I thought it was very in character of Dean.
# Geordiegirl1967 2011-11-07 20:40
Sorry Alice I don't follow what you are saying. If all reviewers are important then the views of Support SPN is just as important a voice in the critical community as AOL.

What does this comment "I'm just saying, some have a bigger reach. The ones making noise are the ones I was referring to in the "critical community" comment" mean? Are you saying that those reviewers with a bigger reach are more representative of the fandom / critical community just because they are on bigger or more established websites? My point was about the consensus view of the critical community. You seem to be introducing a pecking order, even among the contributors to your own site, and saying that those that are read more like yourself and Mo are, what, more representative? Or your views should have a greater weight? Or that if you, Mo and a couple of other 'big' reviewers think one thing and 30 smaller / less read reviewers disagree then ....what? Sorry I am genuinely puzzled as to what point you are making.

Also even the other sites you quote to support your argument you are misrepresenting somewhat. Buddy TV did say the case was a bit boring, but then said "The case might've been dull, but there were still plenty of highlights." They list 6 things they loved including "That's the kind of sweet, brotherly love moment we've come to expect on Supernatural" Hardly a damning indictment or indicating a deep-seated dissatisfaction with the direction of the show. They also liked eps 5 and 6 (I haven't gone back any further).

You quote which is odd because I didn't think they had professional reviewers, just fan reviews.

TV Club gave it a B- and thought it was only OK. However I don't think the views of this site carry any more weight (by your yardstick not mine) than Assignment X, Support SPN or Spoiler TV.

I found TvFanatic that gave the ep 4.1/5 and said " I'm so glad the two were able to make up and work out the tension between them. Bravo, boys. You're growing up. Although don't grow up too much because your brotherly teasing and arguing is always entertaining". (I've never heard of them, but they came up on my search) loved the ep saying "an awesome episode with scary ghosts, spot-on humor and a ton of psychic intervention, alleviated most of my fears and gripes and kept me thoroughly entertained".

Tina Charles from TV Guide (you don't get a much bigger reach than TV Guide - surely she should qualify as an influential reviewer) loved last week and enjoyed this week (although she doesn't enjoy brotherly angst - I can relate). She said "I enjoyed The Mentalists. It's a straight up MOTW case with a healthy side dish of sibling drama". She has enjoyed pretty much every ep this season and has expressed none of the general worries about the direction of the show that you talk about in your article.

I am just trying to understand, because I am not really following your argument. If you think the views of the most influential reviewers are the best representatives of the critical community, then who are they apart from you and Mo R? I'd include Tina Charles but she doesn't share your concerns. If, as I believe, the critical community is much wider than that, then I see no evidence to back your view that there is a negative consensus out there that is concerned about the direction of the show - as I have tried to demonstrate by listing all the reviews I can find from all the obvious places. I just don't know who is making all the noise you are referring to.
# Alice 2011-11-07 21:13
I think you are now completely barking up the wrong tree. Stop raising an issue that isn't there. You are confusing again the episode with the season in general! I said the frustration is with Supernatural, not "The Mentalists." Did you read my review? Did you notice I was overall positive about the episode as a standalone? Did you see how I gave it a B- also? I've tried to make that clear. Lots of reviewers were fine with the episode. Their issues have been in this whole Amy business and the character development of season seven. That's where the noise is coming from.

Tina Charles is a friend of mine and someone I often link to on this site. We get together at every Comic Con. I highly recommend you read my review roundup articles because she's always there. I thought you wanted those that were raising issues. Although, if you read Tina's reviews from the last few weeks, she hasn't been a real fan of this Amy issue either. I highly recommend you read all of them.

Tim at is a professional reviewer. So is Louis, who is someone I met at Comic Con this year. They actually have quite a big following out there.

I just don't get what issue you're raising here. I think it's turned into picking a fight. I really don't have time for this anymore. How about focusing on what you thought was good or bad about the episode and this Amy mess in general? That's what page 2 is about.
# Geordiegirl1967 2011-11-07 21:52
I thought we were having a polite debate. I'm sorry you don't see it that way. If you don't want to answer my points Alice then of course that is entirely up to you. However, others read these threads too, and might be interested even if you don't want to continue, so I will still respond to your points if that is OK then I will leave it at that.

Yes I mentioned several reviews of the Mentalist as this was the jumping off point for your wider comments. But I also went back through this season's previous ep reviews on the sites I quoted to see if they shared your wider concerns, and I included that in my post. In summary, in general, they don't.

I checked out Tim from (thanks for the heads up - he is good). He says he prefers MOTW to the arc eps since s6, but doesn't seem over concerned and describes the show as one of his favourites.

" Lots of reviewers were fine with the episode. Their issues have been in this whole Amy business and the character development of season seven. That's where the noise is coming from"

So are you saying the issues are more about the Amy incident, and whether that was in character, than wider problems? I agree that was very divisive, among fans and reviewers alike. But does the controversy around that add up to serious problems with the direction of the show? Using Tina Charles as an example, she had some reservations about the Amy issue, and isn't a brotherly strife fan, but has not expressed any deep seated dissatisfaction , and had enjoyed most eps this season a lot. Also there have been many divisive issues in the past; the intro of Ruby and Bela, Sam's demon blood addiction, Dean's role (or lack of in some eyes) in SS etc etc. Controversy doesn't mean there is a major problem with the show.
"I just don't get what issue you're raising here."

The point I am making is a very simple one, and one I have tried to evidence, which is that IMO there is no widespread among critics, fundamental dissatisfaction with the overall direction of the show in the way you describe. I have quoted the opinions of reviewer after reviewer and site after site - both on the Mentalist and wider issues - and found no evidence of the consensus you describe. I have checked out the reviewers you mentioned in your responses, and they don't seem to share your concerns.

I am really not picking a fight Alice. I'm sorry you have interpreted my posts in that way - although I am not sure why as I have been perfectly polite. But I admit that I have pushed for some hard evidence because it is too easy for generalisations , and the views of a couple of influential voices to become accepted wisdom, and in this case I don't think that what those influential voices are saying is a fair representation of the views of the fandom or of the critical community.

I won't keep on about this, as you seem to feel it is off topic and don't feel you want to respond, but I did want to get my views across because I feel quite strongly about the issue.
# Alice 2011-11-07 22:03
I do apologize. I'll tell ya, I'm doing something I should never do, working on multiple things (aka programming for work) while trying to answer comments. Bad idea.

Give me a day. I'll take your comments into consideration and see if I can't come up with a better answer. Everything is off the top of my head at this time.
# Alice 2011-11-08 15:37
Okay, I've had a small amount of uninterrupted thought to give to this. Polite or not (yes your tone is fine) overall dissatisfaction is not an issue I'm trying to raise at this time. At least not with this article. What I said is a small sentence that's a segue into my analysis. Believe me, if I did think it was something to be brought up, I would have had it as a discussion point or it's own article.

I never said there's an overall consensus among reviewers. Just a few concerns are being raised in the critical community. That is fact. I never said there was outrage, rebellion, complete utter spewing dissatisfaction with Supernatural everywhere. You are hunting for an implication that isn't there. There are those though that send me messages though wondering why certain people are being so vocal about Supernatural. It's that kind of show. But for every fan that doesn't notice the criticisms, there are others that think there are too many. Again, it's another topic.

I accept that you feel strongly about it, but it's the wrong place in this thread. If there are others here wants a big discussion on the critical community and their mindset for or against Supernatural, post a "yay" and I'll research and write an article on it. I can honestly tell you, over the last four weeks, I've read a lot of complaints. They've been constructive complaints though for the most part, but others do see some flaws. That doesn't mean that people are hating the show. They're just pointing out some problems. Digging into all that involves research and time.

It's funny actually. This is one of the common complaints by bloggers and newspaper columnists all the time. You write a 3500 word review, and people get hung up on the ten words or so that have nothing to do with the point being made. I guess that's what is bothering me most about this debate.

I apologize for any miscommunicatio ns. I'm a one woman show these days on this site (plus running others while working a day job) and haven't been able to partake thoughtfully in discussions like I want to (or even respond to comments for that matter).
Rachel Little
# Rachel Little 2011-11-07 17:32
I disagree that Amy wasn't a threat. She was going to kill again, at some point ---- it'd probably 'be for my son..." maybe, but she was already going by an alias of a fairly recently created fictional character --- so just when/why did she become Amy Pond, who was she before that?

What killings did Sam not know about before hand?

I do think the lie was the thing, though Sam sounds so hypocritically to me when he whines about being lied too. He lies so easily to Dean, Dean lies 'not easily' the drinking and the attitude.

I don't think it was about Amy, I do think the writer's didn't NEED to go there at all though and I don't get WHY they went there --- I think the repercussion from Castiel were enough to have both boys dealing with, and Sam with his Lucifer issues.
# Fluffles 2011-11-08 16:08
Yes because people who have lied in the past have no right to be upset when they are lied to? Perhaps it would have been better for Sam to just nod and smile, agree with everything Dean says and does and never have an opinion, a POV or an emotion.

I say bring back soulless Sam.
# Ginger 2011-11-07 17:56
I understand where your frustration comes from, Alice, but I agree with both Joe and Gerry on this one. I really can't add to anything they have said, but...

First, let me say thank you for not making Sam the victim in your review.

Secondly, there was absolutely no character progression in S6, but I am seeing some for both the brothers in S7.

That said, I think trying to make human conditions, which should be sub-plots (mental issues and depression/guil t), into main storylines is a mistake that will never satisfy the fans that want to see Sam's momumental Hell suffering or Dean stumbbling under the weight of living life (his being hunting and the losses associated with it). I, for one, like tough as nails hunters.

I like Dean's hard drinking, hanging out in bars, take no prisoners attitude. I don't want him wallowing in alcoholism. Of all the plots they have dropped with Dean, I hope this becomes one of them. I never want to hear about Lisa/Ben again, and the angel works just fine as a mention here and there. I'm sure it will be resolved, and I hope the resolution will mean the angel storyline is over and done with. It's shelf life is over.

As for Sam, I don't know where they are taking his character. I know that Dean is supposed to have a 13-episode arc and Sam's is supposed to be the second half of the season.

Where the brothers were in this episode worked for me. Dean called Sam on his crap, there was no right or wrong involved, and they moved on from a weak manufactured tension story between the brothers. Yeah, I'm buying Sam is erratic because of his nutsballs rattling around in his head. And I buy that Dean is stressed because there is no way for him to fix it.

I could do without two comedies right now, because I want to get to the Levi story. That one has great potential if executed properly.

Lastly, I welcome episodes with just the two brothers, and I loved the S1 feel to this one. It was a good script from two first-time writers, and I thought it was fun and entertaining.
Kat Wilkins
# Kat Wilkins 2011-11-07 18:08
Sorry guys, but I'm still in bliss. Over reading every little hint of explanation and nodding in accceptance. Oh, I get it, that's why that happened and of course that makes perfect sense if you look at it that way! Sorry, but i still love SPN and the boys under this much stress are entitled not to make rational judgements and decisions. Yeah, a lot of it doesn't make sense and oh god I wished they'd do more with Sam's hallucinations. The 'make-up' scene should have been explosive with Sam airing his frustrations about is and isn't real and Dean airing his misgivings about trusting anyone, let alone a monster. writers get the message, we want depth of characters and true emotion. Is that too much to ask?
# Jean 2011-11-07 18:26
Alice, although I am one of those happy fans (I don't feel the need to dissect the show, I just watch it and enjoy it), I appreciate that you presented your concerns in a rational manner. After reading your introduction I expected the second half of your review to resemble that of Mo's, which I found extremely inappropriate. I clicked on the second page with some trepidation, but was pleasantly surprised at the tone of the rest of your review even though I do not feel the same way. I am also glad that you liked this episode on its own merits (I loved it), and that your problems were not with it but with the season as a whole.

I am thoroughly enjoying season 7 so far, and am always looking forward to the next episode.
# elle 2011-11-07 19:22
Hi Alice,
Thank you for always expressing your view thoughtfully and rationally, without simply hurtling nasties out there. Though I agree with the views of Gerry, Jas, etc. that the characterizatio n hasn't been bad and that the season is shaping up nicely, I appreciate a thoughtful look at the other perspectives out there.

I hope that overall the season can please most fans in the end, difficult though the task is. Alas, only time will tell!
# KazKriz 2011-11-07 19:34
well, good review but I don't agree with most of it. I was a little confused at first when I saw how easily Sam forgive Dean for lying but I got it then... it was cuz of the guy he killed.
I don't think that something is wrong... with the boys, yeah I may not write reviews in websites but I've followed the show for a very long time, enough to know when the characters are growing... and I can see that this season, Sam's dealing with his head issues and Dean's doing it too. I agree about Amy but I don't think it's necessary for us to see or hear everything so literaly on the show. we know what Amy meant to Sammy (at least that's what the flashbacks showed us ... how she was his first "freak" friend and everything) and I was happy to see a mature conversation between the boys.It's not necesary for Dean to cry or for Sam not to get why his brother did what he did, to make a scene have sense. I enjoyed this episode because I think the week and a half Sam took to think about Dean and that had sense, also when he realized how killing a man, a human is not different when they've done something bad. I saw it... a monster or a human that do something wrong are not different. he killed him and we know how Sam is about killing humas... but it was the right thing, just like killing Amy was the right thing. Yeah I think she had to die and if Sam couldn't do it I was happy dean could.
I still don't get why people think they are killing Dean's character... I think what he did (since TGND)was good. and when he tolf Sam why he was acting the way he's been acting I was glad. it wasn't cuz he felt guilty ... it was cus he didn't like lying to sam...and that also explains a little bit more back to season 4, and the cas issue is obviously more than just a "trust issue" because if it was just what Dean said at the end of last episode I don't think Hellen would have call from beyond (I loved that line)

well, I'm happy with this season... it's a good one and I do like the fandom to talk about the brother's actions... (I still can remember how we used to analized Sam's actions back in season 4)

p.s any grammar or spelling mistakes are mine.. ^^ I'm sorry it's not my language
# A 2011-11-07 19:42
I don't think there was anything surprising (or especially upsetting) about Dean's outburst. There was a lot of tension between the brothers all episode, and it boiled over. Sam yelled right back, so I don't think I'd agree that he didn't get angry in response... he certainly did. It was what he'd wanted to do all episode while he silently stewed, and getting that steam off let both of them come to a better place with each other. Throughout the episode, Sam was reminded why he and Dean do this job. There were little moments where he was watching Dean interact with Melanie, and it was like he was remembering... hey. We do this job to protect victims. Dean didn't do this to hurt me, or screw me over. He did it to protect people, because that's who we are.

(For the record, I also don't agree with characterizing the Metamorphosis fight as a "fit"... not unless Sam's leaving in the past episode was a fit as well, which I don't think it was. Dean tried to leave that situation, as Sam did in this past ep. However, back then, Sam didn't let him leave. He was too scared of him leaving, so he grabbed him. That precipitated the punch, that forced the confrontation.. . Dean was not given the time to cool down that Sam was given here, and his anger bubbled over. And it was an equivalent betrayal; Dean had just spent years being tortured by demons. To find out that Sam was secretly working with one who'd expressed such hatred of him before he went to Hell was an incredible shock.)

So I think their reactions in this episode made sense; I didn't think it was over the top for one brother to call another a dick and a bitch, nor did I think it was out of the blue for one and a half weeks of solitude and anger, followed by seeing your loved one again and watching him do his job competently and with compassion, to result in a softening of emotions. When you love somebody, that's how it happens sometimes.
# Boydo1 2011-11-07 20:59
Speeches I wanted to hear;
When Sam said Amy was my friend, Dean says "Sam she was a girl you knew for less than a day 15 years ago. Cass was our friend, like a brother to us and he betrayed us lied to us and nearly got you killed, so forgive me if I had trouble trusting your instincts about Amy." and in the final scene Sam; Dean, I have Lucifer whispering in my ear 24/7 but you told me it wasn't real and I should trust you! but you lied to me. You can't lie to me, you have to be completely honest or how do I keep Lucifer from convincing me I'm still in Hell?
# Melanie 2011-11-07 21:30
See to me, we have heard those speeches -- just not all at once and neatly put together and tied with a bow.
That's actually a perfect summary of what the boys are really talking about when dealing with the 'Amy issue.'
# dlt847 2011-11-07 21:12
I love the show. It's entertaining. Some shows are better than others; just like any other TV show. I'm really enjoying this season. Nothing more to say.
# rmoats8621 2011-11-07 21:30
I agree that the writing hasn't gone as smoothly as I would have liked this year, but I think you will agree that it's getting better. After all they're not ignoring prior seasons like they never existed. Also as I've stated before, I don't think the writers should be shouldered with all the blame as there are editing and corporate decisions made by TPTB that are influencing the plot. Recently I recalled how Jensen stated that the Amy episode included more information about what Dean (and probably Sam and Bobby) had been doing during the 3 week period while they were recuperating that was cut and left on the floor. Personally, I would have loved to have seen that and I suspect that a lot more footage has found the same fate. So, blame for some of this year's disappointments needs to be spread around.

As for Mo's review, I admit that I was disturbed by it and think that some of the wording choices that she made could have been done differently. This Amy issue has inflamed the fan base and uncovered some ugly warts in my opinion. I find it very sad. There really is no place for this kind of conduct. Disagreement and debate is good, but when it becomes ugly and "mean", it needs to go. I respect yours and Mo's opinions. I may not always agree, but I know that both of you are passionate about "excellent" television and that's what Supernatural represents to me. This show has always been one that I've perceived as above the bar. Just not noticed as it should be since it's on a network that has seemed to be concerned with only one demographic and not the rest of us who enjoy television too. I've seen enough of procedural shows. They're all the same. IMO

Now, in regards to this season, I find it a BIG improvement over last. I mean, that usually I save on my DVR a majority of the episodes. However, last year I only saved a few. This year is different. I have no desire to delete any of them. I like them all. Although I do like some more than others, I have to admit.

My point is this. Keep doing what you're doing and I sincerely hope that Mo keeps doing what she's doing (just maybe with better wording choices), because it causes me to think and really enjoy the episodes so much more. I find that my interactions with your sites have made me a more informed viewer.

Last thought: Boy, I'm really looking forward to this wedding! Oh, Sam...what are you thinking, darling??? And Dean, don't you be critical...unti l you find out the WHOLE situation! Try listening instead of acting first for once! :lol:
# Melanie 2011-11-07 21:43
I'm happy with the boys characterizatio ns. I just don't agree that there are any huge problems with the show. And I certainly do not think that Dean's character has been assasinated in any way shape or form - except perhaps in that he knows the words to Air Supply.
# trinaaron 2011-11-07 22:41
I just hope that the writers chalk Amy up to a failed plot point (it happens) and just forget about it. Because what they did with it sucked, or at least made no sense. If the main issue was should Dean have killed Amy then the whole scene with her son should never have happened. Because Dean in that scene in particular was cold and scary. If the point of Amy was to highlight Dean's trust issues then they probably should have given more than lip service to the fact that Dean is the one who actually betrayed Sam's trust. The whole thing ended up being so unfocused that no matter no matter what angle I try to use to figure out the writers intent just leaves so many unresolved issues.
# Gerry 2011-11-07 23:16
I don't think the intention was to make either brother the bad guy, though. In the end, no one betrayed any one--Sam had a right to be angry and Dean had a right to be worried about Sam's state of mind. It's a relationship and they're both doing the best they can.

I think Dean was supposed to be scary in that scene--we were seeing Amy's point of view. And I thought the writers did a nice job of complicating Dean's point of view by bringing in the son, because protecting kids is his hot button, and here he was the monster in the dark in this boy's eyes. It was part of the turnabout in point of view of the central premise of the show.

I think a lot of that story line was uncomfortable, but I think writers have the right to take a story uncomfortable places as long as there's a pay off. I think that's why Supernatural has more weight for me than many similar shows out there. After all this time, I still love to write about it.
# Melanie 2011-11-08 10:01
Thank you for bringing up the point that the episode was basically from Amy's POV. It was very sympathetic toward her - everyone is the hero of their own story afterall - and that is what created the grey area both of Dean killing her AND of Sam letting her go.
I have to believe it was the intent of the writers and of Jensen as director in the way it was shot to have that sympathy for Amy. And as such - wow. They did a fabulous job of it, didn't they?
But the real issue with the brothers wasn't Dean killing her, or even lying to Sam about it, even though that's what Sam latched onto. It was Dean not trusting Sam's judgement. Sam needs Dean to ttrust him. Dean needs to be able to trust Sam. That's the sweet spot as far as I'm concerned. To me. All of the brothers' actions have been perfectly understandable and perfectly in character and I adore Show for it.
Mimi Rosen
# Mimi Rosen 2011-11-09 18:54
Hi Melanie,
I agree with your post. As I think I say further below. I thought the killing of Amy was not cold at all. I felt Dean's sadness and resignation. He understood her, but she was clawing out people's pituitary glands. He catches her and gently lays her on the bed as she dies. He didn't know the son was watching. She could have stuck out her claws and fought back and probably gotten away. Sam had intended to stop her until she reminded him of their long ago connection and the need to save her son.
# Melanie 2011-11-11 00:39
It kind of reminded me of the episodes Roadkill and Heart. Roadkill is from the ghost Molly's POV and Dean appears to be uncharacteristi cally insensitive to her feelings when the viewers don't know she's a ghost. And unlike other ghosts, Molly isn't aggressive or dangerous. In Heart, when Madison is killed, she's not in werewolf mode with teeth bared and claws out either. She then appears as a normal, innocent woman - all the more heartbreaking and poignant - when Sam shoots her.
I see Amy as a variation of the situation with Madison. What if Madison had begged Sam NOT to kill her? If she had told him she'd lock herself up every month and promised not to kill anyone? Would he have been able to do it? I don't think so. Dean was willing to be the one to kill Madison to spare Sam having to do it. The difference with the Amy situation in TGND is that the brothers (and the MOTW) didn't agree on the course of action, whereas in Heart, they did.
# Jasminka 2011-11-08 00:55
I think we need to be careful to not make it a Sam vs. Dean issue, again. :-)
# cd28 2011-11-08 11:20
Hi Alice,

I think you raised a lot of good and valid points in your review. I particularly agree with your comment on how the writers didn’t need to create the Amy drama to create tension. There was of emotional baggage to work with the death of Cas, Lisa and Ben, and just the pointlessness and thanklessness of the hunting lifestyle. I’m disappointed in feeling that once again, we’re not getting to see what’s in Sam’s head. I suspect it’s leading somewhere, but if feels too much like Season 4 (part 2), and I just have no patience anymore for having Sam a mystery character again.

As for Dean, I didn’t have as much of a problem with Dean’s outburst against Sam mid-episode (the bitch/dick comments). Dean felt guilty, he was trying to reach out, and Sam just wasn’t talking, so I read it as frustration and defensiveness. I don’t by any means think that Dean’s comments were right or justified, but the reaction seemed realistic. My bigger problem with that episode was Sam at the end saying Dean was probably right in killing Amy. I think Sam had it right when he said that he’s learned that if it feels wrong, it probably is. I don’t for a minute believe Sam’s change of heart had anything to do with killing Jimmy. Sam’s been a hunter for a while now, so it’s not like Sam had lacked the capacity to understand Dean’s need to kill a monster prior to killing Jimmy. If that was the writer’s intent, then I’d chalk it up to a new writer who doesn’t truly understand Sam yet. I took Sam’s behavior, and his gradual loosening up toward Dean, as the anger passing. Sam is ill – he is on the brink of insanity – and the last thing he probably wanted was a fight with his brother. As he continued to work with Dean as partners, the anger started to pass and Sam realized that his relationship with Dean is more important to him than carrying on a fight about Amy, so he did what he needed to do to smooth things over. But again, I wish this had been clearer. It’s guesswork on my part, and all this guessing leads to a whole lot of fighting on these web boards by people who are all sure they’ve interpreted the characters correctly.

Which brings me to another point. I seem to remember reading an interview with Jensen in which he talks about directing TGND, and he says there was a scene from that 3-week stretch where he’s mourning Cas and decides to revert back to a black-and-white point of view. I believe he said that that scene was cut post-production . If that scene had been left in, we would have had a much better understanding of Dean’s motives and I don’t think the boards would have gotten half as heated as they did. For me, part of my outrage seeing Dean kill Amy was hearing the connection he made to Sam – that Amy represented a healthy acceptance of being a freak to Sam – and that Dean’s response was “you can’t change” and he gutted Amy. If we (the audience) had understood it was about Cas and not about Sam, then we would be been much more comfortable with it.
As for the writing of both Dean and Sam, I’m willing to give the writers a little more rope at this time and hope this is leading somewhere. With Dean, his conversion to torturer in Hell was never fully explored. It was hinted that there was something very dark in his nature, and that his bottled-up frustration was a trigger to unleashing that side. I think that’s why we’re seeing Dean transform more into a bully type personality recently, and why Ellen reached out to warn Dean. Sam can’t do much to change his current situation, but Dean might be the one who (like Sam in season 4) has the potential right now to turn into a monster if he doesn’t change things.

The biggest critical writing issue for me right now is the dropping of storylines and continuity. A big one is Sam’s demon blood powers and his time in Hell. There were also a lot of loose ends from last season about monsters being organized and becoming ready for battle, but the MOTW storylines we’re seeing so far have nothing to do with Eve’s legacy. I was just getting really invested in Cas’s story when they killed him off. I wanted to see the aftermath of his actions and his reaction, as the angel who always meant well, and his redemption arc. I want them to tell a story about Sam that’s leading somewhere, but I haven’t seen any sign yet that the hallucinations are anything more than a plot device. I also haven’t gotten the impression that there’s an interesting story behind the Leviathan. They just seem like another MOTW who are a little harder to kill than most. And I don’t even see Sam and Dean actively working on defeating them right now. Why aren’t they on the road looking for Leviathan experts who may be able to give them more insight into their lore, or trying to track down where they Leviathan have set up (aside from the hospital), so that they can start hunting them? Instead they’re going on unrelated hunts, like for ghosts or witches.
# Fluffles 2011-11-08 16:24
Excellent review, I agreed with most of it. While I didn't like Dean's behaviour in the episode I didn't think it was out of character therefore didn't have a problem with it.

I also agree with you on why Sam came to the decision to reunite with Dean in the end, how can he build on stone number one if stone number one isn't even there? It had nothing to do with Dean suddenly being right and more to with Sam trying to keep hell at bay. I don't think he had the energy, the will or the heart to argue with Dean any longer there is enough going on for him as it is.
# cd28 2011-11-08 12:51
I just wanted to add that another big issue is the lack of interesting, friendly reoccuring characters, aside from Bobby. The Sam/Dean dynamic after 6 seasons is getting old and giving them some friends would really freshen up the series.
# Fluffles 2011-11-08 16:26
I have no issue with the show adding friends but perhaps they could write for Sam who isn't a minster/demon, isn't going to be killed before the episode is up or doesn't view Dean as their favourite.
# anonymousN 2011-11-09 00:26
Thank you for saying this Fluffles...such kind of characters are are seriously needed..As for the episodes they were good but I feel like i don't know where they both are coming from..In the earlier seasons motives of atleast one and the reasoning behind their actions would be clear but now atleast i am not sure of both of their reasonings...
# oliviaf 2011-11-08 13:33
Sera Gamble & Co.,

PLEASEPLEASEPLEASE take alice's thoughtful, respectful and SPOT-ON comments below to heart. PLEASE (before you get the show cancelled)!

The writers already have tons of rich material to work with. There’s Sam’s hallucinations and Satan vision (which have been barely touched), not to mention a lot of unexplored ramifications over the acts of his soulless self (only getting a few scenes in last season’s finale). There’s Dean’s fragile mental state over losing Ben and Lisa (which hasn’t even been a mere thought at all since “Let It Bleed”) and Castiel (barely scratched the surface). There’s so much potential here for rich character exploration. It can be woven into the monster of the week plots. It’s been done before. Everything since the beginning of season six in that regards seems ill focused. Stop trying to do so much and focus on the basics. Since when did the writers gets such short attention spans?

I guess we have learned something important with this entire Amy debacle. The writers have tons of excellent setup at their disposal and aren’t taking advantage of it, instead going stupid places that ends up alienating a lot of viewers instead of entertaining. I’ll close by sending one huge plea to the writers. We fans aren’t looking for a ton of shock value or rocket science here. Work with what you’ve got, unpeel those layers inside Sam and Dean that are haunting their existence. The setup is already there. We’re continuity hounds, so the better things tie into previous events, the happier we’ll be. No more forced drama and out of nowhere character behavior please.

the first 2 epi's blew me away and raised my hopes into the stratosphere for season7. i'm not one who favors being harsh, but now i'm about to give up on the show and its writing/produci ng team. truly. :( the acting and directing is still tremendous however...

thanks alice for writing what so many of us (sadly) feel.
i really hope your review is being read by SN creative team ... i esp. agree with what you said about there being such rich material already present to explore and yet being ignored -- sam's time in hell & mental instability; dean's loss of lisa & ben (hello!) and cass' demise. sigh. sigh. heavy sigh.

this is the only sn site i will read and comment on -- the others are too meanspirited. thanks to all who remain kind & civil.

# Sylvie 2011-11-08 14:57
No matter what you say Alice, I do enjoy reading your reviews. I think you do stay mostly impartial, and everyone is entitled to his or her own opinion. I for one love this show as pure joy, always have, always will. What I think happened with the whole Amy story is it seems to have split the fandom apart.

I'm sorry for those who have lost faith in the show and the direction it's taken. And you don't strike me as the kind of person that will give up on SPN. This is pretty much the only site I visit on a regular basis. I do love to read the different takes from all reviewers and posters.

I'm a glass half full kind of person. I have to be, I work with alot of negativity every day. So when I'm not at work, I choose to see life through rose coloured glasses.
Mimi Rosen
# Mimi Rosen 2011-11-08 17:38
There's been some good persuasive discussion the last few weeks and some views I just don't begin to understand. However, I've been persuaded to change my mind regarding Dean being absolutely right to lie to Sam about sparing Amy. I thought he was justified for trying not to upset Sam. Now I agree he should have been honest from the get go and told Sam he was going to kill Amy.

I agree with Bardicvoice about Sam and hallucinations. I think the fandom can handle some subtle suggestions of Sam's struggle with reality. Pressing his hand constantly would be annoying. Would like to see lucifer again and more repercussions.

I still think Dean bent the spoon - sorry.

I don't understand how the brothers are analogous to the Fox sisters.

I think Jimmy was trying to kill Sam, not firing a warning shot. Sam did what he had to to save the day.

I completely got Dean's confrontation with Sam outside the musuem and thought it was in character. Dean was tired of the silent treatment and ready for it to end. He gave Sam 10 + days to cool off. It's hard to have family mad at you all the time. I would have said exactly the same thing, in the same way, to Sam.

At the same time, I would have been ok if Sam punched Dean. He's right to be upset for weeks of lying from Dean. But calling Amy a friend was quite an overstatement. Sam seemed surprised by Dean's outburst, but I think this confrontation was a catalyst for Sam to move past his anger.

Sam and Dean do get each other. I love at the end of SKIN when Sam says he never really fit in at STanford. Dean says that's "cause you're a freak" and then he adds "well I'm a freak too." "I'm right there with you all the way."

I liked the short reconciliation at the end of the ep. This show isn't "self help for hunters". These are tough guys in a crazy world. They don't have to talk everything to death and will continue to have conflict and some growth. They're dysfunctional, make mistakes, have bad habits, lie and steal, sometime act mature and sometimes regress. These are my gritty, funny, flawed, tragic heroes who try to save the day and have captured my heart and imagination.

I think both brothers characters are intact this season. They do things I don't always agree with, but that's who they are. I'm disappointed and surprised by the character assassination of the brothers by some members of the fandom.

Dean's extremely sympathetic. He doesn't like lying to Sam but he's freaked out by the lucifer visions, he couldn't save Cas, He finds it hard to trust, and he's being hunted. Dean was completely justified killing amy b/c she's a monster who used her claws to rip out the pituitary glands of at least 4 humans - that's all. If a human did that, she'd be in jail for life or executed. He killed it with more compassion and gentleness than I've ever seen before -it was a well done scene.

Sam's extremely sympathetic. He's dealing with horrific visons causing him to question his reality and judgement. Dean's not ready to trust him. He's worried about Dean's excesses. He lost his friend Cas too. He's being hunted.

I haven't liked everything this season. I'm not convinced the writers have made their best efforts. Some of the eps could be better paced, concise, especially DYL. There's been lack of continuity between some of the eps, .06 and .07 did better here. I'd like more characters to survive. Overall, I like dark, grim, tragic stories with some wins and some friends for the brothers.

I give the Mentalists A-. I believe the ep plausibly resolved the brothers' argument. It's time to move on.
# Fluffles 2011-11-08 19:18
I'm sorry how exactly did you come up with Dean being the one to bend the spoon?
# A 2011-11-08 19:37
I've seen that theory floated, and the thought was that it fit with the older sister/younger sister parallel... the younger sister was the one everyone thought had supernatural abilities, and they thought the older sister's talent was simply taking care of her talented sister. But their secret was that, as Jimmy said at the end, the older sister was the real deal, but no one knew it during her life.

A lot of people pointed to the "sometimes someone's real talent is taking care of people" as paralleling Dean, and his career choice and attitude toward his family and friends certainly bears that out. But there was that other aspect to the elder sister, and people have wondered if that wasn't also being implied.
Mimi Rosen
# Mimi Rosen 2011-11-09 15:29
Hi Fluffles,

It's a notion I got on my own, not from reading it elsewhere - and I'm probably wrong. Won't be the first time.

Show made a point of showing Dean really intently watching the spoon psychic. He and Sam both appeared to be watching him so I don't know when spoon guy could have switched spoons. Then, I was surpised when Sam mentioned the spoon bending at the end of the show. This made me think it might be significant. I doubt Sam would have bent his own spoon since he wanted to use it. That leaves Dean. Hope I explained myself OK. I've only started posting online in the last 2 weeks so I hope people here can be patient with my efforts to explain stuff. Thanks much.
Tim the Enchanter
# Tim the Enchanter 2011-11-08 18:17
Well lads, time to put this Sam v Dean male bovine faecal matter to rest.

Members of the Jury (if you guys want to send me on your back account details, I’ll lodge your daily jury fee into it, honest), the defence presents....

....Jonathan Winchester I. (His father might also have been Jonathan but we don’t really care about him).

Misunderstood, maligned and mistreated, either way, hotter than the hottest ring of fire in the hottest part of Hades (which is very hot indeed).

Last seen in season 2 (yes TWO, as in five less than seven, grrrr...) John gave the ultimate sacrifice by giving himself to hell to save his son. (And he did it in style, none of that bleeding and screaming bullshit from John. No way, Jose.)

Despite being fought over by every female on earth, Meg won the thumb war and John ended up on her rack. (Lucky bitch.)

In 2.22, he wandered out of hell because he was just ‘bored with the scene’ there. Despite being nowt more than a sexy puff of smoke, he helped his two solid (ooooh so solid) bodied sons off the YED before wandering off, presumably to Heaven (cos in fairness, look at him, where else would he go......)

Rumour has it that he was the one who gave Castiel a good thrashing for messing around with his sons. Unfortunately he then got kicked out of heaven for impregnating angels (how else do you think they are made. Jeez....). It was a great loss to all concerned because John Winchester looks fucking awesome in white.

John Winchester was last seen heading off to Purgatory to sort out the balls up that his boys made.

He has contributed much to the show. He showed his two sons the importance of having brilliant hair that defies blood, bullets and monster gunk

He taught his sons how to look sexy in a hospital bed (well, he taught Dean. They’re still trying to weld two hospital beds together to give Sam his scene.

He also taught his eldest how to do the single manly tear of angst (who later perfected it).

He taught Sam about sideburns (who unfortunately took it a little too far).

He also has awesome chest hair. (I curse the day metrosexuality was unleashed upon the world.)

He recognises the sexiness and practicality of being optically challenged and isn’t afraid to show it. He dallied with contacts for a while before remembering that you can't hit a man with glasses. This is the reason for his unnaturally high kill rate. God, I love a man with brains.

Ladies and Gentlemen (presumably more ladies), the defence rests.

No, wait, the defence just found this one. (John Winchester is an animal lover!! Awww, Sammy isn’t the only puppy in his life...)

The defence just realised that the puppy (this one, not the gigantic human one) ONLY HAS THREE LEGS!! It's okay, puppy, with John Winchester protecting you that nasty demon will never come back for the second one. Bastarding puppy mutilating demons.

Ooooh, the defence just got excited.

Hmmm, seems the jury just got excited...

The defence just realises she should be making out tests for tomorrow. The defence doesn’t give a shit. (The defence is a bad person.)

The defence is now tired. So, again I ask you, Sam & Dean


It ain't rocket science, people.
# Hooligans 2011-11-08 19:24
Yum! I love John and I hate that the writers ripped his character to shreds. I wish he was back to defend his actions against all Dean's bitching about him. Making John the bad guy didn't make me more sympathetic of Dean it just made Dean appear whiny and ungrateful.
# lianne 2011-11-08 20:25
It all comes around to bashing Dean, doesn't it? First he gets scolded by Sam for being John's "good little soldier" and never questioning orders, and for putting John on a pedestal all his life.

Then after some time and discoveries about John (i.e. Adam) when Dean finally realizes his dad was only human (and flawed) after all, suddenly it's DEAN making John the bad guy?

Man, Dean can win for trying, can he?
# rmoats8621 2011-11-08 20:32
This was wonderful! Thank you so much. I laughed so hard I've got tears going down my face. Anyway, I look forward to his return. I know it will happen.... Or at least I really hope that it will!!!
# Alice 2011-11-08 21:07
Oh Tim, tears in my eyes. Just tears in my eyes! Yeah, from a fit of laughter, but still, tears. Thank you.
# Joe 2011-11-08 21:17
Dude, if you’re setting out write an ode to the Great and Greatly Lamented John Winchester, be thorough! How could you forget that he taught his sons to look good while being tossed into walls and to brush their teeth beforehand? :o You never know when you might need to howl in pain in a photogenic manner…

His absence has indeed been too long, since his sons ended up with a broken leg and a concussion respectively this season. The lessons are wearing off. He is needed!

But at least the magical healing powers he passed onto the boys are genetic and cannot be unlearned. If they could, those chuckleheads would have had to spend moths in treatment and would have graced the maw of some utterly undeserving Leviathan. :eek:
# Jasminka 2011-11-09 07:36
I guess I would need to drink a whole bottle of Jameson's to find this funny, Tim, sorry. Exploding ovaries? John was impregnating angels? Tongue porn? Oh, dear.
# Melanie 2011-11-09 08:31
I guess I'm in the minority here too. I know that John left the show too soon, but using random pictures of the actor Jeffery Dean Morgan and calling him John? JDM is a supporter of animal rights and is a dog lover, not the fictional character. I really, really hate it when the line between character and actor is blurred like this.
# Alice 2011-11-09 12:58
Please Melanie, it's all meant in tongue in cheek. We're really trying to enjoy a light moment here after all the bitterness that's been going around lately.
# Jasminka 2011-11-09 14:28
# Melanie 2011-11-11 00:20
I understand its meant to be funny. That's just the kind of thing that pulls me out of being able to enjoy the humor.
I certainly hope that my comment wouldn't keep you from enjoying your light moment. Such is certainly not the intent of the comment.
There certainly is a lot of bitterness going around.
Tim the Enchanter
# Tim the Enchanter 2011-11-11 00:52
Don’t worry, Melanie, I do know the difference between what’s on the TV and what’s reality so rest assured that JDM is safe from being subjected to any Beckyesque type situations from me.

There certainly is a lot of bitterness going around.
I do agree with this which is why I posted it in the first place; to attempt to alleviate the bitterness and tension. Apologies that it didn’t work for you. Don’t worry though, I’ll stick to ‘Knock Knock’ jokes from now on!
# Melanie 2011-11-11 12:42
"Who's there?" LOL No worries, Tim. I did laugh out loud at "The defence just realises she should be making out tests for tomorrow. The defence doesn’t give a shit. (The defence is a bad person.)"
I should have said that originally too. I'm sorry the comment came off so negative.
# Alice 2011-11-11 10:44
No worries Melanie, I know where you're coming from. I remember you and I discussing this before. I assure, when posting articles, we won't confuse real life with fictional (anymore anyway!). However, I have little control over it happening in the comments section. It was all meant in good fun.
# Melanie 2011-11-11 12:47
Thanks, Alice. As I just said to Tim -- I should have included what I liked also -
I really appreciated the discussion we had about this before.
# Jasminka 2011-11-09 14:31
# Sylvie 2011-11-09 10:11
Thanks for putting some levity into what was becoming a heated discussion. And oh, the pretty pictures. I do love me some Jeffrey Dean Morgan. Let's hope he's the one to welcome his two loving sons through the Pearly Gates.
# Jasminka 2011-11-10 15:37
Tim, I do owe you an apology. My comment earlier was uncalled for.

I don’t find your piece here funny, I'd lie if I said otherwise, and I object to a few expressions you used (it's obvious we don't always share the same sense of humour), but to lash out at you like that was unfair.

That’s not me. Today I attended a very important workshop, not only because it was held by one of my profession’s icons, but because I understood why I reacted so strongly. I do not wish do go into personal details here in public, but I want to apologize publicly, since I believe that’s how it should be done. I behaved appallingly, in deep contrast to my nature, and I am sincerely sorry to have caused you pain of any kind.
Tim the Enchanter
# Tim the Enchanter 2011-11-11 00:56
No apology necessary, Jasminka. You can’t like what you can’t like. There’s no crime in it.

Just please know, that at no stage did I mean to offend you with anything I’ve written, in any post. This was an attempt at a moment of levity in a heated discussion, nothing more. I’m sorry it fell short for you.

And don't worry, like I said above, 'Knock Knock' jokes from here on in....
# Jasminka 2011-11-11 01:14
Thank you, Tim. I know that you didn't mean to offend - alas, I reacted as if you did, I guess.

I am certain to have hurt you with my reaction. And for that, I believe, an apology is, indeed, necessary.

And now - off to another workshop. This is a week of intense learning for me. In many ways.
# MisterGlass 2011-11-08 21:41
Hi Alice. I'm late to the comment train, and haven't much to add - by the way Tim, you amaze me :)

There's no denying the loss of finesse and strength that was present in earlier seasons. One of the reasons I developed such respect for Supernatural is that actions had real consequences. I can think of a number of shows that would allow a main character to sell his soul, but this is the only one I know of that was ever brave enough to actually follow through and send him to Hell.

I had hoped that in this season the brothers would have come full circle to a place where they could work together with a respectable level of trust, as friends, adults, and brothers.

I'll be an almost but not quite kool-aid drinker and continue to hope that the Amy mess is a an unfortunate interlude in a season with potential.
# CitizenKane2 2011-11-08 21:46
Hi Alice, I'll just make a short comment on the 2nd part of your article (which provided quite a bit of food for thought - the 1st part of your article while less controversial, was also enjoyable to read :)).

I do find the Dean killing Amy quite a stark example of the script writers writing Dean being out of character - it was strange and puzzling (for me) to see Dean hunt down Amy behind Sam's back, especially after Sam told Dean how Amy saved him as a teenager.

I certainly didn't think it was in Dean's character (however wounded or confused or hurt) to go behind Sam's back to off Amy.

While that was a serious "out of character" plot hole, I do think the way the writers resolved this plot hole was the best they could do in the circumstances (and passably believable)- the brother's dialogue in "The Mentalists" (and I liked the episode) didn't leave me thinking "Nah, I don't think the real Sam or the real Dean would have said that". :P

I can't really think of any other way, the Amy plot hole could have been "settled".
# CitizenKane2 2011-11-08 22:51
Just another small comment (sorry) - Tim the Enchanter, that was wickedly funny. :P
# paintgirl770 2011-11-09 10:06
Alice - great review, as always. After reading it, and a few other reviews online, I decided to re-watch the episode. I came up with a whole lot of good. Old fashioned salt 'n burn? Check. "Saving people"! Check. Lots of great one liners - check. You get the picture.
As for the negatives, I understand the frustration with the way the whole misbegotten Amy thing was put to bed. After experiencing the depth and complexity of character that we got in seasons 4 and 5, I think long time viewers expected, well, more. But on second watch, the resolution worked for me. Sam's killing of a human obviously clicked something in his outlook. That, and just the proximity with his brother (who he loves in spite of everything - just notice all the times he tries to hide his smile at Dean's comments) and the normalcy of working the case together. What Dean did, and the way Sam found out about it, really pulled the rug out from under him, dealing with his mental instability, going along thinking Dean was on the same page, even thanking him, and then, wham. But he had 10 days to recover from that shock and anger. If I may get a little personal, I can relate. My husband and I often define disfunctional in our marriage. We can go at it. Usually though, time and distance (he is gone a lot on business) serve to put things in perspective. Do we solve all our differences this way, or just decide to let it lie and move on? Either way, it works for us most of the time. It's also a very "guy" thing to blow up and then get over it. We women tend to hold on to our hurts and resentments much tighter. I'm glad to see them taking the male road and getting past it.
As far as Dean's character, totally agree he needs major help. I don't see this as character assassination, though - just an even deeper level of Dean burying his issues. Maybe being back with Sam, he will start to open up a little? We can hope.

Just had to mention - The Orb of Thessala! Buffy reference - love it!
"Forget it Sam. It's Lilydale". :-)
Oh, and CW is actually showing commercials for Supernatural. Finally, some respect.
# HelloThere 2011-11-09 18:39
Tim the Enchanter : That was awesome! *applause*

Alice: I knew I didn't like the way the Amy issue played out, but I couldn't exactly pin down why. Your review was an eye opener for me in that regard. I very much agree with your point about Dean's true feelings previously being explored by showing him venting to a third party and how the lack of that tactic made the exchange a lot more hollow. I also agree thoroughly with you regarding manufactured angst. Until this week, I had been holding out hope that there was some point to the Amy story. That it would factor into either Dean's emotional arc as a symbol of his emotional decent or into Sam's hell arc as something that eroded the 'stone number 1' concept. Neither of those things came to pass and the Amy debacle was ditched as pointlessly and in as ham handed a manner as it was introduced.
# Daisymae 2011-11-11 11:35
Alice, I just went back to rewatch that scene in the cafe and you're correct. Sam didn't think Dean was real until the waiter asked him for his order. I didn't catch it because it was way to subtle, and I think you are the only one who noticed it. The problem may have been the way the scene was cut. Anyway, the idea was great and this is what should be happening to Sam, but it needs to be done in a more obvious way.