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Sam discovers that it is the child, not the mother, that kills the men with help from the rambling professor. He rushes back to their motel, knowing that if he does not hurry, his brother will become the next victim. Upon entrance, seeing the two in a standoff---all until Dean's hand wavers and lowers his gun---Sam takes action. He shoots her, killing her in an instant.

It is poignant that is Sam that kills her---as it was Sam's death that caused Dean to make the deal.

Later, as the brothers are back on the road, Sam lets his anger and anxiety show. He explodes, bringing back the issue of Amy, shouting, "What did you say to me... when I was the one who choked? What did you say about Amy? "You kill the monster!"

It's not the real reason Sam is upset, however. He has been watching his brother slip further and further into a rut, ignoring his problems, and becoming increasingly suicidal. He isn't angry that Dean may have decided to let Emma go. He's upset that Dean seemed willing, at least subconsciously, to allow Emma to complete her blood sacrifice and kill him.

Sam's anger quickly dissipates and turns into a vast sadness. He looks ahead, and pleads, "Look... Dean, the thing is, tonight... It almost got you killed. Now, I don't care how you deal. I really, really don't. But just don't "“ don't get killed."

Frank gave Dean advice on how to put one foot in front of the other and continue in "Adventures in Babysitting." "Do it with a smile, or do don't do it at all." It would seem that Dean must choose one or the other. Sam wants him to survive, and while Sam once upon a time might have been enough for Dean to push past his difficulties, this might not be the case any longer.

Dean must learn the one thing he has avoided his entire life: to live for himself. He has to want it, not because another needs or wants him to, but because he needs and wants to do so. Emma's storyline may have ended with her being killed, but that does not have to be Dean's fate. Emma states that "I don't have a choice," and while that reflects Dean's current mood, he has choices---if he attempts to look for them.

The notion of choice itself is another issue for Dean to overcome. He has always been about making his own choices---stopping the Apocalypse for instance, and as of late, he seems trapped with none available to him. He feels, due to his experiences, that hunting is his only option, and he does so, but without his previous gusto. Dean must make a choice on how to deal, what he wants to do, and why---or die.

Sara Canning, most known for her role as Aunt Jenna in The Vampire Diaries, brings a seductive and sinister Lydia to life. She seems innocent enough at the bar, just another woman to fall under Dean's swagger and charm. Upon return to her place, we see that she is very much in control over the situation. It is Lydia that dictates the sex, and it is Lydia that then pulls away afterward to protect her growing child. Canning manages to add a strange and grotesque sweet flavor to Lydia that makes what happens all the more horrifying. When she is forced to hand over Emma, Lydia doesn't seem to be saddened or burdened. Canning shows that she's almost relieved that she has fulfilled her duty to the tribe and can now return to her own life.

Harry Groener gave us Professor Morrison and he was delightful. He was scatterbrained, knowledgeable, and yet ignorant of the truth around him. His ramblings were hilarious, all the while exasperating to both brothers, but in particular Sam. He reminded me very much of some of the professors I've had in college, holding onto a tangent and not letting go only to be distracted by another to do it again. I couldn't help but think of my own anthropology professor, who wasn't much different than Professor Morrison. Judging by Sam's irritation with him, I can't imagine they'll be using him for further research down the road---even if it'd be entertaining to watch.

Craig Anderson brought the likeable Eddie to us. He may have a creepy job, but he was approachable and helped the boys whenever they asked. He even goes as far as to cover their butts with the detective questioning Sam and Dean's credentials by providing a story about cold cases. Unfortunately, he doesn't realize he's given the detective, actually an Amazon herself, the tools to search the boys true identities. It's a shame that he can't become a go to for the boys, as it'd be nice to see him help them on other cases.

Jill Teed and Kendall Cross give us Madeline and Charlene, the creepy leaders of the Amazon tribe. They've managed to assimilate into society, with Charlene posing as a detective. Madeline comes off as creepy through Teed, equal parts sinister and mysterious. She runs the tribe much like a cult, indoctrinating each new member in rites and rituals that will make them loyal members. She is there for each birth, trains each new child, and sends them on their blood missions. Charlene, meanwhile, keeps tabs on humans and society by infiltrating law enforcement so she can report back. She's cocky, and Cross shows that she has no fear, as dictated by Madeline, when she attacks Sam. Cross plays her, until it is revealed that she is an Amazon, not unlike a typical cop in a police procedural. She adheres to the rules, and is a stickler for them.

Alexia Fast, last seen on Supernatural as the creepy girl in "The Benders," brings Emma to the screen. She gives Emma a sinister feel. We know her arrival, hidden in sweetness and pleading for help, are red herrings. Fast knows how to show us that aspect of her character all the while not going overboard. When the facade falls, we see a monster come to life through Fast's portrayal. Her shout to play on Dean's sympathies as Sam enters stands out. I found her captivating when speaking with Dean, stating in a cold tone the truth of her life.

Jensen Ackles shows Dean's growing fatigue well. He isn't as disinterested once the case becomes personal as he was in "Shut Up, Dr. Phil." And while Dean has increasingly become despondent and lost, we see hope in his character---hope that Sam is reluctant to share. When the papers rustle and the very one they need is on the top, it is Dean that alleges with hope that it could be Bobby. Jensen shines in this scene, showing that while Dean feels that he has little reason to continue in the life, that there is a sliver for him to grasp onto. Jensen's facial expressions convey Dean's hope well, and his tone of voice has that questioning in it. Later, in his conversation with Emma, Jensen shows Dean's hesitation and difficulty in killing what is essentially not only a child but his child---albeit a monster. He listens patiently.  Dean is no fool, evidenced by the way Jensen has Dean's gun ready upon Emma's near attack. It's almost as if he is trying to understand. He doesn't need to understand Emma or her type of monster, but he does need to understand himself, and it in this conversation that we see Jensen have Dean absorb this.

Jared played a hardworking, focused, and irritated Sam. He is the one in control on this case, dictating that they will take it, the one leading it with both the cops and the professor, and he is the one that finishes it by killing both Charlene and Emma. Sam has sunk himself fully into the hunt, giving him a chance to push away the issues that threaten him in his own mind. Much like Dean, Sam is hiding from his issues. Jared shows us this by giving us Sam's irritation, his frustration when Dean does not come back to help with research, and his adamant refusal to even think Bobby may have helped from beyond. Jared has shown that Sam is much like a shark---swim and live, stop moving and die. The more Sam works, the less likely he will have time to focus on the walls closing in on him at any time. His lone vulnerable moment emerges in the soft, pleading line of "don't get killed," and it lingers long after the episode ends. That simple soft spoken line captured every fear Sam has had this season beautifully and painfully. Jared may have shown that Sam is driven to work, but he also provides us with insight in subtle words and movement that Sam's not holding on as well as he puts forth.

Now, come Friday, another question will be answered. We already know that clowns kill---but do unicorns really shoot rainbows out of their asses?

 

Comments  

vivian
# vivian 2012-02-09 15:32
Quoting Far Away Eyes:

"Emma's storyline may have ended with her being killed, but that does not have to be Dean's fate. Emma states that “I don't have a choice,” and while that reflects Dean's current mood, he has choices---if he attempts to look for them."

Great review! You know, today, on my way home back from work, I was thinking the same thing (yes, I frequently daydream about Supernatural): even if it doesn't feel like right now, they do have a choice, and I believe they can find a third answer in between "to hunt or not to hunt". Haven't they already found one in the most extreme situation, the Apocalypse? They were given just one scenario, to say or not to say yes to Lucifer and Michael, and the consequences of their choice, but they remain true to themselves and found a third way - their own.

It's the same here: they don't necessarily have to follow the script set forth by John: they don't have to hunt their whole lives and renounce everything afar from it, till they die bloody. This is also, in a way, fight destiny/fate, and they are good at it.

I think once they realise that, they only need to discover what they really want for themselves and fight for it, as long as their fear of having lasting connections (within or outside the hunting world) due to the danger of the hunting life.

And yes, this is my personal wish, because I would hate a fatalistic finale with one, or the two of them, dying, even an heroic death, fighting evil. I would be too much heart broken and I already had a lot of this feeling during all 7 seasons! (and counting). I've already seen they die (several) times - I want my boys heroes and alive and happy!

So, I am watching their journey and their strugle very hopeful for a different end (preferably after season 10), and I would love to see what they will discover inside themselves.

By the way, another thing occured to me: maybe Misha/Castiel will be a psychiatrist that helps Sam with his hellucinations and, at the same time, help Dean out of his depression, especialy concerning Castiel lost/betrayal. What do you think?

Thank you so much for the opportunity to express myself, and get this things out of my chest! I love this site!! I read and love all the reviews.
Far Away Eyes
# Far Away Eyes 2012-02-09 16:00
I am pleased that you liked my take on it.

I remember walking away and letting it settle in my mind, and thinking just how much the MOTW fit Dean's storyline and character so well.

I think you're onto something. They were facing an "either/or" decision in season 5, and instead, they tore up the script and did it THEIR way. Dean has to find that other way to get back on track. I think it's significant that Sam did ALL of the driving in this episode. It's symbolic of the control Dean has ceded in his life to everything around him.

I don't know much about the spoilers as I avoid them, but I do think Cas will play a role in Dean's storyline when he returns.

Thanks for the wonderful comments!
Sylvie
# Sylvie 2012-02-09 15:50
That was a great review. I dearly loved this episode. And yes, you're absolutely right, Emma's speech mirrors Dean's life to a tee! I really liked the young actress playing Emma, I thought she was exceptionaly good. Even though we know as viewers that she is playing on Dean's emotions, she conveys them really well. And I believe Dean would have shot her no matter what, but for a fraction of a second it did look like he would let her walk. Sam is the one who saw both Amazons eyes change, so he knows the evil that is lurking.

I really thought this episode showed off both brothers really well. We know Dean is depressed and drinking a little too much, but there seems to be light at the end of the tunnel. Whereas Sam is just all work, like you said so well, like a shark.

By the way, I loved the gore, it was super creepy.

I'm so looking forward to Friday's episode, looks funny and scary.
Far Away Eyes
# Far Away Eyes 2012-02-09 17:58
I'm glad you liked my take on this one.

It struck me, as I watched a second time especially, that she's the mirror being held up for Dean to gaze into. I think Dean would have followed through. He knew what she was, even if it hit him hard. I think he knew it had to be done, too.

I'm glad you liked the shark analogy. It just seemed to fit Sam right now. He doesn't seem to sit still much this season, and the times we see him do that he ends up talking to Lucifer.

I'm looking forward to clowns and unicorns, too. I bet it'll give me nightmares. I am so with Sam. I hate clowns.
Pragmatic Dreamer
# Pragmatic Dreamer 2012-02-09 21:33
Awesome review Far Away Eyes. Your analogies were spot on.

I really liked the idea of Emma reflecting Dean's childhood issues back to him. He summed it all up when he said "Actually, she, uh, she was, really. She just also happened to be a crazy man-killing monster. But, uh, hey. ." He wasn't talking about sharing DNA. He was talking about who he is, how he views himself, the choices he makes and actions he takes.

I am completely confident that Dean would have killed Emma. He was waiting to see what she was going to do next. If she'd made a threatening move, she would have been toast.

To me, he seemed very much in control of the situation. It wasn't until Sam came into the room that he seemed to waver a bit. I think he might have been worried about what Sam was going to do next and that upset his plan of attack a bit.

In a hockey analogy... The goalie was set to stop a straight-on shot, and then the defense deflects the puck and the goalie can't make the save.

I also like that you see Sam's coping mechanism harkening back to Dean's actions in Season 4. Gotta keep moving. In fact, both brothers have adopted the Fake It 'Till You Make It approach, but they're expressing it differently.

I'm another person who saw flashes of old Dean, and even some hope for him in this episode. But my fears for Sam intensified. I felt some of the driving scenes were flashbacks to the Sam who drank the demon blood. One shot was so reminiscent of Sam's face as he drove to save Dean in OTHOAP. I almost thought his eyes were going to go black!

Grief is so complex. We all navigate it differently. It's ironic because it's a time in our life when we probably really need to reach out to each other, but it's just too hard to do.

I think we're finally starting to see Sam crumble, and that's pretty sad.

Thanks!

Pragmatic Dreamer
Far Away Eyes
# Far Away Eyes 2012-02-09 21:53
I'm glad you liked my take on this episode.

I think you're right. On the surface, it's easy to say that Dean acknowledged Emma as his biological child, but you're right. He was talking about himself and how he sees himself. It breaks my heart, because underneath his bravado, his sarcasm, and his "give 'em hell attitude" is a compassionate and kind man. He is a good person, and he does good in the world. He just needs to see it.

I think you might be right about Dean and killing Emma, too. He wanted to test her, see how long before she made her move, and would pop her one before she could throw him. Dean, unlike the other men in the episode, KNEW what she could and would do. I think he knew the longer she talked, the easier it would be for him to trap her and keep her from succeeding and getting him first.

I just noticed, in a rewatch and connected to the rest of this season, how much Sam is acting like Dean did in season 4---especially when it comes to memories of Hell. He keeps working because if he doesn't he'll have to actually deal with what happened to him in the Cage and he can't. I think you're absolutely right that Sam is crumbling and falling apart. It'll be heartbreaking to watch, but I think he needs to in order to push past it. I only hope that his crisis will give Dean the power to deal with his own issues as well. He needs to face his to help Sam, after all.

Thanks for your wonderful comment!
LEAH
# LEAH 2012-02-09 21:58
I didn't like this episode as much as everyone else did but I did enjoy your review. I sort of got caught up in the idea that there was no satisfactory way to resolve the dark storyline that has played out this year. Your comment about Dean needing to find reasons within himself to go on, not just because of Sam or anyone else, really resonated with me. I'm crazy about this show and look forward to each new episode. Maybe the end of the tunnel isn't so dark! Thanks.
Far Away Eyes
# Far Away Eyes 2012-02-09 22:10
I think Dean will find his way out of his dark hole. He'll have a hard battle, but this is the first time he's ever faced the thought that he should live for himself, not for Sam, not for John, not for the world, not for Bobby, not for the family business, for DEAN. And until he finds whatever THAT is, he will flounder some and it will be dark.

I'm glad I could provide some of that hope for you. I saw it in the way he swiveled instantly and pointed his gun at Emma. If he had intended on dying, there was his chance to let the monster take him out. He didn't take it. That means there's something inside that is giving him drive. He'll pull himself out. I feel confident in that.
purplehairedwonder
# purplehairedwonder 2012-02-10 00:24
Ha, your review really did hit on a lot of the same things my coda did, didn't it? I like that we picked up on the same ideas for the most part, though I hadn't given much thought to Emma reflecting Dean's minimal childhood. It makes sense. I more latched onto the responsibility aspect of what she represented; she was biologically his, yes, but she would never be his like Sam was--and continues to be.

And I'm in complete agreement with where Sam is at this point--keep running to outpace the demons and when he stops, that's when they'll catch up and take him down. I see Sam as the type of person who's always, in one way or another, been on the move. He fled the family business (to Flagstaff, to Stanford), he left Dean to find answers about his powers in "Hunted," he left Dean to find himself at the beginning of season 5, etc. That seems to be a consistent coping mechanism for him, only now it's to the extreme considering the problem.

That just contrasts with the more "grounded" Dean, who buries things rather than runs from them. But whereas things will catch up with Sam when he stops, things will explode under pressure for Dean. Of course, the exception was Dean's hunting spree in season 4, but he backed off of that eventually since it seemed to exacerbate the underlying issues. I foresee Sam somehow being forced to stop, which will cause all his demons to come crashing down on him and it's going to take Dean doing some unpacking of his deeply buried issues to help his brother--and in turn, help himself. It'll be interesting to see where the writers take this, at least.
Far Away Eyes
# Far Away Eyes 2012-02-10 06:10
The pieces started to fall into place for me as I looked at Emma's story and compared it to Dean's. She seemed to hit each note of his life--from childhood to training to Hell. I also think you're right, though, that she does represent responsibility for Dean. I'd also wager, in some ways, much like Amy represented Dean's view of himself as the monster, Emma does, too.

I've noticed that Jared's made Sam much more frantic this season. I think the last two cases he's had Sam pacing or moving around when working, when in the past Sam would sit during research and questioning and the like. Now he's moving almost all the time. I do think that the walls will tumble in on him when he stops moving, too.

And I think you're probably right. Dean will have to face and deal with his own problems if he intends on helping Sam. It'll be good for him to do so, too.