Yep, I've been staring at a blank page with a title for four days, exactly like poor Kevin Tran with his college essay.  Except, I'd much rather be writing a college essay.  That's easy.  This episode has twisted my brain like a pretzel!  
 
When looking at the plot of the surface, "Reading Is Fundamental" a perfect mechanism to move the plot bunny along, finally making headway on this whole Leviathan story that has sat stagnant most of the season.  However, I do not think Ben Edlund had a simple Leviathan plot in mind when he devised this masterpiece.  Oh no.  Think Shrek and his onion layers.  Actually, even that is too simple an analogy. 
 
We've had so many great reviews about this episode on the site, so I'm avoiding plot this go around.  I think the Leviathan aspects of the story are clear.  Instead, I'd like to focus mostly on the character interactions.  That's the true heart of the episode, and so much more happened than what appeared on the surface.  It think we'll be talking about this one for years.  
 
The Title
 
If any of you are not familiar with the phrase, "Reading is fundamental," that happens to be the name of the largest literacy organization in the US.  The concept is pretty clear, knowing how to read is the most important skill to be learned out there.  It's vital.  Without it, knowledge cannot be easily obtained. 

 
So what does this have to do with another Ben Edlund classic?  The obvious connotation falls on teenager Kevin Tran and his new found ability to translate the word of God.  But "reading" in this case doesn't extend to just words.  Castiel spent the entire episode "reading" people as well, judging their initial reaction so he could know how to deal with them.  He had a new perspective, he was eager to communicate, and he was willing to accept his punishment.    
 
In terms of Castiel's behavior, I'm no psychiatric professional.  I did work in a clinic once as their IT person.  I understood Cass this episode though.  The human condition without no doubt is a delicate one.  I hear those shouts, "Castiel isn't human!"  No, he's not.  Which makes the condition than much more complex.  What do you do when you take an angel on earth and give him a human affliction of extreme pain, guilt, and regret manifested through insanity?  This.  

 
"It's all right there, the whole plan, there's nothing to add."  Castiel wasn't exactly preaching a new Gospel in his observation about the path of the honey bee.   The question is, did anyone read his basic message that all of the miracles of life are happening right in front of our eyes?  No, not really.  To be honest, everyone had issues, and no one in this story was taking time to stop and smell the roses, except Castiel.  
 
Cass may be a little eccentric in his behavior now, but he's still a very perceptive angel.  He can sense what the others are feeling, and that served as the ideal guideline.  He's reading thoughts and reading motivations.  Let's start with someone simple like Meg.  We've sensed that Castiel has always liked Meg, or at least found her interesting.   He sees the beauty behind the thorny demon.  She's snarky and tough with him, and he just gazes at her with adoration.  He's not intimidated by her.  He probably senses that she's using him but he doesn't mind.  She's the one person in the room not hiding an ulterior motive and showing her true colors.  Plus she has his back.  He likes that.  I love it.  

 
There's also Hester and Inias, two angels that Castiel has a very long history with.  Thousands of years.  Hester was very angry at his shocking appearance, while Inias was joyful.  Hester was clearly one of those angels that had either lost or never had respect for humanity.  Ever since angels came back to earth, humans have all but destroyed Heaven in her eyes.  She has existed her entire life following orders and now that there's disorder, she's eager to blame someone for her misery.  Judging by her outburst at the cabin in which she released all that anger and frustration by beating the tar out of Castiel, she probably bought into his talk of free will at first.  She's much like Castiel's assistant Rachel from last season, she put her faith and trust in him and was betrayed.  Now Heaven is in disorder and she's the one in charge.  She just wants things to go back to the way they were, before humans ruined everything.      
 
Castiel accepted Hester's anger and was willing to let her work through it.  He didn't even resist when she beat him viciously.  He felt he had that coming and she was right to lash out.  Good thing Meg didn't see it the same way!  Hester didn't just blame Castiel though, she blamed Dean too.  His influence on Castiel, their friendship, it pretty much sank all of Heaven.  Her rant at Dean was harsh and mean, but heartfelt.  She can't understand that intentions weren't bad.  

 
Inias on the other hand proved to be a rare breath of fresh air.  He was like Castiel when  Cass came to earth and rescued Dean from Hell.  He was idealistic and believed in their mission of protecting humanity, and other angels.  He was kind of an angel boy scout.  After all Castiel did he's easily forgiving, which is God's true desire.  He still believed in what Castiel did.  After all the turmoil I don't see how, but it's good to see finally an angel of strong faith appear.  They aren't all dicks!  
 
Sam, Dean, and Castiel
 
I did a review for "The Slice Girls" a few months back where I declared Dean is getting better and Sam falling into serious decline.  With "Reading Is Fundamental," that's now the other way around.  In terms of Castiel's influence, it's the mark of a truly strong supporting character when he or she can bring out the hidden issues of the main characters that otherwise haven't surfaced.  We're not surprised Dean was still angry at Castiel.  He's actually angry and frustrated about a lot of things.  But we didn't know where his head was until we saw him with Castiel.  We really didn't know where Sam's was either.  It turned out to be quite revealing on both counts.  
 
Neither Sam nor Dean are in a great place right now, but it does appear that from a sense of perspective, Sam is in healthier shape.  Probably because Sam literally had his main burden lifted thanks to Castiel.  Dean hasn't had that gift and still carries a tremendous amount of pain, guilt, and overbearing responsibility.  It also helped that Sam and Castiel had the benefit of a shared experience that only they can truly understand.  Castiel was as grateful for taking on Sam's burden and Sam was having it lifted.  For Sam, it gave him life.  For Castiel, it gave him purpose.  

 
I don't think I've heard more honesty out of Sam Winchester in this current season, and probably last season too, then his line to Castiel, "I think I was done for."  He ended up sharing that to the one being who understood how scared he was.  Sadly, that being wasn't Dean.  That's a prime example of the disconnect between the brothers this season.  They're talking, but they're not sharing.  They're not trying to understand the other's perspective.  They're not truly reading each other.  That's causing Sam to be troubled and Dean to be angry and frustrated.  It hasn't been fun.  What's frustrating is that they aren't showing any signs of trying to improve that disconnect either.  Both have focused so much inwardly that they're unable to reach that kind of concern for one another like we saw between Castiel and Sam.  
 
In between Sam and Castiel's perspectives, their only difference turned out to be the definition of "better."  Sam is better for sure, and Castiel thinks he's better.  In many ways he is.  Both are still troubled, but Sam wanted to help Castiel, be there for him.  He accepted that all Cass ever did was try to help.  Again, another shared perspective of being burned by good intentions gone wrong.  Castiel in turn was honest about his struggle, an honesty he didn't share with anyone else in this episode.  Maybe because no one else asked and genuinely wanted to know.  

Sam is dealing with his pain by working, choosing to carry on the fight.  Castiel has fought long enough.  He's ready to let go of his burdens and accept the world for what it is.  Neither are right or wrong in their definition, but Sam had a little trouble seeing that "different" in this case is "better."  What I'd love to see is Sam changing his view after seeing Castiel's take.  Wouldn't it be great if he went to Dean and said they should be enjoying life more?  Appreciating simpler things?  I know, not happening. It would be nice if in early season 8 they at least took a damned vacation.  

 
So that brings us to Castiel's very strained relationship with Dean.  Whole volumes could be written on that Sorry game scene alone.  I'll try to spare you all of that, but I'll walk through it.  Dean's reunion with Castiel had him on edge from the time they arrived at the hospital.  He didn't know what to expect, but he wasn't showing a lot of concern.  It was more gruff and gloomy speculation.  Do you think it's an accident that Castiel did the "pull my finger" joke to Dean?  When Castiel tells Dean hello, he says nothing.  When Castiel says Sam's name, Sam smiles and tells him "Hello, Castiel."  So Castiel knew his little "icebreaker" had to happen with Dean.  It didn't help. 
 
While Castiel went on about the honey bee and Meg's gruff exterior, Dean didn't say a word.  Sam ended up doing all the communicating and showing him the tablet.  When Dean finally does step in (first correcting Sam hilariously about Megatron) he was all about the case, then shouted at Meg and upset Castiel.  He was already feeling pretty anxious by the time he joined Cass in the break room.  Dean clearly wasn't in the mood to talk, but he tried.    
 
Dean:  It's Sam's thing, isn't it?  
(Castiel watches Dean benevolently)
Dean:  You taking on his cage match scars.  I'm guessing that's what broke your bank, right?
Castiel:  It took everything to get me here.  
Dean:  What are you talking about man?
Castiel:  Dean, I know you want different answers.
Dean:  No I want you to button up your coat, and help us take down Leviathans.  
(Cass looks at him again with deep sympathy).
Dean:  You remember what you did? 

 
Dean wanted Castiel to right his wrong, now.  No games, no hiding.  He left this mess for them, he should clean it up.  Castiel can read Dean easily and took his opportunity.  He calmly held up the Sorry game (the game of sweet revenge) and had the board setup in no time.  The game was a cover for the talk they have been long avoiding, and Castiel even asked Dean if he wanted to go first.  Dean didn't want to play, but would if it got him answers.  
 
Yes, Castiel tried to soften things through small talk about Neanderthals, but Dean jumped to finding Metatron.  He was all business.  "I'm sorry, I think you have to go back to start," Castiel interrupted.  This was Castiel setting Dean back on track since he lost focus on the game, which was intended to give him the answers he needed (not sought).  Dean mentioned Metatron again, but Castiel went back to the game.  "We live in a sorry universe, it's engineered to create conflict.  Why should I prosper from your misfortune?  But these are the rules, I didn't make them."  
 
In other words, even in the world of Sorry, conflict and misfortune rules.  That's enough to tick Dean off, for he doesn't believe that crap.  "You made some of them.  When you tried to become God, when you cut that hole into that wall."  Castiel tried again to set Dean back on the game, but Dean lost his temper, pushing the game on the ground.  Castiel told him he's sorry, Dean told him he's only playing Sorry.  Castiel looked at him with sadness.  Whatever message he was trying to convey, Dean didn't understand.  
 
Dean got it wrong.  He's too angry to see otherwise.  Yes, Cass was playing a game, but that's because he knew that Dean wouldn't accept a mere apology.  If you recall at the end of "Meet The New Boss," Castiel apologized before putting the souls back in Purgatory.  Dean didn't forgive him.  He is still obviously clinging onto the resentment over his betrayal and breaking Sam's wall.  The game was clearly a way for Dean to vent, to air his grievances so to speak, to come to terms with where they were, accept things for the way they were and start over.  Everything Castiel said had a purpose.  Dean just didn't want to hear it.  Or he's too blinded by pain to hear it.  

 
Dean wasn't exactly kind with Kevin either, and wasn't pleased to hear they were dealing with another prophet.  He was grouchy during the drive, and then when it was just him and Kevin downstairs, he didn't have words of comfort.  Just the harsh truth.  It sucks being a prophet.  The only thing he can do is his homework, aka translating the tablet.  "There's no use asking "Why me?" cause the angels, they don't care.  I just think they don't have the equipment to care.  It seems like when they try, it just breaks them apart."   
 
This scene really made me very sad.  It shows how this life has broken Dean, and how being chosen for this life hasn't done him any favors.  To look back, even in season four when Castiel first rescued him from Hell, Dean was an idealist.  He cared about people, he cared about what happened to the world, he cared about his brother, he cared about his friend Cass.  He also wouldn't put up with angels and their crap, choosing to do things his way and go down swinging.  I'm sure he felt sympathy for Kevin and his predicament and wanted to care, but he couldn't.  He's got a world to save.  It's scary how much like future Dean from "The End" this mirrors.  

Yes, ditto for Hippie Cass.  I like how Cass though could just leave without any clue what was next.  "Isn't that amazing?"  It truly is for an angel, even a broken one.  

 
So that's Dean's mindset going into next week.  The mission is practically the only thing holding him together.  I do wonder when it's time to ask for Castiel's help, it's Sam again that goes calling.  I do like this new Sam/Castiel dynamic, and I'm wondering what will it take for Dean to let go.  I'm also wondering what will it take for the brothers to start sharing again and not just talking.  
 
Overall grade, an A.  Another Edlund directing/writing effort that was a huge success.  Only two more episodes left.  Good thing season eight has been confirmed, for I think two eps wouldn't have been enough for all the dangling items.  

Comments  

rmoats8621
# rmoats8621 2012-05-09 01:44
Great review. I agree that there was a whole lot going on in this episode and even after re-watching it several times now, I still feel like I haven't grasped it all. Poor Dean! He's such a mess right now. I'm glad to see Sam getting things back together. I think he's so much better, but still has a way to go to get back to his whole self. I'm looking forward to the last two episodes and see where this ride is going to take us. :D
Alice
# Alice 2012-05-11 01:18
Yes, I curious myself. There seems like so much I want to see in two episodes. Me thinks a lot will be carried over to next year.
Sharon
# Sharon 2012-05-09 02:20
Of course Sam is ok .Sam will always be ok in fact that can be his motto 'I am ok ' and he will go on being ok.

Thanks for the review Alice.
Alice
# Alice 2012-05-11 01:19
I sense the resentment, and honestly, I'm in your camp. Sam's story line this year has been bungled quite badly. Sadly, I have to call it as they write it.
hades
# hades 2012-05-11 14:31
I get the feeling 'OK Sam' is the Sam of season 8, if he's Ok then the writers dont actually have to write for him, they can just have him hunt and hang around in the background while they deal with Dean's never ending issues and now Cas's impending humanity? Off course this will allow for Jared to take plenty of time of to be with his family, they can just say Sam is off on his own researching or being Ok.
lala2
# lala2 2012-05-11 23:36
Quote:
I get the feeling 'OK Sam' is the Sam of season 8, if he's Ok then the writers dont actually have to write for him, they can just have him hunt and hang around in the background while they deal with Dean's never ending issues and now Cas's impending humanity? Off course this will allow for Jared to take plenty of time of to be with his family, they can just say Sam is off on his own researching or being Ok.
LOL! So true! Nothing rattles our Sammy anymore. You know the writers don't want to risk actually writing for Sam and exploring his emotions. We can't have that!
misty
# misty 2012-05-14 09:31
Are you guys kidding? Sam's pretty much the ONLY ine they wrote for until this season! So Dean finally gets a little attention. Oh the horror!
misty
# misty 2012-05-14 09:40
And yes, I do love Sam, but come on! From the very beginning they have hammered over our heads the Sam's the the important, the smart one, the strong one, pretty much the only one that really matters, while all Dean is good for is to look after him. Hell, even Dean's Michael storyline was coincided with Sam's Ruby storyline. And what about Dean's hell pain ? Only a couple of episodes where that was mentioned. His doesn't matter as much as Sam's I guess.
To be fair, both brothers have taken a back seat this season to guest and supporting characters. I don't want Dean to get all the focus. I just wish Dean got storylines even half as good and juicy and Sam has always gotten, ok, at least until this season. Love BOTH brothers. And no, being drunk and morose is NOT a good storyline!
anonymousN
# anonymousN 2012-05-16 03:33
At least Deans hell pain still effects him from time to time Sam's hell pain looks like has been transferred to Castiel.Both brothers fans have their complaints.I just wish they spend half the time they have spent on Dean exploring Sam's POV.I don't think they stressed on the point that Sam is the Smart one or Strong one (they pretty much showed him weak and only in Season 5 did Bobby acknowledge he is strong),he mattered HA! that is why 90% of the time i have to guess what he is thinking . If you think Dean is only good to look after Sam well let me tell you he is the guy who said no to Michael so that the population of earth could survive and even after all the crap he/they were put through he was still a normal guy who every supernatural being was wary of as he could not be deceived like Sam...I always think if one of them did not see it till the end of apocalypse it would have been horrible for the world
Sharon
# Sharon 2012-05-14 10:26
Quote:
Are you guys kidding? Sam's pretty much the ONLY ine they wrote for until this season! So Dean finally gets a little attention. Oh the horror!
With all due respect I think Dean getting a little attention is not the issue some have . Quote:
And yes, I do love Sam, but come on! From the very beginning they have hammered over our heads the Sam's the the important, the smart one, the strong one, pretty much the only one that really matters, while all Dean is good for is to look after him. Hell, even Dean's Michael storyline was coincided with Sam's Ruby storyline. And what about Dean's hell pain ? Only a couple of episodes where that was mentioned. His doesn't matter as much as Sam's I guess.
To be fair, both brothers have taken a back seat this season to guest and supporting characters. I don't want Dean to get all the focus. I just wish Dean got storylines even half as good and juicy and Sam has always gotten, ok, at least until this season. Love BOTH brothers. And no, being drunk and morose is NOT a good storyline!
Deans hell is there it has never gone away why do you think he has problems , also his issues are there and have never gone away . Dean has had the emotional storytelling focus for most of the series while Sam had the plot focus but not the storytelling.

People equate sl to storytelling and focus but it isnt the same most of the events on this show have been seen through Dean he has had the episodes to himself he has had the storytelling and relationships as a Sam fan I have craved for him .
A few episodes this season doesnt equate to Sam getting storytelling it doesnt come close .But I agree that Dean's wasnt up to much either

I know we see things differently where Sam is concerned but thats ok :-)
AggieD
# AggieD 2012-05-14 11:44
Quote:
Deans hell is there it has never gone away why do you think he has problems , also his issues are there and have never gone away . Dean has had the emotional storytelling focus for most of the series while Sam had the plot focus but not the storytelling.

People equate sl to storytelling and focus but it isnt the same most of the events on this show have been seen through Dean he has had the episodes to himself he has had the storytelling and relationships as a Sam fan I have craved for him .
A few episodes this season doesnt equate to Sam getting storytelling it doesnt come close .But I agree that Dean's wasnt up to much either

I know we see things differently where Sam is concerned but thats ok :-)
(Hope this works: my first post here. Though I've been a reader for a while...)

I couldn't agree more with this view. And I'm looking at things as a Dean fan.

Dean has always been the emotional heart of Supernatural, in my opinion, and the actor is more than able to make depth out of the occasionally thin material he's given. To be honest, I don't think Ackles has been short-changed over the years. In any situation, you will know what Dean feels, whatever it is; or if off-balance he doesn't yet know what he feels, you sense his confusion. He's the one whose presence is credited by the writing or the direction, whichever thing it is that makes him central.

Sam on the other hand is often a black hole in terms of his feelings and reactions. He seems made up of scraps of possible rather than inevitable feelings and motivations/ He does all things quickly. He falls; he's redeemed; he fights; he forgives; he's evil; he's good. It all happens in a rapid exchange that suggests a dangerously fluid moral system that is perhaps in itself a sign of deep damage.

So I'd say Sam's hell is there all of the time too. I fear that the guy is pretty much lost in his own fate. Someone healthy would seem much more present than Sam.

I've read on another site (I'm sorry for ranting here and getting it off my chest) where Dean fans are bemoaning that the character wasn't 'allowed' to become Michael's vessel at the end of Season 5, like it's a plum role to be taken over by a supernatural agency and not to be yourself any more. Jeez! Dean's best gift from the show (and his best gift to the show) is that he always has retained his self. Occasionally I wish he had more to do, and occasionally I think (in a sulk) why do the writers love Sam more... But as a Dean fan, I'd rather far the ride he has been given. You Sam fans have had a lot to put up with, in my opinion.
misty
# misty 2012-05-14 12:49
Ok guys, I guess we just have to agree to disagree, because I still feel Dean has never gotten as interesting of storylines as Sam, but ok.
My main quibble is the people that feel Dean treats Sam bad when it was always pretty much clear to me that Sam has been Dean's whole life. And Cas? Dean has sometimes been snarky with him, true, but it was also clearly shown, to me anyway, that Dean really cared alot abo.ut him, and remember he even told that he'd have died for him, and that he was like a brother
And to my other comment about Dean haters being nuts, apologies, I was wrong to name call there. It just seems to me like Dean is getting crapped on everywhere on these fan sites.
Sharon
# Sharon 2012-05-14 13:41
Quote:
Ok guys, I guess we just have to agree to disagree, because I still feel Dean has never gotten as interesting of storylines as Sam, but ok.
My main quibble is the people that feel Dean treats Sam bad when it was always pretty much clear to me that Sam has been Dean's whole life. And Cas? Dean has sometimes been snarky with him, true, but it was also clearly shown, to me anyway, that Dean really cared alot abo.ut him, and remember he even told that he'd have died for him, and that he was like a brother
And to my other comment about Dean haters being nuts, apologies, I was wrong to name call there. It just seems to me like Dean is getting crapped on everywhere on these fan sites.
Dean can treat Sam bad regardless wether Sam has been his whole life and as we all know Sam has been hated on a relentless tide for treating Dean bad as I have stated a million times it isnt a one way street despite these brothers loving each other .They can hurt each other.

If it is alright to bring that up then it is alright for some to say they dont like how Dean acted otherwise it would be saying it is ok for Dean but Sam's wrongs must be the only ones highlighted which pretty much is the case anyway.

Has for Dean being crapped on well as a Sam fan I know that goes with the territory because Sam disappeared under the crap he got in season 4 and that goes without the hate he was getting before that so there isnt much you can do about it.
anonymousN
# anonymousN 2012-05-16 04:08
Sam has not been Dean's whole life that is fanon .If it were so he would not leave Sam at plucky's when they were younger..Dean no doubt was a good brother but he has his life too ..Oh about Dean getting crapped on on fan sites i have stopped going to any other site because of Sam hate i see there not just in comments but in the reviews also .I remember reading in one review in one happily forgotten site in season 5 something along the lines that only Jensen can act and Jared well cannot and this was in a review not a comment and . If it were about the episode it would have been okay as i don't care but it just said Jared was a bad actor ..i was surprised the hate bleeding into real life..I don't hate Dean but i am partial to Sam so my comments surround Sam If only Dean gets a good plot this or next Season i don't mind ...i will only mind if Sam goes to background because of it (and i am not talking plotwise) or otherwise
anonymousN
# anonymousN 2012-05-16 02:45
Good you see it like that but don't ridicule our feelings .Just because you feel so that is not how i should feel the same way.It will be horror if Dean gets both emotional focus and plot focus what will Sam do then
NOLANOLA
# NOLANOLA 2012-05-09 02:38
OK, HERE I GO. I REALLY THINK THAT CAS IS GOD IN DISGUISE. SO MANY OF THE THINGS CAS SAID, COULD BE GOD TALKING ABOUT HIMSELF. CALM DOWN.

CAS SPEAKS OF HIMSELF IN THE 3RD PERSON WHEN TRYING TO EXPLAIN THAT THE BOYS ASKED THE ANGEL NOT TO DO IT, BUT HE DID IT ANYWAY. (IN RUFUS' CABIN)

THE ANGELS HAVE NOT SEEN GOD FOR A LONG TIME. NO ONE HAS EVEN SEEN GOD WAS A QUOTE FROM ONE EPISODE. IT TOOK EVERYTHING TO GET ME BACK. (MAYBE OTHER THAN LUCIFER, NO OTHER BEING HAS EVER TRIED TO TAKE OVER OR BECOME A GOD) HE WAS DISAPPOINTED AND LEFT AFTER CAS MESSED UP. HE CAME BACK BECAUSE HIS WORD SAID ' PING.' (A SMALL BIG BANG)

HE COULD LOOK AT HIS CREATION AND MARVEL & SEE WHAT HE TRULY MADE. THE YING AND YANG OF IT. GOING BACK TO THE BEGINNING !!!

OK I AM NOT A REVIEWER BUT I HAVE SEEN THIS AT LEAST 20 TIMES NOW & MAYBE, I AM DISASSOCIATING,:))

YES I AM GOING TO WATCH SOME MORE. THAT IS A PYRAMID DEEP EPISODE. JUST AT LEAST RE-WATCH THE SORRY GAME & THE CABIN SCENES.

MAYBE I CAN FIGURE SOMETHING ELSE OUT. PEACE

P.S. JUST AS GOD CAME INTO CHUCK AT THE END, I THINK MAYBE ALSO CASTIEL.
Alice
# Alice 2012-05-11 01:21
Hey, anything is possible on this show! I think back to "Swan Song" though, and that beautiful moment when Castiel healed Dean. Dean asked if he was God and he said no. Then he was fake God. I don't know, I think this is what happens with an angel goes cuckoo. It's not a bad development actually.
Ginger
# Ginger 2012-05-09 09:31
This was a very insightful review, Alice, but I don't think I'm understanding what you bring out in the Cas/Dean Sorry talk. Are you saying:

Cas is counseling Dean that the world is messy, chaotic, ruled by conflict and misunderstandin gs, and that if Dean understood this, he would feel better about himself and what he does?

Is Cas saying that he now understands the 'free will' business, that he understands his actions were wrong and caused a great damage to Dean, Heaven, Sam, and humanity, but he's learned that lesson?

Is Cas saying that he now understands the 'spark' in humans and that angels are not equipped with that spark?

Is Cas asking Dean to go back to the start of their relationship or to go back to the joy he found in hunting and helping people and the simple things life has to offer; that that is what Dean needs to reach back to to find peace with himself?

You say that Cas's advice to Sam should lead Sam to enjoying the miracle of life, as opposed to his past obsession of being tainted by evil and worrying so much about things. Is Cas advising Dean that the miracle of life is all he needs to focus on?

And lastly, are you saying that Cas sees the beauty in evil (his infatuation with Meg), the purpose of evil, or that one of life's miracles that Cas appreciates is the capacity of evil?

And what is your take on Cas speaking in the third person when he talks about an angel causing the Levi problem? Unless Cas is now God reincarnate...w hich is what my initial reaction was; that God came out of hiding and is now taking an active interest (not role, but interest) in what is going on and is; therefore, in the form of Cas, trying to give some encouragement to the Winchesters, it made no sense to me.
NOLANOLA
# NOLANOLA 2012-05-09 11:21
GINGER........W ELL SAID. :-)
Alice
# Alice 2012-05-09 14:30
I think Castiel knew that Dean was expecting him to help with the Leviathan mess, join them on their quest, and avoid the elephant in the room regarding the strain on their relationship. This was his off the wall way of getting Dean to work on the issue at hand, which was Dean's anger and feelings of betrayal. Dean's not very good at this stuff.

Castiel has been on a personal journey where he's found contentment and peace, and yes, he wishes the same for Dean (and all beings), but they didn't get that far. Castiel didn't get a chance to get that deep with Dean. The angels interrupted that. I think if he was given a chance to continue, yes he would have advised Dean on a number of things. At this point, he's just trying to get Dean to air his grievances and acknowledge his pain.

I'm not saying Cass' advice to Sam SHOULD lead him to enjoying the miracle of life. I'm saying I wish it would. It probably won't. Remember, Sam and Castiel both went down the path of embracing their dark sides and then working their way back to redemption. Just having that perspective alone makes Sam open to other views.

I think Castiel is seeing the beauty of all things, good and evil. It's kind of like Darth Vader. He was very evil, but there was still some good left.

As for Cas speaking in the third person, that was nothing more than a trick a child uses when not wanting to admit guilt. Castiel isn't owning up to all his mistakes yet. He's still working out things. I don't take that to be much more than that.

Thanks for your comments!
Ginger
# Ginger 2012-05-09 16:45
Thank you, Alice. This is the best explanation I have read for an episode that I did not appreciate. It has given me a better opinion of the episode, and of Edlund.

Yet, if your interpretation is right, it still does not take away from the inordinate amount of focus on support characters this season or the fact that I think perhaps it is a little late in the season for the episode.

I do like support characters, and I do understand the need for them in a show. However, I've never seen a show devote an entire season to support characters and push their leads into the background wallpaper. Usually, when support characters are popular, they don't take over a show; a spin-off series is usually developed. The last five episodes have been dedicated to support characters:

BAI: Re-introduction of Cas
PoG: Garth
OGI: Bobby
GwtD&DT: Charlie
RIF: Cas

These are just the last five. There were many others earlier in the season.

And I say Cas for RIF, because the insight you mention with Sam is how Sam has been since waking up, and not much was seen of his dilemna prior to the one episode that brought Cas back to fix his screw-up.

Having Sam understand their paths are the same is one thing. Having Sam not expressing how Cas's terrible betrayal of Dean affected Dean is something else.

I don't mind if they want to shift Cas's friendship to Sam, and I do fully expect it to be Sam to call upon Cas to help them.

Where Dean and Cas are now, going by your interpretation of how the Sorry scene went, is the exact same place that they were when Cas showed up at Bobby's house last season asking Dean one last time to agree to his Purgatory scheme and then telling Dean he couldn't do anything about him, because he was a mere man.

I also think that if Cas knows Dean as well as he thinks, he should know that Dean is very black and white in his moral code, and loyalty and betrayal are a big part of Dean's moral code. To expect Dean to accept things as they are, forgive and move on, is ridiculous. To expect him to recognize and express his anger is also silly. Dean knows he's angry, and he knows why he's angry.

I don't see Dean so much as The End Dean. I do see him as focused only on the job, because the job is really all that there is, not to mention that he is trying to clean up Cas's mess because he wasn't able to stop Cas from endangering mankind. And, because that mess Cas started resulted directly in Bobby being killed.

Cas disappearing in his childlike state to go continue meditating and ignoring his role (which was massive) in putting all of mankind at risk doesn't make me feel all warm and fuzzy for the character. It does, of course, with two episodes left, establish a storyline for Cas in S8 -- and that goes back to my point of an inordinate amount of time spent on support characters. I've seen no set-up of a storyline for Sam or Dean this late in the game.

So basically, your review was really, really interesting, but it doesn't make what has gone on last season or this season any more palatable, as far as the two leads are concerned. (Quite frankly, I just don't get the reasoning behind it.)

I will be watching the last two episodes from the perspective of your review and see if there is any follow-up on it. Perhaps you could relate your next two reviews with this one in mind?
Alice
# Alice 2012-05-11 01:42
Sorry for the slow reply. It's always so hard to get back to comment replies.

I very, very, very much agree with your point about this one episode not making the season more palatable. As much as I loved this episode, this season has been a big disappointment and my jaded view of it hasn't improved.

In terms of supporting characters, the issue is they have so poorly developed their main characters that when a supporting character comes along and gets time, it seems like they are favoring supporting characters over the main ones. The truth is, Supernatural has always had strong supporting characters that have gotten screen time. The problem is, Sam and Dean usually get strong stories too. Not this season. I'm disappointed to say, staring at the tail end of this season now, it really hasn't been much better than season six. Both have had major writing deficiencies (directing and production has been better than ever).

I'm with you about Sam talking to Cass about Dean. That conversation should have happened. Then again, so should have Castiel and Dean! There's so much they've left dangling and I know that there's the risk of making it like they're in couples therapy, but certain key dialogue has been lacking. In this case though, I don't blame Ben Edlund one bit. He's been left with the task of filling in so many holes left by other writers, it just all can't be done.
I don't think Sam and Castiel will become close friends. They will always have that understanding though.

Castiel doesn't have easy answers when it comes to Dean. I don't think he's expecting Dean accept things and move on as much as he hopes he will. Because what else can he do? It was like Sam at the beginning of season 5. There's nothing he can say or do to make it better.

Dean isn't exactly acting like future Dean, but he was kind of heading that way. All business, without the sympathy for the human element.

I'll definitely keep this review in mind for the upcoming episodes, but I also might end up analyzing just the episodes alone and then digging into season 7 during the beginning of Summer Hellatus. I'm most disappointed with the way they've ruined Sam and Dean's characters and the brotherly bond. I'm going to be spelling out in no uncertain terms exactly why.
Ginger
# Ginger 2012-05-11 08:19
Thank you, Alice. I am looking forward to your future comments on this season. I suspect yours and mine are very similar. I still love this show, but; quite frankly, in all my years, I have never witnessed such damage done to lead characters as has happened in this show. There isn't enough luck and prayers that could be offered to Jeremy Carver for the next season. Bless his heart for agreeing to take on this job.
KELLY
# KELLY 2012-05-09 19:22
@Alice what is your take on him speaking about his actions in the third person? I can't help but think this means Cas is NOT doing all that well at dealing with what he did.
Alice
# Alice 2012-05-11 01:43
Oh no, he's definitely not doing well. He's on the road to recovery, but he's far from healed. Admitting his guilt at that moment wouldn't have helped either. Castiel already said he was sorry to Dean and Hester and got no forgiveness. What's the point of beating a dead horse? Again, Castiel's logic, not mine!
NOLANOLA
# NOLANOLA 2012-05-09 19:25
YOU CAN TELL I HAVE NO CHILDREN NOR PETS.

CAN NOT WAIT FOR THIS SEASON TO BE OVER. S8 CAN NOT COME TO SOON.

THIS IS WITHOUT A DOUBT MY LEAST FAVORITE SEASON, BUT I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE THE MYSTERIES IN R.I.F.
anonymousN
# anonymousN 2012-05-10 12:10
Hi Alice,
Sam was open to other views even at the beginning. The thing is i see Dean's forgiving nature highlighted but not Sam's it is all about shared perspectives and other things. I find it humbling to see Sam forgiving Castiel because even though i like Castiel i am in Dean's mind set. And just because Castiel trying to advice Dean ...well first Castiel should become the person who Dean takes advice from...the wounds were open for some time so it will take time to heal.
Sylvie
# Sylvie 2012-05-09 09:42
Great review Alice. Yes, I agree that Dean is acting very much like future Dean from "The End". Cass I'm just so puzzled about. Nolanola might be onto something with him possibly being God. I was glad that Sam seems to be doing alright after everything he's been through, he deserves to have some peace of mind. I loved his quiet "Hey Castiel". Both Dean's talk and Sam's talk with Castiel told us so much about where their heads are right now. But these boys need to open up to each other and not just to Bobby or to Cass. Definitely something that needs to be addressed in season 8.

This episode is still so full of information even after multiple viewings, I think it's going to take a long time to figure this one out. It assuredly deserves a resounding A, maybe even an A+. I can't wait to find out how it all turns out.
TeresaPezzino
# TeresaPezzino 2012-05-09 13:30
Wonderful review, Alice. I am still worried for Sam, although he is better, but I am very worried for Dean. Not being able to let go has been an underlying theme for the Winchester Family for years. As badly as I want Bobby to come back to being corporeal again, I must admit I have wondered since he was shot if his role is to help both Sam and Dean not only learn to let go, but understand two things: 1) not letting go of the past can lead to pain and losing one's self and 2) there can be something beautiful waiting on the other side of letting go. I think Sam has caught a glimmer of that possibility, although he has no idea what form it could take. Dean sees no glimmer, and when life and death are both grim, he is trapped in a neverending cycle. I hope season 8 will be focused sharply on both of their emotional journeys.
Alice
# Alice 2012-05-11 01:47
I just hope season 8 is focused! That would be an improvement. :-)
cd28
# cd28 2012-05-09 14:20
Very nice review. Your reviews always make me see something new in the show. In this case, I had been so focused on trying to figure out what was going on with Cas during his scenes with Sam and Dean that I hadn't stopped to consider what Cas was seeing in Sam and Dean. I'll think about this next time I watch the episode.

Regarding Cas' behavior, I'm wondering if Cas might have absorbed not just Sam's crazy, but also a little of his soul. Sam's crazy has been portrayed as damaged soul, so it might be that what Cas took from Sam was the most damaged layer of his soul. Angels have had souls in them before, but maybe this is the first time an angel took not just the energy from it, but absorbed it into his being. Cas could be seeing everything for the first time through the lens of a human soul and he's on a high from all these new emotions and sensations. That would put a new light on his comment to Sam that helping Sam made Cas better and his comment to Dean that he benefited from Dean's misfortune.

Of course we know that the soul is capable of much wider range of emotions than just euphoria, so I'm wondering if this is the start of a bi-polar Cas as he adjusts to his new state.
Alice
# Alice 2012-05-11 01:49
I know, I wish I had that psychology degree. Castiel's behavior can probably be linked to a few disorders. But I do agree, he did likely absorb some damaged soul as well. But as Castiel said, he was broken himself. So it ended up being just what he needed to see another damaged soul. Weird, but it kind of makes sense. Shifting pain.
MelT
# MelT 2012-05-11 15:45
I thought this too. That Cas is carrying around a bit of Sam's soul due to the transfer. What did Death say? You can't cut off pieces of a person's soul. So he would have a strange connection to Sam that he actually appeared to in this episode. When the angels came, Cas said "Sam's talking to angels". He didn't say his old garrison was chatting up Sam. It was like he knew what Sam was doing not the angels. If you can't cut off the person Cas is a vessel for a bit of Sam's soul that's still connected to him right? Not sure. :)
Katiki
# Katiki 2012-05-09 14:49
This certainly was a well-crafted, multi-layered episode! Love your insightful recap of the interactions. It's interesting Cas is more attuned to people's moods and motivations, but like a dog or child would be, through instinct rather than practiced social behaviour.

Quote:

"He accepted that all Cass ever did was try to help. Again, another shared perspective of being burned by good intentions gone wrong. "
I was really struck by this, and so happy we're getting a new dynamic and rapprochement between Sam and Cas. After all, they do now have a lot in common. I said this in my own review:

Sam can more readily understand how the road to Hell is paved with good intentions, because he too was lured down that path by a demon. Sam was tricked by Ruby into thinking he was averting the Apocalypse and he wasn't thinking clearly because he was hopped up on demon blood. Cas was corrupted by Crowley and thought he was preventing Apocalypse Redux and he wasn't thinking clearly because he was superjuiced on souls. If Cas did more direct damage, well, he's more powerful.

There are a lot of parallels between Sam and Cas's mistakes, not the least of which is that it took Dean a while to forgive them.
Alice
# Alice 2012-05-11 01:51
Sam was able to call on Castiel in "Meet The New Boss" because he had that shared perspective of going off the rails in the name of good intentions. He believed there was still hope for Castiel and wasn't blinded by wounded pride. It was great to see that continued here. It likely will continue in the future too.
Blue Steel
# Blue Steel 2012-05-09 14:51
Most people I watched this episode with hated it and thought it was very bad and very boring. Putting that aside. Dean treated Sam like crap all through season 5, plus lots of season 4 and 6 (Soulless Sam counts for me). It's totally in character for him to give Castiel the same treatment. That is Dean being Dean, not Dean having a poor woobie breakdown, which I'm sure is coming anyway.


This season has disgusted me and frustrated me and broken my heart like no other. I'll watch season 8, but I'm writing this whole season off after episode 2. What a sad sad shame, as they had so much good material to work with and they wasted all of it for empty jokes and filler, turning Dean into a pod person and Sam the Crazy into Okay Fine Sam all season long. See, Sam was okay and fine for most of the season, we didn't get to see him broken the way we are with Castiel. Now it's just more of the same blow off blundering with Sam as before. I could cry, what a waste, what a terrible terrible waste....

Sam's been out of hell for 2 years now and we know nothing about his experience, not from his own words. Dean hasn't cared about Sam's experience, either. I'm almost repulsed by how little care was put into Sam's Breakdown this season. I'm so angry and ashamed of the writing for this show.
Maria3
# Maria3 2012-05-09 15:20
Totally agree with everything you said!
As for the episode, it was mediocre to bad... "Retarded" Cas had no purpose at all in the episode and he wasn't even entertaining...
The boys were -for the third episode in a row- secondary characters to their own show.
Sam is getting on my nerves for always being too kind and forgiving with everyone. Yes that's how he's always been, but after a certain point it's becoming annoying... Like Dean told him in TBAI: "Get pissed!!!"
As for Dean, I don't think his attitude is similar to future-Dean at all. Castiel almost caused his brother's death and this is not sth that Dean would (or should) let go that easily, no matter how many times Castiel has apologized.
shadowhund
# shadowhund 2012-05-09 15:56
I agree, Blue Steel!

Dean and his family, brothers, fathers, sisters, kids, angels, demons, ghosts! Sam is only one of a whole bunch of people and is getting lost in the crowd.

Who cares for what Sam is feeling, how he is affected by everything he has gone through, in the end it is like nothing has happened to him and that he doesn't need to deal with anything.

Pain, torture, sorrow, sadness, emotions, repercussions of his time down under hidden, cutted out by the responsible of the show, and suddenly, when Casstiel shows up, we get to see Sam can't go on further, I really feel lost and alone with Sam's journey and it is a real disaster for me, that did throw his big foreshadow already in the opening of episode 7.03 The Girl Next Door. NO insight, no scene where we could feel with Sam after the attack of that monster. He is suddenly fine again and since this episode I knew and feared this whole season 7.

I am absolutely not looking forward to almost all episodes, and don't get me even started with the return of the trenchcoat. This is not Supernatural... its Soapernatural, unrecognizable brothers, who almost doesn't talk with each other, growling sad, emotion Dean and dumb, fine one dimensional Sam, who only cracked to give over to a childlike, broken, hippie, philosophic Casstiel!


The series is crowded with angels, who have no soul, but can take over the hell of a broken psyche/soul from a human being ( but seemingly can' really take over because Casstiel is now a "broken little childlike angel of the Lord". I am absolutely not interested in any delving into the issue what makes an angel tick (especially when the name of the angel is Casstiel).

I prefer to know how Sam is affected, not that supernatural being, who almost killed Sam!

At this point I would have wished for the character of Sam to die because of the repercussions and Jared could have played the evil Leviathan that Dean can kill in the series end.

The brothers relationship is dead and gone and it is what is missing hugely in SPN. That was always what kept me in. The writers decided for a reason I don't know and don't understand, to cut Sam out from us viewers. They may think, that Sam is not important enough to get any sympathetic, empathic POV, insight. Now that ship has sailed and I think that this reflects the sides at forums where people not have to say much anymore about this beautiful, intersting character! It has killed the connection between the viewers and Sam, the character.

My hope lies in Jeremy Carver now, because I still don't want to give up, because of the historical unique brotherhood, character layers were always intertwined in the MOTW stories, nowadays they feel flat and not true anymore to me. My love for the brothers is still there and I truly love the character of Sam, but in the same time it is starving to watch him nowadays!

Also the show has dumbed down Sam's mind. He probably has gotten to much beats at his head and has brain damage now. To mistake the transformer with the god/angel is so not Sam. Sam would have known this! And to let the word of god back in the room is another dumb Sam. I hope this show is getting back to the precious treasure it once was! Now its just like a trashcan, and the writers shake things in it and then "surprise"!

Cut the "Destiel's" out from this fandom, and cut the writing for the Destiels out, also since Sam and Casstiel had their bonding scene now it seems there is suddenly a role reverse of Sam and Dean out there.
I am glad that Dean didn't forgive that creature, I would have even more preferred to see him murderously furious with the being who hurt Sam for no reason than to distract Dean!

I am hugely disappointed in this season, my disappointment can't get any worse!
The new episode on friday is probably the only one I am looking a little forward to, because it seems that there could be a brother moment in it with more than just a "fly by" brother scene!

I also don't know whether I will come back to post here something regarding Supernatural in the future!
anonymousN
# anonymousN 2012-05-10 15:07
@shadowhund, blue steel
Sam has been dumbed down even in earlier episodes and i have not liked it too. I am not saying Sam should know everything under sun but some things Sam should be able to figure out and some he should know, i always thought to show the importance of Bobby they dumbed Sam down
Alice
# Alice 2012-05-11 02:04
You should come back and post more! While I'm not sure your comments have much to do with the episode, it doesn't matter. Your frustrations about season seven mirror several of mine as well.

I just hate what they've done to both Sam and Dean, but since I have a certain affinity for Sam, what they've done to his character really makes me upset. Who knew insanity meant becoming dumber? He's just a giant robot anymore. They have made Dean that way too although. It doesn't make sense.

I actually adore Castiel and always will. The reason why people are hating the Destiel is because the brotherly relationship has been so poorly developed this year. As in not developed. If that part was great, there would be less objection to other characters

I hold out tremendous hope for season 8 as well.
anonymousN
# anonymousN 2012-05-11 04:01
One of the reasons why i liked Sam was because he was/is a geek, I don't want the writers to make him dumb
lemongrass
# lemongrass 2012-05-10 16:45
I agree. I feel so damn bored with this show. And yes, Sam is always OK. When was he not OK and 'managing' it? I wish Sam had told Cas to rub his hand, he'll be fine.

It's frustrating even when Sam and Cas had a talk, it's Cas who does most of the talking. I wanted Sam to tell us how he felt, I'm not interested in Castiel's experience.
Alice
# Alice 2012-05-11 01:56
While I think the episode was masterful, I'm definitely with you on how they've butchered Sam's character with this whole after Hell trauma thing and wasted the golden opportunities that they setup. It could have been so much more.

I'm trying to separate in this review though the episode from what I think is a very poorly written season. This was not a poorly written episode.

For the record, they've butchered Dean's character too. It's a freaking shame, and I'll be going through their character journeys (of lack of them) for this season as soon as Summer Hellatus begins.
lala2
# lala2 2012-05-11 23:47
Quote:
Most people I watched this episode with hated it and thought it was very bad and very boring. Putting that aside. Dean treated Sam like crap all through season 5, plus lots of season 4 and 6 (Soulless Sam counts for me). It's totally in character for him to give Castiel the same treatment. That is Dean being Dean, not Dean having a poor woobie breakdown, which I'm sure is coming anyway.


This season has disgusted me and frustrated me and broken my heart like no other. I'll watch season 8, but I'm writing this whole season off after episode 2. What a sad sad shame, as they had so much good material to work with and they wasted all of it for empty jokes and filler, turning Dean into a pod person and Sam the Crazy into Okay Fine Sam all season long. See, Sam was okay and fine for most of the season, we didn't get to see him broken the way we are with Castiel. Now it's just more of the same blow off blundering with Sam as before. I could cry, what a waste, what a terrible terrible waste....

Sam's been out of hell for 2 years now and we know nothing about his experience, not from his own words. Dean hasn't cared about Sam's experience, either. I'm almost repulsed by how little care was put into Sam's Breakdown this season. I'm so angry and ashamed of the writing for this show.
Excellent post! I couldn't agree more with you! This season has been abysmal! I only really liked three episodes: MTNB, HCW, and the clown episode!
misty
# misty 2012-05-14 16:03
Ok, I'm not being snarky or mean here, but can somebody please explain to me how Dean treated Sam like crap? I seem to recall he begged Sam one last time not to go with Ruby, and Sam responded by using his demon blood strength to beat him to a pulp. And souless Sam deliberately let Dean get turned by the vampire for his own ends. And no that was not truly Sam, I know that, and Dean himself treid to protect Sam from all that once he got his soul back, and he even told him what he did during this time( when he was souless) was not his fault. To me, Dean has forgiven Sam over and over, and has proven how much he loves him over and over. So somebody please explain how Dean treated Sam so awful, cause I just don't see it.
anonymousN
# anonymousN 2012-05-16 10:23
I seem to recall Dean DEMANDING Sam one last time not to go with Ruby, calling him monster and then Sam responding by using his demon blood strength to beat Dean to a pulp and then Dean giving Sam THE ULTIMATUM which even if earlier fight did not happen was in itself enough to drive Sam away
Dean choosing to believe Gordon instead of his own brother these are two which i remember now if and when i remember some more i will add it here
Dean forgiving Sam over and over again or is it Sam earning Dean's forgiveness over and over again?
misty
# misty 2012-05-14 10:02
(Edited by Alice - Sorry, you pushed the lines of Sam vs. Dean on this one, especially attacking "Sam fans". We don't do that here. It's in our rules! I will allow the first part of the comment though.)

http://www.thewinchesterfamilybusiness.com/news/64-rules/14338-we-are-a-happy-site-but-there-are-rules.html

Um, Dean sold his FREAKIN SOUL DIED AND WENT TO HELL for Sam! And how did Sam repay him? By choosing a demon over his own brother! And Dean was just supposed to say 'It's ok Sammy"?
misty
# misty 2012-05-14 12:53
Your right and I do apologize. It just seems to me that Dean gets run into the ground everwhere on these fans sites.
I am not a Deangirl. I love both brothers. I just feel that Dean doesn't get equal treatment as a character, that's all.
Cindy
# Cindy 2012-05-14 22:13
I agree with you. There seems to be an increase in the amount of Dean bashing on several messageboards. It's a bit annoying.
misty
# misty 2012-05-14 12:57
And no, I wasn't attacking Sam fans, as I am one too.Just the constant Dean hate.
Alice
# Alice 2012-05-14 13:28
No worries. I'm not holding this against you. Just the way that part of the comment read I know I'd be getting complaints.

For the record I think both Dean and Sam have been poorly represented by the writers this season. You're right to voice objection and I encourage it. I'm just helping avoid serious backlash.
anonymousN
# anonymousN 2012-05-16 10:33
Whatever your viewpoint i understand where you are coming from (even though i don't know which sites you are talking about) as i went through the same thing with respect to Sam when i was visiting other sites
Cindy
# Cindy 2012-05-14 22:10
Dean wasn't the only one treating someone like crap during seasons 4-6.
Karen2
# Karen2 2012-05-09 16:38
Interesting thoughts. I think "Reading is Fundamental" is also supposed to apply to us though. And I've seen a lot of criticism of Dean for his gruffness and lack of forgiveness when I didn't see that in him at all. I saw someone who felt deep guilt about what has happened to his friend/de-facto brother, a guilt that was pinpointed by Hester's comment that Castiel was lost from the first time he ever encountered Dean. I didn't see a lack of forgiveness – all I saw was someone who desperately wants his friend to be OK. I also didn't see much in the way of Sam-Castiel bonding, at least not from Cas back towards Sam: "you're troubled but I generally ignore that". Which is fine by me, since I like the fact Cas is all about Dean. :-)
Sharon
# Sharon 2012-05-09 16:53
Quote:
Interesting thoughts. I think "Reading is Fundamental" is also supposed to apply to us though. And I've seen a lot of criticism of Dean for his gruffness and lack of forgiveness when I didn't see that in him at all. I saw someone who felt deep guilt about what has happened to his friend/de-facto brother, a guilt that was pinpointed by Hester's comment that Castiel was lost from the first time he ever encountered Dean. I didn't see a lack of forgiveness – all I saw was someone who desperately wants his friend to be OK. I also didn't see much in the way of Sam-Castiel bonding, at least not from Cas back towards Sam: "you're troubled but I generally ignore that". Which is fine by me, since I like the fact Cas is all about Dean. :-)
Dean forgiving Castiel will happen so it doesnt matter at the end of the day as for Castiel being all about Dean dont really care I dont need Sam to have a relationship by proxy with Castiel any more than I want one with Bobby with Sam.

I would like Sam to form his own relationships with people separate from the others( it isnt going to happen but I would be lying if I didnt want it though) simply because Dean isnt going to teach us anything about Sam .Bobby and Castiel arent there to give us true insight into him so we need other avenues from those who arent judging Sam or are too close to the situation .We need to see him with fresh eyes that have sympathy and no preconceived ideas of him.

Right now I feel like we are back at square one with Sam and not really understanding what his wall sl ever was supposed to be about ?.
anonymousN
# anonymousN 2012-05-10 15:09
I agree,That is why i think i liked Sam -jody exchange as it was only between Sam and Jody.
lemongrass
# lemongrass 2012-05-10 16:54
And that's why I liked Sam-Lucifer. Luci was always all about Sam.
KELLY
# KELLY 2012-05-09 20:50
I'm still hoping for some further resolution for Sam, even though I agree he is doing better. I need something more to be fully satisfied.

And I definitely agree Dean is sliding back down. He does seem more engaged the last few episodes, but he still seems broken and I not sure where this all is leading for the season. But I'm still holding out for some sort of renewal of purpose for Both but especially for Dean he just seems of lost. I think they need (and I need) a couple of good long talks in the Impala. AND A VACATION.
anonymousN
# anonymousN 2012-05-10 15:10
Yes a vacation is a must and i hope this time they also show what Sam is doing
Joyful
# Joyful 2012-05-10 07:49
Thank you Alice for your thoughtful and insightful review. I really found this episode to be enjoyable for the many layers and nuances that you mentioned. I saw Sam and Dean working together in sync, like they have been most of the season. Sure, I love to see the touchy feely stuff but I understand that it is not necessary to see it to know the brothers are in tune and have each other's back. This season in many ways has shown a very mature relationship between Sam and Dean, and whilst they still have their moments of holding things back for their own reasons I believe the trust between them is very strong. I am really happy to see Cas back, and I am not a Destiel fan by any means. In my opinion (that's all this is folks) he adds a richness to the boys story over the seasons he has been in. If he continues to be involved in Season 8, that will be fine by me and I am looking forward to Jeremy Edlund's influence on the new season. Thanks again Alice.
Gwen
# Gwen 2012-05-10 18:09
Yes, I need more resolution for Sam's story too. I really wish we'd had a scene or two of Sam talking about his Cage memories/experi ences. I had been hoping that once his hallucinations were gone we might get Sam talking about his Cage memories but I am not expecting to see this anymore. Maybe we'll get such moments next season, perhaps.
And of course Sam is okay now. The magic fix ensured that normal transmission was resumed with Okay!Sam back once again.

Quote:
I prefer to know how Sam is affected, not that supernatural being, who almost killed Sam!
^^^Yes. Exactly. I too want to know how Sam is feeling about all that has happened to him, I'm not at all interested in Castiel's experiences.
By the way, great post shadowhund. I agree 100% with everything you wrote.

I didn't like the episode so much. I found it rather boring and Castiel just utterly infuriated me. I thought Misha was wonderful in the episode though. I like Meg and her snark (loved snarky her lines in this episode) but I'm not so interested in her or in any agenda she may or may not have or whatever there is or isn't between her and Castiel. I did like Dean's angry reactions towards Castiel. I'm hoping Dean being not okay is going to lead to a thoroughly badass Dean (the guy who sends the delicious shivers up and down my spine) in the last 2 episodes, not more angsty Dean. I also liked Kevin, he was such a sweetie. And I liked the little shoulder slap Dean gave Sam. Dean saying he was going to do the shopping when they got to Rufus' cabin made me giggle - poor Dean, the last time Dean sent Sam to do the shopping from Rufus' cabin the whole Amy situation started and Sam came back with cake rather than pie. :lol:
Hedi
# Hedi 2012-05-11 01:59
Great review Alice! Been waiting for your review since the episode aired! Ok , Im not gonna talk about how I like this ep , because I loved it , but I think the show is too messed up fight now, like the episodes are not connected with each other and they all are separate episodes each for themselves. I like Castiel and I love Misha , but his character and the things they've done to it just made it a huge mess ans they don't know how to deal with it . Like every other character on the show . I think the mess in the show it's because of the numbers of the storylines and characters , they have too many storylines all at a same time and they don't know which one to serve so they go sideways. So beacuse they cannot leave some plots alone , they'll do sth about it and thats why makes them forget about the whole thing . I think the next season going to be alot more lamer and get focused on the brotherly moments , beacuse that's why the show is effective . They shouldn't forget this! And I so want them to have a proper storyline for Cas if they want him yo be back . A story which dosent put the brothers aside and make them look like total strangers who are devoted to their work ! I want them to respect to their fans and make some good plots , but if they don't , they better not bring Cas back , beacuse that is going to be so messed up and the season will be alot more disappointing than this one.
Alice
# Alice 2012-05-11 02:15
I've tried to answer individually, but I'll just do a blanket comment to all of you that had comments about Sam. Out of all my frustrations, my biggest one is that we haven't seen how Sam is feeling. Dean briefly asked in "Party On Garth" and we got two lines. That's it, that's all he shared with Dean about the whole incident in the institution. It really makes me want to scream. Shouldn't he be rattled, or scared, or something?

The biggest rule of writing television drama is "show, don't tell." We'll they aren't doing either!

Sam and Dean are both burned out, depressed, and are talking shells going through the motions. They aren't enjoying anything, and they aren't showing pain either. That's what's been boring. Why do I want to see that on my TV set? If I wanted to see that, I just have to look at everyone in my workplace (including myself) on a daily basis. That may be real, but do we really watch a show like this for it's realism?

Anyway, as I've mentioned in a few comments here, we will be examining season seven much closer as soon as Summer Hellatus begins.
Tim the Enchanter
# Tim the Enchanter 2012-05-11 16:26
It seems that the two most noteworthy incidents in this episode were Sam’s absolute forgiveness of Castiel and Dean’s lack of forgiveness of same.

Sam’s forgiveness of Castiel doesn’t surprise me. It’s what he does. (Grumbles to self ‘It’s all he freaking does…..’) He reached out to Castiel back in 7.01, and that was just after Castiel broke the wall. Jeez, he’s the one who asked for forgiveness back in 7.07 (I can’t even say the name of that episode any more) when he was the one who got betrayed so, no, I’m not surprised at the forgiveness part of it. To be honest, I thought this was more in line with the Sam we know and love than the ‘Burn Bobby burn’ Sam we got in the last episode.

Why did Sam forgive Castiel so readily? Apart from it being his thing, I think a large part of it has to do with Dean. Sam knows that his forgiveness of Castiel is vital for his brother because Dean cannot move forward in his (platonic) relationship with Castiel if Sam is a barrier to it. There can be no Dean forgiveness without Sam forgiveness, that’s just the way things roll with these guys, so while Sam wanted to forgive, for his brothers sake, he also needed to forgive.

Does the Sam forgiveness thing tick me off? Not entirely in and of itself. Like I said, it is what he does, and fair play to him because he’s a bigger person than I could ever be. However, I admit, at times it does get a little wearying because I feel it sort of reduces Sam as a ‘whole’ character in that it feels like he’s often there to be angry at, but he has no right to be angry because whatever bad thing happens ‘Sam did it first’. (Jeez, how many more times is that going to be used as an excuse to brush things off?)
Sam should be able to get angry but how can he when the character has never been developed enough as a person to show he has the right and occasionally is right to be angry.

I know that Sam’s storyline is well and truly over for the season (if it ever really got started) and while that doesn’t thrill me, I’m at the stage where I’m thinking what’s done is done. The opportunities the show squandered in relation to that storyline it is almost criminal and for me, it lessened Sam’s sacrifice, lessened the storyline and it lessened the season. However, we can’t go back. Sam is out, Lucifer is gone, hallucinations are no more, two centuries of hell was no more than a bad day at the office for Sam Winchester and while the four episodes we got of it were excellent, there will always be the pang of ‘what could have been’ when thinking about it.

The Dean Castiel conversation was perplexing and I imagine it’s what having a conversation with the lovechild of God and Yoda would be like. Oh yeah, and I genuinely have no clue what it’s about. I’ve thought about it so much I’ve stopped thinking about it because I was only confusing myself. I’m hoping there will be a directors commentary of that episode on the DVDs, might give me some insight.

What I thought might be the gist of it (and my interpretation was much more pessimistic than yours) is that, according to Castiel, sometimes shit just happens, so appreciate the good wherever you can find it. (I do agree with this.) There’s nothing to be gained in apportioning blame or seeking forgiveness or feeling guilty because that doesn’t work for anyone. (I also agree with this...) Dean knows Castiel (or as much anyone can know an angel), he knows he feels guilty, and has tried to make amends, for what he’s done. I don’t get this whole notion that an apology is only an apology if it’s said. Castiel tried to make amends so I don’t think he needs to get down on bended knee begging forgiveness. Plus, I don’t think Dean is up for another round of ‘It’s not your fault’.

It’s obvious that Dean has a huge amount of guilt and resentment and anger inside him but I’m wondering how much of that is related to himself, not the pity party thing but actual anger directed at himself. I’m thinking (okay I’m hoping but also knowing it’s not true) that a bit of Dean is quite angry with himself for how he treated Sam during season 5 (and much of season 6). He was played by Castiel as much Sam was by Ruby, so he now knows just how easily, and covertly, it can be done so Sam season 4 and 5 wasn't all evil or wrong or whatever he was, he just trusted too much. (Okay, I'm being snippy, sorry.)

Maybe when Castiel was telling Dean to ‘go back to the start’ he meant that Dean, in order to cure whatever ails him, has to go back to way beyond Castiel, and beyond Sam and Ruby and John and God knows who else to really get to the root of Dean’s problem. I mean, there’s no point putting a plaster on an abscess unless you scrape all the gunk out. Forgiving Castiel won’t cure Dean, it won’t even go part of the way there. Even if they get Bobby back and kill all the Leviathans and whatnot, it won’t fix Dean, because Dean’s problems go back much further than that and I think it’s going to be hard for Dean to stop being angry with Castiel until he stops being angry with himself.

Oh, I don’t know. Thinking hurts my head.

On an aside, does anyone here use Graboid to download SPN? I’m having problems…..

On a second aside, thanks for letting us know what ‘Reading is Fundamental’ actually is. Hello, resources!
anonymousN
# anonymousN 2012-05-11 23:36
Quote:

Does the Sam forgiveness thing tick me off? Not entirely in and of itself. Like I said, it is what he does, and fair play to him because he’s a bigger person than I could ever be. However, I admit, at times it does get a little wearying because I feel it sort of reduces Sam as a ‘whole’ character in that it feels like he’s often there to be angry at, but he has no right to be angry because whatever bad thing happens ‘Sam did it first’. (Jeez, how many more times is that going to be used as an excuse to brush things off?)
Sam should be able to get angry but how can he when the character has never been developed enough as a person to show he has the right and occasionally is right to be angry.
This is what i have felt too by having Sam forgive so easily and others not forgiving Sam so easily showrunners focus on only Sam's mistakes.
Alice mentioned about Cas advising Dean and Dean not accepting but i think mostly we take advice from the people we trust and know it is similar like Gabriel trying to impart his precious advice to Sam*sarcasm* by killing Dean again and again