Next up in our Carver episode reviews is his first effort in season 4, the time-travelling extravaganza "In The Beginning."  Young John!  Young Mary!  Samuel Campbell!  Azazel!  Bad wardrobe!  Worse cars! This episode has it all!

  •     Bye, Sam!  Enjoy your episode off!
  •     There's something kind of sad about a person sleeping on top of the covers fully clothed, not being able to relax even in sleep.
  •     The hell flashbacks are 100% worse because all we see are Dean's terrified eyes.
  •     It's weird seeing Castiel back when we really weren't sure if he was a friend or foe.
  •     My grandma used to love Tab.  I really got a kick out of this bench ad.

  •    John's a "Star Trek" fan!  And a Sonny and Cher fan!
  •    I love the synchronized turn when the guy comes into the diner and calls out the name Winchester.
  •    When Dean makes the DeLorean reference to Cass, his reaction is hilarious. You can just see him trying to work it out in his head: "Why is Dean talking about cars?  Should I ask him about it?  No, that will probably tarnish my badassness, so I'll just ignore it and continue being mysterious.  Also, my hair looks amazing right now."

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  •     Of course I would NEVER trade the Impala for any car in the world.  That being said, can you just imagine if Sam and Dean had grown up with a VW bus???  Sam could fit inside it!  They could store a gajillion guns and things in there!
  •     I want to take the scene between Dean and John in the car lot where they talk about Baby and just hug it.  It's precious!

  •     Cattle mutilations!  Subtle, Dean.  Subtle.
  •     Awkward family stalking!!!  And yes, Dean, your mom is a babe.  Did I mention awkward?
  •     The Mary is a hunter reveal was AMAZING!!!!  Loved that.  Also, she kicks some ass.
  •     Mitch Pileggi was such inspired casting.  He's great.
  •     Dean's "Wait, I'm named after my GRANDMA?" face is hilarious.
  •     It's fascinating to hear how hunting happened back before you could just look things up online...or call Bobby to figure it out.  Getting weather reports by mail?  It's impressive that hunters managed to kill anything before it moved on.  Maybe monsters were lazier...
  •     I've seen this episode a number of times and just caught Samuel telling Mary hunting is the "family business."  Duh, self.
  •     Where did Dean get that priest outfit on such short notice?

  •     One of my favorite parts of television is the "walk two feet away from somebody and talk about them like they can't hear it."  Dean and Mary do a classic version after interviewing the kid on the farm.
  •     Apropos of nothing, Deanna makes a mean fruit salad.
  •     I love the idea of Samuel telling Mary the story of the Colt as a bedtime story.  Of course he would!
  •     My new favorite dialogue of the episode is; Dean: "My dad wrote down every person he ever thought came in contact with the yellow-eyed demon, who, where, and when."  Samuel: "Why?"  All they needed was a "what"!
  •     Dear Jeremy Carver, I would like my heart back, please.  The scene you wrote between Mary and Dean RIPPED IT OUT!  Ugh, with Mary being all, "the worst thing I can imagine is for my kids to be raised into this" and Dean telling her not to get out of bed, and him trying to hold it together and failing, and the SINGLE MANLY TEAR OF PAIN AND SUFFERING! UGH!

  •     It's weird seeing Castiel teleport into Dean's car without hearing the wing ruffling sound.  I guess they hadn't introduced that yet.  Also, "Sam's not looking for you."  Ouch.
  •     Ah, cleaning the guns as family bonding.  It's a hunter classic!
  •     Dean made good time in his POS little car, getting to Colorado and back in time to help save his mom in Liddy Walsh's house.
  •     I have to say, I love that they made John so sweet and not a hunter because it makes it that much more devastating that he ends up being such a hardass.
  •     I think Dean's angry face should be powerful enough to kill a demon all by itself.  He's terrifying.

  •     Azazel leaning in to sniff Dean while he's in Samuel's body is ULTRA CREEPY.  I think it's the creepiest part of the episode, even worse than Mary making the demon deal and kissing her dad.  That's just gross.
  •     Dean manages to get Azazel monologuing, but I will give Azazel credit for not spilling the beans on his endgame like most villains end up doing.
  •     I love Azazel's moment of doubt after Dean tells him he's the one that kills him.  He believes him, and for a brief moment, he's scared.
  •     Mary makes the demon deal, and down the rabbit hole we go.  So Sam and Dean get their deal-making prowess from both sides of the family.
  •     What do you think would happen if Dean shot a demon with the Colt while it was smoking out?  Why does a demon have to be corporeal for the Colt to work?
  •     Aw, the look on Castiel's face at the end...he's starting to have feelings!  Next stop, getting too close to the humans in his charge.  (And his hair still looks amazing.)

  •     I want to know how Mary explained her dead father, a disappearing Dean, how John wasn't dead, because you know he remembered Samuel attacking him, and a random car that wasn't there when John died.  That's one hell of a story.
  •     Ooh, a threat from Castiel and then a To Be Continued!  A menacing ending to an excellent episode.
  •     I know I didn't talk about the time travelling much, and that's because it hurts my brain to think about it.  I mean, does John, who's in heaven at this point, suddenly get a memory of his son coming to the past and talking him into buying the Impala?  If Dean hadn't gone back in the first place, how would Azazel have caught her scent?  He obviously still does, but what would the circumstances of that be?  My brain is mush now.  I need a drink.
That's a great, great episode.  It's so chock full of Winchester/Campbell family goodness.  Up next in our Carver review series is "Famiy Remains," in which we are reminded that people are crazy.

Comments  

percysowner
# percysowner 2012-09-25 23:23
It is a great episode and I will never forgive it for starting the "Sam is completely unnecessary to the story" idea that really started here and has never really gone away. It is one of the reasons that I do not trust JC in the coming season.

That said, I loved the look at young Mary and John. I loved Samuel and Deanna. I hate that the show later trashed Samuel without adequate explanation. Azazel was extremely creepy and Dean getting to see his parents was wonderful.

This is an episode that I have extremely mixed feelings about.
lala2
# lala2 2012-09-26 02:00
They really did trash Samuel didn't they?

I love Season 6, but one of the things I hate most about that season is the use of the Campbells. They were introduced and eliminated far too quickly, IMO.

Plus, it never made any sense to me why Samuel made the choices he did? I know he missed Mary, but the whole idea was strange.
E
# E 2012-09-29 10:32
Hi lala2, late reply here. I couldn't agree with you more that the choices Samuel Campbell made were strange and ended up not really working dramatically and also ended up making the character look bad. It all could have been fixed with the simple addition of a hidden demon deal with Crowley for the return of Mary and/or his wife Deanna. Then his actions would have made sense, there would have been a chance for Samuel and the boys to connect over this info and a better resolution to his arc. He could have chosen to go with the boys or against, either way his choices would have made more sense.
etheldred
# etheldred 2012-09-29 10:35
But there was a deal with Crowley for the return of Mary. That was what Crowley offered him for working with him.
E
# E 2012-09-29 20:16
Yikes, there WAS a demon deal? Gosh, I don't remember! (Sheepish grin) Well, I guess it was pretty badly set up then, cause I don't even remember that it was part of the plot. It never felt real for me. It seemed more like a vague mention than an important plot point the was the driving force behind an important recurring character who was creating conflict for the boys, so basically I forgot that it was ever addressed! Ooops, sorry.
lala2
# lala2 2012-09-29 21:35
Deleted
percysowner
# percysowner 2012-09-29 21:42
Grandpa Samuel's deal was a blink and you missed type of deal. During Caged Heat, after Samuel turns Sam and Dean over to Crowley Dean asks why and Samuel says he's doing it to get Mary back. And that is pretty much the end of that. He doesn't say that he knew Mary was never in heaven, so he was terrified she was in Hell or worse. He didn't worry about Deanna, and he seemed to really love her during In the Beginning, so just wanting someone alive didn't make much sense either.

I think that all of season six had too much stuffed into it, so various parts got short shrift. Plus Samuel was part and parcel of the Soulless!Sam story, once they decided to end that mid-season Samuel no longer had a place. Dean never trusted him, Sam couldn't remember him so he and poor Gwen got killed and never mentioned again.
KELLY
# KELLY 2012-09-29 22:47
Samuel reasoning never made much since to me. Because he was in heaven, he would have been seeing her in memories. And he would be yanking her out of heaven as well, we assume. Why would he do that? Demon deals seem reasonable to desperate people on earth who've lost someone and aren't thinking clearly. Especially someone like Dean in S2 who didn't believe in heaven but did know hell existed.

But Samuel would be sure Heaven existed because he was there and so I never got the real motivation to go so far as to agree to a demon to get Mary back, especially when it meant he'd be sacrificing her sons . I think they should've had Crowley tell him that Mary was in Hell, but saving his daughter from Hell would have made sense. The Campbell just didn't work for me.
Ripley2win
# Ripley2win 2012-09-30 18:26
Quote:
Samuel reasoning never made much since to me. Because he was in heaven, he would have been seeing her in memories.

I think they should've had Crowley tell him that Mary was in Hell, but saving his daughter from Hell would have made sense. The Campbell just didn't work for me.
Didn't Crowley mention in his Sales Talk with Cas that he had a "big bald patriach on the back bench" that could organize the hunting of alphas for the location of Purgatory? So I understood that Samuel had been in Hell.

Makes you wonder what Samuel C. did to end up in Hell. Maybe an un-natural attachment to his daughter Mary?
percysowner
# percysowner 2012-09-30 18:59
I haven't watched it in a while, but I'm pretty sure Crowley said he KNEW OF a "big bald patriach on the back bench" that they could use. Samuel said he had been pulled down when Sam was pulled up and there is a balancing aspect of that. Plus no one ever indicated that Samuel had been in Hell. If he HAD been he would have been there for 38 earth years or 480x 38 Hell years or 15,964 years in Hell. (10 years to Sam's birth, 22 years till Jess's death plus 6 years of show). If Samuel managed to remain human in that amount of time, he was better than I can imagine. Plus he didn't recognize that Christian and the other nephews were demons again unlikely if he spent the amount of time in Hell that he would have spent if he went to Hell.

No I have to believe that Cas screwed Grandpa by pulling him from heaven and leaving him disoriented and desperate (for no real reason that we saw) and so a perfectly safe soul eventually, probably ended up in Hell. Although maybe not, because neither side of the deal was completed.
KELLY
# KELLY 2012-09-30 20:04
Yeah, Samuel said he'd been pulled down. I think if they'd showed Crowley sales pitch to Grandpa it would've been better. As it was it never worked for me.
lala2
# lala2 2012-09-29 11:40
Hi, E :-)

The problem with Samuel was he was supposed to be this great hunter with all this knowledge but he didn't make very smart decisions. Working with Crowley? He was a Campbell, not a Winchester so I'm not sure why he had to make the same decisions as a Winchester would. Why not show him accepting his daughter's death and being an ally to the boys?

I feel like no thought was put into Samuel or why the Campbells resurfaced, and then they were all systematically killed. Why? Yes, Christian was snarky with Dean, but I liked their interactions. And I love Corin Nemec. If the Campbells were still around and not shown to be evil, then Sam could have rejoined them this year or hunted with them a few times while continuing
to do mostly solo hunts. Maybe they could have helped Sam search for Dean.

We never got to see how Sam found them. We never got to see them interact much with the REAL Sam. They were wasted for no reason.

And can I say I loved Sam having his own allies and friends instead of Dean's friends/allies. Many of the S/D's friends are really Dean's associates/frie nds. It was nice to see Sam with his own network of people but, of course, they were "evil" and are all now dead.
KELLY
# KELLY 2012-09-25 23:54
This episode is great. The first few minutes in the past on so many sendups to Back to the Future. It's hilarious how in the movie he orders a Tab and it doesn't exist yet. Now the seat bench tells us were in the past because now Tab no longer exists. Meeting his father at the counter, both of them turning at the same time and of course the ref to the Delorean.

Like the fact the Dean was the one who told his dad to buy his baby. Young John is bittersweet. He so nice and seems almost innocent, before he became the harden hunter.

Love the fact that Mary was a hunter too. Mitch Pileggi was great. I thought the reintroduction of the Campbells in S6 was not done well. But I really like the character here.

That scene between Dean and Mary WAS a killer and so nicely done.

So many good things about this episode. My favorite of his of S4.
Alice
# Alice 2012-09-26 00:15
One of my absolute favorite Behind The Scenes stories comes from "In The Beginning." It came from Mitch Pileggi in an interview. When Jared found out he was getting the week off, he went to Hawaii. He sent postcards though, to rub it in. So while Jensen was doing his scenes, the camera crew would tape the postcards from Hawaii to the camera to get him all riled. It worked!
Grace232
# Grace232 2012-09-26 12:11
That is SO funny! I never heard that I am trying to remember if there was an episode where Jensen would have gotten a week off to go to Hawaii. Probably not a whole week, but I bet he was off part of the week for The Man that Knew Too Much, since that was a very Sam heavy episode. Thanks for sharing that behind the scenes gem with us, Alice.
merannoeu
# merannoeu 2012-09-26 00:17
Loving these 'Carver reviews' - thanks!
The only comment I have to make is that John never remembered seeing grown up Dean in this or the other time travel (1978) episode. This was because, in my opinion, Michael had said he would scrub John and Mary's minds. Or maybe Cas did it but it wasn't included in the story...hmm...
Sharon
# Sharon 2012-09-26 02:59
Oh the infamous ITB let me count the ways of how I feel about you and what you represent.
anonymousN
# anonymousN 2012-09-26 06:02
Hey, may be Sam will alone go to past or future ...yeah and pigs will fly (I really hope they do...how pathetic is that)
Sylvie
# Sylvie 2012-09-26 08:37
I love this episode. All the really ugly clothes; all the great references to "Back to the Future"; meeting young John & Mary & Samuel; having Dean being the one that convinced John to buy the Impala (although I do agree, having the boys ride around in a VW bus would have been hilarious); and so many great moments. The fact that Samuel was played by Mitch Pileggi was like great chocolate icing on cake.

I understand a lot of people were miffed that this was a Samless episode, but I think it served a great purpose in advancing the mythology of the show. And I'm sure Jared enjoyed his little jaunt to Hawaii!
Ginger
# Ginger 2012-09-26 15:51
I liked this episode when it first was aired. Although I can understand why those favoring Sam were irritated because of the lack of Sam, the episode was actually all about Sam and his 'destiny' as Lucifer's vessel, starting with Sam sneaking out on Dean to slurp demon blood, have sex, iand whatever else he did with Ruby to practice for killing Lilith.

As far as Dean was concerned, for years I thought that this event happened in Dean's dreams, because that is where he interacted with the angels during S4; even Cas at times. I'm not sure about that now, after the re-introduction of perv Grandpa Campbell in S6.

I like Carver's episodes, because they often introduce new and interesting ways to take the story, all of which were never picked up by later episodes. In this episode, it was Grandpa Campbell. When it was announced that the Campbells were coming back in S6 and that there was a role reversal, I thought perhaps Dean would be the one arguing with him and Sam would be put in Dean's mediator role. Sadly, they turned Grandpa into some weird pervert and totally trashed his character in a season that was just a mess.

I, too, liked young John. I never bought into the fact that Mary was a young, independent, kick-ass hunter, especially in the early 70s, because the late 60s and 70s were all about women struggling to be recognized as equals to men -- the whole burning of the bras era. I also didn't think Mary came off too well in this episode. She wanted her way. She wanted to stay home and have babies. What the episode showed was that her stubborn, selfish wishes, and standing-up-to- daddy got her parents killed and doomed her future family. After spouting about wanting kids and NOT raising them in the life, she chooses John over her kids, and dooms herself, that husband, and her kids. That's not heroic. I never bought that she didn't know what she was getting into and, if not, she surely did not ask enough questions to find out.

Deanna, I thought, was a great character, much more believable than Mary, and I would have liked to have seen more of her. The actress did a wonderful job in projecting a strong personality, even with what little screen time she had. Along with that, she was able to project that she was a calming agent on both Samuel and Mary. It was perfect that Dean was named after her, since he became the peacemaker between John and Sam and also has a recognizable independence.

As far as Dean was concerned, the episode was really good in showing that Dean just never gives up or quits. That's the Dean that, I hope, gets him through a year in Purgatory.

So, again, not on my top ten list, but I liked the episode, because it advanced the mytharc for both Sam and Dean.
cd28
# cd28 2012-09-26 16:24
Quote:
Although I can understand why those favoring Sam were irritated because of the lack of Sam, the episode was actually all about Sam and his 'destiny' as Lucifer's vessel, starting with Sam sneaking out on Dean to slurp demon blood, have sex, iand whatever else he did with Ruby to practice for killing Lilith.
I don't see this episode as being about Sam at all. I thought it was about showing that the mess they were in transcended Sam and Dean's mistakes. The family flaw - that they would stop at nothing to save each other, including making deals with demons - extended to Mary too. It paved the way for the idea of destiny and this all being preordained before their births.
Sharon
# Sharon 2012-09-26 16:08
ITB may of been about Sam but it wasnt done for Sam .He was the reason used to send Dean back but the episode was just as much about Dean and Mary , Mary and John , Dean meeting his grandparents and the Impala.

The deal that was made by Mary changed Sam's life ten yrs before he was born , it was the reason he was violated at 6 mths old .It was pivotal to everything about him and not only was he not allowed to find out for himself why his mother said sorry to him from Home but he didnt get to react to it at all.

We saw Dean react and witness what Mary did but we were never supposed to care how the very person so dramatically affected felt about it.
I understand story . plot and it fitted with what Eric was doing with Sam that season and I know it is a very much liked episode but it will never be one I can take to.
Ginger
# Ginger 2012-09-26 18:26
I would have liked to see Sam's reaction to what Mary had done, too, but I don't think that fit into EK's idea of where the show was going at this point in the series' history. I know at the time that I thought Dean's job was to stop Sam from the blood slurping. As it turned out in the end, Sam's got to make amends with John, he met his Mom and got some idea of why Dean worshiped her, and his deal was his anger issues. As for Dean, his lesson (that he couldn't change destiny) wasn't a needed lesson at all and he didn't really didn't have to do anything other than to let Sam say yes. Personally, while each episode of SPN is something I cherish, I didn't like the 5-year overall story at all.
lala2
# lala2 2012-09-29 11:49
But Sam doesn't have anger issues. That idea was proposed in Sam, Interrupted but never made much sense to me. When Sam was like, "I'm angry all the time," I thought, "You are? Could have fooled me."

Where are the episodes evidencing Sam's anger problems? Where were they after SI aired?
percysowner
# percysowner 2012-09-29 16:25
Boy table for two on this one. In Sam Interrupted Sam says he's always been angry. But the only time I remember him showing anger was in Asylum, where Dr. Ellicott brought any anger to immense proportions, and AHBL2, where he shot Jake and even that wasn't in anger. Yes, he fought briefly with John, but I never got the feeling of uncontrollable or even unreasonable anger from him. John was on his case constantly and rejected him when he chose a different lifestyle. That would make many people angry.

I guess his beating up the bully in After School Special might have constituted anger, but again most people aren't warm and fuzzy to the people who bully them and their friends. For the most part Sam has been pretty mild mannered and has not acted in anger unless influenced by supernatural forces or in situations where most people would be angry.

I always felt that by season five the writers were scrambling to find real legitimate reasons why a detoxed Sam would ever say yes to Lucifer, without giving the "seal Lucifer back in the Cage" game plan away. So we suddenly got all sorts of character traits assigned to Sam that I didn't feel fit, but that could have explained his giving into Lucifer.
lala2
# lala2 2012-09-29 21:32
Sam, Interrupted was a joke.

I didn't mind the episode at all. In fact, it is one of the few S5 episodes I'll rewatch b/c I liked it. However, it didn't really expand on Sam's character and despite having his name in the title, the episode was more about Dean than Sam.

I know it may seem from my comments that I'm an ESG, but I'm honestly not. I have no problem w/getting Dean's perspective. I have no problem w/exploring his character but since we so rarely get Sam's perspective or character exploration, I foolishly thought SI would focus on Sam and explore his character a bit. I was sadly mistaken. Most of the character exploration went to Dean and how he felt about the great burden he carried.

The "Sam's angry all the time" arc seemed thrown on at the last minute simply to justify putting Sam's name in the title. LOL! I guess Kripke thought the episode should say a little something about Sam since his name was in title. Who cares if what was said made no sense and contradicted eveyrthing we've seen and know about Sam? When was Sam some irrationally, psychotically angry individual? When has he blown up at someone for no good reason? If Sam is "angry all the time," he's a doing a fabulous job of masking that anger.

As you pointed out, Percy, Sam is a very mild-mannered, easygoing guy. I've been waiting for the guy to blow up, and he never has. He takes his brother's spontaneous punches w/ease and NEVER hits back. He had fights w/John, but never seemed to be harboring a lot of anger. He's never blown up at anyone. He was not crazy angry before SI aired, and he wasn't crazy angry after SI aired.

That whole mini-plot/angle was a complete lie and didn't even have anything to do w/the rest of the season or Sam, in general.

I don't dislike the episode at all, but it didn't offer any exploration into Sam or develop his character in any meaningful way. They made him "angry" for one episode. Okay . . . now what?
Zombie Padalecki
# Zombie Padalecki 2012-09-26 20:13
The time travelling thing is like it had always happened, it's the opposite theory than in Back To The Future. You cannot change the past or future because always would have been there... Does that make sense? It's hard to put into words... And I thought John was in Hell? Cuz he did the demon deal?
E
# E 2012-09-29 10:43
John was released from hell in season 2, when the boys, Bobby and Ellen took on Azazel at the Hell Gate. John drifts out of Hell, helps Dean defeat Azazel and then vanishes to parts unknown. He wasn't in Heaven when the boys went in Season 5, and he's not in Hell anymore, so it isn't clear where he ended up. I though Purgatory, but unless this show has managed to sneak JDM up to Vancouver to film with the subterfuge of interpol, we won't be seeing John in Purgatory either.
percysowner
# percysowner 2012-09-29 21:53
I think JDM is pretty well out of reach for the series. They were never able to line up schedules and he's a pretty big star. Maybe for the last season they could get him back for a cameo. However, I have always thought that having JDM unavailable doesn't mean John can't come back. Just have him played by Matt Cohen and have everyone wonder why he came back so young and then have Crowley, Castiel, book Bobby hid that explains things say that whatever brought John back always reverts to the time of "physical strength". Then John can have his memories from when the boys grew up and JDM doesn't have to be there.

When you're dealing with a supernatural landscape things can be handwaved, see "Six of my brothers died, trying to raise you [Dean] from Hell" and the cage is buried so deep no one can find it AND the only way to get anything out is to break the seals and suddenly, all Castiel has to do is hop down and grab Sam, no questions asked. And Castiel isn't even soul powered at the time.
eilf
# eilf 2012-09-30 01:36
Hi percysowner - is there a line missing from your post? It seems to jump? Though I have been drinking a glass of wine and it might just be me...
I have been trying to come up with a way that the reason John vanished from Dean in the beginning of season 1 is because he was moved forward in time to work with Sam and Dean in the present then was moved back to his own time (for 'Home' for example when he is with Missouri) which could be used to explain why he was missing and why he suddenly had all that information about Sam. Sadly, outside of a Fanfic, I can't work out a way for the John working with Sam and Dean in the present to be Matt Cohen instead of JDM.
percysowner
# percysowner 2012-09-30 03:10
I was having wine when I wrote it, so I may not have been clear. All I was getting at is that if the show wanted John to come back as a character, they could use Matt Cohen instead of JDM. Basically one of the boys makes a deal or finds a spell to bring John back to help them. Only instead of getting JDM they get young John who has old John's memories. Sort of a twist on The Curious Case of Dean Winchester only instead of having Dean in an old body, they have the John we knew in young John's body. There's no indication that they would ever do that, but it is one way to have John back for an episode even if JDM isn't available.

I was also pointing out that the rules about how Lucifer's Cage worked changed so that Castiel could get Sam out all by his little lonesome. The Cage went from the most inaccessible place in the universe, to a place where one little angel could pop in, spring Sam's body and pop out. Then it went back to being the most inaccessible place in the universe and only Death could get in and out for Sam's soul. Basically the show threw out all the past story so that Cas was the one to get Sam out, so there is no reason they can't throw out past story and have John come back in Matt Cohen's body. I hope that this makes more sense.
Geordiegirl1967
# Geordiegirl1967 2012-09-28 07:12
I have mixed feelings about this episode. It is a great quality episode - well written, brilliantly acted, twisty, unexpected, well cast (particularly young John and Mary). But it will never be one of my favourites because Sam wasn't in it. I watch SPN for the brothers relationship. This ep had none, and in fact was the start of a slippery slope in s4. I did NOT enjoy watching that, and the show has struggled to recover from it since IMO.

So it is one that I admire rather than like.

A question that occurs when I think of this ep is 'how much of the quality of an ep is down to the writers and how much the showrunner'. In ITB one of the best aspects is the revelation of the back story of the Campbells - that D&S come from a long line of hunters, that their (so they thought) innocent victim Mum was actually a born and bred hunter and the author of her own, and her son's, destruction. I presume that all that came from EK as it is a crucial part of the overall arc. So how much credit should JC get for writing a great ep around a great central idea that came from someone else? The same applies to MS. JC admits that the Groundhog Day concept wasn't his idea. Also in AVSC was the significance of the amulet - which is where the story gets its emotional kick from - JCs idea or EKs?

I guess we'll see in s8 as he will be in charge of the arc and overseeing the writing content / quality.
E
# E 2012-09-29 11:17
To be fair to JC, the fact that Sam isn't in the episode may not have been his idea, maybe he was directed to do this by EK. There was a revealing bit of info into the writing process at the 2008 comic con convention (I know, going back a ways) that has always stuck with me. In it SG is discussing season 3 and says that she had plans to write an episode about this, that or the other thing, and EK came to her and said "I want you to write an episode about cops," to which she replied "I don't want to write an episode about cops," and thus the great Jus in Bello was born. Sometimes I think that what the writers write is taken at face value, and sometimes I think that they are told what to write about and that this does not necessarily dictate the quality (or lack thereof) of an episode. In this case, there is no clear answer, but to pin the 'We don't need Sam in this show' trope all on JC isn't fair.

To be honest, it irked me that Sam was left out of the episode, but it was necessary and it worked. I am only offended for Sam because I lean toward his side of things and want to see more about and from him. But this ep worked as an ep in the larger scheme of things, it's a solid, well crafted ep given where the plot was going. But then again, I liked season 4 a lot. Yes, it was hard, yes Sam made bad choices and was "wrong, wrong, wrong" while Dean got to be "right, right, right." But dramatically it was awesome, powerful, the plotting was so well done, consistent and tight. I was hanging off my seat for every episode.

So, does it make me a bad fan to want to see a little turn about? I would love it if Dean could be wrong, wrong, wrong for a change. He never has been, not really. He's made a few small mistakes (Amy) but the show has always backed his position in times of conflict, and has never shown him to be in the wrong long term. I would love for Benny to be Dean's Ruby, and I don't care if people think it's just a retread of old story lines, it worked for Sam and Cas and Bobby, it can work for Dean too. It just needs to be well written. (Ducks all the flying rocks) Every main character on the show has experienced taking the wrong path to a greater or lesser degree except Dean, and I feel it's now his turn. The best way to understand someone is to walk a mile in their shoes and to do this would have BOTH brothers gain some crucial insight if they are truly going to have the more mature relationship that JC has talked about.
Alice
# Alice 2012-09-29 11:57
I hate being a rumormonger but inside word was at the time Jared was going through some intense personal issues. I heard they gave him a week off to get some things in order. This was the time when Jensen was living at his house. Jensen did that because he needed a quick place to stay and he was worried about Jared.
KELLY
# KELLY 2012-09-29 12:28
Is it wrong that I find that rumor incredibly sweet? They really do seem like family.
percysowner
# percysowner 2012-09-29 16:39
If that was the motivation behind writing Sam out, it does help me feel better about the episode.
E
# E 2012-09-29 20:33
Yes, I heard something about this too...so, I'll mong right along with you. I understand that this was when Jared was breaking up with his then long time girlfriend, and their engagement had been called off. There may be other things along with this, but this was the part that I heard about. At that year's Dallas con, Jim Beaver went with Jared and did his panels with him to provide moral support as he was planning to tell the audience that he and his girlfriend were no longer together, and he was terrified of getting a bad reaction from everybody (which thankfully didn't happen). Even Jensen's family turned up at that con to support him as well which I find very sweet (Jensen wasn't able to attend). I find this all very endearing; it's nice to hear how supportive the cast is to one another.
percysowner
# percysowner 2012-09-29 16:47
If you are a bad person, so am I. I am tired of Dean always being right and Sam always being wrong. Even with the Deal, which was Dean's biggest mistake, IMHO, we really only saw the fall out for Dean. Sam told him it was selfish and harmful to Sam and Dean basically said tough toenails and the writers then dropped it like a hot potato. When Dean came back his suffering in Hell so dwarfed whatever Sam experienced that Sam could only look like a whiner if he expressed his devastation during Dean's death, so we got one episode IKWYDLS which became an ode to Ruby the good and that was that. Heck even Dean's torturing of demons in Hell had no payoff. We never saw a soul he tortured into becoming a demon. We were left with the impression that although torture is bad, Dean was doing it to creatures that were bad and deserved it. It would have been more powerful if we had seen a demon who had at one time been an Evan or even a Dean, who sold their soul only to protect a loved one and Dean stripped their humanity during his time a torturer. But Dean never really does anything bad and the consequences to what he does happen off screen. Sam's failures are front and center for all to see and his redemption happens in the Cage, off screen and then is wiped away like it never happened.
E
# E 2012-09-29 20:47
Yes, percysowner, I completely agree with your assessment. Even when Dean does something shady, the tone of the show supports him; sometimes he has no choice, like when Sam dies in season2, and when he gets Sam's soul back, but even though Sam himself in both these instances tries to give his opposing views, Dean ends up getting his way, and the show backs his position Dean is right and Sam is wrong (and ungrateful). On a much lesser scale this happened in season 7 with the Amy Debacle, but is such a good example of what I am talking about. Sam asks Dean to trust him and not kill Amy cause she's a good monster and wont kill again. Dean says, sure Sam, I'll trust you, then goes behind Sam's back to kill Amy anyway. When he finds out four eps later, Sam is understandably pissed and takes off on his own as he often does when he and Dean are in conflict. Up until this point, the show was backing Sam's reaction, which was a nice change, and I was hoping for a reconciliation chat in which Dean apologizes and explains to Sam why he went behind his back. Instead we get Dean exploding at his brother, calling him at bitch and telling him to get over it. No apology for being a sneak, and no discussion of why Dean still doesn't trust Sam or his judgement which was the core issue. And just like that, in one 2 minute conversation, Sam is once again, wrong, wrong, wrong. Grrrrr.
percysowner
# percysowner 2012-09-29 21:56
Quote:
And just like that, in one 2 minute conversation, Sam is once again, wrong, wrong, wrong. Grrrrr.
Plus, Sam has to tell Dean that Sam realizes that Dean was probably right to kill Amy and that Sam maybe couldn't have handled the truth. Double GRRRR
emmau
# emmau 2012-09-29 22:18
I'll agree with both you and percysowner re: the Amy situation. It was just an odd storyline from beginning to end, but its ending was completely wrong. show seemed to focus on whether the killing of Amy was right or wrong (I contend that it was the right thing to do, but that's neither her nor there), and that wasn't the most important issue at hand. The issue was that Dean had lied to Sam and gone behind his back, and that was wrong. Point blank. The scene where Dean goes off on Sam, for me, is the mirror of 5.5--Sam had every right to be stand-offish or even passive agressive with Dean in 7.7, and Dean bulldozed right over that. It felt like a make up both times--in 7.7, it was almost like the PTB was thinking, "Well, Dean fans will be unhappy if Dean has to apologize again, so let's twist it so Dean's the one telling him to get over it." That made zero sense. I think a lot of fans let it go because it was such a relief to get that terrible storyline over, but it was still the wrong way. I was on Sam's side there.

I think equivilating 7.7 with getting Sam's soul back is a bit much, though.
E
# E 2012-09-30 13:54
I am only putting those two events together to show that in both instances Dean made a decision to go against Sam's explicit wishes, and the general tenor of the show supported Dean and not Sam. It's an established pattern in the show, and one that almost never backs up Sam's character or choices.

I realize that Robo Sam couldn't continue to exist without his soul, he was a loose canon and downright dangerous. But it's still another example of Dean wanting one thing, and Sam wanting another thing, and Dean forcing Sam to his way with the basic premise of the show coming down on Dean's side; Dean was right to force the soul back in Sam, and Sam was wrong to not want it back even though he had made some good arguments to support his side. Additionally, it was Sam's soul and Sam's decision to make, but that got overridden once again by what Dean felt was best for Sam. Dean may have been right in this case, but the pattern is the same as it was for the Lisa/Ben mindwipe incident, the rejection of Cas and the Amy Debacle.
emmau
# emmau 2012-09-30 14:10
You know what, I can't address the "roboSam's right not to want his soul back so he could do whatever he could wreack havoc without consequences" thing. I really can't. In that scenario, Sam's soul doesn't have a voice and is given no choice over whether it would like to stop being tortured daily--it's all about roboSam's right to continue not to have to give a damn. Using saving Sam's soul as evidence of how Dean is a bad, overbearing brother and show just lets him doesn't work for me.

I think could agree that Dean does have a habit of deciding what's best, and more often than not his judgment is good. That doesn't mean it's infalliable, nor is it presented as such, in my opinion. His decision to resoul Sam was questioned and argued against by nearly everyone. His decision to mindwipe Lisa and Ben was very much questioned by Sam. I don't know that we were supposed to see it as right--I thought it was supposed to be a reflection on Dean and how he viewed himself as basically poison to everyone he knows. Since I always thought that was show's way of getting rid of that storyline permanently so they'd never have to address it, I doubt we'll ever know.

Dean's decision to reject Cas and not reach out to him was questioned and overriden by Sam in 7.1, and it worked. The Amy debacle set up a good debate, and Dean did apologize at the end of 7.6. Then 7.7 came back and set that arc on fire, and that's all she wrote.

If you want to argue that show often portrays Dean as the one with the correct instincts, fine. I'd agree. I also don't agree that it's an all the time thing and that he's never shown as being wrong. That seems hyperbolic to me, but mileage varies. I'll agree to disagree.
LEAH D
# LEAH D 2012-09-30 14:46
Very much agree with this comment.

The thought that SS should have the right to remain souless is a odd viewpoint in my opinion. Even though he wasn't non-stop obnoxious, he didn't have a conscience and very few, if any, scruples. That sounds alot like a sociopath to me. I sort of felt that SS was going to hijack Sam. Who, with his soul, was the rightful tenant in that body.
Sharon
# Sharon 2012-09-30 04:38
Quote:
Yes, percysowner, I completely agree with your assessment. Even when Dean does something shady, the tone of the show supports him; sometimes he has no choice, like when Sam dies in season2, and when he gets Sam's soul back, but even though Sam himself in both these instances tries to give his opposing views, Dean ends up getting his way, and the show backs his position Dean is right and Sam is wrong (and ungrateful). On a much lesser scale this happened in season 7 with the Amy Debacle, but is such a good example of what I am talking about. Sam asks Dean to trust him and not kill Amy cause she's a good monster and wont kill again. Dean says, sure Sam, I'll trust you, then goes behind Sam's back to kill Amy anyway. When he finds out four eps later, Sam is understandably pissed and takes off on his own as he often does when he and Dean are in conflict. Up until this point, the show was backing Sam's reaction, which was a nice change, and I was hoping for a reconciliation chat in which Dean apologizes and explains to Sam why he went behind his back. Instead we get Dean exploding at his brother, calling him at bitch and telling him to get over it. No apology for being a sneak, and no discussion of why Dean still doesn't trust Sam or his judgement which was the core issue. And just like that, in one 2 minute conversation, Sam is once again, wrong, wrong, wrong. Grrrrr.
Totally agree with this , the Amy stuff did leave me scratching my head .I ultimately didnt see the point to it as it didnt really go anywhere , the potential was there as this was coming off the back of the warehouse scene and 'stone no 1 ' but it fizzled out . And yes I would like to see the show support Sam's feelings abit more that he isnt necessarily automatically wrong because he feels something .

The writing for that scene in The Mentalist was very disappointing .
cd28
# cd28 2012-09-30 09:35
I have a theory on what went wrong on the Amy storyline. I remember at the beginning of last season reading an interview with Gamble about how Dean will start questioning the hunting decisions he's making. I also remember Jensen talking about a scene in the Amy episode (which was apparently cut) in which Dean is thinking about what happened with Cas and deciding he's going to going to go back to being a black-and-white hunter again.

I think the intent was to show that what had happened with Cas was affecting Dean, and was causing him to make judgment errors and slide backward to the point where he was back to not trusting Sam's judgment. This was meant to be a bad thing, but scenes were cut and that's not necessarily what came across on screen. Dean fans ran to Dean's defense, saying Dean was right to kill Amy and that Sera was trying to ruin Dean's character again.

The writers, instead of continuing with what they started and showing that Dean was impaired, buckled under pressure and came up with a story ending that was ambiguous showing who was right and who was wrong.
etheldred
# etheldred 2012-09-30 09:41
That doesn't really work, though. Look at the way the scheduling goes -- they would have filmed through the Mentalists well before 7.3 aired. There's no way they were taking fan reaction to 7.3 into account when they were writing the end of the Amy arc.
emmau
# emmau 2012-09-30 10:45
That's why, to me, the Amy storyline is a lot like the Campbell storyline, the holy weapons storyline, and even the Ben/Lisa and the Eve storylines. They all started with something interesting, but ultimately just seemed to meander and go nowhere, at the end just seeming like a waste of time.

I think, cd28, that if the scenes you'd mentioned had been in place, the Amy storyline would have made much more sense. Over the years, I think Dean had become so overwhelmed with his responsibilitie s and faults that he started relying on Castiel. He needed someone with incredible strength, the strength he didn't think he had, to lean on, and when Castiel betrayed his trust and hurt Sam I think it really did cause Dean to believe that he'd been wrong to trust anything supernatural. They always betrayed you in the end, or went back to their natures, even if it wasn't their fault (see Lenore).

I think trusting Sam was a tricky thing at that point, considering the episode before Sam was ranting and shooting in an empty warehouse and in the same episode he left with only an "I'm okay" note and refused to answer his phone. He wasn't exactly reliable. However, you have to treat others the way you want to be treated, and Dean wants people to be honest with him. Therefore, he should have discussed Amy further with Sam, instead of pretending to agree and killing her anyway.

Now, I personally think killing Amy was the right call, because she was murdering people with no remorse and in my mind would have done it again if the situation called for it. But in terms of Sam and Dean's relationship, that's neither here nor there. And that's where the PTB punked out--they ended up making the storyline about whether killing Amy was right or wrong instead of about Dean's damaged mindset or Sam's struggle to be a full partner while also being impaired. The latter is something they really never did a good job with until 7.15-7.16, and even in 7.17 Sam was hunting while sleep deprived and allegedly dying. The PTB wanted Sam to have these massive issues, but they also wanted him to be the "together" brother to contrast to Dean, since during the Gamble years Dean's sole characteristics seemed to revolve around "We think Jensen is great at angst." That robbed Sam of being able to really follow through on his storyline and robbed Dean of being given any character growth or movement on his own issues. Double fail.

I think etheldred is right, however--7.7 was probably written and in the can before 7.3 was even shown. Which is why I stick by my original premise--this is one of the many storylines of the last two years that PTB set up and ultimately kicked to the side because they couldn't be bothered to see through to a meaningful resolution, instead dumping them off unceremoniously so that they had no real impact on the overall narrative, ultimately making them a waste of time.
LEAH D
# LEAH D 2012-09-30 11:33
You know I tend to pretend S7 never happened, it was so messed up in so many ways. So many things not resolved or not resolved in a satisfying way. I'm rewatching it with family who are watching it for the first time. I'm trying not to taint their experience with my opinions but as we run into things like the Amy mess they have reacted like many of the fans. Dean's black and white thing is part of his personality. But it is shocking and wrong for him to have lied to Sams face and with premeditation go behind his back to kill Amy. It may have been right in some sense but betraying Sam is the bigger wrong IMO.
lala2
# lala2 2012-09-30 12:38
The main reason I hate the Amy plot is b/c it was completely pointless. Sam and Dean didn't learn anything from it. And I still don't know what it was about.

As I said below, I thought the only reason Dean stopped debating w/Sam about Amy was b/c Sam was self-identifyin g as a freak, and Dean didn't want to argue w/him about that. If the deleted scene mentioned earlier had been included, that would have put an entirely different spin, for me, on the episode.

And Sam's anger about what Dean did? It was never clear to me why Sam was angry. Was he angry b/c Dean lied to him, didn't trust his judgment, killed his friend . . . who knows? During that psychic episode, Sam confessed to being perfectly fine w/Dean killing Amy but was really angry b/c Dean was in emotional pain and wouldn't tell him about it. What? Dean is often in deep emotional pain that he refuses to disclose to Sam. Sam doesn't always run away for a week b/c of it! I forget the lame, contrived reason Dean said he lied, but I do remember his reasoning ringing false to me.

That whole arc was a complete mess and utter waste of time! Those 5 episodes could have been spent on better developing the boring Leviathan, on telling Sam's story of hallucinations and problems, on giving better reasons for Dean's persistent depression. What did Sam learn from it? What did Dean learn? What did the audience gain from that debacle? Asylum showed us that Sam had some deep anger issues w/Dean. Skin showed us that Dean had some self-worth issues. If you're going to introduce a mini-arc, it should have some meaning, a purpose.

Oddly enough, I didn't hate TGND. It was a good episode but b/c it kicked off that completely pointless, waste of time mini-arc, I have no desire to see it again. To me, that episode pinpoints when the season went off track!
emmau
# emmau 2012-09-30 13:13
Yes, that's it, exactly. Sam didn't learn anything, Dean didn't learn anything, and nothing changed or affected the season overall. So there was no point.

Plus, like I said, the way it was handled made no sense because it became all about killing Amy instead of their issues with each other. Dean's spiralling was suddenly pinned on lying to Sam, but since it didn't abate after that it made no sense. Sam's motivations for leaving and being angry became muddled instead of staying focused on the very real reasons he should have been angry.

If the arc had had some true emotional resonance or moved either boy's storyline forward, then maybe it would have been worth it, but it didn't. Instead, it felt like they were ignoring more important things to focus on something they didn't really care about, anyway. Never a truer phrase was written about 7.3--it's really where the wheels came off in S7, and that's not a good thing.
LEAH D
# LEAH D 2012-09-30 13:22
Agreed. The deleted scene would have made things less cut and dried. I generally try to see the boys side in any situation but this was a huge, huge messy mess of a mess.

As for the boring Leviathans, not sure they could have made them less boring. Someone here once said something to the effect that they find spiders scarier than the Leviathans. Couldn't agree more.
emmau
# emmau 2012-09-30 13:35
I thought the Leviathan were interesting as monsters in first few episodes, because they had the potential to leech into anything through the water supply and cause all kinds of havoc.

Then the show went for the trite political metaphor, and it all just became eye-worthy. If I wanted to watch a show about how all corporations are the devil, I could watch nearly anything else on television or nearly any movie currently being produced. This wasn't new or original thinking, show.
etheldred
# etheldred 2012-09-30 14:55
Dean did concede, in the Mentalists, that since Cas he'd had difficulties trusting anyone, so the concept wasn't totally left out of the Amy thing, but that line would sure have made more sense if there'd been something in 7.3 to match up to it.

I always thought that Dean was operating just as subjectively as Sam in 7.3. That's not an argument about whether he was right to kill Amy, but about his mindset when he did -- he didn't actually make the argument that she would kill again if her kid got sick, he made the argument that she would kill because it was her nature; he seemed to be in an extremely fatalistic place about hunters and monsters having fixed roles, and his language about the other shoe dropping, repeated from the scene with Bobby about Sam, combined with the suicidal implications of his words to Amy's kid, made it clear that his own issues and what was going on with him re: himself and Sam were as much in play in that episode as Sam's long-standing freak issues.
emmau
# emmau 2012-09-30 15:13
Agreed. Castiel was brought up as a point in 7.7, but wihtout any build-up to that point it just felt like it was thrown in. The deleted scenes would have helped to make it a more cohesive arc.

I don't think there's a lot of difference between Dean arguing that Amy would kill again because of her kid or arguing because it was her nature. One begat the other. When a child gets sick, it's not in people's nature to think, "I should kill people to try to save my child." Her child becoming sick is what pushed Amy to go back and accept her nature. Once she did so, she didn't seem to have a problem with the act itself unless Sam or Dean was standing in front of her threatening to deliver justice for her murders. Contrast her with Lenore, who was genuinely horrified by her actions and begged to be put down.

I would agree that Dean was in a very fatalistic place at this point--waiting for the other shoe to drop seemed pretty true at that point, with Sam and the wall, with Castiel, with monsters like Lenore. I'd also agree that influenced his mindset regarding Amy. At the same time, though, he didn't kill Amy's child, because he was still an innocent. If he was completely consumed by his fatalistic nature, he wouldn't have waited for the other shoe to drop with him, so to speak, and killed him before he had a chance to kill. The fact that he didn't does indicate to me that Dean was still operating on a set of principles, no matter what his issues with himself were.
cd28
# cd28 2012-09-30 12:08
I agree with most of what you said, except for a couple of points:
Quote:
Now, I personally think killing Amy was the right call, because she was murdering people with no remorse and in my mind would have done it again if the situation called for it.
I think Amy was portrayed a creature with a biological imperative to kill, but because of her own sense of morality - not a decision that was forced upon her - she chose to build a life in which she wouldn't have to hurt anyone. That was tested, though, when the life of her son was in danger. And even then, she selected people to kill like drug dealers and drunk drivers, who many would argue don't deserve to survive.

I think both Sam and Dean have proven that they will sacrifice the lives of strangers (a big example are the hosts of demons) if it means saving family. So I don't see Amy as being all that different from the Winchesters in that regard.

Quote:

I think trusting Sam was a tricky thing at that point, considering the episode before Sam was ranting and shooting in an empty warehouse and in the same episode he left with only an "I'm okay" note and refused to answer his phone. He wasn't exactly reliable.

When we talk about trusting Sam's judgment, there are two different things here.

First, there's questioning Sam's ability to be independent and hunt, given his hallucinations. Although three weeks had passed since the warehouse incident, Dean was right to be worried when Sam went off on his own and didn't return his phone calls.

Second, there's Dean dismissing what Sam told him about why he chose not to kill Amy, how Amy had killed her mother to save him, and how you can be a "monster" but not be dangerous. That's a POV that Sam has had for a long time. Dean unilaterally decided that his opinion in this matter was right and Sam doesn't get a vote. That was Dean pulling the big brother card - I'm older so my way goes, and you don't get a say in the matter.

The lying was a whole different issue that I think we're in agreement on.
emmau
# emmau 2012-09-30 13:05
Amy may have made the moral decision not to kill in the past, but she tossed that away when it came down to a question of human lives or her child. A mother with a child in need of a heart transplant can’t kill drug dealers and drunk drivers in hope of finding the match that will save her child, so why would that be permissible for Amy? She may have chosen a life where she wouldn’t hurt anyone, but she also showed she wouldn’t hesitate to kill again if she felt her child’s life were in danger, and she felt no remorse for her victims nor their families.

And what about that drunk stumbling to his car? Amy had no way of knowing if he was going to drive or sleep it off. She had no way of knowing if he were a serial drunk driver, or a man about to make one tragic mistake? Does that mean she should get to decide who lives and dies? If so, then how is it wrong for Dean to make the same life and death decisions, judging human lives over the life of a murderous monster, whom many would argue doesn’t deserve to survive?

And as for the Winchesters, for me, there’s quite a bit of difference between saving your family in a kill-or-be-kill ed demon attack and deliberately stalking and killing people. Self-defense is quite a bit different than pre-meditated murder. And this why Swan Song continues to be such a mess for me—drinking blood went from always wrong to “Well, the ends justify the means, so whatever.” It took the boys’ stand in 3.12 of “What we do separates us from the bad guys” to “People don’t matter anymore, so let’s just kill regardless of collateral damage.” This isn’t a stance they’d ever taken before nor is it one I really remember them taking since, though I may be wrong on the latter. If that is the attitude being taken, I hardly think it should be celebrated.

I don’t think you can separate trusting Sam’s judgment from trusting Sam’s ability to function as an independent person. Through no fault of his own, Sam showed he didn’t have good judgment—both in 7.2 and 7.3, when he took off on Dean with only the barest of words and refused to return his phone calls. I don’t blame Sam for this because he wasn’t in his right mind, but it does have to be taken into account when judging Sam’s ability to make calls like this. I will also say that the three weeks passed show don’t tell really didn’t work in Sam’s favor, because you can tell the audience he’s been fine, we swear, but if that’s not what we see than that’s going to be a problem.

I agree that Sam has always held the POV that not all monsters are dangerous. I think lala2’s point below is part of that—Sam has always identified himself as a “freak” and projects that onto other “freaks”, identifying with them more closely than he should in some cases. He also projects these fears onto Dean, and he wasn’t any more willing to listen to Dean than Dean was to listen to him. Sam unilaterally dismissed Amy’s victims and their grieving families because he believed in Amy’s right to kill them because she judged them bad. Dean unilaterally dismissed Sam’s opinion that it was okay for Amy to behave this way. I don’t think either one was right.

Yes, the lying is very much the point of contention, though, and I think we can all agree that that’s wrong.
cd28
# cd28 2012-09-30 16:15
Cases where Dean killed demon hosts haven't always been in heat-of-the-mom ent, kill-or-be-kill scenarios. He was hunting down demons and torturing and killing them with the knife when Lisa and Ben were in danger, and he sent Cas in to smite the demons (which appears to kill the hosts) that were standing between them and Sam in TBAI. Of course killing a drug dealer to save your kid isn't morally right, but it's sympathetic. Just like killing demons with the knife, or making deals with demons to to save a family member, isn't morally right, but is sympathetic.

You said that Amy didn't feel remorse. I think she felt guilt, which is why she hand picked victims that were the least sympathetic she could find. Was that guilt enough to stop her from doing it again? No, because it was her son.

The problem with the argument that Dean should have made the decision about Amy because Sam was projecting is that Dean was obviously projecting too. The same language that he uses earlier in the episode to talk about Sam - about the other shoe dropping - he uses before he kills Amy. I'm not sure if he was supposed to be projecting his fears about Sam onto Amy, or his feelings about Cas onto both Sam and Amy, or his feelings about himself (that he is a monster) onto Sam and Amy. You could make a case for all three scenarios. But it's clear that Dean's decision to kill Amy had as much if not more to do with his own issues as it did about Amy.
emmau
# emmau 2012-09-30 16:39
You make a good point that Dean (and Sam) have both tortured demons for information, which isn't in the heat of the moment. You're also correct that Dean did kill those demons. My understanding is that we weren't supposed to approve of those killings, but rather be horrified but understanding that Dean was doing what he had to do, just as Sam did in 5.22. Personally, I didn't care for 6.21, so I don't rewatch it often I'll admit. Really? Did we see that Cas smiting the demons killed the hosts? I don't think we did. That's like assuming all of the hosts that collapsed after the mass exorcism in 3.12 died, but the news report at the end only reported 6 deaths. As we've seen many times before, you don't have to die from possession, but you don't have to just pop back up fine, either.

I can agree that killing a drug dealer hoping it will save your child seems like a good trade, even sympathetic. That doesn't mean you shouldn't have to face the consequences. The people who made demon deals were sympathetic, but nearly all of them had to face the consequences as well. You could argue that Dean faced consequences with his own behavior in 6.21, losing Ben/Lisa forever and being shamed by his brother (as this website has taught me, your brother making you feel bad is a punishment). So while not the same, he didn't get off scott free. No one should from a decision like that, and Amy's no different.

I didn't see any guilt or remorse from Amy personally. I saw rationalization --"I don't kill, but my son is sick and I had no choice!" Maybe she was trying to ease her conscience by killing off "bad" people, but who is she to judge? Besides, once you start pitting complete strangers' lives against your child's, how hard is it to decide that the stranger isn't as worthy? That's a pretty slippery slope. After she tried for the drunk driver and got away from Sam, we have no idea who she killed. So yes, as you're saying, because she was killing for her son any guilt she may or may not have been feeling was irrelevant--she still would have murdered more people if she had to. That's why she had to be stopped.

I can see how Dean might have been projecting some, but I don't think that was the whole of the reason Amy died. I think Amy was the epitome of the other shoe dropping--no matter how long she might have struggled to fight against her nature, with the right motivation she took back to it whole-heartedly . I didn't see any sign that he was projecting his fears about Sam onto Amy, as in he thought Sam would become like Amy. There was some kinship there in that everyone told him the other shoe would drop and that the wall would fall, and for Amy the other shoe dropped and she reverted to her monsterous nature. I could agree that his feelings about Cas did aide him in making that choice, because in Dean's mind the shoe dropped too, and Cas reverted to being an untrustworthy supernatural danger.

I would argue that his issues did have something to do with killing Amy, but the other major point there is that Amy did turn to her nature and did kill humans. That shouldn't be forgotten. So she had to face the consequences of that. If Dean was operating solely on projection, he would have killed her son as well, reasoning that he would eventually revert to his nature, too. Instead, he gave him a chance to make his own decisions. So that speaks to me that he also operating on his principles as well as his issues.
cd28
# cd28 2012-09-30 17:14
Quote:
Did we see that Cas smiting the demons killed the hosts? I don't think we did. That's like assuming all of the hosts that collapsed after the mass exorcism in 3.12 died, but the news report at the end only reported 6 deaths.
What we've seen from the show is that after an exorcism is performed, if the body hadn't been fatally damaged (like pushed out of a six-story window) the host will most likely survive. Exorcism, and Sam's demon pulling powers, seem to be the most successful in saving the victim. What we've seen from angel smiting is a body left behind smoking with their eyes burned from their sockets. The waitress/demon in 4.1 survived briefly but eventually died. You're right in that the angel/demon mortality rate has never been confirmed, but death appears to be the result from what we've seen.

Quote:
I can agree that killing a drug dealer hoping it will save your child seems like a good trade, even sympathetic. That doesn't mean you shouldn't have to face the consequences.
If this were a court of law, there would definitely be consequences. There would also be a jury or a judge to weigh the extenuating circumstances (that the accused was trying to save her son). Dean isn't a judge. His role isn't to punish the guilty but to save lives. Dean's decision to impose a death sentence was a much harsher punishment than a court would have delivered. So I don't think it was his right to make that call - especially considering the verdict was deadlocked - Sam had voted for monitored parole.

Quote:
I would argue that his issues did have something to do with killing Amy, but the other major point there is that Amy did turn to her nature and did kill humans. That shouldn't be forgotten. So she had to face the consequences of that. If Dean was operating solely on projection, he would have killed her son as well, reasoning that he would eventually revert to his nature, too. Instead, he gave him a chance to make his own decisions. So that speaks to me that he also operating on his principles as well as his issues.
I think Dean realized that Amy was done with killing for now, but killed her because he was at a point where he couldn't believe anyone could rise above their past. That is most definitely projecting his own mood onto someone else. He didn't kill her son because he has a soft spot for children - always has - and there's no deeper meaning to it than that.
emmau
# emmau 2012-09-30 17:25
I can agree that generally angel exorcism seems more deadly than regular person exorcism. I hadn’t considered that, but it’s a very good point.

While show doesn’t operate in a court of law setting, I would argue that the majority of the time there are consequences to characters’ actions on show. I don’t know that any court of law would give a pre-mediated murderer parole for killing strangers (from whom she was in no danger from at the times of their deaths) on the hope it would save her son. I think any court and any victim of the strangers would definitely think that she deserved very harsh punishment for becoming a serial killer. As for Dean being a judge—Dean and Sam both judge supernatural beings all the time. They frequently hunt them down and serve as judge, jury, and executioner. I don’t know why in this case Dean would somehow be unqualified to make that call. Dean initially disagreed with killing Emma in 7.13, but that didn’t stop Sam, and in the end Dean admitted he was right.

I don’t think there’s any way Dean thought Amy was done with killing for good. I think he might have believed that she thought she was done, but I think it’s pretty clear that he thought the other shoe would drop again, as it always does, and that she would kill again. It seems much more likely that she would, considering she had no problem rationalizing her kills the first time around. So in that way, he was saving lives in saving her future victims, and that very much is his job.

I don’t see how you can definitely say that Dean’s motivations for not killing her son stem solely from not being able to kill children. I agree it’s a possible interpretation, but there’s nothing in canon that makes that an absolute fact. I maintain that he did operate on his principles of not killing someone who hadn’t killed yet, just as he wasn’t ready to kill Emma in 7.13. Obviously, mileage varies, and that’s fine. But I don’t see how either one of us can claim we know the answer and there’s no deeper meaning than our own chosen perspective. Just my thought.
cd28
# cd28 2012-09-30 17:45
I think Sam and Dean's family business is primarily about saving people, not about punishing people and things for past sins. If a "monster" chooses a nonviolent lifestyle, as they encountered in Bloodlust, then that's a gray area. It's gray because the monster's nature is to kill, but at the same time, the monster isn't a current threat to people. In the case of Leonore, she had proven she could rise above her nature, but had obviously killed at one time because she was a full-fledged vamp. In the case of Amy, her nature was what it was but she had proven she could rise above it and lead a nonviolent lifestyle - which she maintained until her family was threatened. She currently appeared to be past being an immediate threat to anyone else, and Dean saying that he knew she would kill again was nothing more than projection of his own emotions. This was a very gray area, and I think it's one that Sam and Dean needed to come to some consensus about before acting.

As for Emma, she was moving in to kill Dean. Sam perceived her as an immediate threat and reacted quickly. Sam didn't make a decision to track her down and kill her after she had promised to good and Dean had given her his blessing to go off and lead a peaceful life.
emmau
# emmau 2012-09-30 18:01
I would agree that Sam and Dean's business is primarily about saving people, but the phrase is "saving people, hunting things." They can, and do, track down monsters that have done wrong and kill them, both because they have killed others in the past and could potentially kill others in the future. Amy is no different than Lenore--though she might have lived a peaceful lifestyle in the past, she crossed a line into killing people through desperation. The difference is Lenore was devestated by what she'd done and demanded to be killed, even though the boys thought that by killing Lilith they might be able to help her. Amy was nott horrified by what she'd done--she rationalized it completely.

As for saying she was no longer a threat, I think she'd proven she could not be trusted on that front any longer. If she could easily revert to her nature to save her son once, she could easily do so again and would have no qualms. Lenore feared the slippery slope, and that was rightfully a concern with Amy as well. Dean might have been projecting, but that doesn't mean he wasn't correct. I am comfortable with him saving possible future victims from a killer who could easily rationalize their deaths as being less important than her son's life.

Now, as to Sam and Dean coming to consensus before acting, I agree that would be ideal. We, of course, agree that Dean shouldn't have lied and gone behind Sam's back. But what if they don't come to an agreement? Someone's decision is going to ultimately come out the winner, and someone else's will is obviously going to be subverted. Sometimes Sam gives in, and sometimes Dean gives in. Sometimes they go behind each other's backs. It's what they do. It's no worse when one does it than the other.

In the case of Emma, I agree she seem to feel she had to kill Dean and had made moves to do so. She'd also hesitated when Dean was talking to her. So it could have come down either way, in Dean's thinking. Of course, he was too close to the situation to make an unbiased judgment, and he realized that. Similarly, Sam realized he was too close to the Amy situation and hadn't been able to make an unbiased decision about her fate.

So once again, the problem is that Dean lied to Sam about Amy, and everything else is just a sideplot, so to speak. On that, we continue to agree.
cd28
# cd28 2012-09-30 18:25
I had mentioned Leonore because she was an eye-opening case for them - a realization that there are "monsters" who don't want to kill, and that they might have been killing things that didn't need to be killed. In Bloodlust they both agreed the right thing was to let her go (even though, as I mentioned she was a full-fledged vamp so at some point had fed on someone), and then had wanted to let her go again in season 6 after she confessed that she had been killing again under Eve's influence. Leonore didn't demand to be killed when they first encountered her in season 2. She asked them to let her and her group go. She asked to be killed in season 6 when she realized she had no control over actions anymore.

I think you're being harder on Amy than I am. I don't think she killed without guilt or remorse, but nothing came above saving her son. She wasn't innocent, but she was sympathetic, and her acts weren't that different from things the Winchesters had done in the past.

Quote:
Now, as to Sam and Dean coming to consensus before acting, I agree that would be ideal. We, of course, agree that Dean shouldn't have lied and gone behind Sam's back. But what if they don't come to an agreement? Someone's decision is going to ultimately come out the winner, and someone else's will is obviously going to be subverted.
In this case I'd argue that it was Sam's case. Dean wouldn't have even known about it had he not been checking up on Sam.

Quote:
So once again, the problem is that Dean lied to Sam about Amy, and everything else is just a sideplot, so to speak. On that, we continue to agree.
Yes, we do. :-)
emmau
# emmau 2012-09-30 18:45
This is why I find Lenore to be an infinitely more sympathetic character. She had 100+ years of abstaining to her credit when rationalizing her right to existence, not 1 day. She recognized that the deaths were wrong and actively sought to avoid them, and when she couldn’t she asked to die. Amy didn’t meet those criteria. I agree I am harder on Amy than you, and I don’t think anything’s going to change that. I didn’t find her sympathetic as much as manipulative, both as a character and as an instrument of the PTB. The fact that she was a monster does make her different than the boys to me. But that’s all perspective. In her case, I think we’ll have to agree to disagree.

I think arguing over whose case it was isn’t particularly relevant. Once Dean knew a monster had killed people and was walking away clean, in my view he had not only the right but the duty to stop her and give the families of her victims a measure of justice, even if they aren't aware. Again, mileage may vary.

Well, if nothing else, at least we can agree on that. Lying is bad, Winchesters.
percysowner
# percysowner 2012-09-30 23:13
I know I'll never change anyone's mind on Amy, but I always saw her as a Vegan who had strict moral lines that exploiting and killing animals is wrong. Then the Vegan finds out that their child has a a condition like a severe iron deficiency that can be cured by eating meat for a few days and then by taking iron supplements. Yes, it's exploiting and animal and in fact an animal is going to die to save your child, but it's your child so you gut it up and do what you need to save your kid. Afterwards, if the person really was morally committed to Veganism, they would go back no problem.

Amy's child had gone like 13 years without needing fresh meat. Amy had the skills to find a job where she had food readily available. She had behaved through most of her life as a moral monster and I personally felt she deserved a chance to continue to prove herself.

Dean decided that Amy would no longer live the moral life that she had committed to all those years ago. He may have been right, but Dean had and continued to let creatures as dangerous or more dangerous continue to live, the witches, Lucky, even Castiel. He worked with Meg. Even worse he let her child go.

The main issue is for me the lying to Sam, but I am one person who thinks Dean jumped the gun on killing Amy.
emmau
# emmau 2012-09-30 23:25
I'm afraid I'll have to agree to disagree. It's a bit like a murderer saying to the arresting officers, "You can't hold this against me. What about all the days I didn't kill people?" Once you've done so, pretty much the only one people care about is the day you did.

I will agree that the major issue here was Dean lying to Sam, and I'll further agree that show is very inconsistent on the idea of letting some dangerous creatures go and working with others is fine while others need to die immediately. I'd much prefer that they'd killed the witches, Lucky, Meg, etc. I don't agree with killing Amy's child, because he hadn't done anything to deserve it at that time. When/if he does murder someone, sure, but not yet. But yes, generally, Dean (and Sam--he doesn't get a free pass with Meg or the witches either) should be allowed by show to be more consistent with their views of dangerous monsters. I think that generally comes from show's desire to make everything gray, so that murderous monsters aren't worse than anyone else. It stopped being edgy a long time ago, show, and now it's just muddying up the works.
emmau
# emmau 2012-10-01 00:15
Re: my last last paragraph--did you edit your post, or did I just respond to someone else's comment in my reply to you? If it's the latter (and which is extremely likely), I apologize for going off track.
emmau
# emmau 2012-10-01 00:16
Nope, I'm just a mess. I need to go to sleep. Good night all.
percysowner
# percysowner 2012-10-01 00:25
I didn't edit anything, but your response made sense, so no harm no foul.
LEAH D
# LEAH D 2012-10-01 13:05
On this one, I actually agree with you. In principle, I wasn't hugely upset over the elimination of one of the creatures that kill and may possibly kill again. I was sympathetic to her story, however and wished Dean had at least taken Sam's wishes into consideration before killing her. But lying to Sam's face and going behind his back was unforgiveable in that instance, in my unpopular view. I empathize with Dean & Sam in most instances but for some reason I couldn't on this!
LEAH D
# LEAH D 2012-10-01 13:08
Last comment meant for percysowner!
lala2
# lala2 2012-09-30 12:32
I actually think Dean was willing to argue w/Sam about killing Amy. He didn't hesitate to question Sam about why Sam hadn't killed Amy, and he was beginning to discuss w/Sam why Amy had to be killed no matter what she said. I was always felt Dean stopped the argument b/c Sam was identifying w/Amy as a "freak" or "monster."

To me, Dean seemed ready to argue the good fight as they have done in the past when they've disagreed on a kill (i.e., Lenore, that kid in Croatoan, the Rugaru), but when Sam visibly bristled at Dean calling Amy a "freak," got up, and then went out to confirm his own status as a "freak," I felt Dean thought it was best to not argue w/Sam about Amy or about Sam self-identifyin g as a "freak." Dean tends to forget that Sam does that, which is why he doesn't hesitate to throw around the word "freak." Dean doesn't see Sam as a freak, but Sam sees himself as a freak.

So, once Sam started arguing how Amy may be a freak (like him) but she has it under control (like him), I think Dean decided it wasn't worth the argument. Sam did ask Dean to trust him, and if Sam hadn't been so vulnerable, then Dean may have argued w/him some more. I haven't seen the episode since it aired, but after it ended, I just remember thinking Dean shut down - not b/c Sam had been hallucinating and wasn't trustworthy - but b/c Sam was calling himself a "freak."

That's what I took from that scene. I didn't see it as Dean not trusting Sam's judgment b/c they've disagreed on kills before. I honestly thought Dean stopped the debate b/c of Sam's self-worth issues. And since there was no real follow up from that episode or exploration of what it all meant, I have no idea what we were supposed to learn from it.

It was a waste of five episodes! See my rant above :-)
emmau
# emmau 2012-09-30 12:48
I'll agree with that, lala2. I do think Dean was willing to argue about killing Amy, but once Sam identified himself so closely with Amy on their "freakdom", there was little point. That doesn't excuse him from lying and going behind his back, but clearly Sam wasn't going to hear what Dean was saying anymore than Dean was hearing what Sam was saying.

"Freak" is one of those exemplars of how the boys project their own insecurities onto each other. I agree that Dean doesn't see Sam as a freak, but Sam always fears it so that's his trigger word. Dean has simliar triggers with Sam, so that makes sense to me.

But yes, in the end, it all was for naught as we gained no insight or character development for either boy, and this subplot had no impact on the season as a whole. What a waste indeed!
KELLY
# KELLY 2012-09-30 13:43
I didn't agree with the killing but that was one of my biggest problems with it as well. That it didn't go anywhere. And when Sam just agreed that Dean was right, I found the whole thing idiotic and frustrating.

But my biggest problem was that they have both chosen not to kill "monsters" at different times. Dean was even going to let that demon Casey go, even though she'd killed several people. Sam told Dean that he believed that this time this monster should live. As he said in the Mentalist (before he just decides he agrees with him) that he'd been a hunter long enough that when something felt wrong it probably was. He felt killing Amy was wrong, but Dean killed her anyway, even though he said he wouldn't.

Then proceeded to let those f@#$ing witches go 2 episodes later, when they were killing out of spite. I know. I know they were supposedly too strong. But that was lame ass try. And the only reason not to try harder was because they were done killing at that point, but then so was Amy. So the logic just freaking goes out the window.

So the moral from the season kill all monsters-unless it's too hard. Yes, I'm a little bitter about that. I just preferred when the show and the brothers-both brothers-made judgment calls. They can't send Amy to monsters court, so yes they have to be judge and jury. So I want there to be more consideration, than kill all monsters. Since in the past they have let all kinds of monsters that have killed go, many with far less reason. IE that skinwalker and the f@#$ing witches 2 f@#$ing episodes later.

Okay I'm better now.
emmau
# emmau 2012-09-30 13:59
Well, to be technical, we don't know what Dean was going to say after, "Sam, wait" in 4.3. Yes, she'd argued to save his life, but I don't know that show could have had Dean argue for sparing someone who had killed his friend without major character derailment. That whole bit was written to set up the "Is this Sam all Sam"? question in the last segment. Which, ironically, went nowhere.

I was never sure why killing Amy would feel wrong, personally, but mileage varies.

Also, I've never understood why Dean is held solely responsible for the witches in 7.5. Sam was right there and just as culpable. Surely he didn't think they deserved a pass for their murders, too? So both boys failed there, and maybe their try wasn't good, but they did try. I don't think that should be discounted completely.

I think it was a matter of the writers either 1) completely failing in tone, figuring that since this was a "comedy" episode that we shouldn't take the murders too seriously or 2) not being willing to kill off the Buffy alum for hopes that they might come back again. Yes, I agree that logic went out the window there, but I think it's impossible (for me) not to consider the other factors at play there.

But saying that the witches and the skinwalker deserved to die doesn't mean Amy didn't. Just because the skinwalker slipped out in the confusion and the witches were too powerful (writing fails) doesn't mean that Amy should have been allowed to kill without remorse, too.

But I agree it was a badly done storyline all the way around, so there's that.
lala2
# lala2 2012-09-30 14:52
Just for the record - I had no problem w/Dean killing Amy. In fact, I thought he should have killed her kid too since he was just a walking time bomb.

I know many - my sister included - didn't think Amy was evil or deserved to be killed, but I felt differently. An alcoholic can become sober and lead a fulfilling a life. A drug dealer can change his/her ways and lead a productive life. Who is Amy to judge these people? She shouldn't be allowed to decide who lives and dies. She can't look into people's hearts and make character determinations.

As far as Spike and Cordelia go - I thought the show made it quite clear that they were way too powerful for Sam and Dean. I haven't seen that episode since it aired, but from what I remember of the Spike/Cordelia episode, Sam & Dean tried to take them out but failed. They could have tried again, but it would have been pointless. At the time, I didn't think it was a writing failure or anything. I just thought they were too powerful for S/D. That adds some realism to the show in that Sam and Dean aren't all powerful and can't always kill everything they encounter, which is fine by me.

I don't even remember the skinwalker you guys are referencing. Was that in this past season? I know they let the witch in TCCODW go. I haven't seen that episode since it aired, but I feel like they just walked away after they got Bobby and Dean's years back. Plus, I'm pretty sure that Leviathan lackey working for that real estate lady got away. It didn't seem like S/D killed him.

I, personally, had no problem w/Dean killing Amy but then not trying to kill Spike and Cordelia again. I can't say it bothered me too much.
KELLY
# KELLY 2012-09-30 15:06
Maybe in the end Dean would have chosen to kill Casey, but it definitely has him trying to stop Sam. So I got the impression she was going to "escape".

I'm not really debating whether it was right to kill Amy, I don't think it was (she was done killing and had a kid who depended on her and had proved that she didn't normally kill), but I can see the other side.

Dean is not solely responsible for the witches, but he is the one who made such a big deal about Amy killing people and so there was no possible way to let her go. And then he just lets the witches go. Did we know how the skinwalker got away? Regardless he showed up at his house, he wasn't exactly hard to find. And for that matter Cas killed a lot more people then Amy did and while Dean was still mad at him (although I got the impression that was more for the betrayal and Sam's wall), he didn't say he had to die. Also let the witch in tCCoDW go, he killed people. They let those kids go in Swap Meat even though they were going to kill Dean. They worked repeatedly now with Meg who KILLED JO AND ELLEN and countless other people. Same goes for Crowley for that matter.

It was much easier to accept the inconsistencies when I could just say that they have to make judgment call based on the situation. But with Amy, to me Dean didn't make a judgment call, it was like he was following some new code. Regardless of the situation, we kill the monster, but then didn't even bother to follow the code afterwords. If he didn't trust Sam's judgment on the situation (even though he is the one who had spent days on the case and knew her), Dean should have tried to talk to her himself. That way he could try to read whether he thought she would kill again. If he had done so, I really wouldn't have had a problem with it.

But as it is, I feel like "monster must die" was the show's new mantra and that feels wrong to me.
emmau
# emmau 2012-09-30 15:18
I'm afraid I don't see how Amy wasn't a judgment call for Dean. If he was operating under a "We kill the monster no matter what" code, he would have killed her child, not spared him because he hadn't killed anyone before. So for me, that is very much Dean making a situational call--a controversial one, apparently, but it was a judgment call not a panacea he was adopting.

You're right that there are more examples of the boys working with/letting go killers than I remembered, but I don't see how that's the case with either the skinwalker or the witches. They weren't working with either one, and they did try to stop both. Not succeeding is not "just letting them go."
KELLY
# KELLY 2012-09-30 15:30
He didn't even speak to her. He had no basis on which to form the judgment on whether or not she would kill again. I think if that boy had been older he would have died, but Dean has trouble killing kids. And those being got away because they didn't try very hard to find them.

So Amy's real problem is that she wasn't good enough at being bad. If she had been a better monster and killed Dean to get away or just been better at escaping, she would have survived.
emmau
# emmau 2012-09-30 15:41
Sam told Dean exactly what Amy told him, and that completely fits in with Dean's belief that monsters sooner or later revert to their natures. Given the right amount of pressure, Amy did just that. The fact that she did it so easily, to me, indicates that she would do so again whenever the situation called for it with no more remorse than she showed in this episode. Maybe if the boy had been older he would have died, or maybe Dean would have let an innocent go regardless of age--there's no evidence one way or another, so perspective's fine. I think it's also a judgment call to say that Dean and Sam didn't try hard enough to kill the things they'd tried to kill but failed to do so. Mileage varies.

Well, Amy was very purposefully written to be ambiguous, wasn't she? She didn't look like a CGI-ed evil monster--she was a pretty actress from Firefly. She didn't just kill because she gave in to her nature--she had to do it to save her baby. Everything about her was deliberately written to make her seem to possibly be a good monster, no matter what her actions spoke of her, and if she'd tried to kill Dean show wouldn't have been able to set up the debate that she didn't deserve to die. So you're right, she wasn't enough of a monster for that, and that was by design. But no, her real problem was that she killed humans with no remorse. If she hadn't done that, she might have survived.
KELLY
# KELLY 2012-09-30 16:26
I don't think you can say whether or not she had remorse we know she did it, but we don't know how she felt about it. I got the impression that she didn't want to do what she did, but that she couldn't let her son die. We know she thought her mom was a bad person for killing people and we know up until this time she hadn't killed anyone to get what her and her son needed. So I think that indicates that she was probably hated what she did, but did it anyway because she was desperate.

To me this isn't that much different than Dean torturing demons in Let It Bleed. We know how he feels about torture and he knew those were human bodies with demons inside, the humans didn't survive. But he had to get Lisa and Ben back. I don't think he was right to do so and I don't think Amy was right to kill. But in the Supernatural universe, I don't think it warrants death either.
emmau
# emmau 2012-09-30 16:50
But it does warrant consequences. Dean faced consequences for his actions in 6.21--with Ben/Lisa, with Sam, and within himself. Amy did deserve to face consequences, and as she would kill if she was desperate enough she had to be stopped permanently.
etheldred
# etheldred 2012-09-30 17:27
If someone had summarily executed Dean for his actions in 6.21, would you have thought it appropriate?

Because losing people through your own choice to violate their autonomy in a mindwipe, having your brother tell you that your choice was fucked up (and responding by threatening to punch him if he mentions it again) and feeling bad don't seem to me to be equivalent to a death sentence.

I don't really have a problem with the killing of Amy (I can honestly see both sides, and I think Dean's choice was defensible, though more influenced by his issues than he realized), and I have sympathy for the desperation that made Dean make some appalling choices in 6.21, but I think your comparison of the consequences is a bit disingenuous.
emmau
# emmau 2012-09-30 17:44
Possibly. I think the idea that demons would want to take revenge on Dean (and Sam) for their actions dates back to 1.22, and in a war, if the enemy can kill you they will. Everyone does undesirable things in a battle, and that’s just facts. Sam and Dean and their allies are in a battle against the supernatural world, and let’s face it, they’ve all done unsavory things to win those battles. If we were going to judge them by those standards, Dean would be dead, as would Sam for his actions in S4 and Castiel for his actions in S6-7.1. Now, I hate that show has slipped in its standards about hosts’ lives, but it’s been fairly consistent in valuing human lives (whom Sam, Dean, Cas etc were trying to save through their more nefarious actions) over the lives of demons in hosts or monsters. Not 100%, but I’d say fairly consistently they’ve been a humanity first show. So it doesn’t surprise me that Ben and Lisa’s lives are considered an acceptable reason for demon death in 6.21, but that a monster isn’t given the same pass in 7.3.

It seems odd to expect the leads of a show to be punished in the same fashion guest stars and monsters are, however. Of course their consequences aren’t going to be equivalent—th at doesn’t mean that Dean didn’t face consequences, nor that Amy deserved to face them. I’m sorry that you feel my comparison is disingenuous, but the fact is that they both faced consequences. The larger point I’m making is that Amy did not deserve to get off scott-free for her crimes, and in terms of show human deaths are always going to be seen as less heinous than demon/monster deaths.

Mileage may, of course, vary.
emmau
# emmau 2012-09-30 17:44
Human deaths are going to be seen as more heinous than demon/monster deaths. Drat
KELLY
# KELLY 2012-09-30 19:52
But when Dean tortured the demon in Let it Bleed they weren't in battle, Lisa and Ben were in danger and he wanted to get them back. I do think both he and Amy deserved punished. All that he's went through and the situation he was in before has to be taken in account before judging him, but I don't think just because he is a lead character he gets a pass. If anything they should be held to a higher standard, since they are meant to be the heroes.

But that is part and parcel of my problem, because while I didn't find the episode very uncomfortable to watch there was no fall out. It is not mentioned ever again as part of his guilt. We had a steady progression from Meg coming back to haunt them because they didn't save her when they didn't know she was possessed to now rarely if ever a mention made of the poor people these demons are possessing.

It seems both guys, but especially Dean are becoming more and more harden and callous. While I can understand why if the become like Gordon I will have a hard time rooting for them.
emmau
# emmau 2012-09-30 22:49
I didn't think Dean did get a pass in Let it Bleed. He suffered. Of course it wasn't to the same degree as Amy, but it's unrealistic to think that it would be. Of course main characters should be held to higher standards, but show's been playing in the "there is no right and wrong only shades of gray and nihilism OMG deep" for a while now. The fact that they didn't do more than that isn't surprising.

I find 6.21 a waste of an episode, because it didn't have us learn anything new about Dean. Of course Dean felt guilty--show probably can't keep track of the number of things they have him feeling guilty about at this point. That's neither new nor interesting. The truth is, by this point they really just wanted to put a bullet in the Ben/Lisa storyline so the fans would know it was well and truly dead, and the chance to play the angst card with Jensen again. There's not much point in hoping for more from it. Besides, if Dean and Sam were haunted by every demon host they'd killed, or even acknowledged them, I don't think they'd have time to deal with anything else, and the guilt would probably be paralyzing.

Which is all part of the bigger problem you mention. Dean and Sam are very much becoming more callous, more hardened, and less interested in the people they're supposed to be helping. Some of that seems natural, given what they've been through, but some of that, I think, is a sign of show's lack of interest or care in civilians any longer. Show would much more like to cook up sympathetic monsters or demons with accusations of racism than deal with the lives being stepped on by monsters week in and week out. That's not absolute, but it's been the reality more often than not for show the last several years. Yes, I agree it makes the boys harder to sympathize with, because in the beginning the "Saving people" came before the hunting things, and now it seems way lower on the priority list.
emmau
# emmau 2012-09-30 22:59
And by suffering, of course I mean the kind of suffering that Winchesters generally do when they screw up--emotional suffering. Let's face it, they rarely face consequences beyond being angry at themselves and/or having their brother/Bobby/e tc mad at them. Maybe upon occasion they suffer physical consequences, but their punishment is generally mental and much likely to be psychological than anything else. Then, a lot of the time that tends to be swept under the rug or just added to the pile of angst that generally follows them around after the episode is over. So I found Dean's suffering here pretty much in keeping with how show usually handles the boys' issues, overall.
KELLY
# KELLY 2012-09-30 23:15
I'll drop again the right or wrong with Amy because I doubt we'll ever agree. Both the Winchesters have suffered terribly in the cage and hell for any misdeeds. Perhaps the writers feel that gives them a free pass. But I don't. I just miss where the brothers talk, discuss, argue, debate things. IMO for their relationship and for the moral implications. Now it is too much, kill first ask questions later.

And I would very much like to get back to more of the "saving people" and not just the hunting things. Not that they don't save people but they usually seem like by-product rescues.
emmau
# emmau 2012-09-30 23:38
I'll agree to disagree re: Amy as well, since I doubt we'll ever reach a consensus. I agree that the Winchesters have both suffered terribly, and show is inclined to give them a pass. I think fans are generally willing to give them a pass on some things as well, and maybe some are more inclined than others depending on the situation. That's pretty standard for fandom.

I don't think the problem is so much kill first ask questions later as it is that Dean and Sam don't discuss things much anymore period. Well, that's not true--they do have talk about about things like the Amy situation, the Emma situation, how hard to pursue the Leviathan, what to do about Cas. They generally avoid confronting each other and having in-depth discussion or arguments, though, and have done so for several seasons now. If they disagree, they generally just state their position and then one boy or the other give in. That's it. I think they could do more, both in terms of trying to relate to each other and find common ground and in terms of show remembering there actually should be moral implications in what the boys do. They generally don't seem to, as I said earlier, since they're all about the shades of gray these days. There is no right or wrong, which is very problematic.

I very much agree that saving people is more of a happy side-effect to the boys' hunts these days, rather than being the main objective. The boys are so weary these days they just don't seem to connect to the everyday man anymore, which makes them seem less relatable. Yet another thing I'd love to see Carver address this season.
KELLY
# KELLY 2012-10-01 18:53
I want to clarify something from my last post. I don't judge either of them harshly. I even understand why Dean did what he did in Let It Bleed-though I don't agree with it. Actually the same could be said of killing Amy as well.

I just don't think main characters get a pass on right and wrong. That doesn't mean I expect them to be perfect, but if they do something wrong or at least morally iffy. I want it address in some way.

I feel like the show is on a slippery slope. Where Sam and Dean's action and the fallout from those action are address less and less. Or addressed badly ie killing Amy and Emma. I understand why Emma didn't have the reaction that Amy killing did, since she stated that she had to kill Dean. But the fact that Sam killed Dean's daughter and that both are pretty much over it by the next week is kind of wrong. Can you imagine the Dean or Sam of S1-5 not dealing with that at some point.

This show is typically so great at continuity of characters, but this kind of stuff along with things like not addressing Dean's torturing or memory wiping. Or even further fallout from Soulless Sam, is potentially really damaging to the characters in my opinion. They'll could become caricatures, like James Bond, where consequences for actions only happen when they're convenient.

Now they could still be address. Perhaps we just haven't been shown the consequences yet. And that's fine-great in fact. But I saw little evidence last year and it worries me a bit.
KELLY
# KELLY 2012-09-30 16:33
Also he wasn't trusting Sam's judgment on not to kill, so I just think he actually need to speak to her himself rather than just stab her based on Sam's information.
emmau
# emmau 2012-09-30 16:46
I don't see that. People look at the same set of facts and come away with different interpretations all the time. Dean can believe what Sam says about Amy but still arrive at the conclusion that she is a danger to humans and has to be stopped. Sam can listen to Dean's reasoning about why hunting the Leviathan is more important than MotW and still disagree. He doesn't have to interview the monsters in questions nor their victims to reach those conclusions.

In the end, Amy did try to defend herself by saying she wouldn't kill anymore. Dean listened, but he didn't believe her. So he killed her. In both cases, he did hear Sam and Amy--he just didn't agree.
KELLY
# KELLY 2012-09-30 19:57
But your saying he read the situation different from Sam, but to really read a situation he should get a feel for who he is dealing with. He killed within a minute of seeing her. There was no imminent threat, no reason that he couldn't at least try to talk to her. To see if he saw what Sam saw.
emmau
# emmau 2012-09-30 22:38
I think if this was any other monster, it wouldn't be considered necessary for Dean to talk to it, get a feel for who he's dealing with. That was Dean's point to Sam--he let his personal feelings about Amy get involved to the point where her side of why she committed several murders was considered important. It really shouldn't have been. Nonetheless, Dean made a different read than Sam, and Amy told him the exact same thing that Sam had, confirming the same (in my opinion) faulty logic that Amy was never going to be a threat again. So he heard what Sam heard and saw what Sam saw. He didn't see it the same way as Sam did, and made the move he thought necessary to remove an admitted killer from among humans. Yes, he was fast, but since Dean is someone that relies on his (generally good) instincts, I didn't find that surprising. He made the read and made his move.
emmau
# emmau 2012-09-30 13:48
Oh, and you're right here, too, lala2. Dean not agreeing with Sam's judgment shouldn't be a signal that he automatically devalues all of Sam's opinions, any more than Sam not agreeing with Dean's judgment should be taken as a sign that he doesn't respect any of Dean's opinions. What works for one brother should work for the other. We really should take that into account when discussing this issue, and I've been as guilty of that as anyone. Thanks for pointing that out.
lala2
# lala2 2012-09-30 14:58
I hope you didn't take offense to any of my comments. I guess I was never quite sure what to make of TGND or the Amy saga. There was no real resolution or point to that arc. It was left vague, IMO. I just never felt a lack of trust in Sam's judgment had anything to do w/Dean killing Amy. It may have, but the writing should have been much tighter.
emmau
# emmau 2012-09-30 15:05
Not at all. I think it's a valid point, and sometimes in the heat of the moment, it can be forgotten. I really do think it's good to be reminded of that from time to time.

True, it's had to know what the point of the Amy arc was, or what resolution was meant to be taken from it. I agree that I don't think lack of faith was really at the crux of Amy's death for Dean--I think it was Cas reaffirming his belief that trusting the supernatural was bad, because they were always going to return their nature, i.e., killing people. But I could be wrong. Show was never particularly clear on the point. Oh, well.
KELLY
# KELLY 2012-09-30 15:18
Quote:
I agree that I don't think lack of faith was really at the crux of Amy's death for Dean--I think it was Cas reaffirming his belief that trusting the supernatural was bad, because they were always going to return their nature, i.e., killing people. But I could be wrong. Show was never particularly clear on the point. Oh, well.
Actually, if thought that is where they were going with that too. That Dean had lost his willingness to give any supernatural the benefit of the doubt. I figured some would happen that would counterbalance that and we'd see some character growth.

What we got was Sam admitting he was wrong. And then Sam going along with the kill all monster in Slice Girls, even though technically she hadn't killed. And them both wigging out about Bobby and then him going dark, showing that they were right all along. But they still trusted the beings that actually had betrayed and killed. Meg, Crowley and Castiel. And Castiel was the one who had destroyed his trust to begin with. It made no sense.
emmau
# emmau 2012-09-30 15:25
Well, that's because fans like Crowley, Castiel, and Meg (apparently--I personally don't get that one. Liking a bad guy as an adversary =/= turning them into a backstabbing ally). It's once again one of those times where show yanked Dean and Sam's characterizatio ns around to fit into the story they wanted to write, using the characters fans liked. It also feeds into their "All demons and angels and humans are the same, so it doesn't matter if you work with the first, kill the second, or care about the thrid" mentality, which I hate. A lot.

As for Castiel, I could at least understand working with him again because he did at least express remorse for what he'd done and a willingness to sacrifice for the Winchesters (his sanity in 7.17 [despite the fact that this didn't make sense] and his life in 7.23). That's more than anyone can say for Meg and Crowley. Unfortunately, show made Sam and Dean hold the idiot ball when it came to both of those characters at the end of the season, much to their detriment.
KELLY
# KELLY 2012-09-30 16:12
Alright, total agreement on everything you said here. And probably likeability was one of the problems with Amy. She was too likeable. She had saved Sam in the past and made him feel accepted and was his first kiss. She was a loving mother who was just trying to save her son. She was to me extremely sympathetic and if anyone should have got a pass to me it should have been her. It probably didn't help that she was played by Jewel Staite, who I loved as Kaylee on Firefly. (Although I loved Spike (Cordelia not so much) too, and I was still would have been good with their deaths.)

Although that makes me think of another problem. She had saved Sam by killing her own mother, you'd think that would at least warrant a sit down with Dean. Previously saving Sam as a kid would have gotten a lot further with Dean, but this time he barely acknowledged it.

I don't mind the forgiveness of Castiel, I like him and want him on the show. And he did express remorse, but that doesn't wipe away what he did. I just need them to discuss the inconsistencies , give me a reason or at the very least, just say. It's because it's Cas.

Meg and Crowley. Crowley is likeable and he is a great bad guy, like Spike, and to me their behavior with him is more understandable. He has things they need so they use him, knowing they're taking risks. Sometimes it works out okay and sometimes it really doesn't. This time it landed Dean in purgatory.But at least that last risk seemed calculated and there weren't a whole lot of options.

I would be good with Meg dying though. I don't mind her but she's not a character I even love to hate. Not like Ruby. And them trusting her REALLY bugs me. More than Crowley. She killed Jo and Ellen. The fact that they work with her, but Bobby was too dangerous to "live" is just craziness to me. Again I need a reason.

The last season's story arcs to me were all over and never quite worked. That's why I really hope some of this is picked up this season. I keep deleting the post with spoilers from my email, but I keep getting glimpses of the freakouts. And they're increasing my anxiety. But I am still going to just stick with my hope that S8 redeems at least some of S7 story arcs, because I really did love a lot of the individual episodes, I even really like Girl Next Door.

I didn't have a problem with S6's, except for the Campbells, I felt it all came together really well in the end. So if they don't fix some of it, S7 would be the first season I have really disliked the overall arc.
emmau
# emmau 2012-09-30 17:08
Well, Amy was designed to be likeable, so when she died we would feel either conflicted or just plain outraged. She was nice to Sam. She saved him from her mother. She cared enough about her son to murder people to save him. She was played by a cute, well-liked actress who wasn’t given any monsterous characteristics that would make her seem repulsive or scary. She could rationalize her actions as for her child, and she could claim that she wouldn’t do it again.

But at the end of the day, she killed without hesitation and would have done so again. Knowing Sam for four hours 15 years ago shouldn’t excuse that. Saving Sam was a good thing, but it doesn’t make the families of her four victims’ losses any less real or painful, nor does it save future victims if Amy’s son gets sick again. Now this is a point where I can agree that Dean’s mindset might have been influencing him, because he had been, against his better judgment, working with supernatural beings like Crowley and Castiel for a while now, and it had come back and bitten them hard. They’d let Lenore go, and even she had been forced to act out her nature (again, though contrast her reaction to that death with Amy’s reactions to her own killings, and it’s clear to me that Lenore is the sympathetic character of the two). I can see why Dean wasn’t willing to take the chance, because all signs at the time were pointing to the shoe always dropping.

I agree that forgiving Castiel makes more sense, because he had been a good ally to the boys, and he did express remorse and make some gestures that indicated he was willing to make up for what he’d done. I agree that a discussion about the inconsistencies would have been interesting, though Sam and Dean were pretty consistent in that regard in that Sam was much more willing to forgive and overlook what Cas/Amy had done, while Dean didn’t trust either character at their word. But yes, for me and apparently the Winchesters, Castiel had built up a lot more goodwill in the bank, and deserved a second chance much more than Amy did.

I agree, Crowley is a likeable bad guy, and it’s always possible that he might want to screw the other guy more than he wants to screw you. Except it’s always the case that Crowley wants to screw everybody (Bobby on his deal, Sam on getting his soul back, etc), so trusting him to keep up his end in a “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” deal was ludicrous by the end of S7. Show has to either only bring Crowley in at the very end of an arc, when the boys seem to have little time to think through his offers, or have Sam and Dean hold the idiot ball, because they shouldn’t be falling for things with him at this point.

I want Meg dead. I liked her as a villain, but as the snarky evil “You guys are racist against demons-Ignore how many of your allies I’ve killed” comrade I just want her stabbed with the demon knife. Show kept her around because fans liked her as a villain, but turning her into an ally after all she’s done to them and their friends is just idiot plotting. Ridiculous.

I think the arcs of the last two seasons were full of stops and starts, meandering sidelines that went nowhere and sudden solutions helped out by idiot balls. I feel like we can only go up from here. I could, of course, be wrong. I think people are freaking out because people always freak out during hiatuses. Water’s wet, sky is blue, fandom likes to freak out during hiatuses. It is what it is. But I have more hope this off-season than I’ve had the last two combined, so that’s something for me. Time will tell who’s right.
etheldred
# etheldred 2012-09-30 15:33
Sam and Dean working with Meg is one of my biggest issues. I don't have a problem with them working with Cas, because that's personal; they care about him enough to forgive the injuries he's done to them personally, and they see his major crimes as analogous to their own darker actions. And I don't have a problem with them working with Crowley, because I don't think they trust him at all. That's a purely utilitarian relationship. But Meg? Meg killed Caleb and Pastor Jim, possessed Sam and used his body to kill an innocent hunter and shoot Dean, menaced Jo and eventually brought about her and Ellen's death, was instrumental in Bobby being paralyzed. She's both an antagonist and a personal enemy, and it seems like they treat her, unlike Crowley, with some actual trust. I could maybe deal with them reluctantly working with her if they showed any signs of exactly how big a deal that is given their history with her, but she and Dean just snark at each other, and Sam expresses token reluctance without any sign that it's personal. Someone needs to make the entire writers room do a series rewatch once a year or something.
st50
# st50 2012-09-30 16:12
Quote:

Someone needs to make the entire writers room do a series rewatch once a year or something.
I definitely think that would help - if they don't do that already.
I wonder if perhaps the final edited version of an episode gets missed sometimes, and the writers assume something is understood because of how they'd written it - and then that scene didn't air as they'd expected?

Absolutely hated the Amy plot, btw, - it was wrong all around, imho... And the fact that Dean was stupid enough to hit Sam in the head when he caught up with him - after the trauma Sam'd been through (Edgar and Lucifer)! regardless of how upset Dean was, that really ticked me off - stupid writing and unnecessary - could just've easily punched him somewhere else, if the punch was necessary.
Following that up with the mess of an argument/apolog y.... Just Wrong. But many better writers than I have explored that issue here, so I won't belabour the point.
E
# E 2012-09-30 14:10
I also didn't find anything ambiguous at all in the resolution to the Amy storyline. Dean ended up in the right and Sam was wrong and even ended up apologizing. None of the larger issues about trust or Dean's changing views were ever addressed, which just left the whole thing a muddled disjointed and unsatisfactory mess.

It does occur to me though, that I think one of the issues during SG's time was too much filming, more than once the J's indicated that many of the episodes ran too long, that filming went 9 days instead of the usual 8. I think that this showed in the editing, there were odd holes and leaps you had to make in logic that were not explained. I think it all has to do with the overly heavy plot and myth arc, it cut into the boys relationship.

I am absolutely not saying that Dean was wrong to kill Amy, I think he was, unfortunately, correct to go ahead (although why those two almighty powerful witches got to live is BEYOND me, talk about a double standard!), but the larger issue was about trust, not only did Dean not trust Sam, but he couldn't even be up front about it. Its perfectly valid and an interesting plot point for Dean to have problems with trust due to the Cas situation, but we have to KNOW that. There was not one thing there to indicate that this was on Dean's mind or influencing his decisions. It's just bad story telling to leave something like that out and hope that the audience makes the connection somehow.
lala2
# lala2 2012-09-30 15:11
And that's why I never thought Dean killing her had anything to do w/him not trusting Sam. As you said, there was nothing in the script to indicate that Dean didn't trust Sam or that he had trust issues b/c of Castiel. I thought Dean killed her b/c it had to be done. I thought he lied to Sam b/c Sam was self-identifyin g as a monster/freak, and Dean wasn't going to get Sam to change his opinion about that. I thought Dean killed her b/c she was a monster, and as S2 Dean would say, "kill the monster."

If it had anything to do w/trusting Sam b/c of Castiel, then the show did a craptastic job of conveying that.

Honestly, I don't recall anything to show that Dean was even missing Castiel or even all that sad that Castiel was dead. IMO, Dean's depression arc was horribly told. I can usually pinpoint why Dean's depressed in any given season, but this time, I was at a loss. I had no clue why Dean was so sad. Sam was pretty high-functionin g. Honestly, he appeared to have NO issues. Bobby was okay. Yes, Castiel was "dead," but then Dean had gone a year w/o talking to Castiel or seeking him out before so . . . .

Season 7 was horribly written and wasn't very well thought out either.