If you've noticed, I've been pretty silent about Supernatural so far this season.  It's not that I haven't been enjoying season eight, I have, it's just nothing has been blowing me away.  It's early in the season, and the name of the game is patience.  I need to give the story a chance to unfold and give the writers a chance to express their creative vision.  There just hasn't been a lot to say. 

However, after watching last night's "Supernatural" episode, now I have a heartache.  A massive one. 

From a technical aspect, there's nothing wrong with "Heartache."  If anything, it's a real directorial triumph for Jensen Ackles.  The level of sophistication in the framing and shots were very impressive and I'm stunned that this came from an actor on the show. I've paid attention to a lot of actors who have directed for their shows and none are as good as Jensen.  There were a lot of different settings in this episode, more than usual, and the scenes were shorter, not to mention Dean was in a lot of them.  This was a difficult episode to shoot even for a veteran director and Jensen rose to the challenge superbly.  I'm quite blown away by his skill.  He is a Kim Manners student, that's for sure.  I'm very proud of his grand accomplishments on what was a complex MOTW script. 

Also, how priceless was that scene of friction between Dean and the cranky detective, aka Jensen vs. his Dad?  I think Alan Ackles has earned some future screen time on Supernatural, don't you think?  I love the angry close ups on the two men at the end, and then Sam just watching like they needed to take it outside.  So good!

Script wise, that's where things get messy.  I often found the MOTW plot confusing and not very fluid.  During the unfolding of the mystery I said "WTF?" numerous times.  I wasn't sure where they were going with it - which can be a good thing - but the end the payoff just fell a little flat.  That was all execution though.  The concept itself was quite interesting, and good job on bringing some Mayan mythology into the show.  That was an original idea and I really did feel for that poor woman who ended up falling in love with an immortal and had to carry that burden as she aged and he didn't. 

While "Heartache" didn't completely piss me off like "The Girl Next Door," it left me completely disheartened.  I did love the ending, for that's truly the first time we saw Sam Winchester flashback on something and smile.  The path to getting to that one nugget though was crooked and poorly focused.  Unfortunately, it has me dusting off my batch of season seven criticisms at a time when I had hoped to have put those away for good. 

What Happened to the Characterization?

My true problem with this episode is yet another reflection of my greatest criticism of season seven.  The characterization was a total mess.  Police procedurals are known for putting almost all of the focus on the story and throwing in perhaps a minute or two for the struggles of the character.  Supernatural was never like this, until season seven that is.  I absolutely hated that about season seven.  I absolutely hated that about "Heartache." 

The first two episodes of season eight have done a good job of showing how raw and unhinged Dean is, especially "What's Up Tiger Mommy?"  It's very shocking and tragic to see him like this.  If anything, I don't think enough time has been spent on the flashbacks showing how he got there.  I'm dying to know more.  I've accepted though there's a whole season for that and I'll be patient in watching that play out. 

With Sam, its episode three and my patience has run out.  His character development in season seven wasn't handled properly, and now in season eight he doesn't seem to have any at all.  Would it have been so hard to work in a few more flashbacks in parallel to the MOTW story?  Better yet, have his story actually parallel with the MOTW?  There was plenty of opportunity.  I can list a few scenes in the MOTW story that didn't have to be there so we could get some flashbacks.  Don't get me wrong, the one very short flashback we did get actually brought me to tears (Sam finally gets a birthday celebration), but that's all we got?  It made it extremely difficult for me as the viewer to relate or understand what was going on in Sam's head.  This story fell drastically short in that aspect, and it's really starting to hurt. 

What is it about Sam's characterization that the writers are struggling with?  Since when did Sam's story stop being a priority over…everything else?  Am I supposed to care about his character anymore?

I know that expectations were high too, as many fans were hoping to finally get more of a glimpse as to what happened with Sam's year.  If it truly was just going to Farmers Markets and having picnics with his girlfriend and dog, I'll watch more scenes of that.  I love seeing Sam happy.  I still don't understand why he's with Dean right now.  I do get he was trying to plant the idea in Dean's head that he didn't need him around, but without understanding truly where that was coming from, the statement has no meaning.  Flashbacks could have explained that.  We need to know what that life with Amelia was really like.  Show, don't tell.  It's one of the most basic concepts of storytelling. 

I love pulling out old examples to prove my point, and the one episode that kept coming back to me last night was "Metamorphosis."  In that episode, the cat was out of the bag.  Sam was using his demon powers and Dean was livid.  The MOTW story was tightly woven with Sam's predicament.  A man was turning into a monster, an eerie parallel with Sam's story.  Both stories had ideal symmetry.  On top of watching Sam struggle with that, the brothers were having their own issues.  There was the intense (and long) scene in the motel room where they both emotionally tried to work through things.  Dean was  extremely angry and throwing punches while Sam tearfully expressed that he didn't know what else to do since Dean was gone.  That wasn't the end of it though.  Dean was throwing all sorts of sarcastic remarks about Sam having a monster in him and Sam angrily had Dean pull the Impala over.  They exchanged harsh words at the side of the road and hallelujah!  I finally got what was going on in Sam's head.   

I was DYING to see something like that in "Heartache" when Dean wouldn't stop giving Sam grief about giving up hunting.  Sam just absorbed it all and said nothing.  Ugh, not again.  Is this guy not human?  Why can't the brothers talk about that?
Speaking of that, I am truly, utterly sick and tired of brotherly chats just as their gaining momentum being interrupted by a phone call.  It happened AGAIN in "Heartache" when Sam was trying to tell Dean he could get along without him.  Season seven did this a few times ("Party on Garth" comes to mind) and it's royally pissing me off.  At least with "Metamorphosis" a whole lot of intense shit played out before they were interrupted. It's a cop out.  It's an excuse for the writers to avoid what is clearly a weakness, character dynamics.  It…must…stop…now!

I know these brothers aren't the same people compared to back in season four.  They've both been to Hell and back, Dean's gone to Purgatory, they've saved the world a few times over, perhaps there's nothing left to be said.  The thing is, does that make for good storytelling?  So far, it makes for very weak storytelling.  I accept there are 19 episodes left and I am not writing off Supernatural season eight by any means, but I've been starving for some truly great character defining stories for a long while now and I'm beginning to fear that the well is dry.  I keep digging for hope, remembering last season's "Hello Cruel World" and thinking there is a chance that we'll actually get some real character interaction again, as well as getting richness back to our main characters.  When seeing a promo though for a "Paranormal Activity" type episode though, I know it's not happening next week.  Sigh. 

I've said this before, so much so I'm in broken record territory, but it was the brotherly relationship that initially attracted me to this show.  That five minutes in front of the Impala at the end of "All Hell Breaks Loose Part II" was all it took.  If I wanted to watch a procedural, I just have to tune into CBS every night.  For yet another episode, I can't tell the difference between Supernatural and one of those procedurals.  I just feel lucky the first two episodes weren't like that, otherwise this would have been the final straw.  I fear that if I'm running out of patience, others might be as well.  I'm really, really hoping it's just me. 

What do you think about characterization in season 8 so far?  Why do you think they're struggling so much with Sam's character? 

(Note – Some ground rules on the discussion.  I'm stirring up a hornets nest here, I know it, but keep the conversation civil.  No insults, putting words into other people's mouths, and please try to avoid repeating the same points over and over again.  Otherwise, speak your mind.)
 

 

Comments  

st50
# st50 2012-10-18 12:42
Thank you, Alice.
You very succinctly put what I am feeling.
I felt like crying at the end of last nights episode, not only for (a too short glimpse of) Sams heartache and Deans reaction to Sam wanting out, but for knowing we'll get nothing building on it next week either.
I'm seriously considering waiting to watch Season 8 as a marathon viewing session, if I hear anything good develops.
It just simply has not lived up to what I want for the characters of my favourite show.
Martha
# Martha 2012-10-18 12:46
I agree with your analyses. I love Supernatural, but Heartache was a heartache to watch. Jensen's direction was great, however, I found myself bored with most of the story. Also, what happened to the music? Even that seemed off pace. Heartache seemed like any other procedural show. I wish there was more screen time with Jensen and his Dad. The flashback scene with Jared was what was seen online already and too short. I can't believe Dean or his Dad never gave Sam a birthday cake. What gives? Episode 5 looks great when Sam meets Benny for the first time. I hope that episode delivers.
shamangrrl
# shamangrrl 2012-10-18 12:50
I don't think the writers are having problems with Sam's character. I think they're having the same problem they've always had - they can't see to SHOW instead of TELL. And I know I'm stirring up a hornet's nest, but Sam isn't written any better or worse than Dean, and part of the difference in perception lies in the acting. JA seems to put a lot of thought into Dean, his backstory, how he would react. He simply does a better job of keeping things consistent, even when the writing is poor (which it frequently is). JP seems to be more willing to follow what is on the page, and follow the direction of someone who may or may not be a regular with the show. And that matters in what appears onscreen, and how what appears is perceived.

That being said, I also think they need to switch up Sam's memories with something much more informative than an idyllic romp through the wild flowers. But they also need to change the words they're putting in that characters mouth. The way the writers have Sam express himself can be problematic. Frequently, those words come across less as an explanation and more as a whiny attack. Sam is an adult and he is supposedly quite intelligent. Let him behave and express himself in that fashion (SHOW IT) instead of telling us he's smart (He received a Full Scholarship to Stanford!!!), and everyone would be happier with the outcome.

Also, it doesn't help that this whole issue is a non-starter. Sam isn't going to stop hunting. There wouldn't be a show if he did. So stop dangling that putrescent carrot in front of the audience, we are actually intelligent enough to know it'll never happen.
digyd
# digyd 2012-10-18 12:57
Quote:
I don't think the writers are having problems with Sam's character. I think they're having the same problem they've always had - they can't see to SHOW instead of TELL. And I know I'm stirring up a hornet's nest, but Sam isn't written any better or worse than Dean, and part of the difference in perception lies in the acting. JA seems to put a lot of thought into Dean, his backstory, how he would react. He simply does a better job of keeping things consistent, even when the writing is poor (which it frequently is). JP seems to be more willing to follow what is on the page, and follow the direction of someone who may or may not be a regular with the show. And that matters in what appears onscreen, and how what appears is perceived.

That being said, I also think they need to switch up Sam's memories with something much more informative than an idyllic romp through the wild flowers. But they also need to change the words they're putting in that characters mouth. The way the writers have Sam express himself can be problematic. Frequently, those words come across less as an explanation and more as a whiny attack. Sam is an adult and he is supposedly quite intelligent. Let him behave and express himself in that fashion (SHOW IT) instead of telling us he's smart (He received a Full Scholarship to Stanford!!!), and everyone would be happier with the outcome.

Also, it doesn't help that this whole issue is a non-starter. Sam isn't going to stop hunting. There wouldn't be a show if he did. So stop dangling that putrescent carrot in front of the audience, we are actually intelligent enough to know it'll never happen.
Ha! Yeah. I've been thinking that too, but maybe he'll end up finding some new balance, is what I am supposing.
digyd
# digyd 2012-10-18 12:58
Sorry. Forgot to cut the quote down to this:
Quote:
Sam isn't going to stop hunting. There wouldn't be a show if he did. So stop dangling that putrescent carrot in front of the audience, we are actually intelligent enough to know it'll never happen.
kazkriz
# kazkriz 2012-10-18 17:42
totally agree
percysowner
# percysowner 2012-10-18 13:53
Quote:
I don't think the writers are having problems with Sam's character. I think they're having the same problem they've always had - they can't see to SHOW instead of TELL. And I know I'm stirring up a hornet's nest, but Sam isn't written any better or worse than Dean, and part of the difference in perception lies in the acting. JA seems to put a lot of thought into Dean, his backstory, how he would react. He simply does a better job of keeping things consistent, even when the writing is poor (which it frequently is). JP seems to be more willing to follow what is on the page, and follow the direction of someone who may or may not be a regular with the show. And that matters in what appears onscreen, and how what appears is perceived.
I totally disagree, but I'm not going to start a fight. Just saying so this doesn't go unrefuted.
st50
# st50 2012-10-18 18:47
Yes, Percysowner, I just wasn't going to go there.
yellow eyes
# yellow eyes 2012-10-18 19:04
If it weren't for JP keeping Sam going after three or four Deancentric seasons, I might have stopped watching a long time ago.

I think JA is superb as Dean but his character hasn't had to go through that many changes. It also helps that the writing is so Deancentric.
Jo102749
# Jo102749 2012-10-18 20:39
Quote:
Quote:
I don't think the writers are having problems with Sam's character. I think they're having the same problem they've always had - they can't see to SHOW instead of TELL. And I know I'm stirring up a hornet's nest, but Sam isn't written any better or worse than Dean, and part of the difference in perception lies in the acting. JA seems to put a lot of thought into Dean, his backstory, how he would react. He simply does a better job of keeping things consistent, even when the writing is poor (which it frequently is). JP seems to be more willing to follow what is on the page, and follow the direction of someone who may or may not be a regular with the show. And that matters in what appears onscreen, and how what appears is perceived.
I totally disagree, but I'm not going to start a fight. Just saying so this doesn't go unrefuted.
I am also refuting that statement.
lala2
# lala2 2012-10-18 20:47
I think JP is doing the best he can w/this limited material. We won't know until the season ends or his story is fleshed out more.
st50
# st50 2012-10-18 20:53
Quote:
I think JP is doing the best he can w/this limited material. We won't know until the season ends or his story is fleshed out more.
Agreed. Just like I loved what he did with Soulless Sam, once it was revealed what he was doing. It just looked really bizarre until the reveal.
There may yet be a reveal here, too, but I think it's more that everything is shown in his eyes and quite subtle yet.
lala2
# lala2 2012-10-18 21:12
Yeah. I disagree w/those faulting JP for this "new" Sam being so odd, unemotional, and detached. He's probably being directed to behave in this manner. JP has brillantly handled each character change they've thrown his way, and I'm sure that's what he's doing now.

He's either different for a reason w/in the show, or he's different b/c JC has no understanding of who Sam is meant to be. Honestly, we won't know if this characterizatio n was purposeful until the story plays out. I immediately knew something was up w/S6 Sam. Here, I'm not sure if it's part of the story or just his "new" characterizatio n under JC. I'd prefer the former but fear it's the latter!
st50
# st50 2012-10-18 21:19
Those are my fears, too, Lala2!
lala2
# lala2 2012-10-18 21:31
It's a shame I have no faith in the writers anymore. It makes for uneasy viewing.

In any event, Sam is certainly not "different" b/c Jared suddenly forgot how to play him or is less committed to his work/role than Jensen. Come on now!
KELLY
# KELLY 2012-10-18 21:34
Quote:

In any event, Sam is certainly not "different" b/c Jared suddenly forgot how to play him or is less committed to his work/role than Jensen. Come on now!
Definitely not!! Jared is a great actor.
st50
# st50 2012-10-18 21:48
Quote:
Quote:

In any event, Sam is certainly not "different" b/c Jared suddenly forgot how to play him or is less committed to his work/role than Jensen. Come on now!
Definitely not!! Jared is a great actor.
Agreed. They both are!
Sharon
# Sharon 2012-10-18 14:13
I agree with some of what you are saying Shamangrrl the acting part I dont agree with but you have made some other good points .
E
# E 2012-10-18 21:09
Quote: "And I know I'm stirring up a hornet's nest, but Sam isn't written any better or worse than Dean, and part of the difference in perception lies in the acting. JA seems to put a lot of thought into Dean, his backstory, how he would react. He simply does a better job of keeping things consistent, even when the writing is poor (which it frequently is). JP seems to be more willing to follow what is on the page, and follow the direction of someone who may or may not be a regular with the show."

At the risk of inflaming this post out of proportion, may I kindly suggest that when you state a position on acting chops that you do so from a position of it being "in your opinion." I find it problematic that you would state this as fact rather than merely your opinion in the matter. You are making statements about how each actor approaches their role and the quality of their work, and so this begs the question; how do YOU know? Are you behind the scenes with each actor as they prepare? Are you intimately acquainted with their process and how seriously they take that process? Have you directed an episode, guest stared on the show or even visited the set and seen either actor at work? I am going to go out on a limb here and and say that the answer to all of these questions is 'no' you haven't. The simple expedient of placing IMO on your post would have negated the offensive nature of it. I am glad you find JA so effective, but not everyone shares your OPINION.
Bamboo24
# Bamboo24 2012-10-18 23:55
Quote:
At the risk of inflaming this post out of proportion, may I kindly suggest that when you state a position on acting chops that you do so from a position of it being "in your opinion." I find it problematic that you would state this as fact rather than merely your opinion in the matter. You are making statements about how each actor approaches their role and the quality of their work, and so this begs the question; how do YOU know? Are you behind the scenes with each actor as they prepare? Are you intimately acquainted with their process and how seriously they take that process? Have you directed an episode, guest stared on the show or even visited the set and seen either actor at work? I am going to go out on a limb here and and say that the answer to all of these questions is 'no' you haven't. The simple expedient of placing IMO on your post would have negated the offensive nature of it. I am glad you find JA so effective, but not everyone shares your OPINION.
I agree 100% with this, as well as everything stated before regarding JP being an excellent actor - however I want to add that I feel the same way when people make similar comments about the writers of SPN.
LEAH D
# LEAH D 2012-10-18 22:26
You certainly have a right to your opinion shamangrrl, but Jared P has evolved into an excellent and subtle actor. Of course this is MY opinion. He has had to portray so many different versions of Sam during the run of the series, that I'm astonished he still can put a different spin on everything the writers throw at him. Whatever is going on with his character this season, I most definitely do not attribute it to bad acting. He has pulled off some remarkable performances and I am sure this is another one. I feel that as time goes on his actions will become more clear, as will JP's performance. He can break your heart with a single glance. He is that good.
cd28
# cd28 2012-10-19 10:07
Quote:
And I know I'm stirring up a hornet's nest, but Sam isn't written any better or worse than Dean, and part of the difference in perception lies in the acting. JA seems to put a lot of thought into Dean, his backstory, how he would react. He simply does a better job of keeping things consistent, even when the writing is poor (which it frequently is). JP seems to be more willing to follow what is on the page, and follow the direction of someone who may or may not be a regular with the show.
We started last year with Jensen's Dean fluctuating wildly. We had apathetic, porno-watching Dean in the premiere, good brother and steady Dean in the second episode, paranoid non-trusting Dean in the third episode, and drunken, apathetic Dean back in the fourth episode. There were just as many problems with Dean's portrayal, but fans, instead of blaming it on the acting, often attributed it to "Sera not understanding Dean."

The writing for Dean seemed to stabilize as the season went on, but when the writers started tackling Sam's Hell trauma, then Sam started to jump all over the map. Having the writers focus on the character should be a good thing unless the writers are not on the same page. At that point, I'm questioning how much an actor can really do.

This episode had at least started filming before Comic Con, and it was clear from the interviews at Comic Con that the actors didn't seem to know much more about the development of their characters this year than what they had read in the scripts for the first three episodes. We know now what was in those scripts. Dean's direction is very clear. Sam's is still a mystery. So I don't think Jared had any choice other than to portray Sam as indicted in the scripts if he didn't know where the writers were going with this.
digyd
# digyd 2012-10-18 12:52
This should be interesting. I feel like I'm gonna need an umbrella to read whatever must be coming.

I admit I thought it odd that they didn't show much of Sam's year given how it was obviously what was going on in his mind the whole time. I was guessing maybe that was the point - we see it weighing on him and kind of bubbling up with all these little clues (the email, his comments in the car, the Farmer's Market). I am guessing that maybe they are building it up on purpose until we end up with an episode like the one where Sam spilled his guts about what happened with Ruby while Dean was in hell.

I don't know though. What I saw last night was a lot of old Sam & Dean (jokes, Sam's weird faces, working TOGETHER) vs the new Sam & Dean (Sam clearly pining over the last year, Dean finally feeling like he accepts his calling). And maybe it's me, but I felt like we saw a lot more of their monster hunting process than we typically would, thus getting all these scenes with them together talking about what's on the surface with a little bit of dealing with the elephant in the room too.

But I've already said that I'm not on the Ph.D level with this show as many are here. I had to take a moment to figure out where I am happy to be and middle school shall suffice for me. I watched this last night thinking there was plenty of room for Sam's flashbacks, but no dice? Ok, whatev. I was still happy to see Jensen and his dad playing off each other. I was still THRILLED to watch every silly moment between the bros (strippers' locker room/Brick's closet, for instance). Dean looked FREAKING GOOD THE WHOLE TIME and that certainly didn't hurt anything. Sam letting his smarts show more and more is just adorable to watch.

But can I tell ya, as open as I am to just about anything I do here, I WANT to like Amelia because Sam liked her, but I don't! Gah! I wish they had let him revisit Sarah? Was it? The art dealer's daughter? HER I liked and I always hoped they would bring her back and give them a real shot. Amelia is just...just...a nnoying! No wonder he left!

Can't wait to read more remarks and I'm so glad you wrote, Alice. Yours is one of the few opinions I take as totally balanced making it easy to read what you hate and think, "Hmmm. If that's what Alice says, then darn it, they oughtta listen!" :-)

Overall, I am loving this season so far and if they keep going, I can see it being in my top 3 favorites overall. Feels like they are doing a little more facing the music and dealing with stuff than they did in the past.
winmomwannabe
# winmomwannabe 2012-10-18 13:15
Quote:

I admit I thought it odd that they didn't show much of Sam's year given how it was obviously what was going on in his mind the whole time. I was guessing maybe that was the point - we see it weighing on him and kind of bubbling up with all these little clues (the email, his comments in the car, the Farmer's Market). I am guessing that maybe they are building it up on purpose until we end up with an episode like the one where Sam spilled his guts about what happened with Ruby while Dean was in hell.

I don't know though. What I saw last night was a lot of old Sam & Dean (jokes, Sam's weird faces, working TOGETHER) vs the new Sam & Dean (Sam clearly pining over the last year, Dean finally feeling like he accepts his calling). And maybe it's me, but I felt like we saw a lot more of their monster hunting process than we typically would, thus getting all these scenes with them together talking about what's on the surface with a little bit of dealing with the elephant in the room too.

But I've already said that I'm not on the Ph.D level with this show as many are here.
I feel much like this. When the episode was over I sat kind of stunned. We were definitely hoodwinked into thinking we'd get more of Sam's past year based on the preview. Good lesson in assumptions. I think if I hadn't been teased with that preview I'd have been ok with a MOTW episode thrown in. I mean that's how previous seasons teased us all the time. A couple of myth heavy ones, then a break, just to make us anxious for the next 'meaty' episode. But as my friend and I talked after the show. We were watching with bated breath for some flashbacks and so focused on that we barely thought about the MOTW storyline. So I rewatched online and saw what could be a couple parallels to Sam's secret in that Betsy, or Eleanor, said Brick realized he couldn't go on without her. I felt that could be a hint to Sam's past year. God forbid, do we think he could have had such a breakdown that he tried to commit suicide? I am afraid to say it. But that is where my mind took me.
Also, Sam's reaction to not finding Amelia. Another scene similar to the dog at the vet's scene. And very reminiscent of how he looked at the end of S7, alone after everyone disappeared.

So much more I could say, but will stop here. It was definitely a Heartache in many respects, but I hold out much hope yet. Patience will have to be my virtue I guess.
Sylvie
# Sylvie 2012-10-18 14:49
I pretty much agree with you and digyd on this. I was so focused on looking for Sam's flashbacks that I was anxious to get the MOTW story out of the way! I will rewatch the show tonight to try and get a different perspective, but I don't hold much hope of me liking it any better. Although I appreciated some of the banter between the brothers, and the snarkiness between Ackles Sr. & Jr. :lol:
Melanie
# Melanie 2012-10-20 14:57
I've been dreading Sam's flashbacks, so I was completely happywith getting so much present day action.
Bamboo24
# Bamboo24 2012-10-19 00:01
Quote:
I rewatched online and saw what could be a couple parallels to Sam's secret in that Betsy, or Eleanor, said Brick realized he couldn't go on without her. I felt that could be a hint to Sam's past year.
I caught that, too. I think perhaps some are so eager for Sam-flashbacks that they may have missed the way the MOTW paralleled with the brothers' relationship. I thought it was referring to either: a) Sam, reaching a point where, like Brick, he just couldn't do it anymore (regarding hunting), and/or b) Dean, who seems utterly unable to live independent of his brother.
eilf
# eilf 2012-10-19 20:52
Yes, I was the same way - I enjoyed the episode so much more the second time. I am going to just totally avoid the spoilers from now on I think! Then I can just take each episode as it comes.
st50
# st50 2012-10-19 21:15
Quote:
Yes, I was the same way - I enjoyed the episode so much more the second time. I am going to just totally avoid the spoilers from now on I think! Then I can just take each episode as it comes.
Watched if for the 3rd time today. (Yes, I'm nuts)
I enjoyed it so much more. It isn't a perfect episode, and there are SO many issues with the writing, but there are also some great moments, great lines, and it flows so much better without the commercials!
If they hadn't advertised it as a look back at Sam's past year, I think everyone would've enjoyed it better.
Now... if we can just get enough glimpses to understand the past year for them all.....
eilf
# eilf 2012-10-19 21:34
I got into the show half way through season 7 and due to the wonderfulness of Costco I got three of the seasons v cheap. So I got all of them and watched them all one after the other - I had literally no idea what was going to happen from episode to episode. Then I got to the fairy episode (Clap your hands if you want to believe), now I was as huge an X-files fan as I am of SPN and from the first seconds I was going, wow this has an X-files vibe - and then the credits started! I may have actually shouted at the screen :D
When you watch the episode with Sara Gamble doing voice-over she says that the network gave out so many hints with that episode that it really spoiled the surprise they were going for... and I always wanted to let her know that when you don't know what's coming it IS epic!

All that is a long-winded way of saying I am beginning to realise why people avoid spoilers so carefully!
KELLY
# KELLY 2012-10-19 21:51
Yeah I trying to do that again this year. I do think it's helping not be expecting one thing going into a episode and getting something else.

I'm a huge X-Files fan too. That, SPN and Firefly are the only other shows I can tell you names and detailed facts about.
eilf
# eilf 2012-10-19 22:21
I have seen all of Firefly, and I wanted to like it I really did, I love the characters and Serenity is a great movie but Firefly is so bleak! I think it might be that I was not in the best mindset when it was on, I should really give it another go.

I am a total wimp when it comes to finales, I have seen every episode of Angel except the last one because I know what happens at the end and if I don't watch then it didn't happen!

This is leftover trauma from watching a British series called Sapphire and Steele when I was a kid. Oh and Robin of Sherwood. Maybe I should watch less TV?
KELLY
# KELLY 2012-10-19 22:37
I guess it could be seen as bleak, but I find it kind of hopeful. Weird I know. Dollhouse now THAT was bleak. That was just too dark for me. The writing on all his shows is just amazing. And Joss has such incredible characters-men and women (that is one thing Joss wins hands down -both his men AND WOMEN are addictive to watch). I loved Buffy and Angel, even towards the end, but I don't feel the need to rewatch them like I do my 3 favorites.
Martha
# Martha 2012-10-19 23:06
Sam's time with Amelia seemed too dreamlike to me, too overexposed. Did this really happen or did Sam imagine it this way? I wonder if him being with Amelia was a totally different experience than what we're seeing?
Bevie
# Bevie 2012-10-18 16:07
Agree with everything you said digyd.

And I always wanted Sam to see Sarah again. Perfect girl for a hunter. Beautiful, smart and Dean-approved!

Loving this season so far. Thought there were plenty of brother moments this episode. Loved dad Ackles!

Love the episodes, but just wishing Sammy would not seem to be rejecting his bro in his wish for a normal life. Think of Dean's feelings and be a bit more empathetic with his abandonment issues. That's all I hope for in the future of this season. But then, i don't know what's up with Sam and am waiting to find out and hoping they are again the unhealthy co-dependent brothers again by the end of the season. As another poster said, that is Supernatural. Normal is not! ;-)
E
# E 2012-10-18 21:22
I find it kind've strange that Sam seems to be the only one getting any flack here in the "I want out of hunting" department. For some reason all of the blame is heaped on Sam; he doesn't understand Dean's abandonment issues, he's being selfish, he wants out etc.. But what about Dean? He isn't listening to Sam at all. He's completely unsympathetic to Sam's wishes and back to demanding that Sam do what Dean wants and thinks is best. Despite him asking Sam "was there a girl?" in the first episode, he hasn't asked Sam one thing about how he spent his year while Dean was in purgatory. Perhaps we know so little about what's going with Sam because Dean hasn't shown any interest. The lions' share of the POV comes from Dean and he hasn't even seemed to notice that Sam isn't himself.

Now I don't to come across and blaming Dean for everything, and I know that there are mitigating circumstances for Dean's behavior, but there are for Sam too, but no one seems to be cutting him a break at all.
lala2
# lala2 2012-10-18 21:48
E, the problem is Sam essentially gave Dean the middle finger when Dean disappeared, didn't bother to search for him, and seems less than thrilled he's back from the dead. Sam seems anxious to ditch Dean or get Dean to ditch him so he can drive around so more and reflect on his life!

I'm being intentionally harsh, but I think Sam wouldn't get as much flack if he had searched for Dean. If he had spent most of the year searching for Dean, but then had a relationship and decided to move on from hunting, searching for Dean . . . I think people wouldn't feel as outraged.

This is why I said Sam was being "thrown under the bus" when I heard the spoilers. Having Sam not look for Dean didn't do Sam any favors. This is a show about two heroes who have gone above and beyond for each other, but this time, one just decides to not do anything. It is OOC and inconsistent.

No matter how they try to "pretty it up" or "explain it away," it doesn't look good that Sam didn't try to look for Dean. It just doesn't. It makes Sam seem selfish and callous. But they didn't just leave it at that, they piled on an indifferent, cold attitude re: Dean so it makes the audience feel "not so happy" with Sam.

IMO, the show has started off - yet again - with Sam as the bad brother when that simply wasn't necessary.
E
# E 2012-10-18 22:20
Your argument has merit and might in the end turn out to be the case, although I really hope not. I am still of the mind that Sam is up to something, has made a deal, is working with 'someone' in a way that maybe Dean wouldn't approve of, and only time will tell if he is deserving of all the crap being heaped on him at the moment. In any event, it's hard to watch.

Something Alice said in her review really stuck with me; "I still don’t understand why he’s with Dean right now. I do get he was trying to plant the idea in Dean’s head that he didn’t need him around, but without understanding truly where that was coming from, the statement has no meaning." I am not sure she meant her statement in this way, but what if that is exactly what Sam is doing? Trying to convince Dean that he can go on and hunt by himself because he isn't going to be around for very much longer? What if Sam has made a deal just like everyone else in his family and is distancing himself from Dean to try and prepare him for his eventual demise? It would certainly explain his disconnect and his aloofness and his somewhat secretive behavior. I am just speculating here. More like fantasizing really; I'd love for it to be something like this.
LEAH D
# LEAH D 2012-10-18 22:32
E, LOVE that idea. Not Sam's demise of course. It would sure take the heat off of Sam's character and explain many of his curious actions.
st50
# st50 2012-10-18 22:47
Quote:
E, LOVE that idea. Not Sam's demise of course. It would sure take the heat off of Sam's character and explain many of his curious actions.
Oh gosh, I'd have to say no to this. They've all done that, and surely they've learned not to go down that road???
I'm hoping for the breakdown rather than the demon deal.... but it's GOT to be something. (On My Knees Begging Carver)
LEAH D
# LEAH D 2012-10-18 23:19
st50-I feel ya. Here's the thing, have they???
st50
# st50 2012-10-18 23:32
Quote:
st50-I feel ya. Here's the thing, have they???
Learned not to? Probably not. :P
LEAH D
# LEAH D 2012-10-18 23:43
One other point before going to bed-IF he made some kind of deal I'm almost positive he would keep it a secret and would rather have Dean think he didn't search for him. Dean would be furious that Sam bartered his life to save him. As Sam was when Dean did.
KELLY
# KELLY 2012-10-19 21:40
My sister had another idea. I mentioned that on the promo photo for S8 Dean was wearing the amulet and she wondered if Sam was looked for God to help using the amulet. It is probably wishful thinking and I don't know why he wouldn't tell Dean if he got help from God.
LEAH D
# LEAH D 2012-10-20 14:15
Hey Kelly, I'm not positive, but I think that promo shot might be an older shot. I think I saw it in my SPN mag numerous time over the last few years. Are you talking about the one on this site? But if I'm wrong, it would be VERY interesting to get God involved. And symbolically it would be nice to see him wearing it again someday.
KELLY
# KELLY 2012-10-20 14:50
That particular promo has to be for this season I think because Crowley is holding the tablet. But the rest could be from a earlier promo and just reused. I didn't really think too much about it either way- figured it was just a promo department continuity error. But then she suggested the God theory so I decided to see what anyone thought, because I thought it was an interesting idea.
E
# E 2012-10-20 22:21
No, no, not the demise part. Dean has to save him of course. :lol:
lala2
# lala2 2012-10-18 22:46
I'd love that too, E!

With the flat affect and general detached and disinterested attitude - I would accept (1) Sam being on medication for the mental breakdown he suffered after Dean disappeared, (2) Lucifer whispering in his ear again b/c the hallucinations returned after Castiel disappeared, (3) or your theory of him making a deal w/someone to rescue Dean. I just want an explanation for his odd attitude.

JP is purposely not behaving like "Sam," IMO. It's very off-putting and weird. No wonder Jim Michaels is getting tweets from fans not liking Sam's whacked behavior. There's nothing likeable about Sam right now, and I say that as someone who loves Sam. And unlike S6, it's not clear there will be a reason for his weird behavior.

I hate to use past seasons agains the new showrunner, but I have no faith that Sam's odd behavior is part of a larger story. I hope it is, but who knows? It may be a case of JC not understanding Sam and just writing Sam in a new, unflattering way. I'm prepared for the worst. I'm taking a lot of the show at face value until I'm given a hint that there is more to the story.
st50
# st50 2012-10-18 22:52
Oh dear. Is J Michaels really getting tweets about Sam? LOL we are a vocal fandom. :P
lala2
# lala2 2012-10-18 23:02
Apparently! I read about it on some Supernatural board! We are very vocal! LOL!
st50
# st50 2012-10-18 23:35
Quote:
Apparently! I read about it on some Supernatural board! We are very vocal! LOL!
I was feeling bad for JP taking the heat. Now I feel back for JM, too! Hopefully JC's getting some of that feedback.
(there's one heck of a lot of J's on this show! :P )
KELLY
# KELLY 2012-10-18 23:25
E, Ha Ha. I guess I should have read your response to lala2 before I posted my response the you. I ended up purposing almost the exact same thing.

This would seem like Sam behavior and would mirror several things he said last season (would love the continuity) when he thought he only had so much time after the wall was torn down. But how does that explain the college application?
Bamboo24
# Bamboo24 2012-10-19 00:08
Quote:
I find it kind've strange that Sam seems to be the only one getting any flack here in the "I want out of hunting" department. For some reason all of the blame is heaped on Sam; he doesn't understand Dean's abandonment issues, he's being selfish, he wants out etc.. But what about Dean? He isn't listening to Sam at all. He's completely unsympathetic to Sam's wishes and back to demanding that Sam do what Dean wants and thinks is best. Despite him asking Sam "was there a girl?" in the first episode, he hasn't asked Sam one thing about how he spent his year while Dean was in purgatory. Perhaps we know so little about what's going with Sam because Dean hasn't shown any interest. The lions' share of the POV comes from Dean and he hasn't even seemed to notice that Sam isn't himself.

Now I don't to come across and blaming Dean for everything, and I know that there are mitigating circumstances for Dean's behavior, but there are for Sam too, but no one seems to be cutting him a break at all.
I agree with this. I don't understand the flack Sam is receiving, from Dean or certain fans. I see what he is doing right now - sticking with Dean for this one last hunt - as very loving and sacrificial, considering his heart isn't into hunting right now. Yet Dean is the one being selfish (and I say this as one who has always identified more with his character than Sam's) because he won't show that same sacrificial love to Sam - he won't stop belittling Sam's desires and refuses to have a discussion about anything. I sense that Sam is being patient with all this though because he knows his brother is a little off the rails after Purgatory. That's why he hasn't gotten angry about it yet - the man's got a long fuse.
etheldred
# etheldred 2012-10-19 07:26
I agree with this, mostly. I think they are both (inevitably) being a little selfish because each of them wants something that will hurt the other. But, for all that "selfish" seems like a capital crime in Supernatural fandom, I think there's something healthy for both of them in this.
kaj
# kaj 2012-10-20 00:26
Quote:
Quote:
I find it kind've strange that Sam seems to be the only one getting any flack here in the "I want out of hunting" department. For some reason all of the blame is heaped on Sam; he doesn't understand Dean's abandonment issues, he's being selfish, he wants out etc.. But what about Dean? He isn't listening to Sam at all. He's completely unsympathetic to Sam's wishes and back to demanding that Sam do what Dean wants and thinks is best. Despite him asking Sam "was there a girl?" in the first episode, he hasn't asked Sam one thing about how he spent his year while Dean was in purgatory. Perhaps we know so little about what's going with Sam because Dean hasn't shown any interest. The lions' share of the POV comes from Dean and he hasn't even seemed to notice that Sam isn't himself.

Now I don't to come across and blaming Dean for everything, and I know that there are mitigating circumstances for Dean's behavior, but there are for Sam too, but no one seems to be cutting him a break at all.
I agree with this. I don't understand the flack Sam is receiving, from Dean or certain fans. I see what he is doing right now - sticking with Dean for this one last hunt - as very loving and sacrificial, considering his heart isn't into hunting right now. Yet Dean is the one being selfish (and I say this as one who has always identified more with his character than Sam's) because he won't show that same sacrificial love to Sam - he won't stop belittling Sam's desires and refuses to have a discussion about anything. I sense that Sam is being patient with all this though because he knows his brother is a little off the rails after Purgatory. That's why he hasn't gotten angry about it yet - the man's got a long fuse.
I think, Bamboo24, the problem is the execution of the script. The dialogue should be written better to show Sam that is more compassionate. Perhaps what Alice said is right. The last two episodes is not that good regarding the brother's relationship. When Sam knew Dean behaves too mean and too harsh in the interrogation room, he doesn't talk to Dean about it. There should be a scene and dialogues to clear that up. But no.

I am not blaming Sam because Sam is a fictional character. I blame the writers for taking this kind of half-hearted direction in writing Sam's dialogue also Dean's dialogue.

They start it all with Sam not looking for Dean. Not even lift a finger to research. Then they continue with writing this callous, detached, unfeeling Sam. It seems there is a flimsy wall inside Sam's head that makes his outward characterizatio n seems refined and too controlled.
Artorius
# Artorius 2012-10-22 07:52
Quote:
""Hmmm. If that's what Alice says, then darn it, they oughtta listen!" :-)".
The words of this site's administrator are not gospel to the show. They have their own concept and ideas, as it has to be. If the writers listened to every complaint given by fans the show would surely be in total chaos. And off the air by now.
digyd
# digyd 2012-10-22 13:14
That was written tongue in cheek, Artorius. I respect Alice's opinions due to how balanced she at least tries to be, even if I don't always agree with it all. However, I am purposely staying out if this talk about people's opinions, what the writers are and are not doing, etc. It's just not that serious to me. ;-) I'm here to enjoy the show! Woo hoo!
Alex
# Alex 2012-10-18 13:13
I said it before the writers need to replace Adam glass and Brad Buckner & Eugenie Ross-Leming. Why they went in with these who knows. They are use to writing cop procedural and have no direction.

They need two strong writers to back up Jeremy, Edlund and Robby. They should beg to bring Cathryn Humphris back.
Sylvie
# Sylvie 2012-10-18 14:51
Bring back Cathryn Humphries! She's out of a job now that Ringer is off the air. Jeremy Carver came back, let's make some overtures to the wonderful women writers that have left.
E
# E 2012-10-18 21:27
Ah, getting CH back would be a gold mine of what is best about this show. Wouldn't that be fantastic?!!

And TOTALLY off topic, I would LOVE to see Peter DeLouise direct an episode (or 20) of Supernatural. He was always my favorite director on Stargate because of his soft touch and character focused episodes; he's very Kim Mannerslike. I think he would be a very good match for Supernatural. He's guest starred but not directed.
fanotheboyz
# fanotheboyz 2012-10-18 13:22
I agree with most of your review, Alice. And thank you. It was very thoughtfully written. I had a few other thoughts. I am concerned, too, that we haven't seen enough of Sam's year to know where his head is at, and I'm sure hoping it isn't just "Yeah, I took a year off to be a real boy". I feel, as you do, that I'd like him to up and explode already, and get it all out. Not just what happened, but where his head is.

Was I the only one who really noticed, though, about how different Dean was last night? Much calmer and in control, and lighter than in the first two eps. I'd like to say it's because now he's adjusting, but I think it had more to do with the eps being shot out of sequence. Even for JA, it's hard to know where your character is in ep 3 when you haven't gotten to 1&2 yet. So, for me, Sam was the same as we've seen him this season, but Dean was off. Don't get me wrong, I like him better this way, but it was noticeable.

As far as Sam, JP seems to be playing him looking somewhat out of focus, wide-eyed, disconnected at times. I'm thinking/hoping the reason for that is more compelling than having "a year off".

As for the ep itself, best effort yet by this writing team. Great dialogue. Nice cameo by JA's dad. Loved that scene! Even good brother moments in the hotel and the impala- until the infamous PHONE CALL. And I agree, that's SUPER annoying. The plot seemed ok to me; I liked the reveal and didn't have any major issues with it.

Lastly, I have to agree with digyd. I have been trying to hold my opinion about Amelia, thinking I'd like her. Yeah, she gets points for doing something nice and normal for Sam, but she's superbly annoying, grating, whatever. And yes, I have wondered for a long time about Sarah. She's been the best match so far for Sam. Maybe she's too much of a "keeper" for this show???

And I'm not looking forward to next week. Shades of Ghostfacers, no character development, and Adam Glass, all add up to a giant loser for me. Yes.....ok, I'll watch. But I don't plan on liking it.
st50
# st50 2012-10-18 13:26
Quote:


Even for JA, it's hard to know where your character is in ep 3 when you haven't gotten to 1&2 yet. So, for me, Sam was the same as we've seen him this season, but Dean was off. Don't get me wrong, I like him better this way, but it was noticeable.

As far as Sam, JP seems to be playing him looking somewhat out of focus, wide-eyed, disconnected at times. I'm thinking/hoping the reason for that is more compelling than having "a year off".
Exactly. Shooting out of sequence doesn't seem to be helping with the characterizatio n issues.
digyd
# digyd 2012-10-18 15:34
Quote:
Was I the only one who really noticed, though, about how different Dean was last night? Much calmer and in control, and lighter than in the first two eps. I'd like to say it's because now he's adjusting, but I think it had more to do with the eps being shot out of sequence.
Thanks for that, Maria. I noticed that too and every now and again I thought to myself, "Where's the PTSD?" And even though I knew this was the first episode shot, I wasn't thinking about that being the reason for the behavior change. Makes sense to me. So now I'll let that slide. ;-)
galen
# galen 2012-10-18 13:42
Thank you Alice for your thoughtful analysis. It's always a joy to read you. I found that watching a second time, I enjoyed the episode more. I don't mind this Sam as I identify with him. When l lost my brother when he was only 28, I went through a numb period and then a time of wanting a different life. I see that in Sam. For me, its believable
Amy
# Amy 2012-10-18 13:49
MAybe...maybe Sam is in a psych ward and Amelia is really his Dr? MAybe she lobotimized Sam?

Course that would mean this is SN's version of Bobby Ewing in the shower. Ick.

I'd rather see Sam with Hippy Chick then Ameilia.
Sharon
# Sharon 2012-10-18 13:57
Quote:
MAybe...maybe Sam is in a psych ward and Amelia is really his Dr? MAybe she lobotimized Sam?

Course that would mean this is SN's version of Bobby Ewing in the shower. Ick.

I'd rather see Sam with Hippy Chick then Ameilia.
I cant get a grasp on Amelia at the moment she was all hiss and claws when we first meet her then all Doris Day last night.
digyd
# digyd 2012-10-18 15:35
ANYONE but Amelia. Frankly, I don't buy the attraction on his part.
kaj
# kaj 2012-10-20 00:52
Quote:
ANYONE but Amelia. Frankly, I don't buy the attraction on his part.
Me too!
kaj
# kaj 2012-10-20 00:56
Quote:
MAybe...maybe Sam is in a psych ward and Amelia is really his Dr? MAybe she lobotimized Sam?

Course that would mean this is SN's version of Bobby Ewing in the shower. Ick.

I'd rather see Sam with Hippy Chick then Ameilia.
Your comment makes me remember Sucker Punch. Everything that happen in Sucker Punch universe is make believes, a fantasy version of the real thing that happens around the girl right? Since Sam was threatened to be Lobotomized last season, I think it's a possibility. Of course I don't want that happen to Sam. But heavily medicated also possible.
LEAH D
# LEAH D 2012-10-18 13:50
I didn't love or hate last nights episode. I thought Jensen did a great job of acting/directin g. How difficult that must be, to juggle all the balls of directing and to have the complete focused concentration it takes to act.

I was hoping for more on Sam's story. I kept watching the clock thinking"come on, lets get to it". I do think(hope) that more time will be spent on examining what's up with Sam. I agree completely that the FB's should have paralleled with the story ala Dean's FB's so far. I am trying to stay optimistic that JC will have a fantastic payoff to both the brothers stories.

Yeah, enough with the procedural format!
LEAH D
# LEAH D 2012-10-18 14:04
One more point, I found myself thinking that the attractive doctor ( in the hospital scene with Dean) would've been a great match for Sam. I instantly liked her!
digyd
# digyd 2012-10-18 15:44
I didn't think Sam. I was more surprised Dean didn't hit on her a little harder. Saw the flash of that smile, but it didn't linger. Part of the change in him, I suppose. But Sam? Well, I'll vote for the doctor if we can get rid of Amelia. Oh wait. Sam already did that. Good.
LEAH D
# LEAH D 2012-10-18 16:05
My original comment ended with "as opposed to Amelia" but it seemed a little mean. The actress was instantly more likable and my complete thought was she would have made a great Amelia. Or that her doctor character would have been a better girlfriend. God forbid anyone should hook-up with Dean at this point. Casually maybe. But still.
E
# E 2012-10-18 21:33
Hi Leah D. I did exactly the same thing. I kept watching the clock and saying "still with the MOW, when are we getting to Sam's backstory?" Then the episode was over. :((
percysowner
# percysowner 2012-10-18 14:02
Thank you Alice. My reactions to this season are close to yours,

Quote:
Don’t get me wrong, the one very short flashback we did get actually brought me to tears (Sam finally gets a birthday celebration)
That was sweet, but was Jess chopped liver? Having Amelia say that it looked as if Sam had NEVER had a birthday cake? Sam claiming he NEVER had normal before? Yes, it turned out that he was introduced to Jess by a demon to manipulate him. Does that completely negate his life with her?

Quote:
Speaking of that, I am truly, utterly sick and tired of brotherly chats just as their gaining momentum being interrupted by a phone call.  It happened AGAIN in “Heartache” when Sam was trying to tell Dean he could get along without him. 
To me it feels like not only are the writers refusing to SHOW what happened to Sam, they are doing whatever machinations the can to keep Sam from telling us what is going on. They leave big, huge, gaping gaps in his "I found something I never had" story and we are all left saying okay what exactly did you find. It doesn't even make sense. Dean holding back because it was bloody, violent and traumatizing is understandable. Sam having found something good and refusing to discuss it, not so much.
KELLY
# KELLY 2012-10-18 14:22
I'll admit I'm concerned after reading your review and others that seem to be taking Sam's storyline at face value. I've already given my argument why I think/hope that's not true in Adreospina's review. But I have to admit I getting concerned, after remembering last season, that perhaps there isn't anything else going on.

Last season, I kept thinking that they were leading somewhere. I held out hope that the storyarcs were going to play with an amazing climax. And since I this had happened pretty much every other season, I gave the writers the benefit of the doubt. But I was definitely disappointed, especially after how the season started.

This season I feel like is a continuation of that feeling. There is potential, I feel like, for some kickass storyarcs for both characters, but after last season I'm not as confident that they're going to be fulfilled. At least with Sam.

Dean's is on track to be freaking awesome (although Sam's looked incredible this time last year and that went no where), but unless something changes soon, Sam's arc is completely disconnected from the show.

I've mentioned this before, so I apologize for repeating myself, but if Sam wants out of hunting, doesn't feel the need for revenge towards anything and most especially doesn't feel enough of a connection with Dean to feel like he needs to stay on the road with him then he has no connection to the storyline at all.

I know some people have said that about Dean before but Dean always at minimum had a connection through Sam. And Sam through Dean. Even last season, when I felt the connection at its lowest ebb, Dean said he couldn't leave his brother.

If Sam doesn't have that, than why IS he bothering? If he feels like Dean can do just fine without him, than why is he there? Even the first season, he had when he had every intention of going back to school, he had a personal reason for continuing the hunt. Now like he said he doesn't have a reason to be there. Not even to be with his brother.

If there is no real secret to Sam's backstory than I will need to see how he came to that decision -IN DETAIL. But more importantly, in order for it not to be dull, they will need to show something more compelling than Sam took a year off and didn't want to come back as Sam's arc. Otherwise I'm siding with all the Sam girls, because that kinda sucks.

Dean with Lisa storyline had him at odds with wanting to be with Sam and wanting to have the life he'd created. It had him trying to figure out if he was more of a danger to them staying or going. They were put in danger by Crowley and he returned to torturing to try to save them. It was also more sympathetic to Dean because he was still trying to get Dean out. So far Sam had none of those conflicts.

That's why I feel like they are messing with us. That something more is up. Because I can't believe that two great writers like Carver and Edlund would overlook that one of the two main characters has lost all connection to the show.

So these first few shows are had for me to assess because it depends on how the season develops, like with the beginning of S6. And I ended up really loving that season.

The other thing that gives me some hope is that they have picked up a lot of threads for S7 and already started to make that season more satisfying. So I'm continue to hold out hope that they're just developing Sam's storyline. And have just been pulling my fangirl strings.
E
# E 2012-10-18 22:31
Hi Kelly, I have seen your posts in numerous threads and I am with you on this! I think that JC has put a lot of thought into how the season was going to play out and has very carefully constructed a good story arc for both characters. So, I agree with you that there is something else going on. Several people have discussed a potential mental breakdown for Sam, which I think would be satisfying and forgivable, but I am still leaning toward 'demon deal' or plan or some other type of thing that Dean wouldn't approve of that Sam has been working on for some time. That would connect his back-story directly to the main myth arc, which would be the best solution IMHO.

I am really looking forward to Sam meeting Benny, and if its true that we are going to meet Amelia in real time, Dean's encounter with the love of Sam's life should be just about as interesting and as volatile.
KELLY
# KELLY 2012-10-18 23:15
That was an interesting thought with the demon deal, I considered this too. This is just totally throwing out there, but it struck me several times that Sam was using language that someone might use if they knew they were dying. So I thought perhaps he knew he was dying and didn't want to spend his remaining time on the road. But that wouldn't make sense with the college applications and things. But if he had a 10 year demon deal that would be enough time to finish some things-like college.

But I would still think he would want to spend his remaining time with Dean. But following the demon deal thought line, he could be trying to transition Dean to a life without him. Like if they aren't as close it won't hurt Dean as much when he dies. And he did seem pretty interested in that tablet about demons.

There are of course lots of problems with that idea, one being that it would be a repeat storyline, sort of, for S3. Two I'm not sure Sam would make a regular deal with demon, considering the brothers history.

But I still think something is up. It feels like they are deliberately making Sam look somewhat unsympathetic, when they easily could have done otherwise. Usually with storytelling that means an equal and opposite reaction for sympathy upon the reveal, at least that is what I'm hoping for.

If not I probably will be disappointed to find out that everything is as simple as it seems on the surface. Although I would be happy to be proved wrong about being disappointed.
percysowner
# percysowner 2012-10-19 00:13
I too thought some of Sam's dialog sounded as if he were dying. It would explain leaving Amelia and the dog (he wanted to die in a place he had shared with Dean). He had already come to terms with Dean being dead and possibly lived in hope that they really were soulmates who would find each other in heaven. It would also explain why he wants the normal life so much now that Dean is alive. Dean won't be in heaven, so what would heaven look like for Sam until Dean arrives? He knows that heaven is reliving your happy moments unless you are sharing with a soulmate. How many happy moments has Sam really had in his life? He was unhappy for most of his childhood, first because he didn't understand why they lived the life they did, then because he did and he felt less safe than ever. He had, I'm sure moments with Dean, but After School Special showed us a Sam who was desperately unhappy and a Dean who couldn't understand why. The happy moments depicted were the Thanksgiving dinner, where an adult Sam was experiencing a childhood memory as an adult and being really skeeved out by the physical attention of the girl who invited him. The second memory was of when he ran away, but kids don't run away because they are happy, they run because they see their lives as unbearable. So although he may have enjoyed his 2 weeks with Bones, the surrounding circumstances were bad. The final memory we saw was leaving for Stanford. Yes he may have felt relief on leaving but it had to be intertwined with his father throwing him out of the family forever. All of these happy memories had to be mixed with pain. We haven't seen his time with Jess, although I'm sure there were some happy memories there. But after she died, how much happiness have we seen Sam have? Not much. IF Sam is dying he may be hoping to create some happy memories to live in while waiting for Dean to join him in heaven. He may also be trying to wean Dean off of him. Let Dean discover he can hunt alone or with another hunter. There are other hunters out there Garth, Tamara from Mag 7, the guy who led Dean to Cas in Born Again Identity, if Krissy's father didn't stop hunting, he is a potential partner.

So if Sam is dying, the question is why. I don't think he would have made a demon deal. I do believe that the Ruby betrayal taught him better. What about the demon blood? We know Cas said it would affect him physically implying it would turn him into a monster, but maybe it just caused something like cancer. There is also the Hell trauma. Again, angels and demons alike stated that the memories of Hell could eventually kill Sam. What if that finally happened?

Of course there is one other possible deal for Sam to have made. There is one supernatural creature of great power who has no desire to end the world or have the natural order change, Death. From what we have seen in Purgatory, Dean was killing monsters, so Death may well reach Purgatory as well as earth. Making a deal with Death would avoid the consequences of angel deals or demon deals. It could be a straightforward exchange. Get a message to Dean about how to get out of Purgatory and Sam will do what? Become a reaper perhaps? Agree to go peaceably when Death wants him? Something else? Or perhaps it's a bet. Dean forgave me for Ruby, he trusts me. I can prove it. I won't tell Dean that I did anything to save him and Kevin. Dean will know that I love him and believe in me. If I act as if I don't care, Dean will know that something is going on and trust that I love him. If he doesn't Death wins and I go with him, if he truly believes in me, then Death lets us live in peace for a while and drops by to play chess or occasionally battleship with me. to pass the time.

I am very aware that I am grasping at straws here, but I don't want Sam to be the bad brother once again. I don't want Cas to be Dean's true brother because he protected him in Purgatory. I don't want Benny to be reformed at the expense of Sam's character. I don't want season four again. So I am coming up with wild theories.
KELLY
# KELLY 2012-10-19 01:19
Well I might be grasping too, but I do think that something is up. The idea that he is pulling away from Dean because he is dying does fit a lot of his behavior. But even if that is the case it would have to be from something that Castiel couldn't cure. Otherwise the story would be over as soon as Cas shows back up. So cancer or some other regular human disease wouldn't work. But some sort of spell or deal to get Dean out might.

But that doesn't explain things like the college application, although I suppose that he could have done that simply to continue the ruse with Dean.

I don't think Sam comes off as completely unsympathetic, but he is definitely coming off as the less devoted of the two right now. Which on SPN is tantamount to coldblooded murder. And I have to admit to being a little worried that Sam's relationship with Dean is being sacrifice to build or repair Dean's other relationships.

But I do think/hope that we're being played. That they are messing with my fangirl emotions in order to rev up the drama and because they think its funny. It wouldn't be the first time. So I'm still giving them some leeway.
eilf
# eilf 2012-10-19 21:05
I can't tell you how much I agree with your last paragraph ! I totally think they are messing with us :D Mind you I think it is a very dangerous thing to do when so many people are so unhappy about season 7 (though, to me, season 7 is way better than no season 7). Did you see that the ratings stayed steady last week? Apparently this Wednesday night slot after Arrow is working.
KELLY
# KELLY 2012-10-19 21:48
I know it makes some people mad when they toy with us, but I kind of enjoy it as long as there is an appropriate payoff.

I didn't notice but that is great!
kaj
# kaj 2012-10-20 00:50
What you said there makes a lot of sense, percysowner.
I think it's possible. Sam is also too worried about Cas when he first met Dean he needed to know if Dean really saw Cas die.

Sam : Did you see him die?

That's so weird. A deal with angels or an Archangels perhaps? A strong archangel can pull a human's soul from wherever he is, right? Perhaps this angel promises Sam to pull Dean's soul from wherever he is and sends his soul to heaven when Sam die. In a condition that Sam do the task that he ask of him. It can also be Death.

I am also wondering about Benny and his so called knowledge of Purgatory gate. From thousands of monster reside there, he is the only one who knows? The only one brave enough to approach Dean?
I am leaning toward Benny got the knowledge of the gate from someone else. Perhaps an angel, perhaps Death, perhaps the Alpha Vamp.
lala2
# lala2 2012-10-18 22:58
I can't speak for anyone else, but I am taking Sam's story at face value b/c after the travesty that was last season, I'm not going to let myself get excited by the possibility of a really compelling or interesting story to only have it fizzle out or never come to fruition.

All I know is Sam is acting very weird and detached and hates hunting. What I've been getting from Sam is, "I would rather be getting a root canal than in this car, driving to this hunt. I hate my life right now."

So, is that b/c Sam hates hunting right now and wants to be w/Amelia OR is something else going on w/him? So far, the former is winning out. If they switch up the story, cool, but for now, it just seems like Sam hates hunting and doesn't want to be w/Dean right now.

They've had ample opportunity, IMO, to throw out some hints that there is more to Sam's story and behavior than Amelia, but we haven't gotten anything. I think that's why a lot of people are taking Sam at his word. The show is not setting up a mystery at all in the dialogue. The only mystery is in Sam's behavior, and that could all be the result of Sam missing his GF. Who knows?
Michael Pendragon
# Michael Pendragon 2012-10-18 14:26
Hi Alice

A couple of lines from your review capture what I think has been a problem with Supernatural for the past few seasons: "Show, don’t tell. It’s one of the most basic concepts of storytelling."

Not so much about Sam and Dean ... but about the monsters.

The greatest Supernatural episodes are the ones in which the monsters don't explain their motivations to the boys.
In the pilot episode, Constance Welch only speaks a few enigmatic lines ("Take me home" "I can never go home") about her predicament. It was left to Sam and Dean to put everything together. In episode 2, the Wendigo doesn't say a word. In episode 3, Peter Sweeney is only heard (and that just barely) whispering "Come play with me" over and over again. Hook Man, Scarecrow, The Reaper (in Faith) and the murderous daughter in Provenance never say a word ...

And remember the Shtriga in Something Wicked...? That show would've had me in therapy for years if I'd seen it when I was a kid. He played a caring doctor by day -- never giving away the slightest clue about his monstrous nightly double life. (And, of course, his Shtriga self never says a word.)

In those stories it felt as if the monsters were practically forces of nature: inexplicable, mysterious, some of them trapped into their roles (Bloody Mary, the pair of ghosts in Roadkill). While Sam and Dean could eventually get some insight into what motivated them, they remained largely unknowable, literally supernatural entities.

The monologuing monsters first showed up at the beginning of season 3. Pride in The Seven Deadly Sins (one of the series' weakest episodes), the kitschy gods in A Very Supernatural Christmas, Crocotta in Long-Distance Call waxing philosophical about how modern humans are so connected yet so alone...

Once in a while, it's okay (as with Pride, it fits his character), but in recent years, it's become an all too standard procedure on the show. The goddess of Truth lustfully salivating over how delicious lies taste, or the wraith in Sam Interrupted salivating over how delicious crazy tastes, or the flesh eating ghouls in Jump the Shark telling Sam their life story while licking his blood off their fingers ... Too me, that's where the writing really gets lazy.

A second problem is that the season's myth-arc has been too clearly defined at the season outset from season 3 on. In seasons one and two, it grew, slowly out of several interrelated mysteries: where's Dad? what killed Mom and Jess? and what happened to Sam in the nursery and why? It was the gradual unveiling of these mysteries that made the first two seasons so addictive. I didn't want to miss an episode because I might learn another piece of the great puzzle.

Season 6 was an exception in that it made a noble effort at returning the myth-arc to its original mysterious form, but just had too many convoluted and prematurely aborted storylines.

Season 8 has already let the myth-arc out of the bag (How to Close the Gates of Hell ... Forever). The "mystery" is now merely one of how with Sam & Dean a) find Kevin, b) get the tablet back from Crowley, and c) explore the tangential stories about Benny, Amelia, and Cas. How much better would it have been if they'd focused on the tangential stories in the early episodes while dropping a few mysterious clues about Kevin (via his 6 month old phone messages to Sam) and Crowley!

And pagan gods, angels, and demons bidding on supernatural objects at auctions??? That kind of campiness is a far cry from the truly frightening, unknowable monsters of the early days.
LEAH D
# LEAH D 2012-10-18 15:20
Michael Pendragon- Fantastic comment. I wouldn't have been able to say it as well but I do miss the earlier creatures. Unknowable, mysterious, yet somehow creepier. The chatty monsters seem a little too human for me sometimes. Even though I miss the early powerful, firece, and mysterious Cas- the angels and demons monologuing doesn't bother me.
Bamboo24
# Bamboo24 2012-10-19 00:15
I agree - Michael Pendragon, thank you for your original, thought-provoki ng, constructive, criticism and insight!
luciano
# luciano 2012-10-18 14:55
I usually love your reviews but i must say this wasn't at all good I stopped half way!!!
D episode was BRILLIANT. Sam's storyline, I accepted more flashbacks but that doesn't mean it wasn't good. His character development. We understood his aspect and we had some great scenes between these brilliant actors. We saw both aspects and 1 flashback.
The SCRIPT was great, it wasn't very predictable and kept me guessing. In this episode to understand the script completely you must watch the episode more then once as it has a lot of double meanings. The only thing i agreed with you in this review was that Jensen directed the episode brilliantly.
lala2
# lala2 2012-10-18 15:17
I'm sorry but just b/c Alice's review wasn't entirely positive doesn't mean it was "bad." She has every right to not be happy w/the show or the season thus far.
Bamboo24
# Bamboo24 2012-10-19 00:58
I agree with lala2 that just because Alice wrote a less-than-posit ive review doesn't mean her review was "bad." However, I respectfully quibble over this comment, because Luciano didn't actually use the word "bad." I just think if one is going to so closely scrutinize another's comment or post a criticism of another's comment, one should quote the author of the comment directly and accurately, lest things be misconstrued and words put in another's mouth. Otherwise, some may be disinclined to share their opinions. The comment "this wasn't at all good", while poorly worded, could have meant several things which luciano has every right to express, albeit constructively. I found the tone and seeming intent of luciano's comment to be constructive in the sense that the criticism was tempered by saying he/she usually loves Alice's reviews and agreed with her on at least one issue. Therefore, I don't think the intent was to bash the author or the article - and luciano also has every right to express dissatisfaction with a review of the show or the season thus far. Just my thoughts.
lala2
# lala2 2012-10-19 07:56
Bamboo, my main point is everyone is entitled to his/her opinion about the show be it negative or positive. I only discovered this board last year, and in my time here, I feel like this is largely a "positive" board. Negative comments are few and far between.

My interpretation of Luciano's comment was that Alice's review wasn't good simply because it was negative or less than positive. The poster admits to not reading the entire review.

Now, Luciano has every right to love the episode or disagree with Alice's review. I'm just concerned that posters with "negative" viewpoints are being shut down for their thoughts.

And I would disagree that Luciano or anyone else has the right to express dissatisfaction with a review. Alice is Alice. Luciano is Luciano. They are going to have different thoughts. I read several positive articles last year that didn't capture my thoughts on the episodes but I never posted that those authors' articles weren't "good." Those articles were fine. I just had a different opinion about the episode. That didn't make the articles "not good." The disagreement is over the substance of the episode not one's interpretation of the episode.
Melanie
# Melanie 2012-10-20 18:31
Lala -- Alice is not only the author of the article, but a moderator of the site and a big girl. I'm sure she appreciates the support, but it would be up to her to determine if Luciano's comment was out of line. If I had to guess, I don't think Alice will have an issue with it.
I also think that perhaps English may not be Luciano's first language and all he meant was that it didn't feel good to read a review that was so different from his own response to the episode. That was how I read the comment. I could be wrong.
The comments are overwhelmingly 'positive' with regard to agreeing with Alice's article - which is in itself somewhat negative. Luciano's the 'negative' voice, who has a more positive view of the show.
So when you say you're "concerned that posters with 'negative' viewpoints are being shut down for their thoughts" I'm really confused as to where you think that is happening.
lala2
# lala2 2012-10-20 18:51
Well, I wasn't defending Alice necessarily but rather anyone's right to have any opinon he/she chooses about the show.

Additionally, every thought that isn't glowing or happy is deemed "negative." That has its own connotation, IMO. I'm not happy w/the show currently, and most of my comments are deemed "negative." I've also gotten the "why are you watching" comment.

Again, my point to Bamboo was that I don't think anyone has the right to say anyone's article isn't good because it wasn't glowing or positive about the show. One can disagree on an author's interpretation of the show, but I think it's wrong to call someone else's opinion of the show "wrong," "bad," or "negative."

That's all I was saying. That is my opinion. Let's just agree to disagree. I am not trying to argue w/anyone about this show. We all have our own thoughts and opinions on the show as well as the comments we read. Luciano has never returned to offer an opinion on his comment so, IMO, it is up for interpretation.
Melanie
# Melanie 2012-10-20 20:28
I guess it seemed to me that you jumped on Luciano for not agreeing with Alice's review -- which confused me, since you also were defending people having different views.

A lot of the time people make qualitative statements about the show based on whether or not they like it.
"I hate it! It sucks!" or "I love it! Its brilliant!"
Usually the quality per se isn't really at issue, but its difficult to separate it, so words like 'good' and so on get used.

I guess we can agree to disagree, but I'm not sure we actually disagree all that much. I'm not especially excited so far by S8 - so far I hate the Amelia story line.
lala2
# lala2 2012-10-20 22:09
My main problem w/Luciano's post was this: " I usually love your reviews but i must say this wasn't at all good I stopped half way!!!"

To me, he was saying your review is not good b/c you didn't like the episode. She can, IMO, not like the episode and present her reasons in a thoughtful, articulate way. Just b/c she didn't like the episode doesn't mean her review/article wasn't "good" in the sense of how it was written, etc. That's how I took Luciano's comment, and after seeing other similar comments, I decided to respond.

Anyway, Luciano is certainly free to disagree w/Alice's or anyone else's interpretation of an episode. What I have a problem with is someone saying someone else's opinion is wrong or bad or negative. I think the use of those words will deter people with minority opinions from posting. We should all be able to express our thoughts on the episodes w/o feeling censored.

S8, so far, has been a disappointment to me. I honestly don't know if it will turn around.
Melanie
# Melanie 2012-10-20 22:50
Quote:
To me, he was saying your review is not good b/c you didn't like the episode. She can, IMO, not like the episode and present her reasons in a thoughtful, articulate way. Just b/c she didn't like the episode doesn't mean her review/article wasn't "good" in the sense of how it was written, etc. That's how I took Luciano's comment.
He may very well have meant it that way. Its too bad and not fair, but I think even about that he's allowed his opinion. I don't think the review gets a pass any more than the show does. Its the same thing that many do with the show- its difficult to separate the response "I don't like it" from the qualitative assessment "Its not good."

I whole heartedly agree that no one should feel censored or constrained about expressing their opinion. It would be nice if no one ever told me I was 'wrong' because I didn't agree with them, but this is the internet, after all. LOL!!

Its early in the season yet, I think it can still be good. I'm ignoring the 'Sam didn't look for Dean' until either a) Some development makes it somehow make sense or b) . . . no, there's no other choice, I'm just going to ignore it as long as I watch the show.
st50
# st50 2012-10-20 23:04
Quote:

I'm ignoring the 'Sam didn't look for Dean' until either a) Some development makes it somehow make sense or b) . . . no, there's no other choice, I'm just going to ignore it as long as I watch the show.
...Or until it slams us in the face in some episode, and it can no longer be denied. (Which I truly hope won't happen)
Sylvie
# Sylvie 2012-10-18 14:58
Thank you Alice for putting into words what a lot of us are feeling. I love, love, love (ad infinitum) Supernatural as we all do, but some of these writers are bugging the hell out of me. It's like they've totally forgotten how the brothers should be with each other. Come on, we're in season eight already, get with the program!

That being said, I do have hope, and as you've said we have 19 episodes left. I just hope that these two writers are done for the season, although I have my doubts.
Jules
# Jules 2012-10-18 15:04
Thank you Alice! I'm new to this website but I loved your review and you echoed EXACTLY what I've been thinking. I hated last season- the Leviathon story line was ridiculous and poorly paced and the opportunity to deal with the wall in Sam's head coming down was wasted. This season it's "Oh, Dean went to purgatory and now's he's back. Time for MOTW!". Is Dean now the disconnected full-out killer that the goddess from a few seasons ago (totally forgot who it was) told him he was? Did Purgatory finally send him over the edge? And what about Cas? I get so frustrated with this show when they don't seem to have any consistency with the pacing of the storylines. I know the brothers aren't the same as they were 2 or 3 seasons ago, but have the writers just run out of ideas? Now that Bobby is gone (THAT episode was amazing..) and there is no buffer left, are they just left with half-finished conversations? I have loved this show from the first episode but I'm now at the painful point of possbily not watching anymore. Really hope the writers get it together.
janiebee64
# janiebee64 2012-10-18 15:15
I will wait and see what Jeremy Carver has in store for the season because I believe there's more to this Sam's story than we know. Sam's character has always been more introverted, so whatever happened in his year..I believe..will be played out more slowly. I disliked to detachment between the boys, but still believe that we'll be explained in flashbacks as the season goes on. I trust Jeremy Carver and he did say that "nothing is as it seems", so I'm keeping that in mind as a I watch each episode.
Bevie
# Bevie 2012-10-18 16:17
Ditto for everything in your post, janiebee64.

"Nothing is as it seems".

Trust in Carver! 8)
Rosetta
# Rosetta 2012-10-18 15:41
I think the preview mislead us a little bit. We were all expecting Sam's back story and that was not the purpose of the episode at all! Opposed to what Alice said I do believe the whole purpose of this episode was to lead us to the emotional setting we are working with on the season. I really respect your opinion, Alice, but I believe we have very different perspectives about Heartache.
I agree with you that they put Dean's issues aside for a little bit. But he wasn't all happy and previous-season s-Dean either. I think they just decided not to focus on Dean's problems so much as of right now. Even though I think his conversations with Sam were very revealing of where his mind is at in the moment.
Let's talk about the season biggest complaint: Sam's characterizatio n. I'm still pissed off over the fact that Sam just didn't look for Dean. BUT I think this matter will be settled when we get his flashbacks (what disappointed me about the episode, I was hoping we would get more of that!). Let's talk about the way he's treating Dean here: some might say it's too OOC, but it's really not all that much. He has done it before and now I think he's better than in season 1. He's considering Dean's feelings a little more, you know? But there is clearly a parallel between S1 and S8, concerning both the boys' approaches to hunting.
I think that's just it: Sam was so heartbroken for losing Dean, for losing everyone really, that he decided to have something new. Something he always desired but could never have, he needed that because there was no one to hold on to, and the world was falling apart around him, but he couldn't be bothered by the hunting world. Why would he hunt if Dean was not there? What's the point of carrying on hunting for people you don't know when you lost the only one you really cared about? I get where he's coming from. HE DIDN'T KNOW WHAT HAPPENED TO DEAN! Imagine: he couldn't even bury a body, Dean just disappeared out of thin air! What could he do? He was completely lost! And then Amelia came along and he probably didn't even think too hard about it, he held on to her and kept going through the motions.
Then Dean came along. After he accepted that he was truly alone, his brother was there, and he practically forced the hunter life-style on Sam. And he went with Dean anyway. He could never abandon Dean, no matter what, even if his heart was not on it. This was the first time Sam really accepted Dean was gone (when he was in hell Sam kept trying to have him back) and moved on. And suddenly he's back and everything is changed. Sam just wants some stability, some normal. Even when he was with Jess he was manipulated by demons but now he's calling the shots, it's all him, standing tall, you know?
But Dean can't see any of that, not after all he's been through. He just wants to keep going or else it will kill him, it's like hell all over again, he's just terribly lost in the sensation of being a killer, he even lost his little brother radar. They both lost it, they are not as in synch as they used to be. They need to find a new balance. One can't see how bad they are hurting the other by imposing their needs over each other. It hurts so bad to watch! They are breaking my heart in tiny pieces!
We can't really imagine how it's like for any of them. It's hard to relate to something so terrible, but this is my theory as to what happened... I do believe the characterizatio n is pretty good so far! Of course, I'd like to see more of Sam's back story, but it's only episode 3, there's plenty of time for them to show all that.
I liked the episode a lot! I've missed filler episodes that make me feel something, that has some character development and isn't just thrown there, like almost all fillers in seasons 6 and 7. Feels good to have my favorite show back! I firmly believe they are finding their pace all over again and they'll be back to their feet in no time! Wait and see: Supernatural will have the so called Season Gr8 LOL
Am I crazy? Most definitely, but I'll stick with my own theory and hope other people can see things like I do and give the writers a chance to show how good they are.
Kisses
Rosetta
winmomwannabe
# winmomwannabe 2012-10-18 16:45
Okay, just watched for the 3rd time and was taking notes on specific things to follow up on my previous comment about Sam and possible his breakdown being extreme. Here is what I found that 'could' be a parallel for Sam. Mind you, I said 'could'. Purely a theory and when the season gets further along I may go back and review and/or eat my words. But part of the fun of looking at old seasons 1-5 is seeing all the hints along the way before it came to a climax. Here goes.

Betsy/Eleanor said:
1-"Brick changed inside. He was not just a warrior whose only reason for living was combat." I think I got this mostly right. Could be talking about either one at this point. Sam's change already or of things to come for Dean.

2-"I am so tired-you can't imagine the burden of it all... I think even Brick was through... He could see the end of my days at hand." Sam thinking here after Dean disappears?? (I realize this was Dean in parts of Season 5)

3-"Couldn't bear the thought of life without me" Did Sam think this? Life w/o Dean? Sad thoughts.

4-"...the heart was the key focus of the sacrifice..." Soooo many sacrifices they have both made. What is truly in either of their hearts and how they have sacrificed a part of themselves for each other for so long.

5-"...be at peace..." Oddly, Sam seems to be at peace on some level.

And lastly. Sam says this, with kind of an odd look.
"Do you think Brick thought he'd burned to nothing when he crashed the car?" Did Sam think it was finally over?

So I am probably reading too much into all of these comments, but just wondering if these are some hints about Sam.

Can't wait for ep 5 when Benny is 'revealed'. But I've learned that you can't skip an episode because sometimes juicy tidbits come out along the way in an episode you weren't expecting.
digyd
# digyd 2012-10-18 16:55
Quote:
And lastly. Sam says this, with kind of an odd look. "Do you think Brick thought he'd burned to nothing when he crashed the car?" Did Sam think it was finally over?
Yeah, this was the comment that made me pause first time I heard it. Made me think of the Js and their desire to end all this in a blaze of glory. But I know they want to go 10 seasons so I don't know. But I can see why someone would think Sam might have been suicidal. Dean certainly has been so why not Sam?

I already intend to watch these eps at least twice on Wednesdays and then as many times as I can stand after that because this feels like there are parallels all over the place to past seasons, which I don't think are accidental. So far these episodes all feel like they almost require you to read between the lines until they are ready to make it plain. But I know people want more show, less tell. Understandable. I guess I've always liked guessing games so I can tolerate it for now.
winmomwannabe
# winmomwannabe 2012-10-18 17:09
Funny you mentioned the going out in a blaze. My girlfriend and I actually talked about that last night. A possible show ending season as well, but I HATE to think of that happening.

When I said did Sam think it was finally over I was thinking of when Dean disappeared and he was alone. His state of mind the past year. Just to clarify.

So much mystery. I like guessing too. I drive my adult sons crazy when I watch anything with them as I am ALWAYS overanalyzing and trying to figure out angles. Done this for years, even B4 watching SPN. So I can tolerate it too.
digyd
# digyd 2012-10-18 17:22
:-) Yeah, I was hating that thought too but they sure are doing a good job of setting it up as a possibility that they will end things this season - or at least they CAN if the network decides not to renew.

But I'll keep on enjoying the overanalyzing. Half the fun is guessing as fast as I can so I can prove myself right! lol!
winmomwannabe
# winmomwannabe 2012-10-18 17:56
Totally! My boys hated it when I turned out to be right, after having had pulled something out of left field that looked unrelated. Sometimes moms DO know more. HA!
vivian
# vivian 2012-10-18 17:03
I have one question about the episode: What name Sam put in his new application for college? Not Sam Winchester! He is a fugitive, a dead (two, three times dead?) fugitive!!
st50
# st50 2012-10-18 17:06
Quote:
I have one question about the episode: What name Sam put in his new application for college? Not Sam Winchester! He is a fugitive, a dead (two, three times dead?) fugitive!!
Good question! (Doubt he used his real name)
I wonder if the writers forget we pay attention to these details or if they worry about them at all?
digyd
# digyd 2012-10-18 17:08
Ummm, Sam Sambora? Campbell! Sam Campbell. :-)
st50
# st50 2012-10-18 20:47
Quote:
Ummm, Sam Sambora? Campbell! Sam Campbell. :-)
LOL! I like Sammy Sambora!
Juniperfish
# Juniperfish 2012-10-18 17:21
Thanks for a good review.

I agree that the script and emotional tone were problematic. This reminded me of Buffy's "Mummy Girl" episode, except that, despite the cheesy monster, the Buffy script had relationship nuance.

I missed Cas and Benny and Bobby in the episode.

Jared does feel as if he is just going through the motions, but I've seen him raise his game before (as when he was Lucifer inhabiting Sam in the white suit).

Sam has had Lucifer inside him, has saved the world by jumping into the pit, has overcome a demon blood addiction. He's had his mind broken and re-made. I don't buy that his character would be where the writers are putting him; petulant and hankering after picnics.
kazkriz
# kazkriz 2012-10-18 18:01
ywah.. maybe Heartache wasn't what I expected but it doesn't mean the show is not doing good.. I mean till now we've had a lot questions to be ansered and I feel there's a lot of negativism when writing a review.... what I mean is we know (a bit) what each brother has done the past year... and maybe the writers are building something to be rightly explained in the future... I think wanting to have all the brotherly bond we hadn't have the last year in the first three episodes is a little odd. I think the show IS developing character studies like we've had in heartache... Dean is obviously in denial and Sam wants to go back with Amelia... now let's let the things go on and develop the right way.. with patience.. and just like Dean said, they are looking for Kevin and all but that doesn't mean they will let people die on the way. I'm okay with the kinds of reviews you write but sometimes I feel like you put way too much negativism ... I'm not saying you shouldn't do that, it's your opinion of course.it's just that saying things such as " What is it about Sam’s characterizatio n that the writers are struggling with? Since when did Sam’s story stop being a priority over…everythi ng else? Am I supposed to care about his character anymore?" Both sam and Dean's stories ARE BEING DEVELOPED but you can't have it all the first three episodes... I can remember when I was like WTH happend to Dean in hell... and what happened with Sam... I had all sorts of questions back then... questions that were fully responded by the end of the season. I think you need to start enjoying the show again... like the fan we all were when discovering the show the first time. I'm very very happy with this season so far... I just think fans should enjoy Supernatural again because this season is doing great till now and I know it will get better and better. We have Jeremy running the show now so I'm very excited to see what's next.
Nancy
# Nancy 2012-10-18 18:29
Quote:
What is it about Sam’s characterization that the writers are struggling with? Since when did Sam’s story stop being a priority over…everything else? Am I supposed to care about his character anymore?
If you truly feel that Sam's story should be a priority over everything else, then I can see why you are disappointed.
For me, the joy I find in this show is the interaction between the two lead characters, the brothers. I love the sense of mystery this season and how Sam & Dean are coming together from two different mindsets. Above all else they are brothers. It's only the third episode of the season. I have no doubt that Sam's story will be played out slowly, thereby making the payoff even better or possibly more shocking. Dean's story is starting to unfold and Castiel's is yet to come. All the makings of a rich and varied story. Patience Grasshopper. :-)
st50
# st50 2012-10-18 18:45
Quote:
Quote:
What is it about Sam’s characterization that the writers are struggling with? Since when did Sam’s story stop being a priority over…everything else? Am I supposed to care about his character anymore?
If you truly feel that Sam's story should be a priority over everything else, then I can see why you are disappointed.
For me, the joy I find in this show is the interaction between the two lead characters, the brothers.
That's not how I read Alice's comment at all, Nancy... I read it as above all the other - MOTW type stuff, secondary character stuff.... And that I agree with.
I agree that the show is all about the interaction between the 2 leads. I'm just not getting a good feeling about it this season. And yes, it's early, but we've had to wait before, without payoff. And when this episode was advertised as showing Sam's past year.... well, it just didn't. NOW how long do we wait for the payoff, and try to believe that THIS YEAR it will come.
kazkriz
# kazkriz 2012-10-18 18:51
totally agree
Bamboo24
# Bamboo24 2012-10-19 01:02
Quote:
For me, the joy I find in this show is the interaction between the two lead characters, the brothers. I love the sense of mystery this season and how Sam & Dean are coming together from two different mindsets. Above all else they are brothers. It's only the third episode of the season. I have no doubt that Sam's story will be played out slowly, thereby making the payoff even better or possibly more shocking. Dean's story is starting to unfold and Castiel's is yet to come. All the makings of a rich and varied story. Patience Grasshopper.
My thoughts exactly.
Bamboo24
# Bamboo24 2012-10-19 01:04
Quote:
If you truly feel that Sam's story should be a priority over everything else, then I can see why you are disappointed.
I don't think that's what Alice meant. She is generally pretty balanced and reasonable in her reviews. I agree with st50 that she meant that Sam's story should come before any secondary character, MOTW, or mytharc. In S7 it certainly didn't, and many are itching with hope and fear for Sam's story in S8.
Nick
# Nick 2012-10-18 21:17
I love that JA has opportunities to direct and that he absolutely shines at it, but I think it's time for the show to cut back on these out-of-sequence shootings as I feel it's affecting the consistency of the characterizatio n. The same problem, I feel, occurred last year. :(

I don't know, I hope it's more a problem with the writing than the acting, but, with no disrespect, JP seemed bored throughout the episode. Nah, it has to be the writing; the boy still beams with enthusiasm every time he talks about the show in interviews, right??! :) Sadly, this writing duo is weak and I, too, hope they start moving away from the cop procedural.

Meanwhile, despite how we might not have deeper characterizatio n next week, I'm excited for the episode. I love it when SPN tries to do things differently. Let's hope it pans out!!! :lol:
lala2
# lala2 2012-10-18 22:28
JP knows this character and has brought his A game, IMO, since the premiere. Why would he suddently start acting "bad" now? In the 8th season of the show?

I wouldn't say JP seemed bored in the episode, but he was playing Sam as very detached, IMO. I saw a Sam that clearly didn't want to be there. He wanted to be anywhere else than traveling w/Dean on that hunt. This was my issue w/the show and the direction of the story. The brothers did not seem connected at all, and that's largely b/c of Sam's detached, removed attitude. I primarily watch for the relationship btw the brothers, so I'm not pleased w/the show right now. The show is not fun to watch if Sam is miserable hunting.

I found this episode, in general, to be incredibly boring. The MOTW wasn't all that interesting to me, and if that monster was supposed to parallel Sam and his relationship w/Amelia or his current feelings or whatever, it was way too subtle for me. I didn't catch the parallels at all.

They are not giving JP much to do right now. Is this just a new Sam or did Sam go through something more significant than a romantic relationship last year? We don't know. We may never know. JP is doing the best he can, IMO, w/this weak material.
Melanie
# Melanie 2012-10-20 18:39
I agree with you, Nick. I think it happened last year and in S6 with Weekend at Bobby's. The characterizatio n - mainly the interaction between Sam & Dean - has seemed to me not to flow between the episodes. There wasa nother episode in S6, I forget which one that was out of sequence and I thought the same thing about that one.
I don't agree about the acting . I think the way the narrative unfolds each episode informs the characterizatio n for the next one, so with it out of sequence, its a little 'off'.
Ginger
# Ginger 2012-10-18 22:00
I can't read all the comments, as I can pretty well guess the gist of them, so I'll just say my own thing.

I want to say though, Alice, that when the episode finished, I was as bummed out as Sam was. Put another way, Sam was bumming me out.

While I was watching it, all I could think of was WTF! Where was Dean's serious case of PTSD that we saw in the first two episodes? Sam is complaining about wanting the 'normal life....again?' Dean just returned from the dead living a year of a really awful experience, and his brother tells him to go hunt on his own, that Sam doesn't want to be doing this?

Not to mention, I kept waiting for what was advertised to be flashbacks to Sam's year, expecting some explanation for his detachment from...well, everything...es pecially his brother.

Now, I admit that this writing duo is my least favorite on the show; even less favorite than Adam Glass. I felt like I was watching almost a rewatch of Route 666, especially with the wife/mother in the story. But after thinking about it, I've come to the conclusion that what we saw was an episode from Sam's POV and he is suffering from his own version of PTSD. He's detached, unresponsive to things he has always liked (Dean, for instance), lacking all energy for most anything (except produce, I guess) and has no interest in his work (hunting). Amelia and his life with her, I think, is his idealized version of the relationship.

That's all well and good, of course, if PTSD is Sam's story and the brothers have to work through each of their own until they come back together. If it isn't, then I don't have a clue what is going on.

I am not giving up on the show. I'm going to wait out the 19 more episodes to see where Carver is going with this. But I can tell you right now that I have no interest in next week's episode about a bunch of teenagers we'll never see again, and I don't give a rat's ass about the upcoming Garth episode where he has assumed Bobby's role (this isn't a spoiler, as the episode description has been released). Nice move, Show, setting it up so Garth can continue to be a recurring character *insert sarcasm here*.

I can assure you that if Garth has assumed Bobby's role, then Sam and Dean are at the top of the ladder in the hunting community, because they are the only hunters left who are not DEAD.

Why can't we get people like Alan Ackles to work on the show and give up stupid characters like Garth and Charlie? I thought Ackles Sr. was a delight, but his role was much too small for my liking.

Anyway, if I look at this episode as coming from Sam's POV in a current state of PTSD, I still find hope that there are mysteries to uncover, that the Winchesters are the center of the SPNverse, that the brothers are working their way back to each other, and the season will be a good one.

Does that make you feel any better, Alice?
digyd
# digyd 2012-10-18 23:34
Dang. Yeah, that was a spoiler for me Ginger. I don't want to look beyond whatever teasers come at the end of a show. I get Google alerts and peek at the headers with one eye closed. :-p I'm a planner by nature, but with this show I am trying (somewhat unsuccessfully) to live in the moment. Spoilers always catching me off guard! Sigh.
E
# E 2012-10-18 22:55
Hi Alice,
Very nice review; I have been commenting all over your thread. I just wanted to refer back to a few things you brought up. I totally agree with you about the lack of self-reflection in this episode. They had a perfect opportunity to mirror what they did for Dean in episode 2 by having the search for the MOW reveal some of Sam's POV. Metamorphosis is one of my favorite episodes and such a good example of what they COULD have done with this ep. Heart is another good example of how the MOW story paralleled what was going on with one of the characters. How nicely episodes 2 and 3 could have bookended one another if they had gone that way, fleshing out the storyline for each character in back to back eps. More's the pity. I guess it suffered from being the first episode filmed in more ways than one.

And yes, I absolutely saw the difference in Dean right away. While watching the ep I kept saying to myself, "Well, Dean's certainly calmed down!." Maybe JA didn't know how extreme they were planning to take Dean in the other two episodes, so he doesn't have the same edge at all, and it felt pretty inconsistent to me. This isn't the first time they have filmed an episode out of order, but this is the first time I have really seen the affect of it. It probably wouldn't have been as noticeable if the writing had been better.

You then said the following regarding Sam: "I still don’t understand why he’s with Dean right now. I do get he was trying to plant the idea in Dean’s head that he didn’t need him around, but without understanding truly where that was coming from, the statement has no meaning." This got me to thinking; what if that is exactly what Sam is doing? Maybe Sam has made a deal or has a plan in the works that he knows will result in his death and is trying to prepare Dean without revealing anything? Just a thought that plowed into my head while reading your review. I am one of those who is still holding out hope that something more (and something awesome) is cooking underneath everything and that subtle clues are hidden here and there in the various episodes. Although perhaps a little LESS subtle would be nice from time to time especially when it comes to Sam; he's downright enigmatic!
JoRuth
# JoRuth 2012-10-18 23:01
Thank you so much for your review Alice! It gave me much to think about. Not the least about my own reaction. I truly and openly enjoyed the episode even as I watched it. Sometimes I have to watch a second time to experience the story past my assumptions and expectations from previews and descriptions. Your review did not change my enjoyment of course but I like to hear how others feel. It helps me reflect on my own reaction.

Jensen did an amazing job. Definitely a Kim Manners graduate student.

And the episode story itself made me want to know more about what is happening with the boys...and mostly with Sam., which is unusual for me as so few of his storylines have left me wondering about him in any kind of depth. Cause honestly I did not feel we would get anything so I let it go in order not to get lost in the frustration. It's has just not been an aspect of the show. There have been hints as in "After School Special" and "Dark Side of the Moon" but a reluctant brooding hero is difficult to unpack and much is left to the viewer to imagine or speculate on. Everything else from the relationship between brothers (the top attraction) to fun monsters to Dean to great stories have been enough for me in their completeness. But this year I am wondering about the whole Sam story and what he had and what happened. I have always felt much of the show s stories are about Sam (all seasons) without letting us know very much about Sam's own mind or motivation. While Dean is wonderfully unpacked and opened up by his reactions to everything including Sam and his relationship with Sam. But, as I noted, I have grown used to this in a show I love and have built Sam's mind and heart by piecing things together and letting the story unfold the hints to his idea of normal and what he wants...and I have no doubts, this much is clear, that he wants Dean in his life. He just feels he wants to not be so obsessed by everyone else's life. Sadly Dean's remark that Sam only feels like that right now is too true. and its true to the sadness of the characterizatio n of Sam. He is caught. Will he get out of this way of life? How will he do that and keep his very treasured and bound relationship to Dean. He can't let that go, but how does this reluctant hero live his own life and not lose his brother. I do a lot of grief therapy. Sam's life and care of himself and for teh year he thought Dean was gone forever (well, what we know of it so far) was absolutely healthy and right. But how will he be with Dean in his life, how will he keep this important relationship and not hunt or can he hunt and have it have a different weight in his life and still have a healty relationship with Dean. I think it quite possible we mimght come to some of that this season. Over time. and for the first time I am actually wondering about Sam as well as Dean cause it looks like it might be possible.

Final thought. I don't like or watch procedurals. However I love mysteries. And this episode was a great mystery. I loved watching them work it out. And I loved the dialogue and how little brotherly things like Dean and his app and Sam's amused reaction were dropped sweetly midst the mystery.

Oh and in thinking about his time with Jess. Well I think Sam was in escape mode and obsessed change mode...But when he thought he had no one Sam just slowly began again and let life unfold. Something very healthy, for once. I think he might have experienced being fully himself and unworried for the first time ever in his life. But it is Sam and I am sure there is more to the story, more to weigh that happiness down. And as I said, for once I think we might get there. It will just take more episodes. And of Dean's character and story, he is always driven by his relationship with his brother, reconcilatiion and redemption in life, and rediscovering his own centre. It is all getting harder work for him but it makes great storytelling that keeps calling me back. I am glad to hear many of the comments say they want to watch Season 8 unfold. I know I do.
Bamboo24
# Bamboo24 2012-10-19 01:11
Quote:
a reluctant brooding hero is difficult to unpack and much is left to the viewer to imagine or speculate on. Everything else from the relationship between brothers (the top attraction) to fun monsters to Dean to great stories have been enough for me in their completeness. But this year I am wondering about the whole Sam story and what he had and what happened. I have always felt much of the show s stories are about Sam (all seasons) without letting us know very much about Sam's own mind or motivation. While Dean is wonderfully unpacked and opened up by his reactions to everything including Sam and his relationship with Sam. But, as I noted, I have grown used to this in a show I love and have built Sam's mind and heart by piecing things together and letting the story unfold the hints to his idea of normal and what he wants...and I have no doubts, this much is clear, that he wants Dean in his life.
I very much appreciated this analysis of the characters and thought you worded this wonderfully.

Quote:
Final thought. I don't like or watch procedurals. However I love mysteries. And this episode was a great mystery. I loved watching them work it out. And I loved the dialogue and how little brotherly things like Dean and his app and Sam's amused reaction were dropped sweetly midst the mystery.
I don't like or watch procedurals either!! Lol :)
I agree - this didn't feel like a procedural - it felt like a good story with lots of plot twists and turns - a good mystery.
mcf
# mcf 2012-10-18 23:24
Personally felt the out of sequence shooting was the problem. The writers seemed to be hedging with Sam; they didn't really commit to a direction beyond the basic theme of Sam wants out. We didn't learn anything new and the final scene could be interpreted many ways. I think that was on purpose because the storylines were not fully developed.

Same issue with Dean. He was excited to hunt but no real signs of PTSD. I don't think the writers had it fleshed out enough when this was shot. All in all the episode was ok. We just didn't advance story and the parallels for the MOTW to Sam were not well defined enough to make it compelling.
Ismira
# Ismira 2012-10-19 00:27
Hi Alice! Did notice you were quieter than usual, and was wondering why! I'm liking Season 8 so far, kind of. I loved the first two episodes, but Heartache was just meh. Had to watch it twice to get the plot straight, it was kind of confusing.
I actually had the same thoughts while watching this ep, I was expecting some kind of a parallel to Sam's story, and Metamorphosis was indeed the first episode that came to mind. The flashback at the end was really sweet, and I'm leaning towards the birthday cake scene being more about surprise than Sam really never having had one.
The MotW story, while so much better than some of S7, did seem a bit tired. But that could also be because we were expecting more flashbacks.
Great to read another review from you.
Bamboo24
# Bamboo24 2012-10-19 01:19
Alice,

While I don't share your frustrations over S8 [yet!], I did agree that the concept of the story was quite original - which made it exciting and engaging, IMO - and I too felt for Eleanor/Betsy, which is a rarity for me, because usually the acting chops of characters in those types of minor roles aren't up to par, IMO. But she was great, and so was EVERY minor actor/actress in this episode, which surprised me! I also really liked the mashed-up scene of Sam and Dean reading the letters. I thought the episode overall had great emotional depth.
dinkwerks
# dinkwerks 2012-10-19 07:34
Anyone think that maybe after 7 seasons, they are running out of things to write about? In todays world, a show that runs over 4 seasons is very unusal (and yes, I know there are some out there that have gone longer). I can't help but wonder if the actors aren't getting a little tired of the characters....d on't get me wrong, I love both of them....but with all the appearance that they have to do during off season....you know it's gotta be tiring on them....
Like Alice, I wish they would show more on Sam lost year...the teasers are getting tiresome, lets put something out there for the fans. As for Dean, he's not listening to Sam....but then Sam is all he has (except for the Impala)...unles s we want to count Benny into the mix.
Daisymae
# Daisymae 2012-10-19 07:38
Hi Alice. You have asked us to keep it civil, which I am. I'm not going to read your recaps anymore. I think you are too negative about my favorite show. I don't agree with you on anything. Sam's story has not been told yet and I think we should all be patient and let it unravel. Alice, you seem to want to know everything immediately. What's the fun in that? Anyway, the point is whenever I read your criticism of the the show, I get annoyed and wonder why you watch. If you don't like the show, move on. I've done that with other shows. I was grumbling at work about your recaps and my friend said that if what this person writes bothers you that much-don't read the recap. Good advice. I'm sorry but I'm out of here (not WFB, just you.) Bye.
Mer
# Mer 2012-10-19 08:16
I truly enjoy and appreciate reading the review then the comments.

All I really have to add from what I read hasn't been commented on is that YES! I agree with your strong dislike of the interrupting phone calls. I was watching, fascinated by the conversation in the car, and then...the...ph one...rang. I felt like I was stomped on. "NO!!!" I screamed on the inside. I wanted to reach through the TV, grab the phone and chuck it out the driver's side window (like in the S2 epi when Dean threw Sam's phone out).

I'm writing a story which included a phone call interruption but I picked up the conversation after the character hung up. Yes, I know TV is limited, unfortunately.

So, yeah, I am deflated when it comes to "Sam & Dean" but I appreciate JA's and JP's acting so much, I can't not watch it.

Thanks again Alice and to all the other wonderful reviewers.
cd28
# cd28 2012-10-19 09:55
As far as writing for Sam goes, I went into this episode with very low expectations based on who the writers were. Look at their record last year. We got "Shut Up Dr. Phil," which gave us Sam taking up running as his reaction to his hell trauma (completely wiping away any trauma that Sam seemed to be exhibiting in the first three episodes). That episode also placed both Sam and Dean as side characters in the story, using their mistakes and helplessness as the humor in the episode. We got "Slice Girls" which gave us a Sam who had no trust in his brother's instincts, was really slow in putting the clues together, who was moody and irritable, and who looked like he had drank too much coffee. Then we got "Of Grave Importance," the episode that gave us a brother chat on the Impala in which Sam had no dialogue. Sam's participation in that episode was mostly asking questions while Dean made all of the decisions and made the action statements.

This pair and Adam Glass have shown little interest in writing for Sam. Counting six main writers or writing pairs (Carver, Edlund, Dabb & Loughlin, Thompson, Glass, and this pair), that means about 33 percent of the episodes are almost guaranteed to be Sam-lite or have Sam out of character unless Carver makes some changes.

One positive thing I will note is that Sam has been portrayed as smart in all three episodes this season. I'm guessing Carver put out a bulletin that Sam was to be written as having brains this season, so Yay! for that.
etheldred
# etheldred 2012-10-19 10:01
Hmm, actually, the conversation at the end of Slice Girls is one of my favorite Sam and brother moments in s7. Sam's anger and fear at Dean's suicidal tendencies were very moving to me; I'm only sorry that that emotional arc didn't go anywhere from there.
CelticGirl
# CelticGirl 2012-10-19 14:33
First ever commenting on the show that holds my heart to the bitter end or any show for that matter. As to Sam, what if he knew early on (he's very perceptive!) that Dean was in purgatory and made a deal. Deal possibly was to either send someone (something, vampire?) in or contact a being already there, provide the means to get out; instruct it to contact Dean, earn his trust and get out. The cost to Sam is that he must leave hunting forever. Sam wouldn't want Dean to know about his deal with whom, Death? Demon? whomever. This would explain his pulling away from Dean and why he didn't look for Dean. He didn't have to look, he knew. Just supposing, interesting HuH?
Melanie
# Melanie 2012-10-20 23:07
Yes -- very interesting and I hope that something like that is the explanation for Sam's behavior.
judyann
# judyann 2012-10-19 19:15
Alice,
I new to the supernatural fandom since only discovering the show late last season. I fine your website to be more enjoyable than most. Unforunately, I have to agree with some of your recap of Heartache. There are somethings that were good and some not so good. Like the part with the older cop and Dean. Senior Ackles was great and definitly should have had more airtime. The eposide felt disjointed to me, was hard to follow. Was it the writing or the editing or both? I don't know.

As for Sam, I have a different thought about his attidute towards hunting and Dean. I do think some is going on with him but some of it may be do the emotional toll of Dean's drinking and depression from the last season. Sam seemed to spend most of last season trying to save Dean while dealing with his own emotional demons. When he thought Dean was gone he might have walked away to save his self. As selfish as it is to say that it might have been a relief to Sam not to have to worry about Dean. It could explain his behavior now and not wanting to get that emtionaly attached to Dean again do to the emtional toll if he slides back into drinking and depression. But might be over thinking it.

As for the rest of the season I have high hopes do to the fact that both actors have agreed to sign up for two more seasons. I think that the show is trying to slowly build up to something. I am enjoying the great acting of the cast and hope to see more Benny and Castiel in the next couple of eposides.
st50
# st50 2012-10-19 21:18
Welcome to judyann and CelticGirl!
I'm relatively new here myself, but this seems to be a pretty welcoming group, and generally open to differing opinions!
Hope to hear from you more about the episodes to come!
MisterGlass
# MisterGlass 2012-10-19 21:24
I like the occasional procedural, but Supernatural has been so much more that it is painful to see how close to procedural it is lately. It is just flat.

And there are the unnecessary explanations (why on earth in 8.03 did the guy from Phoenix they were looking for have to announce loudly that he was the guy from Phoenix they were looking for?) and the weirdly out of character behavior (Crowley is smarter than attempting to bid on an item with a soul he doesn't have, that was silly, and Crowley isn't silly).

There are a few bright spots, like Dean's Purgatory flashbacks, PTSD, and intensity, which have been well handled. Benny is also a promising arc.

But for Sam? The idea that he would be interested in leaving hunting isn't new, but the obvious parallel of Dean's time with Lisa in Sam's absence and Sam's time with Amelia in Dean's absence should be, really needs to be, addressed. The brothers used to talk about living an "apple-pie life" as the ultimate goal. Dean's had his chance, and it was a great sadness to him to find out that after years of hoping for it he was unable to keep it. His time with Lisa was explored and enriched the show.

Why is Sam's apple-pie stint so...bland? Why is Amelia a shrill veterinarian who badgers a man who desperately brought her a dog that was the victim of an accident one episode and a bizarre picnicker the next? (Why they named her Amelia - after episode after episode last year discussing "Amelia Pond" - I cannot imagine.)

Sam has never been really comfortable with the hunting life, and I can see him wanting something a little more structured. I had a pet theory that when Dean showed back up from Purgatory he would find that Sam was a deputy sheriff to Jodie Mills in Sioux Falls. It would have allowed Sam to have a base, but still hunt locally if he chose to. I could see Sam taking over some of Bobby's tasks, as a coordinator of hunts.

Anyway, I hope for more for him, and the show, in the future.
Yirabah
# Yirabah 2012-10-20 04:20
That was sweet, but was Jess chopped liver? Having Amelia say that it looked as if Sam had NEVER had a birthday cake? Sam claiming he NEVER had normal before? Yes, it turned out that he was introduced to Jess by a demon to manipulate him. Does that completely negate his life with her?

I thought I am the only one who realized that. It used to be that the story felt real. But now it seems like the writters don't know the essentials of the show anymore. Ok, they might be excused, since we already have over 150 eps and there are different writers so they can't know everything but the crew and especially JA and JP are there from the beginning and should have protested against that. Sam had a normal live with Jess. And at the time he didn't know that he was introduced to her by demons. The show needs to stick closer to the stuff that happened before. After all that was part of the fascination about Supernatural and what made it so much better than a procedural. And it hurts to write the last sentence in past tense.
E
# E 2012-10-20 22:46
It doesn't negate everything he had with Jess, but it does taint it. She's dead because of his connection with demons and their interference of the events of his life. His time with Jess was not "normal" in the end, it was a manipulation and it played out exactly as Azazel wanted it to. As to Sam's new normal? I don't hold out much hope that his relationship with Amelia is any more normal than his one with Jess, unfortunately. I don't think normal is in the cards for Sam Winchester.
MisterGlass
# MisterGlass 2012-10-22 20:25
Normal isn't really there for anyone in the hunting life, but there can be happiness, however transient. No hunter has ever pulled off the apple-pie life forever.

Look at Mary. She gave up hunting and even entered into a deal to save John and their life together. It was a good ten years for the most part, and it was worth having in spite of how it began and how it ended.

Sam's time with Jess was less contrived, and just as worthwhile. She deserves to be remembered, the same as Mary, John, Ellen, Jo, Rufus and Bobby. All are essential characters to the development of the brothers. They have a lot of history, and while it does not need to be brought forward in every episode, I agree with Yirabah that it should inform how the brothers react to the here and now.
E
# E 2012-10-22 21:42
My comment wasn't saying that Sam's relationship with Jessica was entirely unhappy or that it was meaningless, or at least that wasn't my intention. My point was that the relationship wasn't 'normal.' Not in the way that Sam wants normal to be, which is disconnected from the hunting life and completely safe. Sam wants peace of mind more than anything right now, and he thinks that he has it with Ameilia, and he knows he didn't have it with Jess. How could he have had that with Jess while his brother and father were out there hunting and constantly at risk, while he was being continually monitored by a Demons and while he was lying to Jess and all his Stamford friends about everything in his life? How can he look back on that as a blissful, innocent, normal time in his life when it was so manipulated and corrupt? Sam's relationship with Jess wasn't meaningless or all unhappiness, I am sure that he had many wonderful happy days with her. But it was far, far from normal, and my gut tells me that his relationship with Amelia is far from normal too.
Artorius
# Artorius 2012-10-22 08:15
Quote:
I had a pet theory that when Dean showed back up from Purgatory he would find that Sam was a deputy sheriff to Jodie Mills in Sioux Falls. It would have allowed Sam to have a base, but still hunt locally if he chose to. I could see Sam taking over some of Bobby's tasks, as a coordinator of hunts.
Hi. I like your pet theory lots.
MisterGlass
# MisterGlass 2012-10-22 20:13
Thanks!
Geordiegirl1967
# Geordiegirl1967 2012-10-20 13:31
Great review Alice. You have put into words what I think many SPN fans have been thinking.
You said
"I’ve said this before, so much so I’m in broken record territory, but it was the brotherly relationship that initially attracted me to this show. That five minutes in front of the Impala at the end of “All Hell Breaks Loose Part II” was all it took. "

I totally agree. I watch for the brothers bond and because I love the characters of Dean and Sam. The story arc, MOTW, other characters add to the experience but the heart of the show always has been, and remains, the bond between Dean and Sam.
This season more than any other - even s4 and early s6 - seems to have forgotten that.

I have posted at length (to the point where I am boring myself!!) here and elsewhere about how ooc and unsympathetical ly Sam has been written. There is no way he wouldn't have looked for Dean. I will NEVER buy that. So my question is why are they doing this? I have to believe that they are going to turn our expectations upside down at some point and make it right. If they don't I may well be done - and I never thought I would say that.

You said
"I fear that if I’m running out of patience, others might be as well. I’m really, really hoping it’s just me. "

Sadly it is not just you. I am really trying, but I see no end in sight. This weeks silly-looking found footage, lets give the Js a few days off, episode is unlikely to resolve anything. Then ep 5 (Blood Brothers) looks to be mainly Dean and Benny focused. 6 sounds like MOTW, then 7 and 8 are focused on Cas's story. When are we going out find out what is going on in Sam's head?

The other issue I have was alluded to by another poster. The writers seem to think we have to have conflict between the bros to make the show dramatically interesting. But in fact the opposite is true. We KNOW that while ever SPN is on air Sam and Dean will be hunting together. So we know no conflict will ever be permanent. We know Sam will never give up hunting. There is no drama there. The drama has to come from outside. That was how it worked in the early seasons. Yes that outside threat brought up issues for them, or disagreements about how to deal with the threat but their bond was never in doubt. I have to ask how many times they can break Humpty Dumpty and put it back together again before we'll stop believing in it or caring?
cd28
# cd28 2012-10-20 14:46
I mostly agree with what you said. I doubt we're going to get a real Sam-centric episode in the first half. We'll be drip fed pieces of Sam's story in most of the episodes, but it sounds like the first half is focused on exploring the Purgatory story. I'm hoping Purgatory will wrap up in the first half and the second will be more balanced and focused on the present word of God storyline.

**LIGHT SPOILERY INFO AHEAD **

It sounds like 8.5 will initially be split between Dean/Benny and Sam/Amelia, and then Sam will join Dean and Benny, so that's something. If we see Amelia real time, that should give us some insight into why they split and what was with Sam leaving in the middle of the night.

I'm not expecting much on Sam from 8.6 because I think Glass will mostly focus on Garth jokes. But I believe Jared said at one of the cons the episode he was most looking forward to was 8.7, so hopefully that has something with substance for Sam. If it has quality Sam and is mytharc focused, that could be a good sign.
percysowner
# percysowner 2012-10-20 15:32
I hope you are right, but after this episode promises of Sam with Amelia then he runs off to be with Benny and Dean sound more like Sam spends 30 seconds at Amelia's house and then spends the rest of the time on Benny and Dean and being told that he has no right to be worried about Benny because look what an awful person he was in season four. The tease that we would see flashbacks to life with Amelia this episode followed by what we got has me completely cynical about any story for Sam.

**LIGHT SPOILERY INFO AHEAD **



8.7 is about Cas coming back and up until now when Cas is in a scene Sam becomes wallpaper, so I'm glad Jared is happy, but I don't expect any light to be shed on Sam's year alone. I really don't see them even touching on Sam's year until after midseason break and if they get picked up early enough they may decide to hold it for next season and then forget all about it because, Sam hasn't mattered in years.

I've been burnt too many times to feel optimistic about "seeing Sam's story later in the season".
Bamboo24
# Bamboo24 2012-10-20 16:03
Quote:
Sam hasn't mattered in years.
Comments like this frustrate me. Making a blanket statement such as this as if it is a fact is extremely negative, incendiary, and IMO, borders on slander. While it may be true that you disagree with how Sam's story has been handled, that you interpret the writing as being less than favorable to Sam's character, it is simply NOT true that "Sam doesn't matter" to the showrunner, the writers, the powers-that-be, or the actors involved with Supernatural. It defies any logic or reason to think that they would deliberately write a crappy storyline for one of the beloved lead characters, or that they would try and write Sam off the show, or anything else. It defies logic because it would hurt the show, which is the CW's biggest money-maker from what I've read. It defies logic to think either JP or JA would even want to be involved with show anymore if the writing or direction suggested to them that Sam's character didn't matter. On the contrary, they've both signed on for 2 more seasons and both seem excited about the direction the showrunner is taking them. In light of that, these conspiracy theories about how the writers and PTB are deliberately trying to sabotage Sam's character, or that they don't care about the character, or that these professionals are somehow inept, are simply baseless accusations. The truth is - they wrote something they thought was going to be good for Sam's character, and you disagree. And that's totally fine. By all means: share your disagreement with the storylines, your fears about about how a character is being written, etc. It's good to have those criticisms. But it is a step beyond, IMO, to make ad hominem statements about the writers and those involved with show, suggesting that they don't care about a character just because you disagree with how they're writing him.
cd28
# cd28 2012-10-20 16:18
Quote:
The truth is - they wrote something they thought was going to be good for Sam's character, and you disagree.
Sorry, but this is as much of a blanket statement as the line that you quoted, and you have no more insight into the writers' minds than the person you're arguing against. There could be other reasons why they wrote this story. It could be that they've been listening to fans moaning about Sam always having the mytharc, and Dean never having it, and decided to respond by writing a story in which Sam would have no contact with the mytharc whatsoever. It could be that they've seen polls in which Sam is less popular than other supporting characters, so they decided it would be best for the show if they concentrated their efforts on other characters. In other words, their decisions could be about appeasing certain fan groups and not doing what's best for the character.

I'm not saying either of these scenarios are true. Just that we're all guessing and expressing our opinions.
lala2
# lala2 2012-10-20 19:15
True. None of us knows why the writers write what they write.

I will also say that a comment that the writers don't care about X character is just an opinion . . . one that I believe people are entitled to have. Comments from Ben Edlund that Dean is the heart of the show or from JC that he's the biggest fan of Dean/Castiel there is or the handling of Sam's story last year fuel those thoughts IMO.
Bamboo24
# Bamboo24 2012-10-21 02:42
You are absolutely right cd28. I don't know what the writers are doing, nor do I claim to. I stand by my comment however. Everyone has a right to their opinion and to speculate as they please. The writers write things we disagree with sometimes and no one knows why. My problem is when assumptions are stated as facts with little supporting evidence (sorry lala2. But those two comments you refer to have been repeatedly taken out of context) especially when such comments are accusatory. It is the accusation i have a problem with, not the opinion. I think it is wrong. I think it is inflammatory. I think it turns things nasty. There is a way of disagreeing without accusing the other side of ill-will, especially when it is not likely that ill-will exists. When I see the opposite, I feel the need to speak up. Perhaps because I feel it is unjust.
cd28
# cd28 2012-10-21 06:57
I remember reading a comment on a forum once by a person whose pet peeve was people slipping in "IMO" thoughout their posts. The person's comment was that you don't need to write IMO because everything on a forum is assumed to be opinion. I'd add to that there are occasional factual statements, such as "Person X wrote episodes 2, 3, and 4. ..." that are clearly factual statements, but for the most part, I agree with the statement that it's all assumed to be opinion.

"Sam hasn't mattered in years" was clearly meant to reflect the person's perception of the priorities of the people running the show. No one would confuse this as a provable fact, IMO. ;-)
Bamboo24
# Bamboo24 2012-10-21 20:11
I understand what you both are saying. Perhaps the statement I took issue with was indeed intended as a mere opinion or perception - but how can I know that if it is not worded as such? There is a distinction between statements such as: "I disagree with how they are writing Sam" or "I don't like what they're doing with Sam's character/story line" or even, "I feel like Sam's story doesn't matter enough to the writers" as opposed to statements like: "Sam hasn't mattered in years" or "the writers don't care about Sam's storyline", etc. Surely you see the difference? The former are statements true to the commenter and written in a mature, civil manner. The latter are generalized, blatant assumptions that may or may not be true, but tend to be extremely negative/antago nistic. Maybe it's just me. Again, I have no problem with criticising the writing of the show - I did it throughout S7! Nor do I have an issue with opinions that express frustration with various aspects of the show per se. I just think there is a fine line in the sand in the sand here, that, in my view, was crossed. I will also say that, hours after reading the comment, my ire has diminished. I appreciate the discussion, cd28 and lala2, as well as your patience with something that is clearly a 'pet peeve' with me, if not anyone else. :P
lala2
# lala2 2012-10-21 12:06
Yeah . . . I don't know about the JC one, but I did read the BE one. It sounded like he was speaking off the cuff, right? I know he quickly caught himself and added Sam's name, but I think it was a Freudian slip, but that's JMO.

I just think comments like that can lead to thoughts that the writers aren't interested in Sam. The writing for Sam can also fuel those thoughts. At the end of the day, it is just someone's opinion though. I am also used to this particular opinion w/r/t either Sam or Dean b/c of the boards I have frequented. A lot of viewers feel this way about one of the characters.

To be frank, I have begun to feel that way about Sam back in Season 5. That said, I have never felt that the writers have gone out of their way to intentionally neglect Sam or write him in an unsympathetic manner; it's actually a matter of thinking they aren't as interested in Sam as other characters like Castiel, Bobby, or possibly Benny.

Again, that's just my opinion. They may find it more fun to write for Castiel, Bobby, Dean, and other guest stars than Sam. It's one way to explain the extreme lack of Sam POV. Again, it's just an opinion.
st50
# st50 2012-10-21 12:36
Quote:
Yeah . . . I don't know about the JC one, but I did read the BE one. It sounded like he was speaking off the cuff, right? I know he quickly caught himself and added Sam's name, but I think it was a Freudian slip, but that's JMO.

I think they were being somewhat honest here - It is a lot more FUN to write "snark" and "sass" than not, but that doesn't mean they don't NEED the balance Sam should provide. I'm sure they ENJOY writing Dean more than Sam, but that doesn't mean they can or should ignore him. I think they could do some awesome things with a character that often wears his heart on his sleeve, and is therefore easy to influence...
I think it's just harder work, so they spend less time at it. Who knows.
lala2
# lala2 2012-10-21 13:29
Oh, st50,I completely agree w/you! It probably is a lot of fun to write Dean's snark or his BA moments, but as you said, that doesn't mean Sam should be ignored.

I feel like interesting stuff is started w/Sam but are never fully explored like Bobby's issues w/him after Sam was resouled or Sam's coping methods in S7 or even Sam's "anger" in S5. Other than the throw away comment that Sam was angry all the time, we got nothing else on that angle.

Anyway, IMO, the writing for Sam could be much tighter!
sosboss
# sosboss 2012-10-21 02:07
Hurting Sam would hurt the show
It doesn't make sense that they would do that. While bamboo may not know everything going on, to say that the writers would intentionally do something to hurt the show is absurd. I agree that angry fans would rather blame the people involved with the show of being biased against a character than just say they disagree. And lala2 not every comment is acceptable. Comments that disparage or attack the writers of the show and others who aren't around to defend themselves are unfair in opinion.
cd28
# cd28 2012-10-21 07:06
Quote:
Comments that disparage or attack the writers of the show and others who aren't around to defend themselves are unfair in opinion.
I would agree that a personal attack on a writer, actor, or anyone else would be unfair, but an attack on the writing is not. If we can't criticize the writing, what is the purpose of having an open forum?
lala2
# lala2 2012-10-21 12:09
Quote:
Quote:
Comments that disparage or attack the writers of the show and others who aren't around to defend themselves are unfair in opinion.
I would agree that a personal attack on a writer, actor, or anyone else would be unfair, but an attack on the writing is not. If we can't criticize the writing, what is the purpose of having an open forum?
Exactly! If you can't criticize the writing, then there is no point in discussing the show. Percy's comment that "Sam hasn't mattered in years" is clearly her opinion of the writing.

I don't see a problem w/it. I used to read many comments from Dean fans that felt the same way about Dean. To me, those comments are fine, and I don't view them as personal attacks on the writers.
etheldred
# etheldred 2012-10-20 16:27
MORE LIGHT SPOILERS




Both Jared and Misha have said in recent interviews that Sam and Cas have some scenes together coming up, and they've been together in some of the set pics. I think they are going to try to balance out the fact that Cas backstory = Dean and purgatory focus by giving Cas and Sam a bit of time together in the present.

OTOH, I think the flashbacks as a whole are supposed to be mostly first half of the season. I don't think we'll be getting vast tracts of Sam's backstory after hiatus, and I'm somewhat bummed that


MORE SPOILERS




the hiatus episode has a lot of Benny backstory in it and, according to Benny's actor, no scenes with both Benny and Sam. Though it's always possible that that could be a huge foiler, if Sam kills Benny or something.
Sharon
# Sharon 2012-10-20 16:39
I think we are supposed to take Sam's behaviour on face value. Certainly we can assume and hope there is something more I just dont know?.

I dont see the need for there to be a mystery around Sam? I may be naive but it seems simple to me to let us know why where and how with Sam?. He saw Dean disappear and was left alone and you take it from there . I think they have created negativity around Sam that wasnt necessary and its hard to understand why? . I would like to think this is about Sam and his life and wants but the whole thing plays into Dean and his sl very nicely and wanting to creating a 'bond' with Benny .

I am not saying they dont have a sl for Sam but I am not sure we are going to see some sort of 'we fooled you moment' with him. Jeremy Carver talked about perceptions but that could mean anything and the perception of Sam right now in some quarters is its usually crappy self .
Geordiegirl1967
# Geordiegirl1967 2012-10-20 18:34
Quote:
I think we are supposed to take Sam's behaviour on face value. Certainly we can assume and hope there is something more I just dont know?.

I dont see the need for there to be a mystery around Sam? I may be naive but it seems simple to me to let us know why where and how with Sam?. He saw Dean disappear and was left alone and you take it from there
I'm starting to feel like a stuck record on this, so apologies if I am boring anyone. If you want to 'take from it there' after Dean disappears you can only extrapolate from 'there' based on Sam's character and how he has always previously responded when he has lost Dean. If you do this Sam absolutely DOES NOT end up where the writers are telling us he did. No way would the real Sam not look for Dean. No way would he abandon Kevin. And no way would he be anything other than ecstatic that Dean was back - even if he had some mixed feelings about going back to hunting. So there are only 2 possible options;
1) There is a twist coming with Sam and all is not as it seems, or
2) It is rank bad, ooc writing that throws one of the 2 main characters on the show under a bus. It makes Sam totally unsympathetic; cold, cowardly, selfish and an ungrateful brother who - when given the chance to do for Dean what Dean has done for him many times, instead chose to get a dog and a girlfriend and move on.

Now I have to believe that the writers aren't so stupid as to make the audience loose sympathy with one of its 2 heroes, and undermine the bond between them that has been the heart and emotional centre of the show since ep1. If it turns out they are that stupid, and Sam's story is no more complex than the face value version we are being shown then for me there would be no coming back from that.

If there is more to Sam's story eg he did look, or he couldn't look eg he was under duress / being threatened, then fine but the patience of the audience has its limits. We lost a lot of viewers because soulless Sam dragged on too long (over 300,000 between early s6 and mid s6). SPN has to be recognisably SPN even while the story unfolds. No matter how exciting the destination they have in mind, no one will be left by the time they get there if the journey isn't fun. So they need to get the pacing right, and we need something to keep us going. So far the brothers relationship has been cold and has felt really off. Sam asked whether Dean needed him and made it clear he didn't want to be there. The show has to tell us why he feels like that, and if he really does then why is he there? There is clearly a pull from Amelia. Where is the pull from Dean? Where are the conflicted feelings? The whole thing just isn't hanging together.
lala2
# lala2 2012-10-20 19:40
It's not coming together for me either, Geordiegirl!

Your post is spot on, and I agree w/every word. Call me a pessimist or still bitter from the disappointment of S7, but I'm taking Sam's story at face value (i.e., Option 2 w/bad, rank, OOC writing) for now. I'll happily change my opinion when we're given some concrete clues that "all is not what it seems," but we haven't as of yet. Or let me say that I haven't seen any clues what we heard this summer. It seems pretty clear cut. As you said, if there is a twist coming, they need to start dropping some hints b/c Sam is coming off very cold, callous, and unemotional, which is not at all like Sam Winchester!
percysowner
# percysowner 2012-10-20 20:23
Let me add that I am perfectly ready to accept a human reason for "not looking". I'll take a breakdown. I'll take seeing Sam go into OCD mode about the car because "once I find Dean he'll want the car to be okay" and then OCDing about the dog that he hits as he starts to find Dean and getting stuck emotionally. I'll take flashbacks to Sam starting to find Dean only to be crippled by the idea that he will find him and then lose him again, so he'd rather just go with "Dean is dead" so he doesn't have to live through "Dean disappears" one more time. I'll be happy with just about ANYTHING other than the simple statement that Sam didn't look and we get no insight into what his mind was like when he made that decision. I don't need Amelia to be a siren, or a demon or anything supernatural that keeps Sam from looking for Dean. I don't need the dog to be a Lucky type skin walker that is keeping Sam in its thrall. I don't even need to see Sam searching for Dean until there are no leads. I just want to see why the guy who took on Hell memories to be with his brother would suddenly shrug his shoulders and say screw it, not looking, don't care and who once Dean IS back acts like all Dean did was go to the store and like he isn't that excited that Dean isn't dead, again.

I'm really, really easy here. Just give something other than Sam didn't care enough to look for Dean and Sam is a bad person who only cares about his own selfish desires. Is that so much to ask? Because if it is, then maybe Supernatural is no longer for me.
st50
# st50 2012-10-20 20:53
This is where I am, too, percysowner.
I really hope Jeremy Carver and the writers understand this!
lala2
# lala2 2012-10-20 19:26
Quote:
I think we are supposed to take Sam's behaviour on face value. Certainly we can assume and hope there is something more I just dont know?.

I dont see the need for there to be a mystery around Sam? I may be naive but it seems simple to me to let us know why where and how with Sam?. He saw Dean disappear and was left alone and you take it from there . I think they have created negativity around Sam that wasnt necessary and its hard to understand why? . I would like to think this is about Sam and his life and wants but the whole thing plays into Dean and his sl very nicely and wanting to creating a 'bond' with Benny .

I am not saying they dont have a sl for Sam but I am not sure we are going to see some sort of 'we fooled you moment' with him. Jeremy Carver talked about perceptions but that could mean anything and the perception of Sam right now in some quarters is its usually crappy self .
Great post, Sharon! I couldn't agree more w/you.

When I read the spoilers over the summer, I was shocked that they would start Sam off in such a negative manner. A lot of theories were bandied about, but it seems like there is no mystery other than Sam's odd behavior. I'm not sure why Sam is behaving so strangely. Is it because there's a twist coming or has JC changed the character? Who knows?

I'm not sure why Sam had to be the "bad" brother or the "mystery" again! Just tell his story in a straightforward manner and be done w/it. Sam's been the "bad" one and the mysterious one for far too long.
lala2
# lala2 2012-10-20 19:04
Percy, I think you are right to be cautious about expecting "Sam's story." This episode was billed as a big episode about Sam's (boring) life w/Amelia, and all we got was a whopping 10 second FB. If that FB was indication of what to expect in Sam's story, then we're NOT getting a story for Sam.

By the time we meet Amelia in real life, will we care about her or her relationship w/Sam? I can't imagine we will b/c the writers aren't telling us the story. We went from bitchy vet to loving GF in three episodes. Where's the middle of the story? When did they meet up again? How did Sam become interested in her? Why was Sam interested in her? Why did Amelia fall for Sam? If Sam just shows up at Amelia's house talking to her about their relationship or how he misses her, I'm not sure how much I will care. I need a good setup for the story.

Time will tell I gues.
st50
# st50 2012-10-20 16:59
If a) what cd28 said, that we're not getting any Sam-centric episodes in the first half, AND b) etheldred's statement about mostly no flashbacks and thus the Sam-backstory won't be explored after hiatus are both correct, then I am going to be one unhappy camper.
I'm really holding on to hope that one of you is wrong.
etheldred
# etheldred 2012-10-20 17:03
It could be that second half we'll be seeing more of Amelia current time, so we could learn about Sam's year from interaction and conversation rather than flashbacks.

So Carver saying that it's mostly the first half of the season that's heavy on flashbacks doesn't necessarily mean no backstory later on, though I would expect them to be getting the mytharc in higher gear and focusing more on moving current time stuff forward and less on where the characters are coming from.
etheldred
# etheldred 2012-10-20 17:05
Adding: also, I'm often wrong and spoilers are often wrong, so me talking about spoilers has a good chance of some misinformation!
st50
# st50 2012-10-20 17:10
I accept that no one can know anything for sure here, and everyone is speculating, but everything seems to be indicating not much emphasis on Sams story - other than what some of the viewers can read into hints and metaphors. That's just not good enough for me - that I have to wait for someone else to interpret whether I'm supposed to infer something about Sam. It needs to be more clearly written for me.... or at least have a decent reveal here.
Perhaps this is indicating that there really is NOTHING else to reveal about Sams past year and current mindframe. And that is also upsetting for me as a viewer (and terribly OOC, still, for Sam, imo.
percysowner
# percysowner 2012-10-20 17:28
Quote:
but everything seems to be indicating not much emphasis on Sams story - other than what some of the viewers can read into hints and metaphors. That's just not good enough for me
This is where I am. I'm willing to give the show a chance to explain Sam's mindset. But as of now, we have been given no hope that we will see how Sam reacted to Dean being gone or rebuilding the Impala. We have been told that the story is Dean went to Purgatory, Sam hit a dog. And that is not enough for me. I'm holding on by my fingernails. If I'm honest I'm unlikely to ditch the show, but I'm not happy to the point of finding this season painful in a way that I have not felt before.
st50
# st50 2012-10-20 17:50
Ditto, percysowner. I have thought about not watching, but somehow, I know I'll keep counting the days until Wednesday. I'll wait it out until the end, but I am still worried and depressed that we won't get a decent story, clearly played out, for Sam this season.
LEAH D
# LEAH D 2012-10-20 18:35
This all takes me back to the latter half of last season where everyone including myself were speculating all over the place what we were hoping the writers might be cooking up to salvage the season. Turns out nothing much. Both the brothers stories kinda sucked. But for some reason this season feels different. It feels like we are headed somewhere. I know many of you disagree and thats ok. I may have to eat my words and thats ok too. But for now, it has gained my curiosity and I hope you all hang in to see what JC has up his sleeve. Maybe nothing. I just have to find out.
st50
# st50 2012-10-20 17:32
Plus I really hate the way my own reaction to this episode is bobbling - good/bad,/wait- and-see.... Yeesh. The stress! lol
anonymousN
# anonymousN 2012-10-21 01:41
So, this was the episode where we were to get some parts of Sam's past year.After seeing Dean's flashback (which i liked) Sam's flashback which they showed did not do anything to explain why ,what of Sam's last year.Sam being surprised by Amelia's gesture,(That whole scene and after wards in the car was brilliant acting by Jared).He portrayed how surprised and awkward and the myriad of emotions ,as well as the the nostalgia brilliantly.
If this is how they are going to show Sam's year my apprehensions don't look unfounded.They have a crappy record of showing Sam's missing times that this flash back did not surprise me so much.
My only desire is that they Show and not only tell about Sam's time,whatever Sam's reason's are.I don't even mind if Sam simply did not look for Dean but show ME Why?that will satisfy me.
anonymousN
# anonymousN 2012-10-21 02:38
Oh and i am still waiting to know which is Sam's favourite book.
janiebee64
# janiebee64 2012-10-21 16:00
I'll say it again: JC's words, "nothing is as it seems." Read between the lines when watching.
Bamboo24
# Bamboo24 2012-10-21 20:15
I'm with you, janiebee64!
Alice
# Alice 2012-10-21 23:56
Hi everyone! I just wanted to let you all know I have been following all of this amazing feedback and discussion and really been enjoying it. You guys just blow me away with your opinions. And yes, all have been welcome. Thank you so much for all this amazing feedback.

I'm toying with the idea of writing an article explaining the concept of how criticism does not mean hating the show. The same is true for sometimes negative viewpoints on a particular subject. TV criticism has been around for a long time. Critics don't hate TV, but they aren't gonna sugarcoat either.

There is a level of frustration on my part reflected in this particular review, and as I explained in the review it stems from all that unhappiness with characterizatio n in season seven. Season eight hasn't been going on long enough to rectify season seven's failures one way or another, but I just didn't like the way Sam's characterizatio n was handled in this one.

I'm not hating the show. I'm not saying that Sam is more important than Dean. I'm just saying that in terms of this one particular episode, there was potential in storytelling here that was squandered. Again, that's my opinion. And just like everyone here, we are all entitled to our opinions.

I am creating a new rule thanks to this thread. From now on, the comment "If you're not happy don't watch the show," means an instant edit of your comment. No warning. I have explained in that past that such an attitude is disrespectful. It's also not realistic. You don't invest this much time in a show and walk away unless you've hit a breaking point. A little unhappiness over something that happened in an episode or a season is not a breaking point.

We love Supernatural, but we're not kool aid drinkers here. When something is bothering us, we bring the topic to light. If you notice, we have a lot of reviewers here for a reason. We all see things, very, very differently. I'm thrilled that other writers loved this episode. That's the welcome diversity of this fandom. We all aren't on the same page, and I love it.
Zazreil
# Zazreil 2012-10-22 01:55
I must admit I have been sick all week and my cold medicine is sending me to sleep so thought I have tried to watch this episode several times I have never made it through. However this is how I see season 8 and maybe it will give Alice and the other fans who are disheartened a little hope. Sam and Dean are more intense versions of the selves they were in Season 1. Dean used to be very black and white and able to enjoy the hunt and the saving of people he always wanted Sam to come back to hunting, while Sam was only planning to hunt until Jessica could be avenge and the Demon was no longer hanging over his shoulder. Here we are in Season 8 and Sam has found a new love and a new normal and Dean is again the hunter. But each one is more saturated in the character, Dean being more jittery with harder edges and Sam being softer than season one, with a different type of sadness and longing. I think Sam came back to Dean only to see if his brother was ok and to return the Impala, guilt over Kevin is why he stayed, and then later to seal the gates of hell. Dean is driven, more than ever Hunting is all he knows. My hope is that like season 1, by the end of season 7 the boys will find their relationship and friendship again. But I am a softy who would like Season 10 to end with Dean married to Lisa living across the street from Sam and Amelia

Zaz
anonymousN
# anonymousN 2012-10-22 02:08
Quote:
I must admit I have been sick all week
Same here.I completed it in three sittings.I have to watch again.