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8.01 (Production) Heartache: This Last Year Has Given Me A Whole New Perspective


Eternal youth deal
Goes awry for love, because
The heart is the key.

Commentary and Meta Analysis

Sorry I'm so very late! I liked this episode a lot. Supernatural has often drawn parallels between monsters, their victims, and the Winchester brothers, and I've always enjoyed episodes where the case of the week played directly into the psychology of the brothers. I thought this episode accomplished that goal with subtlety, avoiding anvil-dropping. And while the clues to Sam's solo year are coming with agonizing slowness, I'm appreciating getting the little pieces of the puzzle. In this analysis, I'm going to look at the parallels drawn by the case and then expound a bit on my view of Sam's and Dean's current mindsets. Be aware that I’m going to get a bit personal in that latter discussion, because I have some specific reasons for feeling the way I do.

You Can't Imagine The Burden Of It All

From Eleanor – or Betsy, take your pick – we learned that dedicated athlete Brick, a thousand years after making a deal to sacrifice hearts to Cacao to stay forever young and strong, couldn't bear the thought of outliving the woman he loved and killed himself instead. She had stayed with him and overlooked his evil because she loved him, and while she grieved his death, she understood and accepted his suicide. The brothers became involved because the deal he had made accompanied the organs that survived his demise to be transplanted into others, who found themselves, willing or not, blessed by the benefits but also forced to continue the sacrifices.

This whole tale spoke to me of both Sam and Dean in so very many ways. Both of the brothers have seen themselves as monsters over the years, Sam because of his infant demon-blood poisoning, psychic powers, and the consequences of his later bad choices, and Dean through the ugliness of his self-discovery in Hell. Like the formerly innocent people who received the transplanted organs, they both had been set on destructive courses by choices and deals made even before they were born by demons, angels, John, and Mary. At different times along the way, like the different organ recipients, they varied in their responses. Sometimes they reveled in their strength and prowess or felt validated by their mission, while at other times they were tormented by what they did to be who and what they were.

Like Brick, both sometimes made wrong deals and accepted evil conditions to win and survive. Like Eleanor, they both did and accepted things for love of each other with no regard for consequences or for how their decisions might be viewed by others. They both made self-sacrificial choices for the other’s benefit. Like Brick, they'd each rather die first rather than be left alone by the other's death. Like Eleanor, however, they each made the choice at least once to accept the loss and move on. (Admittedly, neither made that choice the first or even second time around, but they arguably learned from experiencing the consequences of choosing instead to reverse death or seek blind vengeance.)

And like both Brick and Eleanor, they've both – although at different times – found themselves saying, I am so tired. You can't imagine the burden of it all. They've each wished more than once for a way to lay down their burdens whether by dying, simply surrendering to presumed fate, or dreaming wistfully of walking away from hunting, of being happy in a life not filled with crushing responsibility, blood, and death. They've usually wound up dismissing that dream as unattainable and unrealistic, but they've both had it.

What always eventually kept the brothers hunting and together up to this point was the grace that they never both succumbed to hunter ennui at the same time, combined with circumstances that always reinforced a shared sense of mission. Whenever one felt overwhelmed by duty or fatigue or loss or futility and wanted to give up, the other provided a reason to carry on, even if that reason was simply not to let his brother down.

This time, as in the very first moments of the series, Dean – once again fully committed to hunting after his concentrated tempering in Purgatory – brought Sam back into the hunting fray from his seemingly normal life, playing on Sam's sense of responsibility and related guilt and, in place of the first simple quest for Dad, pursuing the nearly irresistible goal of closing the gates of Hell and banishing all demons forever.

But both Sam and Dean are very different people now than they were eight of our years – and a lot more of their years – ago. They've both literally been to Hell and back, and have been separated sometimes for decades in terms of their personal perceptions. They've both matured. And they're both carrying emotional and psychological burdens almost too massive to fathom. For me, the real question is what it's going to take for the two of them to be able to perceive each other's motivations and decisions and decide to accept them, as Eleanor accepted and lived with both Brick's monstrosity and his choice to die before her.

What can they each perceive and truly understand about each other?

I'm Just Saying, Make Room For The Possibility That We Want Different Things


I know a lot of fans are extremely upset about Sam's decision, after seeing Dean disappear with Castiel and Dick at the end of last season, to abandon hunting and not obsessively to search for and retrieve Dean from wherever he wound up, or at least determine definitively whether he was alive or dead. Many seem equally upset to think Sam could have found happiness and peace with a woman who wasn't Jessica, or at least someone as acceptable to fandom as spunky Sarah from Provenance. I know a lot of fans are also as upset as Dean is by the very idea that Sam could want to leave Dean and hunting at the end of their current quest and pursue a normal life.

I'm going to say three things here. First, I do not think Sam is acting out of character. Second, I do not think Sam is being selfish. Third, I think we should all note that almost everything we have seen so far concerning Sam's choices after Dean's disappearance has been filtered through Dean's perceptions, not Sam's; we have a lot yet to learn about exactly what happened to Sam and inside his head, and we should neither prejudge Sam nor simply accept Dean's conclusions.

On my first point, that I don't believe Sam is acting out of character, I would cite pretty much the entire history of the show right from the pilot to support the concept that Sam has always wanted to escape the hunting life and live a safe, relatively normal one. From my observations, the only time Sam truly relished and enjoyed hunting was when he was soulless, simply taking physical delight and satisfaction in his prowess. Over the years, he alternately hunted out of vengeance, first for Jess and later for Dean; out of guilt for having (to his mind) failed his father; out of desperation to save Dean from his demon deal; and out of duty and resignation, believing himself cursed and doomed with hunting offering his only opportunity for penance and deliverance. Notably unlike Dean – who's also gone through many other motives along the way – affirmative desire fueled by the simple satisfaction of fulfillment never factored into his decision to hunt.

I’ve written before about why I’m inclined to accept Sam’s human motivation for not obsessively seeking or avenging Dean as he had done before, and why I don’t see that decision as being out of character. It is different from decisions he made before in Mystery Spot, I Know What You Did Last Summer, and more, but I would argue that he learned cautionary lessons from what evolved from those earlier experiences and choices. And while the writers could have made any information they needed appear as they desired to serve whatever plot they chose, I would also point out that even if Sam had concluded Dean was in Purgatory, based on the extensive research they had already done and the proven limits of even angelic and demonic knowledge of that realm, he had no real expectation of discovering new resources to learn about or reach Dean there, and Sam already knew from bitter experience where obsession led. Singlehandedly trying to rescue Kevin from Crowley would also have been suicidal at best.

With that in mind, Sam fixing the car – doing something he could do, that also honored his brother’s memory – and then being directionless until the accident with the dog forced him back into consciousness of the moment seems appropriate to me. Deciding out of guilt to stay in one place for at least a little while to care for the dog in order to make up for the damage and pain he caused – again, as with fixing the car, doing something concrete that he actually could do – strikes me as a logical progression, and could have led naturally into the inertia of remaining stationary, of gradually fitting into a new normality. That is all very human. We still don’t know if that’s actually the way things played out, but if it was, it rings true to me.

And it’s not selfish. To say that Sam deciding not to hunt was selfish would be to say I’m being selfish in choosing to retire from public service to pursue a career in frivolous voiceover. Working for EPA, I’m not hunting monsters, but I arguably have been saving lives by protecting human health and the environment, and I’m damned good at what I do, with skills and experience that aren’t common. But now I’m walking away. I may wind up providing entertainment and education to others in my new career, but I’m not going to be getting up every morning to serve the public interest as I’ve done for the past 22.5 years, and I doubt I’ll save any lives at my microphone. Is that decision selfish?

When Dean returned, Sam had been out of hunting for a year, settled at least to some extent into an entirely different life that included obligations to and feelings for people and things alien to the hunting world. Sam had experienced a totally unexpected, precious taste of the normalcy he’d always wanted but hadn’t known since his brief stint in college with Jess – and while his feelings for Jess were and still are real and true, he also knows now that everything else about that previous time of freedom was an illusion manipulated by demons. This time, however, his situation was different. He was no longer a tool being primed for a starring role in the apocalypse. He was no longer of specific interest or urgency to demons or angels. For arguably the first time in his entire life, he really was free to walk away, not doomed to be forced back, because he’d already served and then destroyed the purpose for which he’d been crafted. He’d done terrible things, but he’d also paid for them by a selfless act of sacrifice followed by unimaginable torment for perceived decades in Hell. He’d lost nearly everyone he’d ever cared about. He wouldn’t have been human if he hadn’t felt at least a little entitled to a bit of peace and freedom, and maybe even another chance for love.

When Dean unexpectedly returned, hardened, changed, and rededicated to the enjoyment of hunting after a year on the front lines in Purgatory, was it selfish of Sam to decide he wanted to keep the normal peace he’d found and cherished rather than go back to living the rest of his life in a war he’d never truly wanted to fight?

When my mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 2004 and my middle sister the nurse decided to keep her at home and care for her, was it selfish of me to decide to stay in Virginia rather than moving back to Wisconsin to help? As Mom got worse and my sister went from working full-time to working part-time and then retiring so she could care for Mom full-time, was it selfish of me to stay here working, only going to Wisconsin a few times a year to give my sister the chance to escape for a couple of weeks, and chipping in on expenses? Am I being selfish now, building a new business of my own instead of putting things on hold until after Mom passes?

If Sam is being selfish in planning to stop hunting after achieving Dean’s current quest to close the gates of Hell, then maybe I’m being selfish too in living my own life. But I’m not my sister. We have different skills, different desires, different needs, different personalities, and different dreams. We love and support each other, but we could never live in each others’ pockets or by each others’ rules. Being who and what I am, I could never have made the decision she did to rearrange her entire life around caring for Mom. Being who and what she is, she could never have chosen to put Mom into managed care rather than watching over her herself, no matter what she had to do to accommodate that decision.

And Sam is not Dean. Dean has the same family responsibility sense/need that my sister has, and developed his skills and his mindset specifically to serve that need; Sam, rather like me, has all the love, but not the need, and developed his different skills in different ways to serve other ends. Years ago, in writing about the Yellow-Eyed Demon’s torture of the brothers back in Devil’s Trap, I said that Azazel lied with the truth. He was dead-on when he told Dean that John and Sam didn’t need him the way he needed them. That was and is the literal truth, which is why it could hurt Dean so badly, but at the same time, it was a lie, because Azazel presented need as if it was the same thing as love. And it isn’t. John and Sam loved Dean fully as much as he loved them and demonstrated that in many ways, including dying for him, but they needed him in very different ways than he needed them. Given his nature and the circumstances that forced responsibility on him when he was only four, he defined his worth and his role by his ability to take care of his brother and his father, to be there for them no matter what. They relied on his presence and unstinting support, but having it was different than affirmatively needing it in order to define themselves. And therein lies a major difference between the two brothers, and between Dean and his father.

I think Dean knows and understands that, although not on a conscious level, but he can’t help resenting it at least a bit. I know that my sister, however much she loves me and appreciates the help I do give, resents my freedom in not being saddled with the unrelenting, all-encompassing, physically and emotionally exhausting role of caregiver that she lives with every day, even though she never voices that resentment except in rare moments of great stress.

I think Dean doesn’t want to believe what he’s always known: that Sam doesn’t share the same need on which Dean built his life. But Dean’s need isn’t limited to Sam and John; he expanded it unconsciously himself to encompass all the people he can help, and particularly the people he comes to love and trust. I think Dean needs to be needed in order to have purpose, to have place, and that led directly into his messianic complex, his belief that he was responsible for having to save everyone; just listen to him in Sam, Interrupted. When Sam and John weren’t available, he found others to fill that void and give him purpose: Lisa and Ben after Sam died, for example, and Castiel gone missing in dangerous Purgatory, for another. I think Sam recognizes that in Dean – I’ve always thought that giving Dean something to live for was precisely why Sam ordered him to go to Lisa in Swan Song in the first place – and hopes to persuade Dean that they both can live separate and fulfilling lives pursuing the different things that satisfy and reward them without losing any of the love that binds them as brothers.


The element that makes this particularly problematic for Sam – and for fans – is simply and precisely that what satisfies Dean is risking his life hunting to save others. It’s noble and inspirational and scary as hell, especially when you realize that doing it alone is precisely why most hunters have short lifespans. Not leaving Dean to face danger alone is the main reason why Sam returned to hunting at the very beginning of the series, and why Sam risked insanity to face his memories of Hell; he didn’t want Dean to die because he wasn’t there to guard his back. Once Dean was gone, that spur of anticipatory guilt was gone too, and with it, the compulsion to hunt.

But having his back is no guarantee, either, as all of their history of deaths has shown, and I think Sam has finally recognized that. With all the mess of the apocalypse behind them, Dean’s choice to keep hunting is just that: a choice, the ultimate expression of Dean’s own character, the fulfillment of his nature and the satisfaction of displaying his competence in the skills he’s honed over a lifetime of killing monsters. It’s no longer an inescapable duty or obligation, not a decision in which he has no other real option. Yes, he’s driven by his goal of saving lives, by the quirk of his personality that derives meaning and worth from saving others – but doing that by hunting rather than becoming a fireman or a cop is a choice. It's perfectly logical and rational for Dean, given his knowledge and background, but it's still a choice.

The truth is, Sam is right: the brothers couldn't save everyone no matter how hard they tried, and they've both already given more of themselves than anyone was entitled to ask for or expect. Saying that flat out and deciding to stop hunting, to focus instead on building a normal relationship with another person, is no more selfish of Sam than me choosing not to sell my house, give all my money to charity, and emulate Mother Teresa.

The adult thing for both of the brothers to do would be independently to acknowledge the choices and decisions they each make, and accept them all as valid. Neither should be forced to accept out of guilt a course of action dictated by the other’s choice. Dean could hunt alone or with others – he's done it before – and while he prefers to do it with Sam, insisting that Sam do it either for him or out of perceived guilt for others wouldn't be right, the same way it wasn't right for Sam to insist in Swan Song that Dean stop hunting entirely and live the normal life Sam had always wanted, out of both his earnest desire to keep Dean safe and his mistaken belief that Dean must have secretly always wanted that safe, normal life too.

Repeating the same mistakes they've both made in the past by misinterpreting each other and mistakenly ascribing their own feelings and perceptions to the other wouldn't demonstrate the growth they've both experienced by having made and learned from those mistakes. I think it's time they both acknowledged what they really want and why, and how they could each support the other pursuing the things that make them happy without diminishing the strength of their brother bond. Sam agreeing and committing to this final hunt with Dean while simultaneously laying the groundwork for Dean to acknowledge that Sam is entitled to stop strikes me as a good thing.

I think it's called maturity.

Production Notes

Okay, I'm so very late on getting this done that I'm not going to be able to go in-depth on the production notes; I haven't been able to give the episode the rewatch it so richly deserves, which feeds my ability to comment intelligently on its technical details. But I do have a few things to say.

In applauding the story, I've already said a piece about what I thought of the script by Brad Buckner and Eugenie Ross-Leming. I had some issues, but they were minor, including some of the typical problems I have with the way this show treats non-Christian gods. I did enjoy the way the story played up how easy it was for Sam and Dean to fall back into their hunting teamwork while at the same time showing Sam's dissatisfaction and discomfort with the situation.

I loved Jensen Ackles' direction! His eye matures every time he takes it behind the camera, and I really want to watch the episode again when I have time to pick up the details. I loved what he did with the close-ups on the scene where Sam and Dean were reading the letters to Betsy; it reinforced the intimacy of the letters, and really drew attention to the change in tone when Brick realized he didn't want to outlive his love and go on alone – especially as that echoed the way the brothers themselves have felt. The only small bit that didn't quite work was more an artifact of the editing than the shooting, I think; the attack by Randa's henchmen was so quickly glossed that it didn't show clearly enough – at least on a single viewing – what happened to Sam to take him out of the fight so quickly and let both of the henchmen team up against Dean.


I enjoyed the performances by Patty McCormack as Eleanor and Kyra Zagorsky as Randa, particularly the moment when Randa revealed her contempt for the shy, timid girl she used to be; that was chilling. I still haven't seen enough of Liane Balaban as Amelia to make a judgment. I loved Jensen's Dean finding his comfort and ease in being back hunting in the car with Sam; I think it was the first time we've seen him truly relaxed since he came back from Purgatory, and I thought it very telling that his relaxation came from being on the hunt, not being at rest. I loved what Jared brought throughout the episode in displaying Sam's conflict, being glad to have Dean back but wanting not to be hunting any more. And I particularly loved his reaction to losing sight first of Amelia and then of Riot: his hunter reflexes and past losses were so close to the surface that their momentary absence clearly inspired immediate fears of something catastrophic and evil having happened. It's no wonder that his stunned disbelief on discovering his birthday picnic – so immediately evocative of Dean's wistful dream of Lisa in Dream A Little Dream Of Me – prompted Amelia to ask him teasingly if he'd never had a birthday cake before. We know he must have had cake, with Jessica if not before (I can't really see John having baked him one!), but that idyllic image was so far from what his imagination must have been painting that it would have been literally incomprehensible for a moment, and I thought Jared sold that well.

I was also very intrigued by the super-saturated color and brightness of Sam's flashback to Amelia, Riot, and the cake. The cinematography there played up how idealized and nearly unrealistic a vision of happiness that was, particularly as contrasted both with Sam's panic early in the scene and the gritty darkness of the framing scene in the car with Dean. I immediately flashed on the brightness and primary color palette used in Pushing Daisies, and wondered how much fantasy and wish fulfillment was actually at play in Sam's mind; where reality ended and wish began in that memory. Was any of that hallucination or dream-weaving, not reality? Was he coloring his memories in their best light, making them brighter and sweeter than they actually were? We still haven't seen everything that happened to Sam, and we don't know what elements are real; I'm waiting to see the rest before I leap to too many conclusions.

The bottom line of my view of Supernatural so far this season is that it really does all depend on your perception – on the vantage from which you (and Sam, and Dean) are viewing it, and the emotional lenses through which you're seeing it. Me, I'm very much appreciating it. I can't wait to accompany the brothers on their journey as the season continues.

And now I'm out of time!



# winmomwannabe 2012-11-02 18:49
I literally cried reading this. And a few tears are still falling. In my crude way I have eluded to what you wrote on a recent post. Regarding the boys coming from two different places. I could never quite get the right words to describe what I meant. You hit everything I have felt and sensed, but couldn't get out properly.

In my other post I referred to how I relate to Dean more because of helping to raise my 3 younger siblings with one parent as well. And I have always been the 'caretaker' in many ways besides in my family. I feel like I just came from therapy! Your comment about Dean defining himself and his self worth on being a caretaker and saving people hit me like ton of bricks! So spoke to me personally. Interestingly enough, I have always been in a 'helping' career and kind of maxed that out by now working at a domestic violence shelter. Wow, self analysis is telling.

Sorry to get so personal on this post. But this show sometimes rocks me to the core, and that's why I love it soooo much. The two J's just make it all so believable.
THANK you for this beautiful review. It just makes me love the boys more. Can't wait to hear what you have to say about Blood Brothers.
# Bardicvoice 2012-11-02 20:53
Never apologize for relating your personal life to the show, and thank you VERY much for coming and sharing. I am humbled and grateful that anything I wrote could be of help to you in something that matters much more than a show. As a caregiver, you ROCK; never forget that you're a hero in Dean's mould!

What with November being my last month on my EPA job while also leaping into my new career, I don't know how long it will take me to write up my commentary on Blood Brother, but I'll give you a sneak preview: I really loved it - story, direction, performances, and all! I had a few minor quibbles to address, as ever, but I found it compelling. Loved all the flashbacks, and how much backstory we learned. YES!
# eilf 2012-11-02 19:14
Bardicvoice thank you so much for this wonderful review. I also found your personal story interesting because I had to do something similar - a realization, after many years of trying, that my 'being there' in a complicated situation was not helping if I was both unhappy and not having a life of my own. My interaction with my family now that I live thousands of miles from them is so much more healthy and I find I can be of more support than less. So keep up what you are doing and good luck with your new career!
# Bardicvoice 2012-11-02 20:57
You are most welcome, and thank you very much! We all have to realize that our relationships will never be healthy unless we're being true to ourselves at the same time we're being true to others. I'm looking forward to Sam and Dean lancing the boils of their festering emotions and resentments so they both can heal, and become even closer than before as they win their way to honesty and true partnership.

Winchester brothers forever!
# eilf 2012-11-03 14:10
Absolutely :-) Keep up the good work!
# st50 2012-11-02 20:55
Thanks for a very interesting review, Bardicvoice. I enjoyed reading it, and it has given me much to think about. In the past three years, I have been in the caretaker role. First for my mother, and then for my father, and I have been resentful of my brother who, despite living thousands of miles closer, had not been present for them. I may have to revisit my feelings about that, as well. (sorry also for the personal tale)... Who'd have thought a little show like this would bring out the "thinky thoughts".
# Bardicvoice 2012-11-02 21:34
Thank YOU, and glad you enjoyed! The attraction this show has always had for me is its ability to inspire "thinky thoughts" - that's why I'm hopelessly addicted. :-)

It took a while for me to be able to put myself in my sister's shoes and understand how she viewed me, and why. Another personal note? When were were very little kids (she's 3 years and 1 week older than I am), I remember her being very angry with me because I didn't cry when our grandmother died. I couldn't explain to her then that I knew Busha (that's "grandma" in Polish) was still with each of us, even though she was physically gone. I could possibly do better now, but ... then again, maybe not. :) We're still very different.

I wish you well!
# st50 2012-11-02 23:14
"thinky thoughts"
Off topic, but does anyone know who coined that expression? I know it wasn't me, but I'm pretty sure it was on this site that I first read it, and I just love to 'borrow' it. :-) Who should I credit?
# Bardicvoice 2012-11-03 11:08
I don't know! Someone actually used it in a comment on one of my early Supernatural University posts over on the site back in the day when they had the community blog section over there, so it's been around for a number of years already. No idea who coined it, but I loved it from the first time I saw it! *grin*
# mer 2012-11-02 21:09
What a great review - you have it down to an art form! Please don't ever stop writing while Supernatural exists.
I love this show even more thanks to you!!
# Bardicvoice 2012-11-02 21:36
Thanks, Mer! I don't intend to stop. It still kills me that I wasn't writing commentary during season 7; I need to attend to that someday, when I can manage it!
# Amy 2012-11-02 21:52

This is a great review and thank you for seeing Sam has a right to his own wants, needs and desires...and it doesn't mean he needs or loves Dean less for them

I'm horribly depressed though because of Sam is to remain a lead charector it means he will have to give up his own wants, desires and needs to do so. I hate that Sam might be miserable but ...I dont wont to loose Sam and thus JAred.

Maybe if the writers actually gave Sam a friend within the Supernatural world (lets face it, Sam and Dean will never be friends even if their brotherly bond is restored) that he3 can talk to and connect with he might not be so miserable. And it would be good if Sam had someone to hang with who might share his interests when the boys have "personal' days.
# Bardicvoice 2012-11-03 11:32
The show has always given the brothers reasons to hunt, and I have every confidence that will continue. After all, this is a show about these two brothers, and there simply wouldn't BE a show if either of the brothers wasn't there! That's why the show did time jumps to leapfrog past Dean's year alone between seasons five and six and Sam's year alone between seasons seven and eight: there's no show if both aren't there. That said, I love the setup this season giving us glimpses of this past year in flashbacks, filling in both brothers' stories, because knowing what happened to each of them and what they experienced is crucial to understanding where their minds are now.

I'm suspecting we'll learn as the story progresses that Sam's non-hunting year wasn't as idyllic as the brightly colored memories we've seen so far seem to suggest. I think Sam needs to feel he's accomplishing things in order to be content; I think he's as driven by having to make a difference as Dean is driven by needing to save people and be needed, and figuring out a way to really matter is going to wind up bringing Sam back to hunting in earnest if only because there's no other way for him to have so big an impact.

Finding a purpose and dedicating yourself to it has been a recurring theme in this show, and I think it always will be. The real trick is finding a way to be happy in doing that, and that's something I believe Dean has always been better at than Sam if only because Dean - perhaps precisely because he lost nearly everything at a very formative point in his childhood - learned to be content and even happy with very little, so long as his brother and his father were there. Sam could always see how things could be better and wanted to make them improve; Dean, I think, was much more aware of how things could be worse, and focused instead on cherishing the good that he had.

That's my perspective, anyway!
# st50 2012-11-03 11:35
Nicely stated, Bardicvoice.
Sam's not going anywhere, and neither is Dean. Your second paragraph is spot on, imo. :-)
# Resh 2012-11-02 22:34
Aloha Mary,
Mahalo nui (thank you so much!) for writing this review, especially given how tight your schedule is just now with both jobs. I’ve always loved your reviews, they’re my absolute favorites in the fandom, so I’m thrilled you’re able to write your thoughts out & share them with us even in this somewhat shorter version.

You note that this ep sparked strong thoughts about “the parallels drawn by the case” to the Boys’ own journeys, recent and longer term. I, too, was really aware of that (often not too subtle) subtext in this ep, as well as in the next 2, especially in Blood Brother. Feels like we’re being set up to see some really deep internal conflict and attendant growth between the 2 bros this season, and who knows where they’ll wind up in the end? In any case, I agree with your thoughts here, and, like you, find this aspect truly deepens the ep for me.

I also find JA’s directing in this ep much more than just solidly professional – he’s beginning to play with light, shading, framing, & camera angle a lot more now, which I find exciting and smooth at the same time, the mark of a really good director, I think. I did find one scene to be of the type that is my least favourite, the long “tell, don’t show” scene where Betsy/Eleanor finally reveals the truth to the boys while they sit on her couch like lumps. But that’s a writer’s problem, not necessarily a director’s, and given the budget Show is given, I’m always surprised they do as well as they do.

I anxiously await your reviews of Bitten & especially BB, which I found LOADED with the very kind of textual, visual, and emotional subtext about Dean’s and Sam’s relationship and journeys that you write about here in terms of Heartache.

A hui hou (take care till next time),
# Bardicvoice 2012-11-03 11:35
Mahalo, Resh! I'm glad you enjoyed the review, and I agree with your comments both on the season story setup and on Jensen's directing. I'm going to be consistently late with my commentaries until January - live is just really, REALLY nuts right now - but I do promise they'll be coming!
# Lynx 2012-11-03 00:06
Another beautiful review Bardicvoice.
First, I do not think Sam is acting out of character. Second, I do not think Sam is being selfish. Third, I think we should all note that almost everything we have seen so far concerning Sam's choices after Dean's disappearance has been filtered through Dean's perceptions, not Sam's; we have a lot yet to learn about exactly what happened to Sam and inside his head, and we should neither prejudge Sam nor simply accept Dean's conclusions.
1) I don't think that Sam is OOC, but I would really like to see on screen a cannon explanation of why Sam didn't look for Dean. I am really sick of assuming stuff about Sam or having to come up with my own explanation of his behaviour.
2) I have never thought of Sam as selfish and I still don't (well, not any more so than anyone else in the world. Let's face it everyone can be a little at times ;-) )
3) I really wish we were getting more of Sam's POV!!
# Bardicvoice 2012-11-03 12:14
Technically, we're all selfish every time we choose to do what we want rather than putting someone or something ahead of what we'd prefer, but I don't see those choices as being bad. Parts of the fandom have often castigated Sam in particular for being selfish precisely because Dean cast Sam's choices and desires that way, since Dean saw himself as sacrificing for the family while Sam was going his own way. Dean kind of forgot, from being inside his own perspective, that even his own perceived self-sacrifice could have been viewed as selfish by someone who knew him well enough to know that Dean needed to be needed and derived self-worth through service. That sounds warped, doesn't it? *wry grin*

I think we're going to get more of Sam's POV, and maybe more of his explanation when the brothers have the inevitable fallout set up by the end of Blood Brother. I think this is going to be one epic spat, but it has to happen to clear the air between them.

That said, I also think some fans will never be willing to accept any rationale for Sam not having searched obsessively for Dean for at least a little while, simply because nothing short of obsessive search would ever feel satisfying and right to them. We don't want our heroes to ever simply give up, accept defeat as inevitable, and move on: it's not heroic in our eyes. We want them to strive, we need them to care, we expect them to win, and because of that we're unwilling to accept that sometimes, they - like we - are human, we break, and we accept the logic and the truth that says we have no way to win the thing we truly want and must learn to settle for something else.

We all lose people and things we can never get back. There are things we absolutely cannot change and cannot fix. We have to learn to accept that and move on. However, it's particularly hard to draw that line in a fantasy world where what's dead doesn't reliably stay dead and reality warps on a regular basis because we're conditioned to expect that our heroes will simply find another way to bend the rules just because they've always done so in the past. When they don't do it again, we cry foul - and that makes it a no-win situation for showrunners and writers because their attempts to inject reality are often rejected by fans who champion the fantasy, while their decisions to expand fantasy are denigrated by fans who resent convenient deus ex machina or magical solutions.

It's impossible to please everyone. I'm sorry for fans who are upset with the course the story has taken, but I'm still happy to have the quality of show that we've got, and I very much appreciate the challenge that confronts the creative team to find ways to keep the show fresh and involving and saying new and compelling things. I'm definitely on board for the ride!
# Sharon 2012-11-03 12:30
I think people are reacting the way there are because they know Sam and dont believe in any circumstance's he would give up he would at least do something .

I dont think any of us are stupid nor would we regard Sam has less heroic because he sought normal and some peace in his life but the rational people like yourself and others have put forward simply hasnt been enough to explain a altered shift in Sam it seems to me half the time we go from one extreme with Sam to another without very little pov and exploration inbetween.

I hope that future episodes do give us more and the confusion is cleared up for Sam's sake more than anybodys .
# Bardicvoice 2012-11-03 18:13
Thanks, Sharon. I think I appreciate your concern, but I'd ask that you look at my response to percysowner below; I went on at more length than I'm comfortable repeating!
# etheldred 2012-11-03 12:36
I think Dean's tendency to erase others around himself, even when he does it sacrificially, or out of guilt and self-loathing rather than arrogance or self-aggrandize ment, or does it for a good cause, like his current sense of mission which is making him oblivious to Sam's different stance, is a powerful and frightening theme of the show, so I'd agree that Dean's "selflessness" is not inherently good, and Sam's "selfishness" isn't inherently bad. They've both exercised their characteristics in ways that were admirable and in ways that were bad and destructive. Dean's decision to erase Lisa and Ben's memories was selfless, in a sense. It was a sacrifice for him. It was also a horrific violation of the autonomous personhood of others, an imposition of Dean's idea of what would be good for them that Dean had absolutely no right to make. Sam's decision to take on Lucifer and jump into the pit had a selfish aspect: Sam needed to be the one to put Lucifer back, Sam needed, for himself, to take responsibility for letting Lucifer out, even though that had been an unintentional outcome of his actions. Sam knew that what he was doing would be devastating for Dean, and he did it anyway. It was still an act of incredible courage and altruism. I'm quite on board with things not being black and white on the selfishness/sel flessness front, especially since I think both Sam and Dean, for reasons relating partly to their human upbringing and partly to their careers as cosmic pawns, both have very damaged senses of self, in completely opposite ways.

But what that translates to for me is that I'm fine with the conflict over hunting or not hunting, even though I am finding some aspects of both Sam's and Dean's behavior in the conflict unlikable. I'm afraid it doesn't do anything to help with the Sam not looking for Dean thing, which I still think is simply implausible and contradictory. I really hope that they don't decide that no explanation will satisfy everyone so they simply shouldn't explain, because that would be an incredible cop out.
# Bardicvoice 2012-11-03 18:16
Great points on Dean's "selfishness," and I think you're dead-on in that discussion. Neither of the brothers is in a position to throw stones!

On your concern about Sam's choice, I'd ask that you look at my response to percysowner below: I went off at length, and wouldn't feel comfortable repeating all that again!
# percysowner 2012-11-03 12:42
I have to say I would be much more comfortable with the Sam didn't search for Dean storyline if the writers would define what not searching for Dean consisted of. As it currently stands, Sam did nothing, not even call hospitals within a 100 mile radius to see if a guy matching Deans description had shown up injured and unconscious. They have said Sam never left one phone that he answered, so if Dean wasn't dead Sam would NEVER get the message. I don't need or want Sam to have searched obsessively. I want some indication that he made a minimal effort to find out if Dean was dead or alive on earth. I would like Sam to at least have taken the steps that survivors of Sandy might take to find missing family members, not just ride off into the sunset without lifting a finger. If they will just give me a crumb that same made a normal human effort to find Dean, that will be enough for me. That is my issue.
# Bardicvoice 2012-11-03 17:23
I think my problem with the widespread fan insistence on defining exactly how far Sam went before he stopped is simply this: how far would be accepted as far enough? That's a moving and variable target at best, and one I think ultimately impossible to hit. I think the fans who aren't inclined to accept what Sam already said - that he saw Dean disappear before his eyes with Dick and Castiel after stabbing Dick in the throat, and that he had no clues to follow and thought Dean was dead - wouldn't accept anything else as being enough, either.

For anything Sam said, I truly believe there would always be people saying, "But why didn't he ___?" - fill in the blank with whatever theoretical research approach comes up next. Consult psychics? Couldn't find any trace of him (after all, we've never had any indication that any psychic ever connected with anything in Purgatory). Well then, question demons? Crowley appeared alone among demons in even having figured out the existence of Purgatory, and only located the door when he and Castiel interrogated Purgatory native monster Dr Visyak; no demons ever evidenced any ability to see into it. So, ask angels? Castiel was the only angel who ever cared to answer human questions, and prayers to him were falling on deaf ears. Why not hit the books? Even assuming Sam leapt to the conclusion that Dean had been sucked into Purgatory with the dying Dick, the Winchesters and Bobby had spent two years searching desperately for information on Purgatory, and even with access to the Campbell family library, found vanishingly little information apart from Eve having created all monsters and vanished from Earth 10,000 years before and H.P Lovecraft having opened a door once. It took a conclave with Death himself to learn about Leviathan and the origin and nature of Purgatory. Summon Death? Not likely; Death warned that starting a spell to compel him would result in death before the spell was finished. Find a location spell able to detect Dean? See "hit the books" above. Call hospitals within a 100-mile radius? When nobody reports an unconscious man matching Dean's description, why not go to 200 miles, or 2,000, or 25,000? After all, Castiel had disappeared too, and might have gone anywhere in the world based on past experience.

I apologize if I sound snarky in this response, but my point is simply that I've seen people dismiss any rational explanation as unacceptable and insufficient because many fans insist that no rational response could ever justify or explain Sam's actions because he simply couldn't have stopped or not looked for Dean. And if people are convinced that nothing could have really caused Sam to stop looking because it's simply not in his character to give up, there's no explanation they're going to accept. And they're also going to insist that portraying Sam as having given up, as not having searched to the absolute limits of his ability, is going to show that the writers threw him under the bus and chose to portray him deliberately as being less sympathetic and less heroic than Dean. There's no way to win that argument, so I'm not even going to try.

I don't mean to be insulting, so please don't take this response that way. This isn't directed toward you, or any other individual. I'm just trying to make a point based on all the negativity I've seen - and that point is, this continuing argument presents a no-win situation for everyone. Sigh.
# Sharon 2012-11-03 17:39
Never the less it is how it is seen. Nobody looked for feeling that way and there never was going to be a easy response to the sl they came up with even they knew that.

I dont see Sam has being less heroic I just want to understand the story they are trying to sell with Sam and why yet again there seems to be contentious issues around him .
# st50 2012-11-03 17:43
I don't mind all the unease about the start of the season if we could all (including me) try to phrase it less negatively. That said.....
I really think (and perhaps I'm naive here) the whole point would be resolved if they showed us one flashback starting from the moment Dean and Cas vanished with Dick, from Sam's POV. ... Just how did he react from that moment??.... rather than leaving fans with either not knowing, or resorting to making things up on their own to explain his 'not looking'....
That may be the point they want to build on, though, so maybe they'll get to it later on.....I just with they'd show it, and stop making Sam such an enigma. Both boys are hurting so bad right now....
# percysowner 2012-11-03 19:09
And I actually agree that whatever effort Sam made would be criticized not only by fandom, but by Dean as well as not being enough. I am torn on the whole thing. What we are left with is the repeatedly pushed idea that Sam simply doesn't love Dean. Dean doesn't believe Sam does and Sam is left completely silent because Sam is ALWAYS completely silent. We are being given deep intense looks at Benny a new character. We are seeing Dean's travails in Purgatory. We have seen Kevin's struggles to escape the demons and save his mother. We are being shown nothing about Sam except he walked away, forgot all about his brother and could NOT care less that Dean isn't dead. And I'm at the end of my rope. So I hope for crumbs that will SHOW US what Sam went through as opposed to having to guess. Sadly, I expect this season to end with Sam the bad horrible brother and Benny and Cas the true brothers to Dean. And then I will probably be out.
# Lynx 2012-11-03 17:25
In my own mind, Sam didn't look for Dean because he was so mentally, physically and emotionally drained that he totally shut down and couldn't do anything but just survive, so I have no problem with him not searching. But... Once again I am making up my own story for Sam.

It fits with the little we have seen of Sam's story, but it's still just in my head and may not be what the writers are thinking so Sam's future responses to situations may be jarring to me. I will be looking at them coloured by my backstory for Sam rather than whatever backstory the writers have in mind.

I found Sam a little too cheerful and well adjusted in his flashbacks in Blood Brothers to fit with my theory which left me wondering again what backstory the writers are working with.

Whatever the real story is I want to see it played out on screen, explicitly not just subtle innuendos, so that I understand where Sam is coming from and why he's responding to situations the way he is.

I know that the writers can't please everyone and I really don't want them to change stories based on what fans want (that'd be just awful :-) ). I just want to actually see Sam's story, whatever it is. We may get it later in the season, and if we do I'll be grateful, but at this stage I'm left with my own explanation.

All of that said, I'm enjoying this season and I'm defintely on board for the ride too :-)
# Mieke 2012-11-03 00:43
Interesting review and one that without histrionics lays out the direction the season seems to be taking. I appreciate that. I for one have a big issue with some of the choices made by Sam. In fact I believe that the decisions he made were selfish. I myself faced some choices this past year that, like yours, involved a terminally ill parent, distance and siblings. Was I selfish in some of the choices I made? That i did not choose to make certain sacrifices my siblings did make? I think the answer has to be a resounding "yes". I made those decisions based on, arguably justifiable, self interest, factoring in many things such as children, logistics, money etc. I don't believe however that making those "selfish" choices is inherently wrong or that the choices my siblings made are inherently right. My other and biggest issue with your premise is that if what you write is true, that the brothers have matured to the point of not needing each other, should just be leading different separate lives etc. the show is simply over. It would mean that the journey has come to a very anticlimactic, boring, dead end. That is exactly what I have been feeling with great dread as I watch season 8 unfold, the death of the essential story of Sam and Dean. They may as well pack it up now. Dean hunts, Sam has his normal life. The End. The essential conflict that drove the story all these years is exactly the fact that neither could have what they desired, whether through outside manipulations by demons or by internal circumstances. The myth-arc of seasons 1-5 hinged on the fact that we the viewer were on a journey of discovery along with the characters of a hidden story of destiny, manipulation and ultimate sacrifice that we did not even know we were on until it all unfolded. Only then did we discover the true depth and foreshadowing. Once this essential conflict is removed, there is no more tension, no more story. I am not interested in: Sam the romantic college years and Dean, hunting on his own, visiting his brother for the holidays. That is the stuff of happy ending fan fiction to be written after cancelation. I was very excited for the reboot of the show, thought that season 7 had written the characters into a depressing corner, but now I feel as if I am grieving a loss. Feel as if the essential core and soul of Supernatural, the story of two brothers is irretrievably lost. Not because I disagree with your premise, but because I very very much fear that you are right.
# Bardicvoice 2012-11-03 13:00
I can appreciate your concern, but I don't share it because I really don't believe the show is going in the direction you fear. I do think the writers are allowing Dean and Sam to mature beyond the unhealthy, abnormal co-dependence that chained them together in the past, but I don't believe that will result in them going their separate ways and living separate lives. Something at which this show has always excelled is setting up situations that let the brothers discover their own reasons and motivations for doing what they needed to do, including staying together, and that self-discovery let them break the mold of what they had been programmed to do by angels, demons, and others intent on staging the apocalypse.

But how they get to that self-discovery this time is the story they - and we - need to live through, and that takes time and comes through conflict. We've been getting the essential set-up so far, slowly learning and hopefully understanding what their very different experiences of the past year have done to shape their current outlook and perceptions. Long apart under intense circumstances, they need to adjust to the ways in which they're both different, to how they've learned to function independently, and forge a new partnership that plays up their various new strengths. And I think they're going to do it this time not because they've been trapped into it by circumstance or the behind-the-scen es machinations and manipulations of monsters, but because they choose to, because it's going to serve a goal they both want. And because it's going to be their choice, I think it's going to make their brother bond stronger than ever, but psychologically healthier and better balanced than it's been up to now.

Mind you, I don't know how that all might evolve. Right now, Dean's running on a post-Purgatory hypercharge while Sam's grasping at the aggressively normal life he's always dreamed of but only briefly (and imperfectly) had. Both of them are united only by the one goal that seems to offer both of them the promise of what they want: closing the gates of Hell to banish all demons forever feeds into Dean's adrenaline-fuel ed ultimate hunter revenge kick while tantalizing Sam with the idea that he could escape being drawn back into more demon wars.

But there's no way that's going to be a goal that's easy to achieve, and it may not truly offer the finality it seems to promise now. And what the brothers are actually fighting for and why may not be what we think we've seen so far. There's still more than we've seen to Dean's actions in Purgatory, and if Sam's normal life with Amelia was so bright and satisfying, why was he walking out the door in the middle of the night with Amelia feigning sleep and not calling him back?

I firmly believe that as we learn more, we're also going to see the brothers gradually growing back together, finding their way to a more adult, equal partnership as they also learn more about each other, themselves, and what they truly want and need. I have hope that this story is actually going in a sustainable and compelling direction that will be fueled by intricate character development.

On your selfishness discussion: point taken. We're all selfish every time we make a choice based on what we desire or believe rather than putting another's desires or needs ahead of our own. I really wanted to make the point that Sam was being no more or less selfish than Dean or anyone else, and that no one is entitled to judge another's choices without having lived their life. *olive branch*

I hope you may feel more hopeful and happy as the season progresses!
# Resh 2012-11-03 13:46
While I certainly understand (and can empathize) with Mieke's concerns, I tend to share your longer and more pragmatic view, Mary, about where the writers are taking us with this storyline. I sense there's something much deeper going on with Sam than he's shown us thus far; and I think that when we finally see how Dean & Benny escaped purgatory, we'll see that it wasn't as straight-forwar d as some of the p-scenes we've been shown might suggest.

Mostly, I have faith 1) that the ride will continue to be interesting, 2) that we're actually being given hints along the way that contest the boy's over-narrative to each other (including the super-saturated colors of Sam's memories), and 3) that when we do finally learn all of what each did during their year apart, we'll discover -- as I, like you, expect the characters will -- that Dean & Sam have some very good reasons to go on hunting, and hunting together, regardless of how much pain it causes them or they cause each other along the way.

Essentially, I'm along for the whole ride -- till the Impala (yeah, Baby's back!!) runs out of gas or she goes over that great Grand Canyon cliff-in-the-sky.
# etheldred 2012-11-03 14:01
RE: Sam's "aggressively normal" life

Actually, something that I am liking a whole lot about the way the Amelia story is playing out is that this is a very, very different take on normal than what we've had before. Sam dreamed of normal as a kid, when it was something he'd never had, and went to try for it at Stanford. There was a normal life that was outside him that he tried to join, and Jess was part of that world. And there's a quite similar thing with Dean and Lisa: he didn't know her at all well before 5.22, and when he literally dreamed of normal with her in DaLDoM, she was standing in for a kind of life of which Dean saw her as a part.

But Amelia is very different. We've now seen Sam have a very similar dream of her as representing normal, but that was after their relationship. When he meets her, she's not part of a normal life that he's going to move into from the outside. She's as adrift and estranged from normal as he is, and the life they're going to have later is something they are both going to be building amid the ruins. It's a very different dynamic. For once, normal is going to be something Sam built rather than something already out there that he longed for and tried to join, and Amelia isn't going to be the native inhabitant of the normal realm, but on equal footing with him.

I really like that, but it does make it seem like it would be harder in some ways to give up. We know from Sam in Skin and Dean in s6 that neither of them really felt quite at home in the normal they moved into and tried to inhabit, but I can see why Sam feels much solider with a normal that he got to collaboratively create.
# Bardicvoice 2012-11-03 18:30
Nice points, and I agree! When I made the "aggressively normal" comment, I was thinking about how real (despite the gloriously colored idealism of the shooting!) the very imperfections of Sam's connection with Amelia made their relationship seem. They so did NOT connect at first, and yet ... wound up connecting. I liked the sense that Sam and Amelia built what they wound up having, even though their amateur carpentry produced a lopsided and unstable building. There was a reality to that ... :)
Mieke T
# Mieke T 2012-11-03 20:24
Thanks for the olive branch :) Not needed, but appreciated. I think we are both in a demographic that is forced to think about sacrifice and selfishness a lot. We are often squeezed between career, children and elderly ailing parents and find ourselves in a "selfless" state, most often not by choice.

I feel I have to clarify that I am not so naive to think that the current story as it seems to be playing out will literally and physically separate the brothers. I am certain that the writers and PTB will come up with plenty of things for them to hunt together as long as the CW keeps renewing the show. Rather, I feel that the current storyline, as I observe and you lay out, is the metaphorical, emotional equivalent of that separation. I feel it is the essential death and end of the mythological bond between the brothers. If the relationship becomes mature, adult, healthy, equal and therefor in essence separate, I believe it to be the equivalent of a "happy ending", the equivalent of the Moonlighting effect, the consummation of Maddie and David's romantic tension and also the end of the show as I know and love it.

I do believe, as many others seem to, that the fact that we have to fill in so many blanks for Sam's motivation is part of what drives the frustration. I am perfectly willing to be patient and wait out the story development, but from what I have seen so far from the story line, previews, spoilers, analysis (including yours), interviews with Carver, Bob Singer, writers and Jared himself, I am NOT optimistic that it will lead to anywhere other than where you predict it to go. It seems that, simply put, Sam met a girl (with issues), got a dog and a taste of a "normal" life. I am not so sure I am all that interested in that story line, if it is not connected to Dean in any way (grief, regret, fear, love, coping). I think THAT is what it comes down to for me. I don't need to see that Sam searched for Dean to a, to me, satisfactory degree, I need to see that Sam's journey is CONNECTED to his brother's. That it was somehow informed by his sense of loss, grief, panic, love, his CONNECTION to his brother. It is THAT connection that I do not feel in the intentions of the story and it is THAT loss that I am grieving. I grieve it because I feel it is not recoverable by simply forging a new, healthy, mature relationship between Sam and Dean. I am not saying that I need their dysfunction, because I think it is not their dysfunction that informs their relationship and therefor the show, I think it is their connection that does so.

And then there is the logical part of me. The part that thinks that the rationale for Sam not looking for Dean AT ALL that is being repeated over and over is just not reasonable, purely from a consistent script writing point of view, not from a distressed fan one: Sam thought Dean was dead (for all he knew he was zapped to the other room), he had no resources (he had more than when he brought Dean back to the future in Time After Time), he was alone (except that he had Jody Mills, Garth, Crowley who he knows how to summon, other hunters etc). Even filling in all kinds of emotional plot holes cannot get me to Sam turning off all his phones.

I so appreciate your thoughtfulness and your and others' willingness to take this seriously and discuss it at such a deep emotional level. I am not happy either with the fan wank, the Sam-hate and the nastiness that seems to be out there. But I have been feeling real distress, even when I keep reminding myself this is just a television show. I am actually experiencing a real sense of loss and am very grateful to have people, like you in this fandom who will still listen to me express my feelings and will take the time to answer in a caring, intelligent manner. Thank you and thanks to the SPN Family from the bottom of my aching heart.
# Reetu 2012-11-03 12:27
Hi Bardicvoice rerading your review after long time and really it made me think over my frustration over teh show- i really liked how you parralled it with you life and at some level i am also in teh same position thous younger in my family i somehow relate with Dean's caretaker role and my elder sister relate more to Sam (its not like he is not caring but Deans whole character revolves around it)...its another thing that i am more of a "Sam girl" and my sister more of a Dean girl but i love the brothers equally. This is whr despite your post which left me reeling in thinky thoughts i am still wondering what is happening with my brother.
I see no connect btw them, i understand the whole different perspecting and understaning that for one another but what i want is little more concern and care that was ther thru-out S1-S5 and also in S6...I am terribly terribly missing that. Dean coming after 1 yr from P and i dont the kind of concern/care i wanted to see- maybe this is my expectation but in general if i see i dont see them taking abt each others past experience- i hopelessly hope that there must be something writers are keeping for future but if its just another case of sweep it under rug and move on in the name of charcater growth over the time kind then i will be highly dissatisfied--I need them to discuss, show anger and all that- maybe that wont be mature on the part of two grown up men but for me they are bonded by "deep eternal love" which i want to see again even if they have different desires...

Again i loved your post immensely..i am not a good writer- cant put to papers wht i have in my mind but your post made me happy to think abt my show in whole new different direction..Keep writing:)
# Bardicvoice 2012-11-03 18:04
Thanks, Reetu!

I am emphatically bi-bro - I love both Dean and Sam with all my heart - and all I can say is, I still see the love and caring between them. They're both hiding things from each other, as they always have - but at least now, they seem able to talk about it a bit more without automatically shutting down or pushing it off as they've done in the past. They're fighting, but they're doing more of it together than they did when they were younger. That actually encourages me and leads me to believe they will share their secrets with each other sooner rather than later, and may even be able to hear each other as they often didn't before. They used to use the same words but mean different things sometimes; they're more grown-up now, I think, and will attain honesty better when they share.

I get the feeling you'll see them discussing issues directly and showing plenty of direct anger in the aftermath of Blood Brother! And I do think they are bonded by a brother love that will endure through and in despite of any storms. :)
Jennifer K
# Jennifer K 2012-11-03 14:16
Great review! This was spot on and should be required reading for all fans who are spewing hate for the storyline and Sam's reaction to Dean's disappearance.
# Bardicvoice 2012-11-03 18:05
Thanks, Jennifer! I hope folk might be willing to keep open minds and open hearts ... :)