I have a confession,I'm as much a fan of Ben Edlund as I am anyone else associated with this show. This is not to say I have pictures of him around my room, I don't,but I'm not adverse to the idea. Would I like to meet him? Yes. Have a photo with him? Yes. Spend some time in a panel with him? Hellz yes! Have my favourite quote from my favourite episode of his tattooed on my arm,erm,yes, actually, that one's done and dusted. Ben is a creative individual. A writer and an artist with a mind that darts and leaps from one idea to the next, sometimes making it back to finish a thought, sometimes not. He inspires me in my creative endeavours and makes me want to be better at what I do. Whether it's trying to write a novel, writing these reviews, writing a 30 second script or telling a story with pictures to try and get an audience to tune into a movie or a show. Creative people inspire my creativity and Ben is one hell of a creative. So yeah, I like his scripts. If we add into that Guy Bee, who as a seasoned TV director is very good at story telling, accompanied with inventive yet unobtrusive camera work and a knack for action, you have a duo that seldom misses a beat. And that's just what we got with "Blood Brother". The other wonderful thing about these two is their understanding that you can tell a story without words, that not everything has to be laid out in dialogue and a lot of what isn't said fills the gaps for what is. They also have an innate appreciation of the talent of the actors performing their scenes and their ability to deliver. They simply let them do the work.

"Blood Brother" was an excellent example of a finely tuned "Supernatural" episode. A story that never stopped moving, developed the arc central to the key relationships and gave us a nuanced character study that informed us of the headspace these characters are currently living in.

We got quite a few flashbacks in "Blood Brother" and for me these have been the most seamlessly integrated of the season so far. The first flashback to Purgatory was simply stunning. The ramping of the slomos, the black and white flash transitions, the eerie whistling. It felt like a fractured memory. It was nicely shot and beautifully edited. The edit on that initial Purgatory flashback was masterful.

These flashbacks to Dean's time in Purgatory helped us to understand his relationship with Benny and why he stands by him so steadfast. Benny proved himself in battle, not just by looking out for Dean's back, but also Dean's friend Castiel. He saved Castiel and I suspect that happened more than once and this was even though he knew the Angel drew the monsters and even though he knew Dean and his chances of making it out alive, were lessened by the presence of the Angel. This would have gone a long way with Dean. Loyalty is very important to him. He's not leaving his Angel friend behind and now he's seen a monster, which you could tell he was still treading somewhat carefully around, also pledging his loyalty to Dean by this act of friendship to Castiel.

One of my favourite moments in the Purgatory scenes was when Dean, exasperated, tried to make peace between Benny and Cass. Who else found themselves thinking of a similar moment when Dean tried to make peace between Sam and John? It seems no matter what Dean goes through and no matter where he finds himself those traits remain. I've always got the sense that he simply can't handle it when the people he cares about don't get on. It all boils down to his need for a family, in whatever form that takes. He doesn't want them to fight, he has so few people, he needs them all to get on, because he wants them to be around him. It was an amusing scene but it kind of made me sad, because I thought, geesh this never ends for him.

It was great to see Cass being Cass once again. Smiting like a ninja, making off the wall (yet relevant) comments about the metaphysics of Purgatory and not getting the Aunt joke. I'm thankful that crazy, comic relief Castiel seems to be a thing of the past. He was always most amusing and endearing when he was funny in spite of himself. Not because he was saying or doing something funny, but because he wasn't and yet still was. He's an Angel. I feel like he should be treated with a degree of respect. I never liked the drinking a liquour store or the kissing Meg,it just seemed, forced. By simply not understanding the reference, you're reminded who he is and what he is without making him seem less, if you know what I mean. I hope that when he's back in the land of the living again, this Cass remains. I liked Purgatory Cass. I'm looking forward to finding out why he never made it out with Benny and Dean.

Benny of course was right, Dean could have dumped his soul in any grave, or in a bin, or a river, or a drain or whatever really, but that wouldn't be Dean. Monster or otherwise, he made a promise to someone who became a friend and he loyally followed through on it. Like Benny said "You and that whole friend thing, man." It's one of my favourite Dean traits, that loyalty, that heart and I'm so happy to see, no matter what he goes through, no matter how much he's hurting, that remains intact.

His friend needed him and he went to his side. Should he have told Sam? Yeah of course. Would he? No, of course not! The brothers are great at keeping secrets from each other. Let's not forget, they were raised to keep secrets. But it's more about knowing each other so well that they know the other will be pissed and they don't want to face that or deal with that. It's true for both of them, not just Dean. Both are guilty of sweeping something under a rug rather than bring it out into the open. It's easier to do that, than face the ire of your brother and probably the fact that you're definitely wrong and have to slog it out with someone who knows you better than you know yourself. As hair-pulingly frustrating as that is for us, it always amuses me because avoiding confrontation is such a human thing to do and the brothers are experts at it, even though it always bites them in the ass.

I liked seeing Dean's friendship with Benny. That there really is a sense of camaraderie and not just duty when it comes to this unlikely ally. Benny doesn't get Dean's humour anymore than anyone else. The whole Vampirates thing was fantastic. "It's like the third thing you say." "No,it isn't." Dean's face! No one gets Dean's humour! (It's ok Dean we get it and love you for it). I also thought, Dean is spouting off stuff about the Zone Diet and Fabio and I'm quite sure Benny has no idea about any of that either, but he didn't flinch, that made me like him even more. Everyone just kind of tolerates Dean's bizarre pop culture references. Oh and Dean pocketing the money,looking over his shoulder. Bless! Little moments like that were priceless. And I need to say,Dean in the vampire's nest, was BAD ASS! Oh gosh,.I know he has issues and I know part of his gruffness and inability to deal with anything is all part and parcel of his time in Purgatory and it's not healthy and all that, but give me this Dean any old day. Sure he needs balance,.but oh my, Dean wielding that knife is one sexy mo-fo.

I think it was no coincidence that the conversation about Benny's history happened in the Impala. It's also no coincidence that Benny's story parallels Sam's as well as Sam and Dean's. "˜Born' into a family where you didn't question the life, with a father who ran the ship with an iron fist, who kept his family together but apart from the rest of the world.  Who does that sound like? Benny was part of this life until he met a woman, until he found "it". This could be Sam's story with Jess, but it could also as easily be Sam's story with Amelia. In the Impala is probably where Dean hears the best. Whether it's the familiar surrounds or what, but that car has experienced some of the most profound conversations of Sam and Dean's life, so to have Benny relay this very familiar story in this environment, hopefully will spark something in Dean to make him think. Dean can be a great listener, but only when it's something he wants to hear, because if it's too painful for him to think about, like Sam wanting to move on, which to Dean means Sam not wanting him, he's just not going to hear it until he's made to hear it.

Of course the other possible parallel to Sam was Benny's memory of Andrea. He remembered their love; he remembered their romance, who they were together. He had romanticised her and it helped him get through Purgatory. He thought she was dead, but she wasn't. She was a monster now too. Those sunny memories of happiness and love were just that, memories. He couldn't go back, that life didn't exist anymore. I wonder if this is foreshadowing what's to come for Sam, what he must face and what he'll eventually realise? I wonder if this is why Sam's flashbacks are golden and shiny.

I adored Sam's flashbacks in this episode. I loved to see how he was trying to get by, being a handyman and even though he was so alone, he was still Sam, paying attention to people, making a point of getting to know the kid at the hotel. He's always been great with people. Where his brother is the slightly abrasive one, Sam's the empathetic one, the one who connects,though Dean's pretty good when it comes to connecting with a chick. He knows how to work it then.

I keep reading that people think Sam is being written unsympathetically this season, but man, I am so way over the other side of the room on that one. This is probably the most sympathetic I've felt for Sam in a long time. Now, before you rip me a new one, I'm not saying I haven't been sympathetic towards Sam in the past, I have, as much as you all see me as a rampant Dean girl, I love Sam too, but this is the first time in a long time that the Sam we're dealing with is a very human Sam, enduring very human emotions. There's no visions, demon blood, Lucifer, soullessness, broken wall crazy hanging over his head. Sam, for the first time since season 3 is simply Sam and he's dealing with everything that's passed, with no supernatural intrusions.

I said a couple of weeks ago that the detachment we're seeing in his character towards his brother and their life together, for me, felt like fear. He's scared to get close, scared to completely let Dean in, scared to fall back into their old ways because he's terrified of losing his brother, terrified to go through losing everything and everyone again and all the pain that brings.

This is a man who saw his brother ripped to shreds by invisible dogs, shot in the chest, hit by a car, he cradled Dean as he died in his arms at least 4 times that we saw. We often talk about how Sam means everything to Dean. Dean has said it himself, "Watching out for you... it's kinda been my job, you know? But more than that, it's... it's kinda who I am". We've accepted that Sam is Dean's number one. No matter who else may cross Dean's path, his brother is an intrinsic part of his physiology and that will never change. But what we forget and often don't discuss is that for Sam, Dean is all he knows. Sam was at loggerheads with an absent father whom he wound up being estranged from. For Sam, the one person, the one constant in his life, has always been Dean. His older brother raised him and was there for him, loving him ferociously from before Sam could even remember. Sam may not have the outward franticness to his love that Dean sometimes appears to have, but that doesn't mean he doesn't feel his love as deeply. He even said in "The French Mistake" when Dean, tentatively suggested that the fake world of Jared Padalecki was better than Sam's reality, no, "We're not even brothers here man."

Now picture this, the one person whom you've spent your whole life looking up to, trusting and relying on, is killed over and over in front of your eyes. Then, just as you're getting your wits back together, after the latest supernatural abomination perpetrated against you, that person disappears to parts unknown and you're left alone, well and truly alone. Surely that would traumatise Sam. I imagine him spending the ensuing days, weeks, months, reliving that and every other nightmare him and his brother suffered through, agonising over every dreadful scenario that Dean may now be experiencing. Then, after a year, when he's obviously still struggling to find his feet in this strange, new world, poof,his brother miraculously returns and wants to hit the road. Go back to their old life, the life which has caused Sam untold pain and which could once again mean death and loss.

The Sam we saw looking for Amelia on the bridge, the Sam we saw raging at Dean, angry with his brother for keeping secrets and taking risks, racing to his brother's aid with his foot pressed hard against the accelerator, is a Sam unhinged by fear. I look at him and think, oh man; he's scared out of his wits, he's scared he's going to have to relive all that torment again. Sam is breaking my heart in two. I want to sit next to him and hold his hand and tell him, everything is going to be all right. I no longer see detachment; in fact I see the opposite. I see a love so powerful that it's making him frantic at the thought of losing it again, of the pain of losing that one constant in his life, the pain of losing Dean. Sam, you make me hurt. Unsympathetic my epic ass.

All of this is also why I don't have an issue with the whole not looking for Dean thing, even if Dean does,which obviously, being Dean, he would. Sam has seen the consequences of their continual need to sacrifice themselves for each other and the world. He's seen the catastrophic ramifications both cosmically and personally. He's lived through it. Even if he had a clear idea of where Dean was and how to bring him back, who's to say that wouldn't start some crazy new cycle like the Apocalypse part-deux, who's to say that Dean wouldn't come back damaged,like you know, soulless or worse, who's to say that retrieving Dean wouldn't be part of some bigger evil scheme that the brothers have been unwittingly sucked into and more importantly, who's to say Dean wasn't in Heaven and pulling Dean back would rip him away from somewhere he'd finally found peace? Sam didn't know. So in amongst dealing with the sudden loss of the person that's anchored him his whole life, in amongst dealing with a mental clarity that he's not had for a while, that allows him to think about all the tragedy that's befallen him and his brother because of this life they were raised in, he's also got the possible weight of the world and all it's inhabitants crushing him and the possibility that dragging his brother back to earth wouldn't be the best option for Dean or maybe even humanity. 

There is a natural order, the brother's have said, "Screw it" over and over and have been smacked in the face for their troubles. When do you learn? When do you look at the big picture and go, um, I gotta stop messing with this stuff because every time I do, something worse happens. I'm not seeing anything here that doesn't feel like Sam and quite frankly, I'm falling head over heels in love with Sam all over again this season. I love me nothing more than a damaged, flawed hero (hence the whole Dean thing), and this Sam, with all his humanity is just so beautiful to me. It's a problem I have, I know,.but this is a 100% human Sam, dealing with human emotions and showing, once again, how achingly human he is. Sam is going through a deep emotional struggle and I'm there with him every step of the way.

I even warmed a little to Amelia in this episode. When Sam astutely pointed out she was alone, you saw that guard drop. You realised that bitchy front was to keep people like him at bay. Incredibly tall, handsome, serial killer types! In that one moment you saw how they came together, out of a common pain. Like people who find each other through shared trauma. Kind of like Benny and Dean. I'm pretty sure I said this a couple of weeks ago too, there's a symmetry between the relationships that the brothers worked into their lives in each other's absence.

And those brothers were my absolute favourite part of this episode. Their bickering was fantastic. I'm weird I guess, because I don't look at them and see them drifting apart, I look at them and see them desperately trying to cling to being together.

You don't bicker at each other that much if you no longer care. You don't question where someone is going if you don't care if they go. You don't go to text them because they're the first person you think of, if they're no longer important to you "“ even if you don't go through with it. You don't freak out all over the place and rush to their side; because you think they're in trouble if you don't want to have a relationship with them. You don't ring them when you need help, even though it means facing a situation you know is going turn ugly, if you didn't trust them above everyone else and in fact, if you didn't want them to know your secret. Dean nearly text Sam he wasn't alone but changed his mind, but in the long run, he made the call even though he knew the outcome. I think it was his way of bringing Sam in, without having to tell him.

I loved every single conversation Sam and Dean had. From the Kevin Tran bitchiness from Sam, which was epic, "Well he was in advanced placement" to the phone conversations; "You don't know him, he's a friend," "A friend? Dean you don't have any, all your friends are dead" "It's not what I called to talk about!" And then the, "I get the separate lives thing, but this is a hunting thing." "Oh God, stop talking." Each moment was beautifully written and beautifully performed and felt like a true and honest representation of a couple of siblings driving each other crazy. I know they're frustrated with each other, not the first time, I know they're hiding stuff, not the first time, but nothing in this episode made me think they're drifting apart or trying to get away from each other, just that they're trying to figure it out, figure themselves out, each other out, their duoness out, in amongst all the damaged, because let's not forget the most obvious thing here, they're damaged, both of them, deeply, by what they've gone through over the past year. Of course there's going to be emotional fallout.

Then there was that final scene. I replayed it over and over and over. The brothers don't have to speak. One look and they both know what the other is thinking. Dean was stoic, because he knew Sam would figure it out, he just stood firm and watched. Sam figured it out and his first move was that of a hunter. He may have been out of the life for a year, he may say he doesn't want it anymore, but there he was, at his brother's side with his hand reaching for his knife because he knew there was a monster standing in front of him. But one small head shake from Dean and he stopped. He gave his brother the benefit of the doubt, even though a mask of anger clouded his face. It was beautiful. Beautifully written, shot, edited and performed. This scene was made by a group of people at the top of their game. As is this show. This no longer feels like a genre show about a couple of ghost hunting bros, that's housed on a small youth skewed network, this feels like a grown up drama that would be able to sit on any network. It's mature and gritty and challenging and heartbreaking and I LOVE IT. I'm sorry; I know I sound like a broken record, but season 8 man, its some good TV.

Of course I want Sam and Dean to find some happiness together, I want them to be cool with sitting next to each other in the Impala riding the backstreets, joking and teasing, but I also recognise them to be men in their thirties who have changed and grown together and I'm good with that, in fact I'm enjoying it. I'm enjoying seeing them traverse each other's emotional minefield to try to get back what they, in reality, haven't had for a very long time. That's the thing about Sam and Dean, they never stop trying, they never give up on each other, they never give up on being brothers. No matter how much they fight, no matter often they walk away from each other; they find their way back, because they want to. At their core, they want to be together. No matter what Sam is saying, look at what he's doing. No matter who Dean is friends with, look at who he stays with.

To be honest, and I'm going to be honest here,because, well, you're all usually pretty nice to me, so here goes,. The only thing I am finding difficult to endure in season 8 is the division in the fans. I'm finding myself being deeply affected by it, to the point where for two weeks running, I've considered not writing up an episode, not because the feedback from my readers is negative and not because anyone is ever mean, everyone is great, but because it hurts my heart to see people who I know love the show, feeling so much sorrow for it, when I'm getting so much enjoyment from it. Losing faith in a show can be painful and I'm sad for the people feeling this now, because I know how frustrating that can be. I guess I'm like Dean; I want my family to get along. But as I keep saying, we all look at things differently, we all bring different things to the table, have different expectations and take different things away and that's great, because we're diverse and creative and smart (sounds like I'm big-upping myself)! So, I'll keep writing and I'll keep sharing my ideas and insights for whatever it's worth, even though I know that some of you probably think I'm some rose coloured glasses, buckets of crazy optimist!

Next week, I'd say Sam and Dean are going to deal with the aftermath of the Benny thing. Hey, at least they're talking.

Until next time Supernatural family.
-sweetondean

Comments  

Sharon
# Sharon 2012-11-03 07:20
I do admire your optimism but has I said on another thread . Sam not looking for Dean was bound to become a bone of contention it was inevitable.

Personally I wish they hadnt gone there at all but I dont decide the sl's .
aelaine
# aelaine 2012-11-03 07:28
New member here, just wanted to say I Love Your take on SPN episodes! I agree 100%, I am loving this season so far. I think the story will play out to everyone's satisfaction soon. Looking forward to more reviews, I take each episode for what it is and have enjoyed must all of them and have re-watched from pilot on several times since I discovered it 2 years ago while home sick on TNT ! Love this site, thank you Alice for making it!
Kim
# Kim 2012-11-03 07:30
I often get 'accused' of seeing the show through rose-coloured glasses, because I see exactly the same as you see. It's why yours is one of the very few reviews that I read, week after week. It validates the way I feel about the show and the characters. And, as a Sam girl, I have always seen things from his point of view, often finding myself defending him to those who have seen him as needy or whiney.

So, I thank you for your frankness, and for coming to love Sam all the more. I've loved him from day one, but find myself tumbling head over heels all over again.

I also want to acknowledge the pure talent of the entire crew on this ep. Ben's writing, Guy's direction, Serge's photography, everyone who had a hand in putting this ep together, as well as the brilliant actors. TV at its finest.
JoRuth
# JoRuth 2012-11-03 07:38
Thank you. Thank you. For saying everything I would want to say if I was writing for this site.
anonymousN
# anonymousN 2012-11-03 07:49
Quote:
He’s an Angel. I feel like he should be treated with a degree of respect.
If Cas was a angel in our world then i would have agreed
anonymousN
# anonymousN 2012-11-03 07:51
Quote:
This is a man who saw his brother ripped to shreds by invisible dogs, shot in the chest, hit by a car, he cradled Dean as he died in his arms at least 4 times that we saw.
This was before season 4 .People (many) did not sympathize or understand then so i have no hope that they will now.
Nancy K
# Nancy K 2012-11-03 08:04
Truly fantastic summary! Thanks for sharing ur talent and gift of insight into this show and characters.
Annaliese
# Annaliese 2012-11-03 08:08
Fantastic recap as usual Amy!

As always you and I always seem to be on the same page and view things in a very similar light.

Please don't ever stop writing!
Smithie Parrish
# Smithie Parrish 2012-11-03 08:18
I love your take on this show. I don't think anybody has a better understanding of the depth of character than you do. Please don't stop writing and telling us exactly what you think.
I really like your take on Sam this season. People debate Sam and his motives and feelings every season and I think it's because the character is both written and played very subtly at times. Often we don't really see Sam's motivation right away except through those subtle clues. Fans who are impatient get upset with Sam. This week we finally saw Sam's emotions boil to the surface. I love it!
I'm with you. I loved the brotherly bickering. It shows the depth of their love for each other. In many ways they are two halves of a whole. As Dean observed, they make each other human.
Loved that Amelia finally got to show something other than bitchyness and loved that it was more in her face than her words. I'm looking forward to seeing more of the Sam/Amelia story as it develops. I will say, I'd like to see at least a little of Sam immediately after Dean's disappearance and before meeting Amelia.
The ending couldn't have been better. Nothing but looks between Sam and Dean. Words would have been so much less effective.
This is the first time I've commented, but I love to read your reviews. Keep it up!
Ginger
# Ginger 2012-11-03 08:22
Lovely review.

I'm only going to comment a little bit to say I share your view of Sam. I'm very happy to be feeling Sam again after so many years of simply not caring for the character.

I share your despair of the fan fighting. I'm skimming the comments on this site now, because I've just had it with the Sam despair.

I share your view on this episode. It was excellent in both the acting and the production aspects.

And I share your admiration of Ben Edlund. I absolutely admire creative genius and I admire people who are exceptionally talented at their craft, like Guy Bee.

Keep on truckin', woman. I love your positive enthusiasm for the show. I may not always agree, but the loving vibes always come through.
Katiki
# Katiki 2012-11-03 11:02
And I'm sure if they were writing Dean as deserting Sam, Cas and Kevin without even looking for them, you'd be perfectly fine with that.
percysowner
# percysowner 2012-11-03 11:56
I am certain that if Dean had deserted Sam, Cas and Kevin without looking for them, we would have seen in complete detail how devastated Dean was before he gave up. We would have had Dean talking to bartenders, Mary's grave, pictures of Sam or something telling whoever why he could no longer go on, how awful it is to lose everybody year after year, how he is just too tired to even think or act. If it were Dean nobody would be wondering WHY he is behaving the way he is.

It is parallel to how as soon as we realized Dean is working with and friends with Benny we got immediate flashbacks showing exactly what happened in Purgatory to establish the relationship without any dissenting voice and that in episode five we are shown Benny demonstrating that he is a good vampire by acting as a good vampire off screen and getting to reiterate how good he is with no Dean around, so that we know he is being honest and true, not conning Dean. With Ruby, she was always seen explaining her reasons to the boys only so there was no independent confirmation of her goodness, plus whatever Ruby did was played against Dean's skepticism. We always understand why Dean is acting the way he is, with Sam, not so much. Those of us who are unhappy with Sam's story are not only unhappy with his actions, but more with the fact that we are AGAIN being given little to no insight into his mindset. This is especially disconcerting considering that the show has often decided to leave Sam's POV until the second half of the season then "forgotten" to tell it. Perhaps JC will follow through with giving Sam a real POV that will help us understand why Sam gave up, but right now I'm not convinced. Sam is yet again the bad wrong brother and nothing we have seen so far makes me feel that Sam will get an explanation for his behavior that is understandable, let alone sympathetic. Right now we are having to come up with psychological explanations for Sam's behavior not being shown how he reacted after Dean disappeared, while at the same time we are being shown how Dean became more violent and how he changed his mind about trusting a vampire. It can be fun to fan wank Sam's actions, but we shouldn't have to. We should be shown Sam's psychological state of mind, not have to guess.
etheldred
# etheldred 2012-11-04 06:09
I will say, I think the habit of keeping Sam a mystery and rushing to explain Dean's actions hurts the writing of Dean as much as the writing of Sam. For such a complex, human, sympathetic character Dean ends up being very dull to me sometimes, largely because the writers never seem to trust me as audience to do much of the work with his characterizatio n, or to wait in suspense to have his motives or actions gradually revealed and explained. The fill in the blanks approach with Sam at least keeps me engaged, if frustrated.

Not that I wouldn't prefer a better balance for both characters!
Sharon
# Sharon 2012-11-03 11:25
To be fair Ginger there has been enough 'Dean' despair that has gone on. Those people speaking up about Sam genuinely care about him their not doing it to be annoying .

Some are good with Sam not looking and are rationalizing the situation others are having a hard time accepting that Sam would do what Jeremy Carver and the writers are trying to sell.
Hedi
# Hedi 2012-11-03 08:26
Oh Amy ! Thank you for this amazing review! No matter how long they are I always read them from the first word till the last!
You made such great views on Boys, I always enjoy your thoughts on their behavior and actions!
I liked this episode a lot. Flashbacks , Sam and Dean phone conversation even Benny's backstory ! It was great to find out that Benny is not trying to get something bigger out of using Dean ! He is a broken-hearted monster and now he doesn't know who he is either!
I'm getting to know the new characters well and it's great to know what happened to the boys in this last year!
And just like you, I get sad when I hear unfair comments about this season ! I know everyone has its own reason but it just makes me sad to see people whining unfairly !
Please don't forget what Jared said in last con , that they cant please every one !
nicole murray
# nicole murray 2012-11-03 09:14
my God, stop writing! I'm kidding! long review is long! I loved this episode too. So amazing, so much sympathy for everyone. I really liked that idea you brought up, although not in these words, of Sam as like Xander...In the beginning of Season Six of Buffy, Xander is the sole person who contemplates maybe bringing Buffy back isn't the best thing. Willow chastises him as not wanting Buffy back because he was content in his relationship with Anya, but that wasn't what it was about. Xander asked those questions--was bringing back Buffy the right thing to do? was she finally at peace here? We find out that Xander was the one that was right--he understood her better than anyone. Buffy was at peace and happy and she was ripped back into this world to fix everyone else's messes because her friends couldn't handle things without her. This world was her Hell...at least for a while before she became less bitter...

but with Sam, I can see that reasoning too. I briefly mentioned it in the review of the first episode that the opening showing Bobby talking about when it is your time just go, that maybe Sam was letting Dean go to find peace...That is a very Sam move...But it is a very Dean thing for him not to understand that, and for him to see the need to keep fighting. We see that allthe way back in In My Time Of Dying. It isn't that Dean is afraid to die--it's that he is afraid to leave those he loves helpless. He won't leave them to fight alone. God I love that man...

We hit a lot of the same points, and I always love your deeper look into the editing of it. I'm trying to audit a college course on video production--I love that shit... thanks Amy, and GET MY REVIEW UP :D
Teresa Pezzino
# Teresa Pezzino 2012-11-03 09:39
I also want to say THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart. I am loving this season for all the reasons you listed, and am also frustrated that some fans just don't seem to be seeing what we see. It IS just like family - when you try to share something with family members that means so very much to you and they just don't seem to understand. Lol, guess that means we ARE still family - the SPN family, and I appreciate that you and other reviewers on this site, just like Sam & Dean, refuse to give up on it.
Bluepony
# Bluepony 2012-11-03 10:29
THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU. Your review and insite make my Dean girl heart happy. I love this show and the story it tells. I also love where they are taking Sam this season. For the first time in years my heart aches for Sam and his trauma of losing Dean. At first I was shocked that they were going with him not looking for Dean but now I can see his utter despair. These two brothers love each other more then life itself, and no one can alter that.

Please keep up the great work with the reviews and Supernatural love.
Rebecca Gilpin rgnyc
# Rebecca Gilpin rgnyc 2012-11-03 10:33
Thank you for your article--every word was spot on. I watched the episode (had to go to a friends apartment to download it from iTunes) with my brother eating dinner by candle light (the power just came back on in lower Manhattan). We both agreed it was a beautifully written, performed, and crafted episode. I too can't bear the rift between the fans and really hope this episode will start ti bring everyone back together.
st50
# st50 2012-11-03 10:41
Loved your review.
I have to say this season was not going well for me until this episode. This one nailed it. Even tho' its focus was on Benny, it nailed the Sam and Dean relationship. The fear, love, loyalty, angst, anger... it was all there. And mostly without words! Fantastically written, directed, and acted.
While I STILL don't like the idea of Sam not looking (And still won't totally buy it until Sam says the words), I'm learning to live with it.
Thank goodness for Edlund and Bee. NOW I feel like Season 8 is getting on track.
fanotheboyz
# fanotheboyz 2012-11-03 10:58
LOVED your review! I think you are spot-on about where the guys are now and I too, am enjoying the ride. I didn't favor "Bitten" so much, but that was mostly just the vehicle. I loved this episode. So much was revealed. And, while many didn't like the amount of time devoted to Benny, I enjoyed it because it showed us where Dean was at with him. When Benny is finally dispatched; and I feel he will be, I want to care about why Dean cares about him. We have to know him to relate to Dean's headspace.

The only slight disagreement is with Amelia. I totally get why Sam and she attracted each other, being alone, having lost everyone, being sad, or in her case angry. I have no beef with the actress. She's supposed to be playing this bitchy, lonely, angry lady. She does it well. I don't like her...yet. But I get why they attracted eachother.

I loved the non-verbal. I missed a few lines and had to rematch. Not sure if the sound guys just aren't always correctly tuned in to pick up everything, but that isn't new to SPN. They seemed to be having more trouble getting Benny clearly. Ty has such a low, gravely voice, and with the accent (which I love) he is hard to pick up sometimes. But I found that I really didn't need the lines to know what was going on. Their non-verbal said it all.

And isn't Sam all angsty and hurt looking? Love that ultimate bitch-face and those angry, almost teary eyes. Yes, I think the boyz have some "working out" fisticuff style next week to do, but that's good. Let's get this to a head and see them working it out instead of being on different pages for more than half a season.

Bring it on!
Trucklady
# Trucklady 2012-11-03 10:59
sweetondean quote: "I said a couple of weeks ago that the detachment we’re seeing in his character towards his brother and their life together, for me, felt like fear. He’s scared to get close, scared to completely let Dean in, scared to fall back into their old ways because he’s terrified of losing his brother, terrified to go through losing everything and everyone again and all the pain that brings.

This is a man who saw his brother ripped to shreds by invisible dogs, shot in the chest, hit by a car, he cradled Dean as he died in his arms at least 4 times that we saw. We often talk about how Sam means everything to Dean. Dean has said it himself, “Watching out for you... it's kinda been my job, you know? But more than that, it's... it's kinda who I am”. We’ve accepted that Sam is Dean’s number one. No matter who else may cross Dean’s path, his brother is an intrinsic part of his physiology and that will never change. But what we forget and often don’t discuss is that for Sam, Dean is all he knows. Sam was at loggerheads with an absent father whom he wound up being estranged from. For Sam, the one person, the one constant in his life, has always been Dean. His older brother raised him and was there for him, loving him ferociously from before Sam could even remember. Sam may not have the outward franticness to his love that Dean sometimes appears to have, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t feel his love as deeply. He even said in “The French Mistake” when Dean, tentatively suggested that the fake world of Jared Padalecki was better than Sam’s reality, no, “We’re not even brothers here man.”

Now picture this, the one person whom you’ve spent your whole life looking up to, trusting and relying on, is killed over and over in front of your eyes. Then, just as you’re getting your wits back together, after the latest supernatural abomination perpetrated against you, that person disappears to parts unknown and you’re left alone, well and truly alone. You don’t think that didn’t traumatise Sam? You don’t think he spent the ensuing days, weeks, months, reliving that and every other nightmare him and his brother suffered through, agonising over every dreadful scenario that Dean may now be experiencing? Then, after a year, when he’s obviously still struggling to find his feet in this strange, new world, poof…his brother miraculously returns and wants to hit the road. Go back to their old life, the life which has caused Sam untold pain and which could once again mean death and loss." end of quote.

Now this is exactly why I love reading your reviews the most. I got to your take on Sam and I have to admit, it brought tears because you get him just like I do. You feel for him in a way that some just don't see. I agree with everything you wrote today and feel just as passionate about this show and these brothers as you do. It hurts to read the negativity and even the thoughts that the writers might be setting us up to do away with Sam. How could anyone even go there?????? This show would not be what it is without either one of these guys so how could anyone get that off track?

I think the writers and everyone involved in this show are definitely a well oiled machine at this time and get the whole idea of what this show is all about. I'm commited to life to these people and hope it never ends.

Thanks again sweetondean for another compelling write-up.
Amy
# Amy 2012-11-03 12:02
It wasn't until today I thought like Amy in this review. It hit me, thinking like Sam after the finale. MAybe Sam got in the car and started making plans to find Dean and bring him back. Research, ancient spells, summoning Crowly, .Death to wrangle...and then Deans voice in his head...that long ago adcice from Something Wicked: Remember what Dad taught you. Remember what I taught you. The dead should stay dead.

Sam rails against Deans long ago advice. He wont give up; he can't. This time will be different.

Sam remembers demon blood, Lucifer, the deaths of whole towns...Jo, Ellen, Bobby, John, Mary, Jessica.....the apocolypse...le viathon..bad choices, the broken bond.).

To not do anything in unthinkable. Unless Dean is dead. (The dead should stay dead) So Sam beleives...he HAS to, its the only way.

And Sam wants to die; too join his brother and their parents.

....and then he sees a sign for a cliff or a dangerous curve ahead and he presses the 'pedal to the metal'. This one last act will have no consequences for anyone else. Its good. Its right.

Then a dog shoots out in front of the impala. Sam slams on the brakes, tries to avoid it but feels the sickening thud. He manages to stop the Impala milimeters from the cliff, his heart hammering in his chest.

he gets out and discovers the dog bleeding, badly injured, maybe dying. He touches it and the dog whines in pain and fear.

Guilt floods through him. He's responsible for this innocent animals pain. He's responsible. he has to fix it. It hammers through Sam: Save the dog. get it to a vet.

Sam still wants to die and he will. He'll go to Rufas' cabin. The Taurus will do the job. But first he has to save the dog.

But of course Ameila bullies Sam into taking custody of the dog, basically saving his life. But as we were told by Jim Micheals in the premiere...Sam often went to the cabin. Did he hope to miraculously see Dean there? And when he didn't, grieve all over again? Did he plan to eat his gun each time? And each time he found a reason not to? To walk out the door to the Impala and to his tenuous connection to a wounded dog and another broken soul?

I love your theory as well as mine but the problem is the writers are keeping Sam a closely guarded secret. IF this is the case? Why wont they let us inside like they do Dean or Benny or Castiel?

As a Sam fan i want to Beleive but it also hurts horribly to have that hope, that faith because what if it doesn't lead to anything?
Gerry
# Gerry 2012-11-03 12:15
The thing, is though, that Sam does not know Dean is dead. It's his lack of need to know that for me is not yet explained.
KELLY
# KELLY 2012-11-04 01:55
LOVE YOUR THEORY. I had a thought like that when they said Brick killed himself like that and I thought of Sam screaming I did this! But your idea is a lot more thought out and fits what we know so far pretty well. I can even see Sam trying to keep the fact he'd tried to commit suicide from Dean.
BeccaB
# BeccaB 2012-11-03 11:15
Why are they whispering?
cd28
# cd28 2012-11-03 11:43
Very nice review. I enjoy reading your reviews even though I tend to see things very differently.

I'll admit, I still have a wall up against Benny and this storyline. It's not that I'm afraid Benny will replace Sam. It goes back to Amy, and this line from your review:

Quote:
But one small head shake from Dean and he stopped. He gave his brother the benefit of the doubt, even though a mask of anger clouded his face. It was beautiful.
A lot of people focus on the lying part with the Amy situation. To me it was two things: there was the lying but there was also the fact that when Sam asked Dean to trust his judgment, Dean wouldn't, and never acknowledged that he was wrong not to do so. I think Dean did sort of acknowledge that lying was wrong, and he certainly felt guilty about it, so I've forgiven Dean for that. But as a younger sibling myself, a lack of respect for a younger sibling hits a sore spot, and I need to see the trust going both ways. I need for Dean to acknowledge that he was wrong to not trust Sam's judgment with Amy and to apologize for that before I can accept Benny into the group. The question whether to kill Amy was always a gray area, but the story was always Sam and Dean's relationship, and not whether one more monster who may or may not kill again should be given another chance. And Amy was a friend to Sam just like Benny is a friend to Dean. Sam's friends should be given the same consideration.

As for what you said about what Sam is going through, it all makes perfect sense if we were talking about season 3 Sam. You know how people, after they've gone through a huge tragedy, tend to look back on all of the things that before seemed so important, and now have a very different perspective? I just feel like Sam - after letting Lucifer out of his cage - could never go back to the innocence of pre-season 4 Sam. And that's what it feels like they're doing here. I love seeing a more human side of Sam, but I need for them to start with the Sam who experienced season 4-season 7 - who must be a more hardened individual - rather than building off of who Sam was in season 3. If they can make the case that the Sam who experienced being Lucifer's vessel, being trapped in Lucifer's cage, his period of soullessness - would still have this reaction, then I'll jump on board, but I need to see the case made, which means I need for them to deal with Sam's human reaction to all of the events from seasons 4-7.
Fool for Dean
# Fool for Dean 2012-11-03 12:04
Quote:
But as a younger sibling myself, a lack of respect for a younger sibling hits a sore spot, and I need to see the trust going both ways. I need for Dean to acknowledge that he was wrong to not trust Sam's judgment with Amy and to apologize for that before I can accept Benny into the group.
@cd28 - I am not a younger sibling, so maybe you have more of an authority - so to speak - on the subject than I do, but I feel that the brothers are at a point where verbal apologies are no longer necessary. There is so much body language and so many other ways in which they communicate that somethings are better left unsaid. I might agree that for the Amy thing, a said-out-loud "I'm sorry" is preferable. But I still think things will work if that didn't happen.
cd28
# cd28 2012-11-03 12:29
Quote:
Quote:
But as a younger sibling myself, a lack of respect for a younger sibling hits a sore spot, and I need to see the trust going both ways. I need for Dean to acknowledge that he was wrong to not trust Sam's judgment with Amy and to apologize for that before I can accept Benny into the group.
@cd28 - I am not a younger sibling, so maybe you have more of an authority - so to speak - on the subject than I do, but I feel that the brothers are at a point where verbal apologies are no longer necessary. There is so much body language and so many other ways in which they communicate that somethings are better left unsaid. I might agree that for the Amy thing, a said-out-loud "I'm sorry" is preferable. But I still think things will work if that didn't happen.
Except that there's never been any body language or other nonverbal cues to suggest that Dean ever regretted not trusting Sam's judgment. This is closest we get to an apology:

DEAN: You're pissed, okay? And you've got a right.
SAM: Yeah, damn straight.
DEAN: But enough's enough.
SAM: Says who? Look, I'll work this damn case, but you lied to me, and you killed my friend.
DEAN: No, I put down a monster who killed four people, and if you didn't know her, you'd have done the same thing.
SAM: I did know her, Dean.
DEAN: Yeah, which is why you couldn't do it.
DEAN: Look, I get it. There are certain people in this world, no matter how dangerous they are, you just can't.
SAM: Don't pull that card! That's bull. Look, if I've learned one thing, it's that if something feels wrong, it probably is!
DEAN: Usually, yeah. But killing Amy was not wrong. You couldn't do it, so I did. That's what family does -- the dirty work. And I woulda told you, eventually, once I knew that this whole "waving a gun at Satan" thing was a one-time show. I think it's reasonable to want to know that you're off the friggin' high dive, Sam. You almost got us both killed, so you can be pissed all you want, but quit being a bitch.

Sam tells Dean that he was following his gut - he didn't kill Amy because it felt wrong. Dean responded by telling him his gut was wrong, so he overrode Sam's judgment - and if Sam objects to Dean overriding his judgment, then he's being a "bitch." Here we are in the reverse situation. Dean has formed an emotional bond with Benny and he's expecting Sam trust his judgment just because, and Sam is doing it.
KELLY
# KELLY 2012-11-04 01:48
Yeah I didn't agree with the Amy killing but wasn't truly pissed off until The Mentalist when Sam just abruptly agrees with Dean for no apparent reason. Disagreeing and arguing over it-fine. Them totally invalidating Sam's view-that made me REALLY mad. Maybe it's because I'm a younger sister too, but I don't think so, because it pissed off my OLDER sister who is a Dean girl.

On the one hand I like that Dean is moving back towards the grey sometimes with monsters on the other hand, if Benny is good, than once again Dean's decision is the right decision. I kind of wish that instead of Benny (although I do like the character) they'd had Dean come across Amy. It would have been an interesting conundrum, but probably a little too coincidental and heavy handed.
Katiki
# Katiki 2012-11-03 11:51
"even though I know that some of you think I’m some rose coloured glasses, buckets of crazy optimist."

You have every right to enjoy the show even though I'm not. I have always enjoyed the hell out of the show until now, and I absolutely loved things that a lot of other people were complaining about, like the Leviathan. It doesn't mean I was crazy then, and it doesn't mean you're crazy now. It just means we're all different in how we feel and perceive things, and that's completely fine. So please, keep on enjoying the show. I wish I were too, and I was actually reading your review in hopes it would be contagious.

I appreciate your insight that we're finally seeing Sam without "visions, demon blood, Lucifer, soullessness, broken wall crazy hanging over his head." It's a good insight, and on the one hand, it does make me feel better about there being nothing supernatural in Sam's story arc. I watch the show for the supernatural, not the mundane natural, but seeing it through your insight, it is kind of interesting to see Sam without all the supernatural crap messing him up.

On the other hand, though, if there isn't any supernatural crap messing him up, then there is no good reason for Sam to desert Dean, Cas and Kevin without even looking for them. Then the completely human Sam they are showing us is a horrible person. And that's the thing I just can't get past.

Like you, I am in love with Ben's mind. I always love his epsides to no end. And I just couldn't appreciate his work in this one, even though on an intellectual level I know it's there.

I've seen some people say here, those of us who are having a big problem with this story arc are being impatient. The thing is, when Sam was soulless for example, I had no problem being patient with that. I knew something was going on, I found it really interesting, and I had total faith it would be fixed. Same with Cas, even though it took longer. It was a fascinating story, and I completely trusted he would eventually be redeemed.

All summer I was telling people, don't worry, Carver's a brilliant storyteller and he understands the characters. The Sam thing will turn out all right, there will be a good reason and a good story. And in only a few episodes, I completely lost all trust in Carver, and Sam's storyline is bothering me to the point I can't even enjoy the rest of the show.

Negative reaction to this storyline was completely predictable. So why do it? I can't imagine a big enough payoff to make it worthwhile for me to sit through something that bothers me so much I can't enjoy the show for an entire season. Why should I put myself through that? Watching TV should be enjoyable.

Here's where I'm coming from: I'm really sick, and I watch TV because I can't do much more than lie around a lot and to forget about the pain and misery and anxiety for a while. But if a show is making me feel worse instead of better, then I can't keep watching. For seven years now I have always been able to count on Supernatural to make me feel better, and the thing that upsets me the most is that I've lost that. Hopefully I'll get it back, but for now I think I have to give it a break.

Meanwhile, I hope you continue to enjoy the show as much as you do, and keep on writing such beautiful reviews.
percysowner
# percysowner 2012-11-03 12:33
One note on the being impatient criticism of fans who are unhappy. I was patiently waited in season 2 to see Sam react to the fact that his last interaction with John was a fight AND to react to the fact that his own father was convinced that Sam would do something so heinous that he would need to be executed. I patiently waited in season 3 to see Sam buckle under the pressure of Dean's impending death and watch HIS emotions about losing Dean. I patiently waited in season four to see Sam's mental state while Dean was gone and got an episode on the wonders of Ruby. I then waited for an explanation of Sam's emotional responses and got demon blood addiction, no explanation as to why the heck he would EVER consider drinking blood to be okay. In season five, I patiently waited while Dean angsted over being Michael's vessel to see how knowing that from before he was even born Sam was destined to house the greatest evil in the universe affected Sam. In season five, my patience was rewarded when I found out Sam was acting funky because he didn't have a soul and they didn't make him whole in the same episode. Later after Sam was resouled I patiently waited for real Sam to react to what SS had done. In season seven I patiently waited for Sam to exhibit signs of the insanity we were assured he was suffering from, only to have the story not dropped, oh no, but transferred to the eminently more important character of Castiel. Castiel got to do crazy out of his mind from SAM'S suffering so we could forgive Castiel his mistakes and make him look good.

I have been DAMNED patient for many, many seasons with very little reward. This season I have hit my patience wall. I'm sick of Sam in the background. I'm sick of the emotional travails of Kevin and Benny and Castiel and possibly Garth while Sam just sits in the background with no on screen explanation of HIS emotional issues.

I'm glad you are happy with the season sweetondean. I want you to be and I don't want to bring you down or have you stop posting. Therefore I will try to stay out of this and other threads of yours after this. But those of us who are unhappy are not necessarily stupid, or wrong or impatient. Some of us have just reached the end of our ropes.
sweetondean
# sweetondean 2012-11-03 17:28
I never said that you were impatient. I think I've been at pains to say that we all see this show differently. I completely understand that not everyone is going to like the story, we never do, we always see things in different ways in this fandom, this is in no way the first time and I'm sure it won't be the last. It's what makes us so interesting. In seasons past, I've been scratching my head, I didn't like drunk, depressed Dean, he irritated me, even though I knew what he was going through, it just wasn't a Dean I liked or who I felt I knew, or who I felt best represented the character, so I understand and I think I've been very respectful in how I've addressed everyone's conflicting views. I believe I've even specifically said to you that I like reading your comments because I enjoy your different insight. So, I'm not sure why you would think that I think you're stupid, wrong or impatient. If I've said that, I don't remember and I'm pretty sure I wouldn't because that's not my style at all. I always try and write from my heart because that's all I can do. My sadness for the comments is not because they're not the same as mine, but because I don't want people who love this show to feel so disappointed in it, for their sakes, not mine, because there's nothing sadder than when a show you love disappoints you. Never feel you can't comment, just as people have said to me, never feel you shouldn't state an opinion.
lala2
# lala2 2012-11-03 19:01
I hope you make a speedy recovery, Katiki!
Fool for Dean
# Fool for Dean 2012-11-03 11:53
@Sweetondean - We must be sisters in arms!!!! I can go on and on about how and why I love Dean (as I'm sure can you), but I won't.

Thank you for a wonderfully positive review. I think you've managed to find more positives in Sam's current situation than I have, but the optimism is what I find thoroughly refreshing. Couldn't agree with you more about wishing the fandom weren't so divisive. I get tremendously sad when I stumble upon Sam-rants or Dean-rants or comments which accuse the writers of favoring one brother over the other.

So, thank you for saying exactly the sentiments I share but could never articulate - regarding the show and the fandom. You've got a new fan! I will be looking to read your reviews on 8.06 (Argh, C.A.N.N.O.T wait!!!!!!)
Gerry
# Gerry 2012-11-03 11:58
SweetOnDean, never stop writing reviews! You are such a thoughtful voice, giving the writers credit for setting up long term arcs and allowing them the time to develop them. I love reading your take even if I sometimes have a different interpretation of some aspects.

I see Sam a little differently than you do, and his story is not yet resonating for me, but that doesn't mean I'm not enjoying the hell out of this season, because I am. I think we'll learn more about Sam which will help me bridge the gap between Time After Time Sam and season eight Sam.

What doesn't resonate most particularly for me in Sam is his response to not having answers about Dean. I think losing someone without answers as to how is the most difficult situation to move on from. How do you move on when there is hope? How do you move on when you don't know what you have to process? There's nothing to focus on, to force yourself to face in order to move forward. I've been in the sad position of being involved in two different situations where people lost a loved one without answers, and moving on was a terribly difficult and drawn out process. So for me and what I bring to the show, Sam moving on because he has so few answers does not resonate.

It especially doesn't resonate because in my read of Sam, he's obsessive in the same way John was obsessive. In season one, we learned Sam and his dad butted heads mostly because of what they shared, not because of their differences. Sam and John finally had a conversation where they admitted that. This tendency to obsession is not an intellectual choice, it's a character trait. We've seen Sam give in to it or struggle against it many times. I would have no issue with Sam struggling against needing to know or struggling to not make a poor decision to bust Dean out of somewhere, but it doesn't resonate for me to see Sam intellectually decide he shouldn't need to know because of a possible price. I didn't see that in Time After Time last season and I don't know why I'm apparently seeing it now.

I said apparently for a reason, though--I am very open to learning more about Sam. I want to understand him in the way I understand why Dean is making his choices, right and wrong. Sam is vulnerable right now, which is immediately interesting and sympathetic. I've always loved the character and do so now. But I want to understand how he made his choice and I want it to resonate with what I know about him. It doesn't yet. And that's OK with me. The season is young and so far, it's excellent. I completely agree with you on that.
E
# E 2012-11-03 12:25
Hi Sweetondean. Great detailed review! I love your take on the show at the moment, and as an unabashed Samgirl, I really appreciate your comments and insight into Sam. I am trying to see him it as you do, because I think Sam as a character deserves no less. My only request from the PTB is that they make his story and his character traits more obvious to us, the viewers. To have to speculate this hard is very trying. Can't they show us a little more? Make this more plain? I'm not asking for anvils, just a little more movement in a story that is so cryptic that its purpose and direction is completely obscured.
LEAH D
# LEAH D 2012-11-03 12:40
Hi Amy. Thanks, yet again, for the lovely review. Your love for the show and these characters permeates every sentence. I feel sad for Sam this year. He has seemed melancoly from the get go. His wanting to have "normal" and his obvious concern for his brother must be two hard emotions to reconcile. I know only other fans can understand our deep affection for these brothers. I also get why some are feeling frustrated. It makes me a little glad I am more bro-neutral. It can be a double edged sword as I feel defensive for both Sam AND Dean at times. My opinion is that an intense focus on one character does feel like a "can't see the forest for the trees" situation sometimes. I am enjoying this season and am still looking forward to each episode. I do love Benny thus far and don't think he will replace Sam in Dean's affections, ever. Oh, and doesn't Benny (Ty) have the nicest blue eyes!
Claire63
# Claire63 2012-11-03 12:45
I enjoyed your review. It is heartening to read such positive thoughts about the current season, especially your take on Sam's current situation. Like other fans I was initially very uncomfortable with his apparent lack of interest in finding his brother/helping Kevin. (I say "apparent" because I'm hoping that, with further flashbacks, we will get a better understanding of his predicament). However, I do like plenty of angst between the brothers (always have). That makes good drama for me and is the heart and soul of Supernatural. Your comments on Sam's state of mind make perfect sense to me. Of course he's terrified of losing Dean again - it was blindingly obvious when he floored the accelerator to join his brother at the vamp nest. Lots of us are enjoying season 8 so please don't stop writing your fantastic reviews!
Grace232
# Grace232 2012-11-03 12:49
Sweetondean, I agree with EVERYTHING you said, start to finish. Thank you so much. I confess I am writing this after reading your article - but before reading comments, because, like you, that has been the one dark spot for me this season. I tell myself, hey, nobody is forcing you to read these comments, but, like you, I want our Supernatural family to get along. These 2 actors are doing such a fabulous job - and I am loving - and agonizing - over the story. It is so wonderful. Thank you for expressing my thoughts so much better than I could myself.
PENNY JAIME
# PENNY JAIME 2012-11-03 15:03
*******STANDING OVATION.******* Nuff said
sylia91
# sylia91 2012-11-03 16:23
Again your review is spot on to my way of thinking. I find it ironic that the boys can communicate so well non verbally and that last scene with Dean, Sam and Benny was masterful, they have absolute problems talking things out openly. What they really need to do is have it out in the open and really just go to town and hopefully indications are that we may get that in the next episode with Garth of all people playing relationship counselor. Sam needs to really plead his side. I feel he is deferring a lot to Dean due to feelings of guilt not wanting conflict and Dean is taking that to be that everything he suspects is true that Sam didn't look for him and didn't think about him and wants to leave him since Sam isn't contradicting him. Instead the opposite is true and Dean needs Sam to yell that at him and refute it all. The boys break my heart and I agree that the conflict within SPN fandom does as well such that I enjoy reading the reviews but avoid the comments section like the plague now.
Bevie
# Bevie 2012-11-03 16:31
Sweetondean, I haven't read the posts yet as I just want you to know how happy I am that you will keep reviewing and writing your articles! Also, you have just jumped to the top of my favourite reviewers list!

Your thoughts of Sam are so like mine. So happy to have Sam back, all human with all his human foibles and fears and no supernatural things keeping him captive. Such a relief even with the bitching and arguing and snarking at each other. The brothers are together and Sammy is free from blood drinking, Lucifer, soullessness and broken walls. This could be the best season for the brothers since Dean went to hell. Dean is Dean and Sam is Sammy! May they stay that way, no matter what!

Poor Sam is scared to death of losing Dean again, no matter how many times he says he wants normal, or that Dean can hunt better alone. Tell it to the marines, Sammy! I'm wondering if even Sam realises what is causing his fear. He is making me hurt for him.

Loved the directing of this episode with all the silent dialogue like we used to see in the past. Those boys are so very good at it, so let them use it all you writers and directors!

And Dean IS one sexy mo-fo right now! :P

And please don't let them (you know who) get you down to even thinking of quitting! I would miss your writing terribly, and there are many others who would too. I agreed with every thing you wrote in this article. Bless you!
Joyful
# Joyful 2012-11-03 17:43
Bravo Amy! Lovely review as usual, but the depth of your perception regarding the brothers and the direction of the show has reached new heights (if that makes sense! :-) ) Never ever stop writing, even though I know what you mean about all the negative comments - I try not to read them because my stomach starts churning and I start to get cranky too! Looking forward to reading your reviews for the rest of the season, which I am loving so much also.
Daisymae
# Daisymae 2012-11-03 18:09
What a terrific recap you've written and so many insights you had. This year is a real winner for me and I don't understand why some are so down on it. It's like you read my heart even though I'm a Dean/Sam girl. Nice pics too.

I have a thought about Amelia be it right or wrong. Limes! Why would someone eat so many limes that the sink would be clogged? She loves Mexican food. Or she drinks a lot, and I mean a lot of Gin & Tonics. Amelia may be an alcoholic. Where have we seen this before? Is it possible her problen caused a terrible tragedy and heartbreak in her past? Again, I'm loving this season.
sweetondean
# sweetondean 2012-11-03 18:12
I thought Margaritas! But yes, I too saw the implication being, Amelia is drinking to escape her sadness.
nick23
# nick23 2012-11-03 18:54
when benny told sam that he heard a lot about him,
i really can't imagine that dean talked about sam to benny .
emmau
# emmau 2012-11-03 19:02
Out of curiosity, why not? Sam is the most important person in Dean's life--always has been, always will be. I fully believe that Sam talked to Amelia about his brother, because Dean is the most important person in his life. No matter what differences the boys have had in the past or are having currently, I don't think that's changed.
Ginger
# Ginger 2012-11-03 20:21
I don't remember Benny saying that. I'll have to go look again. But I do agree with you from what we've seen of Purgatory so far. I don't think Dean would go into it with Benny, especially since he was moving from distrust of a vampire to trusting him in this episode. I just don't think it's in Dean's character to open up to such a stranger about Sam. He never did that when he first met Gordon, and with Travis (Metamorporis) he just told him that Sam was like that sometimes. I do remember Dean telling Benny he had some 'family stuff' to deal with.

As far as I remember, Dean only talked to Bobby about Sam and his fears for Sam.
Amy
# Amy 2012-11-04 23:24
Dean talks to random bartenders about Sam...He had in depth discussions about Sam with Castiel...why WOULDN'T he talk to benny?
sweetondean
# sweetondean 2012-11-04 23:39
It piqued my interest when Benny said "Heard a lot about you Sam" bet it piqued Sam's too. I'm not too surprised that Dean may have spoken to Benny about his brother, as Benny and him became closer, long nights in Purgatory and all that. Though I admit, I hadn't considered it until this line.
Michelle Kinseth
# Michelle Kinseth 2012-11-03 19:09
I did not enjoy this episode all that much, but I have to tell you I really appreciated your examination and explanation of Sam. I really agree that he is being played sympathetic, and my heart breaks for Sam over and over.
mer
# mer 2012-11-03 19:13
Why the hell can't Ben Edlund come to a convention ??????cough*New Jersey 2013*cough...

And yes, I am on twitter and have sent them requests and emailed them too but no response (*crickets chirping*)
Penny Condos
# Penny Condos 2012-11-03 20:50
I have been thinking all season 8 about how hard it would be to re-establish the relationship between Sam & Dean, a year is such a long time, and it makes sense to me that the guys will struggle to reconnect. Not that they don't want to, but because it would be incredibly hard. Dean is, as usual, not wanting to deal with whatever it is he went through in Purgatory so he just shows up and says nothing happened, I'm back, nothing has changed so why can't we just pretend no time has passed? Vintage Dean. And this is the first season for awhile that I have really felt for Sam. I find his situation heart breaking. And we all know shit is coming that is going to force Dean to face what happened, whatever he has done and it is clear to me that Sam will be there for him. Not all neat and tidy, but Winchester brother style and I can't wait! This season feels like home. I know it is really different, the boys have a different vibe. Kind of, but not really, because of all the points you made in your review. But something is back this year, something basic and good. And everyone is superb, I agree, this is the A game year for sure! Thanks for your reviews, please don't stop! I very much enjoy your insights and opinions.
LEAH D
# LEAH D 2012-11-03 21:15
I agree very much with your comment Penny Anne. Nicely said. Something that was missing is now back.
Karen Graham
# Karen Graham 2012-11-04 01:03
I love your enthusiasm for Season 8 because I also love this season so far, especially the slow reveal of Sam & Dean's year apart.

And the division in the fans is somewhat depressing... I was just about to stop reading reviews and comments when I've come across a couple that are brimming with the same love for the show that I have... so you've restored my faith.

I also believe in the direction of Sam's story... you only have to look back to episode 17 of season 7, where he had given up and was ready to die because of the Lucifer visions. He may not have those visions anymore, but he certainly hasn't forgotten them and everything else he has been through. He was tired and withdrawn then... and that was before he'd lost everyone...

So I'm definitely buying that he wouldn't know what to do when Dean disappeared and that he would start with fixing the impala and then go driving aimlessly across the country...

We also don't know everything that happened yet and, after seven fairly awesome seasons, I'm more than happy to sit back and trust the writers and Jeremy Carver. I'm looking forward to the ride and glad I'm not alone in my enthusiasm for season 8!
KELLY
# KELLY 2012-11-04 01:31
I think I fangirl Edlund almost as much as I do the boys. I would love it if he would come to a con sometimes. I don't think he's ever had a bad episode IMO. His worst, to me, was Malleus Maleficaram and I REALLY liked that one. So it all comes down to different levels of love. My favorite of the season so far.

And I have enjoyed the season, ('kay I wasn't a huge fan of last weeks-but I didn't hate it) and I agree Dean is hot hot hot and again hot. BUT I am worried about what they're doing with Sam(despite HIS freakin' hotness, I'm loving the longer hair and he doesn't look QUITE as bulked up which is surprisingly, even hotter than SS's build).

Now I'm still in the hopeful good thoughts range though-well mostly. And I loved your analysis of Sam and even though I agree with almost everything you said, I kind of disagree a lot too. Because I do think they are setting up Sam to look unsympathetic, now I'm hoping that this is with purpose and there is a plan and eventually a payoff. The things is I felt a little letdown by my faith S7, so I'm still a little leery of this storyline. I still have hope it's going to be great though.

And while I don't need things hand-feed to me normally, this is definitely a case where I need a clear, substantial reason for Sam not looking Dean. Even if the reason is wholly human, like you or the other Amy who posted her great idea on this board purposed. I'm fine with that but I need it to be SHOWN it and for it to be good enough to make me buy it.

But I'm willing to be patient and let it unfold (although having sympathy for people who wait to watch whole seasons on DVD).
RMF
# RMF 2012-11-04 01:53
Quote:
Now picture this, the one person whom you’ve spent your whole life looking up to, trusting and relying on, is killed over and over in front of your eyes. Then, just as you’re getting your wits back together, after the latest supernatural abomination perpetrated against you, that person disappears to parts unknown and you’re left alone, well and truly alone. You don’t think that didn’t traumatise Sam?
Of course we think it hurt Sam. That's why many posters would accept a mental breakdown as a reason why Sam wouldn't look for Dean. The trouble is, there's no indication that that happened, and the irony is that the person you're describing would otherwise be desperate to get his brother back.

Quote:
All of this is also why I don’t have an issue with the whole not looking for Dean thing, even if Dean does…which obviously, being Dean, he would. Sam has seen the consequences of their continual need to sacrifice themselves for each other and the world. He’s seen the catastrophic ramifications both cosmically and personally. He’s lived through it. Even if he had a clear idea of where Dean was and how to bring him back, who’s to say that wouldn’t start some crazy new cycle like the Apocalypse part-deux, who’s to say that Dean wouldn’t come back damaged…like you know, soulless or worse, who’s to say that retrieving Dean wouldn’t be part of some bigger evil scheme that the brothers have been unwittingly sucked into and more importantly, who’s to say Dean wasn’t in Heaven and pulling Dean back would rip him away from somewhere he’d finally found peace? Sam didn’t know.  
Which is what investigation is for. Because who's to say that Dean isn't simply trapped somewhere, fighting every day for his life, and badly in need of rescue?

The problem is, any of the alternatives might be true, but in order to confront your character with that dilemma, you have to actually confront your character with that dilemma. Having Sam fold like a wet Kleenex because of a series of maybes is both bad drama and bad characterizatio n. Have Sam do the investigation, wrongly conclude that Dean is dead, and walk away from his old life because it's taken everyone he cares about. Or have him realize that Dean was pulled into Purgatory and trying to get him out will release a small army of monsters, so he must agonizingly conclude he doesn't have the right to save one person at the cost of many, many more. Dean could still be angry with him, because while he could recognize the higher imperative, it still hurts to be abandoned. It would also sharpen the conflict between the brothers over Benny when Sam realizes that Dean allowed one of those monsters he was so worried about to hitch a ride with him to freedom.
Sharon
# Sharon 2012-11-04 04:50
The last part of your post RMF is something I agree with. I just think that this with Sam could easily of been avoided and believe if Dean had been in Sam's position the problem and issue wouldn't of arisen.
Angelika Zimmermann
# Angelika Zimmermann 2012-11-04 11:46
Hi Sweetondean,
every week I'm looking forward to your and Bardicvoices' reviews, they are my favourites. You always speak from the bottom of my heart. I'm tired of all the negativity and all the complaints of so many so called fans of the show. Please, keep your wonderful optimism, it's so important for all the other fans, who love the show and want enjoy ist, and who - I fear - get sometimes in danger to be infected by all the discontentment and negativity. I for myself stopped reading that posts and I'm chosing deliberately, what I read. Sweetondean, I'm so happy that you are no longer only sweet on Dean but also sweet on Sam, as I am from the beginning of the show (it seems to me that there are a lot more Deanfans in the fandom than Samfans, or am I wrong? I love both guys, but hey, Sam is such an endearing, empathetic, warmhearted and interesting character, who thrills and makes me suffer with him through all the seasons). Like you I love the show because of the relationship between both brothers, because that's what makes Supernatural so special and such a great, wonderful show, that I can't get out of my head and out of my heart. Thank you so much for your reviews!!!
sweetondean
# sweetondean 2012-11-04 12:06
Hi Angie, thanks for your nice words! I do think that the fans having negative feelings towards aspects of this show are still fans. Their passion for the show is what causes them so much frustration. It's they're love which causes them to be dissatisfied. It's hard when you love a show and it disappoints. I get where they're coming from, even if I don't share their view. I don't doubt for a minute that they, like me, are well and truly fans.

I have always adored Sam, but I'm a great big Dean girl. Bad boys with heart are my disfunction! But I feel a much deeper connection with Sam this season and I think it's because what he's dealing with is human and not supernaturally influenced. I like that.

These brothers are wonderful. I love them even when they bicker, maybe even more so for it! :-)
janiebee64
# janiebee64 2012-11-04 12:29
Please don't stop reviewing!! I enjoy your reviews so much because you and I see this show the same way. I am so loving season 8 and the story the writer's and Jeremy Carver especially are telling. Even those writer's that aren't favorites are doing an awesome job and I believe that's because Jeremy Carver has a intricate story to tell and he is hands on with those writer's as far as keeping them on track with the story he's telling.

I totally agree with your insight in Sam and his year. He's terrified about being alone. I think that fear began to affect his relationship over time with Amelia..maybe more of a stalker with her. Constantly checking up on her..where is she..what is she doing. That scene where he pulled up all her personnal information was really just kinda of creepy. Even he said not stalking just concerned. Maybe she used that word(stalking) with him toward the end. I think that's why she let him go in that scene in the premiere. She may have told him to go because she couldn't deal with it anymore. Jared did say in his meet and greet and the Chicago Con that their relationship will get darker as the season goes on because Sam has issues with being alone. I love what there doing with his character and can see how much he loves Dean in his fear of losing him again.

Anyway can't wait for each week and this "story within a story" and how "nothing is as it seems"..these are Jeremy Carver's words and watch each episode with this in mind. I'm tired of the negativity with the fans too. I enjoy a good mystery and this season's mystery is slowly being revealed and I have no doubt the brothers will find their way back to each other. There's too much loved there between them for any other thing to happened. Neither one will give up on the other.

Take care,
Jane
Amy
# Amy 2012-11-04 23:31
I totally agree with your insight in Sam and his year. He's terrified about being alone. I think that fear began to affect his relationship over time with Amelia..maybe more of a stalker with her. Constantly checking up on her..where is she..what is she doing. That scene where he pulled up all her personnal information was really just kinda of creepy. Even he said not stalking just concerned. Maybe she used that word(stalking) with him toward the end. I think that's why she let him go in that scene in the premiere. She may have told him to go because she couldn't deal with it anymore. Jared did say in his meet and greet and the Chicago Con that their relationship will get darker as the season goes on because Sam has issues with being alone. I love what there doing with his character and can see how much he loves Dean in his fear of losing him again.


I'm sorry but this really bothers me. Sam is basically gonna become amounts to a stalker villian in a Lifetime Movie? This sounds even more depressing for Sam.
Kelly Walsh
# Kelly Walsh 2012-11-04 14:29
Testing
Kelly Walsh
# Kelly Walsh 2012-11-04 15:23
I just discovered this show June 2012. I don't know why I never heard of it. I even watched 'Ringer' last year and I don't recall ever seeing any promos for this show. The only reason I discovered it was because I had found an author I really liked - Rob Thurman, and she raved about Supernatural on her website. Her one series is about two brothers and has a lot of the same themes, such as loyalty, sacrifice, love, friendship, hardship, etc. Anyway, I loved the show right away and have just finished watching all 7 seasons twice in 5 months time. I have never connected with a show on such a level, other than Highlander, and I never thought I would find a show I liked even better. I enjoy watching all the convention clips, gag reels, and YouTube videos almost as much as the show itself which show what nice, funny, sincere "brothers" they are in real life also.
eilf
# eilf 2012-11-04 16:12
I am with you in how the show is wonderful - and then there's all the extra stuff! It's totally addictive isn't it? I love gag reels and behind the scenes stuff anyway but the Supernatural ones are so much better than any other ones I have seen. My absolute favorite is the gag reel for season 2!
LEAH D
# LEAH D 2012-11-04 17:22
Hey Kelly2, just wanted to pop on and say Rob Thurman is one of my favorite authors also. You are correct, many of the themes are the same. Love the brothers Leandros and their friends. Reminded me of Supernatural the first time I read one.
sweetondean
# sweetondean 2012-11-04 18:51
Welcome Kelly! It is indeed an awesome show! I'm like you, I've never connected with any show like this and suspect I never will. Add into that the wonderful cast who loves to share with us, the crew who happily communicate with us and the fans who are smart and engaged. It's just the best!
:lol:
st50
# st50 2012-11-04 19:01
Hi Kelly2. Great to 'meet' another newbie. I started this spring, too .... My 2 daughters had been bugging me to watch, since they 'just knew' I'd love it. Smart kids. ;-)
I have now watched all 7 seasons multiple times (and all but 8.04 several times for this season).
I also just love this site. Fun and friendly posters, and intelligent reviews.... Try some of the archived reviews! I've been slowly making my way through them, and they really 'get' why I love this show. :) Such a great addition to all the gag reels and stuff on you-tube.
KELLY
# KELLY 2012-11-04 22:09
Welcome Kelly2!! I think that makes me Kelly1. Too Cool. I'm never first at anything. It feels like an honor or something- I'm pretending it is anyway. I never read Rob Thurman but she sounds right up my alley, So Thanks. I always need a new author. Did really like the Highlander though. I'm Duncan MacLeod of the Clan Macleod.
Kelly Walsh
# Kelly Walsh 2012-11-04 15:46
My favorite seasons would be 2 & 3. The season finales of 1, 2, and 3 were gut wrenching, and very emotional, especially AHBL 1 & 2. I really did like the ending of season 5, but critically I don't think seeing Sam in the last few minutes of the show was good because it somehow made his sacrifice seem less poignant. I believe we should have seen him in hell like in 'Unforgiven', instead of just standing outside Lisa's house. As for season 6, I didn't care for the first 4 or 5 episodes, but overall when I discovered why Sam was like the way he was (no soul) I enjoyed the season as a whole. I even liked season 7, but I would have liked to seen more of Sam's emotional breakdown with seeing Lucifer all the time. As for season 8, I really enjoyed What's Up Tiger Mommy and Blood Brother. I found the other episodes kind of boring, but I do realize ever episode can't be an 'Emmy' winner. I still think Supernatural is the best show out there.
Bamboo24
# Bamboo24 2012-11-04 16:31
Quote:
There is a natural order, the brother’s have said, “Screw it” over and over and have been smacked in the face for their troubles. When do you learn? When do you look at the big picture and go, um, I gotta stop messing with this stuff because every time I do, something worse happens. I’m not seeing anything here that doesn’t feel like Sam and quite frankly, I’m falling head over heels in love with Sam all over again this season.
Yes, yes, YES. SPOT - ON.

Thank you for another wonderful review.
krystal
# krystal 2012-11-04 18:54
Thank you for writing this! I truly enjoyed reading it and seeing your take on the brother's relationship. I loved your interpretation and insight into Sam. I agree he is mature and dealing with his feelings in the way he has adapted to. I am loving this season as well!
buffsgirl
# buffsgirl 2012-11-04 22:35
Please, please, PLEASE don't ever stop writing your reviews. You speak my heart in ways that I myself cannot articulate. And.... your write-up this week actually made me cry a bit.

Thank you for the time you take to express your opinions. I, for one, appreciate them and you! As you often say about Dean...... Bless!
Tiny
# Tiny 2012-11-05 01:51
Great review Amy! I love this episode a lot. I really enjoyed the Benny backstory. I think the fact that he is confused about who is, is great. He is a monster and it's not normal to have feelings and humanity, and he feels weird about many things. I like how Ben Edlund is looking at things from a new perspective.

Season eight is great TV!! YES! I am loving the direction. I think having being on Being Human, Jeremy Carver is adding many humanity and new perspectives to Supernatural. If this is not good TV, I don't know what it. So thank you for pointing it out and being so honest and positive about my favourite show. I have no need to look at other fan forums and some of the negativity is stupid. I don't need that, you don't need that. Please keep writing!

What do you mean you have pictures of Ben Edlund in your room???? OMG! You should!

You're my hero...

Tiny
xoxo
sweetondean
# sweetondean 2012-11-05 03:19
HAHA! Tiny! You're awesome (Do I say awesome too much? :D )
Tiny
# Tiny 2012-11-05 20:14
Yes you do, but that's awesome. This word is irreplaceable.

:lol:
sofia
# sofia 2012-11-05 08:17
Beautiful review Amy! You've got a way with words. :)

I have to agree with you on the division among fans. I know we can't all be on the same page, and I'm glad we aren't, but it is really disheartening when I still get so much joy from the show and so many fans seem on the verge of giving up.

I'm glad you plan to continue your reviews, they are a joy to read!
Sylvie
# Sylvie 2012-11-05 08:53
Please, don't ever stop writing your reviews! :eek: You always put into beautiful words what I'm unable to say. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this season so much! This episode right here is why I am such a fan of the show. Ben Edlund, Guy Bee, Serge Ladouceur and the absolute wonderful acting. We get the benefit of these mini horror movies every week, how can we not be happy? ;-)

I think Sam & Dean are very much being themselves this season. Dean is true to his friends as always, and Sam has so much compassion for others. No matter what these two go through, they remain true to what they are. And what to say about Castiel. I am loving that we have our badass angel back. I watched "Lazurus Rising" yesterday, and the part where Castiel says to Dean that he should show him some respect still gives me goosebumps. This is how I like my angels, badass warriors.

I think you were spot on about Sam's reasons for not looking for Dean. It reminds me of when Willow brought Buffy back, and they all wonder why she isn't like her old self, then she confesses that she was in Heaven and happy where she was. Sam was probably thinking exactly that. That him & Dean had messed with the natural order so many times that doing so again would be even more catastrophic that the times before. Even Death said as much.

Ouf, okay, sorry I went long here, but this show makes my heart go pitter-patter and I get carried away. :P
Marilyn
# Marilyn 2012-11-05 21:21
Thank you so much for your reviews. You always give me something new to consider. PS: I love Ben Edlund too. ;-)
Fedelynn M. Jemena
# Fedelynn M. Jemena 2012-11-07 07:14
Lady, you've broken me again.
*feel the love being sent your way*

Because of this article, I wish you'll get a half day of heart-felt discussion with Jensen and Jared about Sam and Dean.

May I share a part of an unfinished fiction with a poem in it? It's titled, "IN THE CAGE", and it's about Sam's time in Hell. A part of your article reminded me of it. Here goes:

===excerpt from IN THE CAGE (FMJemena) =====

Later, after Castiel told him of his soulless time on Earth, Sam wrote this short poem for his brother:

The One Constant
(from Sam Winchester to his brother Dean)

You are the one constant in my life
My brother, my friend

Through uncertainty and darkness
You keep me sane
My guide through the worst.

You are the one constant in my life
My brother, my friend

At times of peace and limited joy
you remind me to smile
and live again.


Sam had never written a poem, but he knew a good one when he read it. This one most probably sucked, he thought, but it had all he wanted his brother to know. That was enough for him.

He inserted the small piece of paper inside Dean’s wallet.

- The End -