I love going into a Supernatural episode and not knowing what to expect.  Usually when that happens, I’m pleasantly surprised.  Not that I’m ranking “Hunteri Heroici” was one of the series best or most innovative, but I came away entertained instead of cursing so that’s something.
 
The day after a Supernatural episode I end up judging it on how much thinking it triggered.  The last new episode, “A Little Slice of Kevin” didn’t quite trigger the same thinky thoughts that “Hunter Heroici” did.  Probably because last night’s episode came with some deeper character study.  All of you know how my head gets a spinning when Sam Winchester is put under the microscope. 

Before I get to my whirly thoughts on Sam, let’s go for the premise.  I really thought cartoon world would bomb.  In the past these types of episodes have me nitpicking all sorts of plot holes.  This one though actually made sense.  What happens with a psychokinetic loses his mind due to old age?  He reverts to a happier time, and who can’t relate to Looney Tunes?  I myself recall the happy days when I was glued to the TV set with glee on Saturday mornings (yes, once upon a time you could only watch cartoons on Saturday mornings) just to see Wile E. Coyote hang in thin air before he falls to the ground with an inexplicable anvil falling right behind him. 

Live action attempts usually fall flat, but Supernatural didn’t go overboard. They used the right amout that was believable.  My absolutely favorite, laugh out loud moment was when Dean went to tackle the doctor in the bank.  The freeze frame of “Dean Winchester – Hunterus Heroicus” and “Dr. Mahoney – “Grosteques Villainous” had me howling.  In my twisted upbringing I often use these latin names in everyday conversation!   My kitty for example is “Domesticus Housecatis.”  Andrew Dabb, you and I are truly kindred spirits of the same warped childhood. 

 I think we’ll forever understand the concept  you can’t bring a gun to a gag fight.  That’s been canon our entire existence.  You can however bring an angel, and Sam and Dean suddenly found themselves with a third wheel.  I still love how seasoned Castiel is to the earth, yet he still has issues with literal terms.  Like when Dean asks him ”What’s the word Cass?”  “My name, shortened,” is by all means a correct answer, yet that's not quite what he was looking for.   Angel or not, he’s learned he must never attempt to rob Sam Winchester from his rightful spot of shotgun.  Too bad there wasn’t a hockey arena around, because when Sam pushed Castiel out of the way to get to the front seat, that was one of the more impressive cross –checks I’ve seen.  And poor Castiel’s rejected look.  They’re all like children, aren’t they? 

Might I also take a second to gush over Mike Farrell?  Yes, I grew up watching M*A*S*H and I loved him on that show, but isn’t wonderful to see these beloved actors age gracefully?  You can always tell a seasoned veteran actor from a hack, and Mike Farrell proved why he’s one of the best, still.  Being locked in a happy mind isn’t so bad, is it?  Castiel actually seemed envious, but then again Castiel can read minds. 

So, since we’re on the topic of reading minds, let’s segue into the younger Winchester, shall we?  My, my, what is happening to Sam?  There have been some theories bounced around here (and Ardeospina is doing an awesome job driving that bus), but I’ve stayed pretty silent about it so far.  Probably because I’m still stinging from last season where I entertained some dream theories and by season’s end experienced extreme disappointment when I had to take everything at face value.  The question is, did Jeremy Carver read all our crazy theories (and others) and decide that he’d play with us rather than go for that “what you see is what you get” philosophy of Sera Gamble?  After all, new showrunner, new rules. 

Rather than waste a lot of time over the possible motives of a showrunner, how about I go with what we’ve got?  First, Sam’s flashbacks have always had a soft white light quality to them, but this one was oversaturated with white, more than before.  Either that or my new TV is strobing too much white.  Does the bright light mean something?  Considering the camera operators are usually the same each week, I don’t think it's a technical mishap.  Such bright light suggests a dream like state, which coincides with Sam’s constant statements he's running and hiding in a dream world.  What is this halo effect really telling us though?  I could go into all sorts of dream interpretation research, but one common belief is it’s someone near death. 

I’ve brought this up before, but anyone ever see the movie Jacob’s Ladder? (Spoilers coming for that movie if you haven’t).  The main character, Jacob, was caught in some kind of crazy limbo and various forces were eventually revealed to be trying to free him from earth so he can move on into the white light.  It’s a lot creepier than that, and we didn’t know he was dying into the end (the shocking surprise), but that’s what it was.  In that movie, Jacob found himself in a strange new relationship with a woman.  He suddenly wasn’t married to his wife anymore.  The other characters were doing their best to pass on hints that it was time to let go, and of course psychoanalyze the guilt, heartache, and demons of his life that he was clinging onto along the way.  There were also crazy hallucinations, but that doesn’t seem to be happening to Sam, yet anyway.
 
I couldn’t stop going back to this movie the entire time that Sam was remembering Amelia’s father.  He seemed EXACTLY like one of these characters.  Sam Winchester is not an open book.  This guy read him a bit too easily, don’t you think?  Every single one of his statements dug into Sam like a knife.  They hit the really, really sore spots.  Also, why in the world would Sam not only use his real name, but mention that he went to Stanford?  Isn’t he trying to hide the fact that he’s supposed to be dead?  That’s a very easy Google search.  He isn’t that careless.  Is that lazy writing again or a big clue?  In dreams, or perhaps coma like states, you don’t use aliases.  Your name has to be real, your sense of identity. 

Also, in that movie, Jacob was estranged from his family.  Disconnected.  The same was true for The Sixth Sense.  Those characters' were surrounded by strangers and unfamiliar situations.  Hmm, do you think Sam has looked comfortable at all in these flashbacks?  Then the flashback ends with Don being alive.  There is no way it’s a mere coincidence that it happens immediately after Sam admits he ran because Dean was dead.  That was the trigger.  Why do I have visions of Sam going into cardiac arrest or something on the other side?

The question becomes, what is really happening to Sam?  Is he dying in a coma somewhere, in an insane asylum dreaming the whole thing, are the angels manipulating his memories, or do we pull out last year’s theory that he’s still in Hell?  Or, is it a combination of one or more of these things?  Maybe this is all just diabolical mustache twisting by Mr. Carver and it comes out at face value?  I don’t know anymore, but one thing is certain, these flashbacks are getting weirder and weirder.  They aren’t believable anymore, if they ever were.
    
The other being going through some weirdness is poor Castiel.  He may be a powerful angel, but he’s really lacking in the skills necessary to be a hunter, don’t you think?  He can’t absorb the obvious human clues like having an affair.  He certainly can smell infections though.  He still has friends in Sam and Dean though, so it’s not all so bad, back seat or not.  

Unlike Sam, Cass didn’t need a character in a flashback to remind him of his checkered past.  He outright knew.   If he went back to Heaven, he might kill himself out of guilt from the devastation he caused.  His outright honesty and heart to heart with Dean was so refreshing and very heart wrenching for me.  I love how not only is he talking to Dean, but Dean’s listening (which is why I still think Sam is stuck in some sort of altered state).  I don’t think that was angel manipulation, because Cass decided not to run and go back to Heaven.  That’s when Naomi stepped him and denied him access.  I’m not about to speculate what’s up with Naomi and her kind, but perhaps she realized that hanging out with the Winchesters was forcing Cass to ask too many questions.  Maybe it was best he go do what he wants until he’s needed.
  
There’s a lot hidden underneath the guise of a goofy cartoon story, don’t you think?  I’m very certain we aren’t going to get a lot of answers during the midseason finale either, so there will be plenty of time for speculation during the month long break.  I give Hunteri Heroici a B+.  It was light, yet it was very, very dark.  Plus now I’m going to leave black circles on the wall just to f*** with people. That and I am so training my cats to talk.


 
 

Comments  

winmomwannabe
# winmomwannabe 2012-11-29 17:52
Great review Alice. Oh yes, the Sam flashbacks are eerie for sure. I speculated a long time ago on a thread here that I thought Sam had a mental breakdown or possibly tried to kill himself. There are just too many coincidences and connections to the storyline of the week, his FB's and things he has been saying ALL season.

And I thought the same thing about the light. Seems they get lighter every time. Is/was he fighting for his life and struggling with going into the light? His speech to Fred was definitely self-reflecting . It is just all so mysterious. And the Sam we are seeing has a lot of gusto for hunting even though he said he wants to get out. Just some odd stuff going on.

And the preview! OMG, had my stomach in knots. Why does it seem so weird for Dean to appear to be the reflective one and 'listening'. Not that I don't appreciate his maturity, but wow, his talk with Cas was special. And his spilling that stuff to Sam last episode. So much to think about. The break will be a killer! And my first since I'm one of those like Nightsky and just started watching last spring and DVD'd my way through all the past production breaks! Hope I can make it until January and focus on Christmas!
Alice
# Alice 2012-11-29 23:56
You know, I did another rewatch tonight, and I'm thinking "was." Although, why would he imagine those flashbacks with such a white hue? I assume because that's how he remembers them. Argh, I just don't have this figured out. I think tomorrow I'll have another theory. :-)
st50
# st50 2012-11-29 17:53
Wow Alice!
What a great review, and some very interesting theories! I agree that there's some weird stuff going on with Sam's memories, and his reactions, and there's a greater story there yet to be told... Whether or not Amelia/Dog/A's Dad are all real.

I don't care too much for the idea of Sam dying somewhere, but locked in his mind? Yes. The breakdown idea is one that works for me...
If he were still dying/comatose/ whatever, just how, then, would Dean and Cas fit in? Is Sam in recovery, now, and trying to deal with them, and his past delusions? Or are D&C really not back from Purgatory, but just appearing in Sam's deluded mind, and Sam is still out of it?

I'd love really it if Carver helped us believe that Sam really did break down, but that he's slowly recovering, and that's the reason for the weird memories and the distancing...

Thanks for more thinky thoughts! Just when I thought I was figuring it out, and that what we see IS what we get - minus those critical first few months before hitting the dog......Back to the drawing board! :P
Alice
# Alice 2012-11-29 23:59
I'm not convinced about the dying theory. If you pushed me really hard on it, I'd likely crack. :) But this afternoon, it all kind of made sense.

I am convinced something is up. I just don't have a real good inclination as to what yet. I anticipate a lot of speculating over the break. I know I'm going back and clue hunting.
Debbie Harb
# Debbie Harb 2012-11-30 20:54
Alice, I was wondering if maybe the djinn has Sam.
Katie
# Katie 2012-11-29 18:20
Oh my god I can't believe all of the Sam stuff going on. I KNEW there had to be more to it than a year off! God, I love it all! Don't forget the mysterious figure from the premiere! And also, I thought the flashbacks were getting brighter... My eye balls were burning O.O
Alice
# Alice 2012-11-30 00:01
I honestly thought there it was my new TV causing all that brightness in this one. Glad it wasn't just me. I'm definitely going back and clue hunting over the break.
Ann
# Ann 2012-11-29 18:33
I am actually kinda hoping something like that is going on with Sam now, since I didn't like the way he was acting at all during the first couple of episodes, and I'm a total Sam-girl.
I'm starting to get the feeling that at least his storyline is starting to resemble some bad soap opera. I'm pretty sure the 'he's in a coma and it's all happening inside his head' is a pretty well used plot point in those shows, and as soon as I saw Amelia answering the phone I was like 'oh, her husband's alive'. If you can figure it out that easily it's probably not a very original storyline :> Still, I prefer this idea over the idea he just didn't really care, or that he was tired of his old life. ^^
Alice
# Alice 2012-11-30 00:05
It is quite hard to articulate deep conspiracy theories in a 1500 word episode review. I really only scratched the surface here.

I know this show isn't stereotypical, so I doubt they would be going with the soap opera version of man in limbo. To be honest, I'm really not convinced there going there at all. I just remember that movie and found some similarities. Food for thought!

I am convinced thought there's more to this story that he just took off for a year. He keeps repeating, "I ran." That seems so engineered. I think Ardeospina already said that somewhere though.
kaj
# kaj 2012-11-30 13:36
Hey, scratch the surface. You know who else said that? Crowley said that about Samandriel. Samandriel ---> Sam-and-riel ---> Sam-and real ?

I need to sleep LOL
PENNY JAIME
# PENNY JAIME 2012-11-29 18:47
Sorry, but I don't agree with anything you said about Sam. I don't understand why people are looking for all these fantastic theories about what happened to him. Why can't they take what happened at face value?
I could be wrong. They usually surprise me on this show,but he said he lived a normal life. It all seems pretty normal to me.
Trucklady
# Trucklady 2012-11-29 20:49
I'm with you on this one Penny Jaime. I just don't understand why everyone keeps picking this apart and speculating like there is some hidden message or direction here. The lighting is supposed to give you the feeling of being a daydream. I think it all seems pretty normal to me also since he assumed that Dean was dead. He was dealing with it in his own way and trying to move on. Guess we will all find out eventually though who is right on this one.
percysowner
# percysowner 2012-11-29 23:20
Quote:
I'm with you on this one Penny Jaime. I just don't understand why everyone keeps picking this apart and speculating like there is some hidden message or direction here.
Obviously, I can't speak for anyone else but I'm looking for more because I am deeply unhappy with the explanation given for Sam's year. I don't believe he would not have even looked. If he had looked and then decided there was nothing he could do, then I would have been fine. If Sam had ever talked about what he felt during the year Dean was gone, or how he felt when Dean disappeared, I could buy it. But Sam is silent, yet again on his emotions and feelings. All we are getting is Dean's sense of betrayal and a very poor sense of Amelia, although she is improving for me.

Basically, I have been provided with a storyline that I don't buy and I'm trying to come up with an explanation that I can buy and that will help me continue to enjoy the show, because as it is, I'm not enjoying the show.

You are happy with how this is going down, I'm not, so I'm trying to find ways to fix this so I enjoy it. It's really not that complicated. You can't convince me to enjoy the story and I have no intention of trying to convince you that you should join me in my discontent.

I don't care about Castiel, but I acknowledge that there are many fans who find him indispensable. I'm not going to ask them why because they can't convince me and it would be rude to ask them how can they like Castiel.

And before you ask, yes if you are right then it will probably be the straw that breaks the camel's back for me.
Alice
# Alice 2012-11-30 00:11
I've got a great answer for that!

For one, this is a curious fandom, always has been. Conspiracy theory hunting was a common thing during the Kripke era. Nothing could ever be taken at face value and we were always proved right, something else was happening. So, when Sera disappointed us with face value, I was ready to accept it this season. Heck, I did for a while.

However, the clues are too calculated, too dangling. They really stuck out this episode, especially with the reveal about the angels last week. The clues aren't random like last year when we were trying to put together pieces to a puzzle that never really existed. Plus, Jeremy Carver has a reputation for being a meticulous plotter.

I think the normal is what's throwing us off! Nothing in these guys' lives are normal.

But hey, you could definitely be right too. I say there's a good 50% chance you're right.
Fi
# Fi 2012-11-29 18:59
In Sam and Amelia's house, when Sam was washing up and Amelia and her father were talking in the other room, I noticed a painting on the wall that looked like Don Quixote. Don't know if this is relevant or not, but things like that are rarely random in this show.
Alice
# Alice 2012-11-30 00:13
Ooh! A clue I missed. That's definitely going down on the clue list I'm planning on building during the break. Awesome catch!
Jean
# Jean 2012-11-30 04:16
I'm not sure if this has been mentioned elsewhere, but here goes...I think Amelia and Don's wedding photo album was a clue as well, because Sam almost opened it...but then Amelia walked in. It was almost as though it was purposely done so that we wouldn't get a look at Don's face...I can't think of any examples right now, but I've seen movies where photographs were sort of like a trigger to wake you up from a dream or hallucination.. .Something that makes you realize that what's happening around you isn't real...Maybe if Sam had opened that album, he would have seen a blank space where Don should have been in the photos? Or maybe he would've seen photos of Dean? Or something that would've made him realize that what was happening didn't make sense...There are just so many theories out there, I don't know what to think anymore! AAAARGGHHHH!!!
Sylvie
# Sylvie 2012-11-30 08:22
I thought that too. You know there had to be some big reveal in that photo album! And of course Sam didn't get to see it. It's kind of like when Bobby was running around in his brain last season trying to remember what happened that night he killed his father, and it was so painful he would purpusefully close the door on it everytime. Not that I'm saying Sam is dying, but we are getting clues as to what has or is going on with him. And thanks Fi for pointing out the picture in the background, I will look for it on my next rewatch.
kaj
# kaj 2012-11-30 13:56
deleted. sorry. seems my laptop is acting weird tonight.
kaj
# kaj 2012-11-30 14:07
deleted sorry. wrong intended recipient of this comment.
Judyann
# Judyann 2012-11-29 19:12
Alice, nice review but I am hoping that this is not all in Sam's head. I have seen Jacob's ladder and am still haunted by the movie. It totally freaked my out (like Arlington Road). I am willing to say that the fb for Sam are not right, like he needs to remember them that way to ease his guilt about not trying to find Dean. I am also willing to say that the angels are involved. I just can't get behind the idea you present here.
Alice
# Alice 2012-11-30 00:16
Hey, that's okay. I'm not sure I can get behind the idea either. It was just an idea that hadn't been presented yet.

I'm thinking the angels are involved somehow. I just haven't figured out how yet. I'm sure we'll find out one way or another.
E
# E 2012-11-30 15:51
Hi Alice, I was wondering if the whole Sam and unreality could be a combination of your theory and another theory that I heard recently. Maybe Sam WAS in a dreamstate like the one you describe but isn't now. In another thread someone posited (I forgot who, which is terrible, because I love this idea) that Sam had a break of some type and was in an institution and Amelia was his Doctor and Dog was a therapy dog. That gives him time to create a false reality in intricate detail, but it's a false reality that he has since come out of but is aware that he created for himself. This could link up with how he got in touch with Martin Creaser again after these past several years and also supports his comments about living in a dream world while still leaving current events such as purgatory, the current hunts, Cas and Amelia as real people in real time. It could work! ... except how DID Dean smell dog in the car?!!
percysowner
# percysowner 2012-11-29 19:14
Quote:
and who can’t relate to Looney Tunes? I
[small voice]Me[/small voice] I was never a Looney Tunes girl. Rocky and Bullwinkle, George of the Jungle, Deputy Dog were my kinds of cartoons, Bugs Bunny, Tweety and Sylvester, Wiley Coyote and the Road Runner not so much. Well someone has to be different.

I hope you are right about Sam, although I suspect he isn't dying because he signed for 2 more seasons AFAIK and him dying at the end of this one would be redundant. I also don't know what a year being a hallucination would do for the rest of the storylines. We've seen so much from Dean's POV and Dean seems to be seeing a functioning Sam. Maybe when Dean is interacting with Sam the angels are creating a construct Sam and Sam really is in catatonic state somewhere? I don't know, I just want them to GET ON with it already.
st50
# st50 2012-11-29 19:24
Quote:
and who can’t relate to Looney Tunes?


Oh gosh. Growing up, our absolutely rock solid, this-happens-n0 -matter-what tradition was "Hot dogs and Bugs Bunny" - (Saturday night dinner in front of the TV - only time the idiot box was allowed to be on during mealtime). God I miss my Dad. :D :cry:

So yes, I can relate!
Alice
# Alice 2012-11-30 00:19
Dying, not dead. No, I have no belief that Sam would die. Castiel would bring him back. It was just an idea that he was processing all that he is for another reason.

I'm with you, this mystery is moving on a bit too slowly for me. So is the first half of the season. Perhaps things will really start taking off after the break.
Stephanie
# Stephanie 2012-11-29 19:40
I really enjoyed this episode. It wasn't the best humorous ep ever, but I did laugh out loud all the way through. I've always been a Looney Tunes girl, so I loved it. Did anyone else catch that the first victim's name was Mr. Freling? Like Friz Freling of Looney Tunes fame?

I honestly don't know what to think about Sam's flashbacks anymore. I thought from the beginning of the season that he had a mental breakdown, but there are so many good theories out there that I just don't know anymore!

I just hope that the storylines come to a satisfying conclusion, cuz it'll be really disappointing if they don't.
Alice
# Alice 2012-11-30 00:21
Ah ha! That's the real outcome we need. A satisfying conclusion. The last two seasons haven't really done that for us, have they? Perhaps we're entertaining all these theories just because we're dying for a proper conclusion. We'll see what happens I guess.
Nate
# Nate 2012-12-01 16:15
Hello Alice! THANK YOU for making this comment! I think the season has been going at a good pace, maybe a LITTLE slow at times, but overall way ahead of the past 2 seasons. I also think you should change your review to A-, because I think this episode is proving to really stick with people, and may (HOPEFULLY) be a pivotal episode of the season, and a real "Easter Egg" for what is really going on with Sam. The satisfying conclusion is the key to all of my above comments--if this is all really face value and all of the above speculation turns out to be just that, I would be very upset.
Another comment I have not seen on any blog or review: One of my favorite 'throw away' scenes was Cas saying in the hotel room "Your father had beautiful penmanship." I found it incredibly touching, and such a fantastic comment on what is such a vital part of the series. The whole episode mentioned John Winchester a lot, I love that.
Fluffy2107
# Fluffy2107 2012-12-01 17:15
Quote:
Ah ha! That's the real outcome we need. A satisfying conclusion. The last two seasons haven't really done that for us, have they? Perhaps we're entertaining all these theories just because we're dying for a proper conclusion. We'll see what happens I guess.
It reminds me alot of Season 1, when they were stil introducing the characters...th e first episodes were new and fun, but at some point, it went too slow... and then suddenly Azael happened and we were hooked.

I´m..curious as to what is going to happen. But yes, alot of it hinges on a satisfying conclusion
Leah
# Leah 2012-12-03 21:04
YES Alice, I remember last season in particular we were all speculating like crazy, hoping that something twisty and wonderful was going to be pulled out of the hat to explain the inconsistencies . I really hope this season doesn't unfold like that.

I know that some people didn't like EK but I thought he was amazing. I like nothing more than to be surprised and caught off guard. He was great at that. I have grown bored with shows where I can predict the outcome or the plot got too convoluted to follow and gradually stopped watching.

So far in S8 I can say I am not bored and if it resolves in a satisfying way I would call it a win for JC.
Trucklady
# Trucklady 2012-11-29 21:12
Excellent review Alice, as always, although I don't totally agree with your viewpoint of Sam but that's what keeps us all invested in this show.

I loved the Looney tune feel (always loved the roadrunner). It had me and my grandson just laughing our heads off. Jensen sure shines in this type of writing showing just how talented that man is.

The Sam FBs were just breaking my heart for him. Especially when Amelia gets the call that Don is alive. Guess we all know now why he left her. I was not overly impressed with the father's treatment of Sam but he is a father looking out for his little girl. I agree that he did seem to be able to read him just a little too well for it being someone he just met.

The heart-to-heart between Cass and Dean was very moving. I like that Dean is listening more this season then he has in the past. I think it is some residual from purgatory.

I have to gush over Mike Farrel also. I too grew up watching M*A*S*H and loved him in that. He is a veteran actor and proved that in this episode. I love how SPN brings some of these very big name veteran actors in occasionally to work with or be a part of the SPN world.
Alice
# Alice 2012-11-30 00:24
Thanks! As I've mentioned some of the other responses here, I'm not sure I totally buy my Sam theory either. I'm not willing to drive that stake in the ground and stubbornly proclaim "mine!" We actually need more clues, unless my detailed clue hunt to come proves to be useful. I do wonder how much longer they plan on dragging this out. I just remember Jeremy Carver telling us at Comic Con "Nothing is what it seems." I hope he wasn't blowing smoke up our butt.

Another M*A*S*H fan! Good to know you!
Darya
# Darya 2012-11-29 23:56
Great review, Alice! I was waiting for screen caps of the Hunterus Heroicus thing- so funny! And Vampirates and Animaniacs-Dean 's becoming quite the portmanteau expert!

Liked this episode a lot. I was expecting something comedic and fun, but this wasn't just so light as Looney Tunes (which I still watch over breakfast. What? I'm 18) and that threw me a little. Wasn't quite expecting any flashbacks at all. I've loved the flashbacks from the beginning but these are my favourites. My heart broke over watching Sam listen to Amelia and her Dad talking in the other room, he just seemed so lost and introspective, Jared killed it in those scenes.

I'm not very invested in the dream theory, I think the big punch in the gut might have something to do with the actual identity of Don or the fact that he is a demon/angel plant. Also wondering why Sam didn't use an alias.

Couldn't help but notice that Sam is smiling at every lame or not lame joke from Dean, that's kinda nice. Also, nowadays he's got the lost, wounded puppy look nearly all the time, it's becoming impossible to look at him without Sam!girling away.

(But I still want answers, yo)

So the Roman Industries "crashed and burned": literally? Did Sam actually explode the lab? Will we ever know?
Manstrad
# Manstrad 2012-11-30 02:06
I really loved this episode, but, did anybody check the ratings for last night's episode? It dropped all the points it gained since the beginning of the season. Hopefully people will tune in again, I will hate to see the show thrown back again on Fridays nights to die. (well, not really, still is the third most watch show on CW, Arrow took our second place).

Still, in my opinion, it was an excellent episode, it masqueraded the heaviness of the message with a little of fun. I don't like Sam's flashbacks, I found them opaque, even with all the bright colors, but, yesterday I realize that maybe it suppose to have that effect on people because of his state of mind.

And the best part of last night's episode was the heart to heart with Dean and Cass, maybe not for the reasons the scene was intended, but to me was like when Cass told Dean ...If I go back and I see what I've made of it, I will kill myself... for that split second I thought of Sam and BOOM! he comes into the room.

I thought of Sam because, in a way, for him to go back and hunt would it be like reliving all the devastation that the life made in his life, killing all the members of his family and all. Maybe, Dean thought the same as me... that Sam at one point was suicidal (and then he crossed path with Amelia and she said something that reminded him of Dean and he started the whole hallucination/r elationship thing).

So, that is why I like this episode, and why I like about this show. Keeps my imagination spinning like crazy and keeps me in suspense waiting to the end, to see how close I was with all the theories in my head. And of course watching Jensen's handsomeness and acting skills.
lkeke35
# lkeke35 2012-11-30 02:16
I'm not sure about the whole angel manipulation thing, but there isxsomething hinky going on. Loved the review, you made some excellent points, but I 'm still not convinced of the dying thing or angel theories. That's just too far afield. However Sam could just be doing this too himself the same way that Dean altered his own memories. It's possible that bits and pieces of his life with Amelia are real and the rest is just wishful elaboration. He may have met a woman named Amelia, they had abrief fling and everything else is just Sam's dreams of a normal life. Don's reemergence fb was very convenient to Sam's speech to Fred.
Bamboo24
# Bamboo24 2012-11-30 02:25
Am I the only one who thinks that the existence of the bright, soft lighting of Sam's flashbacks is merely to contrast his "normal" life with the harsh reality of the world of hunting? Notice that the Purgatory flashbacks are lighted differently as well - in a kind of sepia hue. I honestly think it's just a mode of visual expression, a way to clearly separate the past from present in flashback form for the viewer. It may merely seem odd because previous showrunners didn't take this particular creative approach (to my knowledge). But I seriously haven't read into it at all. I think it's funny that if one has to up and leave the TV/computer for a bit and comes back to see Sam or Dean in a scene with a bright or sepia lighting, one will know, "ah, this is a flashback!" :P

Great review, Alice. I appreciate the "Jacob's Ladder" comparison/anal ysis, even though I've never seen the movie. I'm not buying into any extravagant theories like "it's all a dream world" or "Sam's in a coma somewhere" - but I certainly agree that the the writing seems very purposeful and detail oriented this season, so I know there's an end game. The show's twists (usually) always blow my fannish speculations out of the water. :)
Fluffy2107
# Fluffy2107 2012-11-30 03:22
Mike Farell!

uhm, yeah :)

That alone... and man I lvoed his voice.

Sam reminds me of someone, who has maneuvered himself in a position, where he acts as some kind of watcher.
He is very passive in his interactions with Dean, as if he literally erected an invisible wall between him and those, who can affect him emotionally.
He reacts, yes, but he doesn´t act.
Very withdrawn.

It reminds me of the time, when he was seeing Luci all the time and when he couldn´t be sure, what is real and what he was supposed to react to.

That´s real time Sam.

As for the FBs...

So far, they have been a little strange. All this bright and happy and dreammy stuff... well alright... Sam craves a home, not so much a family, but a place, that is actually a home. Even the dog is a sign of having a place to stay, to put down some roots, no matter how shallow.
STandford wasn´t a home either, it was always only temporary.
And THAT is the thing, Sam never had.

But this episode?
Outright weird!

Some things struck me as odd, in addition to Amelias Dad, who just seemed to read Sam like an open book...

First: the house seems empty.
Alright, they´re just only moving in, but it´s kind of.. sterile. A sterile environment, like, perhaps... a clinic would be?

Second: (that you Alice for including that perfect pic up there)

Sam rubbing his scar.
Stone number one... but he lost stone number one.
He lost the foundation on which his coping mechanism was built on.

Three: He said the Impala was his fathers...
I mean, yes it was, but that is Dean´s baby. That is the one thing on earth, that means more to him and his brother, than anything else.
That is the car, that saved the world.
That is, basically, the only place on earth, they could ever have called a home.

And when he says it, he´s rubbing the scar.
Uh...

Something is there....

Four: The theme of suicide... this goes back to episode three.
Wenn Eleanor/Betsy says "I´m just so tired of it all..."
The same Brick said, before he killed himself.
Camera switches to Sam and the expression on his face is outright painful. And then look, where Dean´s gaze goes.

And then in the next scene:
You think Brick thought maybe he'd burn to nothing when he crashed that car?

It seemed to echo some here. It´s Cas talking about it, but yeah... it resonated with me.

Five: "I ran"

How many times has he said that now?
Four?
Five?

The first time, it might have been a random thing, but now?

But was does it mean.
"I ran."
Where to? Or from what?
I might mean, just to move and keep moving.
Or it can mean running and hiding.
Even in your own mind.

And to him, it seems enough.
But he seems to feel guilty about it. As if it was something shameful.
Guilt? I´m smelling alot of guilt here, simply for being alive.
And hiding in his own mind?


Honestly, is it possible, that Sam WInchester lives somewhere, under his own name, and not be disturbed by anything supernatural, that wants revenge for... something?

It happened to Johns "family" he had on the side and that didn´t know about his work and Adam and his Mom died for it.
It happened to Dean, when he had a family.
But not to Sam?
And Sam is the one Winchester who has the most foes.
I bet there are still some hunters out there, that would love to kill the Monsterchild.
st50
# st50 2012-11-30 11:33
Great post and interesting ideas, Fluffy.
kaj
# kaj 2012-11-30 14:44
I'd like to add one more thing.

We see from Blood Brothers that Sam had given the teenager who man the front desk his credit card to pay for the motel room. Now, we know that the guys never use their own name for the card. It's either Mr. McGillicuddy or something else.

I assumed that Sam was introducing himself as one of his alias name because he has to stick with the card name. After all he ended up working at the same motel. But voila, we learns now that it's Sam Winchester.

Amelia came as a paranoid, distrustful, rude the first time they met, I don't believe that she never looked that up. Or even someone ever mentioned that in passing. How did Sam pay for the treatment of the dog at the clinic? With credit card also? What name was in that Card? Not Winchester I am sure.

The dad. For someone who is also paranoid and concern of his daughter it's off that he never looked up at Sam's file on police records at least. He would find that this Sam looks exactly like that Winchesters who were serial killers who died then alive again in order to die again then alive again to die again. And he also apparently has a brother.
It's not unusual for someone who used to be in Army to have contact with people from the police department.

If Sam's flashback is just what it is and we should take it at face value then I call that Bad and terribly sloppy writing and Carver should be ashamed!

Add that to the fact about Sam and Dean's first reunion, If there's nothng happen with Sam other than what we've seen. He looks decidedly awkward in those first scene then I am calling it bad acting for Jared.

There I've said it. So, for the sake of the credibility of the writer's writing talent and Jared's acting talent, I hope that there's something going on with these flashback than meets the eye.
eilf
# eilf 2012-11-30 19:56
When he went to the desk he said he was changing the credit card details on file didn't he? I wonder did he decide to go with his real name for some reason - maybe to do with paying Amelia for Dog's care? Maybe he had to change the card because the card company were catching up with him since he is staying in one place and he decided to go legit (I know - that is a completely crazy idea, but it is the only way this would work).

You know it would be funny if SPN were sponsored by a credit card company. Has anyone ever noticed if any of them advertise in the breaks?
luciano
# luciano 2012-11-30 04:25
(Edited by Alice) - Moved this to our Fandom Page. Promoting facebook pages isn't allowed in the episode comments.
Fi
# Fi 2012-11-30 06:09
Sorry Alice. I went back and looked at the painting in another, closer scene and actually it looks like a rodeo photograph! I guess that's just to reinforce the Texas rather than give hints on the mystery that is Sam. Anyhoo..My apologies.
fanotheboyz
# fanotheboyz 2012-11-30 22:55
Fi, I looked at that painting and looked at other Don Quixote prints. It is very LIKE a Don Q painting, although often he is pictured with a spear, but not always. I can't see it close enough to tell, but it is suspicious!
Sylvie
# Sylvie 2012-11-30 08:35
Great review Alice. I was pleasantly surprised by this episode, not expecting any Sam flashbacks, and they were quite interesting, so full of little clues. I've only seen it once, but I will do a rewatch this weekend. There was so much information in such a short time, but it was super well done. Bravo Mr. Dabb, you did an excellent job.

And how nice it was to see Mike Farrell. I was a fan of M.A.S.H. growing up. And Looney Tunes, I still quote those 'toons in my everyday life! The freeze frame of Dean and the bad guy was by far the funniest, thank God I wasn't eating at the time, I think I would have spewed. :D Someone get Jensen Ackles in a comedy! Sam pushing Cass out of the way for the shotgun position, too funny.

I can't wait to watch all episodes back to back during the hellatus, I think that's when all these clues will pop up.
vivian
# vivian 2012-11-30 10:24
Personally, I don't believe in the dream theory. I think it was all true, but now Sam is realizing that his idyllic, normal, safe life was a dream, in the sense both him and Amelia were living a fantasy, like her father said. They were escaping reality in order not to face the pain of their losses. But that situation couldn't last because it was not real - there is no normal perfect life, it's an illusion, and he sees it now.

On a shallow note: I was amazed by the camera angle, looking upwards, soon after Amelia's father arrived. How tall Sam looked! It was like they were talking to a mountain! A gorgeous, stunning mountain with perfect flowing hair... Now I am losing my grip from reality - and it feels good... ;)
Bamboo24
# Bamboo24 2012-11-30 11:04
Quote:
Personally, I don't believe in the dream theory. I think it was all true, but now Sam is realizing that his idyllic, normal, safe life was a dream, in the sense both him and Amelia were living a fantasy, like her father said. They were escaping reality in order not to face the pain of their losses. But that situation couldn't last because it was not real - there is no normal perfect life, it's an illusion, and he sees it now.
I agree.
etheldred
# etheldred 2012-11-30 11:19
I don't know. Sam and Amelia's life didn't seem like a particularly unhealthy or escapist or fantasy-based thing to me. If anything, meeting each other, reaching out, beginning to talk about their losses and to build a life in the ruins seems to me an eminently healthy step. They weren't projecting some fantasy of perfection on what they had; they both admitted that they were messes, but that they were helping each other.

And what seems to have crashed their life (on the face value assumption) isn't anything about the inherent qualities of the relationship, it's the unforeseen circumstance that Don was still alive. That wasn't a reality that either of them was running from or a couldn't last because it wasn't real thing.

The thematic stuff doesn't make any more sense in an emotional storyline than in a supernatural one, really. Sam seemed to have acquired some grounding from his experiences of the missing year in the possibility that he had options outside of the hunt, that there could be other modes of value and meaning than the particular "heroic" model, that he might want something again. Even after leaving Amelia, he was still planning for a future, thinking about college again. Is that going to go nowhere? What became of "the girl had nothing to do with it"?

If they've just decided to go with normal = fantasy, where's the growth? It's not like living in a fantasy world has been a major issue with Sam over the seasons from which it would be interesting to see him move on. Instead it's something that, if 8.8 is really a thematic key, came from nowhere and went nowhere. Invalidating the alternative seems to me to be the least constructive way of bringing Sam back to hunting I could imagine.

Sorry, I am finding this season extremely frustrating, no matter how I look at it. It's such a muddle. I can give an interesting read of where the themes and characters are at in an individual episode, but putting them together they are all over the place. At this point, the only one for whom past, present, and themes are working together for me is Cas; Sam and Dean are just a confused, inert tangle.
st50
# st50 2012-11-30 11:32
It certainly IS frustrating!
Just when I decide I have to take everything at face-value, they throw in enough hints to make it seem like we're supposed to be reading something in to it.
They are definitely all over the place with Sam and Dean.
I agree with you, etheldred, that Cas seems to have a more consistent story... But I'll bet they'll throw a curveball in there, too. Something that just doesn't jive...

I think everyone's getting frustrated. Is that why Carver decided to give mid-season interviews? Or is that normal - Have there been interviews from showrunners at the break before??
etheldred
# etheldred 2012-11-30 11:46
I think mid-season interviews with the showrunner are pretty standard. I doubt Carver's will clear anything up though -- I mean, either things are face value or, if there's a twist, it's not going to be given away in an interview, so I don't think we'll be in a new place after reading them. But (in my opinion, of course) it doesn't make that much difference to my judgment of the season so far whether it's twist or no twist, since I don't think it's been an effective build up either way. I'm more hoping they get better at whatever they think they are doing in the second half of the season than investing huge amounts in which of the options turns out to be what they are doing. I think the tailing off of the flashbacks may help; they've made the storytelling very choppy, and I think there may be a better chance of there being a satisfying emotional arc in present time once they are concentrating on just one. And maybe s9, when the new mytharc is well launched and Carver has had a season to settle in with the characters, will be more coherent.
st50
# st50 2012-11-30 11:56
Thanks etheldred.

I don't know if I like the idea of waiting for Season 9 (if it comes) to let Carver "settle in".
I expected more from his tenure.
etheldred
# etheldred 2012-11-30 12:00
Well, I had better hopes for Carver, too. On the other hand, I liked s6 a lot (it certainly did a tightly paced mystery plot better than s8, if that's what s8 is trying for) and then found s7 started great and ended disappointing. So if I follow the opposite arc with Carver and find his first season disappointing and his second much better, it will be on the whole a happier trajectory! (Mind, I sometimes suspect that both the decline of later s7 and the ongoing problems I'm seeing with s8 have to do with Singer, who has been coshowrunner for both Gamble and Carver, and is therefore a likely candidate for source of problems that seem to have carried over the season break despite the regime change. So maybe it's not fair to be casting this as a comparison of Gamble and Carver at all.)
st50
# st50 2012-11-30 12:07
Quote:
Well, I had better hopes for Carver, too. On the other hand, I liked s6 a lot (it certainly did a tightly paced mystery plot better than s8, if that's what s8 is trying for) and then found s7 started great and ended disappointing. ......... Singer, who has been coshowrunner for both Gamble and Carver, a.... So maybe it's not fair to be casting this as a comparison of Gamble and Carver at all.)
On rewatch, I really like s6 and the first half of s7.. (Call me crazy if you must, lol)
Interesting point about Singer. He is the one constant in the showrunning.....

I'm remembering about the line Jared didn't want to say, and Singer asked him to (The wascally wabbit line)... What a tie in to this episode...
Another clue?????
eilf
# eilf 2012-11-30 12:37
I am so happy to see S6 get some love! It is one of my favorites - I think that the story holds together really well, it works and doesn't take too long to get to where the surprises are. I think it is good storywise for Sam, Dean and Cas. If you include the first 2 episodes of S7 it even ties up all the storyline pretty neatly.

Speaking of lines I guess the fan at the conventions who was getting all the actors to say 'moist' is pretty happy this week (don't say moist or irregardless) :D
percysowner
# percysowner 2012-11-30 12:50
I loved season six as well. The mystery of why Sam was behaving oddly was revealed just early enough and the through line of the souls and Cas made sense when we found out what was going on. Also although there was more going on under the surface, it was handled in such a way that I didn't feel like I was missing something, it just turned out that in retrospect things were going on beneath the surface.

Season seven started out very well. With the exception of the drawn out too long Amy storyline, I really liked the first half of the season. Then things just went downhill. Whether it was because the writers discovered they didn't know how to handle Sam's mental condition or because the Leviathan didn't work out as the Big Bads, or due to other backstage issues, I don't know, but the quality and coherence fell apart in the second half.

This season has had some well written episodes. Has experimented with new ways innovative episodes and it has me totally disconnected. Lord knows I've gone into my issues with Sam enough that I'm not going to repeat myself, but this season is becoming painful to watch. I honestly don't know what has happened to the characters that I loved.

Obviously I don't know what is going on behind the scenes, but etheldred is correct, the one commonality that I know of is Robert Singer. Since I did like season six I am more than happy to take some of the blame off of SG and wonder if RS was part of the problem.

In any case, this season is a total mess for me.
isleofskye
# isleofskye 2012-12-03 07:22
Hi, percysowner. I just wanted to say that I loved season 6-too.
I thought it was paced out very well and there was plenty going on to fill the various episodes.
I had no problem with Sam for it was obvious from the first moment that he wasn't himself so I just waited for the mystery to unravel.
X
Again like you I enjoyed season seven up to a certain point where it all just fizzled out.
There were some prickly themes I did not agree with such as the drugging and kidnapping of Sam nor did I like the way the children were used in the episode "There Will be Blood" to name a few.
X
On the whole I liked Sera Gamble. She might not have got every episode correct but she did understand the brotherly bond and did not demean it, which seems to be happening in this very unenthusiastic current season.
Nate
# Nate 2012-12-01 16:40
I have to pipe in--Carver has improved the series in huge ways over Season 6 and 7. Season 8 has been fantastic, I really feel our show is back. Yes, Season 6 and 7 had very good highs at times, but structure isues up the wazoo. Any talk of being settled in by Season 9 is silly.
hades
# hades 2012-11-30 13:54
well according to Jensen the Purgatory flashbacks are done for now at least
vivian
# vivian 2012-11-30 12:15
As a transitory situation, I think it was a positive experience. They both benefited from it. But not building a whole life from this - that was the illusion. At the beginning of the season, Sam looked like he wanted back to this (a "normal life", not Amelia specifically), but then realized that life wasn't real. There was nothing to go back to (IMO, of course).
RMF
# RMF 2012-12-01 14:45
Quote:
I don't know. Sam and Amelia's life didn't seem like a particularly unhealthy or escapist or fantasy-based thing to me. If anything, meeting each other, reaching out, beginning to talk about their losses and to build a life in the ruins seems to me an eminently healthy step. They weren't projecting some fantasy of perfection on what they had; they both admitted that they were messes, but that they were helping each other. 

And what seems to have crashed their life (on the face value assumption) isn't anything about the inherent qualities of the relationship, it's the unforeseen circumstance that Don was still alive. That wasn't a reality that either of them was running from or a couldn't last because it wasn't real thing.
They're evidently equating Don's return to the intrusion of reality into their lives. It's dubious as a wake-up call, because it's horribly unrealistic for anyone to come back from the dead unless his name is Winchester. So I suppose the Don/Dean name parallel signifies the "spoiler" role in paradise: the reminder that you can't insulate yourself from the needs, demands, and responsibilitie s that arrive on your doorstep from being part of a bigger picture. The problem for me is what you say: Sam and Amelia really don't deserve this. They've just gone through terrible losses in their lives; Sam especially so, with the deaths of all his family and friends (I have to insert the caveat here that we're still not sure what exactly Sam thinks happened to Dean, but still). Are they not entitled to feel overwhelmed? Are they not allowed to feel, at least for a time, that they want to step off the crazy train? Yet, in Sam's big speech to Fred, it's couched in very punitive terms: he and Amelia are living in a dream world, and it's destructive to everything. In fact, if we were to actually reckon with the emotional consequences of Sam's experiences, returning to hunting in spite of it all would be noble. Instead, we're being served the notion of Sam barely breaking even in recovering from a spell of irresponsibilit y. While they acknowledge the loss textually in Episode 1, the judgmental viewpoint of the writing fails to really appreciate the emotional context. 

The concomitant problem is that we're being delivered the personal realization of the "dream world" speech before we witness the emotional trauma that led to the predicament in the first place. It's not enough to hear "I ran" over and over and to have other characters talk at him about what his feelings must have been. In order for this personal realization to pay off, we need to have seen the grief and anguish and what led Sam to abandon looking for Dean  and Kevin. Sam has already been through "I want normal" cycle in the early seasons of the show. If we are to put the character through that process again, we need to know how we ended up back here, and in more than the most general terms.
st50
# st50 2012-12-01 14:56
Quote:


The concomitant problem is that we're being delivered the personal realization of the "dream world" speech before we witness the emotional trauma that led to the predicament in the first place. It's not enough to hear "I ran" over and over and to have other characters talk at him about what his feelings must have been. In order for this personal realization to pay off, we need to have seen the grief and anguish and what led Sam to abandon looking for Dean  and Kevin. Sam has already been through "I want normal" cycle in the early seasons of the show. If we are to put the character through that process again, we need to know how we ended up back here, and in more than the most general terms.
Well said!!
st50
# st50 2012-11-30 11:20
Quote:


On a shallow note: I was amazed by the camera angle, looking upwards, soon after Amelia's father arrived. How tall Sam looked! It was like they were talking to a mountain! A gorgeous, stunning mountain with perfect flowing hair... Now I am losing my grip from reality - and it feels good... ;)
;-) I just loved how Sam towered over both Amelia and her Dad in those flashbacks.
No wonder Dad didn't like Sam at first! He could've eaten them both! (Not only tall, but BUILT!) He would've looked even more dangerous, if he hadn't looked so lost.
(Welcome to the shallow pool, vivian!)
vivian
# vivian 2012-11-30 12:02
Thank you, st50, I feel really safe and welcome here to free this shallow side of mine. You all are a great incentive! :-)
st50
# st50 2012-11-30 12:04
Quote:
Thank you, st50, I feel really safe and welcome here to free this shallow side of mine. You all are a great incentive! :-)
We aim to please. LOL!
(Besides, with J&J, who can resist the shallow side for very long? :oops: )
vivian
# vivian 2012-11-30 12:20
I sure can't!
hades
# hades 2012-11-30 13:56
Sam has been looking mighty fine this season, he's got more of a Jared look about him if that makes sense?
E
# E 2012-11-30 18:56
Absolutely! I thought Jared was stunning in the flashbacks. That sweater thingy he was wearing.... yum, and his hair... gah!. He really is a giant isn't he? A great, gorgeous giant. I feel like the PTB spend a lot of time de-emphasizing his height; it was nice here to see them use it for visual effect.
st50
# st50 2012-11-30 19:01
They sure do, E!
I often notice how the spacing between characters - positioning of Jared - really works to try to bring him down to their level. (I AM referring to size here). Sam is most frequently following Dean in to a room. It works both for characterizatio n, with Sam allowing Dean to take the lead/protecting Dean's back, and making sure you can see both their faces.....
I've heard other comments on the extra features from some of JPs movies where the directors comment that he's very aware of his height, and how to stage himself to make the angles work - sits where possible, makes sure he's not blocking others.... :-)
E
# E 2012-11-30 22:57
And apple crates! Lots of apple crates.
st50
# st50 2012-11-30 23:55
Those work! ;-)
eilf
# eilf 2012-12-01 00:46
There's a scene in The Usual Suspects where the detective lady says to Sam 'You're a fugitive, I really should be arresting you' and the camera cuts away to a long shot of both of them that shows just how daft that threat is. I am sure they did it on purpose. Sam is literally twice her size. :D
m1tchells
# m1tchells 2012-11-30 11:47
Quote:
Personally, I don't believe in the dream theory. I think it was all true, but now Sam is realizing that his idyllic, normal, safe life was a dream, in the sense both him and Amelia were living a fantasy, like her father said. They were escaping reality in order not to face the pain of their losses. But that situation couldn't last because it was not real - there is no normal perfect life, it's an illusion, and he sees it now.
I'm leaning toward this as well. I believe that Sam is in "real time" with Dean. And if that is the case then I can't make the connect between the (very few) statements that Sam has said about his year ("there was a girl and then there wasn't" and "her name was Amelia Richardson and we had a place together") and that whole time being an actual dream. Sam seems broken in many ways but not delusional.
st50
# st50 2012-11-30 11:53
Quote:

I'm leaning toward this as well. I believe that Sam is in "real time" with Dean.
.....
Sam seems broken in many ways but not delusional.
This is where I am.. at least today.... (Doing a WHOLE lot of flip-flopping this season.)
Darya
# Darya 2012-11-30 13:05
Ugh, I was just on twitter and someone was suggesting that the person watching Sam leave was Sam himself, leaving the dream world. Now my head hurts.
kaj
# kaj 2012-11-30 14:50
Darya, I have to look it up and I really can't tell because the mysterious guy looks like he was wearing a cape? With wide and high collar like that of Dracula. Weird.
fanotheboyz
# fanotheboyz 2012-12-01 01:20
I've only seen 2 people on SPN wearing a turned up collar: Dean and John Winchester. Not sure about Crowley- maybe
lala2
# lala2 2012-11-30 13:36
Quote:
On a shallow note: I was amazed by the camera angle, looking upwards, soon after Amelia's father arrived. How tall Sam looked! It was like they were talking to a mountain!
My sister and I also noticed how Jared towered over everyone in that shot! It was ridiculous. He is so HUGE!
My sister also remarked that Amelia must have some height on her. She seems much taller than anyone else who has been w/Sam.
st50
# st50 2012-11-30 18:40
Quote:

My sister also remarked that Amelia must have some height on her. She seems much taller than anyone else who has been w/Sam.
Except Jessica. Adrianne Palicki is tall!
Melanie
# Melanie 2012-12-01 01:29
I agree with you, Vivian. I think its real. I think the 'twist' to Sam's 'normal' happy life isn't anything supernatural, its just that Amelia's hubby comes back from the dead (not in Supernatural's usual sense -- LOL) and rips that dream of normal away from Sam.

Sam's man mountain stature struck me too! Wowee!
Deborah
# Deborah 2012-11-30 13:40
I enjoyed your review, Alice, and really enjoyed this episode. I'm loving this season so far. I don't believe that Sam is "dreaming" in the flashbacks. For one thing, Dean smelled dog in the Impala when he returned!

I believe that something happened to Sam after Dean disappeared. I'm not sure what yet - a breakdown, a decision to end it all, etc. - but whatever happened, whatever state he was in, was altered after he hit the dog. I believe the dog and Amelia helped Sam get through a difficult, traumatic time, at least up to the point of the phone call when Amelia found out that Don was still alive.

I wanted to mention one line Sam said in an earlier flashback a few episodes ago and I've not seen anyone mention it. I think it was during "Blood Brother". To me it's one of the saddest things I've ever heard on this show. It was the group of flashbacks where Sam started to do handyman jobs at the motel and met Amelia again while fixing her sink. She doesn't know the name of the kid who works at the hotel or that his father is sick, and Sam asks how long she's been there and she says 3 months. Sam says usually when someone moves into a town they actually . . . move into a town and Amelia says that she did. And Sam responds "A motel is not part of the town. It's not part of anything." That line broke my heart, knowing that Sam, and Dean, basically grew up in various motel rooms across the country (as well as the Impala and random deserted shacks).

I can't wait to find out exactly what happened. Thanks again for your review and this wonderful site.
vivian
# vivian 2012-11-30 15:28
That line! I'm with you, my heart also broke when Sam said that!
saltwatergal
# saltwatergal 2012-12-02 07:38
Its lines like this one that make the SPN the show that it has become. I reacted to it as if it were a dagger to my heart. It brought gut wrenching memories of the boy's inherited pain. I am referring to "In the Beginning" when Mary says she wants to leave the hunting life because the worst thing she could think of would be to have children and bring them up in the life as she was. At least she had a home! By the time it works its way to the boys they have those "not a part of anything" motel rooms, and living the Winchester Curse.
I appreciate when the writer's demonstrate continuity such as this. It lets me know that someone is trying to build on that original story that got us hooked in the first place. Monster of the week stuff is ok and tolerated by myself as long as it moves the overall story line forward as I feel this weeks ep did. Under the guise of comedic Loony Tunes we got a lot of info we had been waiting for...as well as leaving us with more questions and speculation.
I am old enough to remember being left with "Nell tied to railroad track" and this show does it to me every week. After 7+ seasons you would think I would have learned that the boys are always saved but its the how that keeps me interested. This has got to be difficult...try ing to keep it fresh and surprise us with storylines. I for one will take what ever the writer's create for us, knowing how difficult this must be.
I am still watching so they must be doing something right. Just say'n... (oh please writer's :D I spoke to God and he said he would send back Bobby if you would just write it in!!!!)
nightsky
# nightsky 2012-11-30 14:45
Alice, I love the idea of listing all the clues for Sam this season. I wanted to start my own list but so many people are catching things I missed. Fluffy2107, great arguments!

I would like to add a clue that has been bugging me: the names of everyone in Sam's flashbacks.
Amelia - is a long version of the name Amy, Sam's only? friend.
Don, her husband, who goes off to war, is lost for a long time, presumed dead, then turns up alive - sounds a lot like Dean.
With all the names in the world, these two characters have names so close to the real people in Sam's life?
I will push the idea a little more...Benny/Bo bby. I don't see a character parallel, but the names again are similar.
st50
# st50 2012-11-30 18:19
Quote:

Amelia - is a long version of the name Amy, Sam's only? friend.
Amelia was also Jimmy's wife, if I recall correctly.
Either the writers have no originality, or there's a clue here somewhere.
fanotheboyz
# fanotheboyz 2012-11-30 23:09
Great review, Alice! I also liked this episode, although I found it a little weird, even for SPN. But I like all the clues. They are playing with us for sure, dangling all these little clues, but I love it!

I don't think Sam is dead or dying. I think his "year off" was a step out of reality; a manufactured AU by either heaven or hell to keep him busy while Dean was in Purgatory. When they were done with Dean and/or Cass, it was ok to let Sam out.

The biggest and boldest clue was whomever was watching Sam leave Amelia's to go to the cabin. Sam's flashbacks could be real or imagined. If they are recollections of real events, the events still could have been orchestrated.

Love all the clues. The DonQ painting, if it is one, could represent Dean (chivalry, knighthood, etc). I also don't think it was any coincidence that they made a point of showing Sam *almost* opening Amelia and Don's wedding album. Maybe we'll see it in another FB before it's done.

Personally, I'd love to see a heart to heart where Dean talks to Sam the way he talked to Cass in this ep. He's capable of it, we know, so I'm waiting for that. Maybe he will help Sam figure it out.

Yes, I looked at it again. Sam IS rubbing his palm! Can't wait to see what they do with this! And st50 (above comment) has a great point about the name. I don't know about the Amy part, but Cass (Jimmy) had a wife he couldn't keep due to manipulation by heaven. Probably not another coincidence!
Melanie
# Melanie 2012-12-01 01:41
Right now I'm thinking that it was Amelia's husband Don who was watching Sam leave. I don't think there's anything else going on except what we see on the surface.
I wish to be wrong about this.
saltwatergal
# saltwatergal 2012-12-02 07:45
You know I wondered also why Dean uses the name Don when he says..."you don't take (something) from a guy named Don and there are no dogs in the car! Obviously Don can't be trusted and will throw a monkey wrench into the mix!
nightsky
# nightsky 2012-12-02 12:32
Great catch!! I forgot about that! At the time, I also thought , " I have never heard that saying before...". Another clue for the list, Alice! That's would mean the whole reunion in the cabin(which I thought was "off"), the scene in the car with Dean, etc is all in Sam's head!... Or is he just hearing things a little differently, like Dean remembered things a little differently?... .