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And here we are, back in business! Hellatus over! Hooray!
I can't tell you how happy I was to have "Supernatural" back. Seriously. I spent the afternoon beaming! I had a day off work so I actually watched it live (don't ask me how ‘k?) and I was so chirpy after it, which is weird, because it was not exactly a chirpy episode! But I guess I was chirpy just to have the show back and chirpy to see my boys again, and that was the most I've ever used the word chirpy in my life!

This was a tough episode. It was tough to watch. Some tough choices were faced and some tough decisions were made. But for me, I can't help but feel hopeful. I can't help but feel like this was a tiny little step in the right direction for the brothers. A start...
Ok, I'll admit something, when we awkwardly zoomed in on Crowley's surprised face as he said "There's an angel tablet", I said out loud to no one but the dogs, "Well d'uh!" Do you think us fans are getting a little too smart for our own good? We'd all been discussing the possibility of an angel tablet for a while. I mean if there's a demon tablet and a leviathan tablet, stands to reason there'd be an angel tablet. So that little OMG moment was totally lost on me. (I wonder if there's a human tablet too)?
I was more surprised that all this information was buried deep in Samandiriel's noggin, or his vessel's noggin. Geeze, poor Alfie, the dude goes off to work at the Wiener Hut one day and look how it turns out! Anyway, I guess if the angels instinctively know the names of all the prophets, they instinctively know all of Heaven's other big secrets, including the existence of all the tablets. I wonder what else they know. I wonder what other secrets are buried within their programming.


Though it was difficult to watch for the most part, I enjoyed the progression in the angel storyline. The whole thing has certainly piqued my interest and I'm finding that because we're actually seeing what's happening, as opposed to just hearing about it as per season 6, I'm more involved, I care more. I didn't much care for the angel, weapons of God, Raphael war stuff in season 6, mostly because we barely saw any of it, it was just referenced. This time around, we have a greater involvement because we're in the room, we're getting to see the story the brothers aren't seeing and Cass isn't remembering.

I found the torturing scenes pretty damn brutal. Particularly the first bit, where Viggor reinserted that angel-radio silencer into Alfie's frontal lobe. Ick and ouch. I was wincing. All the screaming, it was pretty hardcore, even for "Supernatural" and even for me. Doesn't help that it was an angel we were all hoping would make it out alive, because he seemed like a good guy and good guy angels are few and far between. I felt so sorry for Alfie. Young Tyler Johnston did a really nice job.
So who is this Naomi chick? I figure she's working for someone or working as part of a larger group. A consortium of angels. I'm seeing her as kind of a middleman, like Zachariah, rather than the boss of the operation. I don't think she's running the show. When she digs around and finds out what Alfie gave away whilst at the hands of Crowley, I wonder what her plan of attack will be. Will she mind control Cass into unwittingly manipulating the boys, to help her reach her goal of finding the angel tablet so it can be returned to Heaven, or maybe even destroyed, so that it can never be used against them? I think it's about time the Big Man came back and pulled his bratty little kids into line! They've been nothing but trouble since he went AWOL.
I'm guessing that the reason the angels have crossed into mind control/brain washing territory is because angels have experienced free will for the first time in eternity and maybe this was the only way the high ranking angels could get everyone back into the fold. Or maybe it's for some other nefarious reason yet to be revealed. Maybe just to keep their secrets, maybe something bigger. Alfie seemed surprised that Cass didn't know who Naomi is. Like Cass should know who Naomi is. But Cass can't remember her, because she's playing with his programming. I wish Alfie stuck around so we could have found out more,

Poor Cass. Man, my heart bleeds for Cass. Here he is, going around fixing little baby's hernias and generally out there doing good for humanity with a smile on his face and then bloody Naomi makes him kill Heaven's most adorable angel! What has she done to him? It's not just the mind control; she stuck something in the corner of his eye that made his vessel bleed. So if the Alfie thing is any indication, it looks like Naomi is tinkering with Castiel's hardwiring. I feel horrible for him. He thought it was his idea to save Alfie. He thought after killing so many, saving one would help with his penance. Then he thought it was his idea to kill Alfie. Poor Cass. The way he cradled the dead angel's head. A-wah! This is going to totally screw him up. Because he already feels pretty crappy about what went down previously and now... Ugh. Where's this going? Nowhere good.
If this was why Castiel was pulled from Purgatory, well then, somehow the Winchesters must be involved, because surely the angels in charge could get any old angel to go rescue Alfie or track down Crowley or find the angel tablet. But because the Winchester's were already on the tablet track and Cass is their friend, This all worries me because Castiel has only just got back into the brother's good graces after the leviathan/souls episode. I don't want Heaven to make Cass do anything that puts him at odds with Sam and Dean. Hopefully, now that the brother's spidey senses are tingling about the whole thing and that they can see something is amiss with their angel buddy, they'll be able to sort out what's happening to Cass before it becomes too destructive to the lot of them. Damn angels.
This is the best Cass storyline we've had since season 4 and 5. He's intricately involved in the main mytharc. He doesn't feel shoehorned in. I felt like the last two seasons, no one really knew what to do with Cass and he was there more for the benefit of the fans than the benefit of the story, but this season he seems to have more of a purpose.

So, Sam and Dean... Clunky segue, sorry.
It seems crazy to me that a show can physically hurt when I watch it. But that's what happened when I watched that opening scene. I got like this little pain in my chest. It simply hurt to watch. This was the Winchesters at their not listening, bull-headed best.
Sam had every right to be angry with Dean for making him fear the worst for Amelia. Dean's text move, though it served its purpose, was not the way to solve that situation and get his brother out of the picture. But on the flipside, Sam simply didn't want to hear anything Dean had to say. Anger does that I guess. When you're as angry as Sam was, and I think that was anger that'd been brewing all season and wasn't just about the message, well, you become selectively deaf. But had he known the situation, had he known that Martin had Elizabeth with a knife to her throat, I'm quite sure he would have felt differently. But of course, Elizabeth was never mentioned, because that would've been too easy on us!
The thing with this conversation, which I liked is, really, they were both right. They both had a case. Dean's move was hurtful and thoughtless and caused his brother worry and pain and he should've realised that, but none of this would have happened if Sam had put just a little faith in Dean. I'm not saying Sam should've trusted Benny blindly. But have a little faith in his brother? Yeah.
I think Sam's lack of faith or trust or whatever when it comes to Benny is more about Dean having lied and kept Benny a secret, than the fact that Benny is a monster. Because really, that doesn't make a hell of a lot of sense when it comes to Sam. Sure he's been burnt by monsters before, but the dude has more empathy than that, he's more thoughtful than that. This monster is responsible for his brother standing in front of him, that in itself should require a little consideration. So I have to take it, this anger is about his brother and the lie and the whole getting dragged back to hunting thing and how he felt when he lost Dean and the loss of Amelia and all the fear that comes along with what he's having to do now and just everything rolled into one gigantic bag of anxiety and anger, that he's focused on Benny. Because nothing else really makes sense to me.
And there's no point saying, yeah but Dean didn't trust Sam about this or that so why should Sam trust Dean, because two wrongs do not make a right and because this is Sam we're talking about, not Dean, this is Sam and in the past he's not been quite so black and white. That's why I think his mistrust and anger stems from much more than simply Benny being a monster and I really hope at some point that gets recognised.

Anyway, it was one of those scenes where you want to clonk their heads together and say, shut-up both of you and listen to your brother! Had they not (hot) angry glared at each other, maybe they might have got somewhere, but no, Dean huffed out and Sam closed his eyes in frustration and, yeah, ouch...the fans grimaced. How many times have we been down this road in the last 7 ½ years? And we keep coming back for more! We be crazy! Having said that, I actually enjoyed the opening scene. It felt honest and realistic. Any other outcome would have felt wrong at that point. They were both too far-gone. I'm glad there wasn't a band-aid pop over their sores.
So much hurt. Sam hurt by Dean's lies and thoughtless trick, Dean hurt by Sam no longer wanting to be by his side, by Sam wanting out. Neither taking the time to listen each other, neither taking the time to talk to each other. (Hot) angry stares and bitter words... But it had to get here, before it could get to where we ended up.
I liked all of the brother's interactions in this episode. I dug how, even though they were seriously annoyed with each other, they fought like a team. Covering each other's back, in unison as always. Cass was so right to go get Sam. Without this move, I'm not sure how they would've been reunited, because they're so, damn, stupidly stubborn. I think Cass did it because he needed them both, but I also think he did it because he knows they need each other.

I also think Kevin's comment about not being able to enjoy a world that he had to save, that he kicked his mum to the curb, so he could focus on the mission, may have influenced Dean's change of heart towards Sam (though obviously not initially, we all know how Dean likes to brood on things). I think seeing Kevin push his only family away made Dean reassess. Is it worth it? If he continued on this track, he'd push his only family away out of hurt and stubbornness. If he forced Sam to stay, or if he didn't allow Sam to make his own choices, if they continued on this path of angry resentment, where would it end? Was the job, the life, the mission worth losing the most important person in the world to him? That's why I think Dean had a change of heart, because nothing is worth losing his brother over, nothing is worth all the fighting.
Dean was honest enough to say he was jealous of Sam's ability to separate his life from the job, something Sam's always been able to do from day one and something Dean has tried to do and failed at. This time, he let Sam make his choice on his future. He told him both feet in, or both feet out, not in a way that instilled guilt, not as an ultimatum, but as advice from one brother to another, because they both know, that having one foot in their world while trying to maintain a foot in the other world can lead to you being dead. Either choice Sam made, Dean would have been supportive of it, even if it meant losing Sam as the person by his side day in day out, because by giving Sam this choice, it meant that no matter what, he wouldn't lose Sam as a brother. Mature brothers are mature! For once! I think that was one of the most grown-up conversations they've ever had. I look forward to more.

I wasn't surprised that Sam chose to stay with Dean. Of course we knew this would be the outcome eventually, this being a show about the Winchester brothers and all, but we didn't know if it would be the outcome here and now. But when I saw Amelia and Sam's interactions in the motel room, I knew that Sam would not be there at the end. It was when Sam said they should think about it, it was when Sam said, "Words will never cover what you mean to me, what you'll always mean to me, " Two things struck me here; if you are crazy in love with someone, if you know you're meant to be together and that this is the only life you want to live, you don't have to think about it, because you just know. Then when Sam said, ", what you'll always mean to me, " well that sounded like goodbye. That sounded like he already knew. Sam's a good guy. He was obviously regretful of the fact they slept together, Don still being in the picture. That's never going to sit well with Sam. He cares too much for others. Also, the fact that Sam popping up again in Amelia's life, caused her to rethink her relationship with her husband... Had that not happened, had Sam not been there, she would have moved on and been happy without him. I think both of these things would have weighed heavily on Sam. I'm not sure Sam would ever have felt comfortable living with that knowledge, living with that guilt.

But I think there's more to it. I don't doubt that Sam loves Amelia, but they were these two damaged people. That's what brought them together in the first place, that's what bonded them. With the return of both their loved ones, some of those wounds have started to heal. I wonder if Sam doesn't need Amelia in quite the same way that he once did. Maybe that hole in Sam's life that Amelia helped to fill is not as gaping anymore. I also think Sam knows that deep down, he could never walk away from hunting, not just from his brother, but from what he's always done. Sometime ago he came to terms with the life and even embraced it, even more than Dean did. Maybe in his heart of hearts, he knows that hunting will always be there, like an itch that needs to be scratched.
Amelia telling Sam that it's up to him to choose between, being with her 100% or being in the life of his that she knew nothing about, was exactly what Dean said to him. Both feet in, or both feet out. Funny that. I respected how Amelia phrased this. I respected that she didn't give him an ultimatum, that she gave him a choice, that she gave both of them a choice and she that didn't tell Sam what her decision would be, so there was no guilt, no pressure, just a choice to make from his heart. In the end, Amelia chose Sam, but Sam chose the life he never shared with her.

And Dean took his own advice. I know Sam pretty much gave Dean an ultimatum at the beginning of the episode in relation to Benny, but I don't think that's why Dean made that call. I think Dean listened to what he told Sam, all in, or all out. I think Dean was committing to repairing his relationship with his brother and with Benny still in the picture that could never completely happen, because his relationship with the vampire would always be a bone of contention between Sam and Dean. I can't even imagine how difficult that decision must have been for Dean, he doesn't turn his back on friends and you could tell by his face and tear filled eyes, how painful it was for him. But in the end, Dean chose to put his family first. He chose to put the most important relationship in his life and the most important person in his life, first. I can't be disappointed in Dean for this.
I am sad for Benny, desperately sad. But, when Dean and Benny first came back from Purgatory, the plan was never to see each other again. They hugged and said goodbye. No matter how much Benny meant to Dean, that relationship was never supposed to spill into this world. It only did so because Benny needed help and contacted Dean. He needed help when his old nest attacked him, he needed to be helped when Sam set Martin on him and this time around, he wanted help to stay on the straight and narrow. Benny always contacted Dean, not the other way round. Should Dean still have dropped everything and gone to Benny? You know what? Dean's up to his elbows in demons and angels and tablets and closing the gates of Hell and a whole lot of brother crap. As much as he may want to be, Dean can't be solely responsible for Benny's choices. Benny has to learn how to stay on the straight and narrow himself. He can't expect Dean to drop everything and travel cross-country at a phone call's notice. Sounds harsh I know, but no one in this show seems to take responsibility for their own actions and it's about time someone did.

I'm sad for Benny, I like him a hell of a lot, I like Dean and Benny's friendship a hell of a lot. I'm sad for the both of them and I sure don't want this going down the, Benny kills a human now Dean has to kill his buddy path, please TPTB, do not do that to us or to Benny or to Dean. I fear that's where it's going, but I seriously hope not. Of course, this being "Supernatural" and all, Dean's decision will probably bite him in the ass. Lord knows, we couldn't possibly let him walk away and it all be ok, we've got to grind him down with more guilt yeah? We'll all just sit here and wait for the Benny situation to explode in Dean's face, Gah!

Wow, this whole review has been a real downer! Sorry about that! But it was a pretty dour episode. I don't know about you, but I ran the emotional gamut! From anger and frustration, to revulsion, to giggly glee at Cass and Dean doing their shtick "That's his serious face, yes." Or even better "manifest through shrubbery" MANIFEST THROUGH SHRUBBERY! My new favourite saying. I have to figure out how to work it into a conversation! Then there was horror, confusion, fear and in the end a bittersweet, cautious optimism. It was like being on a rollercoaster, AHHHHHHHH...EWWWWWW...GRRRR...HEE HEE...AHHHHHHHH...AWWWWW...PHEW. I ended up wobbly at the knees!

I'm not saddened by Sam and Dean's decisions. I'm not angry or disappointed that they chose to give up two important people in their lives. It's a step towards committing to fixing their broken relationship. A fragile understanding. Don't get me wrong, I want them to have friends, I want them to be able to have other relationships outside of each other. But at this point in time, with these two people, with these two relationships and with where the brothers are emotionally, it's just not possible. But they're not alone. They're not isolated. They still have people around them. They still have Cass, they still have Garth, they still have the Trans and out there somewhere, they still have Sheriff Mills. It's just right now, to get their house in order they had to make a choice. Sam and Dean chose family and well... isn't that kinda the whole point?

Thanks for reading guys! See you next week for Dean in chainmail........ Eeeeee!


# st50 2013-01-19 00:00
Nice review, as usual, sweetondean...
That was a tough episode, with all kinds of emotions...

Most of what you've written I agree with. Both boys are being pigheaded, stubborn Winchesters... glaring at each other instead of saying what they really need to say..

In that final scene, the looks that they exchanged... to me, that just yelled, "Yup, I'm here, two feet in... In the fight... I got your back...." from each brother to the other.
With just a bit of "how soon before you hurt/leave/hit/ betray me again"...

Hope they get to that conversation soon!

(And you never mentioned THAT scene! You know the one! No T-shirts! ;-) )
# sweetondean 2013-01-19 00:21
I also didn't mention the epic rug burn sore on Jensen's chin! :P
# eilf 2013-01-19 00:25
Yeah, that looks like it is going to leave a scar doesn't it :D
# KG_SPN 2013-01-19 00:28
It's so funny that we all know how Jensen got that rug burn. Boys will be boys :lol:
# eilf 2013-01-19 00:31
Jensen: Well someone had to jump in to save Misha
Fan: And?
Jensen: I missed.

This is the sort of scripting that should be IN the show!
# st50 2013-01-19 10:54
:D :D
Love it.
Thank goodness they usually have stunt doubles for all the tackling they do on the show! If one "wrestling match" IRL can leave scars......! :o
# KG_SPN 2013-01-19 00:30
(And you never mentioned THAT scene! You know the one! No T-shirts! ;-) )
Haha... and there was no revealing screen shot :sad:
# KG_SPN 2013-01-19 00:15
I really enjoyed your review Amy, as always :-)

You manage to articulate most of the things I'm thinking about an episode... and I'm also very happy that the hiatus is over and we have our show back.

I have to say that loved this episode, even though it was a roller-coaster of emotions and it was hard to watch at times, particularly the torture scenes of Samadriel and all the brother angst :cry:

I honestly don’t think Dean realised just how much the text message he sent would hurt Sam (I believe he did it to protect Sam, not intentionally hurt him). So I think Sam’s anger towards Dean in the motel room really struck a chord. I think this is the first time Dean has actually given Amelia much thought… that Sam really loves her and would be broken (again) if anything happened to her. I think it also impacted on Dean when Sam came to help (even when he knew Dean didn’t want him there). Perhaps Dean realised at that point how much Sam loves him too – despite their differences they still have each others’ back.

I think it was a really big step for Dean to tell Sam he should go back to Amelia… he gave Sam his blessing to live his own life… and I think this is actually what swayed Sam to stay. Sure, Sam is invested in finding the tablet and shutting the gates to hell and he wants to help Castiel. But, Dean finally accepting that they might want different things from life and giving him his blessing is HUGE progress, in my humble opinion.

Maybe now they can have a conversation about Benny, so Sam can see why the vampire meant so much to Dean. I agree with what you said about Sam lacking faith in Benny because Dean lied to him (because it doesn't make sense with what we've seen from Sam in the past). So hopefully they'll address this at some stage.

I interpreted Dean's decision about Benny a bit differently, but you may be right (or maybe it's a combination of things). I think he decided to cut ties with Benny because of what Kevin said about cutting ties with his mother until the job is done. That he needed to put all his concentration into the task at hand and that he couldn't keep getting distracted by Benny.

That's what I love about Supernatural - everyone interprets things in a different way. It's really great storytelling.
# sweetondean 2013-01-19 00:22
Absolutely one of the things I love most about this show is how we all see it differently, how we all take something different away....makes it so interesting! :-)
# Daisymae 2013-01-19 00:16
I have a conspiracy theory. What if everything that is happening this season is related:

1. Dean gets out of purgatory because someone tells Bennie about a human portal. That someone was an angel.

2. Cass gets out of purgatory by angels when he decides to stay there.

3. All of a sudden Don is alive. Why? The angels want Sam & Dean together again so they bring Don back from the dead. Now the duo can help cass.

All this is done by the angels in order to get that angel tablet or to protect themselves. I could be wrong because I certainly have been before. It's an idea.
# KG_SPN 2013-01-19 00:22
I agree. This was something I mentioned earlier in the season - that it was all 'angel interference'. When Benny was looking for the portal he said: 'They told me it was here' or something like that. I've always thought it was the angels who told him. Also, Don, suddenly re-appearing... and we still don't know who was standing outside Sam & Amelia's house in the opening episode.

There is definitely a lot more going on than we know... and the angels are the top suspect at the moment :-?
# E 2013-01-19 10:54
This is a really interesting theory, but I have a slight problem with it. If Benny found out about the human portal from an angel and all the angels are hard wired with essentially the same information, then why didn't Cas know about it? He could have whisked Dean back through the human portal the moment they arrived in purgatory and Dean wouldn't have had to spend a year there fighting for his life. I am not sure that they knowledge of the human portal is an angel thing; at least Cas never indicated that he knew anything about it. I think it might be more of a vampire thing. (As in Alpha Vamp).
# KG_SPN 2013-01-19 18:49
It could be a vampire thing... the alpha vamp did say "see you next season" :-)

But I don't think Naomi started interfering with Castiel until after he got back from purgatory... she's telling him what to do and he is following her commands, but not remembering (and thinking it was his own idea). Perhaps the portal was created by Naomi (or someone pulling her strings) and only the angles involved were told about it???

Just a thought... no idea really :-?
# sweetondean 2013-01-19 00:24
Yep, I think this is quite possibly what we'll find out went down. There's way more to all of this the eye!
# Daisymae 2013-01-19 15:51
I can see we're all on the same wavelength.
# KELLY 2013-01-19 00:40
I've thought about interconnection s and storylines paralleling others. If that is the case, I keep wondering if the angels were working to put them together or tear them apart. I can actually see it going either way.
# E 2013-01-19 17:15
Maybe it was both.. The angels kept them apart until the needed everyone back together, now the are pulling our boys that way. I am digging the angel storyline for the first time since season 4. I liked it in 4, not so much in 5,6, & 7. To me it would make perfect sense for the angels to use subtefuge to get the Winchesters to do what they need them to do. The last time they tried it failed miserably (ah, rip Zachariah, how I loved to hate thee). Naomi strikes me as the type who would learn from other angels mistakes.
# eilf 2013-01-19 00:25
# Kim 2013-01-19 00:50
This episode was terribly painful, but a pain that had to happen, as you say.

I strongly suspect that Benny is headed down a dark path, no matter how much he is trying to resist. And that is Martin's fault, I think.

I'm trying to get invested in the whole angel arc again, but it's hard. Cas was just so much filler to please the fans for so long. I am glad that there is an actual story going on but does it interest me? Not so much. I'd rather just concentrate on the brothers but as long as this is all tied in with them, I'll be okay.

As for Amelia, this was a fitting end. She can move on now and commit herself fully to her husband, knowing that Sam didn't choose her. It sounds harsh, but she filled a need for Sam and that need is gone now. If you look at Sam's history, that seems to have happened quite a bit. Not that Sam is a use and abuse 'em type, just that I think it takes a lot for him to fully commit. I think that the one time he was truly ready to commit was with Jessica, and we know how that turned out.
# KELLY 2013-01-19 01:39
Loved your review. These boys need someone to mediate their discussions. Maybe Oprah. That whole first scene together, I wanted to slap both upside their heads. They both had legitimate points that probably the other could likely see if they would start talking to each other instead whatever they were doing.

They did much better in the scene at the end, but I still wanted to call Dr. Phil. (They would talk to each, just to get him to shut up.) For instance if they were one of those pop psy daytime talk shows the conversation could go like this.
Sam says with full-on puppy-dog eyes, "I think my concerns about Benny are justified since he's a vampire who has killed in the past and now has killed Martin. I while I trust your judgment, I fear you're too close to the situation. Plus I'm expected to trust your judgment without question, but you didn't trust mine and went behind my back and killed Amy. I feel that we need to talk about these things and make a decision together, because neither of us is perfect. But I probably handled my concerns really badly because first you lied to me about him and then forced me to let him go, without really giving me anything to base that decision on. Also, I'll admit that I was both hurt and resentful of the fact that he had your unquestioning loyalty after only a year at your side. When I have had your back most of your life and you still say he is a better brother than I am. I know you were under the ghost's influence but that really hurt. And maybe that resentment came into play more than I'm willing to admit."

And Dean replies with OTP rolling down his face, "I'm sorry you know I didn't really mean that I was probably just hurt about the not looking for me thing and all the past resentments came out. Plus it also hurts a little that you ignore the fact that he is the reason I'm out and maybe the reason I'm still alive after a year of fighting every nasty out there. Also, I would like for you to have a chance to get to know Benny, so you can develop your opinion on him, but how can I do that when you obviously want him dead. I know I didn't give that chance to Amy but I've admitted I might have made a mistake about that. And I know I made a mistake by doing it behind your back and not giving your judgment the same weight I expect mine to have with you."

Then they give each other a giant brother hug.

Ok this started a one line example and became a whole crack ficlet where the boys both read a buttload of self-help books on communication. Sorry in advance for whoever reads it, but it amused me too much to delete. Not that I wouldn't love for them to find less ridiculous dialogue than mine to air their grievances with.

Note!!!! I was totally not mocking the much-missed OTP or puppy-dog eyes. Totally adore them both.

Sorry, Sweetondean, your review inspired this tangent but feel free to move it if necessary.
# sweetondean 2013-01-19 01:42
Kelly, I can't even tell you how much I'm laughing right now!
# KELLY 2013-01-19 02:28
YAY! Glad too much sugar and caffeine had some benefit other than keeping me up all night.
# st50 2013-01-19 10:51
That was great, Kelly!
How about we pool our resources and hire Dr. Phil for an hour or two, eh?
I think I've got $2.50 in my pocket I could throw in. How about you? ;-)
# Sylvie 2013-01-21 10:31
That was great Kelly! Sure broke up a boring morning at work. ;-)
# lkeke35 2013-01-19 02:17
KG : Some good points there. And hey it's been stated by the writers that this season primary theme is perception. The characters perceptions of each others actions and words and I also think the writers are playing with our perceptions too. I haven't seen so much enthusiastic speculation in this fandom since season 5 and that's a good thing.

I am fervently hoping the Amelia storyline is over and in response to Daisymae : that this is all angel manipulation is definately food for thought
# E 2013-01-19 11:07
The brother interactions for me were the highlight of this episode. There seems to be a lot of clamor among the fans for the brothers to fix their problems tout-suite, but I don't mind waiting. It gives their conflict weight for it not to be resolved in a single episode. They've been fighting for nine eps, it should take at least that long to resolve things.

This is the first time in a long time that I have been even remotely interested in the angels (and Cas's) storyline. I really felt for him here and agree with you Sweetondean, that his plot seems organic and well crafted rather than shoehorned in or like fan pandering. I am relived, I have loved Misha Collins and Cas since the beginning, but the way his character has been used, especially in recent years, had irked me. I am glad to see a well balanced and interesting story line for this character for a change.

I had a problem with the Amelia/Sam breakup scene though. I have liked Amelia from the start (one of the few) but it did strike me during this scene that she and Sam never touch each other; there was no warmth or familiarity between them in a scene that should have been filled with it. I am wondering if this is deliberate or not, but I found it strange. Aside from that Jared was drool worthy in this entire scene...absolut ely stunning. I still noticed that his character didn't get to say much though. And the scene where Cas surprises Sam on the bench to ask him to return to the hunt.... not much of an exchange between the characters their either... are they ever going to give Sam some dialogue? with anyone?
# st50 2013-01-19 11:20
Hey, E.
I actually thought the "no touching" part of that scene was real. You could tell Sam was already regretting it, feeling it was a mistake, and pulling away from Amelia. Holding himself back from touching her... and Amelia was trying not to push, although I thought her words said she wanted him... (and I'm not going to comment on the droolworthiness ! ;-) )

I do agree that Sam hasn't had enough dialogue this entire season. Not only have we not gotten into his head very well, he's just been sounding board for everyone else. Sam/JP does the communicating by expression well, but surely it's time to get him talking!
# eilf 2013-01-19 11:47
I still noticed that his character didn't get to say much though. And the scene where Cas surprises Sam on the bench to ask him to return to the hunt.... not much of an exchange between the characters their either... are they ever going to give Sam some dialogue? with anyone?
Hi E I agree totally with you on this. I saw Cas appear beside Sam - oh yay, conversation! Cas always has interesting conversations on park benches (Dean, Uriel, Anna, God)! Then... nothing! Aw.
# E 2013-01-19 17:28
The only reason I can think of is that Sam would almost assuredly be asking some serious questions like 'what's the deal with Dean and Benny.. What was purgatory like, how did you get out, how did Dean get out,' and etc... X 1,000 and TPTB aren't ready for us to know these things yet so the've kept Sam quiet. At least this would make sense in the long run dramatically even if its irritating now. I've never seen our inquisitive, stubborn Sammy so mute and resigned. :(
# eilf 2013-01-19 18:17
Sam has asked those questions though. He hasn't had any answers and Dean has gone to absolutely ridiculous lengths to not tell him anything (for example hauling Cas out of the car for a 'private' conversation about Purgatory) nothing about Cas (except at the end - where he was wrong) or Benny, or the year of fighting or who he thinks 'they' might be. This isn't a diss at Dean, this isn't really typical behavior by him (in my opinion), it is at the writers, because unless Dean is sulking beyond all understanding there is NO reason not to answer some of Sam's questions. If Dean has gone all 'perfect soldier;' then isn't debriefing a part of a soldiers job?

The only reason to limit this information is, as you say, to prevent Sam, and therefore us, from learning something vital.

Perhaps when it becomes obvious to them that Cas is involved with the angels they will realise they need to look more closely at what happened in Purgatory and Dean will finally tell Sam some answers (and maybe ask Sam about his year?)
# E 2013-01-20 00:13
Hi eilf! It's true that Dean isn't talking, but that's happened before and that has never stopped Sam from getting answers in the past. I keep thinking back to Hunted when Dean didn't want to discuss the big secret, or look into Sam's potential powers; but did that stop Sam from getting the answers he was looking for? No, he went and got them on his own. Where has THAT Sam gone? the one who won't take 'no' for an answer, the one who goes elsewhere for info when Dean clams up? But Sam has to be willing to seek those answers out, from Cas, from Garth or even from Benny if he got desperate enough for information, but he doesn't seem motivated to do so this time around. I want my stubborn, tenacious Sammy back.
# eilf 2013-01-20 00:49
Oh E, I do too! I also want real-person Dean back, I miss those guys.

I think Sam feels perhaps that if Dean doesn't want to talk about Purgatory he isn't entitled to force the information out of him. Like with Hunted, Dean asked him how he was going to get the information out of him if he wouldn't answer and he said "I'll just keep on asking till you do". It was persistent but in a low key way - mind you when he found out what the secret was ... And, you are right, he went and got more information from Ellen.

He has been pushing for information over the episodes but he probably thinks if he pushes too hard Dean will either accuse him some more of betrayals (which he probably wouldn't) or continue to compare Sam unfavorably to Benny (which he has) which is hurtful considering everything they have gone through in the past.

If you poke a hornets nest with a stick you are probably going to get stung so it had better be worth it. Or just leave well enough alone.
# emmau 2013-01-20 01:03
Genuinely curious, elif, but when did we see Sam pushing Dean to open up about Purgatory beyond episode one? He asked, Dean deflected, and that was pretty much it, in my memory. In 8.6, he asked about Benny and why Dean hadn’t killed him yet. He gave the “Yeah, how did you get out?” jab in front of Garth which I would assume we aren’t meant to think he expected an answer to—if Dean won’t talk to Sam, he’s sure not talking to Garth. To me, E makes a good point in stating that Sam really hasn’t shown much interest at all in trying to find out what’s going on with Dean or what happened in purgatory. In S2, he was poking a hornet’s nest with Dean just as much as this season, but it didn’t stop him. This season, it very much did. Am I to assume, as you say, that he decided it wasn’t worth it? I hope not.

Now, I can just as easily turn that around on Dean. Yes, he’s always reacted badly when he thinks Sam is leaving him behind, but he usually can get over that if he really feels that it’s important to Sam (just as with the S2 Sam example above, I think this is more evident in the earlier seasons than the latter). Even in episodes like Fallen Idols or Southern Comfort, he generally stops pushing when Sam says no more. In 4.9, he got over his hatred of the Ruby situation enough to ask why he trusted her so much. But this season he hasn’t been able to see past his anger to ask about Amelia and Sam’s year.

So I think I agree with both you and E in stating that this season Sam and Dean are completely closed off from each other, trapped underneath their own mountains of issues. I’m ready to see them crawl out and start really looking at each other, because show’s made it perfectly clear that they only have each other. It’s up to both of them to fix what’s gone wrong.
# eilf 2013-01-20 02:15
I am looking at it from the point of view that if the show was going to give answers they would have direct questions. And I think they will eventually.

In the meantime they are putting in 'colour' every few episodes to make it clear that Sam wants Dean to talk and that Dean REALLY doesn't want to tell him. The three specific scenes you mention over ten short episodes is quite a lot. Plus there is the follow on scene after Sam meets Benny where Dean starts talking about something else and Sam says something along the lines of 'oh we have been driving for hours and now you want to talk?' And then he gets his head bitten off doesn't he? (can't remember exactly - I know it doesn't go well)
Dean "Does this sound like the Benny you know?"
Sam: "I don't know Benny"
Dean hasn't told Sam anything at all. What is there to know about Benny? What Dean knows about Benny. Where, and on what is that entire relationship based? Purgatory.
Also, as I have mentioned a few times now so apologies for repeating myself, there really wasn't any need for Dean to take Castiel out of Sam's hearing at the various points while he asked him why he couldn't escape through the portal? What was that? I mean it makes NO sense to me at all except to continue to keep Sam in the dark.

But if you were Sam you would look at those incidents and say OK Dean is clearly still angry about this. I will wait until he wants to talk. It isn't really as if Sam has a reason (until now) to think that there is any more to the Purgatory story except escape. In Season 2 the information he wanted had directly to do with him - and Dean REALLY needed to share it by that stage.

That's what I meant about the hornets nest - not that he doesn't want to know, just until now he may have thought there was no urgency and that Dean needs time to heal before he will talk.
# emmau 2013-01-20 09:29
I'm thinking I might have to agree to disagree. Three short scenes among ten episodes doesn't seem like much to me. When it's compared to the number of scenes Dean had talking to Castiel about their issues, it seems about equal, and they've spent much less time together. When compared to the flashbacks that both boys have experienced, it doesn't seem like much at all. Now, that is not all on Sam--show is deliberately setting up the distance between them, and having persistent Sam trying to find out what's making Dean tick would not fit in with that. As sweetondean pointed out, he also had his own issues going on at the time. But I agree that the change between this season and previous ones is palpable.

By that same token, Dean did his best to keep things from Sam as well. He did not trust anyone when he returned from purgatory. Some of that may be contributed to Sam blithely telling him he didn't look for him at all, but PSTD that disappeared already. Dean was also made to keep secrets to keep the tension high. Pulling Castiel out of the car may well be an example of that. It could also, however, relate to the fact that since he’d been so angry at Sam for not looking for him, he couldn’t bear to bring up his fear that he’d left Castiel behind in front of him in fear of how Sam would react.

Dean wasn’t ready to talk, and Sam wasn’t ready to listen. Sam’s “Now you want to talk?” wasn’t quite that innocent—it was sharp and ready to fight, so it was responded to in kind. Sam was angry that Dean had been keeping secrets, and from that point on he has not been reasonable and ready to listen about anything regarding Benny, as far as I could tell. It’s hard to be mad about someone not telling you something when you react with anger and give the impression that you’re not going to listen to anything said. Dean takes his share of the blame, but I don’t see Sam patiently sitting by and waiting for Dean to be ready to talk to him. He just doesn’t seem that interested in knowing to me. He doesn’t ask about it unless he’s getting ready to rant about Benny, so if it seems like Sam’s using the information for ammunition Dean’s not going to talk. By the same token, Sam isn’t talking about normal, because Dean’s made it clear how he feels about Sam’s year off of enjoying the finer things and not trying to find him. So when the other person is on the offensive, you’re not going to confide in them.

To be clear again, I think Sam and Dean have both done a terrible job communicating this season, and I do think the degree of that terribleness is bigger than it has been in years past. Again, I agree with sweetondean that they are both stubborn and frustrated/angr y with each other, so neither one of them are willing to open up or listen to the other open up.
# eilf 2013-01-20 11:42

Dean wasn’t ready to talk, and Sam wasn’t ready to listen. Sam’s “Now you want to talk?” wasn’t quite that innocent—it was sharp and ready to fight, so it was responded to in kind. Sam was angry that Dean had been keeping secrets, and from that point on he has not been reasonable and ready to listen about anything regarding Benny, as far as I could tell.
The last time Dean discovered Sam was hiding a monster (Soulless Sam) from him he pretty near beat him to death and then refused to listen to all advice about how to deal with that situation. The time before that (Ruby . Metamorphosis) he hit him a couple of times, called him a monster and said he should kill him. Back with Lenore and Gordon he just hit him on general principles (though Sam wasn't keeping that a secret so it is a bit different).

That is all ancient history but if it is ok for Dean to behave that way, why isn't it ok for Sam?

I feel that a certain amount of being pissed off in the same situation (a monster with an unknown agenda has helped one of the brothers for a year, is friends with one of the brothers and that brother is keeping it a secret from the other one) was not out of line on Sam's behalf here.

I agree that they aren't communicating and that is as much on Sam as Dean.

Yes I think we are going to have to agree to disagree :D
# emmau 2013-01-20 12:04
So . . . it was wrong for Dean to try to save Sam's soul from being tortured daily in hell, instead of listening to others' advice and letting him rot in the cage? I'm not sure what argument you're trying to make with this example. I also can't agree with the interpretation that Dean beat down Sam for hiding robo!Sam--he beat down robo!Sam, who had done something particularly heinous and was not by the truth goddess's account human. So while some fans don't separate robo!Sam from the real Sam, Dean clearly did and acted in accordance to that belief. We can accept or reject Dean's perspective as being legitimate, but he definitely didn't believe he was acting against Sam there. So I don't see how that example is relative to the conversation.

When Dean found about Ruby in Metamorphisis, he hit Sam and did not listen to his reasoning at that time (though he did not call Sam a monster in that episode--he told him hunters wouldn't understand and would find him evil. He was proven right twice in S5). This was wrong, just as Sam is wrong for immediately going on attack mode and refusing to listen about Benny. So my hope is that Sam will have his own moment this season like in 4.9 where he stops and actually asks Dean about his trust and Benny and then listens to his answers.

I'm not sure what the hitting examples that have nothing to do with secrets have to do with this conversation, except to say what a bad brother Dean is so . . . . That doesn't seem helpful to the conversation. I also never said anything about Dean's actions in the past being correct, so I'm not sure why that's being leveled at me.

I didn't say Sam didn't have the right to be angry or concerned--I'm saying I see too much of the former and not enough of the latter. We can agree to disagree and that's fine.

Since I've said more than once that Sam and Dean are both responsible for the breakdown between them, we definitely do agree on that bit of common ground, and that's something, right?
# eilf 2013-01-20 12:20
I didn't say Deans actions were wrong ... I am saying that is what he did.

I also didn't call Dean a bad brother I don't belong to the group of people who think that.

I said that Sam is entitled to what is a a much more controlled reaction in what I consider to be parallel circumstances AT THE TIME. Not what events played out to be, but the same situation at the time (hindsight being 20/20 and all).

The quote from Metamorophosis I was referencing was as follows:

It's already gone too far, Sam. If I didn't you know... I would wanna hunt you.

SAM's eyes are tearful, and he nods at that, looking down.

And so would other hunters.

Hunters only hunt monsters therefore Dean is calling Sam a monster.
# emmau 2013-01-20 12:43
I'm afraid I still don't see how the robo!Sam example is relevant. I'm sorry I misunderstood your intentions because I didn't see the point of bringing up the other examples of Dean hitting Sam when you yourself admitted they did not fit into the conversation we were having. I'm afraid I still don't see the point, but I take you at your word that you did not have 'But look what bad Dean did!" intentions.

Yes, Dean did react that way in the past, and Sam is entitled to a reaction at this time. But in both cases, I think it's worth pointing out that neither reaction particularly helped the situation or fixed the problems between them. That's my point.

I'm sorry, but I do not interpret Dean's word in Metamorphasis as calling Sam a monster, even obliquely. He was (rightly) pointing out that other hunters would think he was something to be hunted by his actions. Dean did not consider Sam a monster--he considered his actions monsterous. That is an important distinction, in my opinion. Considering Gordon was willing to hunt Sam on the basis of what his future actions might be, Dean had a legitimate concern. Did he phrase it in a bad way that pushed Sam's 'freak' trigger and probably push them farther apart instead of making the situation better? Yes, absolutely. He had a human but unhelpful reaction. Sam is having the same now. That's all I'm saying.
# percysowner 2013-01-20 13:39
For me the point is the double standard that Dean and many fans apply to Sam. When Sam keeps secrets it is because he is bad and deserves to be berated or assaulted. Dean telling Sam that any hunter would consider him a monster IS telling Sam that he is a monster to anyone not Dean. Dean beating Soulless!Sam for not telling him he was soulless, when Sam didn't KNOW he was soulless was Dean blaming Sam for being soulless. Dean hitting an already concussed Sam, because Sam didn't tell him he was hunting Amy was blaming Sam for not telling him. All of which is fine, but when Dean holds secrets, suddenly that is all Sam's fault. Sam didn't ask enough. Sam hasn't shown enough compassion for Dean. I HATE the double standard. If Sam gets to take the blame and be called a horrible person for for keeping secrets from Dean, then Dean gets to take the blame for and be called out on keeping secrets from Sam.

But there is more going on than Dean's reactions to Sam's secrets. Ever since the Pilot, Sam has tried to get Dean to talk about various subjects that Dean doesn't want touched. In the Pilot, Sam MENTIONS Mary and Dean shoves him against the bridge, gets in Sam's face and screams at him. After John dies, Sam tries to get Dean to talk and Dean goes on the attack by telling Sam that Sam was a bad son and has no right to mourn John and therefore does not deserve to have Dean talk to him. When Sam tries to talk to Dean about John and how Dean is relating to Gordon, Dean hits him. When Sam tries to get Dean to talk about the deal and how Dean is afraid, Dean tells him he gets to be selfish and to basically shut up, Dean isn't talking about the Deal, no way, no how.

Dean refuses to talk about what happened in Hell, at first because he doesn't remember but later because he doesn't want to. Sam did ask repeatedly and got nowhere. When Sam gets his soul back, he asks what happened with Lisa and Ben and Dean refuses to talk about it. When Dean wipes Lisa and Ben's mind Sam want to discuss it with Dean, Dean tells him never to mention it again.

When Dean comes back from Purgatory Sam DOES ask what happened and Dean deflects. You say three short scenes of Sam asking isn't enough, but you are fine with Dean not knowing how important Amelia was to Sam when there are ZERO scenes of Dean asking.

Look, Sam has lived with Dean for around 30 years. He knows by now that Dean will talk about things when Dean damned well feels like it and not a moment before. He also knows that when Dean is pressed to talk, he strikes back, HARD. Knowing that, Sam would have to be an idiot to continue to press Dean when he doesn't want to talk. In the past, pressing Dean has led to Dean striking back both physically and mentally. Even so, Sam has still TRIED to find out what happened to Dean. I can't blame him for deciding to just wait until Dean decides on his own that he wants to talk. At least he can avoid being hit emotionally with hearing his many flaws, or physically because Dean has "reached his limit" and just wants Sam to shut up.
# emmau 2013-01-20 14:41
Well, let’s be real—double standards exist on both sides, don’t they? Dean fans give Dean a pass on his bad choices at times while attacking Sam, and some Sam fans rationalize Sam’s actions until he is blameless while holding Dean responsible for all of his. It’s the nature of the beast, and not really what I was discussing before. Water’s wet, sky’s blue, fans have double standards.

I don’t agree that Dean was calling Sam a monster in Metamorphasis, though I understand why some do. I do not understand where the rationale that Dean was beating soulless!Sam for keeping secrets when it was revealed he was not human, ergo not Sam. He was hitting the soulless, unhuman thing that was wearing his brother’s face. In 7.3, it had been five weeks since the Leviathan attack—if we are to believe Dean’s leg was healed enough to walk on, I think it’s fair to assume Sam was no longer concussed. In fact, Sam believed himself fully capable of taking on this hunt and making decisions about letting Amy go, so there you go. I don’t remember at any time saying that Sam was responsible for Dean keeping secrets, any more than Dean has been responsible for Sam keeping secrets in the past. I also never said that Sam was solely responsible for the trouble between them—in fact, I’m pretty sure I said the opposite, and I’m not going to answer for anyone else’s opinion. Plus, Dean has taken the blame for Sam’s secret-keeping by some before in some corners of fandom, S4 being a prime example, so it’s not a phenomenon linked solely to Sam.

Of course there’s more to Dean’s reactions than Sam, I fully agree. Dean is his own person, and everything about him does not revolve around Sam. It’s a bit much to say that Sam mentioned Mary and Dean reacted badly (he also didn’t scream at Sam at that point, I’m afraid), just as it is to say that Dean mentioned Jessica in 1.21 and Sam reacted badly. They both said the same inflammatory thing to each other to get a reaction and make a point. But that brings up a good point that Sam and Dean both give as good as they get, doesn’t it? Sam basically said Dean was demeaning their father’s memory in 2.3, and Dean hit him. Sam called Dean selfish for making a deal, and Dean refused to talk about it. They do have a certain give and take, don’t they?

I agree that Dean doesn’t talk about hell. Neither has Sam. Dean doesn’t talk about Lisa and Ben. Sam doesn’t talk about his memories of his time as robo!Sam, which he presumably regained when the wall came down. Dean hasn’t told Sam about purgatory. Sam hasn’t told Dean about normal and how devastated he apparently was. That’s the big problem always between the boys—neither one communicates with the other. Holding only Dean accountable for his secrets and reluctance to talk while excusing Sam is a double standard as well, isn’t it?
# emmau 2013-01-20 14:51
To further illustrate their give and take, I also cite for your consideration some times where Sam has reacted to Dean's provocation. Dean said that if Sam had willingly engaged in the acts he did in 4.21 that it meant Sam had become a monster, and Sam threw the first punch. Dean killed Amy, and Sam found out and cut him off without contact. Dean and Sam get into an argument in Scarecrow, Dean tells him that listening to their father made him a good son, and Sam got out of the car and left. So it is a give and take to me. Sometimes Sam pushes Dean's buttons and it backfires, and sometimes Dean pushes Sam's buttons and it backfires. It doesn't make either of them bad, or one bad and one good--it makes them brothers, at least in my opinion.
# percysowner 2013-01-20 15:08
Yes, they are brothers. Yes they respond differently to provocation. Perhaps I wasn't being clear. Most of my post is about how Dean reacts when Sam asks him to talk about things. There has been a consistent argument on this thread that Sam doesn't know about Benny because he hasn't asked enough. I was merely pointing out that Sam has asked, but that all past experience indicates that unless Dean is ready to talk nothing is achieved by asking.

The other points you make about how Sam and Dean handle conflict in general don't belong in this thread, so I'll leave them at that.
# emmau 2013-01-20 15:18
Thank you for clarifying your position--in the midst of the points about the double standards of Dean fans, I'm afraid I did lose the plot of your argument.

I will further agree that Sam did ask about purgatory once and Benny twice, and Dean declined to discuss them in the first case and had his argument about how Benny helped him dismissed with a "Why isn't he dead yet" in the latter. My argument remains that Dean doesn't talk until he's ready, and Sam hasn't shown much inclination to really listen this season, any more than Dean has about Sam's normal. So we do agree on some things, it seems. We can leave it there if you like, though.
# percysowner 2013-01-20 15:37
I will try and clarify one more thing. Although I did mention fans, my main point was supposed to be about DEAN'S double standards. If Dean doesn't want to talk about something, then it must not be discussed until he is ready, but Dean has conniptions if Sam keeps something to himself. The show is shown from Dean's POV for the most part IMHO, so that carries over. I'm really more annoyed that Dean keeps his secrets and gets all huffy if he gets called on it, but at the same time has huge issues if Sam doesn't come clean immediately.
# emmau 2013-01-20 15:47
Again, thank you for clearing that up, because I was rather confused when suddenly fan reaction was part of the conversation. I'll agree Dean has double standards about his not talking. I further assert Sam does as well. He doesn't seem to have any problem with keeping things to himself or keeping secrets from Dean, but this season has certainly shown he doesn't like Dean keeping things from him any better than Dean does. I don't think POV really enters into that, because it's fairly clear that Sam was angry at Dean for keeping secrets from him and that Sam has issues with Dean suddenly deciding to befriend a monster from purgatory. Sam hates being called out on his secrets and usually rationalizes away Dean's 'huffiness'--"I knew you wouldn't approve''; "I didn't want you to worry"; etc. But he doesn't accept any such rationalization like "I wasn't ready to talk about it" or "It was my business" from Dean. So to me, there's been some role reversal this season.

Now, I've always found both Sam and Dean delightful hypocrites, so this doesn't really bother me. They both have issues and faults in how they deal with each other.
# Bamboo24 2013-01-20 14:53
Great response, emmau. You're right - they're brothers, grown men who don't always communicate well, and they BOTH give as good as they get.
# sweetondean 2013-01-20 01:04
I also think, they've been at such logger-heads this season and Sam's thoughts have been split between where he is and where he was - and wanted to return to, so maybe Sam's not in the mindset to be seeking out the clues to his brother's behaviour and experience as he would've done in the past. Maybe his own crap was enough to deal with.

Not only that, when you're kind of pissed at someone, you do have a tendency to go, oh well, you ain't gonna tell me, I ain't gonna ask you. Lord knows, they are both as stubborn as each other. I wonder if there's a little bit of that going on too. It's not like they've been particularly chummy of late. There's not been a lot to suggest either would want to open up or encourage the other to open up.

Maybe the 'not take no' for an answer Sam will be back as the equilibrium begins to return to their relationship (which I'm just going to sit here and optimistically assume will happen, because that's what I'm like), and once that happens, they'll be more open to sharing and caring again. :-)
# Daisymae 2013-01-20 12:06
Actually we never see Sam or Dean be affectionte towards women. You don't see them touch a girl's hand or give them a peck on the cheek (which is what Lisa did a number of times to Dean). The only time Dean showed physical affection was towards Jo when she was about to die. The rest of the time it was about sex. Maybe it's about the loss of mom. On the other hand, they both have no qualms about hugging other men. There have been hugs for Cass, Bobby, and Bennie. I'm laughing about this. Sweetondean this might be a good discussion.
# percysowner 2013-01-20 13:54
I'll disagree slightly here. Sam was very affectionate with Jess, kissing her at the Halloween party, putting his arm over her shoulder while talking to Dean about John. So at one point, Sam was demonstrative with Jess.
# Trucklady 2013-01-19 11:18
Another great review sweetondean. It was well worth the wait and did not disappoint as far as I was concerned. How about opening with Bob Seger playing?

The boys scenes just tugged at my heartstrings. We all knew it was coming and there is a lot more that needs to be said but I realize what we all want would take more than an hour show so guess it is a good thing the boys have great readable facial expressions. There was never a doubt that they would get back together because "family" has always been the top priority with both of them. It does make one want to bang their heads together and tell them to listen, really listen to each other for once.

Gore, oh the Samadriel torture scenes were just gruesome. I could have done with a lot less of that. So sad they chose to kill him in the end and poor Cass having to be the one to do it. These lead angels seem to be going off the deep end at this time. I'm scared for Cass at this time.

Another saddness, Benny. I understand why Dean did it and he really needed to break that tie to follow his own advice he gave Sam about both feet in or both feet out. But doesn't make me stop feeling so sorry for Benny and what is he supposed to do now with no family, no friends, and no direction. He's a big boy though and hopefully he will make the right choices so he does not put Dean in a very unfortunate position.

Then there is Amelia. Can't say I'm not happy that she is out of the picture now but still cannot help but feel somewhat sorry for her and feel her pain. She really did need to go back to her husband and get out of Sam's life so glad he made that decision for her.

Really looking forward to a more lighthearted episode next week. The boys are due for some fun times.
# Bamboo24 2013-01-19 12:52
I appreciate your review and your insight, sweetondean.

Am I the only one who never cared much for Alfie? I very much prefer the angels-as-warri ors motif from S4-5 to a softy like Samandrial. I didn't mind seeing him go.

I did not find the torture scenes particularly gruesome...but the screams were a little much. The most gruesome thing this season (for me) was when Crowley cut Kevin's finger off. [Shudders]

I agree with you that the brothers' argument in the beginning of the episode was very realistic, and I loved that. As you said: "Any other outcome would have felt wrong at that point. " They needed to get all their cards out on the table - to say to each other exactly what they've been feeling. I was pleased that Sam mentioned Jess - we all figured that was what he was thinking when he got that text - but he needed to express that deep hurt to his brother, and we needed to hear it.

I disagree with you that Sam's distrust of Benny is due to Dean keeping him a secret or lying about him, as opposed to being because he's a monster. I think, for whatever reason, Sam sees Benny as Dean's Ruby (minus the sex). He's brought her up before this season when talking about Benny, remember? Maybe it's a gut-thing. Maybe it's because it's so utterly out of character for Dean to befriend a monster that Sam thinks the vampire MUST have some sort of hold over Dean. Maybe it's a mix of fear, resentment, suspicion, foreboding, guilt, and hurt. But for Sam to hold onto Dean's initial secret about Benny - that seems too much like holding a grudge, and makes no sense at this point. Sam knows about Benny now, so why hold onto the fact that Dean initially lied about him?

Anyway - I loved your analysis of how Kevin's comment about his mom affected Dean. I think that was exactly what the writers were getting at - Dean checking himself and asking if the fighting was worth it if it meant kicking Sam to the curb. Someone else mentioned it also likely affected Dean's response to Benny later in the episode. Because here's this kid, working so hard and so seriously to save the world, and Dean and Sam should be helping, but are so busy fighting over their distractions - Benny and Amelia - that they're being torn apart. I think it was a very sobering moment for Dean.

I agree that the conversation the boys finally had was probably the most grown-up they've ever sounded. Loved it.

Thank you for reminding me that when Benny and Dean got out of Purgatory, the plan was never to see each other again. That's important to point out. I'm sad too, over Benny's situation. But that part of me wars with another part which says - Benny's a monster who spent years killing innocents before turning a new leaf and later landing in Purgatory. He's not an innocent himself. If he feeds, it will be unfortunate, but it won't be Dean's fault. I admit though, I am still hoping the vampire can stay clean. Friend or foe, I love his character and hope he isn't killed off anytime soon.

And that's all I got to say about that! Until next time! :)
# E 2013-01-20 12:40
AW! You don't like the most adorable angel in the garrison?!? :lol:
# Leah 2013-01-19 13:22
Oh man sweetondean, I am having a hard time with this one. I thought it was a good episode in many ways but it was not one that left me feeing good. I am glad things are FINALLY moving along with respect to angels/demons/t ablets. Things are starting to look up for Sam/Dean relationship, that is great.

I am having a hard time with the Dean/Benny thing. I have posted these thoughts a few times already so I apologise for being a broken record on this. No matter how this friendshio was going to play out, Dean still considered him a friend. So when a friend who is about to relapse calls you for support, you pick that moment to cut them out of your life. That seems so wrong to me. I know it had to to happen eventually and that Dean has a lot on his plate but at the very least he could have thrown him a few encouraging words. I hate the timing of it all because it sets up the scenario that Benny, left with no friends and support, will most assuredly kill and Dean will most likely will be the one who has to deal with that. All inevitable but more crushing because Dean will feel responsible. I think the severing of ties could have been postponed until Benny wasn't in desperate straits. I wish someone could tell me something that would make me feel better about all this. I understand very well that Dean is not responsible for Benny's ultimate actions but cutting off a friend in need seems cruel to me. I am a huge Dean fan and can usually see the bigger picture but this one bothers me. I know I am in the minority on this one though :-)

Just a quick thought, could it be possible that CIAngel's influences could go back even farther than this seasons??
# Bamboo24 2013-01-19 13:44
Leah, I think this brings up an interesting pseudo-psycholo gical question - does Dean's definition of 'friend' match up with ours, or what any "civilian's" would be?

We know Dean has an undying loyalty to family. But friends? First, Dean's had how many friends over the course of the show? Second, look at how he treated Cas, in S6-S7 - Cas was/is his best friend and the one who pulled him out of hell, yet Dean has at times been harsh with him, unwilling to trust or help him in times when he was begging for trust and help, and even unforgiving. I would argue that two things always end up coming between Dean and his friends - Sam and the hunt. If anyone gets in the way of either of those, Dean tends to be quite merciless. And the only 'encouraging' words he tends to say to anyone anymore run the lines of "buck up and deal with it." Post-Purgatory Dean seems to have lost a lot of his ability to empathize and/or sympathize with others. :/
# Leah 2013-01-19 21:54
Thanks Bamboo24, I read this earlier and have been mulling it over since. I have been coming at this from the perspective of how I would handle this situation not how Dean would or should. You made me laugh with the "buck up and deal with it". So Dean!! He was NEVER really great with the sympathy/empath y concept even before Purgatory. This has made it easier but I do dread the outcome of this chain of events. Thanks again for the thoughts.
# Ravanne 2013-01-22 09:09
I understand why it seems cruel for Dean to cut Benny lose at this stage, but Dean cannot spend the rest of his life babysitting Benny to keep him from reverting back to his real nature (which despite his friendly outward appearance is a vampire). Dean has been a crutch for Benny since they escaped from Purgatory and there's no sign that this is something that would change any time in the future. The need to feed will always be with Benny and it's no so much a matter of if he's going to give in to it, but when. And that means that Dean has to put himself in the position of having to always be there to keep Benny from giving in to his instincts. It's like taking ownership of the behavior of a chronic alchoholic who will never be able to give up his need for booze. Is Dean supposed to put his entire life on hold so that he can always respond if Benny speed dials him? If Dean is on a job all the way across the country, is he expected to drop everything to come running to Benny?

I think that part of Dean letting Benny fend for himself is a realization that he cannot save Benny. If Benny is going to go straight (so to speak) he's going to have to do it on his own strength and will.
# hedi 2013-01-19 13:49
Great review! One of the many things I missed during this hellatus was obviously your reviews! glad to have them back!
I loved the episode too! it was way better than Citizen Fang and I like how they start right after they ended 8x09.
I liked the first scene so much , guys were so real, so honest. I really like it.
I like how Dean is some how trying to finish all the fightings and all the awkward moments between himself and Sam.
I like it about him and the fact that Sam made his own choice this time to be his brother and not because some personal vendetta , was amazing to me! That's why I love about these two~
and Of course My Cas! what in the world is happening to him?! I'm very worried and totally looking forward to see what this flying monkeys are after this time!!!
thank you again Amy!
# PENNY JAIME 2013-01-19 14:08
I thought this one was a pretty full episode. Some people mention the purgatory portal. I don't think it always existed. I think it was only there because Dean was there. Like a rift. That is why it closed when he stepped into it. So I don't think the angels had anything to do with that.

I feel like Dean made up his mind about Benny because of what Kevin said. It seemed to have a big impact on him. Since it was so important to Sam. A lot of people think Sam didn't know. But I think Dean told him. They seemed so resigned in that last scene. Sam had to know.

On a personal note. Ouch, Jensen's chin. That STILL looked painful. Also, not to be shallow,but I was hoping for some tears at losing Benny. Or maybe I just miss them in general. Great acting skill being able to cry. Everyone can't do it , that's for sure. Come on Jensen (and writers). It's been years. throw us a bone
# krystal 2013-01-19 14:19
Wow! Great review. I really enjoy reading them as they are all about the emotion and how it affects all the characters. This episode was grueling when it came to emotions. That's what I love about this show though! I feel like the writers are getting back to the heart of the show when it comes to relationships and how they affect the brothers.
Teresa Pezzino
# Teresa Pezzino 2013-01-19 15:10
As always, love your review! Re: the angel/demon storyline - for some reason I keep thinking about "The French Mistake" -an alternative universe where there are no angels, no demons, no hunting. Perhaps in this alternative universe, the tablets have already been put to good use......
# sweetondean 2013-01-19 16:31
Interesting Teresa! I'd love to see that brought up and pondered, if indeed that AU actually exists.

I'm interested to see what the guy's reaction is going to be once they discover that an angel tablet exists. Will they want to seal the gates of Heaven shut too? The angels have been nearly as problematic to them as the demons.

I also wonder if the gates are sealed to both these planes, are they sealed for only getting out or also for getting in. I've always wondered if they'd be shut both ways. No comings or goings. If that were the case...if the brothers did shut access off to Heaven and Hell, what happens to all the souls? Would they then find themselves with a world full of disenfranchised , angry spirits to contend with?

Though I guess the gates of Hell were closed prior to the YED instigating their reopening, but maybe the information on the tablets is more permanent and far-reaching. They do say, close the gates of Hell forever, which sounds like there'd be no reopening them again.

Don't you love that this show makes your brain go off on tangents like this?
# Ginger 2013-01-19 16:44
Bob Segar’s “Katmandu” at the beginning. Yeh.

The ‘burning bush’ was funny.

Cas healing the baby. Small, kind acts are always the best. In fact, this whole S4 Cas look I like.

All of the Dean/Cas scenes were cute, as they always are with those two. Reminded me of S4.

Seeing Vincent Gale again: Viggo, the torturer, was Evan in Crossroad Blues (if I’m not mistaken).

Dean falling asleep on the couch with a beer — very Dean Winchester, as was Dean pacing and annoying Kevin while he waited on Cas to get back from Egypt. A bored Dean Winchester is always fun to watch.

I thought Singer’s direction was good, as always. The close-up of Crowley's face when he learned of the angel tablet was a little overdone, since I had guessed there was an angel tablet the minute Kevin revealed there was a 'compendium' of tablets.'

The new moves the boys have been using this season in their fight scenes. I liked the fight scene.

I’m trying hard to think of something good to say that involves Sam, but the Sam/Amelia scenes are just so awkward and...what's the word....stilted ?...BORING. They're so bad that I've never been able to suspend belief and say that Sam loves Amelia.

But, oh, here’s one. Sam fighting the demon without a weapon. Despite the demon having something he was using as a tool, Sam got in close enough with this long arms to give him a good right hook. Nice use of Jared’s long arms.

I liked the episode, but the logic fails took away all the emotional impact I think it was supposed to have...well, except for the loss of Heaven's most adorable angel.

The logic fails:

I didn't see Dean choosing Sam or Sam choosing Dean. I saw Dean dumping Benny and Sam dumping Amelia so they would have both feet in the game. The problem with tha is that the Winchesters know nothing more than they knew in Ep. 1 about what the game is. The audience knows, but they don't. All they know is that Crowley has half a tablet that will close the Gates of Hell, and they suspect something is wrong with Cas. They don't know about Naomi, the angel tablet, or that Crowley knows about the angel tablet. So, even if Sam gave up the love of his life and Dean violated his very basic moral integrity in favor of each other, they are obviously miserable for having done so. There is absolutely no warmth in the brothers' relationship. They are simply miserable together.

Like others think, this latest brothers' resolution story is be continued I imagine, but it's so tedious now (like about 4.5 years tedious) I'm not sure I care too much about rehashing it again.

The mytharc is so fragmented and unfolding at such a snail's pace, it's difficult to be invested in it as some 'big deal.' There is zero urgency to it and that will apparently be reinforced with an upcoming 'fun' episode (or several). I hope, at least, their friend Cas is mentioned, since the last time we heard from him he said he would commit suicide if he had to go back to Heaven.

ETA: I think the earlier seasons worked so well with much simplier stories was because EK fed us information in every episode. Something about the brothers characteristics and backstory, introduced new hunters the brothers had never met, introduced the Roadhouse as an expansion of the hunter world, or added to the mytharc...that kind of thing.

It's not like the world is ending; that there's another Apocalypse to prevent or humanity to be saved, or even a prize to be had like finding Dad or killing the YED or Zachariah. If and when the tablets are found, all evil will be locked in Hell and all 'good?' will be locked in Heaven; i.e., status quo achieved and the brothers win their ultimate quest, to live ordinary lives. My personal preference is that a quest be something a little more compelling. Maybe it will be later on in the season.

Then there's Kevin, who now can't read the tablet. I kind of think that if a prophet who was activated because he had an innate ability to read the Word of God should be able to read it. Either he can or he can't. I don't understand why a broken tablet would affect an innate ability.

While I liked the episode, I felt like nothing was resolved with either the brothers and very little new was revealed about the mytharc. That left me feeling more dissatisfied than pleased. I am glad to have some new episodes for a short time anyway.
# PENNY JAIME 2013-01-19 17:06
I feel you on the "new" fight moves. From the 1st episode. It's been pretty awesome. Hell,in the church fight scene Dean completely flipped that demon. Then jumped back. I replayed that scene quite a few time. (tried to see if it was Jensen Or Todd-stunt guy). I am LOVING the new kick ass Dean and Sam.

As far a how slow the arc is going. Hell, the apocalyspe went on for several seasons. And there is only one apocalypse. I think the writers are doing a great job keeping it interesting. I mean, think about it. God left us(people) these messages. Through out time. With prophets (through out the ages as well) left to read them. All for when the human race would have use for them. Knowing (as God knows all) that we WOULD need them one day. Personally, I think that's pretty big. But hey, maybe that is just me.
# eilf 2013-01-19 17:58
It's funny you say that about the guys doing their own stunts! I noticed that Jared was doing some of his too - in the factory he tossed one of the demons he was fighting over his shoulder - I wonder did he do that stunt with the broken (apparently) rib from the legendary hotel room 'fight training'? :D
# sweetondean 2013-01-19 21:08
I'm going to have to take another look and pay more attention to the stunts. These guys would be handy to have in a fight!
# eilf 2013-01-19 18:00
I see the tablets like a computer program - one bit missing and none of it will work. I don't think it is supposed to be like a Rosetta stone that you can use one to translate others. Kevin doesn't seem to read the tablet as much as absorb the information from it.
# Ginger 2013-01-19 18:38
It is possible that that is the 'failsafe' built into the tablets, but shouldn't Kevin, as a prophet, kind of know that or instinctively feel that there's no use sitting at a table for weeks on end trying to make sense of it?
# eilf 2013-01-19 19:31
Yes probably he does, but he hasn't got anything else to do, so why not?
# eilf 2013-01-19 18:13
Sorry, wrong post place. I don't know why this keeps happening to me ...
# Ginger 2013-01-19 18:36
ETA: Just to be clear, I'm responding to PENNY JAIME's comment above.

I'm okay with the concept. It's the pacing that's the problem. A little tidbit in every episode or so would stop the 'whiplash effect' that's going on, or at least give the general idea that the brothers are actually pursuing Crowley and the tablet they know about.
# Grace232 2013-01-19 17:56
Regarding your comment about a bored Dean - the scene with Kevin reminded me of the scene in The Usual Suspects when Sam was trying to break Anthony Giles' password and Dean was distracting him. Both scenes were entertaining.

I really liked this episode, but I am with you on the Amelia story - not the actors' faults, just no chemistry there. And, since all the fans were talking about an angel tablet months ago, I agree with you on Crowley's reaction. He used to be the smartest character on the game board. What happened?

Great episode though. The two leads and Misha were fabulous, interesting mytharc, and so glad the brothers are on the same page again. Hoping the brothers have some conversations - and get back to the joking and teasing banter of previous seasons in the episodes to come.
# Amy 2013-01-19 18:08
thank you
# Tiny 2013-01-20 02:53
It's great to be back Amy! Awesome review as usual. May be the angels are controlled by Skynet? Alfie's dying word was intriguing.. and I was like.. WHAT? WHO?? Naomi is defo not running the show. I think she isn't allowed to do many things because she is bounded by rules. That's why she told Cas to do it. Her plan is getting super interesting and I am really interesting to see more. I think you are right -- the more I get into season eight, the more I think the Big Man may make a grand entrance.

I get why some of us find this episode difficult to watch, because the feeling I have after watching this episode is very similar to my feelings after watch Les Miserables. Our heroes are not in a happy place, happiness does not exist for them. Our heroes are put under a very miserable situation and there is somewhat raw and real about it.

Sam, Dean, Cas and Kevin all have a task to do. It may not be something they sign up for, but it is on their plate. Whether they like it or not, they have to suck it up and deal with it. And through that, it reveals who they are.

It's great to be back Amy! Awesome review as usual. May be the angels are controlled by Skynet? Alfie's dying word was intriguing.. and I was like.. WHAT? WHO?? Naomi is defo not running the show. I think she isn't allowed to do many things because she is bounded by rules. That's why she told Cas to do it. Her plan is getting super interesting and I am really interesting to see more. I think you are right -- the more I get into season eight, the more I think the Big Man may make a grand entrance. I get why some of us find this episode difficult to watch, because the feeling I have after watching this episode is very similar to my feelings after watch Les Miserables. Our heroes are not in a happy place, happiness does not exist for them. Our heroes are put under a very miserable situation and there is somewhat raw and real about it. Sam, Dean, Cas and Kevin all have a task to do. It may not be something they sign up for, but it's on their plate now and like it or not, they will have to suck it up and do their job.

Torn and Frayed was a solid episode, setting the pace for the rest of the seasons. I really enjoyed it and it left me wanting for more.

Next week, I am going to put on a wig to watch LARP and The Real Girl.

# Chokousei 2013-01-20 06:39
Love your review as always. Have read 3 reviews that hate the episode and the last one is a Dean hater who blamed everything on Dean. Next time , I'll read yours firs.
Though I don't like Amelia, I still think we may see her in the future. Because of the dark shadow outside and her sudden return husband .
BTW it's wrong to betray her husband even though it's with Sam. Hard to resist, I know.
# Sylvie 2013-01-21 11:26
Thanks for the great review. This was a really solid episode coming back from hallatus. I've watched the ep three times now, and I like it just as much as on first viewing. It advanced the angel storyline, the Winchesters are back together (although very much apart), Samandriel is dead and poor Cass is the one that was coerced into killing him! :cry:

The Amelia/Sam storyline was handled well. I too liked that they didn't touch while they were talking on the bed, a bit of regret on both their part I think. Had Sam not shown up at that moment, Amelia was more than happy to resume her life with Don. And I agree with you 100% about Benny. Benny is the one that has called on Dean every single time. Before he was killed, he wasn't drinking human blood, but I get the feeling that he may have tasted Martin's when he killed him and that's why he's falling off the wagon. It's the same with alcoholics, not even a little drop or you're back where you started. But I understand all the reasons Dean had for cutting him loose, he's got his own fish to fry.

Quoting Sweetondean:
I think it’s about time the Big Man came back and pulled his bratty little kids into line! They’ve been nothing but trouble since he went AWOL.
I love this line! It's like parents leaving for the weekend and the kids through a party and the s*** hits the fan! :D Bring Chuck back to clean up this unholy mess!
# eilf 2013-01-21 11:35
Maybe the angel tablet isn't instructions about the Angels maybe it is God's words to the angels. :D

Maybe a forwarding address in case of emergencies

Or just the word BEHAVE
# sweetondean 2013-01-22 04:18
No wonder they don't want anyone to find it!
# Sylvie 2013-01-22 07:59
Or just the word BEHAVE
Oh yes, that's good! :lol:
nicole murray
# nicole murray 2013-01-21 17:41
Nice Amy! My review wasn't cheery either. the thing I really noticed in the episode was how tired everyone seemed. tired with the weight of the decisions. Tired of indecision...wh ich we all know is a decision in and of itself. something had to be done to move forward and I feel that is what this episode was about. moving on we'll have to deal with the consequences of those decisions, which when a decision is actually made, makes the consequences sometimes more difficult to bear. I've been watching boardwalk empire this weekend, and one thing that came up is that it doesn't matter if you're right or wrong, just a time comes when you have to choose. they have. and they chose family, which of course they would...and yes, I'm invested in Cas's storyline for the first time in a long time!
Rebecca GilpinRGNYC
# Rebecca GilpinRGNYC 2013-01-23 14:24
Great review of an excellent episode, Thank you! Very poignant ending. Sigh.