“I freaking hate time travel man.”  Well Dean, I find these stories quite amazing.  But every time this happens, it does sort of put you guys in a pickle, huh?  Like trying to explain laptops to a time traveler. 
 
Once again, the Winchesters are privy to an amazing twist of fate.  John Winchester grew up without a father and Sam and Dean find out, strangely enough, that’s because dear grandpa time travelled to the future, ended up saving them from a demon, and got killed in the process. Also a twist of fate, because Henry didn’t come back, John never found out about his secret society, Men of Letters, and never carried on the family tradition of being what is essentially the librarians of the supernatural.

Sure, growing up without a dad is a fact that wasn’t known before, but I guess if you look at it sideways it could work.  It’s not like John ever talked about his Dad (yes, I know about “In The Beginning”).  The twist about the Men of Letters though makes a ton of sense to me, and it makes me smile.  It connects a good number of things that we’ve learned through the years.
 

The mandated union of John and Mary Winchester up in Heaven makes so much more sense now, as appropriately eluded by Sam in the ending scene.  Connecting a blood line of hunting prowess of the Campbells (brawn) with the deep supernatural knowledge of the Winchesters (brains)?  That ties in with Dean’s natural ability for hunting and Sam’s natural ability for research.  This especially makes me happy for Sam, who we know has struggled his entire life with identity.  We always knew that hunting was in the family blood, but now we know that blood holds an innate skill for research.  The thought of future Sam now carrying on the family line of keepers of the knowledge, while Dean carries on the hunting ways (while working together), makes me all sorts of happy. 

But I’m getting ahead, because there’s so much more to this story than a secret society.  When your grandfather from the past, one that was absent in your family history, suddenly pops out of your closet, that’s bound to surface some emotional baggage.  For Dean, it’s his lifelong abandonment issues.  For Sam, it’s…well…um, it’s placating Dean’s lifelong abandonment issues.  Eventually both brothers form a connection with their grandfather in their own way, just in time to watch Henry get killed.  Story of their lives.

The brotherly bond was at least strong in this episode, and as a fan I’ll never tire of Dean going all out and doing what it takes to save Sam.  The fact that he and Henry came up with a plan together, it does remind me of the Dean of old and I’ll always smile over a family plan.  The best part though is Sam and Dean are talking about things, sharing their ambivalent feelings about this sudden family reunion rather than withdrawing from each other.  The emotional markers were all there, and they had a big impact. 

Let’s talk about Henry.  I loved Henry and what Gil McKinney put into this role.  He wasn’t some badass that didn’t care about his family.  He loved John and was truly devastated when he found out John had died.  I do admit to tearing up over his response when Dean asked what it meant to him.  “Everything.”  He was truly broken up over the fact that John grew up believing his father had left him.  He also cared about his grandsons, felt proud of what they’d become and how they’re carrying on the family name.  It maybe cliché that he said this in his dying breath, but I still love these words anyway. “I didn’t know my son as a man, but having met you two, I know I would have been proud of him.”  That’s a stark contrast to the gruff Samuel Campbell, who for some reason (*cough* poor writing *cough*) never really cared for his grandsons and their legacy.  It’s a truly refreshing perspective.  

Henry is an intellect too, so that explains where Sam gets that from.  He showed some really quick thinking and calmness under pressure when escaping Abaddon, and always kept his manners.  Granted manners is probably due to the time period he came from, but it’s nice to know he wasn’t some uncorked lunatic.  But what intrigued me the most is Henry’s respect for legacy and tradition.  Being in the Men of Letters meant a lot to him just because it was important to his dad and his dad before him.  That mirrors what Dean has always thought in terms of hunting.  He always wanted to be as good as his dad.  Even though Dean and Henry butted heads, in that aspect it was the case again of the apple not falling far from the tree.

I’m especially amused with how little Henry thought of hunting, for it was too primitive.  Plus the dude knows his legends.  The one laugh out loud moment for me was when Henry saw the 2013 tag on the Impala.  “Guess the Mayans were wrong.”  It was sad to see him go, but he couldn’t have survived either, and he definitely couldn’t have gone back.  He becomes yet another tragic victim in the Winchester family tree, which was properly echoed with Dean’s comment that all he saw in it was a whole lot of dead.
 
Then there’s a new kind of demon in town, part of the Knights of Hell.  Hand chosen by Lucifer himself.  I have a quibble with the demon story that I’ll get to in a minute, but I will say I did love Alaina Huffman in this role.  Her character, Abaddon, brought something that we haven’t seen in a long time with demons outside of Crowley.  Charisma and smarts.  She’s pure evil, pure fun, and she’s a threat to be reckoned with.  Demons in the past few years have been overly characterized as stupid and incompetent, and Abaddon was anything but. She even had that cool using-black-smoke-to-see-the-recent-events trick.  Too bad it resulted in those unwilling sharers ending up dead. 

However, despite all the good, there was the bad.  In writing, I’m someone who believes everything should come full circle. I love a tightly written script, and this was something “Supernatural” did oh so well in the first five seasons.  This script succeeded in some ways, and miserably failed in others.  I do accept that there’s only 42 minutes to tell such a complex story, but it was that inability to control various elements that prevented this episode from being a true classic.

First, why in the world was Dean so hostile with Henry?  Because he chose duty over family?  That made little sense, especially considering the hard choices both Sam and Dean made recently with Benny and Amelia.  All Sam and Dean have ever done is put the job and duty above their own happiness and Dean has the nerve to hold Henry to a different standard?  He claimed it was about John, but John did the exact same thing by raising them hunters.  Was Dean trying to say through that outburst that if Henry stayed with John, then none of this misery would have ever happened?  That’s really stretching things a bit, don’t you think? 

Dean was also the one that stopped Henry from going back and essentially changing time.  This is despite the fact that Dean twice tried to do the exact same thing in “In the Beginning” and “The Song Remains The Same.”  He even argued that he and Sam wouldn’t exist, which was actually something they were okay with in “The Song Remains The Same.”  All he had to do was tell Henry something like, “Trust me, I’ve been there, nothing good can come of it,” and I would have been happy.  Maybe even a reference to “What is and What Should Never Be” with him realizing that all those people they saved would of died.  Instead, Dean looked like a hypocrite.  It all comes across as false drama being created for the sake of scenery chewing.   I theorize that Adam Glass watched “Jump the Shark” and went from there, forgetting all the history that happened after that.

Also, how in the world could this story ignore Sam’s prominent role in the demon mythology?  How can a powerful demon chosen by Lucifer himself not even acknowledge that Sam was Lucifer’s vessel?  I know she was from the past, but the knowledge about Sam was foretold by both angels and demons for a long time.  Past time travelers have usually been able to sense something different about someone.  She had to have found out in the future what Sam and Dean did to derail the apocalypse, and how Sam spent a huge amount of time with Lucifer in the cage.  When none of that crucial back story works its way into this demon drama, it almost seems like Carver and company are trying to sweep that history under the rug like it never happened.  The symmetry is ruined.  One comment by Dean about stopping the apocalypse during a heated discussion doesn’t cut it.  

I also didn’t like how passive Sam was when in the custody of Abaddon.  He looked like a kicked puppy.  He’s usually sneering and very hostile toward demons.  He also has been around the block with them a few times and has a few tricks up his sleeve.  Heck, no one should know demons better!  It’s hard to believe this guy once wiped out demons with his mind.  I miss those days.  However, upon retrospect, there just wasn’t enough time in this episode to show a defiant Sam talking up history with Abaddon, so I guess I’ll let that nitpick slide, even if it gives the impression that Sam was acting out of character.  Which he was.

Also, I’ve read complaints that there was a lack of chemistry between Dean, Sam and Henry, and I honestly believe that was due to the writing.  Dean’s hostility made things awkward, not intriguing.  Sam passively doing nothing about it either, or not even trying to talk to Henry in an open manner didn’t help.  Because the interaction was poorly written, the scenes together just didn’t blend the way they should, and could have.  Adam Glass is usually pretty good at mythology, but characterization is his glaring weakness.  This script showed it.  I thought he actually got it right in “Southern Comfort,” but here it was a fail.
 
I’ve believed this ever since season six, but this newer crop of writers seem to be more interested a lot of time in writing in shout-outs more than tying in the current story with continuity of the past.  John’s journal in this episode was a prime example.  Hey, let’s give it a backstory!  It was really Henry’s.  Did the journal really need a backstory, especially when John’s upbringing was such a surprise to us?  Considering John never showed any Daddy issues at all and they were never mentioned before?  Considering Sam and Dean never noticed the “HW” before?  It’s a weakness in the writing that has driven me crazy for three seasons now and it remains despite Jeremy Carver’s vast improvements in the storylines this year. 

I also question a couple of other creative choices.  Why did John believe that Henry walked out on him?  Didn’t anyone suspect foul play?  It just seemed like they were stretching to create daddy issues.  For once I’d like to see a prominent character on this show that didn’t have daddy issues.  I will however theorize that Dean keeps extra car windows handy in the trunk since they’re getting smashed so much, and can install them in a flash.  Either that or Henry time travelled backward and stopped himself from breaking that window.  Speaking of which, how does a guy from 1958 know how to hot wire a car from 1967? 

Technical Notes

Serge Ladoucer in his directing debut did a great job, but that was to be expected.  This guy has been amazing us for eight seasons now with his gift of setting the perfect mood for scenes, so directing should have come second nature.  It sure seemed liked it did anyway.  I like how long time camera operator Brad Creasser got to be DP again, for the second episode in a row.  He’s learned from the master, and done remarkably well. 

The decision to go with semi shaky camera work, using quick edits back and forth in the scenes is a very interesting creative choice, thus adding to the disjointed nature of the story.  The camera never really stayed focused on one shot  too long, accenting the instability of this whole situation.  Notice how when Henry was in the past, everything was calm and right.  Kudos Mr. Ladoucer for trying something different and adding to the effectiveness of this unique episode.

I am going to bring up one thinky-thought for discussion.  Henry said in his parting words, “You’re also Winchesters. As long as we’re alive there’s always hope.”  Now, there’s been some discussion on this site that because of Sam and Amelia’s last fling, that Amelia would end up pregnant.  Do you think that opened the door for something like that in the future, or was it just some writer grasping for a good line?  Do you think a season or two down the road Sam and/or Dean find out about a kid of theirs (hey it could be Lisa too) and the Winchester legacy will continue?  In a way, I kind of hope so.  I hate for all this rich family history to die off with the boys.  Both bloodlines deserve to continue.  On the other hand, the surprise pregnancy is the most overdone thing in TV. 

Overall, I give “As Time Goes By” a B.  Coming up next, it’s Edlund.  You know it’s going to be memorable. 

(Screencaps from Home of The Nutty).
 
 
 

Comments  

Leah
# Leah 2013-02-01 18:15
Hi Alice, I hope you got the tech problems under control. The response time is good today.

The episode. I feel as if I've fallen down the rabbit hole on this one. SO many people love this one and I just didn't. I am not even absolutely sure why. I didn't love grandpa. The actor or characterizatio n? He was kind of flat to me. Someone commented that the boys did not get their charisma from that side of the family and I have to agree!!

Sam and Dean felt off also. Dean being all huffy and puffy without good reason, he was nicer to Samuel and he didn't even like him much. You'd think after blowing off all that steam last episode he would have been a little more chill :)
Sam seemed somewhat lethargic at times.

As much as I love it when Dean displays his love for Sam the scene in the car bothered me in that it seemed forced. Dean usually doesn't talk about it he just does it. That's just what he does, no explaining. No calling Sam "Sammy" to someone he barely knows, grandfather or not. Didn't seem like Dean to me.

The new elements that were introduced are intriguing, but I worry that too much is going on now. I am reminded of other shows that I watched that got so bogged down in mythology that you couldn't follow it (Lost, for one). The RS interview did get me excited about some upcoming developments!

Oh well, it is not often I don't love an episode. It does feel weird to not be on the same page as some of the people I usually always agree with. :-)

Thanks for finding the time to do your review Alice.
Alice
# Alice 2013-02-01 21:25
Thanks for asking! I wish the technical problems were under control. They're better, but I still have some work to do on this site. Five years of accumulating daily content for the site, plus all the comments, has really put a load on the database. I've got quite a bit of tuning to do. But for now, it is better!
Luckily I had some downtime this afternoon to get the review together.

I'm not afraid of the show getting too bogged down. I know that was a major concern of Jeremy Carver's and he won't let that happen. I'm very excited about what's been introduced here. But yeah, the characters seemed off. That's only this week though. I have a feeling next week is going to be pretty interesting!
nancyL
# nancyL 2013-02-01 18:26
I loved this episode.

Although, as you mentioned Alice, there were enough holes in it to drive the Impala through, it was still a damn good hour of tv.

I also was quite amazed at how fast the window got replaced, I was expecting to see a bag with some tape on it, but was really surprised to see it whole and undamaged. The Impala has quick healing powers, just like her owners. :lol:

Way back in 'In the Beginning', a man asked Young!John about his father, who we were meant to assume was still alive and well. But now we find out that was not the case. According to Superwiki's Canon Discrepancies page, we are to believe that the man may have been refering to a step father or a foster father. Also the line about 'mechanic from a family of mechanics' may be about John's mom. In good episodes, when things don't add up, I tend to wave my hand and say 'whatever'. :lol:

I am sorry to see Grandpa Henry die, but I agree that he couldn't live in 2013 (what happened to the year in between season five and six and the one in between seven and eight, waving and saying 'whatever') and he couldn't go back and change history, so RIP Henry Winchester.

I liked Grandpa Samuel in 'In the Beginning', but hated him during season six. I liked Grandpa Henry, and I think that Dean didn't want to get too close to him, because he remembers Grandpa Samuel turning against them, and he didn't want to go down that road again.

I guess this would explain why their sons were named after Mary's folks and not John's.

But the best part, is that once again Dean will move Heaven, Hell, Purgatory, Xanadu, Atlantis, Olympus to keep Sammy safe and sound.
Alice
# Alice 2013-02-01 21:30
I do agree completely. There were holes, but all in all the emotional parts made up for it. Thanks for sharing the "In The Beginning" background. Supernatural Wiki has the whole thing about "In The Beginning" on the episode page. As risk of writing volumes, I didn't repeat here.

I also agree about Samuel. He was so good at first and then they totally butchered his character.

Thanks for the comment!
Gwen
# Gwen 2013-02-01 19:17
For several reasons, mostly to do with Sam's storyline, I've struggled a lot with SPN this season and I haven't watched a full episode since Ep.3. I do read the reviews after every episode and, finally, I thought last week's episode would get me back into the show but I still switched off half way through. This week's episode was pretty much my last go with SPN and I sat down to watch with, I must admit, not a whole lot of enthusiasm.

But...wow...I LOVED it! Suddenly my SPN love is back again. I loved Henry, the whole Men Of Letters stuff is fascinating and I'm excited to see where this all leads to, love that Henry was a bit of a bookworm like Sam and that Sam could carry on the family line of the keepers of the knowledge, loved Dean calling Sam 'Sammy' and loved loved Dean's protective love for Sam.

Sorry that I am gushing so much. I'm just so chuffed that this episode has rekindled my love for SPN, I'd been pretty much convinced it had gone for good.
(Although I do share your concern about there being no mention of Sam's rather huge and important role in the demon mythology. )
Alice
# Alice 2013-02-01 21:35
I'm so happy you loved it! Sometimes, all it takes is one episode to get you back in. I'm feeling somewhat confident that the show is starting to hit its stride for the season now. Next week looks so promising!

Never apologize for gushing! We enjoy that here very much. Welcome back to the show.
Joyful
# Joyful 2013-02-01 20:24
Yep, I have to say I LOVED IT!! I don't nitpick over small details and I can enjoy the show so much more this way. I didn't see any lack of chemistry in the interactions between Dean, Sam and Henry - I saw caution and some distrust, until they all recognised their connections. This episode gave me something that only some of the best Supernatural stories do - that quiet, warm fuzzy inner glow or buzz whatever you might call. I like that feeling. And I love the set-up for the future, based on the legacy from the past of the Men of Letters. Wow! I give it an A+ definitely! :lol:
Alice
# Alice 2013-02-01 21:37
To be honest, the chemistry wasn't all bad, I just thought it was really off when Dean was being a real jerk to Henry. Plus, wouldn't it have been nice if Sam had a few minutes to have an honest to goodness chat with him? Who knows, maybe he did and that scene was cut. I'm speculating, I have no idea.

I'll give the setup an A+ at least! The episode, not so much, but I'm always happy to hear from a fan that loved it.
PENNY JAIME
# PENNY JAIME 2013-02-01 21:01
Well, no offense, but talk about picking something to death!! Were you just looking for problems? Because that is usually when you find them.
My ex left my sons when they were 4 & 6. Hostility is so very normal. It seemed perfectly in character to me. Dean has always stood up for John. He was just doing it again. I don't follow your thought process there at all. As far as them being OK with not existing, that was to stop the Apocolypse. Not in general. That is comparing apples to oranges.
As far as Sam's role in the demon mythos, if you remember, no one really knew about it. Lilith kept tying to kill him initially. She didn't seem to find out herself until "monster" what was really going to happen. What Sam's real destiny was.Why would a 1958 demon know anything about it?
Plus, there was already so much going on in the story, why rehash an exhausted story line. They recap in every episode the shows history already.

I thought they put a lot of thought into the episode. Things that will carry the show forward.
Alice
# Alice 2013-02-01 21:59
I'm not offended, but I often have to reiterate this from time to time, because people often confuse critical analysis with nitpicking. This maybe a fan site, but I'm a TV critic. I always have been.

I've been doing these reviews for five years. Anyone who knows my style by now knows that with Supernatural I have a critical side and a fan girl side. I do after all write reviews for shows, and have done so on larger sites. I called it as I saw it with the writing. I love the show, but it's delusional of me as a reviewer not to point out flaws in various elements. I judge an entire episode on acting writing, production, direction, etc, not just whether it was a crowd pleaser or not.

Now, when you have a light episode like last week, a critical review is kind of pointless. It's a fun episode that's meant to get away from the norm. In an episode like this though, where they tackle the core fiber of the show, it's fair game.

Also, didn't you notice that more than half of this review was glowing? I never said the episode sucked.

In answer to your questions, read the review. I explain why I think a 1958 demon would know about it. Sam's role in the mythos is common knowledge to demons now. Before the apocalypse, sure it was a huge secret.

I do disagree about your apples to oranges point. I don't see it that way at all. But, we all differ in our POVs and that's okay.

You think addressing Sam's demon history is rehashing an exhausted story line? Really? I think it's vital to the core of this show and shouldn't be swept under the rug. It matters. I'm not talking about spending hours on it. Just an acknowledgment. A few sentences will do.

Yes, they put thought into the episode for sure. There were still a few things missing in the end though.

You are very right about the things in this episode carrying the show forward, and I'm very excited about that.

I keep telling people about this article I've been working on about defensive fan attitudes whenever this show is criticized. Sounds like I need to pick that back up this weekend.

Thanks for the comment.
PENNY JAIME
# PENNY JAIME 2013-02-02 00:17
I understand what you mean.I guess I just don't see things from a critics POV. I enjoy all the different reviews. This is my favorite of any sites for the show. This is actually the only one I check into daily. You all do a great work on the site. You brighten my days, that's for sure. I enjoy the show more because your site is here to enjoy
anonymousN
# anonymousN 2013-02-02 02:01
Quote:
Dean has always stood up for John.
Not really
Bevie
# Bevie 2013-02-02 14:32
Really.
anonymousN
# anonymousN 2013-02-03 00:23
I am not good at remembering episodes but once Dean was reminded by Sam about how Dad was doing all he could do at that time when Dean was saying the unflattering things abut his father, then also there was the time Dean compared Sam to John and the tone said to it all .Where Sam felt flattered Dean not so much.So not really.
JuliaG
# JuliaG 2013-02-03 00:38
Also in the Heaven episode when Sam and Dean were talking to the angel Joshua and Dean call John a dead beat dad, or something like that. He certainly hasn't always stood up for John.
Leah
# Leah 2013-02-03 02:41
That wasn't a case of Dean not defending his dad. He was making a snarky comment. He has had issues with his dad but he probably wouldn't let anyone else say anything bad about John. Again, two different things. He was critical of Dad sometimes (pretty rarely in 8 years), that is not to say he wouldn't stand up for him if someone tried to malign him. I honestly can't recall every second of every episode so he might not have ALWAYS stood up for his dad with others but that is the impression I got.
JuliaG
# JuliaG 2013-02-03 14:03
I'm probably splitting hairs but Dean's comment about God and John both being a dead beat dad wasn't snarky at all. It was hurt, angry and defeated. Dean was entering his season 5 suicidal phase and there wasn't that much snark left in him at that point IMO.

But you're right, if Joshua had spoken badly about John, Dean would probably have defended him. It's just that Dean himself has said and implied some pretty bad things about John at times.
Leah
# Leah 2013-02-03 17:10
Julia, whatever his state of mind and I don't disagree, my point was this wasn't an example of Dean not standing up for John. Dean has implied (and said) things about John AND Sam on numerous occasions but it isn't any newsflash that he doesn't always mean what he says in anger. He would not let anyone else do it IMO. Oh yeah, maybe I misused the word snarky- I'm not 100% sure what it means :-)
Leah
# Leah 2013-02-03 01:20
I don't think Dean ever stopped loving and respecting his dad even when he was disappointed and mad at him. He was mad at his father when he made those comments to Sam in Jump the Shark. His dad could be a hard-headed and stubborn individual, so can Sam (so can Dean). He has always been both frustrated by and admiring of that in Sam. He, other than grumbling to Sam on occasion, has never given any indication that he didn't love his father. I feel that standing up for John and not thinking he is perfect are two different things. Of course, opinions vary.
anonymousN
# anonymousN 2013-02-03 01:36
Quote:
I feel that standing up for John and not thinking he is perfect are two different things.
Yes I agree.But as JuliaG saidQuote:
He certainly hasn't always stood up for John.
My focus is on the word always used.I think Dean was understanding of John's actions but not always.There are times like when JuliaG told.
My thoughts are John and Dean had an understanding .When in season1 Dean went to get Dean man's blood and Sam was pacing around John shows his trust in Dean it was not vehement but John made it seem like it was inherent in his feelings towards Dean.It was only after John's death that he came to see how John's actions at times were unfair like telling dean to keep secret about killing Sam.
Leah
# Leah 2013-02-02 19:50
Hmmm-I don't have the eye for detail you two do but if memory serves Dean has been annoyed (S1), disillusioned, angry when he faced how much his dad affected the person he is by the burdens that were placed on him (Dream a Little Dream of Me). Angry and somewhat jealous when he realized that Dad had been taking a secret brother to baseball games and keeping him out of the life ( Jump the Shark), to name a few but by the same token I don't remember him going around verbalizing this. I think that his love for his dad hasn't wavered that much no matter how disappointed in him he has been at times. He never had any patience for people who were critical of his dad.
eilf
# eilf 2013-02-02 23:15
For me the best characterisatio n of how the guys felt about their Dad was when Hendrickson insults him in Jus in Bello - Sam sits up from where he was slouched against the wall. No one talks about their Dad like that - also he knows there's a pretty good chance that Dean will go for Hendrickson chains, cell bars and all (and Sam will be right there with him).

I love that moment :D
Leah
# Leah 2013-02-03 01:56
Absolutely right, they could have their issues with their father but no one else gets away with talking trash about their Dad! Good example. I recall when Henriksen said some things over the phone to Dean in Nightshifter about Dad how it seem to hurt and infuriate him. John hadn't been gone long then and Dean came to view him more realistically but that boy who loves and stands up for his dad is still in there.
Trucklady
# Trucklady 2013-02-01 21:16
Thanks for a great review Alice. You touched on a lot of issues that made me go back wonder about certain things also.

Inspite of that, I am on the "LOVED" column for this episode. It was great finally getting some John Winchester family background. Henry was great and so sad that he didn't have much time to really get to know his grandsons. I think he went out in a big way though with sacraficing himself for the family in the Winchester way.

I loved Dean coming to Sammy's rescue in the old Dean fashion. I understand his caution with Henry. He's been burnt before in believing and trusting newly introduced family members so of course those thoughts will be in the back of his mind. Not to mention how protective he has always been of John and anything ever being said in a negative way about him unless of course it is Dean himself saying it.

I sure hope everyone that suspects Amelia becoming pregnant with Sam's baby is so far out of the PTBs direction. She is no where near a strong enough female to take on the role of a hunter's wife. She seems to be way to weak and needy with no self-confidence , all very bad traits for that role. Now Sarah from Season 1, Provenance would be a great fit for Sam. As for Dean, to find out that Ben really is his son, that would be very believable and Lisa is a strong enough woman to be a hunter's wife. But do we really want our boys hooking up with wives at this point? Might be a way to end the show but we don't want that to happen either. Yes we are a selfish bunch.

The new homebase looks so awesome! I am so happy they will finally have a place to call home and such a spectacular place at that. I am curious as to where they will hide Baby since this is supposed to all be incognito. I'm really looking forward to what secrets Sam uncovers once he starts getting into all the reference books in there. I can see where they could run this show for another 10 years with that many books, one can only hope I guess.
Alice
# Alice 2013-02-01 22:05
That's great that you loved it. Honest, I really liked a lot of it, but as I pointed out, it just wasn't perfect to me. This episode really did have a lot of things going for it.

You see, I don't see Sam or Dean going off with wives. Just that they find out down the road they have a kid and there's someone to carry on the legacy. I do agree, Amelia is not a hunter's wive and Lisa is clearly out of the picture, especially after the memory wipe. Plus, it doesn't have to be Amelia. It could be someone soulless Sam slept with on a whim. It's just something to ponder, who carries on the Winchester name?

I'm very looking forward to the weeks ahead.
Trucklady
# Trucklady 2013-02-01 23:18
Quote:
Henry said in his parting words, “You’re also Winchesters. As long as we’re alive there’s always hope.”
Maybe it's me but after this line from Henry the look the boys gave each other could be translated as wondering who they will pass their knowledge onto.

You're right about Soulless Sam and his wayward ways might have created another little Winchester and not have to be Amelia, forgot about that period in his life. As for Lisa, she was always a favorite of mine so I guess wishful thinking would be, if Castiel can scrub her mind clean, maybe he could put it all back. Guess we will all have to wait and see how this goes.
KELLY
# KELLY 2013-02-01 22:20
Great review. I agree with a lot what you said. I'll mention the stuff I haven't before in the other reviews.

I really liked that Henry was SO upset about John's death. It does seem like a no brainer that he would be but they wouldn't be the first show to basically ignore something like that because it doesn't fit the particular story they are telling.

I agree that the characterizatio ns weren't completely on the money but they didn't seem that out of line either. Not the absolute best but not enough to really bother me. And any protective brother scene for me is a good protective brother scene.

About the baby theory, I'm torn. I want both Winchester's to procreate (genes that good need to flourish) and I like the idea of legacy carrying on. But I can't stand Amelia (she could have a kid and meet a tragic fate like most of Sam's hookups- okay I know that's wrong but I really don't care for her) and I'm not sure where a baby or just children in general would fit in the show. I can't see how they can drag a kid around with them while a show is on the air. And as a fan of X-Files, I'm not real happy with another baby on a show that gets farmed off to others to raise.

I do like the idea of the show ending with a flash forward of them training their kids in the life. It would be both sweet and sad.
Bamboo24
# Bamboo24 2013-02-02 02:18
Quote:
I agree that the characterizatio ns weren't completely on the money but they didn't seem that out of line either.
That would be my assessment, as well. I'll concede that in this one, like 'Southern Comfort', the characterizatio n was a bit off - just a tad. But the plots of both, IMO, were great. Perhaps Adam Glass can write a good yarn, yet struggles with dialogue/characterizatio n?
sucharita
# sucharita 2013-02-01 22:43
gotta agree alice, there were something off about with the writing. But I dunno why I really love this episode......st ill rejoicing sam & dean are back in same page...sigh
suzee51
# suzee51 2013-02-02 00:35
As usual, enjoyed reading your review, Alice. One comment and one question . . .

One small detail that grabbed me by the heartstrings in this episode was the use of the original background music entitled "Dean's Family Dedication Theme". I don't remember hearing this since the early seasons and reintroducing this background music pulled me back to the strong emotional ties I felt at the beginning of this series. I have read criticisms from fans who did not want Jeremy Carver returning to Season One for a restart. But for me, the use of "Dean's Family Dedication Theme" was very effective and warmly welcomed. It was like coming home to an old and much beloved friend.

And now the question: I recently heard an interview with Jared Padalecki where he stated that the only reason he has gotten his hair cut in the last seven years was for this show. In this last episode, I was surprised that his hair was different. I think it had been significantly shortened, but perhaps that was different styling? Anybody know for sure?
Bamboo24
# Bamboo24 2013-02-02 02:10
Quote:
One small detail that grabbed me by the heartstrings in this episode was the use of the original background music entitled "Dean's Family Dedication Theme". I don't remember hearing this since the early seasons and reintroducing this background music pulled me back to the strong emotional ties I felt at the beginning of this series.
Omg - I NOTICED THAT TOO!!! :eek:
Glad I'm not the only one! I literally cocked my head as my mouth dropped open when I heard it, saying to my bf "that...that music...it sounds so familiar...it's like season 1 music!" :D
Joyful
# Joyful 2013-02-02 17:01
Yes, that piece of music always draws me in (no matter how quietly it plays in the background) - I heard it and recognised it immediately! It really does bring an almost sad emotional response from me, but also it always reminds me of the love between these boys.
kaz1
# kaz1 2013-02-02 00:46
Alice, thanks for the review, some fast thinking on your part under trying technical circumstance.

W/r/t Dean's resentment Quote:
I just thought it was really off when Dean was being a real jerk to Henry.
. If you reify his behaviour through a psychological lens, you can understand it a lot better by imagining that Dean was talking to John in these scenes. He had exactly these issues with his father too, so classic projection!
winmomwannabe
# winmomwannabe 2013-02-02 01:59
Enjoyed your review Alice. Some comments/though ts. I commented on speculate with sweeton dean Wed night because I couldn't wait, but the baby thing is definitely on my mind. Especially after all the legacy talk. I agree, don't see the guys with wives. I think they both have had enough flings for an unknown Winchester to turn up any time the writers felt the need to produce one! I just think it's a way for the show to end(NOOOO!) in a way that would always be open for a return special, movie, etc. And maybe wouldn't be as sad if we felt there was still a possible future out there for the boys. I really hated the ending to Butch Cassidy and Sundance. I'm old enough to have seen it in the theatre when it came out and I sobbed for hours when I came out of that theater. I don't think I could survive that if that's how they go out, which they have often talked about. Probably because they are like 'my boys' and I certainly would be in a bad place if my real sons did that.

Just love to speculate. Plus, I am sure they would be the cutest! Look at Thomas!
Bamboo24
# Bamboo24 2013-02-02 02:08
Thanks for a great review, Alice! :)

One little thing - Regarding the "Dean looked like a hypocrite" bit - I've commented before on other threads my thoughts regarding that scene, which I don't have the energy to reiterate here now, however I wanted to say this - I think a lot of times Dean IS a hypocrite. That they DO flip-flop emotions and thoughts about their father, and that's precisely because of the dysfunction and trauma and pain wrapped up in their past. And to me, that makes them all the more human. It doesn't come across as false drama. It comes across as gut-level realness.
isleofskye
# isleofskye 2013-02-02 02:09
Interesting to read your thoughts on this episode which is very rich and full of details that will take more than one viewing for me to to digest and elaborate on.
X
I have been completely critical of this season from the moment I heard at Comic-Con that Sam was not going to even try looking for Dean.
That to me was absolutely the wrong way to start the season for there is no doubt in my mind that Sam would have wanted to know what happened to his brother.
X
As many others I then hoped that there would be a supernatural reason for the unconvincing 'love affair' between Sam and Amelia and the whole 'Benny is a better brother than you've ever been' story arc but unfortunately we've been presented with ten episodes of brother hating based on that completely contrived action by Sam.
X
Those ten episodes are in a 'never-watch again zone' for me, so when I watched this episode with all and any of its imperfections, in continuity or otherwise, my heart gave a sigh of relief.
Finally an episode where the brothers resembled what they once were ; two men who would and have died for each other and who still share a boundless love and caring, regardless of all that has happened in the past.
X
Let me just add that this season has also been rather schizophrenic.
The first ten episodes dealt with a very weak Benny/ Kevin/ Naomi/Samelia story line aimed at closing the gates of hell and heaven; in ep11 we get a buffer comic episode and now a complete turn-around with a whole new arc.
In my opinion this arc should have been imposted from the beginning.

However I'm just happy that there is at least one episode that I can say I love this season.
X
As for Amelia, I'm one of the those that has always believed that she was set up for a pregnancy judging by the melo-dramatic tinge to the first part of the season, spiced up with the added 'drama' of not knowing if it was Don's or Sam's, but perhaps the writers will not go down that road now.
I hope they don't, at least not with Amelia who just had zero chemistry with Sam. Lisa was much more believable with Dean.
X
Anyway I don't feel like nit-picking this ep too much, I'm just glad that the writers got back to giving us something personal and family-relevant for the Winchesters because that's what made me love this show from the pilot.; the ongoing story of these two wonderful brothers and the entire Winchester family and it's backstory.
Amy
# Amy 2013-02-02 09:38
Quote:
Interesting to read your thoughts on this episode which is very rich and full of details that will take more than one viewing for me to to digest and elaborate on.
X
I have been completely critical of this season from the moment I heard at Comic-Con that Sam was not going to even try looking for Dean.
That to me was absolutely the wrong way to start the season for there is no doubt in my mind that Sam would have wanted to know what happened to his brother.
X
As many others I then hoped that there would be a supernatural reason for the unconvincing 'love affair' between Sam and Amelia and the whole 'Benny is a better brother than you've ever been' story arc but unfortunately we've been presented with ten episodes of brother hating based on that completely contrived action by Sam.
X
Those ten episodes are in a 'never-watch again zone' for me, so when I watched this episode with all and any of its imperfections, in continuity or otherwise, my heart gave a sigh of relief.
Finally an episode where the brothers resembled what they once were ; two men who would and have died for each other and who still share a boundless love and caring, regardless of all that has happened in the past.
X
Let me just add that this season has also been rather schizophrenic.
The first ten episodes dealt with a very weak Benny/ Kevin/ Naomi/Samelia story line aimed at closing the gates of hell and heaven; in ep11 we get a buffer comic episode and now a complete turn-around with a whole new arc.
In my opinion this arc should have been imposted from the beginning.

However I'm just happy that there is at least one episode that I can say I love this season.
X
As for Amelia, I'm one of the those that has always believed that she was set up for a pregnancy judging by the melo-dramatic tinge to the first part of the season, spiced up with the added 'drama' of not knowing if it was Don's or Sam's, but perhaps the writers will not go down that road now.
I hope they don't, at least not with Amelia who just had zero chemistry with Sam. Lisa was much more believable with Dean.
X
Anyway I don't feel like nit-picking this ep too much, I'm just glad that the writers got back to giving us something personal and family-relevant for the Winchesters because that's what made me love this show from the pilot.; the ongoing story of these two wonderful brothers and the entire Winchester family and it's backstory.
I agree with everything you said. The first ten are unwatchable but for me what Carver did to Sam, benny being the better brother will forev er taint the whole season for me. It was just such needless angst and charector assination. I'd much rather wish the season had started with the MOL storyline then eased into the tablet sl. And if they really had to include Purgatory adn Ameila...Sam and Dean could suddenly have flashbacks to these times. THink WTH? and learn Naolmi was screwing with thier memories

And just no to pregnant Amiela...blech. No Amila although if they HAVAE to brign Ameila back please recast the actress with someone who has chemistry with JAred adn can portray some warmth and personality. ISn't Adrianne PAlicki available?
isleofskye
# isleofskye 2013-02-02 11:45
Thank you. :)
When I heard that Carver was taking over I was expecting to get episodes like AVSC and Mystery Spot.
I was never prepared for what we did get. :(
X
I just want to say that I enjoyed Sera Gamble's showrunning. Not everything she did was perfect but at least she respected the brothers' bond and love.
X
Sam and Dean have always argued and bickered but the love was always palpable. In these first ten episodes it seemed as if they hated each other for reasons that they had already come to an understanding of and forgiven in past episodes.
X
As for Amelia, I hope we have seen the last of her. I think she has been the only one of Sam's girls that he has had zero chemistry with.
As you say she was so cold and Sam deserves better for all he has suffered since he was born.
X
He has always been from good to great with the others from Sarah to Jess to Dr Cara and even hippie chick! :)
st50
# st50 2013-02-02 09:42
You have hit on exactly why this episode (and the season), are a 'miss', for me, Isleofskye...
The first 10 episodes dealt with the mess created by Amelia, Benny, and Sam not looking for Dean. They have still not fully explained how/why that happened, and I still can not believe any of it to be in character for Sam.

Suddenly they're going to ignore that the whole thing happened and be best-buddy-brot hers again, because they played a game together? Sorry. Even the Winchesters do NOT get a pass on bringing up history, slamming it in our faces (hello, Southern Comfort), acting stressed or angry or numb or sad or whatever for 10 episodes, and then ignoring it. (What happened to wanting them to mature?)
Ten episodes of crap ---- and suddenly it's like it never happened. Ignored... like Sam's entire history with demon blood and Lucifer. Nope. That stuff does not go away.

I might've enjoyed this episode, if they'd resolved what came before it first. I just keep asking myself 'what was the point of the conflict?'
isleofskye
# isleofskye 2013-02-02 11:56
The season has been built on Sam not looking for Dean.
Something so false that it has influenced the whole season.
X
I don't understand why the writers couldn't have simply said that he looked but couldn't find him or that he did find out Dean was in Purgatory but that there was no way to reach him.
X
I think most fans would have been alright with that and Sam's integrity and his love for his brother wouldn't have been compromised; but never to have looked at all. No, that's never Sam. :(
X
You're right. They have thrown all this contrived brother drama at us and now it's as if it had never happened. Then what was the point in the first place?
X
I enjoyed this episode because the brothers were together on-screen for most of the time and the ep was focused on the Winchester family and its back-story which is really what Supernatural is all about.
lala2
# lala2 2013-02-02 19:13
Great posts, Isleofskye! I have also found the first 10 episodes extremely lacking in substance and quality, but I would also include last week's LARPing episode in that mix. That episode was just okay. The end was the best part, IMO.

I have no idea why Carver chose this horrible, OOC story arc for Sam, but I must say if they are willing to overlook it so am I. I never bought into the idea that Sam wouldn't look for Dean, so I am more than happy to act as if the first 11 episodes didn't exist. The boys were in a good place with each other until Carver got his hands on Sam. I still have no clue why Sam did the things he did, and I doubt we'll ever learn! This is NOT the route I would have taken Sam, but there's nothing we can do about it now.

Contrary to what some may think, I want to enjoy the show! This was the first episode this season that I actually enjoyed. This was the first episode this season where I felt the brotherly love and connection, which is so key to my overall enjoyment of the show. It really felt like an episode from the earlier seasons, and I liked that. Plus, it helped, IMO, that the arc and plot directly involved the Winchesters and was something personal to them. The MOA in S6, the Leviathans in S7, and this year's tablet arc are too far removed from the boys. Any hunters could have addressed those problems; Sam and Dean weren't essential to those plots. That has been a huge problem for me as I've found myself caring less and less about the overall arc. But this episode took me back to "better" ( for me at least) Supernatural days!

Quote:
I enjoyed this episode because the brothers were together on-screen for most of the time and the ep was focused on the Winchester family and its back-story which is really what Supernatural is all about.

I couldn't agree more with you!
isleofskye
# isleofskye 2013-02-03 03:15
Dear Lala2, I agree 100% with your post.
X
I mentioned the first ten episodes because they contained the brother hating and they irked me the most but I concur that the larping episode was essentially pointless and mostly a showcase for the guest star although I do considerate it watchable for the simple reason that it was the first episode in which the brothers smiled at each other.
They both have such beautiful smiles, it's a shame not to let the viewers see them doing so more often! :)
X
Certainly unless the writers ret-con Sam not looking for Dean, there is nothing we as fans can do or say; officially we must accept it but in my heart I certainly won't.
X
I agree too about the enjoyment. One watches for that.
When I watched those first ten episodes all I got was depressed at witnessing how these two brothers who have always loved, cared and protected each other were reduced to practically hating.
It was just so joyless.
If it had been for a valid reason or had a supernatural explanation I could have accepted it, but not as it stands.
X
As for the monster arc of season seven, I agree that it was a bit too impersonal and unevenly paced out although I really liked Roman and his sneering little smirk, but I definitely enjoyed season six.
X
There was a lot going on, maybe too much, but it did make the episodes full and interesting.
I think the Crowley-Castiel arc was adequate and personal enough, seeing that Castiel whom the brothers trusted, was working behind their backs and keeping secrets.
I rather liked soulless Sam too, once it was revealed of course that it wasn't 'our' Sam
I enjoyed Dean trying to relate to him. It came over as quite funny at times. :)
X
In conclusion I agree with you once more that my great enjoyment of this episode was largely because it took me back to better days when the brothers were a team, when the story arc was concentrated more exclusively on the Winchester family and when the brothers fought off the MOTW back to back, guns blazing. :)
lala2
# lala2 2013-02-03 09:35
Isleofskye, I greatly enjoyed S6, but I feel the first half was much stronger than the second half.

I am a huge fan of Soulless Sam. I would have been fine with him sticking around for the most of the season. Jared did a great job with that character. From the moment he appeared in EOMS, Sam seemed off and unlike himself. I immediately knew something was wrong with him whereas this year, it just felt like bad writing.

I also really liked the Campbells - all of them. I would have loved to see them stick around and learn more about them, but unfortunately, they were all murdered off too quickly and were largely misused. I feel the worst about Samuel. He was basically ruined for no real reason. I feel like Sera really didn't know what to do with them .

I thought Castiel was used well in S6 though I never really bought into his deal with Crowley. The Wall was also a great idea with loads of potential that was, unfortunately, largely squandered in S7.

I don't recall much about the MOA plot. That's probably because it really didn't have much to do with Sam and Dean. LAV was okay. I liked the parts about Sam the most. I loved Unforgiven, TFM, and the episode where Sam has to re-integrate himself. I don't remember too many of the other episodes in the 2nd half of S6.

I also found it extremely frustrating that they had Bobby showing major reservations toward Sam that was never resolved. I am one who believed that, outside of Dean, Sam and Bobby didn't have much of a relationship. I foolishly thought this would have given Sam and Bobby a chance to talk and bond a bit, but it went nowhere. I just feel the 2ndhalf of the season could have been stronger, but I enjoyed it for the most part.
isleofskye
# isleofskye 2013-02-03 10:27
Lala2.
Just a word on Bobby. Don't get me wrong I loved Bobby and his no nonsense attitude towards the boys and their at times"over-bick ering" but he definitely did lean towards Dean more than Sam.
X
He himself admitted it over the phone when talking under the truth spell with Dean.
I also am a bit peeved with him for the fact that he did not tell Dean that Sam was no longer in the Cage.
X
Bobby knew how much Dean loved his brother and he must have suspected that although he was still with Lisa, Dean would have been suffering over the loss of Sam.
If he had told him earlier, perhaps Sam's soul could have been pulled out of the Cage less damaged.
X
Then in the van in season seven when he and Sam are talking, Bobby calls him "One deep little son of a bitch"
It's said in an ironic way of course but I think he really meant it.
eilf
# eilf 2013-02-03 11:27
Also in the scene in the beginning of season 7 where Sam opens up about being able to see Lucifer, Bobby stays for a while and then just walks away the moment the issue looks complicated.

That may have meant to imply that Bobby just can't cope with Sam's hallucinations at that moment but it looks like he walked away because he feels Sam's problems are Dean's to worry about - the father.son bond came across (to me) as breaking at that moment.

I think it was later in the same episode that Bobby wanted Dean to share how Dean was doing with the revelations about Sam.

We are supposed to take it that Bobby was closer to Dean because he understands him better. (though the scene in the van was nice and long overdue).

Honestly, writers, Sam is not THAT difficult a character to understand, not even for old bachelor hunters who are surly and have a beard.
percysowner
# percysowner 2013-02-03 13:05
Especially when the old bachelor hunter who was surely and had a beard shared a love of research and the desire to establish a place that was a home with Sam. I mean, I can understand Bobby liking Dean more, because you click with who you click with. But Bobby should have been able to relate to Sam more than he did.
lala2
# lala2 2013-02-03 11:40
IMO, Bobby and Sam had NO relationship.

To be blunt, their relationship was based on "words" rather than scenes as the writers often do when it comes to Sam. For whatever reason, the writers refused to show Sam and Bobby bonding on any level, IMO. Outside of Dean, they really had no relationship. Any emotional scene re: Bobby or about life in general went to Dean. There's so much I could write about Sam/Bobby, but my comments probably aren't welcome so I'll just leave it at that.

I loved Bobby too, and it would have been nice to actually buy into the whole idea that he loved Sam like a son, but I really never did.
eilf
# eilf 2013-02-03 12:40
I can't really go that far Lala, I agree that he preferred Dean to Sam but there are a couple of episodes that show that Bobby did worry about Sam also. That is why the scene I mentioned above resonates for me, it hurts that Sam's (surrogate) father would walk away like that.

In Point of No Return when Sam returns from the panic room Bobby says 'how's he doing?' and then, with rather more emphasis 'How are YOU doing' and he clearly cares that Sam is so upset about whatever just happened.

In Mystery Spot we see what would have happened rather than what did. Bobby rings Sam constantly because he is worried about how he is dealing with Dean's death. That shows a depth of feelings towards Sam too.

So I think to say they had NO relationship is too strong an interpretation.
percysowner
# percysowner 2013-02-03 12:56
Quote:
In Mystery Spot we see what would have happened rather than what did. Bobby rings Sam constantly because he is worried about how he is dealing with Dean's death. That shows a depth of feelings towards Sam too.
I wasn't sure if Bobby was actually contacting Sam in Mystery Spot. I kind of assumed it was Gabriel who was getting a kick out of Sam's pain AND trying to push Sam into the mindset that would allow him to play his part in the Apocalypse. Sam saw that by himself he became willing to take a chance that he was killing Bobby to save Dean. So when Dean really went to Hell, Sam was ripe for Ruby convincing him to take actions that saved people and still kept him looking for revenge for Dean's death. Considering Bobby didn't try very hard to contact Sam after Dean went to Hell and that he didn't work hard to keep in contact with Soulless!Sam, the actions that they portrayed in Mystery Spot didn't jibe with his real actions after Dean died.

Now, Bobby didn't contact Dean either, but he knew Dean was settled and out of hunting and didn't want anything to pull Dean back in. Both times Bobby knew Sam was on his own in the world he just didn't seem that interested. When Dean came back from Hell he found Sam lickety split. Bobby just said he couldn't find Sam, which said to me that Bobby really didn't look too hard.

I never saw Bobby as being that interested in Sam and I never thought Sam thought of Bobby as a surrogate father that much. Sam may have fought with John but in the end, I think he identified John as his father and Bobby as a close friend of Dean's. We didn't even get a flashback of Bobby with Sam as a child, only Dean.
Bamboo24
# Bamboo24 2013-02-03 13:28
Quote:
Considering Bobby didn't try very hard to contact Sam after Dean went to Hell and that he didn't work hard to keep in contact with Soulless!Sam, the actions that they portrayed in Mystery Spot didn't jibe with his real actions after Dean died.

Now, Bobby didn't contact Dean either, but he knew Dean was settled and out of hunting and didn't want anything to pull Dean back in. Both times Bobby knew Sam was on his own in the world he just didn't seem that interested. When Dean came back from Hell he found Sam lickety split. Bobby just said he couldn't find Sam, which said to me that Bobby really didn't look too hard.

I never saw Bobby as being that interested in Sam and I never thought Sam thought of Bobby as a surrogate father that much. Sam may have fought with John but in the end, I think he identified John as his father and Bobby as a close friend of Dean's. We didn't even get a flashback of Bobby with Sam as a child, only Dean.
I don't think that is entirely accurate. If you recall, it was Soulless Sam who had told Bobby not to tell Dean he was back. And considering Soulless Sam's personality, he likely didn't want or need Bobby contacting him, either. So I don't think it's fair to put on Bobby.

Bobby, if you recall, is the one who gave Sam the amulet - so we know Sam was close to his "Uncle Bobby" as a child. Hell, Bobby was the one who first thought of the effect Dean's deal would have on Sam in S2. He's the one Sam turned to when he was trying to save his brother from the deal in S3. He's also the man who reamed out Dean for wanting to give up on Sam in S4. Bobby resented John for pushing Sam away rather than reaching out to him. He DID try keep in contact with Sam after Dean went to Hell, but Sam took off and didn't answer his calls - which was understandable as Sam didn't want to be found or consoled. In "Sympathy for the Devil", it was Bobby who ensured Sam that he didn't hold Sam's actions against him after he set Lucifer free; it was Bobby who extended forgiveness and unconditional love. He even reprimanded Dean when Dean made the childish comment, "we all know who's fault that is" over the phone to him in S5 (though we never heard the exact words). It was Bobby who voiced concerns for Sam's life when he suffered while detoxing from demon blood, and when Dean was wrestling with whether or not to risk putting Sam's soul back in him. It was Bobby who first believed Sam could overcome the devil in S5. And Bobby was who Sam turned to when he worried about Dean in S7. He always had an open door for both brothers. And when he spoke of them being like sons to him, it was always plural. Not just Dean, but both of them.

My point: IMO there has been no one other than Dean on this show who has been MORE in Sam's corner than Bobby.

I do agree, however, that Sam saw him as less of a surrogate father and more as an uncle. It's likely he didn't need a surrogate father as much as Dean did, as independent as Sam is. It seemed to me that the sort of relationship that developed there was one in which Bobby was strong for Dean so that Dean could be strong for Sam - Bobby was always pushing them toward each other, precisely because he knew how much they needed each other.
winmomwannabe
# winmomwannabe 2013-02-03 13:43
Bamboo24 you took the words right out of my mouth. 'Exactly!' And ditto. They had a different relationship with Bobby, but they both had one IMO. I think you hit the nail on the head when you said Dean probably needed a surrogate father, but Sam always was more independent.
eilf
# eilf 2013-02-03 14:38
I love all these examples that I had forgotten about. Thank you :D you make me happier about all this!
Leah
# Leah 2013-02-03 16:00
Thank you Bamboo24!! Well said.
percysowner
# percysowner 2013-02-03 13:18
The episodes Robbie Thompson has written were 7.06 Slash Fiction 7.12 Time After Time 7.20 The Girl with the Dungeons and Dragons Tattoo 8.04 Bitten 8.11 LARP and the Real Girl. IMHO most of those episodes have not really focused on Sam and Dean. Slash Fiction was more about LeviaSam and Dean. Time After Time is the one episode that did focus on the brothers. TGWTDADT was really more about Charlie. Bitten was really brother light and I agree that LARP was more about Charlie than the brothers. I really don't have any feeling for how RT writes Sam and Dean because so few of his episodes have been ABOUT Sam and Dean. This is sad, because in general his episodes are well written and entertaining.
Jo1027
# Jo1027 2013-02-04 14:35
Quote:
The season has been built on Sam not looking for Dean.
Something so false that it has influenced the whole season.
X
I don't understand why the writers couldn't have simply said that he looked but couldn't find him or that he did find out Dean was in Purgatory but that there was no way to reach him.
X
I think most fans would have been alright with that and Sam's integrity and his love for his brother wouldn't have been compromised; but never to have looked at all. No, that's never Sam. :(
X
You're right. They have thrown all this contrived brother drama at us and now it's as if it had never happened. Then what was the point in the first place?
X
I enjoyed this episode because the brothers were together on-screen for most of the time and the ep was focused on the Winchester family and its back-story which is really what Supernatural is all about.
If we, the fans, can think of better ways to handle story lines, why can't the writers? This would have worked for me. I'm bitter that they wasted 10 episodes on contrived crap between the brothers that hasn't been there since S5.
I agree with everyone who thinks the first ten epis were a total waste of film. I will never ever watch them again. This is the first epi that I kind of liked this year. It did have holes in it that didn't work for me. However, I expected it when the previews showed Henry, who was not a mechanic, as we'd been told previously.
I don't get how JC can think what he did to Sam was great storytelling. Boggles my mind.
isleofskye
# isleofskye 2013-02-05 08:23
Jo1027
X
I too have only seen the first ten episodes once and I have no wish to watch them again for it hurts me to see the brothers being so horrible to each other, knowing that it's all just contrived; having them argue simply for the sake of arguing!
I certainly saw no 'maturity' in their squabbling.
X
So sad and joyless. I don't think they smiled at each other once in all ten episodes.
Sam's character was trashed by the not looking, but even Dean was ooc in many ways too.
X
As for this episode; it's not so much what happened in it, because John's back story is not the first ret-con to be done this season, but how the writers will evolve the future story-lines.
We're just going to have to wait for that.
X
The angel/demon tablet quest seems to have been put on hold for the moment, not that it was moving along very quickly in the first place!
X
It seems kind of strange that JC hasn't written another episode yet.
I believe the showrunner usually writes two or three, but I could be mistaken.
Sharon
# Sharon 2013-02-02 03:34
Alice thank you for bringing up the demon mythology and Sam it is something that has bothered me as it was more than a sl it was in essence everything Sam has been on the show and at the core of the show for the run of the series.

I enjoyed the episode and the Men of Letters is a interesting introduction although I still cant get over that scene with Sam and Henry in the motel room and he just got up and walked away and there was no word between them nothing said just sorry stupid for me.
Amy
# Amy 2013-02-02 09:41
I half sort of think Sam did it as a show of solidarity with Dean. And then i half sort of think it was lazy, bad writing...can't have Sam talk to his own Grandfather alone.
percysowner
# percysowner 2013-02-02 09:59
I think it's lazy writing and another way to keep Sam from interacting with anyone except Dean and Amelia. They didn't even have to show a talk between Sam and Henry. Just have Henry ask "do you hate me too" and have Sam say no and start to talk then cut to commercial.

The writers are either completely holding back on showing Sam's POV purposefully because it is supposed to be a big deal or they have simply given up on writing Sam. In either case I'm frustrated by the fact that Sam doesn't even talk to people off screen, as well as on screen.
Jo1027
# Jo1027 2013-02-04 14:45
Quote:
I think it's lazy writing and another way to keep Sam from interacting with anyone except Dean and Amelia. They didn't even have to show a talk between Sam and Henry. Just have Henry ask "do you hate me too" and have Sam say no and start to talk then cut to commercial.

The writers are either completely holding back on showing Sam's POV purposefully because it is supposed to be a big deal or they have simply given up on writing Sam. In either case I'm frustrated by the fact that Sam doesn't even talk to people off screen, as well as on screen.
Well said and exactly how I'm feeling.
E
# E 2013-02-03 11:21
I suppose that it could be construed as solidarity with Dean, but then again, they could have had Sam open up his mouth and SAY SO. Instead we have to interpret the implication of his actions. Wouldn't it have been better in the long run to have a 12 second scene in which Sam shows his solidarity with Dean through voicing it?
lala2
# lala2 2013-02-03 11:42
Sam never speaks to anyone anymore. The writers refuse to give him dialogue. At least he was active and present in this episode; it's more than I can say for what's been done w/him in the past.
Bevie
# Bevie 2013-02-02 14:23
Loved your review Alice! Agreed with most of it though not all.

I didn't see the OOC moments the way you did. No matter how I view it, I can't see what Sam could have done while in the clutches of Abaddon. She seemed even more powerful than Lilith! And Sam isn't using demon blood or his demon killing powers for a few years now. He would be way too rusty even to attempt it and bang, he's dead!

He knew by saying Dean had the key that Dean would be plotting his rescue. No matter their differences, ever, when has Dean ever not gone to rescue his Sammy? And he knows Dean is not stupid and would have a plan. So I don't see that as OOC.

As for Dean, his abandonment issues were stimulated into overdrive thinking his dad was abandoned also as a child. At least I feel that way. As for fearing he and Sam would be wiped out if Henry went back, the situation was a bit different in not knowing it would work, and when asking Mary to leave John they were right there and if she had it would have worked and they wouldn't have been born. But as she was already pregnant, it wouldn't entirely. I saw no hypocrisy in that, just sense for the circumstances.

As someone else posted here before, there was plenty of time to get the window replaced, as we only see a 45 minute window into their weekly doings, and Dean storming out could have had that done in no time. There are places that do that quickly, but you know that being the car buff you are. ;-)

I was overjoyed with the way the boys worked together and the bond seemed to be back and Dean's determination to save his Sammy seemed like old times and was a breath of fresh air to me after gasping for some for the last few years, with the exception of an episode now and then! And the way Sam trusted Dean and just knew he had a plan and wasn't just sacrificing his grandpa. Seeing those two back in sync could make me forgive any little plot holes that developed. :P

Looking forward to the next episodes and sincerely hope that bond is being tied tighter as they go on and perhaps by the end of the season they will be brothers again united! :-)
lala2
# lala2 2013-02-02 20:06
Bevie,you raise a good point. I watched the episode again and paid special attention to the scene when the exchange is made. What I saw was a Sam that trusted that his brother had a plan. At first, Sam tells Dean it isn't a good idea, but Dean tells him to shut up and just go. So, Sam goes with his brother. He, clearly IMO, trusted that Dean knew what he was doing. When Abbadon attacks Henry Sam's first instinct is to run to help him but Dean tells Sam to wait so Sam waits.

Sam trusted that Dean had a plan and knew what was happening. I liked it. It was reminiscent, to me, of Dean telling Sam John wasn't their dad. Sam trusted Dean then, and he still trusts him. I like for their relationship to be strong. And I haven't seen it as strong since HCW or Plucky's last year. As you said, the brothers haven't been in sync all season so it was nice to see!

Nothing about that scene bothered me. It was only here that I saw people had problems with it or thought Sam hadn't done enough to rescue himself or save Henry.

I agree that there was nothing Sam could do to rescue himself. He was definitely NOT a "damsel in distress," IMO. No one who has called him that has really explained what they believe Sam could have done to save himself.

And even if Sam didn't know Dean had a plan, other than just charging Abbadon and getting himself killed, I'm not sure what Sam could have done.
st50
# st50 2013-02-02 20:41
lala2, I've moved my response to you regarding the "damsel in distress" to the bitterness thread.
scullspeare
# scullspeare 2013-02-02 14:42
Put me in the ‘Like’ column for As Time Goes By. It was fun to watch.

For the first time in eight years, I seriously struggled with SPN before the Christmas break but since 2013 began, it’s a lot more like the show I fell in love with back in Season 1. Sure, the transition from at-odds brothers back to comrades-in-arm s was whiplash-induci ng, but if these are the types of episodes we get as a result, I’ll take it.

Did ATGB have flaws? Sure it did, but I was entertained, from start to finish and, really, that’s what I ask of a TV show.

The ‘Bat Cave’ and the Men of Letters legacy hold a great deal of promise for the rest of the season and I’m looking forward to seeing how they play out – something I could never say for the Sam-Amelia storyline. It is, however, becoming increasingly apparent that very few of SPN’s current writing staff truly understand or ‘get’ Sam. He’s just not being written well this season; even in a solid episode like this one, he still seems ‘off.’ ie. far too passive.

Quote:
Also, how in the world could this story ignore Sam’s prominent role in the demon mythology?
I’ll agree with Alice on this point. While I understand Sam not wanting to volunteer that information to the grandfather he’s only just met, it would have been nice to see Abaddon acknowledge that Sam (and Dean) each have the stench of Hell on them, letting Henry know just how much his grandsons have been through while avoiding the need for messy and/or time-consuming exposition.

I will admit I cracked up when the last surviving Men of Letters starting talking about the key and the box; my mind flipped straight to The French Mistake and Sam’s bad acting… “If there’s a key, there must be a lock…” :lol:

But there was also a genuine smile when Dean’s family theme music popped up. Much like the tie-in to John and Mary being destined to be together, it’s nice to see those cornerstones pop up.

JC & Co still have a few messes to clean up, IMHO, but I’m a much happier SPN fan now than I was earlier in the season.
prix68
# prix68 2013-02-02 15:52
After watching this episode the first time, my first reaction was, "what was the point of this whole episode?" Sam and Dean seemed more like their old selves and that seemed OOC all of a sudden with this season. I also didn't feel comfortable with the inconsistency with the back story we already knew. I don't remember John even mentioning his father or any issues with family. Now I wonder what happened to grandma. Then the next day I read the interview with Robert Singer and it all became clear. Quite frankly I'm excited about the new direction this is going to take the show in, so I'm going to ignore all that wasn't right with this episode for the sake of a better and more exciting future SPN. I hated S7, personnally, so if I am really loving this season so much more and am willing to give Jeremy Carver some leeway while he gets the show back on track.
Trucklady
# Trucklady 2013-02-02 20:25
Quote:
Nothing about that scene bothered me. It was only here that I saw people had problems with it or thought Sam hadn't done enough to rescue himself or save Henry.
Quote:
I agree that there was nothing Sam could do to rescue himself. He was definitely NOT a "damsel in distress," IMO. No one who has called him that has really explained what they believe Sam could have done to save himself.
I agree here. I think Abbadon was holding him like demons can do. If you notice, when they agree to make the trade she moves her arm that appears to release Sam. He didn't have any weapons on him so of course he would not make a move on her. That would be committing suicide.
saltwatergal
# saltwatergal 2013-02-04 07:07
Hi Alice (..its been a while...per Hendriksen)

I loved all the perspective and finally must admit to myself that I am hopelessly captivated by our boys. It seems that I never see the holes or concerns observed by so many of my SPN brothers and sisters. I am so pathetic I just soak up what ever the PTB send out to us. I just write off any and all inconsistencies to " it will be all explained somewhere down the road" and or " I am not supposed to know that now"
I am thrilled with this episode for several reasons. It feels like we are moving back into what is truly my idea of what is supernatural and the divine as opposed to the heavy supernatural and the Ugly--for want of a better word for the expression of the Hell side of things. Which brings up a thought... even the Angels are being represented again as questionably "the bad guys".. sorry I much prefer the Joshua type angels...they gotta be out there somewhere.
But back to my original line of thinking and questioning. Didn't the boys wonder where Cas was when they were threatened by this Knight of Hell? He has shown up for less. (He must be in a pickle. :.. .. see how I tend to accept and rationalize it all?)
I was surprised when Sam , in questioning Henry about how he managed to travel, observed that "only Angels could tap their souls " Is this the first time that Angels were acknowledged to actually have souls? And am I correct in remembering from earlier in the season that Crowley did not have a soul? Was it just him that had lost his soul? Did he not offer up a multitude of demon souls for the tablet at the auction? Help..any one on this one... I need some alternative clarification on what SPN is telling us on this.
My main point of interest in this episode ( sorry to be so disjointed..I am sure you know how once thinking about this you get led off into yonder realms..) is that we are lip syncing toward shades of the Rosecrucians and the White Brotherhood. Finally... Oh please writers don't let me down. I can forgive you anything but please do this right. Don't get too flakey or off the wall creative.. the boys deserve to finally know this stuff...and we do too.

Alice thanks for being there and putting so much of yourself into your site. So many of us enjoy it and the chance to share with others.
kaz1
# kaz1 2013-02-05 11:34
saltwatergal
Quote:
Didn't the boys wonder where Cas was when they were threatened by this Knight of Hell? He has shown up for less.
I know right! I guess fitting ANYTHING else into this week's ep would have been too much indeed. I guess they were counting on him not showing up given his weird behaviour in TAF.

Quote:
sorry I much prefer the Joshua type angels...they gotta be out there somewhere.
Yes, only Cas and ... I forget what was his name? ... heaven's most adorable angel?... (I want to say Galadrial, but I'm confusing my angels and elves again). ANYWAY these are the only two angels besides Joshua who weren't 'dicks' (Deans words not mine). I cannot believe that there is an endless supply of demons and only a limited supply of angels. I think there is an angel hierarchy and Naomi is only one department. Just like the Abaddons of Hell, I am hoping there is going to be the equivalent in heaven.

Quote:
Sam , in questioning Henry about how he managed to travel, observed that "only Angels could tap their souls "
Am not sure, but as I understood it Sam meant "tap into souls. However, I am not sure as I remember when Crowley took some of Bobby's soul didn't he? I am sure Sam would have recalled that, so not sure what he meant here. How do you see it?

Lastly interesting point about the Rosecrucians and the White Brotherhood, am going to think about this
saltwatergal
# saltwatergal 2013-02-04 07:12
PS. to my above comment.
Per the boys continuing the bloodline. I don't think any of the relationships thus far are for either of the boys are progeny worthy! If these guys are legacies and unions are ordained in heaven then you are going to need to find someone pretty special who also has a life line that is driven toward service to mankind. IMO.
kaz1
# kaz1 2013-02-04 11:32
Rincewind
Quote:
Men of Letters hq possibilities for Sam, whose predilection for and abilities in academics haven't been followed up on for ages. I hope they really do use this opportunity to develop Sam and Dean individually and as brothers/as a team!
I agree and think it's a wonderful way forward for each brother's character to develop into a more mature adult storyline. I don't see a problem with Sam doing the research, as long as he gets to protect Dean and go along on all the hunts.

I feel it is a good fit for the brothers and which agrees with canon. It is also a great opportunity to find a voice for Sam too. Having him become an expert on MoL gives him an opportunity to be an authority on something thus giving him a distinct role in the series. I know many fans are concerned that this will just sideline him, but I feel if handled right, this could be the great way to move forward.
Jo1027
# Jo1027 2013-02-04 14:53
Quote:
Rincewind
Quote:
Men of Letters hq possibilities for Sam, whose predilection for and abilities in academics haven't been followed up on for ages. I hope they really do use this opportunity to develop Sam and Dean individually and as brothers/as a team!
I agree and think it's a wonderful way forward for each brother's character to develop into a more mature adult storyline. I don't see a problem with Sam doing the research, as long as he gets to protect Dean and go along on all the hunts.

I feel it is a good fit for the brothers and which agrees with canon. It is also a great opportunity to find a voice for Sam too. Having him become an expert on MoL gives him an opportunity to be an authority on something thus giving him a distinct role in the series. I know many fans are concerned that this will just sideline him, but I feel if handled right, this could be the great way to move forward.
That is the key, will it be handled right? Given how Sam has been written so far this season I'm not convinced that it will be. I hope I'm wrong. I want more than anything for Sam to have a POV and friends that are just his to talk to.
However, my fear is that it will just sideline him further. At this point in time, as you can see, I have zero faith in JC or the writers.