As far as I'm concerned, a not so great episode of "Supernatural" is still better than pretty much anything else on TV. Even episodes that don't totally pop my cork have some redeeming qualities. I'll always find something to enjoy. Always. I love this damn show, possibly to a fault.

So "Man's Best Friend with Benefits" while being far from a great episode of "Supernatural" still had stuff in it I dug. To be honest, I was expecting it to be the most horrific hour of television ever produced in the history of forever, going by some of the feedback I was seeing out there in the fandom...but I gotta say, I didn't mind it at all.
 
I'm also happy to cut the producers of this show some slack. They've turned out a bunch of stellar episodes this season. Season 8 has been consistently strong and since "Citizen Fang", has been building on that strength to where we found ourselves at the end of "Trial and Error", with new and interesting mythology and 4 corker episodes back to back. But a TV show, hell a TV network is a hungry beast. It needs constant feeding and care and it never, ever, ever stops, like ever. This I know. Turning out a new hour-long episode of television, every couple of weeks is mind blowing. Making every one of those episodes golden is just impossible. In fact, if that was happening, I'd suggest a bit of soul selling had gone on and at the end of season 10, a whole bunch of TV writers and producers would be about to face the Hellhounds!
 
I remember going to see Joss Whedon at the Sydney Opera House and how he said that while making Buffy and Angel, every so often they had to let one through that they knew was sub-par, because the show must go on and they had to get on to the next episode. So there were times where they went; you know, they're going to hate it and we're going to get flack for it, but oh well, on to the next story. Hey, nothing and no-one is perfect, not even Whedon apparently.
 
So I'll give it to you that chances are this was probably one of those episodes. That chances are TPTB looked at it and thought; we have to let it go, moving right along...what's up next. There's always at least one a season. 1 out of 23 ain't bad.
 
But to be perfectly honest, I still had a giggle, there were a couple of pretty funny scenes, I liked the bro moments and Dean looked unbelievably hot... That in itself kept me glued to the screen.

Let's get the squick factor out of the way.
 
I do think it probably wasn't the smartest move to make an episode about a familiar who took the shape of a dog and had an intimate relationship with her witch master. It probably played better in the writer's room than it did on the screen. But at no time did I feel grossed out by it. I figure a familiar is neither human nor animal...and when Portia looked like a woman, she was a woman as far as I'm concerned. There was never any indication that anything inappropriate was going on when she was in the shape of a Doberman. She could have removed that collar though...but then again, I know a girl who wears a dog collar as jewellery...
 
I could've done without the extended make-out scene, but that's purely because the only people I'm interested in seeing make-out on "Supernatural" are the brothers. Wait. Ok, let me rephrase that!!!! I'm only interested in seeing Sam and Dean having sexy scenes with guest stars not 2 guest stars having a sexy scene together... unless something gruesome happens to them while their at it'. Did I clear that up? Phew! So basically...a bit of a kiss and the vision would have sufficed, not because she was a dog a little while before, but because, like I said...I don't care. Now if it was a scene with one of the brothers (specifically Dean) then the show can do a 43-minute sex scene for all I care! It would be gripping! Anyway, I digress. I think it was probably unwise subject matter for an episode, considering the taboo nature of it, but I wasn't fazed by how it played out. I think seeing as they opened that door and chose to handle it, they handled it quite well, all things considered.
 
One thing I did like is that James and Portia high tailed it out of there (no pun intended). I feel like there's a growing army of supernatural beings or people with connections to the supernatural that either owe or support Sam and Dean. It's like this world is being built around them, peppered with critters and people who may be able to lend a hand if the situation arises. I like this a lot. James and Portia may never be seen again, but there's something to be said to knowing that they're out there and that the brothers are not alone in this world. If they need a witch, they know one. Aaron and his Golem, James and Portia, Charlie, Kate the werewolf, the Trans, Garth, even Benny and of course, somewhere Cass... The rebuilding of the Winchester's Universe this season has been excellent.

Another thing that I liked was that once again, we were dealing with the concept of manipulation and control. James was unknowingly being controlled by Spencer. This has been a continuing theme of the season, people being forced to do things against their will. Okay, James wasn't actually committing the murders, but Spencer was controlling his mind and making him think he was doing it. Then by giving a direct order to his familiar Philippe, Spencer manufactured information that led people to incorrectly perceive what was happening. This plays in to this season's themes around manipulation, control and perception. It plays into Castiel and Naomi and whatever is going on up in Heaven...which I believe we'll revisit immediately after the mini-hiatus. I think it'll also play into Benny and Purgatory and how he knew how to get Dean out. It may even play into Crowley and the tablets, because, I'm never 100% sure of what Crowley's up to! I like that we keep touching on this thread. Who's holding the strings?
 
Ok, on to Sam and Dean.

It's no surprise that the trials are going to be an ongoing issue between the brothers. Dean's going to feel crappy about not being able to kill the Hellhound and he'll worry about Sam's safety and wellbeing and Sam's going to be equal parts self doubt and standing firm telling Dean he's fine, as the trials continue to take a physical toll on him. This is the way it always goes with the brothers. Le sigh.

I thought it was an excellent pick up from Sam, that it wasn't Sam that Dean was having difficulty trusting, it's just that Dean really only trusts himself. Dean spent his formative years looking after Sam and being a leader to his little brother. He was raised by his dad to take control. I mean, he obviously has control issues – look how he is with the car! Not only that, his trust in those he loves has been shaken over the last few years. He's said that he has a hard time trusting anyone and he's felt let down by just about everyone in his life. So Dean questioning Sam is nothing to do with Sam it's all to do with Dean and who he is and how his brain works. The guy is never going to be comfortable with delegating...he's spent his entire life doing.
 
It took a long time for Dean to come to the party when it came to Sam's plan to let in Lucifer and stop the Apocalypse, but he got there in the end. I'm sure it'll take a bit to get his head around Sam doing the trials too. Dean is forever adjusting his mind to Sam being a man who makes his own decisions and not just Dean's little brother. Mostly these days, he does better than he used to, but you can tell it's always going to be a struggle for him because he'll always want to protect Sam, it's who Dean is.

It was very telling that Dean said nothing after Sam's point about trust. Sam essentially nailed it and Dean had no comeback. It was a really good call on Sam's behalf. Nice insight. Though initially I thought this scene came out of left field, I like how it ended up playing out.
 
The memory flashbacks on behalf of Spencer felt a little clunky, I think mostly because that scene was so rushed. But I got to thinking about them afterwards. These were scenes specifically important to the season's arc of closing the gates of Hell. When facing their worst memories – geesh, it could have been so many things, they've lost so many people, but Sam remembered falling into the pit and then the perpetual burning, all the pain and horror of Hell. Dean remembered Hell too. He remembered the torture, crying out for his brother, but not only that, he remembered his mother being burnt on the ceiling by the demon that started it all; the reason they've been in this fight since they were children. The two things that have caused both brothers infinite pain...demons and Hell, the two things they're currently trying to lockup for eternity. These are the brother's worst memories prompted by Spencer's magic. It sure makes the whole thing real personal.

I've always thought Dean probably saw something that fateful night back when he was four. He intimated as much to the kid in "Dead in the Water" (and I feel like he said it one other time too...but I can't for the life of me think when). Anyway, whether he actually saw Mary on the ceiling or not, he'd certainly have built his own image in his mind of what that would've looked like after thinking about it for so many years.

Which brings us to the brothers in the car. I love a good driving-the-Impala speech. This time around, it was something we've heard before; the brothers are better together, hanging together, working together, having each other's back, it's how they've got through and made it this far. They're facing another horrifically difficult task and they need to face it together. Dean trusts that his brother can get it done, he has to, he needs to support him, like he said, it's too important not too. As long as Sam's sure he's good, Dean will back his play.
 
[Cough cough blood].

To be honest, if I was Sam I'd probably sit on the coughing up blood thing until I knew if it was something ongoing. I don't think I'd turn around to Dean and go, "Oh crap I'm coughing up blood!" So for these five minutes, I'm giving Sammy a pass on not coming clean...but the next time he coughs up blood and keeps it a secret... well, I'd rather he didn't, because they both know that lying and keeping secrets from each other, never goes well. They've both told whoppers, hidden huge secrets. When has that ever been a good thing?
 
I totally understand why Sam doesn't instantly want to tell Dean. If you're not sure what it is, or how bad it is, don't worry your loved one unnecessarily, especially after he's just given you the... I trust and believe in you speech! But if it gets real bad, please tell him, if only to share your burden Sam, don't shoulder it alone...hanging together is how you get through this...right? Anddddd somehow I ended up talking directly to Sam!
 
I really don't want to get on the lies/angry response rollercoaster again. I've done that ride.

Look, like I said, this was not the best episode by any stretch of the imagination. Brad Buckner & Eugenie Ross-Leming are probably, no, are the weakest of the "Supernatural" writers. The secondary characters were pretty bland. There were moments in the script that made me frown and go, "huh?" Like Dean's cat allergy...okay, sure, maybe it's just never come up before...I was trying to think of a cat episode. I couldn't. So maybe we've just never seen him around cats before...but it's a stretch. I raised my eyebrows at how cool the brothers seemed with running into the bedroom to gank a chained up James. I thought the guy who played Spencer was simply awful and I had no interest in his war with James at the end. Dean would absolutely know what a familiar is, that was dumb. I don't think either of the boys would've told Portia it was hot when she got upset with them, whether they thought it was hot or not. Witch killing spell of Bobby's? Man that would've come in handy in past episodes! I think the show should just avoid witches from now on...

But, I think that scene where Portia comes into the motel as a dog and Sam rubs her belly and then tells Dean that she didn't track any mud into the room is one of the funniest damn things! I'm sorry, maybe I have a 13-year-old boy's sense of humour...or Dean Winchester's sense of humour...but that was funny. 

I also liked Dean's rather awkward response to finding out that Portia and James were "intimate". I giggled. I love awkward Dean and I loved that Sam left him out in the wind! And the fact that Dean was pondering the ‘mechanics' of James and Portia's relationship. Of course he was! And Portia gave him nothing! Good for her. Dean was seriously cute.

And did I mention how hot he looked. He was extra pretty or something, I dunno...and that scene where he's walking down the stairs into the witch bar...the man has made me a legs gal (preferably bandy legs) and Jared's throaty, chesty voice was kinda sexy...

There you go. When it comes to this show, I simply adore it; I can't help it. Even when it's patchy, I can still find stuff to dig. So yeah, regardless of the questionable hook, I found things to enjoy and think about in "Man's Best Friend with Benefits" because it's "Supernatural" and like I said, a not so great episode of "Supernatural" is still better than pretty much anything else on TV...for me anyways.
 
Thanks for reading.
-sweetondean

Comments  

Ripley2win
# Ripley2win 2013-02-22 08:41
There were cats in "You can't handle the truth." No sneezing. On a scale of 1 to 10 this episode was a 2. ( Bugs was a 4 and Bitten was a 1. Just to put things in perspective.)
Myra
# Myra 2013-02-22 08:49
I think you nailed how my sister and I felt about the episode.

Also I liked the argument at the very beginning. Gave me flashbacks to my brother and me watching the stooges as kids.

:-)
novichevich
# novichevich 2013-02-22 09:54
I am with you all the way. Being a happy fan I can hardly remember a single SPN episode where I wouldn't find something to enjoy - a scene, a line, a joke. So I liked this one, it's almost on par for me with "Everybody hates Hitler", though golems are cooler than familiars (whose role I just didn't quite understand). And why does everybody accuse Sam of lying? He may remember his brother's words,"Know who whines? Babies." It's man thing to hide the pain, and Sam is a very proud man as I see him.
Hades
# Hades 2013-02-22 10:24
also remember Sam Interrupted when Sam was told to bury his crap? Well now he pretty much does. Besides we all know Dean would have 'lied' if he was the one coughing up blood and he would have justified it by saying he didnt want Sam to worry.
njspnfan
# njspnfan 2013-02-22 15:05
Quote:
also remember Sam Interrupted when Sam was told to bury his crap? Well now he pretty much does. Besides we all know Dean would have 'lied' if he was the one coughing up blood and he would have justified it by saying he didnt want Sam to worry.
Good point, Hades. Most of the feedback on the comments are about why Dean has his reasons to not trust Sam. Remembering back to S7, when Sam had his mental breakdown, Dean told him to make him his "stone number 1", then after Sam asked him to trust him about Amy Pond, went behind his back and killed her anyway? It wasn't the fact that Dean killed her, it was that he lied to him.

Not taking sides here (I'm on Team Winchester), just saying the lack of trust can work both ways; IMO Sam tends to move on from past digressions easier than Dean.

Have also seen some comments about Dean having friends to confide in; Don't think Sam has that luxury; certainly didn't confide in Amelia because he kept the hunter part of his life secret (that's real healthy for a relationship btw) so I think Sam just buries it now - almost as though he thinks confiding in Dean any of his doubts/tolls the trials are taking on him would make Dean question Sam's fortitude or ability to complete the trials.
Hades
# Hades 2013-02-22 18:18
I also think Sam wouldnt confide in Dean in situations like this because he thinks Dean would see him as weak.
ryder21
# ryder21 2013-02-22 09:28
"As far as I’m concerned, a not so great episode of “Supernatural ” is still better than pretty much anything else on TV. Even episodes that don’t totally pop my cork have some redeeming qualities. I’ll always find something to enjoy. Always. I love this damn show, possibly to a fault."

Love that you love this show as much as I do. It's always easy to gripe at a show that isn't up to our expectations, but yes, it is still the best little show around.

"I love awkward Dean and I loved that Sam left him out in the wind! And the fact that Dean was pondering the ‘mechanics’ of James and Portia’s relationship. Of course he was! And Portia gave him nothing! Good for her. Dean was seriously cute."

Agree...In fact Dean had a couple of very cute moments. And man what was up with Jensen this episode. Has he been going to a beauty spa or something because he was so pretty (I know...he's always pretty right!).

Sam and the dog was adorable. Like that he called Dean out on the trust issue as well, well played young Skywalker.
Katjakay
# Katjakay 2013-02-22 09:29
Not one of my favorite eps, one of the rare times I didn't watch a second time (skipped the second showing to catch up on White Collar) but as you said, it still had some great moments. I like how you mentioned how they are building a new community of friends and allies. I'll bring up one you didn't: Lee and Krissy Chambers, just because they stopped hunting doesn't mean that they aren't still involved in research. It is my firm belief that they remain involved in the hunting world. Probably because I really want to see Ian Tracey on my TV again.
Annaliese
# Annaliese 2013-02-22 09:33
It was a 'meah' episode. But I didn't mind 99% of it. Sure, they said some dumb stuff, I found it rather uninteresting overall and I yelled at Dean to 'SHUT UP!' when he was talking to Sam, but I have disliked other episodes more. Plus how amazing are the VFX this season? Don't forget to save some of the budget for the season finale!

I think that having Portia getting on top of a chained up James helped balance the power levels between them.

I did feel like it was a shame to bring up such significant memories like Mary's death and the boys being tortured in hell in such a weak episode - like it didn't do them justice. These are all scenes that not only broke Sam and Dean's hearts but ours too and to just throw them into the episode so casually was just... wrong.

What I DID take issue with BIG TIME was the writers deciding Dean's cover would be the 'Wiccan from Detroit'. Detroit. As in "Oh I don't know Sam. I think it will. I think it'll happen soon. Within six months. And I think it'll happen... in Detroit." Detroit. And then that other guy actually called Dean 'Detroit'. This just bothered me SO MUCH. I just don't believe that Dean (or Sam, or Bobby, or Castiel) would be so casual about the mention of Detroit. Detroit was just so significant... I just can't.

Out of all the places that the writers could have chosen Dean to be a Wiccan from... Detroit. Really?!

I just don't think that Brad Buckner & Eugenie Ross-Leming are in a position (or deserve) to touch upon some of the most significant moments of everything that is Supernatural in what I would regard as such a flippant way.

I normally enjoy every single episode (some a little and others a lot) but this Detroit 'thing' has just got me all riled up and I can't help but to put my reaction on the table.

Okay, so maybe I didn't mind 90% of it. It's not my favourite episode but Season 8 has been so fantastic I am willing to give this one a free pass. The writers, however...

Note: I would watch this episode again simply to look at Jensen Ackles face. That boy is smokin'!
suebsg9
# suebsg9 2013-02-22 09:47
Going to start off saying I am giving Sam a free pass if he doesn't tell Dean about coughing up the blood anytime soon then he wil be lying to Dean and he ought to know that won't go well with him. Dean said he trusts him 100% so now the play is in Sam's court to come forward or else he will have more to answer for and its adding more stuff that Dean is having trouble with that Sam does which is keep crap from him. Yes Dean only trusts himself; He does also trust Benny. I think like Cas; Sam still after all this time need to earn Deans trust back. I mean Dean can say that stuff but I think Dean needs for Sam to show him like Benny did in Purgatory that he can trust him. And Sam does what he usually does he will never have his trust. I think Sam will have to live with the fact that right now only person his brother trusts is a vampire. And I think deep down Sam would know what he has to do to get Deans trust he just needs to do it.
I think also Jensen had a cold also like Jared and maybe he had sneezing portion of the cold so that is why at times they through him into sneezing around cats. He didn't sound as bad as Jared but I think between cold and broken rib not good for Jared. And agree with Jensens hotness! Ok thats JMO.
Hades
# Hades 2013-02-22 10:34
I couldnt disagree more, Dean's trust issues are his own and its clear Dean hasnt trusted Sam probably ever yet it hasnt really affected their ability to work together.

Sam doesnt need Dean's trust to be able to carry out the trials but he does need to know that Dean wont run off to bag himself a hell hound, telling Dean about the blood coughing would only have Dean doing exactly that. And why exactly would Sam want his brother to go through the same pain and possibility of death he is now facing?

Sam sitting on that little revelation is fine with me up untill it becomes to serious for him to be able to function as a hunter, which I believe it will.
kaz1
# kaz1 2013-02-24 13:38
Suebsg9
I feel that Sam is right in that Dean only truly trusts himself. IMO I think the trusting Benny diatribe didn't have anything to do with 'trusting Benny', so much as a heartfealt cry out to Sam. I think more than anything he wants to feel Sam is safe. Now that Sam is completing the tasks alone, he needs to know more than ever that Sam will be honest with him. Unfortunately Sam desperately needs Dean's approval, so he needs to show Dean that he can be trusted. The only way he can do that is to prove that he can handle the tasks, so he will do whatever it takes to get it done, which is precisely what Dean doesn't want him to do. Someone on this sight mentioned that Dean needs to trust Sam as a brother not a hunter and I think that sums it up very well. Its agony really. The issues each have with the other are the very issues that cause the other distress which in turn destroys any hope of them resolving them. It's a self fulfilling prophecy, and a tragedy in the true sense of the word. Will they ever learn.
suebsg9
# suebsg9 2013-02-24 14:17
Quote:
Suebsg9
I feel that Sam is right in that Dean only truly trusts himself. IMO I think the trusting Benny diatribe didn't have anything to do with 'trusting Benny', so much as a heartfealt cry out to Sam. I think more than anything he wants to feel Sam is safe. Now that Sam is completing the tasks alone, he needs to know more than ever that Sam will be honest with him. Unfortunately Sam desperately needs Dean's approval, so he needs to show Dean that he can be trusted. The only way he can do that is to prove that he can handle the tasks, so he will do whatever it takes to get it done, which is precisely what Dean doesn't want him to do. Someone on this sight mentioned that Dean needs to trust Sam as a brother not a hunter and I think that sums it up very well. Its agony really. The issues each have with the other are the very issues that cause the other distress which in turn destroys any hope of them resolving them. It's a self fulfilling prophecy, and a tragedy in the true sense of the word. Will they ever learn.
I think the same thing I don't think Dean wants to see Sam get hurt that is why if something happens to Sam how will Dean be able to jump in and finsih the trials and I think now that Dean has thought about it he would rather have Sam doing the MoL thing and safe making a home with Amelia with the kids because Sam can walk away from job. Dean knows how he will die that is why he would rather be doing trials and I don't think its smart of sam to hide what is going down because if Dean can help them Sam should let him know. I will be curious to see what Sam will do but guessing it will not end well between the brothers.
nappi815
# nappi815 2013-02-24 12:31
let's not forget this...dean has been and is still lying to sam regarding benny.

dean still hasn't told sam anything about purgatory but more than that....dean hasn't told sam how benny got out of purgatory. he also hasn't told sam that "they" told benny about the loophole out of purgatory.

dean expects honesty from sam, but he's allowed to keep his little secrets? pot and kettle folks...pot and kettle.

sam is keeping his symptoms from dean not to worry him...
what's dean's excuse for lying to sam....still ?
emmau
# emmau 2013-02-24 12:43
Does show, or Sam and Dean for that matter, still consider purgatory relevant? I'm not sure the answer to any of those is yes. The purgatory storyline is fairly well finished, by all accounts. Perhaps Benny will come back or the 'they' will become relevant, but it's just as possible that the 'they' is on the shelf where the mysterious figure watching Sam leave Amelia is collecting dust.

I think the difference is that Dean is asking pointblank how Sam is doing and how he's coping, and Sam has evaded the truth. Sam, beyond the prefunctory question in the opener, has shown no interest in purgatory or how Benny and Dean got out. Am I to think that Sam is lying to Dean about Amelia because he hasn't told Dean about their life together of Don's return? I don't, because Dean didn't ask and it's not relevant to the story at hand. So I think the same applies to purgatory--Sam doesn't seem interested and it's not relevant to the story at hand.

Sam's well-being is very relevant to the story at hand, as is his ability to watch Dean's back on hunts while suffering the effects of the trials. Sam and Dean both keep little secrets that don't affect their daily lives from each other (see their gap year). Sam coughing up blood is in a different category.
Leah
# Leah 2013-02-24 13:22
Hi nappi, I think a lot of us feel that they are hypocrites. They both want honesty but always seem to slide back into old habits and feel justified in doing so. It is starting to get a little old IMO
suebsg9
# suebsg9 2013-02-24 14:14
Quote:
let's not forget this...dean has been and is still lying to sam regarding benny.

dean still hasn't told sam anything about purgatory but more than that....dean hasn't told sam how benny got out of purgatory. he also hasn't told sam that "they" told benny about the loophole out of purgatory.

dean expects honesty from sam, but he's allowed to keep his little secrets? pot and kettle folks...pot and kettle.

sam is keeping his symptoms from dean not to worry him...
what's dean's excuse for lying to sam....still ?
I still don't see how Dean is lying about purgatory. Sam has never outright asked him about it. So how is Dean suppost to talk about something that Sam has not brought up. Only time brought up or talked about is when Dean introduced Benny to Sam and next eps after that and then when he noticed Cas was not same but that to me has been about it and briefly in the first eps but we got flashback not really hearing what Dean told Sam. So to me how is Dean lying. Dean was changed because of purgatory because now all he wants to do is his job which is hunting. And guessing sending crowley and friends to hell would just make his day since not sure he suspects that Crowley had a good idea if stand next to exploding dick what would happen to cas and him. So until I hear Dean tell what happend in purgatory with him cas and benny I don't see as a lie I see as Sam not inquiring how they met. And why he trusts Benny so much. Not sure he wants hear answer why he doesn't talk about what Dean went through. JMO
percysowner
# percysowner 2013-02-24 15:33
Sam did ask about Purgatory. From We Need to Talk About Kevin

Quote:
SAM You were in Purgatory? For the whole year?

DEAN Yeah, time flies when you're running for your life.

SAM Well, how'd you get out? DEAN I guess whoever built that box didn't want me in there any more than I did.
Sam goes on to ask about Cas, which Dean prevaricates about.

Then in Southern Comfort while talking to Garth.

Quote:
DEAN All right. I was in Purgatory.

GARTH Like the Purgatory Purgatory?

DEAN No, the one in Miami.

GARTH Man, that's balls.

DEAN That's not how you say "balls." GARTH So how'd you get out?

SAM makes a show of looking at DEAN.

DEAN looks around at a Confederate flag on the wall.
The way Sam looked at Dean made me believe that HE wanted an answer to that as well. Dean refused to talk about Hell until he was ready so Sam knows that Dean will talk about Purgatory when he is darn good and ready and not a moment before.
kaz1
# kaz1 2013-02-24 16:11
Percyowner
I also noticed that pointed stare at Dean. I took it to mean ..."yeah, let me see how you are going to explain to Garth that a Vampire helped you out of purgatory"... kind of a stare.

I agree Sam knows Dean well enough to know not to push him on the purgatory issue, but I don't think there really is anything left for Sam to know that he doesn't already know regarding purgatory. To me that is a closed chapter unless something happened there that hasn't been revealed yet. If so, then it cannot impact on any trust issues if Dean himself doesn't know.
emmau
# emmau 2013-02-24 16:42
If Sam really expected Dean to answer in that setting he seems completely lost in how to deal with Dean, doesn't he? Of course Dean's not going to talk in front of Garth, of all people, whom Dean was currently annoyed with for trying to be Bobby. I think Sam gave Dean that pointed look exactly for the reason kaz1 said--"Yeah, let's see you tell him about your vampire buddy." Sam should certainly know better than to think he was actually going to get a real answer to that question at that moment, right?

So beyond the first episode, Sam never seriously broached the subject of purgatory again with Dean. Since show has pretty much dropped purgatory as a storyline at this point, I doubt the subject will ever come up again. I'd be surprised but happy to be wrong.
suebsg9
# suebsg9 2013-02-25 10:33
Quote:
let's not forget this...dean has been and is still lying to sam regarding benny.

dean still hasn't told sam anything about purgatory but more than that....dean hasn't told sam how benny got out of purgatory. he also hasn't told sam that "they" told benny about the loophole out of purgatory.

dean expects honesty from sam, but he's allowed to keep his little secrets? pot and kettle folks...pot and kettle.

sam is keeping his symptoms from dean not to worry him...
what's dean's excuse for lying to sam....still ?
See I don't get the whole pot to kettle thing. I am sure Dean would be willing to talk about Purgatory if Sam asked. Sam asked once when Dean got back and noticed he hadn't look like he slept and fact Dean seemed on edge and comfortable on floor. But Sam never inquired how he got out and such. So how is Dean going to ask if Sam is not asking Dean. I mean Sam had no problem asking Dean about hell and at first Dean figured Sam would not understand hell. And then when he did the demon blood had Sam mocking dean about it the souls he killed. And then when Sam came back from the cage Dean asked Sam about it and Sam didn't say a thing other then he is doesn't want to talk about it he is free and that ended it Dean never brought it up again. So Dean did not pressure Sam about the cage. Even when Dean wanted to help Sam when he got his soul back and the hallucinations with lucifer again Dean found out about that via Death. So Sam is good at keeping secrets so if Dean hasn't talked purgatory its because Sam inquired once when Dean came back and then when Dean thought he was seeing Cas. Other then that i haven't seen little brother asking big brother about purgatory and how they got out and such. So its a two way street.
prix68
# prix68 2013-02-22 09:52
The only part of this episode I liked was the scene where Sam is trying to explain the dog in the motel room. Last week Sam says Dean is a genious at hunting lore and yet this week Dean doesn't know what a witches' familiar is? I don't like the dumbing down of Dean and having him constantly speaking like a comic delivering one liners. Some one liners funny. All one liners tedious. I liked the stronger, more confident and focused Dean we had at the start of S8. Is it too much to ask that the writers have both brothers strong, confident and focused at the same time? I'm with you about the sex scenes. Didn't care that the familiar and witch were having sex but if someone on SPN is having sex it better be a Winchester brother. IMO. So, bad episode, but I got through S7, and I can get through this. On to next week. Feels good to vent. Lol
Hades
# Hades 2013-02-22 10:51
Pretty much agree with all of this. Sam and the dog and then Sam asking if she can stay the night was the best part. Dean reacted how everyone expected him to and Sam's face when he turned around was brilliant although the moemtn was over so quick because Sam's hunter heckles were up so quickly.

The sex scene was poinltess since she told Sam and Dean about the sex and what she saw anyway, we the audience would have know from that we didnt need to see it.

Just want to add a few points

-I am so over Dean's trust issues, its getting boring now either get over it or have him go hunt by himslef or with Benny

-OK with Sam not telling Dean about the blood for so many reasons I've already been over in my other posts

-I liked Portia but I just wasnt interested in the story, the actress was good just wish they'd sued her in ome other capacity

-what the hell is up with Dean being rendered stupid all of a sudden, not to mention his weird reactions to the mention of sex for the past couple of weeks. I found him completely eye roll worthy during the episode the writing was so bad. The one liners this season have been awful at times

-Loved Sam's sexy voice, poor Jared was sick as a dog (ha ha!) but boy did he sound nice.

-
E
# E 2013-02-22 23:20
I really, really agree with this: both brother's have born the brunt of 'dumb for the sake of weak humor' before, and unfortunately its Dean's turn at the moment. Remember in season 7's Reading is Fundamental, when Sam leaves the God tablets unguarded in the hospital room to run after Meg? I was like... "are you kidding me?!?!" It made him look like a moron. It's kind of the same thing now with Dean. You'd think that a guy who hates witches so much would know everything he can about them so that he can deal with them quickly and efficiently. It makes zero sense that he wouldn't know what a familiar was/is. :eek:
Amy
# Amy 2013-02-22 10:50
I think Dean needs to move to his own island fifdom where he can rule over everything adn do everything himself. I keep getting hte impression that Dean equates Sam as a monty in the box action figure. Something that should never be taken out of the box and played with. Something that should never be touched by the lements or more speciaifally... LIFE.

And then he gets disapponted and betrayed when Sam shows evidence he Toy Storyied out of the box. I.e. Isn't frozen in time as an innocent little boy untouched by Life...capital L.

I am so beyond sick and tired of the liars having Dean proclaim he trusts Sam and then have Sam lie about something. I can't...... The brothers can love each other all they want but there is no relationship... no bond if there is no trust.

I still have no clue why if Dean doesn't trust Sam (he only trusts himself - and apparently Benny) why he continues to hunt with Sam...why he even wants Sam with him. He claims they are better together? How? Dean doesn't trust Sam. Saying he only trusts himself is symantics. Dean doesn't trsut Sam. Doesn't beleive in him or his abilities. So why does Dean want Sam by his side?

the only answer i can see is Dean's 'issues'. he needs something around him that he beleives is weaker and 'less' someone who seems to continually screw up so he can ..so he can swoop in and 'fix' Sam as if he was some broken toy. Thus Dean feels better about himsef and he feeds his 'issues'... his low self esteem issues....his need to shoulder everything by himself. Does he even see sAM s a real person?

As for Sam.....the writers have Sam so isolated that the only thing he has in his life are books and Dean. Books fulfil the intelectual need...but humans have a need to connect. And somehow with all his previous relationships barely scratch the surface....from Bobby to Amiela, no one has ever been able to = nor have they tried - scratch the surface of who Sam is beyond who they expect him to be.

I dont know...I think Sam is still trying to prove himself...to john, maybe? Dean probably. But definaetly to himself. That he can be a good hunter...a Hunter who can take the licks that every Winchester takes...that Dean takes...and deal with then himself. He's trying to NOT be a 'lttle brother' but a HUNTER.

He once said he studied Dean and tried to be just like his big brother. I think he still is. Its why he lies about the most basic things. Dean would never confide in Sam; tell him he is hurting. So Sam doesn't either. Because a Winchester...a GOOD Winchester; a good Hunter keeps things close to his vest, doesn't let family in. Lies to protect even when the lies do far more harm then the truth would.

He watched John do this very thing. he watched Dean do this very thing. He's learned MAry has done this very thing. THIS is Sam's training, and i think Sam is simply falling back on his training.

At some point there needs to be real truth, honesty and trust between the brothers if this relationship is going to have a real foundation instead of the proverbial house of cards that gets blown down every year.

otherwisse...give Sam a new brother (Dean obviously already has a new and better brother...two if you count Castiel) and let them and us see relationships we can enjoy watching, healthier relationships that are worth rooting for. Relationships thatarn;t diseased; that dont have the stigmas of their shared and individual 'issues'.

I know it sounds like I dont like thge show. Truth is, right now i doint know how i feel about SN. I've only watched 4 episodes of S8 and i've hated what they've dont to Sam and the brothers but I've read every article, every review, sought out spoilers. It pervaded my thoughts. Still makies my heart hurt.

And a small part of me still roots for the boys to be in a good place with each other. (Though i think that is an impossibility thus my need for Sam to have at least one relationship outside of Dean that is true and good)
percysowner
# percysowner 2013-02-22 13:13
I do agree with most of this. Dean does want Sam to be what Dean wants him to be and not anything else. The show really needs to give someone for Sam to talk to, but the show has been reluctant to do this and this episode ruled out pets for Sam to talk to. Dean developed an allergy to cats that he didn't have in You Can't Handle the Truth and is is now canon that he dislikes dogs. Some people do talk to their pets, but Sam can't even get that. This saddens me because I desperately need to have Sam's POV front and center, not how Dean is hurt by Sam's actions while Sam says nothing about what motivates him.
prix68
# prix68 2013-02-22 15:27
Sam was away from Dean for a whole year and as far as we know his only relationship was with Amelia. Dean was in hell for four months and Sam's only friend and companion was Ruby. Remember Bobby said he tried to keep in touch but Sam wasn't interested. Sam for whatever reason has really only been close to Dean. Kripke's choice for the first five years, I guess and still continuing. Dean,on the other hand, seems to collect friends and close allies wherever he goes. Dean is more open about his feelings and appreciation of his relationships with friends and family. Sam is more guarded. Dean has been willing to stop hunting with Sam several times over the years with his blessing but Sam always chooses not to do this for his own reasons. So, I think it is not so much Dean keeping Sam on the shelf that causes Dean to not trust that Sam is telling him everything but that Sam tends to be more closed up about what is going on in his life. What I'm trying to say is I think both brothers have a mind of their own and good intentions toward each other but they each do what they think is best for themselves and the other brother. I'm also sure if Dean was coughing up blood, he would keep it from Sam. They don't like to cause each other unnecessary worry, hence all the lies. For better or worse Dean is Sam's best friend and that's Sam's choice and Dean always chooses Sam over his other relationships and that's his choice.
percysowner
# percysowner 2013-02-22 16:00
But when Sam was in college he had Jess, that guy at the party and Rebecca and Zach (her brother) as friends. In fact in season one Dean remarked on the fact that Sam kept up with his friends from college and kind of told him to cut that out because he couldn't have feet in both worlds. Sam also bonded with Sarah in season one and Madison in season 2. We also see that he formed reasonably close friendships as a child both in After School Special and with Amy. So not forming friendships was not an inborn trait.

Frankly, DEAN didn't keep in contact with Bobby much during his year without Sam, so that works both ways. The big break in Sam making friends came in season three. That was after he found out That his father wanted him executed, that he had demon blood in him, that Dean was going to Hell because of him and that he had died and been resurrected. All of those things had to affect his mindset badly. By season four after Dean went to Hell, Sam had also lived through Mystery Spot, seeing Dean die hundreds of times and realizing that he was willing to risk killing Bobby to get Dean back. I'm hardly surprised that he didn't return Bobby's if only to make certain he didn't repeat that pattern. Having Ruby use him so completely would leave him very much doubting his ability to know who was a good person to be friends with. Then after he accepted Cas as a friend, Cas broke his wall as leverage against Dean. Sam was dealing with truly being a freak, being a vessel for pure evil, having housed Lucifer and being broken in the cage. All of that changed him from the boy and young man who did make friends to a man who guarded himself. Yes, Sam by nature is an introvert, but the traumas of his life are what made him withdraw, not anything inbred.

Quote:
Dean has been willing to stop hunting with Sam several times over the years with his blessing but Sam always chooses not to do this for his own reasons
You are going to have to remind me about those instances, because I'm drawing a blank. In season one, Dean may have urged him to "marry that girl" with Sarah, but later he was angry that Sam intended to go back to his life once they found and killed what turned out to be Azazel. I don't remember settling down coming up in season 2, except when Dean wanted to go to the Grand Canyon. As the Hell Hounds were coming for Dean he told Sam to remember what John had taught them and what Dean had taught them. To me that sounded like a keep on hunting directive, not a find a home and kids directive. In Criss Angel, Sam was begging Dean to give him hope that one day the hunting would be over and Dean told him things had to end sad or bloody, no hope there. Once Lucifer was out, there was no way they could stop hunting or think of settling down. Good God Y'all was the only time Sam stepped out with Dean's blessing and when he wanted back Dean didn't want Sam around, so he wasn't encouraging Sam to get a normal life, so much as not wanting to deal with him. Season six was about Dean wanting to settle down and yes, he would have liked Sam to settle too, if it made Sam happy. I can't say that Soulless!Sam was making the same choices whole Sam would make, so I don't count that as Sam choosing to hunt for his own reasons really. By season seven settling down was out of the question with the Leviathans. Certainly until Trial and Error, Dean did not accept Sam's desire to retire. He was angry about Amelia. He was angry that Sam was looking into college. Dean has come around to Sam living a normal life now, but I don't see him as giving Sam his blessing to leave. I may have forgotten some thing and I would be glad to hear which instances you remember.
prix68
# prix68 2013-02-22 17:23
Percysowner, sorry I don't know how to do the reply with quote thing, so try to bear with me. In all the instances you mentioned, except for college, Sam had just one close friend at a time. Most of those were women that he was close to and he was attracted to them as women. In college he had male friends but they were also friends of Jessica's. She seemed like the outgoing type and had to urge him to go to the party. A know you're a "Sam girl" so please don't take this as critism of Sam. I just think that is how his character has been portrayed, IMO. He's just more independent then Dean, who seems to like to have a buddy around. I just don't believe Sam is dependent on Deans approval or trust when he makes decisions and I don't think Dean is keeping Sam in a package like a figure that can't be played with. I think whichever brother did the trials, the other brother was going to be worried and feel a little guilty about only one sacrificing all. Dean will always be a hunter and will probably die a hunter. He actually seems to like it for whatever reason and he knows it. Sam is a hunter more by birth and an obligation to do the right thing. This is just my opinion. I'm a "Dean girl" but I like Sam, too. I also wish we could get more of Sam's perspective by the writers. I'm annoyed that they didn't give us a reason for Sam not looking for Dean because I believe that was OOC for Sam, but I am ever hopeful that all will be explained. Have some pity for a "Dean girl" girl. He's been portrayed as gay, dumb and talks like a comedian delivering one liners recently. Lol
Leah
# Leah 2013-02-22 21:18
Hi prix68, I agree with your view. Nicely put. My thoughts on why Dean likes to be a hunter is that it gives him a purpose in life. It gives his life some meaning even when other things crumble around him. He loses that zest for hunting on occasion but always comes back, helped by his Purgatory experiences most recently. He DOES like the killing part. But he also likes the "saving people" part too.
prix68
# prix68 2013-02-23 10:33
Thanks, Leah
Hades
# Hades 2013-02-22 18:25
Hate to say it but I agree with pretty much all of this. You made a good point about Sam following by example, everyone in his family has lied and kept secrets why wouldnt he be the same?

Also yes Sam needs a real and substantial relationship outside of Dean.
isleofskye
# isleofskye 2013-02-22 11:13
Dear Sweetondean, far be it from me to contradict anything written in your review because each of us sees things in a different way, but I would just like to make a general observation.
X
When SPN, or any other show for that matter, puts out a wonderful episode such as A Very Supernatural Christmas for example, it should be praised to the high heavens by all and sundry, but when they put out a bad, ( IMO of course ), episode like this one which apart from anything else I found boring, and that for me should never happen considering the presence of the two wonderful lead actors who portray Sam and Dean, then I think that praising that bad episode regardless does a disservice to the show.
X
If the writers come to understand that whatever they feed to the fans is going to be lapped up in any case, then they will just humanly sit back on their laurels and deliver less than stellar episodes.
X
I mean why should they bother with continuity, logic or thrilling and emotional stories when the fans will be happy with much less?
X
So that's why I can't agree with trying to find something good in an episode which deserves to be criticised
The writers must be continuously incited to keep their work to a high standard and make me feel proud for this show that I love.
X
Best regards.
sweetondean
# sweetondean 2013-02-22 18:14
Hi isleofskye

I'm assuming you're not implying that I'm a fan who simply laps up anything that's served to me? Ive given you the benefit of the doubt here before I'm offended to my core!

Had I seen this episode as you did then I would have criticised it more than I did. However, I did not. I didn't dislike the episode as you did. You call it a bad episode, I'd call it a lackluster episode. As you say we all see things differently, it's one of the things I appreciate most about this fandom, our differing view points.  

What I did in this review was point out what I thought worked and what I thought didn't, in relation to my perspective.  

No-one goes into something intending to produce something they can't be proud of. But it happens. I can only speak to TV, where I can tell you it happens a lot, because in TV time is a bitch of a master. I give creative feedback on a daily basis. What I can say is that, when something doesn't work as intended it's constructive to look at the elements that did and didn't work. To only look at one aspect, either good or bad,  is useless as nothing is learned or taken away. 

Was this episode flawed? Yes, as I've stated. Was it irredeemable? Not in my opinion, which this piece is. 

Yes I am a fan of this show, one who spends hours and hours writing opinion on It. I am not a fan who will lap up anything the show feeds me. Actually, I don't think I even know any of those fans. 

And in defence of the people putting their hearts and souls (hopefully not literally) into making this show for us, I guarantee you, they never rest on their laurels. When has the fandom ever allowed them to do that? We are incredibly vocal!   :-)
isleofskye
# isleofskye 2013-02-23 02:38
Dear Sweetondean,
there is absolutely nothing personal in my criticism and I am the last person to tell anyone else what to think and do and I am sure everyone connected with the show does their best to make it a good show but that doesn't mean that they hit the mark every time.
X
As I said everyone has different sensibilities and as I know that this show is capable of putting out wonderful episodes, when that doesn't happen it's disapponting to me.
X
However, I stand my my opinion that this is a bad episode, and that this whole season has been under par perhaps because when I first heard that Mr Carver was taking over I was expecting something different, more reminiscent of season three where the brothers were good with each other, which hasn't been the case and judging by the finale of this episode we are in for more unecessary brother drama.

Best regards and happy reviewing.
fanotheboyz
# fanotheboyz 2013-02-22 11:23
Hi S.O.D!
Love your review. Each week, I can't wait til it's up. You are a "cup half full" kind of girl! Since I am not usually, I look forward to your perspective. I agree with all your "brother" points. And, I have to admit, there were a few funny moments:
---stooges argument----dog in motel room----Sam letting Dean hang himself about Portia and James' relationship and....that's about it.

I liked the bro-mo's but the first with Sam calling Dean out on not trusting him, seemed a little out of place or forced. But I did root for Sam for calling it like he sees it and not just brooding over it.

I liked the end scene and wasn't at all surprised Sam didn't tell Dean about the physical symptoms right away, but I'm still disappointed he felt he had to hide it. I have a feeling we're all going to be throwing foam bricks at the TV the next time(s) he does that because we all know it won't turn out well.

I didn't like the ep and absolutely agree that if there is going to be a sexy scene, it better have a Winchester in it. Otherwise, a waste. I'm not invested in anyone else enough to see them get intimate.

Others mentioned it too, but I agree that it was silly to bring in a new character and call him an "old friend". That was absurd. Why not bring back Patrick? He was entertaining and they could have found a spell to kill witches in the MOL bunker. If Bobby had it, Patrick would have been dead too.

Poor Jensen's got a lot of one liners lately and I think they've OD'd him a little. I'd rather see his facial expressions and save the one-liners for more intermittent comic relief. Overdone is just .....overdone.

So thanks for lightening up the ep and calling my attention to it's finer moments. While I have many issues with this one, I'm still always happy to tune in. I could watch those boyz watch grass grow, I think!
Valgal
# Valgal 2013-02-22 13:51
Thanks Sweetondean for your comments.

I have enjoyed almost every episode of SPN and I found moments from this one I enjoyed. I have also watched SPN long enough to realize that some writers can better articulate the characters than others. That said, I enjoyed Sam' scene with Portia before he knew she was a dog. Instead of getting upset with the whole "I'm Dean a wiccan from Detroit," I am thinking why would he say he was from Detroit? Is it just a coincidence that when Spencer controlled the boys, the images they saw were some of the most horrific ones they faced and were about Hell.

Hell is scary. Sam remembers falling into the hole and burning. Dean saw himself tortured, calling out for Sammy, and seeing his mom helplessly burning on the ceiling. I don't think this scene was an accident. Spencer may just be a vehicle to show how deeply the thoughts concerning the trials are brewing within each character. Was Spencer manipulating their minds or were the writers just showing us how
traumatized both are by the prospect of facing Hell again? Could the stress of seeing Hell again have aggravated a Sam compromised by whatever he took into his body last week and caused his nose to bleed?

Seldom are things randomly done on this show, even in what may not be the best written episodes. Power, manipulation, secrets, perception, loyalty, love and the quest for truth while undergoin difficult trials. Sam and Dean have been facing these themes this season and the previous seven seasons.

I think it would have been cool if the writers would have used Spencer to tap into some of Sam’s psychic powers. We still don’t know how these trials will affect Sam. What if Sam could have seen some kind of “light scene” similar to the one we saw with his memories of Amelia and his birthday?(Or even a scene like Cas with Naomi?) This foreshadowing could support what Sam told Dean last week about seeing a "light" at the tunnel - a way for both brothers to survive and shut the doors of Hell.

Just some thoughts. I love Dean's character and how Jensen finds way to inject humor into Dean's character.
Annaliese
# Annaliese 2013-02-22 18:44
Hi Valgal :)

It was actually Portia who introduced Dean to Phillipe as 'Dean's a Wiccan from Detroit' and Dean reacted as though this was the first time he had heard of it (that's how I interpreted it anyway).

I don't mind that all of these things were brought up - I guess what I did mind is that they weren't given their dues. I mean, after seeing those memories wouldn't at least one of the brothers been like 'Hey, I need a drink. You want one?'. We all know how much Dean loves to drink his feelings! Plus we have seen evidence of what those memories of hell did to Sam. At least they seem depressed in the car afterwards, I suppose.
Quote:

Seldom are things randomly done on this show, even in what may not be the best written episodes.
Thank you so much for reminding me of this! I actually 100% agree with you - I had just forgotten (apparently all my reasonable or rational thinking goes out the window with the mention of Detroit)! I'm going to take this on board and wait to see how things pan out. Knowing SPN the show will redeem itself very soon!
Grace232
# Grace232 2013-02-22 14:20
Thanks so much for this review. "As far as I’m concerned, a not so great episode of “Supernatural ” is still better than pretty much anything else on TV. Even episodes that don’t totally pop my cork have some redeeming qualities."

I totally agree with you on this. We forget that every season there has been 1 or 2 episodes not as good as the others - Route 666, Roadkill, etc. - and, if one of those episodes is on TNT, I still watch it rather than something else. The worst Supernatural episode is still a cut above most shows! BUT - while this will never be a favorite episode for me, there is still a lot in it to like - all things you mentioned. There were some really good brother scenes and some fun dialogue. In addition to all the dialogue between the brothers (which I loved), I am probably the only person that laughed out loud about James and Portia going all "Edward and Bella". Too funny!

I agree that the guest stars were written poorly and the cat allergy made no sense after Dean spent all that time in the house full of cats in You Can't Handle the Truth, but I can live with that. But - since we tend to love to explain things - I went the first 20 years of my life allergic to some things and then lost the allergies (one being dogs). And - my friend was never allergic to anything and then suddenly developed allergies in her 40s. Our body chemistry apparently changes over time, according to my doctor. Since there were 2 years between the 2 episodes, I am willing to rationalize it that way.

Now I must watch the episode again - I can fast forward through the part I don't like and soak up the part I do. Happy me.
nappi815
# nappi815 2013-02-22 15:50
Quote:
I think Dean needs to move to his own island fifdom where he can rule over everything adn do everything himself. I keep getting hte impression that Dean equates Sam as a monty in the box action figure. Something that should never be taken out of the box and played with. Something that should never be touched by the lements or more speciaifally...LIFE.

And then he gets disapponted and betrayed when Sam shows evidence he Toy Storyied out of the box. I.e. Isn't frozen in time as an innocent little boy untouched by Life...capital L.

I am so beyond sick and tired of the liars having Dean proclaim he trusts Sam and then have Sam lie about something. I can't...... The brothers can love each other all they want but there is no relationship...no bond if there is no trust.

I still have no clue why if Dean doesn't trust Sam (he only trusts himself - and apparently Benny) why he continues to hunt with Sam...why he even wants Sam with him. He claims they are better together? How? Dean doesn't trust Sam. Saying he only trusts himself is symantics. Dean doesn't trsut Sam. Doesn't beleive in him or his abilities. So why does Dean want Sam by his side?

the only answer i can see is Dean's 'issues'. he needs something around him that he beleives is weaker and 'less' someone who seems to continually screw up so he can ..so he can swoop in and 'fix' Sam as if he was some broken toy. Thus Dean feels better about himsef and he feeds his 'issues'... his low self esteem issues....his need to shoulder everything by himself. Does he even see sAM s a real person?

As for Sam.....the writers have Sam so isolated that the only thing he has in his life are books and Dean. Books fulfil the intelectual need...but humans have a need to connect. And somehow with all his previous relationships barely scratch the surface....from Bobby to Amiela, no one has ever been able to = nor have they tried - scratch the surface of who Sam is beyond who they expect him to be.

I dont know...I think Sam is still trying to prove himself...to john, maybe? Dean probably. But definaetly to himself. That he can be a good hunter...a Hunter who can take the licks that every Winchester takes...that Dean takes...and deal with then himself. He's trying to NOT be a 'lttle brother' but a HUNTER.

He once said he studied Dean and tried to be just like his big brother. I think he still is. Its why he lies about the most basic things. Dean would never confide in Sam; tell him he is hurting. So Sam doesn't either. Because a Winchester...a GOOD Winchester; a good Hunter keeps things close to his vest, doesn't let family in. Lies to protect even when the lies do far more harm then the truth would.

He watched John do this very thing. he watched Dean do this very thing. He's learned MAry has done this very thing. THIS is Sam's training, and i think Sam is simply falling back on his training.

At some point there needs to be real truth, honesty and trust between the brothers if this relationship is going to have a real foundation instead of the proverbial house of cards that gets blown down every year.

otherwisse...give Sam a new brother (Dean obviously already has a new and better brother...two if you count Castiel) and let them and us see relationships we can enjoy watching, healthier relationships that are worth rooting for. Relationships thatarn;t diseased; that dont have the stigmas of their shared and individual 'issues'.

I know it sounds like I dont like thge show. Truth is, right now i doint know how i feel about SN. I've only watched 4 episodes of S8 and i've hated what they've dont to Sam and the brothers but I've read every article, every review, sought out spoilers. It pervaded my thoughts. Still makies my heart hurt.

And a small part of me still roots for the boys to be in a good place with each other. (Though i think that is an impossibility thus my need for Sam to have at least one relationship outside of Dean that is true and good)
amy, i agree with most of what you said. i don't think dean needs to find a new brother though.
i do agree that sam behaves exactly the way dean does and john did. he is a winchester all the way.

i also agree that dean deals with his abandonment issues once and for all. another poster in the other thread said something very important and something i've said over and over again in my own head but never wrote in a post....she said that sam most likely has his own abandonment issues but they've never been acknowledged. let's not forget, sam lost the same people dean lost, plus a few extra. growing up, how many times as a young teenager did dean go off with his dad on a hunt, or just drop him off at plucky's so he can go on a date. sam was left too is all i'm saying. he's been affected too but show doesn't seem to take notice of that. maybe sam doesn't think of it as abandonment the way dean seems to...or maybe he does and he just doesn't take those issues to extremes the way dean does. but it's old and tiresome at this point and in all honesty, the way he views people as abandoning him even when they aren't, mostly sam, has had a negative effect on their relationship. so i do agree with you that dean's issues be dealt with now as a man or just be laid to rest.

i do however disagree that dean trusts benny more than sam. i don't believe that at all. i think dean said that to hurt sam due to his incorrect pov of how he thinks sam didn't look for him because of a girl. he was trying to get back at sam both unconciously with the penny and then again consciously. dean knows when to bring out the big guns to hurt his brother.

if dean trusted benny like he said, why was he armed with a machete in citizen fang? if he trusted benny, why doesn't he explain to sam about how he met benny? if he trusts benny, why not let sam meet with benny, dean has been the one keeping sam and benny apart. if benny is so trustworthy then why doesn't dean ask benny who they were? why doesn't dean tell sam he carried benny out inside him? because dean knows what he did was wrong. he knows sam would question benny's true motives which mean's dean would have to.
dean is going to have to face the fact one day that benny isn't as golden as he's making him out to be. imo, dean broke in purgatory and didn't want to be alone. for benny's own nefarious reason he befriended dean, gained his trust, just so he can piggy back out of purgatory. since benny has gotten out, he's done nothing for dean at all. he's only asked dean for favors, favors involving killing fellow vamps. why is he killing fellow vamps? what's his angle?
sam would question all of this...dean can't bring himself to ask the questions, because he's not ready to hear the answers.
jmo of course.

sweetondean,

i really enjoyed your review. i do find comfort that you can always find the silver lining in the dark cloud, though i didn't feel like this eppy was a dark cloud. it wasn't the best, but i enjoyed it for what it was.

i tell you something else, i'd rather watch 100 eps like this than any of the first 10 eps we had this season.

carver failed alot of us concerning sam. until he allows for sam's pov, then as a whole i think his turn as showrunner stinks. imo he's shown favoritism towards dean. i don't mind the contrived drama between the two boys, but to show only one side of that drama, to only show us how dean sees things (and as we all know whatever dean thinks half the fandom believes to be true no matter how wrong dean is), and not give us an inkling, not a crumb of what was going on inside sam's head, well that's just no way to tell a story at all. iit's biased and a defamation to sam's character.

neither sam or jared deserve that. what's the point in only half a story?

sorry...wanted to get this out for so long...

i just hope and pray carver fixes things....sam, jared and we the audience deserve that much, at least as i see it.
aelaine
# aelaine 2013-02-22 16:10
This was an OK episode, but like you, I will still watch because it has my 2 favorite characters in it! I only have a few that I truly dislike but always those have a redeeming talk scene or something that I love, so I can't completely skip the show I have watch the parts I like, often they are important set ups for the next episode. Same for this one, there have been worse ones imo and I will watch this again not problem. Love your take on things cause it is alot like mine. As far a Sam and Dean ever not having a conflict, don't think it is going to happen, the writers think it makes good drama, but for them to be on tbe same page with minor quibbles I think that would be great they have enough outside drama that they could take on the world and eh beyond and leave most of the brother angst down a notch or two and would not lose a viewer over it just my wish
Joyful
# Joyful 2013-02-22 16:17
Thanks Amy, for your considered comments as usual - yes, I was also expecting something utterly horrendous when I saw a few tantrums on the internet before watching the epi. I have watched it twice, enjoyed it ok and neither time was 'icked out' by the witch and the familiar being... well... familiar! :D What I am cheesed off about is the usual 'down on Dean' comments about his trust issues with Sam - some people seem to live for the opportunity to stomp on Dean. Sigh... best not to go there I suppose, not on this forum anyway. No point. Looking forward to the next episode, as usual and your review aftewards! :lol:
RGNYC Rebecca
# RGNYC Rebecca 2013-02-22 17:32
Thanks for your review SweetonDean! Did you notice how good an actor the dog was? I just loved some of the reaction shots of her. And that opening scene was hilarious.
I agree with all your points as usual.

I did wonder about the Wiccan from Detoit choice--it does sound funny in general but not to Supernatural fans...

I'm okay with Sam not telling Dean about the blood right away.

I hope the brothers get to go back to the bunker soon.
Kim
# Kim 2013-02-22 19:23
Definitely not in my "favourite eps" list and possibly the worst in terms of plot. There's a whole club of witches now? And this guy James has become about as proficient as the witch in The Curious Case of Dean Winchester in a couple of years whereas Patrick took centuries? The whole premise seemed too out of left field for me.

I liked quite a lot of it, though. Mostly the scenes with Sam & Dean. They are the constant and those parts will always make me like something about an episode. I liked the speech Sam gave Dean about how he gets that it's Dean only able to trust Dean. It showed how much they have both matured.

I also understand why Sam didn't, and probably won't, mention coughing up blood. Dean will insist that Sam gives up being the one to do the trials and Dean will insist on taking over. Sam knows what will happen if he lets Dean do that and it's not something he will allow to happen. So, while I hate the idea of Sam keeping secrets again, I do understand why he will do it.

And on a completely shallow note, I loved Jared's sexy sounding congested voice.

Another wonderful review. I'm on the same page as you, Amy. I will always find something good about every episode, and the worst Supernatural episode is better than the best episode of some other shows out there.
PENNY JAIME
# PENNY JAIME 2013-02-22 19:46
Well, I have to agree with you on this one. James was just boring. No reason to like him; or be invested at all in what happened to him. Not a whole lot of action for the boys either. Jensen and Jared did a great job with what they had (as usual). Unfortunately, they didn't have much
Leah
# Leah 2013-02-22 20:41
sweetondean, I really did not care for this episode. It was a fail for me on several levels. BUT I have to agree that a mediocre of SPN is better than most of what is on TV. Unfairly, I do hold this show to a higher standard, and it usually meets or exceeds my expectations. I often find things to appreciate in every episode after further viewings. It will be awhile before I watch it again though. It doesn't affect my feelings about this season or the show at all. They just can't all be winners! I completely understand that. I am sure that they all worked as hard on this one as any other. I liked the older detective, the beautiful dog and some of the brother moments. The "on cue" cough made me cringe, as did a few other things. I thank you for the review and look forward to the rest of the season!
eilf
# eilf 2013-02-22 21:29
The Men of Letters use the power of their souls to power spells according to Henry Winchester. Does it seem likely that that is what is happening to Sam? That the glow in Sam's arm indicates that his soul is being tapped for the power to do the gates of hell closing spell?

I have also been wondering if Dean lost some of the power of his soul to Benny during the transfer out of purgatory - making Dean more ruthless and Benny less of a monster....

Maybe Dean is recovering now and so getting more like his old self.
st50
# st50 2013-02-23 16:33
Now that's some interesting theory, eilf. I can imagine there just might be some requirement for "soul-power" in order to close the gates.
This brings me back to the question... what kind of shape is Sam's soul in after its time in the cage? Is that why the trial is taking a physical toll on him? If so, I would imagine that would further fuel Dean's "It needs to be me" issues, if he knew.
kaz1
# kaz1 2013-02-24 07:57
Eilf
Quote:
That the glow in Sam's arm indicates that his soul is being tapped for the power to do the gates of hell closing spell?
Could be but it would make more sense that this would happen before he destroyed the hellhound, unless it was a retrograde draining of soul power, which would mean that his soul is being tapped into without Sam's knowledge (interesting thought).

Quote:

I have also been wondering if Dean lost some of the power of his soul to Benny during the transfer out of purgatory - making Dean more ruthless and Benny less of a monster....
That is an astute observation Eilf, it makes you wonder how he could have kept whatever Benny's spirit consisted of inside of him without it corrupting him somehow. But didn't Death say that a soul couldn't be "hacked off" :-) in any way?
eilf
# eilf 2013-02-24 12:44
Hi ST50 and Kaz1. You both bring up the question of how souls work as power sources and damage to them etc and that flummoxed me for a while but here is my long (and waffling) answer as to how I think it might all work...

What we know:

Death: The soul can be bludgeoned, tortured, but never broken. Not even by me.
Death: But the human soul is not a rubber ball. It's vulnerable, impermanent, but stronger than you know. And more valuable than you can imagine
Now these two comments by the same person in the same episode totally seem to contradict each other (my entire theory works on pretty much ignoring the word 'impermanent' *sigh*) but ...

Castiel had 50,000 souls created for battle but whether they get destroyed is not clear - we have to assume they don't because Death said they can't be.

The transcript on Superwiki says: Castiel uses the power of the souls to remove Raphael from the room.
(not sure if transcripts are by the show or by someone watching the episode though just fyi)

My thinking on this:

The reason I have said in other places that there must be a further reality for souls to go to is based on the fact that Death said that souls couldn't be broken which in context seem to mean 'bits can't be hacked off'. Since we know that souls CAN be damaged (one interpretation of the word 'broken') because Sam's was, and demon souls are, it seems that Death must also mean that souls can't be destroyed/lost/ gone for good by saying 'broken'. So souls come into being and they remain. The only souls that stop 'being' are the ones that never should have existed in the first place (the Titanic ones for instance). Souls that can no longer be found such as John Winchester, ghost souls that have been exorcised and demon souls that have been removed by Sam (Hand of ipecac-ed as the fans put it) must have gone somewhere else.

2)So then souls can be tapped for lots of power without being destroyed. But the person can be weakend sigificantly - and take 'about a week to recover' (Henry Winchester).

3) Removing power from a soul is different to damaging the soul. It is like running down a battery - the amount, or lack of charge in the battery doesn't damage the battery itself. But if the battery power is low it isn't as useful. If someone has no soul they are amoral and non empathetic - do these things get better with more soul power? Is someone who is 'full of soul' a better person than someone who has had some of their soul leached? (I need more coffee, or possibly something stronger, my head is starting to hurt :D )

The theory about Dean's soul and Benny's soul doesn't have a whole lot of point I admit, it was just a thought. A vampire's souls isn't necessarily better or worse than a human's soul and Benny the vegetarian vampire was apparently as pure as the driven snow before he went to purgatory so Dean's soul probably didn't have an effect on him that way. However (new thought) Dean, being a Legacy, may have used this ability to tap his soul to power the spell and not realise it, possibly draining his soul of power and having some of the results for him that we saw in the beginning of the season. Oh (another new thought) maybe Naomi was trying to find out if Dean was
a legacy and so she gave the spell to Benny to see if Dean would be able to use it!

(Do we believe that the show has been playing the long game on all this? That the early episodes were this carefully planned? We (I) do not any more but it is fun to speculate)

Similarly some power could have been drawn from Sam's soul to bind him to the task of carrying out the trials. As he should be able to recover his soul power while waiting for the next trial maybe this will allow him to survive longer.

Sorry, too long, congratulations if you got this far!
Pragmatic Dreamer
# Pragmatic Dreamer 2013-02-22 22:45
Thanks for the review Sweetondean,

Ummmm... What can I say? Gotta admit the writing was a tad, shall we say uneven? For example, Smart!Dean becomes Stupid!Dean. I must say it frustrates me when the TPTB act so recklessly....

So, maybe not the best episode ever, and I have to say I liked the actress who played Portia, and her character had potential - strong, clever, feisty, loyal. But the whole master/dog collar thing is a bit icky. I also had problems with Martin's actions towards Elizabeth (there were some weird sexual & violence undertones in that too)

But no SPN episode is entirely bad and there were a few entertaining moments. I laughed at many of the same spots you did. And Sam's desciption of Portia outside the motel and then voila! Portia the woman is there - golden!

I must say I found Sneezy!Dean kind of cute I have read several excellent Allergic!Dean fanfics (Canaveral and Adrenaline Fix to name 2). But it was used just for laughs and that annoyed me. It could have been a clue, or a new vulnerability, or kind of humanizing. But although he is a cute sneezer, it felt cheap.

No deep ponderings, just my AAAHHHCHOOO!
Bamboo24
# Bamboo24 2013-02-23 00:03
sweetondean, your name suits you for a couple reasons, one being your seemingly positive nature. Even in a poor or mediocre episode, you can find the good points (because there almost always are good points with how much heart is put into this show), balancing the bad out with the good and putting things into a clearer perspective.

Quote:
I’m also happy to cut the producers of this show some slack. They’ve turned out a bunch of stellar episodes this season. Season 8 has been consistently strong and since “Citizen Fang”, has been building on that strength to where we found ourselves at the end of “Trial and Error”, with new and interesting mythology and 4 corker episodes back to back.
You're so right. We all have high expectations, and rightly so - the show set that bar long ago, and these fans are among the most loyal that exist. If something isn't up to the usual high standard, we get vocal - keeping in mind that 8 years running with a few missed steps ain't so bad, considering. :)
KELLY
# KELLY 2013-02-23 01:04
sweetondean, I loved your review. I agree it wasn't the best episode, but had several moments that salvage it. Out of all my favorite shows over the years the only one that didn't a few stinkers every once in a while is Firefly. But since it only had a half a season and a movie, it didn't really have time. Ones like this are a little cringe-worthy in places but usually have a few redeemable scenes. Defending Your Life had to be my least favorite last year, but even then I like the scene with Jo and a few others. That one was so much more frustrating than this one though because it had such potential. That would have been a fantastic way to deal with Dean's guilt, but it ended kinda sucking. But ce la vie, any show that has twenty-some episodes a year is going to have some that just don't work completely, especially if they takes risks like SPN does.

I didn't have a big issue with Sam not telling Dean. I'm not saying it was the best decision, but like several people have said, I think Dean would want to takeover if he saw negative effects already. Considering they've only done one trial. So while I think the scene was handle badly, it wasn't a big problem for me.

Yeah, Dean definitely has control issues and some of the "not trusting" stems from there.

But (and this is address more to the people who had issues with Dean's- well issues) Dean does have good reason for trust issues, especially with Sam.

I DO think Sam should have than earn that trust back with everything he's done since S5, BUT during that time period Dean also had to deal with SS and Sam being "crazy". I personally think Dean WANTS to completely trust Sam, but is still holding on to things from the past. I don't think it's fair that Sam went through the cage (and wasn't responsible for the crazy or SS) and that still isn't enough.

But Dean is human and just because you tell yourself to let something go and know you should, doesn't mean it's that easy. Especially since he was also betrayed by someone else he considers a brother. It would be amazing if he didn't have trust issues. So I think Sam is right Dean does only trust himself deep down, but with good reason. That doesn't mean I don't think he needs to move past those issues, I just understand why he has them.
sucharita
# sucharita 2013-02-23 01:49
Love your review. It's impossible for me hate a Spn episode too. Beside it did tickle my funny bone & it's sneak peak was so awesome.
love2boys
# love2boys 2013-02-23 04:57
SweetonDean - your reviews are alway positives. It is refreshing. I thought the dog was gorgeous, but I am not a fan of cropped ears. Natural ears are more humane and since they come like that there must be a reason! The dog was not just better looking than James, but a better actor. James bored me.

The brothers trust issues seem as if the will go on forever. My brother and I have issues that may go on forever. But S&D's need to be resolved before they can achieve their destiny. Dean doesn't just need to trust Sam to be honest about coughing blood or being ready to fight beside him. He needs to trust him to stay and be his family.

It may be that their abandonment issues don't get resolved by the end of show. That would be ok with me because some people live with their abandonment issues the rest of thei lives. And their lives are just fine. Again, Dean needs Sam to stick around and be his family. I believe most of what Dean says when he talks to Sam is "I love you and I want you to stay with me." Starting back in, Shadow??, it was clear as day. and he has said it in almost every episode. People think Sam is the sensitive one, but Dean does pretty well too.
kaz1
# kaz1 2013-02-24 08:08
Love2boys
Quote:
Dean doesn't just need to trust Sam to be honest about coughing blood or being ready to fight beside him. He needs to trust him to stay and be his family.
Wow! I love this thought. I think that is the crux of the issue with Dean. I think that is exactly what he finds so difficult to do, yet he needs it more than ever from the one family member left in his life. What I find difficult to reason with however, is Sam's difficulty in being honest with Dean. I know he is desperate not to disappoint Dean, but it is his not being honest with Dean that has Dean disappointed every time.

Please guys, this is not a Sam vs Dean issue here, I really want to discuss this from a logic perspective. It is interesting to see them returning to the same route problems time and again without them resolving it, so well thought out answers would be appreciated.
nappi815
# nappi815 2013-02-24 12:55
it's a two way street trust. dean isn't being honest with sam either.

dean is still lying to sam about benny. he hasn't told sam how benny got out of purgatory. he hasn't told sam that benny was told by "them" where the window out was. dean won't even let sam come into contact with benny because if sam did,, i think sam would start asking questions that dean doesn't want benny to answer.

dean also is still carrying resentment towards sam. he's angry that sam didn't look even though sam told him he thought he was dead. where was he to look? heaven? the only way for sam to get into heaven is death and the only way to get dean out is a crossroads deal.

dean spent half a season angry with sam then swept it aside to deal with the tablets. this is dean's issue. if he wants to ever resolve it then he needs to confront sam and hear sam's pov of what happened that night dean disappeared.

dean has narcissistic tendencies and is a bit egocentric. he self diagnosed himself in sam, interrupted.

sam lost the same people dean did. he's been left on his own as a kid while dad and him went off on a hunt, or dean wanted to dean time and dropped sam off at a plucky's.

look at dean's issue....abando nment. everyone left him. they didn't leave him...they just died. sam doesn't accuse everyone he's lost as abandoning him. he of course has been affected by all his loss.

at least dean had his mother for some time. sam never had a mother and he was never allowed to talk about her. no wonder as a child he always craved a normal family and enjoyed being around normal people, wanting to have friends. but dean doesn't really consider that sam lost the same people he has. he never really considers why sam finds joy in normal things. dean sees it more like sam is abandoning him. he goes to college, sam abandons dean. sam never stopped loving his brother. he just wanted to fit into normal because his life killed those he loved.

sam isn't blind to dean's issues. he knows what to say and what time dean needs to hear it. it's hard for sam, because dean sees things in such a way that makes it impossible for sam to be allowed to do what he wants because dean sees it as leaving him.

dean needs to understand that doing different things or wanting different things or making mistakes doesn't mean sam doesn't love, need, or trust his brother completely.

so in essence, these to gorgeous, heroic, flawed boneheads need to have a nice 5 min sitdown and really talk.

it's the only way they can resolve their issues and move on.
suebsg9
# suebsg9 2013-02-24 13:06
Quote:
it's a two way street trust. dean isn't being honest with sam either.

dean is still lying to sam about benny. he hasn't told sam how benny got out of purgatory. he hasn't told sam that benny was told by "them" where the window out was. dean won't even let sam come into contact with benny because if sam did,, i think sam would start asking questions that dean doesn't want benny to answer.

dean also is still carrying resentment towards sam. he's angry that sam didn't look even though sam told him he thought he was dead. where was he to look? heaven? the only way for sam to get into heaven is death and the only way to get dean out is a crossroads deal.

dean spent half a season angry with sam then swept it aside to deal with the tablets. this is dean's issue. if he wants to ever resolve it then he needs to confront sam and hear sam's pov of what happened that night dean disappeared.

dean has narcissistic tendencies and is a bit egocentric. he self diagnosed himself in sam, interrupted.

sam lost the same people dean did. he's been left on his own as a kid while dad and him went off on a hunt, or dean wanted to dean time and dropped sam off at a plucky's.

look at dean's issue....abandonment. everyone left him. they didn't leave him...they just died. sam doesn't accuse everyone he's lost as abandoning him. he of course has been affected by all his loss.

at least dean had his mother for some time. sam never had a mother and he was never allowed to talk about her. no wonder as a child he always craved a normal family and enjoyed being around normal people, wanting to have friends. but dean doesn't really consider that sam lost the same people he has. he never really considers why sam finds joy in normal things. dean sees it more like sam is abandoning him. he goes to college, sam abandons dean. sam never stopped loving his brother. he just wanted to fit into normal because his life killed those he loved.

sam isn't blind to dean's issues. he knows what to say and what time dean needs to hear it. it's hard for sam, because dean sees things in such a way that makes it impossible for sam to be allowed to do what he wants because dean sees it as leaving him.

dean needs to understand that doing different things or wanting different things or making mistakes doesn't mean sam doesn't love, need, or trust his brother completely.

so in essence, these to gorgeous, heroic, flawed boneheads need to have a nice 5 min sitdown and really talk.

it's the only way they can resolve their issues and move on.
I don't get how Dean is still lying to Sam about Benny since Sam has never really asked Dean about purgatory. They may have talked once about it but as Dean pointed out in the Garth eps he has no idea what purgatory is like. I don't get feeling Dean doesn't talk about unless Sam brings up. And I think after the having hell thrown in your face when Sam was on Demon blood doubt he would talk about purgatory with Sam. And I am not sure why Sam has never asked even Cas why Dean trusts Benny so much since Cas was down there. So until I hear Sam ask what happend in purgatory then I will see if Dean is lying about Benny. Otherwise to me its Sam issues with Benny misguiding him. JMO
emmau
# emmau 2013-02-24 13:37
Sam and Dean’s issues are most definitely a two-way street. They both have had moments of not being honest with each other, as well as demanding complete disclosure from their brother. Happy hypocrites, both of them. Maybe the problem is that we’ve already been here many times before, and nothing seems to change, so people have less patience with it this time around.

I answered the Dean is lying to Sam about purgatory/Benny somewhere else, so I’m not going to repeat that. I don’t think Dean is, unless we also conclude that Sam is lying about Amelia/normal because he hasn’t completely disclosed that. Since neither one has asked and neither one seems to care, I don’t consider it lying.

Dean may indeed by carrying resentment towards Sam regarding Sam not trying to find him, which I do find somewhat justifiable. Sam told Dean he didn’t know if he was dead or not, but he didn’t try to find out. Later that seemed to be amended to Sam thinking Dean was dead, but again, he didn’t actually try to find out. I agree that this was all swept aside to deal with the tablets (somewhat, I think, because show wrote itself into a hole with this storyline and doesn’t know how to get out of it), and I wish Dean would confront Sam more about it. I also wish Sam would actually answer—Sam has had opportunity when Dean brought up his resentment about Sam leaving him to rot ‘for a girl’ to explain himself or try to ease Dean’s mind, and he has not done so.

Sam has lost the same people Dean has, and he has had hard things in his life, same as Dean. If Dean has to get past his issues in order to repair his relationship with Sam, then as part of the two-way street, Sam has to let go of some of his little brother/”You just don’t trust me” issues to repair his relationship with Dean. I completely agree with that.

I don’t blame Dean for having abandonment issues, because he has been left behind a lot. Sometimes by death, but sometimes it has been by the other person know exactly why he’s been effected in that way. Sam’s issues manifest in different ways—his longing/idealiz ation of normal, his pushing his family away because they don’t meet his standards/deman ds (very much like John), his control issues, etc. I think all of those things are understandable as well.

Sam didn’t have a mother, but at this point he had a more steady presence in Dean. Dean had a mother for four years, very little of that time he is probably able to remember, and had Sam as his steady presence in his growing up years. I never saw any sign that Dean doesn’t consider the fact that Sam lost the same people that he did. I also don’t see Sam as finding much joy in normal—Sam is seeking safety, which is very understandable. I agree that they want different things and that they need to resolve that—Dean needs to understand that Sam choosing normal doesn’t necessarily mean abandonment (which I think Sam could help with by laying out how he sees their relationship will work once he leaves hunting). Sam needs to stop stating that leaving hunting will make him a real person again and will make his life mean something. They both need to take steps forward.

I agree that Sam isn’t blind to Dean’s issues. He just doesn’t seem to know how to handle them. I don’t think he knows what Dean needs to hear, because he clearly hasn’t said it yet. Sam knew exactly why Dean felt abandoned and hurt by his not looking for him—he just withdrew and basically refused to address that at all. Yes, he gave Dean his reason, sort of, but he didn’t really address Dean’s issues by doing so, and so the splinter remained and festered. The responsibility wasn’t all on Sam’s shoulders, because Dean needs to work to get past his issues as well, but giving Sam a pass by saying Sam can’t address Dean’s issues because Dean will just take the wrong way is a cop-out to me.

Dean definitely needs to understand that Sam wanting different things doesn’t mean that Sam doesn’t love him or need him. Sam needs to understand that Dean wanting the trials may be a trust issue to Sam, but it may not be to Dean.

All in all, I agree that they need a real discussion to finally resolve these issues in order to move on. I’m just not sure we’ll ever see it.
kaz1
# kaz1 2013-02-24 14:01
Nappi
Quote:
it's hard for sam, because dean sees things in such a way that makes it impossible for sam to be allowed to do what he wants because dean sees it as leaving him.
Interesting point, and I agree with you, Dean having abandonment issues makes it impossible for Sam to fulfill his dreams as the last thing he wants to do is destroy whatever trust Dean has left, which basically means they are both stuck in this destructive cycle of events. Classic co-dependency issues.

Quote:
dean needs to understand that doing different things or wanting different things or making mistakes doesn't mean sam doesn't love, need, or trust his brother completely.
I agree it is a two way street. I find it difficult to really get to the bottom of Sam needing Dean's approval. Perhaps Sam needs to understand that Dean will not think less of him if he shows a little weakness, I don't know, but it is quite extraordinary that they have been jumping on this merry-go-round for nearly a decade. Mary and John would not approve :-)

Quote:
so in essence, these to gorgeous, heroic, flawed boneheads need to have a nice 5 min sitdown and really talk.
Oh but Nappi they have had plenty of those, to no avail. In my country we call what they need is a "snot Klap". Roughly translated it means they need a smack across the mouth that makes your spit fly. :D
Leah
# Leah 2013-02-24 14:28
:-D
novichevich
# novichevich 2013-02-23 09:14
Just a few random words. Dean dislikes dogs, horses (in the last ep), now cats. What is wrong with the guy? Dogs are not the same as hellhounds, like demons are not the same as people. Dean must like dogs - they've so much in common. Dogs are faithful, playful, emotional and generally full of joy. So somebody has to make him understand...
KG_SPN
# KG_SPN 2013-02-24 00:20
This wasn't my favourite episode, but by no means my least favourite either. I think, as it came after 4-5 really stellar episodes, it is probably being judged more harshly than it should be. Not to say it was perfect - and I agree with most of your comments sweetondean - but I think our expectations and excitement had risen to fever-pitch over the last few weeks :lol:

I did love the scene with Sam trying to explain to Dean about the dog... it's one of the funniest moments of the season. And I also love that the boys are expanding their network of friends and allies. Have you noticed that very few people are dying this year? I don't mean the monster of the week, just the people that Sam & Dean get close to during an episode. It's so different to the last couple of years when they lost almost everybody. I like this!

Regarding this point:
Quote:
Witch killing spell of Bobby’s? Man that would’ve come in handy in past episodes! I think the show should just avoid witches from now on…
I believe this spell was the one that Bobby told Dean about via phone in 'Shut up, Dr Phil'. In this episode, you can see Dean dropping the ingredients for the spell on the table and it does look like one of those packages contains chicken's feet. Sam's comment about not knowing if the spell works was because last time they didn't use 'chilled' chicken's feet and it didn't work. I don't think this was a 'new' spell, just one they hadn't perfected on the previous attempt. So it didn't bother me that they were using it here. It shows that they've learnt from their previous mistakes.

Finally, I would have to say for me (and IMHO) the most disappointing thing to come out of this episode is the fact that it has reignited the Sam vs Dean war in many of the comments (here and elsewhere). I get so tired of reading this stuff... Supernatural is a show about two brothers, who are both flawed... can we just get over it, please! :P
sweetondean
# sweetondean 2013-02-24 02:50
Quote:



Regarding this point:
Quote:
Witch killing spell of Bobby’s? Man that would’ve come in handy in past episodes! I think the show should just avoid witches from now on…
I believe this spell was the one that Bobby told Dean about via phone in 'Shut up, Dr Phil'. In this episode, you can see Dean dropping the ingredients for the spell on the table and it does look like one of those packages contains chicken's feet. Sam's comment about not knowing if the spell works was because last time they didn't use 'chilled' chicken's feet and it didn't work. I don't think this was a 'new' spell, just one they hadn't perfected on the previous attempt. So it didn't bother me that they were using it here. It shows that they've learnt from their previous mistakes.

Finally, I would have to say for me (and IMHO) the most disappointing thing to come out of this episode is the fact that it has reignited the Sam vs Dean war in many of the comments (here and elsewhere). I get so tired of reading this stuff... Supernatural is a show about two brothers, who are both flawed... can we just get over it, please! :P
I totally didn't put two and two together with that spell - I wish they'd said something like "So are they chilled this time?" That would have been awesome continuity!

And as for your other point...I hear ya! :-)
kaz1
# kaz1 2013-02-24 07:44
I'm more freaked out by the Sam bleeding issue because of Kevin's nose bleed after cracking the tablet code. This cannot be a coincidence!! its SPN after all. I have a feeling the trials were always meant to be completed by Sam. It's just a feeling I get, I haven't any argument for it. I am just wondering why Sam sways between seeing the light and wanting a better, stronger relationship with Dean and then swaying back to his self-doubt and wanting Deans approval. I don't know if I should be reading into it, but perhaps there is a level of manipulation here. Maybe he is also being controlled. It's just that he seems so together at some points and then not so together in others.
sweetondean
# sweetondean 2013-02-25 05:00
I think the Sam bleeding and Kevin bleeding is definitely connected to the trials and the Word of God. Maybe getting so close to God's Word causes a physical effect. I don't know...but I'm with you, I think both of them are going to suffer more as they get more into the trials.
sharon pence
# sharon pence 2013-02-24 14:32
To Me there is a very BIUG elephant in the room that nobody seems to be talking about or I missed those comments.
Kevin only has HALF the tablet how can he make a definitive interpretation of what it means with half of it missing example only one can do the trials OK but if it continues on in the other half Crowley has with like say (except in the circumstance) or the person who does the trials must be a Righteous man or someone who has been in all realms or someone who has gone to hell for humanity or someone who has given his life for another. How can we possibly know what Kevin is saying is correct at this point and that he may have it all wrong because of the missing pieces and it will have terrible consequences for the boys.
Love to hear others thoughts on this.
emmau
# emmau 2013-02-24 14:44
The other half of the tablet could very well represent the big plot twist coming our way. I can't remember if it was here or somewhere else where I read someone else referencing Raiders of the Lost Ark, where the villains only had half an amulet and as a result were digging in the wrong place. When the PTB claim that Raiders was their model for this season, their lack of the complete story becomes more glaring. There is a definite possibility that Crowley's half contains vital information that is going to make the trials go sideways. I think it would be great if the other half of the tablet provides a twist that allows Dean to become an active participant in the trials. More importantly, though, I think there has to be a twist because I don't see them stretching the final two trials over two seasons, or end the possibility of demon stories for S9 (and possibly 10). So I think there's going to be a plot twist, and it may come from the other half of the tablet. I'd be good with that.
kaz1
# kaz1 2013-02-24 15:17
Chrisgranny and Emmau
One thing that has to be considered is the fact that these tablets exist in the first place. Who were they intended for and why would they need to go through trials in the first place? It seems clear that whoever forged the tablets did so to protect something from someone. It just seems so set up by heaven somehow. Why would the tablets be broken in such a way as to give the 3 trial instructions to close the gates of hell to the very people who were destined to be earths' representation of Lucifer and Michael? (I don't know, perhaps there are 6 instructions and Crowley has succeeded in his first trial too!)

I remember Cas saying that Dean and Sam were going to be written into the the bible as the Winchester gospels one day, which indicates the extent of their involvement in saving heaven. Firstly this suggests that they have both fulfilled some destiny, not just Sam. Secondly that the bible has a future surely suggests that heaven survives hell's onslaught. Haven't we then already been given the result of the outcome? Unless of course the Winchester gospels was written into the bible before these trials. Just thinking aloud here ;-)
emmau
# emmau 2013-02-24 15:35
It would be welcome continuity if the trials somehow figured into the Gospel of Winchester idea. It was an idea presented in S4, and by S5 Sam and Dean themselves were rendered as good for little more than housing the true players of apocalypse. That never thrilled me personally, so I'd be happy to see the boys once again as major players in the destiny of the world, instead of observers who stumble around until the finale when they're suddenly able to pull something out. At this point, though, heaven's direction is unclear with the story-telling show is employing with Naomi, so we'll have to wait and see.

But you're right in saying that we don't know yet what heaven intended the tablets to be used for, or by whom. The tablets were made and were meant to be protected, but who was supposed to use them and when? I think those are fascinating questions, and I hope we get to see the answers.
percysowner
# percysowner 2013-02-24 15:22
I worry about this as well. I've wondered if Crowley's half doesn't end with "Ha, ha, just kidding" or "Shutting the gates of Hell will open Luicifer's cage and the Apocalypse will start momentarily" or "In order to complete these trials you need [insert item here]" and that item is extinct or unable to be obtained or "In order to close the gates of Hell you must kill the first born child of everyone living in [insert country here]. I don't start a recipe before I read the entire thing, just to make certain I have all the ingredients and I know all the instructions, because if the recipe calls for a springform pan and I don't own one, that is a huge problem.
kaz1
# kaz1 2013-02-24 15:43
Somehow (knowing SPN) methinks thinks this recipe is not going to please the invited guests! One thing is for sure, Naomi, Cas and Crowley know very little about the tablets, hence all the spying and what what! Wouldn't it be just typical if some other really terrible third realm was behind this recipe and Sam, Dean & Crowley were inadvertently releasing some other [insert baddy here] into the mix. Serve them all right!
sweetondean
# sweetondean 2013-02-25 05:03
Haha! That's what I said Percy...that the other half says "Psych!"

I totally agree that what ever is on the other bit of the tablet is going to be a big deal...I really think they should be considering that.

I've always felt that the cost of closing the gates might be too great - like every soul that has ever been to Hell gets sucked back in or something? I don't know. But it's going to be bad, it's Supernatural and there's a cliffhanger a coming! Has to be bad.
kaz1
# kaz1 2013-02-24 15:29
Remember the Titans ep 8x16 is going to be about Prometheus, a figure in Greek mythology who was clamped to a rock by Zeus for betraying the secrets of the gods to men. I suspect this character is going to be helpful with the tablet somehow!
sharon pence
# sharon pence 2013-02-24 17:25
The whole tablet thing is suspect . Also Dean and Sam having all this faith in Kevin because he is supposedly a prophet. It's like taking a pic of the Colorado River and not showing the Grand Canyon.
The whole Sam not looking for Dean was weird enough but not looking for Kevin is just downright ludricris and still makes me think something is in play with Sam and his reaction to Benny maybe he knew Benny was sent in. I think there alot of twists coming I just hope they are not running out of time and have a big rush at the end like season 7
kaz1
# kaz1 2013-02-24 17:35
I hope not Chrisgranny
I believe now that they have season 9 in the bag that they have enough time to etch out a good mytharc that extends at least another season if not 2.

So far I have been happy regarding the progression of the storyline. I don't think its been either to fast or slow. Jeremy Carver has been a blessing IMO apart from the fact that he hasn't yet addressed certain Sam not looking for Dean issues, I think its been good pacing. So hopefully there won't be a mad dash at the end because this mytharc has been fantastic.
FMJemena
# FMJemena 2013-02-24 22:40
dEAR sWEETondEAN:

Thanks so much!

I agree with you on this:
As far as I’m concerned, a not so great episode of “Supernatural ” is still better than pretty much anything else on TV. Even episodes that don’t totally pop my cork have some redeeming qualities. I’ll always find something to enjoy. Always. I love this damn show, possibly to a fault.

ALSO on this:
I figure a familiar is neither human nor animal…and when Portia looked like a woman, she was a woman as far as I’m concerned. There was never any indication that anything inappropriate was going on when she was in the shape of a Doberman. She could have removed that collar though…but then again, I know a girl who wears a dog collar as jewellery…
FMJemena
# FMJemena 2013-02-24 22:47
Forgot this:
I feel like there’s a growing army of supernatural beings or people with connections to the supernatural that either owe or support Sam and Dean. It’s like this world is being built around them, peppered with critters and people who may be able to lend a hand if the situation arises. I like this a lot. James and Portia may never be seen again, but there’s something to be said to knowing that they’re out there and that the brothers are not alone in this world. If they need a witch, they know one. Aaron and his Golem, James and Portia, Charlie, Kate the werewolf, the Trans, Garth, even Benny and of course, somewhere Cass… The rebuilding of the Winchester’s Universe this season has been excellent.

About bloody time the Winchesters (other decent hunters, and MoL or JI who are still alive) get support from outside their circle. About time we get to see that not all supernatural beings will go evil... Maybe this new kind of support group will be the seed for another big phase in the life of the Winchesters?
Tiny
# Tiny 2013-02-25 04:17
Nice Amy!

Yes, this episode isn't the best thing ever, nor the worst. I think I like this episode better than most fans. I prefer to witches than the farm stuff last week, which bored me a bit. Great episode to introduce the God's tasks and there were some fantastic brother moments, but I honestly don't care about the farm nor the people.

Witches, on the other hand, are more interesting. I like the take on witches. It's the second the writers gave us a 'good witch'. I think it's refreshing to see the 'good witch' fighting the bad witch, rather than cliche or having the 'the bad witch that got away.'

I like the humanisation of the supernatural being, I thought there are more of this in season 8 than ever. I thought that was refreshing.

There were some great dialogues involving the brothers, which was a good follow up from last week. We know the show damn well to know that the trust issue will be brought up again. I didn't mind that as I was expecting Dean wouldn't let go of it. He has to find a concrete reason to let go of the idea of Sam going through the rest of the trials.

For a filler episode about witches, I thought it was ok. Probably a more solid witch episode since Malleus Maleficarum.

Cheers :)

tiny
Sylvie
# Sylvie 2013-02-25 08:52
Nice review Sweetondean, love your enthusiasm. I did not like this episode, but yes, I agree that they can't always be batting 1,000. 42 min. of a mediocre SPN is better than a lot of shows on tv right now. :-) I'm looking at you CSI! :-?

Things I did like: The scene at the hotel with the dog. Sam & Dean talking in the car at the end. Basically any scene with Sam & Dean talking. :D
Things I did not like: The sex scene between James & Portia. TMI! :-x Just them kissing would have been okay...maybe. I thought making them intimate was a BIG mistake. Hated Spencer, although Philippe Le Chat was pretty funny, too bad he had to kill him. And I do not care for these writers. Not everything they write is bad, but it's not that good either. I feel like they don't know the characters very well. Dean is allergic to cats all of a sudden? :-? I've only ever disliked Nicole Snyder & Eric Charmelo more, and they're gone, thank goodness. ;-)