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Well hello "Supernatural" you're on fire baby! "Goodbye Stranger" was damn fine. I can easily judge how much I dig an episode by how much noise I make and at one stage I was a tad worried that me screaming "No, no, no" at my television might have my neighbours calling the cops! (Alas they did not; obviously they don't care for my welfare). I was knee deep in this one from beginning to end. In a season of super strong episodes, "Goodbye Stranger" was right up there.

That was one hell of a powerful opening. Seeing Castiel drive an angel blade through Dean's heart was shocking, even if we all knew that it couldn't possibly be real. It made us realise what was coming, foreshadowed something awful and for me, put me on edge straight away, where I stayed for the 40 something minutes. The hundreds of dead Deans shot was fantastic…even if it was my worst nightmare. Seriously though, he's one hell of a pretty dead dude!

Ok, let's talk about Meg…I can't wait any longer. I'm so bummed out that Meg died. (Did she die? She did didn't she. I think she did. But I'm still holding on to a little hope). Meg's a nasty piece of work for sure and she could never redeem herself for the evil she's perpetrated against the Winchesters, but oh my gosh I've always loved her. She's been a character that has redefined herself over and over. She's understood that sometimes to survive, you have to go where the wind blows you. She's always had the best snark I've ever heard and even though I loved Nicki Aycox's Meg, it was Rachel Miner's Meg that I truly adored. She playfully owned Meg's evilness.

Meg always knew which card to play, even if sometimes that was the helpful card. If it protected her or got her to where she needed to be, she was willing to take a road that may not be the most enjoyable. I saw in her the kind of do-what-needs-to-be-done-to-get-the-job-done mentality that the brothers have developed. I liked that symmetry and that development in her character. I think she wound up being more like the Winchesters then she'd ever care to admit. An adaptable survivor – it's just she's all for bad, where as they're all for good. I think that's part of the reason they ended up working with her. They were all capable of seeing a common goal and doing what needed to be done to achieve it, even if their reasoning differed. There wasn't trust per say, simply understanding. She understood the brothers would as soon as stab her with the demon knife as look at her and the brothers understood she'd throw them to the hellhounds if it suited her. But both could put those things on the back burner to do what needed to be done. I loved how Meg and the Winchester's relationship developed like this. It shows how smart they all are.

Meg's relationship with Cass started off as a thorny one for me. I disliked the pizza man kiss with every fibre of my being. It came from nowhere and felt like nothing but fan service. But the show managed to develop their peculiar relationship and obvious attraction into something interesting. It's that line between good and evil that the show loves to toy with. But beyond that, for me Meg and Cass would see something in each other that they wouldn't see in the human world they live in. They're both supernatural creatures, with a different understanding of humanity's place in the scheme of things. They've both been around the block a few times. If thrown together like they were, I can see them being drawn to one another if only for that reason. Being something different can be hard, even if you're all evil, or all powerful. That's something that shone through for me in their scene in "Goodbye Stranger". In one room you had a couple of humans, in the other room you had a couple of totally different creatures that could connect on a level no human could ever understand.

Meg of course was human once, why would she not be attracted to a hot guy (albeit it hot angel). Cass may never have been down that road, but he's been with humanity for a few years now and the most human of humanity, the Winchesters. You can see in all his interactions how this has changed Castiel, for good and bad. He obviously feels emotions now, why would he not feel conflicted affection for a creature with a commonality to him, who at one point took care of him and was now vulnerable and tattered in front of him. I liked this scene a lot. I liked that Cass has no clue why he's so sweet on Meg, having never experienced anything like this before. I liked that he's learnt what makes a girl's nethers quiver (though I presume only in theory); he has been hanging out with Dean after all, not like Dean's shy about the ladies. The whole scene rang true to me and I was surprised by it. It also made me want to see Misha in some kind of romantically sexy role, because damn, the way he looked at Meg…well, I was totally onboard with grabbing some pizza and moving some furniture around!

Meg's death hit me hard (this may have been the yelling no, no, no thing). The character has such a long and strong history with the show, through her connection with Azazel, the original villain of "Supernatural", the very first thing we all learnt to hate and started out hunting with the boys. She's possessed Sam, beat the snot out of Dean, was partly responsible for Jo and Ellen's deaths. In the end, she went down fighting for what she believed in, Lucifer and that Crowley is an ass! She's Lucifer's gal. I don't think for a moment that she was standing up for Sam and Dean – though maybe her Unicorn – she was preventing Crowley from getting what he wanted, because she hates Crowley, he's a usurper in her eyes, plus he just tortured the crap out of her. No angel tablet for Crowley is a win for Meg. I think that's why she stood and fought. Team Free Will's ultimate escape to safety was simply a by-product. Which seems fitting. The fact that the guys scarpered without assisting her, speaks to what I said earlier, this was their relationship, she was after all Meg, an evil demon who caused them a lot of pain… But booooo! In a season where we seem to be rebuilding the "Supernatural" Universe, why did they choose to kill her off? The Meg character is meshed to the cellular make up of where we've been and where we are now. I'm bummed to lose that history. She felt like the last one standing…
Wow – so I apparently turned this into a eulogy for Meg! We return to our normal programming…

One of the things I've been enjoying about season 8, well the back end, has been the teasing between the brothers. I'm loving both of them having a bit of fun with each other again. The fact that they're smiling regularly and smiling at their brother, well, be still my beating heart. It feels like years since we've seen them being so affectionately playful! Sam in particular seems to be having a good time poking fun at Dean and I'm really enjoying it. The first scene with the brothers was kind of delightful, except for the coughing up blood thing. Dean's Doc Holliday joke was an unknowingly astute call.

I'm also loving this new honesty business. We've had some cracker Impala/brother scenes this season and this may have been my favourite. Dean simply saying he can't take any more lies and Sam agreeing to be upfront from now on just, well, yay and *sigh*. I love these guys and I love where we've come with them. Through all the pain we end up here, where they're laying their cards and their feelings on the table over and over. I think this has been the most honest they've been in like, forever. It certainly feels like the closest they've been in like, forever. And Sam's cheeky come back to Dean's heartfelt "I can carry you" line was so awesome. It really pulled me back and reminded me of "No Rest for the Wicked" when Sam told Dean he "…should've been jamming Eye of the Tiger right there" after Dean's impassioned speech. Perfect come back in a perfect scene, just like Dean's "Shut-up". So perfect! It's also good to know the Rudy Hobbit, like Swayze, always gets a pass!

One thing that became clear in "Goodbye Stranger" is that Naomi has no clue who Castiel really is, or what makes him tick. Killing fake Deans over and over and over (and over and over…must have taken him a while to get to where she thought she had him), was never going to be the same as having real Dean in front of him. She underestimated Dean and Cass' friendship and she underestimated the level of humanity that Castiel now has. If there's one thing "Supernatural" does well, it's show how loyalty and love can conquer all. It drew John back from Azazel, it drew Sam back from Lucifer, it drew Bobby back from possession and now it drew Cass back from Naomi.

And they all happened to be facing a bloodied and broken Dean at the time, who reminded them that they were family and he loved them, because for Dean that's the most important thing. Dean's the embodiment of this theme. Oh my gosh…I literally just teared up! I'm not saying that it's just Dean who can do this for people, it's just that the Cass and Dean beat down scene is one that we've seen before and it's used as a metaphor for what's at the heart of this show. Cass learnt about love and loyalty and family from the best teachers ever, the Winchesters. He was never going to be able to stab that in the heart.

Where's this angel tablet thing going? In fact where's this demon tablet thing going? I've been pontificating theories with Far Away Eyes about what the snag to this whole tablet thing might be. There's got to be a snag right? It ain't going to be that simple (not that the trials are simple, but you know what I mean). Cass is off on a bus to where exactly? Is the tablet leading him or did connecting with the tablet give him a better understanding of what needs to be done now. Is he off to track down the tablet's scribe, the Transformer angel Metatron? You can bet your bottom dollar that whatever Cass is doing and what the brothers are trying to do is going to end up being at odds.

There were a couple of really interesting things raised in this episode, like Naomi and Crowley's past relationship. I think most of us have always suspected that Crowley is not quite what he seems, not simply a crossroads demon made good. The fact that he's been around since Mesopotamian days, certainly would imply that he's something bigger…even if just a demon, an ancient demon who's had dalliances with angels in the past – if indeed Naomi is an angel (I think she is, just a special branch). Obviously the whole Fergus thing was a ruse. Is it that Crowley has been many people over his time and humanity has always been his cover? Was he simply possessing Fergus and laying low for some reason? Is Crowley simply his latest in a long line of concealments? We've seen his red eyes, we've seen red smoke, but he's pretty gosh darn powerful, I figure he can fake whatever he needs.

The other thing was far more troubling. Sam's health. What does it mean that Sam's been damaged in ways that even Cass can't heal. "Something on the subatomic level and his electromagnetic field." What? Hmmm... Interesting indeed! I think it's important to note that when Dean asked Cass if it was lethal, Cass said he didn't know. I found this whole conversation around the changes in Sam to be so intriguing. We know he's suffering, but maybe the deep changes – the changes that are happening to his cellular construction - are something different all together. Something not bad - not lethal - a different change. Cass said damaged, but that could also just mean changed right? (Right? RIGHT!!!?)

I liked "Goodbye Stranger" a hell of a lot. I'm a sucker for great big mythology episodes and this one was a BIG one. I'm glad we're back with the tablets, I like this story and that the Cass manipulation, as suspected, worked it's way back around to join the main arc. I enjoyed all the secondary characters. They are after all, some of the longest "living" and most involved in the brother's history. Cass, Meg, Crowley – they all rocked it. I dug all the interactions between Sam and Dean, even the small ones, like when they were researching and Dean said he thought Cass was lying or when Dean commented on Meg's hair and Sam gave him the open palmed, silent "What?" which Dean heard loud and clear. Beautiful. I thought the scene between Meg and Sam was really well done. I liked how she got it, but didn't get it! I think being able to talk to someone who wasn't emotionally involved was easier for Sam. Dean's always going to have a different perspective, because Sam's relationship with Amelia affected Dean personally in a way, as in Sam was with her and enjoying her company while Dean was fighting for his life in Purgatory. That will colour every conversation or attempted conversation for Sam. Meg was a blank canvas (also a funny one). I'm glad Sam still wants a normal life, it's who he's always been, it's nice to see that at least that one thing hasn't changed and it makes me hopeful he can indeed take Dean with him to the light at the end of the tunnel (rose coloured Winchester glasses firmly on my face).
This script was tight and punchy and had some of the best one liners I've heard, including one that made me squee "Aren't you a little short for a Stormtrooper?" I'm a Star Wars geek from when I was a little kid and I'm literally going to go watch A New Hope once I've posted this! Robbie Thompson is a lovely writer. I get excited now when I see his name pop up. I couldn't be more thrilled that he has one more to play out this season.
And how good was the final montage with Goodbye Stranger by Supertramp. I hadn't heard that song in years. I loved the way it was just allowed to play and then drifted off into wind and bird noises. Beautiful, beautiful work. This show is damn good TV.

So Cass is in the wind, the trust between him and the Winchesters is currently in the wind with him, the boys are trying a new concept called honesty, Sam knows that Dean knows that Sam's not feeling so good, Crowley is screwed, Naomi is screwed (what's a bet they end up working together) and the longest surviving demon and secondary character on the show is no more (A-wah!). Good episode was good and chocker-block!
6 episodes left until whatever horror awaits us with some God awful torturous cliff-hanger. Gah! Bring it!
Also...Dean should always wear a henley...

Also, also…I'm just going to leave this here…

Thanks for reading! Let me know your thoughts on the episode!

See you next week!


# Vanda 2013-03-23 21:10
Brilliant dissection once again Amy. Loved all the performances in this ep. Loved the clever one liners. Loved the intensity of the whole episode. Loved the sets! Man I love this's how! Can't wait to see where the story goes from here...
# sweetondean 2013-03-23 23:53
So intense! My insides were all of a flutter at the end! And yes, everyone bought their A game...this was certainly Supernatural's A team! (Not like A-Team.... :D )
# Kim 2013-03-23 21:40
Another brilliant review! I am beginning to feel the increased tension in the build up to the last few episodes. Having an early pick up lets the creative team become bold and as a result we get such strong storylines.

I love where the brothers are at in their relationship right now. I think their bond is the strongest it's ever been. I love their new-found honesty, something that I don't think they've ever had this strong before, not even as kids.

I was sad to see Meg go, too. Though I feel a little differently in that I didn't take to this version as much as Nikki's one.

I will need to watch this ep a few times before it all comes together in my head, but I'm loving this show more and more every episode.

Thank you, one again, for a fabulous review.
# sweetondean 2013-03-23 23:52
It's definitely one that deserves a few watches. You know it's good when you watch it twice back to back! :lol:
# Shelley 2013-03-23 22:05
Yay, Amy!! This ep gave me all the feelings. I'm still processing. I also have adored Meg from the beginning, especially Rachel's Meg. Unfortunately I knew she was going to be killed off before I got to see the ep so I was expecting her death the whole way through and had steeled myself for it, so it didn't pack as hard a punch as it should have. I'm so sad to see her go though.
The Meg/Cas stuff felt a little weird to me though, I never liked the pizza man scene kiss either, and for some reason the unicorn stuff this ep just didn't sit right with me. I never felt like Meg REALLy liked Cas, I always felt like she was just playing with him because it clearly made him uncomfortable and because he didn't get all her innuendos. I do think that Cas did have some sort of affection for her though, especially after she took care of him in the hospital.
All the brother stuff was epic, the Dean/Cas fight stuff was gorgeous - and I LOVED how they edited the Cas/Naomi scenes in with the Dean/Cas scenes!
And yeah, that final scene with that song left me all asdfghjklasdffg gjhklk!!
# sweetondean 2013-03-23 23:51
The back and forth in the Dean/Cass scene to Cass arguing with Naomi was brilliant. This was a nicely directed and EDITED episode. The editing was so sharp. Nice work whomever cut this one together.
# KELLY 2013-03-23 23:42
Loved your review! Meg was a great bad character. I thought the pizza man thing was kind of funny but I see Cas as like a kid with Asberger's. Smart, but not really understanding "human" connections. So I saw the kiss as testing the waters or an experiment, so as really a pass meant to lead to anything further. So I guess that is why it didn't bother me. Because I don't think Cas would have a problem with the horrible things she's done. He has always been a soldier. I think he saw her as a warrior on the opposite side of the war. And after all the destruction he caused I don't see him being to judgmental about her actions. But an actually physical relationship would have felt weird to me-not in line with the show.

To have her actually get her unicorn would have been going way too far for me. So I loved this solution so much. It felt like the perfect end to Meg for me (even though I hate to lose a great character). Just poignant enough for a character that has been on the show since practically the beginning without being a tribute the demon that cause Jo and Ellen's deaths. I truly thought it was great.

Loved your theories on Crowley.

What are the chances that the damage being done to Sam is a good thing? When has that ever happened on this show? :D I would love it if it were, but I'm not holding my breath. Sam just keeps taking one hit after another. I want both of them to have the future that Sam keeps striving for, but I don't know if that is in the cards of this show. :cry:
# sweetondean 2013-03-23 23:50're right...I'm being overly optimisitc again! I just can't figure where the Sam's so damaged he can't be repaired thing can possibly be going...there must be an out, because he's going to be around in season 9!

I agree Meg could never have her unicorn, that would not be right...but I wish she'd just vanished to turn up later, like the bad penny she's always been.

And yeah...I don't think there will be a happy ending either... :cry: But I like that Sam still is striving for that!
# KELLY 2013-03-24 00:17
Hey, I'm all for optimism. I still hanging on to the belief that there is something more to Sam's storyline from the first half (I will hold on to that belief 'til ep 23 if I possible). Yeah they are going to have to find someway to fix him surely. He can't be sick all season again next season.

I would love it if you were right. Hey maybe I'll combined this hope with my other one. The pain and suffering enable him to fight the control from Naomi that is altering his memories. Cause I really need for him to have looked for Dean or show the massive breakdown why he couldn't :cry:

I think there is still a possibility that Meg is still around (maybe not a good one) because I am a tiny bit skeptical about a self-sacrificin g demon-she would be the first on the show. So maybe it was a ruse in someway.

I really really hope there is some sort of happyish ending for them. Even if J and J don't. :D I love that Sam is still trying to pull both of them towards it. Determined that they both get a chance at it. That's my boy. And I adored the line where Dean said he would carry Sam. I fell in love with in even more- if that is possible. This second half they do seem more like the Sam and Dean pre-Hell. I love that.
# sweetondean 2013-03-24 00:24
I'm with you on all of this Kelly.

Ahh show...why do you hurt so good? :cry: :D
just Leah
# just Leah 2013-03-24 02:15
"they all happened to be facing a bloodied and broken Dean at the time, who reminded them that they were family and he loved them, because for Dean that's the most important thing". I love that sweetondean! I can hear the dissenting opinions in my head but that is one of the reasons I adore the guy. I loved the final Impala scene. Those are the brother moments that hit just the right note, IMO.

I'm still a little perplexed about why Cas was on the bus. If it was to evade Naiomi, why would that work? Could Cas's powers be compromised somewhat due to touching the glowy tablet? Many are concerned about Cas being the quick fix. Hmm.

I am worried that the writers will incapacitate Sam and sideline him. I really hope not. After the first half, I want him to play a major roll in the trials and whatever comes next.

I loved this episode and your review, thank you so much!
# sweetondean 2013-03-24 02:25
Hey Leah

I'm a little confused by the bus thing too. He disappeared from the crypt so he must just have his mojo intact. I gathered that he was somehow cloaking himself and maybe using his angelic powers would pop him up on Naomi's radar, so he's riding the bus on the down low!

I don't think Sam will be sidelined, I feel confident of that, but I do wonder what the physical outcome will be and how he can get through to the other side (being season 9). Are the side effects temporary? Will someone else repair any damage that threatens to incapacitate him? When the final trial is complete is the slate wiped clean? I don't know... I'm fascinated to see how the trials roll out.

I think the last one will be something sacrifical or something, like maybe Cain and Abelish or something horrific! I keep coming back to Sam's conversation with Prometheus - what is the point of saving the world if you can't save the ones you love. I'd like to see the brothers choose not to sacrifice themselves for the world for a change, but choose to stand together and continue to fight. That would be awesome.
just Leah
# just Leah 2013-03-24 02:35
So true sweetondean, that would be completely awesome! :lol:
# KG_SPN 2013-03-24 02:53
Lovely review sweetondean... and I enjoyed your eulogy to Meg, even if I'm still hoping she isn't really gone for good. She was a great villain & I've always loved her snarky banter with the boys. But, if she is gone, I think it was a fitting farewell. She had wonderful conversations with both Cass and Sam and, in the end, died helping the boys. It certainly doesn't wipe the slate clean for all the terrible things she did (Ellen & Jo *cry*), but there was a bit of redemption, perhaps?

Where’s this angel tablet thing going? In fact where’s this demon tablet thing going?
I'm so in love with this season & the story that Jeremy Carver is currently giving us. There are just so many possibilities & I love that I'm so confused right now :-?

Why was Naomi concerned with killing Dean, but didn't seem concerned about killing Sam? Why was Cass concerned with keeping the angel tablet away from Dean, but didn't mention Sam? Why is Dean the key to the angel tablet? Does it hark back to seasons 3/4 where Dean was the righteous man who broke the first seal? If his destiny was so entwined with the apocalypse, perhaps there was more to it & this is inscribed on the angel tablet.

It does seem fitting that Sam would close the gates to hell, given that he was Lucifer's vessel, and Dean would close the gates to heaven (if that's even what the angel tablet is about), given he was Michael's vessel. It's all very intriguing.

My theory about the angel manipulation of the boys has also changed as a result of this episode. I now believe it was Metatron who wanted to get the brothers back together and hunting. It's the only thing that makes sense. Because, if Naomi wanted Dean dead, why would she have bothered to get him out of purgatory?

Like I said, I'm very confused. But I'm totally loving it :lol:
# sweetondean 2013-03-24 03:03
I think there could definitely be something to the boy's biblical destinies being tied to the tablets some how. It is very fitting.

I'm not sure when Cass said he needed to keep it away from "you" he specifically meant Dean. I took it as "you" as in you guys or humanity as opposed to specifically being Dean. But if it was specifically Dean it'd be most interesting! I'd not looked at it that way.

Dean is the one Castiel is closest to so I get why Naomi used Dean effigies to train the humanity out of Cass. Killing him at the end, I saw as just a byproduct of getting the tablet - but also further testing and control/destruc tion of Cass by Naomi.

I like your Metatron idea! Intriguing! I'm looking forward to meeting him. Hope he's cool!

I'm loving this story too...very suspenseful!
# Audrey 2013-03-24 03:58
You wrote a great review but I personaly don't share your opinion about Meg.
I loved nicki's and Jared´d Meg but Not so much Rache's. Specially since season 6.
I can understand why soulesssam could work with her, he has no feelings but afterthat ....
Hurting them and their dad, killing pastor Jim, Calleb, Jo, Helen, the hunter in BUABN, Bobby in a chair: all that in on her and after Ruby, they should have stabbled her at first chance.
I get that Meg goes where is her best interest, she's a demon, meaning selfish. And that's also why when Crowley had her, she should have turn her back on the winchesters and selling them and Cas.
I also think the demon Meg I knew would have left her body as soon as things turned bad to survive.
I don't like ever this megtiel thing, it' s used as comic relief but it kills a bit more Cass character each time: Cass can evoluate, no problem, but he's still an angel and so hates demon at the bottum of himself, remember the scenes with Ruby in season 4. The same go with Meg and angels. As I was saying, evolution, sure, but a show can't break all the rules because it' easier or for comic relief. It´s slowly kills the show and SPN is better than that.
That's why Meg's death didn't touch me, it wasn't the same character than the 5 first seasons. But if Crowley pretended to kill her and in fact, she was a spy trying to get informations, it would change many things because even if she hates Crowley, her first goal as a demon Would be to survive.
Also, an other thing that bothers me lately, not only in this ep, is all this spineless, nameless, demons working for Crowley. These good little soldiers are not scary, too easily killed and it's not good for the show. Same with the angels (Zachariah, where are you?)
An other thing, I disliked is that this ep is a copycat of swansong: Cass with all the Dean killed ( even if it's was a very nice shot) was Sam in Lucifer with the dead demons around him, and with all Know about the beating. But a show that copycats itself is dying show and I really don't want that for SPN.

I sure complains a lot, but it's a lot of little things that anabled me to enjoy it fully. I think I was expecting to much from it.
I liked your review and hope you can accep a different point of view (by the way I loved the brothers interactions)
# sweetondean 2013-03-24 04:30
Of course, different opinions are always welcome!

Meg is a very controversial character. You either love or you hate her. I love her, I always have. But then, I like the demons fullstop. I'd be disappointed if they were ever not included in the series. They've been with us from the start.

The fact that Meg's character changed as was needed for her to survive, for me just showed her to be adaptable not inconsistent. She was without an anchor, no Azazel, no Lucifer, her existence had changed out of sight and she changed along with that.

I thought the original kiss between Cass and Meg was for comic relief, but the scene in this episode demonstrated, if nothing else, how affected by human emotions Castiel is and that was very important to see when it came to later in the episode. I think Meg liked messing with him, but I think through the crazy Cass time, they both had learned to have a different view of each other and a cautious and confusing bond had formed.

I didn't see any corolation to "Swan Song" and wasn't aware people were upset about that until I saw some comments on the Let's Speculate!

To me this scene was simply further recongnition that love/good is stronger than evil and love and family and loyalty will always triumph. "Swan Song" was not the first time we saw this. It was the best and most important representation of it, but we saw something similar very early on when John was hurting Dean while possessed by the YED.

These boys are smart - they know when to get out of Dodge. Crowley is powerful, sticking around to face him would be foolish. The guys are human after all, they don't have the kind of power that the demons do. But we've seen them kill plenty of demons this season. If I recall, everyone was pretty upset with the bodycount after "What's Up, Tiger Mommy?"

I really hope you're right about Meg!! Because that would mean she's still alive!
# Sharon 2013-03-24 04:42
To be fair the earlier one with John was not on the same level has the recent ones. And certainly not just here but elsewhere others did see a very similar scene that happened in SS .

I agree it was about family/love between Dean and Castiel which I dont believe is there between Sam and Castiel and like the one between Dean and Sam that is powerful stuff and it sends out a powerful message . Not everybody can see a scene the same way but I do believe that crypt scene has come dangerously close to the SS scene .
And at the end of the day it was a equally powerful scene between the two as SS was between Sam and Dean.
# sweetondean 2013-03-24 04:51
It was a powerful scene and I find the John/Dean scene equally as powerful, in fact probably more so.

But the "Swan Song" scene, for me is one of the most powerful scenes, if not the most powerful scene of the series. "Swan Song" is an incredibly important episode for me. It holds a very special place. Maybe that's why I didn't see the similarity, though I understand how people may post reading comments. But for me, this scene, where heart wrenching, simply wasn't anywhere near the same. I literally sobbed - and still do - during the "Swan Song" scene - I gasped in this one.

Maybe that is why I don't see it as being dangerously close, or find in it any similiarity other than Dean getting the snot beaten out of him, because for me it's just another representation of a continuing theme of the show.
# Sharon 2013-03-24 05:24
Thats fair enough but like I said how you see something is not going to be the same as someone else. I do believe it came close in construction and meaning .
# sweetondean 2013-03-24 05:31
Yep, we all see things differently! Which was why I was talking about how I saw it and never once implying that was the only way it should be seen or that others wouldn't see it another way. You believe it came close, I didn't even see the parallel!
# Tiny 2013-03-24 06:01
Wow. Yes Amy! Goodbye Stranger truly was an amazing episode. Not until I started writing my review, I underestimated how much stuff there is to talk about! You're spot on with everything! I...OMG.. MEG!!! I can't.. don't get me started. I love her. Period! I guess sometimes people forget how connected she had been to the overall mytho of the story since season 1. May be she is just injured?

I love the brothers in this episode, it's pretty perfect. I really feel for Sam. My god! That boy!! I mean man.. has been through so much crap physically -- the wall, damaged soul... But hey, we get season 9, so on the other hand, it can't be that bad.

Too much awesomeness in this episode, a rewatch every night is imminent.

Thanks for the great review Amy.

# sweetondean 2013-03-24 06:05
There was a lot of stuff Tiny!

And yes, poor Sam...gosh. Lucky he's such a strong dude...but still :sad: But yes we have 9! So we know he'll pull through!
RGNYC Rebecca
# RGNYC Rebecca 2013-03-24 08:34
Excellent review once again, Amy! This episode was indeed choc a block with goodies. I did not see the similarity to SS either. But Dean's bloody face was very much the same. I loved the Doc Holiday reference (perfect description for Sam's state), the 'strange haired demon', the what's up with Meg's hair query. Hilarious comic relief in the midst of scary circumstances. The show is so good when humor is included where it does not obliterate the drama. One of the best things about Supernatural.
Interesting the way Sam threw away Dean's offered ice pack for his shoulder. I understand Sam not wanting to show any suffering but am so glad for the new agreed upon honesty. Loved the end of the episode and the song! Cheers.
# anonymousN 2013-03-24 09:11
Sweetondean,I found this episode lacking excitement and for the first time I liked a Vampire diaries episode more than supernatural one.I did not correlate the Dean cas scene to the Swan song (best episode ever) ,but after reading fan comments yes there are similarities but this was not as well picturised as Swan song also I didn't like the acting in this .
Glad to have all this new information (off screen) about Sam's unicorn soooooooo late and a small support to the guess that Sam's time on earth Deanless might not be as it seems is too little too late.
Also I share the concerns that Sam might be sidelined in season 9 for the Dean's family *blegh* i.e the adorable snowflake angel.
# sweetondean 2013-03-24 16:12
Hi anonymousN

I'm not worried about Sam being sidelined. This will always be the Sam and Dean show. It's the Jensen and Jared show. They are the leads and still are.

I do share some of your concerns as to how Cass will be used in season 9. But Misha's status as season regular or not didn't affect how Cass was used in the past. If the Cass character is used well, I'll be cool with it.

I'm with you wanting this show to be about the bros primarily. But then, it still is for me and I always see it like that. That's why I don't worry about or think Sam will be sidelined in anyway. Because this is a show about the Winchester brothers, even though there are other characters in their Universe. We need other characters - they help reflect the boys back at us.
# anonymousN 2013-03-25 03:43
Sweetondean I did not want to rehash things but I do want to reply about sidelining Sam
there are two points
1) Now Sam is doing the trials but we get Dean's pov but when Dean does trials I want to know what Sam thinks how it effects Sam ,but till now the lackadaisical way they provide us Sam's POV is simply not enough and that will sideline him.
2) This is very important one,Cas has all individual interactions with Dean so if Misha is regular and they continue with the trend of Sam not talking to anyone else then this will happen.
# sweetondean 2013-03-25 04:01
I hear you, but I just don't see that ever happening. I can't seen the show sidelining one of the two lead characters. It's about them. Sam is key to everything, as I see it/him. I don't see him as sidelined now, nor have I through the season. I know some do and I have seen a lot of frustration around this, but I don't see his character or the story like that. I've found myself pontificated at length on this this season! :-)

I am all for Sam interacting with Cass though. I think that would be great and very interesting. I hope that this will happen. I really liked their conversation in "Reading is Fundamental". I'd love to see more like it.

Thanks for letting me know your thoughts. :-)
# Amy 2013-03-25 10:27
I hear you, but I just don't see that ever happening. I can't seen the show sidelining one of the two lead characters. It's about them. Sam is key to everything, as I see it/him. I don't see him as sidelined now, nor have I through the season. I know some do and I have seen a lot of frustration around this, but I don't see his character or the story like that. I've found myself pontificated at length on this this season! :-)

I am all for Sam interacting with Cass though. I think that would be great and very interesting. I hope that this will happen. I really liked their conversation in "Reading is Fundamental". I'd love to see more like it.

Thanks for letting me know your thoughts. :-)
But Sam IS being sidelined. I mean if you look at the two tablet stories: The demon tablet consists of Sam, Dean and Kevin...except there is NO foreward momentum untiil Kevin translates. Meanwhile the Angel tablet involves Dean, Cas, Naomi, Crowly, Meg, a multitude of random demons and Angels and soon Metranon.

Dean is the intermediary to Sam's story. Nothing will proceed unless Dean is there. Menawhile Sam is NOT the intermediary to Deans story. His story chugs along without weather Sam is there or not.

I think this is why Sam needs to be able to interact with other charectors. Its far to unbalenced. Dean has relationships with others. he has BROTHERHOODS with others. Others he sees as equals. I dont see how he can see Sam as an equal if Dean is so busy doing the whole game face/must be strong/protect "Sammy" And discussess his concerns about Sam (and himself) with his other brothers.

Sam is isolated and alone. He worries about Dean he has NO ONE to talk to. And Carver really put a spotlight on this. Dean disappeared or died or whatever Carver is declaring Sam thought this week. Sam has NO one he can trust, no one he can talk to. No one to bounce ideas off of. No one who worry about him and tell him "Your being too hard on yourself." There is no one who calls Sam 'friend." and tells him "talk to me." And triies to understand Sam.

For all of Deans be;leif that he Sam loves him and he loves Sam his "issues" prevent him from ever truely knowing or wwanting to get to know Sam. His abandoment issues blind him to the fact that Sam loves him beyond reason. And Deans DEATH affects him. Dean has never and has never been able to understand that his death destoryed Sam...let alone affected him. He just expected Sam to hit the books and find him? I still have no clue if Dean evern realizes that his deaths affect SAm...that Sam grieves for him.

The first ten episodes...hell everyt time Dean dies Dean just never seems to get the idea that Sam greives for Dean, that Sam loosing Dean CARVES something out of Sam leaving a gaping, black hole in his heart and soul...just as it does to Dean when Sam dies.

And this is why I see the brothers relationship as sorely lacking. Dean DOESN'T see Sam as a someone who feels loss and is affected deeply by it. And especially feels DEANS LOSS and is deeply affected by loosing Dean.

Dean expects Sam to share with him but he refuses to share with Sam. Instead he shares with Castiel; he shares with Bobby, he shares with Benny, or Charlies or a teenager Krissy. Or a random bartender.

At this point Sam needs someone who LOOK at Sam as SEE HIM; Sam winchester...a person...not Sammy, their responsibility or little brother, the thing they need to fix.

I need this so much and if the writers continue to insist on Sam only interacting with one charector ever for the rest of the series....well. ....Dean wouldn't be my first choice. I love the boys together both Sam and Dean and JAred and Jensen but i need and want to see all the other layers I know Sam has. I want to see Sam interact with someone other then Dean on a regular basis cause its the only way I will get to see other sides I know Sam has.

I want Someone to call Sam friend and actually feel it.

WOuld you be happy if the only person Dean interacted with EVER except for the occassional guest was Sam? Would you give up Deans relationship wirth Castiel? With Benny? Would you give up all the wonderful scenes showcasing these relationship stages for just a few words with the actual meat taking place off screen?

This is ALL part of the sidelinging of Sam. Pigeonholing Sam charector wise with only one charector who doesn't see Sam beyond how Dean feels about himself.

Why is it so wrong for Samfans to want Sam to be able to bond with someone else? To have a recurring charector who is HIS friiend. Sam isn't incapable of making friends, he's done it in College,. I think it would show remarkable growth for Sam to trust another person, to open up and become friends. Not asking for the same number of charectos as Dean.

Just one. Someone who talks to him about stuff other then the job....who doesn't see their relationship tied up in hunting....that they would be friends weather they were hunters or living normal.
# Sharon 2013-03-25 11:04
Amy I dont disagree with what you are saying but to be honest I dont have a clue who they would give Sam even if they wanted to?(and I am not sure that they do). It would have to be someone who could be there fairly regular to make it worth while and to establish the friendship . They cant give him a female character because we have been there , they cant give him a Angel because it would be too much like Dean/Castiel , they cant give him a 'demon' as we would be going back to Ruby so who can they give Sam?.

Both Dean's relationships were forged out of desperate situations Castiel pulling Dean out of hell and Benny in Purgatory and the audience were drawn to those relationships so while I would love Sam to have a genuine friendship . I cant help but feel they have written Sam into a hole .
# Amy 2013-03-25 11:33
Amy I dont disagree with what you are saying but to be honest I dont have a clue who they would give Sam even if they wanted to?. It would have to be someone who could be there fairly regular to make it worth while and to establish the friendship . They cant give him a female character because we have been there , they cant give him a Angel because it would be too much like Dean/Castiel , they cant give him a 'demon' as we would be going back to Ruby so who can they give Sam?.

Both Dean's relationships were forged out of desperate situations Castiel pulling Dean out of hell and Benny in Purgatory and the audience were drawn to those relationships so while I would love Sam to have a genuine friendship . I cant help but feel they have written Sam into a hole .
Well if the writers can only create a friendhsip for Sam based on desperation ....well....isn 't Dean being b lown to Purgatory a desperate situation? Isn't Sam being left completly alone without a friend or family memeber left to turn to a desperate situation?

Wouldn't it show how desperate sam is if he turned to a Hunter who knew about his and Deans role in the Apocolypse and convinced him to help Sam? ANd while working together the Hunter developed a grugding respect for Sam's abiltiies that turned to a genuine friendship?

See? Creative idea right off the cuff. THough I could see how the writers wouldn't go there. I would require Sams POV, time showiing Sam devloping a relationship with somone. Cant do would take aaway from Dean and Cas or time away from Dean adn Benny

And Gooodness, forbid We show Sam missing his brother and SEARCHING for his brother. It would have been far more intersting then lame Ameila and the lame love interest.

I would love to have see Sam develop an unconditional friendhsip with someoen. I mean Deans has always beleived that Sam and Him would and could only be close if they were both hunters and hunting.

It would be lovely too see Sam develope a friendhship with a Hunter.
# Sharon 2013-03-25 11:45
As I said Amy I dont disagree .I suppose I am just looking at from a realistic pov.
# lala2 2013-03-25 11:59
Instead of the Amelia nonsense, it would have been much more interesting to see Sam meeting up w/new hunters. In his search/investig ation re: Dean's appearance, he could have met some cool hunters. That would have given him some friends and expanded the hunting universe.

It does feel like the only expansion of their world comes through Dean. Sam hasn't "added" anyone yet.
# percysowner 2013-03-25 11:27
I dont see how he can see Sam as an equal if Dean is so busy doing the whole game face/must be strong/protect "Sammy" And discussess his concerns about Sam (and himself) with his other brothers.
This brings up something that bothers me a lot. When Dean hides things from Sam (John wanting Sam dead, Dean selling his soul, Dean remembering Hell, Dean being depressed in season 7) it is portrayed as Dean being strong, putting on his game face and protecting Sam. When Sam does THE EXACT SAME THING, (not telling Dean how the trials are affecting him, not telling Dean that he is soulless, even though Sam didn't know he was soulless) the show labels it as Sam lying. The show consistently reinforces the idea that Sam is "bad" or "wrong" when making decisions, while Dean is "strong" and "protective" when making the exact same decisions. Now, let me say that Sam did find out about Dean's deal almost immediately, but Dean INTENDED to keep it from Sam (and asked Bobby to help him do that) and Sam only found out from Jake. Dean did lie and tell Sam that he was only minorly injured instead of the fact that he died in AHBL.

I do agree that Sam is increasingly marginalized in the story and his lack of ANY friendship outside of Dean accentuates that. As you said, Sam has no one to talk to, to share his emotions with. If Sam is annoyed with Dean the only person he can tell is Dean, and that leads to Dean feeling hurt and abandoned. Another big issue for me is that the people the show chooses to have Sam confide in are almost always monsters and bad. Sam got Ruby, and Meg to confide in. Ruby was manipulating and using Sam and working to release Lucifer. Meg has done so many bad things and it was specifically stated before the heart to heart with Sam that Meg is basically evil and still a demon.

Dean gets Cas, who yes has done bad things, but went to Purgatory and proved to be selfless, brave and true and totally forgiven plus all the other bad things he did outside of season 6 has been excused because he has been under the influence of all the bad, bad angels who brainwashed him into being bad. Dean also gets Benny the Better Brother, Patron Saint of Good Vegetarian Vampires everywhere. Benny has been portrayed as nothing but good in his appearances.

All this leaves Sam in the unenviable position of having no one trustworthy to talk to and so his POV can not be shown without having him look like a cruel brother who only hurts Dean.
# percysowner 2013-03-25 11:38
I dont see how he can see Sam as an equal if Dean is so busy doing the whole game face/must be strong/protect "Sammy" And discussess his concerns about Sam (and himself) with his other brothers.
This brings up one of my biggest issues. When Dean doesn't tell Sam things (John wanted Dean to kill Sam; Sam was only injured not killed at Cold Oak and Dean didn't do anything like sell his soul; Dean remembering Hell in season four; Dean's depression in season 7) Dean is described as "putting on his game face", "being strong", "protecting Sammy". When Sam doesn't tell Dean things it is described as lying, and betraying Dean. Sam's actions even when they are identical to or very close to Dean's. It serves to besmirch Sam's character and there is no other character to say that Sam isn't a bad person or that his reasons to shield Dean are as valid as Dean's reasons to shield Sam.
# Ale 2013-03-25 11:58
Amy, I would like for Sam to have a friend to confide, too, but is not really fair to say that Dean is the only one allowed to have friends. The ONLY real friend Dean's ever got is Cas. And even that friendship is often shaky. I do not count Benny as a real friend, no matter what Dean himself said, because there was NO scene in which Dean confided with Benny. I didn't see Dean telling Benny anything personal about himself - I've only seen Benny telling personal things about Benny. It's almost the same thing with Sam/Amelia - we were only told Amelia's story. And although nobody liked Amelia and many liked Benny, I dare to say Sam told her more about himself (almost nothing but still somenthing) than Dean told Benny (which is zero).
# Amy 2013-03-25 12:18
Amy, I would like for Sam to have a friend to confide, too, but is not really fair to say that Dean is the only one allowed to have friends. The ONLY real friend Dean's ever got is Cas. And even that friendship is often shaky. I do not count Benny as a real friend, no matter what Dean himself said, because there was NO scene in which Dean confided with Benny. I didn't see Dean telling Benny anything personal about himself - I've only seen Benny telling personal things about Benny. It's almost the same thing with Sam/Amelia - we were only told Amelia's story. And although nobody liked Amelia and many liked Benny, I dare to say Sam told her more about himself (almost nothing but still somenthing) than Dean told Benny (which is zero).
You dont see Dean telling Benny anything about himself? But Dean told Benny "ALL ABOUT SAM." Benny said that in the VAmpirate episode. So Dean HAD to have told Benny something about himself if he's telling Benny everything there is to know about Sam.

Jeez, talk about speaking out of turn. Demons dont need to spy on Sam they just need to befriend Dean.
# Ale 2013-03-25 12:28
Well, it was the same with Amelia, then. Amelia asked Sam if he wanted to talk about Dean and he said 'yes'. We didn't know what he said, though. And if Dean told Benny about Sam, we don't know what. It's a tie.

Dean probably didn't say that much about Sam to Benny. If he had told everything, Benny should be running very, very fast away from Sam, not saying he wasn't much impressed with Sam. One would think that a person who beat the devil would be able to kill a vampire, not matter how much war trainned he was in Purgatory :D
# judyann 2013-03-24 10:06
Sweetondean, great review as always. Loved this eposide, think it was the best so far this season. I too was yelling at my tv with this one (not my normal behavior!). I believe I was yelling OMG!OMG! in the beginning even know I know you can't kill Dean. I can't believe they killed off Meg- liked her character alot even though she was evil. She was only out for herself but she add sassiness to the show. I did like her interactions with Cass. I didn't find it forced and I think it really started in season 5 in the eposide Jo and Ellen died when Cass was in the ring of fire. I will miss her. I think Sam is changing but not in a bad way. I think he is changing to become strong enough to take on the task of closing the gates ( don't think that will really happen- what will happen with the show?). I think the change is painfull but not going to kill him. As for Cass telling Dean he has to keep the tablet away from him I think he really meant Dean specifically. I like the idea that Sam closes the hell gates and Dean closes the heaven gates. Again don't really think that will happen. As for some saying Sam will be sidelined. How can that happen Dean and Sam are the show! Just my thoughts.
# sweetondean 2013-03-24 16:13
Hey Judyann

Your thoughts are like mine. Sam and Dean are the show!

I like your ideas about how/why Sam is changing. That makes me feel better!
# Amy 2013-03-24 13:36
It really concerns me about the whole Meg and Castiel thing. Doesn't ANYONE remember that their is an innocent girl 'screaming for someone to help her". trapped in her own body as a demon possesses her? Forces her to do things against her will...experien ce torture. And if Meg and Cas did have sex it would be Angel raping an innocent soul as she screamed for help.

I wont go into the thing that Sam/Jared was accussed of in S4.

Sam HAS been sidelined. The demon tablet story takes up exactly three episodes which consist of the three trials. meanwhile the entire cast is fighting over the Angel tablet....excep t for Sam....because he's being sideleined from participating because of his off screen consumtion. But he gets to talk to another charector for 3 whole seconds screen. While Dean has entire scenes with mulrtipke recurring charectors.

As to Sam throwing away Deans ice pack for his shoulder? Wouldn't you? To take that ice pack would be symbolic of Sams fraility And Deans belief that Sam is frail. It would symbolize Sam as less then then Deans much better Supernatural super powered brothers Cas and Benny who dont need things like Ice packs and dont get benched. Sam already knows Dean is discussing him with his best friend not only behind his back but also right in front of him.

Winchester rule #1: Show no weakness. Dean already thinks less of Sam, (Sam had that hammered into him for ten episodes) Sam is not going to give Dean more ammunition against him. I can't imagine what all this is doing to Sams own self confidence. As a Deans brother. Especially as Dean equates Sams love for him with Sams ability to hunt.
# KELLY 2013-03-24 14:07
It really concerns me about the whole Meg and Castiel thing. Doesn't ANYONE remember that their is an innocent girl 'screaming for someone to help her". trapped in her own body as a demon possesses her? Forces her to do things against her will...experience torture. And if Meg and Cas did have sex it would be Angel raping an innocent soul as she screamed for help.I wont go into the thing that Sam/Jared was accussed of in S4.
Amy, I this is one of the many reasons a physical relationship between them would bother me a lot and I was glad that it ended the way it did. And sweetondean mentioned not liking the kiss. I saw no place where she advocated them having sex. She said she liked the scene between Cas and Meg and that she like the character.

I will agree that humans who are possessed are in a weird place on the show. They seem to get forgotten a lot (especially the last few seasons). I have to admit I was bothered by this several times this seasons. By the boys lack of concern for the victims inside the body. I do think that should that be addressed at some point. On long term demon meatsuits, it is easy to see only the character and not the human.

On the other hand, Meg is a long running character and I did feel she needed a suitable send off and this felt like the right one to me. Because she wasn't all sweet and perfect, even within this episode she admitted to killing innocent people. But she ended world weary with a moment of redemption. Not even in a blaze of glory, which would have gone too far for me. So I really thought this was great.

And I think you are making Sam too much of a victim. And pretty emo. Sam has been shown taking care of Dean after fights too. That is what they do -look out for one another. I have to admit this is one of those time when I think -what do you want Dean to do ignore his pain? And I don't think Dean thinks less of Sam because the trials are taking a toll. He's just worried about him. And worried about his weakened state. Like if someone was going though chemo, you would worry about their health, not be made at them for showing weakness.

And the Winchester's #1 rule IMO has always been look out for your brother. Which is what he was doing. And what Sam is doing by taking on the trials.
# sweetondean 2013-03-24 16:04
Hi Amy

I'm not sure why Dean worrying about the health of his brother, worrying that what his brother has taken on is hurting him, would be seen as Dean thinking Sam is frail. Dean's worried. Sam's his brother. Dean loves him. Dean doesn't want him hurting and Dean doesn't want him dying. Shouldn't he be concerned for Sam? Isn't that what love and family is about?

I've never seen Sam as weak or lacking confidence. With everything that he's been through, look at how strong he is. Most people would have up and crawled away by now, but not Sam. He dusts himself off and meets the next challenge. He remains empathetic and caring. I see him as an incredibly strong and resilient individual.

Rule number one of this show is take care of your brother, it has been since the Pilot. That's what Dean's trying to do now. That's what both of them have always done for each other. This show is and will always be about that and about them.

I never said anything or meant to imply anything about Meg and Cass having any kind of sex! Ever! The kiss squicked me out! I was talking about ME and Misha, pizza and furniture moving...just sayin'. ;-) ;-) :-*
# Amy 2013-03-24 22:44

First I wanted to say...adn I should have said this first off. I really enjoy your reviews and your positivity tends to poke holes in my black hole of pessimisim.

I need to ask a question and I'd likwe to hear what you think and if any one else has any thoughts. Carver said this season was about perception. Well, the perception that Dean left Cas behind in purgatory was cleared upo ASAP within a few episodes. Any perceptions about Cas' loyalty was cleared up PDQ and showed he was being tortured and mind controlled. Heck even perceptions about Benny are clesred up quiskly to show he really is a sparkly vampire just trying to get by.

So why.....why IF there is more to Sams story are the writers moving glacierlly slow in a reveal? Why are negative perceptions allowed to fester? Why can't - if there is more to the story - cant they let the audience know but keep the charectotrs in the dark?

I want to beleive like some others that there are clues that there is more to Sams story...that Carver isn't/hasn't thrown Sam under the bus Julia Roberts said in Pretty Woman "Its easier to beleive the bad things."

Cause iif i let myself beleive and nothing happens doesn't hurt as much.

Or maybe Dean said it best In BUABS when Jo askjed him if Demons always lie. "Sometimes they tell the truth because it will hurt more."

And I geuss thats where I am with the whole Dean seeing Sam as frail and more something he has to fix then a brother. He told Sam Benny was more a brother to him then Sam ever was. Did Dean say that because the truth hurts more then a lie? Does he beleive Benny is a better brother in part becasue Benny (and Castiel) is a supernatural creature and thus Dean doesn't feel like he always has to protect/save them...they can handle themselves? Or maybe its what Carver is thinking and why he perfers Dean adn Cas' relationship over Dean adn Sam...and why he wont give Sam a friendship outside of Dean.

I know I'm all over the place and honestly the first half of teh season has really done a number on me. Stupid I know; i certainly feel stupid. And somehwre out of all this is my desperate need for Sam to have someone else in his life; someone HE can talk to. Someone who brings out another side to Sam. For me, seeing Sam with a REAL friend will allow show to show differnt sides of Sam. Just like we see differnt sides of Dean with Cas or Benny or Bobby or Charlie.

Problem is...the only time Sam has friends is when he is living normal. If he had a friend maybe he wouldn't wish for n0rmal so bad. he needs that human connection without all the baggage that Dean has. Just like Dean has with Cas or benny or Bobby or anyone else he bonds with.
# sweetondean 2013-03-25 04:16
It's not stupid at all. We're all deeply connected to this show and the characters.

I too hope that Sam's story is further nutted out for us, I want to know more - but I also keep reminding myself this show isn't going anywhere, we've got time and I can wait if the story keeps me involved - which it has.

I have never for one single teeniest tiniest smallest amount of time been on board with Dean thinking anyone is a better brother than Sam, regardless of what was said in anger and under the Spectres influence.

For me, Sam is Dean's brother and is now and will always be his prioirity. They fight, they get mad at each other, they're siblings, that's what happens, but there is always love and there has never been a moment of doubt in my mind that Dean loves Sam more than anyone or anything.

I know I see the show very differently from a lot of people who comment here. Even though my connection is ridiculously deep and I spend hours and hours writing about the show and discussing the show, I find that story elements that seem to really get people impassioned, don't affect me like that. I think it's because I'm ok with letting the story unfold and I'll deal with any disappointments once we get to the end of the season. I often find, the things I thought that were going to bug the crap out of me end up not doing so! Or the things I thought I was cool with, wind up bugging the crap out of me! Go figure!

It's one of my favourite things, the differing views on this show and on the characters and I love reading them and thinking about them and sometimes, taking them onboard aloneside my own views.

I'm pretty sure I probably haven't answered your question!!! But whatever, never feel stupid for feeling angry or confused about a character you love. :-)
# st50 2013-03-25 07:55

For me, Sam is Dean's brother and is now and will always be his prioirity. They fight, they get mad at each other, they're siblings, that's what happens, but there is always love and there has never been a moment of doubt in my mind that Dean loves Sam more than anyone or anything.
And vice versa.
Just wanted to repeat this paragraph and hold on tight.
Thanks, sweetondean!
# Bevie 2013-03-24 14:42
Ah, sweetondean, you continually see episodes as I also see them, at least, 99% of the time. :D

Haven't read any posts yet, but just want to say I agree with you about the Meg and Cas relationship, and am really really sorry that Meg was killed off. (if she really was, hoping very much not!) She was viciously nasty to begin with, but so very interesting and she has kept my interest during all of the 8 seasons and her two meatsuits. Will miss her snark indeed. :sad:

Also agree about the theme of love and family. Loved the connection to the Swan Song ending, with Cas's love for Dean overcoming Naomi's programming. Those two guys blow me away with their interactions and Misha and Jensen hit the mark every time! They are awesome to watch!

Most of the complaints I've read have been antipathy towards the Meg and Cas connection and the reminder of Swan Song in the Cas and Dean encounter. I don't feel that way in the least and found it all just perfectly written and fueled my empathic emotions enough to bring the tears.

Am loving the brothers relationship so much this season as it hasn't been this close since the season 3 finale! I've missed that closeness and kept hoping to get it back, so now that it is back, I'm hoping it stays! Also, am hoping whatever is going on with Sam is not going to be anything to change their relationship again. He's had enough, with Ruby, no soul and endless Lucifernations. Please no more life threatening stuff outside of the regular dangers hunters have to live with.

Thanks again, you never fail to cheer me up with your reviews. :-)
# E 2013-03-24 18:24
Nice wrap-up Sweetondean. I tend to agree with your take on the episodes and I really look forward to your spoiler lite previews and your recaps! I must agree with all of what has been written above; I am not sure how some people could look on Dean's concern for his little brother as a negative? It's kind of like the people who find fault with Sam's sacrifice in Swan Song.... I just don't get it. Isn't the love between the boys, their connection and concern for one another what its all about? I am SO glad to see Dean's concern for Sam and Sam's for Dean back again, because in recent years it seems to have gone missing a bit. Especially in season 7.. the brothers were more like colleagues than brothers; there was very little teasing and warmth between them and really, not that much palpable concern being shown either. I for one, am very, very happy to have this aspect back.
# KELLY 2013-03-24 18:39
E,completely agree per usual. I absolutely loved the renewed intense concern Dean is showing for Sam this season (and vice versa). It's not that Dean wasn't caring last season, but, I don't know, Dean was just a little off after HCW. Just as Sam felt off the first half of this season to me. It does make me a little nervous that last season there wasn't any payoff for Dean apathy really. But I still going the full on optimistic route that there is a payoff for Sam's behavior.
# E 2013-03-24 19:24
Yeah, I have to agree with you on that one... Dean's 'story', his depression arc or what ever that was in season 7 didn't really lead to anything and was basically a major downer that went nowhere.. That's why the purgatory story was so great; it actually rounded out that dismal depression arc and resolved it in the most satisfying way. That's one of the reasons that I CAN'T believe that the writers have left Sam out to dry this season; not the guy who wrapped up so many of the dangling plot threads of season 7 and made sense of them.... no, I am still hoping for a payoff for Sam and his currently inexplicable storyline because I feel that the writers are more than capable of doing so, and Sam as character deserves it. During the Kripke years a fan might have to wait 1, 2 even 4 years for a particular plot point to pay off; Mary's "I'm sorry," to Sam in Home, the Croatoan virus and the fruition of Dean's deal come to mind as examples. So, here's me hoping there's more to come. And you know what? I've said that if I'm wrong about this that I'll gladly eat my humble pie, but I've changed my mind. If I am wrong about this and Sam's story is the lame story that we've been seeing all season, then I am going to complain. Bitch and moan and complain until they do something about it. So there ya go. :P
# KELLY 2013-03-24 19:40
ME TOO! That's what I kept saying! I mean he fixed the 2 of my biggest problems for LAST seasons. So I have to believe that this stuff with Sam is all part of a bigger picture.

I'll be with you on all the bitching and moaning. They'll hear me all the way from KC my whining will be so loud :D
# sweetondean 2013-03-25 04:32
Yes to all of this. I keep forgetting that back in the day, things took a while to resolve for this show - we had long ongoing arcs that crossed seasons. Season 6 and 7 were practically stand alone! So, here we are in 8 with a new person at the helm, 9 in front of us and the Js signed through to 10...I keep whispering to myself, patience grasshopper, all will be revealed (fingers crossed) :D
Pragmatic Dreamer
# Pragmatic Dreamer 2013-03-24 22:19
Thanks for the great review. I too loved Goodbye Stranger. All the feels. All the pretty. All the damaging and healing the pretty. What I appreciated most though was that it was such a good story, and so well-told.

There were shout-outs to previous seasons – hello continuity! You go missing sometimes! There was a killer (pun accidental but now intentional) beginning which got us emotionally invested right at the start. There was concern and compassion and honesty!!!! between Sam and Dean, which was quite refreshing.

I like this NaomiFree!Cas. He has some of the gravitas of the Cas we first met, but as you point out he is now a Cas who has been informed and tempered and changed by his time with the Winchesters. He wasn’t played for comic relief, or to get the brothers out of a bad situation. His actions made sense and pushed the plot forward. It was great.

And I have always enjoyed Meg as a story engine, as a catalyst. She makes things happen. Often bad things, but usually interesting things. I will miss that about her. I will also miss her snark. She's like Crowley and Zachariah. You don't cheer for them, but boy! are they fun to watch!

I’ve got an observation and a wee quibble. I’ll quibble first. I really don’t like the Sam-is-damaged- beyond-what-I-c an-repair-at-a- subatomic-level storyline. I have a very large capacity for “willing suspension of disbelief”. I can believe that the Winchesters live, die, and come back to life, only to die again, and come back to life again. I can accept that, and believe in it, because it is what people do. Live and then die. The resurrection is the Supernatural element of the show, and I can get behind that too. But, in order for me to fully appreciate the burdens they bear, the sacrifices they make, and the heroics they undertake, I have to believe that the Winchesters are basically like the rest of us – except for the super-hot looks. They bleed. They get hungover. They cry. What I really don’t like is when the writers start making them superhuman.

I liked Soulless Sam. I did not like the Sam who could still cope after 100+years of psychological torture. No one could do that. No human anyway. Dean's 40 years in Hell, and breaking after 30 were still in the bounds of believable. There are people who are kept in solitary confinement that long, or as political prisoners. My problem is that if a character can deal with that super-human amount of trauma, it makes him less relatable. Part of the magic of Supernatural, at least for me, is that the two main characters are so very, very human, complete with our strengths and our weaknesses.

I had the same issue with the Leviathan and the turducken created to modify our DNA after just one sandwich. Dean ate one so now his DNA is changed? DNA is the building block of life, all life. You can't just mess with it willy-nilly, even if you are the creature from the Black Lagoon of Purgatory. There are real things that mess with our DNA - certain chemicals and radiation. But for me, if the bad guys are messing with the heroes DNA, it strains my credulity. It's like catching a glimpse of the Wizard of Oz behind the curtain.

Which leads me to Sam who is changing on a subatomic, electro-magneti c level. Why can't he just be sick because the trials are such a,trial? Why can't it be the strain of the trials is hurting his immune system, or damaging him on a cellular level (that's where frostbite attacks.. right at the cell level). That is totally believable to me, and very human. To me it's more indicative of our relative weakness to God's strength. But doing the subatomic thing, just takes me out of the moment. I can buy all that kind of stuff on the sci-fi things I watch. But for some reason I have difficulty with them on Supernatural

However now, that I've ranted about all that, I'm probably being too literal, and factual and scientific. And I will shut up about it. As you said, "We now return you to regularly scheduled programming".

Now, on to my observation. I found it very interesting that at one point Naomi asked "Do you know what this tablet could do FOR heaven?" For is generally beneficial. To is detrimental. Is it possible that this Angel tablet isn't about closing the Gates of Heaven? Maybe it's about making Heaven stronger. Perhaps its a multi-vitamin for the depleted Heavenly Host? Or maybe it's a blueprint about Free Will for Angels, and that's why angels like Naomi are concerned. It would threaten their power base.

Maybe Cas is riding the bus so he can hide in plain sight. Or perhaps the tablet has a cloaking device? (I think I'm mixing up my genres again.)

One other observation.. Cas broke free of Naomi when he touched the tablet, but also just after she told him to let his vessel do what it knew to be right. Well, Jimmy knew the value of love and family and friendship. He died/sacrificed himself for his daughter after all. So Castiels' vessel did know the right thing to do, and perhaps that helped Castiel do the right thing too.

Sorry to be so long.

Pragmatic Dreamer
# sweetondean 2013-03-25 04:04
Your comments are never too long Pragmatic Dreamer!

I didn't pick the "for" up in what Naomi says, you're right, that makes it far more interesting.

I also thought it was interesting that Jimmy got a mention - or Cass' vessel. Saying his vessel knows what to do was odd to me. Surely Cass in still in control of his vessel - so that was peculiar. It was love, family and friendship that broke her control though, where ever it came from.

Thanks for commenting!
# LAF 2013-03-24 23:02
I just wish the plot drove the emotion in the show, like in the past. Now, the emo reaction is in the driver seat, and plot is manipulated to cause the effect they want. The story stopped being organic long ago.

Even so, Jensen could act his way out of death itself. I was so pathetically impressed.
# Sylvie 2013-03-25 12:55
Great review. I too loved this episode. The opening scene had me screaming WTF??? I knew Dean wasn't dead for real, but still seeing him like that in so many duplicates no less, was pretty darn shocking. :eek:

I'm with you about Meg. I think she's truly dead, and I will miss her. Always loved her snarky remarks, and man, did she hate Crowley, maybe even more than the Winchesters, if that's possible.

It drew John back from Azazel, it drew Sam back from Lucifer, it drew Bobby back from possession and now it drew Cass back from Naomi.
It's amazing what Dean's love for his family (whether they be blood or not) can do. :cry: That scene was so reminiscent of the beat down he got from Samifer in "Swan Song", it was eery.

Can't believe there are only 6 episodes left. :sad:
# Annaliese 2013-03-26 08:27
Fantastic recap sweetondean - you never disappoint and I love you for that!

One of the best things about this episode? The conversations it has provoked. This to me, is evidence of a VERY good episode. We're not all on the ground too busy sobbing to console one another, we're not all jumping up and down in anticipation but instead we're discussing every fine point of the episode. And we still are days after it has aired. Fantastic!
Far Away Eyes
# Far Away Eyes 2013-03-26 19:33
Amy, I am tickled pink that I got mentioned in your very lovely review.

As usual, we seem to be largely on the same wave length. I won't get all thinky thoughty here, considering that I did all of that in my review.

I screamed NO about Meg, too. Then quickly tried to think of ways she isn't dead. Love her character for many reasons. She's grown and changed and become something more than just an evil demon.

I will be curious to see just where they go with Cass and the Angel Tablet. The fact that an angel is in possession of it is a huge deal.

And Goodbye Stranger was the perfect title and song of this episode. As soon as I heard it's title and heard that Robbie Thompson was writing it and that he loved Supertramp, I was very excited. It was such a great moment for the show.

And yes to Sam and Dean teasing. I loved Sam teasing Dean over the porn at the beginning, too. It was all in good fun, fond, and just carefree. They're connecting in ways they haven't in years---and yet I feel like Sam and Dean are way more mature here. It seems to be like an aged wine, better for its age.

Can't wait to see what you say about the next episode!

Far Away Eyes