Episodes like “Goodbye Stranger” can be so damned frustrating.  Oh, don’t get me wrong, it was a stellar episode, one of the best of the season, but it left me screaming for more.  I want to know what happens next and I want to know now!  (Commence major foot stomping and object throwing at this time). 

Hee, sounds like writer Robbie Thompson did his job.  As a matter of fact, Robbie Thompson has proved once and for all that he can do more that the novelty episodes.  He’s truly in the upper echelon of the writing team, behind a little old someone we like to refer as “The Edlund.”  (Yes, that’s a compliment.)  

I do have to admit, I’ve been struggling with verbal eloquence this week, trying to put into clever words just how awesome “Goodbye Stranger” is as an episode.  There are so many ways I could go with this review, because so much was packed into one hour.  Since I’ve read Sofia’s, Elle’s and sweetondean’s reviews (being the editor and all), I’ve decided to take a different approach.  I’m going to dedicate the bulk of my review to a meta analysis on character interactions and dynamics.  You know, all the little hidden things that we may or may not of overlooked because we were too focused on the kick ass story. 

Sam and Meg

Sam and Meg have a long and very weird history.  It was Sam that crossed paths with her first in “Scarecrow.”  As Meg so wonderfully brought up in their conversation (score one for continuity!) she did possess Sam for a week, so she knows his deepest desires.  What wasn’t mentioned was all the time they spent together in the bus station when they first met.  They’ve had a lot of hours together.  When you get to know a person like that, it’s hard not to want to talk personal stuff, but being a nosy demon helps too.  “How am I not team Sam?”  She has a point there!  

The reality is demons know how to push Sam’s buttons, especially when he’s most vulnerable.  There’s a history with that (Ruby anyone?).  The fact that Sam opened up to Meg and talked about his year with Amelia (without ever saying her name) is very fascinating, as well as completely in character.  Sam only tends to talk about his problems when he’s the most scared and wants to keep it from Dean, but everything is tearing him apart inside.  I still fondly remember Sam’s open heart to heart with Chuck in “Monster at The End of This Book.”  It was that talk that truly showed us how scared he was about using his powers and his hunt for Lilith.  The same happened here with Meg.  She like Chuck hit all the vulnerable spots.    

Meg’s intimate knowledge of Sam isn’t all bad though, for she truly sees the real man within.  She sees the parts of Sam that Dean has never understood, and probably never will.  She knew he wasn’t okay with dying over whatever’s afflicting him.  I do love how she especially understood Sam’s year, and found his most out of character act to be stopping for the dog he hit, not leaving the life.  I smile over these two even having this conversation, because they have come such a long way since Meg tied Sam up to a post and tried to molest him in “Shadow.”  They’ve both been through so much.  Meg was even offended that Sam and Dean didn’t look for her, even once, despite all she did for the team.  As Meg said, “Cut me do I not bleed?”  Fine, she probably started the cutting first, but that’s just a hidden twist to her real point. 

I think Sam and Meg’s conversation satisfied me once and for all on this whole debate over why Sam didn’t look for Dean.  Not that I didn’t buy it to begin with, but hearing Sam defend his actions again needed to be revisited, just in case there were those that didn’t get it the first time.  Sure, on the surface, Sam left everything behind because of a girl.  But as Meg pointed out, or perhaps reminded us, it was that never ending buried desire to have a normal life that drove him to do what he did.  To have a life away from things like her.  

As Sam tried to explain to Dean in “We Need To Talk About Kevin,” there are always going to be things out there.  It can be another hunter’s problem.  They can only take so much.  Think about it further.  Sam at that point was truly lost.  He was fresh off his recent extreme psychological torture from Lucifer that drove him to the nut house, and was affected in ways no one could ever understand.  I’d like to think he believed he was given another chance, especially when he told Castiel in “Reading is Fundamental” he thought he was done for.  If he met Amelia shortly after Dean’s disappearance, of course he’d take advantage of that one thing in his life that he wanted the most, but had always eluded him.  Dean would have wanted it that way.  

Meg did ask Sam how he met his “unicorn.”  In thought circles, finding your unicorn is someone in your life who represents tension between desire and impossibility  (http://thoughtcatalog.com/2012/who-is-your-unicorn/).  That brings me to...

Meg and Castiel

I think Meg strangely understood Sam’s desire because in a twisted way it’s her’s as well.  Her unicorn is none other than the trenchcoated angel.  

In her long, flirty conversation with Castiel, Meg longed for better, simpler times, when a demon could be a demon.  That’s a normal life for her.  Circumstances of late have put her on the good guys side, something that didn’t exactly sit well with her.  I’ve always been fascinated by Castiel and Meg’s attraction to each other, and this tender moment between the two, without going too far, was the ideal conclusion to their story together.  Alas, it could never be, but the idea was certainly fun.  What demon wouldn’t want to “move furniture” with a hot angel?  What viewer wouldn’t want to see that?   

I’m glad that the Meg story was given a rightful conclusion.  After all, she’s the only recurring character from season one left, so that’s some history.  She earned redemption, even if her motivation in helping Sam, Dean, and her angel unicorn was to screw over Crowley.  If she had lived, eventually her loyalties would have fallen back to self preservation.  She was after all, a demon.  

As for Castiel, his feelings for Meg were clear, even if he didn’t truly understand them.  I loved when he looked at Naomi with near panic over the idea of killing Meg.  He clearly didn’t want to do it, and that look told us how truly fond he is of her.  It’s these subtle undertones and facial expressions that tell so much more story than just words.  This is the “show, don’t tell” aspect of storytelling that’s been missing in a lot of the scripts of the last few seasons.  Lucky for Cass Naomi did see the value in keeping Meg alive, so he didn’t have to face that burden.  I would have been extremely sad if Cass had been the one that killed her.  

Dean and Castiel 

Cass did however have to kill Dean.  That was Naomi’s main purpose of this mission, as well as retrieving the angel tablet.  Programming Castiel to remove his feelings for Dean was priority one, leading to one of the best damn openings this show has had in a very long time.  I’m not sure I understand yet why it was just Dean that had to die, unless she figured he’d have no problem killing Sam if he tried to get in the way.  

sweetondean touched on this so perfectly in her review, but Naomi didn’t understand Castiel.  It’s been the same problem that’s plagued all the angels, they don’t understand humanity.  Castiel has been touched by humanity primarily through his relationship with Dean - and a lesser extent Sam and Bobby, so he can’t ever go back to his pure angel ways.  As long as the other angels don’t see that, they’re up for a big failure.  Castiel can’t even die!  He has that resurrection curse that won’t go away.   

Dean can’t find it in himself to give up on Castiel, despite all that’s happened, just like he can’t ever give up on Sam.  He feels responsible for him.  He doesn’t trust him because of past indiscretions but he needs him and believes in him.  It’s that core faith that has gotten Dean through everything so far (which is why I find the comment that he only trusts himself to be bogus).    

Dean’s faith and unwavering support in Sam and Castiel, two very flawed beings thrust unwillingly into universe altering roles, is the true core of this show and the one constant that holds everything together.  Without Dean, these beings of destiny would have crumbled long ago, and the earth along with it.  His pleas don’t just happen for drama’s sake (although it makes for very good drama).  They happen as the reminder that without needing and believing in one another, they’re all as good as dead.  That’s a huge power.  It’s also some awesome continuity.  Yes, I noticed the parallels between Dean’s beating from Castiel and in “Swan Song” at the hands of Samifer.  There’s no other way for it to play out.  

Part of me thinks that Castiel ran with the tablet to protect Dean.  He has to have Dean’s welfare in mind because he didn’t kill him as ordered, but he knows that Dean’s plan to take the tablet to the prophet isn’t the right one either.  Who knows what was going through his mind on that bus, but I got the impression that he believes he’s doing the right thing, even if he had to leave Dean behind. 

Sam and Dean

By getting Sam to admit the truth to him, Dean was getting Sam to admit the truth to himself.  Poor Dean though, he’d had it with all the deception by then, not just from Sam but Castiel.  He just didn’t want the truth at this point, he craved it.  Truth is the one thing he needs the most.  It help keeps him centered and focused, knowing what is real and what isn’t.  He can deal with situations better when he knows what they’re facing. 

Sam lies to himself more than anyone.  He always has.  The trouble is, when he keeps stuff from Dean, it’s not because he truly wants to deceive his brother.  It’s just by telling Dean about his woes, he’s admitting to himself that he has a problem he can’t handle.  It’s hard to be vulnerable like that in front of the guy that relies on your strength to get through the day.  Like all younger siblings, he doesn’t want to let big brother down.  It’s the classic case of denial, close your eyes and maybe it’ll go away.  

When Dean keeps secrets, his methods are a bit different.  He’s doing it to protect, but it eats him up inside.  He holds onto it in until the truth comes out at the wrong time.  He knew something was up with Sam, but it wasn’t until he found the blood stained napkin in the trash that he realized how bad.  He didn’t say anything though until he had to, which happened to be right in front of Castiel and Meg.  Sure that made Sam angry, but even he knows what pushed the outburst.  Keeping Dean in the dark never works out well, no matter what the reason.   

I’ve heard the open outcries of “Why can’t Sam be completely honest with Dean?”  It’s just not that simple.  Both brothers have a hard time being completely open with one another.  It’s not that they don’t share, but they’ve never been able to share their deepest, darkest hopes and dreams.  Probably because it’s corny, and each one knows the other wouldn’t understand it.  Remember Dean in “Dream A Little Dream For Me” when Sam was there to see his dream about Lisa?  How he was mortified that Sam saw that?   As much as Sam and Dean care for each other, and love one another, they aren’t a married couple.  They have separate paths and desires, and they’re together because they have no one else in this world.  Staying focused on the job and watching each other’s backs is what helps them stay alive.      

Crowley and Naomi

Kind of hard to ignore these two, even if their reunion was very brief.  So, these two have a history huh?  Not shocking, although I was surprised it went back as far as it did.  I’m buying into this theory (Ardeospina is so good at these) that Crowley is an angel, but I say he once was one and fell.  That’s how the first demons really got started.  Naomi didn’t buy his act and quickly left.  I’m hoping if anything comes out of this, it’s that Crowley reveals to Sam and Dean what he thinks is Naomi’s real purpose is, and that perhaps he’s the lesser of two evils.  I do so believe that statement to be true.  

I tried to think through the whole “How can Crowley be Fergus McLeod?” argument, but honestly, it made my brain hurt (as does this entire analysis).  I can come up with theories as to how that can work and how it can’t, but let’s just say I’m not ready to shout “continuity error!”  I’m sure there’s a good explanation for that, but they’re not ready to drop that bomb yet.  If I’m wrong, well, it’s another thing for fans to bitch about.  

Processing the whole thing

So, after all that thinky stuff, where does the latest events leave Sam, Dean and Castiel?  As for Cass, it’s good to know that greyhound busses all come with angel masking properties.  Think about it, the only other time he was hidden from angels was Purgatory.  Greyhound bus/Purgatory.  Hmm, I think they got that right.  

As for Sam and Dean, I’m glad that they’re both on the same page, but I am getting a bit tired of the hand wringing about the trials.  Sam’s been coughing up blood for three episodes now.  I’m glad that at least this week they showed some issues with weakness during a fight, but they’re certainly dragging this out, aren’t they?  Next week looks like filler, so we’ll have to wait a small bit longer.  But none of that reflects on the great episode that came this week, so I’ll just save that nitpick for something important, like next week.  

Thank you Mr. Thompson, I’m giving a big A for you.  A lot can happen in six episodes, so we fans need to relax as see what comes of it.  We’ll have a nice long summer hellatus to analyze the finer points.  
 
 

Comments  

KELLY
# KELLY 2013-03-24 17:14
I give this one an A as well. I loved your analysis of Sam and Dean's motivations when keeping stuff from each other. I think it's spot on.

I also think you're right about Crowley new past. I'll bet they have accounted for it and it just hasn't been explained yet. If if was one line I could my easily believe continuity error. But WaB was all about Crowley origins and then it was mentioned in another episode too. So I don't see them making that big of a mistake.

And I think you and sweetondean are right about Naomi not understanding Castiel because has been touched so greatly by humanity.

I really like the talk between Sam and Meg. But I never really had any problems with him quitting hunting. None. So I didn't ever really need further explanations for that. HOWEVER I am still under the, perhaps misguided, belief that something more is going on with Sam, because I do need to know why he didn't look for Dean.
nappi815
# nappi815 2013-03-24 17:34
Quote:
I give this one an A as well. I loved your analysis of Sam and Dean's motivations when keeping stuff from each other. I think it's spot on.

I also think you're right about Crowley new past. I'll bet they have accounted for it and it just hasn't been explained yet. If if was one line I could my easily believe continuity error. But WaB was all about Crowley origins and then it was mentioned in another episode too. So I don't see them making that big of a mistake.

And I think you and sweetondean are right about Naomi not understanding Castiel because has been touched so greatly by humanity.

I really like the talk between Sam and Meg. But I never really had any problems with him quitting hunting. None. So I didn't ever really need further explanations for that. HOWEVER I am still under the, perhaps misguided, belief that something more is going on with Sam, because I do need to know why he didn't look for Dean.
i think i'm in total agreement with you kelly.... ;-)

great review alice....always a pleasure read.
njspnfan
# njspnfan 2013-03-25 11:17
Quote:
I give this one an A as well. I loved your analysis of Sam and Dean's motivations when keeping stuff from each other. I think it's spot on.

I also think you're right about Crowley new past. I'll bet they have accounted for it and it just hasn't been explained yet. If if was one line I could my easily believe continuity error. But WaB was all about Crowley origins and then it was mentioned in another episode too. So I don't see them making that big of a mistake.

And I think you and sweetondean are right about Naomi not understanding Castiel because has been touched so greatly by humanity.

I really like the talk between Sam and Meg. But I never really had any problems with him quitting hunting. None. So I didn't ever really need further explanations for that. HOWEVER I am still under the, perhaps misguided, belief that something more is going on with Sam, because I do need to know why he didn't look for Dean.
Kelly - I'm in total agreement with you on this, too.

Alice - excellent meta analysis of the character interactions; just about all of your colleagues did a review this week so it was nice to get a different spin on things.
Clarice 0909
# Clarice 0909 2013-03-24 17:31
Congrats Alice, as usual you nailed. ;-)

I agree 100% with what you wrote, and even if I tried, I wouldn't have expressed myself as eloquently as you do, so why bother trying LOL..... :lol:

I have already written this and I'm doing it again, so far this season hasn't let me down, quite the oposite, and after two seasons of not so good episodes, I'm just having a ball with this one, thank you very much.

And as we agreed - no season was perfect, all of them had its ups and downs. So no complains here.

Take care and take a pill for your headache after writing such a great review...

Cla ; }
dashnjo
# dashnjo 2013-03-24 17:37
Thanks Alice! Great review! I feel the same way about Meg ... she's definitely not someone to completely trust but I've grown to like her since Caged Heat in season 6 so it's sad to see her go. I have kind of wondered what she would have done if Crowley had actually been killed but not something to guess about anymore ... although I think I may need to,use the "moving the furniture" line with my hubbie!

I do have a theory about the angel tablet that I've wondered about since it was first revealed in A Little Slice of Kevin that there were more tablets out there. What if its to not supposed to lock the gates of Heaven but serve as sort of a hard reset? Naomi most likely doesn't really know what it says but is assuming it will do the same thing to angels that it would to demons, why would God give anyone instructions on how to lock up angels and Heaven and now that Cas just touching it caused his setting to be reset (really not a fan of the way it's being referred to because it seems so robotic but what are you gonna do?) it, in a way, validated my original theory. It would make a bit of sense that God might want there to instructions out there to restore Heaven and the angels in case Lucifer wins the Apocolypse or in the unlikely event that an angel whose brain is being scrambled by Leviathans trashes the place and kills a bunch of angels fighting with Rafael. You know, in case of emergency, break the glass.

Maybe Cas doesn't really know what it can do yet because he can't read it either but I'm sure what he's said about wanting to fix Heaven (Hunteri heroici) wasn't coming from Naomi because she wasn't exerting as much control over him at that point. I've never thought ALL the angels were horrible, just the ones in charge that we met ... Zackariah, Rafael, Naomi, Michael. If Dean has the tablet it will surely put him in danger as Naomi would have no problem taking him out herself!
E
# E 2013-03-24 19:41
dashnjo.. I like this theory. Cas has said repeatedly that he needs/wants to atone for his actions against heaven, and maybe now that he has the tablet he will be able to do that. Maybe he will have to fight Naomi and Crowley AND the Winchesters to do it, but that the Winchesters will help him in the end? That would be pretty awesome actually.
KELLY
# KELLY 2013-03-24 20:07
I really like it too. I was thinking maybe it said something like when you close hell you close Heaven too and that is why he felt he had to protect it from Dean. Feeling Dean feels so strongly about closing Hell, he'd do it regardless. But that doesn't really make sense because Cas can't read it. I like your theory better.

I never thought all angels were bad either. Most were just soldier doing what they were told, without knowledge of the full plan, IMO. So I would like it if Castiel was able to fix part of what he did.
dashnjo
# dashnjo 2013-03-24 23:09
Hey, so just wanted to make sure you know that I appreciated what you said about my "swan song" thing on the other discussion thread the other day ... It gets hard sometimes but you never contributed to my frustration and it helped ... obviously! ;)
KELLY
# KELLY 2013-03-24 23:45
I'm so happy to hear that. I know I can get off on tangents, but I wouldn't want to lessen anyone's enjoyment of the show. It's funny but I've heard several people say they need to take breaks sometimes (including me). I just think it speaks to the quality of the show that reading negative comments about characters you love can really hurt-just like they are family. For all its rating, I'll bet the fans of NCIS aren't that -uh- well we'll go with impassioned. :D
dashnjo
# dashnjo 2013-03-25 17:05
LOL, I doubt it! Supernatural is the only show I really even comment on like this ... not even Doctor Who and I've loved that show most of my life! I'm sure I would have with Buffy/Angel if I hadn't started watching it until after it was already over ... I fought that show forever because the movie was SO horrible and then one of my friends dropped off his entire collections VHS tapes and said "watch them"! He was right ... actually is the one that got me into this as well!
LEAH
# LEAH 2013-03-25 00:32
It is nice to take a breather sometimes. Remind myself to enjoy the show and to enjoy coming here to share my love for , and sometimes frustration with, my favorite show.
dashnjo
# dashnjo 2013-03-25 17:07
So very true! ;)
Sylvie
# Sylvie 2013-03-25 14:59
Quoting dashnjo:
Quote:
Maybe Cas doesn't really know what it can do yet because he can't read it either but I'm sure what he's said about wanting to fix Heaven (Hunteri heroici) wasn't coming from Naomi because she wasn't exerting as much control over him at that point. I've never thought ALL the angels were horrible, just the ones in charge that we met ... Zackariah, Rafael, Naomi, Michael. If Dean has the tablet it will surely put him in danger as Naomi would have no problem taking him out herself!
I really like that idea. I thought maybe it could have something to do with Dean still being Michael's vessel, but your idea is way better. :-)
Bamboo24
# Bamboo24 2013-03-24 18:08
Quote:
Dean’s faith and unwavering support in Sam and Castiel, two very flawed beings thrust unwillingly into universe altering roles, is the true core of this show and the one constant that holds everything together. Without Dean, these beings of destiny would have crumbled long ago, and the earth along with it. His pleas don’t just happen for drama’s sake (although it makes for very good drama). They happen as the reminder that without needing and believing in one another, they’re all as good as dead. That’s a huge power. It’s also some awesome continuity. Yes, I noticed the parallels between Dean’s beating from Castiel and in “Swan Song” at the hands of Samifer. There’s no other way for it to play out.
SO true. Love it. Great review. :)
Mel
# Mel 2013-03-24 18:39
Here is my take on the why of Sam not looking for Dean:
Where?
If he thought Dean was in Heaven he'd have left him there to be in peace.
If he thought Dean was in Hell again then how was he supposed to get him out. Took an angel last time. He didn't know where Cas was either. Other option, open a hell gate and walk on in? Not likely.
If he had thought about the Leviathans linking up to Purgatory how was he supposed to get there? Death had to magic up an eclipse last time. And, clearly he didn't think about Purgatory given his surprised response when Dean tells him that was where he had been.
I didn't necessarily like it that Sam didn't look for Dean, but, given his options, I can understand it.
Alice
# Alice 2013-03-25 11:23
Quote:
I didn't necessarily like it that Sam didn't look for Dean, but, given his options, I can understand it.
Yes! This! It's nice to see someone give this perspective on the whole thing, because I honestly think that's the way a lot of fans (including myself) feel.

Man, I honestly wish the issue would die. A creative decision was made and it was done in episode 1. We're 17 episodes in. I'd like to enjoy the rest of my season now. So glad you're seeing it this way.
lala2
# lala2 2013-03-25 11:48
Well, Alice, it was a controversial choice that many, including the actor, didn't agree with. Many feel a proper explanation as to why Sam didn't search for Dean hasn't been given. Many are still waiting for a reason.

I've stopped waiting for a reason b/c I don't feel there is one. Carver experimented w/Sam and failed miserably. As a result, he's fundamentally changed Sam and the dynamic btw the brothers. I can largely ignore what he's done b/c it so clearly OOC in my eyes, but others can't. They want an explanation.

The fact that Jared, Carver, and others associated w/the show are still fielding questions about this decision says that Carver didn't achieve whatever he set out to do, and that the story, itself, was largely a failure.
Alice
# Alice 2013-03-25 12:01
Oh come on, actors fielding questions about creative decisions has been going on for years! I've been to cons every year since season four. Back then they wouldn't shut up about Ruby. In season five it was Dean's role in Swan Song. In season six it was the whole Amy mess and the soullessness. Last year it was the lack of brotherly bond. Fans always complain about something, and the actors choose to agree or disagree. However, they aren't calling the shots.

Sorry for my general crankiness on the topic of actor feedback, but what you're describing has only been happening in the entire history of television.

As for dissatisfaction among fans with creative choices, point understood. However, might I say, that repeating your outrage online isn't going to change Carver's mind. You're still allowed to vent here, but at some point there's going to be very bitter disappointment (if it hasn't already happened).

Perhaps the question is, what happens if fans don't get that explanation? How much is that going to ruin your enjoyment of the show? If it ruins it completely, will suddenly getting an explanation make things all perfect and better? You see, I'm thinking not.

There's always going be something to piss off fans. You should go read the Destiel boards. My, my, they're practically suicidal. At some point, you gotta deal with what you're given, or this whole thing drives you insane.
lala2
# lala2 2013-03-25 12:27
You asked why people weren't moving on and why the topic wasn't "dying." I simply responded that it was a controversial decision that many fans didn't, and still don't, understand. That's why it hasn't died.

I pointed out that people are still asking about this decision to highlight that for many people the issue isn't resolved. That's all. If it were a resolved issue, if a clear and firm explanation had been given as to why Sam didn't look for Dean, then there would probably be less questions seeking an explanation. We would have been given one. People could certainly complain about the reasoning, but they couldn't say they didn't know why. Many (myself included) still don't know why Sam reached the conclusions he did or why he made certain choices.

As far as what I'll do - I gave up any hope of getting a decent explanation for Sam's OOC behavior a long time ago. Carver clearly doesn't feel compelled to write an explanation/sto ry for Sam re: this. Right now, I feel Sam is being written in character, so I've written off the first 11 episodes as OOC nonsense and pretty much a waste of my time. I have no desire to see those episodes again. But that's me. Others have stated their intention to quit watching if Carver doesn't explain why Sam didn't look for Dean. Some have condemned Sam and declared him a horrible brother b/c of this story. Some feel they can't trust Sam to ever have Dean's back again b/c of this crappy story.

There's a wide range of opinions out there re: Sam. I will continue to watch as long as I'm entertained. Before ATGB aired, I was seriously considering dropping the show b/c I wasn't being entertained anymore. And a large part of my dissatisfaction had to do w/Sam not looking for Dean. It's cool that you can understand it and are ready to move on, but not everyone feels the same way.
dashnjo
# dashnjo 2013-03-25 16:56
Maybe part of the issue with the whole Sam not looking for Dean thing lies in whether or not the ones who want answers and are upset about it can be okay with it simply being he was wrecked, maybe thought Dean was dead and finally found something or someone that pulled him back from self-destructio n. He didn't seem in good shape when he hit the dog and brought him in to the vet's office and we've seen him fall apart before without Dean in the beginning of season 4. I'm okay with it just simply being Amelia that helped reel him back in even though the whole thing with her wasn't the most interesting story they've done. At least it wasn't Ruby that pulled him back this time!

Not all questions get answered and some aren't a grand scheme issue but something simple ... and it doesn't ruin my love of the show one bit.
lala2
# lala2 2013-03-25 17:46
Dashnjo, I can't speak for others, but I wouldn't have a problem w/that being the reason. I was thinking that's where the story was going, but Sam, to me, didn't seem particularly devastated or upset in the FBs. Neither did Amelia. Someone remarked it was subtle, and I would say, it was possibly too subtle. Maybe they needed to be more overt and clear.

That's just my take on the "story." I didn't get extreme sadness or depression from Sam. Honestly, the FBs didn't convey much of anything to me, which was the problem.
KG_SPN
# KG_SPN 2013-03-25 19:07
I said that maybe it was too subtle for some (in a post quite some time ago) and I still believe it's not necessary for us to see everything. I've watched Sam for 8 seasons and I have my own take on what happened, as others have their own view. People are saying that Sam is acting OOC, but that's just because they are putting their own interpretation onto the situation (which happens to be OOC for Sam).

I choose to fill in the gaps with a Sam that is NOT out of character. There have been plenty of theories on these threads that do fit with the Sam we know (including Alice's comments in this review), but people are still sticking with their OOC explanation - that Sam didn't care, that he left Dean to rot in purgatory, etc, etc. I'm sorry, I just don't buy into that. And, I know that you didn't say it, but I read a comment recently by someone saying that Jeremy Carver doesn't get the brotherly bond. What rubbish!

Jeremy Carver wrote some of the best episodes of Supernatural in the early days, including A Very Supernatural Christmas. To say that he doesn't understand the brotherly bond... well, sorry, I don't buy that either.

Sorry, I went off on tangent there (which wasn't in response to your comment), but I will say that I feel like I've watched different flashbacks to you. From my perspective, Sam never looked happy in the flashbacks. Even in the birthday cake scene, he was frantic that he'd lost Amelia. It was not a normal reaction for someone who is supposedly unaffected by Dean's disappearance.

What I took from the flashbacks is that Sam was depressed and lost - even in the 'normal' world that he'd longed for. I actually think he is a bit lost in both worlds and that's why the discovery of the MoL is so wonderful. It might be possible for him to have his feet in both worlds after all... down the track (particularly given what he told Meg in this episode). But there's a lot to do before then :-)
dashnjo
# dashnjo 2013-03-25 19:41
Exactly!
dashnjo
# dashnjo 2013-03-26 22:26
Great! That's all I wanted to know is if it would be good enough if that was it ... there's only 6 episodes left and a chance that it will just be the simple answer. Glad to know it won't kill the show for you too much!
Sylvie
# Sylvie 2013-03-25 15:05
Absolutely Mel, you put the whole thing in perspective. I don't think Sam was able psychologically to look for Dean, and as you've said, whether Heaven, Hell or Purgatory, how would he even get there to get Dean out? I've said this before, and I'll say it again: it reminds me of the episode on Buffy when her friends bring her back from the dead, and at one point she breaks down and tells Willow that she was in Heaven and wishes that they would have just left it alone. She was never the same old Buffy after that.
Sharon
# Sharon 2013-03-25 17:05
Quote:
Absolutely Mel, you put the whole thing in perspective. I don't think Sam was able psychologically to look for Dean, and as you've said, whether Heaven, Hell or Purgatory, how would he even get there to get Dean out? I've said this before, and I'll say it again: it reminds me of the episode on Buffy when her friends bring her back from the dead, and at one point she breaks down and tells Willow that she was in Heaven and wishes that they would have just left it alone. She was never the same old Buffy after that.
That could be the case but would it of killed anybody to of put some flesh onto the bones of the story .

I know the Buffy episode and have to say they did a better job of conveying her feelings and mindset than they did with Sam IMO. Dont get me wrong I dont sit in the dark bewailing the sl I have accepted that was the story but I still dont believe it was told very well.
Tim the Enchanter
# Tim the Enchanter 2013-03-25 17:35
I was thinking back to the end of season 6 and how Dean knew that Sam would find his way back to him. Perhaps Sam believed that if Dean was on earth then he’d find his way back to Sam? If he wasn’t on earth then Sam would need to make the decision as to where to start looking for Dean so if I could add to your fine comment, Mel, not only does Sam not know what dimension to start in (and when you're talking about searching different dimensions I can imagine it being a bit overwhelming!) but he’s also faced with the question as to how far he should go in order to try and get Dean back.

I mean, Sam is capable of doing a hell of a lot so what are his limits in terms of what he should do? Should he sacrifice a virgin (Jeez, the poor auld virgins gets an awful raw deal!)? Should he do a locator spell and if that doesn’t work should he go dipping into black magic? Should he dig deep and see if his powers are still there? Should he make a deal with a demon? Should he make a deal with an angel? Should he free Lucifer if it meant getting Dean back? I mean, Sam bested him once before so who’s to say he couldn’t do it again? Would the prize be worth the risk? Knowing the destruction that Sam caused the last two times Dean ‘died’ (raising Lucifer, ‘killing’ Bobby) I’m not surprised that Sam would be hesitant to act for fear of where it might lead him and the damage it might cause.

Add to that, Sam has been manipulated, mostly by demons, to act in certain ways pretty much his entire life. At the end of season 7, it seemed as if Crowley had almost set it up so that Sam would act in a certain way again. He could have killed Dean outright and left Sam truly alone; he didn’t. He deliberately set it up as he did and phrased things to Sam very ambiguously. It also seemed as if he was determined to drive Sam down that dangerous path again. It’s probable that Crowley would assume that Sam would do whatever he could to find Dean (after all, we all did. In all the hiatus reading and writing there was, I can’t remember a single comment that even remotely touched on the idea that Sam would not look for Dean), thereby doing exactly what Crowley wanted. Maybe Crowley wanted Sam frantically searching etc because he thought it might lead him to the demon tablet (and then Crowley could make a grab for it)?

It’s possible that via his decision not only did Sam exhibit true free will by not doing what was expected of him in that situation, but he also ensured that he would not be an unwitting pawn in some bigger, world ending, demon game again.

I know there’s been little shown on screen to support that, and there might never be (cos it’s possibly a crock!). It’s just that I think that an argument can be made that Sam’s ‘decision’ (if that’s what it actually was, and given the last episode I’m now fairly sure that’s not the whole story), looking at it very pragmatically and taking all semblance of emotion out of it (and it was emotion that drove Sam’s actions the previous two times), was a ‘mature’ and ‘safe’ decision. That’s not to say it was the right decision, or an easy decision; far from it. It was undoubtedly a horrific decision to have to make, and one where there are no winners.

It’s a difficult decision to try to make sense of because all of our first instincts would be to look (I assume....). However, we are not Sam. We don’t know what he knows, we haven’t experienced the loss he has, we’ve never had to face the trials he did and we’ve never known the consequences that he has so bearing that in mind, perhaps his decision isn’t all that illogical or OCC as it was initially believed to be.
Cathy Mitchell
# Cathy Mitchell 2013-03-24 19:23
I've mentioned in other threads how much I loved this episode. But here, I would like to offer a theory. I think it was Metatron outside Amelia's the night that Sam left, and found Dean in the cabin. And Naomi got Castiel out of Purgatory. But it doesn't necessarily mean that Naomi was responsible for Benny having the knowledge about the portal out of Purgatory. I think that was Metatron too. Isn't he an Archangel too? But a scribe rather than the warrior that his brothers were. So, a "nerdy" angel, by their standards. With this line of reasoning, I think he is trying to counter whatever Naomi is doing. I just am not quite sure what she's doing... I think he needs the Winchesters to help counter Naomi's plan. Also, I wonder where Cas is going. I would think that the power of an Archangel would be powerful enough to counter Naomi's mind control.

I know this is all speculation on my part. I just think there is another player out there, pulling strings, but we can't quite see them yet.
nappi815
# nappi815 2013-03-24 19:46
Quote:
I've mentioned in other threads how much I loved this episode. But here, I would like to offer a theory. I think it was Metatron outside Amelia's the night that Sam left, and found Dean in the cabin. And Naomi got Castiel out of Purgatory. But it doesn't necessarily mean that Naomi was responsible for Benny having the knowledge about the portal out of Purgatory. I think that was Metatron too. Isn't he an Archangel too? But a scribe rather than the warrior that his brothers were. So, a "nerdy" angel, by their standards. With this line of reasoning, I think he is trying to counter whatever Naomi is doing. I just am not quite sure what she's doing... I think he needs the Winchesters to help counter Naomi's plan. Also, I wonder where Cas is going. I would think that the power of an Archangel would be powerful enough to counter Naomi's mind control.

I know this is all speculation on my part. I just think there is another player out there, pulling strings, but we can't quite see them yet.
that's exactly what i just pm'd somebody at supernatural.tv ...the exact same theory.... i added a little something extra too....i thought that perhaps metatron was inside amelia's father....i just thought that whole scene between sam and her father very suspicious. the way he talked to sam. telling him precisely what pretty much sam already knew about hanging onto to ea. other out of sheer misery. just the whole entire speech by the father....and when the call came about don...it was almost as though the father knew that call was coming.... i just figured that it was a little bit of angelic nudging to push sam into doing what he already knew he should do. not the first time that would've happened.

i think naomi could very well be responsible for making sam believe dean was dead...i think she did a bit of a mind whammy...

but i think metatron wants to get to the tablets before naomi does, which is why i think he leaked the info to benny and why he brought dear dead don back, ensuring sam's return to the hunt.

glad to see i'm not alone on this one. :lol:
Cathy Mitchell
# Cathy Mitchell 2013-03-24 20:22
Glad to see someone else thinking along those lines too. :-) I've been thinking about this one for a while. I hadn't thought about Naomi making Sam believe Dean was dead, but it would make sense. Along those lines (and picking up what Meg said in this episode), why DID Sam stop when he hit the dog? He could have taken the bandaged dog and left town. Maybe Metatron gave him a reason to keep going, because a Sam without Dean is a bit scary (Mystery Spot Sam). Maybe that's the reason for Amelia...
Cathy Mitchell
# Cathy Mitchell 2013-03-24 20:25
All of which would make for a serious, multi-layer, supernatural game of chess, don't you think?
KELLY
# KELLY 2013-03-24 20:32
nappi and Sopisa, I do think there is probably two different players on the board manipulating the situation and people in someway. Because sometimes it seemed like Sam is being maneuvered to quit hunting and other times it seems like he is being manipulated to get back in to the game.

Amelia and the dog, Sam stays put. Don comes back, Sam moves on. Just in time to meet Dean at the cabin. Sorry
eilf
# eilf 2013-03-24 20:47
So if Metatron is the one pulling the strings why does he need the tablets? Since he wrote them surely he doesn't need to have them to know what they say? Is it just to get them out of circulation?

I don't know if anyone has put forward this theory yet but maybe the trials outlined by the tablets can only be carried out by a human? The angels and demons want them to keep them away from humans. As Castiel said he needed to keep the tablet away from 'you' possibly meaning 'humans' and not Dean personally. I think Naomi said something about keeping them away from demons but maybe that's just because a demon could find a human to do whatever is required by the angel tablet.

Of course we could be looking at this all wrong. (Cue totally left-field theory) Maybe Dean (and Cas) got manipulated into purgatory in order to be available to rescue / retrieve Benny because HE has some knowledge or background that no one else has. There was no way of getting Benny out of purgatory without a human. Crowley was involved in the ingredients for the spell that was supposed to kill Dick Roman, maybe he screwed with them enough for it to backfire and take Dean (who he needed) and Castiel (by accident) to where they could meet up with Benny who, as we know, had been told there was a way out if he had a human. And who wasn't at all happy with the appearance of an angel in the middle of the plan.
KELLY
# KELLY 2013-03-24 21:40
eilf, maybe Metatron has a bad memory. :D

I think both your theories have great possibilities.
eilf
# eilf 2013-03-24 21:46
It does seem like he might be a bit scatty. A funny angel :D
Cathy Mitchell
# Cathy Mitchell 2013-03-25 03:19
I don't think Metatron needs the tablets. I think he is protecting them from Naomi, and indirectly Crowley. I think the instinct that Castiel has to protect the tablet, comes from Metatron.
eilf
# eilf 2013-03-24 19:50
Deleted. Had a rethink about complaining :-*
E
# E 2013-03-24 19:52
Quote:
.i thought that perhaps metatron was inside amelia's father....i just thought that whole scene between sam and her father very suspicious. the way he talked to sam. telling him precisely what pretty much sam already knew about hanging onto to ea. other out of sheer misery. just the whole entire speech by the father....and when the call came about don...it was almost as though the father knew that call was coming.... i just figured that it was a little bit of angelic nudging to push sam into doing what he already knew he should do. not the first time that would've happened.
nappi815, OMG I LOVE THIS!!! Gosh I hope that the writers are as good at coming up with cool stuff as you are! This would be epic... the boys caught between a battle between Metatron and Naomi. Dean seemed willing to forgive Cas for his actions once he knew Cas was being manipulated, I can only hope that if we find that Sam was also manipulated that Dean will be equally forgiving.
KELLY
# KELLY 2013-03-24 20:13
Okay love all the new theories floating around!!! YAY! This one is great too. But E, I would think Dean would actually feel a little bad if he found out Sam was being manipulated without Sam's knowledge. Because he was pretty hard on him at the beginning.
E
# E 2013-03-25 07:51
I would hope so, but it seems sometimes that Dean holds Sam to a higher standard....
nickmaniac
# nickmaniac 2013-03-24 21:49
Hi Alice, great review, and I agree with most of what you think! I personally don't feel the drawn-outness of the angel/demon tablet storyline, though. I mean, I'm clearly aware it's not moving QUICKLY, but somehow the pacing of the large mythological episodes scattered amidst the standalones don't bother me at all. It would be nice, though, if it starts to pick up momentum towards the end of the season... I trust it will.

I'm sure this has been addressed before, but I think one of the reasons the mytharc worked well especially in Seasons 4 & 5 was because some standalone episodes could be tied in to the ongoing events; for example, a seemingly random case could end up being one of the 66 seals being broken or another indicator of the apocalypse or the Horsemen up to no good. So maybe it would have been cool if the tablets had come with some 'side-effects' of having been exposed to the world, which our show could pass off as a monster-of-the- week episode that ends up being tied back to the mytharc.
Alice
# Alice 2013-03-25 11:36
Great point! That's probably why I'm having some issues with the drawn out mytharc. Because a lot of weeks they pretend it doesn't exist, or repeat a lot of the same thing like Sam coughing up blood. You're so right about season four, they wove the mytharc and the MOTW stories so perfectly! Since they stopped doing that in season 6, the flow of the episodes seems choppy.

However, my issues aren't a deal breaker, so I anxiously wait for the rest.
nuke333
# nuke333 2013-03-24 22:08
I have to discredit the theory that Crowley was once an angel. Angels need permission to "possess" a human. Even Lucifer as a fallen angel needed Sam's permission. Crowely possessed Kevin's mom as soon as she was unproteced by her tattoo. Just a thought.

I am also curious about his relationship with Naomi. Should be interesting.

I also have a therory about why Cass didn't want Dean to have the angel tablet. He might be afraid that Dean would be tempted to trade it for the other half of the Demon tablet and then Crowley would have possession of it. Just my two cents :) Loved this episode and I'm absolutely loving this season
Pragmatic Dreamer
# Pragmatic Dreamer 2013-03-24 23:04
Hi Alice,

I loved this episode and I loved your review, especially looking at it through the relationship of the characters.

It makes so much sense that Meg would be able to understand Sam. She really had walked a mile in his shoes! She had felt all the Sam feels. She could understand him in a way no one, not even Dean, perhaps not even Sam really can. I liked their moment of sympatico.

However, I think her question `You hit a dog and stopped, why? might be hinting at something. I always thought that stopping if you hit a dog was a very Winchester action. They like animals. Remember Dean saying ``poor bunny`over the dead rabbit in MM in Season 3. They protect innocence or innocents in any form, but especially kids, and often animals. (They`re big marshmallows when they have to look into big eyes).

I also really loved what you said about Dean and how his role as Believer gave strength to Sam & Cas. (I was musing about an article on similar lines. Yours was very succint and eloqunet!) Dean has a powerful, powerful faith, just not necessarily in religion or God.

There was another relationship hinted at tonight, and that is the one between Cas and his vessel Jimmy. Cas is `possessing Jimmy in a way that is similar to Meg`s possession of Sam. He knows Jimmy`s secret thoughts, desires and ambitions. It`s intriguing that 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. It`s an interesting parallel to Meg & Sam

I think the sad irony in all of this is that deep down inside, buried under all the guilt and obligation and sacrifice BOTH Winchesters crave safe and normal and love and home. Their dreams are always about that. Yet it`s one of the things that they dare not confide to the other for fear it hints at weakness, or a lack of commitment.

I mentioned this in Sweetondean`s review, but I`ll just quickly repeat myself.. I found it very interesting that at one point Naomi asked "Do you know what this 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? 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.

Finally I laughed at your comparison of buses to Purgatory. Having done a lot of travelling on buses, especially the ones where they allow smoking, and I have my nose pressed up against the rubber window seal in a vain attempt to get fresh air, I think you might be on to something!

Thanks,

Pragmatic Dreamer

(PS.. I was more articulate the first time I wrote this. I was pressing send, but hit the wrong key and got erased instead. Sigh!)
nappi815
# nappi815 2013-03-25 07:27
Hi Alice,

IHowever, I think her question `You hit a dog and stopped, why? might be hinting at something. I always thought that stopping if you hit a dog was a very Winchester action. They like animals. Remember Dean saying ``poor bunny`over the dead rabbit in MM in Season 3. They protect innocence or innocents in any form, but especially kids, and often animals. (They`re big marshmallows when they have to look into big eyes).

i definitely thought the scene with meg and sam meant something. firstly i found it interesting that they had that conversation in the first place, especially during an eppy with naomi, crowley and cas. nobody has been interested in sam's year in 17 eps and meg of all people is the one who shows interest? very interesting indeed.

as i mentioned on another post, i found quite thought provoking that she referred to amelia as sam's unicorn. a unicorn being a fabled creature that doesn't exist...it isn't real. much like cas is her unicorn....some thing that doesn't exist and isn't real. a fantasy. a unicorn in my opinion represents a fantasy...not a reality...which was pretty much sam and amelia's relationship. now if she had said teddy bear or puppy i would see where it would be something loving and in which you care for ....

and most importantly regarding that convo with meg, as i've stated before...her comment about you hit a dog and stopped, which confused her....i perceived it as "why did you hit a dog"? sam winchester hitting a dog?...what would make him do that in the first place? all the rest of it was blah blah blah to her...but sam hitting the dog that's what she questioned...

again an episode with mind manipulation and dogs as a recurring theme....

very hinky if you ask me.
Amy
# Amy 2013-03-24 23:10
loved your review Alice
Bunyip
# Bunyip 2013-03-25 00:29
I just love the idea that 50 years ago or so some workmen were building that tunnel or basement or whatever it was, come across the opening to this crypt and just.....brick it up!
percysowner
# percysowner 2013-03-25 01:18
I admit I found the conversation with Meg far less illuminating than you did. Yet again, what Sam had to say was said off screen. I also don't buy the idea that Meg knows Sam all that well. Yes, they shared several hours in a bus station and yes, she possessed him in season 2. But that was 7 years ago our time, 9 years ago showtime (maybe) and 187 years Sam time. During that time Sam found out about being infected by demon blood, died, watched his brother die, became an addict, detoxed, died several more times, threw himself into the Cage, came back soulless, had a protective wall broken leaving him psychotic, saw his brother die again. I'm not the same person I was 7 years ago and all I did was go through a divorce. The Sam Meg knew isn't the Sam that is now. Yes, 7 years ago Sam wanted normal and on some level he probably still does, but so much has happened that I can't put much stock in Meg's "knowledge" of Sam, especially since Sam again remained fairly silent and unless I missed it, never said why he thought Dean was dead. I'm glad it helped you understand Sam more, but for me it is the same old, same old everyone tells us how Sam feels except for Sam.
lkeke35
# lkeke35 2013-03-25 11:23
Quote:
I admit I found the conversation with Meg far less illuminating than you did. Yet again, what Sam had to say was said off screen. I also don't buy the idea that Meg knows Sam all that well. Yes, they shared several hours in a bus station and yes, she possessed him in season 2. But that was 7 years ago our time, 9 years ago showtime (maybe) and 187 years Sam time. During that time Sam found out about being infected by demon blood, died, watched his brother die, became an addict, detoxed, died several more times, threw himself into the Cage, came back soulless, had a protective wall broken leaving him psychotic, saw his brother die again. I'm not the same person I was 7 years ago and all I did was go through a divorce. The Sam Meg knew isn't the Sam that is now. Yes, 7 years ago Sam wanted normal and on some level he probably still does, but so much has happened that I can't put much stock in Meg's "knowledge" of Sam, especially since Sam again remained fairly silent and unless I missed it, never said why he thought Dean was dead. I'm glad it helped you understand Sam more, but for me it is the same old, same old everyone tells us how Sam feels except for Sam.
That's bothering me about this season. We've got everyone explaining Sam's motives except for Sam.

I'm probably one of the few people not getting too bent out of shape about Sam not looking for Dean. I just don't care and not particularly upset that he didn't, although I wish he'd found something better to do besides Amelia.

But there are other things I would like to hear Sam explain in his own voice and in his own words, not through some guest mouthpiece. We got a little bit of that in Hunteri Herioci and we started to get a little of it in Remember the Titans but Dean interrupted him.

But your review is spot on as regards Dean's place in the SPN universe. That's always been my theory. The guys play different roles in the show ,with Dean being the emotional core around which all of the action swings and with Cas, Boby, Sam and the others being the actors who couldn't accomplish any of their goals without Deans support. (Dean is everyone's Samwise.)
Some poeple want more than that from Dean. They want him to take center stage as one of the acors and have a storyline of his own. although that has never really been his role -Imo. But Iunderstand this. I too would like to see Dean a bit more pro-active instead of simply reactive to the things Sam and Cas get up to for example. I wouldn't mind seeing a little Evil!Dean from time to time and he defiantely need to start kicking a little more butt. I miss Bamf!Dean.
Alice
# Alice 2013-03-25 11:42
The problem is, if we heard Sam tell the story, he would have taken precious episode time rehashing what in a sense we already knew from flashbacks. This was a rather loaded episode and there was a lot to reveal. In this case, Meg's reaction was more important. It showed that someone got Sam, understood what he did. He needed to hear that. Sure, maybe he could have said that, but it's one line missing.

Meg knows Sam well enough where she knows how to push his buttons. That didn't change. I think the only time Meg didn't get him was when he was soulless. In Caged Heat, he really threw her for a loop. In this episode, he was back to old familiar. He may have changed, but his core is the same.

I'm only analyzing the one interaction here. Sam's story probably could have been fleshed out better in other episodes, especially the filler and throwaway stuff, but that's another issue.
percysowner
# percysowner 2013-03-25 12:03
We disagree here. I don't think anyone is disputing that Sam wanted normal or why he stayed with Amelia that has been shown. What has not been rehashed, IMHO, is why Sam thought Dean was dead, why he didn't take 2 days to call a few hospitals, or check the grounds to see if Dean had been blown out the window and was lying 10 feet away from the building.

I'm also disturbed by the idea that the only ones who can understand Sam, who Sam can talk to are totally evil creatures. The writers go to great lengths to "rehash" the idea that Meg is evil. She identifies herself that way, she admits to enjoying being evil. The only other confidante we have seen Sam have was Ruby another evil demon. Dean gets Castiel the instantly forgiven, the constantly manipulated into doing bad things and Benny the Better Brother and Patron Saint of Vegetarian Vampires. The imbalance and what it says about how the show feels about each brother is striking, IMHO.
lala2
# lala2 2013-03-25 12:39
Exactly - the most important aspect of Sam's year away has yet to be told, and frankly, it's probably never going to be told.

We all know Sam went off w/Amelia and loved her (ugh). Fine. Who cares?

I want to know why Sam thought Dean was dead . . . if that is actually what he thought. I would like to know why Sam didn't investigate his brother's disappearance. I want to know why Sam decided to just walk away w/o even so much as a single thought on Dean.

That's what most viewers care about. I couldn't care less about his lame relationship w/Amelia, and I don't see how she has anything at all to do w/Dean. He supposedly met her 2 months after Dean disappeared, right? By then, he had already given up on Dean. Why? What happened? That's the story. Amelia wasn't.
Sharon
# Sharon 2013-03-25 05:24
I enjoyed the episode to a certain point . I thought the Meg conversation to Sam didn't reveal anything we didnt already know and prior to this season I am still not convinced ' normal' was on Sam's mind. Jeremy Carver seems to of latched on to it to provide the sl that was Amelia which went down like a lead ballon and despite the MOL's still have Sam desiring normal and a life a way from hunting .

Meanwhile we have the Swan Song rip off and the writers giving the same meaning to Dean and Cas's relationship that is to Sam and Dean. Now Dean has two relationships on the show that have in a sense the same depth so the brothers relationship is no longer unique so that disappointed me although there was nothing wrong with the acting in that scene just the result of it for me at least.
Jo1027
# Jo1027 2013-03-25 09:20
Quote:
I enjoyed the episode to a certain point . I thought the Meg conversation to Sam didn't reveal anything we didnt already know and prior to this season I am still not convinced ' normal' was on Sam's mind. Jeremy Carver seems to of latched on to it to provide the sl that was Amelia which went down like a lead ballon and despite the MOL's still have Sam desiring normal and a life a way from hunting .

Meanwhile we have the Swan Song rip off and the writers giving the same meaning to Dean and Cas's relationship that is to Sam and Dean. Now Dean has two relationships on the show that have in a sense the same depth so the brothers relationship is no longer unique so that disappointed me although there was nothing wrong with the acting in that scene just the result of it for me at least.
It seems to me that JC has been devaluing the relationship between Sam and Dean since episode 1. I don't get why he's doing this but it's pretty obvious that he doesn't see their relationship as the heart of the show like most of the fans do. The faux Swan Song speaks to this perfectly. He thinks Dean and Cas are the heart of the show now, I guess.
KG_SPN
# KG_SPN 2013-03-25 07:23
Great analysis. I loved this episode, particularly because of all the interactions that you've mentioned. They were all wonderful.

Quote:
Greyhound bus/Purgatory. Hmm, I think they got that right.
This made me laugh. I once spent 4 days travelling from Chicago to Vancouver by bus... and it's definitely a unique sub-culture... I keep meaning to write a blog about it... so maybe I'll mention purgatory now :lol:

Quote:
Sam at that point was truly lost. He was fresh off his recent extreme psychological torture from Lucifer that drove him to the nut house, and was affected in ways no one could ever understand.
I loved your analysis of the Sam/Meg conversation, particularly the above. This is exactly why I've had no trouble with Sam not looking for Dean. It seems a lot of people have forgotten how close Sam came to dying from the Lucifer visions. Cas may have taken away the hellucinations, but Sam still has the memories. That is why it was never a stretch for me to believe that Sam was broken when Dean disappeared. I know, it would've been nice to see it, but I don't need it to know how upset Sam would've been :-)

Regarding Crowley... I think he might be one of the Knights of Hell rather than an angel. Someone pointed out that angels need permission to possess people and Crowley possessed Kevin's mother without permission. Also, I think he just used Fergus as a cover story. It would explain why he didn't die when Cas burned Fergus' bones.

I'm very interested to find out how Naomi/Crowley are connected :-? Bring on the final 6 episodes :D
Bookdal
# Bookdal 2013-03-25 09:15
Great review, Alice. I think the concept of "normal" was very much at the heart of this episode and what normal means for each character. I also think the title, "Goodbye Stranger" could've easily have been "Goodbye Normal".

The conversation between Meg and Sam was interesting for its nod to continuity but also for it's ironic nod to Sam not looking for Dean. I can't believe that Meg actually thinks that Sam would've looked for her, especially not before Dean, but it reminds the audience that this occurred and also lets the conversation be one where Meg does her psychoanalysis on Sam and his desire for normal, something he can never have, something I think mirrors the idea of closing demons (and perhaps angels) into their appointed boxes. I can't help but read this whole story line arc of Season 8 as a "be careful what you wish for" set up. Normal for humanity, in this world, might be the absence of heaven and hell on earth, a world where the men of letters would exist as strange men who meet secretly to ponder the unseen. But in this world those things are seen, as Dean said in the pilot, "Of course you should be afraid of the dark. You know what's out there!" So Sam's concept of normal is fantasy in this world, hence the unicorn reference. But we already had a glimpse of a normal, non-supernatura l invaded world...and Sam was not satisfied with it. (I do think that the S8 Sam story is problematic for this theme so I'm still trying to wrap my head around it in a way that makes sense.)

As for Dean and Castiel, I read that relationship through Castiel, to a degree. I agree with you that Dean has faith in Castiel, but I think Castiel represents a faith in Dean's sense of normal, as opposed to Sam's. For Sam, a world without the supernatural is normal, a place of denial to a degree. For Dean, normal is the supernatural even though he is the character that has the lesser faith in the unseen. Dean needs Castiel to be on his side, to represent a balance, even when Castiel messes up. Castiel and Sam mirror each other, in a way, because they are both subject to wanting to create a world that's better, in their minds (hence the Castiel fall into megalomania in S6/7). Dean is a realist and an empiricist - deal with what you got and use the resources you have to make the world a better place. And for Cas, Dean is the tangible representation of humanity, a species he has sworn to love above all else, including God. He could never listen to Naomi, in the end, because that would be usurping God's order. And Cas has just as many father approval issues as Dean and Sam.

I will bow out now since I'm on the edge of rambling. I will say that I am interested in the Crowley/Naomi connection. It seems to indicate a revision of the Crowley story, which should be interesting.

Again, great review Alice! :)
Jo1027
# Jo1027 2013-03-25 09:22
Alice, I don't get what you got out of the Sam/Meg conversation since it was off-screen. How does what little we actually got to hear translate into why Sam did not look? I don't see that at all.
I didn't find this episode all that interesting. So far season 8 has left me underwhelmed.
lala2
# lala2 2013-03-25 11:21
Jo, I think the idea is that Sam's desire for normal prevented him from looking for Dean. But I don't see what that has to do w/looking for Dean other than Sam believing that if Dean were found, he couldn't have normal so best to leave it alone.

If that's what Carver wants us to think Sam felt, then he has well and truly destroyed Sam. How selfish could Sam be?

I just can't get behind that idea. That is too far from how I see Sam.
lala2
# lala2 2013-03-25 11:11
I completely disagree that any explanation was given as to why Sam didn't search for Dean. What does Sam wanting a normal life have to do w/looking for Dean?

So, did Sam not look for Dean b/c he knew if he found Dean, he wouldn't be able to get that normal life he so desires? He looked at Dean's disappearance as an unexpected blessing and an "out" from a life he never wanted?

That's the only way I can see how Sam's talk w/Meg shed any light on Sam not looking for Dean, and since that would make Sam an unbelievable, unlikable, selfish ass in my view, I cannot adopt that theory.

There is NO explanation as to why Sam didn't look for Dean. Carver refuses to tell that part of the story so we're stuck w/nothing.
percysowner
# percysowner 2013-03-25 11:43
I couldn't agree more. If what we are supposed to take from this is that Sam wanted normal so he condemned Dean to who knows what and just said eh, who cares, now I get normal then that is a Sam and a show I have no interest in.
lala2
# lala2 2013-03-25 12:06
Quote:
I couldn't agree more. If what we are supposed to take from this is that Sam wanted normal so he condemned Dean to who knows what and just said eh, who cares, now I get normal then that is a Sam and a show I have no interest in.
I couldn't agree more w/you! If that's what I'm supposed to take away from this story, then "Good Riddance, Sam."

And I don't mind "bad" or "evil" characters, but that would be such a departure from the character I've watched over the past 7 years that I just couldn't watch him being trashed in that manner.
Bamboo24
# Bamboo24 2013-03-25 13:11
Quote:
If what we are supposed to take from this is that Sam wanted normal so he condemned Dean to who knows what and just said eh, who cares, now I get normal
I don't think that's what you are supposed to take from it.

There have been many explanations given, both explicit and implicit, for why Sam didn't look for Dean. And none of them even remotely translate to "eh, who cares, now I get normal."

First, lets do some contextual reasoning:

1. When you look at the situation Sam faced at the end of S7: Dean disappeared in an explosion of black goo. Sam had no idea where to start a search, what to do, etc. Hospital? Heaven? Hell? An alternate universe? He had absolutely no clues and no one to turn to for help. Sure, the writers could have magically pulled some spell or demon or hoodoo whatever out of their butts and provided Sam with a means to figure out where Dean was and rescue him. They didn't. It didn't serve the story to do that. It was also unrealistic given what Sam (not the audience) knew.

2. When you look at Sam's recent history leading up to S8, he'd been worn down by grief (the loss of Bobby - his only family outside of Dean) and insanity (the Lucifer hallucinations) . S7 showed us a tired, world-weary Sam and Dean. Take that to its logical conclusion after Sam loses his last remaining family and his stone number one - think utter exhaustion.

3. When you look at Sam's history - his actions during similar circumstances when Dean disappeared, Sam's been frantic, making poor decisions that led to things like the apocalypse. It's safe to assume he learned the hard way from those decisions. So that even if he knew where Dean was and had a spell to open Purgatory and save him, it's doubtful he would do it at the risk of starting another apocalypse.

Now the explicit explanations (which all support the implicit ones, and vice-versa):

1. Sam said that after Dean disappeared that his "world imploded" and he ran because of it. (i.e. - he was overwhelmed by the loss).

We saw a bit of this in those few minutes of flashback where we see Sam frantic over hitting the dog. Sam was a total wreck in that scene. You think a calm, well-trained guy like Sam, having seen all he's seen, would freak out that much over hitting a dog? No, he'd take it to the vet, but he wouldn't be freaked out like that. That scene, taken in its context, was very obviously about more than the dog. Sam was projecting his grief and helplessness over Dean onto the wounded animal. The guilt over hitting the dog made him stop, gave him focus. And the dog grounded him. Forced him to settle down in a motel while it recuperated, where he met Amelia, who "saved him" not because she was a saint, but because she allowed him to piece his world back together, into something "normal."

2. Sam refused to hunt after Dean disappeared because "hunting is what got every member of [his] family killed."

Sam doesn't - and never has, save for a fatalistic period during S4-S5, felt about hunting the way Dean has. Dean is defined by hunting. Sam - in his own words - has stated that he's always wanted a normal life, but didn't believe it was possible. (No, his time with Jess at college doesn't count, because as we found out in S5, it wasn't "normal." His whole life up until and including Jess's death, had been manipulated by Yellow Eyes and his demons, who kept tabs on Sam as he progressed through life by possessing teachers, friends, etc.). He turned his back on a life that violently stole everyone he ever loved away from him. I think it's safe to say that the only reason he's hunting now is because Dean is back in the game and they have this mutual offensive mission to close the gates of hell (save the world again).

Those are the explanations we've been given; both what we've been told, and what we can infer from the context. It's always arguable that we could have been shown more. But NOTHING we've heard from Sam's mouth or seen on screen supports the takeaway of Sam saying "eh, who cares, now I get normal."
anonymousN
# anonymousN 2013-03-25 13:44
Quote:
There have been many explanations given, both explicit and implicit, for why Sam didn't look for Dean. And none of them even remotely translate to "eh, who cares, now I get normal."
Bamboo24,I wish you stop right there ( I stopped reding your comment after that sorry).Enough of implicit and explicit explanations .What happened to old fashioned simple not toolittletoolat e show and tell.Frankly I am tired of the way they treated Sam's time immediately after Dean's disappearance.
For all yours and others justifications- explanations-in ferences can you honestly tell me you know what happened immediately after Dean disappeared?How he came to hit the Dog?Was he numb,did he freak out first then become numb and then again was jolted back when he hit the dog?How did he or did he destroy dick's corporation?If you can answer me for this then okay they are not allowing the negativism towards Sam fester...but even if they explain this later on my enjoyment of this show till then will be tinged with this negativism the fandom showed.Please do not think I am being rude .Can we not have a 2-3 min scene where Sam talks and Dean just shuts up and listens without commenting till he finishes for a change.Its high time that Sam tells Dean roadside what happened or better they show us.I am confused,frustr ated by what has happened with Sam as a character.
Ale
# Ale 2013-03-25 15:09
Quote:
he freak out
Yes, Sam was freaked out and frantic. That's how he was portrayed when he hit the dog.

Quote:
are not allowing the negativism towards Sam fester
I don't understand - is your major concern what people that does not like (ok, hate) Sam think? Frankly, I don't given a damn to what they think - they will hate Sam no matter what. As for me, I'll always love Sam and try to understand him, even when he makes wrong choices or when he is weak. Because he is human and a wonderful man and deserves that.

Quote:
Can we not have a 2-3 min scene where Sam talks and Dean just shuts up and listens without commenting till he finishes for a change
We had that scene. At the end of Southern Comfort.
anonymousN
# anonymousN 2013-03-25 16:45
Quote:
Yes, Sam was freaked out and frantic. That's how he was portrayed when he hit the dog.
But how was he after Dean disappeared?
Quote:
Frankly, I don't given a damn to what they think - they will hate Sam no matter what.
Change is possible and that is up to the portrayal the writers choose.A writer (a capable one) can make you empathize a character just by changing the way he shows the action unfold.Quote:
At the end of Southern Comfort.
No we did not.
Ale
# Ale 2013-03-25 17:15
anonymousN,

As far as the information we were given so far, there is no reason to believe Sam was different from when we found him - freaked and frantic. We were shown the moment of his turning point - hitting the dog.

People that spreads hate are usually radical and impossible to satisfy. Try to write for them is useless and a disservice to the show. They simply won't change their hate because they like it that way. Go figure why.

Why do you think we didn't have a scene where Sam talked and Dean listened? I thought that was what happened.
anonymousN
# anonymousN 2013-03-25 23:40
Quote:
no reason to believe Sam was different from when we found him - freaked and frantic.
how different?To make a turning point a turning point the before is as important as the after.so no Sam might have been different but the way in which he was different is not shown.If he was numb does that mean he did not destroy Dick corporation?Quote:
Try to write for them is useless and a disservice to the show.
I did not tell to write for them.I have said this before and I will repeat it here.when Sam or Dean have gone to Hell or Heaven the aftermath is always Dean's POV.Why?Isn't Sam a lead too?Couldn't they have kept the illusion that Dean left Castiel in Purg for some more time.But no we have to see about everyone elses actions and as far as Sam goes it is simply that Sam Ran and his world imploded...My question is why not show this.Quote:
Why do you think we didn't have a scene where Sam talked and Dean listened? I thought that was what happened.
The only thing he told about himself was (and that too not about himself) that her name was Amelia and if I am not wrong he has told this before.You see when Dean was ready to talk about hell Sam listened and we got the scene where Dean talks about his time in hell.But the scene was more powerful because Sam wanted to listen .In this case Sam has to almost shout to be heard other wise Amelia is just some girl to dean.
Bevie
# Bevie 2013-03-25 14:29
Great analysis Bamboo24, but unfortunately the naysayers aren't going to listen to it. They watch a completely different show to the one I enoy, have enjoyed and continue to enjoy, in spite of occasional nitpicks. 8)

And Alice, I loved your review and agree wholeheartedly with it. Your take on Dean and Cas and how Dean relates to his brother and his friends is one reason I love that man to bits! :P

I'm going to miss Meg, her insight and her snarks much more than I would have thought. Her relationship with Cas was a highlight of her appearances to me. It could not be, but it was great to imagine that 'moving furniture'. :eek:
nappi815
# nappi815 2013-03-25 17:16
bamboo i agree and i feel the same way most of the time .... except i have a but and it's a big one, no pun intended. :lol:

it took sam two months before he hit riot. now if it happened sooner, then everything you said would make perfect sense. the story would have flowed together nicely. now here comes the but...... but there are two unaccounted for months and i, for one, would like to know what sam was doing. if he wasn't looking for dean, what did he do for two months? i know he fixed the car, but that doesn't take two months. i think they said he drove. he drove? where? did he go back to get another look at the second biggest ball of twine in the continental US? did he go to the grand canyon for dean? did he go to vegas and do a con? :P my point is what was he doing for 60 days? that seems to be a question on alot of people's minds.

here's the biggest glitch that i just cannot let go of. if sam stopped hunting from the moment he left that lab....then when did he learn how to do a reverse exorcism? i know sam is smart. hell, he could be a member of mensa. there is no humanly way that he would be able to pop a reverse exorcism out of the top of his head. it's hard enough to do the alphabet backwards and even if you master doing that, it's with practice. he would have had to have learned and practiced it. hell, first he would have to learn that a reverse exorcism existed. it took sam until jus in bello to recite exorcisms forward by memory. i can't remember an eppy in s7 when the boys even did an exorcism... as i recall, sam was pretty busy having a mental breakdown and losing everyone he loves...so really, i need to know....when did sam learn how to do it? even better, who taught him or told him that it can even be done?

this is the last big mystery that i just can't seem to shake. who was spying on sam? who went out of their way to make sure sam left amelia and as coincidence would have it, at the same time dean was freed from purgatory....i mean dean only got to the cabin just a little before sam did...

dean's freedom and don's resurrection occurring at the same time.....and someone watching sam

so you see, as much as i agree with everything you said and i basically feel the same way, there are just too much inconsistencies and coincidences that makes my ass twitch....these things are just too big to ignore and i don't think the writers can bring up such major issues and then drop them...not without what is happening right now with the fandom...

imo that's just not the way you tell a story...which is why i think there's more to it and it's a belief that i just can't let go.
Bamboo24
# Bamboo24 2013-03-25 21:39
Quote:
it took sam two months before he hit riot.
How do we know this? I'm just asking because I assumed it happened much earlier than that. I didn't think we'd been given a timeline though.

I do share several of your questions - I wouldn't be surprised if Naomi and or Crowley set certain balls in motion over the course of that year.

But my current theory is that the figure standing in the shadows outside of Amelia's house was Dean. (Please feel free to disprove this!) :)
KG_SPN
# KG_SPN 2013-03-25 19:14
Quote:
Those are the explanations we've been given; both what we've been told, and what we can infer from the context. It's always arguable that we could have been shown more. But NOTHING we've heard from Sam's mouth or seen on screen supports the takeaway of Sam saying "eh, who cares, now I get normal."
YES :D

Thanks for your lengthy comment. It's spot-on; exactly what I'd like to write if I had more time lol ;-)
E
# E 2013-03-25 20:50
Quote:
Quote:
Those are the explanations we've been given; both what we've been told, and what we can infer from the context. It's always arguable that we could have been shown more. But NOTHING we've heard from Sam's mouth or seen on screen supports the takeaway of Sam saying "eh, who cares, now I get normal."
YES :D

Thanks for your lengthy comment. It's spot-on; exactly what I'd like to write if I had more time lol ;-)
I agree as well. When did Sam EVER say "eh, who cares, now I get normal?" I defy anyone to find those word in any script or those words uttered in any scene. Sam never once said, or indicated or inferred that he didn't care about Dean's disappearance or that finding normal meant he couldn't care about Dean. I understand that many fans are unhappy with the way that Sam has been written this season, but posts like "eh,who cares, now I get normal" does far more damage to his charcter IMO than any storyline I've seen this season......
Gwen
# Gwen 2013-03-25 11:46
I agree with Jo and lala. I also have issues regarding the conversation between Sam and Meg and what it said about why Sam didn't look for Dean. Like Lala, for me the only way their conversation shed light on the subject was to say Sam didn't bother looking for his brother because he wanted normal.

I can completely understand him taking the opportunity to give up hunting for the normal life, but to not look for his own brother just because he wanted normal?? :o :o That I cannot get my head around.

It's also a huge shame that what Sam had to say was, yet again, said off screen.

Quote:
I didn't find this episode all that interesting.
I've very much hesitated to write my thoughts on this episode for fear of being lambasted but I wasn't so impressed either. I loved the brotherly moments but I got bored pretty quickly with the rest of the episode. :sad:
lala2
# lala2 2013-03-25 12:17
Gwen, I thought the episode was okay. It wasn't as horrible as "Bitten," but it was better than the MBFWB. A lot of people have been raving over it, but I'm not feeling the high praise.

But back to Sam - I simply cannot support the idea that Sam didn't look for Dean b/c he wanted a normal life. That is cowardly, cruel, and selfish!

Is Sam so weak that upon finding and rescuing Dean he couldn't be able to walk away from the life? No, that can't be it b/c we've seen Sam walk away before. He did when he was 18. He did in Scarecrow and GGY. He did at the end of SF. Sam could find/rescue Dean and still pursue "normal."

Is Sam so cruel and selfish that he would be find w/whatever fate befell Dean as long as he doesn't have to hunt? That CANNOT be the character I've come to love over the years. Just no. If that's the way Sam thinks then I have no interest in him. He would be disgusting to me.

No, for me, Sam's conversation w/Meg cleared up nothing when it comes to Sam not looking for Dean. I feel Carver threw out inconsistent lines ("nothing says family like the whole family being dead" and "I thought you could have been eating tacos two states over") to muddy the story and did nothing to clarify it. Who knows what Sam thought?

At this point, I don't want an explanation from Carver b/c I don't think he understands anything about Sam or the show, in general. Sam's OOC behavior has been filed under "Bad Writing" for me, and that's where it will stay unless or until it is retconned or explained in a rational way.
Alice
# Alice 2013-03-25 14:01
Enough lala2! You've registered the same complaint six times on this thread already! You're allowed maybe one or two on episode threads.

Not to mention you say the same complaint over and over again on other threads. I get it. Sam isn't written right, Carver doesn't get Sam, there's no way he wouldn't look for Dean, blah, blah. You make good points about Meg's conversation with Sam, which is relevant to the discussion, and then you veer off to the same old rant.

For the sake of the moderator's sanity, can you try to keep the conversation fresh? Thank you.
lala2
# lala2 2013-03-25 14:27
So you're saying my comments are not welcome on your board b/c you disagree w/them? Thanks for allowing "freedom of thought." What happened to respecting everyone's opinions?

Look, I'm not sure what your problem is w/me since I've only been respectful in ALL my comments. Why are you taking an issue w/me? What did I do to you except disagree on this story?
elle
# elle 2013-03-25 15:52
I think what Alice is trying to say is that conversation is meant to be a dialogue that flows in the comments, and that once you've stated your complaint clearly rather than rehash it, carry forward with the discussion.

Free opinions and thoughts are always the way of the WFB but the site has to be aware when it appears that the same points are being constantly restated to only negative ends, rather than carrying on a new line of discussion, or progressing current discussion. Alice has never tried to stifle an opinion and I don't believe that's what she was doing here either.

Alice - sorry, but I couldn't help but step in here just a bit.
Bamboo24
# Bamboo24 2013-03-25 16:00
I would add to Elle's comment (which I agree with) that Alice created the "Let's Discuss" threads specifically the "Season 8 Bitterness thread" so that those with complaints would have a safe place to voice them without the same things being rehashed thread after thread. In that way, she fully supports "freedom of thought" and differing opinions. I believe the purpose was also to protect the author's of the episode review articles (like this one) from having to read too much off-topic discussion.
lala2
# lala2 2013-03-25 16:04
I'm sorry, Elle, but "Enough lala" and "blah blah blah" is just rude to me. And it's unnecessary. I feel I've only ever been polite on these boards so it's not asking too much for others to be polite in return IMO.

But whatever . . . I only came here to discuss the show. If this was only supposed to be a "positive" thread then that's cool. I wouldn't have posted anything.

Anyway, I'm over it. Happy posting :-)
Jo1027
# Jo1027 2013-03-25 20:29
Quote:
I'm sorry, Elle, but "Enough lala" and "blah blah blah" is just rude to me. And it's unnecessary. I feel I've only ever been polite on these boards so it's not asking too much for others to be polite in return IMO.

But whatever . . . I only came here to discuss the show. If this was only supposed to be a "positive" thread then that's cool. I wouldn't have posted anything.

Anyway, I'm over it. Happy posting :-)
lala2 please continue to post. You have a right to feel how you feel. If others don't like it they can skip your posts. No where have I read that you only have to post positive thoughts. I thought the whole point of these was to express you feelings.
If that is not the case, Alice, then please state that so we can move to another site that does allow us to express how we feel.
I'm sorry, but I feel it was unnecessary for you to call lala2 out.
lala2
# lala2 2013-03-25 22:58
Thanks, Jo :-)

I appreciate your words. I make a concerted effort to be respectful in my posts and didn't think I had offended anyone so I was a little taken aback by the manner in which I was addressed. Oh well.

We'll still see each other at SN.tv!!
just Leah
# just Leah 2013-03-25 23:16
lala, don't go! I think you are respectful!! I think the adms read every comment on every thread every day and sometimes the repetition can be frustrating. I did it for several days when I was sick. Made me nuts :-)
KELLY
# KELLY 2013-03-25 23:19
lala2, I for one would be sorry to see you go. I enjoy your posts, even when we don't agree, what is often :D . I feel it could have been handled more respectfully. If Alice felt there was a problem, I think she should have just directed you to one of the other threads.

Maybe it's time for another one of those breaks I was talking about the other day. :-) Which is a bummer since I was loving all the theories floating around. Oh well, que sera sera. (is that how you spell that)
just Leah
# just Leah 2013-03-25 23:35
NO Kelly! No breaks. No. Just NO :lol:
KELLY
# KELLY 2013-03-26 01:16
Leah, it's been a incredibly long, horrible bad god awful day. So perhaps I'll sleep and everything will seem bright and shiny tomorrow.

And I would totally miss harassing you and E and all the others and I have no will power so I'll probably be pulled back sooner rather than later. :-) Just feeling a little wibbly right now.
E
# E 2013-03-26 08:41
Nooooo! don't go, who will I agree with?
elle
# elle 2013-03-25 23:38
Hi lala,

I wasn't going to continue this discussion further, but seeing the responses garnered I wanted to expand one more time. First, all the following comments are not meant to be taken in any rude or nasty tones whatsoever, please know that. I simply want to share what I hope might be clarifications from an outside perspective on the matter.

I certainly don't want to speak for someone else, but I don't think Alice's intentions were to be rude, I think she was just trying make a point and in this case, it was necessary to be blunt and therefore clear about it. She also said you make good contributions to the discussions, so I think it would be a shame to ignore that comment in favour of only seeing what you felt came across as rude. I know Alice and I've been a part of WFB forever, she'd never stifle an opinion because she didn't agree - please believe that. Nor would she deliberately be rude to someone to do so. (Personally, I don't think she did either).

I also didn't mean to suggest that the purpose of the site was only to post positive thoughts or opinion, or that that was the purpose of this thread. I simply meant that perhaps what Alice's comment was pointing out was that once an opinion has been stated, when you constantly circle back to that singular view point in multiple discussion threads only for the sake of stating it and not because it furthers the current discussion it seems the only purpose of doing so is to be negative. I'm not saying this was your intention. I'm just saying this is how these things can come across sometimes and it can lead to bitterness on the thread (again - not saying this was your intention at all, just that this is the type of atmosphere WFB sets out to avoid) which can quickly devolve into angry Sam vs Dean etc. type things.

I certainly don't speak for Alice. But I do know this site and what it stands for. All are welcome, all opinions be they favourable or unfavourable are welcome. And I hope you'll continue to post.
percysowner
# percysowner 2013-03-25 23:43
I want to add to the pleas that you continue to post lala. I have never thought you have been disrespectful. I would miss your comments. This episode was very polarizing and many of us are very adamant and committed to our respective viewpoints. I appreciate yours and hope to see you here for a long time.
lala2
# lala2 2013-03-26 07:20
Thanks, Percy, Kelly, and Leah :-)

Again, I do appreciate the kind words.

Elle, as time has passed, my enjoyment of Supernatural has definitely decreased. I think it's simply the fact that the show has been on for several years now, and I feel they've had a few bad seasons (5, 7, and 8 being among them). I just can't be optimistic and positive about everything. It's cool that you and others can be but that's not me. I don't consider myself bitter (as I've never said Show owes me anything) or negative (critical for no reason). I see myself as dissatisfied with the state of the show or with certain storylines. I don't see that as a problem myself.

I, personally, view this as a very positive website. That's my opinion. I have never felt quite comfortable leaving critical comments here. Again, this is all just my perspective. And there's nothing wrong with this being a positive site. I just don't know if the way I tend to post works here. I mostly respond to comments rather than articles. And I don't pay attn to how many "negative" comments I'm leaving in one article. I just respond. I do tend to get in a very "agreeing" mood, which is what happened yesterday. I made my comment and then agreed with a few people again about the same thing. I didn't think that was a problem but I guess it was. No offense was intended on my part.

Anyway, I just wanted to give my POV. If I could do PMs, I would have.
Sylvie
# Sylvie 2013-03-26 08:27
Hey Lala, just thought I'd give my two cents on this thread. I'm one of those positive posters :-) , but I read the negative stuff also. I like to see what everyone has to say. And although I don't know Alice, from what I've read of her posts and threads, I don't think she meant for you to stop giving your views of SPN. The WFB has always been a very welcoming forum. So let me join with everyone else in saying please, don't stop posting, I like reading what you have to say...even though I don't always agree. ;-)
suebsg9
# suebsg9 2013-03-25 11:56
I seem to love the ongoing theme of Sam hitting the dog. Dean started it when explaining to Kevin where each was. Dean was in purgatory and sam hit a dog. And again here is meg wondering why Sam stopped when he hit the dog. And meg should stand in line behind those Sam didn't look for because its a long list start with Dean, Kevin and then Meg. And I love how Meg put the whole story thing I laughed I cried I puked in my mouth I think ongoing theme there about Sam and Amelia. I love the scene with Dean and Cas those two just make the whole show. Granted I did also enjoy Dean finding the very old version of Busty Asian Beauties. Not sure I see Dean writing stuff in a journal especially since he is not sure what the stuff is used for. And thank god Dean called out Sam and the lying and glad he did it in front of Cas and Meg. Know sam was ticked but good call on Dean and in the car also he can join us in line of Sam lying to Dean it gets old just be upfront with the one person who will help you through the trials. All Dean ever wants is for people to be honest with him but I am glad he calls people on their crap these days. I am not sure how many times I have watched the eps but its a goodie Robbie Thompson did a great job. Just waiting until April 3rd and whats coming out of that eps. Can't wait.
Ale
# Ale 2013-03-25 13:29
Bamboo24, very well said. Completely agree.

In the state Sam was in whe he hit the dog, he wasn't able to put two and two together. He was a total wreck. I can't think of anyone else who needed some time to take a breather and pull himself together more than Sam. Poor guy reached his limit and thank God he hit that dog or we don't know what might have happened to him all alone in the world.

Maybe after his time with Amelia, when he got back to the cabin, he would be able to think more objectively about what happened to Dean and realise there was a chance he may not be dead, after all. But then, Dean showed up and never gave Sam that chance.
Amy
# Amy 2013-03-25 13:50
Quote:
Bamboo24, very well said. Completely agree.

In the state Sam was in whe he hit the dog, he wasn't able to put two and two together. He was a total wreck. I can't think of anyone else who needed some time to take a breather and pull himself together more than Sam. Poor guy reached his limit and thank God he hit that dog or we don't know what might have happened to him all alone in the world.

Maybe after his time with Amelia, when he got back to the cabin, he would be able to think more objectively about what happened to Dean and realise there was a chance he may not be dead, after all. But then, Dean showed up and never gave Sam that chance.
This is the big problem I have. Dean...the main charector and MAIN pov can't even entertain the thought or idea that has/had reached his breaking point. I mean Sam TOLD Dean that hunting is what got every member of his family/loved ones killed...everyt hing Bamboo stated. This after Sam nearly died from hallucinations of Lucifer, having been souless...etc.. .etc Its true. but none was good enough reason for Dean.

he didn't see a brother who reached his breaking point and fell apart. All he saw was a brother who betrayed him.

And the writers really haven't altered Deans POV or PERCEPTION on any of this. Dean warmed up to Sam oince he made Sam know he will never be a good enough as a brother for Dean...but he's good enough to warm the passenger seat...at least until someone better comes along.

Griefand love for Dean does not count in Deans book. Unless you are an Angel. Or a vampire.
Ale
# Ale 2013-03-25 14:13
Amy, Dean's reaction to something he doesn't like is often impulsive and unfair. He says what he is thinking at the time without measuring words and sometimes regret it and apologise. It takes time for him to come around.

It was like this with Sam drinking demon blood. Bobby had to yell at him for Dean to reach Sam again (Lucifer Rising). Even Garth had to 'yell' at Dean with the 'you're not Bobby' to make Dean stop and think again. And Sam had to yell at Dean in Southern Comfort for Dean start the path of trying to understand Sam's POV.

I believe Dean thought better on the subject and it became clear to me in the first trial episode that he came around, when he said he wanted Sam happy with a normal life. And although it's still a delicate subject between them, I cannot agree with you that Dean's love for Sam is above everything and everybody's else. As Sam's love for Dean.
Ale
# Ale 2013-03-25 14:15
Correction: "I cannot agree with you that Dean's love for Sam is NOT above everything and everybody's else. As Sam's love for Dean."
LAF
# LAF 2013-03-26 11:27
The only constant truth in SPN is that Dean loves Sam, and if you think differently, I pity you.
anonymousN
# anonymousN 2013-03-26 11:54
I thought the only constant truth was that the brothers love each other.
winmomwannabe
# winmomwannabe 2013-03-25 13:35
I enjoyed the episode and your review. It is so interesting how after reading your review I can be so at peace with it all, even when I still have questions. Then I read the comments and my stomach starts churning and my mind starts spinning in all kinds of directions.

I am with you. I am loving this season and all the places it has taken us, new possibilities, bro moments and MOL. So I will sit back and just enjoy the last few episodes. Since we have NO control over what the writers have already written for the end of this season I want to enjoy whatever it brings, good or bad, sad or happy, frustrating or exhilarating. I mean this is a TV show eliciting all of this great emotion from me. That is good stuff all around.

Love the boys, sorry, men and where they are at again. And now that I've been to a con I watch with yet another eye in my head. We can all speculate and read things into every action we see and hear, but in the end it is not up to us to decide the outcome. I will enjoy the beautiful ride and try not to be affected by the fandom outcries because sometimes it just makes me soooo sad to read some of it. In fact, teary eyed now. Nuts!

Have a wonderful week everyone.
lkeke35
# lkeke35 2013-03-25 16:39
yahoo.comI enjoyed the episode and your review. It is so interesting how after reading your review I can be so at peace with it all, even when I still have questions. Then I read the comments and my stomach starts churning and my mind starts spinning in all kinds of directions.

I am with you. I am loving this season and all the places it has taken us, new possibilities, bro moments and MOL. So I will sit back and just enjoy the last few episodes. Since we have NO control over what the writers have already written for the end of this season I want to enjoy whatever it brings, good or bad, sad or happy, frustrating or exhilarating. I mean this is a TV show eliciting all of this great emotion from me. That is good stuff all around.

Love the boys, sorry, men and where they are at again. And now that I've been to a con I watch with yet another eye in my head. We can all speculate and read things into every action we see and hear, but in the end it is not up to us to decide the outcome. I will enjoy the beautiful ride and try not to be affected by the fandom outcries because sometimes it just makes me soooo sad to read some of it. In fact, teary eyed now. Nuts!

Have a wonderful week everyone.

Thank you for clearing my head about this,Winmomwann abe. I always feel a little bit guilty about b***ing about all the things that irk me on the show, because I really do love the show. And I must love it because nothing gets me more riled up then a discussion about it. In that sense , the writers know exactly what they're doing.

I may dislike the first 10 episodes of the season, I may never watch those again but I have had way too much fun speculating about this season to hate it too much. I'm just going to try to enjoy the rest of the season as much as possible. I can love the show just fine while ignoring all he episodes I don't care for. I did it with Buffy, Angel and the X-files and I'll do the same here.
Sylvie
# Sylvie 2013-03-25 15:07
Great review Alice. I love your quip about Greyhound:
Quote:
Greyhound bus/Purgatory. Hmm, I think they got that right.
:lol: At Christmas break I had the misfortune to come back home on Greyhound. Never again! :o What a lousy company.
sweetondean
# sweetondean 2013-03-25 15:57
Thank you Alice, what a fab take on everything! I was nodding my head throughout, like one of those bobble headed dogs in the back of a car!
Rick D
# Rick D 2013-03-25 18:38
I just have three questions.
1) What an other way is there to see Sam's conversation with Meg except that, once again, he's been reset and just wants to get away from hunting?
Follow up question- in which case, all the progress Sam had made; finally finding a purpose w/ the Men of Letters, telling that guy in HH not to live in a dream world, making his decision to not return to Amelia, Dean saying "now he's more committed than ever, so that's good" in LARP- that's ALL been WASHed away again, just like 7 years of purposeful hunting Sam had done up til this season has all been washed away, right?

2) If Sam is so "damaged" that he can't even go into the storage room with Dean and Cas, how does Dean allow Sam to go investigate vamps in the next episode?

3) Would it be better to think that Sam's conversation with Meg was just a throw away line better ignored and that the reasoning behind leaving Sam outside was so that Dean and Cas could have yet another tender moment and is better ignored?

Because I'm thinking I can still enjoy the show only if I pretend this episode never happened.

Because this episode seems to say that Sam likes Dean, but would rather be with Amelia; and that Dean wants Sam around, but in contrast, he needs Cas. And that doesn't seem like the brotherly reconciliation I was told, earlier in the season, just to be patient for. Or do I still have to be patient? (sorry that's a 4th question)
Katie
# Katie 2013-03-25 22:32
Do you mind if I take a whack at your questions too?

1) I see Sam's conversation with Meg as an attempt to explain Amelia- not as an explanation for Sam not looking for Dean. Sam's desire for normalcy wasn't reawaken until after he started a relationship with Amelia. It was clearly shown that Sam's relationship started with Amelia months after Dean's disappearance and Sam wasn't looking for normal. He was lost and driving around; it wasn't until Sam was forced into staying in one place for the dog that he started a relationship with Amelia. If Sam's desire for normalcy had been the reason for Sam not looking for Dean, then no dogs would have been harmed in the making of it.

In some ways, yes, it was a reset of Sam's character. Carver has been reported to having said that Sam's history was too complicated to fully deal with and he wanted to take Sam back to a simpler place, which Sam's desire for normal is Sam's simplest setting. But giving Carver the benefit of the doubt, I think Carver wanted to give Sam a purpose again. Something to fight for. In season seven, a popular question was why are Sam and Dean still hunting. So, I think by having Amelia open the possibilities of Sam having a normal again, Sam has something to hold on to, which is a necessity for the trials. However, Amelia was an unlikeable character and the chemistry just wasn't there for the character. The Men of Letter is a much better fit for Sam and regaining his hope, one of Sam's defining qualities. Sam regaining the dream of normalcy restores Sam's hope. So, it's not a step back. It's a step forward, just a wobbly step due to Amelia's failure and the sudden success of the Men of Letters. I do think the trials were always planned as Sam's role in them; so Sam's faith in life needed to be restored before he could take them.

However, a better approach to this would have been to have had Sam and Dean separated for a couple of episode instead of the flashbacks. If the audience had seen Sam with a love interest helping Sam look for Dean in Purgatory and restoring his hope and faith, the audience would have been more invested in the love story instead of a soap opera. I think Carver had the right idea in attempting to give Sam love, because love can bring a lot of hope to the story, but he failed in the execution by separating it from the main story. But the end result has been the same, Sam's renewed commitment to hunting is bound to Sam's renewed commitment to Sam's dream of normal.

2) Weak writing? Honestly, I do think the episode had a couple of places were the writing was a little weak and this was one of them. Dean's reasoning for Sam staying outside where he would be fighting demons instead of going inside where he would have had back-up including Castiel (who had already saved him in this episode) was weak. There was no reason to believe there was any major threat inside. What were they expecting? Voldemort? Sam didn't want Dean going in when they weren't certain Castiel was good or bad. Sam wanted to back Dean up. So, what were Dean's reasons? I think Dean's reasoning was weak, partly, because he wanted to get Castiel alone to talk about Sam. Dean has a one track mind when it comes to Sam and he has shown on more than one occasion that he is willing to use Castiel as a resource to protect Sam. Sam has to stay outside why Dean grills Castiel because Cas isn't coming when Dean is calling, so he has to question him as much as he can when Castiel is around. (And we haven't seen this week episode, so Dean might be opposed to Sam hunting.)

3) I do question if the conversation was just used to give Dean and Castiel their moment. But since there are so many blanks in Sam's story, I think Meg was just echoing the true question why did Sam quit hunting for hitting a dog? I still think there is something up with Sam's memories and the figure in 8x01. But I think most fans patience has worn thin. I hope they readdress it, but we'll have to wait to the end of the season. But it would make sense if Castiel was only killing Deans on the Holodeck because Naomi already has Sam under her control doing what she wants therefore he is no longer a threat. If they twist it around and start connecting some of these pieces, I think you would feel better about this. Until then I think the conversation was only intended to try and explain Amelia, so the audience doesn't feel like it was a total waste of time.

4) I understand your frustration with the episode. And Dean's statement of he "needs" Cas bugs me too. However, I don't think this episode was meant to cause as many problems as it did. I heard that Robbie Thompson got a lot of crap from the fans about this episode. To me, it seems like a lot of people are saying it was a good episode as they tear it to pieces. I think everyone had issues with it in some type of way-even if they do think it was a great episode. I had issues with the "Swan Song" parallel, because I think Castiel and Dean should have had their own moment (I would have the same complaint if Cas had stabbed himself to save Dean like Bobby did) instead of copying a major moment of the show. It should have been it's own moment instead of attempting to put Castiel and Dean on the same level as Sam and Dean. That's what makes their relationship interesting the uniqueness of each dynamic.

I don't think the episode was meant to say that Sam would rather be with Amelia. The writers had the same problem with Lisa and Dean. There were times when they were trying to explain Lisa or show her significance to Dean that it made it look like Dean would rather be with Lisa than Sam. This is a natural problem caused by the limitations of this kind of storytelling. They didn't let the relationships develop onscreen, so the only way to convey their importance is through dialogue, thus, the appearance of dreaming of elsewhere. I think there is a reason they brought it up again, because I do think it is going to come into play. It might have been a way of connecting Castiel and Meg together for her death, but I don't know about that.

Dean was shown multiple times in this episode being worried about Sam. I do think Sam and Dean need each other, but I think the writers were trying to resolve Castiel's issues as quick as possible, now that Castiel is coming back as regular. I'm worried about Castiel being in the final three episodes of the season, because the writers constantly have Castiel and Dean off doing something while Sam is on his own or offscreen. So, I'm nervous to see if for once they can handle Sam and Dean's relationship and Castiel in the same episode. They could do it in the fifth season and Carver wrote "Point of No Return," which dealt with it beautifully. But you can't judge it until you see it, I guess. However, I do think there is more for Sam and Dean to come simply because I do think we have some more explanation coming to connect the first half of the season to the second half.

Yeah, you still have to be patient. I think there is still more to come on the brother front, but I'm not sure if the show is going to manage what they said they were trying to do at the beginning of the season. So, far, the Men of Letters hasn't done much and up until this episode Sam and Dean were still lying to each other. I don't know. I don't have a ton of faith in Carver and I don't particularly like a lot of what he has done, but I'm trying to stay positive.
Bamboo24
# Bamboo24 2013-03-25 23:53
Katie,

I don't agree with all of it, but this was a WONDERFUL, well-analyzed post. Thank you. I especially appreciate your answer to Rick D's first and second questions. They certainly blow mine right out of the water. :)

I also appreciate your effort to understand and appreciate the purpose/intent of storylines you may not agree with (i.e. "giving Carver the benefit of the doubt") and stay positive and respectful despite your reservations.

Thanks again for an awesome post.
Katie
# Katie 2013-03-26 00:11
Bamboo24, thank you! That was so kind of you to say that. I was worried about posting, because I've seen a lot of Sam hate today, so I was worried my upset over it would spill over into what I was trying to say. I'm really trying hard to stay positive for the last bit of the season, but the anti-Sam stuff on other websites is beginning to get to me. So, it's nice to know that I've managed to stay respectful.

Thank you.
Rick D
# Rick D 2013-03-26 02:06
Katie, I want to say again- thank you for your post. I'm so sorry you had to deal with Sam hate today, and I hope my crankiness did not make things worse.

You should not worry about posting, because you are a beacon of positivity, and you really did help me. I am going to give this episode a rewatch, and see if your perspective helps me see it in a positive light.
Katie
# Katie 2013-03-26 03:07
Rick D, thank for your compliment and you certainly did not make things worse. I understand the frustration with the show. I hope that rewatching the episode will help. It's easy to let the negativity and uncertainty taint the episodes. I'm glad I could help you! I hope you find some comfort with the episode and it doesn't harm your enjoyment for the rest of the season.
E
# E 2013-03-27 12:08
Great discussion going on here! Sorry for the late reply. Maybe this will help with the awkward Dean/Cas "I need you" line. I think Dean actually said "we need you" before he said "I need you" which helps me accept the scene a little bit more. Dean acknowledges that Cas is important to Sam as well and also makes me realize that he may have said "I need you" BECAUSE of Sam. If Cas goes off the grid who will be left to help Sam with his "damage at the sub molecular level?" I felt Dean wasn't just pleading with Cas just for himself and what he shares with Cas (although that is a big part of it) but because of his concern for Sam, which still trumps everything as far as Dean is concerned.
Bamboo24
# Bamboo24 2013-03-27 13:01
E,

I agree with this. It also plays into what I was saying before about Dean, for all his talk of family and friends (and while I'm sure he means it on one level), in many ways views Cas as a necessity because of what the angel can do for him i.e., healing/saving/ looking out for him and Sam.
Rick D
# Rick D 2013-03-26 00:03
Quote:
Do you mind if I take a whack at your questions too?
Please do! If you can turn me around on an ep that so many others seem to like, especially when I was finally feeling hopeful about the season again- have at it!
P.S. - thank you for the lengthy, well-thought out reply- much more than I hoped for and much appreciated.

Quote:
1) I see Sam's conversation with Meg as an attempt to explain Amelia- not as an explanation for Sam not looking for Dean.
Okay, gonna stop you right there, because I don't care about that. I agree with Alice- that has been explained already. I'm more concerned by the impression left that Sam is always looking for a way out.

Quote:
I think Carver had the right idea in attempting to give Sam love, because love can bring a lot of hope to the story, but he failed in the execution by separating it from the main story. But the end result has been the same, Sam's renewed commitment to hunting is bound to Sam's renewed commitment to Sam's dream of normal.
Okaay. That had not occurred to me because it sounds like those people who say "I'm gonna be a bartender because I gave up alcohol"- BUT people do do that, so I'm gonna ponder on your idea.

Quote:
2) I think Dean's reasoning was weak, partly, because he wanted to get Castiel alone to talk about Sam. Dean has a one track mind when it comes to Sam and he has shown on more than one occasion that he is willing to use Castiel as a resource to protect Sam. Sam has to stay outside why Dean grills Castiel because Cas isn't coming when Dean is calling, so he has to question him as much as he can when Castiel is around.
AHA! Now this I like! Yes, this is my new head canon.

Quote:
(And we haven't seen this week episode, so Dean might be opposed to Sam hunting.)
Yes, we shall see.

Quote:
3) I think Meg was just echoing the true question why did Sam quit hunting for hitting a dog? I still think there is something up with Sam's memories and the figure in 8x01. But I think most fans patience has worn thin. I hope they readdress it, but we'll have to wait to the end of the season. But it would make sense if Castiel was only killing Deans on the Holodeck because Naomi already has Sam under her control doing what she wants therefore he is no longer a threat.
I think that all presumes an interest in Sam the writers do not share.

Quote:
If they twist it around and start connecting some of these pieces, I think you would feel better about this. Until then I think the conversation was only intended to try and explain Amelia, so the audience doesn't feel like it was a total waste of time.
I suppose that's probably true, I just found it so disheartening. Like the writers said, "Can anyone think of something interesting for Sam to say? No? Well, just have him repeat a desire to be free of hunting. That's good enough."

Quote:
4) However, I don't think this episode was meant to cause as many problems as it did. I heard that Robbie Thompson got a lot of crap from the fans about this episode. To me, it seems like a lot of people are saying it was a good episode as they tear it to pieces.
Which is a shame, because I can admit- it was a well written ep. The execution left something to be desired, especially, as you said, with the Swan Song homage.

Quote:
I don't think the episode was meant to say that Sam would rather be with Amelia. The writers had the same problem with Lisa and Dean. There were times when they were trying to explain Lisa or show her significance to Dean that it made it look like Dean would rather be with Lisa than Sam. This is a natural problem caused by the limitations of this kind of storytelling. They didn't let the relationships develop onscreen, so the only way to convey their importance is through dialogue, thus, the appearance of dreaming of elsewhere.
I sure hope you are right about that, because the constant repetition makes it look like Sam is always looking over his shoulder for something better.

Quote:
I'm worried about Castiel being in the final three episodes of the season, because the writers constantly have Castiel and Dean off doing something while Sam is on his own or offscreen. So, I'm nervous to see if for once they can handle Sam and Dean's relationship and Castiel in the same episode. They could do it in the fifth season and Carver wrote "Point of No Return," which dealt with it beautifully.
I'm very worried too, for the same reasons.
As for eps, how about Hunter Heroici? That had the THREE of them, actually in the same room, working together like a team. (gasp) Why can't they manage that more often?

Quote:
Yeah, you still have to be patient. I think there is still more to come on the brother front, but I'm not sure if the show is going to manage what they said they were trying to do at the beginning of the season. So, far, the Men of Letters hasn't done much and up until this episode Sam and Dean were still lying to each other. I don't know. I don't have a ton of faith in Carver and I don't particularly like a lot of what he has done, but I'm trying to stay positive.
Well then, I appreciate that you tried to help me be positive as well. It sure ain't easy, because they expect SO much patience.
Amy
# Amy 2013-03-27 10:34
Quote:
Do you mind if I take a whack at your questions too?

1) I see Sam's conversation with Meg as an attempt to explain Amelia- not as an explanation for Sam not looking for Dean. Sam's desire for normalcy wasn't reawaken until after he started a relationship with Amelia. It was clearly shown that Sam's relationship started with Amelia months after Dean's disappearance and Sam wasn't looking for normal. He was lost and driving around; it wasn't until Sam was forced into staying in one place for the dog that he started a relationship with Amelia. If Sam's desire for normalcy had been the reason for Sam not looking for Dean, then no dogs would have been harmed in the making of it.

In some ways, yes, it was a reset of Sam's character. Carver has been reported to having said that Sam's history was too complicated to fully deal with and he wanted to take Sam back to a simpler place, which Sam's desire for normal is Sam's simplest setting. But giving Carver the benefit of the doubt, I think Carver wanted to give Sam a purpose again. Something to fight for. In season seven, a popular question was why are Sam and Dean still hunting. So, I think by having Amelia open the possibilities of Sam having a normal again, Sam has something to hold on to, which is a necessity for the trials. However, Amelia was an unlikeable character and the chemistry just wasn't there for the character. The Men of Letter is a much better fit for Sam and regaining his hope, one of Sam's defining qualities. Sam regaining the dream of normalcy restores Sam's hope. So, it's not a step back. It's a step forward, just a wobbly step due to Amelia's failure and the sudden success of the Men of Letters. I do think the trials were always planned as Sam's role in them; so Sam's faith in life needed to be restored before he could take them.

However, a better approach to this would have been to have had Sam and Dean separated for a couple of episode instead of the flashbacks. If the audience had seen Sam with a love interest helping Sam look for Dean in Purgatory and restoring his hope and faith, the audience would have been more invested in the love story instead of a soap opera. I think Carver had the right idea in attempting to give Sam love, because love can bring a lot of hope to the story, but he failed in the execution by separating it from the main story. But the end result has been the same, Sam's renewed commitment to hunting is bound to Sam's renewed commitment to Sam's dream of normal.

2) Weak writing? Honestly, I do think the episode had a couple of places were the writing was a little weak and this was one of them. Dean's reasoning for Sam staying outside where he would be fighting demons instead of going inside where he would have had back-up including Castiel (who had already saved him in this episode) was weak. There was no reason to believe there was any major threat inside. What were they expecting? Voldemort? Sam didn't want Dean going in when they weren't certain Castiel was good or bad. Sam wanted to back Dean up. So, what were Dean's reasons? I think Dean's reasoning was weak, partly, because he wanted to get Castiel alone to talk about Sam. Dean has a one track mind when it comes to Sam and he has shown on more than one occasion that he is willing to use Castiel as a resource to protect Sam. Sam has to stay outside why Dean grills Castiel because Cas isn't coming when Dean is calling, so he has to question him as much as he can when Castiel is around. (And we haven't seen this week episode, so Dean might be opposed to Sam hunting.)

3) I do question if the conversation was just used to give Dean and Castiel their moment. But since there are so many blanks in Sam's story, I think Meg was just echoing the true question why did Sam quit hunting for hitting a dog?

4) I understand your frustration with the episode.uld rather be with Amelia. The writers had the same problem with Lisa and Dean. There were times when they were trying to explain Lisa or show her significance to Dean that it made it look like Dean would rather be with Lisa than Sam. This is a natural problem caused by the limitations of this kind of storytelling. They didn't let the relationships develop onscreen, so the only way to convey their importance is through dialogue, thus, the appearance of dreaming of elsewhere. I think there is a reason they brought it up again, because I do think it is going to come into play. It might have been a way of connecting Castiel and Meg together for her death, but I don't know about that.

Dean was shown multiple times in this episode being worried about Sam. I do think Sam and Dean need each other, but I think the writers were trying to resolve Castiel's issues as quick as possible, now that Castiel is coming back as regular. I'm worried about Castiel being in the final three episodes of the season, because the writers constantly have Castiel and Dean off doing something while Sam is on his own or offscreen. So, I'm nervous to see if for once they can handle Sam and Dean's relationship and Castiel in the same episode. They could do it in the fifth season and Carver wrote "Point of No Return," which dealt with it beautifully. But you can't judge it until you see it, I guess. However, I do think there is more for Sam and Dean to come simply because I do think we have some more explanation coming to connect the first half of the season to the second half.

Yeah, you still have to be patient. I think there is still more to come on the brother front, but I'm not sure if the show is going to manage what they said they were trying to do at the beginning of the season. So, far, the Men of Letters hasn't done much and up until this episode Sam and Dean were still lying to each other. I don't know. I don't have a ton of faith in Carver and I don't particularly like a lot of what he has done, but I'm trying to stay positive.
Katie, than, you for your well thought out answers to Ricks questions. His questions and concerns have been mine as well...he's just more ...articulate then me (and less knee jerky) I also wanted to thank Bamboo for her insights as well....as some others who have been halping me and rick and some others.

I geuss my biggest concern is that after watching an episode I feel that I only seem to understand what the writers are doing or tying to do with Sam by reading other peoples posts/reviews/i deas....or Carvers favorite word...PERCEPTI ONS regarding Sam. I once was able to see the path the writes were taking Sam very clearly but now....its all PERCEPTION. Which is frusterating because...WHOSE Perception? Perceptiuon is so very subjective.

Adn then I'm also frusterated and maybe you can anser this...or Bamboo or Alice or Tim.....but why is Carvers use of Poerception.... .soley relegated to Sam? Or at least the long range Perception? Because MY Perception (how i hate this word. lol) is the writes cleared up any MISPEARCEAPTION S about Dean within a few episodes. he did nothting wrong....never failed Cas, Cas simply felt he needed to redeem himself by staying in Purgatory. Cas misperceptions is he didn't CONCIOUSLY betray ahyone...he's been brina washed , tortured and manipulated by Naomi. benny isnb't evil, just...Edward Cullin-esk...wa nts to be left alone to live his lifeand trying to find a connection back to humanity practically from the get go.

But the perception surrounding Sam is vague, murky and can go whichever way the wind blows depending on the episode and how Dean (the writers) feels at that particular moment. Why does SAM have to be the mystery AGAIN? 4 years running now.

As for the brothers relationship... ..I'm having a difficult time investing in this new, better relationship because I'm worried about as Dean puts it "the other shoe dropping...i.e. the writers deciding Dean needs to feel betrayed by Sam for some slight again or he'll bring up Sam being souless again,,,and then drop it without any resolution AGAIN. Or they have SAm lying about something...wea ther its because he is outright lying or lying by omission because he just hasn't processed the information HIMSELF yet (this one i think is rather unfair). Simply because the writers want conflict between the brothers. Its like some scary merry go round ride from Hell.

Anyway, thank you Katie and everyone else...And if anyone can answer about the perception thing....THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!!!!!!
Katie
# Katie 2013-03-28 00:02
Hi, Amy! Thank you! I hope I can provide some type of answer about the perception thing.

I understand your concerns and I share a lot of them. I'm disappointed in a lot of Carver decisions. Creatively, I disagree with Carver's use of "perceptions." Perception in storytelling needs to be subtly, but it also needs to be shown. You can't just use dialogue or wait to the end to go see!. (Plus, it's not a popular method.) You need signs that something is off, but it is important for your characters to question it as well. A really good movie that deals with perception is Christopher Nolan's "The Prestige." But that movie was meant to have you questioning what was going on. The characters were questioning it along with them. To me, perception is just another way of saying "not everything is what it seems." But then that has to be true in the story, which in six season, everyone who was shady was shady and everyone who was normal was normal.

Which is why I don't think it has worked this season, because personally, pretty much what we have seen has been what it seems (with the exception of Dean and Cas). I'll have to wait until the whole season is done before I really say that. However, so far, Benny is good, Cas was brainwash, Crowley is Crowley, Naomi is bad, and Amelia was real. There have been some surprises, but mostly, it's been a slow season. And it looks like another three-episode dash to the finish line.

Now, I do have to give Carver credit to Dean's escape from Purgatory, because it show what Carver was trying to say about perception. It worked because it was solved in a timely matter and you had Dean's emotions about it in the forefront. Sam, on the other hand, was written out of character. (I don't mean the normalcy question, but the fact he didn't look for Dean was. I know not everyone agrees on this, but the fact that we have this debate is something. You really don't want your audience debating about whether or not the writer wrote a character in character AND have reviewers have to repeatedly justified why they think this was in character.) The pacing for Carver's perception game is off. Sam's stuff was just dropped and the characters were told to drop it, so how are we suppose to know something is off? If you want your audience to entertain the idea that there are different sides to the story, you need to keep all sides on the table. It could be an attempt to throw the audience for a big reveal at the end of season, we don't know.

As of right now, we don't know if the perception game is still on. It could be or it might not be since fans were never sold on Sam's story to begin with. Personally, I think we are going to see more about Sam's year, but I think the writers thought Amelia would go over better and fans could wait until the final three episodes-look at six season for Castiel. But there have been times in which the writers have used the throw and sees what sticks methods. However, if they still have something up their sleeve for Sam, they're in danger of it looking like a retcon or whitewashing, because they haven't shown it. Carver said he was pleased with how the flashbacks had gone and there are a lot of fan theories out there about it being a set up of a dream for Sam, so maybe they are going to pull it off.

I really don't think the writers thought all of their plots all the way through. I saw once a list of 22 writing rules for Pixar storytelling. I love Disney/Pixar movies and I think these rules really do help their storytelling. But the one rule that really stuck out to me was "keep in mind what's interesting to you as an audience, not what's fun to do as a writer. They can be very different." I think that's the problem that Supernatural has been having lately. The writers are out of touch. They are doing what is fun for them, which is why there are so many errors in continuity and why we have had a lot of episodes with the guest stars taking over the show. The writers didn't realize how much Sam not looking for Dean would be hated. They thought it would be something new and shiny. It gave them a chance to write the brothers saying mean things to each other and gave them drama for the first half. They didn't think about how it was going to look or if matched earlier seasons.

Now, Carver could have something planned, but I think if they had consider how it would have looked onscreen, they would have shown Sam's breakdown or something a little more shady than a figure (which may have been answered on twitter as Don-that could be a foiler to throw fans off-I don't know and I hate to think something that big wouldn't have been addressed onscreen clearly). I have considered the possibility that the writers liked messing with the fans. They screw with the shippers and they do stuff that drives the sides of the fans nuts, which produces more discussion about the show.

Supernatural has some bad writing habits and all shows develop them. Some shows stay in these habits and still go on, while others are forced to changed. "Smallville" was forced to changed when two of the main actors left at the end of the seventh season. It did the show a world of good, because it got "Smallville" to quit trying to what it was. I think Supernatural has the same problem, but it keeps making the same mistakes. (Which is why I have more trouble with Carver right now, because he did a lot of the same stuff Sera Gamble did. Personally, I get the impression Carver got ten episodes to do his own thing and then Robert Singer stepped in the second half. Because the dramatic change from the first half of the season to the second half of the season is very clear. I hope they connect the two.)

I don't know about the brothers relationship. It needs work, no doubt. The writers need to start providing resolution. But this again goes back to the bad habits and not understanding the value of teamwork and respect. Plus, it feeds back into the universal complaint of the fandom: Sam needs more point of view and (present time) relationships onscreen. Dean needs his own story.

I think it has more to do with respecting the characters and their emotions-lettin g the characters have honest moments about their emotions and resolve the painful stuff. They can't have a new better relationship and still have Sam and Dean in the same old patterns.

I hope this helps. I'm sorry I don't have something more positive to say, but I think for right now, we are going to be stuck in a holding-pattern until the end of the season. Which sucks.
Rick D
# Rick D 2013-03-25 19:04
I take back what I said about Dean- that was unfair.
But I'd still really like someone to help me see (Bamboo? you always have good ones) why this isn't a HUGE step backward for Sam.
Bamboo24
# Bamboo24 2013-03-25 21:19
Hi Rick D,

Thanks for the compliment. :) :oops:

1. Just taking a stab at it, I would counter-ask: can't Sam want "normal" and be "more committed than ever to the hunt"? He wants to save the world (once and for all, perhaps) by closing the gates of hell. He wants that closure as much as Dean. But when it's all said and done, he wants out, because that is his deepest desire. A normal life, with Amelia or someone like her, far away from creepy things like Meg.

2. I have no idea. :P Cas said he was damaged on a sub-atomic level, but obviously Sam can still function. All I know is that it must have to do with the basic physics/chemist ry of the body. I would assume that the only way they would stop hunting is if Sam was incapacitated, the way he was in S7's "Born Again Identity". Sam is weakened in some way, but he's still able to function. So I guess they'll hunt until he can't anymore? We'll have to wait and see how it plays out.

3. I take it you are not a fan of "Tender Moments with Cas"? ;) :P

I'm curious as to why you didn't like the episode.

I'm also curious as to why there seems to be what I would call a false dichotomy - such that Dean "needing" Cas somehow means that he doesn't need or like or want to be around Sam. To me it is obvious that Dean needs his brother. Loves him very much. Wants the best for him. Etc. At the same time, he "needs" Cas. But the way he needs the angel is different (IMO) from the way in which he needs Sam. The significant thing about Cas is that he's a guardian - a supernatural being who's actually (usually) on their side. He often saves them from situations where they'd be otherwise screwed. And Dean NEEDS to lean on something stronger than himself. We saw in the last episode Dean praying to Cas - someone stronger than he - to look out for Sam. Because Dean is only human, he can only do so much. Hence: "We need you...I need you."

Tangent: this is also why (IMO) Dean is hard on Cas. He was particularly hard and unforgiving throughout S6-S7. There was actually a point during S6 where I believed that Dean - for all his talk about friendship and family - was just using Cas. Using him as healer, rescuer, etc. - got a problem? Call Cas. But when Cas asked something of Dean, he usually did nothing but bitch and resist. And it makes sense - ultimately, we're talking about two entirely different species, human and angel. Can you really be "friends" with someone that powerful? How do you do that without abusing the privilege of that friendship? I find it a very interesting dynamic.

Anyway...where was I? *crickets*

Oh - I also wanted to ask - what were you expecting, and what do you want to see in terms of brotherly reconciliation that we haven't seen already?
Rick D
# Rick D 2013-03-26 01:13
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Hi Rick D,

Thanks for the compliment. :) :oops:
You are welcome, and it's well deserved. You have several times made me reconsider my position, just by being reasonable.

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1. Just taking a stab at it, I would counter-ask: can't Sam want "normal" and be "more committed than ever to the hunt"?
Well, we are talking about someone who, as recently as Frontierland, said- no one ever gets out of hunting, ever. Now I realize things have changed since then, Amelia happened. And I was told I had to be "patient" until Sam's re commitment to hunting, which I thought I had. But it seems I have to be more patient still. And the number of eps left is slim.



And I can see why that seems reasonable, and goodness knows I hate to think I'm becoming one of those fans who is unhappy because "he's not doing what I want" but seriously- is this how they plan to continue?
Here's a hypothetical- there's a war on, and you are the boss at Bamboo Tank Makers Inc., and you need employees. Sam comes in and you say, "Son, why do you want to build tanks?" Sam replies, "Oh, I don't want to build tanks, I like building model airplanes because I find it relaxing. Buuuut since there is a war on, I guess I'll build tanks. Until the war is over, then I am out of here."
The question is- would you hire Sam to build your tanks?

Now I realize I'm exaggerating a bit, but I just don't get this useless repetition of Sam' supposed deepest desire- to get away. It does nothing but make him seem "less than." What happened to identifying with the Men of Letters? It makes it very difficult to be emotionally invested in Sam's heroic journey if Sam's isn't that invested either.

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2. I have no idea. :P Cas said he was damaged on a sub-atomic level, but obviously Sam can still function. All I know is that it must have to do with the basic physics/chemistry of the body.
My fondest hope (which will probably be dashed) is that the trials are causing Sam's body to reject all traces of demon blood in his system, finally letting him be normal. That's the only good I can see coming out of Sam being "damaged" again.

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3. I take it you are not a fan of "Tender Moments with Cas"? ;) :P
Nope. In fact, I have a lot more respect for Cas when he has a purpose other than making cow eyes at Dean. I like his storyline with Naomi and the tablets, it's a shame (to me) that Cas's story is more interesting than what Sam or Dean are doing.

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I'm curious as to why you didn't like the episode.
As I said, it's basically a well written ep, but the things I had problems with were strong enough to ruin it for me.

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I'm also curious as to why there seems to be what I would call a false dichotomy - such that Dean "needing" Cas somehow means that he doesn't need or like or want to be around Sam. To me it is obvious that Dean needs his brother. Loves him very much. Wants the best for him. Etc.
Loves Sam? Oh yes, very much, no doubt. Wants the best for him? Absolutely. Needs him? Eeeh, not really. Particularly in Season 6,7, & 8, we've been shown repeatedly that Dean does just fine on his own, either without Sam or with Sam severely debilitated. That's just facts, from as recently as Torn & Frayed.
That's part of what I LOVE about the Men of Letters- not only does it give Sam a sense of purpose, but it makes Sam useful to Dean again. Not that I'm saying Dean thinks Sam is not needed, but it would be great to show Sam actually being needed by Dean.

As for Dean needing Cas, I take back what I said- that was unfair of me. Dean can need Cas like the air to breathe, and it doesn't matter to me. I will probably never understand why, but I'll get over it.

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And it makes sense - ultimately, we're talking about two entirely different species, human and angel. Can you really be "friends" with someone that powerful? How do you do that without abusing the privilege of that friendship? I find it a very interesting dynamic.
I see how the scenario you present could be a very interesting dynamic, but it would have to be better written than what they've done so far.

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Oh - I also wanted to ask - what were you expecting, and what do you want to see in terms of brotherly reconciliation that we haven't seen already?
I should probably have my Sam-boy fan card revoked for saying this, but after yet another smack in the face with Sam's wandering eye this ep- I'd like Sam to say to Dean, "Dean, whatever we have to do, I'm right here with you 100%. I've got your back all the way, no matter where this takes us, because we are a team and I'm glad of it."

And then I'd really be over the moon if Dean replied, "That's great to hear, Sam, because I couldn't do it without you."

Notice how I don't say they can't have other relationships, or have other people be important to them (Dean & Cas can get married for all I care)- but I want Sam and Dean, when they are together, to be dedicated to being a team, not just because it's "important" but because they want to be. And if the writers have Sam constantly saying "I can't wait to get out of hunting" - then one side just doesn't equal.
Bamboo24
# Bamboo24 2013-03-27 13:46
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Loves Sam? Oh yes, very much, no doubt. Wants the best for him? Absolutely. Needs him? Eeeh, not really. Particularly in Season 6,7, & 8, we've been shown repeatedly that Dean does just fine on his own, either without Sam or with Sam severely debilitated. That's just facts, from as recently as Torn & Frayed.
That's part of what I LOVE about the Men of Letters- not only does it give Sam a sense of purpose, but it makes Sam useful to Dean again. Not that I'm saying Dean thinks Sam is not needed, but it would be great to show Sam actually being needed by Dean.
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I want Sam and Dean, when they are together, to be dedicated to being a team, not just because it's "important" but because they want to be.
I'm going to try address this all in one lump.

I guess it depends on how you define being "just fine." I think if one suggested to Dean that he would be "just fine" without Sam, he would beg to differ. Can he function if Sam is gone or crippled? Yes...barely. We saw in S6 that Dean stopped hunting and went to live with Lisa. Was he functioning? Absolutely. But in his own words, he was a wreck. He drank too much. He had nightmares, etc. We also saw in S6-7 Dean being distraught over Sam's issues. His prime directive is to look out and protect Sam. Aside from hunting, it is the one thing that gives him purpose and fulfillment.

Can Dean be a successful hunter without Sam by his side? Yes. We have seen that. But the issue has always been this: hunting has come to define Dean in such a way that he can never get out of the life, even though he wants to.

Sidenote: And here's why claims that Sam wanting to get out makes him "less" are IMO bogus - because Dean is no different. He wants to get out of hunting too - if only there was a way *hint* closing the gates of Hell. But Dean can't picture himself not hunting, so he would have treated this as a suicide mission. Sam, however, especially after his year spent with Amelia, has hope for the first time that it's possible. He wants them both to get out. That's why the one doing the trials had to be Sam, and why that year with Amelia is significant. If Sam can have "normal" after demon blood, Lucifer, and the Cage, then nothing can stop him from having "normal."

Dean told Sam he was actually jealous of him because he could give up the life in a way Dean never could. And so he always took Sam's desires for "safe" and "normal" as a personal rejection. As if rejecting the hunting life was a simultaneous rejection of Dean and Dean's prime directive. But Dean's demand that Sam be by his side for his own fulfillment put an unfair burden on Sam. In many ways, it was selfish. Needing someone solely for how they fulfill your needs while not acknowledging any of their needs or desires is not love. Dean needed to let go.

I think what is significant about where Carver has brought them this season is that Dean appears to have finally acknowledged that flaw in himself, admitted it, and dealt with it. Now he supports Sam's desires and needs - he said "I want you to get out...I want you to be safe." He wants Sam to have that normal more than he wants Sam to stick with him and fulfill his needs - that's maturity. That's real love.

As for Sam, I'd argue that we see him needing Dean all the time. Dean is always saving Sam's bacon. The problem is that Sam never wants to admit that he needs Dean. Just like Sam also - typical little brother - never wants to admit he needs help or that he can't do something on his own. Part of it is a desire to prove himself - see S4-5. But we also saw in S6-7 that he does it because it wants to protect Dean. He doesn't want another burden landing on big brother's shoulders. But as we've seen time again - hiding things only puts a rift between them, and then everything blows up in their faces.

Again, this is why the last scene in the episode - where Carver has brought us - is so significant and amazing. Sam puts his pride aside and admits to his brother that he's struggling, that he can't do it alone. He even apologizes for hiding his issue before - he put aside his own need to prove himself and instead focused on how his brother must be feeling, not wanting anymore lies, feeling helpless. It was a beautiful moment, and you could see the tension leave Dean right after Sam said "I'm sorry".

And Dean, rather than berating his brother for hiding it in the first place, as he would have once done, understands. He even offers support. "I can't carry the burden of these trials for you...but I can carry you." In many ways, both brothers in that moment relinquished their separate desires to be in control, to be the strong one, to have their own needs met. Instead, they focused on each other. They were working together. United in ways we've rarely seen them. Mature in ways we've never seen them.

Rick D - How does that not fit your brotherly reconciliation scenario?
Rick D
# Rick D 2013-03-27 17:18
Well, you've certainly given me a lot to think about, and I appreciate that. I guess part of the problem is, being a cancer (zodiac, not disease) and now that I've gotten to the back half of my 40's, I've become an battle scarred crab, who is too old to be this obsessed with a TV show, yet here I am. Sorry if I ramble, but I know there's a new ep tonight, and we'll have forgotten all this (until the next time LOL)

Obviously Sam needs Dean, that goes without saying. And yes, I totally agree with you that Dean acknowledged and dealt with his more selfish desires to keep Sam around for his needs, and he is much more mature and open now. Yes, I agree- that last scene is a great step forward, showing a lot more maturity that either has had in the past.

But for me, battle scarred crab that I am, I remember all the scars of "Sam is selfish, he's never there when Dean needs him," and I still want that extra step I mentioned- I want Sam to give an overt declaration of support and loyalty to Dean. Believe me, it almost hurts me to say that- I've always been one to say, "Sam should be
independent!" If you see my comments from the beginning of the season, I REALLY tried to be supportive of the Sam/Amelia relationship for the longest time, and railed against the notion that Sam was a "pod" Sam. But they have just pushed it too far this time, talking to MEG of all people! I know, it probably shouldn't be necessary- Sam has proven himself time and again- but I still WANT it. I really think it would help heal some of this old crab's
scars.
Honestly, after such disasters, the earthquake of the Amelia storyline and the volcano that was "my world imploded, so I ran"- I don't think wanting a overt declaration of fealty from Sam to Dean is asking for the moon.
One simple line would aleviate so much HURT- at least to me.
But I realize they don't create this show to make me happy, so I probably need to let this go.

This is my main problem with the "sub-atomic" thing as well. Not only is Sam's neccessity in question, but he again has become a liability- like in S6 when he had a fragile hell-wall, or in S7 when he had hallucinations that made it difficult to distinguish reality. How long does Sam have to be the albatross around Dean's neck? I know, you'll say "Dean doesn't see it that way," but it doesn't change the fact that it is.

You didn't mention my theory about the "sub-atomic change" being a cleansing of demon blood from Sam. Does that not work for you? It's my only hope for a positive from this.

A small quibble- I honestly haven't seen any evidence that Dean has any real need or desire to leave the
hunting life. I don't see the "jealous of you" line the way you do- I think it's more like when you see a beautiful drawing and you say, "I'm jealous, wish I could draw like that," but you have no real desire to become an artist. In fact, having the batcave has made it even more of a lark for him. But that's fine, really. I have no problem with Dean ever "driving down crazy street" to satify his life. But what satifies Sam? Do we really know, or are we just guessing?

Speaking of guessing, what does Dean think about Sam's relationship with Amelia?

You didn't like my tank analogy? I guess from your viewpoint, it just doesn't fit.
Bamboo24
# Bamboo24 2013-03-27 19:44
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I want Sam to give an overt declaration of support and loyalty to Dean.
I'm obviously not opposed to this - I just wonder why Sam's sincere words in "T&E" (I think it was) don't count as a declaration of support and loyalty. You know, the scene where he told Dean he wasn't a grunt, that he was the best hunter he's ever seen, that he saw a light at the end of the tunnel and wanted to Dean to follow him to it. I suppose I still don't understand why Sam eventually wanting out of the hunting life means that he doesn't support or isn't loyal to Dean. (Unless I'm misunderstanding you).

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This is my main problem with the "sub-atomic" thing as well. Not only is Sam's neccessity in question, but he again has become a liability- like in S6 when he had a fragile hell-wall, or in S7 when he had hallucinations that made it difficult to distinguish reality. How long does Sam have to be the albatross around Dean's neck? I know, you'll say "Dean doesn't see it that way," but it doesn't change the fact that it is.
I can't argue on that one. I've been saying for awhile now that I'm tired of seeing Sam strapped to a bed having a seizure - that they should give Jared some different material. I'm also tired of seeing Dean always, always, always, be the strong one. I've been waiting for a role reversal with these two. But it's certainly not a deal-breaker for me, just something I want from the show.

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You didn't mention my theory about the "sub-atomic change" being a cleansing of demon blood from Sam. Does that not work for you? It's my only hope for a positive from this.
Honestly? I didn't address because I don't think that's what is going on - like at all, lol. And I don't really understand why that is your only hope for a positive from this. Perhaps you could elaborate? Unless this is related to your frustration about Sam being an "albatross"? Idk what is going on with the coughing up blood thing...I'd guess that it's some sort of transformation or super-like thing that will help Sam close the gates of hell. But with how creative this season has been, I dare not guess. :)

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A small quibble- I honestly haven't seen any evidence that Dean has any real need or desire to leave the hunting life. I don't see the "jealous of you" line the way you do- I think it's more like when you see a beautiful drawing and you say, "I'm jealous, wish I could draw like that," but you have no real desire to become an artist. In fact, having the batcave has made it even more of a lark for him. But that's fine, really.
I think Dean can't make up his mind about it. It's a love/hate thing. That's a great metaphorical analysis though. "I wish I could draw like you, but I have no real desire to become an artist." Very plausible.

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You didn't like my tank analogy? I guess from your viewpoint, it just doesn't fit.
It's not that it didn't fit. It's that, yeah, in that analogy, I would still hire Sam. Wars do end. And after the war's over, I won't need Sam to build tanks anymore. Until then, I have the satisfaction of knowing that Sam will build tanks for me, and that he'll do it to his best ablity. I don't see a problem.

One nitpick with the analogy - it suggests that if Sam would prefer making model airplanes, he won't work as hard making tanks. This ignores two things: the reason Sam is wanting the job, and the fact that he never sloughs off. In the show, I think we need to look at the fact that Sam is hunting now for a reason. He has motivation. He's all-in, 100%. And there's no evidence that he is sloughing off. So why blame him for wanting to quit once the war is over? Especially when the war may never be over?
Bamboo24
# Bamboo24 2013-03-27 19:47
PS - I don't think you are a crab. :P
Rick D
# Rick D 2013-03-28 13:17
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PS - I don't think you are a crab. :P
LOL! Well thank you. But hey, I figure I'm a crab just as much for my soft and sensitive underbelly, as my hardened exterior.
Plus, I'm feeling much more positive now, with the help of fellow fans like yourself, and last night's ep was so good- maybe this old crab can be more like uh . . . , oh I don't know, dolphin? (ugh, I better quit while I'm ahead) LOL
Rick D
# Rick D 2013-03-28 13:04
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I just wonder why Sam's sincere words in "T&E" (I think it was) don't count as a declaration of support and loyalty. You know, the scene where he told Dean he wasn't a grunt, that he was the best hunter he's ever seen, that he saw a light at the end of the tunnel and wanted to Dean to follow him to it. I suppose I still don't understand why Sam eventually wanting out of the hunting life means that he doesn't support or isn't loyal to Dean. (Unless I'm misunderstanding you).
I do LOVE that scene, and you are right, it's true- there has been no indication that Sam isn't dedicated to the present course. I'm not sure why, I guess it was just a strong emotional reaction, the fact that the conversation happened with Meg caused me to be irrational about it.

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I've been waiting for a role reversal with these two. But it's certainly not a deal-breaker for me, just something I want from the show.
I'm with you there.

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You didn't mention my theory about the "sub-atomic change" being a cleansing of demon blood from Sam. Does that not work for you? It's my only hope for a positive from this.
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Honestly? I didn't address because I don't think that's what is going on - like at all, lol. And I don't really understand why that is your only hope for a positive from this. Perhaps you could elaborate? Unless this is related to your frustration about Sam being an "albatross"? Idk what is going on with the coughing up blood thing...I'd guess that it's some sort of transformation or super-like thing that will help Sam close the gates of hell. But with how creative this season has been, I dare not guess. :)
Ah, I see- you expect it will eventually work to Sam's benefit. That is actually similar to what I was hoping, re: cleansing of the demon blood. But in all honesty, I hope for this because the far more likely scenario is one like you mentioned above- after the trials, we end up with Sam strapped to a gurney, weezing out his last breath while Dean has a manly tear, until Cas breezes in at the last second and "I dream of Jeanie"'s him back to perfect health at the last second. Now don't get me wrong, I'm sure the SPN cast and crew can make a lovely scene out of that scenario (practice!) but it's been done. Here's hoping for something original.

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I think Dean can't make up his mind about it. It's a love/hate thing. That's a great metaphorical analysis though. "I wish I could draw like you, but I have no real desire to become an artist." Very plausible.
Thank you.

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It's not that it didn't fit. It's that, yeah, in that analogy, I would still hire Sam. Wars do end. And after the war's over, I won't need Sam to build tanks anymore. Until then, I have the satisfaction of knowing that Sam will build tanks for me, and that he'll do it to his best ablity. I don't see a problem.

One nitpick with the analogy - it suggests that if Sam would prefer making model airplanes, he won't work as hard making tanks. This ignores two things: the reason Sam is wanting the job, and the fact that he never sloughs off. In the show, I think we need to look at the fact that Sam is hunting now for a reason. He has motivation. He's all-in, 100%. And there's no evidence that he is sloughing off. So why blame him for wanting to quit once the war is over? Especially when the war may never be over?
Excellently well put, you are absolutely right. I'm very glad that I brought that analogy up again, because you make me feel 100% better about it. Thank you.
anonymousN
# anonymousN 2013-03-26 02:29
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I'm also curious as to why there seems to be what I would call a false dichotomy
It has been for some time that Sam needing normal and safe means he does not love Dean.That was done by some fans before.Sam took crap from Dean also for that.Now its Dean's turn to be misunderstood by some fans.
Katie
# Katie 2013-03-25 21:19
Alice, first thing, nice review!

But I'm shocked that you were satisfied "once and for all on this whole debate over why Sam didn't look for Dean," Alice. (I guess since you didn't see it as a problem to begin with plays a role with your satisfaction.) I didn't see it as an explanation for Sam not looking for Dean, but an explanation for Amelia.

By now, it's known that Amelia failed miserable. I don't think Jared would have spoken negatively about it if it was still on the books and we know Amelia isn't schedule for any appearances anytime soon. I think the writers were trying to give the audience insight into why Amelia, but I don't think they were trying to give insight into why not looking. I think a lot of fans were shocked by this approach to the season and it was pretty much disliked with the majority of the fans (which is a huge shock since we have very opinionated fandom). I maintain my belief that Carver does have something planned. It might be a foolish thing to hope for, but this episode only reinforces my belief.

I have to admit that to me, at first, Sam and Meg's conversation was just something to get Sam out of the way give Dean and Castiel a chance to have their moment. (Partly, because I thought Dean's reasoning as to why Sam should stay outside to face an almost certain demon attack instead of going inside to what should have been an empty crypt was weak and a force way to call Sam out on the blood. Plus, it's very common for the writers to have Sam leave the room for Dean and Cas scenes. But I'm going to try to look at this scene as something more.)

We have been told way too many times that Sam wants a normal life. (It's been said in multiple episodes this seasons alone.) Yet, we are still missing a ton of pieces. How can we have satisfaction with a story if we still don't know how much time passed between Sam meeting Amelia? How many months passed? What defines a "few months ago" for Sam? Three or four? He told Amelia he lost his brother a few months back and he fell apart, but that doesn't mean that right at that moment he decided it was time for a new life free of hunting. I think this conversation was an attempt on justifying Amelia, but I don't think it was intended as to be satisfaction for Sam not looking for Dean.

I'm holding on to the hope that we will have the blanks filled in because explaining what Sam was doing with Amelia and Sam's desire for normalcy is VERY different from telling us what happened during to Sam during the months right after he lost Dean and why he didn't look for Dean and Kevin. We KNOW for a fact that Amelia had entered the picture after a few months and rekindled Sam's belief in normalcy, but we still have no idea what happened to Sam after Dean disappeared.

I guess that what I find most baffling about your statement about having total satisfaction for Sam not looking for Dean. What about those months? I don't have issues with Sam on wanting a normal life, but I do have issues with how did he get from the lab to hitting the dog. That's months of missing time, so his decision for normalcy wasn't made in a moment. And Meg just proves that it was in fact Amelia who got Sam believing in the normal dream-not Dean's disappearance or Sam's lack of a search for Kevin and Dean-that was something else. There has to be something more to this. I'm beginning to think that the figure in 8x01 is something. And not just Don. I think that was a foiler and Carver really did mean it when he said we would have a perceptive by the end of the season. But those are just my thoughts and I could just be trying to hope when there really isn't any.
Joyful
# Joyful 2013-03-26 05:27
I'll keep this short and sweet Alice, because I am about to go and gank myself :cry: ... yes, I have read many of the comments here (it's like watching a really bad movie, you just can't look away). Thank you for your review, I too enjoyed this episode immensely and enjoyed the many different character interactions. I have loved watching Season 8 so far, and expect to be shocked and amazed by the remaining episodes this season. I am really thankful for the great work done by the boys and the whole crew. :-)
Amruta Karve
# Amruta Karve 2013-03-26 06:31
Hey Alice welcome back! With an awesome review! It has been so long that I've read a great review by you..... it really brought tears in my eyes....you know d boys so well. it feels like u r their mother or something. It brought back memories of all d awesome reviews I've read written by you previously. M not blaming you. U analyze what show offers and write d reviews accordingly. I've been so longing to watch such an amazing episode and read a great review..... This week i got it! Yey! M so glad. I loved d 'Castiel and Dean' part and 'Sam and dean' the most. Naomi really doesn't understand Cass and Dean's relationship, does she? And she wont ever and neither will any of d angels.... And Sam really does lie to himself so much and hurts dean by lying to him too.....its sad. Following is d best part of d review.... it's sooo true(that's where my tears started flowing down my cheeks)...Quote:
Dean’s faith and unwavering support in Sam and Castiel, two very flawed beings thrust unwillingly into universe altering roles, is the true core of this show and the one constant that holds everything together. Without Dean, these beings of destiny would have crumbled long ago, and the earth along with it. His pleas don’t just happen for drama’s sake (although it makes for very good drama). They happen as the reminder that without needing and believing in one another, they’re all as good as dead. That’s a huge power.
Okay..... its one of d best part.... ;-) Love u Alice for an awesome review......lov e d SPN crew for such an awesome episode..... love d special guest stars(Cass, Meg, Crowley)..... and love u Dean and Sam(Jensen and Jared)..... well, who doesn't love them!
nappi815
# nappi815 2013-03-26 07:47
i'm just not understanding why everyone seems so surprised that at this stage sam would deep down still desire normal. it's no different than dean's still deep rooted desire to have a family. now lisa and ben didn't work out because of the life...but dean seems to adopt people he trusts into his life..cas, ellen, bobby thus creating a larger family...which i always assumed he wanted.

sam has wanted normal since childhood and after everything sam's been through i don't find it surprising that he'd want that still. as a matter of fact, after over a century of being lucifers whipping post, a mental breakdown, electroshock and losing everyone in his life he's ever loved, i'd say wanting safety and normalcy is the most natural and sanest desire in the entire world. besides, normal for sam might not be what everyone thinks normal should be....the word normal is relative to ea. individual. what's normal for one person might not be normal for another. as i recall sam when talking about normal uses the word....safe. sam, since childhood has feared the loss of the rest of his family, from the moment he found out a monster killed his mom in avsc. sam has always craved safety. sam was safe with amelia. he wasn't happy. i never saw him happy. he always looked sad and disconnected from her. but he was safe with her..no monsters. no demons. no death. and that's the loss i think he was mourning when he left her. not amelia, but the safety he had while living with her. but that wasn't his reality. that wasn't his life. he was larping and it seems to me somewhere along the line, sam's reality was making it's way back into his head. he realized he couldn't live in the fantasy world he created with her and he decided, before knowing dean was back that he had to go. still, facing reality didn't erase those moments of normalcy did enjoy or the safety that came along with it. having had experienced it for even a short time only stirred up in him that desire he's always had, since he was a little kid and what he craves the most. close the gates of hell once and for all and be safe. i also think sam deep down wants a family. he may have changed his mind for awhile, or at least thought he had, but deep down i don't think so. he wanted to marry jess and as of s7 he still pines for her. i thought henry gave sam the greatest gift of all by informing sam that the boys are legacies to the mol. sam finally found a place in the hunting world where he feels he fits in, as he is at heart a research geek and that's what he truly loves to do. sam has actually been happy in the latter part of this season. there is a contentment in him every time he's at that computer or his nose is in a book at the bunker. sam seems to have found his normal in my opinion. and what's so great about that is that as a legacy, not only does he get to be obi wan to dean's luke, but he can actually feel safe enough to perhaps find a new love and have a family of his own. so normal to sam isn't necessarily normal to what you and i define as normal. normal to sam is being able to be in the hunting world with his brother but still be able to have the safety which would someday enable him to have a family and still do what he loves to do which is research while still working with his brother.


i still say the convo with meg was significant because meg raised the question of why sam would hit a dog and stop...to which i still say it could mean, sam, why would you hit a dog? i still say that question points out that sam was in no condition lets say to be driving. what distracted sam that it caused him to hit a dog? i still say that was one of the points of the conversation and it's a very important one at that.

my biggest peeve this season has actually only been that sam hasn't gotten to talk to dean yet. at first it really bothered me that this convo was between meg and sam and not dean and sam....that by now, as angry as dean has been regarding sam this first half of the season, how he's constantly been griping and sniping and downright cruel at some points, that it would be enough for dean to just ask sam the question....why sam, why didn't you look? i mean it only took 9 eps for dean to ask sam about why he trusted ruby...this is so much bigger...this bothers dean so much more...so why hasn't he just asked..let's face it...it was the main issue of dean's for 10 episodes...and then cas tells them to stow their crap...and that's it....issue forgotten...thi s is dean...he doesn't forget and he doesn't let go.

so then i got to thinking, to ease my frustration.... that maybe dean didn't ask because he'll find out, much like we will that there is in fact more to sam's story than what we know. but they did bring sam's year up with meg and she raised a very significant question imo, which along with everything else, all the other inconsistencies with sam, hasn't changed my mind that there's more to this story. :lol:
njspnfan
# njspnfan 2013-03-26 10:14
nappi815

We're on the same page here; definitely more to Sam's back story, just as there's more to how Benny knew a way out of purgatory and found Dean.

Regarding Meg's comment about Sam hitting a dog and stopping, I took that more of a thing demon Meg would say i.e. why would you bother stopping, it was just a dog?

I didn't see anything inconsistent in Sam telling Meg this desire for normalcy; he recommitted to hunting to accomplish the goal of closing the gates of hell. It's that conflict of being a hunter/MOL, and desiring normal/safe that makes Sam who he is. You can make the case that "normal" for Sam is being a hunter/MOL but that kind of conflicts with his desire to be safe.

Dean also has conflicting goals; the most important things to him are to look after Sam and hunting; he want's Sam to be safe and live a normal life. But... Dean is happiest hunting evil things with his brother at his side.
nappi815
# nappi815 2013-03-26 17:14
nappi815

We're on the same page here; definitely more to Sam's back story, just as there's more to how Benny knew a way out of purgatory and found Dean.

I didn't see anything inconsistent in Sam telling Meg this desire for normalcy; he recommitted to hunting to accomplish the goal of closing the gates of hell. It's that conflict of being a hunter/MOL, and desiring normal/safe that makes Sam who he is. You can make the case that "normal" for Sam is being a hunter/MOL but that kind of conflicts with his desire to be safe.

hey njspnfan,

i am of the belief that being a mol is actually safe and normal, at least the way in which sam lives. and that is why i believe sam finds such contentment in it. . as far as we know from eppy 12, the mol are strictly the go to guys for specific hunters. as dean would be sam's hunter, if dean continued with hunting, sam would have the best of both worlds. he'd be in constant contact with dean, helping dean buy supplying him with information necessary for the hunt. and if dean ever got in serious trouble, i have no doubt sam would be there for him at a moment's notice. but as a mol, sam will have no contact with monsters, demons. he's strictly the research dept so he would, imo, feel safe enough to have that family he may want so dearly. the conversation he had with meg seemed to me to be sam just reconfirming his desire normalcy which may perhaps include having a family of his own, but his contentment with the notion of being a mol seems to indicate to me that he can have the best of both worlds. that's how i see it.

i also think that when sam told dean he wanted to bring him into the light...that sam may have some hope that dean may follow his lead and find contentment with being a mol instead of a hunter...that's just my interpretation of course.
Amy
# Amy 2013-03-27 12:32
I have a question about what people think about this theory. A lot of people seem to think there is more to Sams' story which i am hopeing to be true. With this in mind.....and if its true that there are hints to it and all that.

well....could Castiel declaring that Sam is changing on a subatomic level actuall be something Naomi fed him into beleiving? I mean if "I" were told I was changing on a sub atomic level and couldn't be healed from it I'd be really freaking out...obsessing with it. I could See this making Sam doubt himself; his abilities. And I can see Dean worry and doubt Sam will be up to the task.

Could this be a way Naomi is trying to get the boys off track? Maybe tying the tablets together? As a scratch my back I'll scratch yours between NAomi nad Crowly? Maybe create dissention between them? Not knowing the boys are now clearing the air between each other?

Or is this Carver who thought Sam's history was too complicated just making something he simplified ...complicated again?