Where to even begin with this episode? On my first viewing I was really torn about where I stood. The highs were high, the lows were low – how to discuss? Now that I’ve considered, analyzed, re-analyzed and over-analyzed and after a third viewing I feel much more level about this episode. So, let’s just take it step by step to start with.

This episode, overall, was rather fast moving. Although it seems, at least to this viewer, that most recent episodes have been quick moving – whether it’s the character moments or just the pacing of the plot, somehow there has been some good velocity lately. This episode continues the trend: Sam and Dean learn about the second trial, Sam gets to purgatory and then to Hell, tracks his way to Bobby, back to purgatory and to Benny and eventually back to Dean again. And maybe it’s in the speed where this episode actually loses something. Hell is by and large disappointingly lackluster. Supernatural has never been unimaginative when it comes to torture, be it physical pain or mental anguish – all things Hell is renowned for and yet the extent of Bobby’s torment, as far as were given to know, is daily visits of Sam and Dean in demonic visage. Granted they could be saying all kinds of things to him, but the cell Bobby is held in being what it was and his physical persona being as sturdy as ever suggests no torture per se. Even Bobby didn’t seem all that effected by his experiences down under and considering how time passes down in Hell, it hasn’t been a short trip. Largely, the Hell experience was a letdown. It was too easy to access Bobby, too easy to take him out of Hell and the entire thing had far too little an impact on either the characters or this viewing audience.

Bobby in Hell. What is there to say about this really? It was great to see the character, to see Jim Beaver again. The mythology gives me pause here though – what is the point of the rules regarding good and bad souls if the King of Hell can just snap his fingers and condemn a good soul to Hell for no reason other than his own personal dislike? This feels a tad contrived and weak for the sake of making the overall plot work more than anything. There are other souls that could be saved, rather than forcing Bobby down there. Adam, for instance. Also, after such a beautiful send off for Bobby before this seemed like a monotonous return that underused a colourful and brilliant character.

“If I tell you where it’s not hidden, is it?”

In an episode about smuggling souls/people through holes in seams of purgatory, the seams of everything else around Sam and Dean just appear to be unraveling faster than they can comprehend. Kevin falls further and further into the crazy pool until he disappears completely, leaving the boys wondering not only where he’s gone but where the tablet he’s hidden has gone too. When Kevin hid the tablet from Dean I had two thoughts: (1) Kevin’s a dead man now – nothing says foreshadowed death like prep work for the good guys (2) Crowley won’t be happy when he finally get’s the boy.

“Unto. That’s how God talks.”

Naomi made an admirable if overdone effort with Dean this time around; even I have to admit that. But she’s a shoddy sales person if ever there was and I hope that Dean’s ever present distrust of all things angelic holds out, despite Naomi’s usefulness this time around. Naomi seems to be walking that line between desperation and self-control very finely, she was just overly bright-eyed in her attempts to convince Dean to trust her, particularly when she downplayed her attempts to have Cas kill him: “I suppose that is how he would hear it.” Umm, no. I’m pretty sure killing a room full of Dean Winchesters is a clear and concise message. It is interesting to have an angel persuade Dean to do something using smiles, helpful information and temptations rather than threats and pain for a change though. Naomi bears a resemblance to Zachariah a la It’s a Terrible Life in many ways. I am so, so curious as to the end game Naomi is aiming for here.

Pedicures at the Mall of America

It was nice to see Sam and Bobby together again, whatever the reason and no matter how short a time it was. Bobby naturally fell right back into “father” role and pulled no punches with his opinion on how the boys had been living their lives in his absences. While we didn’t get much this time around from Sam verbally, he seemed to be taking in a lot about purgatory, even about Benny and the fact that Benny came down to give Sam a way out knowing he wouldn’t come back out. This was a second trial episode; it didn’t actually have much to do with Sam aside from him executing the trial. This episode seemed to be about setting up the secondary players on the board and lining up the key the pieces (or removing them entirely in some cases). Season eight has been a great deal about getting the pieces in order – I cannot wait to see the payoff.

“You suck it up and you push through because that’s what we do. But when you get on board with that, the ride is a lot smoother.”

Dean is unraveling fast – the raw desperation in his voice as he tells Benny that his “little brother” is in trouble nearly broke my heart. The guilt in his eyes over not having been there enough for Benny. Ahh. Kill me now. Dean is not a man to ask for help lightly but he did it here. And in Maine when Sam emerged from with Bobby’s soul, telling Dean that Benny stayed behind to let Sam get out – the expressions as Dean processes this information and tries to pull it back together again was a devastating moment of television. I think the best pieces of this episode were between Dean and Benny when Benny agreed to go back into purgatory for Sam. There is a lot of division over the character of Benny this season but the last exchanges between he and Dean were written so well that the fraternity between these two is undeniable and the loss and even guilt Dean felt at not being there for Benny more was truly affecting.

Separating Dean and Benny for a moment, let’s talk just Benny. This poor guy fought tooth and nail against his nature and to survive purgatory, got out with Dean, his friend. Found the remnants of his family, made a life for himself that was wholly torn apart by psycho hunter and he fell off the wagon as a result. Benny lost his friendship with Dean through no fault of his own, and struggled to get clean again, living alone more or less and struggling with that every moment because he just doesn’t belong in either world. Until the opportunity for a kamikaze trip to purgatory to help his “brother” Dean arose. Benny is one of the single most tragic characters on this show.

“Before they’re done, we’ll both be locked away.”

I have to wonder if what we saw of the Naomi/Crowley show was just that, show. Put on garner trust of the Winchesters in Naomi. After all, we don’t know exactly what went on in that meeting with Crowley and Naomi. Time will tell – but trust no one is always a good policy where the Winchesters are concerned.

Final thoughts

The emotions were there, even if the story wasn’t. Actually, I enjoyed this episode because of the strong emotion and characterization in spite of the story which was over all feeble, considering it was the second trial and I was looking for something a bit grander. The elements were all there: Bobby, Kevin’s hallucinations, the trip to Hell for a soul and even the cliff hanger. Everyone has certainly been left in precarious positions: Kevin is missing, the demon tablet is hidden, and Sam and Dean are left alone and confused. So, here are the questions of the hour: was Kevin dreaming or did Crowley really track him down? If Crowley figured out where Kevin was, did he do it alone or with Naomi’s help? Where, oh where can that little tablet be?

 

Comments  

KG_SPN
# KG_SPN 2013-04-06 01:01
I loved this episode, particularly for the wonderful interactions between Sam/Bobby, Dean/Kevin, Dean/Benny & Sam/Dean. I found them all very moving :cry:

I take your point about hell. That was probably the weakest part of the episode because it felt too rushed, and I think it would've worked much more effectively over two episodes (perhaps with a cliff hanger going into the hiatus :sigh: ).

But I do think they tried to imply that it took a long time for Sam to rescue Bobby with the very deliberate action of Sam leaving his watch at the entrance. I can't think of another reason for him doing that and I've written about this on Sophia's review. Put briefly, I think Sam was in hell for about 50 hours of 'hell time'. Unfortunately, it didn't really translate like that to us, as we only had 40 minutes with a million things going on.

I think Kevin was hallucinating or Naomi has snatched him. The windows were still intact when Sam & Dean came looking for him, so I don't think it was Crowley. And I don't think Mama Tran is dead either. I'm intrigued by this because I really believed that the third trial would be on Crowley's half of the tablet anyhow... or at least some vital information would be missing from Kevin's half of the tablet. Which means that they'll now have to find a way to outsmart Crowley... and Naomi, if she does indeed have Kevin. Lots to think about :-?
elle
# elle 2013-04-06 02:52
Hell-Time is an interesting point, certainly. I thought Sam left the watch where he did as a place marker - so he'd know where the door out was. It wasn't that clear I guess, so who knows.

There are a number of issues overall with the Hell trip and retrieval of Bobby that any intense scrutiny just brings up more questions. At this point, when the characters are treated well and the key plot points are handled well (which for me at moment is where things are heading with Kevin and the big WTF about Naomi & Crowley, plus the character moments for Dean and Sam) I'm willing to overlook some of the minute, weaker elements. Maybe the intense, detail focus and meaning in every word isn't as strong as it was in season four, but so far I've been very satisfied overall with the season eight episodes - and I really liked this one in the end, even if everything with Benny stabbed me straight through the heart.....it was tragic, but oh so well done.

Kevin, Kevin, Kevin. Would Mama Tran truly be so careless as to leave the top secret location of her highly at risk child's hide-away on her smart phone? Really? Hmmm. I think you're right about the third trial being with Crowley's piece of the tablet anyway. There must be something vital on there. Time will tell.....
KG_SPN
# KG_SPN 2013-04-06 22:27
Quote:
Put briefly, I think Sam was in hell for about 50 hours of 'hell time'. Unfortunately, it didn't really translate like that to us, as we only had 40 minutes with a million things going on.
Woops, I got this calculation very wrong :oops:

After re-calculating (based on Dean's 4 months being like 40 years), I think it's actually 5 days for every 1 hour in hell. Remember, when Sam had his first hell flashback. When he woke up after a few minutes, he said he felt like he'd been back there for a few days or a week.

Maybe one line of dialogue between Sam and Bobby might've helped us think a bit more about Hell-Time. But Sam did look very tired and drawn after it was all done :sad:
E
# E 2013-04-06 10:13
Quote:
I think Kevin was hallucinating or Naomi has snatched him.
You know, this made me think of something else. Crowley just showed up in Maine at the end of the episode out of the blue... and until now, demons haven't been able to track people like angels can. So, how did Crowley know where they were? I wonder if Naomi DID in fact take Kevin and he's the one who told Naomi what was going on with the trials and then Naomi told Crowley because they are and have been working together all along. Then they stage the Naomi soul intervention and begin to wear down the Winchester's suspicions of her. Maybe she's the first angel to finally realize that the best way to deal with the Winchester is not to fight them, but to enlist their help and trust. And because she's lost Castiel and the angel tablet, she's changed her game plan. Hmmm, that could be very interesting indeed. I'd like that and it would help to explain why Sam was able to complete the second trial in such a ridiculously easy fashion and why Bobby seemed so unaffected by his hell experience. Perhaps completing the trails on the tablet don't do anything like close the gates of hell. How do we know that this is actually what is going on? Maybe the trails do something else entirely and both Crowley and Naomi want it to happen so they are working together? Crowley offers up Bobby's soul as bait and makes it easy for Sam to get in and out of hell and Benny, Naomi's personal plant, assists Sam and Bobby out of purgatory. Then Naomi saves Bobby's soul, Crowley is "thwarted" and the Winchesters are one step closer to trusting Naomi and completing the trials. And Naomi and Crowley are also one step closer to achieving their (dastardly) goal: whatever it might be.
Tim the Enchanter
# Tim the Enchanter 2013-04-06 04:09
I rewatched this one, one of only three I’ve rewatched this season, so I either really liked it, or there was something that didn’t sit right with me about it.

I know that there has been a lot mentioned about the speed of the episode and fair enough, it’s a valid point but there’s something about the whole thing (the whole season) that’s now just screaming ‘setup’ to me. The speed of Hell/Purgatory is one factor. Much has been made of the size of hell and purgatory yet Ajay (the conveniently rogue reaper that the crossroads demon, who conveniently spilled very quickly, just happened to conveniently know about) gives Sam 24 hours to wander through both and he just happens upon what he needs (one soul amongst billions of souls?). The Purgatory one could be explained away by Ajay maybe dropping him near where the back door to hell was but to find Bobby with such ease (close to the entrance, door opened, minimum demons on patrol) throws up alarm bells of either shoddy writing or setup. I mean, it was so easy. Jeez, a bit of luck and a demon knife and I could have done rescued Bobby.

Add to that the remarkably muted hell that Sam saw. There was nothing there to instigate a flashback or even a small bit of panic. Damn, there was a bloody comedic element to it the way that Sam brought up Tori Spelling, the pedicure and the ‘50/50’ from Bobby (and obligatory bitchface from Sam) re the killing of demon Sam. Where was the urgency, the panic, even the fear?

The same applies to Purgatory. Jeez, Sam could have stopped and picked a few dandelions for Dean while he was there! Add to that, the remarkable convenience of Mr. Whiter than White Benny just so happening to want to go back to Purgatory and it so conveniently coinciding with Sam needing a way out. I dunno, it just screams ‘Easy’.

Re Bobby in hell. Does Heaven really care that little about the souls that it gets, that it allows Hell to call dibs on whoever it wants? Why would heaven allow that? Would that not just be giving more strength to Hell? That coupled with Crowley suddenly deciding to start breaking the rules to suit himself. Is there a possibility that Bobby actually was in heaven all along but he was brought down to hell (and mindwiped) so that Sam and Dean could ‘save an innocent soul’? He was in remarkably good shape for someone who spent almost a year and a half (in earth hours) in hell. So either he was getting skincare advice from the dark haired girl in the cell beside him and he has stupendous mental health or he just was there for a very small period of time, so that he wouldn’t be overly affected (either physically or mentally) by hell.

There are other small things. Crowley got Kevin’s address from his mother’s smartphone. Earlier episodes showed that Mrs Tran was very smart and would do nothing to put her son in danger yet now she keeps his address on a phone? Kevin hides the tablets. Would it not make more sense for Kevin to give Sam or Dean the tablets to hide so that he wouldn’t know where they are if he got caught?

It’s possible that Naomi is behind more than we think. I mean she knew the right time to come to Dean, she knew about Purgatory, she just happened along at the right time when it came to Bobby’s soul, the boathouse wasn’t guarded against angels. What else does she know about? She strikes me as someone who has fingers in every pie. Maybe she’s been in Kevin’s head from the beginning, pushing him in the ‘right’ direction aka the direction she wants him to go in; hiding tablets, feeding him all the information needed to complete the trials (I thought it was very easy that on the same tablet that told them to kill a hellhound it so conveniently told them how to see that hellhound), away from Sam and Dean, hugely fearful of Crowley and little mad!

Could she be behind Benny? I mean, Benny was a vampire written after Dean’s own heart. He was an excellent fighter, he was knowledgeable, we saw him interact with both Castiel and Dean, he was big into family, he had Dean’s back, he was self –sacrificial, he was another brother to Dean. He was really rather like Sam. Could she be behind Amelia? I thought her pretty like Dean in personality (Don’t attack me, people. I like Amelia). She lost family, she was deeply hurting but covering it up with a false bravado, she has a rather exuberant, self-deprecator y personality and she teased Sam mercilessly (and Sam never seemed to take it to heart). She recognised that Sam was hurting without ever having to be told. Sam felt comfortable talking with her. Hell, she even wears plaid! Add in the Dad who seems to be able to see through Sam as well and there’s a pseudo Winchester family setup right there!

She could be behind Don (and lets face it, either the writers are having a laugh with the use of the same names this season or it shows serious lack of imagination. Or.... the angels have serious difficulty with ‘earthly’ names. I mean, when you’re surrounded with names like Barachiel or Jerahmeel and whatnot it must be hard to come up with a plain name. And I imagine if Amelia said ‘It’s my husband Tzaphqiel’ even that would set alarm bells going for Sam!

I feel that the angels have lost a bit of validity over the past few seasons. Their impact has really been diminished. They’ve often been shown to be ineffective, easily killed, easily conned and rather redundant. If Naomi is the puppetmaster of a much bigger plan that would go part way to raising their profile.

Perhaps I’m over interpreting that whole thing. It's possible that when I'm hearing hooves I'm thinking of a guy banging two halves of coconut shells together and not horses but when I think back to the long, slow reveals etc of past sesaons I can’t help but be stunned by the difference between then and now. I’m aware that I’m most probably wrong. It’s possible (probable) that Carver is merely writing for a new audience (there is a new timeslot so odds are there will be brand new viewers), a different boss or he just doesn’t have the time to develop things and so they end up coming across as being rather rushed, but there was much touted about Carver when he came on board as showrunner in relation to how he was the master of intricate plotlines and slow, gradual reveals. I've found nothing slow or gradual about the wham, bam, thank you Ma’am of huge aspects of this season. As hugely unimpressed as I’ve been with much of the writing, continuity, repetitious storylines, casual disregard for previously established canon, huge pushing of secondary characters and OCC characterisatio n of both leads this season (oooh, that was a long list! I also use brackets an awful lot.....) I’d rather believe that I’ve been played and we’re on the brink of something bigger than believe it’s just shoddy workmanship (from my POV).

I often wonder if Carver is sitting at home reading the various comments, issues and theories etc while petting his cat and thinking ‘Soon, my pretties’ or if he’s sitting at home reading the various comments, issues and theories and thinking ‘Oh bollocks!’.

Anyway, thanks for this, Elle.
Yes!Thank Youlkeke35
# Yes!Thank Youlkeke35 2013-04-06 10:19
@Tim: Why don't you write reviews for this site?

As usual , this was a good, rational response. Maybe too rational. I think you're making the mistake of overthinking things with this particular group of writers but I really do hope you're right. That there is some major endgame coming and that all of these discrepancies and inconsistencies are going to add up to some big reveal.

Overall, I like this season. It's certainly better than season 7 even though all of the problems you mentioned are true. (My criteria for whether or not a season is good is by how many episodes I've enjoyed and re-watched once the season is over.)

And thank you for catching that thing with Kevin and the tablets. What benefit is it for him to hide the tablets as he still knows where they are and that information can still be tortured out of him? All he's done now is make it impossible for them to complete the third trial. It just shows how far off the rails he's gone if that didn't occur to him, which is why I still believe he simply ran off in a a fit of panic. (Although I wouldn't put it past Naomi to have taken him.)

When Naomi was stringing Dean along was anyone else yelling at the screen: Don't believe her, Dean! Get out of there! Or maybe that's just me. Even if Naomi didn't take Kevin I still think she's running some kind of long con with Crowley backing her up. It has to mean something that those two know each other and I hope that's played into the greater mytharc but the writers don't leave me feeling too confident about that. They seem to be writing these episodes without having watched any of the other seasons of this show.
E
# E 2013-04-06 10:23
HEHE! TIM! I should have read your fabulous post before putting mine up. I say pretty much the same thing, only go a little further to speculate that Naomi and Crowley are working together. (How DID Crowley know where the Winchesters were at the end of the episode anyway?).. I love your theories and am really beginning to think it could be true. Especially this last episode... either the writers are totally setting us up or they have thrown all past canon and it's importance to the established world they've built out the window.

In past seasons we've seen the Winchesters be used, abused and nightly manipulated... it would be all kinds of awesome IMO if the ones being manipulated the most this season (along with the brothers) is US.
Bamboo24
# Bamboo24 2013-04-06 13:07
Quote:
Does Heaven really care that little about the souls that it gets, that it allows Hell to call dibs on whoever it wants? Why would heaven allow that? Would that not just be giving more strength to Hell?
I would venture a guess that Heaven has lost a lot of power since Cas's rampage as god - in S7 they admitted that there were "so few [angels] left." So I think Crowley has gained a ton of power and leeway over the past season or so. It just doesn't seem that there are enough angels to make sure things stay on track. Plus everyone has been free-for-all-in g since S5 when the rules were tore up and all the supernatural beings realized they had free will. What I want to know is Naomi's backstory. I can't wait for that mystery to be unraveled. She's been around for ages...where has she been?
njspnfan
# njspnfan 2013-04-07 14:29
Does Heaven really care that little about the souls that it gets, that it allows Hell to call dibs on whoever it wants? Why would heaven allow that? Would that not just be giving more strength to Hell?

I would venture a guess that Heaven has lost a lot of power since Cas's rampage as god - in S7 they admitted that there were "so few [angels] left." So I think Crowley has gained a ton of power and leeway over the past season or so. It just doesn't seem that there are enough angels to make sure things stay on track. Plus everyone has been free-for-all-in g since S5 when the rules were tore up and all the supernatural beings realized they had free will. What I want to know is Naomi's backstory. I can't wait for that mystery to be unraveled. She's been around for ages...where has she been?

My working theory on Naomi is that she is a higher order of angel that normally don't get their hands dirty in these matters but, because of the civil war and all the damage Cas did while playing God, she didn't have a choice but to jump in and try to "fix" things. Crowley did refer to her as a bureaucrat.
sylvia37
# sylvia37 2013-04-12 10:22
Quote:


I often wonder if Carver is sitting at home reading the various comments, issues and theories etc while petting his cat and thinking ‘Soon, my pretties’ or if he’s sitting at home reading the various comments, issues and theories and thinking ‘Oh bollocks!’.
Seriously Tim, it's like you pulled this thought right out of my head. ;-)
novichevich elena
# novichevich elena 2013-04-06 04:23
Thank you, Elle! For me one big plus that overweighs everything else was great performance of all actors involved in the ep. That was just overwhelming! As to the rest, if trying to apply logic and rationalization to the story doesn't work let's try creative. How about Sam gets an easier access to Hell because he had bathed in Hellhound's blood thus obtaining some additional ... I don't know, _ something? Hell not very impressive and too compact? Maybe, we were shown just a kind of a store where all the smuggled souls are kept for further trading? So - no tortures there, just manipulating. Hence the behaviour of those prisoners - obviously they are hallucinating. And this part of Hell is accessible for a smuggler, it's where he makes his deals, where he delivers those unlucky souls. The SPNuniverse is now ungoverned - the archangels are gone, God has left the building. Currently who is in command in this crazy world? Evidently not the persons with high moral standards a nd a sense of responsibility, quite the reverse. The perfect time for crowleys.(Is our life nowadays much different?) Okay, I could go like this for hours - this story is so rich in possibilities, so many possible variations. Thank you Show!
njspnfan
# njspnfan 2013-04-06 07:43
Thanks, Elle. I thought it was a very good episode but "rushed"; the hell/purgatory scenes suffered as a result of this. The VFX folks did a great job but I think this is why we've only seen brief flashbacks of hell in the past; it's just very difficult to represent hell. I assumed Sam left his watch where he first entered the portal in to hell as a marker, kind of like leaving a trail of bread crumbs.

The Dean/Benny scene was just a little too over the top/chick flickish but I'm definitely in the minority on this one.

Bobby questioning Sam about not looking for Dean (second time this has been brought up recently) tells me we're in for a big reveal before the end of the season.


You hit the nail right on the head with Naomi; she is reeking of desperation now. Outside of getting her hands on the angel tablet and restoring some sense of order in heaven, I'm not sure what her motives are. I loved how she bristled when Crowley called her a bureaucrat. IMO she's a different type of angel, not an angel or archangel, but higher up in the angel hierarchy, maybe the equivalent of a Power or Principality in the Christian angel hierarchy, not that the show follows this stuff exactly but you get my drift.
nappi815
# nappi815 2013-04-07 20:09
Quote:
Thanks, Elle. I thought it was a very good episode but "rushed"; the hell/purgatory scenes suffered as a result of this. The VFX folks did a great job but I think this is why we've only seen brief flashbacks of hell in the past; it's just very difficult to represent hell. I assumed Sam left his watch where he first entered the portal in to hell as a marker, kind of like leaving a trail of bread crumbs.

The Dean/Benny scene was just a little too over the top/chick flickish but I'm definitely in the minority on this one.

Bobby questioning Sam about not looking for Dean (second time this has been brought up recently) tells me we're in for a big reveal before the end of the season.


You hit the nail right on the head with Naomi; she is reeking of desperation now. Outside of getting her hands on the angel tablet and restoring some sense of order in heaven, I'm not sure what her motives are. I loved how she bristled when Crowley called her a bureaucrat. IMO she's a different type of angel, not an angel or archangel, but higher up in the angel hierarchy, maybe the equivalent of a Power or Principality in the Christian angel hierarchy, not that the show follows this stuff exactly but you get my drift.
i totally agree with you njspnfan

i thought the dean/benny scene was so chick flicky, that i sincerely had thoughts passing through my head that perhaps more went down between benny and dean in purgatory than just saving ea. other's bacon....now what charlie said to dean about him breaking up with someone makes sense.... :-*

i know, i can't believe i just went there and i don't truly believe that...the dialogue between dean and benny was so sugary, i felt like i was watching an eppy of general hospital. dean's never spoken to sam or bobby like that...it was so disconcerting for me...that was the part that went against canon......imo

i totally agree with a reveal coming our way....based on the coming attraction we got for our next eppy....i was wondering if we'd actually get to see inside sam's noggin...

perception being the main theme this season,,,,,,i feel like we've all been played ....
njspnfan
# njspnfan 2013-04-09 17:51
Quote:

i totally agree with a reveal coming our way....based on the coming attraction we got for our next eppy....i was wondering if we'd actually get to see inside sam's noggin...

perception being the main theme this season,,,,,,i feel like we've all been played ....
Nappi815 - with the theme being perception, and everyone thinking that something is up with Sam and his OOC behavior, I'm now starting to think they're doing this to throw everyone off, and it will end up being Dean's perception that's off.

But then again, I'm probably wrong.. figure if enough theories are thrown out there, one of them is bound to stick.
prix68
# prix68 2013-04-06 08:11
Quite frankly, I'm a little surprised at how easily both of the first trials have been accomplished, but am loving this season anyway. Lots of new and old characters and lots of questions.
Ginger
# Ginger 2013-04-06 08:17
I agree with you that the acting was the only thing that saved an episode that trashed all canon and had huge logic fails that will haunt the show from here on out.

I didn't hate the episode, but I did hate the disrespect of show canon and the enormous logic fails. I see no reason to even think about what may come now for the characters or the story, because once canon is trashed, it puts the series into AU fanfic territory, open range to any writers whim, and that point over-shadowed the excellent acting (kudos to JA and Ty O. and Amada Tappings) and the intended emotional resonance of the episode.

I did find the way Naomi went at Dean to be very, very disturbing...do wnright creepy. It was different than Zachariah's attempts, and I loved that bad guy. She gave me the chills.
Bamboo24
# Bamboo24 2013-04-06 13:11
Thanks for the review, Elle.

I can definitely see how the hell aspect of the episode seemed lackluster in light of how the show has described and depicted it in the past. I keep coming back to the assumption that this was only one part of hell - the part where Crowley kept smuggled souls. That probably isn't a good enough explanation for some, understandably, but it works for me.

Your comment about Benny being the "single most tragic character in this show" resonated with me. I've loved his character since the moment he came onscreen, and in that moment during "Citizen Fang" when he put his head down on the counter like he was going to let Martin kill him...his character, more than any other next to Dean and Sam, stirs such emotion in me. I can't believe that we've seen the last of him.
PENNY JAIME
# PENNY JAIME 2013-04-06 16:18
I assumed that the demon that they showed after Dean killed Benny had been eaves dropping & that was how Crowley knew where Dean was going to be (Maine).

I thought the scene between Dean and Benny was just how MEN would talk about things. Some people have said it was chick-flick;but I have 2 boys ( 28 & 30-as manly and rough as you can get!) and when they finally do share their feelings, they pull no punches.Trust me. To me, that was another Emmy performamce by Jensen. Jared was wonderful as well.

There was quite a LOT in this episode. A lot of people wished it had been someone other than Bobby rescued; but then we wouldn't have gotten his scolding of Sam. I loved that.

I am in the minority because I DO think Crowley got Kevin. The way he screamed, sorry just not good. I think the problem is going to be that Sam and Dean think he just ran off. But since there are only 3 episodes left, it shouldn't take long for all us us to find out.
E
# E 2013-04-09 21:20
Quote:
I assumed that the demon that they showed after Dean killed Benny had been eaves dropping & that was how Crowley knew where Dean was going to be (Maine).
The demon overheard plans made by the boys and Ajay to return Sam to the exact same spot that he first joined up with them. Nothing was ever mentioned about Maine as neither Winchester had any reason to suppose that Sam would have need of the purgatory portal. Sam was supposed to go to hell with Ajay and then return from hell, again with Ajay. So, I don't think that this explains how Crowley knew about Maine and where the portal might dump Sam back out.

And even though it was implied that both the crossroad demon AND Ajay knew about the back door to hell through purgatory, there was no indication that Crowley knew what either of them knew, despite both of them being his employees. If he didn't know about the back door from hell to purgatory, then it stands to reason that he didn't know about the portal either, or where it would spit any travelers back out into the world. So, the questions still remains: how did Crowley know that Sam and Dean would be in Maine? My guess is still that Naomi told Crowley, because they are working together.
love2boys
# love2boys 2013-04-06 17:26
Remember when Crowley put a demonish tracking device in the Impala? He could even hear them talk. Maine is pretty big to find one or two people. Maybe one of them picked up a tracking device somehow. ?
E
# E 2013-04-06 21:10
I mentioned this on another thread.... I think Naomi grabbed Kevin and Kevin spilled about where Sam and Dean were, and then Naomi told Crowley... so that they could play out their little "lets fight over the soul" scenario to further dupe and manipulate S&D. How else could he have found them? Naomi and Crowley are working together is my guess, although Crowley should know better; Cas totally betrayed him in season 6, and so will Naomi is my guess.
Beverly
# Beverly 2013-04-06 22:43
After rewatching it again, I feel really sorry for Sam. In purgatory he had to cut his arm to put Bobby's soul in it. Then he gets to the real world and has to cut his arm again to let the soul out and then the trial hits his other arm. And he has Dean asking "Are you okay?" "Uh, no I'm not sure I can feel either arm right now but luckily I have the Winchester super healing power and the arm I cut twice within a short time period will not even scar." I wish I had that kind of healing power. I scar extremely easily even when I use medicine supplied by the doctor to reduce scarring. I'm just a little jealous. :-)
debbab
# debbab 2013-04-06 22:45
When the "demon" next to Bobby's cell tells Sam she has "been praying... and knew he would come" did anyone else think or get a flashback to Ruby? Was this a temptation for Sam as he pauses briefly before moving on to Bobby?. If there was more time, I speculate that the writers could have given Sam an interesting journey thru Hell prior to finding Bobby. But special effects cost money and the budget is restrictive. Does anyone see similarities between Naomi and previous angels behavior? She takes offense at being called a bureaucrat- where is she on the angel ladder?The writers could have expanded how Sam found out about rogue reapers thru research in the bunker. I am hoping there is a rationale behind rushing through so many items in this episode. It may be budgetary. J2 both had opportunities to stretch their skills and it is interesting to see how each uses a different technique to bring the brothers to the screen. Overall, it was enjoyable, moved the plot along, resolved some issues, gave some of fandom a voice about their concerns and left enough unresolved. Time for an off arc episode-since the tablets are in the wind so to speak.
E
# E 2013-04-07 07:29
debbab, I agree with you here. It all just seemed so rushed, and because of that, somehow less important or significant especially for something as important as the second trial. This ep definitely could have benefited from being a two parter... then they could have shown more of Sam's hell time, maybe how he was tricked by fake Bobby's or distracted by souls in need or even how some flashbacks to his own time in hell could have affected him. All this would have given the second trial much needed gravitas. This then would have helped with Benny's sacrifice, and would have made it seem more important. As it stands it all just seemed too easy. It occurs to me that this writing team could have chucked the dreadful "Mans' Best Friends With Benefits" and used the time to expand this episode into a two parter.
Beverly
# Beverly 2013-04-07 10:48
Thoughts on rogue reapers -

The demon was so terrified that he begged the boys for death because he didn't want to face Crowley after telling them about the ultimate secret - rogue reapers. (And I have to say I loved the boys using holy water to tortured the demon - it really does the job without physically hurting the human vessel). So what purpose is the rogue reapers? I understand that they are coyotes to smuggle souls across borders but why? He seemed surprised that a mortal wanted to use his services to cross into Hell so he normally didn't work with mortals that way. And don't souls usually have an assigned reaper to take them to where they need to go. Is a rogue reaper only an ally of Hell and grabs the innocent souls like Bobby who should have gone to Heaven and bring him to hell? Or does he make deals with mortals to grab their souls and bring them to heaven upon their deaths if they fear they are going to hell? If that is the case, I can understand the need to be human to make deals with those mortals. This question is not a nitpick of the episode - I loved the episode but I'm just curious about other people's thoughts. What is the true purpose of a rogue reaper? :-*
josieposie
# josieposie 2013-04-07 14:53
I just started posting a few comments (I'm mostly a lurker who enjoys reading all the great reviews and speculations) but first off I'd like to say that I enjoyed the episode. I understand why some people didn't like it due to the pacing and the inconsistencies and the easiness of getting in and out of Hell but I'm one of those fans who tends not to analyze or over analyze this show- I just love it -good and bad. :lol: On a personal level it's given me a new reason to start drawing again for which I'm very grateful. Anyway, before I go off on another tangent, I wanted to mention that I also think (hope) that there is going to be a big reveal that will put all the pieces together. Perhaps that is what Ep. 22 "Clip Show" will be about. Showing all the pieces like what Sam did after Dean went to Purgatory, who that person was outside the house, what happened to Castiel and how Crowley and Naomi know each other. Speaking of the mysterious stranger watching Sam , I found a youtube clip of Jared and Jensen discussing Season 8 and Jared says something about the figure having to do with Sam's Purgatory. Anybody want to speculate what that means??
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r-WNcAPI_WM 2:48
love2boys
# love2boys 2013-04-08 11:40
Question: When Sam's hand lights up red after a trial, why doesn't his whole body glow? Isn't he changing atomically all over? Or just his hand? Is this an issue you can speculate on or one I need to wait for? My mind is blank here and I need help speculating!
racestaffer-unlogged
# racestaffer-unlogged 2013-04-08 19:06
Interesting observation! Thank-you... cuz it's a detail that I might never have thought much about on my own.
Symbolism/hunter-speak?
Someone's gonna "get caught red-handed" perhaps?
sharon pence
# sharon pence 2013-04-08 17:06
Could all this be about Dean after all, I have heard the theory that he may be under the effects of a Dinjin again or maybe Naomi is controlling him and he never went to purgatory. Example Benny is the Sam Dean wants, Amelia is what Dean really wants for Sam. The trials Dean wants Sam to be hisPure little brother again free from all the taints of their life.
Meanwhile all along Sam is looking for him. Dean has always felt worthless that he is not worth looking for; the chaos in his mind with angels demons and the like always messing in their lives no freedom from the endless pain and suffering for the both of them. Dean never getting over his hell pain his PTSD his losses of those he loves and just wanting it to be all over.
Just musing.
E
# E 2013-04-08 18:41
This theory could be really interesting. Maybe. I wondered since we saw Sam in a coma in the next ep if somehow it was all in SAMs head or dean was somehow inside SAMs head.....just a wacky theory.
eilf
# eilf 2013-04-08 19:06
Oh that's the theory I have that is my only hope for the episode!!

Edit: actually it's a variation - I think that if Dean is in Sam's head (awkward!) then he can see the truth that Sam has been hiding all season.

If there is any Sam 'secret story' (thanks Racestaffer) then the only way they could possibly shoehorn it in, in a way that Dean can't help but believe that he wasn't let down by Sam, is in this episode.

It seems strange to me that they would do a standalone Dean and Charlie bonding episode this close to the end of the season.

...
..
.

It's probably a standalone Dean and Charlie bonding episode.
LEAH
# LEAH 2013-04-08 20:20
What is your percentage on this? You've been on a roll! :-)
eilf
# eilf 2013-04-09 00:11
Oh I can't do it! Get my hopes dashed again :-) I really wanted to be wrong the last time, guess that piece of trying to fool the universe didn't work!
LEAH
# LEAH 2013-04-08 20:18
I like it!! :-)
sharon pence
# sharon pence 2013-04-08 17:19
P.S. I always like a long haired man just not when they forget to wash it. But then I like the short military look to. Isn't it nice we have the best of both worlds.
paloma
# paloma 2013-04-11 21:22
Sorry, I can understand, although I don't think so, that you can think there is a major reveal and Sam don't look for Dean for a better reason than a girl.
But sincerely, I can't see how the half of you yet think that Dean did something horrible without any probe. Because we see how they went out to purgatory. So they would have to made something like a little slice of kevin another time, and it was very twisted the first.
Sharon
# Sharon 2013-04-12 04:43
Well some do think that there will be more too Sam not looking for Dean than what we had .I honestly dont know ? there is a part of me that hopes there is for Sam's sake more than anything . But there is a part of me that thinks what we got is exactly that.
debbab
# debbab 2013-04-13 22:32
Dean does not even consider that Crowley has Kevin. Dean has been a bit cavalier with Kevin as Dean is usually better with kids. He is not a dufus. There were no signs that demons had been there. I watched again to see if the windows were actually blown out on the boat and they were intact so Kevin was protected from demons, unless Crowley has somehow figured a way around the sigels. It is however, not angel proof. How did Kevin think the fry pan would protect him from demons. He has used Holy water so what's up with the fry pan? I forgave some of the plot holes and mostly enjoyed the emotions. Fine acting all around. Lighting in Maine was perfect. The moving graffiti wall- on their small budget. Evoked emotions and the relationship btwn the characters esp S/D/ B/S D/B even N/C. Osric has grown as an actor as well. Enjoyed.
debbab
# debbab 2013-04-13 22:32
Dean does not even consider that Crowley has Kevin. Dean has been a bit cavalier with Kevin as Dean is usually better with kids. He is not a dufus. There were no signs that demons had been there. I watched again to see if the windows were actually blown out on the boat and they were intact so Kevin was protected from demons, unless Crowley has somehow figured a way around the sigels. It is however, not angel proof. How did Kevin think the fry pan would protect him from demons. He has used Holy water so what's up with the fry pan? I forgave some of the plot holes and mostly enjoyed the emotions. Fine acting all around. Lighting in Maine was perfect. The moving graffiti wall- on their small budget. Evoked emotions and the relationship btwn the characters esp S/D/ B/S D/B even N/C. Osric has grown as an actor as well. Enjoyed.