So it's official. Dean's a hug-monster. The man truly does "wuz hugs" and I'm cool with it! Oh boy am I cool with it!
I was excited for this episode from the beginning. I like Charlie; I like Robbie Thompson's writing. I was thinking, this is going to be a fun filler! That's what it looked like in the previews. Dean gussied up in uniform, Charlie by his side. What I wasn't expecting was an episode that packed an emotional wallop, that worked in aspects of the season mythology to keep us connected to the larger story and that left me in a pool of tears and squees! Simultaneously! Which makes them tees or squears or something! Putting it in language Dean would understand, "Pac-Man Fever" was,awesome.
One of the things that surprised me the most about this episode was that Sam was not "benched" as the synopsis indicated. Far from it actually and I was pleasatly surprised and mighty thankful for that. The brothers have been rocking it of late; bromantically speaking and I didn't want that put on the back burner no matter how much I like the recurring character. But that's not what happened, Sam and Dean and their relationship was front and centre and having Charlie in the mix, allowed us and them to see their relationship through her eyes,which essentially have become our eyes. Charlie has become a Winchester fangirl!
This is one of the big reasons I think Charlie has hit a chord with the fandom. She's like us. She's geeky and loves genre, she's a gamer who digs novelty t-shirts. She's a fan. It was so brilliant of Robbie Thompson to bring this character into our world. Charlie's a fan but a fan we can openly relate to without any feelings of weirdness or awkwardness.
Fandom has been depicted in "Supernatural" before, mostly with a cheeky smirk from the writers. We "get" the convention folk in "The Real Ghostbusters". We understand the passion of the cosplaying Hookman and his questioning of plot inconsistencies, character motivation and bungees on weapons. Most of us have read fanfiction, some of us write it, so we understand the enthusiasm of Becky Rosen. We understand her shear delight when she meets her heroes in person. Who doesn't want to never stop touching the Js when put into close proximity with them! But though these fans were mostly written tongue in cheek and with a good dollop of wink filled humour, they accentuated the aspects of fandom that wig non-fan-type-people out and maybe the things we prefer to keep under wraps. While I think they were written from a place of (mostly) love, they kinda still managed to make fun of us, because they highlighted the aspects of fandom that outsiders make fun of and in doing so, they made us a little squirmy.
But Charlie is written in a way that makes us proud to be a fan. She's smart and funny. She isn't secretly enjoying her fanness in the dark, bathed only in the glow of her laptop (not that there's anything wrong with that)! She's not closeted about her fanness. It permeates ever aspect of her life and she lives it loud and proud. She's not all giggly and wide-eyed; she's all "Whatsup, bitches". Charlie is cool. Just like we are! Right?! She represents how diverse and interesting we are, not how peculiar. Not only that, now she's read Chuck Shurley's books she knows the brother's story, just like we do and she's become their cheerleader, just like we are and she thinks they're awesome heroes and loves them,just,like,us.
Her voice reflects ours. When she says, "There is pretty much nothing the Winchesters can't do if they work together," we all yell out YES! When she tells Sam just what he needs to hear and what Dean needs to over hear, "...If anyone can get through the trials, Sam, it's you" we all nod and go, yesssss. She wants to see the "broment". Don't we all! She thinks they fight like an old married couple. Yep, they sure do! It's like she's in our minds! She's reflecting back at us all the things we love about being a fan, what we love about the show and what we love about the brothers. Plus she promised Dean pie,and never brought it! Ba-dum-tss! And the joke lives on! Ha ha! What a great character.
But Charlie is also a character of her own with a journey of her own that deeply resonates with the journey of the Winchesters. She understands loss, she understands isolation and she understands being an outsider. Fleshing out Charlie by revealing the story of her mother and the sadness that lies beneath Charlie's bubbly shell, allowed us to connect with her on a new level. We already liked her but now we understand her that much better, as do the brothers. The Winchesters and Charlie both lost their mothers at a young age and it's driven their lives ever since, influencing who they are, what they do and what they like, down to fantasy fiction and pie. I'm sure Dean's epic love of pie comes from the fact that his mum used to give him pie, *wibble*
Where Charlie and Sam seem to connect through their obvious similarities in techno-intellectual-geekiness, Charlie and Dean connect on a whole other level, the one with pop culture references and movie quotes. Every moment Charlie has with Dean is a pure joy. She brings out in him a lightness that's always a delight to see and of course, that adorable big brother thing he's got going on. He calls her kiddo. Naww. The shopping montage was beyond awesome. Dean sat there making her a fake id as casual as anything, while Charlie paraded outfit after outfit waiting for the yay or nay. For heaven's sake! Who would ever have thought we'd seen that scene! I also like the way Dean talks to Charlie. He's pretty matter of fact in his answers. She's just that little bit removed from the emotion of it all, that she can be a good sounding board without it coming back on him in any way and she's just that little bit removed from the emotion of it all, that she can say things to him that will make him think without getting defensive.
I wasn't expecting to cry in this episode, but I cried a lot. I was deeply moved by Charlie's story. The scene within the dream/game when Charlie spoke of telling her mother one more time that's she's loved, started me off. It's damn good writing and damn good characterisation when a show can dig that deep into your own emotions. We feel for the character but we also relate to their sorrow and relate it back to our personal experiences. We all understand and are familiar with loss; it's the unfortunate outcome of the cyclic nature of life. Consequently, we can easily relate intellectually with what the character is going through. But it's when you relate emotionally and in a big way, that you know you're being presented with something special. I was pretty messy at the end of this episode. It got a bit hurty and it hit me pretty hard. Charlie reading The Hobbit to her mum, one last time,yeah,puddles of tears. Puddles I tells ya!
It was because of Dean, because of Dean's words and understanding that Charlie was able to let go of her mum. She let go of her fear of letting go. Then she asked Dean...
"What about you, you're gonna let it go?"
"That's my boys."
Yep,That's my boys.
I keep harping on, I feel like I'm harping on anyway, but I'm crazy in love with where we find ourselves with the brother's relationship. Once again, they were concerned for each other, bickering (of course), looking out for each other, teasing each other and actually showing each other that they care.
They were working together like a well-oiled machine. Sorting through research, coming up with solutions, speaking at the same time. The way Sam rushed to Dean when Dean was coming out of his dream-root sleep. Gah! I've always love it when they're all grabby and patty, giving each other a once over check to make sure the other is ok! My Winchester cup runneth over. I feel like I've been transported to an alternative Winchester Universe where the brothers actually act like those brothers we once knew! It's wonderful.
Not only that, they have a home! Did you notice Dean called the bunker, home? My heart skipped a beat when he told Sam to go "home". Home. The Men of Letters bunker is a haven where they can take stock, do some research, eat some decent food and sleep for days if needs be, which Sam needs be right now.
Sam, oh Sam,how he's suffering. (Still looks hot though. Sick, bed-headed Sam is hot. Sorry,but it's a fact.) I admired Sam's tenacity and strength in this episode. There was part of me that was like Dean - stay home young man and rest! Then there was part of me that thought he was being silly and stubborn going out into the field in that condition, that he could cause harm to himself and possibly others by not being fully up to speed, which nearly happened with the mama Djinn. But, Sam has a trial to do and he's going to have to do it while he's not firing on all cylinders. It's not like the sickness is going to go away (for now) and it's not like he can just put everything off until he feels better, he's going to have to get out there sooner or later and launch head on into whatever God's final Word has in store for him. So wanting to be useful, wanting to feel useful, wanting people to have confidence in him and trying to have confidence in himself is understandable. He had something to prove and not just to Dean.
Obviously, Dean's worried sick. Worrying about Sam is one of the things Dean does best. There's no hiding that Sam's not doing so good. It's not like he can pretend. He looks awful and it's right under Dean's nose. Cass' words about Sam being damaged in ways that even Cass can't fix must have been playing on his mind, because Dean repeated those words to Charlie. Dean's at his worst when he can't help and no matter how hard he tries, he can't help Sam. He just has to try and be understanding and supportive and that's not necessarily easy for Dean, especially under these circumstances. He's scared for his brother and he's scared of losing his brother and that fear is impeding his ability to be what Sam needs right now. Dean's hanging on so tight, he can't do anything else.
Then this happened,
The hug. It was Dean letting go and not letting go all at the same time.
"What about you, you're gonna let it go?"
Let's face it, no matter what, Dean will never let go of Sam, it's not in his biological makeup, Sam is part of Dean and Dean will always hold on to him, but the hug,that out of the blue, surprised the hell out of Sam and the rest of us hug,that was Dean letting go of his fear. Because Charlie was right, there's pretty much nothing the brothers can't do, as long as they face it together. They're better together. They need to get this trial done. Sam needs to do it. Sam needs to know that Dean thinks he can do it. Dean needs to let go of the fear of losing Sam and stand alongside his brother and show him that he has the faith in him. That's the only hope they have of getting through the final trial. Together. This shows such growth on Dean's behalf. I'm as proud as punch of him. For me that hug said - I will never let you go Sammy and I'm thankful that I have you, man,but I believe in you, I believe you can do this. So you and me, let's go do what we gotta do. I got your back -"What d'you say we find our prophet". Dean put his fears aside with a hug of love, appreciation, acknowledgement and faith. Dean spoke volumes with that hug and Sam, albeit a little bewildered, heard every word. I think Surprise-Hug may be the best hug ever.
These really are my boys, I may be tearing up a little, Again,
Oh yeah, and there was a couple of Djinn, and exploding human guts and dad's journal beats out app and the MoL bunker has a firing range, Hicks and Ripley, I love you - I know... and you know,other awesome stuff,but, Surprise-Hug!
A good filler episode is one that doesn't forget that it's actually part of a bigger story. It's not this isolated 42 minutes, it's 42 minutes of 23 episodes worth of 42 minutes. It's ridiculous to be brought into the brother's world and not have them at least discuss what's happening in their world, what they're going through, what's currently on their minds or where we all left off. They don't live in some bubble; we don't live in some bubble! These things don't go away when they're on a non-related case. Just as their history doesn't go away, or their wealth of knowledge and experience doesn't just suddenly evaporate. A good filler episode will recognise all of this.
"Pac-Man Fever" was a good filler episode â€“ in fact it was a great filler episode, or maybe it was the filler you have when you're not having a filler! Because not only did it reminded us of the big picture, it cleverly used the history of the show, recognising that we don't forget, just as the brothers wouldn't forget, what has gone before. Plus, it gave us a neat story, which enhanced a cool character and allowed the brothers to grow and move forward and it wrapped it all up in a great big emotional bow.
"Supernatural" has always been about the people, the story has always been about the relationships and the best episodes reflect this. This isn't a show about monsters. This is a show about heart. It's a show about family and what we'll do for those we love. A wise old dude in a trucker cap once said, "Family don't end with blood"... "Pac-Man Fever" was a great example of this. Thank you Robbie for sharply written script and a beautiful episode and welcome to the family, Charlie.
And,did you think I would leave you without this? Lord have mercy, Dean Winchester(and your green eyes and freckles).
What were your thoughts on the episode?
As always, thanks for reading.
But also, everything you said. One of the best eps, IMHO.
Oh, and Sam. My poor, poor sick Sam. I just want to put him to bed and make him better, so I know how Dean feels. He does need to get through the trials, but he also needs to let Dean look after him so they can effectively work together.
I do love Charlie. I loved that we got to find out more about her. She's an onion character - made up of so many layers that can be peeled back, one at a time.
With only three more episodes left in the season, I am getting very nervous for where Carver is going to leave us hanging.
Oh, and don't forget one of the best parts about this week's ep - Jared playfully tweeting during the West Coast airing. And it being a public holiday in Aus & NZ which allowed us to see it unfold live for a change.
Thanks, once more for a great review.
And I agree, it was a filler in one way and not a filler in another!
That was so awesome of Jared to tweet and I was so happy I was at home to enjoy it!
Wow was this an emotionally powerful episode. It too gave me all I love about the brothers and their relationship, about the ties to their history and about the ways family "don't end with blood." As I watched it, I had no idea the depth of feeling it would evoke within me.
A year ago my Mom died. And I as watched the scenes with Dean and Charlie and then those with Charlie and her mom, I was touched to the core. I am feeling ultra sensitive and reminiscent about my mom right now. And then, I turn on the show and expect to escape for an hour. But, I didn't. Instead, my favorite show brings me to a place of grief, but one step removed. I sat at a bed with a comatose parent and knew she would never hear my words. But I sat, like Charlie did and read to her from one of her favorite magazines. "One last time."
The best episodes of Supernatural for me, as you said, are the ones that show the incredible bond between the brothers and the way they connect to others. The last scenes with Charlie and the boys, when Dean gave Charlie a kiss, when Dean gave Sam a surprise hug and when Charlie read to her mother, made me sad, because I never imagined a tv show could replicate and validate the feelings I am experiencing right now.
Grief, sadness, love, hope, and friendship. Universal issues. That's what makes Supernatural such an amazing show for me. Am I ever going to let that go? NEVER!!!!
Mom died. I won't let go of her memories, but like Sam and Dean, I am reminded I am not alone as long as I love and care for others and am loved and cared for by them. Dean once said to Sam, "We keep each other human." But as we saw in "Pac Man Fever," their relationship has so much more to it.
Spring was Mom's favorite season. I wake up each morning and remember how much she would have loved this year's "real spring"- the cool sunny days, that we are having this year. I am glad that Supernatural reminds me that I can choose to move on. Not forget, but be stronger because my deep feelings allow me to connect to what I believe in myself and help me to connect better with others.
No other tv show has ever come close to doing what Supernatural does for me. I, for one, am grateful the best Supernatural writers can elicit these feelings.
This show is just special huh? I'm so thankful for it.
Thank you for you beautiful comment and sharing your thoughts.
Thanks for your compassionate comments. Supernatural reminds me, too, like Sam and Dean, that when we reach out to others, we can find and make new friends.
What you've shared, along with some posts by others on other threads, reminds me that none of us are alone. We've all got to go through loss and grief and some time.
Perhaps Charlie's comment that "Together, here's pretty much nothing the Winchesters can't do " is also meant for all of us.... None of us is an island, and it helps to remind ourselves that we're not alone.
I don't know if I'm making sense, but I just wanted to thank you for your post. It's anniversary weekend here, 3 years since I lost my Mom, and I'm feeling
Fabulous review, as always, sweetondean. I like how you see Charlie as a reflection of the fans. She is!! and so MUCH better than Becky.
Loved the episode.....all the right brother moments. Protective Dean and still-kicking-a ss Sam. Home. Teasing.
And yes. Sick, shaky, messy-haired, V-neck wearing Sammy is HOT.
And Sam should definitely wear that shirt more often!! The sick and shaky, not so much.
This episode hit me hard too, as it coincided with my Mom being released from the hospital after she nearly had heart failure. So here I am Rofl at the beginning of the episode and crying my eyes out at the end. It does comfort me to know that while I was alone watching the show I wasn't really alone and sometimes we forget that,
My point being: you're never alone in this. While you may be at home alone, you're watching this show with I don't know how many thousands of others who are right there with you.
To all my "mates", thanks for your compassionate honesty and thanks Sweetondean for your heart-felt and erudite analysis after each episode that paves the way for our exchanges.
It's amazing that at the beginning of this season the brothers were at odds with each other, and now they are back to what we've been waiting for since season 4, together again in every way. Charlie said it best "There is noting the Winchesters can't do when they are together". And this is why I'm loving season 8 more and more every time I watch an episode.
It is really cool to parallel Charlie with the fans. She is awesome, as Dean would say.
Robbie is a great writer and Charlie is a great character which would have made this a wonderful episode anyway, but those hugs! Not a dry eye in the house.
I dont get it anymore. Dont get me wrong, i felt for Charlie and the actress knocked it out of the park but I dont get why Dean simply didn't tell Charlie - to quote Imohotep from The mummy "Death is only the beginning."
That said....I think Sam needs his own Charlie in his life. Someone who can get HIM to lighten up, and smile. Even without the trials poor Sam is strung to tight. Poor Sam needed to keep busy, to do good and not just sit in the MOL with nothing to do but think about how his body is wasting away.
I understand why Sam doesn't want to be 'taken care of''. Hes hurting, hes weak but he's not dead. He needs to 'DO". Despite what Carver thinks and tried to foist on us for the first half of the season , its not in Sams nature to do nothing while his loved ones, while innocent lives are at stake...not while he still breathes.
As much as I loved the hug, i wish Sam had gotten to finsih his thoughts. I wish the writer had allowed Sam to say what he needed....and what Dean needs to hear.
and anyway...for all we know....how Sam acts between trials may be part of the trials themselves. especially if its about virtue and courage. I mean what is more favorable? Putting aside your own pain to help others or ignore the plight of others by using your own pain as an escuse not to help?
Despite where they are now with the brothers relationship - which I love - I (still) can't make sense of how they got there.
With just 3 episodes remaining, I'm still holding onto (a flicker of) hope they can bring it off. Somehow.
I'm an introvert, but I have friends and people I talk to. I talk about myself on the Internet, something Sam could also do to discuss his feelings while still remaining anonymous.
If the writers wanted us to know Sam there are many ways they could show it even if they don't want to give Sam friends. They don't have the imagination to use them or they really don't care about showing Sam's POV. I suspect it is the latter.
Adding: But the writers could and should make a better effort. Some of the writers barely seem to know either brother, let alone Sam.
Also, the boys behave better around her, don't they? They still bicker, but it's like she puts them in touch with each other and points out why they need to take care of eachother and stand together.
Oh the hugs. I'm so basking in them. I also really get why Sam is resistive to being taken care of and why he needs to do what he has to do. He can't let himself collapse now when the end of the race is in sight. He's trying to hang on until the end. It's scary seeing the scenes for next week, when it looks like he's just out of gas. I hope he lets Dean take care of him a little. They both need it. I would like to hear Sam tell Dean that he is just trying to stay strong until the last trial and get it done.
This was a terrific episode. Writing top-notch, acting superb, directing great. They all got it done and the end result was perfect. It really wasn't filler. It was an emotional set-up for the next few episodes. It raised our concern and tension about Sam and gave our brothers a few minutes to contemplate that they need to stay strong together. We all needed a big huge breathe to gather our wits for the last push to close Hell's gates. This was that breathe.
Becky was adorable at first,then got a little creepy later but I still felt she was created with love. But with Charlie, the writers just get it right.
I don't mind so much that this was filler. It didn't feel like it and was very satisfying emotionally. Robbie did a spectacualr job on the writing for this. Also I'm totally enjoying all the fangirl Squee from you guys. Great review!
I love this point. To me, the problem with Becky is that she was a caricature rather than a character â€“ an exaggeration of stereotypical (and mostly negative) fan characteristics . Charlie is not. Sheâ€™s smart, but flawed; human, not superhuman; and, thanks to this weekâ€™s episode, multi-dimension al. I think sheâ€™s a great window into the Winchester world and a wonderful addition to the SPN universe.
One of my biggest gripes with this season has been storytelling that sidelined one or both brothers and focused far too much on guest stars playing characters in whom we had little-to-no emotional investment. Early on, Robbie Thompson wrote Bitten. Sorry RT, but this is easily one of my least favourite episodes of the entire series. Cool concept, sure, but (IMHO) massively flawed execution, thanks mainly to too much screen time for three characters lacking any depth. In any other episode, they would have bitten the dust (pun intended) before the opening credits.
RTâ€™s Pac-Man Fever, however, was the polar opposite â€“ a wonderful balance of the
Winchestersâ€™ story with Charlieâ€™s. Hey, the last scene didnâ€™t have a Winchester in it and no-oneâ€™s complaining. Why? Because it was a beautiful scene â€“ inspiring some of the incredibly moving comments upthread from viewers who could relate on a deep, emotional level â€“ and a perfect complement to the penultimate (Sorry, Sam â€“ sometimes you do have to use that word ) â€˜hugâ€™ scene between the brothers. This one ranks among my favourites!
The out-of-left-fie ld hug was so great IMO because it said so much with no dialogue. Shut up Sam, I am proud of you Sam, I am scared for you but I am also here for you Sam.
Stellar review and episode!
1 Heart ventricles were (apparently)cal led cochleae cordis in medieval times
2 Cockles look like heart valves
but this is the one I like (its from Wictionary):
3 The phrase may be more explained by the nature of the mollusk itself. Its natural environs are usually cold water shoreline areas. The mollusks have to open their shell to ambulate and feed yet, if disturbed or threatened in any way, the shell slams shut to protect its delicate organs.
If the "cockles" are exposed to warmth, the usually difficult to penetrate shell opens.
I think that's cute
I actually cried at the end. This is the first time I've cried in an SPN episode for a long time, maybe since Death's Door, and before that may have been Swan Song. I cried several times a season up to s6, then the emotions haven't been as strong for me. So that this ep connected, and that I felt that emotional for Charlie, a guest character, as well as for the boys, speaks volumes for the quality of the writing.
Robbie Thompson is one of the best writers still on the show. We need him to stay and, if possible, write more. The writing has been uneven this season IMO. Due partly to Eugenie RL and BB, who have written 4 eps which have not all been great, and to the ooc and less than credible story decisions made by JC (the most egregious being Sam not looking for Dean). RT has been the bright spot. I hope he keeps producing this level of quality.
Beautiful review for a beautiful episode. I laughed and cried at all the same points you did. And I know for myself, one of the reason I adore Charlie is the fact I see myself in her - not as much of a computer whiz, but definitely geeky, and klutzy! And of course, a fan. But more than that, she's someone I could be friends with, have fun with, laugh with, and commiserate with. I think that's another reason for her appeal.
I loved all the feels and the caring & sharing, and Sam's spectacular bedhead! (My hair and my daughters' hair looks like that when we wake up in the morning. Bedhead extraordinaire! ) I like that both brothers got some interaction with Charlie. Yes, Dean had more. But she got to break & enter the morgue with Sam!
The use of the word home was very important, because to me it's a sign both boys have claimed the MoL bunker as their own. (Yes Charlie, there should be Women of Letters, or People of Letters or Humans of Letters, which would make all the stuff in there HoLy artifacts.. Kind of appropriate eh?!) And I love the idea that the Winchesters now have a safe haven.
In fact, I wonder if that safe haven is why Dean is allowing more and more of his emotions to show. That's one of the things that has really struck me over the last group of episodes (with a few exceptions). He's letting more of his true feelings and true self out - you see it in everything from the cooking to the spontaneous hug. Gah! The spontaneous hug!!
The hug to me (as to you) was all about holding Sam close and letting him go at the same time. His greatest fear is losing Sam. His Prime Directive is, and has always been, and will always be, is keeping Sam safe. But he's learning that safe can be a nuanced condition. Because, in the end, none of us are really safe.
Sam's health, his life may be at stake with the trials. But as the tragedy of Charlie's mom showed, the Winchesters are at risk everyday. Sam could die trying to close the gates of Hell. Or he could die because of a drunk driver.
I firmly believe that Dean believes, verily I say unto you (that's how God talks), he knows that Sam can complete the trials. He doesn't need to be reminded of what Sam can do, what he's capable of. Dean's fear is what those feats of strength cost. I think watching Sam get sicker is starting to overwhelm him. Dean has oodles of faith in Sam & his abilities, but he's just really, really scared for his brother. That's why Charlie's words of encouragement about Sam being a tough cookie, and that the Winchesters are stronger together, were so vital for Dean to hear. They help push the fear away.
So, back to the hug.. I think it was 1) an acknowledgment that, unlike Charlie, he still has family in the world, 2) gratitude that Sam was alive and healthy enough - mentally & physically - to accept his hug, and 3) it was confirmation that they are in this together, that they are always in this together. So let's go do this.
(I think I might have just repeated everything you said. Sorry about that.)
Finally, as a Mom the whole episode and the importance of readin The Hobbit plus the scene at the end shredded my heart. (I'm just starting to read that book to my kids! Life imitating art imitating life.) I have no idea how I'm influencing them. I'm probably giving them some really awful habits and traits that they will curse me over, or go into therapy for. But, like Charlie's Mom, I hope I'm also giving them the gift of walking (on sunshine) to the beat of their own drummers.
Thanks for listening!
The use of the word home was very important, because to me it's a sign both boys have claimed the MoL bunker as their own. (Yes Charlie, there should be Women of Letters, or People of Letters or Humans of Letters, which would make all the stuff in there HoLy artifacts.. Kind of appropriate eh?!) And I love the idea that the Winchesters now have a safe haven.
Pragmatic Dreamer....i dont mean to be a negative nellie but i have to ask. Do we really know if Sam consders the MOL 'home'? Dean is the only one who called it home. He's the only one nesting. He's the only one who personalizing a bedroom. And if Sam is still wanting to get out of hunting for 'normal' then wouldn't the bumker be more of an temporary 'office'?
I didn't really connect that Charlie was both fan as well as little sister before. But I think you're absolutely right, whether it was their intent or not she does represent the passionate but hopefully non-crazy fan.
I know some people took a offense at Becky but I never felt like she was really SUPPOSED to represent the average fan. I felt like she was always on the fringes on the fandom. In the Real Ghostbuster, I connected more to Damien and Barnes who were passionate sure but not uh -overly-passionate, I guess is the best way to put it. This is the niche I see Charlie in (and I hope me- though maybe sometimes drift to the overly). She really is a fantastic character. So likeable and real. Great addition to the show.
And the lines about not letting go are just perfect summary of how I see the boys. Yes the rational smart thing is not hold on so tight, to accept that he might lose his brother and find a way to deal with that. Is that what Dean is going to do? NO. He is going to keep holding on regardless of what is thrown at them. That's my boys. She could have been speaking for me.
I let out an immediate AWWW when Dean said home. They've never even said that about Bobby's. They always referred to it as Bobby's. But they finally have a home. I really loved that. I'll admit if someone suggested that for this show, I would have guessed it wouldn't have worked but I really love that they have a place. It's wonderful.
Despite my issues with the season, I do love where the boys are now. It really does feel like an early season, before hell and demon blood. When they worked together and trusted each without doubt. When ever I watched Born Under a Bad Sign after S4 and S5 and he says he knew it couldn't be Sam and later how if it was the last thing he did was going to save him, I always wonder if he would have made the same choices if that had happened it a later season. And though I know he wouldn't kill Sam ever, I don't think he has ever trusted him that fully since.
But this does feel more like that earlier relationship and I do really love that.
A book later, I just wanted to say I loved your review and agree with everything you said.
Just a thought I had. Would this episode have packed such an emotional punch if the brothers hadn't been depicted as at odds the first half of this season? The relief and the emotional impact of this episode would have been lessened if the brothers had been relating like this the whole season.
I'm hoping the conflicts of the future are not between Sam and Dean but the two of them together against all comers. The utter relief I felt when Dean just grabbed Sam and hung on for dear life brought the tears and the joy out of me at once. What a moment!
Am loving Charlie and hoping she keeps living. Now that Sera is gone, perhaps the great guest stars won't all be killed off like she loved to do. Her own words on the first season dvd extras.
A truly great and awesome episode!
Even with the 'good place' the brothers are now, it still seems rather one-sided to me. Sam has never yet expressed that obsessive bond with Dean. I may be forgetting something, but it seems that every good moment we've had between the brothers in season 8 has been initiated by Dean.
Even the LARPing episode. If Dean hadn't said he understood Sam was depressed and why he just wanted to work, I don't know if Sam would've suggested they stay for the battle.
This bothers me for several reasons. The first I have gone into above, but the other is that Sam is judged in the show and often by the fandom based on how Dean judges him. Sam doesn't look for Dean and gives no explanation. Dean is hurt and sees him as a bad brother. Boby who has been a moral voice and apparently was party to the agreement we never heard of agrees with Dean. Dean thinks Sam was selfish for going to college. Eventually Sam says Dean was right. We know Sam is (supposedly) changing possibly into something. As it stands now, if Sam changes into something the judgement of what he turns into, is he good or bad will lie solely with Dean. If Dean accepts it, Sam is okay, if Dean doesn't like it, Sam is condemned. The complete lack of Sam POV had destroyed not only Sam, but the brotherly relationship, IMHO. It is out of balance and I don't see how it can be brought back into balance.
Which brings me to one thing I will probably never get over, Benny the Better Brother. In Benny we got a vampire so sparkly that Edward Cullen would need sunglasses. Benny (unlike Sam) resisted the drive to drink blood, choosing death over dishonor. And with Benny being dead, he will never lose his shiny glow. Benny is the perfect brother who never let Dean down. Sam may be more loved, but this season has shown that he is unworthy of that love.
Sam's character has been portrayed in a way that can't be redeemed in only 3 episodes. I'm not sure an entire season could redeem him at this point. For the record, I love Sam. I actually don't think he was wrong to not look. But I know that the basis of the show is the brotherly bond, and the message of this season has been that Sam betrayed that bond and has not tried to repair it. JC's portrayal of Sam has broken something and I truly mourn its loss, because I don't think it can truly be fixed.
But not outright wrong. Even in the "not looking". It was not wrong. It was a completely human reaction that would be ABSOLUTELY ok from any one else. It's just NOT what I expect and believe SAM would do. If Carver is going for the 'human' plotline for Sam, I'll be absolutely pissed if he apologizes for it.
I don't like the whole idea, never will, and if there isn't more explanation coming, (and not just angst) I expect it will be my last straw. At the very least, I'll be incredibly annoyed. (Read spitting mad)
But not with Sam.
Also Sam suffers from boomerang writing of past mistakes being brought back up and Sam not looking has been brought up twice now and will be brought up again . In what way and the purpose of it remains to be seen?.
My glass is always half full with this show. I can get annoyed with Sam the way he was right after Dean came back, but he was not unredeemable as far as I was concerned. Thank goodness I'm still loving and enjoying this show and really loving the brothers regained bond. Dean loves Sam, no matter what, and I don't remember Dean being labelled as the better brother by the writers. It's not my perception, but obviously has stuck for some and robbed them of their enjoyment of the show as they keep repeating again and again. Making up how the writers were thinking does not wash. No one but the writers know what they were thinking.
Just to state for myself, I'm happy Carver is back and has the reins in hand and Thompson and Edlund with him. The only weak link this season for me has been the team of Ross-Leming & Buckner.
Also that it went to the heart of the brothers and their bond .We also have the situation of Benny and the example of how far Dean is prepared to go for Sam again in the same season they have him not look for Dean so while the feelings can seem overboard there is merit behind them. The writing over something so important for Sam was not very good and regardless of how good this episode was and how wonderful the brother moments were that still looms large for alot of fans.
Go to almost any other fan site to see what I'm talking about. The fans are angry at Sam for not looking for Dean. They can't seem to see that it is the writers who've done this to him. The Sam hate has grown this season because of how he was written.
I find that very sad.
I 100% agree with you and Leah. For me Sam hasn't been portrayed as weak, unworthy, bad, not restpected or less and he certainly hasn't been portrayed as the replaceable brother. Ever. Not for one second. He was not and has never been written in that way in my eyes.
I believe the brother's bond has been earned. Over the last 5 seasons. Constantly overcoming hurdle after hurdle, constantly making mistakes and still being able to move forward together, choosing to let by gones be by gones and love each other instead of being angry and hurt with each other. Those kind of choices, the fact that after everything they can still love each other like they do, makes that bond earned.
There are as many fans not plagued with issues regarding Sam or this season as are. I guess it's just non-plagued fans, don't feel the need to comment, because they simply do not have those feelings and issues.
I don't see that Sam needs fixing or is ruined for eternity by the writing this season. He will never be that for me. Neither of them will.
Let's take this conversation elsewhere!
So I will bow out.
But I disagree with the Sam/Dean forgiveness and good/bad dynamic.
Dean doesn't judge Sam, hug him, forgive him and tell the audience how to feel about Sam.
Dean hugs Sam and forgives him because they are brothers. That's all.
For the recond...if someone can explain to me....Sam was supposed to have as 'human' story this year. But for the life of me what wzs this story was supposed to be? I'd hard pressed to even say what this story is as it was told in the guise of subtext and metaphore wrapped in a mystery and then told offscreen.
And how can Sam have a 'human' story if no one - least of all Dean (the only one who really counts) - recognises/ackn owleges this human story playing out. Its like Dean doesn't rcognise that Sam is affected deeply by Deans death and/or disappearence. he just expects Sam to motor on as if he was the Terminator.
I know Sam 'interanalizes' and is an introvert but Dean is the one person who should know Sam feels deeply and is affected by Deans loss.
But Dean as POV doesn't recognise his death hurt Sam deeply. Deans POV is Sam walked away and got himself a gf...and eventually Dean forgave this 'betrayal'.
For the record...the use of the word 'soul' instead of 'sole' was spelling error but i kept it because its true.
And here is a another question/observ ation. Everyone says...as well as show that the boys love each other deeply and would do anything for the other.
But....if its true why do they allow the other to have misperceptions about the himself? Wouldn't Sam/Dean want Dean/Sam to understand the him and want to understand their brother so there wasn't any misperception or issues that can drive them apart?
Wouldn't Dean and/or Sam WANT to rise above their personal childhoood issues instead of clinging to them and letting them (the issues) affect how they see their brother and how their brother sees them?
Wouldn't this be maturity? Wouldn't this be true and real love?
Everyone has misconceptions about each other, even brothers. Doesn't mean they don't feel real love. These brothers have butted heads since the start but they eventually get back to basics, which is their unwavering love for each other. I personally think their childhood issues are not going away. People are the sum of their whole lives. These two function pretty well considering that, IMO.
Sorry for the overuse of emoticons, but really this episode had all of the above and more...
I was so worried when I saw how sick Sam is (sigh); I laughed out loud at Charlie and her knowledge of the Supernatural books; I think I almost fell out of my seat with laughter when Dean & Charlie were shopping; I was fearful when Sam was in the hospital bed in Dean's dream; I was sad for Charlie in her dream & having to make the decision to let her Mum go; I was very happy for all the hugging; and I was crying WAY more than is normal at the ending!
Kudos to Robbie Thompson... it's very powerful writing when it taps into your own experience...
My father, who passed away 6 years ago, used to read The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings to me when I was a child. It was one of the things I shared with him. After we watched the first of the Lord of the Rings films, he actually said to me, jokingly, I just have to live for two more years to see the end of this trilogy. He did, but did not get to see the movie version of The Hobbit.
When Charlie got out her copy of The Hobbit to read to her Mum, I was weeping inconsolably because I actually read an excerpt of The Hobbit at my Dad's funeral.
Thanks for another wonderful review Sweetondean
Thank you KG_SPN, for sharing your lovely story of your dad.
Thank you for mentioning about the fandon and Becky. I was gonna mention it in my review, but I left it out! I totally agree with you. Also, I think Charlie is what Becky should have been. Backy is a 'miss', Charlie is a 'hit'!
There are just so much awesomeness in this episode. The hugs alone is.. OMG! You worded it! The Dean and Sam hug was the best Surprise Hug ever!
Dean will never let go of Sam! No way! Dean is so consistently written as the older brother who cares and loves his little brother. We can spend the whole year talking about the brothers! I think Sam as the little brother always has something to prove. That's just the little brother syndrome. I am the youngest in the family and I totally get Sam's attitude/ mentality.
Supernatural is so good to watch because of the brother relationship. On one hand, it seems slightly different from the past because they're more mature now. On the other hand, it remains the same because they are still Dean and Sam, the big brother and the little brother.
Amy, I love you.
There is no such thing as a mere "filler" episode. Each episode advances the canon by adding nuances to all we've come to know, love, and worry about the Winchesters.
Do not want to hear the term "filler" used hereafter about The Show's episodes; excuse me, "biographical chapters."
There. Now I feel better.
I wanted to show a friend of mine a good episode into the series to try to get her hooked and it was really hard to find one where you wouldn't spend half the episode explaining what was going on. (In the end I picked 'the Monster at the end of this Book' - that explains itself as it goes along). You really can't watch an episode on its own so, no fillers.
I'm rejecting "Bitten." I have never hated an episode of SPN until this season, and the horrible "Bitten" is it.
Southern Comfort wasn't too horrible in retrospect - I remember being irritated by the insinuation that Garth was replacing Bobby, but the fact that we saw Jim Beaver this season makes up for that in my book. Again, I took it for what it was. I remember liking certain aspect of the episode though. So, it's not in my personal reject file.
The only episode I put in the "reject" column this season is Man's Best Friend with Benefits. [Shudders]
Southern Comfort is very high on my dislike list, mainly because I am very tired of unresolved issues between the boys. Every time they bring up lingering issues and hurts, they are left to fester. I've had enough with that.
Maturity, to me, means that they'd deal with these things and put them to rest.
I'm still waiting.... For that reason, SC is one episode I won't watch again.
MBFWB didn't bother me nearly as much.
I understand why some fans disliked Southern Comfort. It was a hard one.
Bitten too, because it was different from the usual fare and didn't have a lot of the Winchesters in it.
Southern Comfort I remember enjoying, but for what it left behind in its wake...I wish it never happened.
I happen to agree. SPN episodes are rarely if ever truly "filler." :)
"In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit. Not a nasty, dirty, wet hole filled with the ends of worms and an oozy smell. Nor yet a dry, bare, sandy hole with nothing in it to sit on or to eat.
It was a Hobbit hole.
And that means comfort."
Is it just me or does that sound to anyone else a little like a Winchester/MOL bunker we all know and love?
Anyway, great review sweetondean; I have to say I wholeheartedly agree with everything you said!
(By the way, I've been a visitor here at the Winchester Family Business for a while now but this is my first comment. To everyone here - thanks for this site and keep up the good work!)
As for your comment, I most certainly agree. I was thinking the same thing when I watched the episode for the first time. It's their hobbit hole! Their batcave too. I'm sure we're going to have plenty of nicknames for it for a while.
"Southern Comfort" was a real tingler, in the sense that a killer Dean with a gun pointed at someone who should really not be blown away always shoots a chill up and down a spine! As an optimist, I always see improvements coming after an episode like this one.
"Friends with Benefits" reminded me of the "Golden Compass" trilogy in which pre-pubescent children have personal "daemons" with whom they share a totally critical and symbiotic bond. Fascinating! (I want one! A beautiful Clouded Leopard.)
Hey! I'll take my Supernatural in any way, shape, form, lunacy, whimsy, or experimental buzzfeed. NEVER boring; always awesome!
I didn't see this as a filler episode. I thought it might be because of Charlie's visit, but the story moved forward with such depth and emotion that I now see the episode as essential to the mytharc. Let's face it...we have all watched it a dozen times over already. It gave us a week off from the very heavy stuff, but still advanced the characters and bridged the story. THAT is what every "filler" episode should do! Super kudos to Robbie.