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?"
"Never."
"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?"
"Never."
 
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 – 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.
-sweetondean


 

Comments  

prix68
# prix68 2013-04-27 06:46
My thoughts were the same as yours sweetondean and I thank you for the review. This is an episode I will watch again and again.
Adesa
# Adesa 2013-04-27 06:55
My thoughts? They went a little something like this: "ASDJKLGDEVMIRXRERJHKJNHJGHFGVCGFDGBJH!!!"

But also, everything you said. One of the best eps, IMHO.
Kim J
# Kim J 2013-04-27 06:55
Ya know, this episode did not feel like a filler to me at all. Sure it was run-of-the-mill MOTW ep, but it still felt like a continuation of the story arc. There was so much to love in this ep, the broments were made of awesome.

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.
sweetondean
# sweetondean 2013-04-27 07:08
Quote:
He does need to get through the trials, but he also needs to let Dean look after him so they can effectively work together.
Yes, he needs to accept Dean's trying to take care of him, because he's going to keep trying! But, hey, they've got work to do.

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!
Valgal
# Valgal 2013-04-27 06:56
Dear SweetonDean:
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.
sweetondean
# sweetondean 2013-04-27 07:03
I lost my dad just before Christmas ,Valgal, so this one hit me that way too. But this show is one of the things that has helped me keep strong, because it does remind you of what's important and it does remind you that there's a lot of love in our lives and that no matter what, that love will help us keep moving forward. No show has ever done that for me.

This show is just special huh? I'm so thankful for it.

Thank you for you beautiful comment and sharing your thoughts.
Valgal
# Valgal 2013-04-27 07:19
SweetonDean-
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.
st50
# st50 2013-04-27 08:12
What a great post, Valgal. Thanks for sharing your story.

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 a bit emotional.

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. :oops:
LEAH
# LEAH 2013-04-27 14:00
I understand st50.

And Sam should definitely wear that shirt more often!! :lol: The sick and shaky, not so much.
lkeke35
# lkeke35 2013-04-27 11:57
@Valgal: My condolences on your Mom. I too am dealing with a sick Mom amd I kow what you're going through as I went through the same thing when Buffy was on air. The episodes where her Mom got sick coincided with my Mom's sickness and the the episode "The Body " hit me really hard at that time. I was just bawling during that episode, but still sort of intellectually removed at the same time.

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.
LEAH
# LEAH 2013-04-27 13:39
Valgal, thank you for sharing your story. I lost my younger sister right at the time I discovered this show. My Mom not long before that. It helped me in many ways get through that time. I identify with Dean, the protectivness he has for his younger brother. I still get uncomfortable with hospital scenes, probably always will. Time does make it less painful. This show is very close to my heart. Thanks again.
Valgal
# Valgal 2013-04-27 14:15
A few years ago, I met a young woman at a SPN Convention who watches each episode with her "mates" and she explained how they talk and laugh or cry together. She was amazed that in "my real world" there is no one I know who watches SPN. But because of this site, I know I am not alone and that I have "mates" with whom I can discuss the show as well as the myriad ways I emotionally respond to it.

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.
Sylvie
# Sylvie 2013-04-27 08:42
You put into words everything I felt about this episode. Charlie is basically a representation of us. Isn't that what we all want, to be there helping the Winchesters? I love this character, thank you Robbie Thompson for creating her. This is one of the episodes I will be turning to very often to make me feel better when I'm down. It had light moments (Charlie striking a Florence and the Machine pose :lol: ), but most importantly it had so many heartfelt moments. Dean talking Charlie into letting her mom go was so beautiful. :cry: And, yes, the surprise hug, BEST. HUG. EVER!

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.
Marilyn
# Marilyn 2013-04-27 09:10
Thank you so much for your reviews. I read them religiously ;-) I also thought this would be a light-hearted epi, but it was so much more. I have suffered the loss of parents, as have many others, so this episode really touched me.
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.
Amy
# Amy 2013-04-27 10:00
It was a goood episode but i dont know. Maybe i've become inured against death on this show because we all know everyone comes back at some point. I'll cry like mad when someone dies or is near death on other shows but this show?

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?
st50
# st50 2013-04-27 10:15
Quote:

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.
Perfect summary of why this season still irritates me, Amy.
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.
Amy
# Amy 2013-04-27 22:15
Quote:
Quote:

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.
Perfect summary of why this season still irritates me, Amy.
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.
Thats the thing about it all. The writers changed the relationship on a dime. There was no work in fixing it so it doesn't feel ... earned? There doesn't feel like it has the foundation to withstand a small breeze....let alone a season cliffhanger no less. I suspect we will be right back were where were in the first ten episodes of this season in season 9.
LEAH
# LEAH 2013-04-27 12:54
Amy, I think Charlie has been really good for Sam and he seems to have bonded with her also. I think he smiled more in this episode, despite his pain, then in any other episode in recent memory. He even had a little fun in the larping episode, due to Charlie. I know you want friends that are just Sam's alone. Hopefully that will come too. I guess I am just saying that Sam does have a Charlie in his life. Charlie.
Amy
# Amy 2013-04-27 22:21
Quote:
Amy, I think Charlie has been really good for Sam and he seems to have bonded with her also. I think he smiled more in this episode, despite his pain, then in any other episode in recent memory. He even had a little fun in the larping episode, due to Charlie. I know you want friends that are just Sam's alone. Hopefully that will come too. I guess I am just saying that Sam does have a Charlie in his life. Charlie.
I geuss i would have preferred to see a scene where Sam confided in Charlie...thus lettign us know where his hgead is at. He could have told her instead of Dean about the trials his fears about the trials, feeling tht hes letting Dean down, afraid if he fails what it could do to Dean. I think it would have made Charlie telling Sam he's tough enough to do the job at ther end more meaningful and more personal.
LEAH
# LEAH 2013-04-27 22:45
I agree with that Amy. I've been thinking about the' Sam having friends' thing a little lately. He just seems so reluctant to open himself up to that. He has never been shown to be social in the same way that Dean is. I remember his conversation with Sarah (was it?) about how bad things seem to happen to the people he is close to. He was in a panic when he lost track of Amelia in the park. I am not saying that I think Sam shouldn't have friends. His character just keeps things so much to himself, not even opening up to his brother much. I am also starved for a peek into what motivates him sometimes and where his head is. I think the show could do so much better in that respect.
Sharon
# Sharon 2013-04-28 03:51
It was Sarah he spoke to in Provenance . But then that is a example of how easy it is by the time that conversation had ended we knew what Sam was feeling and where is head was at and it took a 5 min conversation to do it. Thats is what is missing and why alot find Sam hard work to understand and yet the answer is so simple.
LEAH
# LEAH 2013-04-28 12:05
You are right Sharon. On the one hand they have kind of written Sam into a corner. There are many reasons why Sam wouldn't encourage friendships. His solitary nature plus his life experiences. On the other hand the show could find ways to show us how what Sam is feeling. Jared has an amazing way of expressing Sam's feelings on his face but I agree that isn't enough. I would love to see Sam share his thoughts more. It wouldn't be in keeping with his character to open up and be chatty. However having some brief conversations with people he trusts shouldn't be out of the question, I agree. Or having a (healthy) romantic interest that would be somewhat compatible with the hunter lifestyle. I am not sure either guy would head down that road again, though. I don't know really.
percysowner
# percysowner 2013-04-28 12:16
First I really wish that Sam had a friend because the fact that EVERY non-evil person, creature etc. bonds with Dean but ignores Sam makes me wonder why the writers are SO investing in implying that Sam has cooties or something. But there are legitimate ways for us to explore Sam's feelings without friends. John kept a journal, so why not have Sam keep a journal too? We could see the entries, or Dean could find it and reveal Sam's mindset, without it being an attack on Dean. Sam used to pray. Why not have him keep praying even after he has been rejected by God and the angels? Being possessed by Lucifer had enormous negative consequences, but Sam has been linked to one of the few angels who has seen God and who believes God still exists. Sam is forgiving and hopeful, so he could take that and run with it and still pray. We could get insight into Sam using that as a path.

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.
LEAH
# LEAH 2013-04-28 12:52
Being introverted isn't his biggest issue, I think. You gave some excellent ways that they could use to have Sam share his feelings. I can't see Sam going to a chat room :-) but I get your point. I agree completely that there are avenues they could go down but don't. I am pulling for a trusted friend or ally. I wouldn't rule out that they (writers) just don't know how to do it and keep his basic characteristics intact. I don't think it is that they don't care, but that is just me.

Adding: But the writers could and should make a better effort. Some of the writers barely seem to know either brother, let alone Sam.
Leah unlogged
# Leah unlogged 2013-04-28 14:27
As for the "cootie" issue (funny, by the way) I've always felt that both characters have been written with a certain affection. No matter what controversial thing they do or say I felt that their reasons for doing so were not just to be evil or mean but had some sort of relatable human emotion underlying. I know that some fans hate Sam. Some fans hate Dean. I have no control over that and I don't understand it. I do think that the way both characters acted (were written) in the early episodes added fuel to those fires. I don't think those episodes were a true representation of how either character would have dealt with the situations. People are still grumbling about how mean Dean was to Sam. And about Sam not looking. Earlier this season it was a little harder to see the writers affection for the characters. Loving the current situation. I agree it wasn't earned but I am so glad we are at this better place. I am hoping Sam will get his deserved POV.
fanotheboyz
# fanotheboyz 2013-04-27 11:22
Wow, this is going to be one of my all-time favorites, I think. I love how this was constructed, as you said, as a filler, but not. Charlie has really grown on me, and while I thought in the the beginning, that they made too much of her being gay- kind of "in your face" and over the top, but it's important that she has no sexual attraction to the brothers. It allows her the little sister role. She's a cheerleader, a little sister, a fan, a friend. And yes, I have also noticed that her being a little detached, emotionally, allows her to say things to Dean, and him to hear things easier from her. She gets him to talk and he doesn't feel judged. It's wonderful.

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.
lkeke35
# lkeke35 2013-04-27 12:06
I think part of the reason we like Charlie so much, is that Felicia Day just gets it. She is a fangirl/geek herself and knows exactly how to play her.

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!
Teresa
# Teresa 2013-04-27 12:13
I honestly thought Becky was the bad side of fandom. I think Charlie is fandom rehabbed - and I think it's a much happier perspective.
Kay B Collette
# Kay B Collette 2013-04-27 13:00
Charlie is an awesome fangirl, Becky always creeped me out. Mr. Robbie Thompson is an amazing writer right up there with Mr Ben Edlund. They are the best! I loved this episode and didn't even consider it as filler at all.
PENNY JAIME
# PENNY JAIME 2013-04-27 13:06
Well, it surprised me how emotional it was. To tell you the truth, the only person that has ever made me cry on the show is Jensen. That was usually when he cried. Jared got me teared up a few times. Dean got me with the prayer to Cass to. But that last scene with Charlie and her mom. WOW! Cried my eyes out. Powerful. Like you said, great writing. Felicia knocked it out of the park, that's for surex
PENNY JAIME
# PENNY JAIME 2013-04-27 13:09
OH, and Jensen adding the "clipper" line. Brilliant. Love those two! I bet he didn't think they would leave it in
winmomwannabe
# winmomwannabe 2013-04-27 14:18
Wonderful review for a perfect episode of pure magic and bliss. It will be in my top 5 I think and the unobligatory hug between Sam and Dean, just oh just, I really can't describe my feelings in words over that hug. And the word "home" coming out of Dean's mouth, well, I started crying right there because being the mama wannabe, well, that was just IT for me! Gotta stop. Too emotional to write more.
Scullspeare
# Scullspeare 2013-04-27 15:17
Quote:
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.
Hi SweetonDean:

I love this point. To me, the problem with Becky is that she was a caricature rather than a character – an exaggeration of stereotypical (and mostly negative) fan characteristics . Charlie is not. She’s smart, but flawed; human, not superhuman; and, thanks to this week’s episode, multi-dimension al. I think she’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.

RT’s Pac-Man Fever, however, was the polar opposite – a wonderful balance of the
Winchesters’ story with Charlie’s. Hey, the last scene didn’t have a Winchester in it and no-one’s complaining. Why? Because it was a beautiful scene – inspiring some of the incredibly moving comments upthread from viewers who could relate on a deep, emotional level – and a perfect complement to the penultimate (Sorry, Sam – sometimes you do have to use that word ;-) ) ‘hug’ scene between the brothers. This one ranks among my favourites!
LEAH
# LEAH 2013-04-27 15:39
The review, sweetondean, was wonderful. The episode hit me in an emotional place that I hadn't felt for awhile. I have loved some of the episodes the last few years, few have given me that feeling that makes me eager to rewatch them right away. There were many in the earlier seasons, not so much the last couple of years. This one warmed the cockles (what IS a cockle?) of my heart. It was done so seemingly without effort. The sign of good writing.

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!
eilf
# eilf 2013-04-27 16:08
Leah, those sorts of questions are just irresistible to me when someone thinks of them. So I looked it up. :D there are several different thoughts on this.
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 :D
LEAH
# LEAH 2013-04-27 16:36
That is great eilf :lol: Thanks to you and Sharon for bringing me up to speed on cockles!! :P
Sharon
# Sharon 2013-04-27 15:48
A cockle if you ignore it is a little sea creature in the saying you quoted is supposed to mean 'One's innermost feelings' :-)
LEAH
# LEAH 2013-04-27 16:06
Thanks Sharon :-) I am not sure I want little sea critters in my heart but I get the gist. :lol:
Vanda
# Vanda 2013-04-27 17:22
So much to love about this episode!! And another wonderfully written review!! Nice work as always Amy. :))
Pcondosfangirl2
# Pcondosfangirl2 2013-04-27 17:38
The episode was a beautiful thing, as everyone has said, totally unexpected in its depth. You did it up right with your review, as always, thanks!!! And that surprise hug was the best. There have been great hugs in how many episodes in row now? I like how they are spoiling us with those hugs, they fill my heart up!,,
Joyful
# Joyful 2013-04-27 17:50
Seriously awesome episode, and great review Amy! I love love LOVE this episode.... Dean has such a big heart and I think this episode showed that perhaps more than any other. I like your take on Charlie being 'us' embodied - good one. But yes, this episode will sit up amongst the best of SN because it hit those emotional buttons so many times! And also because of the number of hugs - wow, overflowing with hugs and more hugs. You may be right, that last one could be one of the best ever. There was no danger, no coming back from the dead, it was just a pure rush of love that needed an outlet. And we WUV IT!!!!!! :lol: Thanks again for the great review, look forward to the next 3 :cry: ... I think!!
Geordiegirl1967
# Geordiegirl1967 2013-04-27 20:05
Loved this ep. Great review. Thanks.

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.
Pragmatic Dreamer
# Pragmatic Dreamer 2013-04-27 20:49
Hi Sweetondean,

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!

Pragmatic Dreamer
Amy
# Amy 2013-04-27 22:31
Hi Sweetondean,

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'?
Bamboo24
# Bamboo24 2013-04-27 22:09
Quote:
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.
YES. That summed it up nicely. :)
KELLY
# KELLY 2013-04-28 01:41
Sweetondean, this was an absolutely beautiful review. It maybe may favorite review yours, which is saying a lot because I always love your take on things.

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.
Bevie
# Bevie 2013-04-28 16:05
Sweetondean - wonderful review of an awesome awesome episode! This had so much of what has been missing since season 3. The relationship that I loved so much and have been faithfully waiting for to begin again. Couldn't have asked for more! Robbie Thompson is simply wondrous and knows the guys inside out! Carver, Thompson and Edlund! A fantastic triumvirate of writers!

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! :eek:

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. :sigh:

A truly great and awesome episode!
Geordiegirl1967
# Geordiegirl1967 2013-04-28 16:36
Quote:
!

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 also loved this ep, and the direction of travel, and the brotherly moments we've seen since Torn and Frayed have been wonderful. But the forced, ooc conflict between them in the early part of this season still leaves a bad taste in my mouth. I'll never forgive JC for having Sam not look for Dean. So, sorry, but I don't agree that the conflict earlier has added anything at all to what we are seeing now. In fact the opposite. Sam not looking for Dean has, IMO, permanently undermined the brothers bond. Makes me sad just to think about.

Quote:
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! :eek:
This definitely.
st50
# st50 2013-04-28 17:00
Quote:
I'll never forgive JC for having Sam not look for Dean. So, sorry, but I don't agree that the conflict earlier has added anything at all to what we are seeing now. In fact the opposite. Sam not looking for Dean has, IMO, permanently undermined the brothers bond. Makes me sad just to think about.
Unless there's some really good payoff still to come, (yes, I'm still hoping) I have to admit I agree with you here, Geordiegirl1967 . There has to be a really fantastic reason behind it all, before I'll forgive Carver for this destruction of the bond.

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.
percysowner
# percysowner 2013-04-28 18:06
Quote:
I'll never forgive JC for having Sam not look for Dean. So, sorry, but I don't agree that the conflict earlier has added anything at all to what we are seeing now. In fact the opposite. Sam not looking for Dean has, IMO, permanently undermined the brothers bond. Makes me sad just to think about.
I'm on board with this. By not showing why, when and how Sam decided that Dean was dead and not to look, it has made this whole reconciliation feel unearned and is another swipe at Sam. The reconciliation has come, not because Sam was able to express his love for Dean or his reasons for not looking for Dean, but only because Dean, out of the goodness of his heart and for no other reason, decided to let it go. Dean killed his "better brother" for Sam, not because Sam is worthy, because Sam has been portrayed as unworthy, but because poor put upon Dean loves his selfish little brother who made no effort to find him whatsoever. I honestly don't see how this gets resolved. They spent the ENTIRE first half of the season hitting us over the head with what a bad brother Sam was. Then Dean does a 180 and everything is fine.

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.
LEAH
# LEAH 2013-04-28 19:06
.
Jo1027
# Jo1027 2013-04-28 21:29
Quote:
Quote:
I'll never forgive JC for having Sam not look for Dean. So, sorry, but I don't agree that the conflict earlier has added anything at all to what we are seeing now. In fact the opposite. Sam not looking for Dean has, IMO, permanently undermined the brothers bond. Makes me sad just to think about.
I'm on board with this. By not showing why, when and how Sam decided that Dean was dead and not to look, it has made this whole reconciliation feel unearned and is another swipe at Sam. The reconciliation has come, not because Sam was able to express his love for Dean or his reasons for not looking for Dean, but only because Dean, out of the goodness of his heart and for no other reason, decided to let it go. Dean killed his "better brother" for Sam, not because Sam is worthy, because Sam has been portrayed as unworthy, but because poor put upon Dean loves his selfish little brother who made no effort to find him whatsoever. I honestly don't see how this gets resolved. They spent the ENTIRE first half of the season hitting us over the head with what a bad brother Sam was. Then Dean does a 180 and everything is fine.

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.
I agree with everything you've said. The damage has been done and I don't think it can be undone.
sweetondean
# sweetondean 2013-04-28 21:32
I don't think Sam needs redemption. I don't see him as unworthy or bad. He certainly hasn't been portrayed that way to me. But I've said this over and over. So I'll leave it at that.
LEAH
# LEAH 2013-04-28 21:48
Agree and thank you.
st50
# st50 2013-04-28 23:29
I agree 100%. No way Sam needs redemption. He's done enough, been through enough. He has never been unworthy or bad.... He's been misguided, hasty, driven, secretive, and most definitely capable of making errors.

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.
Sharon
# Sharon 2013-04-29 05:13
Sam not looking for Dean really did need to be handled better than it was . I dont think that Sam needs redemption better writing maybe but not redemption. However I do think the brothers relationship is Dean dominated and can be presented in a disproportinate way at times.

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?.
Jo1027
# Jo1027 2013-04-29 09:04
Quote:
I don't think Sam needs redemption. I don't see him as unworthy or bad. He certainly hasn't been portrayed that way to me. But I've said this over and over. So I'll leave it at that.
I think you misunderstood my meaning. I meant that the writing has damaged Sam's character and I don't think it can be undone.
percysowner
# percysowner 2013-04-29 11:30
This is what I meant. The relationship between the brothers has been called the heart of the series by many. Showing Sam not looking for Dean, appearing indifferent to Dean's return, rejecting the person that saved Dean all make Sam seem less involved in the brotherly bond and therefore less worthy of respect from the audience and Dean. Labeling someone else as a better brother and then reinforcing that by showing the better brother DYING for Dean, in the same episode where Sam is reproved for not looking for Dean simply makes the contrast that much larger and makes Sam look bad.
LEAH
# LEAH 2013-04-29 13:50
I think we all know how much you guys love Sam. But the oft repeated posts about him being PORTRAYED as unworthy, weak, not respected, less than, needing redemption and other even worse things, rub the wrong way. We love Sam too and do not see him as being SHOWN in that light. I personally agree with some of the issues you bring up but not that view of the way Sam is perceived. Most of us here love and understand Sam and the hell with those out there who don't.
Bevie
# Bevie 2013-04-29 16:03
Just agreeing with you Leah, especially your last sentence.

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. :-?
Sharon
# Sharon 2013-04-29 16:17
To be fair it is the writers that do put Sam in those positions . People can only react to what they are presented with and Sam not looking is one of them and the feeling that the writing didnt do Sam justice .

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.
Jo1027
# Jo1027 2013-04-29 16:27
Quote:
To be fair it is the writers that do put Sam in those positions . People can only react to what they are presented with and Sam not looking is one of them and the feeling that the writing didnt do Sam justice .

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.
I don't think Sam is need of redemption. I never have. I think it's the writers and JC who are since they are the ones who went this route and hurt Sam's character so much so that IMO it will be impossible to fix what they've done to him. that's supposing they want to which given what JC has said is highly doubtful.
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.
Sharon
# Sharon 2013-04-29 17:00
Neither do I.... Sam sought his redemption and found it in that pit. But it is naive to think that despite some of the posts in here that alot wouldn't struggle with Sam not looking .
LEAH
# LEAH 2013-04-29 17:07
It is not that I (we) don't understand what you are talking about. We understand. We just don't agree about how we think Sam is being PORTRAYED. The writers may not have done justice to Sam, sure. Agreed. I do not see the character of Sam as ruined or smeared. Having him not look wasn't a great choice by JC & Co. Agreed. A lot of us understand his choices and do not see him the way you think. The Sam hate is not here! I understand and feel sad for you all. But some of us feel that we are being dragged into issues from other sites. If you all seem determined to think that things are completely beyond repair, I am sorry. I would love for you all to make it to the end of the series. I have no problem with any post that doesn't include language like unworthy, not redeemable, pathetic, etc. when it comes to a character I love, even if it is referring to how one thinks said character is being written. Rant over.
Sharon
# Sharon 2013-04-29 17:21
Sorry but I dont think I used the words beyond repair or unworthy . I just stated the reasonable other side of a two sided story and why some might feel the way that they do .
LEAH
# LEAH 2013-04-29 17:36
I am sorry Sharon, I tucked in under you but I was taking all the previous comments into account plus others in the recent past. I apologize. Your post was very reasonable.
sweetondean
# sweetondean 2013-04-29 16:36
Bevie, the better brother thing relates to Dean's spectre fuelled rant in 8.06 and has been throw-up over and over in comments, ad nauseum ever since, for the past 14 episodes.....

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.
LEAH
# LEAH 2013-04-29 17:22
Hey, what say we all go over to the "pretty" and smile a little :lol:
eilf
# eilf 2013-04-29 17:27
Actually, second thoughts, removed the link I just posted, it is kinda intrusive, never mind ... Anyone got any official 'pretty' pictures?
sweetondean
# sweetondean 2013-04-29 17:30
I was talking about this pretty to st50... *whispers* veins.

Let's take this conversation elsewhere! :D
eilf
# eilf 2013-04-29 17:32
Sorry Sweetondean! And yes I noticed that too :D
Jo1027
# Jo1027 2013-04-29 20:33
Quote:
Bevie, the better brother thing relates to Dean's spectre fuelled rant in 8.06 and has been throw-up over and over in comments, ad nauseum ever since, for the past 14 episodes.....

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.
I'm happy that you feel that way. However, it's different for me. I'm sorry that you feel that I'm brining you down. That was not my intent. I'm really angry with how Sam has been written for no apparent rational reason. JC saying "we know Sam would look but what if he doesn't" doesn't cut it for me. Sam has had very little POV since season 4 and I think this season has been the final straw for me.
So I will bow out.
sweetondean
# sweetondean 2013-04-29 20:43
You're not bringing me down at all, Jo1027. Not at all. I completely understand and respect your opinion. I know many fans feel the same way as you and I wish for all your sake's, that the show delivers to you some kind of closure on these issues. But, I also know many fans who don't have these problems with the season or how the characters have been depicted. They may not comment here, but I hear from them in other ways. In this case, I was simply stating my opinion. I probably haven't done that enough and that's my bad.
LEAH
# LEAH 2013-04-29 21:00
Jo, I hope you reconsider. No one has a problem with the essence of what you, Sharon, and Percysowner are saying. We just feel differently about how we've seen Sam portrayed. I think some of the language in Percyowner's comment is what set me off personally. Not the overall sentiment. I know she, you and Sharon are upset. There is nothing wrong with being upset.
love2boys
# love2boys 2013-04-30 09:32
Percysowner, I want some of the things to happen that you want as well.

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.
Amyh
# Amyh 2013-05-01 11:38
I really have to ask in all sincerity exactly what Dean is 'forgiving' Sam for? I get he's forgiving Quote:
Percysowner, I want some of the things to happen that you want as well.

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.
Quote:
Percysowner, I want some of the things to happen that you want as well.

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.
In all sincerity I need to ask just what is Dean forgiving Sam for? I understand the 'not looking for him' thing. BUT Sam told Dean he thought he was dead, that he had just lost his soul remaining family member. So basically is Dean forgiving sam for being human? For being affected by Deans death/disappear ence?

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?
Leah unlogged
# Leah unlogged 2013-05-01 21:20
I think you are reading too much into love2boys comment. Both brothers have had moments when maybe lines were crossed and a little forgiveness was called for. I think the hug in this episode was merely Dean saying don't worry, I am not mad, I understand why you left the bunker, I am proud of you, I am here for you.

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.
KimCR
# KimCR 2013-04-28 16:59
I loved this episode. I admit to having reservations at first seeing the coming attractions of it. But WOW OH WOW!!! I was laughing and crying. I've been a fan of Charlie, but thought they stressed being gay too much. I feel I got to see Charlie for the first time. No tags..just Charlie and it was rocked. It was great for Dean to hear someone say "I love you". The boys need to know that they are loved by others and een as family to others. Of course the Winchesters can do anything.. its just better to know there are people out there cheering for you to succeed.
KG_SPN
# KG_SPN 2013-04-29 18:42
:sigh: :lol: :D :-? :sad: :-) :cry:

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 :-)
LEAH
# LEAH 2013-04-29 20:15
KG_SPN ,That is a lovely story about your father. Sad but lovely.
sweetondean
# sweetondean 2013-04-29 20:23
This episode touched a lot of our hearts...

Thank you KG_SPN, for sharing your lovely story of your dad.
KELLY
# KELLY 2013-04-30 01:04
KG SPN, thanks for sharing the story about your dad. It was very touching.
KG_SPN
# KG_SPN 2013-04-30 03:50
Thanks Leah, sweetondean and Kelly... I think I'm ready to watch the episode again ;-)
Tiny
# Tiny 2013-04-30 09:45
Thanks Amy! You could've have started your review better! Dean is a hug monster!

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.

Cheerio
Tiny
xx
Dean Grimly
# Dean Grimly 2013-04-30 17:30
Conclusion reached after 8 seasons (almost) of Supernatural:

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.
eilf
# eilf 2013-04-30 17:51
I agree, no such thing as filler episodes. Though there are a few that I reject outright ... well, mostly just Southern Comfort :-?

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.
love2boys
# love2boys 2013-04-30 17:57
Quote:
I agree, no such thing as filler episodes. Though there are a few that I reject outright ... well, mostly just Southern Comfort :-?
eilf, I agree, there are no filler episodes - I've said that before!

I'm rejecting "Bitten." I have never hated an episode of SPN until this season, and the horrible "Bitten" is it.
LEAH
# LEAH 2013-04-30 18:52
I hate Southern Comfort with the heat of a million suns. Well at least the eternal fallout :cry:
Bamboo24
# Bamboo24 2013-04-30 19:10
I liked Bitten for what it was.

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] :P
st50
# st50 2013-04-30 19:34
Bitten wasn't my taste in television, so, while I didn't care for it, I know a lot did. And that's just fine.

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.
LEAH
# LEAH 2013-04-30 20:02
Gods and dogs. Thumbs down usually :P No disrespect to dogs and gods!
LEAH
# LEAH 2013-04-30 20:20
Honestly Bamboo, I didn't hate the whole episode. Just certain parts that make me cringe every time they are brought up. :sigh:
Bamboo24
# Bamboo24 2013-04-30 20:30
Leah,

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.
sweetondean
# sweetondean 2013-04-30 22:36
I really liked Bitten - I just watched it the other day actually and was really surprised at how much I enjoyed it. Outside of context of week to week, it probably works better.

Southern Comfort I remember enjoying, but for what it left behind in its wake...I wish it never happened.
Bamboo24
# Bamboo24 2013-04-30 17:58
First of all - love your name: Dean Grimly. Had me chuckling the moment it popped up in my inbox.

I happen to agree. SPN episodes are rarely if ever truly "filler." :)
sweetondean
# sweetondean 2013-04-30 22:38
Oh and I totally agree, there really is no such think as a filler. Each episode impacts on the bigger story somehow. I think I will cease using "filler" from today on! If you see it pop up again, you have my permission to scold me!
Jujubee
# Jujubee 2013-04-30 19:59
I know I'm a little late to the game for this episode, but am I the only one who thought there might be a parallel at play in the last lines?

"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!)
Alice
# Alice 2013-05-01 10:34
Welcome first time poster! I always love reading comments from long time lurkers. I'm glad to know you have been enjoying what we do here.

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.
RGNYC Rebecca
# RGNYC Rebecca 2013-04-30 20:51
Fantastic review for an awesome episode. I'm enjoying everyone's comments and do feel folks pain about the Sam ooc issue but not enough to keep me from enjoying every episode. This one had so many great laugh out loud as well as heartbreaking moments. My dad read to me too and the Charlie story has been beautifully written and portrayed. And yes Jujubee! The bunker is the Hobbit hole/ home/comfort zone! Good catch. Thanks SweetonDean for your perfect comments!! Cheers !
Dean Grimly
# Dean Grimly 2013-05-01 04:18
Enjoyed "Bitten" -- a view of the Winchesters from the outsider perspective, albeit a monstrous one. Felt like a spectator. Missed the intimate closeups, but interesting nonethless. SPN takes chances; I enjoy them doing things outside the demon trap (or box). How are the two of them perceived by others -- watchers?

"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!
sweetondean
# sweetondean 2013-05-01 06:05
Yep, Supernatural any way is good and always awesome! I'm with you on that!
novi
# novi 2013-05-01 12:48
I doubt if one can choose or order the species of your daemon. What if it would be less charming than a friendly big cat? Mine, I'm afraid, would be a crocodile. ;-)
nightsky
# nightsky 2013-05-01 14:44
Sweetondean, I think this is one of your very best reviews. Very insightful and beautifully written.

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.