The biggest problem for a show in its tenth season is keeping the drama fresh.  Expectations are high, and too many prior episodes have set a very high bar.  Thanks to last week’s setup with the excellent episode “Reichenbach,” everything was laid out to deliver a compelling, jaw dropping, emotional drama.  That’s where “Soul Survivor” struggled.  

It was a compelling setup, everything looked great on paper but in the end there was just something missing.  Perhaps it was that something we’ve grown to expect with dramatic, potentially explosive “Supernatural” episodes – tension so thick one could cut it with a knife, breath taking pacing that keeps us on the edge of our seat the entire hour, and playing up vital scenes to deliver the greatest emotional impact possible.  

Before I risk the ire of fangirls, I do accept that “Supernatural” is not the same show it was.  Holding it to the high standards of the earlier seasons is not practical.  I also know that the show has fallen into a pattern of providing adequate stories just to keep the ball rolling.  The most loyal fan will defend that it’s better than no “Supernatural” at all.  I can’t argue that.  But I can argue that if “Soul Survivor” had been written by Ben Edlund, we’d probably have gotten a stunning breath taker with a very exciting/engaging story.   If it had been written by a Sera Gamble or an Eric Kripke there would have been far more strife tacked onto those brotherly scenes, so much so it would have induced a waterfall of tears.  If it had been written by anyone more skilled, our time wouldn’t have been wasted with light amounts of Sam and Dean, a jagged plot, cartoonish scenes of Crowley in Hell (something usually good that turned out to be useless filler) and Castiel and Hannah going through that awkward sexual tension that happens in angel high school rather than getting to the heart of the brotherly drama, which ended up being so little of the story.

But all that implies that I thought the whole episode was a total waste.  It wasn’t.  It was adequate and hit some beats.  In other words, it was okay.  I personally loved the Sam and Dean scenes, especially once I watched them on the DVR in progression, skipping the rest.  When all the other parts were intertwined, it fell apart.  Subtraction by addition.  

The Good

Sam Winchester absolutely broke my heart.  Jared again gave an amazing performance.  After everything, all the crap he’s been through, he maintained his devotion to his brother, reminding himself that all those hurtful words were not coming from Dean.  He refused to believe that was his real brother behind the callous demon, even though Dean said just about everything that would hit close to home.

Sam couldn’t bear the thought that injecting Dean with the blood was killing him.  Those serious doubts tore him apart emotionally because if the blood ritual didn’t work, the alternative option was much worse.  Sam would have to kill Dean.   Calling Castiel was the reassurance he needed to keep going with the ritual.  It gave him the resolve to believe that was getting his brother back no matter what and he had to be strong. 


Sam’s angst and heartache through this whole process was pitch perfect.  He clearly tried to put on the brave front, even though he was falling apart on the inside.  Trying to turn Dean didn’t go the way it had with Crowley, there was no emotional breakdown or signs of humanity.  Considering Dean was able to escape the trap it was turning him human, but the evil demon remained in control.  Despite how unnerving this development was, Sam kept trying.   The photos in Dean’s room added a nice sentimental touch through the story.  The fact that Dean was caught looking through those same photos again in the end served as a much needed reminder to him too.  Family is what makes them strong and family is all they have.  At least the writers remained devoted to that core theme.  

The “cat and mouse” hunting scene in the bunker for the most part was pretty awesome and really turned up the tension between the brothers.  The visuals alone were amazing.  Those hallways were the perfect setting for an intense scene like this and the way the whole pursuit was shot it took full advantage the opportunities the set offered.  That is a testament to the directing choices in the episode (a huge kudos to Jensen). There were several times I thought Sam would break, especially when Dean broke out of the Electrical room.  Sam knew that he only had one option left at that point and it was his worse nightmare come true.  Dean forced him to make that horrible choice, kill him or die.  More on that in a minute though.  

As for Dean, I can’t help but ponder what could be going through his mind right now.   Surely he remembers all he’s done and what the MOC made him.   His remorse over trying to kill Sam was deep and troubling.  He honestly believed that Sam wouldn’t want to be around him anymore.  It’s my sense that he’s also worried that he’ll do that again someday rather than what he did in the bunker hours earlier.  I really liked how he was disoriented and just plain off after the whole thing.  There were no tears, no crushing emotional responses. He just wasn’t sure where to go from this.   He’s still not comfortable in his own skin and you have to wonder how long, if ever, it will take him to get that way. 

The end made a lot of sense to me.  It was too soon for that brotherly hug, that deep talk.  They were both brutally exhausted over the months long ordeal, not just the prior 8 hours (or however many hours it ended up taking), and both have plenty to think about.  It’ll happen in time.  Part of me I really wishes that Castiel had been there with Sam the whole time, like he was with Dean last season when they were trying to get Gadreel out of Sam in “Road Trip.”  The phone calls lacked intimacy and failed to give the support that Sam so desperately needed.  At least he was there at the end to offer Sam support and help with Dean.  Sam was exhausted, but his plan of getting Dean loaded up on cholesterol and then getting drunk was cute and perfect.  He’s earned that, even though it was clear that the victory was only temporary.  The Mark of Cain is still there and will still affect Dean.  One problem at a time.  That’s the way the Winchesters roll.  


It was nice that Dean got to talk with Castiel as well, even though I know people wanted to see Sam and Dean have their chat.  That will happen eventually.  The moment was sweet and something you’d expect between two old friends.  Cas assured that Sam isn’t going to leave Dean and understood that wasn’t him trying to kill him.  Cas even wisely advised Dean to take a break from things.  The MOC is still very much a concern.  Dean doesn’t need to be out there killing anytime soon and Heaven and Hell do seem to be under control.  Castiel knows he’s on borrowed time, so perhaps that will be his mission in the upcoming months, find a solution for the MOC problem.  It’s what Crowley wants and no doubt Crowley won’t stop helping Castiel until the issue is taken care of as well.  

The Bad  

Show, that’s the best you can do for Sam’s “despicable” actions that made him a worse monster than Dean?  Setting up a low life like Lester to make a demon deal so he could trap a crossroads demon and interrogate her?  REALLY?  How many of us were thinking Lester deserved it?  Could they have come up with a more sympathetic character?  I can think of numerous, far worse atrocities that Sam has committed through the years.  Remember him bleeding an innocent, screaming nurse dry of blood in “Lucifer Rising?”  Remember when his soulless self actually let Dean get turned into a vampire?  Remember when his soulless counterpart again killed innocent hostage Robin in a bar to take away the demon’s leverage?   How about the numerous other innocent possessed hosts he’s killed with the demon knife?  That was what Carver has been teasing since Comic Con?  Color me not just underwhelmed, but extremely disappointed.  Demon Dean was a far worse monster, and Sam’s guilt over the whole matter felt very contrived.  

SPN 0309

The side stories of Crowley and Castiel/Hannah were very weak, although I LOVED that it was Crowley who saved the day for Castiel, albeit temporarily.  I also called it as soon as I saw an angel attacking in the previews.  Sure, he could have used the chance to kill Castiel, but instead he found him more useful alive.  Moose needed help, and Castiel was the one that could help neutralize Dean and take all that power away from him, or better yet make the hard decision to kill Dean if that was necessary.  I personally think that Crowley has a soft spot for the trench coated angel, much like he does for Sam and Dean.  They have a history.  Who’s on board for more adventures of Crowley and Castiel in the future?  

The bits between Castiel and Hannah were slow and once again fell into pointless territory.  Their scenes ended up serving as filler where we didn’t need filler, which was a shame given the compelling emotional story they had last week.  It’s about time they got out of Castiel’s gold Lincoln pimp car and did something else.  I won’t discuss the very strange scene with Castiel kindly shooting down her attempts at a relationship.  That was just too odd and unnecessary for words.  

What is the upside of making Crowley so clownish?  That scene with him on the throne in Hell, it’s exactly the sort of “cheesy cliché” that Eric Kripke vowed to avoid during his tenure.  That’s why he wouldn’t show scenes in Hell.  He went through painstaking detail when showing Dean on meathooks in “No Rest For The Wicked” and that was only a few seconds because that’s all the budget would allow.  It matched his vision of Hell.  This wasn’t it, and I find the act more than just negligence by a writing team, but total blatant disrespect to Kripke’s foundation.  The place wasn’t menacing or fearsome, it looked like a cheap set.  Since when is Hell so well lit?  The place had windows!  I want to practically smell the brimstone when I see Hell.  This is one of the only times on record that I think the set decorators let us down (the other being “Taxi Driver”, also written by Ross-Leming and Buckner).  I’m very, very tired of Crowley pining away for Dean too.  Get over it!  Get him back to being the brilliant and scheming King of Hell he should be, like when he saved Castiel.  

Storytelling 101

I should lower my standards, but I concede when coming off something beautiful like “Reichenbach” last week, my expectations were a bit higher than normal.  Much like season seven’s “The Girl Next Door” or season eight’s “Taxi Driver,” this episode ended up being a HUGE wasted opportunity, one that’s very hard for a loyal fan to swallow.  It didn’t suck, but it could have been so much more.   

So much more could have been done with the cure ritual.  Inject a bunch of blood and Dean and eventually it works?  I know it was supposed to be different than when Sam was curing Crowley in “Sacrifice” and they needed a way for Dean to escape, but I missed not getting the gradual personality changes, the snarky lines, the deep emotional strife, the physical distress, and the soul searching that Crowley did during those times as he was slowly transitioning to human.  Mark Sheppard positively KILLED that performance.  We know that Jensen is capable of such amazing scenes as well and he deserved better material other than being a grunting jerk the whole time.  We could have had something really incredible and I feel like he was robbed of that. 

That lack of “gravitas” in the writing failed to sell the whole cure ritual for me.  Heck, even the footage of the priest curing the demon in “Clip Show” was gut wrenching and dramatic.  Perhaps Ross-Leming and Buckner omitted Dean’s struggle because they knew they couldn’t compete with how it was done before?  Again, I imagine in my head what Ben Edlund could have done with it.  

The cat and mouse scene in the bunker was good, but it also could have gone longer and been more drawn out.  Remember pursuing the shifter at the bank in “Nightshifter?”  That!  Sam could have set more clever traps for Dean, especially considering Dean was a terrifying brute with a hammer.  I'm  most disappointed though with the outcome. Ultimately, it came down to whether Sam would be able to have the nerve to kill Dean.  Of course he couldn’t do it.   Dean had the same problem with Sam, most notably when Sam was possessed in “Born Under a Bad Sign.”  But to have Castiel right there?  Sam could see he was there and that’s one reason why he backed down.   It cheapened the moment and the decision.  I would have liked to have seen Sam find the clever way out of it on his own.  Again, the show has forgotten he’s a pretty smart guy and he’s the one that should be saving Dean.  It also diminishes the character quite a bit (a problem that’s been happening a lot with all these characters the last few seasons).  


To put it simply, I watch every week to be moved emotionally and excited by the story.  I wasn’t.  The episode was okay, but not mind blowing.  Yes, there were some moments here and there, a few bits that triggered some deep sympathy and heartache within, but the jagged and inconsistent pacing of the episode ripped me from any those feelings I got to experience.  Good storytelling isn’t short attention span theater, cutting from plot to plot, showing random acts by the characters instead of a logical progression.  It’s knowing when to slow down to deliver the right emotional punches.  It’s knowing how to build a story into a big escalation where things get very dicey.  It’s also trying to surprise the audiences with clever plotting rather than the total predictability we got here.  It not only challenges and tests the characters, it engages the audience as well and gets them excited for the following weeks.  Fans care about these characters, and it hurts when an episode gives them a disservice, no matter who the character is. 

Overall, my grade for “Soul Survivor” is a C+.  It scored big bonus points for acting and directing but ultimately, this could have been a classic!  It should have been a classic.  It wasn’t a classic.  It goes on my long growing list of episodes I really have no desire to watch again.  Who knows what next week will bring, but please understand if my excitement is a little deflated right now.  I’ll be there next week with cautious optimism, but I’m also left wondering how much longer fan goodwill as opposed to great storytelling and good character development can keep this show going.   Probably a long time.  That is the blessing and the curse of “Supernatural.”  

What did you think of "Soul Survivor?"  


# Mae 2014-10-23 02:07
"...even though I know people wanted to see Sam and Dean have their chat. That will happen eventually."

It probably will, but how long will the writers make us wait? & will the pay-off be worth it? Will the events of Season 9 & demon!Dean in particular be properly addressed, or will everything kinda be swept under the rug...until the brothers lie to together each other. Again.

This is where I have zero faith in the writers.

For example, I had SUCH high hopes for this episode - there was SO much potential with Sam curing Dean storyline. I was fully prepared to cry. & instead I raged about how anti-climatic it all was. SPN has had too many story lines with such great potential just fizzle in the last few years.

I feel like since Carver took over in Season 8, the writers have really struggled with the Sam & Dean relationship. It is something that is so essential & fundamental to the show, & I feel like we are viewers are being deprived of it for no good reason. I hated the brother angst in Season 9, but I would have been more on-board with had the writers given us more. It was like the brothers said & did mean things to each other, & then we were whacked in the head by some anvils for a few episodes, but nothing ever really progressed or was resolved ALL season until the final minutes in the Season 9 finale. I just wanted more - particularly more insight in their head spaces & motivations. So much of the writing - especially in terms of the brothers - has been so emotionally flat for me.

Last night I too was frustrated by all the filler, & so little Sam & Dean - especially in an episode that was SO pivotal to the brothers & their storyline. I typically love everything Crowley, but I found myself so annoyed by his scenes because I simply didn't care about him this episode. Cas too. Neither was doing anything really important other than stealing screen time away from the brothers' story - the storyline I REALLY cared about. Like throw Cas & Crowley in WITH the brothers, not apart.

Are the writers truly unable to give us a Sam & Dean-focused episode anymore? Where Sam & Dean are the MAIN + SOLE focus? Where they aren't fighting for screen time with their supporting cast? I'm not talking about all season - I'm talking about a few crucial episodes.

I truly love all the supporting characters on SPN, however, that supporting cast should never be put on the same level playing field as the brothers because they simply can't compete. And SPN is trying to do just that, and it isn't working. It's like in the SPN premiere - you had demon!Dean, Sam/Cole & then angels fishing. The angel storyline (Cas' fading grace excluded) took away so much momentum.

SPN is moving in a more ensemble direction, & that's cool - it just needs to work on balance, as there are still times where the show has to be laser focused on the brothers.
# Alice 2014-10-24 22:08
Thanks for the comment! I'm okay with the idea of SPN moving to more of an ensemble show, but I'm not convinced these writers can take it. They struggle so hard with the main characters, how can they handle the supporting ones? Arrow works as an ensemble show. They really should be shadowing those writers.

I've been very patient with the brotherly relationship and belief that it will return, but I do wonder how long they intend on dragging their rift and awkwardness out. It's been too long. You can only push a fan's patience so far. Then it gets too frustrating and it stops being fun. This just wasn't fun.
# cheryl42 2014-10-23 02:12
I understand your disappointment with this episode. I liked it better than you did but I do see the issues that you pointed out. I wonder if this might have been the wrong episode for Jensen to direct. Splitting acting and directing duties for such an important progression in the DD story might have been more than the writers and actors could pull off successfully. I think maybe that is why we didn't get a lot of Dean going through the cure or more interaction between the brothers throughout the hour. Jensen was just a little busy. I liked the angel story a little better this episode but the meandering endless road trip of Cas and Hannah is getting a little weird (Cas left Hannah out in the car? WTH!). And yes Crowley in hell was another pointless waste of precious episode time. We get it all is not well in hell. But honestly every moment that Jared and Jensen weren't on screen was just filler for me. It did seem like this episode, with how important it was in setting up the season should have stayed focused on the brothers. I have made this comment before but this group of writers are never going to come close to the writers of the past. I don't know what that means for the future of the show but I know you aren't alone in wishing things were different.
And yes I agree about the monstrous thing that Sam did. It was more stupid than evil. Maybe he did other stuff?
# Alice 2014-10-24 22:12
Thanks Cheryl. It was only the wrong episode to direct because he got saddled with such a weak script. The more I've had time to think about this, the more I'm getting very tired of the lack of forward motion with the brothers. Every episode feels like the writers are killing time. Jensen could have only done so much. He wasn't the writer, he was the director. He has to work with the crap he's been given.
# cheryl42 2014-10-25 06:12
I do realize that Jensen didn't write the episode. That wasn't my point but since no one else is talking about it I will have to say I am way off base here. I just watched the episode again and I will have to say other than the Cas/Hannah/Crow ley parts it kept me on the edge of my seat. It worked for me.
# Russ 2014-10-23 04:27
Great review Alice. My problems with the episode echo yours completely.

Everything is there. The main cast (particularly Jared and Jensen) are giving the performances of their careers, and the narrative architects simply don't have the respective chops to keep up.

Your remarks about Ben Edlund introduce an interesting question. Why, when Revolution was cancelled, was he not offered the world to come back? Ditch Leming & Buckner for Edlund. That's a 2 for 1 special worth twice the price.
# Alice 2014-10-24 22:15
Thanks Russ! Ben Edlund writes for Gotham now, and is trying to revive The Tick on Amazon's VOD. He's pursuing projects that aren't sucking the life out of him! I miss him terribly, but I understand. SPN became a lost cause after a while.
# lonewolf 2014-10-23 06:53
Yes, yes, yes to everything you said! (Except I'm not okay with no brother scene at the end.) I could quote your whole article. You got to the heart of everything.

Also, as an aside, Cas & Crowley need to go back to being recurring characters (or get kicked off the show altogether). They won't because of fan popularity, but they, especially Cas, have long past served their purpose, and now the writers have an obligation to give them their due screen time every episode, no matter how ridiculous, dull, and pointless their scenes are. All this while taking away attention and momentum from Dean and Sam. It's by far not the only issue that has negatively effected the brothers' relationship on the show, but by god, it has not helped.
# Alice 2014-10-24 22:21
Thanks lonewolf! I really think Crowley and Castiel could be great characters if they had writers that believed in those characters. Ben Edlund said at Comic Con two years ago that Castiel was his favorite character to write for and it showed. He was the only one who could give Castiel some real heart and soul. Since he left, Castiel has been pretty wallpaper. Crowley still gets great lines, but if he's going to get more screen time, he'll need a plot as well.
# Ann 2014-10-23 07:04
I absolutely agree with you. I didn't see any imagination here on the part of the writers. The only thing I admired was the way they connected Lester to Sam - didn't see that coming. Overall, though, the writing, once again, was lazy and cowardly. They had the opportunity to create some real thrills and move us as an audience but chose to take an easy, boring route instead. The main reason I was disappointed is that this episode was supposed to be one of the BIG ones of the season - a game changer that many fans had been looking forward to. Why they chose to leave this in the hands of writers who have proven in the past to be sub-par is beyond me.
# Alice 2014-10-24 22:22
Thanks Ann. I can honestly say I agree with everything you said too!
# Michaela 2014-10-23 07:23
This episode was awesome. The performance of Jared and Jensen unbelievable,gr eat directing of Jensen. The atmosphere, the light - perfect. The story exciting and heart breaking. Did you not read between the lines? Do you not saw in the faces, in Dean's face? Do you think it's over? I guess, it's necessary to watch the episode again and to heed the nuancen. Not only our boys will be better and better. The writers too. After ten years Supernatural got a hight quality and the fans should perceive it.
# Alice 2014-10-24 22:32
Thanks for the comment Michaela. I said I liked the Sam and Dean scenes. They just weren't the best. I definitely agree the lighting and scenes in the bunker were perfect and there was definitely a lot of story told in facial expressions, but that's because the dialogue was so weak. I did give big credit to the acting. But sorry, the whole was not as good as it's parts. Considering a TV critique has to look at all the parts, I cannot judge an episode just on Sam and Dean. Otherwise, my grade might have been higher. Better luck next week I guess.
# E 2014-10-23 07:39
Alice. Yes… all your points are pretty valid and thats probably why I won't' go back and watch this episode again. I liked it better than you did and the stalking scene through the bunker was pretty good, but I am afraid if I watch the episode again I'll become more aware of all the things that were dragging it down. So I pretty much agree and am trying not to think about it too much. ;) I did notice how fresh as a daisy Dean managed to look all through the cure and wondered about that. Who decides these things? I mean, look at how hard the cure was on both Crowley and Sam in Sacrifice. I know part of that was in the scipt.. but part of that was in makeup, lighting, staging etc.. who decides these elements? Why wasn't Dean more physically effected by the cure? He said his "blood was boiling?" but not even one hair was out of place. He wasn't sweating, the makeup did not make him look haggard or pale or ravaged the way both Sam and Crowley looked in Sacrifice. Where do these elements come into play? I can understand Sam being less physically wrecked as he wasn't using his own blood, but he HAD been searching and not eating or sleeping for months and all that should have been reflected in costume and makeup… and Dean should have looked like hell. Other things that troubled me; how come Dean could get human enough the slip his cuffs and the devils trap but 1) Crowley couldn't do the same when he was being cured and 2) being more human didn't cause Dean to want to kill Sam any less or take away any of his super strength? It should follow the same pattern they've set up in the previous cures we've seen and it did't, with no explanation as to why that I could see. I could understand that it's different because Dean has the MoC, but that's not how the explained it.. they actually didn't explain it at all. And how come Sam had to use blood that had been purified through the confession of his greatest sin to cure Crowley, but when it came to blood to cure Dean he just had a priest do it? Seems like a quckie cop out. So, for this episode I've decided not to look too closely and be happy with the parts that worked. I can't really expect any more from this writing team.
# eilf 2014-10-23 15:13
Did you notice there was one scene in the corridor when Sam was actually so pale he was almost white? He really looked bad for a moment. I kindof wonder if that was Jared and his broken shoulder (since this is the oldest episode filmed) and not the makeup?
They were both troupers in this. Jared with his injured arm and Jensen doing double duty acting and directing.
# E 2014-10-23 19:39
Actually I didn't notice that… now I'll have to go back and look! :P The lack of any noticeable suffering in the cure scene really bothered me, especially where Dean was concerned…. why wasn't he as wasted as Crowley? Why didn't we see him begin to break down and exhibit regret? Do you think that this could be some kind of long con? That could be pretty cool. Usually they let the audience in on something like that, but maybe this is a long con on us as much as it is on Sam and/or Cas.

Poor Jared, he really did a number on his shoulder. I guess he broke something when he dislocated it and had to have surgery. (Ironically his older brother is an orthopedic surgeon who specializes in shoulder injuries! Weird!) Carver and Singer had the writers write the sling into 4 episodes, thats 24 days of filming not including weekends and Jared had already been in a sling for all of June and part of May by that time. He still in rehab and rebuilding the strength in that shoulder as well as all the muscle he lost from not being able to work out as much (although he still looks fabulous to me!!).
# eilf 2014-10-23 19:57
Well I imagine the healing had to start all over again after the surgery? I know I wouldn't want to be trying to do action sequences with a damaged shoulder :o. On the other hand it is entirely possible I was imagining the paleness :D
# E 2014-10-23 20:11
Maybe not… all that moving around had to hurt quite a bit.
# Alice 2014-10-24 22:37
He looked like he was in pain when we were interviewing him at Comic Con, and that was shortly after this episode was filmed. So yes, that was probably the case during this episode.
# eilf 2014-10-24 22:53
Poor guy. Talk about misfortune ...

Osric is so disgusted that they keep commenting on it each episode isn't he? ;)
# E 2014-10-25 10:10
Aw… Poor Jared. I had a roommate who fell down a flight of stairs (pitched forward, head first!) and broke her shoulder. She was a mess for months. She couldn't even lay flat in a bed for almost 2 months and had to sleep sitting upright in a lounge chair. She couldn't even dress herself and any type of moving around was agony for weeks. If you go back and look at video and pics from Jus In Bello Con you can see how much pain he's in on his face (also how drugged to the gills he was!). He's a trouper. So to me that explains some of why the episode wasn't as physical as it might have been, but not why Dean wasn't put through the ringer more. Where was his breakdown like Crowley's or the guy in the video? Why wasn't he sweating or ravaged? He looked model gorgeous throughout, not a hair out of place. Why wasn't he weakened at all? I guess that's why I was hoping that this the start of some kind of long con… I just would hate to think that's all there is to this whole cure story, something they've built up tremendously since season 8 and we've known was coming for Dean since season 9. Please, please tell me that this isn't really all there is? Poor Jensen; he's really a committed, talented and conscientious director. I think he takes these opportunities very seriously. Why would they saddle him with such a weak script?
# Alice 2014-10-24 22:35
Thanks E! I was stunned that attentional to detail was missed in the visual stuff like Dean going through the ritual and the blood stuff. Dean should have been a mess! I feel like they didn't try.
# sylvia37 2014-10-23 09:44
Alice, you pretty much echo my feelings. I wanted to be overwhelmed and I wasn't. I even avoided the sneak peek so I wouldn't be too spoiled. I would like for Sam to have used his own blood to cure Dean, but maybe Sam knew it would take too much of a toll on him and he needed to be up for a fight? It just lacked the emotional and physical punch of the scene with Crowley. I really felt Sam's guilt over what happened to Lester and I think Jared did an outstanding job with it, but my husband and I both immediately thought that Dean's comment about Lester losing his soul was weird because Crowley specifically said that Dean ruined that deal. Not that Lester was exactly headed upstairs anyway.

I was also torn over the lack of a broment, but I almost think we got more honesty from Dean talking to Cas than we might have gotten with Sam. The moment wasn't between the two of them, but it was about them and I liked it, even though someone on another sight pointed out that if the situation was reversed, there is no way they'd be sending Dean off screen to get fast food while Sam and Castiel had that talk after such a scene. It's so frustrating being Samgirl sometimes. I think we'll get some bro scenes later, and I'm still holding out for some honesty, but my Pollyanna is waning.

I also wondered that if Dean was getting more human, then you would have thought he'd be having second thoughts about killing Sam? Maybe a little wavering on the subject? Instead, somehow it just managed to let him get free, but still want to pick up a hammer and brain his brother? And he's more human, but he thought about using an axe on him, and then decided that the hammer would be more.....thorou gh? Were we supposed to infer from Cas's lines about him wanting to stay a demon to avoid pain that he was holding on to it, so killing Sam was the best way to achieve that? I'm disturbed by that tremendously. It was really sloppy writing if they don't address this again.

The end of the cure was anticlimactic as well as poorly written. Since when does Dean call them "fellas" and I thought Sam's "welcome back, Dean" was cheesy. Really, without the cast giving it their all, this episode would have been a disaster. The acting saved it.

Unfortunately, I'm getting the feeling that these back and forth scenes between storylines is going to be par for the course this season and honestly, if they wanted the Castiel and Crowley show, it should be their spinoff. The reason the show has worked so far is because of Sam and Dean and small doses of everybody else, and the forced writing for Cas and Crowley so far shows it. I'm starting to feel sorry for both of them instead of enjoying their performances. Especially Mark. I seriously hope we do not get to watch him pine of Dean anymore. That is just weird. I would rather see him spitting mad about losing a Winchester for hell. That makes more sense. And my husband said something along the lines that watching Cas and Hannah's awkward romance scene was like a telenova. I do like Hannah though, so I hope it gets better. And I really like Jared and Misha's chemistry, so I enjoy their scenes together too. I thought Jensen did a great job of being scary, but his perfectly coifed appearance really did take away from it.

We'll see how they handle next week and the weeks to come. I sincerely hope they don't sweep Dean's comments under the rug or, God forbid, have another half a conversation about it. "Hey Sam, you know I didn't.....", "Yeah, Dean ......" :(

To end on a positive note, bring me more Sexy Doctor Sam. Mmmmm , sexy Doctor Sam.....Sam in scrubs......umm , where was I?
# cheryl42 2014-10-23 10:53
I think that SS has now taken on a new meaning....Dr. Sexy Sam needs his own spinoff.:)
# eilf 2014-10-23 15:15
I agree with your thinking on all this Sylvia. I understand why they have to reduce J2's set time but I would almost prefer fewer episodes than reduced J2.

I am hoping for a more balanced share of J2 this season too!

I live in hope
# Alice 2014-10-24 22:50
Thanks Sylvia37! I've made this comments before, but I think these writers confuse "feels" with heart, but this episode didn't even have feels! It was so mechanical. They're not trying to put substance in any of the stories. What really frustrates me is they all think they're doing a great job because ratings are good. They can't see poor quality thanks to placating fan girls or they don't want to. They actually believe the hype. Since they'd rather please fan girls than cement a legacy like Kripke strove for, part of me wishes they'd start talking end game. Or bring Kripke back!
# Cat 2014-10-23 10:38
I wasn’t blown away by this episode, but I still enjoyed it. While some of the issues you pointed out didn't bother me so much, I see where you're coming from.
I agree that the scene in Hell was rather clunky, and I much preferred Crowey's timely appearance at the gas station. While I’m glad that they didn't try to redo the Sam/Crowley scene in "Sacrifice" for the cure, I do feel that we could at least have seen a little more of its effects on Dean while it was happening.
I think Sam showed great strength and determination in saving his brother and I didn't feel that his character was diminished because he had help. When Sam had to either kill Dean or die, he would have needed not just cleverness, but also time and resources to take a third option. Dean wasn't just a brute with a hammer, he was a skilled and experienced fighter with extra strength and agility courtesy of the Mark. He couldn’t be held by handcuffs, doors or Devil’s Traps, so trapping him wasn’t really an option. Sam is smart, but in that moment he was also an exhausted, non-empowered human with only one functioning arm, so he couldn’t really subdue Dean for very long either. For me, Castiel’s intervention worked in that particular situation, and it didn’t take away from Sam and everything he has done to save Dean.
While I agree that Sam's actions with Lester don't make him more of a monster than Dean, I think they are still questionable. Yes, the nurse in “Lucifer Rising” was an innocent woman pleading for her life and Lester was a douche. However, the nurse was already possessed, which would have killed or severely traumatized her. Not that it makes bleeding her any less horrific, but the situation was already so messed up and highly stressful that Sam didn't really have a chance to make a good choice. Ruby being there and egging him on didn't help much either. With Lester, there was no Ruby, no demon blood and no soullessness - Sam was his regular self and acted without any pressure or external influence whatsoever. Lester was blissfully ignorant of the supernatural world and his ideas of revenge might have remained drunken fantasies without Sam's intervention. Sam told Lester just enough to suit his own purposes, knowing full well that a little knowledge is a dangerous thing, especially when it comes to the supernatural. Sam encouraged Lester to plan revenge on his wife via crossroads deal, thereby endangering not only Lester's own life and soul, but Lester's wife as well. If she really had been killed as a result of the deal, it she wouldn’t have brought it on herself. Even if Sam didn't intend for Lester to go through with the deal, this goes against what Sam stands for. As a hunter, he is supposed to protect people from supernatural threats, not throw them into the path of a crossroads demon when they didn't even have anything to do with the supernatural before. As a person, Sam usually wants to avoid collateral damage, so much so that he was recently ready to die rather than risk it. "Who is the real monster?" is the wrong question to ask, but I don't think Sam’s actions should be shrugged off with “Lester had it coming” either.
I liked the Castiel/ Dean interaction at the end. It made sense to me that Dean would rather not talk directly to Sam after having tried to kill him. However, I think the episode could have ended there instead of with the cut to that hotel room which seemed quite unnecessary to me.
Overall, I liked this episode and look forward to seeing Sam and Dean working together again.
# Lilah_Kane 2014-10-23 11:07
Even if Sam didn't intend for Lester to go through with the deal, this goes against what Sam stands for. As a hunter, he is supposed to protect people from supernatural threats, not throw them into the path of a crossroads demon when they didn't even have anything to do with the supernatural before.

So agree on this. You are seeing it through Sam's eyes and what he stands for. I mean “Lester had it coming” is not Sam's thoughts. I would say the same thing but it is not my point of view from which the story is told. I think you described it perfectly why Sam would see it the worst thing he could do.

That was for Cat for thumbs up. Now to the rest. :)

Also Demon's lie and manipulate so Dean was taunting Sam with everything he was saying. Some of it he might feel or know Sam would think. Some of it was clear lies and bravado. These three episodes were only a start of the story.
I liked the episode. Also Mark and Misha's parts.

The blood cure I see is a variation and totally different circumstances than Crowley's. Sam is not trying to close the gates of hell. Priest is used at the start to make "blessed blood" like holy water is. With MoC Dean the situation is totally different than Crowley's. I would call them side effects because Crowley's vessel is possessed. Dean is not. But these arguments have been said couple of times already...

How this episode was regarded is due with how each individual sees it. I don't value like gold the old times of the show. I loved how it was in the past yes but I welcome also the new. The series needs to grow and it has changed or we might not even have it anymore.

Also, I don't care who writes what and I seem to be lucky because this usually lifts up tremendous amount of "hate" against writers and already gives the mood "This episode will suck because it was written by this writer/writers" . If you have already that opinion about the episode I couldn't imagine people even try to find the good stuff from it. I am that cynical. And I don't regard not knowing about them as a bad thing. Also, those writers that are "the old ones". They were good of course but they are not coming back from what we know at the moment. They have moved on to other projects.

Anyway, acting was superb. The story is still a head of us. I will wait the whole season to go over and then I might complain where the story went if I have reason to do it. I mean 20 episodes still to go. The story didn't end up on episode 3.

- Lilah
# Alice 2014-10-24 23:26
Lilah, when it comes to Brad and Eugenie as writers, I actually cut them some slack! I swear there's a lot of technical points I didn't nitpick, like the whole blood ritual. They are the weakest writers on the team, so I actually lower my expectations for them. They STILL didn't deliver despite me grading on a curve. They cannot write character defining moments, and that was sorely required in this episode. They're all about flash and doing crazy things with lore. Give them a character piece and they fall apart. That isn't bias. That's fact! If they haven't earned faith from the fans, that's because they have a long and very lousy track record.
# E 2014-10-23 20:19
Sam encouraged Lester to plan revenge on his wife via crossroads deal, thereby endangering not only Lester's own life and soul, but Lester's wife as well. If she really had been killed as a result of the deal, it she wouldn’t have brought it on herself. Even if Sam didn't intend for Lester to go through with the deal, this goes against what Sam stands for.
You know, I hadn't really given this much thought at the time, but you are right. Lester was a douche but even so, brining him to a crossroads to trick him into summoning a demon that Sam could use (even if Sam didn't intend for Lester to make the deal) was pretty shady. And if Dean had actually done what was expected of him and killed the wife that would have been on Sam's head. And it appears that Sam didn't really do anything after the fact to mitigate what went wrong at the crossroads or try to negate the deal Lester made. I wonder why that is. I am not sure that Sam even knows that Dean killed Lester, Dean never said that he did, just brought up Sam's questionable behavior to him. So, Sam may not realize that Lester is dead and the wife isn't. Maybe that's one of the reasons that Dean killed Lester in the first place, to help Sam out of the stupid jam he got himself into by using Lester in the first place?
# LEAH 2014-10-23 20:49
I agree E. It was shady. It was bad decision making. It was a decision made out of desperation and not something Sam would ever do ordinarily. But not monstrous as hinted at. I think we can pretty much all agree on that. Maybe?:)
# E 2014-10-23 20:56
No, not monstrous really, but pretty shady. If the wife had ended up dead that would have been closer to monstrous. I wonder why Sam didn't try to save her in some way.. he slipped up, let Lester make the deal and then didn't even warn her or go to protect her afterwards? He was just going to let Lester fulfill his demon deal? Hmm… not nice. Shades of the ruthlessness shown by Soulless Sam.
# Alice 2014-10-24 23:16
Thanks Cat! You gave a very fair analysis. To be honest, I didn't give Lester any thought at all. That whole saga didn't spark my interest. You are very right about Sam's POV but think about it this way, if the story doesn't interest the fan, do you think that fan would actually take the thought process that far? That again is a weakness of the writing. It's not stretching imaginations. Lester was a jerk and boring. Why do we care that Sam feels guilt over Lester? He should, he did, we're good. Considering how hyped that plot point was by Carver and others, it was disappointing. It should have been better.

I do agree that Sam's character wasn't diminished by having help, just by having Castiel show up at the moment when he had to make that choice to kill Dean and didn't. It cheapened the scene and the decision and diminished Sam in the process. Heck, they could have had Sam run from Dean, have another chase, then 30 seconds later Castiel show up and it would have been better. It's all about timing, and it sucked. Remember "Born Under a Bad Sign?" Remember Dean's "I'd rather die?" He made that choice alone. It was powerful. It still sticks with us today. Sam's choice wasn't like that. It was, like I've been saying in these comments like a broken record, disappointing.

Anyway, thanks for the observation on Sam, because you weren't wrong. Everyone looks at things differently, and that's what makes the analysis fun, even if the ep isn't great.
# elle2 2014-10-23 11:59
This is a very fair review, Alice. Like you, I mourn for what could have been had a Gamble or Edlund or Kripke -- or Carver himself, had done with this episode. However, I've learned to lower my expectations, which helps my viewing process. Whereas in the past several seasons I simply watch the episode and delete it immediately, these first three have remained on my DVR, and I plan a full viewing of the three back to back to back to enjoy the entirety of the arc -- sans the angel scenes and yes, the cartoonish, clownish antics of Crowley in this one.

It makes me wonder if Mark Sheppard is scratching his head wondering, hey, when I was merely a guest, I got killer material. Now that I'm a regular, this is what I get? He brought his A game for Jensen but was given D material by the writers.

After so many years of lies and separation mentally, physically, emotionally by the brothers, and Sam's unevenness in regards to his brother (fault of the writers, not the character or the actor) I have just adored his commitment and focus to save Dean. As I put in my review for our sister site, and from a recent interview given by Jared: About damn time!

Yes I would have loved something more original than just the blood cure; yes, I would have loved more tension, more angst, a whole lot less of Hannah and Cas on an endless and ridiculous road trip (have the angels lost the ability to transport around with heaven closed? I forget. They have their grace and strength from that, but they can't fly around? Well, perhaps. Tells you how much I care or pay attention to the angels anymore.)

As for hell, it was Ms. Gamble who first introduced the idea that hell was merely standing in line and waiting, unfortunately these writers decided to re-introduce that here, even as two seasons ago they gave us a dirty, smellier, grimier version in the lackluster Taxi Driver. Oh, well. Like you, addition by subtraction. Much as I did this summer viewing the entire season thanks to my DVR and TNT, and in the latter seasons fast forwarding through those parts that were awful -- and there were a lot, I intend to watch these three episodes together, fast forwarding through all the momentum-draggi ng scenes and focusing solely on the good stuff. Granted three episodes will likely be watched in half the time, but it will be good viewing, and I haven't been able to say that in a long time.

Great job with this difficult review, Alice. Love your analysis.
# Lilah_Kane 2014-10-23 13:05
I think only Metatron was able to blink about. The angels have their powers but they burned their wings from the fall. Gadreel used a car etc. So, the wings of the angels are still clipped. :)

- Lilah
# Elle2 2014-10-23 15:08
Thanks Lilah_Kane, I was hoping that was it and not just that the writers needed to waste time and have Cas drive around out of convenience.

# eilf 2014-10-23 15:41
EDIT: this is not supposed to be a reply to anyone, not sure why it posted just here ....

I am not convinced that Dean's mindset at the end of the episode was remorse, or even mostly remorse.

I am not going to go into any more detail than that because I know how much trouble it will get me into. But the 'divorce' comment appeared to have as much irony in it as genuine wondering if Sam is going to leave. I am not just judging this on the episode but also by trying to interpret comments made by both Jared and Jensen and Jeremy Carver over the past few days. I am not happy with the apparent meaning of what they said. Of course it may be misdirection.

As Adam Glass gets the 'wrapping up this storyline and moving on' duties next week I have little doubt that the result will be deeply unsatisfying to me.

I thought it was a pretty good episode. It did exactly what they said it was going to do and did it pretty well. dDean was evil and Sam was heartbroken. the pictures were sweet and Sam getting the 'brothers' music for once was nice. I will be outraged (actually I will give up on the show altogether) if the 'Sam is responsible for the death of Dean's Mother;' comments aren't addressed at some point (pretty soon).

I like Cas and Hannah though neither one of them seems like a real person at the moment ... I am having trouble believing them, and I honestly don't understand their purpose as they drive around lost because a (female) angel can't read a map.... I don't know if it is deliberate that while Hannah freely admits she doesn't understand human nuance, Cas is trying to and failing, I wonder are we supposed to read that into the final scene with Dean where yet again Cas says to him 'it is ok, you mean well, Sam will come around' that Cas really DOESN"T understand humans, and maybe Dean is starting to realise that the relationship information he gets from Cas is actually bad advice? Or is Cas supposed to be an avatar telling us how we are supposed to feel about the brothers? On last season's evidence I would say it is the latter, but I thought Dean's confused and sort of blank reaction to 'it takes more than a hammer to get Sam to give up on you' showed more understanding of the situation than we have seen in a while.
# E 2014-10-23 20:41
I am not going to go into any more detail than that because I know how much trouble it will get me into. But the 'divorce' comment appeared to have as much irony in it as genuine wondering if Sam is going to leave. I am not just judging this on the episode but also by trying to interpret comments made by both Jared and Jensen and Jeremy Carver over the past few days. I am not happy with the apparent meaning of what they said. Of course it may be misdirection.
Sorry eilf… but I gotta ask. What irony are you talking about? Or if you don't want to "get into it" as they say, and drum up controversy, can you point me in the direction of the interviews you are talking about?
# eilf 2014-10-24 22:51
Hi E, i didn't see your question. I am referring to the red carpet interviews from the 200th episode. There is a new one I just saw now with Jared going on about how guilty Sam feels about last season....

I can't comment on any of it because I am truly bitter about what they are implying. It is all just so completely wrong.
# SanSummer1 2014-10-25 00:34
eilf, do you mean that Dean asking Cas, “What’d Sam say, does he want a divorce?” might have been in reference to how some claim Sam “disowned” Dean last season?
# E 2014-10-25 10:32
Yeah… I saw that one too and thought "what's Sam got to feel guilty about? He didn't do anything wrong!" But I knew that they were going to go down this road in the finale of season 9 when Sam said "I lied." The writing was on the wall then that they were going to hold Sam responsible for Dean becoming a demon even though clearly, he wasn't. This combined with the total white wash of the possession is one of the reasons I despised the season 9 finale. It was the fruition of the utter failure of the possession story AND the confirmation that Sam was once again in the wrong like he always is despite the fact that he wasn't the repercussions for the possession AND the MoC are on Dean, but we can't have that now can we, lets turn it back on Sam like always even though it makes no sense. So, there I just got into it! I can feel your bitterness and I share in it.
# eilf 2014-10-25 10:57
I was writing and rewriting and rewriting ... my reply to SanSummer while you were posting yours E. Your reply is still less outraged than any of the ones i wrote. :(

I have been trying to see all this the way they keep telling us we are supposed to be seeing it but I just can't.

*writes, and deletes, a comment about which of dDean's accusations Sam will be obliged to apologise for before the end of the season*
# eilf 2014-10-25 10:45
I think the point I was trying to make at that stage (which appears to be contradicted by what everyone at the 200 party seem to be saying) is that Dean believes that Sam was angry enough at him over Season 9 to say the things he said then clearly when Dean ratchets it up to trying to kill him Sam is going to want a divorce. The irony being that it could actually be Dean who is wondering if he (Dean) is actually the one who wants a divorce.

I can't actually comment on how angry my perception of where this season looks like it is going is making me. I have typed and deleted 4 different descriptions of it now.

Damn, but Jared is a team player. He really will do (and say) whatever he is asked of him.
# SanSummer1 2014-10-25 15:51
Some of the things Jared has said have made me worried. At the 200th episode party:

“There’s a quote, ‘You hurt most the ones you love’,” Padalecki said. “And Sam has said the same things to Dean where he said I wouldn’t have gone after you, he’s said a lot of things to try and needle Dean.

It would be a shame if Sam’s character was reduced to that on the show.

Sam feeling responsibility, guilt and regret over what happened to Dean is understandable. I just hope it won’t be treated in the narrative as Sam being objective about the circumstances.

eilf and E, it’s good to know that there are others who aren’t crazy about where things seem to be heading either!
# Alice 2014-10-24 23:32
Thanks elle2! You are right, Sam's commitment to save Dean has been amazing! Definitely the biggest strength of this episode and the season so far. I'm curious to see how Dean perceives that act from this point forward.
# st50 2014-10-23 12:38
Absolutely bang on review, Alice. My sentiments exactly.
The potential for another episode of classic quality was there. The writers missed it. (No surprise with this pair). I was, and still am, very disappointed. The acting and the directing were amazing. Kudos to all.
It certainly wasn't bad. (Other than the demons and angels bit... they're becoming slapstick, rather than powerful and menacing).
There were some great moments.... But I wanted so much more.... So. Much. More.

I fear that the days of awesome story telling for Supernatural are gone. I wish I had faith that this team of writers could pull off the long-awaited brothers chat/hug. I don't. But like so many others, I just don't seem to be able to let go completely.
# Alice 2014-10-25 00:05
Thanks st50! I think they write characters as slapstick because they're trying to "keep it light and funny." Ugh, they have no clue on how to do funny, do they? They obviously never read an Eric Kripke or Ben Edlund script. Those two never made the villains dumber to serve their purposes.
# Rubby 2014-10-23 13:25
We I loved this episode... yes I was a bit dissapointed that Dean was cured just in the third episode but damn was that a fantastic episode... I just loved it. like really really loved it. Jensen acting was amazing, Jared was as well like gee it blowed my mind. I felt like I was watching season 4 again it was that good for me. Man, Jensen is getting better and better with the camera... I loved how they moved forward the story and can't wait to see what's next. I respect your point of view but I think you gotta relax a bit and stp overthinking everything. This episode was awesome and according to what Carver said, the issues with Dean are NOT over... and I cannot wait to discover whats next. Just breathe a bit Alice and enjoy the show that's been destroying our lives for so long.
# Alice 2014-10-25 00:10
Thanks for the comment Rubby! Sorry, but if I relaxed and didn't dig into analysis, I wouldn't be doing my job as a TV critic, would I? It's in the job description. Otherwise, I wouldn't mind at all turning the show off at 10 pm and just going to bed, never to think about the episode again. That would be sweet! I don't think my readers would agree though.
# Prix68 2014-10-23 15:17
I enjoyed the episode. I do think there have been way too many spoilers that give away the climatic parts of the episodes this season, though. I also think Jared having one arm in a sling made the episode have to stay less physical then the writers might have wished or wanted. It's implausible enough to think he could get an amped up demon with the MOC into the bunker with just handcuffs on him. If I remember correctly, Crowley actually slugged Dean when the handcuffs were put on him in S8.

All that being said I thought it was a good episode and applaud them for not going over the top with the bro moments or angsty stuff when this is only the third episode. I'm liking the slower build up of the brothers' relationship this year. I do think Cas is better with the bothers and hopefully Crowley will get his act together and be his snarky demon self very soon.

Glad to have Dean back to semi-normal next week. I missed him. Look forward to the next episode.
# Alice 2014-10-24 23:41
Thanks Prix68 for the comment! Jared's arm wasn't a reason for failing to do a more emotional episode. A lot could have been done where Jared didn't have to do much physical acting at all. And I'm fine with over the top in the third episode. Other shows aren't backing down, why SPN? Ah well, let's see what next week brings. I'm with you, I missed Dean.
# LEAH 2014-10-23 17:51
Sorry Alice I have to side with your fangirl side on this one (as opposed to your critic side) :) I thought this was a very entertaining hr (ish) of TV. It did have suspense. It did have emotion. It did have pacing. I liked the juxtaposition of the tense stalker scene with the quieter Cas and Hannah moments. It flew by for me. Jensen and Jared "kicked it in the ass". I didn't need a big hug or a heartfelt conversation at the end I felt drained and was fine with them just taking a beat before any more drama. The cat and mouse scene was shot to perfection. Loved it when it went to red emergency lighting. Made DD look even more chilling. Kudos Jensen, awesome job.

Is the show as good as it once was? No, I don't think so either and I mourn for some things and people lost along the way. BUT it is still pretty damn good. Sometimes. I didn't think it was perfect, I rarely do. If it entertains me I am good and this one did. I have not liked a season for awhile as much as I am enjoying this one (so far). They both are getting meaty scenes and screen time. Sam is conscious for minutes at a time.;) He is getting some POV as much as he can with few people to talk to. He has been heroic and steadfast and focused in his quest to save Dean. These are positives in my book. DD has been chewing up the scenery. The writers walked a tightrope as far as how to portray DD and did a pretty good job I think. As for the "who is the bigger monster?" thing, I thought all along that Carver was just trying to generate buzz. If he had followed through with REAL evil doings by Sam he would be crucified by the fans and now when it seems like maybe Sam isn't so monstrous people are complaining that he didn't go far enough! They can't please everybody that is a fact!
# Prix68 2014-10-23 18:04
I have to agree with you about the "Who's a bigger monster" brouhaha. Damned if you do and damned if you don't.
# eilf 2014-10-23 18:23
Sam is conscious for minutes at a time.
giggle ;)

If he had followed through with REAL evil doings by Sam he would be crucified by the fans and now when it seems like maybe Sam isn't so monstrous people are complaining that he didn't go far enough!
Leah, I swear! I saw someone saying that he should be more careful with the needle - he was stabbing poor Dean too hard with it and might hurt him.... :D I actually hope that the amount of evil Sam did didn't go any further than what we saw. Dean also doesn't appear to have done anything too bad (relatively speaking) (this is an odd morality we are all working from I have to say). All may actually be good in the Winchesters v the innocent bystanders of the world stakes.
# E 2014-10-23 21:19
Its true Leah…damed if he does, damned if he doesn't. Ah well. I wish Carver hadn't brought up the "whose the true monster" idea at all and had just let each brother's actions spoken for themselves. I might have been more shocked about Sam using Lester as bait if I hadn't seen something like that coming down the pike, and similarly I might have been more shocked that Dean actually killed Lester, who was indeed a douche, but still a human, douchiness and all. Also, if this is all they are planning to do with the stupid "true monster" trope then I REALLY wish they had just let the actions speak for themselves. Way to drum up a lot of publicity for something that really didn't go anywhere (at least so far).
# Alice 2014-10-24 23:50
Thanks Leah, but after all, I am a TV critic. The issue is, I write reviews for other TV shows too, and even those shows are killing it so much better than SPN. They are putting so much more attention into plotting and writing a cohesive and smart story. Three of those shows are also on Tuesday nights! It's really sad to see SPN phoning it in from the writing perspective, even if the acting remains top notch. Looking at this episode as a whole, it was a mess. I can only lower my standards so far. The Sam and Dean stuff was okay. It just could have been better. Ah well, to each his own. I do accept that I'm not speaking for everyone. It's just one opinion!
# Fazzie 2014-10-23 18:09
Thanks for the review and like you I kind of felt underwhelmed by this one on levels I can't ...well the build up of Demon Dean and that is it??? Sam does something monstrous and that is it??? Really I kind of feel insulted as well as underwhelmed. Personally I wanted to see if Sam could actually kill DemonDean with the knife because it didn't work on Abaddon and unlikely to work on Cain so it would probably not work on Dean either. But they had every character say Sam would have to kill Dean if he couldn't cure him but no-one exactly said how plan B was going to be achieved. Personally I would gloss over it if it hadn't been done every five minutes of the episode.

But I guess that is my pet peeve for now though I do give the writers points for actually making sure Dean got an ABO type that wouldn't kill him considering watching Crowley's cure I kept wondering what was the point of curing Crowley when he'd probably just die in horrible agony considering the chances Sam's blood purified or not wouldn't be compatible - confession doesn't wipe out blood antigens if it did then they'd just be blessing it all over the shop instead of rigorously testing it in labs before pumping it into people. Though wasn't John meant to be AB? If that is the case then Dean should be asking who is his Daddy as someone who is AB can't have a child who is group O as Sam described as Dean's type. As for Sam's big bad thing.

Show, that’s the best you can do for Sam’s “despicable” actions that made him a worse monster than Dean? Setting up a low life like Lester to make a demon deal so he could trap a crossroads demon and interrogate her? REALLY? How many of us were thinking Lester deserved it? Could they have come up with a more sympathetic character?
See I got what the writers were trying to do compared to the things that Sam has done before but it just came off as a bad rip off of the eternal question asked in Doctor Who - If the Doctor picks who lives or who dies then he is the monster, no matter how awful the person is.

But (and I know I'm going to get stick for saying this here) Sam Winchester isn't an iconic character in the terms of Doctor Who to get away with that sort of questioning and Carver, Buckner and Ross-Leming (the two that gave us not only gave us Taxi Driver but Dog/Sex slave episode) aren't in the same league as Russell T Davis or Stephen Moffat.

Not enough was shown for this to be his first option after no demon talked to him directly for this move to be completely monstrous or showing us he trawled bars to find the most worthless human being to trick into summoning a demon. To get the idea that Carver was trying to pitch, we need to see more or it will just divide the audience yet again because as you said Alice, Soulless Sam did worse as did Demon Blood Sam. For me I wish Carver would stop telling us what we are supposed to think what Sam thinks or does and actually shows us the build upor give us dialogue so we get what the hell is going on in Sam's head instead of having to try to rely on Jared to emote all the time.
# Alice 2014-10-24 23:58
Thanks Fazzie! You mentioned Stephen Moffat. I don't know much about Doctor Who, but I took a very close look at Sherlock this summer for my TVFTROU site and that man is in a writing stratosphere on his own. His scripts for that show are stuff that every writer should strive to do. They are incredible! I was so pleased to see him win the Emmy for "His Last Vow" and I couldn't think of a script more deserving.

On SPN, all the current writers put together couldn't do a fraction of what Moffat does. Carver used to be close, but show running has hurt his writing I think. The others are just trying to build a resume for when the show is over and don't care about quality. They're there for their own fun.
# Daisymae 2014-10-24 09:53
Alice, you have written a good review as always. That does not mean I agree with you. I enjoyed the episode and found I was sitting on the edge of my seat, especially during the chase scene-wow. Everyone seems to have wanted a hug at the end, which I found would not have been appropriate in this case because it’s not over with the MoC yet. In fact, it may be just beginning. Hugs get watered down if there are too many. So use them sparingly (or leave them for the conventions). I think it’s too soon for “the talk” yet for the brothers. Dean is in a place of confusion right now and not ready to explain anything or come to terms with what happened. It should take the whole year for that.

I also read (not just for this episode) that fans sometimes have a problem with cannon and I admit that there have been occasional mistakes, but not this time. It’s fantasy so you make things up and as long as you don’t step on the laws of your Universe it’s okay. I don’t think the writers made mistakes when it came to Demon Dean and the way he acted. It made sense to me.

I would love to address the acting of Jensen in these past three episodes. Would you please give him an EMMY already? He is a superb actor, really! All his decisions on how to play a scene or a different Dean are spot on. I can’t stop watching him and he is so underrated. Hollywood, open your eyes.
Liz Steenbeeke
# Liz Steenbeeke 2014-10-24 14:10
Very accurate and insightful review. You put into words what I've been thinking for a long time. When I saw that Andrew Dabb had written the episode, I was concerned, but waited to see if it would be okay. It missed by a mile. I'm sorry Jensen directed it because it was so badly written. A screen writer friend of mine informed me that reviews from the industry on the IMDB message boards about Jensen's directing were not good. That hurts me and makes me want to yell "you're only as good as the script that's handed to you!" He did the best he could with sub-par material.

Anyway, Supernatural's biggest problem is CARVER and a lack of good writers. I even went so far as to write Kripke and beg him and Edlund to come back. No answer, but of course I didn't expect one.
# E 2014-10-24 15:45
I think you are mistaken; this episode was written by Eugenie Ross-Leming and Brad Bruckner. Andrew Dabb wrote the superlative Richenbach that was so superior to this episode and aired last week. I agree, however, that Jensen was given a sub-par script to direct. All of the incredible momentum generated by Dabb's script was squandered in this one. Jensen's directing credentials aside, I can't fathom WHY they keep handing key and crucial episodes over to this writing duo, they just do not have the depth and levels of complexity to handle the subtext in a subtle or creative manner. There is just so little depth. The writing is too basic and formulaic for this show and especially for an episode of this magnitude.