I’ve given myself a few days to reflect on “Soul Survivor” and a second viewing. I had to, because my initial impression was so negative. Well, it still is. Not everything, of course. Jensen Ackles’ direction was stellar, particularly the stalking scene but really the entire episode. What interest I had in “Soul Survivor” arose from his directing and what the actors brought, which as usual was their A game. But despite all of that going for the episode, nothing trumps really poor writing.

I know many viewers had a very different reaction to “Soul Survivor,” so I’m going to own right at the start that this is my personal reaction to the story, based on my interpretation of what drives this show. To me, “Soul Survivor” brings into focus all the troubling aspects of the show I’ve noticed since Jeremy Carver took the reins.

I’ll begin with the unsuccessful move to downplay the centrality of the brothers’ story and adding other narratives. I know why the writers are developing the angel and demon story lines. Jared and Jensen do not want to work the punishing hours of the early years of the series. To keep the show going, compromises had to be made in order to give them more time off. In season 9, the writers tried out Cas as more of a lead character, testing to see if audiences would care about what he cared about, separately from the boys. The answer was a resounding no.

BartCap

The angel war story line turned out to be a crashing bore, so anemic the leader of one angel faction was killed off screen and hardly anyone noticed, since most people had trouble remembering his name (Malachi in case the name is still elusive). The other faction leader Bart was so far from a Zachariah or even a Uriel it was painful.

Cas’s human journey was more interesting than the struggle for power, if often oddly handled (why would he not know what a toothbrush was, after 10 years of dropping into Winchester hotel rooms?). But the political machinations, including Metatron’s schemes by the end, failed to grip. The angels in these writers’ hands have no gravitas, no menace, no heart . . . I just do not want to watch them on my screen. 

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The exceptions were Cas and Gadreel and that’s because they had a direct connection to the Winchesters. Sam and Dean function as the leads of the story because we care about what they care about. So it’s a problem when Cas and Crowley head off into their own narratives, because unless those stories directly involve the Winchesters, I don’t care. I love both, but they are supporting characters in the Winchesters’ story. Crowley with Dean = fun. Crowley as a bureaucrat in Hell = unnecessary clutter in the narrative. And the last thing we need is for the demons in the story to get as toothless and boring as the angels.

Trying to run three stories in one episode has so far been a jarring experience rather than a layered and complex one. Last week’s “Reichenbach” was much better because we really only had two stories to track, so both were better explored. This week, we were back to switching abruptly between three narratives, only one of which I wanted to watch. And that dampened the energy surrounding Dean’s cure.

I was reminded of “Bloodlines,” which is not a good thing. The spin off had many issues, but one glaring problem was Sam and Dean were hardly in the show but were still more interesting than the main actors. I’d hate to see Supernatural basically have its own internal spin offs, forcing me to sit through 2/3 of material I’m not interested in to get to the supposedly main story line of Sam and Dean.  I would have thought a story point as huge as Sam trying to cure Dean of demonhood and heal their rift would get a lot of focus. Instead, that point had to fight for space with an angel road trip and a visit to Hell’s version of waiting in line.

CrowleyPining

I’m all for Crowley still feeling the effects of human blood and actually caring about Dean. But I thought it was over the top to show him pining. I also think it’s a very bad idea to actually show Hell. It loses more of its sense of evil and menace with every scene.

CasHannah

And the scenes with Hannah and Cas not only slowed down the narrative, there seemed little point to the flirtation subplot unless it was specifically to code Cas’s feelings for Dean as romantic when he friendzones Hannah. The show has been known to tease this aspect and then back away with a laugh, a strategy which has not paid off in the past and I doubt will pay off in the future.

Cas was much more effective in his scenes in the bunker. He was finally badass Cas instead of bumbling Cas, which I appreciated. But I didn’t think it helped Sam’s arc at all to need to be rescued from Dean by Cas.

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Sam has never been able to save Dean in the past, and if the reason we went through the pain of last year’s fights between Sam and Dean was to make their relationship more even, giving him the save so he is less the "little brother" would have been nice. I loved how intensely Sam was focused on saving his brother. Jared sold his pain and his determination. Demon Dean knew how exactly where to hit Sam, and we saw how the words hurt. I loved that Sam knew he had to keep going.

What I didn’t love is that the final cure had little to do with Sam’s feelings about Dean or the strength of their bond. Giving the syringes of blood was a technical procedure, and one anyone could do. Crowley could have done it. And having Sam give someone else’s blood robbed those scenes of the emotional resonance and intimacy of Sam’s scenes with Crowley in “Sacrifice.” Crowley and Sam actually impacted each other as the demon struggled with growing humanity.

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But not Dean. For some reason, even when Dean was so human he could walk out of devil’s traps, he was still completely demonized. There was more Dean than demon in him, yet he was completely prepared to kill Sam to avoid taking up his old life. And Sam, despite all his focus and need to save his brother, had no idea how to reach him. It took Cas to point out to him Dean is running from the pain of a Winchester’s life, full of personal loss even when they win the big picture fights.

Why would anyone need to explain to Sam about the pain of all that loss or the crushing weight of responsibility he has borne as much as Dean? Did he not do his own version of walking away when he left Kevin with Crowley and said someone else could take on the bad guys; it didn’t have to be him? Sam has been the one to walk along Dean’s side as they both fight and love and lose and suffer.  Who should have a better understanding than Sam of what is driving Dean? And shouldn’t that understanding, more than administering vials of blood, be the reason Sam and not just anyone is able to save Dean?

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Instead, Sam failed to reach Dean. Cas swooped in for the save, and then the two of them calmly administered the rest of the injections until Dean was fully human. What an anti-climax. What a poor pay off for the harsh words and fractured brotherhood of last season. Not only did we not see the bond able to ground Dean, to my eyes we saw the brothers break even further apart. At this point, they now have to deal with the fact that fratricidal Dean was much more Dean than demon, and that Sam had little understanding of his brother and could not reach him, unlike the reverse situation in “Swan Song.” 

Given that really Cas got this save, not Sam, it wasn’t surprising the emotional wrap up scene went to Cas and Dean, not Sam and Dean. There was nothing about the nature of the “save” that would lead to some sort of button scene between the boys. My issue isn’t that Cas and Dean’s scene didn’t work, because it did, but that the cure was so impersonal and emotionally flat, there was no driving need for any kind of emotional touch point scene between the boys. No doubt we’ll get a broment next week, but not something that organically arises out of intense emotions as a result of the cure, which I think the story needed. I didn’t need everything wrapped up in a bow, and I’m sure there is more to come, but I needed something that dealt with the emotions of this episode.

I’m at a really difficult time in my relationship with the show. I feel like the central premise is either changing or getting such short shrift the story is unconvincing. It’s bad enough I can no longer trust the established lore of the show. Not to be able to believe in Sam and Dean’s bond could be a deal breaker for me.

Photos courtesy of homeofthenutty.com

Comments  

cheryl42
# cheryl42 2014-10-23 22:48
Well as I said on Alice's review I liked this episode better than either of you but I do see your point. I think that the reason this show was so successful and everyone seems to acknowledge this is Jared and Jensen. I gave the episode an A+ for the Sam and Dean parts and a C for everything else. I didn't see the fact that Cas helped Sam as a fail for Sam. Cas helped Dean in SS as well. But I get your point we were robbed once again of the emotional scene of the brothers coming out the other side together. I do wonder how much this episode suffered (writing aside) because Jensen was directing. For such an important progression of Dean's journey so far this season maybe it would have been better to have Jensen more available for acting than directing. He was juggling three storylines (in several locations which I am sure was technically very difficult and time consuming) as well as introducing his portrayal of DD for the first time this season and introducing a new character. I can understand why some of his scenes were shorter, Jensen was a very busy guy. While he did a great job of directing, his story by necessity took a back seat at times. And I am not at all implying that he didn't bring his A game, Jensen was astonishingly great as was Jared. But the lack of Sam and Dean may have been attributable to Jensen's lack of availability. I could be very wrong here since no one else has brought this up but just an observation.
It is hard to admit that the show is never going to be the same but the reality is that the J's don't want to work the crazy schedule. They do have families now. An ensemble cast (which I hate btw especially if the writers don't know what to do with the characters) is going to be a fact of the show. It is an unpleasant pill to swallow and many can't do it. Me....I'm in till the end.
By the way thanks for your honest review. I hope you don't lose your love for the show because I would miss your voice.
Gerry
# Gerry 2014-10-23 23:42
Hi Cheryl42, thanks so much for your comments and I'm glad you enjoyed the ep more than I did. On Jensen, the showrunners switched the order of filming so Jensen directed the first one back so his prep time was done during hiatus. I don't think the amount he was in it was attributable to his directing. His last time directing, he and Sam were written just as heavy as in any other episode. I think the three concurrent story lines are a thing now, sadly.

On Sam's save, the difference for me between Swan Song and Soul Survivor is though Dean had help getting him to the final confrontation, the moment of reaching Sam was all his and only he could do it. His decision to not leave Sam no matter what and continue to talk to him and believe in him was what reached through Lucifer and allowed Sam to regain control. Their bond broke Lucifer's possession, not the colt or holy oil or any other material thing. And I thought that was the point. This time, Sam cannot reach Dean and only survived because Cas subdued Dean. Then Sam used a material thing to cure Dean, something anyone could have administered. The bond didn't seem to strengthen them or ground Dean. I'm not sure how they even begin to process that it wasn't Demon Dean who grabbed that hammer to smash open Sam's head and fully intended to do it. And Sam had no words to reach through the demon to find Dean.

I really hope we don't pick up next week with the brothers acting like they now understand each other and are healing. Nothing about this episode suggested emotional healing to me.
cheryl42
# cheryl42 2014-10-24 00:07
As I said I seem to be the only one bringing up the directing thing so I am probably way off base. But I meant during filming Jensen had to have been very busy. And I do agree that the last episode Jensen directed was about Sam and Dean. Cas was still in Purgatory and Crowley wasn't a problem yet. This episode had way more going on with three storylines two of which had little to do with S&D. These writers always seem to get the episodes that have a lot of irons in the fire and they aren't very good at pulling them all out successfully. And I do understand what you mean about Sam saving Dean in the end. It did seem to end abruptly without the emotional payoff we were all looking for. But I don't think that the story for Dean is over yet so maybe their will be a better payoff in the coming episodes. And I would hope some acknowledgement from Dean that he did try to kill his brother is coming as well. I couldn't tell how Dean was feeling about what had happened really. I thought that was left ambiguous on purpose to keep us off balance for further developments. But again I could be wrong. And I do understand why many had problems with this episode. Maybe my standards aren't as high, maybe I'll take as much or as little of Sam and Dean as I can get I don't know what it is but I did enjoy the episode other than the Crowley/Cas/Han nah parts.
Fazzie
# Fazzie 2014-10-24 07:22
Completely agree. There is nothing in this episode that suggests any type of rebuilding of the bond.

Carver has spent two seasons destroying Sam's side of the bond, even though we should get why he should understand Dean's pain but now we have a Sam who has pushed his brother away to the point where even when he was dying he was asking why Sam cared about it. They even had demon Dean asking why did Sam care about Dean being a demon. Human Dean convinced Sam was ready to leave because of what Demon Dean did. That is the take home thing I took away from the episode because I can't even say that Sam is too close to see Dean's pain because how long ahs it been since they have been close.

The days where the brothers could vent their spleen and still know they had each others backs are long gone and I think it shows that Sam not only needed a concrete thing to save Dean but he didn't give of himself either - it wasn't his blood like the time with Crowley, it wasn't him to talk Dean down it was Cas swooping in to save the day and at the end Sam is told that Dean still isn't okay but he'd sticking his head in the sand about it and going to get Dean grease and then get drunk. At the end of Swan Song, Dean put himself on the line body and soul, here Sam only put his body on the line and then Cas saved that.

For me that is the take home message here and really they should have gotten better writers to deliver it as the direction was good but the rest....

As for the rest of the arc it doesn't matter how many time Carver et al tell us that the end of Demon Dean isn't the end of that tale as there is still the mark going on, well I don't trust them any more . We've had this before, the brothers ended a season in a good place only for the next one to be oh they are at odds again. Having Carver say Dean died knowing Sam had his back and to have Demon Dean say he chose to run off with Crowley and having almost human Dean beg to be a demon doesn't give us that message. The only thing I trust is the thing in the interviews where the J's say they won't really discuss the things said because they are guys, which means we won't get any emotional pay off for what is said after two seasons of angst and pain.

Yes that sounds negative but this was the pay off episode of this part of the season and it failed me big time.
E
# E 2014-10-26 08:45
Quote:
Carver has spent two seasons destroying Sam's side of the bond,
Oh yeah, because Dean going behind his brothers back to kill his friend Amy, and sending him a text that made him think his girlfriend was in trouble, bringing up past transgressions over and over again until Sam thought the only way to redeem himself was to die, or having him possessed by an angel without his permission and then trying to kill him did absolutely nothing to help destroy the brother bond from Dean's side at all. It takes two to tango as they say and Dean is as responsible for the destruction of the brother bond as Sam is.
Carol
# Carol 2014-10-23 23:05
Absolutely spot on review. Well said. It's telling that I often enjoy. Teen Wolf (which is nonsense) more than SPN sometimes. The cast and crew continue to bring their A game to the party while the writers bring a 6 pack of light beer and stale pretzels. My love for the show has dwindled to like and season 10 is the last chance to keep me on board.
lonewolf
# lonewolf 2014-10-24 00:23
Thank you. So very, very, very well said.
nappi815
# nappi815 2014-10-24 01:09
I really liked this ep and had absolutely no problem with it. I guess I just didn't see it the way you did:). i don't really care much about angels, so i'm not really interested in their story. i'm ok with that though. i mean i like cas, so on his own, not that exciting, but it gives me time to run to the bathroom if i can't wait for a commercial:D. i do enjoy cas more when his story and sam and dean's intertwine, but i do understand that cas is necessary so jared and Jensen don't become overloaded....a nd for me, some pretty angel eye candy in a not so exciting storyline is fine by me as long as I get a happier jared and Jensen. ;)

i can't agree that the final stages of the cure had little to do with Sam's feelings about Dean or the strength of their bond. i don't think it necessary for sam to have given his own blood as proof of his love for his brother, especially given the circumstances in which doing so might very well have killed him and then where would dean be? sam has shown nothing but love for dean in the last three episodes and his resilience and perseverance in the midst of all the cruelty that dd threw at him, screams how strong their bond is. no matter what dd did or said, nothing deterred sam from trying to save his brother, nothing. not even dean going after him with a hammer. sam would die trying to save dean rather than cut and run. rather than give up. rather than fail dean once more. sam was in it to the end, whether it be his end or whether he'd have no choice but to kill dean because leaving dean a demon would be far worse.

i guess it's how you choose to look at it. i don't see it as sam not understanding dean's feelings or that he couldn't reach him. i don't think it's fair to compare sam trying to cure Crowley with him trying to cure dean. it's apples and oranges. sam wasn't curing Crowley out of love, he was curing Crowley so he could close the gates of hell forever. Crowley, whatever he might be, doesn't have the moc so he's very different than demon dean with the moc. there wasn't any emotion between Crowley and sam during that ritual....sam was emotionally and physically drained because of the God light that flowed through him every time he finished a trial and ea. time he stuck a needle in Crowley. when all was said and done, all of sam's emotion in that eppy was for dean. this is a whole new ball game. demon dean may have been human enough to break free and walk through a devils trap, but you must remember that he's still bearing the moc and it's the mark that also influences dean. it's not going to be so simple as just turning dean back and all will be well....he's still got the moc to contend with....and at this point of the curing stage....dean may have been close to being cured, but there was still enough demon in him to interact with the moc.. sam is fighting a much different monster than he's fought before. dean isn't as easy to reach as perhaps he would be if he'd simply been possessed by a demon and not infected by the moc. and still dean had a choice between a hatchet or a hammer and dean chose the hammer.

now one can look at it like dean just wanted to take pleasure in beating sam down with a blunt instrument, to make him suffer....and i might have agreed with that take last episode, before sam was halfway through with the cure.....but in this case....for me, i'm leaning towards dean choosing the hammer over the hatchet because sam has more of a chance with a hammer...to me it's not a definite kill. so as much as dean had this seemingly bloodthirsty drive to kill sam, i just found it interesting that he chose the less lethal of weapons available to him. he did have guns hanging on his bedroom wall. he walked by his room, he could've easily took a gun and then bang...one shot and his problems were over. or he could've taken the hatchet and gone all lizzie borden on sam. he chose a hammer. when he came face to face with sam...yes he came from behind and took a swing and sam ducked and had the knife to dean's throat...and dean just stood there and waited, and baited sam to slice his throat...for a moment i thought it was a plea...a plea for sam to kill him so that it could all end. it's because sam is his brother and because of their bond that i believe dean was in there calling to his brother to set him free. but sam pulled away, and yes he did it when he saw cas, but i think he would've pulled away any way, because he wouldn't have been able to kill his brother. so i did feel the bond in that moment.

i don't think cas saved dean. he got him back to the room yes, but it was sam who finished the cure. it was sam who never gave up. it's sam who is still there with dean, hammer or no hammer, til the end. it's their bond and his feelings for dean that keep him there with him as it's always been. sam spoke his thoughts out loud...question ing why dean would want to be a demon and it didn't feel to me to be a lack of understanding because he doesn't know his brother....thin k about it...dean has fought demons and monsters most of his life. he's confessed to how much he hates them. a demon killed his mother. so sam wondering why dean would want to be a demon, knowing full well how much he hates them makes sense. at that moment, given how tired sam was and traumatized he was, i think i can cut him slack for not realizing it was more about dean's personal issues. the way i see it, cas simply reminded sam of what he already knows deep down, but yet, being Winchesters they never really talk about. but hearing it out loud from a third party, confirming what he already knows , i think it might help sam not feel alone. someone else sees it too kind of thing. the way i saw it....cas was there for sam just as much, maybe even more than for dean. i was glad that sam had support, because he really needed some. i also think sam will most likely bring this point up to dean at some point during their healing process. ;)

i enjoyed the last scene. i felt the bond between the brothers even though they hadn't had their broment yet. when dean was looking at the very pictures sam was looking at...with that same look on his face that sam had...that hint of a smile....both of them stopping at the same picture, the picture of them together with big grins on their faces. i felt their connection in that moment and they hadn't even shared a scene yet. then dean feeling horrible for going after sam, asking if sam wanted a divorce...and cas had the best line of the night when he told dean that it would take more than dean going after sam with a hammer to make him leave. and dean's yeah.. right there that moment, i thought it was so amazing....that their love is that strong....that nothing can rip them apart...and even though he talked about how messed up they were...i just felt and it's most likely just me, but i felt a sense of comfort in dean, something i don't think he's felt for awhile...just knowing that sam is always there.

i guess i got more out of this eppy than most. i tend to view things in a more positive light, so i admit i do see things differently than most. i thought the first three eps were awesome and i'm so looking forward to the healing process to come along with how the boys will rid dean of the moc. i also expect Crowley to go back to being his old snarky ruthless self soon enough.

you know what else i was also thinking Cheryl...this was the first ep shot. jared was in his sling. it wasn't explained in this eppy, but this eppy was closest to when he started wearing it. i wonder if they had to alter scenes between sam and dean, so there was less physical contact because of his injury. if he wasn't in the sling, i have to wonder if they would've let sam use his own blood. it makes sense to use other blood because he might be weakened and he's already weak and at a serious disadvantage. if jared didn't have an injury and wasn't like 15 pounds lighter and looking skinny and kind of fragile, i wonder if the cure might've gone a little bit differently.
Bevie
# Bevie 2014-10-24 12:25
Thanks nappie815. You've cheered me up considerably from the sadness of reading the last 2 reviews here. I admit I'm not the fondest of these two writers though. Edlund, Kripke or Gamble would have done much better, but we have to be realistic and they are gone. And if directed by Kim? Wow!

Jensen has proven himself as a fine director and he has no control (I don't think) over what scripts he is given. I thought perhaps Sam didn't use his own blood as he has mostly considered it tainted by Azazel and wouldn't want that for Dean as well.

I'm happy Sammy went all out to save his bro this time and hope he will always want to do the same. Hoping he understands now perfectly why Dean did what he did last season.

In this show til the end, no matter what. Love it above all others past, present and future!
nappi815
# nappi815 2014-10-24 12:54
Always my pleasure.....yo u are welcome:)
elle2
# elle2 2014-10-24 15:55
Hey, Bevie,

Shameless self-promotion aside (which, well, there is that ;) ) you're exactly the kind of viewer that I try to write for. So, if you get a moment, take a peek at my review at our sister site, TVFTROU. As Cheryl42 has put it, "A positive voice with a dash of criticism." So, if you're feeling blue about what others have said, give mine a try.

And, Gerry, I do not mean to tread on your feet here. I enjoy your reviews because I like taking a peek at the what others are saying and thinking. Plus, I fully understand the frustrations you have expressed -- and have done so with great clarity and kindness. Something I'm still learning. :P
cheryl42
# cheryl42 2014-10-24 15:30
As far as Jared in the sling goes it might be why Cas had to capture Dean. I don't think Jared or Sam could have physically overpowered Jensen or Dean even pretend. So yes I'm sure the cure/save was altered to suit Jared's injury. It did help to heighten the sense of how fragile Sam had become in his search for Dean and how almost insurmountable his task was. It actually worked so cudos to the writers here for altering their script to fit the injury.
uhmyeah
# uhmyeah 2014-10-24 02:46
I couldn't agree more about the acting, though I was well into the second season before I'd adjusted to how astonishingly good-looking J2 are enough to notice that "oh! They can act-how completely unnecessary". I came across Supernatural as a "binge" so for me Cas in particular barely qualifies as "supporting", although horribly misused. I met him two and a half weeks-not 3 yrs into the show. But I don't think Cas gets the save here.

Sam is smart enough to know he's no match for DDean physically, especially with the Mark & his arm injury. I think that's why he wants Cas there for back-up. He knows right from the start that he won't be able to kill Dean if it has to be done-when he stresses that with Cas, Cas gets the message and gets his fortunately re-tooled self home just in time-not to save Sam, but to prevent him from sacrificing himself. Sam DID the work, the treatments are a tedious, torturous process that allowed plenty of time for Sam to give up on Dean. But he persists despite Dean's taunting. Brothers know all the buttons and Dean hit every one trying to force Sam to give in. Dean was saved over the course of a day, not in the last 36 seconds. Sam saved Dean, Cas was there for clean-up. He was there at the very end, blade in hand, ready to do what he would have "had no choice"(a trait he shares with Dean) but to do had Sam not prevailed. I suppose to some extent for me the important part wasn't the physical saving Dean, but the emotional re-claiming of brotherhood that went on. Season 9 left me emotionally tired of the un-brothering between Sam and Dean. We've always known Dean is incapable of either killing Sam or letting him die. The persistence and conviction required to retrieve Dean focuses the reality that "if the roles were reversed" Sam would, in fact do whatever was needed to save Dean, and moreover, he is capable of standing up to Dean to do it. I totally empathized with Sam at the end: after S9&these first shows of S10- I was exhausted. I was just glad to have the brothers back and together. I include Cas in that-b/c he is part of the family-certainl y for Dean and increasingly for Sam. I didn't miss the "hug" moment-I think we got that when Dean died. This left more of a "so, yeah, I guess we are both here" feeling. It felt like a tentative new beginning. They both took a step back and I think they'll create a slightly different dynamic as they feel their way forward.

Thoughts about heaven/a heaven story line. To me the Cas relationships with Dean and with Sam provided a welcome perspective on both Sam and Dean b/c he appreciates both of them. He has much in common with Dean including the need to save everybody and the fear that it's a losing battle. But he's also intrigued by Sam and I think they share a kind of "explorers" approach to life (the Grace extraction was a co-operative learning situation for them that I think Dean would not have had any patience for). I don't see how anyone would expect the politics of heaven to be any more entertaining than the politics of the real world-and really guys, who IS the current Speaker of the House (3rd in line to the Presidency)? Cas and Gadreel are sympathetic b/c we see their struggle. Cas is ALWAYS at his best when he is trying to understand humans b/c he shines a light on our idiocyncracies and then makes nonsense out of what seemed obvious. There are a thousand different ways they could take the character that would push the Sam&Dean dynamic in new directions. Zero of them include Heaven's political situation. Maybe Cas sets out to mediate the damage he's done as he gradually fades: if he's coraling maverick angels what is Dean's take on angels living immeshed with humans if they're "playing nice"? What does Sam think? How can heaven be re-opened and do they, as a unit, think it needs to be re-opened? Are the brothers at all concerned about Cas dying or are they sure enough that there's no way for them to help that they just sit it out? Do the boys think Cas should try to straighten out Heaven?

Cas shows the brothers and the world through them in a different way and I really love those moments when he observantly clears things up as much as when he naively complicates the situation.
nappi815
# nappi815 2014-10-24 09:56
I agree;)
njspnfan
# njspnfan 2014-10-24 08:01
Rewatched the episode last night - more disappointed this time. So much wasted potential with the Demon Dean storyline, especially given the amount of hype leading up to the season. Such a huge cop-out in the direction they decided to go with the Demon Dean character. I'm hoping the MoC has a better payoff. And the who was the bigger monster thing was a whole lot of nothing - I sure hope there's more to this than what was shown. The scenes in the bunker, with the game of cat and mouse, and Demon Dean taunting Sam were good. If I were Sam, I'd sleep with one eye open because Dean was more human then demon when he escaped the devils trap and still wanted to kill him. We're still left wondering whether Sam would have killed Dean because he lowered the knife when he knew Castiel was there to restrain Dean; this part could have been handled a lot better but they were probably limited given JP's shoulder injury.

The actors did a great job with what they were given to work with, but someone really needs to give them something better to work with.

Will somebody please hurry up and close the gates of heaven to get rid of the angels - this has turned in to a major snooze fest. Rogue angels? Again? They were boring last season and they're still boring this season. Always thought a more compelling storyline for the angels would be for Cas and Hannah to look for a way to get the souls stuck in the veil in to heaven. Have they dropped this storyline for good?

Crowley was even made out to be boring in this episode; they really need to stop trying to portray hell, and leave it to the imagination. Each time they show hell it becomes more and more laughable.
uhmyeah
# uhmyeah 2014-10-24 23:42
The gates of heaven are closed. The ejected angels that survived the fall have gotten back in thru a portal. Other spirits (Kevin) however, are locked out.
njspnfan
# njspnfan 2014-10-25 06:44
yes, and hence my comment "Always thought a more compelling storyline for the angels would be for Cas and Hannah to look for a way to get the souls stuck in the veil in to heaven. Have they dropped this storyline for good? "
elle2
# elle2 2014-10-24 08:27
Gerry, great review. I appreciate that you took some time, got some perspective and then wrote. You wrote very good points. I too would have liked much more of the brother bond to have been what pulled Dean through, rather than the blood. Part of me is beginning to think though that that is the very point, Demon Dean was completely unresponsive to the bond, and Dean himself no longer believes Sam believes in the bond. I'm hopeful (but like you and others, worried it will not come to pass as I have felt 'lied to' or perhaps more gently 'misled' by the writers et al saying it's all about the brothers and then failing to show it on screen) that the brotherly bond comes more into play in regards to the MoC, which continues to be an issue. When that rears its head, how often and how it is fixed, if it is, I do not know. Part of me hopes it's a progression of some length, but I'm also concerned that it will be something like Sam's fractured head due to the time in the box with Lucifer, it will be discussed but rarely seen and then abruptly magically fixed. We'll see.

I think I'm more with Cheryl42 on this -- and I only say that to hopefully truncate this post, rather than cover ground CHeryl42 already covered. I do diverge on the Jensen directing part as where it may have suffered, and completely understand her POV. It may have suffered slightly in that Jensen had no "safety net" of a director to either pull more out or pull back at certain places, but I think he did a stellar job and don't wince at any of the choices he made (even as he expressed concerns over it to the fandom and hoped that it worked. It did, Jensen, it did.) For me, it's the writers. We no longer have writers on this show, aside from Carver who apparently does not touch anybody else's scripts or tweak them in the emotional department at all, judging by what I see on my TV each week, who can plumb the depths of the brothers' emotions and draw them out. Even as Ms. Gamble was not successful in my eyes as showrunner, she remained a fantastic writer and new how to write a script that gave depth. Raelle Tucker, Cathryn Humphries, Ben Edlund, and Eric Kripke also fit that bill, but sadly, none write for the show anymore, and the replacements have not matched up. I've made the choice to lower my expectations and take what I get.



For me, Sam's persistence, unrelenting determination, despite his fear of killing his brother due to his unwillingness to leave his brother as a demon, something he knows Dean himself does not want to be, is bringing it home to me these three episodes. I have quite a few shows now that I DVR and watch later simply so I can fast forward over the parts I despise and Supernatural now finds itself in that category as well, unless, as Gerry so accurately stated, when the stories converge with Sam and Dean's. Crowley's scenes in hell could have been truncated to one scene showing how bored he was, even muttering under his breath something about howling at the moon and we would have completely understood that he missed happier days and not the boring administrative 'stuff' he was stuck with doing. Take that screen time and give it back to Sam and Dean, and also greatly shorten the whole Cas to Hannah "it's me, not you" regarding high school angel romance and we would have had more push and pull of the emotional kind between the brothers, which was so necessary. But as I stated above, the show no longer has the caliber of writer to pull that off, so I settle for what I got and find the joy.


I found Sam's eagerness to get Dean some junk food and then get drunk perfectly plausible. Both men are beat up, physically, mentally, emotionally, and both need a break. Sam needs Dean to be Dean again, crap food included, since it has been a long time since Dean has been Dean -- ever since the MoC arrived long. Sam's desire to get drunk isn't him hiding, but more the need to let go all the discipline he's held onto since he laid Dean's dead body on the bed and got drunk in despair, only to turn himself around the next moment and summon Crowley, who instead awakened Dean and the two went off howling at the moon. Pretty sure Sam has not touched a drink since then as he was all consumed with finding and saving Dean. It's time to relax a moment, take a breath, get hammered and then pick up. Sam is doing the very thing Cas told Dean to do, taking some time to heal, courtesy of some whiskey.

Thanks for writing this Gerry. I look forward to your reviews each week. :-)
winmomwannabe
# winmomwannabe 2014-10-24 11:12
I loved the episode. I agree with nappi815 and elle2 and your conclusions. Of course an entire 42 minutes of S/D and the cure would have been wonderful to watch, but the reality of making a TV show has to be considered. And yes, I think we must accept that if we want J2 to continue with the show other characters are a necessity. Constant 12 hour days are exhausting. Not even health care professionals have to work 4 or 5 of them in a row. And some of those days stretch to 14-16 hours I believe. So I have adapted my expectations of how much screen time S/D and their story will get each week.

I totally believe Sam made the save as well. He was totally spent afterwards and I had no problem with him going to get Dean crap food. I found it a little endearing actually, considering how many times he calls Dean on that. Ha.

I also trust J2. They appear to have more and more influence on the final product than in the past. They used to always defer to the writers, etc when asked about story lines, words used. They now both admit to changing some lines. Many times because they felt they were not what guys would do. They are guys people. And let's admit it, the majority of fans are female. We would probably always say or do it differently. Jensen has many times mentioned if he was uncomfortable with a scene not being realistic for guys. And J2 changed it. Maybe because I have 3 grown sons I accept that more readily. But the bottom line is guys do react differently and especially S/D with all of their baggage of the past. I feel like there is more to come. Adam Glass has hinted at that coming in his episode next week. Both boys have a LOT to deal with, think about, absorb, about what has happened the past months. Both were off balance at the end, as were we. I think it was on purpose. But I have confidence they will show us a 'talk' and we all know how S/D can say very little, but get their point across.

Still loving show. :)
E
# E 2014-10-25 13:29
Quote:
Crowley's scenes in hell could have been truncated to one scene showing how bored he was, even muttering under his breath something about howling at the moon and we would have completely understood that he missed happier days and not the boring administrative 'stuff' he was stuck with doing. Take that screen time and give it back to Sam and Dean, and also greatly shorten the whole Cas to Hannah "it's me, not you" regarding high school angel romance and we would have had more push and pull of the emotional kind between the brothers, which was so necessary.
You read my mind! There could have been 1 scene of Crowley and 1 scene of Cas/Hannah, perhaps the one where they are already at the gas station, the one where Crowley shows up and saves Cas, and all of the information that we needed re: these characters would have been adequately delivered and all that extra time, 10-15 more minutes AT LEAST (if not more) could have been used to showcase Dean's cure. Various stages he could have gone through, like lashing out more than what we got, then bargaining with Sam ("If you let me go, I'll let you live") then on to breaking down and begging for mercy with Dean wrecked and half dead and Sam appalled, agonized and self doubting and desperately trying to convince both himself and Dean that this was the best thing and maybe not believing it. THAT would have been epic. Geez it practically writes itself!
elle2
# elle2 2014-10-26 09:42
Good stuff here, E. You're right: it does practically write itself! Ah, well, I'll imagine it in my dreams. :P
Elisa
# Elisa 2014-10-24 11:23
I'm a fan of Sam and Dean's brotherhood just like you and I usually very much enjoy your reviews, but this time I have to disagree. Despite the weak script, it was Sam who saved Dean because that wasn't just one moment, it was entire process during three episodes of Sam looking for Dean, finding him, finding what is the cure and curing him gradually during this episode, so it wasn't really something that anyone could have administred because only Sam cared enough to do every of those things. Cas said to Sam that DD would have to be killed if he doesn't make it with the cure. And I disagree that he saved the entire day, he only helped Sam to re-capture demon Dean and then Sam finished the cure. And about mentioning in one of the comments that it was human Dean trying to kill Sam, I only watched episode once, but I remember Dean saying when he took the hammer that he's still demon enough to try to kill. And he does carry the mark of the man who killed his brother, so I'm not that surprised that demon Dean would also try to do that. MoC story is not over.
Gerry
# Gerry 2014-10-24 11:44
I don't disagree that Sam's determination to find his brother showed their bond. But to me, this episode had to show that emotional component being critical to Dean holding on to his humanity, as he's done for Sam in the past. That's how the bond has been characterized: they keep each other human. I didn't find the mechanical process of injecting blood to carry the emotional weight of Sam being able in some way to help Dean find himself. Also, we know Dean was more Dean than Demon Dean because he could walk out of the devil's trap, so there was something there to reach. And if Dean was murderous because of the MoC, then nothing has been solved at all and Sam can't turn his back on Dean, because he still has the mark. He should still be willing to kill Sam as long as he has the mark. And I don't think the story will pick up from that standpoint. I think we're supposed to think there was some kind of breakthrough made with Sam and Dean. I just don't see it myself.
eilf
# eilf 2014-10-24 12:26
Gerry, I am deeply in denial (obviously) about what the show ... and the showrunner ... and the actors now ... appear to be continually telling us about who each of the brothers are. But for the first time in a long time I almost feel like maybe they are playing something of a con on us. I don't think that Dean and Sam have had a breakthrough at all. I think they have gotten to the point where Dean gets that Sam was angry in the Purge and while he said the sorts of things Dean says to Sam on a regular basis (which Sam takes to heart, but usually makes allowances for, because Dean is his brother) Sam didn't actually leave and he didn't give up so maybe he does love him after all (can we at least get past this canard, (that Dean has any genuine reason to think that Sam doesn't) if nothing else, in this episode?) ... Sam also compromised all his ethics in the quest to rescue Dean, which ought to be something that we care about.

I think though that Dean may have discovered that now he has gotten exactly what he has always thought he wanted (solid proof that Sam loves him enough to sacrifice everything just for him - because the show's pilot episode was in Season 8, as we are all aware) that maybe it isn't as good as he imagined. In the meantime Sam can't help but take to heart what the demon said. He also has to cope with the compromise to his morality and ethics - the removal after so short a time of his potential to be a Knight of the round table - which he may feel was bad enough that his blood cannot be purified?

Further Dean has had a taste of what it is like to not be a hunter. To not be single-minded in pursuit of an unobtainable goal (convincing himself that his father is proud of him) and that maybe there is something else in life. I think he is going to spend a deal of time trying to reconcile that for himself and hopefully coming to realise that he is capable of making choices for HIMSELF. I hope so much that this is the case, I really do.

I really think that if there is to be a breakthrough it was never meant to be at this point. This was Sam's chance to save Dean (well apart from all the other times he saved Dean, but that gets too complicated), and he did it and was was awesome. The fact that the cure was more mechanical than emotional, that almost human-Dean would have killed Sam when Sam lowered the knife and that Dean faked some snark with the divorce comment leads me to believe that there is a breakthrough that we have not achieved yet.

Sam saved Dean. He finally, after I don't know how many seasons, has a win under his belt. He may come to see that he can want to live (and even be a hunter) for other reasons than that Dean doesn't want to let him go.

I would like to see some discussion about it between the guys next week and clarification as to which bits of what Dean said (if any) he meant - I really do think that that is a spanner that the writers intend to stick in the works. But I would really prefer that neither of the next two writers lined up are the ones who get to write the real reconcilliation (should it still be out there somewhere) - Robert Berens maybe, or Jeremy Carver would be better. *Please, oh great glow cloud, could we have Sera back?*

But tying it all up with a bow in this episode would have been too soon and not very satisfying in my opinion
E
# E 2014-10-26 08:55
Agreed eilf… not to mention that reconciliation being handled by this writing duo. Can you imagine Ross-Leming and Bruckner trying to tackle the carefully nuanced "were talking about this by not actually talking about this but its overly emotional anyway" non-speak that is par for the course in Winchester land? The conversation that the brothers still need to have would be a disaster with this writing team. Yes, Robert Behren and maybe Robbie Thompson or even Dabb if he's on his game still the way he was for Riechenbach. But R-L/B bringing on the feels? Getting down to the Winchester nitty gritty? No way.
eilf
# eilf 2014-10-26 14:46
Edit: well, I suppose since the episodes are already written and there is no point in borrowing trouble I shouldn't say what I had here before. Personally I don't want Robbie Thompson writing the boys' reconcilliation because I don't think he can do them BOTH justice. But that is just my opinion. I will wait and see what the next couple of episodes look like before deciding if I should continue to watch the show.
E
# E 2014-10-26 18:56
True, RT is very good a humor, meta and snarky Dean but he's terrible at Sam.
JuliaG
# JuliaG 2014-10-24 14:12
I agree with that, but this episode just wasn't written well. I keep thinking about what we would have gotten if any of the season 4 writers (Edlund!) had crafted it, and I just want to weep. Having said that, I don't think that Demon Dean was supposed to be influenced by Sam, any more that Soulless Sam by Dean. The objective to this episode I think was simply to get rid of the demon and they did that. Also, saying that Cas got the "win", not Sam, to me is like saying that Death saved Sam when he was soulless, not Dean. There's no doubt in my mind that Dean is now himself again because of what Sam did during the last 3 episodes.

As far as the relationship between the brothers, IMO they are now in a place where healing can start. Sam has finally saved Dean and for once doesn't feel that he let Dean down. Dean should finally believe that Sam truly cares about him. Hopefully that leads to a more loving, equal relationship, but we'll see. And we know that the Mark will still be a problem and hopefully the bond between the brothers will prevent Dean to do what Cain did to his own brother. That's my hope anyway.

But, like you, I was deeply disappointed in the episode. The Crowley cure was so much better, and Sam and Dean deserved at least that. What I agree with you the most though, is that the lack of focus on the brothers in favor of an ensemble show doesn't work. With all those balls being thrown in the air, none of the stories are being told well.
Elisa
# Elisa 2014-10-25 09:19
Thank you for answering. I hope that emotional componenet will happen. Going by the pattern of last two seasons, Carver usually waits until finale of the season for resolution, so since MoC is still very much in play and there is lot of things about it that we still don't know, maybe the real emotional resolution will be in the season finale. At least I hope, because without brotherhood as the core of the show, I don't think I could watch further.
Gerry
# Gerry 2014-10-25 16:16
Elisa, thank you for all your comments! I'm so pleased people have had such thoughtful posts, whether they agree with my viewpoint or not. I agree with you that Carver has been waiting to deliver meaningful emotional exploration until his finales, probably because he is a fantastic writer and knows how to do that. But to me, that kind of arc pacing is not strong and weakens the story because we should get emotional pay off during episodes that deal with high stakes. Not a final emotional wrap up, but a pay off. I don't want to have to wait until the finale to get a pay off for Sam finding a way to cure Dean. I want to see and feel that in action during the curing episode. I think that's very different than expecting the entire arc wrapped up in a bow. I want and expect further exploration of the MoC and Sam's ethics. But this step needed its own emotional arc within the episode. It started well, but to me just finished limply. And I think the missing component was Sam actually using his understanding of and connection with Dean to help bring about the cure. Without that element, the cure was so mechanical, anyone could have done it. Which really is the antithesis of the bond. I hope Carver does see the bond as the core of the show, because I do. At this point, I don't know what Carver thinks. We'll see how Sam's actions are framed for us as the season goes on.
E
# E 2014-10-26 09:08
I agree wholeheartedly with you on this Gerry:
Quote:
I agree with you that Carver has been waiting to deliver meaningful emotional exploration until his finales, probably because he is a fantastic writer and knows how to do that. But to me, that kind of arc pacing is not strong and weakens the story because we should get emotional pay off during episodes that deal with high stakes. Not a final emotional wrap up, but a pay off. I don't want to have to wait until the finale to get a pay off for Sam finding a way to cure Dean. I want to see and feel that in action during the curing episode. I think that's very different than expecting the entire arc wrapped up in a bow.
Caver HAS been waiting until episode 23 to deliver the heart of this show, and I further agree that this is not good pacing; too little, too late as the saying goes. It also creates a vacuum in the entirety of the middle of the season and that's not good. It kind of worked in season 8 because Sacrifice was so epically awesome. However even season 9's finale was a major disappointment for me. Trite one liners were uttered by the brothers instead of a real, meaningful understanding of one another of the type delivered in Sacrifice. Then we were told after the fact by Carver in an interview that the brothers "had reached an understanding and were in a good place." Uh? WHEN did this happen? Cause that's not what I saw on my screen. It seems to me that more and more TPTB are telling us in interviews what they are not showing us on our screens. Fails in the writing for sure, with Carver left to do mop up in interviews. Maybe Kripke had a knack for seeing young, new writing potential and then fostering that potential in a way that Carver doesn't. Robert Behrens is the most promising of the lot currently and Dabb surprised me with Reichenbach, if he can continue this level of writing I will change my opinion on him. Ah… Eric, Sera, Ben, Katherine, Raelle we knew you when…..
rabbit_with_fangs
# rabbit_with_fangs 2014-10-24 22:55
I think you're bang-on with this review, Gerry. The cure (seriously? What looked like one of the most interesting developments in the past few years of the show is..cured? Just like that?) was just the complete avatar of an anti-climax. Jensen was great (when is he not)...but the writing; the banality of hell, the bait-and-switch of Hannah's growing interest in Cas as something other than an Angelic leader, all of it left me with a completely 'meh' feeling. I really hope next week can pick up the slack the way "Reichenbach" improved drastically on "Black". And now that Dean's no longer a demon (we assume, although of course the writers have left the Mark of Cain storyline open), I'm suddenly not caring about Cole and his quest. What a waste of all his research on demons!
I *do* remember Malachi well, though, as that's my son's name. I knew it would eventually show up in SPN and was stoked when it did.
Ginger
# Ginger 2014-10-25 00:01
Excellent review, Gerry. There isn't one point that I would disagree with in your review. I would point out a further disappointment of mine, and that is that there was not one set-up that gives me anything to look forward to from here concerning the Winchesters and a story for them. Dean has the MoC, which was barely mentioned in this episode; but because it was mentioned, we can assume that it will affect Dean in some way. We watched that last season, didn't we? Sam crossed a moral boundary in his search for Dean and that will cause Sam to feel...somethin g. New character to be introduced...so metime. Skit episodes to follow.

I did think the acting and the direction was excellent all around, and Cas and Crowley are okay to give the brothers time off. However, I am finding that I wait a week every week for the one show I watch regularly on TV only to see between 10 and 18 minutes of the only two characters I have any interest in. As someone who has spent ten years faithfully supporting this show, I am feeling short-changed and, actually, angry about that, so I fully understand your changing relationship with the show. Unfortunately, I don't have the faith in Carver or the writers to offer you words of encouragement. I watch because I love to see JA perform and when SPN is over, I expect a long dry spell before I have the opportunity to do that again. I can't say that I enjoy the show any longer, but I do enjoy his work.
Sharon
# Sharon 2014-10-25 05:29
The cure was bland. The writing can hit the mark if it wants to as Sacrifice showed but this was a bland cure I do not know how much will be followed through on and how much will be hand-waved away? Dean spilled certain feelings and then wanted to harm Sam with a hammer when he wasn't a full demon anymore that is something serious .
nappi815
# nappi815 2014-10-25 08:59
Here's the thing. The cure wasn't a cure. All this comparison with how Sam cured Crowley and what seems to be going unnoticed is that Sam cured Crowley in the season finale. Everything that happened in Sacrifice was the end result of an entire season. Nobody knew what we were going to get in sacrifice, so it felt like such a climax, but in reality every episode of the season led up to it. It was a process, a journey. We were unwittingly built up for what was to happen and when it did, we were floored by it. It left us wanting more....hence our anticipation for s9.

carver told everyone that this season was going to be different. this season is going to be the personal journey of all four characters. He also flat out told us that it would take time.

I see a lot of judgment of how dean was cured as being anticlimactic. of course it's not going to be anything close to what sam did for Crowley. this story has just begun and sam didn't really cure dean yet. all sam did was get dean back to human status. it's a bandaid not a cure. it was merely step one of a serious and difficult process. Sam succeeded in that first step. It's not over, both sam and dean have a way to go. Much like it was in s8, the build up to what we know will be the actual cure is going to take place throughout the season. That's where the emotion will come into play. That's when we'll see the bond at it's best. It's never been about getting dean back from demon status ......it's about keeping dean human while he bears the moc. it's about sam being by dean's side every step of the way while dean experiences life with this mark. dean won't be dean until that mark is gone. dean now carries with him a monster that he'll literally have to fight with every core of his being on a daily basis. there will only be one person who's going to be there throughout every episode of this season to make sure that dean doesn't lose this fight. only sam, with his love and perseverance can assure dean's conquest. only sam can reach dean like no other. it's going to be a weekly journey for us all...and it's not going to happen in one full swoop. we're going to get moments. ea. week we'll get to see both boys fight the moc, fight to keep dean human.
this is the journey of the Winchesters this season. this is where we get to see the true strength of their bond. this is when we get to see them slowly come to terms with ea. other and who they are. this is when we'll get to see the emotional tie they truly share....as they experience dean's very serious dilemma together, and as they both work together as brothers, as a family to find a way to truly get dean back.

I expect a very climactic ending when sam and dean finally meet up with cain. I also don't expect such a meeting til the end of the season. for now, i'm going to enjoy every single minute of these two boys work together to make sure that happens. i'm going to enjoy every minute of watching sam and dean's bond flourish as they cope with dean's situation. i'm going to enjoy every minute that dean relies on sam to keep him grounded. i'm going to freaking enjoy every single moment of the healing process and i'm going to absolutely bask in the glory of the journey i'll be taking this season. ;)
Lilah_Kane
# Lilah_Kane 2014-10-25 09:47
Thanks Nappi,

I really really really! needed to read this to get my mood up. You are thinking the same as me and I think this is also as a start of the journey. I have actually gotten slightly depressed about what I have read all around. Not that what they say is true but just... Well, My opinion is turning more and more to not read stuff at all online if this continues. I still wonder how people can see things so differently but I guess that can't be helped. Also sometimes it feels that people are blamed still for liking the show. That we also should yell and scream how this is bad and that is wrong and because we don't. That we are wrong and looked down upon. That we are the reason that the show is "sucky". That is actually getting to me the most at this point.

And no, I haven't changed my mind. I have loved all three episodes. They have not made me go to barricades and will not. I did not do that even with the Leviathan's which I really disliked the most in the series thus far. And if they couldn't make me do that then nothing will probably. (Except bringing them back, please no.) :D

We have 20 more episodes to go for the whole story and I am in for the ride the whole way.

- Lilah
nappi815
# nappi815 2014-10-25 10:57
firstly lilah,

you are very welcome. I just call it as I see it. ;) oh and by the by...don't ever feel that you can't feel good or even bad about this show. everybody sees things differently and sometimes there's not as much positivity out there as we ourselves might be feeling...and that goes for the other way around as well. :)

I just happen to treasure this show. it's one of the few things in this ugly world that is truly beautiful. i'm grateful for it every day. it's the one thing, that no matter what type of a funk I might be in....I turn this show on and I smile. I watch it every night and every night for the last ten years, I go to bed with a smile, no matter what kind of day I had.

I'm just in it for the pleasure. I don't analyze and dissect the show as I watch. I barely pay attention to continuity problems although I do notice them, and i'm not a stickler for canon. the boys aren't the same now as they were then. experiences changed them and I accept that...just as much as I accept that i'm not the same person I was when I was younger. so I don't pine or long for writers of the past. I admit that they were better, but I don't spend my time comparing seasons and pining for what was. I live in the now and appreciate what I have and that includes this show.

I will never complain or find fault with this show. if I do have feelings of frustration towards a character, I will always make it a point to try to understand where they are coming from. I will forever defend both brothers, even if I think one of them is being a dinkhead. :D I will always see the good points and ignore what I don't care for. I will always find the positive, especially if I see nothing but negative comments...I will forever be a pain in the ass to those who don't always see things in a positive light because I always do. I know there are people out there who see my name and skip what I write. I know there are people out there who tire from my positive outlook....and it's ok. I understand that. we all have a right to feel what we feel. I don't go out of my way to try to change people's opinions, I only just offer another way of looking at things....if people can change their negative outlook to a more positive one....well then that's just a bonus. ;)

lilah I look forward to your posts. they are uplifting and always a pleasure to read. I am one of those who welcome and appreciate your constant positivity. it's refreshing and most enjoyable and more importantly, necessary. do not underestimate your positive outlook and don't think for a moment it's not appreciated, because it is. so please, keep it up....for all of our sakes. ;)

ps...if you feel that you need to find yourself in a more positive atmosphere....I would stick to farawayeyes reviews. she's always positive and never has single complaint. i'm not faulting other reviewers here, i'm just pointing out that her reviews have always been unique and most uplifting in nature. Her outlook is similar to ours and her positivity is so contagious that the posts she elicits from others are mostly positive in nature, even if those posts weren't as positive in another's review. :D;)
cheryl42
# cheryl42 2014-10-25 13:08
It was pointed out to me that my post was pretty offensive to Gerry's review and for that I truly apologize. It was a pretty thoughtless way to put it. Very sorry Gerry I really meant no offense. I really do love your reviews and I hope you keep writing.
Gerry
# Gerry 2014-10-25 20:48
No apologies necessary. I didn't take any offense. I'm glad to have people read and discuss my review and I'm glad to be part of a community of writers where there are different viewpoints expressed. It's all good! I'm rather sad that I'm feeling frustrated with the show and am all for people who are really happy to have places to discuss that. And for that matter, to feel free to discuss their viewpoint here. I truly hope the next couple of episodes helps me find my way with the show. That's what I'm hoping for.
LEAH
# LEAH 2014-10-25 21:48
Hi Gerry this is my fault, I'm afraid. I was just worrying out loud on the cbox. I never said anyone's posts were offensive, especially not Cheryl's. I just thought that suggesting people visit more "positive" reviews and writers could possibly be taken wrong and was talking in general not to Cheryl specifically. In this instance I should have kept my thoughts to myself!! I apologize to Cheryl and to you! :(
Gerry
# Gerry 2014-10-25 22:45
Hi Leah, I think it's a nice sign that as a community we're all thinking of each other's feelings, and I thank you for having that kind of care. I haven't been offended by any posts, as I said. I knew my review would not match everyone's feelings, but I hoped it might spark some good discussion and I think it has. I usually find when there's been a lively but polite debate that I do process more about the episode, so thanks to everyone who has offered their thoughts.
cheryl42
# cheryl42 2014-10-25 22:55
As I said already no worries. :)
nappi815
# nappi815 2014-10-25 23:59
Gerry,

I hope I didn't offend you in my post. I read your reviews all the time and I always appreciate the time and effort you put into them...actually that could be said of all the reviewers. I don't always agree with everything, but I kind of think that's ok because it makes for great discussion. I just was trying to make lilah feel better and a little less overwhelmed. I hope mentioning fae reviews as a place of solace didn't offend you or make you feel bad in any way. I wasn't implying anything regarding your reviews, like I said, I read your reviews all the time. the only reason I mentioned fae specifically is because her analysis is always a positive one. the way she analyzes the episode is unlike most reviews. I guess because of the positive way in which she expresses her viewpoints, and every viewpoint is always positive, most people respond in a more positive manner, even if they hadn't in another reviewers site. that doesn't take away from the quality of your or everyone else's reviews..I think you all work really hard for us and I appreciate the time you take to write these articles. I may not agree with everything that is written...but I always consider it worth the read....;)
LEAH
# LEAH 2014-10-26 00:22
Oh dear, Nappi this is all on me. Gerry wasn't offended. I opened a can of worms then couldn't shove them back in.
cheryl42
# cheryl42 2014-10-26 00:36
I know your post wasn't in reply to me but I will answer you anyway. I do this all the time when I write a post that I think might have been offensive. When I reread the post it sounded insensitive so I apologized and deleted it. Fortunately Gerry didn't take offense. My intentions were good I just need to be a little more careful how I word my posts. This is just me being over reactive, my primary nature.
Lilah_Kane
# Lilah_Kane 2014-10-25 15:04
Thanks,

and I actually do read your comments. They are insightful and like FAE's reviews I like them a lot. :)

- Lilah
Sharon
# Sharon 2014-10-25 10:28
To be honest I do not really care what they do I had enough from last season . I do not doubt the idea is to have Sam standing by Dean ( if I was him by some distance ) and the romantic idea that the bond can cure all and the Winchesters march into the future arm in arm conquering all before them including the MOC and that is fine . But how we have got here is not for me ,it should not of been turned back on Sam .
elle2
# elle2 2014-10-26 09:56
Hi, Nappi815,

Great comment. Like you, I'm focusing on Carver's words regarding the slower build, the quieter overall mythology, the more personal journeys for the characters this season. While I wouldn't have minded a longer arc of Demon Dean and the quest to remove the demon, episode 5 is the 200th episode and it wouldn't be right to have this one storyline -- unless someone extremely skilled used that as a launchpad to revisit the history of the Winchesters as a way to reach DD and cure him, through some flashbacks and lots of reflection, but that can become very schmaltzy very quickly if not in especially skilled hands. So, with number 5 such a pinnacle, number 4 needs to be a bit of a breather, a cleanser from the intensity, thus DD arc is resolved in 3 episodes. As I said in my reviews on our sister site, I loved those three episodes.

What is to come? Well, the journey of the MoC and what that means to both. Your thoughts above are exactly mine, the brothers at each others' sides, keeping each other human. I'm hopeful, based especially on Jared's comments of how Sam is really keeping an eye on Dean, and on Jensen's of how Dean is trying to keep his judgment form being clouded or letting his guard down (perhaps no alcohol bandaid?) and then we'll see what comes each Tuesday night.

You have great comments, and I'm enjoying reading your thoughts.
:-)
nappi815
# nappi815 2014-10-26 19:51
thank you....and ditto back at ya;):)

i think they ended the dd storyline at the perfect time. it's like when shows want to go out with a bang instead of waiting til people get tired of watching (which thank chuck has not happened with our wonderful show:D) , dd was scary and menacing...but demons can only do so much before one tires from the same ole, same ole....with dd there were just enough eps to keep him interesting...a nd i like that dd went out with a bang than with a fizzle. anyhow....the real story, the compelling stuff is in the boys dealing with the moc and getting rid of it....this is one story i'm really excited about. i don't expect psych sessions with ea. other....but i do believe we're going to get some insight into what's going on in their heads finally.....i don't expect chick flick moments....but i do think we'll get the brothers opening up to ea. other....which is damn fine by me. :D i think we're finally get a little less dys in their function...:p:D
LEAH
# LEAH 2014-10-25 17:01
Hi Gerry. Thank you for your review. I enjoy reading all the reviews whether or not they fall in line with how I feel or not. I don't particularly agree with this one but appreciated your thoughts. I enjoyed the episode very much. I won't go into it too much here as I've been repeating myself in every post:). I found the brothers scenes satisfying and did not feel the need for more bro-moments at this time. It was a quiet and satisfying ending for me. Sam off to buy Dean some junk food, obviously delighted to be able to do so, I just loved it. I am excited by this season. Things aren't perfect, that's ok with me. I won't try and read too much into any scene, line, or nuance at this time, I will just keep watching and see what unfolds and take it as it comes. Thanks again Gerry.
amyh
# amyh 2014-10-25 17:25
I dont know how i feel about this expect maybe Sam needs to continue sleeping with a gun under his pillow. Death by hammer is very very messy, slow and painful. Can Dean as a demon conduit that Cole planned to torture Sam with a hammer? Did he choose the hammer for that reason?

Why....if Crowly despises ruling Hell so much why is he clinging to hard to the position? Why not just throw the symbolic sceptor intot he ring and let the other demons fight over it? And why am i supposed to be sympathetic to Crowly? You want to be a demon ...be a demon. You want to be human...be human. But what ever he chooses he should pay the price. He needs to asnwer for Sarah Blakes murder. he needs to answer to having Lisa and ben Braedon kidnapped and tortured. He should NOT be rewarded for those actions by becoming besties with a Winchester.

I kind of like how Dean iws no longer a demon and yet Cole is researching Demons and will approach Dean as one. Will Dean and/or Sam clash with Cole? Will one of them have to kill Cole? And even if Cole accepts Dean as a human will still attack because he needs the closure of revenge? Cole is a fascinating wild card...or would be...but i expect him to become Deans new bestie by the end of the season. Everyone always trips over themselves to become Deans new special friend.

The Angels need to be exterminated like the roaches they are.
LEAH
# LEAH 2014-10-25 18:22
You know it WOULD be funny if Cole approached Dean like he was demon possessed (which I know he wasn't but Cole doesn't know that) , throwing holy water on him, maybe making a devils trap and then spewing Latin at him. I can see the look on Dean's face now....right before he leveled Cole.:D
amyh
# amyh 2014-10-26 09:34
Leah - i would hope Dean would show some empathy to/for Cole. Dean (and Sam) HAVE been in Cole's position and should understand what he is going through and just how much the need for revenge for a loved one motivates someone. My heart sort of bleeds for Cole because of the role reversal. Imagine if Deana and Sam finally found Azazel and just as they were about to take their revenge.....som eone steps in and says "nope. You can't, he's my friend/brother adn he was possessed/not in his right mind/no longer a monster." And then Azazel 'leveled' Dean.

In the grand scheme of things Cole and his father should matter and souldn't be walked over by Dean as if they were an insignificant ant.
LEAH
# LEAH 2014-10-26 12:52
Amyh, maybe you couldn't tell but I was joking. I wasn't making any real statement about the storyline or Cole as a character! Nor did I imply Dean should be unsympathetic or that Cole and his fathers memory should be "walked over". Sheesh. We have no idea how it's all going to play out yet. I assume Cole is going to make a run at Dean and if we are going to be dead serious here I would hope that Dean levels him in that case versus killing him outright. I see no reason why Dean would not understand where Cole is coming from, it seems to be a misunderstandin g, but he is not going to let Cole kill him.
E
# E 2014-10-26 09:28
I agree with your post amyh… Sam better sleep with one eye open from now on cause the majority of Dean wanted to kill Sam even after he was human enough to walk out of a devils trap. I'd like to think that this is an important plot point, but because it's Ross-Leming/Bru ckner I am just assuming that they choose the easiest way to get Dean out of his bonds and didn't even give one thought to what they were setting up with mostly human Dean still wanting to kill his brother in the most awful, messy and painful way he could think of. I'll bet we never hear another word about it.

So, does Sam have any kind of story line at all this season? He's been awesome and tenacious as hell so far and I've enjoyed him, but him being a worrying nelly over Dean all season is not a story. Even when Dean was being a worrying nelly over Sam he got his own storyline (with the exception of the end of season 8, where he was pretty much just a nelly). I want Sam to have something other than dealing with Dean to do. And like you, I'll be pissed if Cole connects only with Dean after all this.

And this idea that all characters connect only with Dean…. I am still not clear on why Crowley singled out Dean to connect with in the first place. Crowley and Sam shared a profound moment during Sacrifice and then all of a sudden Crowley is besties with DEAN? Why is that? Why didn't Crowley try to manipulate Sam into taking on the MoC? Especially after he went so far as to help Sam boot Gadreel? I don't get it and the show didn't tell us. All of a sudden Crowley has designs on Dean for absolutely no reason. So now watching Crowley pine after Dean seems weird and a bit stalker creepy.
nappi815
# nappi815 2014-10-26 19:38
i don't think so e. i think the reason dd wanted to kill sam even though he had enough human blood in him to cross over the devils trap has everything to do with the moc. dean isn't just a person possessed by a demon....he is the demon himself. it's not only that his soul is twisted and black, being a demon is all he's contending with....he bears the moc, which was slowly but surely changing dean for the worse. the moc was transforming dean into a demon...he would've become such whether he died or not. the more he killed, the more he fed the moc, the more he changed. death only made it happen quicker. so sam isn't just dealing with a regular demon...he's dealing with a demon who bears the moc and it's the moc that's always lusted after blood.

sam may have turned dean back to human status, but dean still bears the moc. he hasn't been cured. it's a temporary fix. the moc will come into play and it'll be sam who has to be dean's touchstone this time around. sam vs. the moc....winner gets dean......sam will keep dean grounded, he'll be the only one who can reach dean.....it won't be easy. sam will have to monitor dean all the time. sam might even have to kill for dean, so he won't have to. dean is still susceptible to changing back as long as he has the moc. the big difference now though is before dean didn't feel he had sam....now sam is there for dean. dean isn't alone. dean having sam by his side is a game changer....dean will get his strength from him....sam will be his "collette" so to speak and do for dean what she did for cain. the only way for dean to be cured is to get rid of the moc. i think that's what the boys, both boys will be doing this season...it won't be one has a story and one doesn't....they share the same story and the same goal. ;)
E
# E 2014-10-27 06:53
A little bit of an explanation would have been nice. I don't need everything spelled out for me, but I DO need to have new plot elements put into context and they simply did not do that here and that is a writing fail. This particular writing team does that a LOT; introduces new and seemingly crucial plot points and then provides zero context. It's just not good dramatic construction, period. I think these writers in particular need to haul out their old copies of Mabley and take a refresher course. Either that, or Carver needs to demand better construction from everyone on the writing team. It's pretty obvious that Kripke did that, but Carver? Not so much. :(