I went into “Paper Moon” with some pretty low expectations.  After last week’s disappointment, I wasn’t sure if any writer was able to tackle where Sam and Dean were supposed to go from here.  They’re in a pretty bad place, and the hits have been coming bad since the trials began.  How do they regroup?  How do they possibly find their way back to their normal lives?  

Well, I think Adam Glass did pretty well.  No, “Paper Moon” wasn’t a huge thriller.  It was  simplistic in it’s construction and was often predictable, but it should have been.  The tone was ideal for Sam and Dean’s headspace.  The brothers found even something light like a werewolf gone wrong saga a bit much for them both.  Through no less that FIVE (count it, five!) brotherly conversations, we found that they’re both hurting and neither are okay.  Both also don’t know what to do about it.  


The Episode

It made me really smile to hear Warren Zevon’s “Werewolves of London” on this show.  Don’t you think it would have been used by now on “Supernatural”?  Just because I adore you all, I’m going to share a fun, yet totally unrelated to the episode moment in rock history.  Back in 2004, BBC2 declared that “Werewolves in London” had the most memorable opening lyric in rock history.  "Saw a werewolf with a Chinese menu in his hand, walking through the streets of Soho in the rain, he was looking for a place called Lee Ho Fook's, going to get a big dish of beef chow mein.”  Unfortunately Warren Zevon had passed away from cancer by this time, so his son Jordan accepted the posthumous award, explaining simply that the lyric “…was probably fueled by a little too much vodka.”  And that’s the fun facts portion of the review.  You’re welcome.   

Right, I was so absorbed by the song in the teaser, I totally forgot we got a textbook werewolf attack.  It was enough to get Sam and Dean’s attention and we get our own big moment in “Supernatural” history.  Have we EVER seen Dean and Sam sitting by the lake in lawn chairs with sunglasses on drinking beer?  We saw Dean once doing that while fishing in “The Rapture,” but that was dream.  This alone makes the episode worth the price of admission, even though the vacation never lasts with these two.  Also, is that the same lake that “Dead in the Water” was filmed? (Turns to our resident location expert Bardicvoice for the answer).  

TALK #1.  The brothers are supposed to be relaxing, but they don’t look very relaxed.  Going back to our useless moment in rock trivia, Warren Zevon while dying of cancer was asked for words of wisdom from David Letterman.  The answer, “Enjoy every sandwich.”  It does not look like Sam and Dean are enjoying that sandwich.  Dean at least lightens the mood by ribbing Sam about his shoulder injury (Dean’s right, Sam was had way too many incidents of physical harm to be hampered so long by something so trivial). Then he springs the request.  People are dying from strange animal attacks and he needs to work.  That’s the trouble with these brothers.  There’s always that itch to hunt, that desire to work away all the anxiety that’s stewing.  No time for sandwiches.  Occupational hazard.

relaxingnot

Dean tries the “milk run” angle, but Sam knows better.  “When does that ever happen?  Never.”  Dean begs, Sam agrees with conditions, Dean jumps on that quickly before Sam has a chance to change his mind.  But Sam’s worried, that’s for sure.  He’s got a bad feeling about what they’re getting into.  So that raises one of the big questions explored in this episode.  It’s not if Dean is ready to hunt, it’s is Sam ready to hunt with Dean?  

We go into the back and forth for most of the episode, monster, monster, brothers talk, monster, monster, talk, and so on.  In a nutshell, people are getting their hearts ripped out, werewolves are responsible, I guess these are the werewolves that don’t follow a lunar cycle, Kate is found and assumed to be responsible, and she’s willing to die for the murders.  Except…there’s an attack while she was with Sam and Dean.  Good thing too, because Dean was ready to make the kill and Sam wasn’t ready for Dean to take on that burden yet.  That leads up to…

TALK #2.  I have one MASSIVE complaint I must get off my chest before we get to talk #2.  Why does this show think it’s necessary to play back old scenes about a character as a reminder to the audience who they are?  We in this fandom have pretty damn good memories.  I get kind of going backward with Kate since she was a couple of seasons ago, but was the whole Lester saga freaking necessary?  Not only is the mere mention contrived, but it just happened in the last couple of episodes.  I know our short term memories aren’t that bad!  It’s time killing guys, and it’s blatant.  There, I feel better.  

Dean for some unforsaken reason brings up Lester.  Sam doesn’t get the issue, AND NEITHER DOES THE ENTIRE FANDOM.  Sam points out that Dean is the one who killed Lester.  “But I was a demon.”  “You were a demon, oh I didn’t realize that,” Sam replies sarcastically.  Yeah, the brothers do that a lot this episode.  Finally, Dean gets to the point.  Between Lester and the others (Sam denying there are others), maybe they both needed that time off.  Ding, ding, ding, we have a winner!  Both are pretty unhinged right now, which is why this whole hunt together shows both of them struggling to find familiarity.  Each are asking the other if they’re okay.  Um duh, NEITHER are okay.  Sam only responds with an eye roll, and suddenly I’m wondering who we are supposed to be worried about.  

This is where I also get impressed that the focus of these conversations ended up being about both brothers.  Usually they lean to one over another, and that tends to annoy.  Good job Mr. Glass for maintaining that balance.

01

Eventually the brothers find Kate and they get the whole, long drawn out story (this is the one point of the episode where pacing suffers a bit).  Kate turned her sister because she was dying, and also Kate liked the idea of not being alone.  They could do this whole werewolf thing together and be better and had matching heart bracelets to prove it.  Yep, I was swatting at those flying anvils during this bit.  Except Kate’s sister Tasha is way more shallow than her and easily starts giving into the instinct to feed.  She likes it.  She likes the power and the feeling of not being weak.  Uh oh, who does that sound like? (If you said Deanmon you can claim your prize).     

Kate’s story touches Dean so much, he turns into a lying douche by telling Kate there’s a cure and they need to find Tasha.  Except there is no cure. That leads to…

Talk #3, by the Impala.  Dean shows his knife to Sam as being the cure.  Sam is not cool with this, taking the stance that Kate is fighting for her sister.  Let’s look at this crucial piece of dialogue, because it totally exposes the mindset of each brother: 

Dean:  Kate and Tasha are monsters.  Last I checked we kill monsters. 
Sam:  How can you possibly blame Kate for fighting for her sister?  We do it all the time.   
Dean:  Oh yeah, and that’s worked wonders for us.
Sam:  Well, we’re still here, aren’t we?
Dean:  Yeah, but is it right?  All that you’ve done for me, I’ve still got this mark. 
Sam:  And we’ll figure that out.  We always do.  But you can’t take whatever’s happened to us or to you and dump it at these girls’ feet.  
Dean:  Okay, so you want to nuance this thing?  Hit me, what’s your plan?  

Is this Dean making hard choices, is Dean proving to Sam he has the stomach to resume hunting, or is Dean trying to tell Sam he did the wrong thing by trying to find him and cure him?  Maybe all three?  Are Sam’s apprehensions about Kate proof that he isn’t ready to hunt?  Even though these are valid issues, I couldn’t help but think we’ve been down this road before quite a few times, sometimes with roles reversed.  It’s just the way the pendulum likes to swing with this show, and now it’s on the side of Dean being gung ho hunter while Sam struggles with conscience.  Rinse, lather, repeat.  However, this all goes into different territory with the very next scene...

11

TALK #4, in the Impala, Sam in the back seat this time.  Sam admits there were others with Lester.  Not humans, although he “punched” a few hunters the wrong way, but he saved all his stuff for the bad guys.  “You’ve got to understand something Dean.  I watched you die.  I carried you…I carried your corpse into your room and I put your dead body on your bed and then you just…”  Dean knows and has no explanation.  He’s embarrassed by it all, everything he did as a demon.  “I never even said thank you.” 

Sam then says something that I swear I’m going to post it as a banner at the top of the page on this site so this debate is NEVER brought up again, because the word “apology” is certainly mentioned a lot here.  “You don’t ever have to say that.  Not to me.”  Thank you Mr. Glass for addressing that for us in one simple sentence.  These brothers don’t need to apologize to each other.  They have too much of a history.  They know it and don’t have to say it.  It’s canon now, we must accept.  Or at least I’ll accept.

Dean takes from that conversation that they’re good, they’ve had their R&R and they’re back at it. Sam is not convinced.  That doesn’t stop Dean from handcuffing Kate in the Impala and choosing to kill Tasha. Kate makes the plea that the whole thing was her fault, but that doesn’t stop Dean from being the hard ass that has to do this.  Sam sits in the back quiet, ready to follow his brother’s lead, but all those twisted facial expressions show he doesn’t like this.  He’s not sure he’d be making the same call.  After all, family should be allowed to save one another.

16

After another token Sam Winchester strangulation, Kate does the right thing and kills her sister (and Sam and Dean kill two token extras), then runs before Sam and Dean can get her.  She’s choosing life.  That leads to…

TALK #5!  Whoa, is this like old times or what?  Again, in the Impala.  I feel like this is a Kripke episode or something.  Sam isn’t sure if they should go after Kate.  Dean likes how she did good, and Sam needles Dean with a “Good thing you didn’t shoot her.” “Really, you’re going to Monday morning quarterback this thing?”  While that’s a GREAT line, you have to wonder, is this Dean angry at Sam for not doing having the guts to kill him in that bunker?  Does Dean still think he’s capable of being a monster and Sam’s actions didn’t solve anything?  

That issue isn’t addressed though.  Instead, Sam admits they both jumped into this hunt too quickly.  “Dean, you were a demon.  You still have the Mark.  Didn’t you ever want to talk about it?”   Dean knows what happened, he was there.  He doesn’t need to talk about it.  He needs to get out there and hunt again.  “Doing something good, not stewing in my own crap.”  “What if you’re not ready?” Sam asks. 

Hold that thought, because a well timed phone call from Kate provides some good old fashioned foreshadowing.  She knew that whatever Tasha was, she wasn’t her sister anymore.  Ding, ding, ding, we have our parallel!  Demon Dean wasn’t Sam’s brother.  Did Sam really make the right choice here by putting Dean through the cure?  Is he instead unleashing a monster much like Kate did with Tasha?  It does make you think.  Dean does answer the question though about being ready.  

Dean:  Lets say you’re right.  
Sam:  About what?
Dean:  Everything.  Maybe I’m not ready to hunt.  But I’m just trying to do the right thing man, because I’m sick and tired of doing the wrong one. 

Sam takes one long glimpse to chew on that.  Is Sam perhaps asking himself did he do the right thing?  What is he doing by letting Dean hunt with that Mark?  Is he wondering if he’ll have to make the choice that Kate did?  Is he regretting his choice in that bunker in the last episode when he had the knife to Dean’s throat?  Yes, I got all that from one Sam Winchester tortured glance.    

Final Thoughts

I love it when the brothers talk.  This episode reminds me so much of “Metamorphosis.”  In that one, even though punching was involved, it had some intense yet very constructive brotherly conversations.  It didn’t resolve a whole lot, but it got things out into the open.  The conversations in this episode were sorely needed.  Getting on the same page is going to take a while and they’re so not there yet.  The question is, are both these brothers even on the same track?

I’m a little concerned that Dean was back to his “shoot first ask questions later” mode.  It is his classic defense mechanism, but it can’t be that healthy with the Mark of Cain on his arm.  Was it the Mark affecting him?  Is that perhaps what had Sam so worried?   Did you like the way Dean handled the whole Kate situation?  In the end, he did decide to let her go, but he was still pretty firm about her staying straight.  That seems like normal Dean to me, but there was enough doubt raised in the episode where maybe something isn’t right.  

Sam needs to look at himself before worrying about Dean.  He doesn’t regret what he did to get Dean back, but no doubt the guilt is killing him along with the concern that the original problem is still there.  He probably looked less relaxed by that lake than Dean did!  So what is it going to take for Sam to find his way back?  What does he need to do to find that “light at the end of the tunnel” like he found in season eight?  What will it take for these brothers to enjoy their sandwiches?  (Yes, I’m still on that!)

Overall grade for “Paper Moon,” a B.  I give the brotherly scenes an A- though.  In two weeks, the 200th episode.  I’m dying to see where than one is going.  




Comments  

cheryl42
# cheryl42 2014-10-29 19:36
On the first viewing of this episode I was a little underwhelmed (granted I had just watched my beloved Giants totally tank in the WS) but I never make up my mind about an episode until I've watched it twice. I really liked this one a lot. The brother scenes I loved with a capital A+ (my favorite moment is Dean reaching out to touch Sam making sure he was ok). Even Kate's scenes were much better the second time around. So far this season has had a really great flow. I hope they keep it up. Oh and by the way I so agree with you about the guys and apologies. As far as I'm concerned case closed.
I can't even begin to guess how the next episode is going to tie in or not. But so far this season is great. Thanks for the review, as always you managed to point out layers that I missed.
E
# E 2014-11-01 10:43
Quote:
Oh and by the way I so agree with you about the guys and apologies. As far as I'm concerned case closed.
Um…. it was a "thank you" and not an apology Sam was referring to, but I think family deserves both more than any one else weather the other person wants to hear it or not. I am not so much of a fan for letting the boys off the hook so easily. They SHOULD say those things to one another.
cheryl42
# cheryl42 2014-11-01 13:18
As I said in my comment on Elle2's review that was what I took away from that conversation. Sam saying you never have to say that to me IMO also meant you never have to apologize to me either. At this point in their lives they both have done so much crap to each other that they both know how sorry they are. I know many wanted more but it was enough for me.
Dion7
# Dion7 2014-10-29 20:17
Great review as usual! I kind of liked this episode. I agree that the pacing was too slow at times, especially when Kate took forever to explain her sister's story and the flashbacks were unnecessary. And the girls who play Kate and Tasha are not the best actresses in the world.
But I'm really glad that Sam and Dean had a good talk, especially talk 4 and 5. I seems like a step in the right direction. I completely agree that talking about Lester was stupid and I don't think it's necessary for Dean to blame Sam for it. Overall it was a pretty good episode and like you I just missed the brothers talking, I'm glad it was handled pretty well here.

Just one more negative thing (sorry): I'm really not looking forward to the 200th episode. I think I'm going to wait for your review before I decide whether or not I want to watch it. So far I haven't liked any of the meta episodes and it sounds like this could be even worse than the Becky one. I'll just wait and see what you and others on this site say about it I guess.
Wynne88
# Wynne88 2014-10-29 21:24
Thank you for the great review, Alice. As always, you bring up things that hadn't even occurred to me, such as wondering if Sam is ready to hunt with Dean and noting how very unrelaxed he was sitting by that lake with Dean. I guess it will take some time before they are really back in sync, but at least there seems to be some effort to move in that direction for which I am incredibly grateful. I thought that in several of those conversations, Sam was pretty defensive and that Dean kept trying to deflect the conversation away from himself, both of which attitudes seemed perfectly in character. But in the end, some important things were said that I think they both actually heard.

The one question I have is why Sam's line “You don’t ever have to say that. Not to me.” is construed as an apology. As I recall, the line comes after Dean confesses to being embarrassed about the whole demon thing, and thanks Sam for curing him. Thank yous and apologies aren't exactly the same thing - with the thank you, you're telling someone that you appreciate something they did; with an apology you're saying you're sorry for something you did and asking for forgiveness. I loved the line; I'm just not sure I would count it as justification for never having to say they're sorry. (Man, that sounds like something out of an old movie!)
E
# E 2014-10-31 05:59
Quote:
The one question I have is why Sam's line “You don’t ever have to say that. Not to me.” is construed as an apology. As I recall, the line comes after Dean confesses to being embarrassed about the whole demon thing, and thanks Sam for curing him. Thank yous and apologies aren't exactly the same thing - with the thank you, you're telling someone that you appreciate something they did; with an apology you're saying you're sorry for something you did and asking for forgiveness. I loved the line; I'm just not sure I would count it as justification for never having to say they're sorry. (Man, that sounds like something out of an old movie!)
I agree with this. Sam's comment was more about "Thank You" than "I'm sorry." Still, I wish he had NEVER said that. If you can say Thank you or I'm sorry to a complete stranger then why can't you say it to a beloved family member? Who's more deserving of your best consideration or your deepest regret than family? Who deserves to have actions (both good and bad) acknowledged more than family? What kind of person are you if you can't show your best appreciation and your honest regret to family? For Sam to say "You never have to say that to me" lets both boys off the hook forever. Now neither one of them has to show any kind of consideration or regret for anything they do to one another because they are family. So, I guess Den was right in season 9; they SHOULD just put a couple of W's in the win column and move on never acknowledging what they do to one another, never thanking each other for all they do, nor bothering to feel or show regret for the harm they cause to one another. Sheesh what a total and complete cop out. Not only is that a cop out in life, it's a writing cop out as well. It gives the writers a reason to not have to make the boys get into any of their crap…or to have to come up with that complex dialog required when the brothers are trying to awkwardly deal with their crap; after all they are family and don't need a common courtesy you'd show to any stranger on the street. I want these boys willing to do the hard thing, and the right thing and that means acknowledging when you are wrong and apologizing for it and thanking when its deserved and family deserves that more than anyone.
PaintedWolf
# PaintedWolf 2014-10-31 07:31
Hi E! I can see where you’re coming from that “thank you” and an apology aren’t the same thing, but I don’t agree that this exchange was a cop-out, to be honest. When Sam said “you don’t have to thank me”, I took it to mean that Sam was implying he didn’t need to be thanked for something he’d do anyway. Kind of along the same track as being thanked for doing your job. It isn't necessary to be thanked all the time for it, because in that case you’re being paid to do it anyway, so the “thank you” goes without saying. That’s what I thought that line implied. When you’re in the kind of close relationship with someone that Sam and Dean have, there are some things that you might find are unnecessary to have to say to each other, and Sam was simply doing this with regards to Dean thanking him for things like this. Doesn't mean Dean (or Sam) never has to say thank you again, or that they won’t ever do it regardless. I also don’t think that means that they no longer have to deal with the all the rest of their crap. Saying or not saying thank you doesn’t mean you get a free pass for never having to talk everything else out when you need to.
Jep
# Jep 2014-10-29 21:36
Great review! I thought the scenes between Sam and Dean were very well done. I do have one question that I've been unable to figure out on my own: in the episode where Dean got the Moc from Cain, Cain stabbed himself with Dean's knife, to prove, I guess, that it couldn't hurt him. So if Sam does have to kill Dean, how will he do it?
kaj
# kaj 2014-10-30 05:57
Sorry to but in but as far as I remember Cain is still a demon( though his eyes never shown black). He still has his power (telekinetik to name a few) so yes, he can't die. But Dean has been stripped of his power. (Come on getting punched by a werewolf? I'm sure Demon Dean would laugh at that).

Yes, Dean can still die unless his eyes go black again.
SanSummer1
# SanSummer1 2014-10-29 22:01
Quote:
Is he regretting his choice in that bunker in the last episode when he had the knife to Dean’s throat?
No way! I don’t see any reason why Sam would think something like that.
PaintedWolf
# PaintedWolf 2014-10-30 04:33
Awww, I definitely got some brotherly feels more than once from Sam and Dean this episode. I love that they’re actually trying to talk it out rather than just avoiding, or not dealing, lying or sweeping their crap under the rug. I also love that they actually did try to take some time out, even if it never was going to last long (BTW, did anyone else notice the sign next to the lake they were hanging out at that said “No hunting”?). Speaking of which, hunting, I think, is just their go to distraction. When they’re working a case it’s easier to avoid things, even though that didn’t really work for them either this episode. Not that I’m going to complain about something like that. True, they haven’t made a whole hell of a lot of progress, but I’m hoping we’re gonna keep taking these baby steps throughout the season, that maybe these two guys can actually find some measure of peace-and get it to actually stick-this time around.
The only thing that kind of bothered me too was how they brought up this whole Lester thing again. The way they’re framing it, I’m starting to feel like my sense of morality is much murkier than the writers’. I mean, I really don’t think what happened was that bad. Yeah, it was probably reckless of Sam to allow a civilian within 50 miles of a crossroads demon, but how was he supposed to know Lester would actually be stupid enough at crunch time to ask a strange woman who appeared out of nowhere in the middle of nowhere to kill his wife? It’s not like Sam handed the guy’s soul over as a free gift. And it’s not like hunters have never tried to punch him the wrong way a few times, either. Also, at the risk of sounding incendiary, I wasn’t quite sure I liked how Dean got a free pass on killing Lester (however much of a douchebag he was) because he was a demon (yeah, we didn’t realize that, either).
I absolutely agree on the not having to apologize thing, and I’m glad it was finally said by someone. Sam and Dean have the kind of relationship where they don’t need to say things like “thank you” and “I’m sorry” and “I love you” all the time, because it’s almost always in the unspoken and I think they both understand that.
Overall though, I really enjoyed this episode. Now, it's time to get ready for the big 200. I'm dying with anticipation.
Daisymae
# Daisymae 2014-10-30 07:29
I'm waiting for show to address the worst thing that Demon Dean did: Karaoke.
Prix68
# Prix68 2014-10-30 08:31
I think they addressed that when Dean said he was embarrassed by the whole demon thing. Lol
njspnfan
# njspnfan 2014-10-30 08:36
Nice review Alice. Was happy to hear them finally use that song on the show. And I remember that Letterman episode; very memorable - Warren was the only guest that night. The band introduced him with the song "I'll Sleep When I'm Dead".

I warmed up a little more to this epsiode upon second viewing. The MOTW stuff was just ok - a little predictable, a little heavy on the exposition, but ok. And the brotherly conversations were a little awkward but they were supposed to be. At least they're talking and not hiding a bunch of crap from each other. You're right, neither of them is "good" now, nor do they know how to fix it.

Dean bringing up Lester seemed a little out of left field but this plays in to Carver's pre-season comments asking who's the bigger monster. Dean's excuse for killing Lester - "I was a demon" was slightly hypocritical given that he has held Sam responsible for being soulless repeatedly over the past couple of seasons. Not saying this to fan the Sam vs Dean wars, just wondering if Dean's time as a demon changed his perspective on this?
sylvia37
# sylvia37 2014-10-30 10:20
I always enjoy reading your take on things, Alice, even though I don't always agree with you. However, I did agree that we didn’t need more Lester and Kate’s long winded explanation bogged the whole thing down.

As for their conversations, I guess I did agree that they got some stuff out and although they didn't really solve anything, they BOTH got to talk, and that's a win in my book. I especially like that Sam didn't apologize or back down, and I felt like, although Dean started off being massively hypocritical (in my opinion) and rather pettily trying to deflect from his own guilt by bringing up Lester, that as they went along, his responses were more honest. I guess I was hoping to hear Dean with some remorse towards what he said to Sam, but I think Dean, no matter how he may have sounded at first, really gets that Sam is watching out for him and that he can be honest about he feels and Sam wont judge. By the end, he acknowledges that he’s embarrassed and that he feels like his decisions lately have been pretty bad. I don’t think Dean needs more guilt piled on him, but I think acknowledging that he’s been making bad decisions and allowing Sam to take charge and take care of them both for a bit will be good for him. For both of them, actually. Saving Dean and taking care of business seems to have given Sam more confidence and I think the shift in balance has been needed for a long time. I just hope that it doesn’t shift back. I'm enjoying this Sam, and I want to enjoy Dean again too.

I don't think Sam is questioning his decision to save Dean, but I do think, based on the parallels, that he might be worried that Dean won't be able to come back from this and that he still might have to make a tough decision. I also think that the MOC storyline might end up with Sam being Dean's "Abel". Crowley having the blade is bad news and you know he has plans for bringing his BFF back. If he has to sacrifice Sam to do it, I think he will.
nolanola
# nolanola 2014-10-30 17:40
The flashbacks are for the casual viewer.
Rick D
# Rick D 2014-10-31 01:37
This episode made me happier than any episode in years, definitely more than any last season. I doubted that it could be done, that Dean becoming a demon would actually cause him to become self-reflective , and yet- here it is. Dean is not only talking to Sam, he’s listening too! Good thing I was sitting down. I hope I’m not being foolish, but I actually have HOPE again – that our show (and the brother’s relationship) can be saved.

However, I do have grave misgivings about the next episode, it looks so cringe-worthy. Hopefully it will be over quick, and we will be on to more awesome episodes like this one.
Rick D
# Rick D 2014-10-31 01:46
Forgot to mention, I didn't get the impression that they weren't relaxed at the lake. Sure, Dean brought up wanting to hunt, but I had the impression they'd been there a while first. Only my opinion, but I think the Winchesters like to commune with the Natural world (like when they spent time looking at the stars) because it's a nice break from dealing with the Supernatural.

I also felt a deep connection with Metamorphasis episode- particularly, I remember when Sam said "It's in me and I can't scrub it clean" and how Dean said he felt about the MoC- much parallels. Between this, and the "freak" comment from ep one, and being tied to be "cured", it seems to me that Dean is getting a crash course in what it feels like to be Sam.
kaj
# kaj 2014-10-31 04:21
Quote:
I also felt a deep connection with Metamorphasis episode- particularly, I remember when Sam said "It's in me and I can't scrub it clean" and how Dean said he felt about the MoC- much parallels. Between this, and the "freak" comment from ep one, and being tied to be "cured", it seems to me that Dean is getting a crash course in what it feels like to be Sam.
Agreed. And yes since the Mark is still there Dean still feel tainted and afraid that he will descent again.
kaj
# kaj 2014-10-31 03:50
Hi Alice, nice review! But there's just few things I'd like to add.

Quote:
Except Kate’s sister Tasha is way more shallow than her and easily starts giving into the instinct to feed. She likes it. She likes the power and the feeling of not being weak. Uh oh, who does that sound like? (If you said Deanmon you can claim your prize).
Yes, Tasha is a shallow girl but her turning dark doesn't sound like DD. Dean took the Mark of Cain not because he felt weak but because of he was feeling guilty. In Season 9 he often said he felt like someone has changed the rules, up is down and down is sideways. Things that he thought was right (saving Sammy by letting an Angel possessed him) was apparently wrong. He was desperate to fix it, to right the wrong, to kill Gadreel, abaddon and Metatron. Dean doesn't want to be a demon.
Tasha embraces the power because she couldn't stand up for herself and wants to be strong. DD never appears weak. Before he wakes up with black eyes, DD doesn't exist and Dean certainly didn't feel weak in S9. He just felt guilty and a little bit self rightous and self destructive. Not weak. DemonDean and Tasha are not the same.

I think Sam's apprehension with Dean hunting is more because he's afraid that killing will reawaken the Mark and will start Dean's descent again before he can find away to get rid of MoC. Notice that It's Sam who kills both Werewolves. For all of his bravado and sarcasm I can see that Dean hesitates a slice second to make the kill. Dean is definitely not ready to hunt. He knows how it feels to be addicted to kill and he's afraid to feel it again after all the things that Sam did. That's IMHO the meaning of talk#3. It's not like Sam struggles with his conscious, although he is for some part but Sam is more struggles to keep an eye on his brother. When he thought Dean is too gung ho about killing he worries, when he thought Dean hesitates with killing he worries. Sam worries to the point that he can put aside his own problem to keep watch on Dean.

Now, we know that Dean is embarrassed at being a demon, of everything he did when he was a demon. He is ashamed. And to protect his pride he lashes out. He doesn't have right to accuse Sam of what he did to Lester but that's the only way he could think of to make Sam to open up and deal with his issues. Because he knows Sam must have felt bad, must have feel guilty. Because he knows Sam. Lester might be a deuce but so far he's hadn't kill anyone. He didn't even think of killing his wife if not because Sam nudge him in that direction. There are a lot of men who think like Lester but it still doesn't mean they deserve to die. Lester will probably go to Hell because of the lies and the cheatings but therre's still hope if he atones in the future. IF he's still alive. By selling his soul, Lester cut all of his chances at redemption. Even if he spends the last ten years to be a monk he will still go to Hell. You see it's about 'the robbing of chances at redemption' not about whether Lester a Deuce or not. Because Sam told him about the Crossroads demons, he gives Lester a chance at damning his soul to Hell forever while if he remains oblivious about the supernatural, he still has a chance to redeem himself and be a good person. And Sam being Sam he felt tremendous guilt over it.

It's not merely about who's the more monster out of the two but it's about "who feels more like a monster out of the two, who out of Sam and Dean that thinks of themselves more of a monster" It's not about our perception it's about the brother's perception of themselves.

Quote:
Sam takes one long glimpse to chew on that. Is Sam perhaps asking himself did he do the right thing? What is he doing by letting Dean hunt with that Mark? Is he wondering if he’ll have to make the choice that Kate did? Is he regretting his choice in that bunker in the last episode when he had the knife to Dean’s throat? Yes, I got all that from one Sam Winchester tortured glance.
Well, what I got from Sam's expression in that scene is he starts to understand Dean's reasoning in taking on the Mark. Dean thought he did the right thing in letting Sam gets possessed because it saved Sam. Dean thought he was trying to right the wrong by taking on the Mark to get revenge, a means to a greater, good end. Dean thought he did the right thing up till he died. But in the end it leads the one horrible disaster of him being a demon. That's the sign that even Dean starts to realize that what he did ever since the start of S9 was wrong.

"I want to do the right thing because I'm tired of doing the wrong one."

Sam has reminded Dean over and over that what he did was wrong. Perhaps his intention is good but Dean do it the wrong way. Like Hell is paved by good intention? Dean's good intention by saving Sam has lead him towards Hell, be a demon. THAT reminded Sam of his own action during season 4. It's mirroring. ANd Sam had learnt it the hard way. After all of that ordeal Sam even thought he was not Heaven material (Darkside of the Moon). Sam worries that knowing how low Dean's self worth is, Dean will think twice the worse of himself compared to what he felt during S5. He also worried that Dean will descent into a worse place that not even Sam can help him out. Because, like him, Dean tends to self destructive when he's at the most low.

Despite what Sam did, Dean still got the mark. He still feel tainted just like what Sam felt with the demon blood. Tainted and wanting to do the right thing, to do something good despite that. Just like what he did after he returns from Hell, from being a torturer. And for Dean to feel like that again, hurts Sam.
Jo1027
# Jo1027 2014-10-31 08:47
" And to protect his pride he lashes out. He doesn't have right to accuse Sam of what he did to Lester but that's the only way he could think of to make Sam to open up and deal with his issues"

I'm sorry but that's not how I saw this. Instead of lashing out he could have told Sam what Crowley said, that he couldn't take Lester's soul because DD violated the terms of the contract. Wouldn't that have made Sam feel better than what Dean actually did? I got the idea that he was trying to make Sam feel guilty not make him feel better. Dean's the one who killed Lester, it wasn't Sam. It's time Dean owned his actions when he was a demon. Sam owned his when he was soulless as much as he could. Unfortunately, he was also dealing with hell flashbacks at the same time.

Dean's actions in allowing an angel possession of Sam was a violation of Sam' bodily autonomy. Dean knew it so he has no right to say that the rules have changed. He himself admitted that he knew that Sam would not consent to being possessed and he did it anyway. Then after all that happened (Keven being killed) he had the gall to say he'd do it again.
njspnfan
# njspnfan 2014-10-31 10:30
Sam and Dean are communicating in the best way they know how. It's not what a lot of fans want/hope for but, let's be honest, neither of them is used to being entirely forthcoming so A+ for effort and a lesser grade for execution. It was a little awkward, and both were being careful not to try to pick a fight, but they're trying and I think that's the point. If this is what Carver was referring to about a maturation of the brother's relationship, then I can get behind that.

After rewatching the episode, I viewed Dean's comments to Sam about Lester as more of an effort to get Sam to admit to himself that he's not in the best place now, either. It might have also been a little bit defense mechanism but I don't think it was done with malice or to absolve himself of any guilt in the entire mess.

And as far as Lester selling his soul, what Sam did was pretty bad. However, the fact that Lester was willing to sell his soul to have his wife killed condemned his soul to hell anyway.

And as far as the angel possession goes, Sam has forgiven Dean and the show has moved on from that. I agree that this whole issue was handled atrociously but can't see them addressing it any further.
Jo1027
# Jo1027 2014-10-31 11:41
Sorry, I still see it as trying to guilt Sam. That's not communication. Lester may still be going to hell, but here's the thing, if Sam knew what Crowley said that would help to alleviate his guilt. As far as I'm concerned, that was not what Dean was doing here.
Kate
# Kate 2014-10-31 21:38
Nice review, thanks!
A few things to mention: Cain and Dean are different in that Cain committed the first kill, killed his brother with the blade. I think that makes the relationship with his knife different than it would be with Dean. Also, Cain was a KNIGHT of hell. Not of Crowley’s hell either.
When Dean got the mark, it wasn’t an issue until he touched the blade and then, he killed. From that kill, the call for it got stronger. It was after the kill that he couldn’t drop it. He had no problem dropping it, despite the effect, when he first touched it.

When we meet Cain, he had already killed himself (see CROWLEY, season finale) but the blade wouldn’t let go. He woke up demon, too. He must have chosen to be human, for Collette. The way Dean didn’t choose to be human.
That is the key element here. He woke up demonic from the power of the blade, but he still had to choose to be Demon. Crowley clearly stated that Dean had to sate the demands of the knife by killing, otherwise he’d lose those “black peepers”.
So would Ruby’s knife worked? Cain wasn’t susceptible to any of that; he retained his demonic powers, -being the first knight has it’s perks. The only thing that can kill him is the blade.
But Dean wasn't a Knight of Hell. He only has the Mark. That would make him a lesser.
The cuffs worked. The devil’s trap worked. Only water worked.
Why wouldn’t the knife have worked?

Also, it’s a bit of a reversal of situations to see Dean is really taking his permission from Sam. He is letting Sam call the shots. Not only does he not trust himself, he is humiliated by what he has done. He’s trying to earn Sam’s respect back, which is actually his own self-respect. For that reason, when Sam calls off the kill and then says he doesn’t think Dean is ready, Dean is hurt. He’s reminded of how worthless he (thinks) is and for that reason, he lashed out about Lester. Dean is really afraid of being a Demon again, of the Mark and Sam’s lack of faith in his readiness, implied to Dean (DeanLogic) that his fears are not only valid but shared by Sam. He wanted to see him if Sam was feeling the same way about Lester. But Sam wasn’t. Sam doesn’t have that self loathing that Dean has and Sam isn’t afraid of what is inside him anymore. Dean is. And Dean needs Sam to be in his corner more than anything. Yeah, he was being a jerk, but calling him a hypocrite as I’ve seen lots of posts do -isn’t accurate. Sam understands Dean. And to show that he is in his corner and that doubting Dean’s readiness doesn’t equate to him not having faith in him. To further this point, Sam is the one that opens of the next conversation, admitting the truth about Lester not being the only one . One, Sam is being honest and open, and clarifying something he said and two , by opening up, made himself vulnerable. Dean responds by admitting that he is humiliated and ashamed. Sam understands. Sam has always been like that.
(Incidentally, if you go back and watch how the line “there weren’t others”, was delivered, it’s quite adorable. Like a kid and he was suddenly denying something to his older brother)

A few more comments:
Dean begged Sam to let him go on the hunt. Working his the only way Dean knows to move on, to help forget the fear and horror. The family business gives him purpose.
Sam let him drive and “take the lead” all the while watching him carefully. But he called all the shots. His willingness to kill Kate so easily worried Sam. I think in the back of Dean’s head, he was also trying to say that maybe Sam should have killed him- after all, after all Sam went through, the Mark is still there. The cause the whole problem is still there. They have essentially pressed a restart button. Only this time around, they have read the warning label. Dean regrets it horribly.

When Dean mentioned to Kate being in too deep means never coming back, Sam’s reaction made it clear that he understood that Dean was speaking to the fears that he has about himself.The mark is still there. And Sam is still really worried. Both about the Mark but also about the fact that Dean sees himself like that. The demon memories are still raw. Working makes him feel like he can start putting a few wins on the board and start to distancing himself from his demonic times.

I just loved that we finally got to see these two brothers finally talking!
Peace Out!
debbab
# debbab 2014-11-01 13:45
Had to watch it a second time to raise the grade to a B. The brother scenes were all A's. I just didn't like Kate in "Bitten" and not so much more here, but I got the parallel to the brothers. Sam did get to save Dean even with his gimpy arm. He just doesn't want Dean to have the kill...in case... So now, is it Sam who is protecting Dean and if he can't cure him he may have to kill him. Have we come full circle from john's original thought?