There we go, some actual, fluid, well paced and just plain well written story telling!  One of the glaring weaknesses with a majority of the “Supernatural” scripts over the last four or five seasons has been the inability to juggle multiple overlapping stories at once.  Heck, they aren’t even good at tackling two strong character arcs at once for two strong lead actors.  One writer in the last two seasons though has been able to consistently avoid that trap, and that’s Robert Berens. 

Just in case you haven’t noticed (and if you haven’t maybe I need to be more direct), but in my reviews I tend to be more critical of the writing than anything else.  I’m a stickler for solid construction, great dialogue, emotional storytelling, and characters that actually don’t get sucked in by the background.  I swear the most tedious aspects are my reviews when I have to constantly point out these missing basics in a script.  Well Mr. Berens just gives me a reason to smile.  It makes the story more enjoyable and in the end we all win. 

So what did I like about “Girls, Girls, Girls,” so much?  I cared about each story happening and it managed to move the season stories forward, something that has been lacking for the last few weeks.  But all in all I was just able to sit down for an hour and enjoy what I saw rather than notice glaring errors or other issues, or retching over poor dialogue. 

10
Castiel and Hannah’s story was touching, surprising, and in the end made perfect sense.  It’s stunning that in all this time of angels, not one angel was so in touch and sensitive to the needs of their vessel that they gave their vessel their life back.   It’s a really fascinating arc.  It goes to show that Hannah was indeed sincere about her commitment to the mission, protecting humanity as God commanded.  Her purpose was better served in Heaven, and her vessel Caroline needed to go home.  The fact that it really affected Castiel too, getting him to think about Jimmy Novak again, is quite an eye opener and long overdue after season four’s “The Rapture.”  It also opens up fascinating possibilities for episodes to come.  How will Castiel respond to seeing Jimmy’s family again? 

I did roll my eyes a bit over Crowley’s band of stupid demons again coming up with yet another hare brained scheme of recruitment, forcing girls into prostitution to get men to sell their souls, but luckily Berens didn’t run with that bit too long.  Instead it let to a brilliant twist, a Scottish red-headed witch named Rowena comes along and liquifies one of the demons instead into black goop.  I got to admit, that was pretty wicked.  But then it gets bad when she starts boiling brains of people where ever she goes.  She’s bad news but dammit she’s so charismatic and fun to listen to.  Her recruitment scheme seems a little weak, but at least she knows how to weed out the dumb ones.  

08
Yes, Rowena’s cheeky behavior was a pretty good hint for that ending reveal, but it still didn’t make it any less precious.  Another massive kudos to Mark Sheppard, selling Crowley’s stunned reaction when interrogating a captured Rowena.  It took him a bit, but he finally figured it out when he took that Scottish taunting.  “Mother?”  Yes, I cackled.  Crowley has met his greatest foe yet.  It’s been said that Rowena is the new big bad this season and if she’s as entertaining as Crowley has been, I’ll all for it.  I even hope she hooks up with her grandson that’s out there somewhere.  Or maybe that’s the reason she’s back.  Oh, the possibilities with this!  I’m very happy to see this twist happen. 

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But while I was really enjoying the those two side stories and how they easily cut in with the main story, the heart again fell on Sam and Dean.  There were smiles when Sam teased Dean about being on a dating website.  When was the last time we saw them this light hearted?  I like it when Sam can relax and smile.  The boy just doesn’t do that enough.  However, when Dean left Sam for a hookup, suddenly I’m taken back to the season premiere.  Demon Dean was using sex as an outlet and I had to wonder if his new found interest in dating was because of that last kill.  Is it the MOC stirring up again?  I like how this show likes to raise just enough doubt to make you wonder, but not confirm.  We also got the action with Sam and Dean going against the demons and witches, working the case the way these boys do so well.  

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On the otherside is Cole, who in since we last saw him has really caught up on his demon lore.  He has one caught in a Devil’s Trap and he’s finding out all he can about Dean Winchester.  I absolutely love his tenacity and ability to track.  He’s just as compelling a character this time as he was in the first two episodes. By far the best scene of the episode is when Cole cornered Dean in that alley, forcing the re-confrontation between those two.  Dean may have been the better fighter, but that was enough to get Cole to listen before he goes unconventional.  He asks Cole for five minutes and then hands him his gun.  If Dean doesn’t convince him, Cole can have his revenge.  Dean that’s when he finally sets the record straight, Cole’s father was a monster.  He remembers the case well.  He killed Cole’s Dad to protect those in the house that he went back to harm.  Cole believes him, or at least knows that there’s enough doubt after what he’s seen.

But that conversation really sparked something that told us all how rattled Dean really is by the re-awakening of the Mark of Cain.  

I get it, that was your story. Look man I got one of those too, okay but those stories that we tell that keep us going, sometimes they blind us. They take us to dark places, kinda place where I might beat the crap out of a good man, just for the fun of it. The people who love me, they pulled me back from that edge. Cole once you touch that darkness, it never goes away. Now the truth is, I'm past saving. I know how my story ends, it's at the edge of a blade or the barrel of a gun. So the question is, is that going to be today, it gonna be that gun?

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Aside from the fact that is a gorgeous piece of dialogue, Sam heard every word, standing behind Cole ready to jump in and save his brother.  Sam and Dean were able to convince Cole to back down by mentioning his family.  As mentioned in our reviews before (as well as several of you sharp commenters), family seems to be the main theme this season.  Cole gave up because this experience showed him what darkness has turned him into.  Maybe he doesn’t want to be Dean Winchester.  Or who knows, by walking away, maybe he does.  Anyway, it was enough for him to re-evaluate priorities and know what’s important.  It was beautiful.  

SPN1007 2243
Is Sam’s devotion right now the only thing keeping Dean in check?  How bad is he falling apart inside?  I’d like to think that Dean is carrying on as well because he still believes in fighting the good fight with his brother by his side.  That’s why he resorted to Sam being possessed by an angel to keep him alive.  But Sam’s devotion to him is his strongest reminder, the one thought that gets him through the day.  He is also wondering how long that will be enough before he gives into the darkness.  That’s why he’s turning to sex and booze again to cope rather than talking about it.  

Dean told Sam later after Cole left that he was just telling Cole what he needed to hear.  No, I think he was honest with Cole.  He was telling Sam what he needed to hear, which is he won’t give up the fight.  But Dean is already wearing thin and Sam is no dummy.  Sam's distraught reaction said it all, he doesn't believe Dean.  The question is, how often can Sam bring his brother back from the brink?  What if Sam doesn’t get away from the monster in time to be there for Dean?  Dean sees a bad end coming to this Mark of Cain business and he’s just waiting for the blast wave.  I can see why he doesn’t want to talk honestly about it with Sam, because Sam still believes he’s worth saving.  Sam is the only one right now.  

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I really like Cole and I’m not convinced his story is over.   Because of that, I don’t share the criticism out there (yet) that his story ended on a very flat note.  For one, they left the mystery out there about what his father was.  Dean was convinced that he was a monster but was Dean right?  What does that make Cole?  There’s an origin story there we need more about!   We need to see more of Cole the newbie hunter.  Of course, that’s the dreams a spinoff is made of.  

So all in all we got a little movement into the main arc and got some great storytelling to boot.  I would call that a win.  I give “Girls, Girls, Girls,” a B+.  Next week, given the characters coming back, I’m interested.  I’ll entertain one more light week before we get to the meat of the midseason finale.

 (Screencaps from screencapped.net)
 

Comments  

cheryl42
# cheryl42 2014-11-27 00:26
Yeah I think I've done a complete 180 of my first grumbly cynical remarks. This show really needs to be watched uninterrupted by a not exhausted viewer. I too really hope that Coles role isn't over. I liked him in all three episodes. Hannah had a great ending to her story. So now I wonder where that leaves Cas. I know who he is going to hook up with but I am really curious as to what he is going to do about it. Rowena was an interesting twist on a witch (even if I did know what was coming) she was kind of sweetly sinister. The brothers were just about perfect in this episode. Robert Berens is really becoming my favorite writer on the show. Thanks for this review. I do believe I totally agree after my re watch.
Alice
# Alice 2014-11-27 00:41
Episodes often don't sit well with me either at first, especially lately. I review other TV shows too and I always feel so excited when those get done, while Supernatural takes a while anymore to grab my interest. So that's why I was pleasantly surprised by this one. It's funny too, because I know several people that loved the prior episodes that I was underwhelmed by and they hated this one. I guess I'm just out of synch. That's a long way of me saying your grumbly comments are more than okay! Thanks for commenting.
Marlin Rosa
# Marlin Rosa 2014-11-27 00:38
Great review Alice! i agree with everything you said. I too hope that Cole's story is not over, I really like him.
NOLANOLA
# NOLANOLA 2014-11-27 00:38
Even though I like the reveals [people spoil to much]
fight and COLE; I still don't like the episode.
Found the HANNAH story interesting.
I have to fast forward so no seamless viewing for me.
watching again without distractions. rating is C.
Russ
# Russ 2014-11-27 01:16
I'm partially with you on that.

I liked the Angel arc, and the Cole arc, but as good as they were, they deserved more time. This episode could have done without the hooker/witch nonsense, and fleshed out the Cole & Hannah situations a little more. They were good, but a little too truncated.

Introducing a character like Crowley's mother should have been told with a little reverence, and given a full episode (sans hookers and cornball nonsense)
PaintedWolf
# PaintedWolf 2014-11-27 03:09
Hi Alice, I have to say I agree with you on the episodes not always sitting right in the beginning. I've felt that way about a few eps this season, and although I enjoyed this episode overall, I wasn't entirely sucked into it until the Sam/Dean/Cole scene. Still, Supernatural is more a comfort to me than anything else these days, a familiar place I can go to and enjoy regardless, and that I still love as much as I always have.

It's funny what you said about the family theme this season. I've actually just posted a comment (without reading anything else) on the "Let's Speculate" article about just that!
dashnjo
# dashnjo 2014-11-27 03:53
Hello! I agree that, for the most part, this was a great episode in terms of moving along the story of the boys as well as that of Cas and Crowley but I realized today there is one thing just felt abrupt at the time but took me a while to really formulate why. Hannah has spent the whole season worrying about Cas, with his failing grace, and staring at him all moon-eyed and the she just decides on the spur of the moment she does done and take off barely halfway through the episode. Yes, I thought it was a poignant moment and what she said was very valid but it would have been better if she'd said to take her to the home her vessel and husband shared and maybe have a conversation in the car on the way there as to what Cas's plans were going to be going forward. It just seemed odd that she decides all the sudden that she needs to let Caroline return to her husband and then basically says "See ya!" and takes off without wondering what Cas was gonna do now. Yeah, I knew that Hannah's involvement in the series had to come with a timestamp as they can't keep Cas away from the boys on his own mission the whole season but it just seemed OOC. Does make me a little nervous with Cas looking up Jimmy that he might want to do the same, but we haven't heard about Jimmy since Famine rolled into town and Cas all the sudden had a hankering for burgers and he's died twice for sure since then (once as an angel and then as a human) so I would think that Jimmy is actually dead at this point. I mean, when Cas was human could two souls have existed in one human without Cas sounding absolutely crazy? I mean crazier than the end of season 7.

I feel like I should have seen it coming that Rowena was Crowley's mom but as it was I was shocked and excited. I've kinda been wondering what they're going to do with Crowley now that Dean's not a demon so it'll be interesting to see how this all goes down. It does make me realize where Crowley got the ability to charm people as a crossroads demon that's for sure, Cole, if he comes back fine, if not, fine. I kinda feel like if he was in their plans for a spinoff he'll come back but otherwise he won't but we'll see.
dashnjo
# dashnjo 2014-11-27 03:57
Oops.meant to subscribe and forgot sorry!
Prix68
# Prix68 2014-11-27 05:07
I liked the episode but I too needed a rewatch where I could ff through the commercials. I liked the old school banter between the brothers in the beginning and that Dean called Sam into the case right away. They gave Hannah's story a fitting end that made sense and opened a new door for Cas. I guessed from spoilers who Rowena was but still enjoyed Crowley's reaction and look forward to where this will go.

It seemed that Dean may have started to go off the rails again with the MOC last week but he was definitely in control this week and I liked his speech to Cole. Dean has a lot of regrets and it was a nice shout out by Dean that Sam's love pulled him back. (Shadow of Cain and love doing the same) Unlike everyone else, I'm not a fan of Cole (Deano, really!) but his story served a purpose.

I'm really enjoying the slower build up this season and am looking forward to what comes next. I love the sheriff Donna character and am looking forward to her return next week with Jody. Sam and Dean actually seemed like experienced hunters again and that was a nice bonus.
elle2
# elle2 2014-11-27 10:38
Alice, this is a great review. I really liked reading it because I'm one of those grumblers. My first grade for this episode was a D. It did move up to about a C, just slightly above a C-, by the time I finished my review, but it's a clunker for me, even as I liked how Hannah's story ended and she is (thankfully!) gone, and Castiel is now headed off on his own journey. The brother moments are best, and just like in seasons past, the only parts I cared to watch a third time, and really only the ending with Dean telling Cole he knows his ending. Yes, thankfully, and for once, Sam was there to here it all firsthand. Man, Jared is nailing all of Sam's expressions this season. I am so glad Sam in unencumbered by spells and possession and trials and whatever, because this lighter, freer Sam is wonderful and Jared portrays him perfectly!

Great review. I always love your thoughts, even when we're on the opposite side of things. :)
ParadiseHeat
# ParadiseHeat 2014-11-28 07:31
Yes Sam is really beneffiting from having no storyline this season. He is the cheerleader this season I suppose which I guess is only fair.
njspnfan
# njspnfan 2014-11-27 12:10
Nice review, Alice. If grading, I'd give it a B. I liked the way Hannah's story wrapped up. It was refreshing to see an angel in the latter seasons not portrayed as a blithering moron. Harkens back to earlier seasons where angels were three dimensional characters.

For me, the jury is still out on Rowena; Crowley saying "Mother" was not a big surprise, especially after the show promoted the fact that they were casting a witch of Scottish descent. They show has had more failures than successes when it comes to witches; I guess it depends on how much trouble she causes for Crowley and the Winchesters.

Would have preferred if the Cole story line took longer to percolate and played out a little longer. Though, it's not difficult to bring him back - he did torture and probably exorcise a demon so he's on their radar now. Wouldn't be surprised if his family ends up dead and that's his entry in to the world of hunting. And, on principle alone, Sam should have shot Cole in the leg for torturing him.

Was also glad to see the brotherly teasing and banter at the start of the episode; that's been sorely lacking the past few seasons. And, even with the primary emphasis on Dean and the MoC, they do appear to be making an effort to keep both brothers involved in the story. They've even managed to keep their favorite trope - knocking Sam out, to a minimum this season. I'm with you, though; it's time to start moving things along on this season's arcs.
ParadiseHeat
# ParadiseHeat 2014-11-28 07:38
They do seem to be really pushing the Sam/Dean 'we're bestest brothers again' angle this season. Which I suppose is good because I dont think there was anyone left who didnt hate the brothers constantly being at odds for either no reason or for reasons that we were later to be told were stupid by the writers. (see Amy and angel possession as prime examples). Also it keeps the brothers in the story rather than just Dean and the MOC. If they werent pushing the family theme so hard this season there would be nothing for Sam to do at all. At the moment he can at least have a little giggle with his brother and make concerned faces where appropriate. I expect there might be a lot more getting knocked out in his future though as the MOC storyline develops and the other storyline start to really get going.
Sharon
# Sharon 2014-11-28 15:33
I did not mind the brothers being at odds siblings fight and they live in a particular stressful world if it had been done fairly with both sides given equal treatment . That does not happen and last year was indicative of that with literally no Sam pov or validation of his feelings. The result coming out of last season should not of been Sam 'the good brother' who has to prove himself to Dean and the audience that he loves his brother but other issues that do not get tackled , at the moment we have a Sam that is doing all the right things and his duty to the brothers relationship but we have not got there organically for me.
njspnfan
# njspnfan 2014-11-28 15:53
Sharon - that bugged me, too. I have a hard time reconciling the Sam that didn't look for his brother between S7 and S8, and the focused, dedicated Sam at the start of S10. That journey wasn't shown very well. I didn't mind Carver making the decision to have Sam not look for Dean, but some context would have been helpful. At the start of S8, Sam said he thought Dean was dead. Well... okay, that has never really stopped either of the brothers before, has it? It would have been completely plausible that Sam's actions, or inactions, were the result of his mental breakdown in S7, and it wouldn't have taken much effort to show that in a flashback That being said, the S10 version of Sam is more in character with Sam from earlier seasons.
Sharon
# Sharon 2014-11-28 17:26
Putting Sam's actions into context is not the shows strongest point . It was unfortunate they made the decision not to have Sam look for Dean ,and it certainly is a big axe that the fandom and Dean to a extent as held over Sam's head and it certainly seems not looking as oppose to going too far and violating your brother is seen as the greater wrong .Having Sam act like early season Sam is the answer the writers have come up with but as I said it is not the result that should of come out of season 9 not for me. And when I look at the brothers it is hard not to forget why Sam is walking around this season.
SanSummer1
# SanSummer1 2014-11-28 23:35
Quote:
It was unfortunate they made the decision not to have Sam look for Dean ,and it certainly is a big axe that the fandom and Dean to a extent as held over Sam's head and it certainly seems not looking as oppose to going too far and violating your brother is seen as the greater wrong .
Maybe they are working on that.

200th episode

Dean: Alright Shakespeare you know that I can actually tell you what really happened with Sam and Dean. A friend of mine hooked me up with the unpublished-unp ublished books. So Sam came back from Hell, but without his soul, and Cas brought in a bunch of Leviathans from Purgatory. They lost Bobby, and then Cas and Dean got stuck in Purgatory, Sam hit a dog. Uh, they met a prophet named Kevin, they lost him too. Then Sam underwent a series of trials, in an attempt to close the Gates of Hell, which nearly cost him his life. And Dean, he became a demon, a Knight of Hell actually.

I don’t think that was a flattering moment for Dean. He claimed that he can tell what had actually happened but only seconds later he told a revised version. Yet again Dean said, “Sam hit a dog“ (like he still thinks that Sam had just left him to rot in Purgatory) but he totally glossed over the fact that he had tricked Sam into being possessed by an angel. Gadreel had taken control of Sam and killed Kevin. They hadn’t lost Kevin before or during the trials. Dean also failed to mention that he had taken the mark of Cain. He hadn’t just become a demon out of nowhere.

Maybe Dean doesn’t like remembering the bad stuff that they have done like Castiel breaking the wall inside Sam’s head so all the memories of Hell would flood in.
SanSummer1
# SanSummer1 2014-11-28 23:24
What bothers me is that a lot of the comments that give praise to Sam this season have a vibe like “Sam is finally being the brother for Dean that Dean deserves” i.e. the commenters are happy with the character because Sam is playing a supporting role to big brother Dean.

It’s sad that the show wasn’t able to handle the possession storyline. A lot of fans seemed to think that Sam was the bad guy who “disowned” his brother even though Dean had been guilty of nothing more than “loving his brother too much”.

And when it became clear that Dean getting the mytharc also meant Dean behaving in a manner that would lead to his downfall, it was not surprising that fingers started to point at Sam being responsible for Dean having the mark of Cain.
Sharon
# Sharon 2014-11-29 02:27
Ah yes Sam being the ''Sam'' Dean needs and deserves . Maybe my problem is I think of what Sam needs and deserves but never really is given.
Fazzie
# Fazzie 2014-11-27 13:44
Great review. Like the brotherly banter and agree that Dean is back to trying self medicate with alcohol and women to distract himself from his troubles.

Though think that family isn't the simple theme this season - its the effect that family has on you and the effect you have on your family because all three strands the boys, Cas and Crowley are being hit with family and what you do for them and what you do to them. That is slightly different than just being there for family.
cheryl42
# cheryl42 2014-11-27 21:42
So far I've only seen Dean drink beer...is that right? I think Dean is trying really hard to act like Dean. Hunting, women, on the road with his brother, it just seems like he wants to be ok so badly but his conversation with Cole revealed that he thinks he will never be ok and past any hope of redemption. How is Sam going to pull Dean's ass out of that fire?
E
# E 2014-11-28 07:48
You know, I'd like Dean to fight a little bit. We've seen hopeless Dean before and I'm getting a bit tired of him. Sam's never given up on himself or Dean and I'd like to see Dean take a page from Sam's book. If Dean is going to be looking for every and any opportunity to end it all (which he can't because the MoC will just bring him back) then that will be pretty boring. Come on Dean, fight! For yourself and your brother.
cheryl42
# cheryl42 2014-11-28 10:04
I think that is the fundamental difference between Sam and Dean. Sam, no matter how much he has screwed up or how hopeless the situation, has always had hope. He has never given up. Dean loses hope, makes rash, desperate decisions and then can only see one way out. It's always a suicide mission for Dean. Maybe that is what Dean needs to learn, if Sam has to fight to stay alive for Dean then the opposite needs to be true. That is the dilemma, how will Sam convince Dean this time.
E
# E 2014-11-28 11:47
True Cheryl, true. Dean needs to see value in his own life and want to live for himself and want to live for Sam. I am getting tired of Sam wanting that for the both of them and Dean never seeing the value in it. It feeds his essential hypocrisy… he'll go to the ends of the earth to keep Sam alive, but doesn't want Sam doing the same. He'll do questionable things in the name of saving Sam but Sam's not allowed to do the same (even though he has this time, I hope he's not criticized for it any more than he already has been). Sam is willing to take on the responsibility of being the only thing that matters in Dean's world, but Dean won't do the same for Sam even though Sam really needs him to. We've seen this Dean before in season 3, in season 5 and in season 6. It's time Dean try… try to find a different way, try to see that he matters, to Sam, the world, and that him living is worth it, if not for him alone then for Sam. Hopeless, suicidal Dean is a bore that's been done before; I'd like to see something else.
Prix68
# Prix68 2014-11-28 13:58
I don't think what Dean said to Cole was about giving up or being hopeless, etc. but more about the inevitable outcome of being a hunter, especially a long time one. Dean is too far down the road to ever do anything else but be a hunter. I think he was telling Cole to get out while he still could.
cheryl42
# cheryl42 2014-11-28 23:56
It seems like Sam took it differently though. Sam seemed concerned that Dean was feeling like becoming a demon was too far and now past saving. I think they both know that their lives are going to end violently and sooner rather than later.
SanSummer1
# SanSummer1 2014-11-28 23:41
The things that Dean said to Cole don’t support the idea that Dean is a natural born hunter and he loves what he does (saving people, hunting things).
njspnfan
# njspnfan 2014-11-28 10:07
at Raul's bar/bordello, he did pour himself a glass of something stronger than beer - not sure if he drank it or not.
Fazzie
# Fazzie 2014-11-28 11:48
He didn't drink it, he put it down as soon as Sam said witch.

But he went straight behind the bar instead of checking anyone was next door, so didn't really secure the room.
cheryl42
# cheryl42 2014-11-29 12:33
It looked to me like Dean saw an opportunity to get free booze and wasn't going to pass it up until Sam said witch. Then he thought better of it (they do spew bodily fluids everywhere).:)
Fazzie
# Fazzie 2014-11-30 04:17
That's what I mean, he saw free booze and took up the opportunity before anything else, which when you have two dead bodies on the floor isn't exactly a smart move.

It took Sam saying witch to get him to put the glass down to pull him back to what they were there for.