Episodes like “Hibbing 911” are hard to look at too critically.  The intent is light fun and filler before we get to the meaty stuff and as far as filler goes, I liked it.  Once in a while you’ve got to change it up and give the lead characters a rest, and this worked well with that mission in mind.   However, it’s episodes like this that expose glaring issues with the overall season arc, and despite trying to gloss them over on filler weeks like this, it is awfully hard to ignore. 


The Good

When the story spotlight fades from the main characters (they do need a rest at times), the key requirement is to have your guest characters pick up the slack and give you something entertaining.  I’m not sure who thought to put together Sheriff Jody and the one-timer Sheriff Donna, but it was inspired.  Those two on the screen really are great together and have a very odd chemistry.  I wouldn’t mind seeing those two together again.  They really know how to carry their scenes.

The fun part for me was Donna finally learning that monsters are real.  I enjoy that with most any character, but she was lucky enough to have Jody, Sam and Dean guide her through that.  I love that she didn’t get too freaked out and trusted Jody enough to confide in her.  She went with the flow nicely and while I totally predicted that she would get a kill, it was still fun to watch her do it, blood spatter on her face and all.  I get that since Donna is the one we knew the least writer Jenny Klein would try to feature her character more than others, but I could have done without the annoying ex-husband pushing the already done in “The Purge” weight issue.  That really fell flat for me.  I wish she was the one that told the jerk off instead of Jody, but hey, I know his antics were a red herring to keep us guessing - except we weren’t.  The sheriff from the beginning had a neon sign flashing, “I’M THE MOTW.”  I can only assume that now that Donna has cut off a vamp’s head, she’ll have no trouble with Doug.    

I’m glad to see Jody is trying with Alex.  She’s never had to deal with a teenager before, and as a mother of a teenager, they’re different.  I did smile over Donna’s very sound advice and Alex would find her way.  After all, Jody did.  We all do eventually.  Yep, these are the little character nuggets that make characters like Jody and Donna relatable.  We like that.   Jody was again great with the guys too.  Hugs for them both, and the offer of an ear for Dean.  It was nice and that’s why I love her so.    

The Bad

The bad part of the episode was the pacing.  It was slow.  Snails pace, turtle instead of hare, you get my drift.  When it was half over I looked at my husband and said, “There’s still a half an episode left?  It feels like I’ve been watching this for two hours.”  He agreed.  That slow pacing is what keeps this episode in mediocre territory.  The dialogue wasn’t all that snappy either and it was lacking the really funny moments, which is strange because I think Jenny Klein is one of the better writers for dialogue.  Oh well, fleshing out different characters for one episode is not the easiest exercise for a writer. 

The other bad part of the episode was the MOTW story.  Vampires?  Really?  I had hoped for something way better when we saw that guy eaten away.  Couldn’t it have been a Wendigo hybrid of some kind?  Anything would have been better.  I’ve never liked the vampire lore in “Supernatural” (this coming from an avid watcher of “The Vampire Diaries” and “The Originals”) but I’m pretty sure this took prior vampire lore and trashed it all to hell.  They’re cannibals too?  The previous ruthless sheriff suddenly has a conscience?  Hasn’t Jody seen enough vampires after her encounter with Alex and family?  A disappointing outcome, despite a few good headwhacks. 

The Inexcusable

12

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention Sam and Dean.  After all, they were there.  Apologies up front, but I can’t explore this topic without letting some strong feelings come through.  Obviously, their saga this week was a small, minor blip setup for next week’s midseason finale, but what else is there between the two right now other than the Mark of Cain?  That’s the only game in town and it’s pretty boring.  Dean has gone through the Men of Letters archive and found nothing, but I was more thrilled we got to see a scene in the MOL bunker.  I’ve been missing that lately.  Sam never told Jody that he found Dean?  Geez, not cool.  That triggered visions in my head of Jody showing up at the bunker while Sam was there alone with a basket of baked goods and an ear for sympathy.  That made me smile.  Sometimes the fan fiction writes itself.  If that did happen though, that really makes Sam a thoughtless bastard.  I don’t want to think of Sam that way either.  Oh, what’s happened to you Sam?   

However, our issue is with Dean.  If anyone read the TV Fanatic roundtable that I’m part of every week, behold this quote when I was asked about the MOC in last week’s installment: 

Will Sam and Dean attempt to deal with the Mark of Cain anytime soon?

Alice: …we really don’t have a good idea of what this whole Mark of Cain thing is doing to Dean…As to whether they’ll attempt to deal with it, I say it comes up in the midseason finale. Then it stops being an issue again until the end of the season, just like Sam’s Lucifer hallucinations in season seven.  Dean will deal with it by grabbing that arm! The writers have this horrible habit of writing themselves into a corner with no graceful way out.     

http://www.tvfanatic.com/2014/12/supernatural-round-table-son-of-a-witch/

Yes, I’m boasting.  Guess what happened this week?  I knew because this whole arc has been so damned predictable.  They’re stalling and resorting to the same tactics they’ve used for seasons now.  It’s so predictable it’s become a parody of itself.  Dean lies to Sam, grabs arm to tell us he’s lying.  It’s not different than Sam in season seven grabbing that hand scar after telling Dean everything was just peachy.  Or Sam hiding the fact he was coughing up blood in season eight.  I’m sorry to say this, but these types of ruts signal the warning signs that if the writers are so out of ideas, perhaps it’s time to start plotting end game.  Or get new writers.  At some point, my inner “at least they’re still on my TV each week” mantra really starts to lose all reason. 

I know, I’m starting to sound like a broken record, but this storyline is listless.  There’s no life to it and I’m experiencing a lot of disappointment with a premise that had so much promise.   I’m watching so many other TV shows, especially on The CW, that are running with storylines full throttle this early into the season.   Even The Flash, which is a season one show mainly finding its footing at this stage, is telling far more compelling stories.  There’s no reason that a show in its tenth season can’t go with that pace and purpose.  It’s not like you’re going to break it or anything.  I get that Jared and Jensen need time off, but working in an interesting, non-cliched twist to a main arc in a filler week is not rocket science.  Heck, just read some fan fiction for examples. 

As I’ve said before, I’m frustrated with the concept that if one main character gets the meaty arc, the other becomes wallpaper.  I’m no happier with Sam hand wringing over what Dean might do than I was with Dean hand wringing over what Sam might do in prior seasons.  Is that honestly what the other gets to do?  I’ve constantly expressed this criticism and I’ll keep doing it until it actually happens (or the show ends), give Sam and Dean both a strong, simultaneous story line.  It can be done.  See seasons two, three, four and five.  I want to care what happens to both guys, and right now watching them go through the motions is not all that entertaining. 

I’m probably serving no purpose railing against failures in main character development in a filler episode that otherwise had entertainment value, but the Mark of Cain is the elephant in the room and deserves it’s due.  We need to see it’s harsh impact on BOTH Sam and Dean.  Or, what about the angel war?  Yes, it can be interesting, it just needs to be written right.  What about the new twist with Crowley?  His character has been a grossly underutilized this season.  Perhaps during the break we can go into some exercises about world building and how to arc a mythology well for an entire season, but that’s not something I can go into this week.  I’ll just sum it up it simpler terms;  Jody and Donna good, Mark of Cain bad. 

Random Notes

Anyone notice that this is the exact same place they filmed “The Real Ghostbusters?”  Even the meeting hall was the same.  I loved that episode.  It makes me smile. 

Yes, I noticed that nifty new Android phone that Sam had, complete with all its easy to use built-in keyboard and mapping features.  Nice large screen, huh?  That’s a bonus though, because it gave Android a chance to air one of the best commercials I’ve seen in a while, the caravan of people in the Winnebago jamming in synch to “Whoomp, There It  Is!”  So thrilled to see that advertisement during “Supernatural.”  We’re relevant. 

Because the episode took place in Hibbing, Minnesota, there were apparently a lot of Bob Dylan references around.  Did anyone catch them?  Yeah, I didn’t either, but then again I wasn’t looking too hard.  I’ll pick it up on a re-watch.  If you caught any, do share. 

I’m not bothering with a grade on this one.  I did like it, but it’s hard to watch when I’m itching for some mytharc action.  I’m certain I’ll appreciate “Hibbing 911” more when I’m sitting down re-watching the season as a whole, hopefully with the knowledge that a lot of my fears were addressed by season end.  Hey, a girl can dream, right? 


Comments  

Marlin Rosa
# Marlin Rosa 2014-12-03 15:20
Alice even if we don't agree on some points about the episode, i appreciate your honesty. Love reading your reviews!
cheryl42
# cheryl42 2014-12-03 15:56
I can't say that I disagree with anything you've said here. The pacing for the show has been a problem for a while now. The standalones are fun and all but we got hit full in the face with three or four really intense episodes right at the beginning. I know we are only 8 episodes in but I think we all want to get back to the real story. I also get the J's need time off (how many episodes a season are they really the only focus?) and as much as I have enjoyed this season it does get frustrating when you want to get back to that "elephant" in the room. I agree with you about the nursemaid role. I didn't like it for Dean in S8 and I don't want to see it for Sam this season. I am hoping that this will the beginning of Sam's "Dark Road" to help save Dean.
Thanks for your review. I think I liked the episode better than you did. For me it was what it was supposed to be...cute and fun. Next week doesn't look like it's either cute or fun.
iamsam1013
# iamsam1013 2014-12-03 16:28
Totally agree about the pacing. I looked at the clock 30 minutes in and also noted with disbelief that the episode was only half over. I enjoyed the girl banter and wished that the monster had been something other than a vampire too. I would rank this as my least favorite episode of season 10. But I still love Jody!
LEAH
# LEAH 2014-12-03 16:32
I personally really liked the episode and thought it went by fast. And, like Cheryl, I don't really disagree with some of the deeper issues with the show. That being said I am enjoying this season so much more than the last 2 or 3 seasons. I know the boys will always have differences but it has been nice to see them actually act like they like each other again. I never mind too much the "nursemaid" aspects of the brothers. As long as it's not drawn out and both characters have moments of that. It's nice for me to see them care for each other. Donna and Jody were great together. I think maybe Donna is on a journey to a place of more confidence and self worth. I like it, as well as the slow emergence of the friendship between her and Jody. As you, I could have done without the jerk ex but I think maybe that was part of showing how Donna is slowing learning something about herself, helped of course by Jody who is not shy about expressing herself. I liked it as fun and entertaining filler. Oh and I SO agree with the fact that it was vampires AGAIN. Disappointing. I was hoping for a new and creepy MOW. Thanks for the review Alice. I always appreciate your honesty.
Daisymae
# Daisymae 2014-12-03 17:11
Although you have valid points, I did find the episode entertaining. When Jody got angry at Sam because he didn't tell her Dean was found, I couldn't help but remember when Ellen slapped Dean because he didn't inform her he wasn't dead. What's with these guys? Men, they don't think.
Lilah_Kane
# Lilah_Kane 2014-12-03 17:34
I liked the episode but I see your point too. I think I can slightly agree with the vampires but even though we have had them many times (luckily not like twilight yet) I think they have tried to make them still different.
How they chose to embrace the hippy way and be like new age vampire Indians that use everything from their prey. (Ewwww still for the munched bodies) And thus trying to make the monsters you know different. But even I expected more something from Stephen King's books. (langoliers)



- Lilah
NOLANOLA
# NOLANOLA 2014-12-06 08:21
Is that supposed to be TEETH coming after CAS.....
what the Zeus is happening....
CGI teeth or what...
Lilah_Kane
# Lilah_Kane 2014-12-07 15:23
Nola,

It's from a movie called Langoliers and not Supernatural. Cas is safe. ;)

- Lilah
LEAH
# LEAH 2014-12-07 15:53
I didn't like that one at all! :) But I can see why Nola thought it was Cas! Stephen King is great but even HE had some clunkers.
njspnfan
# njspnfan 2014-12-03 17:47
Hi Alice - enjoyed, and agreed with the good portion of what you have to say. This was an okay episode; pacing was off but the chemistry between Jody and Donna was good. I cannot buy in to the vampires eating their prey; there is simply too much vampire lore from the show and this is not a good retcon. Why couldn't they use a hybrid monster, maybe one of Eve's beta tests from S6 (a vampire/ghoul hybrid would fit the MO), or even a Leviathan - haven't heard anything about them since S7. Last episode's change in witch lore worked well when Rowena described the different types of witches; it fit with existing canon and didn't make you think "but this is contrary to what happened in an episode from S2 when...."

And Sam has been in caretaker mode for a while but they have at least tried to keep him involved in the episodes. I think that's going to be changing soon and, if Carver had any mercy, he'd knock Sam out next week and wake him up in episode 20.

IMO, this attempt at turning SPN into an ensemble show hasn't worked very well, and they're running out of time to get it right. If they do want to continue beyond S10, a shake up is needed.
NOLANOLA
# NOLANOLA 2014-12-03 18:29
The alpha-vamp is still alive, correct.....
Leviathans were Biting commentary
on the 1 percent. I did not hate them.
NOLANOLA
# NOLANOLA 2014-12-03 18:30
The alpha-vamp is still alive, correct.....
Leviathans were Biting commentary
on the 1 percent. I did not hate them.
njspnfan
# njspnfan 2014-12-03 18:49
yep, always wondered why they didn't bring back the Alpha Vamp....
Ginger
# Ginger 2014-12-03 19:18
Alice, you liked the episode better than I did, but your review is honest and sincere and you touch on many points that are my reason for really disliking the episode.

1) Yes, it was meant to be light, except the dialogue was not funny at all. In fact, there was nothing funny in the whole episode. I hear a lot about liking having two strong females in an episode, but this is what I saw:

Two female sheriffs go to a sheriff’s retreat and do they conduct themselves like professionals? One of them acts like a touch royal *itch, and the other one acts like a silly high school sophomore who sees her ex-boyfriend at the junior prom with another girl.

Do they discuss cases they have worked or the difficulties they have faced working with local law enforcement in their dominantly male job? No. One spends much of her time calling home and fretting over her teenaged foster daughter, and the other tries to bury her hurt feelings over a divorce that happened over a year ago.

One cop sees an old friend who was missing and off the rails and what does she do? Offers him a hug and a bowl of homemade soup for his soul. How motherly of her. I don't know how much she knows; how much Sam told her, but I do know, just from Dean's reaction to her knowing if nothing else, that Dean would never contact her on his own for any reason -- off the reservation or otherwise. And then there was the fact that every other male in the episode, save Sam and Dean, were made to look like adolescent retards so the two women could shine.

2) I have no problem with the Js having time off occasionally, but there are better ways to do it than write an episode for one recurring and one one-off character that goes nowhere. I do like Jodi and Donna better than all the other recurrings, but there was no purpose to the episode other than to give them time off. Did the two leads (Jodi and Donna) learn anything? No. Donna lost 10 pounds at the fat farm and put another 4 pounds back on. She doesn’t admit to not having the strength of mind or will to do what she tells herself she wants, and the situation with her ex was completely unresolved. Jodie’s situation remained completely unchanged, and the two support characters (Dean and Sam) remained unchanged.

3) You state the MoC story is listless. Not too long ago, JA said the MoC would play a role all season, but he did not know what it was. The writers are not telling JA what exactly is planned with the Mark (or they hadn't figured it out up to this episode's filming), which is why I have found JA's performances and Dean’s actions uneven since the DDean story ended (and I am a 100% Dean fan and admirer of JA's acting talent). I really feel that there is going to be a lot of fan disappointment in how the MOC story unfolds, starting with the mid-term finale.

4) There are lots of complaints about Sam not having much of a role this season. While I was watching this episode, I had an epiphany -- Sam's role is to keep Dean on a short leash. But that's not the problem. The problem is that neither Sam or Dean have a story this season. The Winchesters are nothing more than regulars showing up to support other characters' stories. Hopefully, the writers will come up with something in the second half of the season to where the Winchesters have something at stake this season. Right now, all they are doing is playing support characters in every episode.

5) Vampires being overdone wasn't my issue; it was the trashed vampire lore? Vampires are dead. They do not need food; they need human blood to exist, but I am sure the Winchesters are happy to know that they have lost their sense of smell and acute hearing. Now they won't have to go to all the trouble John taught them about rubbing themselves down with smelly herbs or be careful about being too loud, making sure they are downwind, or worry about having their heartbeats be heard. And how politically correct, to introduce environmentally sensitive monsters.

6) Just a nitpick on this one: I seem to recall that the MoL catalogued all their findings. Is there some good excuse as to why Dean was reading everything in the library looking for something about the Mark.

That's enough. I could sum the whole thing up by saying I was bored and thought about reaching for the remote several times. As it was, I did leave the room a few times to do other stuff.
Vince
# Vince 2014-12-03 20:35
Like Christo, the look of demon smoke, the effect of the Colt when a monster dies, the vampire eyeshine; the show pretty much dropped the idea of the brothers masking their scent after the first season.

Also vampires aren't dead or undead, but while they may not need to eat food, nothing in the show has ever stated that they can't. Nothing about the lore was messed with, this was just a quirk that this particular nest of Vamps had.
Ginger
# Ginger 2014-12-04 10:21
When writers do not set rules, or parameters, within which their story takes place, I agree that everything is open to fan interpretation and that everything can change at whim. The other side of that is that the audience cannot trust the story or the writers. For instance, based on this nest, the next nest encountered could make ash trays out of human flesh and sell them as organic ash trays because they, too, are environmentally sensitive vampires :D
nickmaniac
# nickmaniac 2014-12-03 22:27
Hi Alice - thank you so much for your honest review. I'm not going to comment much about the episode, but I do want to express that I find it interesting that each of us watches SPN in our own way.

I've been a diehard fan of the show since the beginning - every day that SPN is aired, my Facebook status reads "YAAAAY!! YAAAY!! IT'S NEW SUPERNATURAL DAY!!" :D - but I've never been hypercritical or analytical about it. I've simply just concluded, at the end of each episode, whether I enjoyed it or didn't enjoy it, and this episode was in the 'enjoyed it' category for me. I've never been concerned with canon (as much as I was curious about why vampires would eat humans down to the bone), or how much screen time each/both brothers get (which is why I really liked episodes like 'Bitten'), or what the overall mytharc really is (an ongoing storyline are awesome; MOTW episodes are, too!).

I find that without holding on to details or picking the show apart, I'm able to truly enjoy (or not enjoy) each episode for what it is, even this late in its lifespan. Of course, given that you and any others on this site are reviewers, it's hard NOT to be critical, and I respect and value your role in doing that. :) That said, because of how I watch the show, I'm not one who wants the show to end. I'm content with watching this series with or without a full focus on the Winchesters; with or without the elephant in the room; with or without the meaning talks and hug-it-outs. That doesn't mean I'm always pleased with choices such as contrived conflict or rehashed plotlines, and I'm certainly aware that the show's quality isn't what it used to be... but at the end of the day, the show still EXISTS, and that makes me happy. And if something makes you happy, then why wish for it to go away? (The flipside: if something's making us UNhappy, then maybe WE should be the ones to go away, i.e stop watching, or at least have much lower expectations. I'm speaking generally here, not targeting you or anyone in particular, Alice.) :)

Respectfully though I wish to take issue with your frequent comparison of SPN with other shows like 'Arrow' the 'The Flash'. All I can say it, let's wait until those shows are in season 9 or 10, THEN let's compare the quality of storylines, production value and performance. I think that would be a much fairer assessment. ;) Blessings!
Bevie
# Bevie 2014-12-04 14:45
I was so disappointed and my heart really dropped when after enjoying thoroughly the last episode I read that Alice is writing an article about how the show should be dropped now. I'm enjoying this season more than any one since season three, as I never could entirely love the episodes when the brothers were really not liking each other. There have been magically marvelous episodes since then, but it was always missing a contented enjoyment when (mostly) Sammy was seemingly not caring about his bro like he used to. For me, that was the heart and centre of this show and what I most cared about. I never minded the conflicts in the first 3 seasons as I knew 100% the boys loved each other after all. For instance Sam going against Dean's wishes in order to save him from going to hell. No question they were unhealthily co-dependent and I liked them that way.

OK. I'm female so I have a more emotional response to the show than probably a guy has. A male friend of mine watches it and doesn't care if the guys hug, or have talks in the Impala. He likes the action and the monsters and the humour. We don't watch the same way, but we both love the show and don't want it to end. Neither of us is enamoured of the world ending mytharcs of the last few years. I loved the first 3 arcs that were personal to the Winchesters and not world ending. The search for dad, Sammy's shining coming through and saving Dean from hell. Then came angels, Lucifer, the Apocalypse, Leviathans, tablets and closing doors and nasty dick angels. Many many great episodes in spite of it all and I loved the brothers no matter what they were facing! (and where, on any other show, are you going to get two marvelous actors with such amazing chemistry and that really LIKE each other outside of the characters they play, and it shows every time we see them together, on or off screen.)

I agree with nickmaniac that we really all watch a different show and interpret the same show so widely differently between us as individuals. So I find it so disappointing that someone who made this wonderful site could now be so disappointed that she wishes the show would end. I know many who are still enjoying and loving this season altogether so far. They and I look forward to Supernatural day before any other drama on tv at this time. Personally I have never loved any show as much and I'm a veteran of over 50 years TV viewing.

I especially agree with nickmaniac's last paragraph.

NO, I do not want it to end until I'm dead and gone anyway! LOL
Alice
# Alice 2014-12-04 15:52
Bevie, it's a speculative article really pointing out reasons why SPN should be planning an end date. Supernatural isn't a Law and Order/CSI type open ended procedural that could end at any time. It has a sweeping mytharc. If that arc/character building strays, blows continuity, or just plain gets ignored because the writers are out of ideas or want to serve their own individual agendas, then yes, a serial type show should start thinking about the end. It happened to Lost. They were able to plan out the last 3 seasons well because they had an end point (even if people didn't like the finale, the show did find its way). It's not me wishing the show would end, just offering a practical argument. Perhaps your points would be better served once the article is actually written!

Plus, that article will never see the light of day on this website. Fans here are way too sensitive. I'm taking it to my other site, TV For The Rest of Us, which is neutral territory.
Alice
# Alice 2014-12-04 15:42
Your post made me smile Nickmaniac! Spoken like a true fan. Man, how I wish I could go back to the days when I viewed the show like that. Years of blogging about it and other shows from a critical eye has definitely changed my world view on television.

I'm not comparing SPN to Arrow or The Flash in terms of storyline freshness as much as pacing and plotting for a season long arc. I don't care what season a show is in, it should never be allowed to just start phoning it in because fans tune in for familiarity every week rather than a well done storyline (of course that's not a critical statement on fans, they have their right to tune in for whatever reason they want). It's laziness on the part of the writers and producers and as a fan it does offend me. But yes, that view is skewed by the fact that I do look at TV shows again with a critical eye. No show is perfect, but I can tell which ones are making an effort and which ones aren't. Supernatural isn't. That's primarily the statement I was trying to make. If I didn't point these things out, the I wouldn't be doing my job of TV critic very well!
Lynn
# Lynn 2014-12-05 11:26
A mirror of how I feel but said so much better. I don't have the complaints everyone has about the show, I just enjoy each for what it is and let the story unfold in front of me. I have no problem letting others have a problem with it and stating those view, in fact, I get a kick out of reading them but I'm just happy to enjoy it the way I do and not be so critical, it's much less stressful. Anyway, I agreed with every word of your comment, glad to know there are less critical views out there.
Scullspeare
# Scullspeare 2014-12-03 23:35
Jody Mills rocks–always will. Thank you, Kim Rhodes. While it was fun watching her play odd couple with Sheriff Donna, my favourite moments were the more serious ones–of Jody dealing with surrogate motherhood as Alex rediscovers her humanity (and all the teen angst that comes with it), and the flashback to Jody losing her husband and son. It’s those layers that make her a great character.

Quote:
Because the episode took place in Hibbing, Minnesota, there were apparently a lot of Bob Dylan references around. Did anyone catch them? Yeah, I didn’t either, but then again I wasn’t looking too hard.

Ditto. The problem for me was that, as a SPN fan, I wasn’t thinking Dylan; I was thinking Season 1’s The Benders, which also took place in Hibbing. That episode had a pretty cool female cop too–Deputy Kathleen. When there is a sheriffs’ convention in a town where the boys know a deputy sheriff, you’d think she’d rate a mention, if not an appearance. :P

Quote:
The other bad part of the episode was the MOTW story. Vampires? Really?
Yeah. Like you, I was really disappointed that vamps were the MOTW–again. Maybe Santa could deliver a copy of The Supernatural Book of Monsters, Spirits, Demons and Ghouls to each writer for Christmas and ask them to read or re-read it. It’s full of all kinds of cool monsters that have yet to make an appearance on the show. I pulled my copy off the bookshelf after watching Hibbing 911, opened it and the first page I glanced at had two creatures that have never been used on the show (One was a Leszy, a “Slavic forest spirit that can appear as any animal or plant. One of his preferred shapes is a talking mushroom…” I cracked up at this point; all I could think was ‘What could Ben Edlund do with a Shapeshifter/Ma gic Mushroom hybrid?) :D Here's hoping that after the Christmas hiatus, they put the wicked in the witches and toss some fresh monsters into the mix.
Vince
# Vince 2014-12-03 23:50
If I recall, Carver did say that there was going to be plenty of monsters, old and new this season.
sylvia37
# sylvia37 2014-12-04 08:41
I agree with pretty much everything you said here, Alice. It was relatively entertaining, but disappointing at the same time. The vampire thing surprised me because it really seemed to be out of place and I kept waiting for a confrontation between Donna and her Ex so she could tell him off, and nada. I guess the fact that someone told him off was supposed to be good enough.

As for Sam and his hand wringing, they were doing so well for a while there, even if Sam's storyline consisted of him worrying about Dean, at least he was present and part of the action, which was really lacking in previous seasons, but the last couple of episodes even that has gotten slack. I really hope he has something to do next week that's relevant. It's not that I don't realize that without him, Dean would be lost to the MOC, but if that's what they're going for, they need to make that point a little more clear. I need more than "Dean, are you sure you're okay?" and "Sam, I'm peachy," then Sam's forehead wrinkles into worried lines of "Dean's lying to me again." I want to see Sam take the reigns and DO something. Remember "Faith", or "Long Distance Call" or even "Point of no Return"? What happened to that Sam? I miss him. He was kind of there at the beginning of the season, but he's left the building again.

And I'm sorry to say that I'm confused by Dean. Poor Jensen seems confused by him too. He feels so closed off to me right now, and maybe that's the point, but I had high hopes after the boys were supposed to be back together and Jensen saying that Dean was going to be more light hearted this season, and now we're back to him lying and "I'm going to die bloody." :(

That said, I'm not giving up hope that they've got something up their sleeves. I just hope it involves both boys having an interesting part to play.
Ginger
# Ginger 2014-12-04 10:12
I think, at least up to this point in the season, JA is just as confused about what the MoC is doing to Dean as you and I are. JA said in an interview not too long ago that the MoC would play a big role in the season, but he wasn't sure what that would be. In this episode, given the small amount of screen time he and JP had, I felt like JA was doing a mental questioning of what the Mark was doing to Dean. Dean then says at the end that it was the first time since he got it that it hadn't been pushing him. That should be a significant fact and one pertinent to a deeper storyline in the second half of the season. I, however, question how significant the MoC is really going to be in this season.
st50 unlogged
# st50 unlogged 2014-12-04 20:54
I enjoyed the episode, but it really wasnt whatI had hoped it would be.
Setting it in Hibbing was a mistake, IMHO. It did not remind me of Dylan, it reminded me of The Benders. That was a much better episode, from back when they wrote characters, rather than caricatures.
And could write for both brothers in the same episode. Ah, the good ol' days. ;)
Russ
# Russ 2014-12-05 20:42
Quote:
from back when they wrote characters, rather than caricatures.
Bingo! This show has been written into a mockery of its former self, and is run by hacks that have failed upwards.
Russ
# Russ 2014-12-05 21:33
Alice ... great article. I couldn't agree more.

Unfortunately there's no chance Carver will switch things up, as he hasn't got the talent. The show dwindles in quality as the years pass and he gets bumped up to show-runner. Why would he think it's not working? Especially when after each episode everyone involved in the show gets bombarded via social media with praise from a million women who only care that the get to see 2 guys hug every episode.

It's a bitter-sweet feeling watching the show every week. Jared & Jensen's portrayal of Sam & Dean is at its peak - yet they're being given nothing to work with, save for a few moments here and there. Same goes for Misha and Mark.

I read an article/intervi ew a week or two back - will see if I can find it - and in it, both Jared and Jensen comment on how surprised and disappointed they were in the Demon Dean thing being wrapped up so quickly. They both wanted to see that pan out a little more and keep the brothers apart a little while longer. That tells me two things, 1) the writers pander to those aforementioned fans in fear of not being liked, and 2) that after 10 years playing these two characters, and being the only constant in the shows history - the show-runner and writers still don't talk to Jared and Jensen and get their input and ideas of where they might like to see their characters go. And if they do they don't listen. How can that be?

Production value is at an all-time low and formulaic to a fault. This season alone, we've had two horrendous CGI/green screen Impala-driving send-offs, and the music? My God! Music helps create an atmosphere and they're failing. The scene in Hibbing, 911, as all 4 arrive at the nest in the Impala? Completely wrong music. It was bad and served no benefit. That whole scene up until Sam gets hit over the head should have had no music under it whatsoever. And if I hear that "Americana" music one more time, I'm going to kick a hole in my TV. This nice piece of music, that use to be used during heartfelt moments that resonated with the viewers (during Chuck's Epilogue in S5; first seeing Bobby coming back as a ghost, etc). Now? Well apparently the ending of Hibbing, 911 warranted it - how I don't know, it was about as emotional as a bag of chips - and back in episode 3 ("Soul Survivor") they used the bloody thing twice. They've reached the bottom of the well.

I'll end my rant there. I'll watch this show until it ends. After what Kripke gave us, there's no way I can't. I'm in til the end. However, if this show continues as it is, maybe that end should be sooner rather than later.

Never thought I'd say that about Supernatural.
NOLANOLA
# NOLANOLA 2014-12-06 08:28
I love the way you write. Your style and choice of words.
I'll miss you when it's all over. Thanks Russ.;)
cheryl42
# cheryl42 2014-12-06 10:54
(removed by request of cheryl42)
st50
# st50 2014-12-06 12:26
Cheryl,
I think Russ is being blunt about the point, and I don't think he was suggesting women are the cause for the decline......Bu t I agree with him on this point.

If you watch twitter during/after an episode - and even in the week in between episodes....Tha t's exactly what is being thrown at the writers - loads of tweets (some rather rude/crass, in fact) about the guys and the relationships shown - between Sam and Dean, or one of them and Cas. It's one thing to praise or criticize, but it does get a bit much, imho.

I watch for the brother bond, too, and I love those hugs and gestures of affection. But social media responses I've seen are, to me, rather over-the-top - and probably not representative of the whole fandom. The fact that is is what the writers see - week after week - I think that was Russ' point.
LEAH
# LEAH 2014-12-06 13:32
Hi st50, I agree that social media is filled with silly over the top comments, and said by all genders BTW. What bothers me is that the fans often get blamed for all the problems with the show. In this case female fans. I have seen variations on this many times in recent memory and it always bothers me. As if the people who still find something worthwhile in the show are somehow responsible for it's issues. I have no problems with Russ's critical view of the show, or anyone else's for that matter but that bothered me too. Saying there are some silly embarrassing people on social media is fine and I agree wholeheartedly but to blame them and think everybody on the show (or anyone for that matter) take those people seriously and then alters the show to appease them is wrong IMO. Tensions are running high right now and we are all a little touchy and I just want us ALL to be able to agree or disagree strongly with the CONTENT of a post. As long as it does not take personal aim at the poster. I have no issue with Russ expressing himself, just that particular part of the comment. I am fine with debate and strong opinions. I used to love all the discussions in the old days as well (and we had squabbles and hurt feelings back then too sometimes) but we need to be able to talk and disagree and be offended sometimes. All of us.
st50
# st50 2014-12-06 12:34
Oh. And btw?
Speaking only for myself....
This type of response is why I don't come here to discuss the show anymore.
cheryl42
# cheryl42 2014-12-06 12:50
Well that was a totally unnecessary comment. Since I defended your right to post any opinion you want whether I agree or not. I disagree with Russ' post. It is my opinion. I didn't say he had no right to post it. I understand what he meant. I disagree. I didn't think I was being disrespectful. You know I try very hard not to be offensive. I am sorry you were offended.
cheryl42
# cheryl42 2014-12-06 13:16
Ok your right I could have worded that differently. It came out much stronger than I intended it too. Can't edit since I can't log in so there it stays. I apologize to Russ as well. You I misinterpreted what you were saying about the millions of women.
Russ
# Russ 2014-12-06 22:53
It's all good. I took no offense from what you wrote. We all have our versions of the show. Unfortunately mine seems to be slipping away from me, which is pissing me off because I really, really love it. A TV show has never grabbed and influenced me the way Supernatural did - and I miss that.
cheryl42
# cheryl42 2014-12-06 23:15
Thanks for that. We all do get pretty passionate about this show. I know what you mean about Supernatural. It kind of took over my life. Hopefully the season will get better for you.
Russ
# Russ 2014-12-06 22:32
st50 is right. I was a little blunt in my wording.

cheryl42 - My problem isn't with the "million women" on Twitter. I do believe, however, that it is having an effect on the writers, and not for the better. That much interaction and dialogue can only sway a writer's attitude and ultimately limit his/her creativity. If the second an episode finishes and the writer's Twitter account is filled with praise (even if the episode isn't very good), then that's going to continue to influence how they write. If an episode finished with Sam & Dean standing next to the Impala talking in a rather dull and unmoving scene, but all they read on Twitter is "OMG! Luv the Sam & Dean broment. U'r making me cry #oneperfecttear ", then guess what? Next episode they write? Yup! Exact same thing, regardless of whether it benefits the overall narrative or not.

It almost seems like they're writing episodes around these scenes (I'd actually put money on it) - which takes all emotion and true impact out of them as they're all too frequent and contrived; and that stunts creativity which in turn creates a very one dimensional show.

The bad guys aren't even bad guys anymore. Crowley's about as threatening as a one-headed puppy, and the monsters of the week are no more than caricatures of cliched monsters past, wrapped in CSI-esque procedural tedium. This show is suppose to be Supernatural, not Pretty Little Liars with lame Monsters. This show is better than that. What happened to the fright? The evil? The mystery? The genuine emotion?

Jared and Jensen are unfairly carrying way more of the load than they should have to on this show. It's time to bring in some talent (bring back Ben Edlund for starters), and kick this thing back into gear.
Alice
# Alice 2014-12-07 02:34
Thanks so much Russ, and I totally agree with everything you've said. The problem is I think Jeremy Carver has one foot out the door. The writers likely know it too. I've heard Robert Singer is talking retirement too. With that type of turmoil and uncertainty in the writer's room, it's bound to affect direction. It did in season seven when Sera Gamble was on her way out and everyone knew it. Carver isolates himself from social media though. He does what he thinks is best and ignores the critics. The other producers though, it's all about the fans on Twitter. They all bask in the praise and love and think they're writing the best stuff out there since sliced bread. The critics are being dismissed as "trolls." These are the guys that will be taking over when Carver leaves.
Social media has made this show a success, but social media has also grossly contributed to the decline in quality. They think because the ratings are high, everything is good. It's bogus.

I read that article from Jensen and Jared. I think Carver's hands were tied because the 200th episode was coming up. He had to have Dean back to normal for that. But if they don't go that route and push Dean back in that territory come the midseason finale, then yes, the whole twist of Demon Dean has been a waste. It's not the meaty storyline people were hoping for and I'm talking about the long time fans that always look at this show with a more critical eye. I know these people, they're part of my SPN community, and they're not happy. I'm not happy. I'm still hanging onto some hope though.

I'm ready for Kripke to come back with a renewed purpose, a better team of writers and an end game plan as well. It's sad and heartbreaking to say, but perhaps it would be for the best. I never thought I'd saw that either. And yes, I'm being blunt too!
NOLANOLA
# NOLANOLA 2014-12-07 02:58
From your and Russ' lips to Chucks ears. ;)
st50
# st50 2014-12-07 09:53
Well said, Alice.

I've been enjoying this season more than 8&9, simply because of the lack of contrived conflict between brothers. That's a show-killer for me. Let them fight, yes. They always have. But let it be honest, and have purpose and meaning for their characters - not simply a means of getting the plot from A to B.
But as I've said before, the bar is low right now, and I do have some serious issues - especially 1) with the way they are writing Cas, Crowley - and of course Sam. All 3 are underutilized caricatures of their former selves, imho.
and 2) Demon!Dean had such potential. I wanted him darker, though. Not just the unrestrained-ba d-boy-side of Dean. The bunker scene was fun - we needed more of that. Perhaps it'll come in the second half, but I'm not holding my breath.

Thanks to you and Russ for being blunt. It is needed. I wish the writers would hear that. I didn't know Carver & Singer were both thinking of leaving. I could live with that if we got Kripke and Edlund back - or Sera (with some competent help).
LEAH
# LEAH 2014-12-07 12:40
I agree with much of this St50. I don't think the show is perfect and I miss many things about the earlier days. I also have no problem with bluntness. Whether it be Alice or Russ or any other fan. My issue is the fan blaming. There was a poster here awhile back who was quite condescending and taking swipes of a few of us personally for being ignorant and the cause of the shows decline and canon inconsistencies . That still stings after all this time. The rudeness was let slide. We are fans not critics and should be able to watch the show how we want to. I really had problems with S8 and S9 because of the contrived conflicts also and am enjoying this season much better as well.
st50
# st50 2014-12-07 13:00
Sorry to hear about that, Leah.
Unfortunately it's nothing new - but it does perhaps explain the tone of responses I'm reading again now.
njspnfan
# njspnfan 2014-12-07 18:06
Wow... lots of interesting comments and thoughts. I was under the impression that Carver was going to be working on another project (writing?) in addition to his showrunner duties; haven't read anything to indicate that he's stepping down at the end of S10. I can't see any of the current show writers being able to handle show runner duties. And I can't see Kripke coming back, unless there's a defined end date for the show and a mytharc to get them there.

IMO, Carver's reign as showrunner has been a mixed bag. I give him lots of credit for "righting the ship" in S8. There have been a lot of great ideas (Dean's purgatory arc, Men of Letters, The Tablets, Mark of Cain/Demon Dean, The "Trials", Sam's angel possession). Conversely, there have been some not-so-good ideas (Sam/Amelia and lack of context for Sam not looking for Dean, canon-trashing, a tedious and boring angel storyine) But, I have found the actual execution and follow thru to be lacking, as has been the fluidity and pacing of the stories from week to week.

A lot of the writers on the show are good but have distinct styles and I think the show suffers as a result of this. Again, JMO but I would think one of the jobs of the showrunner would be to bring this all together more coherently.
Alice
# Alice 2014-12-08 00:27
It's very possible Carver remains as the Executive producer for Supernatural. IF Frequency goes to pilot at NBC and perhaps gets a pickup, Carver will be the Executive Producer for that show as well. I thought I read that he would be showrunner too. But being an Executive Producer doesn't meant day to day showrunner. Julie Plec right now is the Executive Producer for both The Originals and The Vampire Diaries, but Michael Narducci is her Originals chief and Caroline Dries is her TVD chief. If Carver does both shows, someone will be expected to step up for Supernatural. Number one in the succession list right now is Adam Glass. Andrew Dabb is only a Co-Executive Producer, so he likely wouldn't be given top duties. Carver could also decide he doesn't want to be stretched that thin. Since his name is attached to new projects, you know that is likely going to be his main focus. It's all unknown though. We really won't know until pilot season. There's no official announcement right now either way. We do know that Carver was on board to execute a 3 year plan, and season ten is the 3rd year. I don't see why he wouldn't want to move on. Supernatural is a show that according to the execs runs itself. The audience loyalty fuels that perception.

I loved season eight, especially after that disaster that was season seven. However, I hated season nine and season ten is underwhelming. The lack of fluidity like you mentioned has been the most alarming. Then again, Sera Gamble had trouble pulling that off as well. I think these writers are more rewarded for their individual contributions than any sort of group think. For example, they get bonuses if a character they created comes back. Ever wonder why they bring back so many characters? No one is trying for overall excellence, or comparing notes, then again, no one is inspiring them to do so like Kripke did. Kripke was a pain in the ass to work for from what I heard. He was a perfectionist. But man, when he walked in a room and ideas started flying, his infectious enthusiasm lit a fire under everyone. They were energized. Carver and Singer aren't like that. They're far more passive and excepting of lowering standards if they can tell an acceptable story. After all, it makes budgets and deadlines go easier. That's a traditional TV business mentality. Kripke was a fan boy and didn't follow tradition.

Unless they bring someone in from the outside or bring back Kripke, any promotion within will just result in more of the same. That idea doesn't sit right with me, but is it worth it if my show gets to stay on the air? I'm starting to think not.
cheryl42
# cheryl42 2014-12-07 10:48
I don't know about love and praise. Didn't Robbie Thompson and Adam Glass have to step away from social media for a while because of all of the hate and venom being leveled at them? I read some of those tweets. The attacks were vicious. There weren't any well thought out respectful criticisms that I saw being discussed. Robert Berens spent hours trying to defend his upcoming episode because of the misconceptions from the promo. By many accounts it really hurt him. Robbie Thompson's script was boycotted by Misha fans because he wasn't going to be in it. So the fans do what they do best and rally around the cast and crew to show love and support. I don't know how that is influencing anything. Didn't Eric Kripke write a letter to angry fans defending Swan Song? Didn't many fans rally around him showing love and support? Jeremy Carver did what he was supposed to do. He took a failing show and turned it around. And he was slammed every step of the way. I can't blame him for wanting to get out of Dodge, Robert Singer either. It must be exhausting and heartbreaking. Why in the hell would Eric Kripke want to jump back into this mess? I am sorry that some fans have lost their love for the show but that doesn't mean it needs to end. Apparently there are millions of us that do still love it and would like to see it continue.
SanSummer1
# SanSummer1 2014-12-07 12:24
Quote:
Jeremy Carver did what he was supposed to do. He took a failing show and turned it around. And he was slammed every step of the way. I can't blame him for wanting to get out of Dodge, Robert Singer either. It must be exhausting and heartbreaking.
I would not give all the credit to Jeremy Carver. Supernatural aired on Fridays during season seven. Carver talked about having a three-season plan so if he is leaving, I doubt it’s because fans broke his heart. Maybe he will be involved in two shows at the same time.

At 2013 Comic-Con, Robert Singer indicated that he would be done around the 200th episode. Frankly, I hope he is gone by the end of this season because clearly he is not as passionate about the show as he should be.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wfArSu5Gql8
cheryl42
# cheryl42 2014-12-07 12:38
Jeremy Carver also said on many occasions that he was game to continue on as well. The fans and the J's had all but given up on the show. At the last con they both said during S7 they had pretty much decided it was time to hang it up. When Carver came in it breathed new life into the show at least for the cast if not for some of the fans. And yes I know that Singer had indicated he would be gone by the 200th. But as Alice indicated he is considering retiring by the end of the season. I think it's hard to say how passionate someone is about anything unless we know them personally. I doubt he stays with the show for any other reason than he still has some passion for it. Maybe he is staying to keep some continuity with a show runner change over. It's hard to say. I can imagine dealing with a show like SPN with it's extremely passionate fans it has to be exhausting. And I meant heartbreaking for Singer more than Carver since he has been there from the beginning to see the fans turn on the show and each other like they have.
As an aside my sister came into my house during a S7 minithon I think it might have been Plucky's, she sat and watched 4 more episodes and took all of my DVD's home with her. She fell head over heals in love with the show, is not involved in any social fandom media and every new episode is an event in her household. My point is that new fans are discovering the show everyday. My sister is probably more indicative of the "millions" than those on social media. They are binge watching like crazy and loving every minute of it. Some of the hardcore fans have lost their love but that doesn't mean that new fans should be deprived of something they have just discovered and love just as passionately.
SanSummer1
# SanSummer1 2014-12-07 12:55
At the TCA Carved said, “There's no quit in anybody,” so he might split his time between Supernatural and the new show. Personally, I don’t think that would be good news for Supernatural.
cheryl42
# cheryl42 2014-12-07 13:00
Well just remember Adam Glass might be next in line as a possible show runner.
st50
# st50 2014-12-07 13:05
Personally, I don't think there's a writer in the current bunch that I'd like to see step up as show-runner.
But neither am I sorry to lose Carver (or Singer) - as the two who decided that "hitting a dog" story line was a good choice - without ever explaining how the main character got to that point.... or that the other main character would hold it over his head - for the next 2 seasons! - and yet never discuss it.
Yup. Still not over it.
LEAH
# LEAH 2014-12-07 13:18
:) I didn't enjoy that storyline either.
LEAH
# LEAH 2014-12-07 13:31
I really don't blame Carver personally though. The writing staff was mostly inherited by him. Kripke basically brought the story to a conclusion in S5 and then they had to quickly add a hastily tacked on ending. Then it was 'Here Sera now make it work'. I think it was a pretty hard thing to accomplish. I don't want to see Bob Singer leave. I just like him.:)
st50
# st50 2014-12-07 14:04
Agreed Sera was put into a pretty darn near impossible situation - and at least she came up with a story and explained (eventually) her characters actions.
In hindsight, she deserves a lot more credit than she's been given, imho.
Maybe some day I'll look back and say the same thing about Carver, but at this point in time I doubt it.
SanSummer1
# SanSummer1 2014-12-07 13:46
I would not want Adam Glass to be the showrunner at all. I would choose Andrew Dabb over him.

Supernatural is not Carver’s baby so he might be more passionate about the new show. Carver is also involved in developing a Supernatural spinoff. Is Supernatural so old that the higher-ups aren’t against the showrunner having a lot of other responsibilities?

I’m not particularly fond of Robert Singer because I’m under the impression that he had a lot of say in the show’s storylines during seasons 7-9.
cheryl42
# cheryl42 2014-12-07 14:05
I think Robert Singer has had a lot of say in the story lines from the beginning. Both Sera and Carver were kind of written into a corner. Sera tried to bring in a fresh story with Souless Sam. That went over like a lead balloon at the time (it was my favorite version of Sam and apparently Jared's). They had to scrap it and the rest of the season fell apart. S7 as I said was just a mess. From what I understand besides CW head Dawn O. hating the show Sera had problems getting scripts to the cast on time and there were budget issues. Again Carver was written into a corner and did the best he could to get out from under it. But I think his real job was to tighten the schedule not necessarily the scripts and make sure they were delivered on time and on budget. I think they underestimated the amount of dislike for the storyline for Sam when they did the domestic story for him. Before the season even started there was a ton of backlash. I think they tried to get it over with as quickly as they could and never speak of it again (except for the hitting the dog thing. I don't know why they keep bringing that up unless we are going to get some kind of explanation). I loved the MOL and trials story. I think S9 fell apart at the end because of that stupid ill conceived spinoff (Dabb). From what I understand Kripke was also involved in approving that mess. I think that really detracted from Dean's MOC story line. So far I am enjoying S10 a lot. I haven't had any major issues with any of the episodes personally.
st50
# st50 2014-12-07 14:19
Sera was a writer, not a show runner, and perhaps should've had more assistance in that.
Soulless was a great character - I think the pushback was more because they hadn't done the reveal early enough, and no one understood what Sam was doing. The audience feels like they "know" these characters. When they do something unusual, without the audience knowing why, there's gonna be cries of foul.
(Interesting that Jensen would choose to play DemonDean much closer to SoullessSam in nature. But the audience already understood why he would act "off")

Season 7 started strong, and then (I think) they realized they couldn't do justice to mental health issues, and were opening all kinds of other doors for problems heading down that road - so it just... ended. And the "monsters" were simply not "monstrous enough" to pick up the slack on the lost storyline..... But that's just my guess for where it went off the rails - and that's before the whole "trenchcoat in the trunk" issue...

Agreed they underestimated Sam hate at the start of season 8. They always do. But I don't think they counted on Sam fans not liking it either. (Which should've been obvious, imho). Again, EVERY TIME one of the guys acts out of character without explanation, the fandom explodes. A little exposition would've gone a LONG way. Now it's like they haven't got a clue what to do with Sam that won't get them hate - so they don't even try to write for him.
That's on Carver. 100%.
cheryl42
# cheryl42 2014-12-07 14:42
I think they got a hint before the season began but by then there were already several scripts written and episodes filmed. Once they started down that path there wasn't much they could do about it accept try to move on to what was the real story for S8 and that was the MOL and the trials. I think they tried to explain why Sam did what he did but everyone had already formed an opinion and it wasn't going to change. I also understand what the story ultimately was and that was for Sam to feel so guilty about letting Dean down that he would Sacrifice his life for redemption. I think we got more insight into Sam in S8 than we have in a very long time. It is interesting that S8 got some of the highest ratings and S9 was even better. This season hasn't been as successful ratings wise but not bad either. But we are in early stages so we'll see where it goes. I don't know why they keep bringing up hitting the dog. If it is meant as a joke it isn't funny, if it is meant as a future explanation I wish they would get on with it.
LEAH
# LEAH 2014-12-07 14:48
Those fandom wars were/are not fun. Most of it stemmed from the writing IMO the stories had some promise. What was frustrating for me was the OOC writing and yet some fans (not you, you were fair) like to lament the writing for Sam and turn around in the same post and say but boy, isn't that Dean a dick? LOL.
SanSummer1
# SanSummer1 2014-12-07 17:01
I am distrustful of Robert Singer. There has been talk that Sera Gamble lost control of the show in season seven — Singer was actually the one in charge.

I’m under the impression that… Gamble killed Castiel off. Misha sold his house in Vancouver and went to auditions in LA. Singer and some people from the network wanted Misha back on the show. (Of course fans were given the credit.) Because Castiel was brought back, Sam was insta-fixed. Singer had come up with the idea of Sam having a wall placed inside his head. (Obviously, the wall was a problem in terms of telling the story. Sam not being able to remember Hell was not the biggest payoff for the viewers and then Sam had to be cured somehow.)

Eugenie Ross-Leming is married to Singer. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that she and her writing partner came back in season seven. It seems that Kripke hadn’t been interested in having her co-write another script after episode 1.13 Route 666.

Quote:
Carver: The notion of Sam being possessed by an angel was originally Bob Singer’s idea. He threw it out there between seasons and said, “what if to save Sam’s life you had to put an angel in him?” It came from the same cloth of, “what if Dean had to rely on a vampire to escape from Purgatory and they became bonded over that?” You have to make do with the friends that are in front of you.
http://variety.com/2014/tv/spotlight/supernatural-oral-history-200-episodes-ackles-padalecki-kripke-1201352537/

Sam not looking for Dean was Carver’s idea. It seems that neither Singer nor Carver are fans of Sam and Dean being “co-dependent”. Unfortunately, Carver et al. weren’t able to handle the storylines properly.
cheryl42
# cheryl42 2014-12-07 19:23
I read that article as well. I really didn't read anything in there that was all that new. Most of it was pretty common knowledge. As far as the co-dependency they were trying to mature the relationship. Sam wasn't Dean's little brother puppy anymore. They wanted to show him having his own life after Dean's DEATH. Really the only part of that whole story line that bothered me was Sam abandoning Kevin. I understand he thought Dean was dead and he just needed to move on. But leaving Kevin was inexcusable. That and the fact that Sam and Amelia had absolutely no chemistry. Other than that I really enjoyed S8 and S9. I loved the MOL and the trials. I really loved the angel possession story. It was shocking and new and different. It totally worked for me. So far S10 is a big hit for me. So other than the Kevin glitch (and the horrendous BL) I have enjoyed that last 2 and half seasons.
SanSummer1
# SanSummer1 2014-12-08 07:10
I think that the possession storyline had a lot of potential (the Winchesters do crazy things to save each other) but it was not handled well. I wonder if they really thought it through.

Sam’s side of the story wasn’t fully explored. Sam showed hints of suicidal ideation at first but it was dropped completely.

Quote:
As far as the co-dependency they were trying to mature the relationship. Sam wasn't Dean's little brother puppy anymore. They wanted to show him having his own life after Dean's DEATH.
I think the storyline got pretty muddy. At the beginning of the season, it seemed that Sam had thought that his brother was dead so Sam had had to try to move on. However, Dean kept harping on Sam not having looked for him.

The following quote is from Carver:

Quote:
Absolutely, everything that happened at the end of Season 9 will carry over into Sam's relentless pursuit of his brother and to save his brother, as opposed to Season 8 when he didn't even look for him, you know?
http://www.zap2it.com/blogs/supernatural_executive_producer_jeremy_carver_discusses_season_10_demon_dean_sam_crowley_castiel-2014-07

Why did Carver say that if Sam not looking for Dean at the beginning of season eight was supposed to be about exploring what it is to be your own person?

I think that Carver didn’t fully appreciate how important the brothers going to the ends of the earth for each other is for the fans. He might even feel somewhat passive-aggressive about it. From SXF Magazine October 2014 Issue:

Quote:
In particular Carver says the show will dig deep into the conundrum of whether Sam crosses a moral line in his search for Dean. „Part of that is playing off fan expectations in that in our hearts we all desperately want brothers to look for brothers. It’s almost the challenge of „What are you willing to accept Sam doing to find and rescue his brother?“ It’s meant to open up those kinds of questions and we do go into it in great detail in the first run of episodes.“
SanSummer1
# SanSummer1 2014-12-08 03:13
Quote:
Kripke: I read every script. And then once Sera was comfortable in the gig and the studio and network were comfortable, I backed off. And from then I would define my role as a parent who sends their kid off to college. I’m extremely proud. I’m there if they need me… And it was never me running the show alone. It was always me and Bob Singer, and Bob has always been there. So there’s been true continuity. People say “Supernatural” has had different showrunners and it hasn’t. It’s actually always had the same showrunner, he has just had different partners over the last decade.
However, was Singer running the show during Kripke’s era as far as being an executive producer, a prominent director etc.?

Quote:
Singer: Eric talked about the five-season plan… I don’t know if he secretly had that in mind and was just not sharing it, but initially Eric wanted campfire stories. And the mythology really started to evolve in the first year. We didn’t exactly know where we wanted to go, and I don’t even think Eric knew exactly where he wanted to go

Kripke: If I’ve said in the past that I had this five year plan from the beginning, I was lying. I always knew what that particular season was going to be; “by midseason I want to be here, by the end of the season I want to be there.” And then I always had a rough sketch what the season after that would be. I will say I knew that the show was going to come down to evil Sam versus good Dean and the fate of the world was going to hang in the balance — that was baked into the pilot. I wanted to build it to something that felt conclusive because I didn’t want these mysteries and mythologies to stretch on forever.
It seems to me that Kripke came up with the big story arcs. During Carver’s era, however, Sam being possessed by an angel was originally Singer’s idea. It’s likely that both Carver and Singer were behind season eight, too (Sam not looking for Dean).

Sera Gamble gets a lot of heat for season seven but how many of the story ideas were actually Singer’s? I think that the way Castiel was brought back is the biggest clue that Gamble didn’t have full control of the show anymore.
Alice
# Alice 2014-12-08 00:54
Actually, Soulless Sam's storyline ended midseason because Jared and Jensen weren't happy with it. It made their jobs very difficult and stressful. Jensen was the most unhappy. They said that a lot an conventions at the time. Doing it for a few episodes was hard enough but all season? The rule is, if the talent ain't happy, no one is happy. Fans were pretty alienated too and the major tell was the ratings. They fell. It was too different. It was Singer's idea and Sera ran with it. Then yes, the rest of the season fell apart. There were great individual episodes, but any mytharc plans for the season were never developed correctly. By season seven everything was so disorganized getting through shooting an episode was a chore. I remember how unhappy everyone looked in that press room at Comic Con just when season seven started shooting.

I think Carver jumped in pretty well given the mess he inherited. Heck, if season 8 was horrible (it wasn't) I probably would have given him a pass. But we're 2 1/2 seasons into his so called three year plan and nothing really big has happened. It's just been a collection of scattered stories all somehow brought together by some strongly written finales. That's not a mytharc. Did you know Supernatural's budget has dramatically increased in the later seasons? In season five it cost $2.5 million an episode (average). Now it's around $3.5 to $4 million. They've had some latitude. I'm actually one of Jeremy Carver's biggest fans. I love his work. But I don't love what's happened with Supernatural the last season and a half. At this point, I think he's just itching to do something else. If that ends up being the case, I wish him well and will still avidly support what he does.

As for Bloodlines, Kripke had little to do with it. He knew that Singer and Carver had it covered. I'm sure they pitched and idea to him, just like the network, and he said okay. It was just a mess and I hope they've learned from it.
SanSummer1
# SanSummer1 2014-12-08 03:18
Quote:
It was Singer's idea and Sera ran with it.
Interesting, is this something you have heard from people involved in the show or is there a public source?

Quote:
Actually, Soulless Sam's storyline ended midseason because Jared and Jensen weren't happy with it.
I think only Jensen had a problem with Jared playing Sam differently. Jared loved playing soulless Sam.
Alice
# Alice 2014-12-08 09:09
Sera told me herself in an exclusive interview we did with her back in January 2011. I specifically asked where the idea came from. It's published here on this site:

WFB: How did the idea of soulless Sam come up?

SG: Bob Singer pitched the idea. It was one of the first big ideas pitched for Season Six. Eric and I flipped out as soon as we heard it—we love it. It’s such a rich concept. And so different both from Dean’s experience returning from Hell and also from some of the previous dark alleys we’ve taken Sam down.

http://www.thewinchesterfamilybusiness.com/article-archives/interviews/15580-interview-with-supernatural-showrunnerexecutive-producer-sera-gamble

As I've said before, I know my show's history! Probably because I was there asking those questions back then. I can pull up transcripts from cons too sharing Jared's comments about how playing Soulless Sam was very difficult at the time. I was there at those cons listening to those answers.

Here's our Interview archive. These are interviews that either I have done (most of them) or WFB staff members. There's a lot of history here.

http://www.thewinchesterfamilybusiness.com/article-archives/interviews?limitstart=0
SanSummer1
# SanSummer1 2014-12-08 09:53
Thank you. I think that further confirms that Singer has had a lot of influence on the storylines during Gamble and Carver’s years so he might be part of the problem.

Quote:
I can pull up transcripts from cons too sharing Jared's comments about how playing Soulless Sam was very difficult at the time.
I have gotten the impression that for Jared it was more like a challenge that he enjoyed but for Jensen the storyline was very difficult and he was relieved when it was over. I think it comes down to Jared being a team player.
cheryl42
# cheryl42 2014-12-08 09:17
That is interesting about the Souless Sam story line. I have heard Jensen say it was tough playing against Jared being a totally different character but Jared has said a few times now recently that SS was his favorite version of Sam. Hindsight I guess.
I thought I read that Carver, Singer, Dabb and Kripke had a dinner meeting where they pitched the idea. I also thought that as creative consultant I had read that scripts were read (not necessarily approved) by Kripke. Maybe I am wrong about that.
I guess I wasn't expecting anything big to happen in Carver's three year tenure. I thought he was making the show a more personal story for the lead characters. At least at the beginning of each of the last 3 it seems that is what they talk about. They don't really let very much of what is going to happen leak out so I guess for me anyway it keeps me looking forward to what may happen next. Since the show began I have never waited for something huge to happen, it really isn't why I watch the show. For me it is all about the journey of Sam and Dean. The rest is icing.
Also I have always wanted to know and maybe you have the answer...how much did Bloodlines cost to produce? They had to move the whole production to Chicago. That must have cost a fortune. I personally blame that stupid ep for the reason the last half of season 9 kind of fell apart. Maybe I'm wrong but it makes me feel better to think it.
NOLANOLA
# NOLANOLA 2014-12-08 10:20
What exactly do you think was Jensen's problem.....
The way Dean was perceived by us or his actual
problem connecting to Sam/Jared....
I ask because he can act around anybody so it must have been how it
looked to us.
cheryl42
# cheryl42 2014-12-08 10:26
I have only heard Jensen talk about it a couple of times. From what I gather it was just tough acting against a character that was so different from the one he had been playing against for 5 years. But you are right Jensen can act with anyone so I am not sure what his problem really was.
NOLANOLA
# NOLANOLA 2014-12-08 10:20
What exactly do you think was Jensen's problem.....
The way Dean was perceived by us or his actual
problem connecting to Sam/Jared....
I ask because he can act around anybody so it must have been how it
looked to us.
NOLANOLA
# NOLANOLA 2014-12-08 10:20
What exactly do you think was Jensen's problem.....
The way Dean was perceived by us or his actual
problem connecting to Sam/Jared....
I ask because he can act around anybody so it must have been how it
looked to us.
NOLANOLA
# NOLANOLA 2014-12-08 10:20
What exactly do you think was Jensen's problem.....
The way Dean was perceived by us or his actual
problem connecting to Sam/Jared....
I ask because he can act around anybody so it must have been how it
looked to us.
LEAH
# LEAH 2014-12-07 13:17
I don't either.
LEAH
# LEAH 2014-12-07 12:03
Honestly Alice I think the best validation probably comes from the ratings which seem to indicate many people still watch the show and enjoy it. If the ratings plunged I am not sure any amount of fawning on twitter would help in the long run. The fact is there are still many people out there who enjoy the show and don't watch it with as much of a critical eye. And I have also noted not all critics are as over the show as others. I have NO issue with anyone who doesn't have love for the show and I agree very much it isn't the show it used to be but why end the show when there are those people who for whatever reason still enjoy it? For the record I would LOVE to see Eric Kripke take over the showrunning duties again. Not that he is a miracle worker or anything but he knows the characters, is a great storyteller and has a huge passion for this show to this day.
NOLANOLA
# NOLANOLA 2014-12-07 15:00
If KRIPKE cant fix it, no one can.
He created it. His baby so to speak.
Alice
# Alice 2014-12-08 01:11
Since you mentioned ratings (hee, I love this topic), the network is in a huge jam right now pairing Supernatural with The Flash. It's looking like with DVR/Online numbers as well as live The Flash is the most successful show ever launched on The CW, and it's beating many shows from other networks. It's a massive success in The CW world anyway. The problem is, Supernatural being behind it is a wasted lead-in. Supernatural comes with a built in audience and it's losing a good 40% or more of The Flash's audience all across the board. That's not good. When Supernatural was paired with Arrow, it had a 90% retention. It grew from The Originals.

That doesn't mean Supernatural is doing bad (it's steady from last year and still a top show), but it means that The CW is wasting a golden opportunity to boost a new show with a wildly successful lead-in. They need something to pair with The Flash that's new and fresh, not a 10 year old show. I wouldn't be surprised if Supernatural gets moved from their Tuesday slot before next season. It will be moved next season. It all depends if The CW thinks The Messengers would work better with The Flash or Arrow. This is another reason why I'm thinking an end game could be in the works for Supernatural. The CW needs to be building new shows, not keeping old ones alive. Or, maybe a return to Friday will be in order where the stay can be indefinite. But I'm getting way ahead of myself there.
LEAH
# LEAH 2014-12-08 17:42
Thanks Alice, I like it when you share your knowledge about ratings. It's always interesting. I am not surprised that the shiny new penny Flash gets more attention and that viewership may drop off for SPN the older slightly tarnished penny. I watched it a few times and just didn't get hooked. So I skip over it. It seemed geared to a younger audience. I myself wouldn't mind if SPN moved back to Friday (the slow death spot) It was nice to not have to get up for work early the next day. I will follow it anywhere however. As long as those actors want to do the show I am on board.
cheryl42
# cheryl42 2014-12-08 18:41
I agree I don't think it matters what night it is on. The fans will follow it. I think it's the fans that are keeping the show alive. I can't imagine why the CW would scrap their second or third highest rated show on the outside chance a new show will be more successful. So far none of the new shows besides the Flash (and I am there with you on that one it is basically Spiderman, same formula) are bringing in the same numbers as SPN. But I don't know how programing works so there you go.
CEMartin
# CEMartin 2014-12-06 10:23
Absolutely loved this episode. Sheriff Donna joins the ranks of the greatest secondary characters, alongside Bobby, Rufus and Jodi. I also enjoyed the pacing. After binging Supernatural twice on netflix, nothing is worse than waiting a week for a new episode and having it race by in the blink of an eye. I could have watched hours of Donna and Jodi. Not as good an episode as "Weekend at Bobby's" but darn close.