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In the spirit of the holidays, WFB is giving you a great deal!  We've got not two, not three, but FOUR reviews for the price of one in this Black Friday, "all opinions must go" sale.

Actually this being a midseason finale, we thought we'd do a little something different and have a group of your fabulous writers do a roundtable discussion on this episode!



1) This episode, how do you rank it overall? Positive, negative, or average?


Bardicvoice: Hard one; there was some brilliance in it, but it was too scattered and choppy for me to love it unreservedly. I'd come down with "average" because of the balancing factor involved. Loved the performances by Jensen and Jared, and the technical production work was top notch! (The Mark of Cain appearing in the stained glass window in the house where Dean lost it? What a great Jerry Wanek touch!)

Metamorphic Rocks: Average.

Pragmatic Dreamer: Positively average. I liked it.

Nate: Positive.

2) Can you pick out one positive thing from this episode?

Bardicvoice: I can pick out more than one, but I can't go on at length! I did particularly love the brothers telling Castiel the anecdote about John in New York, and the way they told it -- kudos to Jared and Jensen! -- illustrated the complexity of their family relationship and showed the continual and ever-changing development of both of the brothers' attitudes toward John even after his death. There was nothing simple in the telling of that tale. Both brothers love their father, and yet they both also acknowledged they still resent him, too. They can see his flaws. They know his failings. They've learned over time how differently they each used to view him, and how each of their differing views captured aspects of him the other hadn't seen. But since his death, they've both, in different ways and with lots of stops and starts, also gradually come to terms with understanding and appreciating that he loved them both with all his heart and did his very imperfect best for them. And after making horrible mistakes with good intentions themselves, they've mostly forgiven John for how he hurt them, knowing he hadn't meant to. That was a treat of Winchester maturity I cherish. So thank you, Andrew Dabb, Jared, Jensen, and Guy Bee.

I did love the episode having a common theme -- parent issues, basically -- that touched all of the characters involved: Sam, Dean, Castiel, Crowley, Claire. Unfortunately, I thought packing all of them into it made it too busy and choppy overall. I was least invested in Crowley and Rowena; the Hell stuff was just too far removed from the rest of the action to be anything more than a distracting sideshow. Mind, I enjoy the characters and the actors, but I've never cared for the presentation of Hell. Hell, schmell.

Metamorphic Rocks: It was nice to see the story of Jimmy Novak's possession and the effects on his family revisited after all this time. The episode effectively delved into the guilt Castiel feels over taking Jimmy as a vessel, exemplified by his desire to make amends to Jimmy's daughter by guiding her at such a pivotal time in her life. We also finally got an answer to what ultimately happened to Jimmy's soul, so having that closure was an added bonus.

There were also some very well done, poignant moments in this episode - particularly Sam and Dean telling the John Winchester story, as well as Claire's disclosure to Castiel that she prayed to him to return her dad to his family.

Pragmatic Dreamer: Adored the John Winchester story. I really appreciated the mix of emotions from the brothers - love, grief, respect, anger, and understanding.  Also really liked Cas telling Dean he was/could be a role model. I got annoyed over the years when Dean (and Sam to some extent as well) was always told to quit whining about the hunting life, and that his best qualities were his deadliest traits. Essentially, the only positive reinforcement he was getting was around the fact he was an efficient, skilled hunter. That's all rather ironic now, in light of the final scene. But in The Ketchup Scene I think Cas was trying to affirm that Dean is a good man and he needs to hear that. I also liked the brief glimpse of what a masterful manipulator Rowena is.

Nate: I liked that canon seems to be remembered and applied again. And when retcons are applied, they at least make sense in the show and don't break canon worse.

 

Comments  

cheryl42
# cheryl42 2014-12-19 13:26
That was an interesting discussion of the episode. Is this going to be a recurring type of discussion much like the TV Fanatic Roundtable? That would be cool.
nightsky
# nightsky 2014-12-19 17:30
Nate suggested it, and I love the way this new review style turned out! I don't know how often we'll use it yet. Partially depends on writers' availability. I'll see what I can do to encourage them!

Love to hear what others think of the new format!
LEAH
# LEAH 2014-12-19 17:21
I loved this discussion. I hope we can have more of this roundtable type of Q&A.
njspnfan
# njspnfan 2014-12-20 09:47
I enjoy this roundtable-styl e discussion; hope you consider continuing it going forward.
Bevie
# Bevie 2014-12-20 16:12
Great format for discussions!

As for Sam OOC for leaving Dean behind, didn't the director tweet that Sam was under the impression that Dean was right behind him and was panicked when he saw he wasn't? At least that was what he meant to convey.

I too was not enamored of that season of no backup for the boys (or even the Impala). Killing Bobby was a big fat mistake!!! The Campbells were ditched prematurely. I disliked "And Then There Were None" for the killings. Bobby kills Rufus? Dean kills Gwen and Sam kills his granddad? And none of them seemed remorseful in the least? Can't remember who wrote it, but it was a big miss for me and one I can't enjoy rewatching. I would love to still have Rufus, Granddad, Bobby, Ellen, Jo, Ash and even Andy and Sarah still alive in the background. As for who's left? Well, we never did see Frank's body, so I hope he's still somewhere, and I'm scared to see Missouri again as they might kill her off. The Trickster is still alive somehow I believe, thank goodness! I hope we can keep Jody and Donna alive and kicking, and it would be good to see Cole team up with the boys sometimes. Please please bring the Trickster back now and again! Would be good to see John again in a flashback or even a dream sequence. Ash couldn't find John and Mary in heaven, so where are they?:(

Anyway,good article!:)
E
# E 2014-12-21 17:08
Hi Bevie.
I think that this is part of the problem…. the director, the show runner, the actors and/or the writers having to tweet what they meant rather than what we saw in the episodes because none of it is clear and none of it is logical. They may have intended it to look like Dean getting cold cocked by the bottle and going all MoC on those guys and Sam going out the car with Cas and Claire as being simultaneous actions, but it didn't look that way in the episode. It looked like Sam moseyed out the car, helped Cas with Claire then got in the car and sat there for a few moments… "huh… geez? Where's Dean, he sure is taking a long time……" The timing of that scene stunk, it wasn't Guy Bee's fault, nor Jared and Jensen's. It's improbable to assume that a man walking out to the car would take the same amount of time as a man slaughtering FIVE people. I don't care how hopped up on the MoC Dean was… it takes TIME to kill five people... as the bad guys must have put up at least a token resistance to having their intestines cut out of their bodies. The logic of the scene does not track, that's the problem. This has been happening a LOT lately making it necessary for the directors, actors, writers to take to twitter to explain something that should have been clear in the writing.

For me though, there is the further problem of Sam even turning his back on Dean or all those bad guys in that scene AT ALL, let alone him walking to the car and not noticing Dean wasn't there. The Sam I know, the Sam that's been so worried about Dean so far this season and the Sam that has all but disappeared from this show is a Sam who wouldn't have even turned around in that situation; he would have backed out of the room, dragging Dean bodily with him just to make sure he was safe and to further keep his eyes on the bad guys. There was ZERO reason for Sam to "help Cas with Claire" as I've heard some people using as an explanation for Sam's inexplicable behavior. Why does Cas need help with Claire? He's an angel for crying out loud… I think he was fine and certainly didn't need Sam's help. And that begs the question as to why CAS would leave Dean in a room of bad guys by himself as well, Claire or no Claire. The scene was shoddily written and Guy Bee and the actors were forced to do what they could with it.
cheryl42
# cheryl42 2014-12-21 17:55
From Guy Bee's tweets it certainly sounded like he was very proud of this episode and the nuances that they tried to convey. And yes when asked he did explain a little further how the scene was filmed and why. I don't know how you would film two scenes happening simultaneously without showing them separately. And since they don't use a split screen this is kind of how it needed to be shown. Dean ordered Sam, Cas and Claire out of the house as they have done countless times in the last 9+ seasons. The whole episode was set up for Sam to have been lulled into a sense of false security. He didn't see Dean having a nightmare, he didn't hear Dean telling Cas to kill him. What Sam saw was eating, laughing, reminiscing about John and working the case as usual. Dean didn't burst into the house hacking and slashing. They secured the bad guys, rescued Claire and vacated the premises. A normal rescue until without any warning for Sam it wasn't. I don't remember Sam casually walking to the car. I thought we next saw him getting into the car, checking on Claire and then hearing the gunshots. Only then did Sam realize that Dean was not walking around the back of the Impala to get in on the drivers side. And I think the point of the MOC is the bearer is able to do things that regular men can't. I thought that Guy Bee and the crew did a great job with that scene.
Lilah_Kane
# Lilah_Kane 2014-12-21 19:01
I have to agree how Cheryl says it, because it doesn't differ the way how I saw it. I saw the scenes also happening simultaneously. We didn't see the fight but I am sure it was checked that he can slice and dice them that fast because A) Dean was outnumbered and the thugs were full of themselves and not on their toes like they should have been B) He has the MoC. It seems like a short time but only because we don't really see the fight and how it was done. We were only seeing the result as a massacre.

- Lilah
E
# E 2014-12-21 22:03
I'm going to put this one down to poor editing.. which is almost never done by the director on shows like this. Guy Bee was probably long onto his next directing project by the time this was edited. For an alternative, just off the top of my head…... they could have cropped the jump cuts between the two scenes a little more tightly to really show that it was a parallel or simultaneous scene more clearly. They could have cut the part where Sam is basically just sitting in the car… this indicates the passage of time and makes Sam look inattentive. They could have cut altogether the scene of Cas comforting claire, it was boring and clearly a stall tactic to build up tension (which it didn't do) over what was happening with Dean. Or, they could have reconsidered the dramatic elements of the scene altogether and rewritten it entirely by having one of the men clock Dean in the head, let Sam see him fall to the ground….then one of the others gives Sam a shove out the door, knocking him down and locking him outside. Sam could have been on the other side pounding on the door and screaming for Dean and then turning to yell for Cas to help him get back inside, desperate to get back to Dean, and hoping against hope something horrible wasn't happening (which we all knew that it was). He could have pulled out his gun and shot at the door… all while Dean was inside slicing and dicing those men. They actually could have focused totally on Sam trying desperately to get back into the house in slo-mo, his fear and desperation as he and we wonder what the hell is going on inside the room, only to finally succeed in getting the door back open to find out that his worst fears had been realized. Way more effective… better use of a time parallel between the two scenes and FAR more of a dramatic effect.

That's fine that you like the scene the way that it is… I don't… it's poorly written IMO, made Sam look like an inattentive moron and had the only interesting thing that happened in this entire episode (Dean kills five human beings) occur off screen. The buildup to the moment Dean re-succumbs to the mark was painfully slow and then the payoff, the moment when Dean goes all dark side again was off screen and not seen at all….. how is that in any way satisfying? For me it wasn't at all. I felt duped by misleading promos and then robbed of the best part of the story, which they didn't even show. :(
cheryl42
# cheryl42 2014-12-22 00:55
As Guy Bee was live tweeting the show he did confirm that Sam thought that Dean was right behind him. When asked about the length of time between Sam, Cas and Claire leaving the house and Sam realizing that Dean was not in fact right behind him his response is that the audience has to understand the intent of the scene and the limitations of how a scene is filmed to convey the story. In all of his responses the only scene that got cut that he wanted left in (at least that he mentioned) was Sam in the kitchen making the grilled cheese sandwich. As I said he seemed very happy with the episode and the effort put in by all involved.
And yes I did like the episode and I will have to say I was surprised that this scene caused a problem for some. Only one person asked him about it at least on twitter. He did do an interview on Winchester Radio (?) where he went into more depth. So maybe that interview would help clear up some issues for those who had a problem with the episode and that scene in particular.
E
# E 2014-12-22 06:58
Quote:
his response is that the audience has to understand the intent of the scene and the limitations of how a scene is filmed to convey the story
Just because I have a criticism of the scene does not mean I'm not capable of understanding it's intent. I understand perfectly well what the point of it was, and I can also understand perfectly well what they attempted to do, I just don't think they were successful. I am glad that Guy Bee is happy, he should be, he has always done quality work. But just because he's proud, just because the J's are happy does not mean that I have to accept what I see without comment. I can judge the episode on it's own merits regardless of how much I like he show and want to support it, and if it's lacking, as I believe this episode was, I will say so and why I think that. You don't have to agree, but insinuating that I must have misunderstood scene or I would be happy with what I saw is not the way to change my opinion, if you get my drift.
cheryl42
# cheryl42 2014-12-22 07:31
Woah I am not at all trying to change your mind about anything. You definitely have every right to your own opinion. The show, the episode, any given particular scene whether you like it or not is entirely up to you. When you brought it up I remembered that Guy Bee actually talked about that scene when he was live tweeting that night. I was merely stating how he explained the scene and how he wanted the audience to interpret it. Evidently you weren't the only one who questioned it. He tried to explain that scene in one of his responses that evening. As far as editing he also brought up his directors cut and the only scene that was cut that he would have left in was Sam in the kitchen. Otherwise he seemed pretty happy with the end result. No one else has to be happy with it just because he is.
I apologize if you thought I was being condescending. I didn't mean it that way.
E
# E 2014-12-22 08:11
Sorry for misunderstandin g. People who've been critical of the episodes have been made to feel less than welcome on this site lately, so I am a bit touchy.
cheryl42
# cheryl42 2014-12-22 08:24
No worries....
Daisymae
# Daisymae 2014-12-22 13:35
I too felt that Sam thought Dean was right behind him and was shocked that he wasn't. You said it very well, Cheryl.
cheryl42
# cheryl42 2014-12-22 14:12
Thanks, that was how I saw the scene.
Ginger
# Ginger 2014-12-22 19:24
I really like the new look and this roundtable discussion format. While I disagree with much that was said, I do like to have the somewhat varied views all in one place.

Four things that I will comment on, though:

1. Guy Bee's explanation: There always seems to be a need for someone connected with the show to explain what was meant. Sometimes I think that if Carver didn't come out in interviews and give his take on what the audience was supposed to take from a season, no one would have the same view as to what went on. Frankly, I think the writers and producers need to get off all social media and pay more attention to their craft and the show. I get that it is a new "interactive" marketing tool, but I also think they get big heads from al the adulation.

2. "I would like to see him bring Claire to the Bunker so we could get “3 men and a little lady” shenanigans for a time." This show is not supposed to be a comedy, the bunker is supposed to be 'more' than a home; and, personally, I have seen enough of smart-mouthed, big-hearted TV trope teens -- too many teens on this show, in fact -- so I strongly disagree with Nate on this one.

3. IMO, the 'family theme' is exactly what is wrong with this season. That and 'personal journeys' has led the show far too deeply into soap territory for my tastes. It doesn't surprise me all that much, though, because Carver has systematically torn down the hunting profession and community into anything but a noble thing to do. Having Dean slaughter all five of the scumbags just goes down that same path. I don't think we will ever see Sam and Dean consider vessels again. That is so 2005 for this stable of writers.

4. I agree that bringing characters back builds a broader world. I was actually hoping back in S6 that this is what SG would do. The problem is that the characters the show is bringing back are terrible, clichéd, and don't fit at all into the show. Saddling Jodi with a rebellious teen, silly caricature Donna, Kate, Charlie, werewolf Garth...I don't like any of them and I don't think they fit well with the show at all.
cheryl42
# cheryl42 2014-12-22 21:05
......