When it comes to ghost stories, “Supernatural” is in its wheelhouse.  The lore has been well established, so there’s no need for new exposition and unraveling semantics.  We get to sit back, relax, and enjoy a good old fashioned spooky tale.  That’s not exactly what we got.  

I wouldn’t call “Halt and Catch Fire” the most exciting story I’ve seen, and once again it was formulaic in its structure, but for those craving to see Sam and Dean take on an angry ghost and save innocents, it did the job.  I found the whole twist that the ghost managed to work himself into the wifi networks, making him unstoppable in this wired age, pretty clever.  The “generation” gap jokes were sort of humorous, but as a Gen X’er myself I’m not as out of touch as the gags  seemed to imply.  Dean has always had a primitive quality when it comes to technology, and quite frankly it’s adorkable.  So screw you Millennials.  But I think his ignorance was a bit overplayed.  He’s not that out of touch!  He does know what apps are.  

Yes, there was a little parallel thrown in because we fans demand it.  No surprise, it had to do with Dean struggling with the Mark of Cain (shocker!).  It was an alright parallel, but it did have it’s heavy handed twist.  Our weekly Damsel in Distress is Delilah, who was part of a nasty accident that the others in the car decided to keep secret and it resulted in the driver dying.  Her other three cohorts were getting bumped off because their electronics were killing them.  Score one for the guy’s brain melting because of excessively loud speakers!  Anyway, it’s torn her apart for the last year and she feels very guilty.  

Enter Dean, who can relate because he’s “done bad things too.”  Done bad things?  No Dean, bad things are committing adultery with someone’s wife or stealing a candy bar from the convenience store.  What you’ve done is outright criminal, homicidal, and apocalyptic (don’t get mad at me Dean fans, the same can be said about Sam).  Yes, the intention has almost always been good, but not the act.  That’s exactly why I had a hard time feeling Dean’s “bond” with this woman.  They aren’t even in the same stratosphere of relatable.

Sam on the other hand, bonded with the widow of the man, who’s ghost was checking in on her while he was plotting his dastardly revenge against the college co-eds.  She knew it was wrong, but she missed her wuv, tru wuv.  Why would you share all those warm intimate details about your late husband with a strange FBI agent who just happened to be dressed in flannel and who’s hair is a bit too long for a G-man?  Aww, I can’t blame her, he’s got pretty eyes.  

10

So, it all ends with yet another serious brotherly chat in the Impala.  I know fans get off on that and always have, but we had the touching brotherly chat next to the Impala last week, and heavy brotherly talks seem more like a requirement now instead of an organic event.  All this touchy feely crap is hard to swallow when you’re itching for a little bravado and excitement.  I especially laugh that we’re getting so much of this after the 200th episode aired, where crazy fans were chastised for wanting so much “BM.”  

Look, I’m glad that Dean finally came to the realization that he’s ready to live with the Mark, ready to go back to the family business of saving people.  Good for him.  He’s being pragmatic that even if they find Cain, that doesn’t mean they’ll know how to get rid of the Mark.  But it’s taken a long road of nothing to get here, and judging by the previews next week this moment doesn’t last.  Filler episodes are the norm in a 23 episode season.  But, at risk of repeating myself so much that my comments have lost all meaning (which they have I’m sure), shouldn’t we like, um, I don’t know, feel a little energized about the brothers taking on an unstoppable ghost?  As excited as I was about the return of smart Sam, it was kind of paled by the “going through the motions” approach to the job, rather than a smile and the extreme willingness to “gank that mother.”  

The Red Headed Monster

Because these episodes haven’t been fueling a lot of excitement or meaty plot to break down and analyze, I’m left to spending part of these reviews doing a few paragraphs of ranting about the season in general just so I can get a decent sized review out of it and spark some debate.  Just like last week, meet the Red Headed Monster.  For those of you want to proceed in joyful bliss, thank you for your time and I hope you enjoyed the very brief tour. 

The debate I’m hearing a lot lately is after ingesting two and half seasons of Jeremy Carver’s tenure, suddenly Sera Gamble wasn’t all that bad.  I laugh when I think of how hard I was on season six after it aired (the mantra being I hate noir), because honestly it wasn’t that bad.  All is forgiven.  I wish I could say the same for season seven, but at least there were a few episodes in that season that I loved (“Hello Cruel World” remains a masterpiece).  While I thought season eight was a vast improvement, I can honestly say that “Supernatural” seems to be winding down with a whimper, not a bang.  This disheartens me.  This is not what legacies are made of.  

You can’t recreate the apocalypse, that’s for sure.  I do imagine things have to go downhill once you hit that pinnacle.  But I can’t think of one episode in season nine or ten I’d like to re-watch.  Okay, maybe the 200th episode.  My episode night used to be filled with plenty of excitement, anticipating the episode to come, getting on the boards (and this site) to chatter about the awesomeness we just witnessed, before going back for the traditional re-watch.  Last night, I helped my hubby and son install a closet.  We sat down at 11 pm, caught SPN on the DVR, and then it was bed time.  Honestly, I haven’t re-watched an episode the same night in a long time.  It’s very rare any more I re-watch at all.  I don’t have season nine on DVD, and I didn’t buy a iTunes pass this year for season ten, the first year ever.  

Every time I read fan feedback though, all I see is squee and excitement.  So I concede, perhaps it’s just me.  I’m dying to see an episode that I can actually get thrilled over.  Luckily, there are other shows on TV doing just that, so they are filling my void, but I don’t feel like I’m asking for the moon.  I’d just like to feel a little energized after watching my show.  I’d like a scene or two that takes my breath away, not explore my inner sap.  I want Sam and Dean to give a damn, because maybe then I’ll give a damn.  

My biggest disappointment is in Mr. Carver, who I’ve always been a big fan.  I’ve had the honor of interviewing him a couple of times, and I know he believes that they’re telling good stories.  That’s fine, if everyone’s happy, who am I to buck the trends?  I guess mopey and soapy sells, even though it’s never been my thing.   The show is catering to a younger audience now, and I have to accept that things change.  But that means I don’t have to like it.  

I’m going through crisis as a TV viewer though.  I’m having to deal with the utter devastation of losing a voice of sound information and sanity in Jon Stewart later this year, and suddenly the idea of “Supernatural” not being in my life doesn’t seem so far fetched either.  Who knows, maybe things will change, but with each “Halt and Catch Fire,” aka the half hearted approach to just getting through the week, I’m suddenly thinking putting together closets is a better use of my time.  It certainly feels more fulfilling.  William Shatner once told us to “Get a life.”  I’m with you Captain Kirk.  Last “Supernatural” fan on the Enterprise please turn the lights out.  

But yes, erase all that if “Supernatural” next week turns out to be good.  Welcome to fair weather fandom! 

My grade of “Halt and Catch Fire,” a C.  If anything about this episode sparked an interest, please do share.  

Comments  

cheryl42
# cheryl42 2015-02-11 23:52
No I would have to say that about sums it up. Halt and Catch Fire was a pretty good episode of Charmed. If they are trying to attract a younger crowd I can't say that they have hit the mark yet. This is a mature show for a mature audience, they really need to play to their strengths and keep it that way. And maybe we are too hard on Carver for this direction for the show. Maybe the CW is pressuring SPN to start catering to a younger audience, more in line with the rest of their programing. I don't know, but really Jensen is approaching 40 and Jared is getting to mid thirties. How many teenage girls are going to watch? This episode scored 2 tenths higher with the 25 to 50 year old viewers than the younger 18 year olds. That should tell the show something right there. I would really like to see the show cater to the audience they already have. As one who loved S6 I think Sera had the right idea. She was playing to a more mature audience. Or at least trying to.
I agree with Alycat I would have expected a much stronger episode leading into the big showdown between Cain and Dean. You are right Alice no momentum at all here. Very disappointed.
AlyCat22
# AlyCat22 2015-02-12 02:52
A lot of good points Cheryl. Thats what I was thinking. J&J are gorgeous men, no doubt but they aren't in the age group of the actors/actresse s of The 100. I understand it's a business but why does the CW feel it has to change Supernatural into Charmed Lite? My teenage daughter has watched and enjoyed Supernatural for some time now. She hates what they are doing to the show. She also watches The 100, The Walking Dead, as well as The History Channel... adapting to the shows she is watching, not the other way around. I have to think it's TPTB, otherwise it's Carver and his stable of oftentimes fairly unimaginitive writers. So many of these standalones are just "there" - nothing to get too excited about, and don't get me started on the Cas/Hannah snooze, I mean, road trip. I love this show and I'll be here till the bitter end but yeah, the writing has been going downhill for awhile. I hope that these writers all pray on the daily and realize how truly blessed they are to have two extremely talented actors save their collective bacon on a regular basis! Sheeesh!
cheryl42
# cheryl42 2015-02-12 03:13
The writing this season is all over the place. It has been brilliant, great, mediocre and wow what was that. When the show is firing on all cylinders it can't be rivaled. I have for the most part enjoyed this season much better than the second half of S9. But the pace is glacial. I have great concerns that next episode isn't going to be the exciting mini cliffhanger for the mini hellatus. There was nothing in this episode that set up anything going forward other than Sam looked determined to do whatever he needed to do to save his brother. But we already knew that.
AlyCat22
# AlyCat22 2015-02-12 04:21
I'm hoping the "radio silence" from Show about the next episode is because they don't want to spoil too much but then I thought the same for H&CF when the pics revealed little and they didn't release the sneak peek until almost airtime and then we got, well, what we got. It has Cain-it's gotta be good, right? (Say right!) I was conversing with someone on another board and they posited the possibility that Cain is showing Dean "the ropes" and that the editing is just being deceptive. I still am so curious to see how Dean reacts to seeing another wielding the First Blade. Especially when Cain "willed" it over to him, so he would definitely in his MOC influenced mind feel that it belongs to him. I read somewhere that this episode is supposed to be an emotional one for him. I don't think getting the Hell beat out of you translates into emotional for Dean, that's just another Tuesday! If this ep isn't an outstanding mini hiatus cliffhanger with Cain and Dean meeting up with all that entails, then I'm going to have to rethink the talent of any of our writing staff!!! Supernatural is such a love/hate thing for me. I love the day of and the intense feelings of seeing a new episode. I hate that I sometimes find myself willingly rushing the week to get to that date. I love getting to see the boys work their craft one more time. I hate the disappointment after a poorly written episode knowing it could've been so much more. I love getting to rewatch the episodes (even the bad ones - but never the one with the monster mob families...ha!) over and over, even on the same night that it aired. I hate the mini hiatus even more than the season breaks, they never make sense to me even if it's a business reason - I love connecting with other fans, having the opportunity to discuss this amazing show and these incredible actors and that we all get to squee together to our hearts content! Supernatural is my Ying to my Yang! :) My Feng Shui to my life right now.... ;)
NOLANOLA
# NOLANOLA 2015-02-12 02:18
I just looked it up but ALICE you are older than I,
how the hell you get to be GEN X and I am the end
of the baby boomers.....:): D:o:p;):):D:o
NOLANOLA
# NOLANOLA 2015-02-12 02:22
On the cusp shit has got to GOooooooooooooo oooooo
:):D:o:p;):):D
Alice
# Alice 2015-02-14 01:15
I'm not older than you Miss Wilma! I was born on the very last day of 1967. One of the early Gen X'ers!
NOLANOLA
# NOLANOLA 2015-02-14 14:50
Tehehe, oops. :D :P
AlyCat22
# AlyCat22 2015-02-12 02:30
It's sad when the title of the episode sounds more exciting than the episode actually was! On rewatch, ep wasn't great, still feel like it was predictable and I want to say cheesily written but that's not the word I'm looking for. Some good spots, I liked the bro talk/ moment but I'm with you - get on with it!!! I know JC stated it would be a slow reveal this season but I didn't think he meant snails pace! I'm still somewhat disgusted that there wasn't a strong lead in to Cains episode! Next week better be a corker!
sylvia37
# sylvia37 2015-02-12 08:38
I agree, Alice. I've been trying to stay positive because it hurts to come here every week and bitch about things. I try to stay focused on what I liked, and not what I didn't. You hit the nail on the head when you said that the conversations don't feel organic anymore. So much of this episode felt forced. The jokes, Dean's bad manners, his girl ogling, his tech stupidity. Hell, the conversations between Dylan and Jared last week were more normal than this week was. Ugh.

And I agree about season 9. I was just thinking about that last night. There's hardly any episode after Sam booted out Gadreel that I care to rewatch. Even Sam in workout clothes can't make me pull out my Blu-ray.

And I try not to feel discouraged about there being no Sam plot, but every week it gets more obvious. I just read some stupid article about Sam going on his own journey to help Dean and while Sam being on his own doesn't upset me like it once might have, it doesn't leave me filled with hope that we'll get more of his POV. There writers have no idea how to write for him and the fact that Jared can come to work every week and spout lore and encouragement to Dean and still make it sound like he cares is the only reason I haven't given up yet. :(
percysowner
# percysowner 2015-02-12 09:24
I will note that the Sam going on his own journey was mentioned in several interviews. In all honesty at the time it seemed to be referring to Sam's emotional journey. I have only seen one article stating that Sam and Dean will split up as Sam searches for the cure, and that was an article that was reporting what was said in an interview that another publication reported. Sam could be physically leaving for his own journey, or he could be with Dean and Jared can show us with his acting Sam's emotional journey. I actually thought that Mother's Little Helper showed us more of Sam than we have had in a long time, so Sam going on his own could be good, if they deign to let us see Sam on his own.
sylvia37
# sylvia37 2015-02-12 10:08
Yes, as I was reading the article, it did sound like it was taken from an earlier interview so I'm not sure if it means he's physically going on a journey or not. But you're right, at least in the first few episodes with Sam on his own, we got to see Sam's POV somewhat. It hurts that the only way we get any insight into Sam is when he is on his own or with other people besides Dean. Although this past week, as someone stated in another thread, there was an opportunity for Sam to have some dialogue about his own experience with loss, but all we got was guest star of the week (who was the same chick in Wishful Thinking who fell down the stairs) going on about herself and the ghost in the machine. Sigh.....
ParadiseHeat
# ParadiseHeat 2015-02-13 13:44
Sam wont be going off alone till right at the end of the season though, its likely to be the last 2 episodes of the season with them being reunited by the end of the last episode, so really 1 and half episodes at most? Thats not really a journey, thereis unlikely be any build up and lets face it most of it will be off screen. Its not a journey for Sam, its just a plot set up for next season's Dean/MOL carry on. Besides whatever Sam does he'll be raked over the cols for by the writers so its not really a reason to get excited if you're a Sam fan.
E
# E 2015-02-13 15:26
Agreed, Sam's "journey" is as likely to be off screen as not, and about as relevant as the "bigger monster" fiasco from earlier in the season, which was explored in a "big way!" (Carver's exact words). My guess is that we'll hear about it from Sam as a passing mention in ONE episode's dialog and then he will be lambasted repeatedly for his actions any time Dean's feelings get hurt. And that will be after Jared is absent from 2-3 episodes while on this "journey," because the writers will instead choose to show Dean holed up in his bedroom having nightmares, looking longingly at himself in the mirror and hiding from the world. Do I sound bitter? Yeah, you bet your ass.
Quote:
so it's not really a reason to get excited if you're a Sam fan.
You said it. There's not enough Sam left to BE a fan of any more.
debbab
# debbab 2015-02-12 10:16
The episode is much better than a lot of other shows. Yes, it was predictable and yes, Dean does have some knowledge of technology. I empathized with him though, because the technology changes faster than this fan can keep up with it There was no need for exposition as fans know a ghost when they see one and the "Then" intro told us what to expect. If it was an attempt to go back to the format used in "days of old", it worked. If it was an homage to X-File, it worked. If we needed reminding that Dean has a situation, it worked with his excessive eating and eyeballing every female that went by and his I'm not gonna make it" comment. If we needed to be reminded that Sam is smart, it worked. If we needed to see Dean's resolve to do his job and go down swinging despite the mark, it worked. If we needed to have a parallel to the boys about letting a loved one go, it worked. If we wanted commentary on responsibility, it worked. If we wanted to know how far a loved one would go for an injured "other", it worked.
If we wanted more than a MoW- no we didn't get it. If we wanted "one of the best" episodes mid-way through-no we didn't get it. If we wanted much action-no not that either. It was an old fashioned hunt- the way the boys used to do it.
So it stands for me as a pleasant episode with good moments of smarts, brotherly sharing, and sending a spirit on its way.
I would like a croisookie. I enjoyed the view of the brothers wearing long coats and walking away from the camera. I enjoyed both performances by Ackles and Padalecki- I remembered "Woman in White" from year one with other similar ghostly and electronic hauntings. Kevin are you still in the veil and how are you managing? Hard to put the genie back in the bottle after year 5, but passable and better than most other TV shows in that genre. 7 out of 10. And Sam didn't get hit in the head!
njspnfan
# njspnfan 2015-02-12 10:43
A decent enough episode, but nothing special, either. Everything seems very formulaic this season, going thru the motions; definitely lacking that creative spark. And you're right, at this point I'm also missing Sera Gamble; Season 6 had issues but it was very entertaining.
Daisymae
# Daisymae 2015-02-12 13:32
Alice, I don’t agree with everything you said but I am tired of the teenagers. This show never geared that young which is why I liked it. I have always felt Supernatural revolved around more mature themes and I never saw Sam and Dean as just eye-candy. They were always men not boys. If there are some new young viewers it’s fine to do an episode or two that caters to them, but enough already.
NOLANOLA
# NOLANOLA 2015-02-12 13:35
like Joni says, ''Ya don't know what you've got til its gone!"
iamsam1013
# iamsam1013 2015-02-12 15:27
I enjoyed the episode. Was it ground-breaking ? No. Did it appeal to the younger crowd? Maybe. I can still enjoy and appreciate it for the MOTW it was. Sam was smart, he didn't get knocked out or tied up, and his face at the end while listening to Dean made me want to cry (and hug him). Plus, my husband, who I am slowly winning over as a fan, watched the whole thing without falling asleep or getting bored. I'll take the win. :)
spnlit
# spnlit 2015-02-12 19:55
I hate to say it but I found this episode just boring. I love this show. I also like stand alone eps, humor, and MOW episodes. So I thought maybe I was just tired and watched it again. And no it was just plain boring. I was trying to put my finger on why. The opening was good... (was that the bridge we saw in the pilot???). The ending was good, I like boy talk. It was just that the whole story was mundane, the dialogue commonplace and it seemed, as someone else wrote.... a Public Service Announcement not to text and drive. Supernatural used to scare, intrigue, inspire, humor and provoke (------------so mething , you fill in the blank.) I got nothing on this story. My thoughts about what I viewed were similar to others. Dean is too old to be staring at college girls 18-21. His lecherous side could be depicted by giving a double take at a hot 30 something professor. Food falling out of Dean's mouth is not funny. Dean is not stupid! I too was thinking of Frank Devereaux tutorial. And yes, while I was watching I thought: now I know why I DID like Season 6-7! Parts of this episode were even stupid.... Sam rushes to the door of the widow and says we have an emergency..... then proceeds to sit and with great empathy listen to a long superfluous story about her late night internet dates with her dead husband (I do like the idea.... maybe they should have just gave us a quick scene of that), LA LA LA, while Dean is hacking away at electronic devices and getting choked to death. Apparently the basement of the dorm did have good reception. I thought the 810 connection was lame and could not figure out how all the teenagers knew about or remembered the dead guys address. I know it was a MOW episode and the set up was old school but it totally lacked imagination, interesting characters, and repeat- worthy dialogue.
lala2
# lala2 2015-02-12 20:08
You are not alone, Alice! I am finding this season terminally boring. I hated last season too, but I can at least say I was not bored during it. I wasn't bored during S8 either. IMO, there is nothing happening this year. The Demon!Dean and MOC stories have been complete failures, IMO. Dean didn't do anything interesting or controversial as a demon and he hasn't while under the influence of the Mark. I guess the worst thing Dean did was beat up Dark!Charlie, and I can't say I had a problem w/that. Honestly, when Dean speaks of needing to remove the Mark, I feel like I've missed entire episodes where we saw this horrible, negative impact the Mark has on him. I don't feel any urgency w/this story. Dean seems to be fine w/the Mark if you ask me.

I won't even get into the other lame stories this year. Crowley and his mommy issues. I am one of the few fans who is not enamored w/Crowley. I like MS, but Crowley should have been dead a long time ago so I really don't care about his mother or his mommy issues! Castiel . . . he has been wasted and misused as usual. And Sam? Sam is just wallpaper. He is in the most passive support role this show has ever created. He's so passive, he may as well not even be on screen, IMO.

Everything has been so "meh," "ho hum," and boring, IMO. I am more than ready for the end of the season. I am interested in the next story b/c this one is not entertaining me on any level. The only S10 episode I would re-watch would be the one from last week w/Teen Dean. That is the only episode this year I actually semi-enjoyed . . . .except, of course, for Sam being knocked out for the 1000th time and rendered completely useless - his perpetual state this year!
jane
# jane 2015-02-13 12:07
I am so with you about Dean. I really don't see the emergency of the MOC. Dean is in control, even DemonDean was. Isn't it the biggest problem of the season. They are unable to give us a dark Dean.
Even Sam doing dark things to save his brother was pale compared to the past.
But hey, they can't hurt teenagers feelings, right !
lala2
# lala2 2015-02-14 08:43
Quote:
Dean is in control, even DemonDean was. Isn't it the biggest problem of the season.
Exactly! I have yet to see Dean lose control while under the Mark. I know some will point to the mid-season finale as evidence of Dean losing control, but we didn't see what happened? Did all those guys jump him? I know Dean said he didn't have to kill them all, but he is an unreliable narrator given how much he blames himself for stuff he didn't even do. If they wanted to show how the Mark causes Dean to lose control, why not have Dean keep swinging his blade when Sam finally got out of the Impala in the mid-season finale to investigate what happened to his brother? Show Dean trying to attack Sam, Claire, and Castiel and then Castiel getting control of him or something. So far, Dean has stopped each time someone has directed him to stop . . . . so what's the big deal?

They need to drastically raise the stakes in this story. Maybe that will happen in the next episode.
Russ
# Russ 2015-02-14 09:37
Quote:
They need to drastically raise the stakes in this story. Maybe that will happen in the next episode.
I've been saying that to myself for the past 13 episodes, and I've been let down every single time.

I hate to say, I don't think this show can return to former glory. The ratings are good. They're all making money. I don't believe any of the writers are getting pulled away for other, more auspicious work - so they're not going anywhere of their on volition.

The writer's, whilst making mistakes, are only as bad as they're allowed to be. Jeremy Carver is why this show now *sigh* sucks. It's all on him. Without a show-runner and a overall story editor that can pick up on, and have the fortitude to bring up and correct the story/character /canon inconsistencies , then it doesn't matter. Bringing back Ben Edlund will give us 2-3 better episodes per season, but with crappy direction, and lack of creativity on every other front, it would be mere lipstick on a pig.

Only Eric Kripke can save this show - and even then, it's only if he actually cares. He's had input and influence since his departure, but we still got crap. Unless he decides to re-helm the show, and clean house, the Supernatural we knew, and the Supernatural we yearn for once again, is a thing of the past.

As with most of us, I'll watch til the bitter end ... but without that divine intervention, maybe it's time to salt and burn the spirit of Supernatural past, and let it live on in memory.
lala2
# lala2 2015-02-15 11:07
Quote:
I've been saying that to myself for the past 13 episodes, and I've been let down every single time.
Trust me, I know not to expect much. I would hope that since TO is coming back, they plan to finally do something interesting w/this MOC story but if it doesn't happen, I won't be disappointed. I already expect nothing to happen so they can only surprise me by actually doing something. I do fully expect Sam to get thrown under the bus though since that has happened each season under Carver run so I will be shocked if he comes away from whatever he's going to do NOT looking like a jerk.

I think the show is lost. It will never return to its former glory, and it's current incarnation is barely passable as entertainment IMO. The show has fallen far. I continue to watch but I may not next year, if we're just going to be getting more of the same bad writing and story planning. I'm not even getting enjoyment from Sam and Dean's interactions anymore. Have they even had any good broments this year?
E
# E 2015-02-13 15:12
Hi lala! I couldn't agree more. What has happened to this show? Maybe this is why they decided to not have Dean be the center of the mytharc for all those years; everyone is so afraid to do ANYTHING with him that a mytharc CAN NOT work with his character. I keep thinking back to season 6 and the decision to make Sam soulless. It was f-ing brilliant IMO and Soulless Sam was awesom, unpredictable, funny, compelling and absoultely terrifying. Too bad the PTB were too chicken shit to allow it to go on for the whole season; I'll bet Sera wanted it to. She really got a bad rap as showrunner IMO and she's looking better and better as the years go by under Carver, the character assasin. IMO the writers are far too careful to ever do anything as compelling as soullesness with Dean. They are so busy mitigating his guilt (yeah, it was kinda wrong, but hey, don't blame him to much, he didn't have a choice, he feels bad, he was tricked ect....), downplaying his actions (the possession was Sam's fault and he didn't suffer so....) and attempting to drum up any kind of sympathy for him (Bad Boys!) that any questionable actions he may make are doomed to not haveing any lasting impact and are explained away in a heart beat. Or worse, we're told that his actions are questionable, and he reacts like they were, but in actuality they are about as questionable and controversial as milktoast. So, he killed a few child pimps and drug dealers? Big deal, we were told flat out that they had it coming. As a demon he came to the aid of the damsel in distress and beat up her abusive boyfriend? How noble. He killed one asshole who'd already sold his soul anyway and ended up saving the life of his spouse; she was the innocent after all. Yawn. He taught Cole a valuable lesson about family and vengence? Zzzzz. He beat up Dark Charlie? So what. She was at that point in the story an evil supernatural entity, that's what they do, kill evil supernatural entities. If she hadn't reintergrated her two halves they would have had to kill her anyway.... so what's the big deal? Maybe if Dean HAD been forced to kill her, the little sister he never wanted but secretly dotes on like a little sister, THAT could have really been something. It COULD have been as awesomely painful and instense as when Sam killed Madison. Clearly the days of such poigniant, risky drama is OVER. And RT would have lost his risiduals, so we can't have that now, can we.

As a demon Dean was less compelling than Sam was in any other guise we've seen him in; soulless, addicted to demon blood, using his powers, having visions, having hellucinations, suffering the trials... whatever. I can't believe they decided to create this big thing, The Mark of Cain, to allow Jensen to really stretch his acting chops the way they have with Jared for YEARS and then punk out through lack of courage to write anything truly compelling or even remotely controversial. So what is Jensen left to play? Nothing. How is he stretching his character? He isn't. He's cliche Dean with all of regular Dean's hangups. As a character he's completely stagnated; basically reacting exactly the same way he did 10 years ago. Hence MoC Dean is a crushing bore and an incensant whiner, guilting over nothing and looking self indugent. I can't muster up the energy to feel sorry for him; he feels sorry enough for himself. What happened to "kick em in the ass" and "I'll go down swinging" Dean? The Dean who fought off his "destiny," who defied Yellow Eyes, Uriel, Micheal, Zachariah and all of heaven and hell and their plans for him? He's sorely missed right about now. I want to see him fight against ...........some thing! Give him something really difficult to deal with. Have him kill Charlie, Claire, Cas in a Mark fueled rage so that I can actually feel something about what he's going through, and feel that his sense of guilt is justified. It would give the whole MoC story some real and much needed urgency. Now all we get are speaches about how iperative it is for Dean to get rid of the mark and I am left thinking "why is that now?"
Barbara Maake
# Barbara Maake 2015-02-13 16:15
I agree about Dean. The funny thing is, I've often wondered how Jared feels about Sam being essentially ignored by the writers for much of this season, but now I'm also wondering how Jensen feels about how his character is being written. I remember reading somewhere that Jensen was not fond of the Soulless Sam arc because without the normal brother relationship he felt that Dean was acting like a "whiny bitch." Well, it's going on a year and a half now and Dean is still in a funky, whiny, self-pitying mode. Ironically, the only time Dean really has seemed like Dean this year is when he was portrayed as Teen Dean. That actor perfectly captured all of Dean's best traits, which have been sorely lacking in adult Dean. I really think the MOC arc is the worst story arc ever written for either brother, at least the way it's playing out. It can't end soon enough.
E
# E 2015-02-14 11:05
Even worse than the "not looking/Sam hit a dog and hooked up with the most unlikeable woman in America" story arc? Wow! The MoC is currently coming in second least liked by me behind the awful Sam arc. It's still a stinker though.
percysowner
# percysowner 2015-02-14 11:18
I think the big difference between the MOC arc and the Amelia arc is that we really didn't see much of the Amelia arc. Eventually it boiled down to Sam telling Dean what he had done Dean being upset Sam didn't look for him and a few flashbacks to Amelia. The MOC has been going for a whole year now and it doesn't look like it's stopping any time soon. We had Dean taking the MOC. We had Dean becoming colder and more violent (Thinman). We found the First Blade. Dean becomes more violent. Dean kills Abaddon. Dean dies and becomes the cuddliest, kindest demon ever. Sam cures Dean and has Crowley take the Blade away. Dean is still more violent because he has the MOC. The boys ask Crowley to get the Blade back. Now Dean says he is going to live with the MOC. At least Amelia was done and dusted by episode 10. Currently we are pretty much where we were a year ago with Dean having the MOC and not having The Blade. I keep wondering if this story is going to go anywhere, ever.
E
# E 2015-02-14 12:48
Hi Percys, I agree with you. I made a comment on another thread about the wisdom (or lack thereof) in doing circular story lines. Both Dean's MoC and Cas's grace issues are circular and just keep looping back onto themselves. Both of them are pretty much back where they were in season 9; Cas still has waning grace (although I am not sure that the writers remember) and Dean is still in danger of becoming a demon again. Problem is, all Cas has to do is get some more grace from some other angel (he's done it twice now) and Dean just has to be cured by Sam, whose probably stockpiling purified blood, just in case. All of it is such a huge yawn. We already know how both stories can be resolved. Where is the tension, drama and suspense in any of it?
Barbara Maake
# Barbara Maake 2015-02-14 23:38
The reason I think MOC Dean is a worse story arc than the Amelia arc (btw, I found your description of that arc very amusing) is partly because, as Percysowner said, there wasn't all that much to the Amelia plot. It was a terrible story line, and very OOC for Sam, and I hated it, but it didn't drag on forever like the MOC. More importantly, Sam and Dean were still essentially the same old Sam and Dean. In the MOC plot I think Dean is almost unlikeable (for the reasons I already said in my post), and I'm not thrilled with Sam either, in the little we see of him. Everyone is so thrilled with how supportive Sam is being (as though that's not typical of him- I am ignoring the whole "we're not brothers" crap because I think that was also totally OOC). But he's being supportive in kind of a wussy way- he never gets in Dean's face or calls him on his crap. Season 3 Sam was desperate to save Dean but he didn't treat him with kid gloves, and he showed more emotion and intensity about the whole thing. All poor Jared gets to do is try to find as many variations on the "look of concern" as he can. In short, this story arc is a failure on all counts, while there were at least some redeeming features in the episodes during the Amelia arc. At least I didn't have a sick feeling in my stomach at the end of most of those episodes, the way I do nowadays.
E
# E 2015-02-15 10:40
I see your point; the wretched Amelia arc was pretty much off screen for the most part and basically summed up in about half a season. We've have to sit and watch the MoC story go nowhere week after week after week for over a year now with no end in sight. The reason I hate the Amelia story more though is because that was the first time we saw Sam totally sacrificed as a character by Carver in favor of Dean's story line; a trend that has continued to this day. Pretty much nothing Sam has done or gone through as a character has been about or for him since Carver took over, it's all been about Dean; having Sam "betray" Dean by not looking, purgatory, the trials, the possession… everything has been about getting Dean into the head space needed to take on the Mark of Cain. No one cared that what Sam was doing was OOC because it didn't matter it's affect on Sam, it only mattered the effect on Dean, which is why only Dean's reaction is shown or of consequence. The Amelia story for me is the lynchpin to transitioning Sam from a character, a hunter and half of a show about brothers into a plot device that stole his personality and his character. I'll never be able to forgive Carver for that; for me his tenure has been a stripping down of everything that makes this show work. Brotherhood my ass. I see no brotherhood because there's only one brother, Dean and this other guy who Dean reacts to.
Barbara Maake
# Barbara Maake 2015-02-15 13:19
I like your description of the Amelia arc as the lynchpin of what's been done to Sam. It's really true --Carver's first official act as showrunner was to begin the process of making Sam completely secondary to Dean. I hadn't really thought of it that way because I actually enjoyed most of the second half of Season 8, even though I already started noticing much less Sam POV. As for the rest of your post, I agree with every word.
lala2
# lala2 2015-02-15 10:54
I wouldn't call it a "wussy" way, but rather a passive way. That's great for Dean, but it doesn't make for very interesting storytelling. I agree w/you about this story being a major FAIL so far. Maybe it will kick into gear this week, but I'm not holding my breath.

I can't say the Amelia arc had any redeeming qualities, but this year is on a whole other level of bad. Each Carver season has been worst than the last.
lala2
# lala2 2015-02-14 09:17
Hi, E :)

As usual, awesome post! I couldn't agree more w/you. JA has NOT been stretched during this story at all, which is a shame. He is a really good actor, and I think he could have done a lot w/the demon arc and even the MOC thing but they've tied his hands. He hasn't been given anything new or interesting to do. It's the same performance we've already seen. MOC!Dean is no different than plain ole Dean. Even his Demon!Dean was basically Dean at a "10." I have seen nothing different in JA's performance. And that's not a critique of JA. The writing is simply not there for him to be dramatically different. My sister is a casual viewer, and she didn't even realize Dean was a demon in the premiere. That's how similar to Normal!Dean he seemed to her (and me). That is in great contrast to SS in S6. I remember knowing something was off w/Sam immediately in EOMS. From the moment he reunited w/Dean, my friend and I turned to each other and said, "What's wrong w/Sam?" He just seemed colder and odd. I felt that way right up to the reveal. I loved S6, and like you, I could have watched SS for the entire year. It was a very entertaining arc to me. I wanted this arc to be entertaining too, but it hasn't been b/c the writers don't seem willing to take any risks w/his character. That caution has greatly limited the story, which is why is not that interesting to me.
percysowner
# percysowner 2015-02-14 10:03
After mid-season someone on Tumblr said that Sam only had three lines in The Things We Left Behind. I figured it was an exaggeration, so I waited for SuperWiki's transcript to check. In the mid-season finale, the cliffhanger episode that sets up the second half of the season, Sam spoke a total of 28 times for a total of 781 words. Here is his entire dialog.
Quote:
Sam: What are you laughing at?
SAM: I’m glad you’re feeling better.
SAM: You want some alone time with that thing?
SAM: You sure?
SAM: Dude.
SAM: Look, Cas. Even if we do find Claire … Then what?
SAM: All right. Uh … Why don’t we go ask around at the group home?
SAM: Is he around?
SAM: Wow. Where does she hide out?
SAM: Oh, really?
SAM: Claire, hold on a second. Look, my name’s—
SAM: Hold on a second.
SAM: So what? Now you run back to Randy? The guy you steal for?
SAM: Cas, don’t beat yourself up, man. Claire was …
SAM: I don’t think you can. I mean, Iimmy was her father, and to some people, that’s … That’s everything, you know?
SAM: Yeah. Yeah. I mean, it wasn’t always easy, but yeah.
SAM: Yeah. Yeah. I mean, it wasn’t always easy, but yeah.
SAM: He had this thing about New York, right? Too big, too loud, too dirty.
SAM: Big time.
SAM: So CBGB is—
SAM: Wow. Anyways, he was WAY underage at the time.
SAM: Yeah, and they get him drunk. First time.
SAM: “It’s my job to raise you right.
SAM: Don’t!
SAM: Yeah. Go.
SAM: Dean? Dean. Hey.
SAM: Tell me you had to do this.
SAM: No. Tell me it was them or you!


In feminist critique of TV and movies, there is the idea that if the only woman in the production could have been replaced by a sexy lamp and the story would not have changed then she is not a significant part of the movie. I think that Sam is officially in sexy lamp territory now. He certainly was there in the mid-season finale. What bothers me is that for that episode Sam at least appeared in some of the promotional pictures. He does not appear in any of the promotional pictures for Executioner's Song.
E
# E 2015-02-14 11:11
Holy crap! That's really pathetic. WE can all see that Sam is a non-entity, but this really highlights how useless he's become. And I'll say it again; there is NO WAY Jared can be so blind as to not notice, so…. he either REALLY pissed someone off, or he just doesn't care that much any more and is only there to serve out his contract. There is no other way to explain this. Period.
percysowner
# percysowner 2015-02-14 11:23
I haven't read anything about Jared. The fact that they have announced a season eleven says to me that he resigned his contract. I'm pretty sure that both he and Jensen were only signed through season 10 at the beginning of the season. I can't imagine they would write Sam out next season. Pretty much everyone says that the brothers are the main draw of the series. Jared doesn't seem to be sleep walking through his part when he actually gets lines. I have no idea what is going on here, but it is strange and it's hurting the show.
Prix68
# Prix68 2015-02-14 14:07
If either Jared or Jensen had committed to a new contract I think it would have been big news in the Supernatural/CW world and I can't believe that Jared and Jensen don't both agree together before they sign, what they both want to do. They are too close personally. Jared may not be in the show much but I can't believe Jensen is happy with his sl either. Jensen, who is usually pretty quiet, has made some snarky comments about JC as well. I'm sure they are both under contract not to say anything negative about the show while they are still under contract.
NOLANOLA
# NOLANOLA 2015-02-14 14:55
WOW
Barbara Maake
# Barbara Maake 2015-02-14 22:32
While there have been many episodes this year where Sam has had little to do and even less to say, I did find it most glaring in the Things We Left Behind. In some of the comments after that episode I remember being surprised that some self-professed Sam fans enjoyed his part of the conversation about Dean going to CBGB and I thought it was a sign that people are so hungry for some Sam POV that they're grateful for whatever shreds of it there are. That episode was terrible in a lot of ways but I was literally depressed about how blatantly Sam's role is being diminished. I tried to think of a single episode where Dean has ever been reduced to standing in the background of scene after scene, occasionally uttering some meaningless dialogue, and I couldn't come up with one. I'm not talking about episodes where Dean is onscreen less so JA can have some time off. I'm talking about episodes where he is present in most scenes but given nothing significant to do or say. Why is this being permitted by Carver? I just cannot account for it. How can every single writer continue to ignore Sam? Even if it's true that there will be a Sam story arc before the end of the season (I'm skeptical that it will amount to much- why would things change now?), that does not explain or justify the way Sam has been left to lurk in the background of so many episodes this season. When I watch each episode lately, I practically count his lines myself, or time how much screen time he has. That's certainly not the way I want to be watching the show. I REALLY want to know what gives.
E
# E 2015-02-15 10:49
Me too. We won't ever find out probably as I am sure the J's are contracted to keep their mouths shut about that kind of stuff. Something must have happened its so glaringly obvious. Even people who don't favor Sam (but don't actively hate him, they are all thrilled I'm sure) have admitted that it's gotten pretty bad. I've almost never heard of Jared complaining ever; just that one time about the Amelia story, which given how bloody awful it was, I can't blame him. It's gotten out that Jensen has "gone to the writers" on numerous occasions to bring up things he's not happy about and Dean as a character has remained WAY more consistent then Sam and has NEVER and I mean NEVER been relegated to wall paper status, myth arc or no myth arc. I only wish Jared would do the same type of complaining as his character has all but vanished and both he and Sam deserve better IMO.
LEAH
# LEAH 2015-02-15 16:01
Maybe I am naïve but I never pick up any feeling from the J's that they are unhappy and just holding their tongue because of contractual obligations. They just come across as loving the hell out of their jobs. Being proud of the work they do and appreciating how lucky they have been to be a part of this show that has entertained us for a decade. I think they get tired, and occasionally have an issue or two with the way something is written. No job is perfect. That seems normal. I think the fans have a lot more issues with the show than Jared and Jensen do! Not to say that some fan issues aren't valid. I have some of my own. I don't believe they would keep on doing this if they were unhappy. I don't think their pride and enthusiasm is a false front.
E
# E 2015-02-15 17:31
I've almost never heard of them complaining either, and you almost never hear that there are problems back stage, not like with Deperate Housewives and Grey's Anatomy where the open hostility among the cast was pretty hard to hide. And I do think that the J's are happy with their working situation and their work. But I don't know how either of them, but especially Jared can be happy with the final product that is turned out each week. They may be happy with the work that THEY are doing, but they aren't idiots and any idiot can see that there are some big problems in the delivery of the episodes. This is a show running, writing and editing problem. I often wonder if Jared looks at his television screen in slack jawed horror at what all his hard work has been whittled down to each week. I'm not sure how he could miss it.
eilf
# eilf 2015-02-15 18:56
I don't think he has time to watch it E. He has often said that he falls behind and doesn't like to watch himself doing recent stuff. I thought it was interesting that he hasn't live tweeted in a few weeks and that this last episode - where he actually was IN the episode actively - was one that Gen specifically came out and said how much she liked it :) (#proudwife)

I think we have to make an effort to be more supportive of the teamwork-style episodes over the other type if we want to get Sam back as a functioning character who isn't just existing on Jared's charisma.

Pity really because next weeks episode looks like it is going to be an excellently entertaining story for everyone except Sam. As per usual
lala2
# lala2 2015-02-15 10:48
Yeah . . . I think the reason that person only remembered Sam having 3 lines in that episode is b/c his contribution to the episode was so insignificant and irrelevant. I don't think I thought he had three lines, but I do recall thinking he really wasn't needed or used in a meaningful way. What would have changed if Sam hadn't been in the mid-season finale? Absolutely nothing, which is a shame.

One of my big complaints this year is how useless and ineffectual Sam has been. I do not mind him in the support role like some believe, but I do mind him being in a largely passive support role. Aside from the second half of S8, I don't recall Dean ever being this passive in his support of Sam when Sam had the mytharc. I don't recall ever feeling like "Why is Dean even on this show" when Dean was supporting Sam, and that's b/c Dean was never excluded from the action. For me, it feels like Sam has been excluded from the show. It really feels like he is just there, contributing nothing. What has Sam done this year? He tricked Lester and caught a CRD. That's all I can recall. As I see it, Sam is there simply b/c Jared is contracted to be there. The writers - none of them - don't seem to be interested in writing a role for him this year.
E
# E 2015-02-15 11:08
Hi lala… this exact point came up in another thread and there was a brilliant answer that showed that Dean was only in a truly passive role in the second half of season 8 in exactly 1 episode… the one where he brings Sam soup and tried to take his temperature. If you see the breakdown of all the other episodes where Sam is doing the trials, Dean is present, active and had his own issues to deal with aside from Sam; his POV was well covered. So the segment of the fandom that imploded claiming Dean had been diminished to nursemaid is completely off base. Still all it took was one "cheerleader" comment from Jensen (and there was more than one made by him) and the fandom went bat shit crazy with complaints. Perhaps, as Sam fans we need to be more vocal as well. Somewhere along the line, it seems as though Carver decided that Dean is the only one of the brothers who matters.
lala2
# lala2 2015-02-15 12:49
I will have to check out that post.

I know I felt Dean didn't have much to do in the back half of S8, but I NEVER felt like he was "gone" from the show. I never questioned why Dean was on the show. I love Sam, but I do question why he's on the show. He really doesn't seem to be needed. He literally has nothing to do or contribute. I wish the writers and showrunner were more interested in actually writing for Sam and giving him something to do.
E
# E 2015-02-15 14:11
Me too! :(
E
# E 2015-02-15 17:47
Were you able to find that post? If not it went something like this (I can't remember off hand who wrote it, but it was great!)

Trial and Error - Sam inadvertently completes first trial - Dean angsts
Man's Best Friend - Not overly Sam or Dean oriented, and an embarrassing episode on many fronts
Remember the Titans - Not trial oriented, pretty even in the Sam and Dean department
Goodbye Stranger - Very heavy on the Cas/Dean dynamic. No trials, Sam made to look bad by demon Meg for not looking for Dean.
Freaks and Geeks - The Dean and Crissy show, almost no Sam at all, except when he was unconscious and tied up.
Taxi Driver - Canon trashing disaster all around. Dean gets plenty of focus in his dealings with Naomi and extended involvement with Benny the best vampire ever. Sam gets to Save Bobby and be told he was wrong to not look for Dean again.
Pac Man Fever - The Dean and Charlie show, Sam was unconscious and/or sick through most of it.
The Great Escapist - The ONE episode that gave Sam any insight at all and the ONE episode that showed Dean trying to care for Sam. It was mildly Sam centric, although Dean was hardly sidelined.
Clip Show - Mostly Metatron and Cas. Some focus on Sam with the Sarah thing but Dean is hardly sidelined.
Sacrafice - Given how beautifully Jared played Trial Sam here, this episode was pretty well split between Sam/Crowley and Dean/Cas/Naomi and Dean gets to save the day.

The other post was more detailed, but this was the gist of it. So fans argument that Dean was sidelined for "half a season" is simply untrue and pretty evident when you look back at the episodes. And I've NEVER seen Dean side lined the way Sam has been for nearly a year now; basically going through whole episodes contributing nothing of importance, saying nothing of consequence, providing no insight, not figuring anything out, or needing to be present for any reason. Whole episodes could have gone by without him being there and it would not have made one shred of difference to the outcome. It's really bothering me more an more as the seasons go by. For me Jeremy Carver is the WORST thing to happen to this show, period. He's ruined it, he's ruined Sam, ruined Crowely, and Cas and is well on his way to ruining Dean, because I am finding him increasingly insufferable and unwatchable.
lala2
# lala2 2015-02-15 18:28
Thank you so much for recreating the post, E :)

That is a good breakdown of the episodes. As you point out, Dean was never as sidelined as Sam has been this season or even last season. It is really ridiculous. I couldn't agree more w/you about JC being the WORST thing to happen to SPN. He really has been. The show is practically unwatchable.
Barbara Maake
# Barbara Maake 2015-02-12 20:55
I'm not ready to give up on SPN, but it's not the same show it used to be for various reasons. I can't imagine a season-long arc as exhilarating as the apocalypse, but I thoroughly enjoyed Season 6 and most of season 8. And I loved the beginning of Season 9 and thought there were a lot of interesting directions they could have gone with the angels on earth. But with 3 major plot lines (Gadreel, demons, and Metatron) the whole season was very scattershot and uncohesive and I don't think they did any of the stories justice. I thought Season 6 did the best job of integrating exciting story lines for Crowley and Cas with Sam and Dean's story lines, and Season 8 did a pretty good job as well. But since then almost every episode that featured those two prominently has been choppy or downright boring. I'd much rather watch Sam and Dean. As much as I've loved the character, I really think it's time for Crowley to go if this season's plot is the best they can do for him. Watching Crowley moon over Dean was the single most ridiculous plot line I've ever seen (even worse than the campy way they depicted the leviathons, and that's saying something). It stripped Crowley of everything that made him interesting. It also no longer makes sense to keep him around. How many times have Sam and Dean threatened to kill him the next time they see him, and with good reason?But to retain a popular character and reduce the load on the Js, they have reduced him to comic relief. I would have preferred that they kill him off and keep Abbadon around. I know the show can never return to its laser focus on the brothers(sigh), albeit with some recurring regular characters, but it will never truly be an ensemble show because most of the fans (I think) still want it to revolve mostly around the brothers . Yet the writers seem to have run out of ideas for keeping Crowley and Cas actively and INTERESTINGLY involved in the brothers' lives.

As bad as that is, the biggest reason I'm exasperated with SPN is because of how Sam and Dean are being written. I know they are older and more mature now and have been through so much that, realistically, they can never have exactly the same relationship as in the early seasons, with the pranks and verbal sparring and sense of fun and strong sense of being a team when they're hunting. But in the past year and a half Sam has been written so OOC, to the limited extent that he's been included in the plot at all. And they have turned Dean into this perpetually miserable, self-pitying man who rarely exhibits any of the sense of fun, and joy of the hunt that I loved about him. So the relationship between the brothers is IMO a shadow of what it used to be and is really draining a lot of the energy from the show. There have been very few episodes these last 2 seasons in which both brothers displayed the qualities that make them such unique and fascinating characters. It also bothers me (and my 16 yr. old daughter) that they have largely moved on from the road trip aspect of the show. I know it's for logistic reasons that they have the bunker as a permanent set, but can't we see more of them on the road, staying in funky motels and hearing that rock soundtrack? The road trip vibe was one of the most unique aspects of the show and I miss it.

Maybe they have almost exhausted all of the urban legends, and all of the interesting twists on the old standbys like ghosts, shifters, demons, etc., and the show will never be as fresh and entertaining as it used to be. But there are enough glimmers of that creative brilliance (like episode 200 among others) to make me believe that if they can find more writers who understand that this show is about 2 brothers, and who really understand and enjoy writing BOTH of those brothers, SPN can continue to be a great show. So I'm not giving up on it yet.
PaintedWolf
# PaintedWolf 2015-02-13 02:19
Hi Alice, I have to say, it’s not just you. I expected, in a way, for my excitement over SPN to wane a little as time passed, but I have to admit, the only episode I’ve been really excited for and fangirled over this year was the 200th as well. I love this show to death, and I always will, but I’m finding more and more my reaction to it is just meh. I’m not horribly unhappy. There’s things I’ve liked, yes. But I’m also not particularly over the moon, either.
Just recently, after having first watched and kind of fallen in love with the show last year, I’ve been exploring the Sherlock fandom, who are now in the process of what they call “Setlock,” which is basically fans going nuts over BTS pictures from the sets and tweets from the cast and crew while they speculate and try to predict what’s going to happen in the new season, which, I might add, is still around a year away. And TBH, I found myself going nuts right along with them, all over sometimes grainy and often umbrella covered shots of Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman standing or walking around on set during lunch breaks.
Now yes, it’s a new fandom and easy to get caught up in it all, but it breaks my heart a little thinking SPN doesn’t make me feel that way anymore. I feel like I’m watching because it’s habit, it’s comfortable, because I decided long ago that I’m in it till the end no matter what. But there’s nothing making me want to flail or squee, there’s nothing twisting my stomach into knots on a weekly basis (like season 4 around this time), so I’m sort of just having this general reaction of “uh, okay” to everything. :(
Alice
# Alice 2015-02-14 01:25
I myself have fallen in love with Sherlock over the last year. Amazing show, far better than anything out there. I get plenty of tweets from the Cumberbitches! It is hard to jump into another fandom though, and I'm not eager to do it after so many years with Supernatural. I'm quite burned out on fandom.

Sherlock is a testament to the great things that can happen on television, so I just cherish being able to watch a show and absolutely freak out over it's magnificence when it's finished. But given the so few shows that Sherlock produces, and that they air every other year, Sherlock has the time and luxury to build episodes that are freaking mind-blowing. I sometimes wish Supernatural only had six episodes a season anymore. That would make it an event, not a collection of randomness and no ideas.
Carol
# Carol 2015-02-16 04:37
You know I recently reread Mo Ryan's final couple of reviews and her reasons for no longer reviewing Supernatural. Given she wrote these in 2011 I was astounded how much they reflected my current concerns. While I liked Seaon 6 more than she did everything else she said rings absolutely true IMO about Seasons 8 to 10. I think it's only my enjoyment of watching Jensen Ackles each week and the occasional surprisingly good episode that's kept me going but I honestly think this will be my last Season.
Prix68
# Prix68 2015-02-16 09:41
After I read your comment I went back and reread Ryan's article on why she was stopping her weekly review. I agree with you that those comments are even more relevant today because of what has happened in the Carver years. Things have gone from bad to worse. I also watch because I think Jensen Ackles is a great actor but even he can't overcome what the show is becoming and the writing. I honestly was hoping S10 would be the last and it would go out in a blaze of glory. It's getting harder and harder to stay a fan for me.
PaintedWolf
# PaintedWolf 2015-02-16 05:42
Oh, most definitely. Sherlock is a very different, er, beast, I guess, to what Supernatural is for sure. I have to admit, I still rather enjoy being in fandom (it did take a me a month or so before I even attempted looking Sherlock up online), though tackling one as apparently vast and prolific as Sherlock's probably wasn't the best idea, since it often drives me crazy. A good kind of crazy, however, and unfortunately the kind I haven't truly felt for SPN in a while.

I agree on the fewer episodes thing too. Sherlock really is an event. It's mind-blowing the stuff the fandom does both during and between episodes and seasons, and what the cast and crew does in response.
SPNForever
# SPNForever 2015-02-13 07:09
This episode is another example of how Season 10 seems to have lost it's groove and can't seem to get it back (exceptions of outstanding episodes Fan Fiction and There's No Place Like Home which were both bright shining stars in an otherwise dark cloudy sky). The premise of a WIFI ghost wasn't scary or interesting. I guess I shouldn't be surprised since this episode came from the writing team that gave us "Mannequin 3 - A Reckoning" which I thought was the better episode and that's not entirely a compliment. I did appreciate that this episode was about Sam and Dean (hello, they are they show) and didn't have oodles of secondary semi-interestin g characters with boring storylines to steal away screen time. I love ghost stories and of all the ghost stories that SPN has aired this has to be one of the worst. I also think the writers are walking a very thin line of possibly turning Dean (who saved the world from The Apocalypse) into a caricature of his former self as we don't really know who he is anymore as the dark Dean is on then off then on then off. I also find a mid-thirty's year-old man still cruising college girls a little age inappropriate (I get that this is not that much of a stretch but it could be toned down to keep Dean from looking creepy) and the 2 scenes in the cafeteria where Dean was either playing with his noodles or trying for comic effect just silly. When we did get dark Dean he was more like a bad frat boy on a binge than a Knight of Hell or even a demon as he didn't fling one person against a wall unless he was punching them in the face. Dean is a hero - he was the chosen vessel of heaven and I get that Season 10 was an opportunity for Jensen to show us more of Dean and more of his acting prowess but unfortunately the lack of good story writing kept him from giving us all I know he could deliver. This episode felt like it was written for a tween audience and as an avid fan and very long time follower and lover of the show I wish this episode had never happened. Next week's episode has the opportunity to get rid of the MoC and allow the story to move forward. If we could just get Cass his grace back (didn't he lose it in Season 8 and we are half way through Season 10), get Crowley to be Crowley and see through his boring mother's scheme and cast her away to another dimension plus banish Clair from the show that would give the remaining 8 episodes an opportunity to correct so many things that are wrong with Season 10. I understand Carver is staying for Season 11 as Frequency did not get picked up but I really want him to wrap up this current arc as it's not working and give Season 11 a new big bad and a fresh start where the show goes back to being about Sam and Dean and uses Castiel and Crowley's formidable acting skills in a much more appropriate way. Crowley and Castiel's stories have been so diminished in Season 10 I'm not sure I even care about them anymore. What if one of them were killed off - would you care? I would still care because we should have never gotten to this point. Season 10 is like a bad dream that I thought could never happen to SPN. I am hoping for a course correction and a much improved Season 11. Shows that have had 10 seasons (Smallville, for example) kept key characters from Season 1 until the series finale. SPN has killed off so man KEY secondary characters that in the process they chipped away bit-by-bit at what held the show together and created a family. Carver has improved ratings but with episodes such as the current one I just don't see how that can be sustained. I would like SPN to go to Season 12 or even 15 but that would require a massive shake up in the writers room and a new show leader who could take SPN back to being about hunting things, saving people, The Family Business
Prix68
# Prix68 2015-02-13 10:43
Amen. The only problem is that in an interview after the S11 announcement JC mentioned that they would probably accordion (his word, not mine) out the MOC storyline. As if it could get any slower.
SPNForever
# SPNForever 2015-02-13 10:58
I was really hoping that Carver would leave the show after this Season. His arc is just not working and (IMO) dragging the show down despite the ratings which I don't really understand the disconnect between the low quality and the decent ratings. I think a lot of us who have watched since Season 1 are not ready to give up and keep the ratings going. If Carver carries the arc from Season 10 that doesn't really seem to exist in Season 11 I may have to accept the fact thtat I am not connecting with the show anymore and all good things must come to an end. I don't understand why Carver can't see the mess he has made. I would also think Jared and Jensen would be aware that the Fandom is not all roaring with support like we have been for so long. SPN needs a major course correction or I a afraid it is going to go out with a whimper and not a bang and that would be a SHAME. I really hope Ben Edlund and other great writers like Raelle Tucker and John Shiban would come back and there would be a house cleaning in the writers room.
lala2
# lala2 2015-02-14 09:21
I believe the ratings have dipped though. At least, according to the comments people make on Spoilertv.com, the ratings have dipped, and they keep dipping.
percysowner
# percysowner 2015-02-14 09:50
Hey have dipped, but not all that much here are the ratings for season 9 http://tvseriesfinale.com/tv-show/supernatural-season-nine-ratings-30288/ and here they are for season 10 http://tvseriesfinale.com/tv-show/supernatural-season-10-ratings-34275/ Shows usually drop by 10-20%, and our drop isn't out of that range, yet. Supernatural is usually the third most watched show on the CW after Flash and Arrow. The last numbers I saw on Supernatural they still have about the same audience when you look at Live +7. I'm not happy with this season, but the ratings aren't that bad yet. There are some speculation that Carver may be leaving at the end of the season, but even if he does, he may well hand Supernatural off to someone who is already on the writing staff, so I'm not sure there will be much change.
E
# E 2015-02-14 11:14
Besides the common denominator in all this is Robert Singer. He's the real show runner and has been since season 6. I think many of the troubles can probably be linked back to him.
percysowner
# percysowner 2015-02-14 11:26
I agree with you about Singer. I felt that Sera Gamble got a lot of flack that she really didn't deserve. Unlike many I liked season six and I didn't feel like things went down until season seven. I know that sometime in season seven Singer got more control over the show. I do attribute the problems to his presence.
eilf
# eilf 2015-02-15 19:31
But the show wouldn't really be what it has been if it weren't for Robert Singer. There is a PaleyFest video of them talking about it. My thinking of the timeline is a bit like this:

Eric Kripke made it up on the spot, and would have kept it at the 'I love Smurfs' level of boy-humor...exc ept Robert Singer came along and spotted that what they had was a genuine brotherhood in J2...except he was happy as long as the episodes made some sense and came in under budget...and then Sera Gamble managed to find the heart of the show under the 'guy' level of humor in the writing room and write emotion that was over-the-top without being boy melodrama exactly...until it was ... and then she tried for a piece of way-too-complex story that took too long - trying to remove everything else from the boys (friends, family, car) so that they would see their lives more clearly - I think (and give Sam a Dean-saving win and a cool purgatory storyline) ... except it cost too much so she had to go .. and we were left with the insane brilliance of Ben Edlund, until he left and took Aaron and his golem with him (characters that were subsidiary to Sam and Dean's story I might add, for the benefit of some of the remaining writers) ... and now we have JC and who knows what he is trying to do with the show, but he doesn't understand it any more than anyone else did, and at least the rest of them looked at what they had and tweaked it, he seems to want it to be a whole different thing.
lala2
# lala2 2015-02-15 10:22
Okay. I was not sure. People on Spoilertv.com weren't happy w/the ratings so I thought they weren't that good. I just know I find this season terminally boring so IF people were turning out, I would think the bad storytelling was the reason.
jane
# jane 2015-02-13 12:03
I really liked this episode. I know if this episode would have aired in the early seasons, I wouldn't have liked it but today, the brothers worked together, there was humour, Sam was clever and not knocked out and we didn't get from one story to another (hum, Cass and Crowley), so it's a win for me. But it is also very sad to reach this point to be happy that's it's not a crappy episode, see what I mean.

Alice, I totally agree with you about this season, I am not excited anymore, I stopped being last season after the first half season. I remember I was very impatient once this season for the 3rd episode when Sam was supposed to cure Dean (hoping for an episode as good as Sacrifice) but it turned flat because I was so bored with Cass/Hanna and Crowley.
I loved Crowley when he was manipulative, fun, and a big bad demon but now I am as bored as him when he is on screen. I realize they built a new decor for him but they shouldn't have.
I am sad to say that Cass and Crowley are two characters who have long past their welcome and to keep them around is just hurting the show in a big way.
You talked about season 6. At the time, it was hard to live watch, specially the first half. Now I think it's one of my favorite season on DVD. There was some good plots, there was always something happening. And Sera was right to kill Cass at the time, better to do it when the character still means something.
I have no wish to watch season 9 and 10 again. You're right to say the show is now for teenagers. That's why I didn't like the 200th episode (sorry). It was clearly for a very young audience.
So yes I enjoyed this episode because it seems to be the best we can hope for now and I fear a lot next week episode. I am afraid it will be again like "what we left behind" boring Crowley and Rowena all other the place (could I care less about a plot, oh right, there is also Cass and Claire), 15 secondes of wallpaper Sam (1 day of filming for Jared this episode I heard) and 3 minutes of fight between Dean and Cain at the very end of the episode.
Gwen
# Gwen 2015-02-13 18:34
No, it's definitely not just you, Alice. Like others here I am finding this season to be incredibly boring. I hated a lot of S8 and S9 but that was infinitely better than being bored. I have always adored Crowley and never would have believed that the writers could ever make me bored with him but they have managed that this season. :( I have never been particularly interested in the angels but in the past characters like Zachariah and Balthazar were certainly compelling. Nowadays I fast forward through the angel scenes or I doze through them.

The MOC storyline could be brilliant but so far it isn't interesting me in the slightest. The Demon Dean storyline turned out to be a bit of a damp squib. There was a chance to make a dark, dramatic, compelling, nail biting arc for Dean but it didn't turn out that way. Though maybe the D!D storyline will be revisited at a later date so it could turn out better. It does make me wonder why the writers seemingly won't take the chances with Dean's character like they do with Sam's. I'm really hoping that the MOC storyline will crank into gear soon because right now I am not interested in it. I'm also hoping that a decent storyline will finally materialise for Sam soon and that we'll get some Sam POV.

Oh how I dearly miss Sera Gamble, she was always my favourite writer. I am not a fan of any of the current writers, not even Carver (apart from Sacrifice). I would love to see Sera back, also Ben Edlund, John Shiban and Cathryn Humphris. I would like to see writers who understand and care for both Sam and Dean and who can and who want to write for both Sam and Dean.

Also you can count me in with those who are fed up with the show increasingly writing for teenagers. I have two teenage darlings of my own and this show is my weekly escape from all their angst and dramas. :)

I've been watching since The Pilot and I wonder if maybe it's just me slowly drifting away from SPN after all these years or if it's just a case that online fandom has finally exhausted me (there have been some brutal times online over the years - I still bear the battle scars from S4) but the spark certainly isn't there for me at the moment. I know I'll keep watching until the end because I've been watching too long to stop now and I'll keep watching for Jared and Jensen who I adore as much as I always have but it's not Can't Miss TV for me nowadays. Hopefully that will change soon and the spark will be back for me.
Claire63
# Claire63 2015-02-14 17:56
Quote:
Dean is too old to be staring at college girls 18-21. His lecherous side could be depicted by giving a double take at a hot 30 something professor.
So glad someone else has mentioned that Dean is too old to be perving at college girls like that - I actually felt uncomfortable watching his reaction to girls who are now just about young enough to be his daughter. Yes, Dean Winchester will always be flirty and have an eye for the ladies (we love him for it!) but you can't give us an episode which is reminiscent of an earlier season and expect the boys to behave in a season 2 way - they've grown up since then! And no more "over-eating Dean" please - that also strains credulity.

Apart from that I thought it was an okay MOTW episode - quite creepy and felt like a throwback to earlier times but I hope the writers don't get into a habit of disrespecting the boys (and I'm referring to Jensen and Jared as much as to Sam and Dean) by ignoring the fact that they are well into their 30s now!
LEAH
# LEAH 2015-02-14 20:49
Hi Claire63. I agree completely, I found it creepy too. But I don't think it is supposed to be representative of normal in-his-30's Dean. I think it is to illustrate the extremes of what the mark is doing to him. My take is he is (re)channeling all those murderous impulses into eating and leering (very inappropriately ) . I think Sam would have been all over Dean had he tried to act on this. The spaghetti thing was just pushing it too far IMO. Just made Dean look idiotic. My guess is Jensen was messing around and they thought they would leave it in like when he stuffed his face like a chipmunk years ago (Sam's slightly distorted memories). And the powdered donut scene. It didn't work in this scene.
E
# E 2015-02-15 18:03
Quote:
But I don't think it is supposed to be representative of normal in-his-30's Dean. I think it is to illustrate the extremes of what the mark is doing to him. My take is he is (re)channeling all those murderous impulses into eating and leering (very inappropriately) .
Hi Leah… it's not that I disagree with you on this, I actually think you are correct, I am just not that happy with the way that they are doing this. It's not obvious enough; Dean's eating is played for laughs as is his leering. It's a bit creepy, but not creepy enough. Sam should be reacting if it's truly the mark… and not just with a "are you going to eat all that" or an eye roll as Dean's eyes travel up an 18 year old's body. He needs to say something, express concern, criticize the behavior so that we know that its A) not normal, and B) concerning Sam at least, which should then generate concern in us. Dean's leering needs to be nastier, darker, creepier if it's really a product of the mark. I can't tell if it's mark stuff or basic sophomoric, 12 year old stuff that often happens in a writers room that is all male. This is just more of the mild, milk toast approach to the mark that the writers have been taking since they brought it up. Therefore Dean with the mark looks like regular Dean only less funny.
lala2
# lala2 2015-02-15 18:34
I agree w/you, E. I don't think Dean's eating or leering at college girls had anything to do w/the Mark. It just seemed to be exaggerations of characteristics he's displayed. If his actions were a result of the Mark, then that was not at all clear.
LEAH
# LEAH 2015-02-15 18:54
Hi E (and lala), I get what you are saying but the show has gone out of it's way to emphasize the way Dean is slamming down all the food and treats he can get his hands on so I think it has some significance along with the inappropriate leering. Dean had matured from craning his head around for every pretty girl that walked past him. It may be Dean doing what ever he can to fight his darker urges or something else mark related. Maybe the show isn't doing a bang up job of showing enough emphasis or making it very clear why this is happening but it's something out of the ordinary range of Dean's bad food habits and womanizing. Course this is just my take.:) The spaghetti thing was gag reel fodder and should have been left there.
eilf
# eilf 2015-02-15 19:27
In Season 6 it would have been obvious, that's the sad thing. In season 6 we would have looked at Dean and said 'wow there's something off about him' like we did about Sam. But now you can't tell. We also don't know for a fact that the writers wrote it that way, that director was clearly a gorehound (the deaths were grosser than usual - and all on screen - there was a distinct Indiana Jones about them) and was adding flourishes all over the place and the core of a horror movie, especially on a campus, is the pretty girls (and how to dismember them) so they were possibly just acknowledging that - HE and Jensen might have added the looks and the food just for something to do.

We have to face it they have the ability to do what they want as everything they get nowadays episode-wise out of SPN is icing. I imagine JC keeps the show within budget and that is as much as anyone in the CW really cares at this stage. They have never really known what they had with the show.