The actors' performances are one aspect that makes Supernatural so moving. Let's look at how they moved us this week. 

Barbara Kottmeier plays Corey Silver, the grieving widow. When she first appears, we can sense in Kottmeier's body language the grief and suffering that Corey is enduring. It draws us in, making us want to know more about her situation as we see her stuff the flowers into the trash bag---and tell the brothers, “My husband was killed in a car accident here nine months ago. We were newlyweds. Never even got to our first anniversary and to have to be reminded of that every time I look out my window or leave the house---” Kottmeier gives Corey a somber feel in her performance, mostly by how she carries herself and the softness with which she delivers her lines.

Kottmeier has great chemistry with Padalecki, building a gentle understanding between their characters that feeds both Corey and Sam's stories. It makes for a touching scene as Corey tells Sam about Andrew's return after his death. In her sharing, we can sense that Corey's grateful to Sam for someone that she can unload this secret to, and we see it in her expressions and the way she looks at Sam. Kottmeier gives Corey a somberness and vulnerability that plays off well against Padalecki's Sam. And as Sam is sympathetic in his patient listening, we can see Kottmeier make Corey all the more comfortable to talk about this with him.

She makes the bizarre nature of Andrew's return not only feel real, but makes it moving. She gives Corey a sincerity as she describes this online interaction---and how the person claiming to be Andrew only knew things her husband would know. Kottmeier makes it easy to identify with Corey's wish to have her husband back---especially with the grief so fresh. But as she delivers the line, “He was different. Focused. Revenge.” we can sense the doubt and fresh pain that this encounter has brought out in her.

Her best scene, however, is when we see Corey talk to Andrew through the phone---telling him that he has to stop. She pours all of her character's grief and love into that moment, making those emotions mingle in a way that makes our hearts ache as she has to somehow reach out to her husband's vengeful spirit. In many ways, too, we can see Kottmeier giving her character, Corey, the chance to say goodbye to him in a way she couldn't when he died. It makes her performance all the stronger, giving us an anchor to connect to her---and to Andrew as he finally chooses to move on. Kottmeier was a strong addition to the cast for this episode, and she made Corey Silver someone we could truly identify with.

Ali Milner plays college student Delilah. As the Winchesters first encounter her, we can tell that she's more than the random witness in the case. While she claims that there's “Nothing left to tell,” about what happened with her roommate, we can sense that there's something off about Delilah. It's all in how Milner plays the character, hesitating ever so slightly in her responses, as if they've been rehearsed. She also gives us a sense of Delilah's guilt here, even if we don't quite realize it.

As we see her with the Kyle, frantic that they may be found out by the FBI about what really happened to Andrew, Milner makes Delilah a frightened young woman. As she rants at him about coming clean, we know that our instincts based on her performance earlier in the episode were correct. And yet, we can also sense an anger and frustration in her character here that isn't just about the refusal to come clean from Kyle. Milner adds in a subtle layer of anger that points towards Delilah being angry with herself that leaves us wanting to know what she knows about this case. What is this secret that they're protecting?

Milner's best scenes are with Ackles as they prepare for Andrew's attack. As she sits in the salt circle, waiting and hoping that these two will deliver on their promise to protect her, we can sense that she's coming to terms with the odd situations she's now in. It's in the way she looks around her room. Milner makes it seem as if Delilah's seeing it for the first time. It's as if, by now knowing that the man they left to die has become a ghost has changed everything. It's this that allows her to connect with Dean, and Milner makes Delilah seem both guilty and innocent all at the same time. She's terribly guilty for not calling 911, for not pushing harder to do the right thing, and she wants to know how to fix it, and yet as she delivers the line, “So how do you deal?” we can't help but see how young and innocent she is. Delilah may have been involved in this tragic situation, but she didn't cause it. Her friend did.

As she listens to Dean's answer, we can see Milner connecting with Ackles as he delivers his lines. She is listening intently, her face an open book to the sadness and regret that Delilah is feeling. We relate to her because of this, and it allows us to care for her and the outcome of this case. As Andrew appears, we feel her fear as she flees with Dean down the halls, to the basement where they're inadvertently trapped with a phone that Andrew can manifest from. When he does, and he physically attacks her, Milner puts all the fear into her performance.

And when Delilah holds out the phone to allow Corey to talk to Andrew, Milner makes us see Delilah's expression. It is a sad one, as if she's finally getting the chance to give these two this chance when months ago she was part of what robbed them from having it. As she walks up to Corey's house in the aftermath, we can see that she's ready to make right what she did wrong---to follow Dean's advice. Once the door closes, we can only hope that they do. Milner made Delilah an engaging and moving.

Jensen Ackles proves that he is equally talented at both comedy and drama in “Halt and Catch Fire.” From the first moment we see Dean at the Bunker with his “croissookie” to the last moment with Sam in the car, we're either laughing or crying. It's in Ackles acting that Dean becomes a well rounded and full character that we connect with and totally believe.

Ackles does deadpan humor well in the opening scene. As we see the brothers walking through the library, he's chomping on a strange bakery item. And as Padalecki's Sam asks, “What in the world” to figure out what it is, Ackles doesn't skip a beat, as Dean tells him flatly, “It's a croisookie.” Ackles makes this funny here because he says it in a way that makes it seem like this should be common knowledge. And even though we know Dean most likely hadn't had one of these strange things before that moment, Ackles shows us that Dean's willing to take the plunge on eating it anyways---with relish.

As much as he relished eating this, though, Ackles shows us that Dean really enjoys the college cafeteria atmosphere best. And it also allows Ackles to give us some brilliant physical comedy work, too. The brothers, working on the case, stop to get some food while they piece together the information they know. Dean walks up with an overloaded cafeteria tray and sets it down. As Sam's giving him the information lowdown, he starts to eat. We've seen Dean do this hundreds of times, and yet Ackles kicks it up a notch here, eating with gusto the Chinese noodles and the pizza and everything else on the tray. Ackles gives us the gleeful little boy we know to be in Dean when he delivers the line, “College is better than Vegas.” Adding to the hilarity, Ackles makes sure to leave many noodles hanging out of his mouth, making Dean wear more of his food than actually eat it here. What makes this scene so funny, however, is that Ackles does this while managing to keep a straight face as the brothers exchange looks. We can tell, in Ackles' performance, that Dean is going over the top here on purpose, mostly to gross out his brother and to have fun. It's what makes this such a memorable and fun scene.

Just as he was able to make us giggle at Dean's silly food antics, though, Ackles also makes us feel deeply for Dean. This shows best in his scenes with both Milner and then Padalecki. His scenes with Milner are quiet and intimate. As the two of them are preparing for the ghost to attack, they take a moment to talk about what led to this moment. Milner's Delilah is struggling to come to grips with the nightmares she's come to suffer since the night of the accident---and her inaction. She asks Dean how he deals. Ackles shows Dean pausing to consider the young woman's question, and then he puts as much honest emotion into his delivery of Dean's answer as he possibly can. It's a vulnerable moment for the elder Winchester as he says, “Whiskey. Denial. I do my best to make things right, whatever they may be... For you maybe it's, maybe it's coming clean. You know finding a way to ask for forgiveness, but not breaking the bank at your local florist, I mean real forgiveness. You can't just bury stuff like this, you gotta deal with it.”

As he says these things, we can see Ackles showing that Dean is also internalizing his own statements, that he's trying to not just say these things to a scared girl that he's protecting---but that he's also saying it to himself, as if saying it out loud will make it as true for her as it will for him. We're watching, as Ackles delivers this statement, Dean have an epiphany, and it's moving because it feels real and organic in its profound subtlety.

When they're confronted by the ghost of Andrew, and he begs the man to choose between killing and peace, we see that epiphany deepen, giving us insight into Dean's mood and struggles.

But the best scene Ackles has in the episode is opposite Padalecki at the end. As they watch Delilah and Corey begin the healing process from afar, the brothers talk about the case and how it concluded. Dean tells his brother that he plans on following Andrew's lead---that he, too, will choose peace. As Sam starts to protest, he says, “No, I'm not going to give up. I appreciate the effort, okay I do. But the answer is not out there, it's with me. I need to be the one calling the shots here, okay? I can't keep waking up every morning with this false hope... I gotta know where I stand or else I'm gonna lose my freaking mind... So I'm gonna fight it, till I can't fight it anymore. And when all is said and done, I'll go down swinging.”

Ackles makes us feel deeply for Dean in this moment---as we understand why he's come to this decision. In his delivery, we can sense a gentleness, an understanding that the only way for Dean to continue is to focus on what he can do---not what he can't. For him, that's helping people. It's trying his best, and it's committing to the family business of “saving people, hunting things.” Now that Dean's come to this place, we're left to wonder how else Dean will reclaim his life from the Mark.

Jared Padalecki gives us a subtle Sam in “Halt and Catch Fire.” From the moment we see him question Dean's latest eating habit---complete with confused expression, to the last fierce expression we see in the closing conversation, we feel deeply what Sam feels through Padalecki's performance.

As Dean pushes back on Sam's excitement that Castiel is closing in on Cain, we see a pained expression cross Sam's face. Padalecki conveys all of Sam's concern and fears here as we see him wonder why his brother isn't as thrilled by this development as he is. He also shows us Sam's frustration as he starts to protest. And yet, we also see him pull back as Sam backs away to respect his brother's honest words---and to go with him on the case.

When the work the case, we can sense how comfortable it is for Sam. He's watching his brother with fond amusement as they walk the college campus. Padalecki shakes his head and smiles softly to convey this as Ackles has Dean chasing a few of the co-eds half heartedly. Padalecki also gives us great reactions to Dean's excessive eating habits as they discuss the case. While Ackles has all the food hanging off his face to show Dean's playful and boyish side, Padalecki has an expression of amused disgust at all the silly antics. When they discuss the roommate's deleted chats and Dean wonders if it's possible to retrieve something deleted, Padalecki puts Sam's subtle humor into the line, “I mean nothing ever really gets deleted from the internet. You knew that right?” He follows this up with the curious face as he wonders just what Dean might have deleted.

When the brothers split up, Padalecki is paired with Kottmeier's Corey. He gives us all the trademark sympathy we come to expect from Sam---and yet he adds more as we pick up on the nuances that give us insight into his story. He may be listening to Corey talk about her experience with the supernatural, but we can see him internalizing all she's saying and relating it to his own situation---and Dean's. Padalecki makes us connect with Sam here because we know just how emotional this story has to be for him---and that seeing her grief can remind him very much of his own, too.

Padalecki's best scene, however, is the one at the very end as they discuss the case. It's Sam that brings up that Corey and Delilah are following Andrew's lead to make peace. As he says this, Padalecki makes this gentle, and we can tell that Sam is both pleased and relieved that it has gone this way for them. But as Dean starts to tell him that he's done looking for a cure, Padalecki makes Sam not only emotionally distraught, he makes the younger Winchester fierce. It's all in his facial expressions as he looks aghast at Dean. Padalecki shows us that Sam's not quite ready to give up, and he doesn't want his brother to, either. He puts all of his emotion into the line, “So this is it, you're just gonna, you're just gonna give up?”

And yet, as we see him listen to Dean's response, we can't help but see Sam start to understand and accept that this is Dean's decision. His determination hasn't disappeared, however. We can see it in his face---and we know that he'll be with Dean until the end.

Best Lines of the Week:

Sam: Yeah. I mean nothing ever really gets deleted from the internet. You knew that right?

Dean: My peace is helping people, working cases. That's all I wanna do.

Sam: What in the world?

Dean: A croisookie.
Sam: A croisookie?
Dean: Yeah, it's the new cronut.

What were your favorite scenes? Which ones made you laugh or cry? Do you have any favorite lines?


# Bardicvoice 2015-02-16 16:07
Nice job here, Allison!

Dean's resolve at the end to pursue his peace by saving people until he can't any more reminded me of how he finally found his peace all the way back in season two. There we saw Dean driven to the brink of sanity by the pressure John unwittingly put on him when he told his older son that he might have to kill Sam if he couldn't save him. We saw Dean tormented by that knowledge, which he kept secret even from Sam until the beginning of Hunted, all the way up until the end of Born Under A Bad Sign. What saved Dean then was his flat resolve to save Sam no matter what; he eliminated the unacceptable option -- possibly having to kill Sam -- by the not-so-simple expedient of deciding he just wouldn't allow that situation to occur, whatever it took. Now he's doing a variation on the same thing; he's avoiding the fear of falling to the Mark just by resolving to remain his best self for as long as he possibly can, and to go down fighting at such time as there's no other option. For him, that means not spending (in other words, wasting) time chasing illusions of a cure he doesn't believe exists, but simply dedicating himself to doing what he does best: saving people along the way. That doesn't mean he'd refuse a cure if it did present itself, any more than he'd have refused any opportunity to save Sam back in the day; it just means he's decided to stay himself while he keeps living, and not to let the fight turn him into what he isn't.

Sam's resolve, in the meantime, is to find a way to keep his brother from ever taking the last step on that journey. He's determined to keep Dean as Dean; he'll not give up the crusade for a cure for the Mark. He's not going to let Dean fall any more than Dean was willing to concede Sam couldn't be saved and would have to be killed instead.

They'll never give up on each other, despite each being willing to sacrifice himself along the way. After all; they're Winchesters.
Far Away Eyes
# Far Away Eyes 2015-02-16 18:21
Thanks for the comment, Mary.

I'm glad you liked my look at their performances.

I absolutely agree with you. Dean was so twisted and turned around and nearly broken when he was being weighed down with the order to save or kill Sam, and I think once he told Sam the truth he had already made up his mind. He was going to ignore the "kill" portion and just find a way to save Sam no matter what it cost him in the end. The minute he did that, he had a direction to take and a way forward that allowed him to push through a lot of his emotions.

This season, we've seen Dean grip his arm, listen to the hum in his ears, and be focused so intently on getting rid of the Mark that he's become stuck. At the start, he seems hopeful that he can find a way to cure it, so he has a direction to take, but the longer it takes and the more apparent it becomes there just might not be a cure, he starts to spiral out again. I like the concept that he's choosing to take things back from the MoC. Sure, he knows he might eventually topple towards that demonic self again in the end, but that's about what he can't do, not what he can. Choosing to embrace his life---eating what he likes, working cases and doing what he can to help others, spending quality time with his little brother---is something he can do and will do as long as he can.

And yes, Sam is so crucial to Dean succeeding in doing this as long as possible. I see him working on that cure that Dean will accept if it should appear, and I also see him trying to enjoy as much time with Dean as he can. In many ways, I see Sam trying to make up for what he feels he failed to do in "No Rest for the Wicked." He couldn't save Dean from his deal, but he WILL save Dean from the MoC. No matter what. It's just who Sam is---just as it was Dean's drive to save Sam no matter what.

Thanks again, Mary!
# sugarhi15 2015-02-17 09:32
when this show began ten years ago, I was instantly drawn to the character of sam. In the beginning it was because I found him to be the underdog and I always root for the underdog. As time went on it was the kindness, the gentleness, the empathy and the endless amount of patience and his faith and perseverance that he has that has endeared me forever to sam winchester. when sam first found out he had demon blood in him, he was freaked out. he saw himself as an outcast from his own family and he lived day in and day out with the fear of what he might become. we saw this exemplified in season 2 and then again in s4..."I've got demon blood in me dean. This disease pumping through my veins that I can't ever rip out or scrub clean. I'm a whole new level of freak. I'm just trying to make this...and make something good out of it, because I have to.". In the great escapist we learned from sam that even as a small child he knew he wasn't pure, that he can never go on a quest such as sir galahad could. I believe that the demon blood in part has shaped sam's character. I feel that sam is in fact all of the things I mentioned above, because of how he feels about himself. With that he has an extreme abundance of empathy, kindness, patience and understanding for others, including at times monsters. All the times when sam seemingly acted as dean's whipping post, he in fact has shown patience and maybe even a little at times his own lack of self worth. here in this episode sam once again , as he has in every episode this season, shone with his patience, empathy and understanding. When I see sam I see this gentle giant who people cannot help themselves but open up to. Here mrs silver does just that with such ease and comfort, in fact for the first time. I enjoyed this scene for that very reason and laughed a little as well, because the last scene these two shared, sam listened with his usual patience of course, but at the same time thought she was off her meds...that was in wishful thinking. so to see them with that similar chemistry as they had then, only this time with a bit more empathy and a little less "this one's bonkers" made for one of the best scenes in the episode.

whether dean is consciously doing so or not, I feel that he has been emulating sam and I saw that once again in this episode. I've always found sam to have this amazing inner strength. dean has to admitted to sam being the stronger one once too. I think it has to do with sam's ability to face his mistakes head on and deal with them. dean has had trouble with that. as he so admitted, he's more of the denial or drink your mistake away type. but as of late, due to the mark this is no longer the case. dean has been forced to deal with this mark and as such he's dealing with how he came to get it in the first place. he's not doing your typical wallowing or trying to push it off on someone else. he's been facing up to his mistake and mistakes from his past as we saw him admit to while trying to protect Delilah. we hear him admit that he's been avoiding his mistakes all this time and that you can't bury them, it doesn't work. he advised her of an approach in dealing with her guilt that I think sam would've said. I really believe that dean not only said it but actually heard his own advice. I see the acceptance of dean and the mark, not that he's giving up entirely, but that he's going to deal with it very reminiscent of what sam told dean all the way back in season two...about making something good out of his demon blood, because he had to.

I think at the end we saw sam understand where dean is coming from and yet we see the determination in his eyes that he is not resigned to dean living with the same thing that he's had to live with...that for sam, there is a cure for dean and will do everything to find it.

all in all great performances by jared and Jensen and the two lady guest stars. ;)
# AlyCat22 2015-02-16 19:04
FarAwayEyes - Your observations of the conversation between Sam and Corey made me think. Some people (myself included) are of the mind that Dean was not 100% cured by Sam and that DemonDean is still here. Now I don't believe that Dean is aware and deceiving Sam, but there have been far too many hints as well as Jensens subtle acting clues? for me not to question DDeans presence. This would also fall more in line with the promised "Year of the Deanmon" as well. Also reflect that Dean is not fighting DarkCharlie/Dea n but actually his dark demon half. What I picked up from what Corey said was - The bizzare nature of Andews/Deans return after his death. How she described the online interaction and that the person claiming to be Andrew/Dean knew things only Coreys/Sams husband/brother would know. That she wished to have her husband back and it was great at first then he became different, focused on revenge. This sounds like Dean now (except for the revenge part but you could substitute blood driven) but is it hinting on more to come? I didn't catch this while I was watching it so either it was so obvious it flew over my head or so subtle I missed it. You didn't mention it so I thought I'd bring it up to see what your take on it would be. Am I pointing out something so obvious everyone else got it? I mean I've watched this ep several times over and still didn't pick up on it...
Far Away Eyes
# Far Away Eyes 2015-02-16 21:34
Thanks for the great comment.

I don't think Dean was fully cured. I've never thought that. For me, Dean is only fully cured when he no longer has the Mark. I've viewed the storyline since "Soul Survivor" as Demon Dean being shoved into a tiny contained space we call the Mark. It has been making itself known through various ways ever since, and it's one reason why we see it pull so hard on Dean. I don't think Dean is as he was while demonic by any means, and I think he's fighting hard to be the Dean before the Mark. We've seen the Mark (or DD if you will) taunt Dean in various ways. It exhibited itself in Dean's first kill when he shot Olivia, it forced itself out in the slaughtering of Randy, and it most certainly asserted itself in the interrogation of Metatron. In the other stand alone episodes, we've seen it be brought out in metaphor as we see the vampire tell Dean that "all of you will become all of us" in "Hibbing 911" which I took as a direct metaphor to Demon Dean/MoC.

In my actual Deeper Look, in terms of this episode, I took what Corey and Sam discussed about Andrew as a warning. While I think the MoC/Demon Dean will fight hard to reassert itself over Dean, I don't know if that's the direction they'll go before the end of the season. I think it's most certainly a possibility. I took what she was describing as a forewarn that Sam should pay attention to---and something we've seen him do since Dean was cured. He's trying to make sure Dean doesn't succumb, and so he's always asking Dean how he is. It didn't make it to my piece, but I think that the fact that Andrew chokes Dean after he tells him to pick "pain or peace" is yet another moment the MoC/Demon Dean is trying to silence this side of the argument. They want him to go back to being demonic, to give into the MoC, and the fact that Dean is having an epiphany to choose to fight and live the way he chooses cure or no cure is a threat to it.

I hope that helps answer some of your questions. It's just how I've seen much of the story unfold this season. It's been powerful for me on many levels due to a chronic condition in the family, and I relate to both brothers in this situation because the MoC/Demon Dean totally represents that disease for me. In that regard, while the disease is largely in remission/manag ed, it's kinda hovering and waiting to take over again, always. That's kinda how I feel about this season story, and it makes it so personal and powerful.

Thanks again.
# AlyCat22 2015-02-17 04:10
So you don't think the DemonDean personification will eventually become manifest then? You see it more as the MOC itself exercising it's evil influence on and thru Dean? That's interesting. Gotta say it's not what I want to see but... I'm dying for DemonDean to return! If he does, I won't be surprised but I'm not betting Vegas money on it either. I'd rather see Dean go back to his more carefree demonic state instead of having the MOC take him over completely. How sad is that? At least as a demon he had some control and a life . If the MOC consumes him then I would think that he would become like Cain was early on, killing everything in sight... I can't see where Deans storyline is heading so for that at least I have to say, Kudos Carver!!!
Far Away Eyes
# Far Away Eyes 2015-02-17 07:40
I'm not sure if Demon Dean will ever become manifest again. Considering that there is 10 episodes left counting tonight, I guess anything is possible. I'd say, judging by Dean's conversation with Castiel in "The Things Left Behind," Dean is afraid it might. I think the way for Demon Dean to find that hold is through the MoC, and if it can become powerful enough, it'll break out and take over Dean as it did after he died. Will that happen? Not sure. I'm curious to see how they'll take this story, though. Like you, I have no idea where they're going with it or how it'll all play out. And that's exciting.
# AlyCat22 2015-02-16 19:15
FarAwayEyes - Your observations of the conversation between Sam and Corey made me think. Some people (myself included) are of the mind that Dean was not 100% cured by Sam and that DemonDean is still here. Now I don't believe that Dean is aware and deceiving Sam, but there have been far too many hints as well as Jensens subtle acting clues? for me not to question DDeans presence. This would also fall more in line with the promised "Year of the Deanmon" as well. Also reflect that Dean is not fighting DarkCharlie/Dea n but actually his dark demon half. What I picked up from what Corey said was - The bizzare nature of Andews/Deans return after his death. How she described the online interaction and that the person claiming to be Andrew/Dean knew things only Coreys/Sams husband/brother would know. That she wished to have her husband back and it was great at first then he became different, focused on revenge. This sounds like Dean now (except for the revenge part but you could substitute blood driven) but is it hinting on more to come? I didn't catch this while I was watching it so either it was so obvious it flew over my head or so subtle I missed it. You didn't mention it so I thought I'd bring it up to see what your take on it would be. Am I pointing out something so obvious everyone else got it? I mean I've watched this ep several times over and still didn't pick up on it...
# AlyCat22 2015-02-16 19:33
Sorry. I dont know what happened with that last post! Sorry about the double!

Bardicvoice - Great observations as usual! I used to read your reviews/recaps on another site that were always so in depth and insightful.. If I remember you started Season Two? and ended Season Six? Its been awhile so I know I'm not remembering correctly. So now you periodically write for WFB but do you still do reviews elsewhere like you did then?