Back when “The Prisoner” aired for the first time in May, I was pretty livid.  I couldn’t believe that an hour of my time, right in the crucial part of the season, was wasted by such garbage.  After writing a scathing review, consensus among the WFB editorial team was that it wouldn’t be published.  After all, we gotta watch that negativity in this politically correct age of “Supernatural” fandom! Oh, I’m kidding, it was just too harsh, even for me.  I needed some time for objectivity.  

I re-watched the episode shortly after that, just before the season finale (which I loved), and I still didn’t like it.  Then I recently re-watched the episode via my new Supernatural Season Ten Blu-Ray set.  Now that I’ve had some time to absorb what was presented and watch again with a different POV, not a damn thing has changed.   I still don’t like it.  

If you’re still reading, then I owe you something for that, “Well, go on…” reaction that is firing in your head right now.  Allow me to explain.  The purpose of “The Prisoner” was to show Dean Winchester in full blown Mark of Cain tirade, aka off the rails.  The episode was meant to show how low he could go and raise doubt in our mind that he’d be able to pull himself together for the season finale.  He was supposed to be dangerous, lethal, and so terrifying that audiences would be stunned.  I was stunned alright, but not by Dean’s behavior.   

I know that “Supernatural” in this iteration is not that of the Kripke era.  It’s a new show, a new voice, and it’s constantly re-inventing itself.  But it still boils down to good storytelling and I saw too many holes and tropes in this version of the Dean Winchester meltdown.  It’s continued evidence that the stories have been simplified in the past few seasons and a lot of the nuances and complications that went into a character’s struggle have been substituted for sensationalism and fandom pandering.  As a result, the whole episode was nothing more than a predictable cliché of the man scorned, aka Kill Bill: Supernatural Edition.  

s10e22 504

I do accept that at the time of first airing I was still too livid and stinging over Charlie’s death to give this tale of revenge a fair shake.  Actually, it was Charlie’s pointless death by the freaking Frankensteins that had me fuming.  Bringing up such a fictional, unrealistic mythos as Frankenstein took legitimacy of the story away from me.  A program that used to be relatable with it’s audiences went in a farcical direction that pushed this semi grounded sci-fi show into a place that lost all credibility.  So yes, going into “The Prisoner,” I couldn’t watch a damn thing with any type of acceptance or excitement.   

The opening salt and burn of Charlie’s body didn’t help.  There have been so many deaths on this show, the somber ceremony doesn’t carry much emotional value anymore, no matter who it is.  While this isn’t necessarily writer Andrew Dabb’s fault, this scene only brings attention to the fact that deaths are becoming too cliché and common on this show.  We’re pissed this time, but the purpose is to show just how pissed Dean is too.  He even harshly scolds Sam over his role in this.  “You wanna know what I think? I think it should be you up there, not her.”  I do give credit to Dabb here for raising doubt in our mind that Dean would be able to stop himself from killing Sam, thus fulfilling Cain’s eerie prophecy in “The Executioner’s Song.”  But the wheels fall off the wagon after this and whatever powerful message we got in that scene loses all it’s luster by episode end. 

s10e22 97 

We get to meet the Styne family, who turn out to be a powerful white Southern family that own all of Shreveport and have their own compound.  When they’re together though, we end up with Dynasty for monsters.  It’s stereotypical and just plain campy.  Think “Bloodlines” of the south.  That alone makes me indifferent to whether they live or die and that certainly doesn’t make them look like the fearsome foes we got in “Book of the Damned.”  They’re unwatchable, even the likable one Cyrus that is so bland we don’t get any kind of emotional attachment to him or his fate.  

Then there’s Dean facing that “inner monster.”  I try to not go back to the Kripke era but it’s hard to avoid in this case.  When Sam was facing his inner monster in “When The Levee Breaks” we saw the intense inner struggle about giving in to the evil within.  The hallucinations were very powerful and unfolded his painful story in an oh so heartbreaking way.  The choice to go after Lilith and use his powers went against everything in his nature, but he went that path anyway, even believing he would die from it, because he thought it would be for the greater good.  I still cry over the hallucination of Mary.  We could see where he was misguided, but at the same time, we also saw his POV as well.  When he escaped and attacked Bobby, he instantly regretted what he did, reluctantly going on after displaying self hatred for the act.  Even at the end, when Sam lost his temper and attacked Dean, we knew exactly what pushed him over the edge.  It was the one thing he saw in the hallucination with fake Dean that tore him apart.  His real brother actually called him a monster.  We felt extreme sympathy for Sam the whole time, even though we all knew what he was doing was wrong.  

On the flip side in “The Prisoner” Dean goes off in a tirade, caving into that monster within in mechanical type fashion, without evoking any kind of sympathy for the viewer to relate.  As happy as I was to see all the Stynes meet a brutal yet deserving end, the whole thing played out like a cheap act of revenge. 

Prisoner 17

Perhaps a fairer comparison would be going to one of Dabb’s own scripts from season six, “Unforgiven.”   We knew that Soulless Sam was a reprehensible jerk.  We were told he did some rather awful things.  This was a chance to see just how irredeemable he was.  Did we get an hour long story of flashbacks of Sam going off the rails and then end story with him killing those innocent victims of the Arachne?  No.  Instead we got a fantastic tale weaving those flashbacks with current Sam going through the horrific trauma of remembering the incident, seeing how much that side of him tore him apart emotionally.  He so wanted to do right, to fix things, but there was no fixing this.  The damage had been done and he had to pay the consequences, even if it was his soulless side doing the harm.  It was another crushing tale that generated a huge amount of sympathy for the character.  It was a very sad story but compelling to watch, especially the way the tale was framed.  Then it ended with a big gotcha, the whole thing breached the wall.  Too bad that wasn’t a segue way into a finale or a big myth episode, because that was a pretty wicked ending.  

Yet here instead of a personal struggle, like we got with Cain at the end of “First Born,” Dean goes off the rails and kills all the bad guys, plus one good guy, and feels no remorse over it.  Oh shock, horror, I’m stunned, I’m horrified, I’m…not impressed.  I’ve often accused Andrew Dabb of falling on standard TV Tropes for his plotting and this time he hits several categories.  We get the Roaring Rampage of Revenge,” “Tranquil Fury,  the Berserk Button, the Gotta Kill Them All act as well as Revenge Before Reason.  There’s actually more, but I’ll stop there.   

Why include Cyrus Styne in the story if there was no redeemable moment to come out of it for Dean?  It made the time we got to know him pointless and wasteful.  Sure, watching Dean take out the Stynes was a little badass and fun, but this is not character building or deconstructing.   It’s lazy writing and caters to more popcorn entertainment than anything.  This show has always been a little better than that, especially in the crucial episode 22 of the season.    

Prisoner 21

Then there’s the contrivance that is Dean beating up Castiel.  For one, the dialogue was clunky.  Castiel tries to tell Dean the Mark is changing him and Dean says it isn’t.  Well, that’s an impasse.  Since Dean is off the rails, he deals with the conflict with his fists!  But Castiel, a very powerful angel that had no trouble restraining Dean in “Soul Survivor,” an angel that recently got his grace back so he’s hardly a weakling, doesn’t fight back.  Is it because he doesn’t want to hurt Dean?  A little self defense would have been okay, or maybe even some words like, “Don’t make me hurt you.”  No, instead he lets Dean take his angel blade and Dean almost kills him.  Was that supposed to be Dean’s moment of redemption?  Was the supposed to be our sign that he wasn’t too far gone?  If it was it didn’t work.  It lacked tension and reeked with predictability.  Again, I can’t help but compare this with Sam and Dean’s showdown in that final scene of “When the Levee Breaks.”  This time the scene was lacking those dramatic elements like hurt feelings, overwrought emotion, and grand crescendo to a slow building and engaging dramatic story.  It was just…there.    

Once I get into the holes of staging and continuity, it all seems like nitpicking after what I’ve written so far.  But still, some of the plot choices really irk me.  Remember how the Men of Letters cave is supposed to be this impenetrable fortress?  Heck, they needed a special key just to get in.  Remember the words of the old (and supposedly only) surviving member of the Men of Letters? “Because it is the safest place on earth, warded against any evil ever created. It is impervious to any entry, except the key.”  So Eldon Styne with his superhuman strength could just kick the door open?  How about they show him trying, being unable to, and Dean killing them outside the MOL bunker?  What benefit did doing all that in the library have other than it gave the show a cheap place to film the scene?  It didn’t benefit the story other than it is a really pretty set.  Actually, I do see the merit if they had kept a cut scene at the beginning of “Brother’s Keeper” where an emotional Sam was cleaning up the mess, but it the loss of that scene kills the impact of this scene’s setting.  

One other thing, how in the world did Dean get back to the bunker so fast from Louisiana?  And Castiel as well, arriving just a little after Dean, with damaged wings?  Sam couldn’t get back there fast enough and he was in the same state!  It all supports the theory that the Impala travels at warp speed.  They could have always used the explanation from The Emperor’s New Groove.

Kuzco: No! It can't be! How did you get back here before us? 
Yzma: Uh... [pauses]...how *did* we, Kronk? 
Kronk: Well, ya got me. By all accounts, it doesn't make sense. 
[Kronk holds up a map of the two parties' trails, showing Yzma's and Kronk's falling down a canyon halfway through] 



But all this sounds like I’m calling the episode a total waste.  There were some great moments. Without a doubt, the scene between Sam and Crowley was a huge winner.  Well, sort of.  I still don’t buy why Sam wanted to kill Crowley other than Sam hates demons.  

Sam:  It doesn’t matter. Maybe everybody else forgot about all the bad you’ve done, but I haven’t! I have watched you kill people, Crowley. Innocent people! People I cared about, people I loved! So yeah, you have the accent, and the suit, and the snark, but at the end of it, you are a monster! Just like all the rest of them. And I’m gonna watch you die, screaming. Just like all the rest of them.

He gave this line and I’m wracking my brain trying to remember who Crowley actually killed that Sam loved.  Sarah?  He hadn’t seen her in about 8 years, and it was a one time encounter.   Meg?  Definitely not.  But anyway, that’s just me nitpicking again.  The way that Sam’s attempt to kill Crowley totally backfired was completely awesome.  The VFX of energized Crowley, the red eyes and smoke, pushing him back from being a mopey wreck to being the King of Hell, was epic. 

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But the part I loved the most was when Crowley had Sam incapacitated and defenseless on the floor, threatening him with one final blow. 

Crowley:  From here on, I want you to know that the only reason you’re alive is because I allowed it. And I want you to deliver a message. You tell that ginger whore that I gave her a chance to walk away and she spat in my face. So now, she’ll never see me coming.

s10e22 399

Hell yeah!  I had been dying to see that Crowley all season.  Thank Chuck he’s back.  And yes, Sam had that coming. 

Since I’m on the praise train, Rowena wasn’t half bad this episode either.  She and Castiel together were actually amusing.  One of Dabb’s strengths can be his dialogue and I even laughed out loud over this:  

Rowena to Castiel:  I’m sorry. You’re just fascinating. An angel that rejected Heaven. That’s like a fish that wants to fly, or a dog that thinks he’s people. 

A few minutes later…

Sam:  I’m shutting this down, I promised Dean. 
Rowena:  Er, hello? Anyone want to tell me what’s going on? 
Sam and Castiel: No. 
Castiel:  What about her? 
Sam:  Guess. 
Castiel:  I’d be happy to kill her, she just called me a fish. 

Still, even with the small nuggets of joy, “The Prisoner” is an episode I can’t stomach another re-watch.  It was a completely inadequate setup to the stellar episode that followed.  I feel manipulated and insulted by the use of sheer brutality over substance.  My overall grade, a D+, which is marginally better than the totally insulting “Dark Dynasty” before it.  Luckily there are enough gems to salvage the season for me, but I do wish we had gotten something better so late in the season.  Ah well, I’m so ready for season eleven.


Comments  

Nate Winchester
# Nate Winchester 2015-09-24 13:29
Quote:
I re-watched the episode shortly after that, just before the season finale (which I loved), and I still didn’t like it. Then I recently re-watched the episode via my new Supernatural Season Ten Blu-Ray set. Now that I’ve had some time to absorb what was presented and watch again with a different POV, not a damn thing has changed. I still don’t like it.


Hey, just like me and 9.22, "Stairyway to Heaven." (no! must... control rage... won't kill again...)

Quote:
I know that “Supernatural” in this iteration is not that of the Kripke era. It’s a new show, a new voice, and it’s constantly re-inventing itself. But it still boils down to good storytelling and I saw too many holes and tropes in this version of the Dean Winchester meltdown. It’s continued evidence that the stories have been simplified in the past few seasons and a lot of the nuances and complications that went into a character’s struggle have been substituted for sensationalism and fandom pandering. As a result, the whole episode was nothing more than a predictable cliché of the man scorned, aka Kill Bill: Supernatural Edition.


So much this! Except that tropes are not innately bad, but when they are relied upon instead of the actual work...

Quote:
The opening salt and burn of Charlie’s body didn’t help. There have been so many deaths on this show, the somber ceremony doesn’t carry much emotional value anymore, no matter who it is.
ESPECIALLY WHEN THEY COULD HAVE CASTIEL RESURRECT HER! Why can't they rez her? Why? WHY? There's NO reason given!! It's like the brothers themselves are more attached to their angst than their friends.

Quote:
It’s stereotypical and just plain campy. Think “Bloodlines” of the south.
You know... it seems strange that Dabb keeps returning to a "bloodlines" structure doesn't he? I mean... ok, fine, write whatever your muse commands... but I wish he would realize that it belongs on Grimm or Vampire Diaries, not SPN.

Quote:
It’s lazy writing and caters to more popcorn entertainment than anything. This show has always been a little better than that, especially in the crucial episode 22 of the season.


Quote:
But Castiel, a very powerful angel that had no trouble restraining Dean in “Soul Survivor,” an angel that recently got his grace back so he’s hardly a weakling, doesn’t fight back.
Yeah... so MoC apparently gives Dean the ability to go toe-to-toe with an angel, but not Charlie?

The Tick's main superpower was called "Drama power." From wikipedia: "basically a tendency for The Tick's powers to increase as the situation becomes more dramatic." Now... what does it say, when Ben Edlund, the CREATOR of the Tick, has left the show, and it's become MORE like his comic than when he was on there?

Quote:
Without a doubt, the scene between Sam and Crowley was a huge winner.
Well by comparison but I still found it disappointing (though not helped by all the OTHER times they left the King alive for no reason) that Sam felt he had to give the King of Hell a chance instead of trying to kill the guy right away. Really that Sam has a suicidal death wish is about the only thing that makes some sense about the last few episodes of the season.
Alice
# Alice 2015-09-24 23:49
Wow, I get Twilight Sparkle applause? I'm honored!

Quote:
The Tick's main superpower was called "Drama power." From wikipedia: "basically a tendency for The Tick's powers to increase as the situation becomes more dramatic." Now... what does it say, when Ben Edlund, the CREATOR of the Tick, has left the show, and it's become MORE like his comic than when he was on there?
OMG! That's perfect! I'm so using that in the future. To think, I was impressed with myself for remembering the Emperor's New Groove! Speaking of The Tick, I got to talk to Ben Edlund a bit at Comic Con. He is currently working on The Tick revival for Amazon! I'm really looking forward to that project.

How about we never speak of this episode and "Stairway to Heaven" ever again? They never happened. There, everything seems better. :)
Nate Winchester
# Nate Winchester 2015-09-25 08:04
Oh you BETTER let me know when the TICK shows up on Amazon! :D I even liked the live action version.

And you're right, some things have never happened...
njspnfan
# njspnfan 2015-09-24 14:36
This episode was just plain awful, for all the reasons you listed. I was going to participate in the #WFBRewatch on Twitter last night but couldn't bring myself to watch this episode again. Oh no, Dean is off the rails - news flash - he's been off the rails since he got back from Purgatory. The Sam and Crowley scenes were flat; regardless of Rowena's hex bag, between the demon trap bullets and Ruby's knife, Sam should have been able to finish Crowley off. The entire fight scene between Dean and Castiel was a contrived pile of crap. And I laughed out loud at the ease with which the Frankensteins broke in to Grand Central Bunker, I mean the Men of Letters Bunker.
Alice
# Alice 2015-09-24 23:55
Quote:
And I laughed out loud at the ease with which the Frankensteins broke in to Grand Central Bunker, I mean the Men of Letters Bunker.
It does irk me when continuity is glossed over to push a senseless plot! I don't know, I like that Crowley prevailed. I wondered how Sam was actually going to kill him since the demon killing knife won't work on someone that powerful. Maybe an angel blade...hmm, not sure. I really hope that the hex bag not working on Crowley was a big clue about who Crowley really is. I don't buy he's a run of the mill demon and never have. Who is he really? What makes him so extraordinary?
Jen
# Jen 2015-09-25 00:42
Interesting thought Alice who is Crowley really !! Lets not get excited they'll botch that up as well :D:D:D
AlyCat22
# AlyCat22 2015-09-25 02:47
I don't get why Sam was just sitting there waiting for Crowley to die except for the sheer pleasure of seeing him in agony. Sam could have, should have just finished him. If it hadn't been for the deal with Rowena then I might be inclined to think that maybe in spite of all the words to the contrary Sam may have feared what Deans reaction would be. That he wouldn't want to alienate Dean any further than they already were. I think Dean's relationship with Crowley, not just now, but going all the way back to the Brady episode is confusing to Sam.

When it comes to the Stynes and the connection to Frankenstein, didn't I read somewhere (or saw it on a con video) that it was initially Bob Singers idea (figures) which he then sold to Carver and that they insisted on using? I think if I'm not mistaken he was also partially responsible (Jareds injury supposedly also a factor, tho I don't know why they couldn't write around it like all the other episodes) for the brilliant move of 3 episodes of DemonDean and we're out .
Nate Winchester
# Nate Winchester 2015-09-25 08:06
I've never figured out why they spared Crowley after killing Abaddon since the ENTIRE SEASON the boys kept saying, "After Abaddon, Crowley's next" and he's sitting right there, paralyzed on the couch.
Shante
# Shante 2015-09-24 14:38
The Prisoner is one of the worst episodes ever. there is 1 scene that was good and that is the Crowley and Sam scene the rest :(. kinda similar to 9x22 Stairway to Heaven. *backs away*....
Alice
# Alice 2015-09-24 23:57
No need to back away! Come, join us, you're among the like minded. We have cookies! We need something sweet to handle all the bitter from the episode.
Shante
# Shante 2015-09-25 09:55
when i own the season this will be one of the least re-watchable eps to watch when i watched it, i didnt like it at all, parts of it left me furious like you, kinda like Stairway to Heaven these 2 are very similar in um unlikeable scenes. if this happens again in season 11, with its 22 ep, disturbing trend :(
BoGirle
# BoGirle 2015-09-24 21:03
Alice, I totally agree! I would have LOVED to have read your original take on this episode in all it's non politically correct glory. I, for one, don't want to read a watered down, sugar coated "politically correct" accounting of something that was subpar on every level. I agree with everything you said especially when it comes to the supposed culmination of Dean's MoC journey. I did not like Dean in this episode. I couldn't relate to his robotic, stone faced rampage at all, and his harsh words to Sam only alienated me more. In that way it undermined even the finale. I was still stinging from Dean's behavior in this episode to be willing to cut him much slack in Brother's Keeper. I also agree with you about the battle with Cas. I did not believe for one second that he would kill Cas, and I was right. I felt manipulated. And ultimately the fact that Cas couldn't or wouldn't or didn't even protect himself from getting pummeled made zero sense. I can't figure Dabb out. How is it that this is the same writer who penned Inside Man? How is that possible? When it comes to bad writers like Ross-Leming/Bru ckner I don't really expect more. They are pretty much bad most of the time, so when the write a stinker I am not all that surprised. But with someone like Dabb who wrote Richenbach and Inside Man this season when he reverts to The Things We Left Behind and The Prisoner it's doubly hard to take because I KNOW he can do so much better when he sets his mind to it.
Alice
# Alice 2015-09-25 00:06
I personally think Dabb's problem is he writes what he thinks should be written instead of writing what he wants. That is why he's so wildly inconsistent. He looks at a general overall arc and thinks that the best route between two points is a straight line. Throw in basic plotting, a little fan service, and fall on tropes that don't enhance the story, etc. That's why I think his earlier season episodes are stronger than the late season ones. Early in the season, there's less season arc getting in the way and he has more freedom with writing.
Nate Winchester
# Nate Winchester 2015-09-25 08:08
Really? I was going to say the reverse, that he writes what he wants instead of considering what should be.

Hence his almost constant running over of canon, characters, and common sense. (WHY DIDN'T THEY REZ CHARLIE??)
Jen
# Jen 2015-09-25 00:40
Just popping a note in here and you probably already know - at the convention Jensen said that He and Misha changed that fight scene there was supposed to have been more come back from Cas but together they decided that Cas wouldn't won't to hurt Dean so he wouldn't fight back. ???
E
# E 2015-09-25 18:45
He did? That's weird, and unfortunatley IMO wasn't a good choice. I can certainly understand Cas not wanting to hurt Dean, but to allow himself to get pummeled to within an inch of his life? How does that make any sense? Especially when he very sucessfully subdued Dean without hurting either himself or Dean in Soul Survivor? He didn't seem all that concerned that he couldn't handle the sitatuation then, and didn't appear to be worried that he might somehow hurt Dean.... and Dean was a full fledged demon in that episode, presumably much stronger than he was in The Prisoner. As a choice it doesn't make much sense. Too bad their expert continuity advisor didn't warn them of that fact. Oh, yeah... there IS no continuity advisor.
Jen
# Jen 2015-09-25 21:21
I will have a look through the Con videos again and see if I can find it and post it for you
cheryl42
# cheryl42 2015-09-25 22:32
In SS Dean told Sam that the human blood was making him human enough to escape the devils trap. So presumably Dean was human enough for Cas to subdue him. In the Prisoner he was almost full on Demon again.
BoGirle
# BoGirle 2015-09-26 06:10
So, he was actually more human when he was a demon, and he was more demon when he was a human? Too bad none of that was explained within the context of the episodes. And neither was the appearance of Dean's sudden superhuman strength.
cheryl42
# cheryl42 2015-09-26 13:35
He was more human because of the human blood injections and becoming more demon because of the MOC. He was becoming even more demon-ish after killing Cain with the Blade. I never saw the superhuman strength. Supposedly Cas didn't fight back and would have maybe rather died than watch Dean turn into Cain.
BoGirle
# BoGirle 2015-09-26 19:02
I understand what you are saying, I just think that this is all head canon. The differences in Dean were not explained adequately, well not adequately enough for me anyway, especially when compared with how beautifully Sam's journey in season 4 was laid out. There were too many details left without explanation and large parts of his actions without any obvious connection to the MoC. Actually I am struck again by how little the MoC was a referenced at all during season 10. We had to assume that Dean's actions were fueled by the Mark most of the time. It's poor plotting IMO to leave so much out. Dean refused to talk about what he was going through with anyone, so there was no opportunity for him to verbalize his struggle. As Alice said, we never saw the man that Dean was struggling with the effects of the mark; he was either normal Dean so we had to assume that the mark was not effecting him or hie was violent/unpleas ant Dean in which we had to assume that the Mark must have been in control. It was not clear much of the time and even contradictory on several occasions. That's just plain lazy writing to leave so much detail up to the viewer and to cheat Dean as a character of any depth to his struggle. There can be only so many shots of Dean staring into a mirror before that stops having any meaning.
cheryl42
# cheryl42 2015-09-26 19:48
Ok I don't want to be offended where no offense was intended but are you saying that I am fantasizing the episodes in order to make them work? I can tell you I don't have that much of an imagination. I'm pretty basic. I just take what I am given and go from there. I understood what they were saying and doing. It seemed to me that what was happening to Dean during the cure and after he gave in at the end of the season was clear (if not terribly compelling). I agree they used "the get out of jail free card" way too often when the characters were written into a corner. The writing and story telling could have been better. But I did understand what the writers were saying.
Now if you are talking about the overall disappointment with Demon Dean well I agree. It was disappointing. They took a very different road with Dean than I would have thought. And I do agree that many episodes went by with no ill affects from the MOC. I wish it had been different.
AlyCat22
# AlyCat22 2015-09-26 22:32
It was all so subtle until it wasn't. Problem is a lot of it was too subtle. One thing that drove me insane with the MOC/Dean storyline was after the "cure" and the lame high school musical, the season then just rolled along until...OMG!!! Dean, in a MOC influenced rage has wiped out a bunch of wanna be rapist scumbags! More glacial plodding and then... OMG!!! Dean just beat the crap out of Metatron and tried to kill him!!! Blah, blah, blah plodding (at times I felt that in comparison the Ice Age would have clocked in much faster) then... OMG!!! Dean and Cain just battled it out!!! And so it went. Too few OMGs and too many plodding alongs that barely moved the needle on the MOC/FirstBlade- Dean's descent into madness. I mean I understand they have to have filler eps but it would have been nice if they had tied them into the MOC more. They did it so much better in the earlier years. The way it was I found myself more and more disappointed and feeling cheated each time the cheese was laid in the trap only to get my neck broken the following week. A bit overboard on the graphic comparison but you know what I mean. ;) Your right, the Season could have been so much stronger. From the short time that we got of DemonDean to the longer period of wasted opportunities that we had of MOC/FirstBladeD ean it left me wanting so much more. It's a shame.
BoGirle
# BoGirle 2015-09-27 07:50
Cheryl. For the record I was not intending any offense here, and I don’t believe I accused you of “fantasizing” or making things up or being unrealistic. I never said that and that is not what I meant. I said that IMO, there was not enough to connect the dots of Dean's transformation to make sense FOR ME. I quite deliberately used the phrases "IMO" and “not enough for me” to clarify that this was MY problem with the story. Since there was no scene in the episode that explained why Dean was not able to best Cas while he was a demon and then basically pummel him into submission while still a human, I am not willing to speculate as to how that whole transformation took place is all I am saying. It was not explained and I want to see those dot connected IN THE EPISODE, otherwise the story doesn't work for me, which this one did not. If you can justify it, if what was shown on screen made sense to you then that is fine, we all watch the show in our own way, but it was not enough FOR ME. There was no logic in it, it didn’t track, it was not explained as far I was concerned, and neither was the super human strength Dean suddenly displayed in The Prisoner. Without explanation that he is further succumbing to the Mark, he can suddenly break the leather bindings that were holding him to the table in the Stynes lab, leather binding fixed to the table with metal reinforcements BTW. A little context for this pretty momentous event and changes in Dean would have made the story more believable IMO, but there was not enough detail to get from A to B, well, for me there wasn't at any rate.
Nate Winchester
# Nate Winchester 2015-09-29 10:37
Quote:
I never saw the superhuman strength.


You didn't? Compare:

Dean punching Castiel, S4 ("https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YFIplAEM8yA").
Dean punching Castiel, S10 ("https://www.y outube.com/watc h?v=K6c9cBLTyrQ ").
AlyCat22
# AlyCat22 2015-09-24 22:11
I haven't read any other comments, I had to go straight to reply. Many good points made, sadly most I have to agree with.
Love your Bloodlines of the South. Ha. I really resented Robbie for introducing the "Wizard of Oz", truly believing that not only did it not fit in the Supernatural world but that it cheapened it at the same time. I thought - Hell, if we were going to go down that rabbit hole what could possibly be next? (OMG, I just gave a nod to Alice In Wonderland! No Robbie, no!!!) Little did I know then, nor could I possibly conceive, that another one of our crack writers would come up with an equally stupid idea that would be on par and find itself completely at home with Dorothy and her travails. Now I have to admit that the initial introduction this late in the game of a heretofore unknown, secretive and incredibly powerful family that was also after the book was interesting, especially with the appearance of this baddie Jacob Styne but then Show just couldn't resist and had to go and run it straight off the rails by tying it all into the Frankensteins. Unfortunately for us, more specifically the Southern Fried Stynes. Then it became not only predictable but stereotypical with a big ole helping of completely boring . Which brings up the questions. Why did they think it smart to kill off their most promising Styne? Loved his standoff with Dean in the Gas and Sip. Who decided on the caricature of a (Not So) Southern Gentleman? And what was with all that backstory on Jr. Styne? Were we really supposed to care? If so, massive fail there. I was glad Dean killed them all, including baby Styne. Which brings up still another question. Now that the Southern chapter has been wiped out, what about all the other evil divisions flung far and wide? Are we to believe they don't care that their U.S. counterparts were eliminated or that the Book Of The Slightly Less Fortunate and it's codex is still in play? Please tell me they don't care, that they hated their American cousins and that they've lost all traces of the book forevermore.

Only surviving member of the MOL's...hahahah ahahhhaaaaaaa! Impenetrable fortress...Haha hahahhhaaaaha! As far as the Impala making such great time, my only guess is that she is bigger on the inside. (Doctor Who reference for any who didn't get that...)

Crowleys comment to Sam about how Rowena will never see him coming should have continued on as "except when she does when she sees me in the following scene where I help with the MOC spell..."

From a Dean Gal perspective, I wished that they had shown him even more - MORE angry, MORE bloodthirsty, MORE out of control... although I did love the way Jensen played it. That's kinda my gripe over the entire MOC storyline. It always left me wanting to see, expecting to see, demanding to see, more - but they never delivered and that's a shame. They have an actor that could so go there and back and yet for whatever reason they refuse to let him.

So for me, the episode was good but the Stynes were a huge letdown, lazily penned. I'll say this, that I hope that the writers on Supernatural realize just how much they owe to Jared and Jensen (admittedly not just the J's, but primarily) for saving their bacon on some pretty crappy scripts.
Alice
# Alice 2015-09-25 00:14
Thanks AlyCat22!

Quote:
Only surviving member of the MOL's...hahahahahahhhaaaaaaa! Impenetrable fortress...Hahahahahhhaaaaha! As far as the Impala making such great time, my only guess is that she is bigger on the inside. (Doctor Who reference for any who didn't get that...)
Ha, I did! I've always had this theory that Baby is a time machine. So the reference is ideal.

At first I thought about speculating in the review about the Stynes all over the world, and then I thought I don't care and I hope we never see them again. I really hope TPTB realized by this episode that idea wasn't working.

Quote:
From a Dean Gal perspective, I wished that they had shown him even more - MORE angry, MORE bloodthirsty, MORE out of control... although I did love the way Jensen played it. That's kinda my gripe over the entire MOC storyline. It always left me wanting to see, expecting to see, demanding to see, more - but they never delivered and that's a shame. They have an actor that could so go there and back and yet for whatever reason they refuse to let him.
Yes, this! It could have been so much better.
E
# E 2015-09-25 12:24
Quote:
From a Dean Gal perspective, I wished that they had shown him even more - MORE angry, MORE bloodthirsty, MORE out of control... although I did love the way Jensen played it. That's kinda my gripe over the entire MOC storyline. It always left me wanting to see, expecting to see, demanding to see, more - but they never delivered and that's a shame. They have an actor that could so go there and back and yet for whatever reason they refuse to let him.
I agree with this, and I'm a Sam gal. :D. I was hugely disappointed in how they handled everything regarding Dean, both this year and last. I didn't see much struggle, and I didn't see that man that Dean IS trying to keep ahold of himself. When he went off the rails the situations were full of so many other mitigating circumstances that it was hard to ascribe it solely to the Mark, so I was always wondering.... "did Dean do X because of the Mark or because of Y?" And all of his bad acts were so incredibly justified that they ended up not looking all that bad. So, he killed a room full of rapist scumbags and an evil family who were a scourge to society. Big deal. Yawn. Why they went with the Demon Dean thing at the start of season 10 when it should have been the culmination of season 10 is beyond me. If they were so gung ho to have episode 200 be Fan Fiction, then go ahead..... but hold OFF on the whole Demon Dean/Sam goes crazy to save him, until you can do it justice. It was rushed and inconsequential . Boo.
AlyCat22
# AlyCat22 2015-09-25 18:48
Yes, and did they realize how it was coming across to the viewers because the way it did just made Sam look crazy. Yeah, sure... Dean's totally off the rails... *pets Sam* while dialing the local mental.institut ion... Sam's reaction and decision making would have been quite at home , made more sense when applied to the many different dire situations that the brothers have found themselves wrapped up with in the past but just in this case did not read thru the screen the way Show presented it to us. Was it intentional? If it was, where is the sense in that? Sometimes I wonder if they are even watching the same show we are. And as a DeanGirl in sympathy with you SamGals - please for the love of all things holy ban all chairs, ropes, handcuf- well, maybe not handcuffs - away from the younger Winchester this year. Let him show what a grown up bad ass Hunter he is instead of some writers bondage fetish. Kidding about the fetish. Kinda. I mean, sometimes you have to question... ;)
Barbara Maake
# Barbara Maake 2015-09-25 19:39
Quote:
Let him show what a grown up bad ass Hunter he is instead of some writers bondage fetish.


I share your hope. But I'm not so sure he's a writers' bondage fetish (though now I know where your mind dwells! :)); rather, I think they view Sam as an extremely delicate, fragile, little 6'4" flower who falls over in a stiff breeze, and whom the bad guys can subdue with just a dirty look. These past two seasons the poor little fella has needed to be rescued not just by Dean (on roughly 964 occasions) but by many other tougher, more competent fighters, like Charlie (twice!), Jody, Claire, Donna, and Ed and Harry, to name just a few. Maybe this year, Sam will remember all of the fighting skills that he so beautifully demonstrated over the course of the first 8 seasons, but that now are seemingly lost in the dim recesses of his tiny little brain. That is high on my wish list for S 11. But maybe just ONE bondage scene would be acceptable.;)
Jen
# Jen 2015-09-25 00:34
I agree with evrybody I was really expecting big things for last season. More time and more effort could have been put into DD story -- I said before instead of the year of Demon Dean it should have been called the yr of the MOC no wonder Jensen said he was glad it was over and he could just get back to being Dean Even if as he explained he was sick of being down and angry all season. I wonder if he maybe he wasn't happy with the script either. ??? More time and effort was put into Soulless Sam and Blood Sam. Less filler and more on DD would have been great. I know that they needed to bring out the dark side of Dean but bloody hell their must be more to Dean than drinking & sex. At least with Sam as you said Alice we got the beautiful rich back story in flashes for Sam and even now I see Sam as someone forced into a job he didn't won't. Although he "Loves it now" When I see Dean I get know idea of who he was or why he is the character that he is, booze and sex are only a small part of him. If good and evil challenged him we wouldn't know he only show it in emotions-- there should have been a deeper look a Dean the person. My only hope is they don't drown us with to many flash backs this season. Move on you stuffed up now show us what you can do and give us something fantastic.
Jen
# Jen 2015-09-25 00:44
PS Thanks for your truthfull writing Alice and glad to read another review from you Keep up the honesty its refreshing :):):)
Fazzie
# Fazzie 2015-09-25 06:37
Thanks for the second look and I agree with you on a lot of what you said about Dean and the Stynes. They weren't in the show long enough to make them a real threat and Cyrus wasn't written in a way that gave his death at the hands of Dean any impact compared to the possessed Nurse that Sam got Ruby to kill. I suppose because we knew that Cyrus knew what his family was up to and even in his limited capacity didn't do anything to stop them compared to a innocent nurse who was possessed.

As for the story, I took it the idea was to park Dean in a violent streak and the story was more to do with Sam and Cas. Cas trying to actually reach Dean when he was on his rampage and Sam still doing all the wrong things when things were at there worse with regard to Dean's PTSD., even if it was for the best intentions though way too late.
cheryl42
# cheryl42 2015-09-25 13:34
My biggest fear is that the Stynes were introduced so late in the season because they were going to be a big factor in S11. They are supposed to be worldwide after all. That would be unfortunate. :(
Fazzie
# Fazzie 2015-09-26 03:26
Yeah but this is supernatural they won't use the whole world as the only two times other countries actually counted was when they went to Scotland for Fergus' bones and when they sent Charlie off.

Otherwise Canada doesn't exist and neither does Mexico. As remember when they looked for the blade/Cain and Tara went for a map - the map that only was the Continental US?

As for the Stynes, they were bad weren't they and as for their declaration they were world wide, I doubt they will be back seeing how they couldn't seem to decide that all the Stynes who were chasing chasing Charlie were definately Good old boys. If it mattered to the world wide Stynes there is no way they wouldn't have sent someone else to look for her, seeing how the Stynes we saw couldn't seem to keep a secret for two seconds, because really the amount of death they left, they were pretty traceable for any enforcement agency outside their little bought enclave.
Shante
# Shante 2015-09-25 10:02
hi Alice, i also agree with your article, i just think its a bit coincidence that this ep and Stairway to Heaven are very similar in how wrong the episodes are um how bad they were/are the unlikeable scenes in them add up tp how bad they really are and why
Shante
# Shante 2015-09-25 10:02
to*
Barbara Maake
# Barbara Maake 2015-09-25 15:03
I guess I'm a bit of an outlier here, because I didn't think the ep was half bad. Or, to be more accurate, it was half bad but half good.:) Alice, I did have some of the same complaints that you did about this episode, the biggest being the fight between Dean and Cas. Cas holding back to avoid hurting Dean is one thing, Cas having the crap kicked out of him and then lying there, awaiting the coup de grace, while feebly bleating "Dean, please," is just silly. I thought a great setup to the finale would have been if Cas had held back for awhile, and then when Dean actually attempted a killing blow, flung Dean off like a rag doll. Dean's horror at having tried to kill Cas would have provided a better set up for his soul searching at the beginning of BK and his last ditch attempt at "normalcy." Dean's rampage against the Stynes was OK, but his sudden superhuman strength- flinging off those leather restraints like they were made of paper, when minutes before that he couldn't rip a plastic bag off his head!- and his seeming ability to fly back to the bunker, were just lazy writing. Dean's murder of Baby Styne was supposed to show how far off the reservation he was, because normal Dean would never have killed a teenager who was begging for his life and desperately proclaiming his hatred of his evil family. And the scene succeeded to some degree, because I felt sorry for Baby Styne, but I think it would have had more effect if Dean had killed him in a more brutal way. Beating a kid to death or stabbing him while he was pleading for his life would have shown more convincingly that Dean was now almost completely lost to the MOC.

But with all that said, I still thought the episode was pretty good, for two reasons- the opening scene at the pyre, and the scene between Sam and Crowley. I loved the scene at the pyre, but not because I found it moving. Rather, because I was stunned by Dean's statement that it should have been Sam on the pyre. I think that was the most cold, cruel thing either brother has ever said to the other, and the look on Sam's face was heart wrenching. I thought Jared and Jensen did a great job in that scene, making it a powerful one. Here, finally, was strong evidence of a Dean who was almost completely under the influence of the MOC. (Hey, better late than never!)And here was a Sam who actually got to show a full range of emotions- grief and guilt over Charley, love and concern for Dean, conflicted emotions over the course of action he was pursuing- Jared knocked it out of the park IMO.
But to me the scene that tipped this episode over from mediocre to good was the Sam/Crowley face off. I loved everything about the scene; I thought it was electrifying. It had the excitement and tension and unpredictabilit y that was so sorely lacking this season. For that scene alone, I prefer this episode to virtually the entire middle of the season. I'm hard pressed to remember much about that string of episodes, which were so lackluster that I can't recall many specific scenes at all. But the Sam/Crowley showdown stands out as one of the most exciting scenes of the entire year. I've been very disappointed with Crowley's story line the past two seasons. From Crowley on down to his lowliest minion, the demons have been transformed into toothless laughable buffoons. It troubles me that Sam and Dean no longer waste much time even thinking about, much less hunting, demons. So what if they're still ensnaring souls for hell? I guess the brothers feel that they've been there and done that. It almost became a running joke (in my mind anyway) that every time one of the brothers interacted with Crowley that brother would end the conversation with the empty threat "the next time I see you...!" Seemingly they have come to accept the King of Hell as just part of the status quo. Dean is now giving relationship advice to him! Really?!! Unlike you, Alice, I think the boys still have plenty of justification to kill Crowley, it's just that they should have done it, or at least tried to do it, ages ago. While he may not have actually killed one of their loved ones, he did kill people the boys had saved and cared about, he tried to kill Kevin, would have killed Jody had the boys not stood down, hijacked Bobby's soul to hell, manipulated Dean into taking on the MOC, etc, etc. So I'm puzzled about why you think Sam "had it coming" for having (finally!) tried to kill Crowley. As far as why Sam just stood there waiting for Crowley to die from the hex bag, I had assumed (or was it explicitly stated?) that Rowena had dictated that he be killed by witchcraft. In any event, everything about that scene worked for me. I was actually leaning forward in my seat during it, hanging on every word. I loved Sam's sneering lines to Crowley and I LOVED finally seeing old Crowley back, a Crowley who exuded some menace and sheer evil.
Bottom line, while there were some major flaws in The Prisoner, there were also some amazing scenes which elevated it above a lot of the dreck that was S 10.
YellowEyedSam
# YellowEyedSam 2015-09-25 15:07
Oh Alice, your honest reviews make me smile. Please never stop reviewing SPN episodes. ;)

Quote:
Castiel: I’d be happy to kill her, she just called me a fish.
Even now that line makes me laugh. Classic!
JJA
# JJA 2015-09-25 16:41
I have a very different opinion. I thought this was an excellent episode, but with TWO major caveats.

First, the Dean vs. Castiel fight at the end was unnecessary. Probably would have worked better if Dean shot poor Cyrus, and then we have a fade to black, followed by Castiel walking into the bunker and seeing all the carnage Dean left.

Second, how did the Stynes break into the bunker? Aren't these bunkers supposed to be warded and impossible to break into? There should have been a bit more explaining.
AlyCat22
# AlyCat22 2015-09-25 19:36
Shhh... Apparently the Stynes didn't need to be there for Deans announcement... and Dean should have paid closer attention...

Dean: *Clears throat* "Alright, alright, listen up you bastards! Attention! This building in front of you is our Super secre- crap! This building that stands before you is our Men of Letters Bunker whose location is only known to a ver- uh, well Hell, almost everybody now including their cousins and their cousins, cousins, but make no mistake, that which is completely impenetrable by ANY of you Evil Sons of Bitches, including the King of Hell, well except for those times when... uh, Demons, oh and Minions, Fruitbats, Breakfast Cerea- damn it Sam!!! *Sam peeks around the corner, snickering* Where was I? Yeah, yeah, Monsters - of ALL kinds, Angels, unless of course you have an all access, all season pass because you happen to be riding my brot- yeah uhm, ignore that, that sounded all kinds of wrong. As well as any Spells, Incantations, Summonings, Books of the Damned and their codexs, Sigils, Tanks, Anti aircraft carrier missiles, Nuclear warheads, Bio Surgically Enhanced Southern Rednecks, Friends who are now Werewolves... you get the idea. Now get outta here and if I see one smudge on the Impala, you're all going down!"
Russ
# Russ 2015-09-26 22:25
Great article Alice. I'm with you on every point.

I have no faith in Season 11, but I want it to get here fast so I can forget about Season 10. I still haven't bought the Blu-ray yet. First year since I started watching that I haven't purchased on day of release ... and I won't be until I find it in a 50%-off sale.
disgruntled viewer
# disgruntled viewer 2015-09-27 07:05
I agree with you, guys, that season 10 was a lost opportunity in a way to show Dean's inner struggle, and season 4 in comparison was a masterpiece. But, nevertheless the signs that Dean is gradually giving in to the Mark were there, they were not just emphasised enough and could be overlooked. Everybody noticed the killing of that bunch of scumbags, and certainly a murder of that Styne kid, but it was more. It started with the gusto Dean killed starting from Ask Jeeves, then it was beating Chalrie, than it was his intention to use a 12-year-old child as a bait to lure "the most dangerous demon ever walking the Earth". In fact, in season 10 Dean did more deplorable things, than Sam did in season 4, who didn't really do anything deplorable except killing that nurse. It isnot the matter what they both did, it was the matter how to render it. Where are those masters, who was able to tell so much by a single detail and what happened to those who remains?
AlyCat22
# AlyCat22 2015-09-27 09:42
Yup. Like I said, subtlety. So much subtlety in the execution of DemonDean that at times if you blinked, you'd miss it. And now that I think about it, it's even more amusing when you think of all the anvils in all the episodes they rained down upon our heads and then when the time comes and we NEED them to be more obvious and in our faces, they ground out! All that subtlety from a team of writers that never met an anvil they didn't like!
BoGirle
# BoGirle 2015-09-27 12:15
It's not even that some parts were too subtle and some parts we were nearly crushed by the anvils, which I agree was a problem. It's more that the characters don't speak to one another any more. They don't converse or argue about their feelings. So instead of reflecting on what he's going through or revealing his struggle or asking for advice, Dean instead dispenses advice to others (Cole, Delilah) that he doesn't believe in or follow, won't tell Sam what a hard time he's having or ask him for advice (I mean, who better to ask for advice other than the man who's been fighting an inner demon his whole life?) The only thing he'll say to either Sam or Cas is that he'll fight until he can't fight anymore which is so unrealistic a mindset that I was sick of hearing after the second time he said it. The writers left no way for us to SEE Dean trying to be the man that he was and failing under the pressures of the Mark. He never really expressed his fears, not even in that confessional scene from Paint it Black, which should have been a perfect opportunity to do just that. That left me having a hard time sympathizing with his plight. There are only so many longing looks in the mirror that you can film before that device looses all it's meaning. Remember Sam trying to convince Dean that what he was trying to do about his powers was the only thing he could do? Trying to take the "curse and do something good with it?" Sam and Dean had that conversation in multiple episodes. And remember the conversation that Sam had with Chuck in which he said "I wish I could stop?" And the entirety of When the Levee Breaks? with Sam's fears and his younger self on one side and Mary on the other very clearly displaying the conflict he ws having. They did Dean a disservice by not giving him moments like these where he could reveal what a toll the mark was taking on him, the pain and the REGRET he was feeling. Even the scenes that were set up to do just that like the confessional scene in Paint it Black did not deliver, at least not for me.
disgruntled viewer
# disgruntled viewer 2015-09-27 14:03
I personally think, that DemonDean was a complete failure. Demon on vacation? OK, everybody remembered Lilith on vacation? In comparison, DemonDean looked preposterous. And we were supposed to believe, that it was a very high-ranking Demon, dangerous even to the King of Hell?
disgruntled viewer
# disgruntled viewer 2015-09-27 14:13
And it took only about ten minutes to show how Lilith R&R, and it was one of the most frightening things from the whole three seasons.
SueB
# SueB 2015-09-28 15:38
Alice-
Thanks for the review. I really can't disagree with your perspective. I liked the episode a little better but your criticisms all seem accurate to me.

One difference: I think Sam blames Crowley for Dean taking on the MoC. Indirectly, then, he blames Crowley for Dean's death and more directly for his demon status. Personally, I think killing Crowley is a mistake. You kill him, you leave a power-vacuum. Someone, likely worse than Crowley, is going to fill that. Better the devil you know....