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Definitely the best episode so far.

Final Score:

I do want to give a shoutout to my regular readers who called the Dean reveal and have been theorizing him as the source of John's letter for quite awhile now. If I recall correctly, AlyCat22 and Marion, take a justified victory lap and pick up that phone - because you called it!

(Apologies to any other reader who called it and I forgot - be sure to enjoy that victory lap with them.)

Part of the question also is the ultimate fate of whichever Trickster this was. Who was he and why did he take such an interest in our scooby gang? Certainly his closing rant at Carlos there at the end sounded a bit like Gabriel telling our boys to "play their role." Is it Gabriel who brought back Dean to the past here and made some kind of wager with him? Hard to parse that motivation there - it would make just as much sense for this to take place between episodes 15.19 and 15.20. Imagine the Akrida are causing problems so nuGuy-in-charge Jack sends Dean to the past to try and stop them. There's not really a great spot to try and fit this peg into the canon of the original.

Which reminds me of one more follow up: I also rank continuity issues based upon severity. If you mess up a character's birthday, for me that's no big deal. Dean can sometimes eat cake, that's fine. It's when things are major, critical points to a plot that they become a big problem. There's an infamous moment in S8 where Sam reveals a memory of a going to the Grand Canyon with Dean, even though way back in an earlier season Dean complained that in all his travels, he never got to go to the Grand Canyon. Annoying? Sure, but the hiccup was never necessary for the story. You could go into either episode, snip out one of the offending lines or redub it and everything about the scenes and episodes would still play out. The biggest problems are always when two things are mutually exclusive and BOTH of them are necessary for a major story or plot or arc. Like the reveal about Loki during Dabb's tenure. 

This is what I always want to stress to writers. You can play around at the margins. Little mistakes are easily forgiven. But break something foundational or load-bearing to your plot, and you'll never get the investment from the audience that you are hoping for. The reveal of Richard Speight Jr. in this episode was a huge moment for the audience because continuity had established him as a specific character which the audience had a lot of fondness for. 

Thanks as always for the screencaps, courtesy of Raloria@livejournal.
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