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Dean and Sam, back in sync
The Hardy Boys are together again, fully in sync and comfortable. Thank you, Eric, thank you, Sera, thank you, Jeremy, thank you, Ben, thank you all the writers. 

As they faced off with Crowley they were comfortable in each other. Sam and Dean held equal ground with Crowley and it was Sam who coldly raised the Colt and pulled the trigger without a glance to Dean, without hesitation. It was a move we’ve seen Dean do before and it was one worthy of the new relationship the brothers have. They’re together in the plan.

Even better was the scene at Bobby’s as Dean and Sam strategize for their date with Lucifer. Dean clearly has been stepping up into the role of leader as he’s gathered data and background to ascertain Lucifer is in Carthage, MO. There’s a bit of a slip into big brother mode as he suggests that Sam remain behind but it’s quickly brushed aside by Sam who in essence reiterates what Dean said in The End and even farther back in Dead Man’s Blood --- “We’re stronger together.” It’s Sam who echoes Dean’s sentiment from No Rest for the Wicked when he says, “Haven’t we learned anything?” Good for you, Sam. You clearly have learned a thing or two. A testament to Dean’s acceptance of Sam’s stature as equal in this partnership is that he offers very little resistance other than a snarky comment that’s more for his own benefit to calm his nerves than it is to inflict harm.

Even their banter at the beginning of that scene as Dean teases Sam about finally doubting demons is back to the brotherly jabs and teasing from seasons’ past. There is no rancor there and Sam recognizes it as he thanks Dean (sarcastically) for his continued support while simultaneously raising his beer to clink the bottle with Dean. The brothers are all right. That alone is reason to keep a handle on hope.

Dean may have been knocked out during Sam’s verbal confrontation with Lucifer but I’m not concerned for a moment that there are any secrets about that time. Once Dean got a few aspirin in and the cobwebs out, I’m sure Sam filled him in on all that transpired. The brothers are sharing what’s going on and it shows by how together they are in what they do and say. No secrets are best. 
Behind the scenes
I give kudos to Phil Sgriccia for shooting the scene between Sam and Lucifer, after Dean is knocked out, in such a way as to maintain the continuity of Dean’s presence. Unlike On The Head of a Pin where there was no way to tell if Jensen was still on set (and he likely wasn’t) during Sam’s face off with Alistair, here there’s no doubt that Jensen, or perhaps a stand in was present. I like that for it keeps the flow of the surroundings strong. I don’t need for Jensen to be lying on the cold ground while the scene plays out but it maintains the overall feel by giving us those shots back down to Dean as Sam worries for his brother and faces off with Lucifer. Thanks, Phil.

The music was superb here. Again, I’m not the big classic rock fan so the choices for music mean very little to me other than I’m glad they were there. The original scores, however, really drew me in. The few notes on the piano, haunting and unsettling are a wonderful backdrop for Lucifer. Slow yet jarring set an overall disquieting feel. Then the fast-paced, somewhat evocative of a Moroccan/Indian sense in the hardware store as Sam and Dean gather the supplies and build the bombs with Ellen lent the urgency to the situation that was necessary. Another great job by the music folks.
Final thoughts
I really wasn’t surprised that the Colt couldn’t kill the devil. First of all because it’s only mid-season and if you kill Lucifer off now, what do you do for the last twelve episodes? Why I’m really not surprised is because we learned back in OTHOAP that the only thing that can kill an angel is another angel - and that really cool knife thingy that Uriel used - and apparently Cas got back from Anna. Plus, it’s really nice not to have Sam and Dean holding the weapon that can kill their big, bad, enemy right now, because like weapons on a bungee cord, we’d be wondering why they didn’t aim better.

Crowley was excellent. I really like the idea that similar to the angels, not everyone is on board with the big plan. It makes for the opportunity to see him again and that also puts him in the category of potential wild card, like Gabriel.

Bobby continues to amaze and the continuity from The Curious Case of Dean Winchester to Abandon All Hope is appreciated. From Dean telling Bobby that he needs him and can’t do it without him to Bobby telling Dean -"That’s why I’m here, boy." That’s right, Bobby, that is why you’re here. I wasn’t worried about Bobby dying in this episode because I’d read an interview Jim Beaver did a few weeks back where he stated that he’d gotten the call that he’d be in Episode 14.  Hey, that’s all he said so it’s not like I know anything about the plot of that episode, I’ve been pretty good at staying off the spoilery stuff this season.

Also, I like how Rachel Miner has improved on her playing of Meg from Sympathy for the Devil. She’s no Nicki, but no one is, she’s her own actress and I like her as Meg. There’s enough of the Meg I’ve come to know, perhaps not as nuanced as before but that also makes sense as time has passed and I would assume that demons change as do humans. Clearly Meg is under Lucifer’s charms and that in itself is interesting because I wonder will she continue to be a thorn in the Winchester’s sides or will she pull a Crowley as she learns that like the demons on the Carthage battlefield (appropriately adorned with cannons) that she is just … well, cannon fodder. More goodness for the second half of the season.

All in all, Abandon All Hope earns a Damn You, Kripke, from me - stated with all the fondness I do hold for the creator of the series. It’s a long wait for the back side of the season but I’m all right with that. Patience is a virtue and I’m game to practice some. In the meantime there’s Thanksgiving to prepare for, Christmas to ready for (and to be enjoyed), a puppy to continue in obedience class, and much, much more.

I’ll have some other comments that I’ll feed throughout upcoming articles on Bobby, Ellen and The Road So Far of Season 5 but I’ll be eagerly looking forward to your thoughts.

Thanks for reading, Elle2


# Jasminka 2009-11-23 03:00
Elle2, you amaze me – thank you for this personal, well-thought-ou t review! I can’t believe how much you summed up what I felt about this episode, how alike in thinking can two people actually be who are thousands of miles apart and don’t know each other except via a blog they contribute to? Amazed, really. Great work!!

I haven’t found this site earlier - to read about you losing your beloved dog (even though it feels as if I have been a part of this for years by now, thanks to the wonderfully warm welcome and the great exchange of opinions here – thanks again to you, Elle2, and all the other ‘commentators ’), I’m profoundly sorry to hear about it and happy for you that you found a new sweet friend.

I can imagine how this episode brought up the painful memories of that experience. In my head the moments I said goodbye to my mother a bit more than a year ago popped up, telling her again and again how much I loved her. We had had a tough relationship, in some nuances not unlike Sam and John, and ‘no prisoners’ was the motto in our fights, but we deeply loved each other. I also felt that those last moments served as an opportunity to forgive each other and to allow her to go into the greatest mystery at peace and with the knowledge of being loved.
This is the most important thing we can do – give the other one, be it a mother or a beloved dog, the security of being loved. I think there is nothing more essential to a human being than that.
That’s it, now I’m crying. Strange how some pain always resurfaces when you think about it, even though it’s basically under control most of the time. Well, this episode did that to me as well…

I’m looking forward to your articles, as you plan to touch on two of my favourite characters. I love Bobby (have I mentioned, that I love Bobby?) and will always miss Ellen. Bring her back to life, at least in one – no doubt – witty and moving article.

Thank you again for this, love Jas
# Dany 2009-11-23 10:58
Great review Elle2! You're right this one's is a Damn you Kripke! And like you I too won't abandon all hope (and yes it's hard after this epi and bc I end up in tears just by thinking of it, crazy I know!)

I liked Jo because I always thought she had potential, and that was well shown in this episode, I'm just sad that she had to die. If things were different I think this all grown up/adult Jo and Dean would have a chance on a deep love like you so well put it.
I'm gonna miss Ellen too, I loved her from day one and I think that like Bobby is a father figure, Ellen could've been a mother (maybe an aunt) figure to the boys.

I liked Crowley a lot, hope to see him again. And Meg I think she's gonna have a bad wake up call!

Lucifer and Sam! I'm starting to think that Lucifer (who is getting creepier as time passes) and the angels (Zach and the rest of the dicks with wings) keep repeating that Sam his going to say yes in Detroit in 6 moths it's just an attempt for Sam to loose his confidence (and hope) and start thinking that he can't change destiny (if you repeat or are repeated constantly the same thing over and over, you'll end up believing that's true) so in he end he will be so worn out that the smallest bad thing that'll happen will make him say yes (I'm making any sense here?), but that's just my opinion.

Anyway, I'm just enjoying the ride, so thanks for this review Elle2 and I'll be waiting for those other articles of yours.
# Randal 2009-11-23 12:11
A lot of great stuff in here, and we get teary-eyed watching, but when you (sub)consciousl y transfer real life pain, you get a better sense of what the characters are going through. I hope that didn't come across as trivializing what you went through. Like Jasminka, I found this site late. I can't imagine losing one of my cats, I'd be a freaking mess.

Alona looked older here - duh statement of the year, I know - and not that she was a bad actor before, and maybe it was the import of the episode, but everything in her performance was kicked up a notch. Samantha kicked ass as always.

Such a vital episode that'll surely reward upon repeated viewings. And you're right, the Lucifer/Sam music was beautifully dark.
# BagginsDVM 2009-11-23 13:31
Beautiful review! I too was reminded of final moments with a loved one as Ellen cradled Jo in her arms. I am a veterinarian and have found myself saying those words to 3 of my own dogs over the years and been there with many other people as they have said goodbye as well, even just this morning. It never gets any easier. There are tears in my eyes right now.

I always liked Ellen & Jo. After seeing Alona Tal at the Chicago con recently, I have even greater appreciation for her. Major kudos to her & Samantha Ferris for breaking my heart!

And Jasminka, what a wonderful story about the Polish gentleman. I am sure Jared would be honored to hear it.
# elle2 2009-11-23 18:31
Hi, Jas, Dany, Randal, and BagginsDVM,

Thanks for the comments.

FIrst off Randal (taking you out of order :-) You didn't trivialize my feelings at all, you put them into words. That's why this eppie hit so hard as I was able to 'feel' the emotions so much more intimately. I was lucky, I had my kitty Munchkin to help and now Jobe (who is 20 weeks today and just shy of 50 pounds with much, much, much growing left) is easing the pain greatly.

Now, to Jas, isn't it cool that so many of us have similar thoughts. I just read Bardicvoice's review of The Real Ghostbusters and she said a lot of things that I felt (although she says it so much better...I love her stuff) and I'm aften amazed that so many echo my thoughts -- or I echo theirs. Thanks for sharing your personal story, I know someone else here was torn up at last season's IKWYDLS because their mother had recently passed away and her name was Anna, so when Castiel said Anna has to die, well, you can imagine the pain it evoked.

Dany, you're right, I think Jo had a lot of potential and it really showed here -- and as Randal said, uh, yes she looked older but she also looked older from GGY to here, the apocalypse was maturing her quickly.

BagginsDVM, thanks for sharing your experiences as well. The vet and techs at my place were so lovely...course they loved RJ too and now just sparkle and dote over my new little 'man' (who just this evening 'learned' how to jump into the back of the car, heretofor he had been unable to do but now he's figured it out) They really eased the pain and I for one could not do what they do as I take on others' pain so quickly...proba bly why Ellen and Jo affected me so.

I'm so glad all are keeping the hope alive and sharing a Damn You, Kripke, but looking forward as well.

It's gonna be an awesome second half and Dany, I think you're onto something...Luc ifer keeps saying hoping to chip away at Sam's's hopeing Dean and Bobby are able to get through to him this time (I'm betting they will)
# elenaM 2009-11-23 18:38
Another great review--capture d everything beautifully for me. I loved how you discussed the score--it's always strong but I thought it was particularly awesome in this episode.
# Jasminka 2009-11-23 19:38
Thanks, Elle2, for your lovely response. It’s a part of the magic of movies or tv-shows that they are able to touch on our emotions, play with them, but also sometimes serve as a catalyst. I’m not a major weeper per se, and sometimes I’d like to cry to loosen up some kind of tension that comes up when confronted with personal issues or pains, but tears just won’t come. Watching an episode like this will get me all teary and piling up Kleenex boxes. Now, while it can be utterly painful, sometimes (luckily not always, or I’d indeed be a masochist… medication anyone?) I welcome it, too.
Yes, I can imagine the agony evoked by the episode you mention after such a loss. What I’ve experienced so far is - it does indeed get better with time, but never goes entirely. Even after years the pain will be there, and I firmly believe that it is a sign that we still love that person. Else, there would be no pain. There is still love, and thereby we never lose that person entirely. They are always with us. And that is a consoling thought.
My heart goes out to that other ‘motherless child’ you mentioned – I hope, you are better now!! :-)

BagginsDVM, I can imagine how cruel is must be to witness goodbyes on a pretty much daily basis. I don’t think one ever gets used to it.
I do hope to see Alona Tal at the L.A. Con, and I’m hoping for Samatha Ferris, what a great woman! You know, I’m still hoping I might have the chance to tell Jared about my Polish patient. He was such a lovely and sweet gentleman. Hoping, praying… oh, well…

Let’s all hope the triumvirate of Bobby, Dean and Sam will remain strong in the upcoming fights with Lucifer! Watch out angel, the humans are coming… (this doesn’t exactly sound as threatening as I wanted it to, does it..?) :-?
Best wishes to you all, Jas
# Randal 2009-11-24 10:50
Jasminka, it would be more threatening if they brought a Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch. 8-)
# Jasminka 2009-11-24 16:37
Hey Randal, provided they are capable of counting to three...?! :lol:
Perhaps they should consult the Book of Armaments... dona eis requiem...
Sweet! Jas