Go figure.  I relax and take it easy this weekend, then after spending an afternoon cursing at a keyboard, around dinnertime I proclaim with victory, "Eureka!  The review is done!"  I posted it for submission to blogcritics right away, feeling very proud over what fans are about to read.

Oh, but no, only two hours later, I get a message that blogcritics is getting ready to launch THIS EVENING their new total website redesign.  We have new submissions instructions, I have to update my profile, find a picture/icon, blah, blah, blah.  Needless to say, submissions are likely on hold.  Plus, being a person of the IT world for 17 years I know that website launches (or any application launch for that matter) never go smoothly.  So, the gist is, I have no freaking idea when this will get published there.  Sooooo, I'm breaking some rules, and posting it here first. 

If you notice, I have a new category just for reviews now.  Go ahead, read, share your thoughts, share with friends and check out the new poll at the margin that goes along with the latest episode.  Also check out elle2's review as well, for it's great.  Thanks everyone, and happy reading!
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I had to take a few days before doing the re-watch and attempting to write coherent thoughts on “Jump The Shark.” This season has been rather intense and each episode has left me with all sorts of emotions. Excited, scared, disturbed, laughing, and just plain dumbfounded. â€œJump The Shark” was different; it left me unsettled.  This very dark story took the Winchester brothers through one of their most dismal predicaments yet, ending on a bitter note. Eventually I figured out the episode’s main purpose; it’s some great prep for what’s to come in the final three episodes of the season. 
 
Not to say the episode wasn’t good. It was. Very good. Not the best, but far from the worst. It left me thinking at the end, which means mission accomplished. It showed what happens when the supposedly simple concept of revenge gets twisted into very tragic circumstances. It showed the scars that John Winchester left behind in his sons run very deep. It showed just how far Sam Winchester has spiraled. Finally, it showed that how far apart Dean and Sam have grown and made us wonder how they can possibly recover.     
 
Andrew Dabb and Daniel Loflin again have proven their worthy addition to the team, delivering a delightfully creepy tale and introducing a well overdone device in a believable way. Also, just like with Kim Manners, I can always tell when Phil Sgriccia is behind the camera. His distinct gift of building suspense and horror did wonders here, and for the first time since I was a child I’m worried about what’s under the bed. Way to poke that those hidden fears! 
 
Jump The Shark?
 
Okay, for the ten Internet readers or so that still have no idea what “Jump The Shark” means, it’s a term some clever dude came up a while ago with after pinpointing the moment when Happy Days stopped being worthwhile (was it ever?). It was when Fonzie strapped on water skis and jumped over some sharks. This reference has often been used in other shows as well, most noticeably in what I consider to be the older sibling for Supernatural, The X-Files. Their episode titled “Jump The Shark” came in season nine and was the infamous episode that killed off the Lone Gunmen, once and for all confirming that their spinoff show wasn’t coming back. The X-Files had long “jumped the shark” by then though, most noticeably when one of the two main stars LEFT THE SHOW. 
 
Supernatural is far from those shark infested waters, but that didn’t stop the creative minds from running with this theme, right down to the brothers meeting at Cousin Oliver’s diner.  So, does “Jump The Shark” carry a greater meaning other than the fact that they set off warning signs by introducing a third brother? Could this instead be the moment where the dramatic decline of the brothers’ relationship can be pinpointed?  Probably not. Just like with The X-Files, they’re screwing with us.   
 
Still, the further crumbling of Sam and Dean’s already fragile relationship was well emphasized here. Dean didn’t know who his brother was anymore. Okay, he does, but more on that in a minute. They both reacted to the idea of the new brother and John’s secret life in Minnesota very differently. Dean was angry, Sam accepted it. Eventually though, as this show often does, it twisted, and Sam’s acceptance turned to willingness to turn Adam toward the same terrible life he has, while Dean intended on protecting this kid, for it wasn’t too late. 
 
The monster of the week story that literally tore open wounds was a clever mystery that kept me guessing all the way until Dean’s big discovery in that creepy crypt. Dean did most of the harsh work on the case, frightening the bejesus out of claustrophobics everywhere, while Sam stayed behind with newly found baby brother to mentor and protect. Dean’s level headed maturity (minus the diva-ish storming out of the motel room) amidst his emotional turmoil over his dad’s secret life erased any doubts about his confidence that have surfaced over the past few episodes. As for Sam, the uncomfortable feeling over his painful torture didn’t let up at the end, hinting that the worse is yet to come for him.
 
Jealousy and The Winchester Family Curse
 
In their moments of disagreement, and there were a few, Sam and Dean accused each other of being jealous. Were they? Absolutely! Sam showed his jealously because if he had to give up his dream of a normal life, so did Adam. After all, he’s a Winchester. Dean was jealous because this kid got the life he never got, like going to a baseball game with Dad and having a stable life with Mom. Dean accepted his reality long ago, but that didn’t mean he had to like it. The opposing viewpoints pushed the brothers in totally different directions and it ended up blinding them both to the fact that this Adam was indeed evil. 
 
Was Sam right? Is the Winchester family cursed? Given the brutal death of the real Adam and his mother in the name of revenge by the ghouls, the case could certainly be supported. Ultimately though, their deaths were a consequence of John Winchester’s actions and not some freak course of nature. It was established long ago that John took a black and white approach to killing things. If something was evil in his mind, it must be killed. His perception of evil was jaded though, and as Dean realized in “Bloodlust”, what if they killed stuff that didn’t need killing? The ghouls even pointed out their father wasn’t evil, just surviving on things that were already dead because that was his nature. Did he deserve to die just because he was different?
 
Sam’s demon blood was a consequence of Mary Winchester’s fateful decision to bring John back. Dean and Sam’s troubles have only mounted since Dean sold his soul for Sam’s. John Winchester could have easily let Mary’s death go and walk away, but he didn’t. Sam started using his demon abilities because of his pain over Dean’s death and need for revenge. It just doesn’t stop. 
 
Their problems are complicated further by that desire for revenge. That was the catalyst in this story for turning evil, especially when the justification of “ridding the world of monsters” was used rather than dealing with the pain. It happened to the ghouls, it happened to John Winchester and it’s happened to Sam. 
 
I don’t see a Winchester curse happening here. The Winchesters have chosen to tempt fate, often out of that stubbornness and selfless devotion to one another. This family did what they believed was right, only to find later there were ramifications for their actions. It’s interesting that out of all the Winchesters, only Dean now recognizes how destructive this pattern has become. John remained oblivious to the very end, and Sam currently does as well. 
 
“I’ll take that as a compliment.”
 
Uh, Sam, not a compliment! Far from it. I’ve never felt more sorry for Dean, and I didn’t think that was possible after “Dream A Little Dream of Me” and “On The Head Of A Pin.” How much longer can he be patient with Sam? How many more chances can he give him before “family” stays enough of a reason? 
 
Dean’s disillusionment with John grew much farther, and seeing the worst of his dad now in his brother hit his daddy issues right at the core. Finding out about John’s secret life was hard for him, but at least he understood why Adam was kept a secret. To protect him. He’s less understanding of Sam’s desire to train Adam like a soldier and doom him to their life. The fact that Dean still saw hope for others close to them to have a better life while Sam didn’t, even using John’s exact words about giving up everything, showed how far apart they’ve grown.
 
Before the salt of burn of Adam’s body, Dean refused to entertain Sam’s suggestion they try to pull a favor with Castiel. â€œHe’s in a better place.” I wonder if Dean silently concluded that he should have done the same thing with Sam in Cold Oak. Let go. That maybe they’d both be much better off (then again if he did, this series would have stopped being interesting.) As hard as it was him to say goodbye to family, it’s something Dean has accepted as a reality now. Will letting go of Adam will make the decision easier if he does have to follow through on John’s warning and kill Sam?  (I know, bite my tongue). What will happen when he finds out about Sam’s demon blood doping?   I’m sure that idea that once seemed impossible now seems more real. 
 
Speaking of demon blood, Sam’s in quite a fix now, isn’t he? I found the visual of all that blood pouring out of Sam shocking. The fact that the camera kept going back, fixating on that gruesome scene, it really shook me. As painful as it was for Sam at the time, the emphasis likely delivered a message that this important for later. There must be consequences to him losing that much blood, the blood that “tastes different.”   
 
Sam was very interesting in this episode, because seeing how he’s slowly spiraled since Dean came to get him at Stanford, it gave us a glimpse as to what could have driven John to the same state. The love of his life tragically died, he hit the road with his closest of kin, and he slowly lost his humanity in his single-minded quest for revenge, taking on a life of secrecy and deception of those he loves. Its incredible Dean hasn’t taken that same path, and Dean now knows how lucky he is that he didn’t. Being like Dad is the worst thing that could happen to him. It’s also the worst thing that can happen to Sam too. What’s he going to do now that it has? 
 
It’s interesting how Sam’s behavior drove Dean to a rage in “Metamorphosis” and really hurt him after the fight in “Sex and Violence,” but it took his realization that Sam is exactly like their dad to unnerve him regarding his brother. That’s just sad. I guess his unease makes sense, considering Dean knew John was possessed by the yellow-eyed demon in “Devil’s Trap” after John gave him a pat on the back, but that doesn’t make it any less sad. Where they go from here just doesn’t look pretty. 
 
Miscellaneous
 
Any opening “Then” segment that shows Sam and John fighting wins with me. Dean and Sam too.
 
Continuity! Rock paper scissors. Sam still won! Oh Dean, will you ever learn? Also, the bad photoshopped pictures. A nice throw back to “What is and What Should Never Be.”
 
The small tribute to Kim Manners was wonderful! Kim Manor. â€œJoin us for Happy Hour in the Sonny Buono Lounge.” Somewhere there was an inside joke and I’m certain it involved that cheesy mustache. 
 
I loved the return of the motel room of outrageous natural scenery. Another great throwback to “A Very Supernatural Christmas.” Seeing Sam and Adam talk to the giant wall mural of a Minnesota river landscape was so absurd it was hilarious. I love it when the set designers are allowed to go wild. Literally!  
 
“Tell me Agent Nugent, have you thought about where you’d like to spend eternity?”  The caretaker asks. â€œAll the damned time,” Dean replies. Oh, that’s too good.    
 
Sam was spotted brushing his teeth, one episode after Sam was seen doing laundry. I like this idea of showing them do ordinary things in between these horrifying hunts. It kind of brings them down to earth, makes them seem more common. Then again, it’s probably TPTB having fun with us again.
 
Dean rescues himself from the crypt by breaking through a stained glass skylight of cherubs? The symbolism! Angels are watching over him. They just won’t leave him alone.       
 
My overall grade is an A-. The only thing that made it lesser than the other outstanding episodes we’ve gotten this season is the slower pacing, but that was needed here. Something tells me the last three episodes of the season are going to make us dizzy. 
 

Comments  

Lisa Ann
# Lisa Ann 2009-04-27 23:03
Nice Review! This episode was a killer. I do not know how Dean is going to reach Sam, but he got to do something quick. I have a feeling that if Sam goes and do whatever he has to do to kill Lillith and stop the breaking of the seals, then a lot of people are going to get hurt. It pains me to say that about Sam. Sigh.

I blame all of this on Ruby! lol!
vana naine
# vana naine 2009-04-28 02:00
I like the road Sam is walking. It will bring us lot's and lot's of delicious pain very soon. (There can never be too much angst!)

:mrgreen:
Suze
# Suze 2009-04-28 06:02
Oh yeah, bring on the anguish :lol:

I thought that Dean's Sloppy Joe crack ( refering to bloke last seen spread two inches deep over the crypt floor ) was an all new level of tasteless ... Lovely!
Elle
# Elle 2009-04-28 10:33
Great review, Alice!
I really enjoyed this episode, despite the fact that it twisted me all up emotionally. I was concerned by the idea of a third brother, but it was so well done. Poor Dean - I don't know how much more the guy can take. But I like that we see more of old Dean - he's less depressed acting, even if he is becoming resigned about Sam.
Speaking of, it should be curious to see how the Demon-Bloodahol ic goes through withdrawal.
I can't believe there are only 3 episodes left!
Teller
# Teller 2009-04-29 00:13
These last episodes are going to be brutal. There is a huge bro-fight coming down the pipe and (I can't believe I'm saying this) I'm looking forward to it. Jensen and Jared are great when Sam and Dean are getting along but their chemistry just sparks and ignites when the brothers argue. When other actors act fight it just seems flat to me, but with Sam/Jared and Dean/Jensen you can feel the depth of the relationship and so the arguments feel real and oh so painful. I like when the brothers get along but it's a beautiful catharsis when they fight. Oh Show, there's nothing more compelling on television.
karen
# karen 2009-04-30 10:59
I just got into the show this season, and am completely freaked out by what I know has to be coming. What is killing me about this is the lack of hope in these two characters. Sam has completely lost his mind, and Dean knows that his brother is most likely doomed. The actors are killing it right now, especially Padalecki who has pretty much blown me away the entire second half of the season. Watching his downward spiral has been compelling and heartbreaking. And then when you throw Jensen's usual brilliance on top it is no wonder that this show has finally started to get some of the respect it deserves.