Saturday, 25 January 2014

Review - Supernatural 9.11 "First Born"

Why, Dean... Why!

Hold me!

I can’t remember being so frightened by the ending of an episode, as I was this week. I mean I probably have been. There have been some terrifying moments after all. I’ve more than likely blocked them out through emotional distress! But sweet lord of the rings…WHAT THE HELL IS GOING TO HAPPEN!

But I’m jumping ahead of myself…


I think “First Born” may be my favourite episode of the season. I say, “I think”, because every time we get a new episode I go, “Oh yeah, new favourite!” The season is just that good. Not one dog. Not even the one where Dean became a dog! Which happens to be one of my favourite episodes of the season…along with the other 10.

Robbie Thompson wrote another gorgeous script, full of pathos and humour and way more kickass than we’re used to from him. He’s officially taken over as my favourite writer on the show from the no longer with us, great and powerful Edlund (damn you Kripke *shakes fist*). He can write humour and he can write angsty angst angst. And he gets the brothers. He wrote an episode where the brothers were apart; totally, with no contact at all, and yet, they were ever present in each other’s minds and almost a shadow in the scenes. You could feel Dean in Sam’s scenes and visa versa. Just as Robbie managed to get the brothers to connect across decades in “Time After Time”, he managed to keep the brothers mentally connected even when they were trying not to be. Demonstrating clearly their love for each other, even when they were fighting against it. Well done, Robbie.

On a side note, this is only the second episode in the series where Sam and Dean have spent a whole episode apart without even a phone conversation. The last time was “Free To Be You And Me” which was the aftermath of Sam saying he was too dangerous to be around and Dean saying I’m not going to stop you. Familiar much? Oh these brothers, if one does something, they both have to. Can anyone say Hell, Purgatory, trying for a ‘normal’ non-hunter life, dying (again and again). These Winchesters and their shared experiences. Bless their damaged, brodependent hearts.

I also have to mention that “First Born” was directed by John Badham. Now, we get our fair share of über talented people working on Supernatural, both in front of and behind the camera…but John Badham! This is the guy who directed such classic movies as Saturday Night Fever, War Games (as quoted in Robbie’s “The Girl With The Dungeons and Dragons Tattoo” and “Pac-Man Fever”. Robbie must have been wrapped) and a favourite ‘80’s movie of mine, Short Circuit. He’s directed stars like, Kevin Costner, Johnny Depp, Mel Gibson, Michael J. Fox. He was one of the most prolific and successful movie directors of the 80’s and 90’s. He then went on to direct a stack of television and now he’s added Supernatural to his belt. I mean, WOW. I bet everyone was so excited to work with him.

“First Born” was split into 2 concurrent, parallel stories, with a mash up of partnerships. Sam was with Castiel, while Dean was with Crowley. It’s like the brother’s have switched up their rolls. Sam with the angel, Dean with the demon. Where is this going? *tiny voice* nowhere good.

With Dean parts unknown, Sam headed back to the bunker with Castiel, to recover from the aftermath of the trials and the Gadreel fiasco. I was beyond excited that Sam went…HOME. I was beyond, beyond excited that it actually looked like he was going to stay there! In the past, Sam has been the one to split. So often, it’s felt like he’s had one foot out the door. Whether through anger or through need, he’s often spoken of leaving the hunter life, or has walked away from Dean. He's vacillated between wanting to hunt and accepting the life and not. I’ll be honest and say I’ve found this frustrating and sometimes infuriating…mainly because I like my Winchesters as a set! But this time around, I find Sam’s willingness to continue and fight, in the place that Dean and he live, a nice bit of character growth…of course, there were things going on that also made me yell his name at the TV…but hey, Supernatural makes me yell plenty of names at the TV and quite often, expletives!

Sam and Castiel together (no, not together together), is something I’ve wanted to see for a long time and I know I’m not alone on that one. I’ve always felt that they’d have a hell of a lot in common. They have both made very dubious decisions with good intent, which have well and truly blown up in their faces. On that level alone they should connect. Cas, over the years, has been resistant because of Sam’s demon blood ties. But Cas, through his own experiences, has changed and this episode had a lovely exploration of this.

Thank goodness for PB&J (in more ways than one, though I prefer honey).

Thank goodness for Castiel’s lingering humanity.

Sam, Sam, Sam. The tragedy of Sam always feeling like he needs to atone is never, ever not going to be heartbreaking. He’s tried over the years to put it all behind him and sometimes, for a brief shining moment, it seems like he has…but here we are, back onboard the guilt train with a full set of baggage. It makes me so sad for him. Obviously Sam’s going to be deeply disturbed by what happened when he was possessed by Gadreel. All those horrible images, the most horrible of which being the death of Kevin, are burnt onto the back of his eyeballs. When Sam pleaded to Cas, ”Please help me do the right thing”, I may have groaned for him... So sad. He’s always done the right thing, or at least tried to. I wish like crazy he could see that.

Sam is a stubborn S.O.B. Both the Winchesters are, but I’ve always felt like Sam can make stubborn an art form when motivated. Both these brothers are so full of self-hate and self-doubt. Why can they not see how freakin’ awesome they are! I want to cuff them both around the ear.


Like I said before, thank goodness for human Cas. The scene where Cas was trying to extract the Grace from Sam was as painful for us to watch as it was for Sam to have it done to him (and I was so disturbed I couldn’t even enjoy Sam all sprawled out, long bodied with a v-neck t-shirt on). Cas was obviously in as much distress as we were. He was right, why do the Winchesters always chase death? They run at it headlong. I know that Sam feels like crap right about now and yes, he feels his life isn’t worth more than anyone else’s (with all the lives he saves, I think I may disagree a bit, but then I’m bias), but why must he always want to die.

I admit this is where I started yelling Sam’s name (and maybe the odd expletive) at the TV because, hey I’m just going to say it, I was upset that he was lying there going, yep, take the Grace, if it kills me so be it, I deserve it, yes yes yes. All I could think of was, you do not deserve it, no Sam you don't! But also... HEY wait a minute here, Sammy, your bro who loves you more than anything is out there, somewhere, parts unknown and you’re just going to up and die without even speaking to him, without even saying goodbye. You’re going to leave him…when you know he feels like the biggest piece of crap on the face of the earth right now…you’re going to check out. Please don't do that to him or you! I’ll admit it, I was a bit mad.

Look, I understand Sam’s in terrible pain as well, I feel for him so much, but whatever happened to “I’m not going to leave my brother alone out there”. Dean is about as alone as he’s ever been right about now and Sam was willing to die in that moment. If that happened, Dean would simple break. If he found out that Sam had sacrificed himself because of the guilt he still feels over everything, but more profoundly, the guilt he feels over the actions of his body whilst possessed…something his brother is responsible for. OH MY GOD. I couldn’t even. The whole thing haunted me for days. Those boys.

I saw Sam wanting to die, or at least, accepting of death in this moment as a very different thing to the conversation Sam had with THE Death. This was all about guilt and hurt and most likely anger and not in any way about being in a good place and ready to move on. Sammy, you don’t have to be happy with what your brother did, you have every right in the world to be angry. But… Oh man, leaving him like that. It made my stomach tie into knots. (Don’t worry; I still love you Sam…always will).

I know I’m probably pissing off some of my readers, but I’m being honest in how I felt in the moment. I was mad at Sam even considering leaving his brother out in the cold, alone, unknowing, and completely unaware that his brother is gone with everything unresolved. I just kept thinking…could you imagine the moment Dean found out? It hurt so much to see Sam even considering it. It hurt so much for both for Sam and for Dean.

Thank goodness for PB&J and thank goodness Sam is a thoughtful man who, even when you’re not sure he’s taking something in, does and then thinks it through. It’s one of my favourite things about Sam. How thoughtful he is and how level headed he can be. He got there in the end thank goodness, with a little help from Castiel, someone who now understands Sam because of his own experiences as a human. It was Cas’ empathy and gentle words that got Sam to see that there were other choices. I’m so glad Cas still has the remnants of his humanity. Praise be to Chuck!

And then they hugged and it was funny and it was awkward and I really liked it. I like this Cas. I like angel Cas, but angel Cas who seems to have learnt something. Like he said, if an angel can change, maybe a Winchester can. Maybe a Winchester can even learn something.

But stubbornness is always going to be a primary Winchester personality trait. Cas tried several times to get Sam to reach out to Dean. He told him they chose each other, he told him they’re going to need all the help they could get, he was trying all the angles…but, yeah…Winchesters, man. You could see Sam was processing it, thinking about Dean, at one point he looked like he was even hesitating, but he came back to Dean’s the one who left (ack Sam…not like you’ve never done the same thing). He’ll get there. I have a lot of faith in Sam. I’m hoping he lives up to my belief in him. I’m sure he will.

So gloriously wilful Winchester number 1… Now onto gloriously wilful Winchester number 2!

Meanwhile, somewhere in a bar in America, Dean Winchester LOOKS HOT.

OMG, let’s get this out of the way shall we. Dean is a little more shaggy than usual. I’m in love with his ranga beard (that’s a ginger beard in Aussie lingo). I loved him openly checking out the waitress. Hot damn. Dark Dean is smokin’!

Okay…I just had to get that out of my system.

I’ve been frightened for Dean before. Hell, Purgatory…but I’ve always felt like I had a fair idea what we were getting ourselves into. Not this time. I’m scared shitless.

Crowley and Dean. I knew they’d be an awesome duo. Crowley is just as smart mouthed as Dean and also a cheeky flirty, which both annoys Dean and throws him for a loop!

There was so much wonderful stuff in the Crowley and Dean scenes. I loved the talk about John and that the search for the first blade tied to the boy’s father. I always get excited when John’s Journal makes a showing and I loved getting to see another storage unit. I adore that these throwbacks to the original mythology of the show still happen. That the boys still know John’s codes, that they have storage units all over the country with John’s stuff (and some of theirs) in them. They should probably bring some of those files and artefacts into the MoL bunker actually…good home for John’s collection…also save some money on storage rental!

John’s old hunter companion/other kind of companion, Tara was wonderful. A ballsy female character who knew what was what. I’m always a little overjoyed when someone says something about how pretty Dean is. Not that I think he should be only judged on his looks, but because he’s so damn pretty I find it hard to believe everyone doesn’t start their sentences with OMG YOUR FACE! Okay, that’d probably be weird and a tad rude! But really, he is pretty; let’s not pretend he’s just an average looking guy! So I loved that Tara said he’d grown up pretty and that he was handsome like John (John was very handsome), okay she also said he was as dumb as John…probably true too. I’m bummed that Tara was a one-episode wonder, because I love the idea of other hunters being out there and Tara was really kind of cool. Pretty sure she was hitting on Dean…who the hell can blame her.

Then we got to meet Cain and how magnificent was he? Timothy Omundson was fabulous (so was his beard). Glad he didn’t die…well, I guess he can’t. Glad it sounds like he’ll be back, even if it’s just for Dean to kill him. Maybe he can be helpful in the battle against Abaddon; he does have a bone to pick with her…and a jaw bone blade to stab her with! He was so much more than he could have been, with his tragic love story and trying to retire and live a quiet life tending bees. Like so many characters in Supernatural, he had a sad story of loss involving family, love and sacrifice.

Cain and Dean standing toe to toe was a sight to behold. And Dean fighting. Wowsers and hubba! You sometimes forget how totally bad-assed Dean Winchester is. That battle royale between Dean and the demons as Cain watched on and shucked corn was a tour de force. Then to hear that it was Jensen in every shot! Well, it made the whole thing even more deliciously awesome. It was so beautifully staged and choreographed in such a small space. Kudos to all involved in putting that together. I wonder how long Jensen had to rehearse that scene? That might have to be a question for Vegascon! (I have about 5 now!)

I thought the twist on the Cain and Abel story was marvellous. Cain saved his brother’s eternal soul and sacrificed his own in the process. Gosh, who the hell does that sound like?

We’ve known for a long time that the brother’s linage goes back to Cain and Abel. Now looking at the change up in mythology, the ties seem even closer. Of course, Dean has already sold his soul once to resurrect Sam. But Dean has also, on more than one occasion, grappled with the possibility that he may one day have to kill his brother to save him. Whether it was because Sam was one of the YED’s chosen children and might go dark side, or because Sam had no soul and consequently no concept of right or wrong, or because an angel had taken over Sam’s body, Dean has faced this possibility again and again and always found a way to save Sam that involved Sam continuing to live.

And Dean would never kill Sam right? Right… Though… I was thinking. After everything that happened with Gadreel and how Dean’s love filled good intentions went south. How Dean blames himself for all the deaths, including Kevin’s that have happened since he convinced Sam not to close the gates of Hell. How Sam’s so angry with Dean for once again making choices on his behalf. In Dean’s current emotional state, if he was once again faced with this kind of choice… that the brothers could save the world, but Sam would have to be sacrificed and that Sam was cool with it… Obviously never going to happen (unless that is some coda the show is working towards in which case I will hunt each and every one of them down!) But all of this trauma and how destroyed and devastated Dean currently is, made me a little twitchy when I realised that the whole Cain mythology was coming into play for Dean. I know that Dean would never kill Sam under normal circumstances, but with Sam a little hell bent on dying anyway…if they were faced with another save the world kind of situation, if Sam was cool with taking one for team humanity and with the backlash of stopping the trials still very much on their minds… ACK. I’ma just gonna shut the hell up. I just made my stomach hurt.

Bottom line, the brothers will not kill each other. There. I’ve decided. (Of course they won't).

When Dean took on the Mark of Cain I was screaming at my TV “ASK WHAT THE BURDEN IS!” Oh my gosh. What the hell! Dean cares so little about himself, even more so right now, he couldn’t give a damn enough to even ask what the burden Cain spoke of was. In fact he probably thinks he deserves that damn burden. Dean Winchester, you break my heart into a thousand tiny pieces.

What will it mean? *tiny voice: help* There are so many different interpretations of what the Mark of Cain means. From the curse of immortality, to having people steer clear of you for fear of retribution sevenfold, to wandering the earth alone for eternity as a nomad estranged forever from family, to not being able to grow crops…um…that one probably isn’t relevant! Some passages talk about ties to Purgatory. Of course there are ties to Lucifer and Hell. With Gadreel in the picture who also has ties to Lucifer, is that something that might be relevant?


I do not know but I’m so very, very, very, very, very to infinity and beyond, scared for him.

The final scene of the episode with Dean alone looking at the Mark on his arm… So tragic. My poor baby. That boy can devastate your heart. He needs his brother STAT! Sam is going to freak the hell out when he finds out what Dean has done! Not that Dean will tell him, OF COURSE NOT! Bet it’s Crowley that spills the beans! Oh Crowley.

One thing that I’ve found super interesting about this season is how a lot of the characters are reflecting the brothers back at them. It seems to be a theme. Remember Jody telling Sam that he and Dean have something special, something that most people search for. In “First Born” we had Castiel telling Sam that Sam and Dean chose each other, commenting on how the brother’s always seek out death and how he understands Sam and his guilt because like Sam, he’s tried to do the right thing and failed. We had Crowley actually telling Dean he was worthy (aww, Crowley you softy) and that no one hates Dean as much as Dean hates Dean…and Crowley knows this, because he’s tried. Both Crowley and Cas were encouraging the brothers to contact each other (call your brother, moron!), if for no other reason than they’re going to need all the help they can get (and as we know, they’re stronger together, we also know there was another reason). Crowley also said, “It’s always something with you boys.” Amen Crowley! Wait. Is that appropriate? There has been so much insightful dialogue coming from the outside. I love it! Because the Winchesters are so close to everything that goes on between them that they can’t see the forest for the trees. I have this sneaking suspicion Garth will be continuing this trend next week! He’s never shy!

But while both brothers rejected contacting the other (stubborn bastards) both were very much in each other’s thoughts. That you could see. It was the episode you have when they’re not together, but are very much together, in their hearts and minds and emotions.

“First Born” was a magnificent hour of television for a show that seems to be hitting extraordinary week in week out…and in it’s 9th season! Inconceivable! Every single character was portrayed wonderfully, both through the writing and the performances. Castiel and Crowley’s parallel is fascinating as they both continue to operate with lessons of their recent brush with humanity still resonating in their interactions. Tara was great, Cain was simply a revelation and Sam and Dean…well they were infuriating and heart wrenching and beautiful and all the things I love and oh my gosh…please, please realise how much you need each other.

Dean is in such a bad place, probably the worst we’ve ever seen him. How far will he go and how far down will the Mark of Cain take him? Right now, I only see one way Dean can be saved from himself and what is about to befall him…Sam. Like Colette’s love saved Cain from who he became, Sam Winchester’s love can save his brother.

It’s time for Sam to save Dean. It’s all I can see. It’s all I want. I want this more than I can express (though I’ve managed to express close to 4000 words!)

Hey Sammy… your brother needs you.

As much as this whole storyline is super scary from every angle, it’s also super exciting! I feel like the show just notched it up to eleven! This mythology feels like something that can carry us into season 10 (and dare I say, beyond).

Terrifying and yet epically awesome…just how Supernatural should be.



  1. i love how when sam wants to die, it's because he's selfish, but when dean wants too it's because he's so selfless.

    1. Anonymous, huh? Typical!!! Just coz she's sweet on Dean, doesn't me she does'nt love Sam, too. Get a life.

  2. Actually, I never said Sam was selfish and I don't think that. I see so much pain in Sam. But in that moment, I was horrified he'd check out without repairing anything with his brother. His pain is so intense, I can understand it...but it upset me like crazy.

    And Dean is fighting not wanting to die - but he's doing it without regard for himself. Or his brother either.

    I don't know who the fuck you are because you're too cowardly to sign your name to your comment. But Sam and Dean wars are not welcome on this blog. Both brothers are loved here. I'm leaving your comment as a shining example of exactly the people I hope never visit here agan.

    Next time...I will delete you.

  3. Such an awesome episode!!! I always love it when Crowley decides to be helpful. He and Dean make a pretty good team, apart from the whole sitting back, watching the whole 'Dean get pounded by multiple demons' thing. As for Sam and Cas? Always knew that would be amazing!

  4. Of course i'm not going to put my name on the internet;-). LIsten, i'm sorry if that I hurt your feelings-I just have a difference of opinion and sarcasm doesn't always work on the internet. I should say that I did enjoy your review though-i just disagree with some of it.

    1. I dislike any comparing of brothers. I believe it is a show about two of them and though I might connect particuarly to Dean it doesn't mean I don't empathise with Sam and I always ensure I'm balanced in my approach to the brothers because that's how I feel. I left a site because of Sam v Dean bullshit and I just will not and can not tolerate it. Yep, sarcasm doesn't work so much. Glad you like the review.

    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

    3. And this is exactly why I like your reviews they are never one brother centric. I've been following you on WFB and continued here when you stepped down.

    4. Thanks for tracking me down! :)

  5. I so enjoy reading your reviews. You always articulate what I'm thinking, and I've never once gotten the feeling that you were anti-Sam. Ever! It's clear as glass that this is a pro-bro pro-show blog and I for one (and many others I'm sure) LOVE it! Yours is one of the very first blogs I found after getting sucked into this Show and it's GREAT! So please, keep on doing what you do and to hell with the haters.

    Anyway…onward -

    Here's what I think about Sam: He's so angry right now, with Dean, with himself, with the whole damn world, that he doesn't know what to think. He's veering back and forth, understandably, between yes, I'm going to stay and keep fighting, to no, I can't take it anymore. He's been beaten down and beaten down that it's no wonder he's so mixed up right now. He stopped the trials to not die, only to be faced with dying anyway. He faced Death with one request, that no one else get hurt because of him. Everything he went through to get to Sacrifice, the third trial was for what? He can blame Dean for stopping the last trial, but I bet he blames himself more. He's got to climb out of that pit and he doesn't have Dean there to help him.

    Thank Chuck for Cas. When he told Sam, 'nothing is worth losing you', it shocked Sam into rethinking everything, because it came from someone other than Dean telling him that he is so valuable to them, that they don't want to let him go. This was an incredibly important message for him to hear, process and hopefully believe. Having Cas reach into that darkness and let him know he wasn't alone in feeling like he'd screwed everything up might be the single most important thing Cas has ever done. The wheels were visibly turning in that moment as he sat on the medic bed, thinking it over. And when Sam told Cas, you're right about everything, I cheered - okay it was more a breathless YES! That one statement gives me hope that he'll come through this terrible ordeal, and understand his brother's actions. Dean saved his life, and at a terrible cost, but the end result is that Sam is alive and able to be pissed off at his brother. I hope and I think that he'll come to a place where he can forgive him.

    And Dean needs to be forgiven. He's equally beaten down and broken. He knows full well what a terrible mistake he made, except at the same time, he saved Sam's life. Letting the angel in was an act of desperation, and when Dean gets desperate, especially where Sam is involved, he doesn't think things through. That full steam ahead, damn the torpedoes, charging in, guns blazing mentality is part of who he has always been. He's always counted on being able to work it out. We'll figure it out, he frequently says. We'll kick it in the ass like we always do. This time, the cost is so high that he has to be questioning the way he has always operated, except of course, he's still operating that way. He's not being given the time to stop and reflect before the next battle comes barreling at him. He's in a weakened mental state and immediately, he ends up in front of Cain! The First Knight of Hell! Holy crap!

    I know there's a lot of Crowley is awesome right now, but he's also a master manipulator, and he manipulated Dean right into taking the mark of Cain. He set Dean up and knew he would take that mark and the burden on, because that's what Dean does. Ack!

    The mark of Cain is freaking me the hell right out, especially after looking up a few biblical references to the thing and IT IS NOT GOOD.

    I think you are absolutely right in thinking that this time the only thing that is going to save Dean is Sam.

    Bottom line: I'm petrified. Damn Show.

  6. As always, a fantastic capture of another splendid episode! Thank you for being able to succinctly put into words the emotions episodes such as this wrangle out of so many of us! For a day, it seemed the only real response to First Born I had was just bleating nonsensical phrases like, "Dean... but what? Wha! OMG! He didn't even think... Sam! Gah! But but but...AHHHH"

    What a fabulous episode in every way even though it's caused me to lay awake at night so very worried about the boys! I always have a really hard time waiting for the next week's episode but with my heart in such emotional upheaval, I'm about to go spare unless next Tuesday hurries up! (Great job Show - you've made me even more impatient and nutty than normal! Gah!)

  7. What a great review (again), thank you Sweetondean! And Jensen's performance was just amazing. Of course, he's always great, but this week he exceeded expectations. One almost feels what it's like to be in the bad place, out in the cold, alone. Dean's pain - we really feel it. And Sam's so far away emotionally, so worn out, poor boy. I shudder at the thought that he really chose that one way road. Is this even a choice for such a big hero!
    Btw, sorry, but I'm also anon - can't sort it out how to put the comment properly.

  8. You put my greatest fear after watching this episodes into words. I thought me and maybe a couple of my friends were the only ones that thought this way. And I felt sad even thinking that after 9 seasons, and after knowing Sam and Dean so well, it crossed my mind.
    I thought this can end two ways...Dean killing Sam or Sam killing Dean if they had to mirror Cain's story.
    I know that the other brother will kill himself later if either of it happens...but it can still happen (Mentally wishing someone contradicts it)
    If someone had told this to me after this weeks episode I would have laughed it off saying "Don't think we are watching the same show buddy" but now like you my stomach turns at the possibility of it happening.
    "I was mad at Sam even considering leaving his brother out in the cold, alone, unknowing, and completely unaware that his brother is gone with everything unresolved. I just kept thinking…could you imagine the moment Dean found out? It hurt so much to see Sam even considering it. It hurt so much for both for Sam and for Dean."
    I even made up a fanfic in my head about this happening.

    1. Can you please ask if there's a possibility of it happening at Vegascon if feasible.?

    2. To be honest, I don't think it will be happen. I think it's more likely that faced with it, they will choose not to allow that to happen. If that comes up at Vegascon, I shall let you know! Jensen is really good at not spoiling though! He's super carefule!

    3. Samantha, now I want to write that fanfiction!

    4. Yes please do Amy :)
      and do let us know if there is even a hint that they might go that path...Big decisions would have to be made by me then !

  9. I'm so glad I'm not alone in my terror for Dean. I think he's in a VERY bad place. And frankly I think BOTH Winchesters ran straight at Death this week. Cas saved Sam but Crowley actually saved Dean. Dean needed a mission to get away from this dark spot he was in. Not that I LIKE this mission (wear the Mark, kill the Queen). But Dean thinks this is a one-way mission that is just a pit-stop on his way to hell. I knew we were in trouble when he declared he was going to "burn" for Kevin. Anyway, Dean was getting sloppy in that bar and although he may have taken out the demon who was tracking him, that demon had buddies on speed-dial. So Crowley stopped him from getting killed stupid. Of course Crowley then leads him DIRECTLY to taking on something even WORSE. It may not kill Dean (it may be immortality) but it is nothing good.

    And if Dean doesn't tell Sam (which I fully expect he won't but I hope to be surprised), then I think Cas will spot it right away. So, whomever (Cas or Crowley) is with the boys first is the bean-spiller I expect. Again, I really hope Dean just flat out admits what he's done.

    Thank you also for all your Sam insights. I completely agree with you regarding how Sam processes information. I hope he can pull back from his dark thought completely. And yes, I want him to save Dean. Sam NEEDS that and Dean needs to know that Sam believes Dean should be saved.

    I love these brothers way too much.

  10. I always loved reading your reviews on that "other site". I was so sad when you left, but completely understood. I already had your youtube account, and I found twitter and that lead me here and tumblr. :) I was very excited because I love reading your reviews and this is from a "sam girl". Actually I consider myself a Winchester girl, because like you I love both of these boys. Now on to the review...

    I cried while reading this. I did, like big fat tears, even more than when I watched the episode.

    Because you are right! Sam choosing to risk death and his brother gone.... and hurting... I hadn't even thought of that. But, good Chuck, Dean coming back to that, or Cas calling him to tell him what had happened. Dean would break. :(

    And the fact that this didn't even cross Sam's mind just shows us how far gone he was. All he could think about was what had happened while Gadreel possessed him. I believe that the death of Kevin has hit him hard. He thinks himself responsible. (Always blaming himself for everything!! Just like his brother) All he could focus on were the - what if's- What if I had finished the trials? What if I had known about Gadreel? What if I could've saved Kevin? He just couldn't see past that. His sole purpose became- "I have to make this right." And right to him, was finding Gadreel. But then an angel with a little humanity, lead him back to himself. An angel... remember way back when, Sam wanted Castiel's approval. He believed in the goodness of angels, but Castiel wouldn't give it because of the demon blood? He just got that approval. Sob!! I think that's why Sam really listened. He needed that approval, that understanding.

    I loved Castiel more than ever ( and I already had big love for him) during this episode. His interactions with Sam, how concerned he was. I too yelled at the screen, but I was yelling, "JUST SAY NO, CASTIEL. DON'T DO IT!" He listened.. ;)

    Talk about screaming at the screen. While you yelled, "ASK WHAT THE BURDEN IS!" I yelled, "ALWAYS KNOW THE CONSEQUENCES! DAMN IT, DEAN!" :) Then I proceeded to get really upset at his lack of self-care. Because he doesn't even care what the consequences are, he doesn't even think, just goes with his base emotions and jumps right in. Just like he did when making the deal to save Sam and sending himself to hell. He's just so.... Dean. ugh!

    The only thing that calmed me down was watching the hug... because it made me remember what always saves the Winchesters... friendship and love. I felt a little bit better. Until seeing Dean, alone, holding his arm. :(

    I am scared, too. I want these boys to suck it up and talk. (yeah, right) Dean's situation right now is so similar to Sam's in Season 5... Sam drank demon blood to kill Lilith. Dean took Lucifer's mark to kill Abbadon. Sam's decision had consequences- horrible one's that lead to him jumping in Lucifer's cage. Dean's decision has consequences we don't know yet... but given the history here... it's not going to be good.

    I forget to mention how much I love Mark Sheppard. His "You're good... but I'm Crowley." line was perfect and it was all Mark. Crowley is the needed comic relief in the midst of all this heart ache. Plus, i think he has a soft spot for Dean.

  11. I'm never gonna stop telling you this - thank God ou Chuck I found you again...
    I agree with every single word you wrote in your review... in fact I do believe we had (more or less) the same reactions during the show LOL... are you sure you don't live in Brazil - São Paulo, to be more precise!!!!!!!! LOL LOL....
    Watching this episode was so hard, emotional and another thousand of feelings that only this little show that "nobody" knew (because now I do believe a lot of people are paying attention to us...)
    It is absolutely amazing how a show which is in its 9th season can be still so captivating (and make us watch, not only because the actor are drop dead gorgeous) but also for the story told, the acting, the lights, the everything that Supernatural was, is and will be...
    As I said before... Thank God I found your blog, because I do intend to read whatever you write, because we watch the same show.. sometimes reading some other reviews I wonder if they are not watching any other show.... you know what I mean..
    Tks for sharing your thoughts and do continue to do so...
    For my part... I'l be here reading and enjoying everything...
    Have a nice weekend..

    Take care,


  12. I love that both Crowley and Cas basically said the same thing to both brothers "don't you think we can use all the help we can get?" as in call your dam brother you idiot. Even they know that the brothers are stronger together. I thought it was a fitting bookend to Road Trip where Dean walked away from Sam leaving him shocked and traumatized and Sam wanting to die leaving Dean alone in a very bad place. Neither one wanting to hurt the other but doing it anyway. These two!

  13. Sorry by the way wonderful review. I always love your interpretations of the brothers. It is spot on.

  14. Here's another scary thought I had Amy and I haven't read anyone comment on: Sam no longer has his protection tattoo(unless he's replaced it and we don't know yet), so that opens him up for possession..possession by Abbadon!! If Dean has the mark of Cain and the "first blade" to kill Abbadon...well I'll leave that open to everyone's imagination. Believe me I've thought about it ALOT!!! I can see Abbadon possessing Sam to protect herself. If Dean is suppose to kill her..and he's in a dark place..and knows Sam would rather die than hurt anyone else..that's scary to me!!! After reading your review I'm scared for what the writer's have planned..but I'm trusting the boys love for each other more..I AM!! But Jared has said it will take something big to bring them back together. WHAT'S THAT MEAN? I'm scared too Amy!!

    1. Holy Mother of Crap, now I've got THAT to worry about, too????? That's an excellent point, and scary as Hell to think of! God, I love this Show!!


    2. I'm hoping Sam gets to a tattoo palor pronto! I don't want him possessed anymore. Please, just Sam from now on!

  15. I love your review so much! I love both brothers so much!! Dean has me SO FREAKIN WORRIED!! Buuuuut I just need to say....CAS & SAM!! "You have a guinea pig?" BEST LINE and the HUG!!! I've been waiting for Sam and Cas to have some quality time for, well, ever now..And of course you can never go wrong with Dean and Crowley. I love that snarky son of a bitch. He's awesome. Dean's awesome. Together they're awesome. Okay, done rambling now. But, I've been reading all your reviews on the WFB and had to follow you here because IMO you always have the best reviews!

  16. Honestly your reviews are the only ones I will read anymore because they're the only ones I can count on the actually discuss the show with love and enthusiasm rather than bashing it and its characters. So thanks for that!

    So the brothers are making asinine, quasi-suicidal decisions based on guilt, grief, and general life-suckiness? What else is new? ;)

    But seriously Crowley hit the nail on the head. No one hates Dean like Dean hates Dean. When the King of Hell likes you better then you like you, you might have some issues. I just don't think Dean is capable of dealing with guilt for things that are actually kind of his fault. And for all his efforts and good intentions, some of the blame does fall to him this time. Leaving Sam and taking on the mark were just ways of punishing himself. He's trying to make himself as miserable and unsalvageable as possible, and taking on an ancient biblical curse without question is certainly a step in that direction. I just hope someone smacks him into reality before he goes and jumps down a black hole or something.

    And Sam? He's his own little cocktail of guilt and self-hatred. I think this episode he was in a state where he was just doing anything that fueled that without thinking about the consequences. He wasn't thinking that Cas killing him would finally send Dean howling to the loony bin, he was punishing himself too, trying to do one thing "right", without really considering what that would mean.
    His interactions with Cas did not fail to deliver. I loved watching them finally admit their similarities. With Cas' new found humanity, he can finally understand Sam for the first time, which was lovely to watch unfold. I think admitting that they've both screwed up massively and both now know the burden of that was massively therapeutic. I'm so glad the writers are finally allowing those two to interact!

    What both boys need right now is perspective. Thankfully Sam got that this episode in the form of Cas. I'm just hoping he can pass this on to Dean posthaste. And that it's not already too late.

    I am loving/hating speculating about what the Mark of Cain will mean for our favorite eldest Winchester. I'm leaning toward immortality. For someone like Dean, that would be a fate worse than death. He'd have to live on, watch everyone he loves die, and know he can never join them. He would never be able to rest or be at peace or be with the people he loves ever again. It would fall in line with what Cain said about the mark being a "burden" and having a "cost". But there's so many wonderful/terrible directions they could go with this. I need the rest of this season to be out like yesterday.

    1. "When the King of Hell likes you better then you like you, you might have some issues." Oh gosh, I laughed out loud... then maybe I cried a little. Exactly THIS. Poor Dean...

      And yes, the immortality thing would truly be a curse for someone like Dean who holds he loves so dear. Please. Just. No.

  17. Jane Bragg that thought has been churning in my brain since the episode ended. But they can't have Sam possessed again can they? Can they! Who else would Dean have to kill that would parallel the Cain/Able storyline other than Sam? Yikes this show!

  18. I absolutely LOVE your reviews. I agree, 100%, with everything that you said. This was a most excellent episode, one in which I need to see several more times before the next one airs.

    Dean is in a very bad place, and I am very frightened as to the road that he is going down. I also want, wish and need Sam to come swooping in and save Dean. Dean has saved Sam numerous times, and right now, Dean really needs some saving. At the end of this episode, after viewing the scenes for the next episode, we obviously see that the brothers are back together again. But, whenever the brothers are apart like this, I always wonder, how will the show bring them back together. Will Dean go find Sam, will Sam find Dean, or like in Season 7, will they both be hunting the same thing and they accidentally find each other. Each time, how they got back together was just as it should be. Personally, I really do hope that this time it is Sam seeking out Dean. Dean is lower than low. I daresay he is in an even darker place than he was when he returned from Hell, and that was already pretty dark and destitute. But, Sam is the one that needs to make the move this time, especially with Dean feeling like he is poison to everyone around him.

    I can't help but keep thinking about the end of 5.04 (The End), when Sam asks Dean why he called him back in. Dean's basic reasoning, "they keep each other human." I really think that reason is more important NOW more than than ever. Dean is headed down a very dark path that could easily turn him into one of the monsters that the boys hunt. Sam, although not as dark as Dean, he is also headed down a path, seeking revenge on Gadreel, that could lead him to a questionable road. Together, these boys balance each other enough, and the love that exists between them shines out more than anything - and YES, that bond does help them to keep human. So, yes, these two brothers need to be together now more than anything, both physically and emotionally. Although, I daresay emotionally together will be harder than physically together. I have no idea how the show will bring them back, but, from a fan (and Dean!Girl) POV, I really hope it is Sam that makes the first move this time.

    1. I have "We keep each other human" tattooed on my arm.... :'D

      And yes, I want Sam to reach out an bring Dean home...and if he uses that exact word, I may well explode with joy!

    2. Wouldn't that be awesome if Sam used those exact words. The next episode was penned by Adam Glass. I like his characterizations of the boys, so I'm pretty sure it will be good. I have faith in him. We'll all find out in 4 days. Not soon enough, if you ask me.

  19. How funny I prefer honey also on my PB. Again a wonderful review. I do miss you on WFB but will follow you anywhere you write. And thank you for not tolerating the Sam vs Dean bullshit! I hate when people take it there and forget that this is a show about the "brothers and their relationship along side the MOW and mythology. I am also scared as all get out for Dean and what the Mark of Cain can mean for him in the future. He really is in a very dark place and my goodness Jensen is just pushing it out the roof with his acting. I just loved, loved the fight scene and the fact that he did all the stunts himself and it took over 9 hours to do that short little fight scene made it that much more special. Just when I think I couldn't love Jensen/Dean anymore than I already do and then there is an episode like this one.

    As for Sam, well I have to admit that I did go there for a brief moment when he took the shirt off and left us with the t-shirt and our imagination to run wild. Then your outloud thinking went to a place that I guess my sub-conscience just would not let me go as far as him being willing to die without ever saying another word to Dean. As I was reading your thoughts on that, my heart went to my throat just imagining where that would have taken Dean and my heart just broke for him/them in that instance. That is just great writing and thank you Amy even if it was painful until I reminded myself this was just a scenario. I thought about the anti-possession tat in Road Trip when Dean had Cas remove it. Right away I found myself thinking, oh no, he better get another one once this is all done. It will be interesting to see if that comes into play in the near future and I certainly hope it is not as someone mentioned above about Abbadon possessing him forcing Dean to make another judgement call, which we all know how well that always goes. I am hoping that Sam does get over his Winchester pigheadedness and gets back with Dean. I guess we know they will be together in next week's episode due to the promo but that is another thing, Garth as a werewolf? Come on, that just doesn't work for me. I must say I am not looking forward to this coming episode as much as I have been with all the others with the exception that it seems the boys will be back together again, I just don't know to what extent that is. Fingers crossed that all goes well. I know wishful thinking on my part but that's all I have at the moment.

  20. It sounds like you're saying that Colette was a representation of Sam, but the parallel is clearly Cas. It's Cas who saw what Dean did in Hell and forgave him for it, and Cas who loves him unconditionally.

    1. Really? Yeah, not for me. It's Sam's love that Dean needs. It's Sam's love that will turn Dean around.

  21. Wow, you put a lot of my fears into words but one question as I am not sure I am remembering right, back in season4 " Head of a Pin " doesn't Cas mention it all comes down to Cain and Abel and I know Michael mentions it in season 5 but only regarding the bloodline when Cas mentioned it there seemed more to it.

    1. There have been only two mentions of Cain in the series, the first by Michael in The Song Remains the Same: "Stretching back to Cain and Abel. It's in your blood, your father's blood, your family's blood."
      the second by Castiel in his opening monologue in The Man Who Would Be King: "I remember Cain and Abel...David and Goliath...Sodom and Gomorrah."
      Cas didn't mention Cain and Abel in Head of a Pin. The only relevant mention in relation to the Winchesters was via the archangel Michael.

  22. What a beautiful review!

    It's interesting both Cain & Crowley told Dean he was worthy. In Cain's case, worthy of carrying the mark, and that's likely because of his bravery, his impulsiveness and his fighting skills. But I wonder if there's more to it. I actually wondered if Cain's "you're worthy" comment was meant to be ambiguous. Dean is also supposed to be the righteous man. Perhaps he sensed that? Perhaps that's important? Maybe he sensed Dean's dichotomy - warrior and caregiver.

    I think both Cain & Crowley were trying to tell Dean he had worth as an individual. I think Crowley was begrudginly likes & admires Dean & Sam. He certainly respects their intelligence and is one of the few villains who doesn't underestimate their abilities.

    Crowley's line about no one hating Dean more than Dean does is quite perceptive & poignant. But at this point, Dean feels the only thing he's worthy of is hate, and abandonment. It's one of the tragedies of Dean's life that he seems to only get praise when he's killing, or acting violent. And usually if he tries to bring up the fact he's uncomfortable with the fact he's always surrounded by death and violence, people tell him to suck it up, buttercup. They actually reinforce his own belief that his worth comes only from his hunting & killing skills, not from who he is as a person - loyal, caring, protective, generous.

    Sam's line was heartbreaking. "I just want to do something right". He wants to have a win, pure & simple, and one that doesn't come covered in the blood of an innocent. So understandable. All the Winchester victories have come at such great cost.

    What I find particularly interesting is that both boys carry tremendous guilt for the decisions they've made and for the choices thrust upon them. Neither feels he is worthy of anything, not even worthy of the other brother's love & affection and presence. Both are so willing to sacrifice themselves if there's a chance they can save others, or if there's a chance their death can serve as an atonement for all those other deaths.

    So, basically they are experiencing EXACTLY the same feelings, but they react so differently. They both push it down, but it bubbles up in different ways. Sam feels he should die to even the cosmic balance. Dean feels he should become the "killer" that he thinks everyone sees him as, and hopefully get killed in the process, thus he can even the cosmic balance. Sam is acting inward. Dean is acting outward. It's reflective of their personalities. Both are so willingly rushing towards their deaths (very perceptive of Cas!)

    As for the burden/cost of the Mark of Cain, maybe it's that you feel every death you cause, even more intensely. That would destroy Dean, since he already feels each one. I'm also intrigued by Abaddon's throwaway? comment about Dean being the perfect vessel.... Was that a foreshadowing?

    One other thing I found sad, was Sam saying Dean doesn't want to be here. I'm sure that's what it feels like to him. Except that he gave Dean permission to leave, even told him to go. It's so typical of how we fight with those we love - we push them away, all the while hoping they can feel us trying to pull them back.

    Sorry if I rambled.

    BTW, loved your Dean birthday tribute!

    Pragmatic Dreamer

    1. Pragmatic Dreamer, your rambles are always most welcome here! You continue to be wonderfully perceptive. Thanks for sharing your insights!

  23. Pragmatic Dreamers Comment abt Abaddon saying that Dean is a perfect vessel made me think that a few of us are contemplating whether Dean killing Sam is a possibility but what I hadnt thought is whether Sam killing Dean is a possibility.
    I'm sorry, I keep conjuring up the worse case scenerios so that u all can tell me hw wrong I am.

    1. Neither are going to kill each other! I won't allow it!

      I hope neither Dean or Sam are possessed by Abaddon. I thought Abaddon was just saying that Dean's hot... but maybe that's just how I see everything :D

    2. LOL, Now I have this funny picture in my head with you standing in between Sam and Dean trying to stop them from killing each other, and for some strange reason you're a lot like missouri :P

  24. Kathy(winmomwannabe)27 January 2014 at 18:15

    As if I wasn't sick to my stomach enough after watching this episode, I am now positively in a panic state. I had every notion pass through my brain that has been mentioned by Amy or in the comments.

    I was nervous just knowing Cain was in this episode. I kept thinking of Michael's speech and just knew. Just KNEW it was gonna lead to something terrible in this episode.

    And the minute Cain started talking about the mark and his story I started yelling NOOOOOOO at the TV. My friend just shook her head and told me not to get ahead of myself. But I just KNEW it was not going to end well. It was like having a 6th sense of doom for one of my own children. I couldn't sit. I was standing in front of the TV saying NOOOOO Dean, get out of there. This is not going to go to a good place.

    My head was swimming with death scenarios between Dean and Sam, one having to kill the other even BEFORE Cain told his version. Man, this show makes me soooo paranoid! It's ridiculous.

    What is happening to my babies???? Sam, why do you want to give up on yourself? Dean, where is your self worth? Oh God, I just couldn't even sleep that night after I watched it 3 times!!! Now I'm all worked up again and won't sleep.

    It was just OUCH after OUCH and a TV show has NEVER made me so sick to my tummy.

    Boys, PLEASE, PLEASE, find your way back. Don't let evil in your brother. Don't EVER let it get so bad one of you has to die. I don't think I'd survive it. I said to my friend that it had some implications of a series ending and I can't think about that. Maybe they made it so dark in case there was a no S10 and they would have to wrap it up. Even if(when) there is a s10 this could still be a hint at things to come. And I don't like thinking that way. I am with you Amy. I will NEVER forgive them if my worst fears happen. Oh god, what a show. I LOVE it!

    Thanks for it all Amy

  25. Always love your reviews, Sweetondean. Can't wait to see how they retell the story of Cain and Abel. Sam and Dean told destiny to screw itself in the story of Michael, Lucifer, and the apocalypse so I'm sure they'll do the same with the story of Cain and Abel. Sam is usually the first to forgive but, in this case, Dean will have to make the first move towards reconciliation; he walked away, which is a switch from the way things usually work between them. And I like that things won't be all good between them when they get back together; it would be unnatural - they have lots of crap to sort thru. Nice change up to having Dean go down what looks like a very dark path this time, Dean being (somewhat) aligned with demons/hell, Sam (somewhat) with angels/heaven. In the end, maybe it'll give each of them a new perspective on what the other brother has gone thru. Carver talked a lot about the brother's maturing relationship; IMO they got a lot wrong on that front last year but looks like they're on the right track this season.

  26. Thanks so much for writing this, Amy. I enjoyed your take on this episode.

    I think Sam and Dean are both in such dark places and that they're going through something very similar in a lot of ways. The details of their struggles might differ slightly in this episode, but they're both hurting and missing each other like crazy. I think that Sam wants to be taken out of the equation so he can no longer hurt people and Dean has decided to embrace on some level who he sees himself as---a killer and nothing more. They also need to come to grips with the issues that hang between them going back perhaps to John's command to Dean. I think that may have a role in some of the issues we're seeing here.

    I loved Cas and Crowley being the voice for the fans in a lot of ways. They were voicing what a lot of us were voicing--ie "TALK TO YOUR BROTHER." I thought Robbie handled that aspect beautifully. I'm hoping we get to see them do some more of this type of thing.

    As for the Mark of Cain, I think we're going to see this be dark and dirty and I am hoping that when Sam and Dean do talk that Dean doesn't hide this from Sam. My take on the Cain/Abel story for Sam and Dean is that they're going to have to reclaim what was stolen from the first brothers. They're going to have to do what Cain and Abel couldn't. I think it's why Cain chose Dean in some regards. He saw Sam and Dean having the chance to perhaps right the wrong done so long ago.

    I just wish Dean would have slowed down and ASKED a few questions. I get his reckless acceptance of it and the need for it to kill Abaddon, but damn. Come on buddy. Ask what the burden is! At least be forearmed.

    I can't wait to see where they go with this. Truly.

    Thanks again.

  27. Let me start by saying how happy I am that you are still writing your blog. I had been following you on the WFB and was so sad when you left, although I understand perfectly well why. Good to see you haven't lost your touch. :)

    Loved this episode so much, I can't stop thinking about it! I woke up in the middle of the night and all I could think about was how the hell are the Winchesters going to fix this rift??? Sam just breaks my heart with the way he is willing to sacrifice himself at every turn. And OMG, Dean! I think it was kind of important to know the consequences of carrying the mark of Cain! Just a little. Does it mean he's now immortal, can kill demons at will (although that would be cool), can he command Crowley now? Again, kind of cool. Oh dear lord, these boys are going to give me a heart attack!

    Thanks again Amy, I so do love your great enthusiasm and the love you have for this show. I feel the same way. And as soon as I figure out how to post with my name (I'm not very computer savvy, and I use a computer at work) I will. In the mean time, I guess it's easiest to post as Anonymous, although my name is really Sylvie. :)

  28. I meant to write a comment last week... sorry I'm so late. I can't add much to what others have said. It was such an amazing & stellar episode (as were the two prior to this one). I loved Dean & Crowley together; Sam & Castiel together - and I'm totally afraid for what the MoC means for the brothers. I love this show so much!

    One thing I will add that I don't think has been mentioned (apologies if someone has) - how good was the opening scene? When Cain kicked in the door and it flashed to the title card. It was brilliant :)