Sunday, 2 February 2014

Review - Supernatural 9.12 "Sharp Teeth"

Man, this was a tough episode and a tough one to write about. I’ve struggled to put my thoughts together and I’m not sure I successfully have. I feel like I’m just downloading a whole bunch of messed up emotions! Only the Winchesters could do this to me…

I guess somewhere inside I knew it was going to get bad between Sam and Dean, but I wasn’t emotionally prepared for the hit to the guts that “Sharp Teeth” finished on.

I have to believe it’s going to be okay, because otherwise… Well, let’s not go there! The brothers, how they love each other, that’s the heart and soul of this show for me. They’re my heart and soul…

“Sharp Teeth” was a monster of the week episode, which focused on a familiar theme; is what makes a monster purely being a monster or is there more to being good or evil. There were also some nice parallel stories, like the werewolf preacher whose wife was killed by a hunter, but instead of giving into hatred and revenge he decided to concentrate on raising his child in a loving, safe environment. You couldn’t help but look at the road the Winchesters travelled after their mother was killed and their father chose a different route. There was also an interesting narrative around revenge. The Reverend says to Dean, “…The road to revenge is a dark and lonely one, which you never get off. And that hole in the pit of your stomach, you never fill it. Ever.” John sought revenge for Mary’s death; the werewolf stepmother was seeking revenge for the death of her brother. Revenge never leads anywhere good and it’s absolutely the path that both Sam and Dean are currently on. A path that has caused them plenty of pain in the past and will no doubt cause them more pain in the future.

Of course we also had the return of Garth. Garth disappeared about six months ago, leaving Kevin unprotected and Sam and Dean no clue as to whether he was dead or alive. As it turns out Garth was bitten by a werewolf whilst on a hunt and was saved from self-destruction by another werewolf called Bess, who he in turn fell in love with and married. He felt stupid and I’d imagine somewhat concerned about the Winchester’s reaction, so he chose to disappear. Not something you do to friends and certainly not something you do to Dean, which Dean made abundantly clear. Sam and Dean don’t have many people in their lives they can call friends and Dean makes sure they hang onto those that they do have.

I quite like Garth as a character. He can sometimes be a tad earnest, but there’s sweetness to his nature that’s rather enjoyable. One of the things I’ve liked about Garth in past episodes is how perceptive he is. He’s often been incredibly perceptive about the brothers and has reflected back to them truths that they can’t see for themselves, either about themselves as individuals or about their relationship with their brother. I was hoping Garth would be utilised like this again, Lord knows these brothers need someone to speak to them openly and honestly at the moment. I mentioned last week how I thought this was a recurring theme of season 9, with Sheriff Mills, Castiel and even Crowley giving the brothers some home truths. Unfortunately, this didn’t happen in “Sharp Teeth” and Garth was not utilised in the way I was hoping. Bummer. I was looking forward to a little Garth delivered wisdom! Though what he said about Sam and Dean when introducing them to Bess, was pretty spot on!

It turned out to be Dean that shared a little wisdom with Garth and I couldn’t help but think that he was also talking about himself and Sam…

“You got something here. Okay?... Don't let that go. Okay? You'll never forgive yourself.” 

Just moments before, Sam had walked out the door and Dean’s face as he watched his brother walk away was full of grief. I’m sure it was seeing Garth and the love he had found and Dean’s moment of clarity in the advice that he gave Garth, that made Dean get out of the Impala at the end of the episode and reach out to his brother so openly.

But while the werewolf story held some interest for me around Garth and the new mythology about being bitten or born and the interesting parallels and themes, I've got to be honest, the thing I was pretty much focused on was the Winchesters and how on earth they were going to get back together… Because I needed them to. Like, a lot.

From the moment of their first, awkward meeting, over the comatose Garth, I watched them like a hawk. Hoping against hope that they would somehow find a way to reconcile.

*sigh* Not so much. The episode ended with the brothers in the worst place, emotionally speaking, that I think they’ve ever been in. The words that were said by Sam to Dean for me were the harshest ever said by one brother to the other, because they hit at the core of what they are, family. It hurt. I won’t lie. It hurt like hell. 

But when I rewatched “Sharp Teeth” I was struck by something I didn’t noticed the first time around; the physical proximity between the brothers.

Though they were obviously emotionally estranged, or at least attempting to remain emotionally estranged, everything in their body language seemed to be telling a different story.

Apart from the obvious connection when they were hunting, the hand motions, the in sync kicking of the door, the easy working relationship, how they dropped into their usual routine and roles, there were moments of physical intimacy between them that under the circumstances seemed surprising and incongruous.

There was the touching. Both brothers tapping each other on the shoulder, Dean when he saw the cameras tapping Sam, Sam when the Sheriff called tapping Dean. They sat so close to each other on the Impala that their shoulders were rubbing. Normally I wouldn’t even blink at this, this is who they are, but when you’re so angry with someone you are on the verge of disowning them, is this familiar physicality something that would happen or would you be creating a physical space as well as an emotional space?

Then there was the mirroring. When they waited for Garth to come out of the bathroom at the hospital, their body positions were almost a mirror of each other. Their bodies faced each other with their hands resting on their legs in a similar position. It was fascinating body language for a couple of brothers on the outs!

Then there were the furtive glances at each other when the other wasn’t watching and the obvious interest in what each other had been doing. Dean asking where Sam had come from, Sam asking about the mark on Dean’s arm, Dean snarking about Sam and Cas playing Teen Mom, Sam commenting on Dean working with Crowley – both sounding a little put out about being replaced!

It’s quite possible I’m reading too much into these tiny details, but it’s the tiny details that paint an entire picture. Whether these actions were scripted or not, or simply happened through the ease of Jared and Jensen’s working relationship, or were layered into the performance by the actors, I don’t know. Certainly if scripted and directed this way, these small actions seem to speak to what is at the truth of the brother’s relationship and are in direct opposition to what the brothers were saying. Which makes total sense. Because though hurting and angry, I don’t doubt that Sam still loves Dean. That’s why he’s hurting and angry. If he didn’t care…he wouldn’t care.

What I also saw as an important action, in fact the most important action, was the fact that in the end, Sam got in the car and rode away with his brother…

Sure, he was saying they could continue to work together to share the crappiness, only as hunters not as brothers, but as hunters they have to put their lives in their partner’s hands and if Sam trusted Dean so little and was distancing himself from his brother to the point he was verbally stating, would he or could he let himself rely on this familiar trust? Or more to the point, would he choose to spend long hours riding next to someone he absolutely didn’t want to be around and had no interest in repairing a relationship with? Hmmm.

Sam never said they were done, he said something was broken. Things that are broken can usually be fixed… right?

Yeah, call me overly optimistic, but for me this was the most interesting layer to this episode in relation to the brothers, what I perceived as the gulf between what their words and what their actions seemed to be saying. 

Not that any of this made Sam’s final speech to Dean hurt any less. It hurt like crazy all around! But it also seemed real. Had Sam simply said, “Okay” and gone with Dean without stating his anger, hurt and distrust, it would have felt fake and dissatisfying and frankly, would have just meant that they were heading towards the same old issues, the same old mistakes and the same old problems and we’d be retreading that ground with them. We’ve wanted them to sort through their crap for a long time now. Maybe this is what needs to happen for them finally to work through the parts of their relationship that keep tripping them up.

However, I have to say I was and possibly still am a tad confused by the entirety of what Sam said to Dean.

I completely understand his anger over the Gadreel thing. I get that. Dean knew he’d be mad. We knew he’d be mad. It was never going to end well. These guys are the Winchesters after all.

Sam made a decision about his future and Dean essentially overrode his brother’s decision. He tricked his brother into saying, “Yes”. He allowed an angel to possess his brother and that angel went on to cause horrific damage and murder someone that Sam and Dean both loved, while wearing Sam’s body. I understand why Sam would be absolutely furious, as much as I totally understand why Dean did what he did, I think we all understand Dean enough to understand that. 

One could argue that Sam did have a choice in that moment. No, not in regard to the angel, but he did have a choice between choosing the path he was set to take with Death or choosing his brother. He asked his brother what the plan was, his brother said trust me and Sam chose to trust him no questions asked. He did make a choice in that moment. He chose Dean.

Of course, Sam didn't know what he was agreeing to and Dean went on to withhold the truth from Sam as to what was truly happening (ignoring the fact that the angel would never have consented to Dean telling Sam). I wonder what would have happened if Dean had come clean? Is it the talking Sam out of his choice to die that Sam has an issue with, or is it the breach of trust and lies that followed, or both. Probably both.

But Sam’s comment about what happened in the church during “Sacrifice” was troubling. 

“Back in that church, talking me out of boarding up hell?”

Was he doubting that Dean’s motivations were anything other than to have Sam live? Is Sam implying that Dean somehow duped him into not closing the gates of Hell? Does he doubt Dean’s love? Or was Sam simply saying that Dean said he’d always put Sam first and then almost immediately went back on his word by putting his own desires for Sam to be alive ahead of Sam’s desire to go with Death. 

(Though one could also argue that Dean was thinking of Sam too, because Sam had chosen to live at the end of “Sacrifice” (“The whole reason I stopped doing the trials was not to die.”) Ack! There are 10 sides to every argument and I can see them all!)

I’ve listened to Sam’s final speech in “Sharp Teeth” over and over and I’ve listened to other people’s interpretations and I’m still twisted up by what he said. 

To me and to most of us, that moment in the church at the end of “Sacrifice” was something that we’d been longing to hear. It was a verbal confirmation of the love between the brothers that we hold to be true and for most of us is the core of this show. A moment of honesty where Sam told Dean how Dean’s words had made Sam feel over the years and how this had affected him. A moment of honesty where Dean told Sam just how damn important he was to him along with a moment of ownership over some of the pain he had caused Sam in the past. For me that conversation was something that I’d been pining for since the trust between the brothers was broken during season 4. It was raw and open and heartfelt and needed and I loved every single syllable of it.

I don’t want that moment undermined or tarnished. I don’t want that moment not to be true. I don’t want Dean’s words, “Don't you dare think that there is anything, past or present, that I would put in front of you! It has never been like that, ever! I need you to see that. I'm begging you.” to lose their meaning for us or for the brothers. I don’t want them to be seen as anything other than they were, a profession of love. I want Sam to believe them like he did in that moment. Those words are the heart of Dean Winchester and for me, at the heart of the brother’s relationship. Please don’t take this away from us, or them.

But using this scene certainly gave what is going on between brothers some extra clout and certainly raises the emotional stakes. From that point of view, it absolutely did its job! Look how we've all reacted!

What has happened in 9.10, 9.11 and 9.12 is pretty much a reverse of what happened between the brothers at the beginning of season 5.

In 5.01 and the aftermath of the demon blood episode, Dean told Sam he could no longer trust him, and wasn’t sure if they could ever be the same again.

“You were the one that I depended on the most. And you let me down in ways that I can't even... I'm just—I'm having a hard time forgiving and forgetting here. You know? ...I just don't...I don't think that we can ever be what we were. You know?” I just don't think I can trust you.”

At the end of 5.02, Sam told his brother that he was a danger to be around and thought he should leave and Dean said he wouldn’t stop him.

“I need to step back, 'cause I'm dangerous. Maybe it's best we just...go our separate ways.”

“Well, I think you're right.”

The brothers spent an episode apart (5.03) before Dean made contact with Sam at the end of 5.04 and saying the “I just know we're all we've got. More than that, we keep each other human” speech.

To some degree in “Sharp Teeth”, Sam acknowledged that they help to keep each other human in agreeing that when they hunt together they share the crappiness, but that’s where the similarities stop.

Dean: “Okay, look. Whatever happened... We are family, okay?”

Sam: “You say that like it's some sort of cure-all, like it can change the fact that everything that has ever gone wrong between us has been because we're family.”

Dean “So, what -- we're not family now?”

Sam “I'm saying, you want to work? Let's work. If you want to be brothers... Those are my terms.”

I swear to God, in this moment you could actually see Dean Winchester’s heart break.

If you’re going to hurt Dean, this is exactly how to do it and I’m pretty sure Sam is well aware of that fact.

Family is the basis on which Dean operates. Family means everything to Dean. His self worth is all twisted up in family and his need to be needed, his need to take care of others, his need for Sam. Without all of that, in Dean’s eyes, what’s left, what does he have, what is his reason, what’s the point?

Dean is so broken and vulnerable right now. Everything in him is screaming out in pain. He stood in front of his brother and poured his heart out, admitting to being messed up, admitting to knowing he took a piece of Sam in the process of everything that went down… Basically asking his brother to come back to him…in as many words as Dean is able to muster (while shuffling his feet and looking awkward). It was one hell of a moment for Dean and definitely showed growth and understanding in his character.

It killed me. Owies. My Winchester brother loving heart.

Of course, Sam is right. Family does not give you blanket forgiveness. Dean was all for doing a couple of hunts and putting it all behind them. Typical Dean. Anything to get his brother in the car. Sam said no, that’s not going to happen this time, because that wouldn’t change anything and for Sam things need to change.

But to blame everything that has ever gone wrong between them on them being family? Noooo. For me, being family is what makes them so damn special. 

I hope Sam doesn’t really believe that. I hope all this is coming out of him being so deeply hurt by his brother's actions. This is what I assume. He's hurt and wants change and this is how it's all coming out...I mean look at these watery eyes...

So, why are the Winchesters being put through this? More to the point, why are we being put through this? I have to think there’s a reason. I have to believe this is going somewhere that will heal the brother’s hearts and consequently heal ours. Sam is hurting and grieving and full of anger and guilt and this has to be impacting his feelings about everything. Sam taking this tough stand with his brother could be the first step towards repairing what is broken between them. Making them look at their relationship. Stopping them from repeating the same mistakes, the same hurts, over and over. They aren't on the same page and they need to work out how to get there.

Maybe with Dean bearing the Mark of Cain, this is where the brother’s roles will shift. Maybe it’ll be the little brother who has to reach out and save the big brother from whatever burden he has destined himself to and the darkness currently eating away at his soul. I would love that more than words can say. I would love Sam to do that for Dean. I think it would help Sam’s sense of self no end and I think it would help Dean see that his brother really does value and love him, because I’m not sure Dean’s ever been entirely clear on that. Now even less so… Dean could do with a little saving and Sam is exactly the person to do it.

If this is where we’re going, a place of more equality, greater acceptance and understanding and some much needed harmony between Sam and Dean, without reducing their love or need for each other of course, then hey man, I’m all for it, but do me a bloody favour Show, let’s get there quickly because this shit hurts too much.

It may not sound like it, but I loved all the Sam and Dean stuff in “Sharp Teeth”. It was deep and real and full of emotion and drama and all the good things I watch TV for. The writing was note perfect. The performances gut wrenchingly beautiful. It’s what takes this show above the regular fair on network television. Writing and performances that strip us bare and make us talk and argue and over think and feel all our feels to infinity and beyond.

I have a lot of faith in this show and these writers and in Jensen Ackles and Jared Padalecki and the love I know they both have for their characters and their character’s relationship. I trust them all to look after Sam and Dean. I trust that there is a plan in place, as Adam Glass put it, a long play and we're on the road to better days and I'll just hang on and ride the whirlwind that gets us there.

Yes, I want my brothers back together, but I want them to want to be together out of love, not because they know no other way. I’m happy to suffer for them, if that makes them happier in the long run. Because I love them. Both of them.

Sam obviously wants to fix their relationship. Dean obviously does too. This is good.

And let’s remember one thing, the most important thing…

In the end, Sam still chose to be with Dean.


If you want to hear more about what I think about this episode, listen to the latest Women of Letters Podcast where Jules from the Supernatural Wiki and I go deep into the themes of the episode and the final moments with Sam and Dean.

Listen here


  1. On the WFB on Gerry Weavers thread one of the posters SandraK wrote a great description of the brothers talk with what they said and in parenthesis what they meant. I think it is how all the dialogue between the boys needs to be shown, with subtitles. I thought that in the church Sam knew he was going to die. Dean came in and threw him a lifeline. I think what Dean said was I love you above all others. I think what Sam heard was I trust you above all others. When Sam was with Death in the cabin he didn't want to die but he didn't want to be brought back by supernatural means. That road has always meant disaster for Sam and the people around him i.e. raising Lucifer, coming back soulless killing countless innocent people and now in Sam's mind killing Kevin. When Dean came in and threw Sam a lifeline he trusted Dean. But in Sam's mind Dean didn't trust him. I thought that what Sam meant when he said that being family is how they end up in the mess they always seem to get into. I think to Sam his life wasn't worth all the lives that were lost because Dean couldn't let him go. No one shows his pain like Dean. I don't think that this is going to be an easy lesson for him and I am very afraid for what this storyline is setting Dean and us up for.

    1. That's actually what I liked about this conversation. How real it was for these characters. They're shocking at saying exactly what they mean, mostly because they speak in some kind of Winchester shorthand only they seem to understand! We do need subtitles for them!

      There's still a lot of issues of perception between the brothers. That's going to be the tricky thing for them to conquer especially for Dean.

    2. "I think what Dean said was I love you above all others. I think what Sam heard was I trust you above all others. "
      Retrospectively speaking..completely agree.

      I think to Sam his life wasn't worth all the lives that were lost because Dean couldn't let him go.
      Thats certainly one acceptable explanation.

  2. Hello sweetondean,

    Thanks for your review! I know it took a lot of time and thought.

    Like you, I think the brothers' relationship will be repaired, but it will be different and better for both of them. These brothers love each other deeply and neither is invested in giving up on the other no matter what happens.

    When the episode ended, I thought wow, where are we going now?! Very interesting! Then I thought, what is the fandom going to make of all this?! So, I've been doing a lot of reading - SuperWiki, Fangasm and WFB - and there are a lot of thoughts out there. Lots and lots of comments and yes, there is some unfortunate bashing and sides chosen, but for the most part I see a lot of thoughtfulness and faith. I think that is what the fandom needs to have right now - faith. Faith that Carver understands the core of the show, that the writers know how to more us forward from here, that the show is in the hands of capable directors who know how to show us what is not said, and that Jared and Jensen love their characters and the brothers' relationship as much as we do and are as protective as we are.

    I also think that the writers have heard the comments about the lack of Sam's POV and his constant damsel in distress situations so I have faith that they see it all as a challenge. They're going to show us that they can write Sam. Like you, I do think Dean is headed to a dark place and I see Sam as being the agent of change. I think we'll see less of Dean's POV as he spirals downward and more of Sam's as he struggles to save his brother. Maybe Jensen will even get some time off as Sam reaches out for help, investigates, and comes up with strategies and plans. I know you like to see all the Jensen you can, but the poor guy just seems to work all the time!

    On another tack, I hope Dean heard the Reverend's words about revenge because he has seen and lived the other choice. It did not make John Winchester a happy person or his boys either. Hopefully he and Sam will make some mature choices as the rest of this season unfolds and the next one begins.

    By the way, my strategy for reading comments is to pick and choose. I don't read every one. I find one I like, (I like nappi a lot) so I read her and her replies to others leads me to other commenters who are also making thoughtful arguments. I get different points of view, but no bashing or trashing. I love that this fandom has so many insightful and intelligent members. I love that, as Jared and Jensen found out, being a fan of the show is not just about the hotness of the actors or any other window dressing, it's about a deep appreciation of good story-telling, great characters, and fantastic acting.

    Keep up the great work! I'll be looking for your next podcast with Jules. Always a fun listen, but the theme song does get stuck in my head :)

    1. Dean did say "Hey, no, I get it" to the Reverend. But yeah, both of the brothers are out for revenge and not sure this is going to put a stop to that right now.

      I think this storyline is like Adam said, a long play that will get us and the brothers ot a better place. Hopefully for season 10 - where I'm sure something horrible will happen and they'll be ripped apart just when they start feeling good again!!!

    2. "Hopefully for season 10 - where I'm sure something horrible will happen and they'll be ripped apart just when they start feeling good again!!!"

      I'm positive something like this is going to happen

  3. Exactly! Sam got in the car. That's a step in the right direction. Woot! I also hadn't noticed the glances and how close they stuck to each other. Darn. Now I'll have to go re-watch. One thing I did notice, which might just be me, but it seemed that Dean spent a good bit of this episode pushing Sam away. He lied about the cameras being pointed the wrong way, he told Sam he could handle it and Sam could go, and each time, Sam said no. It makes me wonder if Sam wants to fix this more than Dean does - or not more, but it feels like Dean is running from all this. He left Sam, rather than stay and face what he'd done. So I thought it was interesting that Sam kept sticking around. I too, have hope that Sam will save Dean because I am absolutely terrified that Dean is going to need it. I know this next episode coming up looks all fun and yummy from the promo shots (whew!) but I can't wait to find out where they start and where they end up. Can't wait and scared at the same time. Yeesh! I do love this show. Another great review! Thanks!

    1. That was Dean being still in his, I'm poison to be around mode. That was the continuation of his thought process (or lack of!) that started at the end of Road Trip when he walked away. All coming out of guilt. That's why Dean was pushing Sam away, because he said that he was going out on his own, for Sam's own good.

  4. I think I read somewhere that Jared said in an interview that Sam is hurt and it's kinda like "you hurt me so I hurt you back" - so I believe Sam doesn't blame family for everything that's gone wrong. It's only right now, when he thinks he can't trust the one person in the world he thought he could always trust. Because aside from Dean he has noone. That's why I think he chose these harsh words unconsciously deliberately - to hurt back, because he's hurt, but might not mean it to that extend.

    The statement about the church was confusing for me, too. My take on it is that Sam's not all to rational on this either. He stopped the trials to live. Obviously this wouldn't have worked out if not for Gadreel. But that's one big no-go. So without Gadreel he would have died. If there was no other option, it would have been better, of course, if he had died finishing the trials. I think Sam's a bit where Dean was in season 2: He thinks if everything would be like it should be, he would be dead. The only reason he is not is the fact that Dean talked him out of finishing the trials. Of course neither of them knew that Sam would die anyway, or that Dean would let Gadreel possess Sam - but we have to remeber that Sam is angry, and maybe feels like he should be dead, should have gone trough with it. We saw hints in "First Born", but thankfully Castiel talked him out of throwing away his life. But maybe he still thinks the "right" thing would him being dead right now, and Dean prevented that. You're angry with someone and deeply disappointed, like you have never been before? You take every little thing you can and blame him for it.
    Dean was a bit like that, too, in season 5. At the beginning he blames Sam for starting the apocalypse (to Booby at the phone: "Ah, maybe the apocalypse has got 'em all hot and bothered. Yeah, well, we all know whose fault that is.") - but finally he admitted that Sam didn't know. (and thb if Sam hadn't gone with Ruby he and Dean would have tried and maybe killed Lilith, and Dean would haven been part of starting the apocalypse, too). In a similar way Dean didn't know that Sam would die whether he would finish the trials or not, but these emotions are not rational. Dean was angry that Sam went with Ruby, the Apocalypse wasn't the main issue, and after a while he realised and seperated that. I think Dean stopping Sam in the church isn't really Sam's problem either, but it resulted in Gadreel, and so it's connected, and Sam hasn't been able to seperate that yet.

    I deeply apologise for the length of this text - I hope you understand what I'm trying to say - I have some difficulties expressing all my thoughts in English, so it's maybe longer that it would have been if I had known what to say with less words. ^^°

    1. I abosoltely agree with you. I think Sam is lashing out at his brother out of hurt and anger. I also think, like Dean, he holds a lot of guilt over the death of Kevin. He can see it through his own eyes afterall, that must be horrific.

  5. Kathy(winmomwannabe)2 February 2014 at 03:46

    Laoih I agree with you interpretations completely. And of course Amy, I got something in my eye reading your review. You always touch my heart and love for those boys.

    I think it's so true that when we feel hurt we hurt back. Maybe not always consciously, but deep down family pretty much always knows how to hurt each other. You have history and sometimes we don't want to even admit it, but we do know how to hurt our family. But we also love them dearly. Sometimes I think it's a test. Maybe we hurt family just to see if they will leave us. How far can we push them? How can they 'prove' their love for us? I have talked about this in the past so won't bore everyone again with it, but coming from some dysfunction myself and being the Dean(caretaker) of my siblings I just get it. And I love that this show helped me see my siblings in such a different way.

    It has helped me release some anger against one of my sister's. I always loved her, but let's be honest, sometimes we don't LIKE our siblings for whatever reason. She is sooooo Sam. Baby of the family and a rebel. Family has never meant the same to her. All my sibs have daddy issues, me included, even at our age. Daddy's leaving never ever truly is healed. There are always scars. I just have so much hope for the boys BECAUSE they are older and maturing. My baby sis will turn 50 this year and only in the last couple of years have we really connected on an equal basis instead of me always rescuing her from some pickle she got into. Sound familiar?

    So yes, these boys hurt each other. Sometimes on purpose, sometimes not on purpose, sometimes subconsciously and sometimes to minimize their own hurts. But I have faith in JC, the writers and J2. This is a family of crew and cast and it wouldn't be if they didn't 'get it'.

    Since we are all kind of in the instant gratification era with social media, a weekly, 23 episodic adventure just tries our patience. Some more than others. But it truly reflects life more than a quick fix. Who ever gets that in real life? Or no consequences. It is why we are all so passionate about this show. It is so REAL for us. I am sure I am not the only one who has seen themselves, their family or others in this show. It saves me going to a psychologist! HA! And I can't explain how this show has helped me to my family, who just thinks I'm over the top. But I will NEVER give up on it or quit it.

    So sorry I digressed. I didn't intend to get into some of this. But this show, Amy's in depth thoughts and my love for those boys just brings it out.

    Thanks for keeping things positive Amy.

    1. The instant gratification thing is interesting. I agree, sometimes we want a quick fix. It's less painful, but would it have the resonance of something that is worked for and worked out with depth and feeling.

      And, always positive...these boys bring that out in me!

    2. Love your point about instant gratification, winmomwannabe :) Really interesting way of looking at things. I also saw Adam Glass tweet that Jules/SuperWiki said it best 'when the brothers fight, so does the fandom'. Genius. I am not on Tumblr and being spoilderphobic only follow some of the stuff on Twitter, but I can imagine there are some strong opinions out there!

      Also, I love your mentioning how personal the story of the Winchesters is too you. I find the exact same thing. Their family and trials and tribulations (no pun intended) has made me think about my own relatinships. I am a strange combination of Dean and Sam myself :)

      Oh just had to say I love that you wrote 'But I have faith in JC'. Classic!

  6. Kathy(winmomwannabe)2 February 2014 at 03:49

    Quick add on. Oh, I just hope they don't make the boys wait until their 50 to figure things out. Maybe they need to read some books. The Supernatural series? HA!

  7. I agree with anon that Sam did mean that Dean not being able to let Sam go had caused pain and destruction. And let's face it caused Sam to do some incredibly stupid things too. Looking at it through that narrow lens, their "family" bond has caused the world a lot of problems and pain. And unfortunately when your angry and hurt, like Sam is now, you tend to see only the bad parts. I thought Sam's line were too cryptic (though did enjoy Sandra K's interpretation), and I'm hoping it's the start of a longer conversation or rather this be the continuation of the one they started in Sacrifice. I always thought we needed more. Because talked about putting Sam above all others (which is true, who could ever doubt he loves his brother) but he didn't say he trusts Sam. And I think Sam has never believed he earned back what he lost after Lucifer. And there have been several occasions that Dean has done things to reenforce that idea. Part of the problem is that I don't think Sam has ever truly trusted himself since season 4. He's a bundle full of self doubt. But he DOES (or did) fully trust Dean. I think he sees Dean as his touchstone. He no longer trusts his own judgment but he does trust Dean to know the right thing to do. He's deferred to Dean's opinion consistently since season 5, which he had a natural inclination towards anyway, since Dean helped raise him. But he's rarely fought for his own judgment since his mistakes in S4. Amy Pond was one of the few times he did and then ultimately said Dean was right without much explanation as to why.

    So when Sam found out that Dean tricked Sam into saying yes to Gadreel, he not only had to deal with the fact that Dean gave up Sam's control over himself and his body. But he also lost his moral compass. His stone number one. His rudder, that had guided him the worst moments of his life. I thinks a he's lost too.

    In my reviews, I've done nothing but compare this second 1/2 to season five too. It's almost impossible not to. They were both so lost then as well. I think up until season 4, Sam was Dean's moral compass too. But he stopped depending on him that way that year. He did stop trusting his judgment. I think while he's tried to let go of all that stuff. He's human and part of him never could fully (see Southern Comfort). And while I do think he should listen to Sam more. I don't think his opinion of Sam is anywhere near as bad Sam thinks it is. (Or as bad as Sam's of himself). I think he'd had Sam on a pedestal of morality in some ways (much in the Sam has Dean now-well not now-now) so when he made such a morally questionable decisions, it devastated his brother (much in the same way Sam is now).

    1. I think what you say about Sam's feelings towards himself is an important point. I discussed this a couple of weeks ago in a bit of depth, that one of the problems that the brother's face in not seeing their roles/relationship the same way is exactly that, they don't see it the same way. I think Dean was genuinely shocked by Sam's reaction to him at the end of Sacrifice, I don't think Dean had any idea that Sam felt like a disappointment to Dean because Dean doesn't think that. Maybe there have been individual times where he's been disappointed - we all get disappointed by those we love - but as a whole and everyday? No, I don't think Dean is disappointed in Sam. In fact I think it's the opposite. So here's a bit of a problem, how Sam thinks Dean sees him and how Dean thinks he sees Sam are different... It's hard to get on the same page when you're reading a different book. I also think, some of these feelings come from within Sam not from without and that is also a problem of perception between the two of them. It's tricky and it's going to take the long haul and changes in attitudes and beliefs on both sides before they can begin to heal.

  8. I hope you take this in the spirit it was intended which is not "See Dean's mean too" but in "Look how bad they were before and got over it." But you missed a crucial quote. At the BEGINNING of 5.4, there was this:

    DEAN So, you're his vessel, huh? Lucifer's wearing you to the prom?
    SAM That's what he said.
    DEAN Just when you thought you were out, they pull you back in, huh, Sammy?
    SAM So, that's it? That's your response?
    DEAN What are you looking for?
    SAM I don't know. A—a little panic? Maybe?
    DEAN I guess I'm a little numb to the earth-shattering revelations at this point.
    SAM What are we gonna do about it?
    DEAN What do you want to do about it?
    SAM I want back in, for starters.
    DEAN Sam—
    SAM I mean it. I am sick of being a puppet to these sons of bitches. I'm gonna hunt him down, Dean.
    DEAN Oh, so, we're back to revenge, then, are we? Yeah, 'cause that worked out so well last time.
    SAM Not revenge. Redemption.
    DEAN So, what, you're just gonna walk back in and we're gonna be the dynamic duo again?
    SAM Look, Dean, I can do this. I can. I'm gonna prove it to you.
    DEAN Look, Sam—it doesn't matter—whatever we do. I mean, it turns out that you and me, we're the, uh, the fire and the oil of the Armageddon. You know, on that basis alone, we should just pick a hemisphere. Stay away from each other for good.
    SAM Dean, it does not have to be like this. We can fight it.
    DEAN Yeah, you're right. We can. But not together. We're not stronger when we're together, Sam. I think we're weaker. Because whatever we have between us—love, family, whatever it is—they are always gonna use it against us. And you know that. Yeah, we're better off apart. We got a better chance of dodging Lucifer and Michael and this whole damn thing, if we just go our own ways.
    SAM Dean, don't do this.
    DEAN Bye, Sam.
    DEAN hangs up.

    Sam was practically begging his brother for a chance at redemption. He was scared and alone with every evil thing on earth circle AND THE ANGELS. And Dean told him they should be on separate hemispheres. And then we learn later in the episode future Dean stuck to that. He had to have a whole come-to-Jesus episode to convince him to take his brother back. And even then he didn't say all was forgiven. He said they keep each other human. He spent all season 5, trying to let go of what happened but it really only got worse before Point of No Return. HE THREW AWAY THE SAMULET! I know some people say that was about God but I never bought that. Dean was at the end of his rope. He'd lost faith in every one and everything. And he threw away the last piece that was keeping him from giving in-Sam. Man, season 5 had some great angst. The episodes just tore me apart and I couldn't wait for the next one. Anywhoo. Those 2 are my harshest moments from either of the brothers. And they managed to reconcile. So I have faith that they will this time too. Hopefully, putting to bed some of the long term doubts that the brothers have about each other. That the will finally learn to fully trust one another again. And let go of past mistakes (and learn from them).

    1. I saw that conversation at the beginning of The End a bit of a different situation to what was being faced here. At that stage, Dean was more about avoiding Sam because of their upcoming roles in the Apocolypse, like he said, they were the oil and fire. Michael and Lucifer wanted them and wanted them together, that was not where they could be if they didn't want this to all go down. Like Dean said, it didn't matter what they did. I think there was a lot of fear in Dean's reaction. So yes, Sam was wanting back in but I don't think Dean's refusal of that was centred soley around his disappointment in Sam at the time, more around his desponency and sheer oppression over the situation they found themselves in and his fear of where that was going to go.

      The amulet thing for me, was exactly like Sam was reacting here! Dean was lashing out at his brother in hurt and anger. It was one of the times I wanted to slap him upside the head! I was like, oh Dean really? It was about maximum hurt for for Sam, just like I think Sam's comments around family and the hanging sentence around being brothers was about maximum hurt for Dean.

    2. Am hoping it's OK to comment on everyone else's comments. Just say so if it isn't, Amy!

      Thanks very much Kelly for the convo from The End. I particularly love 'DEAN I guess I'm a little numb to the earth-shattering revelations at this point'. To me this is most of the explanation behind the lack of drama in Sam's reaction to Dean and the Mark of Cain.

    3. I'm a Dean girl and I love Sam but I can never forgive Dean for hanging up the phone on Sam throwing the amulet IN THE BIN...IN FRONT OF SAM
      Sam's face when he does that..still saddens me.
      Maybe..just maybe Sam gives the amulet to Dean now ...just to show him, that he trusts him again.
      *sigh* a girl can hope, right?

    4. I think that the amulet is a representation of what their relationship was, not where it is now or where it should be. as they move forward together.

    5. So no amulet then ! okay :(
      But do u think that sometimes its imp to shw ppl where they have been so that they figure out where they r going?

    6. I think they can do that without the amulet.

  9. I liked your review much better than the others I have seen. More thoughtful and appreciative of the great acting. Just wanted to add that Sam needs to remember that even though Kevin is dead, Cas and Charlie and Dean (Abaddon would have killed him if Gadreel hadn't angeled out right then and killed the three demons in DMC) are all alive.

    1. I think Sam is just in too much pain right now to see anything beyond that. But Sam is a thoughtful man and I have a lot of faith in him. I also believe in his love for Dean. He'll get there, but he needs time to see straight before he can begin to heal.

    2. I hope so. I am new to Supernatural and have watched from season 1 in the last 6 months. That last scene really got me. Where's the kleenexs still. Dean looked so devastated.

    3. Excellent point! Thanks, Anonymous :) And I agree with sweetondean. Sam is indeed a thoughtful man. He is hurting now, but he will hopefully 'remember' some of the good that Gadriel did too.

    4. Did anyone else notice the amazing acting by Jensen in the scene at the refrigerator? He was just Dean until the brothers steppde forward in a threatening manner. Jensen straightened slightly and the whole body language and expression changed. He looked frightening....Mark of Cain?

    5. Yikes, that's rather disturbing, that Sam should remember that Dean tricking him into being possessed saved the lives of Dean and his friends, as if that negates what Dean did and the lives that Gadreel took. It's like saying that a rape victim should be thankful to her rapist because she got pregnant as a result of the rape, but loves her child. (I'm not saying Dean is a rapist, but the analogy is appropriate.) Isn't Dean determined to get revenge on Gadreel? Why isn't he considering all the lives that Gadreel 'saved'?

      And strangely, the countless lives that Sam saved while using his powers, the demons he killed were never taken into consideration when people were passing judgment on Sam's actions.

    6. Was that what was being said in that comment? I don't think so. I think you chose to read it like that.

    7. No, that's what I read. That Sam should think about those Gadreel saved as opposed to those he killed. Since when does focusing on the good negate the bad?

      For me, focusing on the 'good' that Gadreel did should not take away from the 'bad' that he did. Perhaps you see if differently.

    8. I did read what that commenter said as saying thinking of the negated everything else. That's not said there as far as I can see. No I don't think the good negates the bad. And Sam may not even remember the fact that Gadreel saved Castiel and Charlie. It's not been made absolutely clear if he has all the memories. I assume he does but who knows.

    9. Then I would love to know what Anonymous meant when he/she said that Sam 'needs' to remember that 'even though Kevin is dead, Cas and Charlie and Dean are all still alive. I wonder why he/she is choosing to focus on positives that arose from Sam being possessed by an angel as opposed to the bad side. Should it make him feel better about being possessed, less angry about it, because there was a 'benefit' to him being violated? Perhaps Anonymous will reply in time.

      And yes, seeing only one characters side is tedious beyond belief.

    10. No it absolutely shouldn't make Sam feel better about being possessed. Those things didn't even entre my mind. I'd forgotten about that in the horror of Kevin and what followed.

    11. I am the one that wrote the post and it wasn't meant to say that it was right for gadreel to possess Sam or that the three saved lives cancelled out Kevin's death...they don't. However it is a straight shot to a mental breakdown to let the bad in your life, no matter how horrendous, totally take over your lifem . Part of healing is starting to recognize the little nuggets of good no matter how small. When I lost my son, I could have let the depression and the sorrow destroy me but I chose to recognize and dwell on the good. If you have never suffered great loss, don't assume you know what is the best way for each individual to deal with it is.

  10. This episode....holy hell! :/ I don't think I have rewatched an episode so many times in such a short period of time. I loved it. I really really did. The MotW was good but the brothers.....ugh!! Just love! I am having problems putting my thoughts into words because my thoughts are ALL OVER THE PLACE! Recently, I had to restrict some of my review reading to just a couple of reviewers because things as we all know were getting way too toxic out there. The only reason I am even mentioning this is so I can comment on how much I love some of the comments this week. Brain overload for everyone! Love that this show gives us the pretty as well as the thoughts. Oh yeah...and those pesky feels. Holy hell. :/

    One quick thought to Sam's final words... I really felt he was saying "Work together = easy" Brothers = not so easy". I didn't see him saying they couldn't be brothers anymore. If you just hear or read the words, it does sound bad. But when you look at the expression on his face, it tells a different story. Oh...these boys.</3

    Thanks Amy for another fantastic review!! And thanks for providing a "safe zone"!!!

    1. I agree with you completely. I think he was saying work...yeah...brothers...that's not possible right now, because that needs work. What surprised me was when I went to get caps, how watery Sam's eyes are at one point - I used that cap. This sounded harsh but it still carried a lot of hurt behind those words.

  11. My thoughts about this episode are disjointed, just as they always are when the Winchesters kick me in the feels. I was thrilled to see how in sync the brothers were on a hunting level, if not emotionally. Their furtive glances at each other, Sam knowing Dean was trying to bullshit him about the camera not working, the 'Be careful', Dean knowing Sam was in trouble when he didn't answer his phone - for me, all these things spoke to how much they still are brothers.
    Then, that last scene happened and I was gutted. Yes, I knew that there wouldn't be a quick fix (Jared mentioned in an interview that the brothers were still not 100% while filming 9.16 *sob*). It feels right that it would take time to bridge the gap between them. But oh man, I did not see it coming quite like this! Sam blaming everything that ever went wrong for them on them being family hit me especially hard. Two things went through my mind at that moment. First was 'Ouch Sam, way to kick Dean where it hurts the most'. Then 'Oh Sammy, have you forgotten all the things that went right for that very reason?' I get that Sam is hurt and angry, and it is understandable that he feels this way. The thing is, I think that although family may not mean the same thing to Sam as it does to Dean, it is still important to Sam. How many times has he said things like "You're my brother and I would die for you"? He chose to reintegrate his soul because he couldn't leave his brother to face the crap alone. I could go on. but won't. So I can't decide if this was Sam lashing out at Dean, hurting him where it hurts the most or if he truly feels that way.
    For me, the foundation of the show has always been family and this just... I find myself wishing that Chuck's books came into play again and somehow Sam reads the last one, especially those last few lines: "They made their own choice. They chose family. And well, isn't that kinda the whole point?" (Plot of fanfiction perhaps?)
    The part that didn't make sense to me was Sam blaming Dean for stopping him from boarding up hell. Because Sam had a choice then and he chose to go forward with Dean. Speaking of choices, many good points have been made about Sam being prevented the chance to make an informed choice about being possessed by an angel. But has anyone thought that although Dean made the choice, it was not informed either? He thought he was allowing Ezekiel, who had been vouched for by Cas, to heal Sam. If he knew it was in fact Gadreel, Cas' would have warned him not to trust him.

    First Born left me excited, scared and hopeful. Sharp Teeth left me very sad, but still hopeful. I don't think that the writers have forgotten that the heart of the show is the relationship between the brothers. I have to believe that they are working to make that relationship stronger. Scar tissue is stronger than regular tissue and this is not a relationship without scars. So they could come out of this stronger together. I just hope that it is not left for the last few minutes of the finale, because my heart cannot take it. I take heart in the fact that Bob Singer said at VanCon that they reiterate at the beginning of every year that the show is about the brothers and plots are formulated with cognizance of how it affects the brothers. 1/2

    1. Price Peterson wrote this for a TVD review, but I feel that it fits so well here:
      "Especially when it comes to shows that have 22-episode seasons, the character dynamics NEED to constantly shift in order to continue wringing tension, upset, joy, and pay-off from every conceivable situation. So yeah, your favorite couple might break up. A good guy might turn bad. A bad guy might turn good. There will be constant, temporary setbacks and constant, fleeting victories. That's how this show has always been, that's how it will continue to be. Just be patient and watch as things continue shifting back into what you were hoping for. That's the writers' job: To change things and see how that makes us feel. Heck, just making us feel ANYTHING constitutes a victory on their part. They are doing their job and they're doing it well." 2/2 (Sorry this was so long)

    2. Both the brothers were tricked by that angel - but Dean was complicite in the tricking of Sam. But like I said, though Sam did not chose the angel, he did make a choice to trust with and go with his brother no questions asked. That is still a choice in the mix of things. I wanted their relationship repaired for 5 seasons now. Sacrifice, was only the very beginning of a conversation that needed to be had and continued. Unfortunately due to circumstances it couldn't be continued. Now things are all messed up even more, but it's also being acknowledge by both of them because when Sam said something was broked, Dean said I'm not saying it's not. If they can at least acknowledge that there's a problem in their relationship, it's a step towards healing it. And I agree with Price Peterson, a TV show is a living brief entity with and it needs to pulsate with life and life includes drama. If there was none of these issues between the boys, if they were all happy all the time, would we care so deeply? It's because they hurt, we hurt...that's why we are so invested.

    3. Whoa so many typos...can you tell I've had 3 hours sleep - yes, because I was wriing and discussing this! I hope you can get what I was saying around the typos!

    4. "he did make a choice to trust with and go with his brother no questions asked" - This is a difficult topic, because actually that's the core of the conflict I think. Sam trusted Dean to make a "right" decision. That's why he said yes. It's something he did not expect from his brother, something he wouldn't agree to. It might be a choice, but the sad thing for Sam is, that he's not able to make that kind of choice anymore, and shouldn't have done back then.
      ... I'm really wondering how they can fix that. =( Because they have to. But it's really very much broken... ._.

    5. Yes agreed. He trusted Dean to make the right choice for him and Dean didn't. It's going to be a hard thing for them to work through, but I believe that Sam wants to work towards a relationship where he feels respected otherwise he wouldn't get in the car.

  12. Yep, this was a tough one; had to watch the end scene a few times before it all sunk in. You're absolutely right, I think Sam wants to fix things, otherwise he wouldn't have gotten in the car with Dean. But, Dean trying to mask over the problems by saying "we're family" isn't going to fix things; it would just set them up to repeat the same mistakes again. They've both acknowledged something is wrong. Sam trailed off after saying "but if you want to be brothers" because he realizes that part isn't easy and is going to require both of them to change. But, like you said, they got in the car together and, on the bright side, it can't get any worse between them.

  13. Hey Amy :) I LOVED this review. Thanks so much for helping me sort through my feelings and for sharing some insights which I completely missed. I LOVE how much you love the Winchesters and this show. Yay!

    NB. Apologies in advance for the length of this post....had to split it as it was too long!

    Full disclosure: I’m a Dean Girl, but I’m with Sam on the Gadriel thing (not so much the trials) and I loved the end conversation in Sharp Teeth. Also:

    • “...nice parallel stories, like the werewolf preacher whose wife was killed by a hunter, but ... decided to concentrate on raising his child in a loving, safe environment”: Good point: Hadn’t thought of that since, fleetingly, during my first watch – yes, I watch episodes a silly number of times usually, why do you ask? ;)

    And now it’s Dean himself on the road to revenge. Mmhmm...

    • Garth is not a huge favourite of mine (prefer him as the light relief e.g. Sam slapping him ‘Am I in heaven?’ (why would his heaven have the Winchesters and a hospital, pray tell?! Side note; That was a MASSIVE syringe of adrenaline Dean had. Size doesn’t matter, prop dudes).

    So I was OK with the lack of home truths from him – tho I would love the same from Jody Mills, not gonna lie :)

    I hadn’t thought of Dean’s own home truth being related to the brothers, to be honest. I immediately thought of Lisa and Ben, who I (rather shamefacedly) admit I always loved. But equally, he could have been talking about Amelia and Sam - or even Jess and Sam.

    (Question: Did anyone else think ‘The Bourne Identity’ when they heard the music accompanying Garth’s dash through the woods in the teaser? No? Just me then ;)

    • Mythology: I agree! Cool new Harry Potter-esque Pureblood and Mudblood werewolves lycanthropes (!) - I wonder if that is true for all/some other monsters...

    And though I thought the step-monster was rather paint-by-the-numbers in both conception and execution, I liked the reminder of human monsters in the vein (ha!) of Lenore.

    • LOVE that Dean immediately told Sam about the Mark of Cain. Character growth FTW!

    • “...the physical proximity between the brothers...the mirroring...body language...furtive glances ...and the obvious interest in what each other had been doing”: Really interesting take. Hadn’t seen that at all. I do think some of the mirroring is the actors’ relationship, (Jared in particular always fascinates me in con videos the way he mirrors body language!) but the hospital room and the leaning against the Impala do seem more deliberate. I did like the dissonance of Sam being in a suit and Dean in Winchester Couture though.

    • “Sam got in the car and rode away with his brother…would he choose to spend long hours riding next to someone he absolutely didn’t want to be around and had no interest in repairing a relationship with?”


    “Sam never said they were done, he said something was broken. Things that are broken can usually be fixed… right?”

    Yes! Thank you, thank you, thank you!

    • “ would have felt fake and dissatisfying ... heading towards the same old issues... retreading that ground with them... wanted them to sort through their crap for a long time now... Maybe this is what needs to happen ...”

    • “But Sam’s comment about what happened in the church during “Sacrifice” was troubling...
    And not right! This is where I disagree with Sam. I think he is just angry and devastated about Kevin and he is ‘throwing the baby out with the bath water’. More a verbal equivalent of a wild punch.

  14. Contd (sorry!)

    • • “What has happened in 9.10, 9.11 and 9.12 is pretty much a reverse of what happened between the brothers at the beginning of season 5...I swear to God, in this moment you could actually see Dean Winchester’s heart break. If you’re going to hurt Dean, this is exactly how to do it and I’m pretty sure Sam is well aware of that fact.”

    It makes sense that Sam knows how to hurt Dean the most, but despite the fact that Sam is furious, I agree that lashing out is not the only reason why he said what he did about family. I don’t doubt some of it comes from anger. But there is something that is not good for either of them in their relationship.

    Dean’s view of family is skewed by his as-a-four-year-old trauma, and his subsequent childhood with too much responsibility and a father who was his role model and a brother he was programmed to protect at the cost of all else.

    But speaking from my own personal experience and looking at the story of the Winchesters – not just Sam and Dean, but John and Mary and even the Campbells and Henry Winchester. Family can be the most £$%*ed up thing in the world. The most twisted and selfish and hurtful. As well as the strongest and most supportive and most loving.

    Dean stubbornly defaults to the latter. And Sam to the former. The truth is probably somewhere in the middle. And Sam, by being brave enough to say there’s something wrong, but caring enough to stick with his brother, I think has given them an opportunity to move away from their default positions. I mean, he said ‘but brothers...?’ ...he knows if he says ‘never again’, he WOULD destroy his brother.

    But Sam didn’t. He stopped short of that. Leaving it open. A possibility. Sam is strong where Dean can’t be. And vice versa. That’s why their relationship has endured and WILL endure. They will get through this. With hurt and snark and humour and scars. But I have no doubt they’ll get there. And that I’ll love watching it!

    Sidebar: I LOVED how Dean was so inarticulate, and could not bring himself to finish sentences and how Sam accepted that and took Dean’s half-sentences and heard them as finished. Love it!

    (Jensen’s acting in that scene. Jesus. That guy. He looked like he was twisting himself up in knots. Jared was brilliant also. I often think Jared raises his game into the next league in the emotional scenes with Jensen, more than with anyone else).

    It reminded me of the scene in Salvation where Dean and Jensen literally shattered my heart by saying (or words to the effect) ‘you and me and Dad...we could be a family again’ and Sam and Jared, equally devastating, saying ‘it will never be the like that again’, Dean replying ’could be’ (with a tiny, gut-twisting smile) and Sam and Jared saying with (equally) gut-wrenching care ’I don’t want it to be.’
    That remains one of the most heartbreaking scenes for me in the history of Supernatural.

    The difference to be is that here Sam is infinitely more empathetic now and CRUCIALLY does not have one foot out the door. And Dean despite his PhD in denial, has much more self-awareness plus an understanding of the limitations of a black and white view of the world....

    • “Maybe with Dean baring the Mark of Cain, this is where the brother’s roles will shift. Maybe it’ll be the little brother who has to reach out and save the big brother from whatever burden he has destined himself to and the darkness currently eating away at his soul. I would love that more than words can say.”
    Seconded and thirded. I think Sam is due his turn to save Dean. He didn’t to get to before Dean went to Hell, nor when he was actually in Hell. That went to Cas. Sam has waited a long time to be able to do that for Dean and I completely agree that Dean could use some saving too.

    But perhaps now he has come far enough to be able to see it for what it is – that his brother loves him every bit as much as he loves Sam. I think we the fans have earned it too!!!

  15. Contd 2 (sorry again!)

    And to end on a completely shallow note, how BEAUTIFUL did our guys look this week???!! Thank you Serge for the natural lighting showing the wrinkles and the stubble rather than the standard CW gloss. Yes!

    Dean with the eyes stubble and the grief and the ‘lock the door’ and the EVERYthing. And Sam with the hair and the cheekbones and the way he wears a suit.

    "the jawlines and the hair? It’s ...(epic. Thank you to Ackles and Padalecki gene pools and the gym trailer)".


    1. I absolutely 100% agree with you, part of the problem between the brothers is their different perceptions of family. Dean had his mother ripped away from him at 4 and had to endure the subsequent years, while Sam was still a baby/toddler, with his father dragging them around and descending further and further into revengeful darkness. By the time Sam was old enough to understand, his brother was already taking on a parental role and ensuring his brother was loved and safe. There is no way they can't have a different views about family and I think Dean's early memories and experiences are formative in moulding how he views and includes people and clings to the notion of family at every turn. Just as Sam's are formative in how he sees family and home - as he himself has stated.

      This is going to be the hardest thing for them to figure their way through, but I also believe they can do it. As you say, they are older and have better tools and a better understanding of each other. I believe in their love and I believe they believe in their love. Which is the most important thing.

      And yes, thank goodness now overtanned glow in the dark Ackles this season! Just lovely eye crinkles, pale skiin, freckles and that ranga beard. It's absolutely glorious.

      They have both grown into the most stunning men. We are truly blessed! :D

      Thanks for all your wonderful comments.

  16. Here it is..your review :). There's a reason we all love your review. It is non bias and filled with optimism. I had tears in my eyes while reading it, and those were tears of hope. I didn't notice a lot of things you mentioned, but I don't have it in me to watch the episode again.

    "There were also some nice parallel stories, like the werewolf preacher whose wife was killed by a hunter, but instead of giving into hatred and revenge he decided to concentrate on raising his child in a loving, safe environment. You couldn’t help but look at the road the Winchesters travelled after their mother was killed and their father chose a different route. "
    The perennial debatable question whether what John did was right or not? The difference between the Reverend and John is that Sam was marked, and whether they liked it or not Sam was already a part of the rather than taking a passive way out, turning them into hunters was better IMO

    "I was looking forward to a little Garth delivered wisdom! Though what he said about Sam and Dean when introducing them to Bess, was pretty spot on!"
    I was expecting Garth's insight as well.

    Dean’s moment of clarity in the advice that he gave Garth, that made Dean get out of the Impala at the end of the episode and reach out to his brother so openly."
    Agree completely!!

    "I was pretty much focused on was the Winchesters and how on earth they were going to get back together… Because I needed them to. Like, a lot."
    Me too...I didn't pay attention to minute details cause I was spoiled about something heartbreaking..and I kept waiting for the shoe to drop. The Motw wasn't my focus of attention at all.

    "What I also saw as an important action, in fact the most important action, was the fact that in the end, Sam got in the car and rode away with his brother…"
    and Sam was annoyed that Dean split. Why would you want to be with someone you are at odds with?
    Though I can't believe after 9 seasons I have to console myself that atleast the boys are in the Impala together. :(

    "Sam never said they were done, he said something was broken. Things that are broken can usually be fixed… right?"
    God, I sure hope so

    more to come :)

  17. "I completely understand his anger over the Gadreel thing. I get that. Dean knew he’d be mad.
    Sam made a decision about his future and Dean essentially overrode his brother’s decision. He tricked his brother into saying, “Yes”. He allowed an angel to possess his brother and that angel went on to cause horrific damage and murder someone that Sam and Dean both loved, while wearing Sam’s body. I understand why Sam would be absolutely furious"

    we sure do!

    Was he doubting that Dean’s motivations were anything other than to have Sam live? Is Sam implying that Dean somehow duped him into not closing the gates of Hell? Does he doubt Dean’s love? Or was Sam simply saying that Dean said he’d always put Sam first and then almost immediately went back on his word by putting his own desires for Sam to be alive ahead of Sam’s desire to go with Death. There are 10 sides to every argument and I can see them all!

    And we would like to hear them.

    "I swear to God, in this moment you could actually see Dean Winchester’s heart break.
    If you’re going to hurt Dean, this is exactly how to do it and I’m pretty sure Sam is well aware of that fact."

    "I’m all for it, but do me a bloody favour Show, let’s get there quickly because this shit hurts too much."
    Amen to that...

    Thank you for covering the last scene..and addressing the church scene in sacrifice :'(

  18. Hi Sweetondean, thanks for your review. You've summed it up well - and it's the best, most balanced, review I've seen so far.

    I've done quite a lot of reading of reviews and comments after this week's episode because it seemed to be polarizing people. And initially I was a bit upset (mostly with comments on Twitter) because it seemed that a lot of people were upset with Sam & I found myself really wanting to defend him. We all knew that Sam would be pissed when he found out what Dean had done in letting Gadreel possess him... and that was before we knew about the cost of Kevin dying. So, it really surprised me this week when people seemed disappointed in Sam. It didn't make sense to me.

    I admit it, I do tend to see things more from Sam's perspective, but I love both brothers (like you do) and all I could think about after this episode was how much pain both brothers are in. Not just one of them; both of them. I wanted to tell people to stop judging Sam so harshly. He's in as much pain as Dean, it's just more internalized (because that's how Sam is).

    Clearly I'm way too attached to this show and these brothers ;)

    My main point (which you've also made in your review) is that I think Sam is too caught up in his own grief at the moment to see what this is doing to Dean. But I also have faith that he'll get to the point where he can forgive and understand why Dean had to do what he did.

    When Sam started talking about being brothers, I think he just couldn't find the right words to explain what he means. Unfortunately, by cutting short the discussion like that it's left Dean (and many of us) with the wrong idea about what he was saying. I really just think he was saying they have to work on their relationship because it's broken at the moment (but it's not irreparable).

    Even though the final scene was incredibly painful for Sam and Dean (and for all of us), I'm looking at it with hopeful optimism. Dean initiated the conversation and Sam got back into the impala. They've both taken the first small steps and I think it can only get better from here.

    Oh, and I'm also looking forward - very much - to yoga with Sam next week ;)

    1. It was a good step for them both and I think both of them are tangled up in their own grief and hurt at them moment.

      I must admit I'm quite surprise that people are angry with Sam. I guess I also see this as a no win situation because there are fans that will be angry because Sam has made a stand for what he wants and in doing so has hurt his brother - simply by default and in someway gone against what has alwasy been the heart of this show - but had he not stated his hurt and disappointment and simply forgiven Dean a lot of fans would be angry about that too because Sam wouldn't have been given his right to his feelings and his point of view.

      To me what happened in this episode is the only realitic reaction from Sam. Anything else, well I don't think that would be right for Sam. He deserves to be able say his piece and state how he feels.

      Dean knows he hurt Sam - he said he took a piece of Sam and he knows it - he knows he did wrong. He can't be surprised by Sam's reaction. Maybe by the brother/family thing - but these are the things that need work. The hunting relationship, they have down pat. The brother relationship needs them both to honestly look at it.

      This for sure are the first steps towards that.

  19. I didn't see anger or emotion driving Sam to say what he said in the last scene. I thought he was rational, patient, empathic and very pragmatic. He listened to Dean, heard him out, set him straight on a thing or two and then said what needed to be said. It wasn't about trying to 'break Dean's heart' and Sam being 'well aware of the fact'. It certainly wasn’t about trying to deliberately hurt Dean. Things have gotten too serious for that sort of pettiness. That scene was about trying to get Dean to understand where he was coming from. Their bond, their brotherhood, them hunting together as brothers costs lives. Dean does seem to consider 'family' as a cure all, or an excuse to justify what they do for each other and brush off the consequences of those actions. Worryingly, Dean has already more than implied he'd take the same course of action again if the situation demanded.

    However, Sam was right. Everything that has gone wrong between them is because they are 'family'. They do things for each other that they wouldn't do for other people. They do things for each other that they wouldn't allow other people to do for their own family. And it has cost them and others hugely. John's quest for revenge for Mary ruined their childhood. John's selling his soul for Dean broke Dean. Dean doing the same thing for Sam broke Sam and not only ended up breaking the first seal but drove Sam on the path for revenge which led to the final seal being broken. This season 'family' led Dean to be okay with leaving the Gates of Hell open (which will cost plenty of other people their family) so that Sam would live, and Sam was okay with doing the same thing so that he 'wouldn't let Dean down' again. Dean’s decision to put an angel into Sam led to Kevin’s death which led to Dean getting the mark of Cain.

    Dean would not have talked anyone else but Sam out of finishing the trials. Sam would not have stopped the trials for anyone else but Dean and because of that people will die. If Sam or Dean had been hunting with someone else, the Gates of Hell would be closed now and scores of lives would be saved. Is this not their goal as hunters?

    That’s why it was important for Sam to address the church scene in Sacrifice here. Not only was the church scene diminished by Dean’s actions in season 9 because it turned a ‘declaration of love’ (which was really about how much Dean sacrificed for Sam and how much more he was willing to sacrifice for Sam) into something dark. Love is meant to be about the other person and what they want, not what you need. It’s meant to be about protection, not possession, choice and not compulsion. Add to that, it drove home to Sam just how much their willingness to put each other before anyone else costs. So they can be hunters or they can be brothers, but the way things were going definitely has to change because, under this current regime, being brothers who hunt together does more harm than good.

  20. Hi Amy. Geordiegirl1967 here (struggling to log in to your blog on wordpress)

    We've been trying to have this debate on Twitter but the character limit makes it really difficult so I thought I'd come here.

    Firstly I want to say that I hugely appreciate your (in this case Herculean IMO) efforts to be positive about the show. I have no time for unrelenting negativity and cynicism, and the all-pervasive (it feels sometimes) 'they can't do anything right' attitude that is out there.

    However that doesn't mean I think the show is perfect and there are times, like this, when I am so disappointed in it that it breaks my heart.

    There are 2 ways to discuss the events in this ep; either to discuss their meaning within the story, or to discuss the writers choices behind what they show us on screen. I have issues with both but primarily with the second.

    Your efforts to explain what Sam might have meant, and to put a credible spin on what we saw are fine in a discussion of this one ep (although I don't share all of your conclusions) but my bigger picture question is 'why are we here AGAIN?'.

    This is the 5th season in a row that they have forced us around this hamster wheel of 'secret/guilt/reveal/anger/estrangement/physical reuniting/more guilt and anger/some big moment/honest communication/emotional reuniting/breakthrough/reconciliation and repair' only to dismantle it all and start again the next season.

    We've had;
    s4/5 and the Ruby story. At the resolution of this in Swan Song Dean had allowed Sam to grow up, to make a decision he didn't like and that would probably mean he'd lose him and he backed him on it. They were in the best place they'd ever been then IMO. Good for Kripke. I miss him.
    s6 and the huge soulless Sam mistake (IMO – that wasted half a season) which interrupted the progress they'd made but didn't break anything as it wasn't really Sam. At the end of s6 Sam chose to accept all the consequences of his hell memories rather than leave Dean alone. Not seeing anything broken there. Again they were fine, loved each other and wanted to hunt together / be together.
    s7 and the Amy incident. This was a more minor bump in the road but the writers couldn't resist sending us around that loop again. It was dealt with and they put it behind them.
    s8 was the nadir for me and the closest I've ever come to giving up on the show. When the writers chose to have Sam not look for Dean something broke for me in my relationship with the show. I waited all season for a credible explanation for that ludicrously ooc action and I didn't get it. Worse still JC claimed it was a 'mature' decision by Sam. At that point I lost trust that JC and his writing team actually knew and understood Dean and Sam and their bond. My faith was somewhat restored with Sacrifice but now they are denigrating that beautiful moment and turning it into a bad thing / a manipulation / a mistake.
    Now we have the same boring pattern again.

    We are told that their relationship is broken and needs fixing. a) I don't think it is broken; not perfect but certainly not broken b) If it is broken THEY chose to break it and c) if they intend to 'fix' it I have no confidence in their vision of a repaired relationship. I like my bros codependent. Is it healthy if they were real people? No. But is it part of why I love this show so much and I utterly refute that it is a bad thing / a weakness. It has saved the world and helped them save each other many times.

  21. continued from last post...

    The writers keep on mining the brothers relationship for drama rather than, as they did in the early seasons, having the drama / threats come predominantly from outside the relationship. Yes there were still issues then, but they were much better handled and NEVER forced the audience to doubt for one second how much either of these boys cared about the other.

    As a source of drama the brothers bond is utterly played out IMO. Because we all know they won't stay apart, and they've followed the same pattern of break up / reconciliation with a big bro hug pattern so many times it is now boring for the audience and has lost all its power to shock or move people. It is IMO a huge mistake to keep going round this loop because every time they do it they divide the fandom, make another set of people lose faith in one or both characters (mainly Sam has been the victim of this), and destroy the faith of a proportion of the audience in the strength / importance of the brothers bond. They are chipping away constantly at the foundations of the show and if they weaken them too much the audience will drift away.

    It is great that you seek out the most positive spin on things, and usually I find myself agreeing with you on most points. But I think your efforts here are letting the writers off the hook. Rather than saying 'what does this ep mean' we should be asking 'why are they doing this AGAIN to the audience and to the brothers'?

    My main concern in all this is that I think JC has a vision for where he wants the boys to get to that I simply don't share. I think he wants to get rid of the codependence which I don't want and he wants a 'mature' relationship. Sadly – as he thought Sam not looking for Dean was 'mature' I don't think he understands the meaning of the word.

    Finally – even if I am going to like where the brothers end up, if it only happens in the final ep I will have had to watch many, many eps I don't enjoy for one ep I do. They have to get the balance right. It is irrelevant how wonderful a destination is if you spend all your 2 week holiday getting there, the journey is hell and you can only spend 5 minutes there before you have to set off home again.

    Sorry to go on. I am feeling pretty heartbroken at the moment – hence the long post.

    1. Hi!

      I totally get what you're saying, even though I think we see things a little differently we see a lot the same and I understand your frustrations and have at times shared them.

      I guess I'm looking at what you said from a slightly different angle. If we do keep going on this merrygoround (yes I know it's the writers doing it but I guess I look at it from the story inside the show), that to me does say that the same mistakes will keep happening over and over. I'm like you, I don't want that to happen.

      Dean has tried to let Sam grow-up. I think the end of Swan Song and that conversation on the car where he said he'd back Sam's play was a great moment for that reason. But then he regresses and does things/makes decisions on Sam's behalf that should really be discusses with Sam. He doesn't tell Sam because he knows in his heart Sam won't like it. Sam of course has and does do that too...we all do that and we all also understand why Dean does what he does. But I guess I feel like I understand why Sam, at 30 something, depending on what timeline you are following (!) would find this frustrating. For me, I think this is what he's saying here. I trusted you Dean, you told me I was your number one priority and yet you did something you knew I wouldn't like which goes against what I believed of you. Frustrating and dissapointing and for Sam, at least this is what I think, he doesn't feel like he is being treated with respect in their relationship.

      Of course, we know why Dean did what he did and does what he does and like you, I love that part of their relationship, (By the way, if the shoe was on the other foot, do you think Sam would have done the same thing...I think he would have, what do you think? Be interested to hear that). But I can also see why that wouldn't work for Sam.

      I think Sam wants to feel that Dean respects and trusts him as well as loves him. He knows Dean loves him, but we know he doesn't feel Dean trusts and respects and believes in him - because he's told Dean.

      The whole Sacrifice thing hurt because it's super important to me too. I get why it was used - for that very reason - but it frightens me because it is so important and I don't want that to be lost.

      But I want these brothers off the hurting each other merrygoround. I want them to love and respect each other. I want them to want to be with each other because they want to be with each other. Because they enjoy being with each other through affection, friendship, brotherly bonds. But I feel like we seen too much of them simply being together because they know no other way to be. I want them to know another way.

      I guess bottomline, like you, I just want them to be happy because that makes me happy. I agree, I don't want them to be constantly fighting and betraying each other, but I guess I'm willing to see where this one goes, because if it gets them to a better place emotionally, without losing a bit of what makes them special along the way, then I'm all for it.

      Does that make sense?

  22. This comment has been removed by the author.

    1. nj spnfan left this comment, but his mouse went whack-a-doo and deleted it. He told me I could repost it on his behalf. I thought he made an excellent point which made me think about things! Which is good and bad :D

      Anyway here it is - on his behalf (I couldn't figure out how to restore it properly).

      Sweetondean - If the roles were reversed, I truly don't think Sam would have tricked Dean in to being possessed by an angel to save him because it goes against the very core of who Dean is. That's why Sam raised the issue about the conversation in Sacrifice; Dean told Sam he has always put him first but, in 9.01, his actions to save Sam put Dean's wishes first; as Dean told Sam in 9.10 when Sam said "I was ready to die, Dean", Dean replied "I know. But I wouldn't let you, because that's not in me.". Putting aside the wisdom of trying to close the gates of hell in the first place, if anyone else had been doing the trials, Dean would not have tried to talk them out of finishing. In fact, if roles were reversed, Dean most likely would have finished regardless of Sam's wishes. I realizedthis argument is academic because, no Sam, no show, but I think this gets to the root of Sam's statement that they see each other's roles in this differently, and that something is broke between them.

      If the series had ended with Swan Song, with Dean agreeing to Sam saying yes to Lucifer, I think that "fixed" things as far as the codependency issues between them. But, thankfully, the series continued so they needed to created additional strife, and we're back on the merry go round again. This time, however, it looks as though Jeremy Carver is trying to actually address it once and for all. Both brothers need to change their attitudes/perceptions towards one another; this is going to be tougher for Dean because of his role as parent/caretaker/brother to Sam. It kind of looks to me like there will be a switch in roles for the rest of S9 and in to S10, with Sam having a "human" story arc, and Dean headed down a much darker path.

      That being said, it's fascinating to read everyone's take on this.