Sunday, 23 February 2014

"Supernatural" Review - Will Sam and Dean Finally Purge Their Inner Demons?

A lot of people have been asking me what my take was on the conversation at the end of “The Purge”. There’s a reason I didn’t write up this episode and it wasn’t because I didn’t like it, or was angry or any of those things. It was because a while ago I stepped away from a place where the commentary on the show was getting me down and starting to affect my enjoyment of it. For a while, I considered giving up writing about the show altogether, because Supernatural is too important to me and I love it too much to have that experienced marred by my inability to separate myself from other’s opinions. That inability to not be affected by other peoples’ anger or despondency or disillusionment is all on me. It’s no one’s fault but my own. But I know I’m not alone in not being able to do this.

So I decided “The Purge” could wait until things calmed down.

Then my elderly dog – he’s 15 – got diagnosed with diabetes (actually on the day “The Purge” went to air!) and dealing with that and what that means and trying to figure out what’s right and what’s wrong has taken up all of my time and emotional energy.

But Harry is doing well and we’re taking it one day at a time as we see how much further our journey together will go. So I guess it’s finally time for me to weigh in on the whole “The Purge” shebang. To be honest, stepping away and allowing myself time to absorb and react without the first bloom of over emotive emotions was probably the best thing I could have done.

I’m an eternal optimist and that hasn’t changed. So let’s get that out there right now. I believe in this show. I believe in the people producing it. I do not believe for one moment they are wilfully or consciously trying to destroy any characters – because, really? I’m not even going to bother with that. I believe in and always will believe in Sam and Dean.

I’m also a realist. I don’t think two men in their 30’s who have been through the kinds of trauma these men have been through would react the same way to each other as two men in their 20’s who hadn’t been to Hell and back quite literally. They just wouldn’t and I’m glad of that. These characters have grown into profoundly deep and thoughtful human beings and I love every aspect of both of them.

I’m also realistic enough to know and appreciate that families fight, sometimes bitterly and violently but that doesn’t mean they don’t love each other and that doesn’t mean they don’t find a way to forgive and move past the anger and end up having a better more honest relationship because of the honesty that at the time seemed hurtful and harsh. Yes, I am speaking from experience.

So do I believe this is the end of the magnificence that is Sam and Dean. No I do not. Do I believe that they can find a way back to each other that has truth and realism and value? Yes, I do.

Had this situation played out any other way. Had Sam essentially forgiven Dean or buried his anger and hurt. Had they simply got on with the family business without any of this being dealt with I would have felt gypped and I know the fandom would have feel gypped too. Sam deserves to be allowed his anger, even if we don’t like it.

I’m reminded of John Winchester when Dean first stood up to him: “…I'm not too crazy about this new tone of yours, but you’re right.” That’s kind of how I feel about what’s happening now with Sam.

Of course his words hurt. They hurt like crazy. I was as gobsmacked as everyone else. But he was angry and was being honest in saying that for him, how their relationship currently is, it’s not working and then there’s Dean saying, well I’d do it again. Red rag to a bull – which is probably why Dean said it. Hurt and angry words usually get hurt and angry words in return…tragically, that’s just people.

But yeah, initially there was a part of me that was pissed. 1. Because Dean’s face and heart was so broken and 2. Because Sam’s words seemed to lack the understanding needed to allow his brother to hear them. Sam said I just want to be respected and have my choices for my own life respected and I would always respect what you want, even if it’s not what I want. Dean heard Sam doesn’t love me enough. I’m not enough.

But hasn’t that been the conversation these two have been battling internally now for 8.5 seasons? More to the point, aren’t these the issues we’ve been dealing with since season 1?

Sam originally left the family business to pursue a dream because his choice for his own life was not being respected.

The Yellow Eyed Demon nailed Dean when he said, “You know, you fight and you fight for this family, but the truth is they don’t need you. Not like you need them.” Right there, that sums up Dean’s greatest fear… still does.

When I stepped back from the emotional upheaval of what transpired after “Road Trip”, I started to see a picture forming – maybe just in my eyes, but…

How I’m seeing all this is that Sam and Dean’s core insecurity/issues/hopes/dreams/needs of their brother have been front and centre from the beginning of season 8. Playing out through Dean’s feelings around Sam choosing a different path when Dean vanished without a trace and now Sam’s feelings around Dean making a choice for Sam that he knew Sam wouldn’t want.

So what if what we’re seeing here is the show finally bringing out these things that have haunted their relationship with each other and their feelings about themselves and letting them actually talk about and deal with them? I mean that would be something right?

The conversations started in season 8 with Dean’s speech about just being a grunt and death is all that awaits him and with Sam’s speech about how he wants to live and he sees a different life, but so should Dean and he’ll take Dean with him to the light he sees at the end of the tunnel.

It was continued in “Sacrifice” with Sam confessing that he’s always felt like he’s let Dean down and that Dean doesn’t trust him and Dean saying there’s nothing past or present that he would put in front Sam.

That conversation was just the very beginning of what needs to be said between these brothers. It was a wonderful moment, a shining light in the series, but it was just a beginning and it was tragically cut short.

And now we find ourselves here…in season 9 with everything coming to a head. It may feel like a backward step, but maybe it’s the only way to revisit and further the conversation that was started in that church.

How can these two move forward in a place of love and trust if they continue to sweep their feelings of doubt, hurt, anger and bitterness under the rug? They can’t and they haven’t since Kripke broke their trust in season 4.

So, I’m not going to sweat this. I’m going to look at this as maybe, just maybe the beginning of them actually dealing with their problems once and for all.

Because I don’t want Dean to live in a state of fear and desperation that at any minute his brother is going to leave him and he’s going to be alone.

Because I don’t want Sam to not trust his brother’s love because he feels like his brother doesn’t believe in or respect him or his wishes.

I want them to know and feel the love that we know is there, always.

The angry words, yeah they hurt and yeah, maybe I’m not crazy about this new tone, but I understand it and I’m hoping that this is the beginning of a better place for Sam and Dean Winchester.

Because, once again, they’re fighting for each other and fighting to stay together.

Sam could have easily not have got in that car or he could have easily just got in and never been honest with Dean about how he is feeling and what he wants. But he didn’t. This is Sam fighting for his relationship with Dean.

Dean could have stayed in the car and let his brother walk away instead of getting out of the car and laying his need and heart out in the open. He could have walked out of the Men of Letters bunker and never looked back after Sam’s words cut him to the quick, but we know he didn’t. This is Dean fighting for his relationship with Sam.

I want what everyone wants. I want the brothers to be all twisted up in each other’s lives but I also want them to be happy about it. I want them to want to be together because they love each other as profoundly as we love them. I want them to be happy driving down crazy street with their brother by their side. I want them to enjoy being brothers again. Enjoy being together. They’ve been ploughing through so much blood and crap since season 4, they haven’t had time to really look at each other. I’m hoping, right now, this is their time.

And when we get there, the result will have so much more value, because it would have be fought for. The best things come to those who never give up…just like Sam and Dean.

You can call me an optimist you can call me an idiot…I don’t really care either way. I believe in Sam and Dean. I believe in their love and I believe in Supernatural. This show is yet to let me down and I know it won’t this time.

So I’m sticking with the Winchester brothers, because if they can fight to stay together, I can fight for them too.

How do I feel about that last scene in “The Purge”? I feel like it could be the first steps towards purging the brothers’ inner demons and the beginning of better times for the Winchesters – well, in their relationship at least - and I can’t wait to see where we go next.

Supernatural might be painful sometimes, but it’s always compelling and thought provoking.



  1. Well said.I complete agree with your assessment. They ARE fighting for their relationship. It's just hard to watch.

  2. Love your view on things..(placement of photos had me stopping for eons to gaze adoringly at Sam's hair!!!!).Thank you for looking at the positive.x0x00x

  3. Yet again you have taken exactly what I think and feel and put it into words. Thank you.

    Yes, this is an incredibly painful journey, but a necessary one in order for our boys to be even stronger together. I have faith that the payoff will be worth it. Like you, I have complete confidence in the creative team to take me on this emotional journey and leave me satisfied.

  4. Amy, THANK YOU.

    I don't think I could have said this better. I believe in Sam and Dean, too. I agree 100% that they must work through all of these issues to get to the other side and BE the stronger brotherly unit that we know they can and will be. It's going to be hard, it's going to be difficult to go through at times, but by God it'll be better in the end. Think of how strong and powerful they'll be when they've actually wrestled these issues and corrected them? They'll be invincible!

    Thanks again. I can't say it enough for writing this.

  5. Theres a reason I love reading your reviews - because you have a way of putting everything in perspective. I love this and completely agree with everything that you say.

  6. Ahhh, thank you for writing this review. You always help me sort out my own thoughts and feelings about this show and in particular where it seems to be headed. Not sure the bumpy ride is over yet, but The Purge was a start and hopefully a step toward what we're all waiting for. #TeamWinchester!

  7. "You can call me an optimist you can call me an idiot…I don’t really care either way. I believe in Sam and Dean. I believe in their love and I believe in Supernatural. This show is yet to let me down and I know it won’t this time."

    This is exactly, what I feel - now, days and days after 'The Purge' when I first was SO angry at Sam. But now, after thinking around it, thinking it further, I know, as you do, that it has to get worse before it gets better and that, in the end, there'll be a new understanding between our boys.
    Thank you for your thoughtful review!

  8. I know you find the negativity in the fandom affects your enjoyment of the show, so I'm almost reluctant to post here. But as someone who, for the vast majority of the show's run has absolutely shared your love of the show, has had the same trust you still have in the writers, and has found the negativity and cynicism of the fandom as frustrating as you still do - I feel I have to say where I am now.

    I have tried, SO hard since JC took over to keep the faith. JCs decision to have Sam not look for Dean shook that faith to its core, but I kept going and eventually was rewarded with Sacrifice. But now I fear that this is a step too far for me. It breaks my heart to even write these words, but I may be done with this show that has given me so much pleasure.

    I sort of agree in principle with some of your blog. Of course honesty has to be the starting point of a good relationship. Of course Sam has a right to be angry etc. But I cannot analyse the event of The Purge from within the story as you have done. To do that you have to believe in that story. You have to be convinced by that world in order to start from 'I can see why Sam....', or 'Dean reacted like that because he....'. For me the characters are being written so wildly ooc, and the writers are so outrageously rewriting the history of their relationship that I no longer buy what they are selling. The real Sam, the Sam I know well from watching 7 seasons of him being consistently, richly and beautifully written, would NEVER EVER have walked away from Dean, Kevin and all his responsibilities as JC had him do when Dean went to Purgatory. And while he'd be angry with Dean over the angel possession, he would never EVER say the things he said to Dean in that last exchange in The Purge. He'd never be so cruel, so utterly cold, so deliberately hurtful with such an absence of any love or gratitude. And he would not rewrite their history in such an uncharitable, and totally inaccurate way like he did in that conversation. Yes siblings argue. But that wasn't really an argument. Those words weren't spoken in the heat of the moment only to be regretted later. Those words were (so the writers want us to believe) carefully and deliberately chosen. Sam would never act the way he did in that conversation and he'd never believe that version of their past. My other major reason for possibly being done with SPN is that I think JC wants to recreate their relationship into one I don't believe in or want to see.

    Sorry Amy. I'm glad you're still staying optimistic. Please don't let my feelings colour yours. But I just wanted to express them as someone who has, up to now, been as positive a fan as you still are. We all have our limits. The Purge was mine.

  9. You are not an idiot, you are awesome! Your synopsis of what is happening was so spot on that I don't really need to add anything to it. I too gasped when I first heard Sam's words, I thought they were a bit mean (and I <3 Sam) and Dean's devastated facial expressions definitely broke my heart. But as you said it needed to happen. I do hope they have another conversation where Sam's intentions can be clarified, because what Dean heard and what Sam said is completely different. I love this show and the fact that we are all on edge and discussing what is going in in the boys heads, dissecting their facial expressions, looking for hints and clues... just means that the writers know what they are doing. Keeping us coming back for more. :)

  10. Thank you Amy for writing your assessment of the Sam and Dean "talk" at the end of The Purge. I was one of those that was really interested in hearing your thoughts and feelings about it, as I think many times we are on the same wavelengths.

    I am in agreement with you that a conversation like this did have to happen. Although, Sam's words did sting "a lot" and emotionally I am still having a hard time with some of the things he said. Pragmatically; however, I do understand the different between what Sam said, and what he meant. I just wish he could have said what he meant in a less hurtful way. However, I really don't think that Dean understands the two, or will ever understand what he said, versus what was meant. When it comes to Sam, Dean deals completely on an emotional level. And that is how he acts and reacts. So, for Sam to dig into Dean on that emotional level, is very hard to watch. I hurt for Dean so much, because I've been there, and felt that sense of betrayal from a family member when they said something in this type of vein. It took me a long time to separate the two meanings with my family, and I do still struggle with that on occasion, but I have mostly come to peace with the whole thing. Dean, is different though, and I don't know if he will ever get to a place within himself where he can look at the whole situation from a pragmatic view, and not an emotional view. But like you said, they do continue to stay together, nobody has left yet, so they do continue to fight for their relationship. I am just concerned about how many more times Sam will make a biting comment to Dean that hits him in the gut before Dean does just up and walk away. I think Dean is closer to that point than he has ever been, and I worry about that. Without Sam, Dean is in trouble. He needs Sam by his side, so I am concerned by Dean, more than I am for Sam.

    That being said, I love your optimism. I need to see that in others, because frankly, while I do still believe in the brothers, I am losing a little bit of faith in JC and the writing team. I know they have tweeted numerous times about their being light at the end of the tunnel, but if we don't see something more positive between these two soon, my faith and hope in them will be gone. So, thanks for your hope. I will hold on to that.

  11. Amen, sister.

    The brothers are at a rocky point right now, but they will work through it and get to a better place. I, too, believe in the show and in Sam and Dean. They ARE fighting for their relationship. Looking forward to the rest of the season, starting Tuesday! Yeah!

  12. Thank you for your review. I knew you would write an unbiased pro brother review. I had a slightly different take on "the conversation". Sam was angry that is true but mostly he just looked sad. When Dean said that Sam being alive was worth it, essentially saying to Sam's mind that Kevin's death was worth it. That was the catalyst for Sam to speak his mind. He knew what he was saying was hurting Dean and he took no pleasure in it. Dean has never been possessed. He doesn't know what it feels like to watch helplessly as his body is used to kill innocents. I don't think that Sam could ever make Dean understand what that feels like. Conversely Sam has never been in a situation where he could make a hasty, hail mary decision that would save his brothers life. When Sam told Dean that "same circumstance" he would never put Dean through that kind of nightmare he really looked like his heart was just as broken as Dean's. Sam would die for Dean we know that. At this point in the story Sam feels that he would have limitations on what he would do. But I have a feeling that is going to be tested. These two are just about as broken as I have ever seen them. But like you said they are still there. Neither one walked away (well yes Sam did go to bed). Just because it is broken doesn't mean it can't be fixed. I have great faith in this show, however this is going to be a bumpy ride and I think it will test the fandom. I have said this before Jared and Jensen are very protective of their characters. They are not going to let them be destroyed beyond redemption.

  13. Excellent thoughts that I agree with wholeheartedly. I'm looking forward to seeing where this is all going. I am hopeful.

  14. Welcome back to us Amy, your insight has been missed :o)

  15. Amy - always enjoy your optimistic which I happen to agree with. The worst thing that could have happened is if they got a couple of wins under their belt and just swept this under the rug. This is something that needs to be resolved once and for all and I'm glad Sam is sticking to his guns on this one. Yes, Sam was harsh in the last two episodes but I was gobsmacked when Dean said, same circumstances, he'd do it all over again.

    But, you're right, if they didn't want to fix things Dean wouldn't have reached out to Sam and Sam wouldn't have gotten in the car with him. And, even though Sam said what he said to Dean about not being brothers, that was one angry moose when he found out his brother had been drugged, so his reaction said otherwise.

  16. Thank you for this Amy. I am so with you on this. That last conversation broke my heart, but I see it as the brothers finally telling each other the truth, and you know what? The truth hurts. I can be pissed off at one of my brothers or my sister, but I usually swallow that hurt, and then it's too late to say anything about it. I love them, and they love me, but yeah, sometimes hearing the truth about your feelings is best for everyone.

    I believe our dear boys, or rather, men, are going to make it through this, and they will be better for it. I have faith in the writers and TPTB to take care of the Winchesters, because otherwise, there will be one big angry fandom on their asses! :)

    1. Sorry Sylvie, but do you REALLY believe that what Sam said to Dean in 9.13 was 'the truth'? Do you think Sam actually thinks Dean is selfish, has done more harm than good, was totally responsible for the decision not to close the gates etc? I don't believe those are 'truths' any more than I buy that Sam would even think, let alone say those things. Sam is a lot of things but a cruel liar? No. I think Sam was written completely out of character in this scene.

    2. the fact that Dean knew Sam would never agree to being possessed, but went ahead and tricked him in to being possessed anyway, not honoring Sam's wishes, tells me there was a level of selfishness in Dean's decision. That wasn't the only reason but it certainly played a large role in Dean's deceptive behavior. And Sam never said Dean was totally responsible for talking him out of closing the gates of hell, I viewed this as Sam questioning Dean's motives for doing so.