Sunday, 2 November 2014

Review - Supernatural 10x04 "Paper Moon" - This is Good

This week’s Supernatural left me feeling like I’d been hugged for 40 some minutes! A great, big, warm, Winchestery hug. It was so nice. Familiar. Cosy. It left me feeling happy, hopeful, and of course, a little sad and scared…otherwise this wouldn’t be Supernatural!

I never lose faith in the brothers. I never lose faith in their love and believing in that love, no matter what they’re saying or putting each other through. I don’t mind if they fight, I can easily put up with the lies, because I look at their world as extreme and for me, their actions have always appropriately mirrored that world. And through their missteps, the angry words, the occasional flying fists, I always see the love…because that’s where those hard moments come from. They come from a place of love within each brother, which sometimes comes bursting forth as hurt, or misplaced protection, or bad choices, or harsh payback. But no matter what is happening in their world, what they’re saying or doing, I never doubt that love, because everything they are and everything they do, springs from that.

Over the past 2 seasons, I’ve watched the Winchesters struggle to make some kind of peace with the life they’ve ‘chosen’, tell each other heart felt truths only to trip up again and repeat the same mistakes of the past, face losing each other permanently and realise what they’d do to prevent that, open up to each like we’ve never seen, nearly toss everything away through anger and hurt, yet always return to fight side by side no matter how pissed off they are, and then have fate make them walk in each other’s shoes. I never lost the belief that we were going somewhere good. That rehashing and dealing with so much emotional baggage, even in a hurtful way, was part of a grand journey towards understanding. 

“Paper Moon” felt like a reward! It was everything I was hoping we were working towards. And though this road is always going to be a rocky one, I feel like the bumps just got a little less bumpy. The boys were talking. Really talking. And every word made my heart a little lighter. 

Who would have ever thought we’d see the boys sitting in deckchairs, wearing sunnies and knocking back a few brews by a river, having some “we” time – faithful green cooler between them. I think I had my fists balled up to my face through the whole scene! It felt so wonderful to see them taking time to essentially get to know each other again, obviously both committed to repairing their wounded relationship *insert huge sigh here*. I loved it. I could have watched them just sit for hours. Dean poking fun and Sam’s injury…. Just… Bless them both.

And the talking. How good was the talking? I loved how when they both brought up contentious topics, they made a point to let the other one know that they weren’t trying to start something! So often they jump to the defensive. It was heart warming to see them treading carefully to ensure they didn’t upset their brother and upset the awkward…it was adorably awkward…peace they were trying to build on. 

Not only that, they were being honest with the talking! Sam came clean and told Dean that he’d done other questionable things other than convince the ill-fated Lester into a situation that left him sans soul. He actually told Dean! He told him! He lied at first and then thought better of it! And though I know some fans are all, so what, it’s not that bad, I’m not in that camp, because Sam has never been the torturing kind, not really, We’ve rarely seen him take that route. So yeah, it may be just monsters, but for Sam, I’m sure that’s a line he’s troubled he crossed. And like I said last week, whatever shine you put on the Lester incident, it was an incredibly manipulative and shitty thing to do. Lester lost his soul. Tool or not, that wouldn’t have happened without Sam. Of course, we don’t know much of what Dean did when he was a demon – other than kill some other demons and Lester. If that’s all he did – then he’s right; Sam and him are pretty much on par on this one. Not that I blame Sam, nor am I calling him a monster. He was on a mission and I love him for it. It's just, I see where Dean's worry for Sam is coming from and I liked that he wanted to give Sam the chance to open up about it.

I liked both the conversations around what Sam did, the awkwardness and the awkward honesty. These two have kept secrets from each other for so long, it must have felt so weird to actually tell the truth! And the fact that they both did, shows their commitment to making their relationship right.

Hearing Sam tell Dean how he’d carried Dean’s corpse back to the bunker and laid him out on his bed was heartbreaking. Both brothers have had to do that now. Carry their dead sibling, lay them out and grieve at their bedside. As Sam relayed what he did for Dean, there was no way Dean wasn’t reliving the time he did the same thing for Sam…all those years ago. 

And it didn’t stop there! “Paper Moon” was the gift that just kept giving! Dean admitted he was embarrassed at becoming a demon, and all that followed. It made me so sad. There was such shame in Dean’s voice. And his thank you to Sam for saving him... And then Sam's response... I wanted to kiss him when he told Dean he never had to thank him, not him. Geesh. Perfect moment was perfect.

It was like they hadn’t spoken for years and were now making up time. Through all the hurts of the past and through all the pain they have caused each other…they still keep trying. These brothers will never give up on each other, and that’s why I love them with all my heart.

It was so satisfying to hear the brothers talk like this, and talk so much! It never felt out of character, it was all discomfort and tentative reaching out. It was beautiful and sad and completely awesome. Their lovely hearts were being worn on their sleeves and it was absolute fangirl bliss!


“Paper Moon” also brought back a character from a rather controversial episode, season 8’s “Bitten”. Personally, I liked that episode a lot. I liked the found footage treatment, the monster origin story, the expansion on the werewolf mythology and seeing the Winchester brothers through an outsider’s point of view. I also liked that Sam and Dean let Kate walk. Of course that was during the Dean hiding having a monster for a BFF phase, so there was that as part of his decision! But I always liked that they let Kate go. It felt somehow, evolved.

I love revisiting old characters and I love how these characters are used to reflect the brothers back at us. Kate’s story reflected Sam and Dean’s, which of course, was the whole point. This show loves a parallel! Kate did something questionable to save her sister, which then had terrible repercussions. The brother’s know how that feels. The way they looked at each other when Kate said her sister was family and she’d take a bullet for her. The brothers know how that feels too. How can they judge Kate for what she did, when they've done similar things? It was interesting to see their faces, as Kate relayed her all too familiar story.

I got the distinct feeling that Kate’s story was a whacking great big hunk of foreshadowing. Dean’s troubling comment about the sister being in too deep, that you never come back from that, ever. His comment to Sam about the consequences of saving each other, because even though he’s alive, he still has that mark. And the fact that in the end, Kate had to kill her sister, because even though she did what she had to do to save her, ultimately she couldn’t save her from the monster within. GULP. We’re going that direction, aren’t we? That damn mark is going to keep me up at night! They need to figure out how to get rid of it! But before that happens, I’m pretty sure we’ll see it doing bad things to Dean, and the question of whether he should have been saved and can be saved again, is bound to come up before that nasty assed thing is erased from his arm and his soul! Damn you show, you can’t let me be happy for one moment! 

And as much as this episode left me feeling all giddy with Winchester lurve (if a tad worried about the future), I spontaneously burst into tears at the end…

“I’m just trying to do the right thing, man. Cause I’m so sick and tired of doing the wrong one.” 

Oh Dean Winchester, you break my heart. So much guilt. So much sorrow. So much shame. Don’t you wish you could just sit him down and tell him how damn awesome he is! This is the journey that Carver and Bob Singer spoke of, Dean’s journey to rediscovering he’s a hero. Maybe he’ll actually start to believe in himself. Wouldn’t that be something?

There were so many other wonderful moments in this episode filled with wonderful moments.

I loved Sam yelling at the werewolf about to attack his brother. I loved Dean’s hand on Sam’s back, as he made sure his brother was okay. I loved Sam saving Dean, again, by stabbing the werewolf in the heart because his brother wasn’t able to. I loved how Sam pulled an OMG face at Dean’s sassy “welcome to the majors” come back. I loved the ongoing, “I was a demon/really, I didn’t realise” gag. I loved Dean calling Sam, Sammy. And I loved how worried Sam is about Dean and how Dean isn’t fighting it. 

I loved their super cute Game Warden uniforms. SUPER CUTE! And all tucked in. And all fitted! I loved how many walking shots there were – to the barn – out in the forest. Not only did this make for epic bow-legged porn, but to top it off, wardrobe thankfully put Dean in a rather shorter than usual jacket. Who do I thank for that? I need to send some fruit baskets! 

And I can’t lie…I loved just concentrating on the Winchester’s story for a whole episode. Just us, and the brothers. I loved that.

Suffice to say…I loved “Paper Moon”. It was well paced, had a good story, a returning character I like, neat parallels, scary foreshadowing, and the most amazing, heartfelt brother interactions we’ve seen in a really long time. Adam Glass did a bang up job. I like the way he has grown into writing the boys. I know he loves them like we do, and it shows.

You know, this was the 199th episode of Supernatural. How damn amazing is that! I couldn't help but think about it as I was watching “Paper Moon”. I’ve never watched 199 episodes of any show. Ever. That’s like 143 hours of television or something! Then times that by A LOT, because I watch this show constantly! I've spent a significant part of the last 9 years watching Supernatural. And a signification part of the last 6 years, talking and writing about it. This show has been such a big part of my life for such a long time! And the week after next, we hit episode 200. What an amazing achievement. This show, that for years was in danger of being cancelled. 200 EPISODES! And still more to come. I’m so damn proud to be a fan of Supernatural. 

And “Paper Moon” positioned us so nicely for that 200th episode...with the Winchesters together, because that’s where they want to be. I couldn’t ask for anything more.



  1. Beautiful Amy. Again, ditto to everything you said. The foreshadowing, hmm, I thought the exact same thing when Dean said that to her. 'In too deep, can't come back from that' or something close to that. Until we hear there is a season 11 that is going to really hang over my head and heart!

    Oh, man, my friend just added to my thoughts too. She thinks the Cain and Abel story could still come to pass. In whatever Winchester version the powers that be decide will come to pass. And that could be the uh, cough, end? I can't hardly say that word!!!! EEEK!!!!!!!

    Enough of that! Talking Winchesters, the BEST!!

  2. Sam telling Dean you never have to say that to me IMO also meant you never have to apologize to me ever. Dean reaching out to make sure Sam was ok, the sunglasses, the uniforms, the very worrisome foreshadowing (very worrisome) of what is to come, the parallels to Kate and Tasha and everything in between made this the best brother episode since Sacrifice. Every Sam and Dean scene was golden.

  3. I've had this thought for awhile that when it really boils down to it, Sam and Dean really don't know each other very well. From the moment Dean came to get him at Stanford, it has been one thing after another and I think at some point, it became more about keeping their heads above water and their relationship not exactly suffered but it took a hit. IMHO, they're still the estranged brothers from season 1 in a lot of ways. I keep thinking about the song used near the end of season 1, Triumph's 'Fight The Good Fight' - almost sums up the boys better than Carry On Wayward Son... particularly the part in parentheses...

    The days grow shorter and the nights are getting long
    Feels like we're running out of time
    Every day it seems much harder tellin' right from wrong
    You got to read between the lines
    Don't get discouraged, don't be afraid, we can
    Make it through another day
    Make it worth the price we pay
    The Good Book says it's better to give than to receive
    I do my best to do my part
    Nothin' in my pockets I got nothin' up my sleeve
    I keep my magic in my heart
    Keep up your spirit, keep up your faith, baby
    I am counting on you
    You know what you've got to do
    Fight the good fight every moment
    Every minute every day
    Fight the good fight every moment
    It's your only way
    All your life you've been waiting for your chance
    Where you'll fit into the plan
    But you're the master of your own destiny
    So give and take the best that you can
    You think a little more money will buy your soul some rest
    You'd better think of something else instead
    You're so afraid of being honest with yourself
    You'd better take a look inside your head
    Nothing is easy, nothing good is free
    But I can tell you where to start
    Take a look inside your heart
    There's an answer in your heart

    (Fight the good fight every moment
    Every minute every day
    Fight the good fight every moment
    Make it worth the price we pay
    Every moment of your lifetime
    Every minute every day
    Fight the good fight every moment
    Make it worth the price we pay)

    Melissa (@Melissa2382)

  4. I'm not sure why I'm bothering to comment. You've said it all, Amy. There's pretty much nothing I don't agree with or could add. I love your insights.

    This episode was perfectly paced with just the right amount of brotherly concern, confession and understanding. Where they are now isn't going to be fixed with a simple hug (not that I don't love seeing those hugs!) but by them slowly and surely opening up to each other, honestly and not without some level of discomfort. Neither have their hands clean but finally coming to an understanding is cathartic.

    But, and we know there's a but somewhere... what does having the Mark of Cain still mean for Dean, for both brothers. The heartache and pain isn't over yet, methinks.

    Thank you, again, for speaking my mind.

  5. Two things... speakin' of fruit baskets, are we gonna send appreciation fruit baskets to the studio in awe of the 200th ep AND that musical we've all been asking for? Cuz that would be great, I'm game. Also, the cooler. When was the first time we saw it? I just recently rewatched The Benders and, lo and behold, on the floor under the table where Dean sees the keys.. is a shadowy, creepy lookin' green cooler. Do you think.... ?
    Oh, and three.. thank you Amy. You're the best. I watch the new eps and then listen to you and Jules, then I have to watch them 3 more times to catch everything you've just pointed out to me. This last installment of WOL podcast was especially informative. Loved it.

  6. That was a really good episode, so much brotherly love going on. The fact that they actually talked, nay conversed, was just the icing on the cake. Being in a moving vehicle probably didn't hurt! :) I love the shot at the beginning with the boys in those deck chairs with sunglasses on. Swoon.
    It was nice seeing Kate again, I kept hoping they would give her Garth's phone number. He is after all living the clean werewolf life. That way, she would have a family, cause her sister sure didn't pan out.

    I can't wait for the 200th episode, I'm feeling giddy!

  7. Like FAE's review on the other site and with yours I actually like to read your thoughts but I usually have nothing to add so my writing will be short. Anyway, I liked the episode and the brotherly conversations. They were awkward but they were doing it and being careful at the same time.

    The episode had a very old school feel to it. More like this please!

    - Lilah

  8. Yeah, so your thoughts on these episodes never fail to make me laugh and make me think. Such a fun read and I LOVE LOVE LOVE the energy you have for the show! It's awesome! Bring on 200!