Sunday, 22 March 2015

Review - Supernatural 10x15 "The Things They Carried" - Facing The Truth

So I'm back from Vegascon and back at it! Sorry for a prolonged absence. I really did mean to post some guest writer articles, but I got sick and rest between convention stuff became a priority to get me to Sunday in one piece! More about Vegascon later, when I write up something that tries to capture the awesome!

The one thing about getting so sick on my holiday (yes, I was sick for nearly the whole time) was that I was still sick when I got home and couldn’t go back to work! Which meant on Thursday I was able to watch Supernatural as Jared and co. live tweeted it! And Jensen live tweeted that he couldn’t live tweet. GUH! I came home more in love with him than ever, FYI. Damn his Ackleswesomeness.

Do you sometimes forget that Supernatural is a horror show? I do. I mean, I’m pretty in to horror so I think over the years I’ve been somewhat desensitised. And I tend to be distracted by Supernatural’s boy melodrama. Oh how I love a good broment! But every so often, Supernatural cracks out a totally disturbing and totally gross episode that reminds me this show’s roots are well and truly in horror! I still can’t watch “Metamorphosis” – that eating the raw meat…ewww. Or how about “My Bloody Valentine”, when the dating couple chow down on each other…geesh! Or at the end of “Hammer of the Gods” when Pestilence comes into town with all that snot and phlegm (actually, that’s pretty much me since the beginning of Vegascon, damn it).

“The Things They Carried” started out helluva gross and stayed that way! That opening scene was a humdinger! Surely it pushed the censorship boundaries? Supernatural goes to air at 8.30 in Australia, so I’m interested to see if tomorrow night, when this episode airs on Aussie TV, if that scene is at all cut. The sense of menace and horror was pretty high – speaking in censorship language! Then there were the Khan worms, wiggling out of one mouth into another. Good grief. Weren’t they disgusting little bastards. I loved it all!

Coming off hiatus and off the back of the remarkable “The Executioner’s Song” I think we were all rather concerned where we were now headed. Dean was broken down after seeing that Cain couldn’t in fact control the Mark of Cain, and try as he might, he could no longer hide that fear from Sam, who was left worried sick for his big bro.

All Dean had wanted was to believe he could live with that thing on his arm, all he had wanted was for Cain to tell him that he could, that he could control the violence, that he could overcome the Mark. But instead he got the complete opposite. Dean got Cain telling him that Cain would always keep killing, that he could never stop and not only that, Dean received a prophecy about his own future, which aligned him with Cain’s past, full of blood and murder, and of course culminating in the death of his brother at his own hands.

At Vegascon in Jensen’s meet and greet, I heard Jensen talk about how all this has totally devastated Dean, that all the hope he had was in that moment stripped away from him, and all he has left is the knowledge that the thing on his arm will eventually destroy him and those he loves. Dean feels hopeless. Supernatural is going to get dark people, very dark if Jensen’s spoilers were anything to go by.

Of course, Dean being Dean, when we first see him, he’s full of quips and bravado. Continuing on his mission to keep moving forward, staying true to his promise to keep doing the work until he can’t anymore. And Sam being Sam is quietly trying to research on the sly, trying to find something, anything, to help his big brother and stop what is starting to look like the inevitable.

The thing with Sam is, when he gets like this, especially about Dean, when he gets this focused and obsessed, he tends to go dark as well! So on one side, we have Dean being dragged down by the Mark of Cain, and on the other side with have Sam being dragged down by his desire to do anything to help. Of course that’s not happening just yet, but is it just me, or does it look like we could be heading that way. I have to let you in on a secret; I’m shit scared as to where this season is going to end...

“The Things They Carried” saw the return of Cole. I like Cole. I only recently discovered that a lot of people don’t and I was shocked! I’ve enjoyed the introduction of his character and witnessing his rocky journey to kinda understanding. I particularly enjoy seeing the boys through his eyes. It’s always one of my favourite things to see the Winchester brothers through the eyes of those around them. It shines back to us the good and the bad, and shines those things back to the Winchesters as well. Their world can become quite insular and that’s why it’s important to have other characters coming into their crazy circle. Hearing Cole call them the machete brothers, and then hearing him praise Dean as an unsung hero, he really was expressing the two sides of the Winchesters and what they do. They’ve become quite pragmatic about killing, so to have someone come in and say, no we’re going to try and do this different, well I think that’s a good thing.

I like the relationship that has developed between Dean and Cole. Over the years it’s become obvious that Dean Winchester can get along with most anyone. A bond has now formed between Dean and Cole, built around their weird history. I’m hoping that Cole becomes one of those people that just pops up every once in a while in the Winchester’s lives. Now he knows the drill, maybe if he sees anything squirrelly, he’ll call them!

The overarching theme of this episode, beyond the things we carry with us, was that Cole and Kit both had something they couldn’t control living inside them, slowly turning them into a monster. This is why Dean was not going to give up on Cole, because to give up on Cole would be another indicator that there is no hope for Dean. Sure Dean was doing the job that gives him peace, saving people, hunting things, but he was also saving someone from a situation that mirrored his own. Even if on the outside Dean’s saying he’s resigned to his destiny, fighting to save a man from becoming a monster is also fighting for himself. There was no way he was losing Cole and no way he was letting him give up.

“That road? That means giving up. If you think that’s where you’re headed, then you got it ass backwards. You’re gonna fight, harder than you ever have. Understand?”

Who exactly is Dean talking about here?

And though I think Dean feels some responsibility for Cole and the man he’s turned out to be, as Dean was the one who took Cole’s dad, for me, saving Cole was as much about saving Dean as anything else.

Which is also exactly why not being able to save Kit hit Sam so hard. The brothers have had to kill humans who have become monsters before, what Sam did was nothing new. But in this situation, he couldn’t save a man who had something dark growing inside of him, something supernatural changing him. He couldn’t stop this thing from taking over the man and so he couldn’t save the man from becoming the monster.

When Sam was lamenting that he tried, but he couldn’t save this one, you just know all Sam as thinking about was Dean.

Then Dean reminds Sam, “You know you can do everything right, and even still, sometimes the guy still dies.” We all know what Dean’s saying here. Sam knows what Dean is saying here. Cue Sam’s deeply disturbed face and my shattering heart.

Remember when Dean was going to Hell how on the outside he put up the appearance that he was resigned to the fact? And remember how Sam was willing to try anything, trust anyone to stop his brother from meeting that horrific fate? Like I said earlier, is it just me, or does this feel like we’re heading down a similarly terrifying road.

There was also the side theme of killing someone to save them, going on in this episode, which freaks me the hell out. Cole asked Dean to kill him if he went down that road. He was ready to die if he couldn’t be saved. Dean would surely rather die than become the demon he once was. Even though Sam couldn’t technically save Kit, he did in someway save him, because it stopped Kit from killing his own wife. All of this trying to save, not being able to save, having to kill to save stuff is giving me cold sweats! I really felt like this episode was telegraphing what’s to come. It was foreshadowing the shit out of things. ARGH!

I really am scared, guys! Hold me!

I doubt Dean will go full blown demon again (though Jensen indicated he’s going that way in how he’s reacting to things), which leaves the horror of Cain’s words hanging over my head, and horror of one brother killing the other.

From the beginning of season 2 that has been a threat the show has dangled in front of us. Whether Dean was going to have to kill Sam before he went darkside, or because he was soulless, or whether Sam is going to have to kill Dean to stop him becoming a demonic murdering machine. (DAMN YOU TO HELL SHOW IF YOU DO ANY OF THESE THINGS.) Dean never told Sam what Cain said, I feel like he needs to. Even though this season has been full of remarkable honesty, as usual when it gets to the pointy end of things, there are some secrets brewing, and like Charlie said, “Hey Dudes. Dudes. Secrets are bad.”

But our one saving grace is the brothers are so in tune with each other, so caring for each other, so watching out for each other... That’s gotta mean something, right? RIGHT? Just say yes because I’m quietly freaking out over here! And even if Dean says that sometimes they have to face the truth, (Dean, you’re so obvious!), I don’t want to! OH WHO AM I TRYING TO KID, THIS IS SUPERNATURAL, WHICH MEANS PAIN! And Ackles talking about Dean’s path didn’t help me none! Not a jot!

I still believe as it was Cain who killed Abel because of love (in Supernatural’s twist), it’s got to be the love the Winchesters feel for each other that will save Dean. It’s going to be their belief in each other. It’s going to be their trust in each other. Somehow, their love with save the day. Again. Eeep!

It couldn’t be worse that 9x23 could it? (Oh God, it’s going to be worse, isn’t it!)

Where do you think we’re going? Give me your theories!



  1. Was it Zachariah that once said something about not being able to escape your fate? It seems to me that these two boys are destined to keep facing their own internal demons. The demons may change, and it swings from one to the other who is having to face up to it, but there is an ever present threat. It's certainly not unexpected in the work that they do but it is an amplified reflection of what we all have to keep facing up to in our lives. For me, it gives me courage and strength watching them face threats to themselves and each other, and come out fighting until they defeat the evil. It tells me that anything I may have to face can be beaten, too.

    For the Winchester brothers, their lives are so entwined in ridding the world of evil that it's set them so far aside from "normal". Cole's 'Machete Brothers' label isn't too far from the truth and it's wonderful to see Dean and Sam interact with him to kind of rein them back in from losing themselves in the hunting world.

    The darkness they are facing now is scaring the crap out of me. Both brothers are in danger from it.

  2. Cain got the Mark n killed his brother to start the process. So there is some hope that Dean getting the Mark n saving his brother could end it, right? I'm hoping for a mirror image solution that finally ends it, not a repeat that leaves them both dead or worse (and yes, we all know there is worse in the Supernatural canon!). I want to hear God or at least Joshua declaring Game Over. I'd love it if the amulet had a place in that process (I will never believe that Sam left that in the trash, no matter how distraught Dean was when he dropped it there!). And then Sam n Dean having a S11 (or S12??) to get back to basics. Saving people. Hunting things. Ending their disagreements in the car w/a pensive Bitch/Jerk moment that says so eloquently "I don't nec'ly agree, but I hear what you're saying n I'll think about it".

  3. My current favorite theory is "the river shall end at the source". The source of the Blade and the Mark's power came from the original murder. After Dean kills Crowley (who will be resurrected by witchcraft and Rowena) and then kills Castiel (who isn't carrying his own grace so won't technically be dead) his final task will be to kill his brother. Sam has been the only one that has been able to get through to a MOC induced Dean rampage so far. Killing Dean won't be the answer because the murders have to stop (yes Sugar I think you are right). Dean can't kill Sam either but whatever dark road Sam has to travel and whatever it is he has to do I think will cost Sam....big. I think that might be the big cliffhanger for the season. Whatever deal Sam has to make or if he can make it before Dean kills him. I really believe this is going to be a worse hellatus than even last year....and I almost didn't survive that one.
    I like Cole as well. I really don't understand why some fans don't. Travis has done a great job in the role and I would love to see him back. Thanks for your review, I'm looking forward to your convention reports.

  4. The Things They Carried is so much more than a typical MOTW episode. It ties into the theme that Carver has started two years ago, the fight against the boys’ inner monster. I love how each and every episode of the season has flowed into each other giving us such an amazing story of courage, strength and love. This episode is another heart wrenching chapter in this amazing story.
    Jared had given an interview recently in his campaign to always keep fighting and in that interview he said that Sam was suffering through depression during S8. As I have been re-watching s8 with a clearer understanding, I can see in each and every episode that Sam has indeed been suffering from severe depression. I saw it from the very first scene, where we see him despondently leaving the world he clung to as an escape from the horror and loss that was his life. We see his longing and his sadness as he approaches the cabin, knowing full well it will be empty with only the memories that it left behind. For a moment, we saw a sparkle in Sam’s eyes and a smile on his face as he embraces his brother who he believed to be dead for a year, only to be replaced by sadness and guilt and his belief that he once again has failed his brother. With each dig by Dean, Sam begins to sink deeper into that pit of despair, but it’s after hearing his brother tell him that Benny was more of a brother than he had ever been, and soon after learning that his brother would hurt him by leading him to believe what happened to Jess happened again to Amelia, and all to protect a vampire, it’s from that moment on, Sam’s monster had reawakened and regained its strength. This wasn’t done purposely. Dean’s anger wasn’t even with Sam. As we learned in A Little Slice of Kevin, Dean believed that he failed Cas and he believed he had left Cas in Purgatory. Dean’s anger was with himself, but he deflected it onto Sam. Dean’s building up of Benny, well that was as much Dean living in a fantasy world, as Sam had lived with Amelia.

  5. Sam’s monster, his belief that he failed his brother almost destroyed Sam, as we saw in Sacrifice. Sam would rather die than fail his brother again. It’s why he took on the trials, to atone to Dean for disappointing him. He can make it right. He can give Dean the world he wants, and then Dean will be proud of him. Sam just doesn’t seem to be able to see that the world Dean wants has Sam in it. Dean promises Sam that no one come before him, not now, not ever and for a moment, Sam’s monster is seemingly put down. But unfortunately again, the monster is awakened in s9 when Sam finds out what Dean did, but more importantly, that Dean lied. Sam’s belief that Dean trusted him is shattered and Sam is back to believing that Dean didn’t mean what he said, that he saved Sam not because Sam matters, but because Dean doesn’t want to be alone. Once again, Sam is under the impression that he is nothing more than Dean’s failure of brother. Now Sam was drowning from guilt and pain and hurt and anger due to his part in killing Kevin, so it took Sam some time to forgive Dean for the lies, but he did. And never for a second was Sam not by Dean’s side despite Sam’s declaration that he wouldn’t save Dean in the same way under same circumstances. As a matter of fact, each day that Sam’s anger waned, Sam’s need to help his brother grew. In the end, Sam was right by Dean’s side when he was about to face down Metatron, but it was Sam’s inability to save Dean that once again stirred his monster within.

  6. Here we are now and The Things They Carried, reminds us once again of the monster within. The monsters that these boys carry . Dean’s monster seems to be literal. The thing he feared himself to become. The reason he goes to extremes to save his brother. The reason he needs Sam in his life, besides his love for him of course, Dean’s belief that he is in essence no good, nothing more than a mere killer. Now Dean has to face this monster, he has to find the strength within to crush it and believe himself to be a good person and not the killer he always feared himself to be. This it the thing he carries. Sam, well his monster is his belief that he’s a failure to his brother. This is a belief he’s carried and held onto since s3. It’s had its moments of dormancy, but we can see now that this monster in Sam has awoken. We see it in his perseverance to find a way to rid Dean of the MOC. In Sam’s case, I think the way to defeat his monster is to do what it takes for him to save his brother. Saving Dean will allow Sam to see himself as someone Dean can rely on and not as a disappointment. Though Dean doesn’t and has never seen Sam this way, Sam still does. The only way for Sam to conquer this monster is to do everything in his power to find a way to save his brother…This is the thing he carries. As we see at the end of the episode, Sam is determined to do just that.
    I think it’s going to be a dark journey for both brothers. Fighting monsters, especially one’s own , isn’t an easy task. I think that whatever griping Dean may do regarding Sam’s efforts, it’s important that he trust in Sam. Deep down, he may bitch and moan, but it’s something that Dean needs…he’s always needed confirmation from Sam that he loves him like he does Sam. It’s something that Sam needs too…he needs to do for his brother as his brother has done for him so that Dean can see him as something other than a disappointment. Neither is the case of course, but the Winchesters are seriously messed up and I think this is the way to conquer their demons.

  7. I too tend to forget that Supernatural was originally a horror series, before the angst and the intricate myth arcs. This episode certainly brought that fact home, didn't it? The opening especially was so gross I was making "ewwwwee" noises.

    Like you, I really enjoy Cole. I liked the military and international element to this story; it fit Cole's backstory and it was s departure from business as usual. I have been afraid for Cole for some time. Every time he mentions his family I'm afraid he's going to go home to find them wiped out due somehow to his dabbling in the supernatural a la John Winchester. I keep wondering if he (and maybe his kid) will end up in the life...

    Meanwhile, I'm worried sick for our boys. Your little graphic was very apropos! I know the show is all about their suffering but I fear where this is going even more than usual. By the way, thanks for stopping by to say hi at Vegas Con. It was amazing, wasn't it? I was so sorry to hear you were sick during and after. I hope you feel better soon! --Freya922

  8. Hope you are feeling better!

    I am also having a bad feeling about the rest of the episodes because I think they have played a lot a round and over how this might end. Usually the future hasn't been seen so bright with the mirroring and it makes me fear the worse. Made me think I should start to take some drinks while I watch the show. Luckily I am not a drinker.

    Loved your review and I really, really like Cole too and also the actor. He seems to keep in touch with the fans and explain things like the nick names even if he doesn't need to. I actually didn't have problem's with them. Not even Sammy because the point is it was "Sammy-boy" and not just the nickname Dean uses.

    “The Things They Carried” We witness the bond that develops between two soldiers, Jensen (yep, for real) and Strunk. At first they drive each other nuts, but being in the trenches together, the shared stress and horrors, draws them into a deep respect and friendship. They eventually make a pact that if one of them is wounded, the other must deal the fatal blow as a form of mercy.! - Fangasm

    Yeah, the strikes keep on coming. If you know the book then this doesn't sound good either if it is a hint what might happen.

    - Lilah Kane

    PS. This season will be the death of us...

  9. I did love the parallels between the MOTW in this episode and Dean and Sam's journey. Of course Dean was talking about himself when he was telling Cole that he had to fight harder than he has ever fought. That is what Dean is doing. He is doing what he needs to do to deal with his predicament. Working on the family business until he can't do it anymore.

    I do fear for our boys as the road ahead of them will not be an easy one. (And yes, I saw some tweets from someone a week or so back telling us about the finale and that hiatus will be worse for us this year than last. That does not bode well for our brothers, or us.) Nevertheless, Dean may feel hopeless, but I don't think he is completely without hope. Or else he wouldn't have cheered on Cole as vehemently as he did. As worried as I am for Dean and Sam, I also do feel some hope. Like you said, these two have never been more in sync than they are right now. Not even in the earlier years were they this "together". I think the past couple of years and experiences they have gone through have really solidified their relationship even more than ever, if that is even possible. Stepping into each others' shoes, so to speak, over the past couple of years, and seeing their situations through the eyes of the other has definitely helped make their bond even stronger. And, like you said, I don't think Dean will EVER go through with killing Sam. Dean's motto has always been to protect Sam, no matter what. I do believe Sam's motto is the same with Dean. So, for Dean to kill Sam - I don't think he will ever go through with it. He may come close, he may teeter on the edge, but what brought Sam in control of his body over Lucifer at the end of Season 5 will be what helps Dean overcome anything the Mark may encourage him to do - it is love for his brother. THAT LOVE, THAT DEVOTION, will be the one thing that will help Dean overcome anything the MoC throws at him.

  10. As much as I'd like to reassure you and myself to boot, I gots a bad feeling about this one! I'm wondering if this is where Rowena will fit into the mold. If she's that powerful a witch, I'm afraid Sam might turn to her eventually looking for help. You can see it in Sam's face, the way he is turning inside himself. Just like he did in season 3 looking for a way to save Dean, and he turned to Ruby to help him. Both these brothers will go to hell and back for each other. As it turns out, many times over. :(

  11. Another Cole fan here! Like someone else mentioned, I like what he brings to the table. He's kinda like Dean with that bravado on the outside, but underneath you can see the fear and uncertainty. And I think he uses the boy's nicknames to that same affect, so hide what he's feeling all fits with what we know about his character. He plays against the boys well and I like how his relationship with them has changed from one extreme to almost another. Great character. Hope we see him again maybe next year.

    Totally enjoyed this ep, even though the beginning completely creeped me out!!!!! **hands over eyes**

    And yeah, I gotta think that the boy's love for each other is gonna win out in the end (hope hope hope)...although the early pick up for Season 11 is scary because they team had plenty of time to figure out a good cliffie for the end of the year that will torture us all until October. But this season for Sam has been all about his determination to not let Dean down again and i gotta think (hope) that somehow he's able to pull through the dark road ahead and save Dean without sacrificing what he himself is...

  12. "Fighting to save a man from becoming a monster is also fighting for himself." That is the best summary for Dean's philosophy, mission, what have you. Well said.