Sunday, 16 December 2012


We’ve spent the first half of the season in lively discussion of Sam’s arc, the brother’s relationship and what the angels are up to. Now as we suffer through the hellatus, it’s time to delve into the really deep issues….

Is season 8 the Best.Sam.Hair.Ever?

Does Dean look better with blood and grime on his face or freshly showered?

Could Castiel’s eyes be any bluer?

Whether it’s Sam’s bulging biceps, Dean’s precious smattering of school-girl freckles, or Cass’ flawless profile. Maybe Bobby’s beard did it for you, Garth’s sparkling personality, or the way Chuck wore that bathrobe. Here’s your chance to revel in the gifts we’ve been given…the perfection that is, the characters of “Supernatural”.

So come on in…talk tight t-shirts, bare-feet, bandy-legs, eyebrows of porn, your wish for a deep and meaningful conversation between Sam and Dean while they’re only wearing towels (come on, I KNOW that’s not just me!), or the profound attraction of a character’s heart and soul (if indeed, they have a soul) …. Whatever pops your cork!

Dive into the shallow end of the pool! Dip your toe in! As The Winchester Family Business presents...Let’s discuss the pretty....   
Click here to join the conversation!

sweetondean is Chief Editor and a staff writer for The Winchester Family Business

Sunday, 2 December 2012

Review - "Supernatural" 8.08 "Hunteri Heroici"

What’s up Doc, indeed!

I grew up on Looney Tunes cartoons. They were a staple of my TV watching diet as a kid. They were on all the time. Hell, the channel I work for now still plays Merrie Melodies in the afternoons! I was never a fan of Bugs – that insect-rabbit hybrid - I thought he was a bit of a tool. I loved that sheepdog Sam and the wolf Ralph (who by the way, looked exactly like Wile E. Coyote! Did they not think we could tell)? But my favourite was always Road Runner and Coyote. I loved all the crazy things that Coyote came up with to try and catch that bird!

So here we have an episode of “Supernatural” that manages to somehow, in a way only “Supernatural” can, bring into play the ridiculousness of the cartoon world, making it seem perfectly acceptable and sensible, while delivering us a poignant story about fear and loss, where the monster of the week is actually a human…and not the human at the centre of the story, Fred.

The anvils, the X marks the spot, the huge firecracker with the red and white stripes, the floating in mid-air before the fall – though that guy should have turned and looked at the camera and waved…or held up a little sign saying “Help” - the convenient holes that can get you from one place to next, who hasn’t wanted one of those holes to toss on a wall at some point, Dean Winchester frozen mid-air with a comic sans title, “Hunterus Heroicus”. Damn, I laughed so hard at that. Big, loud, explosive laugh!  I always say, if I won the lottery all that anyone would see is an Amy shaped puff of smoke followed by an Amy shaped hole in the wall. Right? This kind of cartoon trope has been a part of my life for all my memory. So guess who giggled with glee throughout “Hunteri Heroici”. It was a lovely mix of pathos and the preposterous. Plus there was a talking cat…called Bob…who was voiced by Bob Singer…"dumb-ass".

But, in true “Supernatural” form, all the funny was simply a front for some very serious goings on and Fred Jones’ cartoon, dream world life, allowed us to delve into the mind set of not only Sam, but also Cass. We saw how sometimes to escape facing a situation or facing the truth, we create another reality for ourselves, even if we know that it’s never going to be possible to maintain. When faced with the realness of life, of our past, our actions, our pain, the pressures, the stress, the commitments, we try to escape by painting a picture of our perfect life, want we think we want to be doing, how we think we want our life to look, just so we don’t have to face the real thing and cope with all the hurt.

For Castiel it was about not dealing with Heaven or the angels, not facing what he did when he Leviathaned out, not facing the devastation he caused to the Heavenly Host. He was scared that if he saw what had become of his old world, he might not survive it. He was scared he might kill himself. But he’s an angel, he still needs to help people and he’s happiest with the Winchesters, so for Cass his dream world became Winchesters+Helping=Happy. Consequently, Cass decided to become a hunter, because that’s easier than the alternative he just can’t face.

Then we have Sam….

Ok, so what are we to make of Sam’s flashbacks? Is it all real or is it all a fabrication of his mind?

I’m tending towards real, mostly, though I still think that how Sam remembers and what it was actually like in the relationship may be two different things. I’m struggling with the notion that he has created Amelia, that he was locked in a padded room somewhere or just driving the back roads and living in his mind, that their love affair is a complete fiction, but I’m ok with the notion that he’s romanticised the crap out of it, if only due to the dreamy, glowing, state the flashbacks appear in. I think she exists. I think Sam and Amelia had a relationship. But I’m not convinced it’s the one we’re seeing through Sam’s memories.

“Look it can be nice living in a dream world, it can be great I know that and you can hide and pretend all the crap out there doesn’t exist, but you can’t do it forever because eventually, whatever it is you’re running from it’ll find you, it’ll come along, it’ll punch you in the gut and then you gotta wake up because, if you don’t, then trying to keep that dream alive will destroy you, it’ll destroy everything.”

I think Sam’s speech to Fred can be taken a couple of ways: 1. That Sam was living in a literal dream world and he’s starting to understand that now and see the cracks. Or 2. That the world he chose to attempt to live in when Dean disappeared, is a figurative dream world, as in it’s a fantasy existence that could never been maintained because of who he is, what he knows and what he’s been through. I’m leaning towards 2. Because, if you look at the words Sam says to Fred, he could even be describing his attempt to leave the family business and go to Stanford, his attempt to live an everyday life with Jess. Back then, he was punched in the gut when the life that he was trying to leave behind, found him and called him back and that dream of a life with Jess went up in flames quite literally. All that followed nearly did destroy him and he was consumed with revenge and nightmares and insomnia. Now he’s reliving a similar situation. He tried again, to embrace an everyday existence, this time with Amelia, even entertaining thoughts of going back to school, but his old life…his real life if you like, pulled him back to hunting. Another punch in the gut from reality. (By the way, I’m not talking about Dean and I’m not blaming Dean for pulling him back in either time, I think hunting is what he’s meant to be doing – no escaping it). Yet, intellectually anyway, Sam appears to be saying that he knows that the life he was leading with Amelia is a dream that can’t survive and if he doesn’t let go and move on, it will destroy him and destroy everything around him, including his relationship with his brother. He can’t pretend the crap out there doesn’t exist. Maybe this was Sam coming to terms with his issues with hunting. Maybe this was Sam realising that, regardless of what he thinks he wants or what he once wanted, this life now, the life of a hunter, is the life that will always chase him down and punch him in the gut and he can’t run from it any more. It's what he's meant to be doing. As much as the Winchesters are all about free will, there’s a great big dollop of destiny in their story as well.

It’s interesting really, because Dean went through exactly the same thing when Sam jumped into the pit. He always thought he wanted a family. He hung on to the notion of this one woman after a brilliant weekend of what sounds like totally awesome, acrobatic sex! He then reconnected with her and by now she had a kid and it seemed to be everything Dean had always wanted. It was a dream that he never quite let go of. When his brother was gone and he was left alone not knowing which way to turn, he turned to Lisa and to that dream. But he discovered that he couldn’t ignore that the crap out there does exist and this dream world life, could not been maintained. That it would destroy him and everything he loved in its wake.

Dean learnt that the dream of a family was just that, a dream, and it helped him move forward to accept, even through dark times, that he is a hunter and that’s his future. Maybe this is why Sam has gone through the same thing, the same search, the same desire to live out what he always thought he wanted, only to discover, that saving people, hunting things, the family business, that driving down crazy street, next to Dean is where Sam truly belongs.

It makes absolute sense to me that the brothers would both be searching for family and comfort and love, because they were raised without those things, in an everyday context. Yes, John loved his boys, yes they were a family….but that traditional family notion was not something that existed in their world and you can be sure they looked at the other kids at school and wished they could be like them. We saw that in Sam’s Heaven...where he also had a dog coincidentally…but I bet you anything, Dean entertained the same dreams when he was a kid, bravado aside.

Now…the one fly in my it’s all real if a somewhat romanticised notion of Amelia and Sam’s relationship ointment, is Amelia’s dad, Mr Thompson. It was interesting that Mr Thompson was played be a recycled actor; Brian Markinson. We last saw Brian as Jerry in “Phantom Traveller” and as that character he’s someone who knew John Winchester and knew the boys. It’s probably nothing, he’s a Vancouver based actor and lord knows over the 8 seasons we’ve seen plenty of recycling (like the old woman in the home being the knife wielding old woman from “Bedtime Stories”) but what made everything in my body prick up was when he started on about John. I mean, who does that, come in and just start to bitch out someone’s dead dad? Sam was so proud when he rattled off John’s Marine unit and he was ripped right down. I thought that was very strange and totally rude! So what if Sam was using someone from his past, someone who knew him and his family, putting that person into his dream world to say the things in his own mind that he couldn’t say out loud. Basically the whole interaction with the dad and what he said to Sam was pretty much what I think Sam would have already been beating himself up about. It was almost like the dad was Sam’s inner monologue.

Sam’s a college dropout. A real fixer-upper. Sam’s a runner. He’s got the look; “The one a lot of guys get after they’ve been through the meat grinder the one that lets you know they’ve seen a lot of crap they can’t forget. The second their feet hits solid ground they start running and don’t stop, not 'til they find something to hang on to.”

Even the conversation between the dad and Amelia was interesting; “If Don saw you like this…you need to come home” “Is that why you’re here, to drag me back?” “It won’t last….you are living in a dream world” “I’m happy dad and I haven’t been happy in a really long time.” Maybe Amelia is representing Sam’s subconscious too? And I swear to God that when Sam and the dad are washing the dishes, Sam presses into his “Stone number one” hand and gives it a good rub! Was this Sam’s mind subconsciously trying to sort out reality from fantasy, just how Dean showed him to, or was Jared just rubbing the soap off!

Then we had the chat about Dean…which was brilliant by the way and so sad, because you could see Sam’s pain and you could see him try to pull himself back together and shake it off and refocus on Amelia. But that conversation was interesting too because of how it started, because of the beer. We specifically saw at the beginning of the episode, Dean come out of “Big Ryan’s Gas and Sip” with two bottles of soda that he popped the caps off with his knife, or what ever. We are literally focused on the bottles. The shot of Dean opens on the bottles as he pops their caps and then we pan up as he hands one bottle to Sam. Then we see Mr Thompson do exactly the same thing, which triggers Sam to start talking about Dean. Then ring, ring, oh heys Don’s alive! What?! And yeah, Don/Dean, come on!? There must be something in that. I saw someone on twitter saying something about Dean’s rule that you, “Don’t take a joint from a guy named Don” and I thought…oh man, now I have to add that into the mix! Once again…is Sam integrating things into this dream world from his real life? Maybe this is something Dean had said to Sam in the past?

Wow. I think just did a full circle! Are you confused? I am! Ok, I think that Amelia is real. I think that we’re going to see her in the present, but what I’m wondering is, was the relationship not quite how Sam is remembering it? Is his perception all screwed up? Has he dressed it up in his mind to represent the dream of the life he thought he wanted? Has he blown it up into more than it was and maybe even created new scenarios and incorporated people who weren’t there? In his lost and broken state, did he create something bigger to hang on to? Which would mean even in his dreams, he’s beating himself up over his past and his choices. Aw man...that’s so damn sad.

One thing I really hope is that it wasn’t Don lurking in the shadows in the opening episode, because that would be lame and a major disappointment! I mean BIG! I would be bummed out! Though that scene makes a buttload more sense if the dead husband is still alive. That could’ve been Sam and Amelia’s last night together. That’s why he sadly slipped out. That’s why she watched without saying anything. They’d discussed it. He was leaving before Don returned. Unless Sam made Don up, or Don represents Dean coming back, or it was Sam watching himself in his dream, leave his dream..... KABOOM! Mind splat....and round and round I go again!

Of course, then we bring the whole angel mess into the picture and I can’t help but wonder if the angels bought Don back to push Sam out, to get him to find Kevin and the tablets because they knew Crowley and his henchmen were circling. Because, how long did the army think Don was dead for? I mean it was quite a few months yeah? He wasn’t M.I.A. he was dead! So…that’s either one monumental blunder on behalf of the army, or the angels are up to no good! Blah! Who knows! A gal could go crazy thinking all this stuff through! And while I’m just freaking my head out, I want to know who the “they” were who told Benny about the Purgatory hole? Huh? Huh?!

Also, I’m starting to think that Sam’s flashbacks are supposed to be purposefully jarring. They seem to pop up at times that, well, are a little off-putting. I’m starting to wonder if there’s method to this madness, because by showing the flashbacks as incongruent to the story and by showing them to be so different in vibe to everything else going on in the Winchester's world, by having them jump out and bite us on the ass, we are shown, very obviously, that there’s no room for that kind of world in Sam and Dean’s world. This kind of happy domestic scene will always be a bad and awkward fit for Sam and Dean’s life, so maybe this is why the flashbacks feel so out of place, because they are out of place and they are meant to emphasise that point to both us and Sam.

Phew….my brains hurt!

Sam’s speech to Fred was also the jumping off point for Cass to realise; he can’t run from his life either. As he said to Dean, “I know I can’t run anymore.” So he decides that he must face Heaven, what he did and the outcome of his actions. But Naomi has other ideas and zaps him out mid-sentence to tell him no…you can’t come back to Heaven. You’ve got to wonder why? Why does she need to keep him earth bound. My guess is that the angels that pulled him from Purgatory, did it on the down-low and the other angels don’t know Cass is back. I’d also say, that regardless of Cass’ misdeeds in Heaven, he still has supporters there; we saw that in “Reading is Fundamental” with Inias and of course with the poor, unfortunate Samandiriel AKA Alfie.

Dean seemed pretty good in this episode though! Yay! I mean, at least one of them seemed to be doing ok for a minute! It probably won’t last…. I’m happy to see that he’s happy to have Cass back and I was also happy to see that he didn’t get mad when Cass yelled at him, instead he tried to get the angel to open up. He thought there had to be some level of understanding between them because of their shared Purgatory experience and maybe he could help Cass acclimatise, but really, it was all the stuff prior to Purgatory that was making Cass sweat. It was interesting that Dean said it took him a few weeks to find his sea legs after he got puked out of Purgatory. He seems to be doing much better now. I know a lot of people have been worried about Dean’s PTSD and that it may have been dropped, but I’ve always figured, Dean came out feeling like he had a new focus on what he does in his life. A new focus on hunting. Sure there would have been an initial shock coming back to the real world and trying to reintegrate and we saw a bit of that. He saw and did some stuff in Purgatory I’m sure he’d rather forget…but that could be said for his entire hunting life. 

He said the experience was “pure” and I definitely got the vibe that he didn’t necessarily hate it there. It honed his skills and made him realise he was real good at this stuff. So for me, I’ve never been too bothered that we haven’t seen him falling apart at the seams. It makes sense to me and to be honest, I’m just so damn happy not to see him with a scotch in his hand bemoaning his life, that I’ll roll with just about anything. But the PTSD thing (which I had to look up initially because it was not something I was familiar with) has never fazed me because I was never on board with it. I’m happy that Dean seems happy to be hunting. That he came out of the experience cleansed of season 7’s God-awful depression! I’ll take this Dean gladly.

I thought Cass was such a treat in this episode. I love him when he’s all awkward and not understanding the reference. No one was making fun of him either really, which was great. I mean they weren't putting him down when he didn't get it. They just kind of giggle to themselves and then explained. I totally dug his face when Dean asked if he could move the anvil. Cass looked at Dean like, “Of course I can…human gnat.” But, we can’t have him fixing everything left and right or healing people here and there. So, I’m pretty happy he’s decided hunting is not for him. Cass as the third wheel is not what I want to see. Third wheel…bless him. I did love him in this one though, like, so much. The closing scene of this episode was gorgeous, just gorgeous, with Cass sitting with Fred and listening to the music in his mind. It felt so peaceful. Cass looked totally angelic.

It was also wonderful to have an actor of Mike Farrell’s standing on the show. I grew up watching re-runs of M.A.S.H. and by the time I watched it, Trapper John was well and truly gone and BJ was Hawkeye’s sidekick, so I grew up on Mike Farrell. He was great too huh? Just really, I don’t know, lifted the scenes somehow by his presence. Not that our guys weren’t doing amazing work as usual, they were. They turn in the goods week in, week out. And when it comes to the comedy, Jensen and Misha, in particular, just kill it. I think the level of acting this season has once again stepped up a has the pretty. For goodness sake. All I could think in that scene with the wife and the mistress was, how are those two actresses even remembering their lines with those 3 standing in a row in front of them! P-lease!

There were a couple of other things that I wanted to mention that I really dug.

I thought Sam shoulder checking Cass out of the Impala was bloody hilarious. Both of the boys said “NO” when he asked if he could travel in the front seat! Gosh that made me laugh. I loved that Roman Enterprises got a mention. I geek out over stuff like that. I thought it was equal parts ridiculous and hilarious that their FBI alias’ were Crosby, Stills and Nash. REALLY?! I loved that cop. She was awesome and I loved that she called Dean Scully, because we all know it was always Sam who was the red headed woman! I loved that Mike Farrell’s character was called Fred Jones. This, I assume is after Chuck Jones and Fred “Tex” Avery, the legendary Looney Tunes directors. Whose stuff was Cass going through on the bed in the motel? He was going through, what I assume was one of the boy’s toilet bags, with way too much interest! That was peculiar. I also love his “I’ll watch over you” line. Awkward!

You know what I thought would have been funny though…did you see Dean checking out the nurse when the old lady was chatting up Cass/Charles? Dean’s tongue should have rolled out of his head like you know, how it does with the wolf in the cartoons. Or maybe his eyes could have stood out on their stalks. Or he could have banged his foot on the ground and howled, “Owwooooooo” Ha! This is why I’m not writing the show...and obviously I’ve seen way too many cartoons!

So I’ve watched “Hunteri Heroici” errmmm maybe six times now and each time I love it a little more. Which is so interesting to me, because as most of you know, I love the angsty episodes best. But the thing with this one was, though it played for laughs, it had a hell of a lot of heart and a hell of a lot of character reveal and it set up more of the mystery around the angels and around Sam. The best funny ones always propel the mythology some how. I applaud Andrew Dabb. I think he did an excellent job with this episode…maybe the dude should always write on his own!

Ok…well, I’ve gone on long enough. Let me know your Sam theories and what you thought of the episode. Next week is the mid-season finale and I have a feeling we’re all going to be hurting like crazy after it… so until then…thanks for reading and…that’s all folks!


sweeetondean is Chief Editor and Staff Writer for The Winchester Family Business

Monday, 19 November 2012

Review - Supernatural 8.07 "A Little Slice of Kevin"

Maybe I should be disappointed that “A Little Slice of Kevin” showed no aftermath of the war of the Winchesters from the week before. I was expecting some tension, possibly a little hostility, definitely an undercurrent of anger. Maybe I should be disappointed that we didn’t get that. But, I simply can’t seem to give a damn, because what we got was a blessed relief. I love the angst, I really do, I can’t help it, I love that these two boys run deep, but I love the brothers getting along, caring for each other, sharing emotions, supporting each other, sooooo much more. It was a tiny bit jarring, for about 32 seconds, until I went….”Ahhhhhhh, I remember this and it feels goooood!” I know we’re going to see the anger again, I know those feelings of doubt and mistrust, the issues of the season, are still there, just under the surface, nicely fermenting, I know the angst will be back, but until then, in this quiet moment….I’m going to just bask for a little bit, in the warmth of the Winchester’s glorious bro-ness and dare to dream that this episode showed progress in their healing and could be that step in the right direction we’ve all been hoping for.

“A Little Slice of Kevin” had a very familiar vibe and I mean that in the best possible way. The brothers appear to be on the same page for once (even if we know it won’t last – *cough* Benny *cough*), we have a big Heaven vs. Hell – angels vs. demon thing brewing, we had classic characters such as Crowley and Castiel back in play, we had angel wings, the demon knife and witches and we opened with the Impala purring her way down a back road, classic rock blaring as Dean shoved junk food in his mouth. Happiness…the whole lot of it.

There was plenty happening in this episode and it charged along at a break neck pace. We were brought back to the big mythology arc of the season, the God rock thing. The Word of God tablets and that concept was expanded upon. We were introduced to a new notion of how the prophets come to be…which is very Buffyesque, in that there can be only one. One dies and a “potential” prophet is activated. Though, I always thought the Leviathan digging up that first God rock activated Kev? Maybe he just wasn’t needed before then? I put my fingers in my ears and went “la-la-la” when Chuck was mentioned as presumed dead (la-la-la); I can’t and won’t accept that! Nope. Because, you know, maybe he was more than just a prophet? And hey, there were times when there were two slayers, so maybe there can be an spare prophet now and then! (Going to my happy place where Chuck’s ok).

But of course, the big story was Castiel. He’s back and he’s not crazy. Thank goodness. He’s much closer to the Castiel of seasons 4 and 5, when he’d rebelled and started to find his own path, but was still sane and angelic. My favourite Cass. I’m glad that Purgatory healed his mind, even if it hasn’t totally healed his soul…which technically he doesn’t have, but you know what I mean.

For now, Cass bought with him mostly questions and not many answers, but he does have answers and I’m hoping that his reintroduction into the Winchester’s world will give him a chance to fill in some of the gaps for both brothers. I mean, he knows Benny. Sam and him should definitely have a little offline on that particular subject! I was as suspicious as Dean of his story about not remembering anything until we saw that the angels were up to no good again. I’m glad he’s not wilfully hiding stuff, even if he’s going to be unwittingly hiding stuff. Boy, poor little guy. I’d like everyone to be able to mend and move forward this season, from all their past transgressions! Time to deal and move on.

I totally dig this idea that God had someone jot down his thoughts as a worst-case scenario handbook for the human race. It opens up a whole range of possible story arcs. That Transformer Archangel Metatron was quite the note taker. There are a few God rocks out there dealing with different Heavenly issues. The Leviathan rock, the demon rock…and what else? An angel rock? Please let there be an angel rock! With specific instructions on how to kick their meddlesome butts!

Gah. Angels! Until “Supernatural” I thought angels were nice! I have friends who go on about angels and look at me weird when I try to explain that you can’t trust them! Then I remind myself, once again, that this is just show (shut your mouth)! Anyhoo… the angels are interested in the Winchesters and they’re using Castiel to spy on the brothers and report back, without Cass’ knowledge. Manipulative S.O.B.s!

So what do they want? Well, I’m thinking they probably don’t want the gates of Hell closed anymore than the denizens of Hell would. Because if the place is on lockdown, where do all the evil souls go? Do they just linger around on earth like nasty bad smells? Or do they head skyward? Also, I think the angels like the idea of Hell and the balance between good and evil. Because if those gates are forever locked and no one gets punished for their sins, then what happens to humanity? Would we all run amok without the threat of fire and damnation hanging over our heads? So, I think we might find out that neither party wants Hell’s gates closed for eternity.

My other thought was, as I mentioned, there might be an angel rock out there, as part of the compendium of tablets that has been created. If there is, would it have information that would help the Winchesters pop those pesky winged annoyances back behind the pearly gates for all time? I’m sure Sam and Dean would be quite keen on that idea. I’m kind of keen on the idea! I’m sure the angels would not be keen on that idea at all! Or maybe it contains information that could give Crowley control over Heaven? That would be problematic for them!

I’ve also been toying with the notion that the angels now running the big show, are of the same thinking as the late Archangel Raphael, in that maybe they want to kick-start the Apocalypse Part Deux, go back to the original plan. Maybe this is why they need to keep an eye on the Winchesters. Maybe they’re hoping to use their bodies (aren’t we all……..) as the vessels of the end game reboot. Maybe that’s where all this is going. Can anyone say season 10? “Whatever you do, you will always end up... here. No matter what choices you make, whatever details you alter, we will always end up... here.” Stop that Amy! I really hate that thought. I don't want this at all by the way. I’m going to angel wipe my own mind!

Obviously whatever the situation, the angels are not going to want the King of Hell to get his grubby little mitts on the Word of God. So it could just be, that they let the Winchesters fight the fight and then they swoop in and grab the prize. Sounds like angel behaviour….

Of course there’s nothing at all to suggest any of this yet, but…I just don’t trust those conniving winged bastards! I do quite enjoy them though and Naomi seemed kind of cool, if treacherous and a tad buttoned down. It’ll be very interesting to see how she and the angel scheme plays out.

Not only are the angels spying on the Winchesters, they’re playing with reality….which made me go, hang on, what does that mean for the big picture? Carver has said from the get-go that season 8 is all about perception. How one person sees an event can be different from how another person sees the same event. How we the viewer are currently seeing things, may not be how they end up being revealed. The angels are popping Cass in and out without his knowledge, without the brother’s knowledge. He’s compelled to be honest while in Naomi’s office of honesty and then he doesn’t remember being there when he’s zapped back to earth and no one misses him. So the angels are playing with time, space and truth.

The angels dragged Cass from Purgatory and expunged his memories. By the way…Illinois? I wonder how close to Pontiac they were? Is there an angel portal there or something, where they can travel to the other realms? Seems odd that Cass and Dean would both be rescued by angels in Illinois. Jimmy Novak was also from Pontiac, Illinois. Curiouser and curiouser.

So is anything else being affected by the angels and their mind games. Sam for example? Are we’re going to find out that Sam’s been manipulated by the angels into not looking for Dean, choosing a different life or meeting Amelia. Did they throw the dog in front of his car (!), or could they have messed with Sam’s mind and make him assume Dean was dead? Or, and I think this is more likely, did they, ‘push’ him to go to the cabin that night to find Dean? Maybe it was one of the angels lurking in the shadows watching Sam as he left? And if that was the case, it brings us back to, why do the angels need Sam and Dean together? I’m guessing they never expected Dean to get out. Maybe Benny was a fly in their ointment. But with Dean back topside, did they then want Sam to find him for some reason? Or is the fact that they are now together back on the job, a worry to the angels. Did they try to keep them apart but, couldn't overcome their Sam and Deanness bond? So many questions.

I don’t want to find out that Sam’s entire year was a manipulation. Personally I like that he made those choices for himself, as controversial as they are, I like that Sam made decisions for his own future, whether we all agree with them or not.

Sam had what I thought was the most telling line of the entire episode, when he said to Dean “"Survivor's guilt? If you let it, this is gonna keep messing with you, you gotta walk past it." Was this Sam letting Dean know what he’d been through? Certainly Sam has gone through survivor’s guilt more than once when it comes to his brother and in the past, he’s not done so well. But this time around, did Sam find a way to “walk past it” and become a healthier person for it? Once again, here we have a case of perception. Dean sees it as abandonment; Sam sees it as letting go and moving on.

We also saw how perception was affecting Dean’s memories of Cass and Purgatory. Dean remembers Cass slipping from his grasp and yet Cass told Dean he purposely let go. Dean seemed to know that Cass didn’t try as hard as he could, but he also saw it as his own failure for not trying harder on behalf of his friend. He said no one would get left behind and Cass was left behind. He wanted to get Cass out and he couldn’t. I don’t believe, as has been suggested around the traps, that Dean has purposely remembered this incident wrong, so that he could continue to beat himself up for something because he thrives on guilt. I think that viewpoint trivialises this man and the depth of his caring and of his wounds. He said, they had to scratch and fight and bleed to get to that portal. He remembers the heat, the stink, the pain, the fear. That it almost finished him. Is it not more fair to say that in the stress and confusion of the situation, Dean simply didn’t realise what was happening, that he didn’t realise Cass let go, didn’t understand exactly what was going on, rather than Dean loves to self flagellate, so he’s chose to remember wrong out of his need for self loathing? Perception.

Personally I’m relieved that Dean didn’t make a conscious choice to leave Cass behind, or that Benny did something underhanded. I’ve been dreading finding out badness went down. Now that’s one thing I, at least, can move on from.

I’ll admit, I teared up when Cass said, “You can’t save everyone my friend. Though you try.” Awww Dean…. I hope he was listening…though it’ll never stop him trying. He is who he is.

Oh I nearly forgot the Trans! Ha. I keep forgetting about them! I don’t mind Kevin, I still quite like him…I’m sorry he lost a little slice of himself. How was that! Man, brutal. I loved how after Cass and Crowley’s showdown, he grabbed that tablet and wouldn’t let go. It reminded me of when we first met him and Sam was trying to get the tablet out of his hands and he actuallycouldn’t let go! He needs to get away from his mum though, because she’s making dumbass decisions that are endangering their lives, plus, she’s as annoying as all hell! She’d drive me batty if she were my mum. I didn’t find her fun this time around, just kind of grating. Though I do think Kevin and Mama Tran have good chemistry. Imagine her and Garth together? That'd be interesting! Maybe he can teach her a few valuable hunting lessons. I was impressed she got that enormous demon into the trunk of her car though! Nice move! I mean, she’s tiny. Did you see the size of Sam up against her when they met on the side of the road? I loved that too…Sam was so mad. I loved how he just snatched that book wearing his best chastising face.

Crowley reminded me of Lucifer in this episode in that, remember how Lucifer was all quietly evil and kind of cool until he got under pressure and then he turned all bloody rampage and murderous in “Hammer of the Gods”? That’s what I thought about Crowley. We’ve seen him torture monsters and other demons but this season he’s snapped Kevin Tran’s girlfriend’s neck and now he’s done something fatal to some potential prophet’s inside, while exploding another and cutting off Kevin’s pinky! I think he’s feeling a little under pressure and he’s showing his true colours. He’s not the smooth, Savile Row villain anymore. Oh and poor Alfie! What happened to Alfie?

So, “A Little Slice of Kevin” made it 7 for 7 for me. I think the episodes have been getting stronger as the season has gone on. The story is getting more interesting and layered, as little bits of the mystery are pealed away and new questions are raised. I like it! Crowley is in on the Word of God thing and I assume Sam and Dean know Crowley knows. 

This episode also left me feeling a bit more optimistic about our favourite ghost hunting bros. I’m hoping that what we saw with the brothers in this episode was indeed a small step towards the rebuilding of their relationship. A return to the trust and the closeness. I’ve never doubted the love. Dean didn’t dig at Sam once for his year out. Maybe he heard Sam last week. Maybe he heard Garth. Sam was empathetic and supportive; he seemed present and connected to Dean. Maybe Sam heard Dean’s pain last week. Maybe he saw the hurt in his brother. Like I said…the issues are still there, they will raise their ugly heads again…but even if they can have days like this…that’s a start right?

And now for a dip in the shallow end of the pool....

Sam. V-neck t-shirt. Add to that bare feet and sweatpants. Didn’t you just want to snuggle with him all curled up in that bed…and I’m a Dean girl (but I’m Sam curious)! And Dean…FRECKLES! Did anyone else notice that the grade on this episode was less saturated? Also, the boys didn’t look quite as made-up or overly tanned and…you could see Dean’s freckles clear as day. We should always be able to see Dean’s freckles. If I ran this show, I’d make that a rule. Plus...arms. Goodness. I’m finding it harder and harder to get through the brother’s scenes without pausing…rewinding…pausing…rewinding! They are so gosh darn PRETTY!

And on that highly intelligent and well thought out point….

I really dug this episode, it was chocked full of all the stuff I like and yeah, Dean and his hero complex, to me, will always be a thing of beauty...I can't helps it!

You know what I love about season 8...and I'm really loving season 8 as most people have become aware of.... I love that the Winchester Universe is being opened up again.

Last season everything was stripped away, ostensibly to draw the brothers together. But then at the end, they were ripped apart and have to, once again, struggle to find their way back to each other. So, what was the point? Their world was reduced to 2 and in that situation there can be no outside perspective to help you see yourself, your brother, your relationship or your actions. How can you grow when you only have one other person to interact with?

This season there are people! New characters and familiar characters, all of whom can shed light upon the brothers and their journey, past and present. The season feels more expansive because of it, in the best possible way. Not big and unweilding, but personal. The whole thing feels more personal and so the stakes feel higher.

Seeing the brothers as individuals and as a duo through other's eyes is good for them and good for us. It's not taking away from their relationship for me. In fact it's doing the opposite.

It feels like a breath of fresh air has blown through Supernatural. I like!

What did you think of the episode? What are your theories around what the angels are up to? Do you think their mischief is affecting anything else in the story? Let me know your thoughts.

Oh and cool things....the Benny soul transfer, Cass' wings, the exorcism into the phone, the demon bomb, the demon bomb shadows, the Leviathan bombs (every, so cool).

Oh no! I just remembered, the next episode is two weeks away… D’oh! I think I might do a little marathon of episodes 1 – 7!

Until next time…I'm just going to leave this here...

Thanks for reading!

sweetondean is Chief Editor and Staff Writer for The Winchester Family Business

Monday, 12 November 2012

Review - Supernatural 8.06 "Southern Comfort"

Ouch. That smarts. This episode made my stomach hurt. Then I realised I’d eaten a whole box of Anzac cookies out of nerves! So maybe the tummy ache was too much sugar. But the heartache was certainly Winchestery.

I’m not much of a fan of Adam Glass, he’s a patchy writer whom for me, has seldom delivered and consequently, I have little faith in him. Garth is a character that I've not been enamoured with. He's been too clownish and two-dimensional. He's been comic relief and I wasn’t interested in him in any way in either of the episodes he was featured in (neither of which I particularly liked). But, both of these things changed with “Southern Comfort”.

For once I think Adam Glass got a good deal right. It wasn’t perfect, there was a little too much procedural goings on for my liking, the spectre story at the centre was a little….meh and rather heavy handed in its parallel between the Winchester brothers and the two waring brothers on opposing sides of the civil war, but then, the spectre story wasn’t the real story was it? The brother stuff, which I feel Glass has failed abysmally at in the past, was what elevated this episode and had me, well, eating too many cookies out of angst! I found the brother stuff to be right on the money.

Garth. Garth was a little breath of fresh air. I liked his sincere attempts to emulate a man he obviously loved and respected. That he stepped in to fill a roll, left empty by the death of Bobby, in support of his hunter community. He got a lot wrong. I laughed every time Dean corrected him. That’s not how you wear the hat, say balls, use idjit. But in the end, I think Dean saw that where Garth was coming from, was honest and heartfelt and he wasn’t trying to replace a man that Sam and Dean care about and miss deeply. This Garth can come back, not too often, but I’d be cool if we saw him again this season. He’s smart and sensible, sweet and perceptive, gives good advice and is so trouble free that he could pick up that penny. That was my very favourite part. Oh, and he’s a hugger. Naww.

So yeah, I enjoyed this episode a lot more than I expected to. I was very pleasantly surprised to say the least. For me it continued what I think is an epically good run of strong episodes and a rocking start to season 8. It was as painful as hell in parts, but it was that good pain that I kind of like, because I’m weird like that.

So let’s get to it huh? Those ghost hunting bros….

It makes my proud of this show that 8 seasons in, I can still get so upset over the emotional struggles of Sam and Dean Winchester. That I’m that invested. That I’m still there with them, exploring their relationship, their issues past and present, their individual characters and the differences between them. That they can still infuriate me to the point of very bad language, but that I can still see through my frustrations to their love and to my love of them. Both of them. It’s got to a point that they pretty much need a Sherpa to carry their baggage, but I’m willing to help them lug it and hopefully watch them unpack it and toss some stuff out as the season progresses. Geesh, I think I over did that analogy!

I’ve been waiting for this blow-up…for a few seasons actually. It was TIME! There’s been so much unsaid and shoved down deep between the brothers. There’s so much they haven’t dealt with and all of that crap is affecting what’s happening in their world right now. Neither has told the other much about their year apart, even if they think they have, so they’re both in the dark and muddling their way through this latest murky emotional terrain and doing a piss poor job of it I might add!

Sam says to Dean that he’s been straight up with him from the jump and told him why he didn’t look for him. But has he? Has he really? No. He told Dean he found something, something he's never had before, which to Dean means I found something better and I chose that over you. I’m not saying in any way that’s how Sam feels, you all know my ideas around Sam this season, lord knows I’ve pontificated enough on the matter, but Dean is a bundle of insecurity who has always felt like everyone leaves him and that he’s not worthy of love. John Winchester has a lot to answer for (I really must get on that new thread about him). Even right back in “Skin”, the shifter inhabiting Dean’s fine form said, “Sooner or later everybody’s gonna leave me.” I don’t think Dean’s thinking on this has changed. I think he’s still terrified Sam will leave him. So Sam saying, “I found something” doesn’t cut the mustard. What he should be saying is what he said to Amelia, “It felt like my world imploded and came raining down on me and I ran.” This is what Dean needs to hear. This and more. I applaud Sam for reminding Dean of Amelia’s name, I think that was all about stopping Dean calling her, "a girl", she was more important to Sam than just "a girl" and I'm glad that he told Dean that they'd lived together. Good. That’s a start. But that’s still not letting Dean know that HE was missed and that it messed with Sam’s head. That’s what Dean needs right now. He needs that reassurance that he’s still important to Sam and that he wasn’t forgotten, simply left behind or replaced.

I’m not just picking on Sam. Dean hasn’t told Sam anything about his year either, so how’s Sam supposed to understand. It’s bitchy to say “I highly doubt you get anything about Purgatory” when you haven’t offered anything. But I get that, it’s Hell all over again and who wants to rehash that kind of pain, but Benny is another issue. He hasn’t told Sam why he’s friends with Benny. He hasn’t told him Benny saved his skin more than once, or that he also saved Castiel. He’s said he wouldn’t be topside without Benny, but he hasn’t explained the hows and whys. Sam’s been open to monsters being friendlies before, right back to season 2’s Lenore, so it’s not like if it was all lain out for him, he wouldn’t be open to it.

Dean’s tirade under the influence of the spectre lacked resonance for me because it was just that, under the influence of the spectre. Bummer. The spectre caused white-hot rage, so we don’t know to what level his feelings were enhanced. I don’t doubt that Dean still has issues around the whole Ruby thing and Sam being back for a year without telling him thing…though I think any anger over anything Sam did when soulless needs to be let go of immediately, even if the hurt can’t be. I think these are things we all know he's hung on to, but do I think that he believes what he said about Benny being a better brother than Sam ever was? Absolutely not, he's just super mad now at Sam for the whole not looking for him thing and this is how that's coming out. He's seeing Benny as having his back for the past year and Sam not and those feelings were released under the influence of the spectre. I think Sam has proven his love for Dean, just as Dean has proven his love for Sam and I think they're still proving it. In the past, they've both been there for each other over and over. The fact that Dean is so hurt by Sam’s actions while Dean was in Purgatory, proves how important Sam and Sam’s love is to him. This kind of anger is born of love. The worst and truly hurtful arguments are ones you have with those you love most. I don’t think Dean would say any of that stuff if he wasn’t possessed by a spirit or something – whether that’s good or bad I can’t decide. It’s a bit sad that he needs to have that kind of push to open up I guess. But then as I said, we can’t be sure to the level of amplification of those emotions. Obviously they're there, but are they there to that extent? I mean, Mrs Lew was pretty surprised her husband's highschool fling was brought up all these years down the track. I'm not sure that the feelings that made her kill her husband were feelings she was even aware of. Are we to believe that her resentment of Ms Allcott outweighs the love she feels for her husband after 34 years of marriage? Hmmm. The spectre grabbed on to your resentment, obliterating everything else. The resentments are there, but so is the love and other feelings, it's just under the spectre's influences only the resentment can be felt. At least that's my take on it. So though there's truth to the feelings, they're not the only feelings, just the only one's that can be felt while possessed. It's the big, a penny for your thoughts thing right? And I guess maybe, the penny dropped. 

Next time Dean get's a chance to lay it on the line, I’m hoping it just comes from inside him with all his emotions intact, so he can at least say his piece rationally and not because of some supernatural influence that highlights just one side.

So, though all sorts of other crappy issues were raised up by that damn penny, the two that are at the heart of the matter are the two from this season and it’s the brother’s lack of sharing of their individual experiences that has got them to this point. I think, when you look at both of these issues, it may boil down to one thing for both brothers, Sam feels Dean is choosing Benny over Sam, Dean feels Sam chose a girl over Dean. Dean has issues around abandonment and his own self worth and Sam’s always worried his brother couldn’t love him and would only see him as a monster because of his demon blood. It’s not about jealousy it’s about insecurities and I think both the brothers are currently playing into each other’s dysfunctions astoundingly well. Nice job boys.

For me the only bit that really irked me was right at the end of the brother’s fight outside. Sam had every right to tell Dean to stop rubbing his face in “the year off” and get off his “high and mighty.” Dean was continually getting in his little jibes and that can get old real quick, but Dean said, “Ok, I hear you” and it should have ended there. But Sam had to say that line about Benny and flare the whole fight right back up again. I literally yelled at my TV. I know he was hurt and over it and drawing a line in the sand and all, but It was just…ugh. If he really needed to say it, he probably could have framed it better. Dean said he killed Amy because he knew Sam couldn’t. Whether that’s true or not, I’ve long ago stopped caring. Amy had killed, four times that they know of and Dean put her down and he says it’s because Sam couldn’t. Fine. If Sam had not phrased his statement about killing Benny through narky anger, maybe it would have been taken in a different way. He could have said, “Ok I get it, if he messes up, you won’t be able to kill him, so if it comes to it, I will.”  But you know what, no, because in reality, he should have just left that one at Dean’s “Ok, I hear you” and given Dean a chance to prove that maybe he did hear Sam instead of throwing Benny all up in Dean’s face again. It was like; I gotta get in the final word. I don’t care how frustrated he is with his brother, to me that undermined everything Sam said to Dean prior to that. I think Sam’s way more of an emotional mess than Dean at this point and he’s way more angry. To be honest, outside of Dean's rehashing of stuff while being inhabited by the spectre, I'm kind of at a loss why Sam is quite as angry as he is. I get why Dean is up in arms, but surely the Benny friendship is not the worst thing that Dean's ever done. It seems odd for Sam to not at least have a little leeway with that one. He just seems angrier about it than he should be. I guess it's more about the lie, I think that's why he was angry about Amy, more the lie than the act, or maybe Dean was right, maybe he does blame Dean for dragging him back to the life…if not the first time around, maybe he does this time around. 

This fracking Amy thing man. When will it end. The only good thing about it is that at the end of all this, I’ll be able edit together all the uses of the name Amy and make it into my ringtone! Silver lining.

Neither of the brothers is a saint and neither is sin free. I don’t point the blame at either of them for past choices and by the way, I loved that that word was used in this episode, “Choices.” They live in an extreme world and they can’t always make the right call. They are very different individuals who have always approached things from different angles and who have always wanted different things. Their flaws, of which they both have plenty, is what makes them so very beautiful. It’s because of their flaws we love them more right? 

The bottom line here is about communication and they’ve always been shite at it. Obviously nothing’s changed but then, how much do we really change once we get to a certain age and who ever really tells the complete truth to family members, or is that just me? Who amongst us hasn’t omitted something because we know someone isn’t going to like it, or it’s going to hurt them, or change how they see us, so we bury it? These guys are like everyone else as far as I can see, it’s just, this is a TV show, so it's amped up!

I don’t mind the conflict if I feel it can help them move forward. I wish Dean had remembered what he said, but then, he could always get Garth on the blower and ask him, though Dean being Dean, I think he’d rather forget. I don’t think this is the last of this kind of ‘conversation’ they’ll have, I don’t think it’s going to be put on the back burner, I think this is the first step in bringing these guys to a more healthy, grown up place, towards accepting each other’s choices, mistakes and differences. I think we’ll see more of this before it gets better. It feels like it’s just the start. It feels like this is the first chapter. Let’s just keep airing those grievances boys, though I better make sure I’m stocked up on cookies!

If I could sit these two in a room, this is what I’d say…

Dean, you need to let this stuff go. Yes, you’ve been hurt, yes you’ve been disappointed in the past by Sam’s actions, but your brother is still here by your side and he obviously loves you, so why don’t you look at that, instead of everything else.

If you want to know why he took a year off, why he didn’t look for you and he’s not opening up, damn well make him. Say, “Ok Sam, explain it to me, tell me what happened.” Then…LISTEN. If Sam doesn’t want to tell you, well then, you have every right to be pissed, but instead of just feeling abandoned and angry, ask him….maybe you’ll understand, maybe you won’t, but you’ll never have a hope in hell of understanding unless you hear the story and if Sam’s not going to offer more than he has off his own bat, then you’re going to have to ask him to open up. 

While you’re at it, tell Sam about Purgatory, tell him all the stuff he doesn’t know. That you were alone and on the run from every monster in the place until you met Benny. That the vampire saved your hide more than once, that you might not have survived without him, that you’d never have made it out without his help. But beyond that, he proved to be loyal to you, even looking out for Castiel. That Benny was a friend to you when you were in desperate need of one. That yeah, it’s weird that you’re pals with a vampire, you get why Sam’s baffled and mad, that it seems like double standards, but Benny opened your eyes to the possibility that not all monsters are evil, everything isn’t black and white and that Sam should be happy that you’re learning that lesson. If Sam still doesn’t understand or still won’t try to understand, you have every right to shut down on the subject….but if you don’t at least try and explain it, well you don’t have a leg to stand on against Sam’s confusion and fury. Maybe you’ll get through to him….you won’t know unless you try and he won’t understand unless you explain it. ('re smokin' hot...whatchya doing later).

Sam, I know you were devastated by the loss of your brother, but Dean doesn’t. All you’ve told him is that you found something and it was a girl. All he’s hearing is you found something better. You know your brother. You know his insecurities. You know he fears that everyone will leave him. You know that that’s how he’s seeing this. Right or wrong, that’s who he is and after all this time, you should know that. So, don’t just tell your girlfriend, tell your brother that your world imploded on itself and rained down on you when you lost him. Tell him how you felt, tell him you ran, you were lost, you didn’t know what to do. Tell him about how meeting a kindred spirit helped you find your way back to the world, that with her, you no longer felt scared every day. That you understand Dean’s hurt, but you just couldn’t see the hand in front of your face for a good long while. Dean loves you above anything else, maybe he’ll see the pain that his disappearance caused and it’ll help him understand your state of mind and the choice you made. But you HAVE TO TELL HIM. You haven’t. 

And stop threatening to walk away, because that’s just freaking Dean out even more. You have every right to want something else and I get that you want Dean to understand and appreciate that and be prepared for the possibility that you won’t always be riding shotgun with him, but by threatening to leave him out of anger, you just exasperate an already volatile situation. Those threats just validate Dean’s fears of not being loved enough, of not being needed enough. You’re a bright and empathetic boy; use that big brain of yours. ( you think I've got a shot with your brother).

Sam and Dean, you boys, you’ve been through more than should be asked of any human being and you’ve been through it TOGETHER. You obviously love each other deeply; otherwise you wouldn’t be able to push each other’s buttons so effectively. But you’ve never, ever been able to really talk. Here and there, little pieces have leaked out and been shared, but by and large, you bury everything until it explodes outward. You can’t expect your brother to understand how you’re feeling if you don’t tell him. You can just say, “He’s my friend” or “I found something” and expect your brother to understand unless you give these statements context, history and reason. Just….be the amazing men I know you to be, be the brothers I know you are. Tell each other the full story, because only then can you be justified in having any expectations that your brother should or could give you some slack and empathy. But above all, stop the lip service when it comes to each other’s choices. If you don’t “get it” don’t say it, if you don’t forgive, don’t say it. Everything rings hollow when you say one thing, then say another in anger. Stop it. And please, truly forgive each other, you both deserve it. 

Now get out of here and go be awesome. Idjits.

I’m confusing reality with “Supernatural” again aren’t I?

(By the way, I love that photo of them in the diner. Look at their elbows. They're touching. Now, I know logicially this is because Jensen and Jared are big units and they need to squish in close to both fit in frame, but the forgetting that part of me goes, if I was hating on my brother, I wouldn't be sitting that close to him! Reality/Supernatural.... yeah I know).

We really are in a spot of bother with these two aren't we…but I kind of like it. Don’t hate!

I guess my biggest fear is where this is going, that both boys will be forced to make a choice, though me being me, I’m confident that they'll choose each other. It might look a bit touch and go for a while, but ultimately Dean will always choose Sam and Sam will always choose Dean. Just call me sweetondean, the eternal optimist.

So I dug this episode a lot more than I thought I would. It was hurty goodness. I enjoyed, if that’s the right word, all the brother’s angsty scenes. I’m glad they’re starting to get some stuff out. Sam has finally lain out how pissed off he is to Dean. Dean, unknowingly, let Sam know that his choices have affected and continue to affect Dean. Maybe something clicked in one of them, even in just one, that’d be a step in the right direction. I even got a bit more of a sense of what drew Sam to Amelia. It was the conflict scenes that had me though. The final scenes of the last two episodes have been absolute corkers. It’s good stuff.

So what did you think? What’s next?

Until next time just remember, we’re “Supernatural” fans, we’re Tonka Tough!

Now hurry up next episode!

Thanks for reading!

sweetondean is Chief Editor and Staff Writer for The Winchester Family Business

Thursday, 8 November 2012

My Dean Winchester bust!

So here’s my Dean bust that I bought as part of the Winchester Bros charity auction.

Jensen signed it to me and then it was sent to me here in Australia from set, with the sender address being Clif Kosterman c/- Supernatural Films.

The money from this auction purchase went to Team Levi.

I think it’s pretty cool! Plus it’s the first thing I have signed from Jensen where he’s actually written my name! Which makes me happier than is probably rational…..

The bust with Jensen's signature

My name in Jensen's handwriting!

From a different angle - it's pretty cool and even has the crease in his bottom lip!

Here's a shot of Jensen signing the items.
You can see the Dean bust - plus a stick-it with my name (circled in red!)