Thursday, 23 May 2013

Women Of Letters Half Hour Supernatural podcast

It’s here!  The Women Of Letters Half Hour is podcast - A podcast dedicated to all things Supernatural and the SPN fandom hosted by me - sweetondean (AKA @AmyinSydney) and Jules from Superwiki (@SuperWiki).

In Episode #1 we talk about the Season 8 finale and the "I'm sending Supernatural a damn fruit basket (postcard)" campaign.

In Episode #2 we talk about Dean's amulet, it's signifigance to the brothers, to the story and to the fandom and how to vote in the Teen Choice Awards.

In Episode #3 we talk about the recent Australia Supernatural convention, All Hell Breaks Loose 4.

In Episode # 4 we talk about the nature of family in Supernatural.

In Episode #5 we talk about Cass and the angels.

In Episode #6 we talk all about Conventions with plenty of great tips to help you get the most out of them!

In Episode #7 we talk Comic-Con spoilers.

Theme music courtesy of Skyhooks - yes this is the Aussie Supernatural podcast you didn’t know you were waiting for!

You can find the Women of Letters Half Hour here

You can also find us on iTunes. Please leave a rating and review - it'd mean the world to us!

If you want to send us feedback or ideas for future podcasts, our email is


Monday, 20 May 2013


Well Supernatural season 8 is over and as we wait (im)patiently for season 9, why not let the creative team behind Supernatural know how much you enjoyed the season and how much you appreciate their hard work.

We give a lot of love to the team in Vancouver, but the team in L.A., the writing team, often don't get quite as much love!

This past season several of the writers have joined twitter and have gleefully chatted to us and taken our happy tweets and our not so happy tweets in their strides.

The writers are already back to work, hard at it in the writer's room, planning out where season 9 (and beyond) will take us.

So now is the perfect time to inundate them with postcards of thanks and let them know how much we appreciate the work they do on the show.

So without further adieu introducing the:


Remember when Dean said he felt like sending Death a damn fruit basket for putting up Sammy's wall? Well we can't all send fruit baskets from around the world, but we can send fruit basket postcards!

Imagine how fun it would be for the Supernautural creative team to receive hundreds of fruit basket postcards!

There've been several designs already created for you, which you can grab from below or individually via this photobucket link or as zip file here or you may like to design your own fruit basket postcard, the choice is yours! Then you can either make the designs into your own postcard by hand or produce into a postcard via a postcard site. There are several online, just do a google search.

So why not join in and let the people who create the best show in the world know how much we appreciate and love them! Go forth and send fruit basket postcards!

-sweetondean (AKA @AmyinSydney)


Writting team: Jeremy Carver (Showrunner), Ben Edlund, Adam Glass, Robbie Thompson, Andrew Dabb, Daniel Loflin, Jenny Klein, Brad Buckner & Eugenie Ross-Leming (team).

c/o Holly Ollis
Warner Bros Television
4000 Warner Blvd
Bldg 140.
Burbank, CA 91522

If you'd also like to send postcards to the Vancouver team, here is their address
Supernatural Films Inc.
8085 Glenwood Drive
Burnaby, B.C.
V3N 5C8

Sunday, 19 May 2013

Review: Supernatural season 8 finale: 8.23 "Sacrifice"

Oh Sam and Dean, how you can rip my heart out and in the same moment fill me with hope. I felt like I’d been waiting 4 seasons for that conversation. Through all the mistrust, the walking away, the fights, the angry words, I never once doubted that a powerful love was always there, but I still longed to hear them tell each other just how much they mean to each other…because they both needed to hear it…as did we.

But I’ve jumped ahead. You know, I think “Sacrifice” may be my favourite finale ever. I can’t remember ever being so completely surprised with where a finale took us. Not only that, the emotional ruin I was left in was a good one, one that filled me with optimism.

One of the wonderful things about “Supernatural” is that all the characters are so profoundly human, even the non-human ones. The same emotions that rule us, rule them, for good and bad. It means that we can connect like we do. It means that we can feel sympathy for characters like Crowley for instance, as he went through the changes being brought on by the demon cure, as he yelled out that he just wanted to be loved, as he asked Sam, no Moose, but Sam, where to start asking for forgiveness as he bared his neck for the final injection.

What an amazing performance. Mark Sheppard has always sunk his teeth right into Crowley and given that character and the scenery around him, a damn good chewing. But I would never in a million years have thought he could make me actually feel sad for Crowley, make me actually see that there was once another side to the demon, something long ago lost, but maybe still lying dormant deep within.

Having said that, part of the great joy of Crowley is that he’s an evil bastard! I’m assuming with the trials incomplete, he will go off and lick his wounds for a while (once he gets out of that chair) and then revert to his former glory and be back, black hearted and red-eyed as ever!

I think we pretty much all picked that Metatron was not what he seemed. Of course, I didn’t think he was a pissed-off whiney douchebag! Honestly, these angels and their temper tantrums! You were mean to me so I’m going to kick you all out, because I can! I’ll look forward to this one getting his comeuppance next season.

The aftermath of the spell masquerading as the angel trials was completely unexpected. Every single angel sent hurtling to earth in a spectacular, fiery pyrotechnic display. I totally did not see that coming!

And Castiel has lost his grace, because he was a dumbass…again! Oh Cass. You know, I’m just going to say it…Cass has broken heaven twice. Remember when he said this in “The Man Who Would Be King” ….”but I was so full of confidence, of mission. I see now that was arrogance...Hubris...” Um. What’s changed exactly. Yeah, I know his intentions are always good, but you would think after the whole Crowley/Leviathan thing, the angel would get a clue. Awww I feel mean. I'm just totally exasperated! At least he finally had the sense to ask Dean for his help…terrible timing and part of me was like, why the hell should he drop everything for you now? But then, this is Dean we’re talking about. For a moment I thought Dean was going to say screw you and for a moment I was like, what the hell is Dean thinking…but, it became pretty clear pretty quick that story wise, Dean needed to be in proximity of the angel tablet, because it was going to give him something imperative to do with Sam and the trials.

Now Cass is human or rather, a powered down angel. What exactly is that going to mean? Will the other angels know that he unintentionally assisted Metatron with following through on his evil master plan to take over Heaven and will they hunt Cass down because of it? I’m assuming that part of Cass’ redemption will be ousting Metatron and returning the angels to Heaven. I hope he gets the opportunity to do this, as he really needs a win! Maybe then, that will be the end of the angel storyline because the balance will finally be restored.

It did pop into my head, that they do have one powerful angel left that still has his mojo intact. Michael. Of course, getting him out of the cage without setting his brother free is probably something that would be impossible to achieve. But it’s food for thought. There may also be clues on the angel tablet, but surely Metatron would be all over that!

Ok, back to what I was saying earlier….

Oh Sam and Dean, how you can rip my heart out and in the same moment fill me with hope. I felt like I’d been waiting 4 seasons for that conversation. Through all the mistrust, the walking away, the fights, the angry words, I never once doubted that a powerful love was always there, but I still longed to hear them tell each other just how much they mean to each other…because they both needed to hear it…as did we.

As Sam poured his heart out to Dean I couldn’t help but see a little boy (in a very large body). One who always looked up to his older brother, one who had been… “Following you around my entire life. I mean, I've been looking up to you since I was four, Dean. Studying you, trying to be just like my big brother.” We know, because Sam told us, that he’s always felt like he wasn’t pure, we know because Sam told us, that he looked up to his brother, we know because Sam told us, that he always felt like a disappointment to his father, “You know what most dads are when their kids score a full ride? Proud. Most dads don't toss their kids out of the house.” But we didn’t know, at least not for sure, because Sam’s never told us quite so completely, how all of this affected him, how all of this undermined his confidence in himself and who he is or how it made him think Dean saw him.

Jeremy Carver told us that season 8 was all about perception and here, with Sam and Dean was the most important element of it. Two brothers so close that they can’t see each other. Two brothers misunderstanding each other at every turn and too bull-headed to talk about it…until at their weakest, most vulnerable moment, where they have no other way forward but to reach out.

Dean loves Sam fiercely; I’ve never doubted that for a moment. But it’s that powerful love that translates into powerful hurt. He is wounded as deeply as he loves. When the one person he loves the most lets him down, he lashes out with angry words. This is how he reacts. Dean is painfully human and tragically flawed. In this raw and gut-wrenching conversation between the Winchester brothers, Sam finally tells Dean how much those words cut him to the bone. Every time Sam has let Dean down, Dean has let him know in no uncertain terms and Sam has then attached all of that to all of his other insecurities, about not being pure, about not being good enough for his father, about not being the brother he thinks Dean wants. There Sam’s hurt festers, just like Dean’s hurt festers.

In season 4 things started to go pear-shaped for the Winchester brothers. Sam fell in with Ruby and lied about the demon blood. Dean lied about Hell. This is where all the big secrets really started. The brothers seemed to drift apart, come back together drift apart over and over. In season 5 they tried to make it work, but Dean couldn’t let go of what he saw as Sam’s betrayal – choosing a demon over his own brother. Then Dean realised that his brother was more important to him than anything, that they’re all they’ve got, but more than that, they “Keep each other human”. For a brief shining moment, it looked like maybe the brothers could find a way to be brothers again. At the very end, as they stood on the precipice of the apocalypse, they stood united. Then Sam threw himself in the pit and one brother was no more. In season 6 Sam had no soul. This wasn’t his fault and he shouldn’t be blamed for it and it’s hard to say that Sam should have told Dean something was wrong, even though he knew something was, because he didn’t have a soul, so why would he think to tell Dean? That one could go around and around and around! But Dean was deeply injured by Sam both physically through the vampire thing and emotionally through the vampire thing, which ended any chance of a relationship he might have had with Lisa and Ben. Maybe Dean shouldn’t have hung on to this hurt like he did, but it was pretty epic, it’d be hard to let go of something like that, who here is that perfect and Dean’s far from perfect. Season 7, it wasn’t so much that there was any specific angst between the brothers, it was just that it was all kind of gloomy and oppressive and they were so far away from where they once were, I wasn’t sure if what they once had was even retrievable. There was still the love, you could see it in little ways, or in epic ways as when Sam was on the verge of dying from sleep exhaustion…but…

I think one of the main issues was that neither task at hand in seasons 6 and 7 felt particularly personal in nature. They didn’t feel like it was life or death for the brothers. Season 6 even finished with a cliff-hanger that rested with another character, something I always saw as a colossal error.

Then in season 8, the lens was turned back on to the Winchesters; this was once again their story. It was rocky, but anything good is hard earned. As the season moved on, I started to see method to what initially appeared to be madness. These two had to get to a place where they wanted to be together, where they needed each other again and that wasn’t going to come easy. Nothing wonderful ever does. Everything needed to be stripped away before it could be rebuilt. Like starting from scratch.

I never had a problem with how season 8 started, because I trusted that the reason we were being forced to face such a confronting storyline would be made clear as time went on. The season finale gave me that reason and I don’t know that without the Sam not looking for Dean pain, we could have ended up where we did or if it would've felt so significant if we did - for me anyway.

We may never know exactly what brought Sam to the decision not to look for Dean, only that, as he said, he didn’t know Dean was alive and didn’t know where to look. I always chose to take Sam’s explanation on face value, assuming that Sam tried to move on with his life after a calamitous loss which made his world implode. But each time it was raised, Sam didn’t want to discuss it. When Dean first returned and asked about Amelia – “There was a girl”, Sam said, “There was. And then there wasn't. Any more questions.” But the defensive way he said any more questions, sounded more like, I’m not answering any more questions. When Meg asked Sam about not looking for Dean, Sam said nothing, when Bobby asked Sam about not looking for Dean, Sam said nothing. For me, this wasn’t Sam not being given the opportunity to talk about it, it was about Sam not wanting to talk about it, because it was written all over his face, he felt awful. If you feel shitty about something, generally speaking you don’t want to discuss it. In hindsight, I even think it was written all over his face in the first episode. He thought his brother was gone and it turns out he wasn’t… How horrible would that feel?

But through all the hurt and insecurities which erupted as anger and mistrust, the brothers still chose to put those things behind them, or at least on the backburner and stick together. As the personal nature of their quest turned very personal, they began to cling to each other. That old bond, that powerful love of theirs started to show itself again. Season 8 was the first time in a long time that I felt maybe the Winchester brothers would be okay…because though they’ve always stuck together in the past, even when they wanted to walk away from each other, this time around, they chose to stick together. The Universe (and Carver) threw roadblocks in their way, in the form of other people, in the form of other choices, but they still chose to move forward together, even at the loss of those other people in their lives. That was their first shaky step, and it grew from there.

So we find ourselves with the brothers face-to-face in a tiny, damp church. Sam is on the verge of death and a huge question hangs in the air… Why shouldn’t he die for the greater good…

“If you finish this trial, you’re dead Sam.”

Once upon a time, I think Dean may have backed this play; he did at the end of season 5. But this is a man who has grown through epic loss and now knows there are some things more important than beating the bad guys and that something is Sam. The brothers, alive, together can do equal amounts of good as one dying for one cause. But beyond that, Dean needs Sam and he may not have told him that and he sometimes may have not shown him that, but he does and he always has and he needs his brother to understand…

I watched in awe as my boys stood face-to-face, anguish etched into their lovely features. Dean’s heart visibly breaking, Sam’s heart visibly broken. Years of sorrow rising to the surface and spewing out in pained and desperate words…

Sam:“You want to know what I confessed in there? What my greatest sin was? It was how many times I let you down. I can't do that again. What happens when you've decided I can't be trusted again? I mean, who are you gonna turn to next time instead of me? Another angel, another -- another vampire? Do you have any idea what it feels like to watch your brother just –“

Dean:“Hold on, hold on! You seriously think that? Because none of it -- none of it -- is true. Listen, man, I know we've had our disagreements, okay? Hell, I know I've said some junk that set you back on your heels. But, Sammy...come on. I killed Benny to save you. I'm willing to let this bastard and all the sons of bitches that killed mom walk because of you. Don't you dare think that there is anything, past or present, that I would put in front of you! It has never been like that, ever! I need you to see that. I'm begging you.”

It was a long time coming and when it happened, it felt so good.

Sam asked how he could stop, because it was inside him. He wasn't just talking about the trials... He was talking about everything. Then Dean wrapped his brother’s hand and pulled him into a hug and told him to let it go brother, let it all go. He wasn’t just talking about the trials... He was talking about the hurt and he wasn’t just talking to Sam, he was talking to himself.

And there they stood, two brothers, each other’s stone number one, finally being honest with each other. Together, because that’s where they want to be.

Yeah, I cried…I may or may not be crying now.

For a season where one of the main criticisms I saw was that Sam had no voice, I feel like I know Sam better than I ever have. I’ve seen him in a new light in season 8. Someone whose hope still burns like a tiny candle inside of him, someone who has learned from past mistakes, someone who has carried a torment deep down since he was a child, someone who yearns for his brother’s love just as much as his brother yearns for his. I see a strong man and yet so broken, so like Dean…

And for the first time, I feel like maybe Sam can be happy driving down crazy street next to his brother.

In the end, I saw the sacrifice as not Sam or Dean but what they will sacrifice for each other, the chance to put the creatures that destroyed their family behind locked gates forever, because if they did, it would destroy the only family they have left.

I said in my preview and to just about anyone who would listen, people on twitter, people at work, strangers walking past me on the street…all I wanted from this season finale was the brothers, alive, side by side, ready to face whatever new catastrophe befalls them …and I got that. There they were, just the two of them, huddled together, hanging on to each other, leaning against their home on four wheels as the sky fell around them. I owe Carver a damn fruit basket.

“Sacrifice” was beautiful written, with excellent pacing, breath taking performances from all concerned - once again, Jensen and Jared were riverting - visually STUNNING – those falling angels – absolutely surprising and set up a corker of a story for season 9, oh and no-one I really cared for died (sorry Naomi, you took too long to come good). We now have a plethora of characters to pepper through the Winchester’s lives and there was even visit to an old friend’s car-yard…Bobby was in this finale, even though he wasn’t. I thought that was a lovely touch.

When Jeremy Carver took over as show runner of “Supernatural”, he said that for him, he always saw the brothers and their relationship as the centre of this story. His past episodes have illustrated that again and again. I feel like JC lived up to his promise for season 8, allowing the brothers and their relationship to take centre stage once more.

As we roar towards the end of this beautiful journey (not the imminent end, I’m thinking another 2 years – season 10 or bust), season 8 and the road we took makes me feel like we may end this series where we started off…2 brothers, together, driving the back highways of America in a shiny black Chevy, saving people, hunting things, the family business. And that’s all I’ve ever wanted.

Okay, that’s me out for season 8. On a personal note, I want to thank everyone for the encouragement. It’s been my first full season writing for The Winchester Family Business and helping Alice and Ardeospina out with admin duties and I’ve had a blast. Occasionally I hit a rough patch, but it was always your enthusiasm and unbridled support for me that has made me pick myself up and plough on with my glass perpetually half full.


I’ll be seeing you through hellatus. We’ll get through this stupidly long break between seasons together, just like the Winchester finally are!

Thanks everyone!

sweetondean is Chief Editor and a writer for The Winchester Family Business
For all the latest Supernatural info and article links, follow The Winchester Family Business on Twitter at @WinFamBusiness

Review: Supernatural 8.22 "Clip Show"

One week to go, people. How’d that happen? The last 2 weeks have got us fully locked and loaded for heaven knows what, because seriously, I have no idea where this is all going! This week’s “Clip Show” took us on a crazy ride, one that raised plenty of questions and filled me with both awe and dread. Sam and Dean and Crowley and Abaddon, Cass and Metatron and Naomi…how will it all come together and who will survive?

We kicked off in the bunker. How I love the bunker. I’m holding hope that it survives into season 9 because I know that the crew love it and I know it cost a lot to build, so I’m praying JC leaves it be for budgetary and shooting convenience reasons! Oh and also because it’s awesome, beyond awesome and I feel like we’ve only seen a fraction of it.

So the brothers brought Castiel back to the bunker for him to recover from his tabletectomy and Crowley/Naomi beat-down. Obviously the bunker is not warded against angels. They need to sort that out pronto. Ward it against everything I say.

When Cass looks like a broken child, I can’t help but feel bad for him, but, unpopular opinion time….I was kind of glad Dean told him off. It’s starting to feel like there's been too many passes for our angel friend. The one thing that Dean holds above everything else is loyalty and Cass has done many things to push Dean to where he now is. Dean has forgiven Cass over and over. For the lying about pulling Sam out of Hell, for teaming with Crowley, for breaking Sam’s wall and sending his brother mad, for the whole Leviathan mess. Not only that, Dean stayed in Purgatory longer than he needed to and risked death by Leviathan bomb and other monsters attracted to the Serif, because he wanted to get Cass out, because he wouldn’t leave his friend behind. Then Cass repays Dean’s fragile faith by not showing any faith in him, by not trusting his friend, by not talking to his friend and by not asking his friend for help. I know Castiel’s heart is always in the right place and in taking Sam’s crazy he tried to make amends for hurting Sam and he's still trying to make amends for what he did under the Leviathan influence and I’m sure that Dean and Cass rebonded in Purgatory, yet…here we are again. Same old, same old. Another sorry. I'd be peeved with him to.

I'm not saying Dean is faultless, good Lord, far from it and part of all the characters of Supernatural’s great beauty is their flaws and their desire to do good and how human they all are in the mistakes they make along the way. But Cass just keeps making the same mistakes over and over and the Winchesters keep getting caught in the crossfire. When will the angel learn and when is it ok for the brothers to say, enough. I would have said enough a long time ago. Sam and Dean are way better people than me.

I’m not hating on Cass here, I hurt for him when he makes these errors of judgement, I hurt for him when he tries to make amends and fails and I hurt for him when he looks like a lost and sad kitten! He comes from a world where he has never had to face the kind of choices that he has to face now and that must be hard. But he’s been in the Winchester’s world for 4 years and he’s been down this road enough times to know nothing good ever comes of going off and doing his own thing, not once and the first thing he should do is put his trust in his friends. Surely that would be the one great lessons a relationship with the Winchesters would teach. Trust and loyalty are important. Talk to Sam and Dean for goodness sake, if only for the reason that they have a lot more life experience in dealing with bad people and could offer insight. But noooooo. The angel simply never learns and it’s frustrating.

I don't know how the Castiel and Dean relationship will be healed, maybe it won’t, maybe it will never be what it was, but another one of Dean's great attributes is his ability to forgive those he loves...eventually...(he can also hold an epic grudge), so maybe there's hope for their friendship. I'd like to think there is. I did appreciate that Sam tried to smooth things over; that was such a Sam thing to do. Like when he went and prayed to Cass when Cass thought he was God. But Sam never forces his brother’s hand. He will say, be easy on Cass he’s one of the good guys, but he will leave it at that and let Dean stew on it and work it through himself.

I think Sam probably sees a lot of himself in Cass. I see a lot of similarities in them; in their thoughtful natures, in the struggles they’ve both had, in the mistakes they’ve both made when only wanting to do the right thing. I’ve always thought that was part of the reason why Dean was drawn to Cass, because there’s a lot of Sam in Cass and maybe that’s why he’s been willing to try and forgive him in the past. They have so few people; maybe it’s worth putting hurt aside to keep those you love close. Because like I’ve said over and over, if Dean didn’t love Sam and Cass so deeply, he wouldn’t be hurt by and disappointed in them so completely. It’s the love that makes it hurt the most. So it all falls onto Dean and whether he can put the latest betrayal behind him…or whether Cass owns up to and learns from his mistakes and brings the brothers into his latest personal drama.

Have I lost all the Castiel fans out there?

While we’re on Castiel making mistakes…Metatron. Who wasn’t screaming at Cass through their TV? NOOOOO! NOT AGAIN! GO BACK TO THE BUNKER! All of sudden I have a bad feeling about Metatron. He went from a pencil pusher, secretarial angel hiding out from the world, to wanting to take over Heaven, complete with inside information about Naomi? Um ok. He's either full of crap and way more important than he said - like archangel important - or Naomi has already got to him. Whatever, but it feels like he has ulterior motives and his own thing going on and of course Cass fell for it all hook line and sinker. CASSSSS!!! (With 3 exclamation points). When will our trench-coated angel learn? And when is it ever ok to rip someone's heart out? Just sayin’! Isn't it interesting that the trials to close the gates of Hell are all about doing things that can lead to good, kill a hellhound, save an innocent soul, wash a demon clean of sin, but the first angelic trial is ripping out someone's heart! That in itself makes me suspicious. Without the tablet, how do we know what Metatron is saying is even true? Do you think they cut the Nephilin’s heart out after Cass stabbed her in the neck? I’m not sure the first trial was even started or completed. I must admit to finding that all a tad unclear.

One of my favourite parts of the episode was Abaddon. Isn’t she a peach? Oh, I’m enjoying her. I really hope she survives the finale to sass another day! I did not like that the boys were dumb and left her on her own though, clawless or otherwise. That was a stupid mistake and I hate when the writers make the brothers do dumbass things like that. Put the chair in a damn devil’s trap as a precaution for heaven’s sake! I guess with the devil's trap bullet in her head, they’d never think that the demon would “Thing” her way out of there. Great scene. I can just see that scene being pitched! “And then she mind powers her severed hand out of a box and it makes it’s way over to her, goes into her mouth and yanks out the bullet.” Score! But yes, stupid boys, you’re better than that.

So if Abaddon sticks around and manages to dethrone the “salesman”, would that make her the Queen of Hell and if so, as she was Knighted by Lucifer himself, do you think her first order as Queen would be to unlock the cage? This is why I think Abaddon and her possibly sticking around could be super interesting. But, I don’t want it to be at the expense of Crowley, though seeing the King brought down a notch or two would be fab!

I'm glad to see Crowley finally flexing those villainous muscles of his. He's sometimes at risk of being all snark and no action, but he's turned the evil up to 11 and I like it! I always love me the bad guy (and the bad boy…) and this season, I finally see Crowley as a great big bad. He’s sort of just been an irritation before this, that thorn in the brother’s side, but he’s never felt to me as evil as he should, until now. The dude is E-VIL! This was Crowley at his worst and his best.

Why no one has thought of using the Winchester's surviving victims against them before is beyond me. It's really all they have; the knowledge that what they do is saving lives and for that reason it's all worth while. Strip them of that and you strip them of the essence of who they are and why they put up with this crappy, bleak existence. It's a clever move that gets them right in the hurty bits.

I'm so loving how the books have come into play this season. Id’ never considered how they’d put the Winchesters at risk before. But ALL their secrets are in there (Dean's full frontal in there, man). They really need to do something about them! Because if Crowley can discover a use for them, any bad critter can.

As part of Crowley’s renewed vigour in attacking the brothers, this week we saw a bunch of returning characters. Nods to the past have been a theme of this season and one that I’ve enjoyed immensely.

Tommy from “Wendigo” was collateral because he was the first victim they had a personal relationship with. I loved the exploding head! The VFX this year have been epic.

Jenny Klein from “Shut Up, Dr. Phil”, umm, well, she was post Chuck's disappearance, so I'm choosing to assume that Crowley's minions researched farther a field than just the books. Crowley did say that the brothers leave a mark on the towns they blow through, so maybe the minions are looking into the brother's various connections. Anyone can be traced I guess. I’m sure, just as the brothers find cases via reports on the net, the minions can find those reports too and follow through to see if Sam and Dean were involved. That’s how I’m working this one in my brains anyway...

Of course, it was Sarah who was the important victim because that took a blow at Sam and at his heart and shook his belief in pursuing the trials above everything else. She was the first girl Sam really had any kind of feelings for immediately after Jess’ death. I bet she’s someone who’s flicked through his mind on and off, wondering what ever happened to her, if she’s well, married, kids? She was married with a kid, which makes her death even more tragic and powerful. But if you’re going to hit someone where it hurts, you have to take a decent stab at it and if you think back at all those the brothers knew survived, Sarah was definitely one that would go straight to both the brother’s hearts. So sad death, yes…but one I could see the reason for (from Crowley’s viewpoint). It’s made Sam wonder, is what they're trying to achieve worth all this death? Who else needs to die? If their job is saving people…shouldn’t they stop what they’re doing, to save people? Because we know Crowley won’t stop. Way to shake the guy’s resolve.

Crowley's monologue as the boys frantically searched was a cracker...that scene had me on the edge of my seat. Poor Sarah on the floor gasping, Sam and Dean rushing around, throwing furniture in their wake, the utter desperation of it all as Crowley droned on…

“What's the line? "Saving people, hunting things. The family business." Well I think, the people you save, they're how you justify your pathetic little lives. The alcoholism, the collateral damage, the pain you've caused... The one thing that allows you to sleep at night - the one thing is knowing these folks are out there. Still out there. Happy and healthy because of you. You great big bloody heroes. They're your life's work and I am going to rip it apart. Piece by piece. Because I can. Because you can't stop me. Because when they're all gone, what will you have left?”

Brilliant. The whole scene was brilliant.

I also liked what Sarah said to Sam; that he’d changed, that he seemed more focused and grown up and that he seemed like he knew what he wanted. I agree, that’s how Sam looks to me too. I love it when the brothers hear something like this from someone outside of their immediate circle (of 2). It was a super sad scene with Sam and Dean just staring at the dead Sarah and the bloody hex bag was in the phone all the damn time. Crowley is an utter bastard (I love him).

This cleansing of the demon thing, I think it’s cool (and creepy) but here’s what I’m wondering...if the demon gets cleansed then what happens? Does the demon hang out with the real person inside the meat suit? Bit cosy! I was scratching my head at this. Maybe because they’re all warm and fuzzy after a good exorcism bath, the demon does the polite thing and smokes out? But how brilliant would it be if the brothers could master this little technique. How many lives would be saved if they could make all the demons in the world nice and save the person they’re possessing in the bargain? I’m assuming that the brothers are going to eventually have a light-bulb moment and realise that maybe Sam’s blood is the purified blood they need to finish the trial, seeing as Sam was just saying he feels like he’s being purified and seeing as that’s exactly what they need. They’ll get there eventually…sometimes they’re a little behind the rest of us.

I liked “Clip Show” a lot. I was fully engaged for the whole hour. I thought it was a great set up for the finale. I liked the personal touch of bringing back past victims and undoing the brother’s good work. That’s one thing that has rocked about this season, that the task at hand is so personal. To make this season's quest personal to the brothers was smart. I think that's one of the things the last 2 seasons lacked; that personal connection to the issue at hand. But this is about as personal as it gets. Locking up Hell, a place both brothers have spent time and locking up demons, beings that have caused the brothers pain ever since they were children. Let's throw the possibility of locking Heaven into the picture, because the angels have been pretty bothersome since they entered the Winchesters lives! Then making it physically devastating for Sam, which becomes devastating for Dean. It's all such good stuff.

So, we're left with Sam starting to waver (poor thing, all this on top of feeling like crap) and Dean holding firm. Dean asking his brother if he’s with him, saying they’ll “Kick it in the ass” (awww), as usual, saying that they stay on point and keep to plan. I think they're going to sit down at that super cool map table and nut out a new strategy. But without snacks...because Dean never got to the shops and Castiel got distracted...

Next week I'm wondering what the landscape will look like after the dust settles. Will Sam be cleansed or will he have to sacrifice the chance to be a "real boy" in order to stop the evil powers-that-be doing whatever they're going to do. Will Abaddon take down that snotty salesman and crown herself Queen? Will Cass remain on the outs with the Winchesters, as once again he follows his own agenda? Will we discover what’s really up with Metatron and will someone finally angel blade Naomi? Because she needs to die in a blinding white light! I'm totally baffled by where it's all going, what's going to wrap up and what isn’t and where we kick off season 9. But my one hope is that no Winchester dies and no Winchester disappears, because we've all been there and done that. I'm for them standing side by side in the aftermath, together, ready to face whatever catastrophe befalls them as the outcome of their latest attempt to do good for the world! Because the Winchester's relationship is the heart of this show and that heart is beating strong again and I like.

Oh, and the MoL Batcave has a dungeon, “Finally”. Oh Dean, just when I think I can’t love you any more.

As always, thanks for reading and I’ll see you next week for the… FINALE!!! (with 3 exclamation points) DA-DA-DUMMMM!

sweetondean is Chief Editor and a writer for The Winchester Family Business
For all the latest Supernatural info and article links, follow The Winchester Family Business on Twitter at @WinFamBusiness

Monday, 6 May 2013

Review: Supernatural 8.21 "The Great Escapist"

“When you create stories, you become gods of tiny, intricate dimensions unto themselves.” I love this line to pieces and I kind of imagined Ben Edlund laughing maniacally after he wrote it, with lightning flashing across his face, accompanied by the sound of thunder! Then… he’d giggle.

“The Great Escapist” was peppered with that kind of dialogue. Lines that made my ears ring with joy and my heart bleed for the characters I love so much. The dimensions that Edlund creates truly are intricate. Here we have, not simply an experienced writer of the show “Supernatural”, but an experienced writer, an experienced, gifted writer. A writer whose talent for story telling allows an episode like “The Great Escapist” to exist and beyond that, to make sense, be cohesive, emotionally powerful, edifying and profoundly satisfying. We had 3 concurrent stories, all which managed to intersect, informing each other, connecting and ending in a flurry of wings and screeching tyres.

In thinking of this episode, I thought back to the last two seasons and Ben wrote the 3rd last episode both times. “The Man Who Would Be King” and “Reading is Fundamental” were both complex stories whose job seemed to be to get all the season’s ducks in a row for the final two episodes. Actually, throw in “The Devil You Know” from season 5! I can just see the writer’s meeting…”Don’t worry about it, Ben will pull it all together!” I’m being sarcastic of course, but it really looks like that! He’s the guy who can get all the threads, pull them together and weave a doozey of a story out of them.

I’ll freely admit I was a tad thrown by the beginning of “The Great Escapist”. I totally had to check I was watching the right episode! In a matter of seconds, my brain went…what, dream, flashback, wait, hang-on, that’s not Sam and Dean….ohhhhh. Ok, I’m good. It'd been a long assed day… Crowley’s little dog and pony show was pretty ingenious, but crikey is he one hell of a powerful demon. An alternative boat and some kind of portal thing? Demon lackeys that can shapeshift into Sam and Dean? This was all either Ion, or there's more to Crowley that meets the eye. Frankly, the more we see Crowley this season, the more he doesn’t seem like your garden variety crossroads demon made good.

I’m thrilled that Kevin beat him at his own game. If we could tell there was something off with Sam and Dean, Kevin would be able to, beyond the fact that they were a little bit too polite. Kevin’s play to catch them in a devil's trap and then blast Herb Alpert at them was fantastic. Kevin was certainly showing off his advanced placement brainpower. This was by far my favourite appearance by Kevin. He was pretty awesome.

I’m totally baffled by Naomi and to be honest, a little over her. I’m starting to think she’s not got any grand plan, more that she’s middle management who has screwed up and is now in a tight spot trying to sort it out. Sort of like Zachariah in season 5. She can’t control Castiel; the precious angel tablet is out of her reach. She’s getting more panicked and taking more extreme steps. Quite frankly, I’m hoping someone angel-blades her before the season is out. Preferably Cass. I don’t know if I believe anything she told Castiel about his history, she’s a nasty, manipulative cow. Except that he could never be controlled. I totally loved that.

This is why Cass has always struggled to follow the rules and has embraced freewill and humanity, because he’s always been a bit of a rebel. He’s never been like the other angels. We’ve seen him resist and fall and make mistakes over and over, just like a human would. Apparently the CIAngels have be wiping his mind as they do all angels, returning him to his factory settings, but something in Cass keeps returning to who his is and not who they want him to be. He has hope where as the other angels, like Ion, have none. It makes Cass even cooler. I loved that little nugget about him.

I also thought the mind wiping thing was interesting. There’s been a lot of mind wiping going on! Castiel and Kevin have both had their minds wiped and if you think about it, so have Sam and Dean, multiple times. Every time they died and went to Heaven, their memories were erased before they were returned to Earth. Was anything else lost along the way? Is this why Sam is starting to remember things from their childhood that Dean either doesn’t remember or only remembers when prompted? Because Sam is being returned to his factory settings by doing the trials?

When we first discovered the trials, the nature of them, that the reward was closing the gates of Hell, the primary reason the Winchesters were so gung-ho seemed to be revenge. Well Dean saw it as revenge, against all the demon SOBs that have made their lives a cavalcade of nightmares, who murdered their parents and friends, who manipulated Sam’s life and who tortured Dean for 30 years. Sam also saw it as their way out, a step closer to freeing them from “the life”, a step closer to the light at the end of the tunnel. I always thought, you know, when push shoves, if the payoff of closing the gates of Hell doesn’t balance against the cost, they could choose not to do it. I thought maybe Dean might say, “No more, Sam it’s killing you, it’s not worth it, we’re walking away.” Not that we know Sam’s illness would necessarily stop, in fact it probably wouldn’t if this week was anything to go by. But now, now… this feels like the most personal quest the Winchesters have ever undertaken…not because it will lock down Hell for all eternity, but for what it will do for Sam, or rather for how Sam feels about himself, how Sam perceives himself. This quest is desperately important to Sam.

Sam, through no fault of his own, has been marred by evil. The demon blood that runs through his veins has tied him to Azazel and to his destiny as the vessel of Lucifer. He’s felt like a freak his entire life. Even at school. I always thought in the early days he felt like a freak because of his lifestyle as a child of a hunter, because of his knowledge of what’s really out there in the dark, because of his training and skills, because they hopped from town to town, from school to school…but in this episode we find out it is, and always was, much deeper than that. Sam feels he’s not clean and here's the kicker, he always has. He always felt like there was something not quite right about him, that he wasn’t pure. Whether that was just his gut instinct telling him he was different, or whether he got that vibe from John? We don’t know when John cottoned on to Sam’s demon ties. We don’t know whether John treated him differently because of that. I’d always assumed John didn’t want Sam to go to Stanford because, 1. He wanted him with the family and 2. He couldn’t look out for him there. Well yeah, but now I’m thinking the looking out was for a whole different reason. John told Azazel that he’d known for a while that Sam was different. Now I’m wondering what that while was. Now I’m wondering if he wanted to keep such a close eye on Sam because of the demon blood, because he knew that Sam being alone opened him up to a whole different threat. Which of course we found out was the case. Because the demons got into Sam’s life and into his world and moved him like a piece on their chessboard to get him where they wanted him to be. But then, that had been going on his entire school life, before he went to Stanford. Maybe this knowledge, if gained early on, was also why John made such a point of telling Dean to look out for his little brother and was so harsh on him when he made a mistake. I mean, it wasn’t simply babysitting, even the times we’ve seen John tell Dean to look out for Sam, it seem to be beyond impassioned. It was so ingrained into Dean by his father, that he’s been doing it every since and he’s even said, it defines him, it’s who he is.

So, did Sam sense he was different because of what was inside of him, or did he sense he was different because John treated him differently (unintentionally I'm sure), because he knew the truth. Whichever way, Sam has had these feelings of being not clean since he was a child. Breaks my damn heart.

Sam believes the trials are purifying him. Whether this is metaphorically speaking or physically, I guess we’ll find out soon enough. I’m in the physically school of thought for now. I think the coughing up blood is the demon blood. I think he is so sick because his body is rebelling against itself, like antibodies (not literally) are attacking his blood from within and forcing a change. Like, say if you got the wrong blood transfusion, how ill you’d be because the antibodies in your natural blood would start to reject and attack the foreign blood. Actually you’d get a fever first, I looked it up. The question is; would someone who does not have demon blood in them have the same kind of reaction?

I went back to the script for “Trial and Error” to have a look at Kevin’s original words, "Whosoever chooses to undertake these tasks should fear not danger, nor death, nor... A word I think means getting your spine ripped out through your mouth for all eternity.” So, maybe this whole thing is tougher on Sam than it would be on anyone else, because of his blood? Or maybe other people would be cleansed in other ways? If Dean ended up doing the actual trial, how would he have been affected? On the flipside, because of Sam’s blood, should he complete the trials, the reward would be two fold, because the gates would be closed, and Sam would be cleansed of the demon element forever (maybe).

When Sam stood in front of Dean and told him that he remembered his brother telling him stories of Sir Galahad and how he always knew he could never be like that… “Because I'm not clean. I mean, I w— I was just a little kid. You think... maybe I knew? I mean, deep down, that— I had... demon blood in me, and about the evil of it, and that I'm— wasn't pure?” I felt totally devastated. That Sam had been carrying this with him all this time, along with everything else? I think my face was like Dean’s…I mean, what do you say to that? “Sam, it’s not your fault”. How much would it hurt to hear that sadness in your brother’s voice? See that pain on his face and those tears in his eyes and know he’s always felt like that? Jared delivered those lines better than I think he’s delivered any lines ever before. I felt those lines. Felt them. It was such an emotional and physical performance. It’s almost like in that moment Sam was totally redefined for me, or maybe defined. It’s like I got hit over a head with a hammer and there was Sam, telling me who he really is and how he really feels and it was unbelievably powerful and for me at least, felt long overdue.

I want Sam to be cleansed of the blood. For him. No one else is judging him on it, like Dean said, it’s not his fault, but it’s how he perceives himself and that’s worse. He doesn’t see himself as wholly human, even though he is so very human. It’s more than our blood that creates our humanity. But like Pinocchio, he wants to be a ‘real boy’ and this is something that’s haunted him since he was a child and probably the reason he's always craves the safe “normal” life.

When Sam said, “But we're heading somewhere. The end.” I felt like he wasn’t just talking the end of the life that they’ve been forced to live, or that light at the end of the tunnel he’s taking Dean to, or demons roaming the earth, I felt like he was talking about an end to his plight, an end to feeling like he does, an end to feeling like there’s evil living inside him, an end to the feeling of not being clean, however that end presents itself. Damn. Such good stuff.

All this got me thinking about the finale and the title, “Sacrifice”. I’ve been thinking and musing and writing it wherever for a while now, that maybe the sacrifice isn’t a death or isn’t only a death. Maybe it’s that the brothers have to make a choice because the cost of closing the gates is too high, either on a personal or Universal level. Metatron pretty much said they’d have to weigh the prize against the outcome, “Ask yourself: what is it going to take to do this, and what will the world be like after it's done?” I’ve been asking exactly the same thing. Why is the big picture and the possible ramifications not being considered? I think it’s because this quest is so personal to the Winchesters that they’re blinded to everything else and that’s where the sacrifice comes into play. With Sam’s plaintive speech about always feeling like he wasn’t clean or pure, I don’t believe Dean will try to stop his brother no matter what, because it’s obviously so important to Sam, maybe the most important thing he’s ever faced, on a personal level. But if the outcome of closing the gates is something that creates a bigger problem, or hurts innocents, or destroys the Universal balance, will Sam sacrifice his chance at being rid of the demon blood forever, for the greater good? Is that the sacrifice? Because now, that seems pretty huge, way bigger than just giving up the ideal life and the white picket fence.

Then there’s Metatron and how he plays into all this. I liked him. I like that “Supernatural” totally turns angels upside down. From nasty creatures like Uriel, Zach and Naomi, to Gabriel and his love of Casa Erotica and now Metatron who ran for it and holed himself up reading about the world instead of experiencing it. It was a cowardly thing to do, Sam was right. He could see humanity losing its way, but he chose to just sit back and simply read about it. Consequently, he missed the biggest story of all, the one with an Apocalypse, a couple of boys, an old dude in a trucker cap and an angel in a trenchcoat. He had no idea who the Winchesters were. How funny was Sam’s line! “What kind of angel are you? We’re the freakin’ Winchesters!” I laughed out loud!

It was Dean’s angry story of Kevin that made Metatron take stock and save the embattled prophet, just in the nick of time! He did some wicked damage to Crowley too. Pretty powerful for a secretary angel from the typing pool.

I’m most interested to see where we go with Metatron over the next couple of weeks, how his knowledge will play into the endgame of the season, how desperately the sides will try to get their hands on him. Crowley will want him for sure, to read that angel tablet. Naomi will want him for sure, because he would be a prize (and she’s a pill). By the way, do you think that was the real angel tablet Cass had shoved inside himself or do you think it was a stunt tablet?

There was so much to take onboard in “The Great Escapist” I loved every moment Sam and Dean were together. From the MoL and Dean trying to make Sam eat, to all the little nods to the brother’s history, John’s soup, the childhood memories, Dean reading Sam books and holidays neither could remember before Sam got ill. Beautiful stuff that further enriches their story and our understanding of them.

I loved that Sam used something he’d learnt at Stanford. Hey, if Sam had never gone to college, he wouldn’t have known about that symbol, they wouldn’t have tracked that tribe, (don’t say Indian, Dean), they wouldn’t have found Metatron... I love that Sam is now connected to the scribe and is resonating. That was super cool.

I loved that Edlund had Dean kick himself for not bringing Kevin to the bunker. I loved that Edlund had Crowley define the brothers, ”Your slang. Special K, nose to the God-stone, that's the way Dean speaks. Sam is... more basic, more sincere. Remember, I want two distinct, authentic characterisations.” Hilarious! It’s like the man is reading our minds…or our blogs!

I love that Dean is, at every turn popping out an arm or something for Sam, just in case he falls. It’s subtle, but it’s there, just a slight movement towards Sam when he stumbles. I love that he’s showing this support for his brother and that he’s staying so strong. I feel like he’s exuding strength right now, because he needs to appear steadfast for Sam and he needs to have the strength to be able to carry the emotional weight of what is happening. Plus, he also needs to be able to be there with Sam, physically to complete the trials…because as Sam’s passing out proves, he can’t do this with out his brother standing by his side, no matter how much he seems to be able to keep moving forward against the craziest of odds. The trials is and always was a two-man job.

Dean’s doing me in this season. He’s turned in to a remarkably, beautiful man. (Sorry…hey, my name is sweetondean, you gotta expect me to do this now and then I'm kinda in love with the guy!)

Look, I could go on and on and on about this episode because so much happened and so much was set up for the final 2 episodes of the season. The performances, as usual, were all top notch. Jensen and Jared continue to blow me away, week in week out. Mark Sheppard was chewing up the scenery like a, well like a demon! Misha’s Castiel…his face in that BigGerson’s montage, gah. Osric, Curtis…everyone.

I literally have no idea where we’re going, what’s going to happen or how I’m going to handle it! I’m with Dean,“Cure a demon. Okay, ignoring the fact that I have no idea what that actually means…” But I think they may be digging up someone’s head pretty soon! I also think Mr Edlund is a genius, a master at what he does. I have a wee bit of a crush on him…or I want to be him…I can’t decide which.

I’m going to leave you with something I never do, but… here you go.

I was kind of interested in the fact that Sam had a temperature of 107. That’s HIGH! (By the way, you know that meant Dean must have brought his new thermometer away with them!) I remember when I had a temperature of 104 and the doctor was on the verge of sending me to emergency and I was SICK. So I googled 107 to see what the cut off point is (108 = deadski) and well…I found a couple of things. None of us believe that anything in “Supernatural” is done by accident right? The first one is a pearler!

In Psalm 107, there was a line that interested me:

20. He sent his Word and healed them, and delivered them from their pits.

I have no bible knowledge to speak of, but I read this and then read up about how Psalm 107 (very basically) is in thanks of God’s forgiveness, in which he performs miracles and saved those that showed faith.

The Quran teaches that the people who are sent either to hell or to paradise will remain there forever. They will be there for eternity and never again leave these places.

In the Quran 11-107 discusses the nature of Hell.

They will dwell therein so long as the heavens and the earth endure, except as thy Lord willeth: for thy Lord is the (sure) accomplisher of what He planneth.

I kind of liked the bit about the heavens enduring…

The number 7 in numerology and numbers relating to 7 – as in 107 – represent God in the material world, the spiritual in the physical world. It is considered a holy number.

In the Urban Dictionary – 107 denotes a miracle

(one-oh-seven) Used to describe a miracle (from just unbelievable stuff to real miracles). It comes from the divine number 7. The one-oh in front of it is just used to make it easier to pronounce (unlike seven-seven-seven).

107 is also the atomic number of the radioactive element bohrium and is the atomic mass of silver! I was googling subatomic!

I also found an article about subatomic stuff in the Universe. The scientist measured the distance of the earth to the sun in orange diameters – imagining the sun is an orange and calculating the average diameter of a Valencia orange – the earth is approximately 107 orange diameters from the sun! This article was subtitled…wait for it… Abandon All Hope!

Is Edlund screwing with us?

But then again…Sam probably just had a really high temperature…

How did you like the episode? Let me know your thoughts. Mine of course, are just mine and I know I went out on a few wild tangents that may be complete rubbish, but this one got my brain working so I thought I'd throw it all out there…and if you got to the end of this review…thanks for sticking with it, I know it was a long one!


sweetondean is Chief Editor and a writer for The Winchester Family Business
For all the latest Supernatural info and article links, follow The Winchester Family Business on Twitter at @WinFamBusiness