Sunday, 28 June 2015

HELLATUS HELPER - Top Ten Rescues of Sam by Dean

- by Melissa

Guest writer, Melissa is back with another set of her favourites lists! Let her know your thoughts in the comments!

A while back I did two top ten lists (sweetondean: here and here) chronicling some of the more memorable brotherly moments between Sam and Dean that happened to mean the most to me. All of these excluded rescues or sacrifices. Well, now I feel it’s about time, with us all reeling from the end of season ten, that we honour those daring rescues!

For these lists, I will not be including any failed rescues, only the successful ones, meaning there’ll be no mention of incidents like Sam’s fruitless crusade to save Dean from going to hell, or likewise, Dean’s attempt to liberate Sam from the Benders when Sam was the one who freed his own self from the cage, etc. Let’s focus purely on the triumphs. They’ll be listed in chronological order again, from the beginning of the series, to where we are now. Please keep in mind also that these two save each other A LOT, like, practically twice a day, so naturally there will be various intrepid rescues that will unfortunately be omitted, so by all means, add your own personal favourites in the comments! 

As before, let’s start off with Dean, seeing as how he was rescuing his baby brother so early on that Sam was literally the baby brother on the night of that fire.

Number 1: Firing the Colt at the demon: Devil’s Trap

During their hasty rescue of their father in the show’s very first season finale, one of the demons managed to jump the brothers and started wailing on poor Sam. Repeated punches against the defenceless Winchester were discontinued, thanks to Dean firing one of the preciously few bullets of the Colt at the offender, thus killing him. 

Within the shelter of a cabin to which they later retreat, it’s here that Dean reflects upon what it entailed actually shooting that demon dead. Not only did it cost them one of the bullets they would need to destroy Azazel and avenge their mother, it also meant the sacrifice of the human meatsuit. Much to Dean’s disgust, he had impulsively executed that innocent man, all for the sake of his little brother, a decision he dislikes but doesn’t regret. Because regardless of the sacrifice, he knows Sam’s survival is the most important result.

Number 2: Showing obvious favoritism: Croatoan

Some demonic virus is overtaking every person in a quarantined town, burdening the brothers with the very difficult task of putting down those who’ve been infected, while simultaneously protecting what few survivors are left. Tough calls are continually made by Dean, who understands that in order to keep this virus from spreading, they must indiscriminately eliminate anyone who’s been potentially infected. Favouritism is eventually demonstrated by Dean, however, when it seems like the virus has been transmitted to Sam via blood, yet he refuses to let anyone shoot his presumably contaminated brother. Technically Dean didn’t save Sam from the virus itself, since he was actually immune to it, but he did stand his ground by disallowing any gunfire to befall his brother. Even when Sam volunteers to do the deed himself, Dean resoundingly denies him this service, determined to be the one there for him in the end. It’s a good thing Dean acted so subjectively towards Sam, now that we know his immunity kept him sane anyway. But I also adore this scene for how it implies that if Sam was going to go down, Dean would be right there beside him, thinking he would never again leave that room without his brother.

Number 3: Sacrificing his soul: All Hell Breaks Loose Part Two

Quite a predictable choice on my part, but no one can refute the sheer valour in this pivotal transaction. Plus this action was just plain nutty, wasn’t it? God, I love this episode! If you wish to see some of the best acting of Jensen’s career, look no further than the scene where he summons a Crossroads Demon to deal away his soul in exchange for resurrecting a currently dead Sam. Dead might seem like an extreme case for one of the main leads to be in, but they get used to it by the third or fourth death!

Anyway, for Dean to sell his soul and agree to die in one year, going against everything they have ever believed, is such a monumental deed that I still to this day cannot wrap my brain around it. Yes, I get the lovely sentiment behind it, but to me it’s just bonkers to think that someone can willingly shorten their life to one additional year and then condemn themselves to hell for all eternity. Eternity is long, folks. Longer than the run of all the Dark Shadows episodes! Longer than all the seasons of Survivor! (Basically I can only measure things in terms of television longevity.) Undoubtedly Dean’s transaction with the Crossroads demon was bonkers, and that’s what made it so heartbreakingly heroic.

Number 4: Attacking the wraith: Sam, Interrupted

Has everyone realised that this episode title is a reference to Girl, Interrupted, which Misha Collins starred in? Not that that matters, just thought I’d throw in some pointless trivia. Driven insane by the wraith’s poison, this disadvantage is wrestled with valiantly by Dean during his attempt to reach the monster and slay her once and for all. Just in the nick of time Dean arrives on the spot before the wraith can eat Sam’s poisoned brain (these sentences are so strange when I read them back to myself) and manages to fight her off. Reason I always think back fondly upon this rather routine rescue, is because I take into consideration Dean’s utterly impaired mental state, and am blown away that he’s still able to protect Sam when he’s in danger. Minutes ago Dean was jolting at mere mentions of a monster, hypothesising the ghostly return of his father, and avoiding stepping on any cracks in the floor, yet amazingly he can still suppress his neurosis enough to kill the wraith and keep Sam’s brain from being eaten. Bravo.

Number 5: Being Death for a day: Appointment in Samarra

Some may disregard this rescue, since it wasn’t entirely successful on Dean’s part, but the end result was absolutely a success so I’m counting it. Missing his soul since his return from hell (these sentences just keep getting weirder), Sam is now depending on Dean to bargain with Death in order to retrieve the misplaced spirit. That which impressed me most was actually the very start of the expedition, when Dean gave consent to an unlicensed doctor to stop his heartbeat and render him temporarily deceased just for the sake of contacting Death in the first place. It was so risky that Dean was required to leave his will behind in the event of his death being permanent. Hard to top that off. From then on Dean undertakes Death’s trial of performing his job for a day, which also turns out to be a major bitch. Granted, he did technically fail as the grim reaper, but nevertheless Death acknowledged Dean’s commendable attempt and restored Sam’s soul to his body, so I consider that successful enough to qualify. Plus did I mention how he arranged for his temporary death with an unlicensed doctor, who only had a seventy-five percent success rate with this procedure? No, I will not stop harping on about this point.

Number 6: Bringing Cas back: The Born Again Identity

Soul restoration was not a triumph without a few drawbacks, one of which includes Sam suffering from hallucinations featuring a loquacious Lucifer and memories of hell uprooting his current reality. Insomnia threatened to end Sam’s life lest they diffuse these hallucinations somehow, so Dean left his brother in the hands of a hospital and set out to find a supernatural healer. Quaint coincidence led to Dean reuniting with a recently amnesiac Cas, where the two of them then proceeded to fight their way through demons and purge the insanity from Sam’s mind. 

Does anyone ever wonder what happened to the woman who took in the amnesiac Cas? Weren’t they married?! Did he just wander off, regain his memory and never bothered to say goodbye to the poor woman? What happened to her? As a side note, Meg refers to Cas as “Tree-topper” in this episode. Reference to the angel topping a Christmas tree. Great name for an angel, if so. Now I miss Meg . . . 

Number 7: Sending Benny to Purgatory: Taxi Driver

Trials to close the Gates of Hell were indeed arduous for Sam, second of which required him to travel to Hades itself, through Purgatory, in order to bring a righteous soul to Heaven. Only problem is that halfway through delivering Bobby’s spirit to salvation, they lose their ride back to the land of the living, and now Dean must find a way to return his brother to earth. When I originally saw this episode, I honestly thought that when Dean met up with Benny, his plan was to be turned into a vampire, then be killed, which would automatically send his soul to Purgatory where he’d track down Sam and Bobby himself and lead them to the portal out of there. Afterwards he’d use Benny, the vampire who turned him, to cure himself of his recent vampirism. I know, right? My plan was WAY more complicated than Dean’s! What the hell was I smoking? Benny’s sacrifice as Sam’s escort through Purgatory was pretty distressing to watch, really stressing the turmoil Dean felt when choosing between the life of his new monster friend and little brother. It’s one thing for Dean to sacrifice his own life for his brother’s sake, but quite another to sacrifice someone else’s.

Number 8: Allowing Gadreel to possess Sam: I Think I’m Gonna Like It Here

Absolute favourite scene ever between the brothers, for me, is the unbelievably emotional discussion they have in the church in the Season 8 finale, Sacrifice. Dear Lord, that scene of Dean dissuading Sam from completing the final trial so that he may live, despite that meaning they leave the Gates of Hell open, makes me cry happily every time! Sadly, as to be expected, that beautiful rescue did not happen without a few hitches, like Sam falling into a coma in which he would soon die. 

Disregarding Sam’s autonomy, Dean made the decision on his behalf and allowed some shady angel to take possession of him, since he’d then be able to heal him from within. However you may react to Dean’s total transgression towards Sam, this rescue will always stand out to me specifically for its resultant controversy. Any show that can spawn thought-provoking debates and divisive examinations on codependence, love and free will among its fanbase is proving itself to be a rarity, as most shows do nothing more than serve as braindead entertainment. Applaud shows that challenge their audience and make you question the morals of its stories, because that’s not something that happens often. Oh, and Jared’s overall portrayal of Gadreel was awesome.

Number 9: Driving Gadreel out of Sam: Road Trip

Know whose portrayal as Gadreel was equally as awesome?: Tahmoh Penikett’s. Once Gadreel was ejected from Sam’s body, yay, we got to go back to enjoying another actor’s take on him! Yes, tragically Gadreel’s invasion of Sam did not turn out well, so it didn’t take long for Dean’s mission to free his brother of the angel to unfold, though unfortunately such measures had to be taken after Kevin’s death (whimper). Out of all of season nine’s great episodes, this one was probably my favourite, because it was a rare chance to see Dean, Cas and Crowley all team up for a single goal, that one happening to be Sam’s rescue. Such rescue did in fact include needles to the brain, double simultaneous possessions, and one kick ass scene of Sam banishing Gadreel from his body, altogether making for an unforgettable episode. Dean essentially had to undo the damage he himself did by originally allowing Gadreel to possess Sam in the first place, but at least he did a decent job of cleaning up after his mess, even if it did require letting Crowley share temporary possession of his brother.

Number 10: Sharing in the blood sacrifice: The Werther Project

Lastly we come to one of the newer episodes, where an enchanted box demands to be given the blood of a Man of Letters in order to be opened and to release the codex that’s sealed inside. Said codex will help Rowena translate the Book of the Damned and possibly cure Dean of the Mark of Cain, so Sam is all too willing to pour out as much of his blood as needed. Luckily Dean arrives in time to stop Sam from draining himself completely, cutting open his own wrist for the remainder of the blood. 

Wonderfully symbolic, how it takes the joined bloodline of both brothers to unlock the box and dispel its destructive curse. Our show is not about one brother, alone, sacrificing themselves, but rather both brothers, together, shedding their blood and giving their lives to whatever task they’re facing. 

Together they fight, and even if they do lose a little blood along the way, it’ll never be enough to where they can no longer carry on their legendary bloodline, so long as they have each other’s backs.

Next we cover the times Sam has rescued Dean over the years!

Hope you enjoy and will voice plenty of your own opinions in the comments.

Tuesday, 23 June 2015

Brother I’m Done – Supernatural Season 10 Finale Wrap Up.

This is the fourth time I’ve sat down to do this. The first time – well I just didn’t get very far. The second time – I wrote a fanfic instead, all about what happens when The Darkness clears – you can read it here if you like. The third time – err…I wrote another fanfic, that picked up at the end of the last one… it’s here if you’re interested in what, errrr kept me distracted from writing my finale review! 

Maybe one of the reasons I’ve stumbled over this one, is that if I write the finale up, the season is done for another year, and we have the ridiculously long hiatus to deal with. I don’t want to deal with the ridiculously long hiatus. I just don’t. I miss my show already, a lot…

But basically, I don’t know why it takes me so long to write up a finale episode. I don’t know why I procrastinate over it like I do… I checked on how long it took me last season, and I didn’t even do one! I guess I owe you guys.

Last year, of course, I was practically comatose after that finale, so maybe that was my excuse. My brain ceased to function for a good couple of months as I went into mourning. I kid you not. But I sure don’t have that excuse this year, because this year, I was almost joyous! In my books that was a happy ending! Probably the happiest we’ve had since season 2! Okay, Crowley and Cas are in a spot of bother (I’m pretty confident they’ll be just fine), and sure, we don’t know what this Darkness business really is or means, but the brothers were together, the Mark of Cain was gone, and Sammy was yelling out “Deannnn”, even though Dean was sitting right next to him. I call that a fandom win!

And that’s not at all what I was expecting.

I was pretty sure I was going to be devastated come the end of season 10 - season finales tend to do that. And I was sure The Carver and his evil (I love them) posse of Writers, were setting us up for something truly horrific. Even more horrific than an angel blade sliding as easily into Dean’s chest as if it was made of butter *shudders* or even more horrific than Dean dying in Sam’s arms. I’d prepared myself for the absolute worst – the thing we’re constantly praying the show will never do…one brother killing the other.

Deep inside I didn’t think it would ever happen. I think that’s a line in the sand the show won’t cross. I hope. Man, I hope… But I was still filled with the kind of dread only a Supernatural fan would truly understand, dread and overwhelming fear for a bunch of fictional characters that mean the absolute world to me. The whole Cain and Abel thing, the whole Cain’s prophecy for Dean thing, the whole Death being around thing, the whole “Brother’s Keeper” thing…I was panic stricken.

But for the first time, in probably ever, I was hooting and hollering at the end of a Supernatural finale! Fist pumping the air, dancing around the loungeroom. My tears were those of happiness for a change! And there were a lot. I really bawled. I think it was the stress finally releasing…a whole season of stress! I was expecting THE WORST and I got the brothers actually ending out a season together, both alive, neither apparently on death’s door, and though I’m sure they have a lot to discuss, neither were obviously or outwardly pissed off at each other (for the moment). See, THAT IS A HAPPY ENDING!

It was a fantastic season finale, rounding out what was a fantastic season, one of my favourites. Every episode hit the right note for me, and the Mark of Cain being the big bad, a big bad that came from within someone I love with all my heart, a big bad that simply could not be fought…that seemed to raise the odds incredibly high.

Add to it Sam’s overwhelming, urgent need to help his brother, to save his brother, to do whatever was necessary to get his brother back…Oh man, I loved it. I loved Sam trying so hard to hang on to Dean. I loved Dean trying so hard to hang on to himself and in doing so, hanging on to Sam. I've always believed in their love and had faith that they did too. Season 10 was by far my favourite “brothers” season for a long time and the brothers are my favourite thing ever. And I make no excuses for that. 

The overarching theme of family, something that has always been central to our show, filtered through every aspect of the story. Through Cas and his strange and poignant reconnection with Jimmy Novak’s daughter, Claire. Through Crowley and his unsuccessful, and somehow heartbreaking reconnection with his mother, Rowena. We had a wonderful discussion about John Winchester, and a moment around the dinner table where the Winchester’s new family took a rare break to laugh together. And of course, Sam and Dean, learning to understand each other by seeing through each other's eyes, and walking in each other's shoes... and who even talked about love...and used the actual word... *epic sigh*

We ended the season introducing a new mythology involving the Frankenstein family. And though Dean decimated the local chapter, who’s to say there’s not more of this ancient clan out there. We still have Metatron, on the run with the demon tablet and Rowena, on the run with The Book of the Damned. We have Kevin still with Mrs Tran, we have Bobby locked up in Heaven. We have Cole out there somewhere knowing about what really goes on in the dark. We have Jody and Donna and Claire and Alex. Season 10 left us with a whole Universe of possibilities and characters that may somehow cross the Winchester’s path again. 

And though the loss of Charlie was hard and hurt and was difficult for many to reconcile, her metamorphosis from a hacker girl, to a full blown hunter – a Winchester essentially – strong enough to choose her own destiny, to put the safety of someone she loved, and possibly humanity, above her own life, to become a hero, to me seemed strangely fulfilling. If she had to die, I'm glad she died as the strong woman we'd grown to know. She started as a cool, fun character, and ended as a character pretty much Universally loved. She became family; a testament to Charlie’s growth, through Robbie Thompson’s writing and Felicia Day’s wonderful performance. I believe we’ll see Charlie again. This is Supernatural after all.

The finale only wrapped up one story – The Mark of Cain, though what the aftermath of the First Curse will be for Dean, we don’t know - everything else was left, in someway, open. And for the first time in a few of seasons, we have a Big Bad that’s not all about the war in Heaven, or the battle for Hell…it’s not about angels or demons, it’s something new…or rather, very old, an evil beyond what the boys know or understand and somehow, they’re going to have to stop it. Old school. And I suspect, together. I’m looking forward to seeing that, a hell of a lot.

And so, as we sit and suffer through the relentless hellatus, I can’t help but go back and watch the season 10 finale over and over, if for no other reason than to marvel at the scene between Sam and Dean, as Death lingers over them and Sam, eyes filled with tears, willing to sacrifice himself so that his brother doesn’t murder the world, lays out the photos of Dean and his family, so that one day Dean can remember who he once was, and that he once loved and was loved. A Point of No Return/Swan Song moment – as one brother’s love, and their everlasting bond of family awakens the human heart still beating in the other. Sam’s faith in Dean pulled him back from Michael, Dean’s never-ending dedication to Sam pulled him back from Lucifer, and now Sam’s pure love for Dean pulled him back from becoming an unstoppable evil. If I could curl up and live in that scene, I would. Beautiful, perfect words; beautiful, perfect emotions; all played out in a beautiful, perfect performance by our beautiful, perfect boys. 

I loved this finale.

Now we wait. We wait to see how Crowley and Cas get out of their deadly situation. We wait to see if Death is truly dead, and if he is, what does that mean to the natural order of things. We wait to see what this Darkness is, how it will manifest and what it will want. And we wait to see what’s happened to Sam and Dean and Baby…

It’s bound to be bad…but somehow, I feel okay about it. Because I’m pretty sure that any doubts either brother ever had about the other’s love, got erased in season 10.  So no matter what happens, at least we all have that. 

-(eternally optimistic)sweetondean

P.S. I did do a finale podcast - so if you want to hear my thoughts fresh after the episode, you can listen to The Women of Letters finale podcast here.

Sunday, 7 June 2015

Jared at the Gilmore Girls Reunion - ATX TV Festival 2015

by sweetondean

How nice is it to see those smiling faces. 

Today was the big ATX Television Festival closing night shindig honouring The Gilmore Girls. Whether you watched the show or not, as a Supernatural fan, you most definitely would have been looking forward to this panel, for one gigantic, oversized reason. Jared was going to be there.

As everyone knows, Jared cancelled his appearances at JIB6 in Rome and AHBL6 is Australia, citing exhaustion and needing to get home to his family. He headed home from Europe with all our love and support behind him to be with his wife and kids and get some much needed R&R.

Jensen said in Sydney, Australia, Jared was plumb tuckered out and he knew, and Jared knew that the way Jared was feeling there was no way he could be who he wanted or needed to be for the fans at those events. So with Jensen gently pushing him, Jared headed back to Texas. 

And that's all we know. 

So I think most of us have been waiting eagerly to see Jared at this Gilmore Girls event, because we love him, and we were worried for him, and if you're anything were like me, selfishly just needed to see him! 

** This article will be updated as more content because available. Check back.

The day started off with some of the GG cast, including Jared, sitting down with NBC's Janet Shamlian for an interview that will be on The Today Show at some point next week.

Janet also did a Periscope live stream of the cast milling around chatting where you can see Jared and Gen. Here is the link if you have the app.


Here's the entire Today Show interview!

Then it was off to the Paramount Theatre for the main event. The big Gilmore Girls reunion - which kicked off on the (obviously very hot) red carpet!

Here's a fan's shot of Jared arriving. I'm starting to think his beanie is like a security blankie, and not just to keep his glorious mane in check! Because it was obviously so very, very hot on the red carpet!

Here's a little interview with Jared about his favourite Austin places to chow down 

A quick dining guide from the Austin actor.

At this weekend’s ATX Television Festival, Eater had the chance to speak to Gilmore Girls andSupernatural actor and Austinite Jared Padalecki about his favorite restaurants. Here’s what he had to say:

"Jeez. I go a lot to Fixe, Sway, Salty Sow, Odd Duck, Olamaie. Fixe is amazing. That was one of our favorite new spots, because it’s relatively fresh. Whenever guests are in town, Franklin obviously. You gotta. And then just cheesy stuff. We have a boat on Lake Austin, so we’ll stop at Hula Hut every now and again and get the kids some quesadillas, and some chips and salsa."

Despite the fine culinary choices, #TeamJess.

The panel kicked off with the creator of the Gilmore Girls and the leads of the show, and then the all the cast in attendance joined them on stage. Jared had a much needed wardrobe change with what looks like an emergency ATX Festival t-shirt!

EW was originally going to live stream the panel - however now it will be available tomorrow to watch online. And EWLive hosted the panel audio via EWLive Entertainment Radio. 
When a link to the panel become available, I shall add it - keep an eye on my twitter @AmyinSydney!

And looks like some fun was had in the Entertainment Tonight Smilebooth!

And here are some fan photos with Jared

Then there's this.......

Finally here's a link to watch the entire Gilmore Girls reunion panel via Entertainment Weekly.

And to finish off this piece, let's get some words of wisdom from Jared - via MTVNews.

The "Supernatural" star recently took some time for himself.

After taking some much-needed time for himself, Jared Padalecki is back and feeling better than ever.

The actor joined his fellow former Stars Hollow residents for the long-awaited “Gilmore Girls” reunion at the ATX Television Festival this past weekend, and he was all smiles.

Padalecki scared “Supernatural” fans last month when he suddenly canceled appearances at fan conventions and tweeted, “I need all the love I can get right now.” But the 32-year-old just needed to recharge after a long season away from his family.

MTV News caught up with Padalecki ahead of the big “Gilmore Girls” reunion, and he had some important advice for others who might also be feeling stretched too thin.

“Try and remember to shift gears,” he said. “That’s one of things I had to learn. It doesn’t mean that you have to live the simple life, but the life lived with just your friends and family is a great life.”

“Don’t get caught up trying to think you’re supposed to do more, or to think you’re supposed to please everybody,” he added. “Take care of yourself.”

Earlier this year, Padalecki launched his “Always Keep Fighting” t-shirt campaign through to benefit nonprofit organization To Write Love on Her Arms (TWLOHA), which supports people struggling with depression, addiction, self-injury and suicide. It’s a passion project for the actor, who’s been open about his own clinical depression.

“One of the things I learned from unplugging is that if you’re not 100 percent, you can’t give 100 percent,” Padalecki said. “So take the time to make sure you’re 100 percent.”

And if you already didn't think this man is serious adorable, how about this little bit from an article by International Business Times

While talking to a journalist on the red carpet outside Austin's Paramount Theatre, Padalecki’s interview was disrupted when a car blasting some seriously loud music pulled up to check out what all the fuss was about. The actor didn’t let the raging tunes interfere with the interview. Instead, he embraced the music -- with a dance!

We love you Jared, enjoy the rest of your break.