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Stream of Consciousness review of Epi 9.12

So...just when you think it's going to be a 'filler' episode, they decide to gut you instead. I see how you are, Show.


10:15am CST
I'm writing this first part on Tuesday morning because I wanted to get something down before my thoughts were colored by my reaction to tonight's episode. Based on some comments (here and elsewhere) I wanted both clarify something my rambling review of last week's episode may have made murky and also share my hopes for the potential direction of this storyline. Feel free to skim right over this preamble to the Ramble -- a preramble! -- if you'd like to get to the actual review of tonight's episode. *smile*

Let me just put it out there: No matter how excited I am about Dean's potential storyline, I do not want Dean to be evil, become a demon, go dark, etc., (no matter how much Jensen could rock such a challenge with his performance).

In my opinion (and that's all this Ramble is...one person's opinion), there's a big difference between being in a dark place and actually "going dark." Dean is most definitely in a dark place -- and one might argue has been since Purgatory, or perhaps even since Croatoan...or since being brought back from the brink of death by John's deal -- and he is going to need to find his way out of that place. Or be shown the way out by those who love him. Dean, despite what he might think of himself -- killer, poison, etc. -- is good. To the very marrow of his soul. He is the opposite of a demon.

I think -- and several of you touched on this in your comments to episode 9.11 -- that Dean was deemed worthy of the Mark of Cain not because he was a killer or has darkness in him, but because of his bravery and willingness to sacrifice himself for his brother. Cain commented several times about Dean's bravery, and he was intrigued by the fact that Dean chose to save his brother rather than kill him.

From my perspective (and feel free to disagree, this is just how I see it), Dean is the heart of the show -- the gravitational center point that all the other characters rotate around. That is why he's been so integral all this time even without a key storyline. Because we see through his eyes. We are better able to feel for Sam because of how Dean connects to and reacts to him, since we very rarely get to see why Sam feels as he does. Same for the other characters as well. If it weren't for Dean and his self-sacrificing soul, we would not so clearly see Sam as the hero he is.

So, in my opinion, actually turning Dean "dark" would be a mistake and lessen the importance of the other characters -- unless it is to offer others the chance to bring him back to the light, as they eventually did with Castiel. If they do go that direction, I'll watch and wait for my hero to return, but it's definitely not what I'm hoping will happen.

There are so many different paths they could take this on  and I'm incredibly intrigued by this. Regardless of which direction they step, Dean is now a part of the mytharc in a way he hasn't been since S5. That's exciting! No matter what the burden or "great cost" the Mark brings with it. I mean, if it happens to be a replay of what Cain had to go through (soul in Hell, killing his brother), my money is on Dean breaking the cycle and finding a way out of it. Someone mentioned in the comments to last week's review that the burden could be immortality -- which would be a sacrifice and require significant bravery.

I suppose we'll see soon enough. But regardless, I wanted to put out there one fan's opinion about her hero and hopes for the progress of a very intriguing storyline. Okay, so, with that...let's Ramble On.

RAMBLE: Sharp Teeth

So...I'm going to have to work a bit at this one. And remember...just one person's opinion here.

The MotW with Garth was actually entertaining, if a bit innocuous, and the whole message of family and finding something that fits...even if they are monsters...worked for the place the brothers are in. I didn't realize the boys cared so much about Garth, to be honest, but I suppose when you don't have many friends, you seek out the ones you do have when they surface after six months of silence. But that all kinda faded a bit for me with the last few minutes of the episode.

It's no secret that I gravitate toward Dean (like I'm caught in a tractor beam). But those of you who have read my ramble for awhile know that I have a soft spot for Sam and I hope you see that I do work to see things from his point of view and understand his reasoning. However, tonight..., well, after that end scene, I'm struggling a bit. Maybe if I get through the rest of the ramble I'll see things differently from Sam's perspective. It's happened before. And, we've a long way to go in the season with more episodes left to see than we've actually already watched, so I am, as ever, looking forward to what is in store.

Last week, Dean told Cain that you never give up on family. Someone in the comments called that out as their new favorite line from Dean and I replied that it's that kind of stuff that spins my head around. Because when it comes to my family, there have been times I wanted to give up. I just wanted to walk away because it hurt so bad to stay connected, engaged, to keep trying when I felt constantly denied, pushed away, ignored. But then, I'll remember something Dean -- a friggin' character in a TV Show for goodness sake -- will have said or done to show that he was willing to turn himself inside out and quite literally always be there for his family...and I'll decide to keep trying.

Taking that kind of emotional state into account, Sam's inability to see why Dean did what he did, or moreover take ownership of the part he himself played in this situation, bothers me. I'm not saying that Dean did nothing wrong. He chose quite poorly, in fact. But the thing is...he's not denying it. He's owned up to it and apologized and offered his reasons why. There were extenuating circumstances and ultimately, all Dean did was save Sam's life -- a fact Sam was grateful of when Castiel did it.

I can actually understand and even accept Sam saying he couldn't trust Dean like he thought he could. It hurt to hear, but it honestly makes sense because I think Sam's trust was a little bit "take for granted." He trusted Dean to trust him. And when it comes to Sam...I think Dean falls into a category I'm a little familiar with called: I know what's best for you better than you do because I've been taking care of you all my life. So, yeah, Sam's right in that he can't trust Dean like he thought he could because Dean will pick the "save Sam" door every time, no matter what Sam might say he wants.

It's actually probably a little healthy that Sam adjust his 'trust' level with Dean because Dean is human and fallible and a little self-destructive when it comes to what he's willing to do for his family. He said it in S1: the things I'm willing to do or kill for you and Dad...it scares me sometimes. That has not changed over the last 8 years. If anything, Sam should 'trust' that -- not 'trust' that Dean will step back and allow Sam to make his own choices, especially if that choice is to walk out in front of a moving train.

But where Sam really got me was when he said they could work together, but when it came to being brothers he stopped, not really needing to finish. I wanted so badly in that moment for Dean to say, no thanks, I want my brother back, so call me when your terms change. I know you all probably want to throw things at me for actually wanting them to be apart, but I didn't want Dean to accept Sam's terms. Yes, there were things that Dean should have and could have done differently, but Sam seems to be acting like he's untouchable and that really...irks me.

I do understand that Sam is upset that Dean keeps making decisions for him -- he wanted to be able to follow through, save the day, "do something right," as he said to Castiel. But the thing I can't get past is that regardless of what Dean said to him, Sam chose to do those things. He chose to stop the trials. He chose to listen to his brother's pleas. He chose to live, thereby (unwittingly) letting Gadreel in. And the reason Dean talked him out of closing the Hell Gates was because it was killing him! That wasn't the deal; that wasn't what Sam promised when he started the trials!

Sam took on the trials with a declaration to Dean that he wanted to live when he saw that Dean was willing to die. He was going to show Dean the light -- that he was more than just a weapon. But the trials affected him, changing him, and he lost sight of that a bit, which is why (I thought) he had Dean there to support him. Dean was Samwise to Sam's Frodo, right? Dean was the one to pull Sam out of Mount Doom (the only problem being that the ring wasn't destroyed). And now Sam's blaming Dean for that? Just...ouch, man.

I do get it on some levels; Sam's still struggling as he has for basically his whole life to be separate and accountable for his own actions. To not be protected by his big brother or have decisions made for him "for his own good." I can respect that. But what I feel Sam is completely missing is the way he is crushing his brother by repeatedly severing ties when he's had enough and wants to stand on his own and then tying them back up again when he needs Dean. I think he's so wrapped up in how this has all affected him (and I can't really blame him for that - getting possessed by an angel is a pretty big deal) that he's blind to how it's affected Dean. And I think that's kind of dangerous for Dean right now. I think Dean is standing in the shadows and really needs someone to tell him, basically, you is good, you is kind, you is important. Or, y'know. Something like that. I may have read "The Help" a few times. *ahem*

Even though I think them working together right now, the way they are, is not the best decision they've ever made, I can't help but recognize that they both reached for that solution pretty quickly. Dean swallowed the accusations and took the hits and grabbed on to having Sam back despite Sam's "not really brothers" terms and despite his own "I'm poison" declaration. Sam jumped right in the Impala (leaving that sweet Charger just...sitting there) at Dean's nod despite the fact that he said he couldn't trust Dean like he thought and wanting to have control over his life. So, I think it's telling that they both needed it, but I still don't think it's a healthy choice.

I just hope that being together once more opens avenues to work through things and find a way to be brothers again. Because the gutted look on Dean's face there at the end actually made me cry. Real tears. And usually I only cry when I see someone else cry.

Let's blame lack of sleep and not the fact that I'm way overly invested in the relationship of these two brothers. *shifty-eyes*

How about some lists?

LOVES:

  • Dean still having his scruff. There were so many UNF moments I can't even...I'm going to try to call them out in the recap below because good gracious. Also, his voice (especially at the beginning) was rough. Batman rough. I liked it. A lot.

  • The fact that the boys gravitated to 'John Doe' and that's how they found each other again. I thought I wanted Sam to go find Dean, but this is more realistic and put them on more even ground.

  • Truth. Both about the residual grace (though he kinda skimmed over the part about the Big Ass Needle) and the Mark of Cain (though he left out the part about it coming at a 'great cost').

  • "Skinny...Ichabod Crane-looking kinda guy." HA! Pretty sure Crane on Fox's Sleepy Hollow would object to that comparison. That man is very nicely put together.

  • Garth's introductions. Seriously. "This is Dean. He could start a fight in an empty house, but deep down inside he's just a big ol' teddy bear. And Sam can be a bit insecure at times, but for good reason. Bless his heart."

  • Dean having lunch with the werewolf pack.

  • Dean being bad ass once more with the knife throwing and taking out the werewolf cousins all on his own. Smart and lethal.

LIKES:

  • I literally just researched Ragnarok for a story last week. Not only that? But I once wrote a story where it ended with the whole town as werewolves (Wolf and Man). When the sheriff wolfed out, I had to chuckle as I was reminded of that.

  • Werewolves --er, sorry, lycanthropes-- wearing silver bullet necklaces to remind them that life is fragile.

  • Sam once more getting a Dodge Charger (only an old-school one this time) when he was on his own.

  • Dean wearing cousin #1's jacket to hide his scent so that he could sneak into the barn. AND Dean taking out THREE werewolves without so much as breaking a sweat. *bravo*

  • The special effects for Garth wolfing out.

  • Lore that werewolves can be born or bitten (hello, Teen Wolf).

  • "Guess there's enough blame for that to go around."

  • The shot of the brothers leaning against the hood of the Impala at night.

  • The way Dean just watched Sam when the Sheriff called and moved when Sam moved, not needing to know why.

  • "Besides, somebody has to live to tell this damn story someday - who better than you?"

  • The boys leaving Garth, his wife, and father in law to live their lives.

MEH:

  • Y'know, I don't have the energy for 'meh's.

QUESTIONS:

  • Where have we seen Reverend Jim before? I swear he's been  on another episode, I'm just not sure where.

  • Was I the only one waiting to see Dean get attacked by one of the werewolves only to show that he can't be killed? I thought that would have been a clever way to reveal that...if indeed that is actually true.

  • So, here's what I gotta wonder. Garth is in a hospital the next town over for long enough that Sam had time to drive from New Mexico to Wisconsin and his new family doesn't find him first? No...APB, nothing? *scratches head*

  • Am I the only one who thought it was odd that Sam kinda let the whole 'Mark of Cain' thing drop once they had to focus on Garth? Maybe I'm looking through Dean-colored glasses, but I would have thought that would've been a bigger deal than it seemed to be to Sam.

THEN reminds us that Dean tricked Sam, Kevin is dead, Dean leaves because he feels he's poison, the Mark of Cain makes the First Blade work, and Garth is, well...Garth. NOW is in Grantsburg, WI, and we see a farm, hear a cow going NUTS, and see a farmer shoot at someone running from the barn. The farmer chases the figure through the woods, but loses it and then we see the figure run out into the road and get creamed by a car...and only then do we see that it's Garth. Ouch.

At the hospital, Sam shows up all suited up and flashes his FBI badge asking for a John Doe that was admitted there, describing him as a "skinny...Ichabod Crane-looking guy." *Holla Sleepy Hollow!* The nurse gives him the room number and says that he's a 'popular fellow.' In the room, Garth is out and Dean is there, plain-clothed, with a gigantic syringe in his hand. When the door opens, Dean tucks the syringe down along his leg, out of sight.

At first, neither of them speaks. Sam goes from looking mildly irritated to basically resigned. Dean looks stricken, then looks away, bobs his head, then looks back of at Sam, expressionless. Sam's the first to break.

Sam: Saw Garth's John Do on the police line.

Dean: Yeah. Where you comin' from?

I just have to say that he looks gooooood in green. Two words: electric eyes. Okay, sorry. Moving on.

Sam: New Mexico.

Dean (nods): That's a haul. Especially considering that I've got this pretty much covered, so...if you wanna go....

Sam: Have you spoken to him yet?

Dean: No. Ass-load of painkillers; he's been out since I got here.

Sam notices that Garth is handcuffed to the bed and asks what he's being charged with. Dean tells him that it's for killing a cow.  Dean was about to find out why when Sam walked in. He pulls out the gigantic syringe and just when I was about to say something about that looking like it was straight out of Pulp Fiction, Dean says it's filled with adrenalin.

Sam (sweeping out his hand to stop Dean): You trying to jump-start him or kill him?

Dean: I want answers. He walked out on Kevin and walked out on us. You got a better idea?

Sam does. He backhands him. Blammo! Garth wakes up screaming and makes Dean and Sam flinch back. He sees the boys, the fact that he's in a hospital, and wonders if he's in Heaven. Dean tells him to take it easy, he's in WI. Sam tells him that he was hit by a car and asks if he remembers anything. Garth says he remembers vaguely...he was on a hunt. Sam unlocks the handcuffs (didn't see how -- key or pick) and suddenly Garth launches out of bed, needing to puke. He makes it to the bathroom and Dean's like, "Good thing I didn't give him the adrenalin."

Garth's puke fest takes awhile, and the boys sit down to wait, Dean on the edge of the hospital bed, Sam across from him in the chair. This time Dean's the first to break.

Dean: Anything on Gadreel?

Sam: Actually, yeah. Turns out he left some grace in me before he bolted.

Dean (nods, frowns slightly): You know how wrong that sounds, right?

Sam (shrugs, sits back): I wouldn't worry about it. Cas took care of it.

Dean: Huh. I'm gone for two weeks and you're like an episode of Teen Mom.

He leans forward, elbows on knees, and calls out, "Just breathe through it, Garth. Work it out." He hangs his head a bit, looking tired. Sam looks over at him, kinda actually seeing him, and notices the tail end of the Mark on his arm.

Sam: What happened to your arm?

Dean (pulls sleeve up further): Oh...that's, uh...a gift from Cain.

Sam: Like...the wrestler?

*laughs* *pets him*

Dean (sideways glance at Sam): I wish. That would be awesome. No...the, uh, Old Testament Dude. He got all Biblical on me and gave me his 'mark.'

Sam: What does that even mean? How did that happen?

Dean (opting for the Reader's Digest version): Crowley and I found him and he gave me this so I could 86 Abbadon once and for all.

Sam's expression goes from WTF to FTW! to WTF in like a flash, and he ends with, "You worked a job with Crowley?"

Dean (his voice like gravel): The devil you know.

...is better than the devil you don't. That could pretty much be their family motto. If they started having a motto.

Just then Sam realizes that it's quiet in the bathroom and calls out Garth's name. Nothing. They break open the door. Empty - and the window is open. Cue Dean's Son of a bitch! They run outside wondering how Garth escaped from them.

Sam: Did you test him?

Dean: He was unconscious. No. Did he steal a car?

Sam (spying the hospital gown): Did he steal a car...naked?

Dean sees the security camera and says he'll get the footage and tells Sam to interview Farmer Brown. What I liked is that when he did it, he did that familiar, back of hand, smack to Sam's chest to get his brother's attention. So...Sam, talks to the farmer and finds out the it wasn't just the cow, it was goats and chickens, too, and they weren't just killed, they were eviscerated. Sam calls Dean and Dean (who is looking at b/w shots of Garth getting into a car) tells Sam that the camera was pointed the wrong way.

Dean: What can I say, Sammy, we lost this one. Send me a postcard.

Only, whoopsie, Sam's right there waiting for him as he turns the corner around the ambulance. Sam grabs the pictures and sees that Dean has the make, model, and license plate for the car Garth got into.

Sam: Really, Dean?

Dean (mask in place): I told you we can't hunt together. It's for your own good.

Sam (sets jaw): I hear you and after we find Garth and get to the bottom of this, I'm gone. But until then, no more games.

Dean frowns, considers, then agrees, telling Sam the car belonged to Bess Myers, one town over. So, they break into Bess' apartment, guns drawn and Garth is there, hands up, all everything's cool, just a misunderstanding.

The boys aren't picking up what he's putting down and decide to check out the rest of the apartment, guns first. Garth's urging them to calm down, but they aren't buying it and Sam opens a closet door only to be jumped (kinda) by a female werewolf. In what felt like a fight in slow-motion, Sam cuts her and and Garth jumps between them, protecting her and revealing that he's a werewolf, too. Wait, what??

Garth patches up Bess' arm, introducing her as his wife, then introduces the boys to Bess in probably the most adorable description of both of them ever. Dean stands with a serious scowl fixed in place, unblinking as he stares at Garth. Sam smirks a bit as Garth is describing Dean, but sobers when Garth describes him and looks, perhaps, a teensy bit offended.

Garth:  This is Dean. He could start a fight in an empty house, but deep down inside he's just a big ol' teddy bear. And Sam can be a bit insecure at times, but for good reason. Bless his heart.

He tells them that he was on a hunt 6 months ago, was bitten, and knew the deal. No cure. So he accepted his fate. He ate his favorite dish (Egg Fu Yung), watched the world's greatest movie (Rocky III) and was ready to eat a bullet when Bess found him (by smell, natch). They've been married for 4 months. They don't hunt people, just animals. This is where Bess reveals that werewolves can be born, not just bitten. In fact, she's second generation werewolf. Dean and Sam are all, *head tilt* huh? at this, but I liked the shift in lore. It matched with other werewolf shows I enjoy.

Dean wants to talk to Garth alone, so Bess leaves the room. Garth tells them that he's checked out the rest of the pack and they're clean. Sam's like, hello, your wife attacked me.

Garth: 'Cause you two came bustin' in here like a house afire. Guns waving, the jawlines and the hair... it's very intimidating!

*laugh*

Garth wants them to trust him that no one wants any trouble but Dean's like ah, yeah...no. Not happening. So, Garth invites him to come pray with them. Interesting. A bit later, Dean's pulling up the a house and Sam's at the sheriff's station. Dean gets into the trunk of the Impala and grabs a weapon (I missed which kind...something silver and pointy, though I'd imagine).

Dean: Nothing too sketchy yet.

Sam: That's a good thing, right?

Dean: Not bettin' on it.

Sam: Or are we just that jaded?

Dean trusts his instincts, though, which ultimately turns out to be a Very Good Thing. Sam's waiting for the sheriff to show up. He's standing next to a blue Dodge Charger...'70's model, with spoilers on top. Nice boosted car, Sammy. Even though he looks kind of bigger than the car. We never see him inside of it, either. I wonder if his head hit the roof.

At the house, Dean is greeted by Joy, Garth's (step) MiL. She's all welcoming and smiley, telling Dean he's safe in her house and only asks the same of him...since he's packing silver. Uber-suspicious and mega-reserved, he heads in to where a semi-large group of people are singing hymns, and Garth's playing the piano. When Bible study is over, Garth kinda bounds up to Dean all, hi! and introduces Dean to Bess' father, who happens to be the local pastor, Reverend Jim. Dean practically snarls at him and refuses to shake his hand, but agrees to have lunch with them.

Everyone gathers around the table. Dean's steak is cooked, but the others...well, let's just say a good vet could probably still save them. Their hands and face were all bloody from eating and as they're noshing on their raw animal organs, someone mentions that there is pie for desert. The look on Dean's face made me think he might've just sworn off of pie.

The talk about how they each wear silver bullet necklaces to remind them of the fragility of life and Rev Jim reveals how a hunter killed Bess' mom and he wanted revenge.

Rev Jim: The road to revenge is a dark and lonely one you never get off and the hole in the pit of your stomach...you never fill it.

Dean processes that, saying I get it. I find it interesting how many times Dean is shown something or told something he really needs to hear or see about himself -- but it comes from a source he's instinctively disinclined to listen to.

They find out the Joy's father was the previous Reverend and that Joy is a 4th generation werewolf. That rocks Dean a bit. Meanwhile, Sam's getting reassured by the sheriff that the Myers' are a little "hippie-dippie" but are pillars of the community. He promises to call Sam if he hears anything weird. Back at the farmhouse, Dean is poking around inside a (bloody, organ-filled) fridge and is surprised by Bess' two cousins (pretty much thing 1 and thing 2 b/c I didn't catch their names.

They more or less back Dean up against the wall and tell him that the sooner he believes nothing is wrong, the sooner he'll leave. Because that'll convince him. Garth steps in and wants to talk to him. Dean tries to tell Garth that not all of this is what it looks like and Garth is like, yeah, I used to be like that, waiting for the other shoe to drop, butt then I accepted the truth.

Dean: Got another truth for you. We were left in the dark when you went AWOL. Didn't know if you were dead or worse. You should've reached out and sent someone a message.

Garth says he was embarrassed, didn't know what to say, and it didn't mean he didn't miss Dean and Sam and Kevin-- At the mention of Kevin's name, Dean's mask slips and pain slips across his features. He tells Garth that Kevin is gone. For good. Garth wants to know what happened and Dean's face crumples for a moment.

Dean: When he needed me, I wasn't there. That's what.

*rubs heart* Oh, Dean.

It's night, and the boys are leaning against the hood of the Impala, in some parking lot, Sam's car parked next to the Impala. It's actually a really great shot of both of them -- screen-cap worthy. Sam wants to know what they're still doing there. Dean's like, you're right, Garth's good. You can go if you want. Sam just points out that this wouldn't be the first time they came across a friendly monster. Dean listens without replying, clearly deep in thought.

Sam's phone rings and he answers, identifying himself as Agent Perry. Hee. Probably as in Steve, but thanks to my 7 year-old, my mind went right to Phineas and Ferb and Perry the Platypus, Agent P. *ahem* Sorry. Moving on. Again.

Dean just watches Sam, not asking what's up. When Sam stands and moves, Dean stands and moves. I liked that synchronicity without the necessity of explanation.

The Sheriff has called them to check out what killed a deer that is basically shredded. He hangs back as the boys inspect the body. Dean notices that the body is still warm -- meaning it was killed after they got the call. They stand and turn -- Dean having pulled his knife in one fluid motion and was holding it down along his leg out of sight. The Sheriff has all wolfed out and is growling, "you didn't know what you were walking into, but you won't be walking out."

He has his gun on the brothers, but before he can do more than posture, Dean throws the knife, hitting him square in the chest. Done and done. They find a silver bullet like the preacher's family wore, only written on it is the word Ragnarok, which Dean immediately connects to Thor and Loki. Hee. Dean thinks that a homicidal werewolf sheriff is enough to eradicate the whole bunch, but Sam reminds him that means also killing Garth and says they should do it right. Dean agrees, tells Sam to clean up the body and go find Garth and hide him while Dean goes to the church.

This church looked familiar, too. Like the one the boys jumped out of the window in S4 and even the one where Sam almost completed the trials in S8. At first it looks like a regular church, but when Dean picks the lock to the office, he finds an ancient looking werewolf history book with Ragnarok written in it. Sam calls him as he's about to look up the word on the computer and tells him that Garth and Bess' place is tossed and they're missing.

Dean tells Sam what he's finding on the computer -- Fenris is a wolf deity and he killed Odin right before the world ends. Ragnarok is an action plan for Total Werewolf Domination (picture my voice echoing impressively as I say that). Dean says he has to track down Reverend Jim and tells Sam to find Garth. But before Sam can do anything except hang up the phone, Thing 1 and Thing 2 jump him and knock him out with a tire iron. Ooopsie. Poor Sam.

Rev Jim shows up at the church to practice his sermon and Dean confronts him. I liked this confrontation because of how real it made Dean, reminding him, and us, how very human he is, in the most basic sense of the word. Rev Jim can smell Dean and hears his heartbeat.

RJ: You must have done this countless times and you still get nervous.

Dean: Nothing wrong with a little fear. It's what makes us human.

Dean tells him he knows all about his Ragnarok plan, but Rev Jim says that's old news, he stopped it. Dean's like, beg to differ since your sheriff just tried to kill them. Turns out Rev Jim's bullet doesn't have Ragnarok on it and suddenly he puts it all together. I assume he connects the dots for Dean because next time we see him, he's burning rubber away from the church toward the preacher's farmhouse.

The cousins are dragging an unconscious Sam into the barn to tie him to a tractor tire. Bess and Garth are both tied -- with chains, even -- separate from each other. Joy is rambling about how she's the last of her bloodline, and how a hunter killed her brother, but her hubs, the good Reverend preached co-existence, not dominance. She proceeds to beat the crap out of poor Garth. Really bloodies him up. *frown* Sam wakes up and is trying to get untied (discretely) as Joy goes on about how man destroys and blah blah blah. Meanwhile, outside, Dean puts his coat out as a decoy to draw Thing 1 by the scent, then sneaks up behind him and kills him. Clever boy.

Joy talks about how she's going to set it all up so that Ragnarok actually begins with the peace-loving preacher. She'll kill Garth and Bess and make it look like it was Sam and Rev Jim won't be able to take it after his first wife. Garth, however, goes completely NUTS at the threat to Beth and starts to wolf out. He was pissed, ya'll. Joy starts to point the gun at Bess, but Sam, with his wicked long legs, is able to kick the gun away and Joy wolfs out, ready to go for him.

Just then, Dean shows up, catching them all by surprise. He has his gun pointed at Joy, but Thing 2 jumps him from the rafters and they fight, Dean managing to stab and kill him. Joy notes that he's wearing Thing 1's coat to mask his scent, saying that was smart.

Dean: I'm full of surprises.

Just then Joy and Dean dive for their separate guns at the same time, both firing. Dean's bullet hits the mark. Joy's doesn't. I love smart, clever, bad ass Dean almost as much as I love broken, angsty Dean. I'm not exactly picky when it comes to Dean. *laugh*

Next morning, they're all in the preacher's house. Dean's leaning against a wall, watching Sam and Garth say goodbye. Sam tells him to be good and gives him a hug. He just kinda nods at Dean as he walks past and Garth comes up to Dean, who tells him that his father-in-law seems like a good man.

Garth: You were right; everything around here wasn't ok. I screwed up again. First Kevin, now this.

Dean (looking ten kinds of amazing even as his expression is tragic): Hey, that's on me. I'm the one that pulled him into all this. I'm the one that should've been there to protect him. *rubs heart*

Garth: Guess there's enough blame for that to go around.

Dean nods and turns to go, but Garth stops him, asking if he could come back and hunt with them. He wants to make this right; he never should have left. Kevin was his friend and friends don't do that.

Dean: Hey, you said it. Who cares where happiness comes from? We're all a little weird, we're all a little whacky...some more than others. If it works, it works. You got something here; don't let it go. Besides, somebody has to live to tell this damn story someday. Who better than you? Now, shut up and come here.

Garth: Really?

Dean: Hurry up before I change my mind.

Annnnnd hug. *smiles*

Dean drives Sam back to his car and after a beat, Sam gets out saying, "I'll send you that postcard."

Dean: Yeah.

But then he can't just let it go. He gets out and calls to Sam, even though I was mentally chanting at him, no no no, you don't want to do this, not yet, not like this...what about staying away from him to protect him...you don't need this bond that bad...you both need some space...oh, never mind, you never listen to me anyway.

Dean: Hey, that night that we went our separate ways--

Sam: You mean the night you split?

Okay, OUCH. Do we really need to talk about the number of times Sam 'split' on Dean? That was kinda harsh.

Dean (looking slightly surprised, but accepts it): Fair enough. I was messed up. Kevin was dead and I...I don't know what I was.

Sam (giving him nothing to work with): Okay.

Dean: Hell, maybe I still don't. But I took a piece of you in the process and for that... (helpless, frustrated) Somebody changed the playbook, man. Right is wrong and wrong is more wrong. I just know that when we rode together....

Sam: We split the crappiness.

Dean: Yeah, so....

Sam (still giving him nothing): Okay.

Dean: Okay.

Sam: Something's broken here, Dean.

Dean (hopeful...almost desperate): I'm not saying it's not. I'm just saying...we put a couple of W's on the board and we can get past all this.

Sam: I don't think so. I wish, but...we don't see things the same way anymore. Our roles in this whole thing. Back in that church...talking me out of boarding up Hell...or tricking me into allowing Gadreel to possess me. I can't trust you. Not the way I thought I could. Not the way I should be able to.

Dean looks like Sam punched him. He takes a stuttering, gutted breath and says, "Okay, but...whatever happened...we're family."

Sam: You say that like it's a cure-all.

Because, for Dean, it is. It's had to be. It's the only way he's been able to cope with what his father put on him, what his brother has done to him, what he's done for and because of both of them. Family -- the concept of it and the connection created because of it -- is the only thing that keeps Dean grounded, sane, and out of those dark corners that are ready to eat him alive.

Sam: Like it can change the fact that everything that has ever gone wrong between us has been because we're family.

Well...I mean...duh. For me, that's kind of par for the course. Family messes you up and puts you back together. Family breaks you and heals you. Family knows all your buttons and the right order to push them in. Family is your last line of defense and your first friend. And Family is the only thing you can hold onto when the world is coming to an end. Family doesn't have to mean blood -- Bobby taught them that -- but however you create it and whoever you include in it, it's precious and critical and necessary.

Dean (looking at his brother with broken eyes...seriously, this is where I teared up): So...we're not family now?

Sam: I'm saying, you want to work, let's work. You want to be brothers.... (looks away, looks back) Those are my terms.

Ouch, my heart. *rubs it* I'm looking for time together to create space for a negotiation in these terms. For them to realize how necessary they are in each other's lives. For Dean to allow Sam to be Sam and for Sam to see who Dean is again.

Dean just nods, a little breathless, and turns to get into the car, Sam joining him.

C'mon, boys. You can do this. I believe in you! *grabs pillow and hides behind the couch*

So, I saw that we have a new episode next week (Feb 4th) and then there's a two week break until Feb 25th. I actually have to travel to Sydney for work the week of the 25th, so that particular ramble will be late (and most likely written on a 22 hr plane ride). I look forward to seeing your thoughts and then seeing ya'll next week.

Thanks for reading.

Slainte!

Comments

( 85 Tall Tales — Tell Me A Story )
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ramblin_rosie
Jan. 29th, 2014 07:51 am (UTC)
I'm reasonably sure this was unintentional, but Garth's rude awakening in the hospital reminded me of this bit from Jonah: A VeggieTales Movie, after Bob loses control of his van and it goes on a wild screaming ride that ends when it slams into a stump, deploying the airbags:
Bob: Am I in... Heaven?
Dad Asparagus (sniffs airbag): Smells like... Wisconsin!


Yeah, I don't have much to add. I want our boys *fixed* already. *siiiiigh* ("I don't wanna bellyache, / How long is this gonna take?")

Edited at 2014-01-29 07:55 am (UTC)
gaelicspirit
Jan. 29th, 2014 07:57 am (UTC)
OMG, that is HILARIOUS!!! I remember that, too, as it's something we've watched multiple times with Mo Chuisle. Unintentional or not, it's really funny. :)

And, yeah. Fixed. Fixed is good.
grean
Jan. 29th, 2014 07:56 am (UTC)
Like you there were things I enjoyed about the episode, Dean BAMF and Garth was cute. I was less understanding about Sam than you were. I agree I wanted and still want Dean to go his own way. I never thought I would reach a point where I could care so little about the brother thing. I care only because it is obviously killing Dean. I don't really think I will be watching the next episode. Maybe I will pick it up again, I don't know.
gaelicspirit
Jan. 29th, 2014 07:58 am (UTC)
I care only because it is obviously killing Dean.

That's my primary reason right there. And it's So. Very. Obvious. how much it's killing him. I want his brother to see that. :(

I can understand needing to walk away for a bit, but if you do choose to come back, I would still love to see you 'round here. :)
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impala1967
Jan. 29th, 2014 07:59 am (UTC)
wahoo I'm actually commenting on the right night for a change.

But boy did you sum up Sam for me perfectly. I only got to him having a selective memory .... he was the one to drink demon blood to try and save Dean. For me that is actually worse than angel posession. I am not much of a wordy person so your words were perfect for what I was thinking.

But I think I kind of had some epiphanies (?) tonight thinking of the recent episodes. For me Dean didn't care about what might come with the mark of Cain. In his mind he is damned so bring it on, the worse the better cause he deserves it after Kevin.

And Sam doesn't have the same concept of family that Dean does. Sam only knows what John taught him and although Dean ended up being the parental figure , family is not the same for him. Dean had 4 years of a normal family and even if he sees it through rose tinted glasses it means everything to him. The closest Sam has had to family is Jess, the woman he wanted to marry.

But I'm with you, I wish that dean told sam to screw it and his terms and left again. This Sam being all cold will be cutting Dean inside, making him feel like he deserves to be treated this way ... but of course with his mindset the way it is right now maybe he does think it and thats why he agreed to the terms.

Maybe the mark of Cain will be how they get back to being brothers, maybe it does bode ill for Dean , Sam sees whats happening and it is then his chance/turn to save Dean and realise just what he has in a brother.

But back to your preramlbe, I have often moaned to my mum who also watches about it being all about Sam. She is a Sam gurl and she once said to me that she thought that Dean was the main character even if it all was happening to Sam ... sort of mirrors what you were saying about seeing it all through Deans eyes.

Also I don't think they will make Dean Demon!Dean , it just doesn't fit ... well I hope not anyway plus I'm sure Cas would save him again ;)

Can't beleive another break is coming .... should prey to the gods to have a season run with no breaks hehehehe

Catch you next week ... oh yeah, another good episode and garth was great as usual

J
gaelicspirit
Jan. 29th, 2014 01:43 pm (UTC)
Hi you! :) Look at you commenting on the right night. *is impressed*

For me Dean didn't care about what might come with the mark of Cain. In his mind he is damned so bring it on, the worse the better cause he deserves it after Kevin.

I agree. It's because of this dark place he's in that he has me really worried.

She is a Sam gurl and she once said to me that she thought that Dean was the main character even if it all was happening to Sam ... sort of mirrors what you were saying about seeing it all through Deans eyes.

Yeah, that's how I have been able to view it when I hear people talk about and I think about Dean's (lack of) storyline. It's actually okay, because we see through his eyes.

Thanks for your comments and for reading. I always enjoy hearing from you! :)
ash48
Jan. 29th, 2014 08:25 am (UTC)
Hey there.

I'm so sorry to comment when I rarely do (more to do with time than anything else..;D), but I'm finding it really difficult to understand why Sam is being given such a hard time when talking to Dean about his terms. Dean did a horrid thing to Sam (I know opinions different when comparing it to Sam drinking demon blood. Sam doing that mainly hurt himself, not remove one's agency and free will - which I consider so much worse). I know Dean did it to save Sam but wow, he crossed some major lines (personally, I love this story line and think it's added great angst to s9).

Sam agreeing to Dean working with him again is huge. I felt that Sam behaved maturely considering he could have (and maybe should have) just decked him. To agree to work together again when that trust has been severely broken would be difficult. Sam agrees because he knows how much it means to Dean. Working with someone who took away your free will and tricked someone to the level that Dean is going to be hard. Even in this episode Dean tried lying again. I know Dean does it all to protect and save Sam, but at some point he does need to understand about the lines that he crosses when constantly making decisions for Sam.

I totally get that we all see the characters slightly differently. But I have to admit it's breaking my heart to know that so many are thinking that Sam is in the wrong here. If Sam accepts what Dean did to him without even a mention then the relationship will go back to Dean taking away Sam's choice. I pretty sure no one would want to continue to see that.

Again. I'm so sorry to jump in - especially with a mini rant. I adore Dean but he can't get off lightly with his decision otherwise the character will not have made any growth (that's not to say Sam hasn't got some issues to work out also, but calling Dean on what he did was a solid call from him).

/o\ potential tomatoes. ;)
grean
Jan. 29th, 2014 08:40 am (UTC)
I will repeat that the relationship is dead. As a Dean fan I would rather he leave and go off on his own than stay with Sam. I don't see any benefit for Dean and I would think as a Sam fan you would feel the same for him.
Dean doesn't need Sam, that is what Dean needs to learn. He won't learn it if they continue working together. I would consider watching the show if they were separate. I could watch the episodes with Dean in them and Sam fans could watch the ones with Sam. A win-win. I don't think I am alone in feeling this way.
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apieceofcake
Jan. 29th, 2014 02:12 pm (UTC)
But where Sam really got me was when he said they could work together, but when it came to being brothers he stopped, not really needing to finish. I wanted so badly in that moment for Dean to say, no thanks, I want my brother back, so call me when your terms change. I know you all probably want to throw things at me for actually wanting them to be apart, but I didn't want Dean to accept Sam's terms. Yes, there were things that Dean should have and could have done differently, but Sam seems to be acting like he's untouchable and that really...irks me.


Not throwing things, I agree with you! :-(
gaelicspirit
Jan. 29th, 2014 02:36 pm (UTC)
Thanks for not throwing things. *hugs you*
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yohkobennington
Jan. 29th, 2014 02:30 pm (UTC)
I'm sorry, but Im mad.
So, he spends most of the episode trying to make Sam leave. And then decides that maybe they should go back together. Okay. But when Sam tells him they can't be brothers, he still stays instead of saying "fuck you, when you decide to be brothers again, I will come back"?
 photo martin_disapproves.gif

Yeah, see my pessimism about this Show's plot... it's no pessimism when Show proves me right.

I agree with your pre-recap thoughts completely. I get Sam being mad and not trusting Dean. Hey, I totally was mad at Dean for taking Sam's choice of dying away, because not cool bro. I get why he did it, but it doesn't take that was wrong. And like you said, Dean own to it, explained, and apologized.

Sam doesn't have to forgive him. But the blaming it all on his brother and then his douchy we're not family terms? I'm sorry Show but you sometimes make it too easy for me to get disappointed at Sam and so not sympathetic towards him (which I was, until last night), it's ridiculous at this point.

Jumping from window photo tumblr_mcfmi9YAnk1qzhech.gif
gaelicspirit
Jan. 29th, 2014 02:41 pm (UTC)
Re: I'm sorry, but Im mad.
Okay, all show feels aside, your gifs to express your feelings crack me up. *loves it*

Sam doesn't have to forgive him. But the blaming it all on his brother and then his douchy we're not family terms?

Yeah, I'm having problems with that. And to be honest, I'm also having problems with Dean's acceptance of that. Of agreeing to his terms. I think Show did a good thing by having Dean walk away but then erased any growing that could have come out of that by allowing him to accept Sam back as a work partner only, not a brother.

In any case, at least this way we can see how/if they'll heal together and reconnect. (Which they'd better do, Show, you hear me??)
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thruterryseyes
Jan. 29th, 2014 03:49 pm (UTC)
I admit I skimmed this cause I haven't seen it and I just wanted to make sure nothing happened to Garth. I finally got to see last weeks but the buffering made the damn thing stop every two seconds. By the time it was over was exhausted. I'll try to watch this tonite or tomorrow.

Having said that. Thank you for another moment of joy I plan to file away, in that I now know that Dean likes his "stake" cooked.I didn't think you could top 'wench'. I was wrong.

You know I love you.
gaelicspirit
Jan. 29th, 2014 03:55 pm (UTC)
Well, frak.

*fixes*

I was all caught up in my FEEEEEELINGS. *sighs*

Never doubt my ability to misuse a homophone. It's a skill.
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a_phoenixdragon
Jan. 29th, 2014 04:29 pm (UTC)
I can totally see Sam's side here. He doesn't know what all has happened - he was living a dream at the time. I think he understands LOGICALLY why Dean does the things he does, but he misses the emotional drive behind it because...he's Dean, he's the older brother and that hero worship always comes into play.

Did Dean mess up? Heck yeah. But I do think after all this time, Sam should be more forgiving. He should be less hard on him.

I wanted so badly for Dean to get in the car and pull away because yes, those terms were unacceptable. Completely.

A wonderful episode. With way more thinky and hurt in there than anticipated.

*HUGS*
cuddyclothes
Jan. 29th, 2014 05:38 pm (UTC)
I am always astounded at how fast and incredibly detailed your reviews are. They are a real pleasure to read. I need to read it again to get my thoughts together. Right now I want to bitchslap Dean into the middle of next week. That's how I felt the last episode, and it was slightly better this time, but jeez...
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tyson1997
Jan. 29th, 2014 07:27 pm (UTC)
In answer to one of your questions,"Reverend Jim" was in the Season One episode - Scarecrow. He and his wife owned the gas station and sent people to the orchard.
gaelicspirit
Feb. 4th, 2014 05:44 am (UTC)
Thank you! I *knew* I'd seen him before.... :)
iontas
Jan. 29th, 2014 09:55 pm (UTC)
Everything you said! Dean cannot go evil. That woudl not make sense. And I am working really hard not to hate Sam right now. I thought the same thing. How can he not trust Dean? Dean did what he always did, save Sam. Maybe Sam shoudl grow up. Sam promised Dean he could do the trials and live. Sam chose not to finish the trials. Where the hell does he get blaming his decision on Dean. Just because Dean asked him? Dean left Sam, not for selfish purposes, but because he thought he was poison to Sam. Dean was in a really dark place. Sam could have said, no stay and we will work it out. But Sam's feeling were hurt and he told him to go. Every time Sam left it was for his selfish purposes. Dean has been struggling for so long and when has Sam ever tried to help him? When did Dean ever chose anyone except Sam? Sam chose a demon over his brother! Ok, I think it is clear I have to work a little harder to not hate Sam! I wish that Dean had walked away. I think if Dean just didn't have to save his life AGAIN, that Dean might have left again. But knowing Sam is hunting with no backup probably made his protect Sam drive over take his I am poison problem. Agh! I guess it is a sign of a good show thatit can get to us so much. Oh, and yes, you find out your brother has the mark of Cain and you don't worry about it? Damn selfish Sam! If I am not careful I may start ranting again.....
jennygeee
Jan. 29th, 2014 10:30 pm (UTC)
I said the exact same thing as I was watching this episode 'Grow up Sam!' 'You can't blame Dean for the trails, Sam that was YOUR choice!'
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iontas
Jan. 29th, 2014 10:42 pm (UTC)
Oh yeah, and badass Dean, priceless!
jennygeee
Jan. 29th, 2014 10:50 pm (UTC)
Oh my! Don't you just love our show, the way it gets our emotions in such a turmoil! I love reading everyones thoughts and everyones differing opinions :)

” I'm looking through Dean-colored glasses, but I would have thought that would've been a bigger deal than it seemed to be to Sam.” No you’re not, your brother tells you that he now has the mark of Cane and he’s like ‘oh, ok then’ WTH!!!! Does he even care about Dean anymore? I highly doubt it!

The only tiny part where Sam showed a slither of concern was when Dean went to ‘pray’ with the pack and he told him to ‘be careful’ and that was it!

”But then he can't just let it go. He gets out and calls to Sam, even though I was mentally chanting at him, no no no, you don't want to do this, not yet, not like this...what about staying away from him to protect him...you don't need this bond that bad...you both need some space...oh, never mind, you never listen to me anyway.” I know!!! I was like ‘Dean, stay in the damned car, let him go! It’s his decision, you shouldn’t be running after him all the time’ everything Dean ever does is for Sam….everything! Wouldn’t it be nice to see just once that Sam does care about his brother, but to me he doesn’t and he proved that when he didn’t even bother to look for Dean when he was in Purgatory.

I have no idea why people are saying that Sam has every right to feel the way he does because of what Dean did because be honest here, who in their right minds would let someone they love die when the cure was staring them right there in the face and they were able to do something about it, I know if I’d have been in Dean’s shoes I’d have done exactly the same thing and wouldn’t have cared if Sam hated me afterwards, at least he’s alive and able to live his life.

I’m finding it VERY difficult to even like Sam at the moment.

I’m not sure Sam even likes Dean anymore let alone loves him and that’s sad because the very thing that drew us all in at the very beginning of this show and throughout all the first few seasons was the love they had for each other but now one side of that has gone and I’m not sure how they are going to get that back. I will always love the show and will always watch it to the very last episode and I do love angst and I think the brothers bickering and disagreeing is natural and the way it would totally be but this is something else, this is deep and my heart breaks for Dean :(((





gaelicspirit
Feb. 4th, 2014 05:48 am (UTC)
Don't you just love our show, the way it gets our emotions in such a turmoil! I love reading everyones thoughts and everyones differing opinions!

Exactly! I enjoy a lot of shows -- and there are several that make me emote, some surprisingly so (hello, Walking Dead). But no show have I ever wanted to climb into my TV and side with or against a character so strongly before. They really get to me, these guys! :) And I dig that.

Thank you so much for reading and taking a moment to share your thoughts. I really appreciate it!
justlikeswimmn
Jan. 29th, 2014 11:10 pm (UTC)
Thanks for your review, Gaelic, enjoyed it as always!

I'm also excited about the passion people are expressing about recent events in the show. We fans have always been pretty involved, certainly, but it seems to have ramped up big time.

As for the mess between Sam and Dean, I was actually glad that they got back together, albeit just to 'work the job' rather than brothers. Perhaps they can begin to redefine what being brothers really means, something they both need to reflect upon. Seems to me this is something that would be best worked upon when together (maybe?). They could use some counseling, for sure! "Dean, what did you hear Sam just say to you?" "Sam, how do you feel about what Dean just said?" That would be something to see!

Regarding the wrongness of what Dean has subjected Sam to (talking him into stopping the trials, tricking him into accepting Gadreel), I understand that Sam's will has been subverted, and this is a terrible offence. But wouldn't those situations, where Sam was so terribly ill and mentally/physically compromised, qualify as non compos mentis? Sam did communicate earlier last season that he had no desire to die in the completion of the trials (which was one of the reasons why he took on the task rather than Dean, who was more than willing to die for that cause). Likewise, when at the hospital with a rapidly failing/suffering body, his acceptance of death did not seem to hinge so much around letting go of suffering as much as insuring that he would die so as to not cause harm to others. Yes, Sam has done some bad things, but a lot of good, too (saving the world should count for something!), so his reasoning just doesn't jive. I suspect that Sam has been virtually suicidal for a long time, he doesn't really care if it's a 'productive' sacrifice, he just wanted/wants an end. Is that the reasoning of a sound mind?

I find it interesting that Dean is now focused upon everyone dying around him, which I suspect has been part of Sam's issues for a while.

Of course, tricking Sam into accepting Gadreel was bad, very bad, clearly not the route Sam wanted to be restored to health. I just don't know if I buy the idea that Sam's acceptance of Death was truly a 'sound of mind' choice. Of course, what's 'sound' to one person might not be to another, the whole slippery slope deal comes to mind...

Sorry to take the time to air these thoughts here, but I've been turning this around in my head for a while now and it's finally forced it's way out. I've wrote about this on other boards, erased it, wrote it again, erased - so here goes! Thanks for your wonderful comments, and a great forum for discussion...
gaelicspirit
Feb. 4th, 2014 05:50 am (UTC)
I'm also excited about the passion people are expressing about recent events in the show. We fans have always been pretty involved, certainly, but it seems to have ramped up big time.

Exactly! Regardless of what stance one takes on this issue, we all seem to strongly believe in that stance. Kudos to a strong fandom. :)

Sorry to take the time to air these thoughts here, but I've been turning this around in my head for a while now and it's finally forced it's way out. I've wrote about this on other boards, erased it, wrote it again, erased - so here goes! Thanks for your wonderful comments, and a great forum for discussion.

NEVER be sorry to take up time to share your thoughts. It might take me a bit to reply, and I may not reply to every thought you share, but I read them ALL and enjoy the thought process behind them ALL -- and as evidenced by this week, many others read them, too, so share away! :) The more the merrier (as long as everyone plays nice).

I look forward to seeing more of your thoughts!
taylorariel
Jan. 29th, 2014 11:53 pm (UTC)
I will have to re-read this again but I just wanted to write down a few quick thoughts about the episode.

I was disappointed by how the whole "Mark of Cain" was handled here. It should have had more meaning and more thought then it was given.

I believe the actor who played Rev. Jim here was also in the episode with the evil scarecrow (the one where Meg was first introduced).

I found the story trivial- but it did center around Garth, so what could I expect. It is just that after two strong episodes to follow up with this fluff was a letdown.

In the end scene I wanted Dean to get in the Impala and drive off without Sam. So much repetitive crap over and over and over. Someone told me that Sam meant that he would only hunt with Dean if during the hunt they were HUNTERS first and brothers second. I am glad they got that from that conversation but all I got was garbage. Just like the dialogue in the Bridge scene when Dean left Sam and Cas and Sam uttered some more mishmash riddles.

The writers are horrible.

Next week's episode is another "comedy" one. What happened to Cas? What happened to Crowley? Where is Abbadon?

Sad what lousy writers can do to a good show.

I hope you have a Wonderful Birthday tomorrow!

My Best to you and yours.
MD
gaelicspirit
Feb. 4th, 2014 05:53 am (UTC)
Yep, it seems that Rev Jim was another 'recycled' actor -- it's pretty interesting to me that they can do that, believably. The amount of years between episodes must make them think we have shorter memories than we do, but we know!! :)

I think I've decided that one thing we can't do is judge the kind of episode it's going to be by the previews. They're doing a better job with having the previews be misleading -- I thought this one was going to be a 'filler' or a 'comedy' one. And while it had a few lighter moments, it certainly wasn't a comedy. So, I'm not taking the next episode for granted. :)

Hope you're doing well -- see you soon!
borgmama1of5
Jan. 30th, 2014 12:58 am (UTC)
The road to revenge is a dark and lonely one you never get off and the hole in the pit of your stomach...you never fill it.


When Rev. Jim said this, it felt to me like a major foreshadowing of the rest of this season. Like someone has to choose between, say, killing Gadreel or Abaddon or saving his brother...either brother...

As far as the mad at Dean/mad at Sam debate--I guess I am the only fan who felt the brother scenes were just right.Both of them are hurting. Both of them are very aware of everything they have done wrong and what wrongs have been done to them...and have no idea how to go about making amends...or even if there is anything they could do big enough to make amends...or how to forgive the wrongs.

I interpreted Sam's final declaration to be saying, I am really pissed at you right now. And I don't trust you to trust me right now (because of all the things Sam said he screwed up when he was ready to die to complete the trials.) And I don't trust you right now to think of what I want because I know you are unable to exist without me. We're not in a healthy place.

But I don't want something to happen to you because I wasn't there to watch your back. So let's focus on the job, be partners that way. Give each other the respect due a competent hunter that is a partner. And if we do that for a while, maybe we can see how not to strangle each other's selfhood and get back to being brothers in a healthier way.


I realize I'm not explaing this very well (usually you articulate my feels for me.) There's a whole 'nother layer of Sam to peel back to explain why what he said was coming from a need to protect himself against both Dean and how Sam feels has personally screwed up--because of being Dean's brother and making wrong decisions because he loves Dean too much and lets Dean love him too much. It's a heavy burden to be the only reason someone else wants to live!

I see Sam as regretting that he listened to Dean to stop the trials because of awful things that happened as a result--and being angry with himself for being weak in letting Dean's love/need for him sway Sam to choose to stop. As in, 'I was too chicken to die for a good cause and let my brother persuade me to live, darn him for convincing me and darn me for letting him.'

IDK if I am making any sense at all...

Sam wasn't overreacting with his ultimatum, he was trying to compromise while honoring his own sense of grievance. He didn't pick on Dean, even when Dean couldn't actually get the words 'I'm sorry' out. I thought it significant that Sam didn't actually say the 'not be brothers' part of his terms--he couldn't verbalize out loud the words that he knew would cut Dean the worst if they were spoken.

I am so sad at all the angry opinions flying around fandom today. I don't like the boys being on such heartbreaking terms, but if the writers can resolve it by having BOTH of them stop relying on the other to give their existence meaning, it will be worth it. Wish I could believe the writers will get it right...
gaelicspirit
Jan. 30th, 2014 04:09 am (UTC)
You know, it's funny. What makes me MORE sad than the emotion I felt at the end of the episode are comments recognizing the impassioned/angry opinions expressed by fandom. Your sadness makes me sad. People saying that it's just too much for them anymore and they aren't sure they're going to watch makes me sad.

And that fact is really intriguing to me. We fans are passionate about our show and these brothers. Both, either, we feel for them. Some of us have been watching every episode, every week for 9 seasons and we're still passionate about it.

Enough that we'll review with our heart in our throat (or on our sleeve) and be unable to extract emotion from our assessment because of how we connect to the show. Or that we find our own words to explain what our boys are saying or may mean because we need to understand ourselves just to be able to move forward in this strange world where everything is Winchester.

I mean, I thought about that end scene off and on all day. Thought about my initial visceral reaction (which you all get with this ramble, every week), thought about how your guys' reactions and comments temper my own reaction and help me see different sides.

These boys break my heart -- individually and collectively -- and there are many times where your worry about the writers getting it right resonates within me...but it's not in me to quit them. Or you, or so many who read and respond to this ramble.

And I think you are explaining your interpretation of Sam's declaration just fine. I get what you're saying. I think you said it better than Sam, for sure. And I appreciate you taking time to share it with me because -- maybe because he's Dean, or maybe because of my own personal filter -- I had to really work to see around my pain for him enough to get a glimpse of where Sam is coming from. So, thank you for this.

I look forward to seeing you after next week. :)
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freya922
Jan. 30th, 2014 02:41 am (UTC)
Of all the episode reviews I take a peek at, I love yours the best. You always have such amazing insights.

I will say this one left me uncertain how to feel at the end. Partly, that was because I had just come off of working all weekend and two 16 hour days - I was almost too tired to process. Also, during the BROMENT at the end, my hubby was talking, my dog was barking, and I couldn't hear what they were SAYING, dammit. (I had to get up at dawn and get it on iTunes so I could hear the ending again.)

I felt so terrible for Dean, especially when he said that 'right is wrong and wrong is more wrong...' I can see how he'd feel that, since he is trying to save his brother when he makes some of these choices that go so wrong, and everything in him has always been aligned with that imperative. But... it hasn't turned out well, at least in the church as he nixed the trials and then during the whole Gadreel fiasco. Still... I wish Sam would relent. I know he's confused and horrified that somehow Kevin died thinking Sam was his killer, but... Argh. I just feel completely discombobulated when the brothers are apart. I know they need space, and I know they need time... but I feel unhinged while it's going on.

So... I want Dean to just say "I'm sorry. I didn't have time to think, not like when you were going to jump into the pit, and my instinct was to save you. There was no time to ask you, or for us to really weigh what it would mean, or for me to truly get that maybe I should do what you wanted for yourself even if it tore my heart out. You told me you had hope and you wanted to live when you started out the whole trial thing, and knowing that I couldn't let you commit what felt like suicide because the trials had depleted you, but real you, healthy you, strong you hadn't wanted to die."

And from Sam, I want recognition that Dean DID stand by and let him leap into the pit when there was time to discuss, to process, that he DID suffer losing him and grieving and struggling before and after 'soulless' Sam, and that that kind of pain is not hypothetical for him (just like it isn't for Sam after the Mystery Spot and Dean's Hell and after freakin' Purgatory). I know he needs his autonomy, and I know he needs Dean to understand that he might have needed to be 'pure' or redeemed more than he needed to live -- and that stuff also came out after the debilitation of the trials, as they first encountered Metatron... Oh, I don't know. I want them both sorry and forgiving, I guess. *bites nails*
borgmama1of5
Jan. 30th, 2014 05:28 am (UTC)
I want your last two paragraphs on the show!!!
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silvertayl
Jan. 30th, 2014 02:52 am (UTC)
First thing I gotta say is - Jensen gets more gorgeous by the day and that 3 day growth makes me drool. I've got to agree with you he looks even more yummy in green (if that's possible?)

Not a great episode but not the worst werewolf episode we've had - 'Once Bitten' (cring) one of if not the worst SPN episode ever along with 'Shut Up Dr Phil'. Nice to see Dean kick some more butt and do research all in one episode. LOL!

As for Sam's speech at the end, he's got no right to say Dean lied to him. When he is guilty of copious lies and deception over years.

So you're in my neck of the woods? Down under in my beautiful Sydney?

gaelicspirit
Jan. 30th, 2014 03:05 am (UTC)
Jensen gets more gorgeous by the day and that 3 day growth makes me drool

Seriously! I sometimes actually have trouble focusing on what's actually going on b/c I'm staring. That whole scene at the end with Garth, saying goodbye, I was just like, are you kidding me with this -- HOW is he so perfect looking?!

So you're in my neck of the woods? Down under in my beautiful Sydney?

Actually, I'm in Lawrence, KS. LOL! But my work sends me to various locations across to globe to handle training and meetings. End of Feb, I'm flying to Sydney (we're actually meeting in Hunter Valley -- do you know that location?) for a 3 day meeting. LONG flight. *meep*

Thanks for reading and commenting!

Edited at 2014-01-30 03:05 am (UTC)
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pandi19
Jan. 30th, 2014 04:15 am (UTC)
Hey! 

Great ramble! I liked your little bit beforehand too. :) Even with the Mark of Cain, Dean can still be the righteous man. Or at least I hope he can be. 

Loved:
- Dean's face. Pretty. And painful...but pretty. 
- The brothers scruff. <3  
- "This is Dean. He could start a fight in an empty house, but deep down inside he's just a big ol' teddy bear. And Sam can be a bit insecure at times, but for good reason. Bless his heart." Shortest, most accurate characterization. Love! 
- Garth 

Liked:
- Garth finding a place to belong 
- Dean/Garth hug 

The thing I've been mulling over has been how the boys can be brothers. Having Sam have to rescue Dean might not work. Yes, it would be glorious to see the hero whumped and then have a teary-eyed talk by the Impala with Sam understanding and forgiving Dean. I don't think that's likely to be a reality. I keep thinking of scenarios that put Sam in Dean's place & wondering what he would do, what choices he would make. And really I'm not happy with what I fear would be his decisions. And given the Mark of Cain element that our story has, I'm not sure Dean's mortality is a threat - though I don't have any idea how the writers are going to use the Mark. Trust is such a hard thing to earn back and that's not even taking into account that Sam is angry with Dean, everything that happens will be seen through that fuzzy lens. Forgiveness is a choice. Maybe Sam can choose it and help Dean to forgive himself too. And while I admit I am okay with the separation, now I really just want them to buck up and deal with this and be brothers against the world....not each other. Maybe that's the only child in me. Family (blood or created) is so important.  I only have my shoes to walk down that road, so my answers are bound to be different. Sorry, I think I rambled a bit too much. :/ 

See you soon! 

Mandi
gaelicspirit
Feb. 4th, 2014 05:59 am (UTC)
Forgiveness is a choice. Maybe Sam can choose it and help Dean to forgive himself too.

This. This is how they can be brothers. One of my sisters betrayed me, painfully, when we were younger. I don't trust her -- I never will. But I forgave her because not forgiving her was hurting both of us. If she needed me tomorrow, I'd find a way to be there for her. She's my blood, even if she's not always my family. I love her, I forgave her, but I don't trust her. Not with my heart or my fears or my concerns.

With us, there isn't a catelyst to push us into finding a way to get that lost connection back. With us, blood is enough.

With the boys, I need them to be more than blood. I need them to be family. And the way to start that is forgiveness. On both sides.

And that's all I've got to say about that. ;)
primrose_1
Jan. 30th, 2014 04:32 am (UTC)
I enjoyed the episode a lot! I felt like they were building on the lore in good ways- and I loved it that the boys learned new things! It's so easy to use the bunker as the place with all the answers, and okay, maybe the bunker has all the werewolf lore, but THEY hadn't studied up on it, and it was new to them.

I found myself really loving Garth in this episode. He's been the goofy comic relief in every episode, came into his own with Bobby's death, and now here he is a family man with something to believe in. It was like he grew up, and I could suddenly respect him. Is that weird? I mean, being a werewolf is awful, but I really respected him.

I don't know what to think about Sam and Dean right now. Kind of too stressed out to worry much about them. I don't know that Sam was all fair, considering how some of his behavior in previous seasons made him less than trustworthy too. It's weird to see Dean on the other side of that equation. Now I'm not sure I spelled Equation right....did I mention stress? And tired? And a cold? I'm going to bed. Have a good week, Lady!

gaelicspirit
Feb. 4th, 2014 06:00 am (UTC)
It was like he grew up, and I could suddenly respect him. Is that weird?

Not at all -- I kinda thought the same thing. Like he'd found love and a reason to be a man and just kind of...came into his own. I liked that -- and for the first time didn't dismiss his character.

Okay, deep breath. Cold meds. Rest. Hopefully when I hear from you again, you'll feel better.
supernutjapan
Jan. 30th, 2014 04:56 am (UTC)
This is good. I've had time to process. I've had time to read other people's reviews. I've written my own thoughts HERE and I actually still have something new to add to this discussion.

Firstly though, Gaelic - I agree with everything you said from the direction for Dean this season, to your feelings about the last scene. Try as I might, I cannot understand how anyone would think that you should let a loved one die because they feel so bad about themselves that they want to. That's just not me.

Also, I share all of your loves and likes as usual.

OK. In the process of writing down my own thoughts, and trying to figure out why on earth Dean would ask Sam to be with him in the first place - and why he said yes to Sam's conditions, I've come to the conclusion that Dean's speech to Garth about grabbing on and not letting go of the happiness he found is probably the key to this whole messy Season 9...

I was thinking about this speech because I really liked Dean's kind face as he said it... and I realized I'd heard this same speech before... and even then thought that it might be a big theme of this season. Do you remember it? Gadreel's friend Abner in Road Trip said almost the exact same thing. So definitely something the writers are trying to hint at us. And then I thought... maybe Dean realized what his happiness was, and that he had walked away from it and that he was going to regret this for the rest of his life... Maybe that is why he swallowed his fear of hurting Sam and ... what the heck, he was going to die anyway- why not go the rest of the way holding firmly on to his one happiness? Driving down crazy street with Sam?

*Weeps*

Anyway, still waiting for Dean in peril and... Sam, you are going to do one thing right and save your brother this time around (without killing yourself instead) you hear me?!

Edited at 2014-01-30 05:03 am (UTC)
alleysweeper
Jan. 30th, 2014 06:31 am (UTC)
Is it wrong of me to say I liked Sam so much more when he was Zeke!Sam(before Zeke got hinky, of course)? He treated Dean so much better than real Sam EVER did. I guess that should have been a clue in itself that something was wrong.

Anyway, this episode didn't impress me. The few moments it did have you listed in your Loves. I'm finding it tiresome having characters I like being killed off or, now, being turned into some kind of MoTW.

However, I did like how Garth's respect for Deans opinion and life experience convinced Garth to stay with his family.

Back in that church...talking me out of boarding up Hell...or tricking me into allowing Gadreel to possess me. I can't trust you...

Ok, I'm trying to be sympathetic to Sam and remember that it's only been two weeks since he found out about the whole angel possession shit and this is only the 2nd opportunity to call Dean on it. To be fair, Sam wasn't in very good shape the first time so I think he deserves a pass here.

Sam: I'm saying, you want to work, let's work. You want to be brothers.... (looks away, looks back) Those are my terms.

But here? Dictating terms that cannot possibly be met? They ARE brothers. There is no changing that. This was so obviously said to inflict maximum Hurt to Dean it defiles Sam. I thought my opinion of Sam hit rock bottom in 8.23. I was wrong.

Dean needs some alone time to realize his strengths and build up his confidence in himself. And maybe do some soul-searching to determine if what he did for Sam was so egregious he would never, under any circumstance, step in again or if he just doesn't have the control to NOT try.

Also, WTF is it with Sam and his dropped sentences? He wants others to consider his opinion and wants but fails to express them. He has no right to be angry if he is overlooked for failure to communicate.

Anyway, Loved your Ramble...like always!

Rock On!
Alley
kitap
Jan. 30th, 2014 10:26 am (UTC)
Sam shows again that a good offense and defense is self-absolution and blaming Dean. Sam's an adult. Time for him to realize he has to act like one. Sure Dean asked him to stop the trials but Sam chose -he wasn't forced- to go along with Dean. That's on Sam. What's next; blaming Dean for Garth being turned into a werewolf?

Frankly Dean should have walked out of Sam's life; he is only there on sufferance. At this point Crowley would be a better hunting partner for Dean.

I thought the episode was interesting. She wanted to return to outdated ideas and was clearly a little insane. Although AGAIN : you're a monster, you keep tabs on hunters. Winchester should have you killing them outright or waiting til they got the hell out of there.


Dean, next time you curse Wisconsin just remember : the Impala is from Wisconsin. It's odd they didn't set this near Elkhorn, Wisconsin which has a real history of werewolf sightings (the beast of Bray Road).
jazzyirish
Jan. 30th, 2014 11:01 pm (UTC)
Hey Gaelic, great preramble and ramble. Love all your thinky thoughts. Of course I agree with all of them. I mentioned last week that I thought Sam would be pissy to Dean - guess I didn't know the half of it. Can you think of anything that would hurt Dean more than suggesting that he is no longer considered a brother by Sam???? "His terms"? Fuck off, Sam. I actually was pleading with Dean (out loud, no less) to leave Sam's sorry ass behind and tell him to call when he decided he'd like to have a brother again. God, these writers! Because I have to keep telling myself that Sam only says what they write - which varies widely week to week. That honestly is the only way that I can stand to look at Sam these days. Mini rant over.

So, for a Garth episode, it wasn't too bad. I'm hoping that it will be Garth's swan song since he's married and a werewolf to boot. Again, with these writers, who knows!

Loved the action scenes with BAMF Dean Winchester especially when he threw his knife right into the sheriff's heart before he could fire his gun. Yowsa! And in the shallow end of the pool, he looks sexier every episode. That heavy scruff, ahem.... I suspect they're trying to make him look "darker", but all they're doing is making him sexier.

Speaking of dark, I'm with you that I would love to see Dean working out his dark thoughts and emotions, but not becoming "dark" or evil. And yes, especially after this episode, I would like Sam to work to save his brother from giving in to the darkness, and in doing so, show Dean true love and compassion and forgiveness for any wrong doing. But unfortunately, with these writers...

Thanks for a great ramble - always love to hear your thoughts. Quite an interesting discussion in readers' comments this week, too. Yes, we are a passionate bunch indeed. :-) See you next week.

Irish
strgazr04
Jan. 31st, 2014 03:51 am (UTC)
Once again your review hit the nail on the head for me. I agree with everything you mentioned. Sam is just confusing me right now. What happened to the guy who begged John to stay with them because they are "stronger as a family"? Or the one who wouldn't shoot Azazel-possessed!John and told John in the Impala at the end that the hunt "doesn't come before everything"? I also don't understand why we are revisiting the same issues. Dean agreed he needed to let Sam grow up when Sam wanted to say yes to Lucifer. He said the same thing coming back from the confrontation with Zach when he calls down Michael and they lose Adam where Dean says in the car how he always viewed Sam as this snot nosed kid he had to keep on the straight and narrow but that's not true anymore. He continues with "if you're grown up enough to find faith in me, least I can do is return the favor". [Which in that same episode when Dean asks why Sam trusts him, Sam answers "because you're still my big brother" so that whole thing about "family" not being a cure-all is bullshit on Sam's part.] And this is like 3 years ago! What happened to all that growth? I thought Carver said the brothers were supposed to be "maturing" now? I don't find tossing aside everything you've been through and done for each other to go find some individuality to be very mature. Someone put it in a way that really explains my confusion. Yes Sam is mad Dean talked about trust in the church then turned around and made a big decision for Sam. But a) how was he supposed to ask Sam for his input when he was dying? and b) why is Dean at fault for essentially saving Sam from his suicidal, sacrificial tendencies? Isn't that what Sam did when he had Cas drag Dean to the panic room at Bobby's when Dean tried to sneak off and say yes to Michael? What about going all the way back to Dean's deal? Sam could be mad and try to stop Dean from sacrificing himself to hell but Dean can't stop Sam from dying due to sacrificing himself to the 3 trials? I am so confused.

You know what I miss?: "I can't do this alone." "Sure you can." "Yea, well. I don't want to." "...What was he hunting?"
strgazr04
Jan. 31st, 2014 03:53 am (UTC)
Oh! And the Reverend was the uncle from Scarecrow in s1 :D I couldn't place him either until I saw it online.

I also loved Dean's knife toss. That was just as impressive as that demon fight last episode at Cain's.
qultng1
Jan. 31st, 2014 02:13 pm (UTC)
*sighs in resignation* These guys are going to kill me - or drive me insane. Not sure which.

I wish Sam would get over himself! *shakes finger at him* and I wish Dean had given it more time. That's who they are, and we wouldn't have Show if they weren't.

I think the 'Dean could start a fight in an empty house' line was the best of the episode. Kudos to the writer who came up with that! :)

It was awesome to see Garth again and to see him so happy. I hope the job brings us back to him sometime again. :)

We'll see what this next week brings us.
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