Oh dear Show. There are times you are just like one of those B-grade (um, maybe D-grade) horror genre matinee movie flicks. You know, the ones where the story doesn't really make a lot of sense but because you have a beautiful girl in it and good looking men you hope no one will really notice.
The problem is... this isn't a one off movie that you can cringe and face palm over and put it in the "so bad it's good" categories. It's a show that the majority of the watchers know intimately and therefore aren't going to hand wave some of the glaring inaccuracies. They are going to cringe and wonder... what the hell?!
I will say I went in really prepared for this one. I read a lot of reactions before I watched and therefore was prepared for it not being great. (In fact, I don't think I've read ANY positive reviews).
I didn't hate it though. In fact, there was enough in there that I enjoyed to make the episode watchable. I wasn't despairing like I did in some of those early episodes. I just think it was badly observed and written. As part of the so called "reset" we had to go through that moment again
of Dean telling Sam he trusts him. I'm not even going to moan about that OR moan that Sam would even think that Dean doesn't trust him. It's all just stupid. It's completely ridiculous for Sam to think that Dean only trusts himself. Instead of getting annoyed about that I'm just going ignore that that even happened. Because...hello. Dean knows
how capable Sam is. AND Dean trusts Sam with his life - every time they go out on a hunt they put their lives in the hands of the other. And Sam knows that. He does. So making him say those things to Dean was unnecessary. It was there (like much of the first part of the season) just to create tension for the sake of it.
I get that "trust" is an on going issue between them, but I see that issue being more about them lying to each other and not about them trusting how capable the other is. They lie to protect the other. They lie because they don't think the other will understand their motivation for doing something. They lie because they know how the other will react.
What I CAN completely understand is Dean being upset that he's not the one to do the trials. That makes a heap of sense. Doing something like that is exactly what Dean is all about. It would have given him a cause and a purpose and Dean is driven by those things. But instead of addressing that (or the fact that he would be terrified for Sam) they chose to take the direction that Dean doesn't trust that Sam is capable of the job. Utterly crazy and therefore completely ignorable. LALALALALA (and that goes for how stupid they made Dean look in the name of getting a few "laughs" or just to provide a reason to give the audience info. Dean would have known what a familiar is...etc.etc. Not going to harp on. LALALALALA)
It was also very curious that they addressed some history (like the monsters they let go- thank you) and yet didn't make a comment about having to sleep in a motel again (which...YAY motel!). I thought the first comment out of Dean's mouth would have been him missing his room, or the water pressure...or something. Of course the opening banter was awesome. More please!!
TBH I'm not sure what to say or where to put the whole bestiality, master/slave, thing. Seeing the guy chained to the bed I'm thinking...those guys have been reading waaay too much fanfic. I dunno. I have a pretty big master/slave kink so it would be hypocritical for me to be down on this. I just. Nah...I think that could have all been explored in a more positive way. Or something.
The MoTW stories usually parallel Sam and Dean's story so I was totally nodding along with the "soul mate" comparison. I have no idea if all that was
there to provide that mirror, but it worked that way for me. (I was all over the idea that they could read each others thoughts. It totally seems like they can sometimes).
I did completely love the flashbacks. I think mostly because it tells me that the writers haven't forgotten what these boys have been through (even though we don't always see it in the writing). I honestly thought Sam's experiences with Lucifer had been forgotten. It's curious that they gave Dean a flashback of Mary dying. He wouldn't have seen that (I don't think) but I think that would more about the point of their painful past. I'm glad they gave us his Hell shot though.
And last but not least. Sam's obviously not ok and as much as I'm yelling (along with everyone else probably) TELL DEAN, I can understand why he isn't. See, that part of their characterisation makes sense to me. Sam has just got through convincing Dean he can do this and that it will be all right. For him to turn and say..."um, I'm coughing up blood man"..would just make Dean worry even more. And we KNOW Sam likes to protect Dean from that worry. This
is where they have the trust issues. I would like to think the hypocrisy was deliberate. Sam complaining about Dean not trusting him and then not being trustworthy himself. So, I'm actually ok with that. As long as it doesn't become this major issue of contention between them. Dean would understand why Sam doesn't say anything. He'd do exactly the same thing (so please Show, don't make a big thing out of this). And Sam not being ok? Thank you. Just, you know...hurt!Sam and all...;)
Geek moment - the chairs in the motel were awesome!
I'm still excited. It was great to have them talking to each other (though entirely different conversations would have been better), it was good to get the flashbacks, it was lovely to hear the low rumble of the Impala and it was great to be reminded that Sam and Dean are soul mates.
Perhaps we can just put the rest down to homaging a bad matinee movie.
This ep, in many ways, reflects S8 so far I think. Uneven. Some great moments, some ok moments, some WHAT THE FUCK! ARE YOU KIDDING ME?! moments and some...awwwwwww, I know why I love my Show moments.
(Also... do we know exactly why Dean hates witches so much? Did we ever get that history? Or is it just something he says every time they come across them? Maybe he has a phobia, like the one Sam has to clowns. Or something).
And for the record -
Dean specifically hates: rats, snakes, cats (?), dogs, witches...+?
Dean specifically loves: Sam, pie, his car, good water pressure, memory foam, burgers, slinkies, beer, whisky, sex, rock 'n roll, his weapons...+?