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8.18 Episode reaction / review 
28th-Mar-2013 11:01 pm
Joy


I gotta say I really (actually, really) liked that episode. :)

I know it had some problems (and I'll get to those), but at its heart it was everything that Supernatural has set itself up to be about: family.

For me, an episode that acknowledges its roots and calls back to "saving people, hunting things" is always going to be a winner in my books.


Counting the ways (because I reckon I have some things to count in this one):

1. The brothers being brothers. Ok. So, I know we like to see more intensity between them but, to be honest, I love it when they are just getting on with the job. I love filler eps where they show the brothers being capable, experienced and just plain good at their job. I liked the banter and the wonderful ease between them. It's great when we can just sit back and enjoy them being partners. There were so many small, non verbal exchanges between them. There was a sense of history without it being overly angsty. I really liked that. And splitting up is never good but it sometimes makes sense that they do.

2. Being part of a family. I know that the show can sometimes hit this theme over the head and maybe they did that in this episode, but I don't think it hurts to see the idea and notion of family explored again - looking at what it means to belong. As usual, the hunt reflects the brothers and in this episode it served to remind us not just of what the boys have lost but what they actually have. There was a wonderful sense of family between Sam and Dean I thought. The little moments of "eat me", "I'll wait out here" and "what do you want to do" etc. Even the little shrug Sam gave Dean when he was tied up. It was so.."yeah, I know. I'm an idiot and got caught."

3. Krissy. At times Krissy borders on being an annoying, Mary Sue type character, but I think the actress pulls it back just enough to not make it quite that. There were glimpses of some real depth and believability in the character. I like that they are at least attempting to give us a strong, young, independent female character (who has dubious taste in boys...). I rather think she's the little sister the brothers never (thankfully!) had.

4. Young v old. I love that they are allowing Sam and Dean to be older. They have grown up through this series and seeing them next to younger hunters reminds us of everything they have been through and how much they know now. They aren't exactly old but compared to Krissy they are. ;) hee

5. Dean. *guh* I love this Dean. I did fear that once he returned from Purgatory we'd have a whole season of him being a cold blooded killer. I would have accepted that because it would have made sense considering what he must have been through in Purgatory (and what a damn shame that was never explored!). But this caring, considerate, fatherly, badass, clever Dean is one that I melt over. Dean has always connected with people. It's becoming clearer over time. I had quite an interesting discussion recently about Sam not having those connections and I think it's very much part of their characters. Dean creates bonds. Sam is sympathetic and connects with victims, but Dean connects with people on a different, perhaps deeper level. For all he makes fun of Sam wanting to talk about "feelings", Dean is the one who can actually connects with others on that level. He and Krissy had a nice chemistry.

6. Sam. It's interesting that they have taken Sam right back to his original desire for normality. I suppose it is at the heart of his character. It's seems weird to be back there because there was a time when Sam seemed to completely given up on the idea. He knows there's no way it can happen. Maybe after his gap year he's seen that it is a possibility. (Grrrr...I wish they had made their mind up about which way they want to go with this. We had that flashback of Sam living this "normal" life and not fitting in at all (dinner with Amelia's dad) and I thought that was all about showing Sam he just doesn't fit in. And yet it keeps being mentioned. The problem is, he can't ever have it while the show is running so I don't know why they keep harping on about it. Though.. *answers self* - they need motivation to do the trials and shut the gates of hell. For Sam it's to maybe have this "normal" life and for Dean it's so people like Krissy don't have to hunt).

7. Sam got tied up. NUFF SAID!

8. Sam has lovely hair and puppy eyes to die for.

9. Dean is drop dead gorgeous when he's in control. And any other time for that matter.

10. This piece of dialogue (because my slash goggles were on here):

Dean: So what you're saying is you like that boy over there and you want to stay?
Krissy: What? Adain? No. I mean, he's like my brother. It's nothing like that.


Yeah, sure...;)

11. I totally thought of the amulet when Sam handed Krissy her father's necklace. :(

12. Yay, they saved a vampire. I like the call back to Dean being saved after he was turned.

13. Hunting isn't just about killing monsters. ( I know we know that, but it's a nice little reminder that Sam and Dean are heroes because it's more than just random killing for them. I just wish they'd remember that demon meat suits are innocent victims also).


Other stuff:

This bugged the hell out of me:

Let's knock Sam over the head, drag him back to the house, tie him up, wait until he wakes up then tell him that we are going to kill him and monologue his ear off while we pad out time so that the rescue party arrives to foil our dastardly plans. Sheesh!

I know they can't kill Sam but why can't they give us a damn good reason why they can't?! There was NO REASON why they didn't just kill him and set that plan in motion before the kids arrived back. Why did Victor have to tell him?! And I know the audience needs to know, but at least give us a good reason why he had to be kept alive. (even if it meant I got to see Sam tied up and monologued to. <33 AND have a great shot of Dean looking completely pissed at having a gun pointed at his brother <3333).

I watched the promo for this episode. I wonder if it was deliberate to give away that Victor was setting it all up. The promo actually gave away the "twist". I'm not sure if I was completely unsurprised because I already knew what was going to happen or whether the episode telegraphed what was going to happen anyway. Either way, there was little tension and no shock when the reveal was made.


Overall, a solid filler with some nice reminders of what Kripke had set in motion when he created this series. It's about family. It's about belonging and working through vengeance to discover that there's more to killing monsters than just getting even.


One query though...how does shutting the gates of hell allow hunters to retire? Surely ghosts, wendigos, ghouls, zombies, vampires, witches etc will still exist with the gates of heaven and hell shut. Unless all those are somehow connected to Hell and Purgatory? Curious...

Also...next week's ep? CAN. NOT. WAIT!!! OMG!
Comments 
28th-Mar-2013 03:32 pm (UTC)
around the second commercial break i was like, hmmm what's going on, who is it? hoodie guy? victor? nah that would be too obvious, then voila it was.

i can totally understand Sam's perspective on normal. having lived a not normal life, i sometimes sit around and think about how much i wanted that normal life, tried to push in that direction, thought about it, longed for it, cried about it, but i have to keep doing what i'm doing, because i'm not going to have it, unless something miraculous happens. this is why i just so so dig Supernatural and why I really get Sam.

I really did love this episode! I laughed out loud, I shouted at the TV - look behind you!!1 grrrr!

omg can't wait til next Wed!! 8x19, only what 2 or 3 more episodes?? eeeeeee!!!! i'm flailing over the those stupid trials and Sam having to go solo!!! eeeeee!!!!!
29th-Mar-2013 12:24 am (UTC)
I think if I had no idea what was going on I might have felt the tension a little more. I was entertained though, so that's always a bonus. :)

Oh, sounds like you can emphasize with Sam. *iz curious*

I think we have another 23 eps this season so (yay!) 5 to go. (Or boo, only 5 to go...)


28th-Mar-2013 03:32 pm (UTC)
I know that the show can sometimes hit this theme over the head and maybe they did that in this episode, but I don't think it hurts to see the idea and notion of family explored again - looking at what it means to belong.

Yeah, I think Krissy's remark especially - that she hated how she'd acquired her new family but still loved and needed them - was very apt for Sam and Dean, both in the long term and in regard to season eight. I don't really like the way they came back together this year either, but I do like what has developed out of it.

They have grown up through this series and seeing them next to younger hunters reminds us of everything they have been through and how much they know now.

With the subject matter, it was nice that they were able to take the previouslys all the way back to Dead Man's Blood, with Sam and Dean as amateurs and John giving vampire lessons even though he was basically an amateur himself. And now they're just 'Hi! We can cure vampirism!' and everyone stares.

It both gave a strong sense of how good Sam and Dean really are, and gave the lie to Victor's histrionics about what you have to do to win the war.

I did fear that once he returned from Purgatory we'd have a whole season of him being a cold blooded killer. I would have accepted that because it would have made sense considering what he must have been through in Purgatory (and what a damn shame that was never explored!). But this caring, considerate, fatherly, badass, clever Dean is one that I melt over.

Yeah. I wish Dean's rehabilitation had been better explored. It had so much more meat than arguments about Amelia and Benny. But his characterisation here is just so likeable. It's good to see him remembering what he liked about hunting - that he could save lives - and that he was able to pass that value on to the kids.

I know they can't kill Sam but why can't they give us a damn good reason why they can't?! There was NO REASON why they didn't just kill him and set that plan in motion before the kids arrived back. Why did Victor have to tell him?!

It was sort of awkward, and villains do monologue, but I thought Victor had a better excuse than most. I mean, he knows that killing these kids' families is bad, he just thinks it's necessary (and that it gives him his family over again). And he does talk a lot to Sam and Dean about why he's doing what he's doing, tragic backstory and all.

I think it fits with the idea of Sam and Dean being the sort of people you want to impress. Victor talks about other hunters who were screwed up, but never Sam and Dean. His list has Bobby Singer down as a bit useless, but not them. So telling Sam his plan is a way of justifying himself to the greatest hunters of his age. It's undeniably a rubbish villain plot, but Victor was a bit of a rubbish villain. He only got away with it for so long because he was dealing with kids.

The real mystery is why his vampire friend didn't tell him off. :)

Also...next week's ep? CAN. NOT. WAIT!!! OMG!

Eek! I know! There is, however, a tiny bit of my brain that imagines Sam getting his instructions and going '... You know, this information would have been really useful a few years back. Where were you when I needed you, tablet?' :)
29th-Mar-2013 12:30 am (UTC)
And he does talk a lot to Sam and Dean about why he's doing what he's doing, tragic backstory and all.

Yeah, I suppose what he did could be seen as part of his character. He hadn't been doing the killings himself so maybe he couldn't face killing Sam while he was unconscious. He might have also fear the retribution from Dean? He's set these kids up to be vengeful for the deaths of their families so maybe he's well aware of what that vengeance can do. *shrugs* Not sure.

You know, this information would have been really useful a few years back. Where were you when I needed you, tablet?' :)

Ha! I know! :D (and I've just discovered who the writers are on that one (mentioned below) -which, um, worries me slightly. Let's hope they improve with experience...)
29th-Mar-2013 05:55 am (UTC)
Ha! I know! :D (and I've just discovered who the writers are on that one (mentioned below) -which, um, worries me slightly. Let's hope they improve with experience...)

Oh. Oh dear. Well. It doesn't have to be a disaster. I mean Of Grave Importance was fine. But now I'm worried too.
28th-Mar-2013 03:41 pm (UTC)
It was a good filler. Nothing that blew my mind but nice enough. It had a few nice themes and I like Krissy. She's an annoying teenager, but she could be worse. ;D

I didn't watch the promo, but I totally knew that Victor was the bad guy. It was so plain obvious to me.

Surely ghosts, wendigos, ghouls, zombies, vampires, witches etc will still exist with the gates of heaven and hell shut.
Haha, that's what I was thinking when the episode ended. Just because Hell's gates are closed, doesn't mean that all the things that are topside and don't have anything to do with Hell, like ghosts, wendigos and so on, don't just go away, will they? At least I don't think so. Or you're right about this being tide to purgatory. But even then monsters only go there after they died, so what happens while they 'live'?
29th-Mar-2013 12:38 am (UTC)
Yeah - nothing mind blowing, but I did find it entertaining enough. (Nothing near as boring for me as some of those early season eps were).

Krissy is very teenage like. Annoying, but she's trying to find her place so it makes sense that she'd like that.

It was so plain obvious to me.

Yeah, I felt like there was a lot of telegraphing. Sometimes they do that to amp up the tension (we know, but the heroes don't), but I'm not sure if that was their intention here. He was a pretty awful person - to kill off families just so he could create his own.

I am very curious to see what happens with the whole shutting the gates of hell. There would still be a heap of demons left on earth (unless they miraculously all get sent back to hell once the gates are shut) so they might not disappear from the show completely.

Hmmm...
28th-Mar-2013 04:34 pm (UTC)
Not as big a fan of this episode, alas. Didn't hate it, mind you, just was kind of "meh" about it. I do like your take on it, though, for it reminded me of a few more things that I liked about it. This in particular: It's about family. It's about belonging and working through vengeance to discover that there's more to killing monsters than just getting even.

That is beautiful.

I just wish they'd remember that demon meat suits are innocent victims also

Oooh, THIS. Dean really ticked me off when he said "We don't kill people," because when it comes to the demonically-possessed, they do nothing BUT.

They have grown up through this series and seeing them next to younger hunters reminds us of everything they have been through and how much they know now.

Okay, this concept totally slipped past me. I may have to take another look, because I like this idea. A lot. :) And yup, roll on next week! \o/
28th-Mar-2013 06:13 pm (UTC)
I'm really looking forward to next episode. The thing I'm anxious about?
written by Eugenie Ross-Leming & Brad Buckner.
28th-Mar-2013 06:46 pm (UTC)
Lord help us. *whimpers*
29th-Mar-2013 12:18 am (UTC)
Oh noes! It looks like such an important episode (arc wise) so I hope they don't screw it up.
29th-Mar-2013 03:30 am (UTC)
/o\

28th-Mar-2013 06:50 pm (UTC)
I agree, a filler, not bad but not great either. I never understood while watching it why the vamp was working with Victor at all, that whole storyline was a bit weak. However, I did love the underlying family thing, the way Krissy had become so cold and tough while still having that vulnerability of youth when seen through Dean's eyes especially. And I liked that the boys could show the kid-hunters that lesson they've learned the hard way - that it isn't always black and white, and sometimes the bad guys can be saved. I wonder if this filler is here to prepare us for next week - I didn't watch the trailer but I saw some stills and know who might be appearing...
31st-Mar-2013 11:32 am (UTC)
Hey,

I never understood while watching it why the vamp was working with Victor at all, that whole storyline was a bit weak

Yeah, I wonder what was in it for him. A good supply of victims maybe? Nah...not much sense there.

I wonder if this filler is here to prepare us for next week

There might be some foreshadowing. I think they might even be setting up some future stories. I think we'll probably be seeing Krissy in the future maybe...
28th-Mar-2013 11:24 pm (UTC)
8. Sam has lovely hair and puppy eyes to die for.

So freaking true. Esp the hair. I can already tell I'm going to be very "meh" on it in next week's, although I suppose the hair should be the least of my worries lol.
31st-Mar-2013 11:37 am (UTC)
*meh* about next week's ep or Sam's hair in next weeks ep? I have to admit I wasn't looking at his hair in those promos. ;D I think I spent most of the time bouncing around! (I'll have to go check out his hair now...;D)

I think the ep has great potential, but I'm not sure how much confidence I have in the writers for this one... We'll see! :D
29th-Mar-2013 12:04 am (UTC)
"Dean: So what you're saying is you like that boy over there and you want to stay?
Krissy: What? Adain? No. I mean, he's like my brother. It's nothing like that."

LOL I don't slash the boys but when I heard that line I cracked up at how it could be interpreted. Appreciate that someone else caught it :)

"I love this Dean...this caring, considerate, fatherly, badass, clever Dean is one that I melt over."

Yes, that is how I reacted to this episode's Dean as well--this is the awesome Dean that was one-half of what hooked me on this show!


31st-Mar-2013 11:39 am (UTC)
Appreciate that someone else caught it :)

Oh yeah! I went there. I have been corrupted I tells ya!

*hearts* Dean.
xx
(Deleted comment)
31st-Mar-2013 11:40 am (UTC)
Ha! Indeed!
29th-Mar-2013 10:57 am (UTC)
Additional detail on #10. Apparently, Adam Glass named the baby hunters after his kids and his cousin.

https://twitter.com/AdamGlass44/status/317323816017743872

And then added some flirting between them. This show is a bad influence LOL.
31st-Mar-2013 11:41 am (UTC)
Hi!

Oh yes! I saw that tweet. So cute!

And then added some flirting between them.

HA! Such a bad influence...;)
29th-Mar-2013 12:07 pm (UTC)
this episode ... for me, i dont know what it was? this definitely did not work for me. things that i liked Sam tied up as you said, but what you mentioned about what bugged you also bugged me too it made no sense whatsoever. i kept saying Sam's hair is beautiful cuz it was. things that pissed me off: 1. Sam leaving the room so Dean and Kissy oops..Krissy could chat.
2. Krissy, Krissy, oh and Krissy
3. Krissy, a minor, she is a minor right? kissing a grown man on the cheek. i didnt understand that.
4. How can you have a child/minor kiss a grown man on the cheek or anywhere? A handshake would have been ok but a kiss?
*something is wrong with Adam Glass* *just my opinion :((
5. by the end of it, i was bored
6. promo looks exciting

Edited at 2013-03-29 12:15 pm (UTC)
31st-Mar-2013 11:48 am (UTC)
Yeah - looks like we took this one a little differently. ;) I know it wasn't perfect by any means, but there was enough going on for me to enjoy it.

I think Sam leaving the room was showing Dean some respect I think. He knows Dean was close (like a brother) to Krissy, so I think he was respecting that - giving him some room. Sam knows Dean has some good advice to her. He's knows what an awesome big brother he is.

And was wondering if Krissy might have had a little crush on Dean - though, I think now it's more of big brother adulation.
29th-Mar-2013 03:25 pm (UTC)
I'm the bad guy...allow me to monologue while we wait for your brother, the experienced hunter, who will stop at nothing to save you. What's the bit about monsters, I understand, it's people I don't get?  Yeah.  

We don't kill people...hah....just envesseled angels, demons in possession, apocalyptic bystanders.....  I wish they'd try the occasional exorcism.  

It seems weird to see a suicide on TV.  I know it happens but it always surprises me to see it.  This was the second death by self-inflicted gunshot this season even though Fred Jones forced the doctor's hand for one of them.

10. Ahh, the sweet smell of subtext...right there with ya on that one.

I wish they'd make up their minds about whether Sam still wants a non-hunting life. It's great if that's where they will eventually end the show but I wish they'd leave it for now.  He's got a lot of motivations for closing the gates of Hell. I also get irritated when they turn him into a damsel in distress when you know he's a better hunter than that.

As for Dean, I like it when they let him show that he's not just a hired gun, but a guy with a brain who can use it well.  This was an interesting case to see him work considering he's been a vampire and then cured plus he's run with Benny, a very different vampire than the baddie here, and he knew Lenore and knows a different way is possible.  That means we know vampires don't have to be like this dude who was rotten to the core.  He wasn't protecting his nest or killing to feed or following an Alpha's orders, just being a murderer on a spree.  He would have turned on Victor in a (non-existent) heartbeat and was probably just waiting for the chance at him and the kids.
31st-Mar-2013 01:47 pm (UTC)
We don't kill people...hah....just envesseled angels, demons in possession, apocalyptic bystanders.

Oh yeah. For sure. I'm not sure if that's part of Dean's tendency to have a double standard, or if the writers have forgotten all those "innocent" deaths. I'm hoping this ep might have also been a reminder to the boys how many innocent lives are lost by their hands - but I don't think so, otherwise it would have been mentioned.

The suicide was a surprise. I suppose it made what he did to get a family believable (being that desperate), but wow - crazy guy. I wonder if there's any attempt to make a point of Sam and Dean soldering on no matter what. Dean being suicidal has been mentioned a couple of times during the series.

I also get irritated when they turn him into a damsel in distress when you know he's a better hunter than that.

Yeah. I'm always torn with this one because I rather like seeing Sam in peril, but I hate it when he's made to look incompetent by being in peril. I think we were supposed to be completely surprised by the Victor twist so we could understand how Sam got caught - but it was so obvious (and the promo didn't help that at all) that we knew it was coming and so should have Sam!

But the thing I don't understand is why they can't at least give Sam an opportunity to save Dean at some point -especially after him not even trying to save Dean. You'd think there would be some good opportunities for Sam to come to the rescue (please).

29th-Mar-2013 11:43 pm (UTC)
I liked the episode, for the most part. It did make me nervous, though, that we had a vampire episode and nobody mentioned Benny. They did sorta reference him in the "Then," though.

I loved Krissy, and I especially loved the way she didn't let Dean overprotect her.

Victor asking Sam if he wanted kids, though--that made me think about Amelia and the Madonna imagery, and, um. Somehow Amelia being pregnant is looking a lot more unsurprising if it does indeed show up.

As for the slashy aspects of the episode--have you heard the scoop on the Cowboy Junkies band mention at the beginning of the episode? If not, take a gander at the song titles that come up in the right-hand sidebar on a Google search:

Screen shot 2013-03-29 at 7.40.09 PM

And Adam Glass has said that it was Jeremy Carver's idea to mention that band.
31st-Mar-2013 01:58 pm (UTC)
that we had a vampire episode and nobody mentioned Benny.

It would have been a great opportunity to mention Benny I think. It might explain why Dean was prepared to listen to the vampires and look at a way to save them - in S2 he would have chopped off their heads - no questions asked. He's come a long way since then...

Somehow Amelia being pregnant is looking a lot more unsurprising if it does indeed show up.

Hee...oh man, I think there might be a collective fandom groan if that happens. Or maybe a "we knew that was coming!". I dunno. I think I'd be interested to see what they'd do with that - lots of Sammy angst me thinks. No way would he be able to keep or raise a child. I imagine Sam has thought about having kids - probably goes along with wanting a "normal" life. It's interesting that it's come up now though.

And wow, that song list....So does that make Carver a destiel fan? (argh - I hope not). That's...er...interesting. Maybe clever? I don't think I want to think about that too hard. Maybe one for the die hard destiel fans. The Wincest fans get the brother reference after all...;)

xx

31st-Mar-2013 09:20 am (UTC)
Agreed. A fairly enjoyable filler ep. Like you, I sometimes like to just sit back and watch the guys do their thing - though less Sam getting knocked out and tied to a chair, and less clunky exposition while tied to said chair would have been a tad more exciting. I guess this was the epidosde where Jared was getting over being sick and Jensen was - his voice is really rough and nasal for most of it.

One thing that really does worry me, is all these father references for Sam. I swear, if Amelia turns up pregnant, that's every shark in every ocean well and truly jumped.
1st-Apr-2013 05:53 am (UTC)
Yeah, as much as I love Sam in peril, I'd rather it not be at the expense of his character.

Hee...and there seems to be a lot of speculation about Amelia turning up with a baby on board. I doubt they'll do this, but I think I might just end up face palming or laughing if they do.

xx
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