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8.21 Reaction/Review (with gifs! *g*) 
2nd-May-2013 09:15 pm
Muffin?
Dear Mr Edlund



Are you stalking our journals and reading all the hurt/comfort fic because...DUUUDDDE! OMG! That's gotta be like the first full on h/c episode we've ever really had and friggin YAAAAYYY!

I promise I will get past the squeeful noises I'm going to make over all the HURT!SAM AWESOME BIG BROTHER!DEAN moments, but I do have to wallow in all of that for a wee bit. Seriously - Dean bringing Sam soup, Dean doing the airplane spoon, blanket and a thermometer, ice bath and a towel, DEAN'S PROTECTIVE ARM OUT (more than once!).

8.20-Let-me-take-care-of-you

Not just saying it, but doing it...

8.21-brings-food

and

8.21-towel


DEEAAANN!!! ALL THE HEARTS! The brother moments in this ep were to die for. <33333333

But, WOW - there was so much more than that.

For a full on angel and demon story line I actually really, really enjoyed it. I do get worried with Ben Edlund eps because sometimes he can be a bit wordy and even though there were a couple of moments that dragged a little, over all I felt it was a good, solid, entertaining episode. He squeezed a lot into this one, with a many different story lines running. And heaps of new reveals!

Let's do the 10 things...

1. God damn heroes! This ep was, in many ways, about heroes. The nature of being heroic and what it means to sacrifice yourself, conquer your fears and face your responsibilities. It was evident in Sam's storyline but also in Kevin's and Cas's. I think it was Kevin that really made an impact in showing what it is to rise to the challenge and not be used and abused. The way be played with the fake!Sam and Dean was clever and him facing up to Crowley in the end was fantastic.

Cas was clever and for the first time in a very long time, I felt that Cas has found his path. I got a lovely sense of him knowing what kind of angel he's supposed to be - a good one. I love that he buried the tablet in himself (though....eeewwwwww). And was that a bit of tablet he still had in him? I assume that's what's keeping Naomi and company still out (?) I'm am also assuming that at the end, he tried to make it into the Impala but missed it maybe? He was quite a mess by the end.

2. Sam. Oh Sam. Sam actually got to say something! His heartbreaking speech about not being clean brought a real tear to my eye. I LOVE so much that they've come back to the demon blood in his veins. We never really get to hear about how he feels about that. What a massive episode for Jared. Sam was such mess and yet he continued to (try) and work and solve the case. I think it was his final confrontation with Metatron that made me think of heroes. He, like Kevin and Cas, stood up to their threat and used their knowledge that they are right to drive them. I loved the parallels in their stories. And I also loved how un-Sam like demon-in-disguise!Sam was. That grin...;). Oh also... "You really haven't heard of us? What kind of angel are you? We're the frigging Winchesters!" THEY ARE LEGENDS!

3. Dean. My love for Dean knows no bounds. I love that his heroism is more subtle, but nonetheless there. His care and love for Sam just shines. I will never get enough of him putting his arm out to protect Sam. I also love the way he bottled up his anger when he got Kevin's message and then BAM!

8.21-Dean-sweeps

How interesting that he mentioned that they should have brought Kevin to the bat cave. Everyone was thinking it. I can only assume that they thought it might have been too risky maybe?

4. The trials are purifying Sam. Wow - I have to say I didn't expect that. Even though someone had suggested it to me, I hadn't thought a lot on it. And there it is. It makes sense that something big is happening inside of Sam. I have no idea what that actually means (is he being de-demonized?), but it sounds interesting. Though I have never considered Sam "evil" or in need of purifying, but maybe he does. It certainly sounded like it. And how awesome that the stakes are so high! They're not talking about Sam dying - it's about him changing.

5. And speaking of purity. I wonder if there's a connection between Dean considering his time in Purgatory as "pure" and what Sam is going through? Maybe both of them have been on a cleansing journey. Dean has certainly seems more at one with himself. More stable, more open and more affectionate. Maybe Sam's journey of "purification" might not just be about a physical one.

6. John made cure-all stew AND apparently he took them to the Grand Canyon. \o/ (Ok, so they had forgotten that they had been when they mentioned wanting to go there for the first time a while back - but I can give them that one. ;D). I adored Sam rambling about his childhood memories. Each time we get a "remember when..." we get a little more canon.

8. Crowley. I actually cheered when he went down! He's SO smarmy and totally deserves to die in horrible ways (when he FINALLY does die). I loved the opening scene with him "directing". I wonder how much of that was an in-joke? Mark seemed to be loving it. "I was born to direct". HA!

9. Naomi is suitably horrible as well. I've been enjoying Amanda's performance.

10. Everything else! I thought the script was tight and it was well directed. I think the director bought out some excellent performances. Some of the best from Osric and some wonderful work from Jared. I like that Edlund called writers Gods. *g* I bet he enjoyed writing that line. I particularly loved this effect:

8.21-Cas-all-the-places


So the third trial is to "cure a demon". Hmmmm...does that mean somehow remove their demonness? Make them "good"? Turn them into an angel? Could it be Sam? Would him being cleansed of his demon blood be the same as curing a demon? The only other major demon we know is Crowley. Could they "cure" him? *rubs hands* I can't wait to find out.

I'm really loving this build up to the finale. The stakes are high and their seems to be some end in sight. Though I ponder Sam thinking that they are heading toward some sort of ending. Doesn't he know there's one, if not two seasons to go? Sam thinking that everything will "end" once the gates are closed is perplexing. Wishful thinking probably.



and now... some touching and protective!Dean gifs because I can't help myself! :D (and I love this room of books!)

8.21-More-touches

8.21-Dean-hand-out1

8.21-pushes-Sam-back

8.21-Holds-Sam-back-2



This is how Dean would have been when Sam was a toddler learning to walk. Hovering...

8.21-Steady-hand

GUH! The more I think about this one the more I love it. A re-watch is definitely in order <3
Comments 
2nd-May-2013 01:48 pm (UTC)
Loved this ep. And your gifs. Concentrated h/c. :)
2nd-May-2013 02:28 pm (UTC)
Yay h/c! ;D

Thanks hun
xx
2nd-May-2013 02:01 pm (UTC)
There were a couple of things that bugged, but overall . . . yeah. Very good ep and deserving of a re-watch or two. (The brotherly stuff -- Dean taking care of Sam -- was what really did it for me.)

He squeezed a lot into this one, with a many different story lines running.

Yup, that was one of the things that bugged me. It might have been a little too much for a single episode. But, in Edlund's defense, he did a fantastic job working all those plot threads together.

Agreed on the "heroes" point. Everybody got to be one this time around, but yeah, Kevin, in that seemingly hopeless situation, facing off against Crowley to the point of dying for his beliefs? Oh, baby.

Though I have never considered Sam "evil" or in need of purifying, but maybe he does. It certainly sounded like it.

Ditto. That little speech Sam made about being not pure enough just broke my heart. (And the look on Dean's face, augh!) But being cleansed of the demon blood is a good thing, no matter how you slice it.

Dean constantly touching / protecting Sam . . . <3333333333

I wonder if there's a connection between considering his time in Purgatory as "pure" and what Sam is going through? Maybe both of them have been on a cleansing journey. Dean has certainly seemed more at one with himself. More stable, more open and more affectionate. Maybe Sam's journey of "purification" might not just be about a physical one.

Oh, wow, what a brilliant connection. Mad props to you! And it IS significant that Show would mention Dean's "pure" time in Purgatory and then the "purification" of Sam's demon blood. Please, please, Show, don't drop the ball on this -- MAKE THE CONNECTION! (Hmm. Sam's already fairly open and affectionate. I wonder what the psychological change will bring for him?)

I totally agree about Castiel finding a path/finally having a storyline that makes sense. Maybe he'll now make it his mission to get his brethren out from under the heel of those who use them as angelic cannon fodder? (But only if Show manages to NOT make his mission a mere retread of the S6 Cas-fights-Raphael's-army plot, because that would not be cool.) That said, a Castiel-Naomi showdown? Bring it!

I still have issues with the Grand Canyon mention. I think it was in "Croatoan" that Dean mentioned never having been there. Yet in 8.21, he seemed to have very clear memories of visiting, down to how old Sam was at the time. IDK, it just seems sloppy to me. Especially since Edlund's been on the writing team since S2.

I really do hope that it's Crowley who is "cured." From the preview pics, it seemed that they had Abbadon in their clutches, so maybe she'll be the first, (failed) experiment? Then they get it RIGHT, go cure Crowley, and pass the third trial. *hopes* But man, if they end up curing Stunt Demon #3, I'm not gonna be happy. Go for the gold, guys!

some excellent performances. Some of the best from Osric and some wonderful work from Jared.

THIS. Everyone rocked their roles, but those two burned down the house. Especially Kevin standing up to Crowley, OMG. Dayum, son.

The next couple of episodes are gonna be KILLER.

*steals all the gifs and holds them to my heart*
2nd-May-2013 02:50 pm (UTC)
Hey hun!

But, in Edlund's defense, he did a fantastic job working all those plot threads together.

Yeah. Something Edlund does well is keep story lines tight (-ish). The only ep of his I really didn't like was Reading is Fundamental - all the others have been favs of mine. He does it a lot better than
some of the writers on the show. ;)

I wonder what the psychological change will bring for him

It's an interesting one. I don't know that they're thinking along these lines but Sam could certainly learn to accept himself more than he does. The notion that he's "unclean" seems to haunt him so maybe there's something there. Oh man, his psychological issues must be HUGE considering everything he's been through. I think he still has a redemption type issues also. (ha..but I really don't think they'll be addressing Sam's psych issues. It seems they keep bringing him back to wanting a normal life. Which is weird considering he's the one who say "we're the Winchesters". He KNOWS they are far from normal).

Ooops..blabbed a bit there. :)

Maybe he'll now make it his mission to get his brethren out from under the heel of those who use them as angelic cannon fodder?

Yeah, I can see him on a mission that will see him "righting" heaven. Though how Sam and Dean will feature in that I don't know. And Cas and Naomi = BRING IT!

Can't wait to see how they play it all out. I am trying to remain spoiler free but it's getting harder and harder as the finale approaches. I am so impatient!

xox


2nd-May-2013 02:04 pm (UTC)
Are you stalking our journals and reading all the hurt/comfort fic because...DUUUDDDE!

I know! I spent several scenes thinking 'You know, there are millions of squeeing fangirls out there right now ... and one really angry one yelling "Edlund! You stole my fic!"' :)

It was evident in Sam's storyline but also in Kevin's and Cas's.

Kevin was just so very likeable here. I was a bit surprised at how functional he was, given his state in Taxi Driver, but it was nevertheless very enjoyable to watch him mess with the demons. It's one of those neat reversal situations Edlund sometimes pulls, where the least powerful person in the room is actually the most powerful. And I was amazed at how much Castiel didn't annoy me here. It's such a relief, after cringing every time he's shown up. If they can just keep him being useful and bright over there, I may even start to enjoy him.

I want to know how Crowley makes his own reality, though.

Dean. My love for Dean knows no bounds. I love that his heroism is more subtle, but nonetheless there. His care and love for Sam just shines.

This stuff really makes me smile. Dean wasn't kidding about being Sam Gamgee. Stew and all! This whole thing is becoming a love letter to heroic epic.

Though I have never considered Sam "evil" or in need of purifying, but maybe he does. It certainly sounded like it.

I'm ambivalent about this bit. I mean, if Sam chose upfront to be purified, then that would be fine. Because that would just be about defining his life for himself. I am ... somewhat uncomfortable with there being some objective standard of purity, and you can be considered 'unclean' due to things that were done to you.

But, well, I suppose I can disagree with the standards and still understand that Sam has to go through it. And in any case I'm just going to wallow happily around in the mythological implications for a while. :)

So the third trial is to "cure a demon". Hmmmm...does that mean somehow remove their demonness? Make them "good"? Turn them into an angel?

I hardly think angels count as 'good'. :) But – yeah. I think that's interesting. They have a vampirism cure already. They've been playing around with the idea of monstrosity as impermanent for a while. I think the likeliest thing would be turning them back into a human soul.

On the one hand, I'd be far more okay with closing down hell if I thought the demons could be healed and liberated. That was what they wanted, after all. On the other hand, given the way Metatron was talking I wonder if the consequences here might be morally dodgy. It would be a horrible thing if you could save them, and instead you left them trapped.

You know, I liked pretty much everything in this one except for Metatron. And I didn't even dislike all the stuff with him. I could just do without hearing the condescending 'Oh, you wondrous little apes, pinnacle of God's creation! We gave you free will as a birthday present and don't you do such cute things with it!' speech ever again. It always puts me in a bad mood. :)
2nd-May-2013 03:32 pm (UTC)
Kevin was just so very likeable here.

Yeah. Finally I feel like I'm on Kevin's side. I have had the total sum of zero connection with him up until now and when he made his death speech I have to say I wasn't really moved. But...when he took on Crowley and wasn't freaking out I though..."ahhh...there you are. I'm on your side now."

And I was amazed at how much Castiel didn't annoy me here. It's such a relief, after cringing every time he's shown up. If they can just keep him being useful and bright over there, I may even start to enjoy him.

Ah yes. I have a theory on this. While he's over there and has a story of his own he's bearable. Even interesting in fact. As soon as he's with the boys he has to somehow fit into their "club". I know the show keeps trying to find ways of making him fit but often it feels forced. Here, he was doing his own thing. Maybe if Cas is focused on his own cause he may have a backbone - which I think has been lacking. And knowing what we know now it makes some sense. It's as though the real "Cas" is yet to be revealed.

I want to know how Crowley makes his own reality, though.

*guh* the mind boggles. I have no idea.

I mean, if Sam chose upfront to be purified, then that would be fine.</>

I am wondering if what Sam is going through has made him come to this conclusion. Ack, it's hard because the writers have obviously wanted to make a point about this purification so we can't know if Sam has somehow decided that this is happening for himself - as in, what he said might not be true. How does he know for sure that that's what's happening to him? I figure it's purely the show letting us in on this transformation so we also know. (Damn, a gold star to you if you can make sense of what I'm saying..;D)

The jury is out on Metatron for me. I just don't know what to make of all that. I did love Sam and then Dean calling him on his escapism.

Hmmm I wonder what will happen to Kevin now? He's no longer needed to decipher the tablet. Maybe back to his studies? I suppose we'll find out. Hope he doesn't die - Just so it's not another death on the Winchesters's conscience.
2nd-May-2013 02:15 pm (UTC)
Kevin's story confused me - where was he when the boys called round for reals when he had apparently disappeared? How did he get back to the house boat and back to working on the tablet as if nothing had happened??? *puzzled!*

But apart from that - Jared!!!! Aw, he did wooby Sam so good, still thinking his blood is contaminated by demon blood after all this time, haunted by what Azazel did all those years ago...And that somehow the trials are cleaning it out? That's what I understood that he thought was happening, any way.

Awesome.

Edited at 2013-05-02 02:15 pm (UTC)
2nd-May-2013 03:36 pm (UTC)
where was he when the boys called round for reals when he had apparently disappeared? How did he get back to the house boat and back to working on the tablet as if nothing had happened???

I'm thinking that Crowley took him but knew that torturing him wouldn't work. So he returned him to the boat and then decided to use demons to play Sam and Dean to get him to decipher the rest of the tablet.

And yes JARED! Great Sammy birthday episode! :DD
2nd-May-2013 02:46 pm (UTC)
I already rewatched it last night - I could NOT help myself. Loved it for all the things you said. Thanks for the gifs! I love them.
2nd-May-2013 03:37 pm (UTC)
I will be re-watching tomorrow! So much to love!

And thanks. :D Glad you like the gifs. <3
2nd-May-2013 03:42 pm (UTC)
Yeah, the Grand Canyon thing has really thrown things. It's curious that Edlund chose there as a place for Sam to relive a memory. I kinda forgive him for not knowing about one line that was uttered 5 seasons ago. We know it because we live this stuff but he wouldn't have known that (should have asked a fan!)

2nd-May-2013 03:19 pm (UTC)
squeeeee!!! love your gif's!!

all the brotherly moments, delirious Sam, god, so adorable!!

there was a lot packed into the episode for sure, but it was good. i need to watch it again.

yeah, Grand Canyon, hmmmm, through me write out of it.

can't wait for the next two episodes.

omg cure a demon? cure Crowley? my husband says, Sam has demon blood in him, maybe he is the demon being cured? that made me hmmmm.....
2nd-May-2013 05:07 pm (UTC)
That was an angel bullet that Cas ***pushed through that angel's eye***

Never before have I been so grossed out and simultaneously delighted by castiel. Shit was METAL.
2nd-May-2013 05:07 pm (UTC)
Also I want them to cleanse ruby. IDC that she's dead! :D
2nd-May-2013 05:30 pm (UTC)
*happy cartwheels of joy*

Imma just gonna stare at your post all day long.......
3rd-May-2013 05:36 am (UTC)
yay! Stare away! :D
2nd-May-2013 05:42 pm (UTC)
It keeps feeling way too good to be true. And then selfish-me frets that we've now reached our series quota of hurt!Sam so tis time to enjoy every second of it. Loved Sam's little heartbreaking speech, the airplane-spoon, the heavy doses of protective!Dean.

I pay very little attention to the Heaven subplot. Works for me.

Two to go! Do we know who wrote the last two?

3rd-May-2013 01:00 pm (UTC)
Yeah - we're being a bit spoiled with all the yummy hurt!Sam at the moment. I can hardly believe it.

I do gloss over the heaven subplot mostly. Every now and then it grabs me. This one grabbed me more than usual.

And yes - Dabb is writing the next one (hmmm...could mean anything) and Carver is writing the finale (which I am excited about. here's hoping he pulls out a Christmas or Mystery Spot type episode...)

We might be saying *hold me* going into the next 2 eps...
2nd-May-2013 05:47 pm (UTC)
It was definitely a good episode (liked it better than last week's one ;)). All the hurt!Sam/protective!Dean was awesome. And even the Angel tablet/Demon tablet story line holds my interest. I wonder how they will end it this season, since we got another one - and I don't want them to drag Sam being so sick out for any longer than the last two episodes.
I agree with you that I never considered Sam evil or stained, yet I think purifying his blood is a I good thing I think, especially for his own mind. :)
So two more episodes, huh? I wonder what they'll leave us with this season. :D
3rd-May-2013 01:04 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I'm happy if Sam doesn't stay sick past the next two episodes. I can't see it happening actually - I figure he'll do the last trial and will be transformed somehow. I think the "rebirth" will make him feel awesome. Maybe? Ooh, I don't really know. I hope it'll be something really interesting...

I think for Sam's sake the idea that he can be rid of the demon blood once and for all will be a good thing.

2nd-May-2013 10:05 pm (UTC)
I really couldn't have been happier with the brotherly moments as well. Loved this ep! Yay for gifspams!!
3rd-May-2013 01:36 pm (UTC)
Some awesome moments. :<33
2nd-May-2013 10:15 pm (UTC)
Hee, you have been putting the new gif skills to good use :)

5. And speaking of purity. I wonder if there's a connection between Dean considering his time in Purgatory as "pure" and what Sam is going through? Maybe both of them have been on a cleansing journey. Dean has certainly seems more at one with himself. More stable, more open and more affectionate. Maybe Sam's journey of "purification" might not just be about a physical one.

Oh now that's very interesting.

6. John made cure-all stew AND apparently he took them to the Grand Canyon. \o/ (Ok, so they had forgotten that they had been when they mentioned wanting to go there for the first time a while back - but I can give them that one. ;D). I adored Sam rambling about his childhood memories. Each time we get a "remember when..." we get a little more canon.

I figured everyone would either be happy or up in arms about that one! I guess Edlund fudged it by making it happen when they were so young.
3rd-May-2013 01:43 pm (UTC)
Gif making is SO addictive. And so much quicker and easier than vidding. :)

I would love there to be more about this purification than just cleaning out the demon blood. Linking it to Dean would be great.

The Grand Canyon thing has really torn people up. For me, they have messed up so much canon this season, this is just one more thing (and not nearly as bad as making Sam not look for Dean...).
2nd-May-2013 11:31 pm (UTC)
I knew you'd like this episode when I saw that Sam was getting sicker and sicker!

I took the line about Metratron hiding away with stories to be a dig at fans, but maybe it wasn't meant to be.

The Grand Canyon reference seemed really sloppy to me in terms of continuity, and also it struck me as a strange, expensive trip for John to have taken the boys on. Plus, I'm pretty sure they only use mules, not donkeys (though maybe things were different 25 years ago).
3rd-May-2013 02:59 pm (UTC)
Oh yes...it did hit my hurt!Sam kink that I seem to have...;)

I took that line as a bit of a dig also. I thought there was a real comment there about what we do with stories - creating our own universes. I'd like to know what Edlund was actually thinking with that.

Yeah - I don't get why it had to be the Grand Canyon. Dean could have been on a donkey anywhere. The GC seems to be the place to go (or want to go) apparently.

3rd-May-2013 01:19 am (UTC)
Lovely meta/review with excellent GIFs. I agree with all. It was the best and most H/C in forever.
3rd-May-2013 03:00 pm (UTC)
Thanks hun! Yeah, I think us h/c lovers were spoiled with that one <3
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