I will not deny that my response to this episode is clouded by my expectations
. I honestly went in dreading it, getting prepared to pack it all in and eating a block of chocolate to commiserate.
Instead I was left with such an overwhelming sense of relief (to the point of giddiness) that I've come away thinking it wasn't all that bad.
This was always going to be one of those episodes that would divide fans. It's the ultimate confrontation between demon!Dean and Sam. It was going to reveal what lengths Sam went to to find Dean and show us whether Sam would be successful (this time), in saving Dean. It was going to show us just how "bad" demon!Dean was and what role Cas would play in him becoming human again.
It was a big ask and I suspect many may feel let down by it. Dean was cured and Sam left the building.
But I found it engaging and didn't find myself as bothered by some of the things I'm sensing others have been bothered by.
Let's start at the end shall we? After many many months of Sam looking for Dean, being confronted by Dean, being verbally abused by Dean Sam finally
captures him and cures him. He weathered the storm. We were hanging on for that final scene to be between him and Dean yeah? A moment that would let us know the state of their relationship now. Instead, Sam leaves to get food and asks Cas to watch over him.
For some reason (and maybe this will change), I was really ok with this. In fact, can I say I liked it?
Here's why. After everything that Sam had been through in finding and curing Dean that man needed some air. I know that sounds trivial, but boy. He has a lot to digest and to be able to go out and get his, now normal brother normal food has to be the best thing he could have done. There was NO WAY they were going to talk. I had absolutely NO expectations that they would. Sam's perfectly relieved face when Dean came back and his desire to feed his brother was just enough for me.
One big reason for this is how strongly it links to the past "resurrections". Instead of writing about it here - I made a tumblr post
about it. I know we didn't get to have the scene of them eating-but the connection was there. It was also significant that we know that there's probably no way they could sit and share food together at the moment. Things are still raw, but Sam wanted to comfort and heal Dean and (for now) that's enough for me.
The was a full on SamnDean episode and so I wasn't surprised (or even disappointed) that we didn't get a bro scene at the end. Sure, I would have LOVED a hug - but it just didn't feel right. Sam's face spoke volumes though.
I even didn't mind Sam asking Cas to watch over him. It's been a long time since I've actually felt the genuine friendship between Sam and Cas and even between Cas and Dean. Finally, there's a sense of them all being on the same page.
I won't deny I was dreading that it would be something that Cas does that finally cures Dean, so I was relieved (relieved I tells ya!) that Cas actually helped
Sam and not performed some "miracle" that cured him. I liked the team work.
I like Cas and Hannan ok? I just can't help it. Hannah is growing on me (shame, as I'm sure she'll die) and I can't deny I'd love to see them become an item (just 'cause).
I loved Sam in the episode (I know! shock eh?). He was so stoic under fire. He could have lashed out and did the same thing that Dean did to soulless!Sam and beat the crap out of him, but he didn't. He held back his hurt and anger and merely jabbed that needle in a little harder than was maybe necessary. He wasn't overly emotional and he didn't get hung up on guilt (at the moment) and let it all cloud his task at hand. He fought with his options and the knowledge that he might end up killing his brother. He trusted Cas and did what he thought was best for his brother.
And um..actually? I didn't think Dean's words were anything harsher than Dean has actually said to Sam before (like just before he went into confession in the church in 8.23). Or anything that Sam didn't already feel about himself. I didn't think anything out of Dean's mouth was a surprise - he's been hurt by much more ("if you leave, don't come back" in Levee Breaks). We know, deep down, that he thinks Dean thinks this stuff anyway (flashbacks in Levee Breaks, stuff that possessed!Dean said to him in S8), so I'm not surprised he took it as well as he did. Good for you Sam!
D!Dean was pretty scary, though I think the best performance was last week's. Which, is actually not a surprise. Jensen had 2 episodes under his belt by then. It was still pretty good and I am very sorry to see him go. Jensen clearly loved playing him and I hope that maybe they'll treat us with some flashbacks later (though, I suspect Jensen had is hair cut so maybe not…). I at least hope we get a "lighter" Dean and maybe new Dean channels demon!Dean every now and then because - hot damn! he was great (*guh* him constantly referring to Sam as "Sammy"..creepy…). And the difference when real Dean returned was so very noticeable. Credit to Jensen. I'm sure Dean's arc, or story, isn't over yet. The mark is still there and no doubt he'll have to reconcile his demon side at some point.
Loved the red lighting during the bunker chase.
Talks of them killing each other. Dean actually trying to kill Sam and Sam worrying about having to kill Dean. The only other time this has come up (as far as I can remember) is when Dean worried that detoxing Sam could kill him. The "killing your brother" might be revisited with the Mark still in play.
I was also surprised how much I enjoyed Crowley! (See, I WAS riding high by my relief!!) I loved him reminiscing about Dean and his minions trying to be like him. I think because I much prefer this "charming" Crowley to shouting, boring (sorry!) Crowley. I have no idea what his plan is for Dean (with the Mark), but it can't be good (I hope!). I do think he genuinely likes Dean though.
I know there were quite a few weaknesses (like, why doesn't Hannah actually act like an angel? She was hurt and didn't cure herself immediately (looked like a broken rib maybe?). Also… is Sam luring an innocent man (who he was planning to stop from making a deal anyway) as monstrous as Dean actually killing him? Or even all that problematic? I mean, Sam and Dean have killed innocent people many times. All those meat suits. And worse, have actually given an innocent person to another person (Mrs Tran) to kill. Is it as bad as non consensual possession? Killing a person to drink their demon blood? I don't know about you but it seems a bit try hard to me (for which I am damn relieved I have to tell you! I didn't want Sam actually doing something that was totally OOC).
That pie in Dean's room would have mould on it, for sure.
An angel "hug" (more like a circle of arms) can hold down a demon? Since..when?
"Hell" always looks disappointing when they show it. I like it when it doesn't look like some traditional idea of Hell (like the long lines of waiting people from that past ep…).
Boo, Sam didn't use his own blood to cure Dean (though, makes a heap of sense that he didn't really).
The pacing might have lacked a little and it did feel anticlimactic. Demon!Dean seems to have been cured far too easily (and quickly!). But I was good with it ending where it did. It felt like we could now get into some good ole MoTW stories, sans angels and demons for a while. I really want that! I want to see Sam and Dean, on the road, hunting monsters. Sure, their relationship will no doubt be tense but it can't be ANYTHING like it was last season. Can it? Did this feel like "nothing" to anyone else? Dean was a demon so all that can be excused on that (even if it comes out that some of it's the truth. It wasn't nearly as confrontational as the stuff they made Sam say to Dean in S9). Sam was determined and dedicated to the cause (and we even got POV and family pictures and pie!), he cured Dean, looked massively relieved, went an bought him comfort food for his soul and came out of the whole thing with little more than leading douche Lester into a trap. No doubt, there'll be deeper discussions about all that, but at the moment I'm just damn happy to not be weeping over my show.
I am interested to see what the discussion will be between them about "who's the bigger monster". It's a non starter as far as I can see. I still hope it becomes a discussion about what they do for each other, but at the moment I'm just happy that we got through this as relatively unscathed as we did.
(I did mention relieved didn't I?)POLL
(for some reason was screwing up positing it here).