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just enough to make us dangerous
9.12 episode review (and a wee pinch of rantiness) 
29th-Jan-2014 04:51 pm

I was a little restless watching that episode. I was surprised how easily Sam slipped back into hunting with Dean kept wondering if this will be it. The episode seemed to be geared toward exploring Dean's issues - family and finding love where you can etc, but I was itching to see if Sam was actually going to get a voice. He was merrily just going along for the ride and I was thinking…what the hell?!

Thank goodness for the last 5 minutes. This may have been a seriously ranty post if Sam hadn't been allowed to say something.

(the only ranting I will do is not understanding some comments around the place about Sam giving Dean shit at the end. If anything Sam didn't give Dean enough shit. I actually thought Sam's restraint showed his maturity. He's not going to let Dean off easily for what he did and so he shouldn't. I know some people will never see anything Sam does as good enough but surely this is one thing they can sympathise with him on. I just don't get why Sam is considered to be in the wrong here. Why isn't Sam ever allowed to be pissed at Dean? I seriously don't get it. /end rant).

I was disappointed about the lack of Sam but I read a tweet that he was "off making babies". I assume that meant Gen was having their baby. Totally acceptable. At least we got some Sam.

I've always liked Garth (love how fundamentally different he is to any other hunters) and this ep was ok. Nothing startling, but after those epic first 2 episodes we probably needed a breather. It was heavy handed and there was a lot of repetition about family and monsters and love etc and I have to confess I wasn't always engaged. Actually, it felt like there was a lot of padding. Dialogue that didn't achieve a lot - maybe they had to change things around if Jared had to leave. At the end of the day it was a solid enough filler though.

I'm glad Garth didn't die. It feels like they've put him aside for a while, but at least they can go back to him later if the want to.

I enjoyed the fact that it wasn't myth arc heavy (only so much this gal can take of the demons and angels) so the werewolves made a nice change. I didn't spend much time working it all out (felt like I slipped into Teen Wolf there for a minute), I let it wash over me pretty much (mostly waiting to see if we were going to get a heart to heart at the end).

Dean was scruffy and surly and generally feeling rotten about everything (love that the dark quality from last week was still lingering). I kept thinking why is his angst only about the guilt he feels over Kevin? What about the bigger picture surrounding how that happened and maybe even consideration for how Sam must be feeling knowing it was his body doing the killing. I'm not sure the end fully addressed that, but a least Sam had a chance to bring it up. Maybe Dean will get it one day (though I'm not convinced the writers think what he did was much of an issue, so maybe not…). I did like that Dean ATTEMPTED to say sorry - it was on the tip of his tongue! It was typical Dean that he couldn't actually get it out. But the sentiment was there. I also liked that he tried the "we are family" as a cure all and Sam just didn't accept that this time. Though perhaps Dean's "took a piece of you" was an acknowledgement of the toll the possession took on Sam.

And sharing the crappiness? I did like that a lot.

I took Sam's "terms" to mean that they can work together but the trust that existed between them won't be there like it has been before. It might even mean that Sam will speak up more if Dean chooses to do something that Sam doesn't agree with. They'll never stop being brothers, but much of what is taken for granted in brotherhood might not be there for a while. Clearly Sam still cares very deeply for Dean - that will never change. (His "be careful" to Dean was a nice bit of dialogue to cement that the care still there).

I found Sam's comment about them being different in their approach to the job now a little strange. I've always felt that they were different and that's why they work together so well. They compliment each other. Maybe the difference is much greater than it used to be.

I've never really had a problem with Sam in peril but even I'm thinking we've seen it too much now. That man's head must be mush! At least he was involved (a little bit) in the "saving the day" moment. Though, poor guy being bored to death with the monologuing...

What the hell is it about the villain monologue? Could she have taken any longer to actually kill someone?! I wanted Dean to get there just so she would shut up! (this scene felt padded also…)

I like their uneasy alliance. They had to come back together somehow - they were never going to keep them apart for long - so a kind of truce leaves the door open for some serious healing later on. Sam is so right - something is broken between them. Sam has always trusted Dean, so for him to say he can't any more is huge. It's also a role reversal. At the end of S4 Dean lost his trust in Sam. It took a long time for Sam to earn that back. Now it looks like it's Dean's turn to prove he deserves Sam's trust back. I know it's hard watching them in conflict but at least that means they'll be some juicy angst (and brother soul searching) in future episodes. I much prefer this type of (organic) conflict rather than the overtly manufactured stuff we saw last year. I think the issues between them are going to be around for a while to come and may even play a large part in the finale. We'll see!

In the mean time…without saying anything too spoilery - hubba bubba next week….
29th-Jan-2014 12:49 pm (UTC)
I'll tell you what bothers me personally: the fact that Carver (and, in turn, Sam it seems) can't seem to differentiate between what happened in 8.23 and what happened in 9.1. The difference is a matter of choice, and was the reason that I was concerned about the Gadreel story to begin with since I don't think Carver has any idea about what was actually wrong with what Dean did.

But then again, Carver is the person that decided Dean was going to suddenly blame Sam for being soulless, so what did I expect?

I will say that I don't think Carver knows what to do with Sam. I don't think he understands the character and how profoundly he has changed since S5, and he also doesn't care enough to figure it out.

My question re: the brothers...why should we care at this point? I ended the night wondering why Sam wanted to hunt with Dean at all, and why Dean would want to hunt with Sam. If there ever was an organic place to break them up for good, last night felt like it. Now, J2 have contracts and yachts and babies to support, so that won't happen, but when the redundancy sets in and you watch an episode and are like "I swear I've heard this entire speech before", it's difficult to get excited or upset.

p.s. Gen gave birth while they were filming 9.14, so that handy excuse for a Sam-lite episode doesn't work for this one.

p.s.s. I've been watching for the pretty since 9.1 aired, so next week will probably be my favorite episode of the season, even if it's terrible lol.
29th-Jan-2014 02:52 pm (UTC)
and was the reason that I was concerned about the Gadreel story to begin with since I don't think Carver has any idea about what was actually wrong with what Dean did.

Yes. And I think the further we go the more it's becoming clear that the issue with what Dean did has become more about the final result of it (death of Kevin) rather than any lines that he crossed. But with some of the reactions I've seen from fans, many don't believe Dean has done anything wrong either. In fact, there's a lot of "why can't Sam just appreciate what Dean did?". So Carver isn't the only one not realising the depth of his decision/actions. It's also become more about the lying (which is an important part of the issue sure) and not the consideration of denying Sam his choice.

I was surprised that Sam brought up talking him out of going through with the final trial. Sam DID make a choice then. Dean can't be blamed for that. Sam didn't have a choice about his life - and yet he doesn't want to call him on that. Sam is seeing that Dean approaches the job differently - but not (yet) what he did to his own agency. If Carver doesn't matter about that - then neither will Sam.

I will say that I don't think Carver knows what to do with Sam. I don't think he understands the character and how profoundly he has changed since S5, and he also doesn't care enough to figure it out.

I have to agree to a certain extent about that - mainly because of the dogs breakfast he made of the Amelia story line (and the jealousy etc that came with it). I think there have been some interesting observations made about Sam though (the quest and his feeling of letting Dean down), but in terms of where he's come since S5 Carver's at a loss. I maintain that he's merely re-visiting older character story lines - with his own twist. Maybe he'll run out of those soon and have to create new ones (which might actually be pretty scary).

ended the night wondering why Sam wanted to hunt with Dean at all, and why Dean would want to hunt with Sam. If there ever was an organic place to break them up for good, last night felt like it.

Yeah. And this is a really good point. Someone told me (on another thread) that it makes no sense now for them to continue to stay together. The relationship is SO damaged that the only sensible thing would be to go their separate ways. And it probably would be, but then we wouldn't have a show (she even suggested that they make the show with Dean eps (for the Dean!girls) and Sam eps (for the Sam!girls). That's a little heartbreaking to me - along with the fact that they've taken this relationship to the point where people are saying - let them separate! *weeps*

Only, I don't believe that. I still think there's reason for them to stick together - not least because of what Sam said - they can share the crappiness. I think there's far too much history between them to just let it all go. I'm not feeling the end of the relationship just yet. I think (my hopeful side) that it's been stripped back so it can be rebuilt. Maybe better this time? I mean, it's never been perfect (though not relationship can be perfect I believe), but they might come to a better understanding of each other and the part they play in the other's life.

PS: Oh! So "making babies" might have been just that then! (only not…a handy excuse yet. I think Osric tweeted that)

PPS: SO MUCH PRETTY!!! I hope it's completely shallow and I can wallow in the tank top!!

(*yikes* I wrote a lot. /o\ Seems like I'm working out some stuff still.)
1st-Feb-2014 04:35 pm (UTC)
Here is how I see the why Sam is upset about stopping the trials in 8.23 (I've put this out in a few places, so it may be repetitious)

First, I think the writers haven't had a grasp on how to write dialog for Sam and AG is really not good at it. That said, I think that Sam is not being hypocritical about stopping the trials. He wanted out of hunting. Dean immediately jumps on Sam about all the people who died because Sam wasn't out there personally putting down monsters. Then Dean finds out about the trials and talks Sam into it's their responsibility to do them, Sam listens and agrees. In other words Sam trusts Dean's decision on this over his own wants and needs. Sam doesn't want to die doing them. One of the reasons he's glad he got the Hell Hound instead of Dean is because Dean DID want to die. Eventually his illness makes him realize that he probably will die, but he can't stop, after all DEAN SAID this is their life's goal and it can make up for all those people Dean told him had died because Sam stopped hunting. Yes, Sam said other hunters handled jobs, but Dean specifically blamed Sam and Sam bought it on some level. There are other reasons Sam kept going even though he became pretty sure he would die. First Sam is very goal oriented. He sets goals (finding what killed Jess, trying to save Dean in season 3, trying to save people using his powers, trying to stop Lilith, trying to stop the Apocalypse) and he goes all out. He doesn't get distracted and doesn't go off track. Plus, he also knows that if he give up the trials, Dean will go look for a Hell Hound and do them himself. So Sam is in for a penny in for a pound and prepares himself to die saving the world. Again. Then at the last minute Dean changes his mind. Sam is prepared to make the needed Sacrifice to close Hell. He got talked into it by Dean and he is going to finish the job properly. So Dean pulls the "you'll die" card, but Sam is committed to the cause. Not suicidal, necessarily, because that implies he wants to die, but willing to die just like any warrior in a battle to save his country. He even explains to Dean that he has to do it because he can't let Dean down again, something Dean has been hitting him over the head with all season. So Dean starts to talk Sam down. He doesn't say he's sorry he made Sam feel that way. He tells Sam that Sam misunderstood that nothing is more important to Sam. Basically he goes into who are you going to believe me or your lying ears. So he convinces Sam (who does want to live) that he, Dean, believes in Sam, trusts Sam, respects Sam. That all that "everyone is more of a brother than you" and telling Sam every thing Sam did that hurt Dean were the worst things Sam had ever done wasn't what Dean was really saying, Sam just wasn't listening right. And Sam does what Dean says is the "right" thing and ends the trials, even though in his soul, he thinks the trials are worth finishing.

All that would be fine, except Sam's dying anyway and Dean turns around and ignores Sam's willingness to accept that he is dying and that Sam isn't going to stick around and become something supernatural. Dean KNOWS Sam doesn't want to be possessed by any angel. He knows Sam wants and needs honesty and to be trusted by Dean and Dean overrides all of that. So when Sam finds out that Dean basically decided that Dean got to give away Sam's body whenever Dean thinks it's a good idea. It means (to Sam) that everything, EVERYTHING that Dean said in the church was a lie. Dean doesn't trust him, Dean doesn't respect him, Dean doesn't even need Sam to be totally Sam, any old Gad or Ezekiel will do. Sam was talked out of finishing the trials because he wasn't totally suicidal and because Dean told him that Sam had misunderstood all those jibes that Dean through at him all season. Dean thought he was worthwhile and useful. And now Sam finds out that he quit the trials because Dean lied.

1st-Feb-2014 04:36 pm (UTC)
Part 2 (Yeah, I went on a bit)

My Dad was in WWII. He was in the clean up of Japan after the war. His unit was charged with finding groups of soldiers who didn't know the war was over. He told us that many times these soldiers refused to believe the war was over until they saw it in the newspaper. So my Dad's unit carried a portable printing press and when soldiers demanded to see the newspaper announcing Japan had surrendered, they just printed a (fake) copy of a newspaper saying what they wanted. They got these isolated groups to surrender without killing people. This was great, because it was true. But if it hadn't been true, if we had actually invaded Japan and were fighting our way through the country, then using this ruse would have had soldiers dedicated to their cause, to protecting their country surrendering when the war wasn't over. Now I don't think soldiers go to war because they are suicidal and want to die. But if they were tricked into giving up based on a lie, they would have every reason to be guilty and ashamed and ANGRY at the guy who lied to them. So Sam may be happy he lived, but he quit because he bought what he sees as the lie that Dean cared about HIM as a separate individual, not just a breathing body. What is really sad is that he got into closing the Gates of Hell because Dean told him nothing was more important than closing the Gates of Hell. So as Sam sees it he went into the Trials based on Dean's lie and left the trials based on another lie.
1st-Feb-2014 06:56 pm (UTC)
See, this is another reason that the show should end because the people in your comment should be nowhere near each other ever again lol.
2nd-Feb-2014 12:15 am (UTC)
HA! When I first saw this comment I thought you meant people on this discussion thread and thought - hang on, everyone has been so civil! but you mean the boys.... So sad that the relationship has been written as toxic enough that the best solution is to be a part forever. :(.
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