Not going to deny, it feels damn good to write that in the subject line.
And also not going to deny how pleased I am that the show is back. I did miss it.
I'm a little bit surprised how much I enjoyed that. It might be simply because I've missed it on my screen or it could be that there was enough going on to pique my interest.
There were issues with it (not least that it was rather *meh* as a season opener), but overall I think it set up few board pieces that I'm looking forward to seeing how they play out.Highlights:
I think my most favourite thing about this episode is the way it played on our expectations and knowledge of the "norms" in this universe. The exchange of "bitch/jerk" is a fantastic example. To a casual viewer this wouldn't mean much but to the long term fan this cuts deep and reminds us just how wrong it is that Dean isn't with Sam. I loved it (and I'm going to love it even more when they repeat this exchange later in the season between Sam and Dean *hopes*).
The other big reminder is having Sam in peril and Dean not giving a damn. We know these two so well that this is not a situation that would ever occur if things were normal. Much the same way soulless!Sam held back and watched Dean be turned into a vampire.
I felt that all the "partnership" moments between Dean 'n Crowley and Cas 'n Hannah were also ways of acknowledging just how wrong it is that Sam and Dean are apart. Perhaps a little heavy handed, but it gave me brother feels so I was pretty content.
I also liked that the theme "what is a monster" seems to be on the cards for this season. Ok, I know it's been done before (in fact, I'm not seeing anything really "new" so far), but perhaps it's going to be examined a bit deeper this time. Especially in terms of Dean. Cole mentioned Dean being a "monster" when they last met - so pre demon!Dean. It makes me very curious what Dean could have done that then created a "monster" out of Cole. I love that they've introduced the idea of Dean being some sort of monster outside of what he is at the moment. Could make for some interesting future episodes.
And on the theme of monsters, something I've been considering for a while is how being a "demon" (or even an angel), is actually no worse really than just being a bad human. I felt that when Crowley was becoming "human" it didn't change him a whole lot. He was still manipulative and controlling and…well, human. Take the demon out of the demon and you might find there's not a lot of difference. In "real" life we could easily label someone as evil. I don't know if it's a theme they will deliberately explore, but it's something we might begin to see.
Sam has supposedly done something "monstrous" before this episode. I seriously can't believe they want us to buy that Sam's a monster for torturing a demon. So, what's he done? Time will tell no doubt (but what could
he have done, I wonder? Kill a total innocent as a sacrifice maybe?. Maybe the hair cut counts...).
The BEST character of the episode has to be the guy in the gas station. Not only was the acting spot on, the writing was some of the best in the episode. :)
Demon!Dean (or rather new hybrid demon!Dean - there's something distinctly different about this type of demon) was extremely well done by Jensen. What impressed me was just how different he was to regular Dean. Sure, we've seen Dean acting out in the past (namely S3 when he was "enjoying" his last months alive), but this felt SO different it had me pining for regular Dean to return. Much like soulless!Sam, Dean's lacking the very thing that makes him "human". Compassion. On top of that he's a complete douche - not caring a jot about what others think of him. And much like soulless!Sam this is a great way of examining those qualities (and insecurities and character traits) that actually make Dean "Dean". I hope they go much deeper (and darker) into this. This could be as layered as I hoped it might be *fingers crossed*.
I enjoyed Crowley too - lots of great one liners. He really does seem to need
Dean. Not sure if this is part of Crowley becoming human last season, or if he genuinely graves companionship.
Dean's "skank". I'll say more on this later but one aspect of this character I liked was that she wasn't completely cardboard cutout. She obviously has issues of her own and even though she existed to show us what a disgusting douche Dean is, we at least got some good POV from her. I actually would love to see more of Anne Marie (though not so she can die please).
"You hit another dog?" - FAVE LINE! I think mostly because it means Carver hasn't forgotten that and as much as I hated that story line, if they actually bring it into play this season, I will be pretty happy.
Dean's hair! <3Midlights
(no idea if that's such thing, but you know what I mean).
Sam, Sam Sam… I'm a little torn by Sam in this episode to be honest. On the one hand I really got that overwhelming sense of emptiness and tiredness from Sam, but on the other it all felt just a little bit forced. I appreciate that Sam has had a month of mourning and is filled with frustration in not being able to find Dean, but…*searches for that thing that feels off* - perhaps it was the hair? That could be it. A bob just doesn't suit Sam and perhaps I fixated on that rather than the man angst. I need more time to think Sam through (maybe I'm just not used to seeing Sam be…"Sam"). Stuff has happened over the previous - was is 6 weeks? - so maybe when we see what that is this performance may make more sense. Of course I love determined Sam but "I will save Dean" almost feels like a set up for a major fall (Carver behind the scenes laughing…"hehe, no you won't Sam…").
Cas and Hannah. Rather strangely (perhaps) I didn't mind this partnership. It leaves me totally perplexed as to what on earth they are planning for the angels this season because - WHERE CAN THEY GO?! More of the same? Mess in heaven, exploration of human nature, leadership issues, death and more death to the poor vessels?? I really hope they find a new direction to take them because I will be fast forwarding all the angel bits in the future. What I DID like about them was the potential for Hannah to become a "real" character. It's probably just me, but I like the idea of her discovering what Daniel was talking about (and I am secretly hoping for Cas to discover what it means to fall in love. Yeah, yeah - yuk to romance, but Cas has experienced love before, but to be "in love", might be an interesting step (though not really, as it will mean Hannah will have to die to bring about Cas angst…boo).
Cole. Think I'm going to like him. Lots more to find out about him and I'm looking forward to that.
Sam in peril. Always ok with me *g* (though I like it much more when we have a big bro who would do anything to come to his rescue).
I like it when Cas is called Castiel. No idea why. Just do.Lowlights
Sam's hair. I know I've mentioned that already but it needs to be mentioned again. Argh.
Sam falling for the car trouble and creepy helpful guy. Even just a little bit of wariness would have been nice. THOUGH - I am going to give Sam a pass because he is out of sorts. Poor boy.
White men! Wow, I'm not normally one to notice this (my bad I think), but could they cram any more white men into this show?
There seemed to be the message that women are there to either have sex with, torture or be a romantic interest. And ok, I know it's tough when all your protagonists are male, but boy - it really stood out in this episode. Hoping to see some good character development in there future - especially from Hannah (and maybe even Cole's wife). Love to see Anne Marie back too.
A line explaining why Cas isn't staying with Sam would have been helpful. They've obviously been together in the past so maybe it's something to do with that.
Cas killing Daniel. Not happy about that. Really tired with vessel deaths.
I don't get why Cas is dying *handwaves* (and why didn't that slice with the angel blade pretty much kill him?)
So, not exactly a thrilled packed or even and "exciting" episode. Being spoiled so throughly for it didn't help (I felt like I had pretty much seen every part of this episode before it aired), so very little was a surprise. That said, I quite like its gentle pace and slow introduction to some themes this season (though hoping it won't be this "safe" in future episodes). The boys aren't together, but it's so very very much about them being together
and obviously finding their way back to each other. I suspect we're in for some tough times ahead (again!), but before that happens I'm going to enjoy desperate!Sam and hybrid demon!Dean.
There's enough questions left unanswered (like, why did Sam get a bob cut?) to make me excited for the next episode. I haven't watched the promo as I'm thinking knowing too much is spoiling my enjoyment.
Awesome! Now that's what I'm talking about!
Pretty darn good. I was satisfied.
OK. Not the best, not the worst.
Seriously? After 10 seasons we get that?
Nope. Nope and nope. Just. Nope (worse than Sam's hair)
Didn't watch. But will.
Didn't watch. And won't.