I prepared a "proper" review for 10.09 but after mulling over it I've decided that I don't really have much more to add since my reaction post (and other discussions I've had recently), so I'll leave it be.
I do have a couple of reviews that I think are worth checking out though. Fangasm's review
is balanced and presents some interesting points about the episode. It's not all sunshine and roses, nor is it negative. It's certainly much more objective than I could have been. cuddyclothes review
is hilarious and entertaining. It's not a positive look at the episode, but it did make me smile and help me to pin point why I had some issues with the episode.
After writing a heap of stuff about the episode I came to the conclusion that the main reason I didn't like it is simply because it's just not my favourite genre when it comes to television. Family dramas have never really been my thing, so when it felt like my show had been hijacked by teenage angst and parent dilemmas I kind of got a little pissed off. And since there was nothing supernatural in it, it really wasn't the show I was used to watching (I even mused that this might be the spin off they've been talking about ;D)..
I re-watched it and nothing much changed for me (except I did notice the gorgeous cinematography and will be posting about that shortly). I did watch all the Hell scenes this time and I'm glad I did because I really enjoyed Rowena. I loved that she wasn't made to be sympathetic. She was clever and nasty. I loved the twist of her playing everyone so beautifully.
I loved that Sam is looking after Dean but was saddened that (as was said so eloquently in a comment to me) Sam could have been played by a sexy lamp and it wouldn't have effected what he did in the episode (except the grilled cheese might not have tasted so good). It's not that I mind Sam being in the caretaker role - I'm enjoying the role reversal, but I'm not sure why he has to be completely ineffectual -that he has to be reduced to worrying looks and inaction? Is that how Dean fans see Dean when he's caring about Sam? Does the "carer" automatically become a side player with little or no input (or story of their own?) I don't remember Dean ever being a side player, but I accept that could just the the way I view the show. Anywho *muses that Sam is a very sexy lamp indeed*.
The scene where Sam and Cas leave Dean behind has created much discussion. I know that there are many ideas about what happened there - from Sam being a bad brother for not watching Dean's back, to Sam believing Dean when he said he was ok and therefore trusted he would bring up the rear as he usually does, to Sam denying anything is happening to Dean, to slopping writing because there's no way Dean could have killed all those guys in the space it took Sam and Cas to realise he wasn't behind them. For me, the only thing that was important in all of that was Dean needing to be by himself to allow the mark to take hold and kill all those people. No one could be there because then the confusion about "what happened" would be too clear going into the next episodes. I think it could be have been better handled, just so it didn't create so much confusion (or arguing...). I'm not going to dwell on it much more because it was a means to an ends and I think any range of interpretations are valid (except Sam is a bad brother of course...;D).
I am curious about Dean now and what it means that he's now killed five humans. And I wonder if premonitions are actually a side effect of the mark or if that scene was just used for dramatic effect.
That's it. Looking at the cinematography has made me feel more positive about it. It still isn't my kind of thing and I'll probably remain a little annoyed at it for a while (because dammit! I don't want to be disinterested in an ep), but I'll move on. As I often have done. :)