Before I begin can we just take a moment to pause an appreciate Sam with wet hair. Because HOT DAMN!
::koff:: Ok. Now I have that out of the way I can get on to less serious matter - the episode.
*phew* I liked that much better than part one of the Cas/Claire, Crowley/Rowena, Dean/MoC, Sam/Dean saga. It certainly kept me more engaged than 10.09. I think
because it was more evenly handled. There were fewer looooooong scenes with Claire and Cas and if felt like it at least moved the MoC story on a little further. MOSTLY, I liked it because we got some significant character movement from Dean (other than just being badass *yum*) and even though it looked like Sam didn't do an awful lot, there were some lovely subtle things and ONE particular character development that I loved (more on that later).
I enjoyed Cas a lot more this time. His scenes with the boys were evenly handled (good interaction with both
Sam and Dean) and there was a greater sense of them working together in a more cohesive way - rather than the push pull we've been getting for quite a while now.
Unfortunately, I think the Claire story line was pretty messy and, by the end, didn't really seem to have a whole lot of purpose. Ok, we saw that Cas cares about what he did to that family - so there's some closure for him there, but in terms of Claire I'm not entirely sure what she got out of it all. Maybe closure as well. I'm not going to dig too deep because I have a feeling we'll either not see here again OR she'll become pivotal later on (and probably sacrifice herself or something) and then we'll know more about why she was introduced (personally, I think it was to give Cas something to focus on and to create a story outside of Sam and Dean). If she does return, I'd like to see them move away from the cliched rebellious teenager, but that's just me.
The two strangers that she hooked up with were totally strange. I was convinced they were demons and had a motive for killing Dean (or maybe even hunters?), but they ended up being just two people who were prepared to axe and baseball bat poor, unsuspecting Dean to death. Nice people! If they weren't possessed then what excuse do they have for being such dicks?
And, for the first time in FOREVER I actually enjoyed Metatron. I know! Maybe it was the hiatus that's made me so soft. The thing is, I actually enjoyed the performance. I have a feeling Curtis is getting a better handle on the character. The way he crossed his legs in the interrogation scene was a wonderful bit of body language. He was suitably slimy, but there was more nuance. He talked too much of course. I have NO IDEA why Dean waited so damn long to shut him up (other than for story telling purposes of course). I wanted to jump in there and grab that blade myself!
I'm not sure why they thought Metatron would buckle under torture, or even help them. I'll accept that they were prepared to try ANYTHING.
But it's Sam and Dean that I found most interesting (well, *duh*).Dean
Aside from enjoying Dean's decent into darkness and violence, what I really liked in this episode was (FINALLY!) a sense of honesty from him. He actually admitted he went over the line. This is kind of huge for Dean. It was simple and straight forward. He actually said I CROSSED A LINE! There were no excuses or coverups. He finally opened himself up to Sam and Cas and admitted he's in trouble. THANK YOU!
It was also very interesting that Metatron called Dean on his mistakes - made it VERY CLEAR that killing because of the Mark is not the only line he's crossed. Unlike anyone else who talks to Dean, he doesn't give Dean an out. There isn't a "but you did your best" or "you had no choice" etc (neither Cas and Kevin were able to do this). I was really happy to hear him mention tricking Sam into the possession (any mention makes me happy, because it means thy haven't forgotten that). It would be an added bonus if Sam was somehow involved in that discussion, but as this has been a major part of Dean's character arc it's great that it's still there. A major part of my dissatisfaction with S9 is that Dean never confronted what he did. It feels like this is actually a turning point for Dean and I'm excited about that. For Dean to pull himself out of this he needs to stop pretending everything is ok. I mean, obviously he knows it's not but by saying it aloud he's taking that step forward. Perhaps just the act of believing in himself (like Sam believes in him) will be just what it takes to help him through this. *hearts* Dean.
Oh, and he (nearly!) made a sandwich. :)Sam
It was actually something I read on twitter (I think from a tumblr link or something) about how Sam told Dean that the strength was inside himself. They compared it to when Sam was struggling with his blood addiction and Dean's response was to lock him up. I perfectly understand how that worked with the storyline at the time, but it's a great comparison when we want to look at their different approaches. Sam telling Dean this is the Sam I remember. The one who absolutely believes in his brother. The one who knows DOES have that kind of strength in him. More importantly, this moment showed us Sam's incredible strength of character. Sure, he doubts himself and knows he's let Dean down in the past, but from his personal experience he knows that it takes inner strength to fight your inner demons. Maybe, just maybe, part of what Sam has been through is being used as part of what's making him so strong now (I can but hope!). I liked that Sam was smart and not *just* intensely worried about Dean. He actually had some solid advice for him. Advice that's come from knowing
what Dean is going through. I will forever live in hope that we get some Sam POV (one day!), but in the meantime I'm glad at least we get to see Sam really think this problem through in a clever, passionate, selfless way.other stuff
BAMF!Cas is great! Though him watching Sam struggle with the door before the penny drops that he can just blast it with his angel juice was kind of hilarious. I no longer buy clueless Cas. He's just been through far to much to be thinking…"what's Sam up to then?". Not sure why Sam didn't think to ask Cas either.
Heaven's door in a kid's park is a strange choice for something that could be seen by just about anyone. I'll *handwave* and say there's a glamour over it all.
Crowley and Rowena have nice chemistry. I'm not really interested in what's going on there but I do like Rowena's mischievousness. I'll be annoyed if Crowley remains totally clueless to her tricks (I liked that he knew she had played him before), so I'm hoping there might be a double double cross later on. Though, I hope she's not for the chop. I'd like to think they can come up with a better resolution for her character other than death.
I think overall there was a running theme of responsibility and inner strength. Claire finally took responsibility for her own life (and not blame her past), Cas has let go of his need to be totally responsible for Claire, Dean took ownership of his actions and Sam (perhaps) sees his responsibly for Dean more clearly (and Sam is certainly drawing on his own inner strength and reminding Dean that he also has strength). No idea about Crowley and Rowena. They mostly seem to be just playing games. I'll be interested to see what Rowena's end game is.
I thought the direction was very strong also. :)
And for the trivia buffs out there did you recognise the motel that Claire was in? The same one Sam and Ruby were in in Lazarus Rising. :)
4.01 Lazarus Rising
10.10 The Hunter Games.
The Hunter Games was:
Awesome!!! Great second half opener!
Great! I enjoyed most of it.
Ok. Some good moments, some not so good moments.
Meh. Very little was working for me.
Nope! Didn't do a thing for me. :(