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just enough to make us dangerous
11.01 Ep reaction/review 
8th-Oct-2015 09:23 pm
squeed, posted, I watched

Woot! Show is back and what a way to return!

Damn, I enjoyed that. I think I'm going to have to...squeeeeeeee!

I'm reluctant to say "it's just like the old days", because even though it was reminiscent of past episodes (Croatoan in particular), it managed to bring what's happened over the last couple of seasons into the "now". It managed to start a new journey, but not at the expense of what's gone before. In fact, I loved the way it connected the MoC with the darkness and Dean. It also connected Sam's overall journey to where he is now. It also had some wonderful creepy moments (woman hiding in the closest *yikes*), some solid SamnDean moments, hints of real character development and a shit load of unanswered questions. To me, that's a great way to start a season.


At the very top of my highlight list is "When did we forget how to do this? If we don't change, right now, all of our crap is just going to keep repeating itself."

Anyone who has been following my reactions over the last few years will know how desperate I've been to see Sam and Dean acknowledge this. I have been SO frustrated with the constant sacrifice/blame/create-more-problems cycle without it seeming to get anywhere. I know it's part of the storytelling, but without it ever reaching any sort of resolution (and I don't consider "I'm proud of us" a resolution) it becomes a tedious cycle.

Carver has often spoken of a "maturity" of Sam and Dean. He said it first at the beginning of season 8, but instead of maturity we saw them both take a step back, with jealousy and pettiness darkening their relationship. In season 9 we saw further steps back with dishonesty (bordering on cruelty) and nastiness and season 10 we saw them cross further lines - not only in their brotherhood, but victims took a back seat while their focus became even more insular. For the first time, since the beginning of S8, I actually saw this so-called "mature" Sam and Dean (and rather ironically Carver hasn't mentioned "maturity" this season that I know of).

The maturity not only came in Sam saying "we need to change", but with Dean accepting it. There was also a world-weariness about them, but they still maintained a level of focus to help. It seems that "saving people, hunting things" really is back - with a renewed focused on "saving" people.

I won't deny I'm contradictory when it comes to Sam and Dean. I can shout "burn the world for each other" one minute and "stop burning the world for each other" the next. Truth is, I want them to have that level of "I'd burn the world for you" about them (which they definitely have), but I also want them to acknowledge how problematic that is. I want them to care about the consequences of their choices. I felt we got that mix in this episode. Also, I don't think we have to have one and not the other. By them acknowledging how damaging and problematic their sacrificing ways are, doesn't necessarily mean they will stop saving each other. And love comes in many forms - not just being prepared to die for each other.

(The chances are, of course, that they WILL make the same mistakes again but at least in this episode their cycle of mistakes was acknowledged).

Another major highlight for me was seeing the way Sam and Dean's characters moved on from the end of last season. It seems to be a return to the way they used to be (certainly more of what we saw in the early seasons) - Sam being the voice of conscience, with Dean being all action. That balancing of each other was back. For them to work successfully as a team they need action AND conscience. I loved that each of them acknowledged that strength in each other. Sam knowing Dean wanted to save the baby, Dean knowing that Sam was thinking of the victims. I MISSED these aspects of their characters and it was wonderful to see that again. The strength of their relationship was a major part of this episode and I loved it for that.

I also loved what they did with Crowley. That 70's style house with the "swingers" inside was a delight. I loved female!Crowley - not just what the actress brought to it, but the levels of sexual ambiguity that came with it.

I really felt for Cas. Ha! I can't believe I said that - but damnit. That was some pretty nasty stuff for him. :( Cas must be a dilemma for the writers - always having to find a way to de-power him or not let him be around the boys as an insta-fix. I think they've handled that pretty well so far. At least there was contact with Sam and Dean and a new mystery surrounding what's happening to him.

Mini Winchester brothers! Was I the only one who saw the mini Winchester family here?


I liked the personification of The Darkness. I'm going to assume that having a "person" represent the darkness is the best way for the show to deal with it. I'm curious to see how they proceed with it - as I feel this darkness is more than a person. I'm hoping it ends up being a stronger presence than say, Eve. We'll see, but I liked the chemistry between her and Dean and WOW - there's some great potential in that storyline - what is that "connection" actually going to mean (and peeps were complaining that Dean wasn't going to have a story line this season. Looks like it could be a very interesting one *g*).

And I did love that Sam got some POV (and was allowed to actually say stuff!) - and his bob was gone!! \o/

Little niggles.

I don't have many niggles I have to say. The baby not crying at all was a standout (though maybe the mark had something to do with that?). The deputy hardly reacting to being stitched up was - well, either she has an AMAZING pain tolerance or it was missed. Maybe she's just that damn awesome!

Cas calling Dean instead of Sam was a little weird - considering he was calling Dean to give a message to Sam. I get that it doubles up as a "how are you" so that's totally forgivable. I liked that both Sam and Dean ended up talking to Cas.

Overall I think this is a great start to the season. I know I've said that before (S9 had me all sorts of excited for the potential), but at least we have a sense of them working together against a common foe. I know Sam didn't tell Dean he was infected (neither did Cas) - and already that's a return to their old ways, but I'm hopeful it might also be a catalyst for further discussion about decisions they will make. I accept we need certain elements in the story telling

I know I can't read too much into things. I've been burned too many times doing that. So, I'll take this episode for what it was - enjoyable on pretty much all the levels on which I enjoy this show. It had action, zombie wannabes, an orgy, Sam and Dean being actual heroes, an intriguing mysteries (what does the darkness want? how is Dean connected? what's with the baby? And SAMMY?! Whaaaaaa (::koff:: hurt!Sam I WON'T complain! *g*).

I'm going to simplify the reaction poll. 5 is "LOVED IT!! to 1 being "nope".

Poll #2024460 Reaction poll

What's your score for 11.01

8th-Oct-2015 01:43 pm (UTC)
hey ash <3, i also loved it! my grade for this ep is A+! going ep to ep let's see if ep 2 is a 5. its starting off great! welcome back Supernatural, ah, how i've missed you so much <3
8th-Oct-2015 01:54 pm (UTC)
Oh wow! I haven't seen you be this positive for a while! I felt the same. Refreshing start to the season! :)
8th-Oct-2015 01:45 pm (UTC)
*hugs this post*

Yup. Everything you said. Based on what I saw in the promo, I expected to love this episode, but honestly, it was all the little things (in addition to the showstopper that was Sam's monologue) that made it for me.

(The chances are, of course, that they WILL make the same mistakes again but at least in this episode their cycle of mistakes was acknowledged).

They already have. Sam not telling Dean he was infected, and Dean not telling Sam everything Darkness told him. But as you say, at least the problem has been acknowledged, and -- I HOPE -- their mistake cycle will be addressed in future. Sometimes, change is slow, and those boys have an entire lifetime of making similar mistakes to undo. :)

Good to see you posting again, bb! ♥
8th-Oct-2015 02:02 pm (UTC)
Hi honey!

It's curious because they do often mentioned that they shouldn't do what they do (over and over again), but for some reason this felt a bit more like that might mean it (or, at least the part about saving people again). Though the test will be when they meet a demon. They seem to kill off meat suits without a thought, so if they start to exorcise again, rather than kill, it might be a change.

But, they also have to tell a story. They need to create tension and with all three of them keeping what's going on from the other, they're doing that. I just hope that doesn't keep up like that (though it's still Carver and I can't imagine he's changed his style of telling a story that much). Also, there's probably more seasons to come, so they can't "fix" them just yet. ;)

8th-Oct-2015 02:14 pm (UTC)
I watched it almost as it aired so that I could actually participate in squee - very optimistic of me, if I do say so! I really and truly liked everything but the angel subplot, and to be honest, I didn't watch the angel subplot, so I can't truly say if I like it or not, now can I?

But it did indeed feel old school, the hospital conversation was great, and I'm actually looking forward to next week! Have been almost entirely unspoiled, more out of apathy than self-control. (I'm happy to know that the spoilers are exciting you, versus the whole existential dread thing. Am I right? Tell me I'm right...)

Me thinks the trooper-lady may not be what she seems....
9th-Oct-2015 01:53 am (UTC)
The angel subplot was pretty short and there really wasn't much going on. It would be great if they could drop the whole demons and angel thing, but having Cas and Crowley (and rowena etc) around means the Js get some time off - which is a good thing. Also, I think a section of fandom would implode if Cas disappeared.

versus the whole existential dread thing. Am I right? Tell me I'm right…

haha! well, yes. From what I've seen from the Js and some spoilers I'm pretty happy (so far!). I have no idea where they're going with this and I can't see Carver changing his spots overnight. There's bound to be the same old issues come up again this season, but maybe they're actually going to address some of them. We'll see!
8th-Oct-2015 02:21 pm (UTC)
I'll start by saying that I enjoyed it more last night while I was watching it than I do now the next morning upon actually reflecting upon it. As a casual viewer, it was a pretty good episode of television and I wasn't bored. As a person who cares about these characters, I have major issues.

First of all is the fact that Dean didn't seem to give one ounce of a shit about the brother he almost beheaded in the last episode. No concern, no affection, no "hey, how ya doing, buddy that I almost murdered?" He was fine with everyone else (including the car, which he was more concerned about than his brother) but in relation to Sam, he seemed the same as MoC!Dean to me. I'm sure you'll disagree, but that's the way it played to me. Whether that was an intentional script choice or Jensen's acting choice is up in the air.

They also made Sam a complete idiot noob at the end by having him lock himself in a closet with basically no weapons against a zombie horde. I mean, it was no different than Charlie locking herself in the bathroom last season -- more Carver era dumbing down the characters every time they need to make a lame plot point move.

Sam's little speech about "oh noes, saving each other is bad now" only means something if they try and test the theory, which they won't because then Carver will have to lolcanon himself. Sam's characterization continues to flip-flop every half season, so expect it to be opposite by 11.10.

I actually felt for Cas, but he was an idiot for calling the angels, too, so more Carver making people stupid. And Cas calling DEAN to tell SAM about Rowena and the Book, especially since Dean was supposed to be off-the-grid for all Cas knew, is Fanservice 101. But hey, it gave tumblr one scene to gif ad nauseum, so Carver did his duty lol

I enjoyed female Crowley very much, especially since she reminded me of Lucy Lawless. I wish we could have kept her instead of Sheppard.

Amara is hot and reminded me of a crossroads demon and had good chemistry with Jensen, so that is what it is. I'm assuming we'll age back up to that actress by mid-season.

Half the people I know called the Baby-as-Darkness weeks ago, so that's not surprising. It's intriguing enough, but the entire episode was so derivative of previous episodes/plots/themes that you could probably zip open the top of Carver's skull and see nothing but soap suds.

So, whatever, lets see where they go next week with Sam being infected and see if Sam acknowledges that his big plan to put on his big boy pants failed again and see if that gets Dean to be mildly concerned/protective or just even more pissy. I want to be excited for the brother relationship this year since both Jared and Jensen seemed so genuinely excited themselves about it in their M&Gs at NJCon (both of which I attended this time around), but at the moment, I'm not seeing them giving much of a shit about each other so who cares?

I know you hate me for this comment, but I'm Jeremy Carver's arch nemesis, you know I have to keep it real! :D
8th-Oct-2015 06:02 pm (UTC)
They also made Sam a complete idiot noob at the end by having him lock himself in a closet with basically no weapons against a zombie horde. I mean, it was no different than Charlie locking herself in the bathroom last season -- more Carver era dumbing down the characters every time they need to make a lame plot point move.

It's the trope of "DON'T GO IN THE CLOSET! DON'T GO IN THE CLOSET!" I'm surprised the brothers aren't bumping into walls by now.
8th-Oct-2015 02:41 pm (UTC)
Honestly, I don't really have anything to add except WORD. I was nodding along to your entire post. I enjoyed it as well for the same reasons. I had my expectations a bit low after the past two seasons, and I think it made me enjoy it even more.

And yes, ding dong the bob is dead! ;D

I'll just end with EEP, hurt!Sam!! But I bet there can be some GREAT fic arising from it!
9th-Oct-2015 02:44 am (UTC)
Yay! Bob is gone! Best thing ever!

My expectations seem to be on a permanent low (from the last few season), so maybe that does help enjoy things more. :)
8th-Oct-2015 04:19 pm (UTC)
See me rolling around in this review with GAY abandon! lol! Everything you said, everything, up to and including the mini Winchesters, which I didn't twig on until I saw the pic and your comment about it.

LOVE! That is all!
9th-Oct-2015 02:44 am (UTC)
yay! Lots of gay abandon! \o/
8th-Oct-2015 04:22 pm (UTC)
I thought it was a great start, and agree with most of what you said. There definitely is chemistry between Dean and The Darkness and I hope we see more of their interactions! I also thought 'mini Winchesters' when we saw the dad and two boys. I thought the actress playing Crowley did a great job too.

"The maturity not only came in Sam saying "we need to change", but with Dean accepting it. There was also a world-weariness about them, but they still maintained a level of focus to help. It seems that "saving people, hunting things" really is back - with a renewed focused on "saving" people." - I got a strong world-weary vibe too, like 'we've fucked up and have to fix the world - again!" But they're still gonna do it, yaaay!
9th-Oct-2015 02:46 am (UTC)
I suppose by now they really are world-weary. They HAVE to keep going (because the fans demand it dammit!), and living through all they have has made them exhausted. It makes sense that they are like that, but I do hope they manage to pick themselves up during the season. Something has to go their way eventually (probs not until the very end maybe…)
8th-Oct-2015 05:03 pm (UTC)
I really liked this premier, more than any since Carver took over.

I do feel for the writers trying to deal with Cas. They have to have him depowered so he's not an automatic fix-it, but they can't permanently depower him because the Cas people fell in love with (not me)was powerful. Also, part of why he is there is so that Jared and Jensen don't have to be in every scene. That means he gets stories away from them and thus far, those stories don't work for me. I don't care about angel politics. I don't care much about the angels period. I hope they find a way to work around this, somehow.
9th-Oct-2015 02:51 am (UTC)
I can't see how they can work around the angel politics and still have Cas on the show. He (and Crowley) are tied up with all that stuff, so they have to keep going with it. I know some want Cas working side by side with Sam and Dean, but that would defeat the purpose of giving the Js time off and he'd have to de-powered in order to do that. They've made a rod for their own backs by not letting those characters go (and some of fandom would go into meltdown and I'm sure they don't want that. No sure for the viewership, but for the cons as well).

So yeah. I've just accepted those storylines are there. I also hope they can do something interesting with them down the track.
8th-Oct-2015 06:29 pm (UTC)
The big moment for me of this ep was Sam's monologue, and I need to go back and watch it again just for that! Second moment was Dean's response to Sam's monologue (again, I gotta go back and watch it again). All I could think was, "I did that to your face, Sammy. I almost killed you. I have no idea what you're talking about right now, but yeah, I'm going with whatever you say, just on principle."
9th-Oct-2015 02:54 am (UTC)
It was a big moment for me too. Even if nothing comes of it, it was great to actually here "we need to change".

All I could think was, "I did that to your face, Sammy. I almost killed you.

It would have been nice to see more from Dean in that respect - actually acknowledging that he was prepared to kill Sam, but maybe his response to Sam was a kind of acknowledgement. I liked that Dean took Sam's lead - especially after everything that had just gone before.
8th-Oct-2015 06:35 pm (UTC)
Little Winchesters! I said the same thing and took basically the same screencap before I read your post!
9th-Oct-2015 02:55 am (UTC)
haha! It was a shout out of some sort I think. Though, I'm not entirely sure why they did that. Perhaps having them like the brothers gave Cas more reason to fight against it? Maybe...
8th-Oct-2015 09:31 pm (UTC)
That bob, the mop
That terrible flop
It's finally ex and hop
Good job!

Sam running into the broom closet to hide must be the aftermath of the mop hairdo. ;)

All joking aside, I really enjoyed this season opener. Welcome back, Show! :D


9th-Oct-2015 02:57 am (UTC)
haha! I love it! The bob is gone! Good riddance!

Welcome back show indeed! \o/
8th-Oct-2015 10:10 pm (UTC)
I thought I'd rewatch before I started trying to comment but I'm none the wiser about how I feel about this, not really. I enjoyed the episode (I usually do), but though I wanted to be really excited about it, I wasn't.

Sam looked terrible throughout - so worn and ill even before he got infected, and all I could do was worry every time he was on screen. Dean feels like a parody of his younger self - clinging to the bluster and bravado but without the depth he used to have. His empathy seems as worn down as Sam's appearance.

I was curious about Sam asking Dean to let him do what he does. What - exactly - does Sam do? In this episode he ended up doing a lot of running down corridors, he got throttled (again!) and then infected with evil blood (again). Why was locking himself in a closet such a great idea? Where's the bright, intelligent mind he used to have? Where are his analytical skills?

I am interested in the Darkness - I liked her scenes with Dean, and that conversation had potential. I really liked the idea of Dean being linked to the Darkness. i liked that the boys shared the responsibility for the release of the Evil this time, and I am happy that this disturbance to the Force has stirred up Lucifer and Michael, because that is one Angel storyline I'd welcome.

The baby being the Darkness seems a little odd, unless she's going to have some accelerated growth, like Dean's monster baby girl in whatever season that was. I liked the police woman though she was ridiculously calm throughout - that character would have made a good angel. I winced at the fact that she was on her feet, kicking ass one second and the next suddenly needed a wheel chair. Then within two minutes of Dean getting his healing hands on her she was good as new - no blood loss effects or anything. *handwaves*

I care nothing for Crowley (male or female versions), or Cas and the boring civil servant angel cohorts. What happened to Hannah? I confess I can't remember if she bought it last season or not.

So - yeah, I'm conflicted!
9th-Oct-2015 12:55 pm (UTC)
*hugs* hun. Sorry it didn't work for you as well as it could have done. It's not much fun when that happens.

I think maybe I was just so happy to see the show back that I could have watched anything :)

I have to admit I was celebrating how much better Sam looked - compared to last season. Of course, I was solely focused on his hair. The bob is gone and I can be happy again! But yeah, both boys were very world weary and tired. I actually like the continuity of that. The season ended and they were both wrecked. Sam had been through hell trying to save Dean (and nearly being killed by his own brother - not to mention being told some horrible things by Dean) and Dean has been put through the wringer. There's guilt for being alive and guilt for what they've both created. He's a mess, that's for sure.

I'm hoping that we'll slowly seem them come out of that weariness, but after all these years of massive hardships, it will be hard.

I'm disappointed that Sam didn't have a proper plan. I liked his "let me do what i do" (purely referring to hunting) - until it seemed he didn't know what he was doing really. But, again, I was so focused on the words he had said to Dean he could have done anything after that. :) Though, it was a shame they had to dumb him down (again) for the sake of the story.

The lucifer and Michael reference was awesome! I would love to see either of them back (Adam as Michael would be interesting).

I was SO much more interested in female Crowley than I am male Crowley. I respect Mark, but boy that character is worn out. A bit like Cas. I admire Misha a heap, but they are really struggling with the demon and angel story lines. I would love to see them take a break of all that, but it won't ever happen.

Hannah returned to heaven - remember "she" came back in a male meat suit last time we saw her. Not sure if she's still around. I liked her (the actress who played her), but I can't see them bringing her back.

Hopefully the next ep will be better for you hun.xx
8th-Oct-2015 10:52 pm (UTC)
I want to know how all those people could die when Death was gone.

And that policewoman was pretty much a younger, sexier mixture of Jody and Donna. That felt like cheap audience manipulation to me.
9th-Oct-2015 01:16 am (UTC)
I wondered that, too, about Death being gone. It would have been nice if the Winchesters had wondered it as well.
9th-Oct-2015 12:41 am (UTC)
This was an interesting episode for me! At first, I didn't think I was going to like it. I was finding that Sam and Dean's actions were confusing, and that their priorities were skewed. But then Cas's scene in the barn was rather poignant, and I fucking LOVED female Crowley. (My least favorite thing about this episode is probably that we had to lose her so quickly. I know, Mark Sheppard, yadda yadda, but I really wish we could have our cake and eat it on that front.)

Then Sam had that moment where he confronted Dean and Dean fucking listened and I almost leapt for joy. Not only have I been waiting for that moment for THREE SEASONS and SEVEN EPISODES (yes I was counting) but it was just perfect in every way. Not only did Dean listen, he let Sam participate in the decisions. And even more, what Sam said actually retroactively fixed some of my frustration with the first half of the episode—because he is literally saying, we're screwing up and we're failing and we need to fix it. So, seeing the evidence of that in their mistakes and their lack of coordination and misplaced priorities works. We also got hints that they still can be what they once were, with the moments of synchronization.

The one-off actors were charismatic, too, all of them. Nice casting.
10th-Oct-2015 07:59 am (UTC)
*nods* The Sam monologue scene - with Dean actually listening - was an absolute highlight. I actually raised my hands in the air with a "hallelujah". Finally! There have been some criticisms about Dean not outwardly caring about Sam, but I think his stopping to listen to Sam was a major step from the Dean we've been seeing for quite some time now. Still a way to go - but at least it was a step.

I adored female!Crowley also!! I really wish we had her for a least a couple for episodes. I've never been a huge fan of Crowley (and I do like Mark Shepard), so it was rather refreshing. And the idea of the orgy was a delight (and er, rather horrid at the same time).

I'm really happy to hear you enjoyed the episode. :)
9th-Oct-2015 06:55 am (UTC)
I love your write-up! I can't watch anymore, but I'm willing to read good reviews, and that's what you provided! Thank you so much. I always found season premieres encouraging, it's only what happens after that messes me up.
10th-Oct-2015 08:05 am (UTC)
Hi. I agree - the premiere's can hold such promise and then…*poof*…all gone over the course of the season.

There were some great Sam moments, which is why I probably liked it so much. It seems like ages since we've really seen this Sam. I hope it bodes well for the future.
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