Disclaimer time! This isn't a glowing reaction so (please!) enter at your own risk. Seriously. I am more than happy to discuss the episode if your reaction is opposite to mine (as I always am! *g*), but please don't "police" me. I love the show and I respect the work they all do. Also, criticism doesn't change the way I feel about the show. I will always love it - even if it frustrates the hell out of me! :D
I'll talk about the positives first. :)
It was great to see some more Sam pov and his prayer brought a tear to my eye. Jared's performance was soulful and I really felt the depth of what Sam was going through. Sam praying for Dean was very emotional and poignant. It was also a nice mirror to Dean for Sam praying in 9.01.
Billy the Reaper was awesome and her singing "Oh Death" was a highlight of the episode. Her threat of sending Sam and Dean into the empty void was wonderfully threatening. It suddenly upped the stakes in terms of their (never ending) deaths.
I loved the apocalyptic opening scene (though made me wonder if it made the news?!)
Clever Sam was fantastic to see. Thank you Show.
Crowley's first appearance was humorous. Dean coo-ing at the baby was cute.
I liked the idea that Sam could solve the problem of dying without Dean. I feel that that was meant to be significant. Like, really
significant. I'm just not sure what they were trying to say with all that (Sam needs to start looking after himself maybe? Sam need to "always keep fighting" maybe? The brothers can work out how to stay alive without the other?), but I think there's something
there to be teased out. Unfortunately there were too many negatives to make this episode an overall success for me.
Now the issues (you can still turn back!):
The major issue I had with this episode is that it essentially made no sense. I can easily hand-wave some things (Sam finding Dean quickly in the last episode for example - expediency in story telling I can accept - though why Dean had to be so far away in the first place made no sense really...) but there was just too much to hand-wave in this one.
My biggest issue was the Dean scenes. And no, this has NOTHING to do with "Dean", but everything to do with the non-sensical approach to the whole situation they gave him. I'm not sure if it's because we are supposed to be seeing Dean as somehow mesmerised by Amara (which I don't believe because show does not do subtle) or if it's just poor scripting.
It was completely unbelievable to me that a) Dean would leave the baby in the house with two innocent people after hearing there was something supernatural about her and b) he didn't kill Crowley when he had the chance. Dean not going directly to the baby and removing her from the house made no sense. Result - two innocent deaths. Dean not putting the demon killing knife through Crowley when he had the chance - also made no sense (unless we are to believe Dean is somehow still seeing Crowley as his best bud or something). And leaving him pinned to the wall by an angel blade expecting him to still be there when he returned? Stoopid.
Jenna losing her soul and becoming a murderer of her beloved grandma also made no sense at all. Sam lost his soul and did not go around killing people he loved. Sure, he was cold and analytical - but not an instant killer. In fact, he went undetected for quite a while before it was discovered he had no soul. So, sorry. But seriously bullshit on that part of the story telling. I don't know why they didn't add "no soul and something "evil" added". I would have bought that. And maybe that was the idea there, but I don't think it came across clearly if it was.
Where did that little girl dress come from? I know, I can fanon it by saying grandma had baby and little girl clothes in storage but, ugh. Did I miss something there? And everyone was just far too damn calm around a baby like that. Grandma put the kettle on for god's sake! It was all so damn WEIRD!
How are people dying with Death dead? I suppose that might be answered later. Maybe Death isn't actually dead. Or something.
But other than that…
There was no pay off for Sam being infected by the darkness in terms of SamnDean. Now, I appreciate that not everything has to be "SamnDean" focussed. But, really? It kind of does. It is the heart of the show. Sam did a remarkable thing by solving his infection by himself (usually imminent death is stuff of season finales) and it's possible something that Dean may never know. OR he may well find out and it will cause some sort of riff because Sam didn't tell him (roundabout anyone?). I actually don't mind the "mess" of all that because it could play out in future episodes. Dean finding out what Sam did might renew his respect for him. It might make them both realise they can solve their "deaths" without threatening the world. I like that, but do not trust (for one minute) that they have even considered that. If they do in future episodes I will happily eat my words. HAPPILY! Ideally this is the catalyst for a multitude of things - but why do I feel it will be Dean saying "why didn't you tell me Sam!?". OR, it will go by without reference and therefore it will all be an empty gesture. I'll hold off on this because I don't know if this is a set-up for the future.
I could not watch Cas being tortured. I fast-forwarded through each one of those scenes so I'm not sure what was even going on. For me, torture is insignificant (and downright painful to watch) if no one is there to care about it (as in, other characters). It's just torture for torture's sake and I'm not sure what it achieved. I did manage to catch Cas saying he wouldn't give up Sam and Dean (so, wow, he cares for them. I had no idea! ::sarcasm::). I did watch the Hannah stuff but as I don't actually care that much about Cas as a storyline I was, at most, curious to see what they were doing. Cas felt for Hannah and when she/he was tortured he had the power to escape. Good to see him fight it. A parallel with Sam maybe?
It was during these scenes I wondered if I was watching a different show. It was becoming unrecognisable to me. I think the sound track was part of that. The music was weird and not something we hear that much on the show. I wondered if they were trying to copy another show maybe?
I'm still trying to work out what Sam's cage flashbacks meant. (And damn they used those in the promo. I was expecting so much more from those). Was that God's answer? A reminder of where he once was and what he did to get there? Did it actually end up helping him find the solution? Also, it was pretty horrific. How Sam is still functioning is beyond me (Dean too!).
And did angel and demon powers just fly out the window. What happened to Crowley clicking in and clicking out of a place. And what happened to angels being all damn powerful. Surely they could find Sam and Dean. Even Metatron. Argh. Too many holes. /o\
Also - (ark, I'm sorry, I'm on a roll), J2 have been going on about how Sam and Dean are together this season. I appreciate that we might be working up to that, but so far - wow. It's like Carver has said - "ok you guys! You don't like it when they are physically together but emotionally apart so let's do emotionally together (sort of) and physically apart)". But, as I said above, jury is still out on that. I have to assume Dean will find out what Sam went through and it will be addressed. And hopefully be the catalyst for them STOPPING the damn cycle of blame and guilt. Otherwise why? Why have him go through all that alone without a pay off?
So yeah. I'm not pissed off about it (kinda passed that by now), just a bit frustrated. The show has such HUGE potential to be fucking amazing. And it can be at times - so many times it has. Unfortunately, this episode reminded me that really, nothing will change in Carver's era. The boys will be at some sort of odds - even when they are supposed to be working together (I think the Js have just being doing a good "sell". Or it's wishful thinking on their part). Or it may change so..yay!
Bring on MoTW eps I say! I think the overall mytharc-ness of the series is problematic. So much history to have to deal with. And it takes much more thought and consideration.
Aaanyway. There we are. Some powerful moments, but too many stoopid bits to make it jell for me. And the darkness being a little "Lilith" type girl is a wee bit disappointing. But, I'm happy to wait to see how that plays out. I figure we have one more myth arc ep to start the season and then we should be into the MoTW eps. Hopefully we'll actually see Sam and Dean together
in those. ;)
5 is "LOVED IT!!" 1 is "nope".