You know how in my last review I mentioned how nice it was that even though Sam and Dean aren't on the same page at least they're not fighting about it?
Yeah well. I probably shouldn't have said that.
(some spoilers for future episodes, but nothing that isn't out there already)
I gotta say that episode didn't really grab me. I mean, there were some bits I liked (loved even) but mostly I was just bored and a bit annoyed. But...*shrugs*... that's a pretty standard reaction to some eps isn't it?
Mostly I was annoyed that for a Robert Berens episode it failed to hit some marks he normally hits easily. Namely - character development. It was also pretty heavy-handed, even clunky at times. I think the big problem for writers in this series is knowing exactly what's gone before. Berens would have been given the brief : introduce a new character for the spin-off series, show Dean grieving and show Sam connecting with Jack because he knows what he's going through. On that level Berens delivered, but we already knew that stuff about Sam and Dean so a lot of that ended up being just anvillious (no idea if that's a word, but you know what I mean *g*).
That said, I LOVED the scene between Sam and Jack where Sam talked about knowing about the darkness inside himself. It actually brought a tear. It was an extremely honest moment and Jared knocked it out of the park.
And Jensen really delivered too. He was consistent in his mood throughout the episode. It was a well focused performance. Even though it frustrated me (this Dean is devoid of joy and lacks a care for Sam that it breaks my heart to watch), Jensen didn't waiver in his delivery.
The thing that really surprised me is how bland the new character, Patience, was. Berens is normally great at that stuff. But I ended up not caring a jot about her (or her father), which leaves me worried for the Wayward Sisters spin off (not that I'm exactly excited for it. It's not a show I'll probably watch, but I would like to it do well for the sake of the actors and crew etc.)
The episode didn't really make a lot of sense actually. Missouri (*weeps*) contacting them out of the blue after 12 years with no more than a "oh, it's you" from the boys? There was such a lack of depth to any of that. I just had a feeling that it was all just rushed through, with little care for what she meant to Sam and Dean in S1 (yeah, I know it's a long time ago but for fans like me she a crucial part of Sam and Dean's early life). Much like the amulet's return, she was "token" and ended up just being a tool for the introduction of a new character (though I did like the way she confront her death - so sassy).
Jody wasn't her usual self either. I love her snide, oft humorous quips. I get that she's a hardened hunter now, but we still need to see some level of joy from these characters I think.
The clichéd "girl gets kidnapped and villain monologues before killing her" really annoyed me. Please! Give me a better reason for not killing someone other than "we have to wait for the heroes to arrive to save her" (and then use that saving as a way to see that..."oh, look at that, I really am psychic!"). Also, the method and speed in which they found her was simply ridiculous (seriously, if this was a method for finding people why haven't the boys heard about it before? It would be an AWESOME tool to have up their sleeves).
I have mixed feelings about the final confrontation between the boys at the end. I didn't like Dean taking out his grief out on Sam (even though I got why he did that - Sam's probably the only one who would take it maybe?) and I hate that level of anger between them at any time. That said, it's a crucial ingredient to the show. Last season there was a lot of criticism that there wasn't a lot going on between the brothers - that was simply because they got on so well. These scenes heighten the drama and is usually what gets fans talking. It also means there might
be some reconciliation between them at some point.
Not sure what to make of Cas being in the empty yet. I was rather hoping we'd see alt!Cas (which, I still think is possible. With Cas's "spirit" in the Empty (if that's what it was) and a version of his body in the alt-universe we might be in for something interesting? A coming together of spirit and body maybe? Or maybe that's just wishful thinking...)
Aaaanyway. It wasn't dreadful. The Sam and Jack scenes got me through it and seeing Missouri again was a delight. JP and JA's performances were spot on and Alex continues to do great things with Jack (my heart broke for him at the end). I'm just disappointed that Berens didn't deliver a stronger introduction to Patience (and kept Missouri alive for future episodes in the WS spinoff). But maybe there's room to grow in the actual back-door spin-off episodes.
A little side note: I've seen a lot of comments (on twitter) claiming both Sam and Dean were OOC in the episode. I'm confused a bit by that because I think their actions in this episode were very much in the realms of their characters. We might not like
the way they are reacting, but I don't think either of them are doing anything that's particularly out of character? Are they?