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“Alex Annie Alexis Ann” Discussion

Post your thoughts on tonight’s vampire/Sheriff Mills episode. Click HERE for my full recap or keep reading for my quick thoughts.

This was another stand-alone episode with a monster-of-the-week. Those are fine, I suppose, but I really prefer the serialized episodes that focus on Metatron’s plot or the war between Crowley and Abaddon. These episodes often feel like filler.

 

Of course, they’re also metaphoric filler to represent the characters. In this case, it seems obvious that Alex (or Annie or Alexis or Ann) is Sam, the girl who has spent eight years being loyal to her vampire family, helping them, but now she wants to run away. But Dean refuses to believe it, because he and the vampires believe that family is forever.

 

Obviously it’s not because Alex stabs her vampire mom. I see this as potential foreshadowing, because it seems like Sam is going to have to make a serious choice about his brother very soon. Dean is starting to lose it, taking a disturbing amount of pleasure in killing the vampire (no doubt a side effect from the Mark of Cain).

 

Will Sam have to choose whether to save his brother (something he’s said repeatedly he wouldn’t do) or let him go the same way Alex did when Sheriff Mills decapitated the vampire mother?

 

Speaking of Sheriff Mills, it’s always nice to see her again. She got a lot of emotional scenes this week, trying to fill the hole in her heart from her dead family. And perhaps she’s done it with a new surrogate daughter. Maybe that’s the other side of Sam’s dilemma. Sheriff Mills is proof that you actually DO need family, or at least something to give you a reason to keep going. If Sam loses Dean, he’ll be as lost as Sheriff Mills was.

News posted on April 22, 2014 Comments (306)

306 Comments »

  1. Darn! I turned on the CW and “The Jody and Alex/Annie” show was airing. When does SN come back?

    Comment by JT — April 22, 2014 @ 6:08 pm

  2. Well, that happened.

    Comment by Jaytee — April 22, 2014 @ 6:21 pm

  3. Sam tells Dean it looks like he is enjoying killing too much, and Dean says, “So what.” That’s how much the mytharc moved this week.

    Meanwhile, we had a whole backstory on Jody Mills going through a grieving process in a paint-by-number script about soap-opera vampires. Dear God!! WTF is going on in the writers’ room?

    I thought the support actors were okay this week. I liked the actress that played Mama vampire, and the girl who played Alex Annie did a good job in a poorly written script.

    Comment by Sheri — April 22, 2014 @ 6:27 pm

  4. I liked the episode. I have given up on the Winchesters being the main characters and important to the stories that are told at the end of the seasons so the episode for what it was -was good. So the next time we see Jodi will we see Anne then too?? Or is Anne going to Bloodlines maybe?? She’d fit.

    Dean is enjoying killing. lol. Love that. “Look at me bitch”. That’s my badass kickass boy!! He seems disconnected to Sam to me. It seems in Deans eyes -Sam is just there but Dean doesn’t really “feel” him there. Kinda strange but probably one of those “effects” of the MOC that no one seems to be talking about. Cain, Dean, Sam, nor Cas has discussed what effects it could have on its bearer. But I guess these wonderful writers want the audience to be in the dark about it until the big reveal in s9e21 maybe.

    Anyway on to the back door pilot-Ehh not excited about that -but it gets me closer to s9e21 which according to Jensen is a major episode. We’ll see.

    Comment by animal — April 22, 2014 @ 6:30 pm

  5. When the vamp asked Sam whether he or Dean killed the vamp’s brother, Sam didn’t answer. That doesn’t seem like Sam at all to me.

    Comment by JT — April 22, 2014 @ 6:34 pm

  6. ps Sorry. I didn’t make my meaning clear. The Sam I know would have said, “I did it!” to protect his unconscious brother from being decapitated.

    Comment by JT — April 22, 2014 @ 6:35 pm

  7. But that would mean the writers would have to give Sam dialogue. Which seems to be an impossibhility for them these days.

    Comment by Kari — April 22, 2014 @ 6:38 pm

  8. JT -obviously the writers wanted you to think -oh Sam is stalling so that’s why he is not saying anything or trying to save his brother. See these writers don’t know how to write a full script. They leave lots of holes for the viewer to fill in as they please. So I think Sam didn’t say anything to STALL until Dean woke up.

    Comment by animal — April 22, 2014 @ 6:42 pm

  9. But then one could say there was NOWAY in hell that Sam would sacrifice himself for his brother anyway so of course he wouldn’t say -”I did it”. So take your pick JT.

    Comment by animal — April 22, 2014 @ 6:44 pm

  10. Haha, Sheri! My sister asked if this was Supernatural or the Dr. Phil show.

    That was another horrible episode, IMO. I like Jody but I honestly couldn’t have cared less about the Alex/Annie drama. First, the title references a movie I loathed (haha), and second, I just couldn’t find myself caring about Alex/Ann or her situation.

    JT, I also found it strange that Sam didn’t protect his unconscious brother by taking the blame. That was a strange scene.

    I also hated that Sam got tied up again. It was also odd how Sam was up and walking after having so much of his blood drained.

    Pretty bad episode, IMO.

    Comment by Lisa1 — April 22, 2014 @ 6:50 pm

  11. Oh yeah there!are!parallels! It’s another Thinman. So hopefully Dean doesn’t go full-blown monster, and hopefully Sam doesn’t stab him.

    One thing the brothers have going in their favour that these walk-ons don’t is that they have a multi-dimensional relationship. They’re not JUST family or JUST two guys who’ve known each other a long time or JUST colleagues. So even when Ed and Harry fall apart, or Alexis Annie there kills her mother, they have other things to draw on until the “broken” parts get fixed.

    People keep mentioning that Sam’s looking a little peaky these days (even before the bleeding). I wonder if that’s another Thing Not Being Talked About, or just supposed to be stress, or just weird lighting/makeup lately? Seems a bit skinny and pale.

    And Dean. Yeah. Getting more MOC-ish. And still smarting a bit with Sam. The feud ball has passed from one to the other. Up with killing, meh on saving. Oh dear Dean, you’re heading for trouble.

    Comment by Jaytee — April 22, 2014 @ 6:54 pm

  12. It seems like I’ve been trying for weeks and weeks to find good things to say about each episode. I’m tired.
    I know there have been bad episodes/ bad half seasons before, but since the end of January the episodes for this season have been… well…
    I just really really miss Supernatural :(

    Comment by Gerrie — April 22, 2014 @ 6:54 pm

  13. At this point in the season, a stand-alone episode seems out of place.

    However, the episode itself was good. I liked the general idea of a human with loyalty to the vampire nest. I LOVE the character of Jodi Mills, and I’m glad they explored the fact that her family had died.

    Comment by JJA — April 22, 2014 @ 6:56 pm

  14. @ Gerrie: LOL! Did you notice I tried? I miss Supernatural, too. I would much rather be talking about some exciting things going on or the possibilities of how the story could go, but this season has left nothing — absolutely nothing. Even the posters here are still talking about Dean’s decision and whether or not Sam has a right to be mad. God! That episode was 9 months ago.

    Comment by Sheri — April 22, 2014 @ 7:01 pm

  15. I like Jody Mills a lot, but… what the..?
    With any guest character, there has to be good writing, a good storyline that fits in to the overall show. There has to be a point. (Not just MORE generalized parallels. We get it already.) The guests are supposed to fit into the show that is already established, not take over the show with *who/cares* filler storylines.

    The Supernatural writers have dragged out storylines badly before, but I think this half or so of this current season may have established a record for dragging things out tediously and not moving things along. I’m so disappointed.

    It’s always possible that the last three episodes of the season may be very good. Keeping my fingers crossed.

    Comment by Kelsey — April 22, 2014 @ 7:13 pm

  16. @7, Kari, thanks for the reminder! How could I have forgotten that. Shucks, everybody knows furniture can’t talk.

    @8, @9. animal, I think you’re right on both counts. Sam could very well have known Dean was awake and awaiting his chance; Sam might have given him that chance by stalling while his blood was drained. As for door #2, I got the sense Dean had been pretending to be unconscious and heard his brother–or rather didn’t hear him. That would explain why Dean, when untying Sam, said something like, “I know…You wouldn’t die for me.”

    What struck me as odd was how Dean spoke. He sounded amused, as if he were a big bro speaking to a little bro who got angry and shouted, “I don’t like you anymore! You get hurt I’m not saving you–so there!” Dean had the same tone when he told Gadreel he’d heard all Sammy’s crap. Does Dean know why Sam says such things? Possibly Sam’s just trying to make his brother dislike him so Dean won’t risk lives by trying to save him–ever again.

    Comment by JT — April 22, 2014 @ 7:22 pm

  17. I like Jody Mills. And I do like when she works with the boys. But she is a SUPPORTING character and I am not interested in an in-depth study of her life. Episodes such as this one just reaffirm to me that the so-called “writers” of this show know nothing about Dean and Sam so they are unable to focus on them.

    Perhaps if there was no MAJOR storyline focusing on the Winchesters I would have some idea why an episode like this would come up late in the season. BUT Dean is walking around with the MARK OF CAIN burned into his arm and we get nothing about that.

    I noticed after Dean killed the vamps before they could kill his brother, Sam said “Dean…” to him and Dean responded with a muttered “Yeah, I know you would have done the same for me” line. The way it was said I could tell it meant nothing to Dean because he doesn’t really believe that at all.

    And then after the killing is all done what does Sam say to Dean? Uh,you enjoyed killing too much. Really? That’s what we get in relation to the effect the mark is having on Dean? And now Sam is concerned? Really?

    BOR-ING!!!

    Where is the “great” storyline of the Angels and Crowley and Abaddon? Why, every week, does this show get weaker and weaker?

    And then next week we get an entire show dedicated to a crappy “spin-off”.

    I even miss Cas. So sad.

    Comment by SL — April 22, 2014 @ 7:25 pm

  18. @ SL #17: Dean said, “Yeah, I know you WOULDN’T do the same thing for me.”

    @ Kari #7: Dear little Sammy was not the only one to get tied up. Sam, Dean, and Jody all got tied up or knocked out. The reason that Sam and Dean did was to get Jody off by herself so Kim Rhodes could have follow through on Jodi’s story. These writers always dumb down the two legendary Winchesters when they want to give the recurring actor the story.

    Comment by Sheri — April 22, 2014 @ 7:37 pm

  19. @4, animal, I think you’re right. This episode was all about spotlighting Jody and her new “daughter” –an expert on vampires since she grew up luring for them. So I think AA’s next stop will be Chicago, and Jody will be right by her side (sort of like Ellen and Jo). Since Jody is (suddenly) an expert hunter, her skills will also be needed by the Windy City’s amateurs. In addition, because she knows the Winchesters, she can call the boys for help whenever “Bloodlines” needs a boost in the ratings.

    Comment by JT — April 22, 2014 @ 7:48 pm

  20. Sorry, AA lured the victims, not the vamps. But I’m sure that, somehow, her luring talents will be put to good use in on the streets of Chicago.

    Comment by JT — April 22, 2014 @ 7:58 pm

  21. That’s “on” the streets of Chicago–sorry. Oh, and I guess in addition to vampires, shape shifters, and werewolves, “Bloodlines” will feature a gang of the walking dead (the Crypts?). Otherwise, I doubt we’d have heard so much about what happened to Jody’s family.

    Comment by JT — April 22, 2014 @ 8:07 pm

  22. Great episode, classic monster of the week.
    Of course, the usual few idiots are crapping up the thread, but what are you gonna do…

    It’s interesting that the Winchesters are famous even to a nest of vampires. But I guess if any hunters have made a name for themselves, it’s them.

    And that Mark of Cain… Dean muscled out a vampire. That’s impressive. Makes you wonder what else he’s capable of

    Comment by brx — April 22, 2014 @ 8:41 pm

  23. Does anybody else wonder what happened to the weapons Dean and Benny brought back from Purgatory?
    Those cool looking blades made from black stone.
    It would be cool if those showed up again. And it’d be even cooler if they had their own mystical properties, what with their being from another dimension.
    I was really hoping that Dean would pull them out again for this hunt, just for old time’s sake.

    Comment by brx — April 22, 2014 @ 8:43 pm

  24. Is this still Supernatural? YES, of course it is !!!

    I think the criticism that there was “too much Jodi Mills” is ridiculous. Sam & Dean are still the heart of the show, and ONE single episode emphasizing a supporting character’s story hardly takes away from that.

    Also, I remind all you people, one fan-favorite episode from season 2 was “Roadkill,” which if you recall had very little Sam & Dean in it. Instead, we had a one-time character named Molly (played by BSG’s Tricia Helfer) as the primary focus of the episode. The episode was well received back when it aired.

    Note: I’d mention episodes like “Weekend at Bobby’s” or “The Man Who Would Be King,” but Castiel and Bobby are essentially main characters too.

    Comment by JJA — April 22, 2014 @ 9:05 pm

  25. Yeah I’m with everyone saying that it’s been dragging on and on with barely a weak nod to the main storyline most weeks. That’s been my take on it.
    Basically it was established that Sam found out about Gadreel and was pretty pissed off about it, then established that Dean had the Mark of Cain and it was a powerful thing, then the writers checked out until the last couple of episodes in May. Not completely checked out I guess (trying to be fair) but mostly checked out. Filler-type episodes. Many many many filler-type episodes.
    At least I’m assuming that the last couple of episodes in May will have some storyline development and/or resolution.

    So many people who were anticipating an exciting ongoing storyline with the brothers with a lot of related twists and turns have been really let down. I can relate. But live and learn.

    Comment by Jordan — April 22, 2014 @ 9:56 pm

  26. Oh, this was an excellent, excellent episode. Standard MOTW, of course but the parallels between the characters just dripped from every line they spoke. What we will do for family, to be accepted, to not be rejected, losing everyone and not knowing what to do, do yiu become a monster or do you try to escape.

    I’ve no idea who wrote it but every line was carefully written. It was like poetry, telling a lot with little. Kudos to the writer(s).

    Dean enjoying killing, does that make him a ‘monster’?? When the pleasure of the kill is the drivng force. Dicey ground!

    Sam showing that even when his keg is empty his concern is not with himself.

    Oh, yeah. This episode is a keeper.

    Comment by Orlaith — April 22, 2014 @ 10:00 pm

  27. @ JAA #24: I loved Roadkill. Molly, the ghost, was the protagonist in that episode, so what we were getting an outsider’s (a ghost, but she did not know that she was) look at the brothers. I always like that.

    We got the brother’s rescuing a ghost, not killing one. We got two guest starts (both good, I thought), who did the episode and moved on. We knew that they would not be brought back again and again.

    We did not get endless monster (ghost)monologue from Greeley about his wife hanging herself, blah, blah, blah.

    There was a nice, surprising twist at the end — thank you Raelle Tucker. Could you please teach writing courses to the SPN writers over the summer? The twist being, of course, is that the audience does not learn that Molly is a ghost until she does.

    We had Dean comes across as dark and dangerous, sure, but that was when Dean turned his grief and rage outward towards the monsters, instead of inward into emoting Dean that we have seen just too many years of.

    We even had a parallel story in that episode, but it did not drop anvil on your head. Like Greeley, Dean projects his anger and frustration physical violence. Dean is under the burden of ‘if you can’t save him, you have to kill him.’ Greeley the ghost was doing the same thing. He was “trapped” in a dark, miserable state of mind and exhibited that with violence (whether that was because Molly killed him and separated him from his wife or whether it was because his wife hung herself after his death, I was never clear).

    We had Sam come across as gentle and sympathetic toward Molly’s predicament — the old Sam that all of us liked. That Sam is gone. There is too much water under the bridge to ever go back to that Sam, but we can look fondly back at that character and know what we liked.

    So, yes, both of the episodes were stand-alones and simple MotW. One, though, was cleverly done by having an outsider’s view of the Winchesters. The other one was done to bring an actress back and give her the story, with the episode obviously written for her.

    Comment by Sheri — April 22, 2014 @ 10:11 pm

  28. Wow……do I ever not fit in around here!!!

    I liked the episode but then I’m a firm, fond viewer of the story being told in the episode I’m watching. I can watch a one-off of just about any TV show and either hate it or enjoy it without following the series.

    Anywho….I’ve always enjoyed supporting characters (which to me, is what Sheriff Mills is, not a guest star, though, yes, I know she’s considered that as well) and if there’s ever anything I can’t/won’t forgive, it was the killing of Bobby and Rufus.

    Moving on…..you go Dean…..kick ass and behead whomever!!! Go right ahead and enjoy it, don’t let Sammy tell you you’re wrong, ’cause you know, he…um….well, he…..huh…yeah, I got nothing.

    Now, I’m ready for some Abaddon, Crowley, Gadreel, and Metatron versus Dean!! Cas…come on back dude and let’s move on already….Next weeks episode, despite my proclaimed enjoyment of supporting characters and quest stars, does not peak my interest one bit.

    Comment by Auggie — April 23, 2014 @ 3:00 am

  29. Why is Dean in such a good mood, even calling Sam “Sammy”? It really threw me off in the beginning. I even started to question what was real. Maybe acting on his impulses due to the mark (like beating up Gadreel) cleans up the pipes?

    Little sister Sam XD Although I hope this is not another way to hit Sam with “whiney” etc.

    Nearing the end I thought okay this episode is such a standalone even though it’s getting close to the end of the season so maybe they’ll make this count by having Sam and Dean continue the vampire hunt in Chicago but… nope.

    I think they could have done something exciting with Sam being drained from blood, Dean having to wait it out etc. However, Jody and the rest of the downstairs group was the priority :/

    Comment by San Summer — April 23, 2014 @ 4:06 am

  30. @16 JT, you might be right that Dean is really starting to see Sam as his little brother Sammy hence the return of the nickname that was last mentioned in Sharp Teeth before Sam made it clear things were different. Dean’s change can become really creepy because of how Cain saw Abel. And if Dean is now starting to see Sam as just someone who is “dragging his heels” because that’s what annoying little brothers do but he just has to keep Sammy going because he knows what Sam ultimately wants… More like John every day.

    Comment by San Summer — April 23, 2014 @ 4:17 am

  31. Was genuinely looking forward to a MOTW featuring Sam and Dean. Was a bit disappointed with a vampire family soap of the power of mother-love. When all else fails feature motherhood. As for the script, Berens, the writer, must have had a rough night and thrown this together on his way to the studio.
    There were some good things. Kim Rhodes knows Sheriff Mills and even given this script, she’s makes Mills believable. The actresses who played Ann/Alix and the mother vampire and the actors who played both young brothers who got beheaded should be recruited to play angels–that part of the series could use actors who show some promise as this crew did. In addition, Sheriff Mills’ plot actually was heavily based on the character’s previous depiction; nice and unique approach. ( My guess is Berens watched snippets of Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid on the way to the studio.)
    As for the guys, they could easily have been written out of this drama, essentally they were. Probably the most glaring example of a standalone where J2 were included because they are required to be in every episode by contract. Of course, we had to have Dean doubting Sam would save him and Sam questioning Dean about enjoying killing too much. The writers seem really tired of SPN and the Winchesters. Clearly, they can’t be bothered to invent any new monsters so they go again with vampires, the CW staple.

    Comment by CaseyT — April 23, 2014 @ 6:08 am

  32. @30, San Summer, excellent points–and you may well be right. It would be creepy? But why should we have to spend so much time guessing about things the writers should make clear?

    What Carver and his writers do is toss SN fans little morsels of dialogue that we leap upon, hoping they’ll reveal some progress in the Sam/Dean myth arc. There’s no progress. Either the show runner is holding back on developing the myth arc until S10, or the arc is so thin and poorly written, it’ll never go anywhere. Does Carver care? I doubt it. SN isn’t his creation–his project. It’s Kripke’s.

    With so few episodes left, two of them (last night’s and next week’s) will have had no other purpose than to advertise “Bloodlines.” I resent that.

    Comment by JT — April 23, 2014 @ 6:18 am

  33. @22- It’s really uncalled for for you to insult other posters by calling them idiots just because you don’t like it that they have complaints about the writing.
    That being said, I was surprised that I actually thought that this was a pretty good episode. Sure I really wish that they would be focusing on the MOC and how that is affecting Sam and Dean but this late in the season and with the spin off set up as next week’s episode we might as well give up on that and enjoy what we get. That way at least we’ll be pleasantly surprised if something juicy actually DOES happen.
    I thought the episode was pretty well written, certainly better than most of this season’s. I also thought everybody was on their game acting wise.
    I thought Jody was about the best I ever seen her. She was tough and badass but she was also human and quite vulnerable. And to those who say her was hotter with longer hair well, perhaps but Jody is not there to be a CW sex kitten. She’s a strong, mature, REAL woman and a far more fleshed out character than any other woman who’s ever been on SPN, save for Ellen. She’s a no nonsense working woman and as such I thought her shorter haircut worked quite well.
    I also was impressed with the young actress playing Ann/Alexis. She was not only one of the prettiest young actresses I’ve seen on tv in a long while, but she had a depth and charisma, and real acting ability, all traits you rarely find in young CW honey.
    Sam and Dean well, I thought both Jared and Jensen were on their mark in what were basically supporting roles. Some people have questioned why Sam wouldn’t just take false blame for the vamp brother’s murder rather than say nothing, but if you think about it, he’s in a losing situation. He certainly wasn’t going to point the finger at his guilty brother, knowing for sure that would cause the vamps to kill Dean, but then too, if he tells them he did it and they kill him, how’s he gonna help save Dean, Jody, or Alexis? Although of course they would have eventually killed him as well, not giving them an answer bought them both a little time.
    The only thing I had a problem with was why Sam is still so surprised that Dean is getting more violent and bloodthirsty. Hello Sam, you do realize that your brother is BRANDED with the very same mark that was previously worn only by one other person, the very first murderer and the king of the demons! Not to mention the reaction that Cas, and ANGEL, had when he found out about it. Shouldn’t loud warning sirens be going off in Sam’s Stanford educated head? Have these writers forgotten that Sam is supposed to be a genius, and super smart brainiac bar none? So why is he still acting so puzzled by these changes happening in Dean? And when is it gonna dawn on him that hey, maybe this is something I should really start to worry about?
    Won’t be watching next week as I couldn’t care less about “Bloodlines”. Here’s hoping that the May 6 episode Finally puts the focus squarely on the Winchesters, how the possession issue is still weighing on them, and the MOC.

    Comment by roxi — April 23, 2014 @ 6:34 am

  34. @JT. Yep, gotta take what we can have. :D When the guy looked at Dean and was like: “Let me guess, you’ve never had a teenage sister”, I expected Dean to make some sort of comment about Sam being Samantha. “Her moping, that teenage crisis of conscience crap, it’s annoying as hell but it’s just an act. When the chips are down, she’ll always choose us over humans.” I wouldn’t be surprised if the way the guy was taking about his sister was meant to show how Dean’s thinking might start to shift into that direction. Instead of knowing he took a piece of Sam in the process of getting him possessed, Dean might start to view Sam as just a complainer who’ll get over it and is just being a little bitch about it.

    Comment by San Summer — April 23, 2014 @ 7:31 am

  35. Seriously, what is up with Sam and Dean having so little screen time? I hope the actors are well rested for 21, I expect to see some good work.

    And are the writers gonna pull a storyline for Sam out of their ass for the last three episodes of the season? Naturally while Sam was possessed, it was more about how Dean was feeling because he was the only one who knew. But even after Sam wasn’t possessed, the focus was kept so firmly on Dean’s hurt feelings that there is still confusion over how Sam ultimately views the situation of having been forced to play the part of a vessel and his brother having a hand in it.

    Now Sam’s situation doesn’t really surprise me because his story depends on Dean putting him in the position of Abel and that is not gonna happen as long as Dean’s mark of Cain storyline moves so slowly. And because it moves so slowly, the focus is still on Dean’s physical changes, mood swings etc. and not on actions that would have a real forward motion.

    Episode 21 doesn’t look too promising to Sam because Cas has his own storyline going and with Gadreel no less. That’ll take up time. Hopefully Sam’s role there is more than just to be appalled by Dean’s actions.

    Comment by San Summer — April 23, 2014 @ 7:51 am

  36. Sheri #18: Thank You. I did not realize that was what Dean said. Makes it even better for me.

    Comment by SL — April 23, 2014 @ 8:47 am

  37. Sheri #27 — I’ll agree with you that “Roadkill” was a better episode, and I’ll agree that this past episode was (to a large degree) given to Jodi Mills. I simply don’t have a problem with giving Jodi an episode.

    My issue is quality. If the episode is good, then I’ll enjoy it.

    I do think this past episode was good, but I did not like the fact that it comes so late in the season when we should be focusing on the main storyline.

    I felt the same way with “The Real Ghostbusters” from season 5. Good episode, but it should not have been the lead-in to “Abandon All Hope.”

    Comment by JJA — April 23, 2014 @ 8:52 am

  38. I wonder if this episode was filmed around the same time as Kim’s Super Bowl ad. She had to have super short hair to portray a cancer survivor-which she is in real life too.

    Anyway, it was really nice of the guys to make cameos in Sherriff Mills’s new show. I like Jody a lot and find her entertaining but the guys sure arent showing up much lately in their own show.

    As for the episode itself, it was ok. Kim always does good work so she was worth the watch.

    Comment by jace — April 23, 2014 @ 9:56 am

  39. @34, San Summer, I hope you’re wrong. I’d like to believe Dean is too strong to fall completely under the influence of the MOC–that he’d struggle against such thoughts, knowing the power of Lucifer’s mark and the temptations it offers. But I’m afraid you might be right. Dean has become a very different person–humorless, detached, depressed. I’m just not sure how much of that stems from his reaction to Sam’s words to him and how much to the influence of the blade.

    Of course, this season has been so badly written, we don’t even know what influence the MOC has. The urge for Cain to kill Abel didn’t come from the mark or blade, did it? Murdering his brother was something Cain agreed to do as part of his deal.

    Anyway, Sam’s behavior in last night’s episode troubled me more than Dean’s. Like Gamble, Carver seems to feel more sympathy for monsters than for humans. So I wasn’t surprised that Ana got off with a comforting pat on the head. But I found it annoying and OOC for Sam to call Dean on the carpet for enjoying his beheading of the vamp. Why shouldn’t Dean enjoy taking revenge on behalf of the hundreds, maybe thousands, of innocent people this vile, already dead thing helped kill? Besides, as I remember, it wasn’t that long ago that Sam couldn’t be held back from trying to kill Benny when that vamp wasn’t an immediate threat at all.

    I guess it’s okay for the Winchesters to kill murderous monsters as long as Sam and Dean feel really, really badly about it afterwards. Idiotic.

    Comment by JT — April 23, 2014 @ 10:46 am

  40. ps I just wanted to say that none of my gripes about the episode has anything to do with Kim. Jody Mills is one of my all time favorite SN characters, and Kim’s performance in “Alex Annie” was absolutely superb–as it is every time she appears on the series.

    Comment by JT — April 23, 2014 @ 11:15 am

  41. @JT. I think that Dean’s “Look at me, bitch” was about him wanting to see the light go out of someone’s eyes. And I think that thought was quite disturbing to Sam. Especially since Dean held back from killing the vampire, he wanted the vamp to submit to his dominance first, he wanted the vampire to be wholly his to kill even though Sam was bleeding and they didn’t know what had happened to Jody.

    Comment by San Summer — April 23, 2014 @ 12:15 pm

  42. @JT.

    Yeah, for Sam’s not taking the rap for killing the one vampire, I figured that would be a noble move, but not a very smart one when he was tied up and couldn’t fight back. He takes the rap, the vamps kill him, then there’s nothing stopping them from wiping out Dean anyway before he wakes up. Or, Dean fights them off, but Dead!Sam can’t do much to stop his slide. Dunno how long-term Sam was thinking in the moment, but he seemed to be stalling for time.

    I’m actually glad Sam commented to Dean at the end – the last few episodes he’s been glancing and worrying and asking if Dean’s okay. But Dean’s behaviour is escalating, and Sam needs to bring it up a notch too. The “look at me bitch!” is not ordinary Dean behaviour, and it’s coming on a chain of not-ordinary Dean beaviour.

    Come to that, “Dean kills vampires in nasty ways” seems to be Show’s shorthand for “something wrong over here!” He did it in S2, S5 and now. No pun intended, but vampires seem to bring out the bloodthirsty in him.

    Comment by Jaytee — April 23, 2014 @ 12:57 pm

  43. @ JAA #37: I like Kim Rhodes, too, and I have not minded episodes with her in it before this, but after this one, I will go into her episodes with a negative view of the character.

    Kim had tweeted that it was pertinent to world-building that the Winchesters have strong support characters. I agree with this. Then she tweeted that support characters were world-building, not a “moment.” This episode turned Jodi Mills into a “moment” in the Winchesters’ lives, because her episode added not one damned thing to the Winchesters characters or story, and that is because it was written as an excuse to bring Kim back on the show. That is why the Winchesters were support characters. The whole damned episode could have been written without the J2s in it and it would have had the same outcome — we would have learned that Jodi is grieving for her lost husband and child.

    BTW, good for the writer that he at least knew her history, even though the last time we saw Kim, she was all tore up over Bobby.

    I am all for world building, but I want to see characters that support the leads and that add some information to their story and/or the hunting world in general. Charlie does none of that. Garth does none of that. Krissy did none of that. Jodi Mills does none of that, except call them in on a case, save them once in a while, and now we are at the stage that she gets her own episode.

    I really do not care if Sheriff Mills grieves, dates, goes to church, or anything else that we know about her. Nor do I care if a mama vampire is going through the same thing. And that is my problem with the episode.

    Both Dean and Sam showed concern for Jodi when she insisted on going on the hunt. I do not believe for one minute that the Winchesters would go into an unchecked vampire nest house and leave Jody alone while they went upstairs. Dean, in character, would have told Sam to stay with her to protect her and he would have gone upstairs by himself, thinking that he could handle things…especially since (1) he is getting darker (and physically stronger) and (2) he took out three demons by himself this season and a whole vampire nest by himself in S8.

    The episode was written like that simply to give Jodi her story, and that ticks me off.

    As far as other speculation, I have nothing. There has been no movement shown on the Winchesters’ story since Sam got unpossessed and ticked off, and there has been no movement on the mytharc story, except Cas has decided to be a leader of an angel faction. There is nothing to speculate on or be excited about — certainly not the upcoming episode.

    Now that we have the news that Cas and Gadreel are together on the finale, I am wondering just how much the Winchesters are involved in the angel story. I think that is Cas’ story. Maybe in 9.22, Dean will kill Abaddon. I do not believe there is enough episodes left to wrap up the Dean/Sam thing in a satisfactory way. The writers are going to have to just jam things in each episode and call it good.

    Comment by Sheri — April 23, 2014 @ 1:21 pm

  44. I found it surprisingly unsatisfactory and so out-of-place, considering where we are regarding the season.

    I just don’t get Carver’s pacing of the mytharc, in fact the whole season seems disjointed and all over the place. The MoC story is moving along at a snail’s pace. No, slower. Nothing is happening, and whatever is, isn’t really progressing in a way that can be understood and made sense of. We’re just guessing and clutching at straws.

    What, all the stories are going to be handled and resolved in three episodes? I really hope they carry over the MoC one into next season.

    Jody Mills was good, as always. The Winchesters made a sweet little cameo appearance, as they seem to be doing these days, being kinda useless and looking pretty.

    Come on and hurry up, Mr. Carver!

    Comment by Tammy — April 23, 2014 @ 1:40 pm

  45. Sheri (#43): I agree completely. No disrespect to the actress or the character but a supporting character is a SUPPORTING character. And that means they SUPPORT the main character. Not get their own storyline on their own path in their own episode.

    In the horrible episode with the Ghostfacers this season the viewers were supposed to take from their story a comparison to the Winchesters. As if we are all so thick-headed we have no idea what crap is going on with the Winchesters!

    However Jodi Mill’s “story” had nothing to do with the Winchesters and was not connected to their own story at all. This episode did nothing for the season’s story and served no purpose for the main characters (although it did give the actors some time off).

    I do like the character of Sheriff Mills. But she should only be used as a tool to progress along the Winchesters’ story- not her own.

    Just another sad sign of a dying show. I watch for Jensen and Jared and I will hold on as long as they are here. I wish I could enjoy it while I do so.

    Comment by SL — April 23, 2014 @ 3:07 pm

  46. @41San Summer, @42Jaytee, I didn’t think of that. I’m sure you’re right, but I wasn’t at all surprised by Dean’s behavior. Especially after he’d seen how the vamp had tied Sam up and was draining the life out of him, Dean’s reaction seemed completely big bro to me–though the business about looking in the eyes was extreme even for him.

    I wonder if that’s where all this is going. As far back as S1, Dean has gone ballistics if somebody hurts Sam. But since he got the MOC, as you point out, Jaytee, that protective fury has escalated considerably. Not only did he want to see the light go out of the vamp’s eyes (true, San Summer), he beat Gadreel into unconsciousness, and he cut off Magnus’ head; in each case, it was an attack on his brother that brought Dean to the point of uncontrollable rage.
    In fact, Magnus seemed to know (perhaps from Crowley) that the only way to arouse the “monster” in Dean was to hurt Sam.

    Possibly, this relates to Cain and Lucifer. The devil didn’t need Cain’s soul; Cain had already offered that in exchange for Abel’s. So why did Lucifer insist that Cain be the one to murder Abel?

    A theory: Lucifer didn’t care about one dead human. He wanted to bring chaos and darkness upon the earth. In other words, he wanted to destroy God’s creation. But to achieve that he needed Godlike power. What’s the nature of that power? Traditionally, it’s believed that God is love–this is who God is. Lucifer had no access to love, but Cain did. He loved his brother enough to die and go to hell to save him. So Cain, with the power of God present in his immense love for his brother, became the instrument of the devil.

    Maybe the MOC and the blade can only work at full capacity if the mark and weapon are infused with the power of love, the power of God. They must be used by someone like Cain–a man willing to go to any lengths to save his beloved brother.

    On the other side of the ledger is Sam. Throughout this season (and earlier ones), he’s been trying to convince Dean there should be a limit to one brother’s love for another. For Dean to have damned himself, stopped his brother from sealing the gates, allowed Sam to be possessed to save him–all of these things ended badly for both brothers as well as innocent people, much as Cain’s dealings on behalf of his brother ended badly for the thousands of humans he killed. In each case, the price for brotherly love was too high.

    So where might all this go? Crowley must know that, once Dean has the blade, the one thing that could amp up the weapon’s power to full capacity and turn Dean into a Cain-like, demonic killer is brotherly love. Should Crowley lead Dean to believe that Abaddon has captured Sam and intends to kill him, MOC Dean might well go mad with blood lust and become the King of Rotten’s blunt little instrument, massacring indiscriminately. I guess at some point with Sam’s help, Dean will have to make the decision to let his brother die. Or maybe Sam will simply kill himself. (I just hope the writers don’t make Dean another Castiel, with the blood of numerous humans and other beings on his conscience. I don’t want either of the Winchesters losing their heroic stature.)

    Anyway, just a “theory” with an awful lot of holes. I just figure there must be a way to connect the dots. Good grief! What a long post! Sorry!

    Comment by JT — April 23, 2014 @ 4:23 pm

  47. Interesting theories, JT! I’ll have to think over that.

    Yeah, the kill scene reminded me too much of season 2 episode Bloodlust to be all that shocking, I’d say it was a way bigger deal back then to see Dean decapitate a vampire in the manner he did or even Sam killing Gordon.

    Re: “In fact, Magnus seemed to know (perhaps from Crowley) that the only way to arouse the “monster” in Dean was to hurt Sam.”

    It would be nice if Sam always getting tied up etc. was a conscious decision on the writers’ part. Like they have decided that it’s painfully obvious to any bad guy that the best way to get to the Winchesters is to incapacitate one of them because it’ll lure the other one out. And if you can get Sammy, even better. Like a reverse of a line from Silence of the Lambs: When the fox hears the rabbit scream he comes a-runnin’… but not to help.

    By the way, has anyone else seen a horror movie called Mother’s Day? It’s about a mother who has teenage / adult children that will do anything she says including crimes (well, the daughter seemed to be more reluctant) and Mother stole them when they were babies. I seriously doubt that the similarities are a mere coincidence. In a way, it’s a good tactic to get inspiration from something that’s already been made but it can get distracting (at least to me it was).

    Comment by San Summer — April 23, 2014 @ 4:57 pm

  48. JT, have you heard the rumored spoilers for the finale? Apparently Dean goes fully dark and Sam doesn’t save him. So I think the love stuff is not gonna happen :/

    I know I’ve said that after seeing First Born I expect Dean to give up on family or more specifically give up on Sam. I’m not looking forward to it though. I don’t think the writers can handle it without losing an important part of what the brothers mean to each other. Season 4 was the most difficult time for the Winchesters but there were enough things to still keep SamnDean.

    I’m not rooting for Dean to turn demonic or to hook up with Abaddon so if that’s how far it’ll go then I don’t think I’m gonna like the cliffhanger. My guess is that Crowley will make it to the next season. And even though is suspect Dean is gonna give up on family, Dean doesn’t necessarily have to leave even if he is fully under the influence of the mark and the blade. He could still have some twisted regard for Sammy.

    Comment by San Summer — April 24, 2014 @ 3:09 am

  49. Uhoh. San Summer, please tell me that’s a very weak rumor…

    I’m dreading the finale now. I don’t think I can bear to watch if their relationship gets any worse than it is now. I guess I can understand Dean going dark, and in a way, giving up on Sam (though it will be painful to see). But if Sam goes all pis*y again and doesn’t try his damndest to save Dean, I’ll be very ticked off indeed. I’ll probably stop watchin. :(

    Comment by Tammy — April 24, 2014 @ 4:58 am

  50. Okay here is what has been said (possible spoilers):

    “i cant tell you guys everything, but i can say that the finale won’t be anything brothers fans will like. it also won’t be anything destiel fans like either however. castiel isn’t with sam and dean at the end of the finale where the climax happens.”

    “no one kills anyone. sam, dean and cas are still alive.”

    “i can only say that the rumor that sam saves dean isnt true. dean is fully dark but that is the least of their troubles. the boys arent patched up by the end. it ends in a cliffhanger.”

    “stopping metatron, crowley and abaddon is the main focus of the episode. one of the villains becomes important for dean’s story which effects sam, but the other two die. i cant be more specific without giving a lot away about myself. i looked at the script and got to sit in on some filming. please dont let this leave this comm.”
    (ME: it has already left so I guess it’s okay to post about it)

    “its mostly about the villains of the season rather than angels or the mark of cain, but the mark of cain plays an important role in setting everything in motion. a plot point in king of the damned will become very important in the finale.”

    ——-

    It could be lies or colored by someone’s own perspective. But I am worried :/ I guess I have to keep my eyes peeled on the brothers during episode 21 to see if there is gonna be any “Sam is such a shitty brother and look what happened to Dean because of him!”

    Comment by San Summer — April 24, 2014 @ 5:38 am

  51. Well, first of all, where are this rumors comming from? I’ve heard a lot of rumors like this over the years and they’re rarely fully correct. Sometimes the rumors from a suposed “insider” are completely wrong. Sometimes there are some things true, but some other things aren’t, but I’ve never seen a post about rumors like this that is completely right.

    That said, I never expected a resolution for the MOC storyline or the fix of the brothers relationship happening this season. I always thought that the cliffhanger this season is going to be fully dark-empowered Dean, and for this Dean needs to keep thinking that his brother doesn’t love him enough because that’s the main reason he’s going dark-side. Whoever or whataver saves Dean, I bet it’s gonna happen next season.

    About the bad guys, I always expected Metatron and Abaddon to be killed off in the finale. I would be surprised if Crowley is one of the two who die.

    So this rumors are not surprising, but I really doubt they are at least completely true (if not completely wrong) San Summer, do you know the source?

    Comment by emmanuel — April 24, 2014 @ 6:44 am

  52. Hi emmanuel, here is the source: spn-gossip.livejournal.com/24724.html?thread=225391252#t225391252

    I have also speculated that the mark of Cain goes till season 10. A lot of stuff in those spoilers sound like it could happen. This part is worrying though: “dean is fully dark but that is the least of their troubles.” It has to be about the brothers, right? Dean could still act threateningly towards Sam or want to do some destruction otherwise. Maybe the cliffhanger is about Dean wanting to go and Sam trying to stop him.

    Comment by San Summer — April 24, 2014 @ 6:58 am

  53. (Let me know if my last post didn’t come through.)

    Carver did say that the bond between Sam and Dean is deeper than either of them could believe.

    Comment by San Summer — April 24, 2014 @ 7:17 am

  54. I don’t know if I’m brave enough to guess about the direction of the show, but what the hell… Crazy theory time!

    My guess is that Crowley has some kind of master plan wich hasn’t been introduced yet and it’s gonna be the main storyline next season (maybe related to the demon tablet). I think Dean somehow is going to become Crowley’s partner/bitch and Sam is going to try to stop him, but it’s too late because Dean is fully under the influence of the Mark. As Kripke said “Total power means total corruption”. Sam will have to put to test how far he would go to save his brother (in season 10).
    No theory about the angels yet.

    Probably I’m wrong, I don’t know why I even bother… XD

    Comment by emmanuel — April 24, 2014 @ 7:19 am

  55. @emmanuel. I also think that Crowley is the one that will have the biggest effect on the brothers. Metatron doesn’t seem to have a personal investment in those two and so far Abaddon has shown interest only in Dean. Crowley on the other hand tried to get on Sam’s good side and of course thinks now that he has Dean where he wants him.

    I speculated about Sam having some grace in him. Could locking up the angels in Heaven have an effect on people who have grace inside of them? If the angels aren’t the focus, I don’t think there is time for any of that.

    Comment by San Summer — April 24, 2014 @ 8:00 am

  56. So, the brothers aren’t healing. That makes a huge liar out of JC, who swore that he was gonna heal the brother relationship this season.
    I’m hoping that the reason Sam doesn’t save Dean is not because he doesn’t want to, but because he can’t.
    As for Cas, there’s no surprise there for me. I fully expected that his story would be independent of the boys, and I also think that it’s a deliberate act, to discourage any hope of a romance between him and Dean.
    I know that this will be an unpopular opinion, and I might get slammed for it, but my feeling is that instead of killing Abaddon, Dean may very well take her as his lover/consort. In the one short scene they shared, there was, to me and many others, an enormous amount of sexual chemistry, too much to ignore. And if indeed the intention is to mirror Sam’s demon blood story, then it makes sense: Sam/Ruby-Dean/Abaddon.
    This would all setup the beginning of season 10 being Sam centric as it would begin with him being proactive in finding out how he can save Dean, and with him fully human and healthy.

    Comment by roxi — April 24, 2014 @ 9:16 am

  57. But before this season ends, I do want to see Sam waste Gadreel. He most of all has earned that right and he deserves it.

    Comment by roxi — April 24, 2014 @ 9:19 am

  58. @roxi, did JC say that he’s gonna fix the brothers this season? I didn’t know that! I really hope it’s true, but it’s not what I’m expecting.

    And as for Dean/Abaddon, yes I think it might be a possibility (like you said, it would be a parallelism with Sam’s demon blood storyline), but I seriously doubt it’ll happen. The whole point of the MoC is killing Abaddon and Dean seems to be very invested in that goal. I think the mark will fully take control of him when he has to fight her. I don’t want Dean fucking a demon (or whoever is using a borrowed body) like Sam did. I hated that back then, but I guess it’s not impossible to happen again with Dean this time.

    I like the part about Sam though :)

    Comment by emmanuel — April 24, 2014 @ 9:58 am

  59. @58- Although we may all have varied wishes for the directions of the various characters, most of us seem to agree that we all want to see Sam be the big hero in the end, not only defeating Gadreel, but being the one to save Dean.
    I don’t want Dean to save himself, nor do I want Cas to do it. Only Sam will do for me.

    Comment by roxi — April 24, 2014 @ 10:33 am

  60. @San Summer- we’ll see if that rumour pops up anywhere else. The source right now is an anonymous poster on Livejournal claiming inside “top secret” knowledge. Even other posters are like “who is this person?” I also saw another rumour a few weeks back that “Jensen checked in with his family to make sure it would be alright to make Destiel canon” or some such.

    Wouldn’t those two together make someone’s day? Sam doesn’t save Dean, and canon Destiel.

    That said, the rumour itself is essentially about the existing speculation that Dean’s MOC arc will be going into S10. I’d prefer for the major stuff to be done in the finale and not keep the brothers so estranged over the summer, but the writers might be mean and keep it strung out :p.

    Interesting comment at WFB. We all keep complaining about the pacing this season, but a poster pointed out that eps 18 and 19 are almost always MOTWs, with the mytharc stuff really taking off in 20. So this season will be all of 1 episode off it’s usual mark, and I’m thinking that was CW meddling more than a writer decision.

    Maybe it was the hiatuses or the handful of MOTWs while Sam and Dean were fighting. It’s just felt slooow this season. Thoughts?

    Comment by Jaytee — April 24, 2014 @ 2:46 pm

  61. @Jaytee. Yeah, one has to be cautious especially because all of it was started by stating that neither brothers fans nor Destiel fans would be happy. Who are left at that point? Maybe Dean-girls who look forward to dark!Dean or Cas fans that can take or leave his relationship with Dean (probably not that many :D).

    I definitely think this season will work better on DVD. To add to your list, probably how now it has been about six episodes since Sam and Dean have really talked. For me, not enough Sam and Dean in episodes and sharing scenes. Also how Sam has been handled. In the beginning of the season he was around but there wasn’t that much insight. The actor did have a dual role so it’s somewhat understandable. Then there were episodes that were light even on Sam’s presence in scenes but that was probably because of real world stuff. Now people are making comments about Sam being wallpaper. I don’t think it’s quite that bad, however, you could have taken him out of the last two episodes and not much would have changed. There is something wrong with that considering it’s getting close to the finale and the brothers’ relationship and how they see their roles were a big deal this season and at the end of last season.

    Comment by San Summer — April 24, 2014 @ 10:21 pm

  62. @48, San Summer–thanks! Interesting! Whether the rumor is true or not, it makes sense to me that Dean would go fully dark. Otherwise, what’s the point of all the build up about the MOC? Besides, Dean keeps insisting he’s not like Cain. If that’s true, we have to see Dean taken to the very verge of becoming a demon: Cain stepped over the line and became one, the worst on the planet. Somehow, Dean will manage not to cross that line. Also, I don’t expect to see Sam save Dean–not this season. A cliffhanger in which it seems Dean will be lost and the brothers at odds forever is just too suspenseful to pass up.

    @49, True, Tammy. Such a cliffhanger would be very painful for viewers–almost as painful as Dean’s going to hell. But peace and love between the bros won’t keep us on edge about the series all summer or make us yearn to see 10.1. It’s all about getting people into the tent and keeping up the ratings.

    @50, San Summer, I don’t see anything in that account that seems unlikely; in fact, it all seems perfectly predictable, so I’m guessing it’s true. And I wouldn’t be at all surprised if the “rumor” hadn’t been released with the knowledge and permission of the show runner. The MOC is just too big and too good a myth arc not to be carried over. I expect that Metatron and Abaddon will be out by season’s end; the characters have been pretty much exhausted by the writers.

    @54 emmanuel, yes! I totally agree that the King of Rotten has some master plan up his sleeve. This whole MOC plot has been engineered by Crowley. He’s always been the real villain of the piece and I don’t think hell is enough for him. He doesn’t even like hell. He wants earth, too; Dean is just the blunt little instrument who can get it for him.

    To me, the idea that Sam and Darkening Dean would be working side-by-side in the finale is great; Sam won’t know from moment to moment whether he can trust Dean not to go evil, much as in S4 Dean couldn’t trust his bro not to go demonic. Of course, in S4, we knew Sam was determined to fight diabolical influences or try to. But will Dean be so transformed by the power of the MOC he won’t be interested in fighting the good fight at all anymore?

    @56 roxi, I don’t think that’s a crazy theory at all. As you say, for Dean to take Abaddon as his lover would recall Sam and his demon lover, Ruby–a relationship that added to his brother’s (and our) uneasiness about just how dark a Winchester had gone. Like emmanuel, I don’t like the possibility of a Dean/Abaddon relationship, either but it could well happen–if only as means for Dean to get her to set aside her suspicions just before he chops off her head!

    @59 roxi, I don’t have the slightest doubt that Sam will save Dean. Everything about this MOC is designed to make the brothers walk in each other’s shoes so each will have greater trust in and understanding of the other. I’m guessing that, Just as Dean saved Sam from being destroyed from the demonic forces that tricked and overwhelmed him, Sam has to do the same for Dean. Besides, Carver has already let us know through Cain’s story about his wife’s unconditional love that Sam’s love will cause Dean to put down the blade.

    @58, emmanuel, are you speaking of Carver’s comment that the brothers discover they’re bonded more deeply than they could have suspected–or something to that effect? It would seem he was talking about this season, rather than next. But wouldn’t it be interesting if he was speaking of this season? What could that mean?

    A really fascinating discussion, guys! I have to go read it again. Sorry for the mistakes here.

    Comment by JT — April 24, 2014 @ 10:50 pm

  63. Oh darn. I meant, it would seem Carver was talking about next season, but it would be interesting if he were talking about this one.

    I can’t imagine what could happen to make the boys discover they’re bonded more deeply than even they suspected. I’d dismiss this as hyperbole if it didn’t come from Carver. The writer of AVSC and MS knows quite a bit about the depth of the bond between the brothers.

    Comment by JT — April 24, 2014 @ 11:03 pm

  64. @JT. I have to think about this more, too! What gives credibility to those spoilers for me is how it stated that the finale will be about the villains rather than the angels or mark of Cain. A lot of talk has been about how on earth the show can address everything that is up in the air. Yet I haven’t seen anyone state the solution so plainly: focus on the villains.

    It’s been known for some time that there will be a big twist and a cliffhanger. It makes sense that Dean would turn fully dark because I don’t think a season has ever ended with Sam and Dean at odds (even season 4 had the brothers clutching at each other as Lucifer was rising). It would also really truly test the brothers’ bond. Sam’s eyes turned black in season 4 but it was just momentarily.

    And I wouldn’t be surprised if Heaven was Crowley’s objective, too.

    Comment by San Summer — April 25, 2014 @ 12:06 am

  65. 9.22 Stairway to Heaven

    TESSA THE REAPER RETURNS — After a massive attack on the angels, Castiel (Misha Collins) calls Sam (Jared Padalecki) and Dean (Jensen Ackles) for help. As they leave, Dean’s eagerness to bring the First Blade doesn’t go unnoticed by Sam who is worried about the cost to his brother whenever he uses the Blade. Meanwhile, Castiel is shocked when he learns the angel that caused the attack was one of his followers and did it in his name. Dean discovers there is a conspiracy amongst Castiel’s angel followers and at the heart of it is Tessa, the Reaper. Guy Bee directed the episode written by Andrew Dabb

    Comment by San Summer — April 25, 2014 @ 1:26 am

  66. *coughcough* From King of the Damned: Castiel captures one of Metatron’s angels and asks Sam and Dean for help with the interrogation. Dean eagerly accepts, which doesn’t go unnoticed by Sam.

    Comment by San Summer — April 25, 2014 @ 1:29 am

  67. I have what at least to me is an interesting theory(and as such will probably never be brought up on the show).
    Why is it, do you think, that The Winchesters were the perfect vessels for Michael and Lucifer, besides their good son/rebellious son dynamic?
    When you think about the four archangels,they each had a special role they played. I can’t remember Raphael’s role, but Gabriel was the emissary between God and humanity, Lucifer was sort of the prosecuting attorney against humanity, and Michael was the general, the enforcer of God’s bloody and murderous punishments towards humanity.
    All humans, all of us,no matter how basically good, have dark sides that unchecked could allow us to go over the edge into evil territory.It’s our humanity that keeps our dark sides submerged and in check.
    What is Sam’s dark side? It’s his pride and ego. The demon blood made him strong and powerful, that power fed his ego, i.e., his pride. It was Lucifer’s pride and ego that made him steadfastly believe he was far better than the humans God commanded he defer to.
    And what is Dean’s dark side? Well, even long before he took that mark, we knew that Dean has always had a sadistic bent, and a tendency to enjoy killing just a tad too much. Even if what you’re killing is evil and deserves to die, you’re still not supposed to get off on it that much, not supposed to be that bloodthirsty about it. And even in Hell, even if all the torture Dean endured himself finally made him break and start doing the torturing himself, the fact that he came to enjoy it is an inhumane trait. Yes, Dean has always had violent tendencies.
    Since it was always Michael who carried out the bloody carnage of God’s judgments on humanity, it’s safe to assume that he must have enjoyed it to a degree.
    Again, it’s Sam and Dean’s basic goodness and their humanity that has kept their darkside under control. Most importantly, they had eachother as their monitor and support. As Dean once said, they kept eachother human.
    But what I think that mark did to Cain was to strip him of his humanity, which then allowed his dark side, which just happened to also be the same as Dean’s, to take over completely, which turned him into the killing machine and monster he became.It was only when he received the unconditional love from Colette that his long buried humanity made a mighty return. But Dean now believes he doesn’t have that unconditional love from Sam or anybody else and worse, that he never had it to begin with. So that, along with the mark and eventually the blade, I believe, could very well turn Dean completely to the evil darker side that until now he’s always kept in check .

    Comment by roxi — April 25, 2014 @ 4:33 am

  68. @67 I completely agree with you,roxi.

    Comment by emmanuel — April 25, 2014 @ 4:49 am

  69. Without the bond with Sam, Dean certainly does have the capacity to become ruthless. We saw the in “The End” where future Dean didn’t think twice about sending his trusting friends and comrades into an ambush. His coldness even shocked, well himself.
    And now he believes his entire life, thinking he did good for the world and thinking that his litle brother thought so too and looked up to him, was one big lie.He now believes that Sam NEVER thought very highly of him, and that his life was NEVER worth much or that he did much good for the world at all. What is there left to motivate him to want to keep fighting evil, particularly when he feels like one big failure? All of this weighing on him, plus Kevin’s death, along with the mark and then later to be amplified by the blade, yeah, it’s really easy for me to believe that he could say screw fighting for good and just let his dark impulses take over. And it surely would be a shocking turn of events for this show, with the history of the brothers. Even Sam, while he was full on addicted to and pumped up on the demon blood, never went all the way to the dark, never gave way totally to evil. It would also be the ultimate irony, that both John and Dean, and even Sam for that matter, were so afraid for so long that it would be SAM that would be taken by the darkness, but then in the end it ends up being Dean, with Sam being the one who vows to save HIM.
    But then, what the hell am I talking about, right? Any kind of storyline like that would actually have to take creative writing and story and character development. I seriously doubt this group of writers are capable LOL.

    Comment by roxi — April 25, 2014 @ 6:03 am

  70. So in 22 the Winchesters get called into the SPN’s Castiel season arc. That says much about this season.
    Meanwhile last episode went up with a .9 share from a season low .7.–to over 2 million v. 1.6 mil in the previous week.Half a million more voters is a huge increase on a 1.6 million base. The promise of a Winchester MOTW seems to have attracted an audience more representative of the season as a whole. Of course, Dean and Sam were secondary characters in the episode but that seems to be Carver’s use of them–even in a MOTW.
    I hope Sam saves Dean at the end of 9 also; it would be another quick dump of a Winchester story, but at least it would be a Winchester story. I rather see a Sam story and a Dean story come to a head in some dramatic way, but Sam saving Dean is about the best that can be hoped for. A Sam in Man of Letters mode clashing with Gandrell interwoven with a Dean under the MOC clashing with Abaddon would be exciting and entertaining to watch, but Sam and Dean have clearly become secondary supporting characters with sidelined storylines in Castiel and Carver’s angelfest. The elements for an engaging Winchester story are present in 9; those elements are being used in short clips to keep J2 fans watching Carver’s unimaginative angel story. Bait and switch they call this is business.

    Comment by CaseyT — April 25, 2014 @ 7:03 am

  71. I went to that spn-gossip website to look for the spoiler that was mentioned, which I didn’t find, but my goodness, what an AWFUL website this is! Nothing but horrible comments about the boy’s wives, how fake their marriages are, how it’s so obvious that they’re secret lovers and spend no time with their wives but all their time with eachother, what bitches their wives are, etc.
    I truly want nothing to do with that site.

    Comment by roxi — April 25, 2014 @ 7:36 am

  72. @67roxi, I think much of what you say about Sam is true, but I don’t agree that Dean “has always had a sadistic bent, and a tendency to enjoy killing just a tad too much.” In my opinion, there’s nothing sadistic about Dean: he’s a very caring and gentle man, even a peaceful one. However, when it comes to defending helpless individuals against murderous supernatural entities or vicious human monsters, he kills with finality and without hesitation–as well he should. Since S1, the idea has been put forward that Dean is sometimes too rash, that he’s ready to shoot first and ask questions later, so Sam has to restrain him. We saw that in “Faith.” However, only on the rarest of occasions, as in “Bloodlust,” has Dean used excessive violence. Normally, when he kills, he does so with ample and just cause. In fact, when the question arises over whether the boys should dispose of a murderous entity or pity it and let it go, it’s usually Sam who’s forced to rethink his sympathetic position (e.g. “Heart,” “Metamorphosis,” etc.)

    The idea that Dean takes sick, twisted joy in disposing of monsters seems to have its root in “Bloodlust”–an episode in which he was on the verge of an emotional breakdown over John’s death/damnation, was filled with rage against supernatural entities, and was under the influence of the sadistic Gordon. No doubt Dean enjoyed beheading the vamp. However, he later recognized he’d been wrong–NOT because he’d taken pleasure in “killing” a vamp, but because THIS vamp didn’t kill humans. Dean learned an important lesson in that episode–one that took him off the path followed by Gordon and gave him a new understanding of and sympathy towards a vamp like Lenore.

    Should Dean or Sam take a certain pleasure in disposing of the heinous killers they confront? When these monsters/demons/angel and even humans mutilate, ravage, consume, or cleanly kill innocent people, utterly destroying them and heaping suffering upon their families? I’d take as much pleasure in killing such things as I would in exterminating a nest of rats that threatened a nursery.

    As for Dean’s coming to enjoy the torture he inflicted in hell, I remember being puzzled by the reaction of many fans to Dean’s admission. As I recall, no one objected to Dean’s finally breaking after forty years of unspeakable torture. Yet, they wanted him to have tortured other souls and felt badly about it. Can you imagine? He picks up his instrument of torture and, virtually weeping over his victim, inflicts horrific pain, says in effect that he’s really truly sorry he has to do this but it’s you or me so it has to be you. Buzz…chop chop. Now THAT’S creepy! The pleasure Dean took in what he did reflected the fact four decades of agony on the block had driven him to madness–the kind of madness we saw only hinted at in “On the Head of a Pin.”

    I agree that his madness dehumanized Dean, but I think it’s important to recognize that he never became a demon. The reason is important. How long would it have taken a soul damned to eternal hell for committing terrible evil in life to be willing to torture other souls? It’s likely none of those souls were given the offer Dean was because they would have accepted it without the slightest hesitation.

    And what if there were other people in hell who, like Dean, sacrificed their souls to save a relative? Chances are they, like most of us, would have gotten up the rack in no time, telling themselves, “What the hell? Why should I suffer such agony? The souls I’m asked to torture are those of killers and other human monsters who’ve caused incredible suffering on earth. They deserve to be here; I don’t. And if I don’t torture them, someone else will. I’ll do it! Let me up!”

    But not Dean. Each moment for four decades of relentless slicing and dicing down to nothing, this good man, this righteous man, endured indescribable suffering to protect the most evil souls that had ever lived from himself. It was for this reason that Alastair and other demons were so determined to make him break. The only way they could do it was to drive him insane.

    Dean’s time in hell wasn’t proof of his “dark side.” It was a testament to his heroism.

    Comment by JT — April 25, 2014 @ 8:22 am

  73. @CaseyT, I’m not too thrilled either about the brothers’ role. I thought Carver said something would pull Sam and Dean back central to the angel conflict but the synopses make it seem like Sam and Dean act more as a helping hand. I don’t like how identical the descriptions for 21 and 22 are. Well, maybe Dean and Tessa will bring it back to the Winchesters.

    @roxi. spn-gossip.livejournal.com/24724.html
    The site has a separate spoiler thread that has discussion about the show and where the finale rumours can be found (earlier this season there was a poster who gave spoilers that turned out to be true). But I would not recommend it for Dean/Cas fans. :)

    Comment by San Summer — April 25, 2014 @ 8:23 am

  74. @71, roxi, unfortunately, SN attracts its share of such individuals. My guess is a lot of shows do. These aren’t fans. I think they’re just pitiful, sick people who’d do and say anything to get attention from others. And my guess is there really aren’t many of them. They just use multiple board names to make it seem like they’re part of a crowd.

    Anyway, I’m fascinated by the questions you raise in your post about Michael and Lucifer. Do you suppose the boys could have been considered the perfect vessels because these angels have traditionally been painted as God’s mightiest warriors and among His most beloved creations? Whether out of envy or malice, angels and demons seem to target Sam and Dean not because of their weakness, but because of their strength. They’re exceptionally good men and, no doubt, beloved by SN’s God (if there is one!).

    Comment by JT — April 25, 2014 @ 8:45 am

  75. One good thing in all of this is that Jim Michaels said on Twitter that Dabb was writing 9.22. Relieves my mind that the Nepotism Duo can only mess up one more episode this season.

    Comment by Sheri — April 25, 2014 @ 9:18 am

  76. @75 Thanks, Sheri. The thing that concerns me about Dabb is that he’s writing “Bloodlines,” isn’t he? I’d hate for SN to be relegated to second place so he can somehow advance his new baby.

    Comment by JT — April 25, 2014 @ 9:45 am

  77. @ JT #76: Dabbs’ pilot script for Bloodlines was completed some time ago and the filming is done. 9.20 should be done filming now, and the CW has not yet determined whether Bloodlines will be picked up for a series, so his time has been free for a bit. Fingers crossed that he did a decent job with the script.

    Comment by Sheri — April 25, 2014 @ 10:13 am

  78. @77Sheri, thanks again. Dabbs’ association with “Bloodlines,” together with the last episode and the comment by Kim about the boys expanding their world, had me wondering if Kripke’s SN is over. I don’t know why the network and series people can’t seem to get it through their heads that SN has survived all these years for only two reasons: JP’s Sam and JA’s Dean. Take that winning combination out of the mix and you got nothin.’

    Comment by JT — April 25, 2014 @ 11:58 am

  79. @ JT: I don’t know if the J2s want as much time off as possible or if it is Carver’s idea to expand the cast, because he thinks he can tell more stories that way. I know I am getting really ticked off with episodes like this one where the thing is written just to use Kim Rhodes again.

    Mark Sheppard’s role is expanding, Misha is now full-time, and it seems to me the guest stars are getting more time in the episodes.

    I wanted an expanded SPN world, but I wanted them with characters that actually had some relevance to the show; like Hendrickson’s character did, or Chuck the prophet, or any number of hunter characters that are mentioned in name only usually…and not teenage girls acting tough, aging geeks, village Zen idiots, or Daisy Duke’s…and after this latest bunch of angels, no more angels, please.

    Comment by Sheri — April 25, 2014 @ 1:01 pm

  80. Carlos might be a mystery friend :D Reminds me of Ritchie. It was a fun surprise to see Kirk Acevedo on The Walking Dead because I used to love Oz but his character got killed quickly. He would be a good one for Supernatural. (And of course a bunch of others from that show.)

    I wonder what hunters think of the Winchesters. Are most of them now cool with Sam? I guess at worst he is seen as just a dumbass because there hasn’t been anyone after him since Gordon or Roy and Walt (I would love to get a resolution to them!) I think Dean has a solid reputation but maybe he could start to have a target on his back although I don’t think any regular hunter would dare to go up against him when he has the blade.

    Comment by San Summer — April 25, 2014 @ 1:42 pm

  81. @ Jaytee #60: I completely disagree with the poster who said Ep. 18 and 19 are always MotW and then the show rolls into finale action.

    First off, all pre-Carver seasons had a goal:
    S1: Find dad
    S2: Kill the YED
    S3: Save Dean
    S4: Sam’s downhill slide
    S5: Stop the Apocalypse
    S6: Kill Eve
    S7: Stop the Leviathans
    S8: Close the gates to Hell (the trials)
    S9: I don’t know what the story is. Something about Metatron, putting the angels back into Heaven, and a supposedly Abaddon and Crowley vying for Hell…or

    The brothers’ big fight…or

    Each player finding their own identity…or

    The power of addiction (a rehash of Sam’s demon blood story)…or

    Does the end justify the means…or

    The Mark of Cain

    I’ll discuss the episode question by using S1, since that is the season with the most MotW episodes.

    1.18 Something Wicked and 1.19 Provence: Both were MotW episodes, but we learned a LOT about the brothers while they were working the case. In Something Wicked, we learned what an absolutely horrible childhood Dean had, the root of his undue sense of responsibility, guilt, and rigid obedience to John’s demands that he protect Sam. (Dead Man’s Blood was another one.) We also learned the difference in how John treated the boys and that part of Sam’s anger and hatred for hunting and for John was on Dean’s behalf.

    In 1.19 Provenance, we saw that Sam was hiding from life and Dean was encouraging him to re-engage. We learned that Sam was sometimes snobbish with Dean and sometimes he sank to very deep lows. While Dean was gently pushing Sam, we saw just how smart Dean was in getting Sam to do what he wanted him to do, and we saw that it was done out of love for his brother.

    I could go through every season like this, but it would probably bore you to death. I will just say that 2.18 Hollywood Babylon was strictly a MotW, but we still learned things. We saw how seamlessly Dean could fit into any situation from all his years of hunting and pretending, that Sam was going to deal with his hurt over Madison by working, and it was the first episode that Black Magic.

    The most interesting thing most viewers probably did not catch in that episode was that Edlund pointed out in the script (through all the producers and other people talking) that fantasy and horror shows do have certain RULES that must be followed, because if writers doesn’t stick to their own rules, then sub-text means nothing and the viewers cannot reliably infer what’s going on. It would do this group of writers some good if they were required to watch that episode.

    In 9.18 Meta Fiction we learned that Metatron was writing a book with his own rules and, since he was trying to get Cas to lead the angels against him, I have to assume that he is still filling up his cast of characters, but he seems to have no interest in the Winchesters. We learned that the writers were telling us that it did not matter how they got to the end, they knew the ending and it would be awesome, but that the viewers can make up their own minds about that when the season is over. We saw Sam worry about Dean, and we saw a tiny bit of darker Dean.

    We did not learn if the possession argument is over with the Winchesters and attention is now turning to the Mark story. We know nothing more about Metatron’s end goal. We know Cas assumed his role as leader of the angels. We saw Gadreel again, but no development on his character. Abaddon and Crowley are somewhere and doing something, I guess. Basically, the episode told us stuff we already knew.

    In 9.19, some believe there were parallels between the brothers and Annie. I saw the parallel between Jodi and Mama Vamp, but none with Dean. I suppose one could squint and say that Annie’s family situation was similar to Sam’s – him wanting out of hunting but sticking with Dean because he did not want to disappoint him. I don’t agree with that at all. In fact, I think trying to make those parallels is very existential.

    If we are to believe that 1.19 paralleled with Sam in any way, then Sam choosing hunting in S8 when Dean told him both feet in or both feet out, and Sam accepting the bunker as his home in this season’s Slumber Party meant nothing.

    Now compare what little we know at this point in S9 to S1, a season that was introducing characters and lore while concentrating on MotW episodes. Between 1.15 and 1.20 we saw the reason for Dean’s sense of responsibility and guilt, we learned the truth about Meg, John showed up, the Colt was revealed, and we learned about John’s developing relationship with both Sam and Dean. That was all done in five one-off MotW episodes.

    This is too long, and I apologize, but there was no shorter way to answer your question.

    Comment by Sheri — April 25, 2014 @ 2:00 pm

  82. @79Sheri, I couldn’t agree more. Not only is SN being used as a vehicle to attract teens to the CW, characters are shoehorned in simply to appeal to a certain segment of the audience or for other reasons. I’m convinced the last episode was intended to gauge audience reaction to the Jody/Anna story in anticipation of making these characters part of “Bloodlines.” I’ve seen other series “pilot” characters for a spinoff this way, but not to such a degree that the leads seemed irrelevant. And I’ve certainly never seen a lengthy, emotional final scene given over entirely to guest stars, while the leads were cut off practically mid-sentence before vanishing like so much dust in the wind. The problem is, unlike Bobby, Jody’s made only a handful of (usually brief) appearances on the show. Yet the producers gave her what was essentially her own episode. They did much the same for the actor who plays Metatron. (I don’t even know his name!) Why would minor characters be spotlighted while Sam and Dean are relegated to the shadows?

    I think the 2Js are largely to blame. Carver and his stars seem to have agreed that the Js would work “full time” through the first half of the season, but ways would be found to make their schedules markedly lighter in the second half. Carver used Collins, Sheppard, and guest stars to fill in for JP and JA. I don’t object to the boys taking time off; they probably made that a condition of continuing their exhausting pace for another two or more years. What bothers me is the incredibly amateurish, unimaginative way so many Winchester Light episodes are written. I get the feeling almost everybody around the writers’ table is simply “phoning it in.” The person who bears the blame for that is Carver. As the saying goes, the fish rots from the head down.

    Frankly, I wish SN would fire every writer at that table before S10 and hire some real talent for a change.

    Comment by JT — April 25, 2014 @ 7:24 pm

  83. @80, San Summer, I’m glad you bring up other hunters; I’ve been wondering about them. It seems to me that, Bobby excepted, other hunters are confined to MOTW stories; they’re shut out of myth arcs by the writers. I guess the reason could be a pretty practical one: the Winchesters alone have the magical knife (knives?) needed to annihilate angels and demons. Hunters would be helpless against such beings.

    Anyway, in my opinion, it’s just as well. In S1, the Winchesters had a mysterious, legendary, mythical quality because they were presented as unique, solitary men, trained all their lives to embark on a secret mission to rid the earth of an evil few humans would ever suspect existed. But the mythical, highly secretive life was turned into a massive joke with the appearance of the ludicrous Havelle Roadhouse–a Gilmore Girls dive where monster hunters were as banal as barflies. Since then, yahoo monster hunters like the Ghostfacers, Roy, Walt, and others have so demythologized the life, which overall has become about as mysterious as pest control and as challenging as bowling. With only a modicum of training and intelligence, anybody, from teenaged kids to bumbling clowns, can and will hunt monsters.

    It’s wise that the producers elect to keep other hunters far removed from Sam and Dean’s struggles against the massive threats posed by evil angels, demons, and creatures like the Leviathan. It’s because of these solitary struggles, together with the brothers’ legacy from Men of Letters and their history with heaven, purgatory, and hell, that the uniqueness and legendary/mythical stature of the Winchesters has been retained.

    Comment by JT — April 25, 2014 @ 9:28 pm

  84. @82 JT. I was somewhat curious to see Jody after Rock and a Hard Place. There has been a lot of talk about how Sam doesn’t necessarily have friends like Dean but 9.08 hinted that maybe Jody could become close to them. (Also people seeing Jody/Sam :D) There were a couple of cute scenes between the boys and Jody, Sam had dimples and he even winked at her! But in the end it wasn’t about Jody and the Winchesters relating to one another. I think the actress was talking about this episode when she said the character doesn’t feel motherly towards Sam and Dean. The issue of her being a mother without a child was the one being explored.

    There is so much going on between Sam and Dean that I think the focus should on them. What did Sam make of Dean’s comment: “You wouldn’t have done it, too”? Dean used to show serious concern for Sam when Sam was hurt, he didn’t make snide remarks.

    Now in synopses for 21 and 22 Dean is described as eager and they use the phrase “doesn’t go unnoticed by Sam”. Well it better not go unnoticed by Sam! I hope he puts his foot down but I doubt he will in 21 since he is still feeling the same way in the episode after that. I think Dean will be something similar to how he was when he got out of Purgatory except a bit more manic.

    Comment by San Summer — April 26, 2014 @ 2:46 am

  85. @83. I liked their isolation because it made the show about SamnDean! But since they are determined to phase that out, I think other hunters could be interesting (compared to angel factions). Namely, hunters after the Winchesters. I always felt like that wasn’t ever fully explored during Kripke’s years. More like teased. I remember the show giving an impression that Dean and Sam would need to watch out for the hunter community which is a pretty impossible task. Yet Gordon was basically the only one whose story was about hunting the brothers. (His episodes are fun to watch because hindsight actually adds to them.) I think human against human can bring a whole different quality than the brothers against strictly supernatural evil. Like when hunters in 5.03 were trying to force demon blood down Sam’s throat and Sam spat it on their face!

    Comment by San Summer — April 26, 2014 @ 3:01 am

  86. @ San Summer #83: Thinking about other hunters is interesting.

    Sam and Dean were introduced as mysterious with a mythical quality, and that came from how they were raised. Although the viewers knew there were other hunters out there, John kept the brothers away from both civilians and other hunters (from Blood Lust, when Dean tells Gordon they were not clued into the hunter community).

    Kripke’s hunters were portrayed as shaman in a sense, in that they interceded in the supernatural world and even practiced magic. Kripke’s concept was that hunters lived in the shadows of society, but were trying to save humanity. I think this bunch of Hollywood writers have lost sight of that aspect of the show.

    I liked the Roadhouse, used sparingly, but what I liked about it was Ellen. If the show would not have attached Jo to Ellen’s apron strings, Ellen could have been a long-lasting and interesting support character. They could have used Ellen, a realistic character who was connected to the SPNverse in the same way that they are using Jodi Mills now — to bring cases to the brothers and to occasionally make points about their arguments — and it would have been more organic.

    As an aside, it is hard for me to buy into Jodi Mills as a hunter-type when she can swing a machete effortlessly and take off a vamp’s head, when the two legendary Winchesters have to use two hands and full male strength to do the same thing.

    I think that the Winchesters could have then met some actual realistic hunters through Ellen who could have been recurring sparingly…not bumbling fools like Garth, who should have been dead on his first hunt, but magically ascended to Bobby 2.0…or a teenage mini-Dean like Krissy.

    I loved Rufus, because he was realistic and recognized the Winchesters for the top-shelf hunters they are supposed to be. I even loved Roy and Walt, because they were realistic, and I would like to see the Winchesters run into them again and have that issue resolved.

    If the Winchesters can call unseen hunters on the phone, I would imagine Roy and Walt are still out there and know both Winchesters are alive. I would rather see a one-off episode about them and the Winchesters, then a whole episode dedicated to Jodi Mills, who was only in three episodes before getting a whole episode dedicated to her (the same with Garth); or Krissy, who was only in one episode before we got her backstory.

    I liked the idea of the mysterious shadow hunter community, and I liked the early dichotomy and tension of Dean being a committed hunter and Sam, a hunter who sought to get out of hunting and live in the normal world. The tension there came from the idea that hunting was a noble job that saved innocents from the grasp of evil, but everyone could understand Sam’s desire to get away from the blood, gore, and horror.

    Ever since the middle of season 5, though, all of a sudden hunting became a bad thing, because Sam wanted normal and that is the only acceptable lifestyle the guys should seek. That was clearly shown in S8, where Sam was going to lead Dean into the light.

    I think Dean’s choice to be a hunter should be given just as much gravitas and as much weight as Sam’s desire for normal, particularly since hunting evil is what the show is supposed to be about.

    Because they made hunting a bad thing, this season has turned out to be just what I feared would happen — that Dean is too over-protective (or dependent) and keeps Sam attached to him; that Dean protecting Sam is a bad thing when, in fact, it was what made the brothers’ relationship work and drove the show in the first five seasons.

    One other nitpick: Whatever happened to Dean’s love for that beautiful Colt 1911? My guess is the writers’ political views of gun control, so we are into knives as the weapons of choice these days. (What was the other handgun? Wasn’t Sam’s a Desert Eagle?)

    Comment by Sheri — April 26, 2014 @ 5:31 am

  87. @Sheri. I see what you’re saying. For you, the issue is that the MOTW stories lately don’t seem to be telling you anything. Previous years may have had MOTW stories this late in the season, but we’d still get a lot of character insight that would lead back to the mytharc, whereas now they feel like filler?

    For the pacing, I keep hearing that “it will all come together,” so I’m trying to reserve judgement till the end of the season. I feel like Carver is trying to do a “JK Rowling” style season here, where there’s clues and hints and red herrings all over the place, then by the end of the book it would all make sense.

    @JT: I don’t remember anymore if it was canon or fanon, but there was an idea that John kept the brothers isolated from most other hunters when they were kids, and as adults they’ve never fully broken that habit. Moreover, Show has been inconsistent on the nature of the “hunting network.” In S2 there seemed to be a fairly cohesive group due to the Roadhouse, but even then, Ellen said that each guy kind of worked on his own thing and people didn’t interfere with each other much unless their paths crossed directly on something. There have also been suggestions that Bobby and later Garth were big as far as a “network.” And yes, it’s always been suggested that most other hunters are “two steps above serial killers” and aren’t terribly nuanced.

    I think in terms of hunting now though, Sam and Dean would be considered more “big game hunters.” Whereas there’s still other guys clearing up werewolves and vamps and minor demons (“pest control”), the brothers have been in their own league dealing with huge, world-ending scenarios for years. It was suggested in early S9 that few hunters even knew about angels, for instance. All that said, I was glad to hear about “Carlos” in Meta Fiction, as a recurring idea this season seems to be that SamnDean are a touch too insular and shouldn’t always be their own island, and that other hunters can actually be helpful at times.

    @San Summer. I’m a little disappointed too with Sam’s portrayal in the last two epis (and not that much happier with Dean’s story, but at least there’s been a bit of motion there). With Meta Fiction, I was like “yay, Gadreel, serious insight on Sam!” Then, nothing. Then A4, I was like “Jody and Sam are buddies, they’re definitely gonna talk about this stuff!” Then, nothing. I’m totally cool with Sam being the emotional point person for once while the mytharc focuses on Dean- but we still need Sam POV for that beyond worried glances and the occasional comment towards Dean. By Ep. 22 in S4, Dean was locking Sam in Bobby’s panic room. Ep. 22 this year, Dean wants to use the Blade, and it “doesn’t go unnoticed by Sam.” Again, I’ll reserve judgement till the end of the season, but I certainly hope we’ll see more than we’ve been seeing. Dean’s issues have been “not unnoticed” by Sam for several episodes now.

    Comment by Jaytee — April 26, 2014 @ 6:01 am

  88. Sheri, do you mean the gun that has engravings and a pear handle? I like it when shows put some thought into things so they pick something special as the hero gun. Like in The Walking Dead, the main character doesn’t just have any old gun in his hand.

    Jaytee, exactly! In Meta Fiction, they cut Sam’s line where he voiced his concern for Dean. I got that Sam was worried, I didn’t need that line to confirm it and it’s probably flattering for an actor that they don’t have to give dialogue that spells out everything. However, there is such a bias against Sam because some think he doesn’t care about Dean so the scene has been interpreted as Sam needing to be TOLD by Cas to keep an eye on Dean. Okay. Sam is not an idiot.

    Comment by San Summer — April 26, 2014 @ 7:46 am

  89. *pearl handle

    Comment by San Summer — April 26, 2014 @ 7:47 am

  90. I really enjoyed this episode, have watched it a few times and there is very little that I want to fast forward, always a good sign to me. The brother’s angst was not too obvious so it was a decent MOTW episode and if they were writing it to be parallel to the Winchester bros situation that did not bother me and really don’t see it although I have read several reviews that try to make the connection. Having said that, if the spoiler is right then I am going to be so very upset (although I have not seen it mentioned anywhere else yet)– I know it is good for business to have fans up in arms but that can only go so far before many fans like me just start to back off, least that is how I feel. Have not gone to LJ to check, personally I don’t have a problem with fanfic that is slash or wincest or destiel as I don’t have to read it so any site or fans that are invested in these areas I avoid as that is not my bag but no problem with them they are fans and can stay in their own fan section – obviously when it gets personal with families and real people nastiness then wow are they sick.
    Back to SPN and my hopes, I want the Sammy moments, I want the saying the same thing at the same time, I just want the brothers to be the snarky and loving bros that they used to be. I have read many expositions that this ”love” is in our imaginations but it is what called to me (obviously the fact that Sam and Dean i.e. Jared and Jensen are hot is a definite plus!). Of the other boards/sites I go to this is definitely the most critical of S9, but then a lot of the current viewers have been brought in by Netflix etc so are still on a high after binge watching! I might be wrong but I think that the most dissatisfied fans are the long term ones and I have the feeling that we will have to take the series as it is now rather than try and go back to “how it was”. Each showrunner has had their own vision and they get to play out this vision, part of which is to cause as much discussion as possible. I really don’t want to see any of the current “stories” carried forward to S10, the MOC is/was a really exciting story but as it means the bros aren’t on the same page I would have preferred it to have been the focus for the last 3 eps this season, well maybe 2 and the other one wrap up the heaven story which I just am not interested in.

    Comment by Icarus — April 26, 2014 @ 8:18 am

  91. @84San Summer, I agree–Jody’s been a terrific asset to the series, but I didn’t like her as the focal character. She should provide back-up for the boys in their story–not the reverse. As you say, the episode wasn’t about Jody relating to the Winchesters. And it wasn’t about Jody’s relationship with Bobby (was he even mentioned?). It was about Sheriff Jody Mills, a monster hunter who lost her family to zombies, and how she came to “adopt” Anna, an expert on vamps. I’m surprised the final shot of the episode didn’t show the new Ellen and Jo driving off in the sunset with “Chicago or Bust” plastered to the side of the car. I’ll bet a lot of other familiar faces will be appearing in the Windy City should CW schedule the spinoff Both to draw in SN viewers and legitimize their new baby, the producers will likely cannibalize SN in dozens of ways. But, hey! Go right ahead, guys. Take the angels. All of them. Just don’t send them back.

    As for other hunters, I think it would be interesting to see the boys confront some nasty ones now and then, but the Winchesters have moved way out of the ordinary hunter’s league. Carlos sounds intriguing. I just hope he’s a specialist who could be of some real help to the boys. Maybe he’s a demon hunter–or a demonologist. It’s time the brothers had their own network to call upon for help, much the way John did. And are Sam and Dean the only legacies? Maybe they’re one or two others–NOT in Chicago, I hope!

    Comment by JT — April 26, 2014 @ 8:21 am

  92. “there are one or two others…..” Sigh. Sorry.

    Comment by JT — April 26, 2014 @ 8:23 am

  93. @San Summer (89), it’s becoming a joke in some circles that consistently after every episode since Thinman, someone, somewhere, will post something like “Sam seems to be finally noticing that something’s up with Dean.” Like the people posting that now haven’t noticed his worry since Thinman, Blade Runners or especially MLH?

    @Sheri (86), I see what you’re saying, but I’ll point out that even in the early seasons, hunting wasn’t really seen as “good,” but more of a vigilante necessity. The obsessed John Winchester himself expressed a wish for his kids to live normal lives after taking out Yellow Eyes. The common narrative for other hunters was that they were all drawn in by tragedy of some kind. Dean was always the more enthusiastic hunter, but he discouraged Jo from hunting, his “ideal” life (problematic as it was) didn’t include hunting, in AHBL II he felt that he had paid and given far too much to hunting and didn’t care if the world did end, he frequently said he was “tired,” and was straight burnt-out by S5 (which is why Sam told Dean to go find Lisa and be normal after it was all said and done). I think Sam and Dean have always had mixed feelings about hunting, and Dean “defaults” to wanting to hunt while occasionally questioning it, while Sam “defaults” to eventually wanting out with occasional periods of commitment to it for various reasons (I’d have to go back and look, but is it Sam that more often mentions “helping people” in the last few seasons?).

    One question that seems to be hovering in the background since S8, that likely won’t be addressed until Show is ready for its “endgame,” is “How much is enough?” Not that hunting is straight up horrible, but for the brothers, it’s meant almost endless pain and sacrifice throughout nearly their entire lives. Is there a point where they can say they’ve done enough, or are they morally bound to fight until they die, no matter how broken they are before that point? Do their skills make them sacrificial lambs at this point for humanity? (The MOL bunker provides a useful “third option” for the brothers where they can still be in “the life” and helping, but stable and “out of the fray” enough that they can contemplate other goals as well).

    Since you mention it though, that’s one thing I’m curious about for Bloodlines, as I’ve read two almost contradictory spoilers on that topic. I think it was JP that said awhile ago that Sam would empathize quite a bit with Ennis leaving his normal life to hunt, while Dean would be more hard-nosed about it. But one of the synopses I’ve seen says that both brothers try to warn Ennis off hunting. Wonder which it’ll be?

    Comment by Jaytee — April 26, 2014 @ 8:36 am

  94. @90, Icarus, I do think the brothers will be on the same page–at least I hope so. I’d like to see Sam and Dean share the realization that they’re stuck. Abaddon is stealing souls; she has to be stopped at all costs. And Dean is the only one who can do it. The MOC and blade may turn him demonic, and Sam might have to kill Dean if he can’t stop him from going the way of Cain. The consequences of using the blade should be openly and frankly discussed between the brothers. As when Sam chose to be Lucifer’s vessel with the consent of Dean, once the boys have made their decision, they should work together to do what they must to carry it out.

    Comment by JT — April 26, 2014 @ 8:40 am

  95. @ Jaytee #87: Exactly. I like MotW episodes, but I expect those and the support characters in them to SUPPORT the leads and/or the season’s arc.

    My problem with A4 is not Kim Rhodes or Jodi the character. My problem is that Jodi Mills did not deserve an episode dedicated to her. She has appeared only three times and has not “earned his stripes,” so to speak, like Bobby did when he to Weekend at Bobby’s.”

    To me, a support character has to be on the show for a good amount of time and do interesting and relevant things. They have to put enough time and effort in as a side character before the show turns the spotlight on them. Bobby did this. The writers current favorites have not.

    They did the same thing with Garth’s character. Adam Glass’ niece replica, Krissy, got two episodes without doing that, and Robbie Thompson’s self-insert, Charlie, got three.

    The other problem I had with this episode is that
    there are 3 episodes left and Abaddon has been MIA since I can’t remember when. Crowley is somewhere with the First Blade and has some kind of agenda. I don’t know what Metatron’s end goal is (is that the mytharc for the season?). Dean has the Mark of Cain which is making him cranky and Sam worried. Cas is gathering a fan club and hasn’t been seen for more than a minute with the brothers (meaning his story is not connected to the Winchesters). Metatron is wherever the hell he is and doesn’t seem to have an interest in the Winchesters. Hell is still open and Heaven still closed….and we got a Jodi Mills episode! Next week a spin-off that has nothing to do with the SPNverse AT ALL.

    Not addressing any of the stories they have going and then rushing the main stories is NOT a great plan, IMO, and that is why I had such a negative reaction to Jodi Mills. I now hope that she is fostering the messed up teenage girl and never shows up again.

    @ San Summer #85: Yes, the pearl-handled Colt with engravings (it’s a Colt 1911 and Sam used the solid black Desert Eagle).

    Comment by Sheri — April 26, 2014 @ 9:05 am

  96. It was great when there was more mystery to hunting. Hunting was portrayed as a fringe thing because otherwise the question would be why the word hasn’t gotten out to the rest of the society. There is lore on how to kill supernatural things but the knowledge has mostly died or people were silenced and made out to be crazy. The Winchesters would rather protect others’ innocence and not let supernatural evil dictate how humans should live.

    Being a hunter meant having to rely pretty much completely on yourself. You needed to have street smarts, physicality and the intelligence to put together patterns and to tap into knowledge that is hard to access. Basically living like a criminal, on the road, avoiding to get caught by the police and trying to keep the supernatural world as a secret all the while doing good without getting paid or thanked. You have to know about guns and how to make bullets, disable alarms, do credit card frauds, make fake IDs so good you can pass as an FBI agent and even know how to hack into government domain. It’s a life most can’t handle because there is no safety net. Even for Sam and Dean it’s hard and they stick together because they are much stronger that way.

    There being other hunters makes sense but it’s about the portrayal. It is dangerous men like Gordon. They can walk into any dive bar or end up in prison and survive because it has nothing on how they have had to fight from being violently murdered as part of their job. It is guys like Elkins or Martin who are somewhat outside of society due to what they have seen. Hell, even a character who thought he was getting signs from God. By the way, for some reason I loved the idea of Pastor Jim. If you are a priest then technically you probably have to believe in Hell, demons etc. but I’m sure many would have thought that John Winchester was crazy.

    There can’t be too many other hunters or otherwise ghosts etc. would get efficiently salted and burned, hunters would get organized so humans would have a better chance against something big and the Winchesters wouldn’t feel so much like it’s on them to save others. Instead, hunting was shown to be more about people on a personal mission. Yet over the years the mystery has died down. Now it’s something one can just pick up. What the… I mean the show originally made it out as Sam being a bit inexperienced etc. They worked their way up. And Dean was supposed to be out of practice when he started hunting again in season 6. Sam and Dean were trained since they were children and that’s why Yellow-Eyes wanted Sam to win the “Hunger Games”. John was a marine. “He learned the hard way.” Now Charlie etc. show that it’s really not that hard (even when she died she sacrificed herself for Dean).

    I liked Ritchie and I think it’s believable that the hunting life would attract some people that would be more into the lifestyle of having a different girl every night etc. Even Garth at first was okay because I think there is room to have a different approach to interviewing witnesses etc. Like Bela knew she wasn’t gonna be able to pull off being a police officer so she went as a journalist. But then Garth is suddenly Bobby! Completely unnecessary and cheapens the expertize Bobby had to have to able to speak the same language as the people who actually work for the FBI etc.

    Comment by San Summer — April 26, 2014 @ 9:09 am

  97. @91 JT, my headcanon now is that Sam met Carlos while he was in New Mexico during the time he and Dean were separated :D

    @93 Jaytee. That is definitely the burning question. It seems like episode Bloodlust was the only time when the brothers stumbled upon a same case as another hunter. There are some creatures and ghosts that have been around for a decade or more. When Sam said at the beginning of season 8:

    “Look, it wasn’t like I was… just oblivious. I mean, I read the paper every day. I saw the weird stories… the kind of stuff we used to chase.”

    “People will always die, Dean. Or maybe another hunter took care of it. I don’t know, but the point is, for the first time, I realized that it wasn’t only up to me to stop it.”

    Dean scoffed like Sam had done something basically immoral. By the end of season 8 Sam didn’t care if he died although he had earlier acknowledged to Meg that he wanted to live a long life. And after Sam found out about the possession he felt that he should have died because he could have put a stop to everything and he felt he couldn’t trust Dean anymore because Dean had talked him out of finishing the trials.

    Comment by San Summer — April 26, 2014 @ 11:21 am

  98. @San Summer, and y’know, they reversed themselves on that last season. I don’t think the characters realized it, or the viewers, hell, the writers may not have realized it.

    You had the beginning of S8 (awful awful), where Sam was basically saying “I helped save the world twice, I’ve literally been to Hell and back, I’ve balanced my ledger and I’ve lost absolutely everything and everyone. I’m done. Someone else can deal with the damn monsters now, I’m going to get what I can out of my life.” (Or at least that’s what I want to believe about the character, but the quotes you’ve provided as well as Sam’s initial quotes about hunting when Dean got back made me think this). Reminiscent of AHBL II “Let the world end then!”

    Dean point blank said he intended for both of them to keep hunting until they died (or at least until Dean died). By the end of the season, Sam was willing to die for the cause, while Dean was one going “enough is enough!”

    Bobby’s last words to the boys were, “When it’s your time to go, go. Let someone else save the world.”

    I suppose it comes down to that both brothers are happy to throw themselves into the pit so to speak for a big enough mission, but neither is willing to sacrifice the other or go on without the other. Sam was committed to hunting until Dean was gone, and then he just felt like he’d lost too much and didn’t want to put himself out there anymore to die alone in a cheap motel room somewhere. The last straggling Winchester and last pathetic piece of Team Free Will. Had he kept hunting, he may well have been dead by the time Dean got back anyway. Of course, the way it was written/portrayed made him look very uncaring. I frankly just don’t like the idea that Sam can be that indifferent and that uncaring after everything else we’ve seen of him.

    Dean was committed to closing Hell until he learned the cost, which was too high even for potentially ending demonic threat to the world. He never really wanted Sam taking them on, as he figured he “should” be the one to die. For both, losing the other is too much- they won’t hunt if that’s the cost.

    The boys are really very, very close to being on the same page on a lot of things, but their past hurts and insecurities keep them from discussing it calmly and agreeing.

    Comment by Jaytee — April 26, 2014 @ 12:18 pm

  99. @Jaytee. It’s definitely a tough subject and there is probably no right answer. Sam’s attitude “maybe someone else took care of it” seemed oddly flippant in a way. But it was necessary for Sam to come to the epiphany that he could have a life of his own. The fight doesn’t depend on one soldier. And it wouldn’t have made any sense if Sam had started to put patterns together and called some hunters. Then he would have become Bobby of sorts. Sam not looking for Dean or Kevin, ditching his phones etc. required him to make a break from hunting. Both Sam and Dean seem to believe in the both feet in / both feet out philosophy. Dean didn’t hunt for a year and planned to continue that way even when Sam returned and asked Dean to hunt with him.

    I like the Men of Letters because I feel like people who know about the supernatural have the responsibly to spread knowledge so that everyone doesn’t have to reinvent the wheel. Remember how Sam and Dean didn’t know that killing a werewolf that bit the victim wouldn’t be a cure? It was speculation in Dad’s journal but Bobby did know. Unfortunately, the Men of Letters seemed to be more interested in keeping archives or granting access to just a small inner circle of hunters.

    Comment by San Summer — April 26, 2014 @ 12:46 pm

  100. @97 Oh, clever, San Summer! I never thought of that. I wonder what kind of job Sam was working in New Mexico. I suppose, as some point, we’ll meet Carlos and find out. Given the circumstances of the NM hunt, maybe Carlos will turn out to be Sam’s Benny (without the fangs).

    @98 Jaytee, it’s occurred to me that, once Abaddon is dead, Sam may be faced with the prospect of killing Dean to save his brother’s soul and save the world from his brother. At one time, I’d never have believed Sam could do such a thing, anymore than Dean could. I’d have agreed with you completely that “neither is willing to sacrifice the other or go on without the other.” But that was before Carver gave us a Sam who didn’t look for Dean, a Sam who said he’d let his brother die rather than allow an angel to use him as a vessel. So, now, I don’t know. Would Carver’s Sam be willing to kill Dean to stop him from becoming another demonic Cain?

    Comment by JT — April 26, 2014 @ 1:08 pm

  101. Little has been consistent in the past years but it does seem Sam usually has a story in the first third of the season which trails off and runs in the background until the end. Occasionally that’s been Dean’s treatment as well. Set up J2′s stories and get renewed early; then throw in guest star episodes,occasional arc episodes, and then bring J2 to the arc at the end.That seems to be the formula. The spring particularly is mostly a holding pattern of episodes to keep people around for the finale which is more about setting up next year than ending this year. The real ratings wars are fall and winter so spring doesn’t count for much especially if you were renewed early. I really don’t expect much until 23.

    Comment by CaseyT — April 26, 2014 @ 1:27 pm

  102. @San Summer. I always had a vibe from the flashbacks that Sam didn’t consciously set out to stop hunting, but was too messed up to do so for awhile, then tripped and fell into the Amelia business, and looked up one day and realized the Earth was still spinning without his daily doses of pain and deprivation and sacrifice, that no one had come after him, and that maybe he could stay *out*. I think he did harden his heart quite a bit to reconcile himself to that, convince himself that those other monsters were no longer his problem. For all the crap in early S8, it really didn’t take much for Dean to remind Sam of his moral obligation to hunt, and in Hunter Heroici he had a spiel about “setting up a fake life while ignoring your real responsibilities.” It would suggest that Sam had been more trying to convince himself that it “wasn’t his problem anymore” instead of actually believing it.

    You’re right that both Winchesters have a “both feet in/out” philosophy, which I almost mentioned earlier but didn’t want my posts becoming more ridic long :p. We’ve seen quite a few hunters with a different “style” from the boys. When Mr. Harvelle was still alive, clearly he hunted while Ellen and Jo lived fairly “normally” at home. The Campbells were a caricature of normal life while also being a family of hunters. Bobby and Rufus had their own homes, and Bobby in particular was mostly “retired” from hunting (until the Apocalypse) while still a huge part of the network. In BUABS, Meg!Sam killed a hunter in his home, and I believe he had a daughter? Even in Dean Man’s Blood, the hunter the vamps killed that drew John there in the first place was killed at home. Then I think it was S6 when Dean intervened on the teenage girl whose father hunted and was trying to keep her out of it. Most recently, we have Jodi, who hunts on occasion, has a home and a steady job, and apparently just adopted a daughter :p.

    Not every hunter is an itinerant loner living out of motels and abandoned houses, and the ones that are are suggested to be quite a bit sketchier/crazier/stupider than those that have home bases, with shorter lifespans- notice the nomads were all trigger-happy younger guys, the older guys had homes/families. The Lisa/Amelia debacles were meant to show that romance and family can’t happen for these two while they hunt, but we’ve seen quite a few other hunters who have those outside relationships. I haven’t quite determined for myself why the brothers struggle so much to do so :p. Combination of their “higher end” hunting as well as having issues sharing each other I think. They’re used to being “isolated together.”

    I’m excited to see the endgame for the Bunker, as it’s already altered how the brothers approach life and hunting. They’ve stabilized there, and having a home can be a game changer for both of them. It’s another emotional anchor for Dean for when he starts to lose it in the MOC, it’s one less thing for Sam to hate about hunting. I’m sure however the series ends will involve the boys focusing more on MOL stuff in some way or another, likely while combining it with hunting.

    Comment by Jaytee — April 26, 2014 @ 1:43 pm

  103. @JT- I can buy a plot like “Sam will do the unthinkable and kill Dean with Cas on hand to immediately revive him, free of the Mark. Sam will shake and cry and struggle from end to end, make some weepy speech right before shooting Dean, then will launch at Dean with a hug the second Cas wakes him up again.” I would see Sam also putting up a lot of resistance to that idea, and only doing so if he was convinced there was no other way. I would prefer “another bullet in the chamber” should the whole thing go wrong and Sam can’t live with himself.

    I would also see it going very, very badly with the fans if they have Sam do that, so I hope they won’t.

    Comment by Jaytee — April 26, 2014 @ 1:51 pm

  104. my input-Sam is not going to kill Dean. It won’t even be an idea. So I respectfully disagree with you JT and San-Surprising I disagree with you guys right?? lol.

    Dean was able to break chains and kill Magnus. He used brute strength to kill a vamp. There is no way a mere human (that Sam is at this point) can kill Dean. Plus wasn’t it established that the Mark made you immortal?? I thought that was said in First Born or it was assumed. I could be wrong though in that. I like your idea-but not gonna happen.

    Misha said in an interview that Metatron will have a different face (sounded like a different actor or somebody on the show becomes Metatron or does what he does. Who knows -Misha likes to play with words. An interview with Carver said something about uneasy alliances-obviously that’s Cas and Gadreel. So they obviously team up against Metatron.

    Comment by animal — April 26, 2014 @ 1:53 pm

  105. He also stated -”Brutal choices await -all culminating in shocking consequences. -Brutal choices is probably Dean -after finding out what exactly the mark/blade is doing to him he decides to pick it up anyway and kills abaddon -unfortunately for me because I love her as a big bad and I love Alaina’s chemistry with Jensen. Brutal choice is probably Cas as well. Something with the bad grace thing.

    Shocking consequences-Something with Cas because the finales since season 6 has been all about Cas.

    What do you guys think these 3 things could be??
    1)Brutal choices
    2)Shocking consequences
    3)Uneasy alliances.

    Comment by animal — April 26, 2014 @ 2:11 pm

  106. @animal. Hey, I haven’t said anything about it yet! :)

    @JT. Man, I wonder how Dean would handle Sam having a BFF. My guess: not that well XD

    Jaytee, I agree! Sam was on the right path when he came to the conclusion that the weight of the world doesn’t have to be on his shoulders. However, the way he went about things showed that all of it came from a place of hurt. (Kevin being the most obvious example.) It’s also interesting that Sam didn’t want to tell Amelia about the supernatural much like he didn’t tell Jessica. I have a feeling that Dean thinks it would be Sam’s responsibility to tell.

    And it is true that hunters have been shown to have families and regular homes. Yet in Slumber Party:

    Dean: Why haven’t you moved in?
    Sam: Is now really the time for this, Dean?
    Dean: Well, just asking.
    Sam: Look, I never had what you had with mom and dad, okay?
    Dean: What are you talking about?
    Sam: I don’t have any memories of home. And whenever I’ve tried to make a home of my own, it really hasn’t ended well.
    Dean: Yeah, but a lifetime of abandoned buildings and crappy motel rooms. I mean, this is about as close to home as we’re gonna get, and it’s ours.

    Later:

    Dean: Think she’ll be back?
    Sam: Of course. There’s no place like home.

    —- —–

    So it seems like Sam and Dean agree that they’ll continue to live together for the foreseeable future :D

    Comment by San Summer — April 26, 2014 @ 2:29 pm

  107. @ Jaytee #93: I think hunting was shown as a NOBLE thing in the beginning, because hunting evil to save people from what the Winchesters went through was the quest. John and Sam’s reason was revenge, but Dean stated the premise of hunting in the 1.02: hunting things, saving people, the family business.

    Joseph Campbell’s call to adventure theory has the hero beginning in some mundane situation of normality, information is received, and that information (Jessica’s death) was the call to begin the adventure. That information is usually received from an older person, in this case, Dean was that older person. He was shown as the shadowy figure (always in hunting) and Sam was the reluctant “hero” that was dragged into the quest.

    I don’t view what the brothers have gone through, through S5 as not being “good,” but more the obstacles that a hero must overcome to reach win (or give up) the quest. That’s what makes the story interesting.

    About mid-season five, the show started giving weight to the idea that hunting was thankless, hopeless, and not a worth the cost of doing. Gamble really carried that forward. So did S7, with showing Garth as happy, worry free, guilt free (an idiot) and the Winchesters still wallowing in self-pity.

    You ask, “One question that seems to be hovering in the background since S8, that likely won’t be addressed until Show is ready for its “endgame,” is “How much is enough?”

    That was and is exactly my problem with Sam last season and this season. Last season, Sam repeatedly said Dean should go off on his own, and he was clearly aggravated that Dean got out of Purgatory.

    When you have a character whose “go to” is always running away (as he did when Dean disappeared), and he makes the decision to die rather than continue the fight; as he did this season, that is the ultimate in running away. That is not a story or a hero that I have any interest in. That is the ultimate ‘quitter.’ That is not giving up his life for the greater good. That is a cop out, and in copping out, Sam is now putting the blame on Dean with the ‘everything is because we are family [read that as brothers].

    I got the feeling in this last episode that Sam still wants out, but that he does not want to disappoint Dean again; i.e., hunting as ‘professional partners.’ Maybe he just thinks there is nothing left for him to have and/or do, since he last Amelia.

    If the show ends with the brothers deciding they have done enough and quit, then I am going to feel like I wasted a decade watching the stupid thing. I do not care about heroes whose goal is to seek a mundane, normal life.

    Comment by Sheri — April 26, 2014 @ 3:25 pm

  108. I don’t think we’ll see Sam actually kill Dean, but I do think it’s possible Sam will be faced with the choice. Here are some reasons why:

    1) John told Dean that if he couldn’t save his brother, he’d have to kill him. However, Dean was never forced to consider that decision. Maybe Sam will be.

    2) SN’s Cain plot line centers on the idea of a good brother killing his sibling to save him from losing his soul because of the influence of Lucifer. This seems to be where the series is going. Dean wears Lucifer’s mark. Like Abel, he’s under the influence of Lucifer and is undergoing a diabolical temptation–a temptation that could cost his soul if he fails to resist it. He’s already changing–physically and emotionally. Like Cain, he’s in imminent danger of becoming Lucifer’s instrument. Should he give into temptation and use the blade, he could well turn demonic and bring chaos and destruction upon the earth. So to save his brother, to save the world, Sam might feel he has no choice but to kill him.

    3) As in SN’s Cain/Abel tale, S8 and S9 have posed the question of how far one brother will go to save the life of the other. Unlike Dean, Sam has accepted the death of his brother–both when he went on with his life without looking for Dean and when he asserted he wouldn’t save him by allowing him to be used as an angel’s vessel. In effect, Sam has put limits on what he would do to save Dean’s life. But how far would Sam go to save Dean’s soul–or to save him from turning demonic? Would he be willing to kill him? Or would Sam discover that Dean’s life is more important to him than he thought it was–so important that he’d do anything to keep Dean alive, even to allowing him to live “possessed” by the evil influence of Lucifer.

    Comment by JT — April 26, 2014 @ 3:30 pm

  109. Sorry, I meant to say, “As in SN’s Cain/Abel tale, S8 and S9 have posed the question of how far one brother will go to save the other.

    Comment by JT — April 26, 2014 @ 3:36 pm

  110. Sheri: “Sam repeatedly said Dean should go off on his own, and he was clearly aggravated that Dean got out of Purgatory.“

    It was more like being aggravated that Dean wanted to drive down crazy street with Sam by his side although Sam was over hunting.

    “That is a cop out, and in copping out, Sam is now putting the blame on Dean with the ‘everything is because we are family [read that as brothers].”

    I’m not quite sure what you mean by that. I think Sam was talking about how Dean thinks the best course of action was to trick his brother into letting an angel possess him, how he sold his soul etc. and how Sam probably sees himself being pretty close to the top of the list of people that have hurt Dean.

    Comment by San Summer — April 26, 2014 @ 3:46 pm

  111. I guess Sam would have to do it if Dean turned evil. Sam made Dean promise he would kill him if Sam turned into something that he is not. Dean would want the same thing for himself. Not to mention all the innocent people that would otherwise get caught in the crossfire. But Sam and Dean’s knowledge of the world would probably result in always having a bit of hope left so they would not be able to pull the trigger after all. I believe 2014 Dean in episode The End was ready to kill Sam because Sam had been possessed by Lucifer seemingly for a long time and half of the planet was lost. But even though Dean was packing his bags in 9.10 to go kill Gadreel and acknowledged Sam would die, I don’t think Dean would have been able to go through with it.

    JT, good point about there being a difference between saving someone’s life and saving someone’s soul. I never bought Cain’s reasoning. Seems a little backwards that someone would go to Heaven just because they were killed before their ignorance (or worse) would have tarnished their soul.

    Comment by San Summer — April 26, 2014 @ 4:02 pm

  112. @ San Summer: “It was more like being aggravated that Dean wanted to drive down crazy street with Sam by his side although Sam was over hunting.”

    Exactly my point — Sam wanted to quit the hero role and live a mundane life. After his Amelia stint, he told Dean that he saw the light at the end of the tunnel and if Dean came with him, he would take Dean to it (Trial and Error).

    “I think Sam was talking about how Dean thinks the best course of action was to trick his brother into letting an angel possess him.”

    I am talking about 9.01 where Sam chose death. His death would have been meaningless, since the gates of Hell were not closed and he knew the angels had fallen to Earth. Him dying would have solved none of that.

    Sam said he wanted to die so no one else would get hurt. Well, when he was off with Amelia for the year he checked out, people got hurt and he knew it. He said he figured other hunters took care of it.

    Knowing that he chose to not complete the third trial meant that demons were still going to kill people.

    I will give him that knowing that the angels had fell didn’t necessarily translate into people getting killed, but he never gave any consideration to that problem. The fact is, people have gotten killed.

    What I refer to as “cop out” is his chosing death is another way of quitting, which is the same as running away.

    What I mean by putting the blame on Dean is that Sam said all of their problems had been because they were family. That seems to have worked in his favor the past couple of months, because there has been no big, unusual threat to the Winchesters. They have done a few hunts, ran into a few old friends, chopped off a couple of vamp heads, killed a monster, got and lost the Blade.

    Dean’s problem is Dean’s problem and, sure, Sam is worried about him, but nothing of real enough concern to have him rethink he decision. I assume he sticks around because he knows Dean is the best hunting partner he can find and he will need that when the brothers go up against Abaddon and Metatron, or he doesn’t have anything else going on at the moment (like falling in love with a girl again).

    There hasn’t really been any spoilers to indicate that things will change…this season anyway.

    Comment by Sheri — April 26, 2014 @ 5:45 pm

  113. @Sheri- at a certain point it’s individual desires as to how we want the show to go. I’ll ignore the Sam comments since I doubt we’ll agree anyway :p.

    If I read correctly, you more like the “Marvel superhero” idea- you want them out saving the world into eternity, maybe some introspective issues but overall less angst plz? Superman, Batman, X-men?

    There is another type of hero though, the “Harry Potter” and “Frodo/Bilbo Baggins” type of hero- relatively ordinary people pushed reluctantly into a “quest” by birthright, fate, prophecy or dumb luck, with the idea that the quest will someday be done. Harry got his apple pie life, Frodo got a happy ending of sorts, but they both more or less went back to being ordinary. Even in Season 1, SPN has always had this framing that it might someday be OVER (“there’ll be peace when you are done…”). John saw them as pursuing a specific mission and killing things in between, but he seemed to want “normal” for his sons afterwards (and seemed to believe that killing Azazel would save Sam, which was a bit of a red herring through Season 3). The Apocalypse as well had an air of finality to it- I think both brothers were convinced they were going to get killed, but one way or another, it was going to end. The Trials called back to that- the idea of no more demons. Even if Sam died in the process, he’d die with the conviction (right or wrong, correct or not) that no one else would go through what he and Dean had gone through.

    Now that said, I doubt they’re going to do an apple pie ending for the brothers now. With the MOL bunker, I’d like to see a “hybrid” ending where they keep hunting, but on their terms, with less general sacrifice and misery for them.

    @JT, actually the Cain/Abel thing is one reason why I’d prefer not to see Sam kill Dean, even if he did have an angel up his sleeve ready to bring Dean back right away. It feels like it would turn the story and parallels on their heads. A big part of the Cain –> Dean parallel is the “I decided my brother’s fate” idea. Others have mentioned that Cain’s “I sent my brother to heaven” is still murder. To send Sam in that direction, even with an angel on hand to bring Dean back immediately, would effectively make him “Cain” in the story…which would be not at all a sympathetic position for him. Also, no matter how many tears Sam might cry over it, I don’t know if he’d ever recover in the fandom for actually killing Dean.

    I do think/hope they’re going to play with the idea of Sam having to “decide Dean’s fate” or challenge his own boundaries and ethics to save him. I can see killing Dean coming up as a possibility, which I hope Sam would reject out of hand. Then again, in First Born the bit was “she loved me unconditionally. She forgave me. She asked me to stop.” I still think that’s going to be significant. Why would Cain mention what made him stop?

    A4 made me think particularly of a way they might be going with the “maturing,” and they seem to be driving not so much towards “split them up/make them less close” but more “understanding/acceptance of each other as just people.” They’re pretty clearly setting up the “understanding” part, as has already been hashed out here.

    These ideas were underscored by Jodi’s and Alex’s moments. To paraphrase, “You lost your entire family in 48 hours. Who can relate to that?” “You can.” Then, again paraphrasing “I’ve done a lot of bad things” and Jodi accepting that. Basically, one interpretation of A4 is Sam and Dean moving from the “vampire” dynamic (“We’ve done awful things, but we’ll always choose family because family”) to the Jodi/Alex dynamic (“I’ve lost everything and done awful things” “Me too, and I know what you’ve done and understand and love you anyway.”) And yes, exaggerated, just as Ed and Harry were, but it’s an idea.

    Once Dean comes out the other side of his MOC arc, who will even be able to relate to what he’s done and love him anyway?…Sam can. (And Cas, as they’re already drawing that parallel between him and Sam).

    (Also: remember in MS, Sam actually did kill Dean at one point? Offscreen, Sam was tearing up the mystery spot building with an axe, Dean tried to wrestle it away, and you just hear Sam like “Oops.” So maybe Sam already is Cain.)

    Comment by Jaytee — April 26, 2014 @ 5:48 pm

  114. And sorry for another stupidly long post!

    Comment by Jaytee — April 26, 2014 @ 6:02 pm

  115. @99-Much has been made of the fact that Dean didn’t hunt for a year as well, but you forget that this was him keeping his promise to Sam, not something he did because he just didn’t want to anymore. And the reason he decided to stay out of hunting after Sam came back was very clearly not because he didn’t want to, it was shown in fact how much he missed it, and he was all ready to walk out on Lisa and go with Sam at first( of course that was pretty shitty attitude after all Lisa had done for him). No, he clearly stated that it was because he had screwed up and brought danger to her that he reversed himself and decided to best thing to do was stay with her and not hunt.
    I personally didn’t have a problem with Sam not wanting to be in the hunting life anymore. And even though I didn’t like that he didn’t look for Dean, I could deal with it. For me, it was plainly and simply the way he acted towards Dean that I had the biggest problem with. Yes, I know that Dean was a bit of a prick about Sam not hunting, but to me, he still acted like he was happy to be reunited with Sam, whereas, to me, Sam seemed almost sorry Dean turned out to be alive and seemed like he could barely stand to be anywhere near him. That guy WASN’T Sam, and it ruined the whole season for me.

    Comment by roxi — April 26, 2014 @ 6:24 pm

  116. @Sheri. But saying “he was clearly aggravated that Dean got out of Purgatory” makes it out to seem like Sam would have wanted Dean to stay and suffer in Purgatory.

    “I am talking about 9.01 where Sam chose death. His death would have been meaningless, since the gates of Hell were not closed and he knew the angels had fallen to Earth. Him dying would have solved none of that.” “Knowing that he chose to not complete the third trial meant that demons were still going to kill people.”

    I think it was way healthier for Sam to be ready to go in 9.01 even though he said “The whole reason I stopped doing the trials was not to die” than how he later felt in 9.11:

    I could have put a stop to all this, Cas. I could have closed the gates of hell.
    Now…being a human means settling your debts. Let’s start balancing the books.

    Cas: No. Why must the Winchesters run toward death?
    Sam: No, don’t. Don’t. Don’t stop. — —- My life’s not worth any more than anyone else’s — not yours or Dean’s…or Kevin’s. Please. Please, help me do one thing right. Keep going.

    Comment by San Summer — April 26, 2014 @ 6:29 pm

  117. @ Jaytee #113: No, I’m not a superhero fan, but you are right in that the writers will end the show however they want. I doubt that the J2s will be using canes when the show ends, so my preference would be to end it where it started — slamming the Impala’s trunk and “We’ve got work to do.”

    I also would not be unhappy if Sam retired to his MoL legacy and Dean died, or if Sam decided to embrace his MoL legacy (kind of a Bobby 3.0 to other hunters) and Dean decided to continue hunting by himself.

    Comment by Sheri — April 26, 2014 @ 6:41 pm

  118. @113 Jaytee, the LAST thing I’d ever want to see is Sam killing Dean, Sam weeping over Dean, Castiel bringing Dean back–disgusting! No, I’m just talking about the possibility that Sam will be faced with the prospect of having to kill his brother in order to save him from going the demon Cain route. Given that choice, I think Sam would quickly swallow his words, realize he’s no different from Dean, and go to any lengths to save his brother without killing him.

    You’re right that the Cain/Collette thing in First Born probably was meant to foreshadow a similar interaction between Dean and Sam. But, honestly, are we really supposed to believe that the worst demon who ever walked the planet, a fratricide who murdered thousands, and raised an army of hell knights who brought darkness and chaos to earth put down his blade after countless eons of destruction because some girl loved him unconditionally? That’s either a massive lie or REALLY bad writing.

    And speaking of bad writing, I’m hoping the Jody/Alex thing was simply that–and not an attempt to reflect anything about Sam and Dean. On the other hand, SN’s hacks are among the worst in the business, so I wouldn’t be surprised if the brothers’ relationship weren’t diminished to that moronic level. When Kripke left, he took SN’s moral compass with him, leaving us with this kind of bilge:

    1. Alex/Ana lured countless innocent people to their deaths at the hands (fangs) of vicious vampires. However, she’s to be given a pass because–….I don’t know why. I must have missed that part.

    2. Castiel slaughtered numerous humans and angels, directly or indirectly tortured countless monsters, broke Sam’s wall, proclaimed himself God, threatened the Winchesters with death, set the Leviathans free to kill innumerable humans, and this is not to even to mention the abominable acts he committed in earlier seasons. Yet, he’s to be given a pass because—…I don’t know why. I must have missed that part, too.

    There is no basis of comparison between Alex and Dean or Sam and Castiel or Castiel and Dean–anymore than Crowley is comparable to the Winchesters. Any hints at such comparisons can be attributed to the tendency of show runners to try to convince the public that murderers are really good people at heart and good people at heart are really incipient murderers.

    Comment by JT — April 26, 2014 @ 7:43 pm

  119. @118- As I stated before, even people that are basically “good at heart” have a submerged dark side that if not kept in check,by the simple desire to be good, or love or whatever, if we just gave up and let it, could take over. I know you and I disagree about Dean’s violent tendencies and his enjoyment of killing. I still see him as getting off on killing, even horrible creatures who deserve it, far more than he should and that this is his dark side. Dean is a good man who wishes to do only good, who loves his brother, who has a good heart but he also has the capacity to become a ruthless murderer if he loses all his grounding and snaps. This is the reason why Cain deemed him worthy of taking the mark in the first place.

    Comment by roxi — April 26, 2014 @ 8:10 pm

  120. @ JT #118: “Alex/Ana lured countless innocent people to their deaths at the hands (fangs) of vicious vampires. However, she’s to be given a pass because…”

    Hey, I am on the same page as you, but some would have us believe (those who swallow everything these writers do as “brilliant”) that it was because Jodi’s understanding and compassion that A4 was absolved of her murderous actions (Dean allowing the possession)…because A4 did not get to make the choice for her life (insert Sam) and she loved her Mama Vampire and did not want to disappoint her again (insert Sam not wanting to disappoint Dean by just leaving, even though he disowned Dean as a brother).

    The theory behind this is that the themes of love, grief, and consequences were being explored as a parallel to Sam and Dean’s relationship issues and it goes something like this:

    Mama Vamp’s grief over the loss of her own child and the love to put into A4 (not turning her because she wanted to see her grow up) was a monster’s love that came with a life of violence, blood and death (Sam and Dean’s life).

    Jodi’s loss of her son and her defending A4 was because of the human emotions of grief, understanding, and compassion.

    A4 that had to choose between these two kinds of loves offered (Sam has to make the choice between Dean and his own wants and needs — and doesn’t that just remind you of Bad Boys and Sonny telling young Dean to be loyal to himself and Dean telling Timmy that “sometimes you got to do what’s best for you, even if it’s gonna hurt the ones you love.

    So, Alex was pushing away from her Mama Vamp; i.e., a family member who was using her to fulfill her own needs (i.e., Sam disowning Dean because Dean is selfish and can’t stand to be alone)…and the consequence of Sam disowning Dean is that he can no longer have a heart-to-heart talk with Dean like Jody had with A4 at the end of the episode where she was reassuring A4 that she will be there to help in any way she can all along the way.

    As I said, all to existential for me. If this was foreshadowing for how Carver plans to resolve the season’s story between the brothers, I find it puke inducing for a show called Supernatural…and yet that is exactly what I would expect for this group of wannabe writers.

    Comment by Sheri — April 26, 2014 @ 8:43 pm

  121. @119 roxi, I guess you knew I’d disagree — including about why Cain was willing to give the mark to Dean. I don’t think there was any indication that Cain “deemed him worthy” because Dean had the potential for becoming a “ruthless murderer.” I think Cain knew Dean had sacrificed his eternal soul to save his brother, so he saw Dean as a kindred spirit. Of course, Cain was flattering himself. Dean didn’t murder his brother the way Cain murdered Abel.

    That’s a crucial distinction between the two. Even though he sold his soul and went to hell, Dean remained a righteous man (as the series pointed out). Cain, on the other hand, lost his righteousness by killing his brother. Consequently, with the mark and blade he became a demon–a savage, mass murderer who slaughtered thousands. Because Dean has not elected to commit evil, the mark and blade should not have the power to turn him into a demon. That could only happen if Dean willed to corrupt himself, as Cain did.

    Comment by JT — April 26, 2014 @ 9:20 pm

  122. @121- Yes, I know that too, that Cain saw how far Dean would go for his brother. But judging by the revisionist version of the Cain and Abel story, Cain didn’t start out as a bad person either, and he loved his brother too, but look what the mark and the blade did to him. So for me it’s not a stretch to believe that the same could happen to Dean. Whether it will or not remains to be seen.
    And there’s still this question of how Dean will ever be able to get rid of the mark. They can’t give it just anybody, as well as the fact that it has to be accepted not forced on anybody, at least in this version. Not only would they not want to put that burden on another person, but they certainly wouldn’t want to turn another person into a powerful murderer. And I can’t see Cain ever wanting to take it back. For one thing, he wanted to be rid of the burden. For another, he wants Dean to kill him and I’m still pretty sure the person wearing the mark can’t be killed.
    So if Dean can’t get rid of the mark or has it for a long time, he could only get darker and darker.

    Comment by roxi — April 26, 2014 @ 11:06 pm

  123. @120, LOL Sheri! I’m amazed at your intellectual gymnastics! You perfectly illustrate how some fans torture the text to try to force it to yield stunning Sam and Dean parallels and profound meanings when, in fact, what the “wannabe’s” write is merely a handy compilation of high sounding phrases and overblown rhetoric–one size fits all dialogue and situations, suitable for a host of occasions.

    I guess the bottom line is that JP and JA want downtime, so Carver figures fans will be satisfied with commentators on the Winchesters like Ghostfacers and Jody/Ana whose experiences and interactions are supposed to mirror those of our heroes and illuminate their relationship. As you’ve so well indicated, Sheri, some viewers are perfectly happy mining through all the rubbish, holding up this snatch of dialogue, that little event, hoping they’ll discover some golden nugget of truth about the boys.

    But the sad part is that what they find is as worthless as the interactions between Sam and Dean themselves. For an entire season, the brothers have been engaged in a feud that makes little, if any, sense. The writers have failed to come up with bases for solid grievances between the Winchesters, but estrangement is needed for the myth arc, so the boys are estranged. Over what, who knows for sure? They’re becoming like two old geezers who haven’t spoken for years, but have only a hazy idea of what the falling out was all about. I guess if all this leads to some spectacular Cain/Abel face off, I’ll have to go back to Ghostfacers or Jody/Ana and start mining for clues about what’s got the boys so ticked off.

    Comment by JT — April 26, 2014 @ 11:09 pm

  124. Reply to 123 JT

    Oh my, your post is just perfect.
    It makes me roll my eyes when commentators try to come up with profound psychological insights to explain what the writers make the characters say (or in Sam and Dean’s case not say!)

    These writers are not able to tell a story and because of that they throw in all these ‘enigmatic’ lines, or as you call them ” merely a handy compilation of high sounding phrases and overblown rhetoric” to cover their lack of ideas and incompetence.

    I still don’t get what season nine is about, even after 19 episodes.
    I can’t understand why we still have the brothers not talking to each other, unless it’s because the writers don’t know what to do with Sam and Dean, so it’s handier not to let them speak at all.

    Why are they still arguing? What’s the point?

    The show’s uniqueness and success was based on the brothers’ charisma and their relationship.
    Carver doesn’t seem to understand that simple premise, or conveniently ignores it in favour of secondary characters. :(

    Comment by isleofskye — April 26, 2014 @ 11:39 pm

  125. It isn’t all that satisfying to wait Dean to learn the lesson that Sam has the right to decide for himself. What the… I don’t think Dean was that bad in the beginning. I also think they would be way closer to understanding where the other one was coming from in 8.23 and 9.01 if it wasn’t for the mark of Cain.

    @118. JT: “No, I’m just talking about the possibility that Sam will be faced with the prospect of having to kill his brother in order to save him from going the demon Cain route. Given that choice, I think Sam would quickly swallow his words, realize he’s no different from Dean, and go to any lengths to save his brother without killing him.”

    I don’t think that would make Sam and Dean’s situations comparable. Dean was faced with the possibility of Sam dying and even though he knew Sam was ready, he couldn’t let go. Sam not being able to kill Dean even if Dean turned dark would fall more in the category of doing whatever it takes to save his brother because he can’t bear to witness his brother turning into something that he is not.

    I do have a side of me that is curious to see Dean’s reaction of coming to and realizing he killed his brother. (We have already seen Dean and Sam’s reactions to their brother getting killed by someone else’s hand.) But what makes Sam and Dean special and different from Cain/Abel, Michael/Lucifer is that their bond is stronger.

    Comment by San Summer — April 27, 2014 @ 5:01 am

  126. First off, I still don’t know what the story is for the season. As I said in my Post #81, it’s:

    Something about Metatron rewriting the story of the world…or

    Putting the angels back into Heaven, and supposedly Abaddon and Crowley vying for Hell…or

    The brothers’ big fight and ridding themselves of co-dependency or reaching maturity, or perhaps, learning that they love each other…or

    Each player finding their own identity and deciding what kind of person they are…or

    The power of addiction (a rehash of Sam’s S4 story with a little of Cas’ S6 story thrown in)…or

    Answering the question of ‘does the end justify the means…or

    The Mark of Cain as related to all of the above

    My problem with what we have seen of the brothers’ story is soap drama that has no place in a show called Supernatural.

    I don’t even buy into the beginning premise of that brothers’ story — that Dean is so dependent upon Sam that he could not let him die — or that Sam somehow got from choosing Dean over the mission in 8.23 to wanting to die in 9.01. How did Sam get to that mindset? As I’ve said before, we have seen plenty of Dean willing to let Sam go. Even in S8, we saw Dean let make the choice (both feet in or both feet out).

    If the season ends with one killing the other…and I don’t think that is what is going to be the big cliffhanger…I don’t see how that would resolve anything the story has set up. That would only mean the stupid story is dragged on for another whole season.

    Comment by Sheri — April 27, 2014 @ 6:43 am

  127. Seri: “I don’t even buy into the beginning premise of that brothers’ story — that Dean is so dependent upon Sam that he could not let him die — or that Sam somehow got from choosing Dean over the mission in 8.23 to wanting to die in 9.01. How did Sam get to that mindset? As I’ve said before, we have seen plenty of Dean willing to let Sam go. Even in S8, we saw Dean let make the choice (both feet in or both feet out).”

    There is quite a big difference between letting Sam go when Sam is dying vs. when Sam is going to have a normal life which is what Dean ultimately wants for his brother. Dean suggesting that Sam left had more to do with Dean being tired of all the fighting.

    9.01 wasn’t strictly about Dean not being able to let Sam go. I mean he was confused why Sam was talking to Death like that. Although Dean did later say:

    Sam: I was ready to die, Dean!
    Dean: I know. But I wouldn’t let you, because that’s not in me.

    My guess is that the mark of Cain and thus brothers in conflict will continue till season 10. But maybe Sam comes around some more during this season.

    Comment by San Summer — April 27, 2014 @ 8:00 am

  128. No offense, San Summer, but I can’t see how Dean realizing that he’s killed Sam would end with anything other than Dean then killing himself, end of show. Which would actually be a horrific way of ending a series that’s supposed to be about the bonds of family, but the way the PTB are going it wouldn’t surprise me. There are no good guys, fighting to save people just hurts more people and makes you a crazy vigilante, and family is there to make you miserable and possible kill you. That pretty much fits in with show’s nihilist view of the world it’s created. Not what I signed up for, but that’s apparently what the PTB thinks of as “deep” these days.

    Also, Dean killing Sam means this season will be bookended by poor victim Sam, and I can easily do without that. I think it’d be much more satisfying to see Sam have some agency and actually take action at the end of the season, since he’s done so very little of that throughout the year.

    But I’ll definitely go with your last statement, in hoping that show does see some difference between Cain/Abel and Sam/Dean. The bond they’ve used as the bedrock of this show should be enough to produce a different outcome. I just hope they don’t put it all down to one melodramatic, speech scene that’s supposed to solve everything like they did last season.

    Comment by huh — April 27, 2014 @ 8:24 am

  129. Though part of me does wish they’d find a way to resolve the conflict and just be done with it. Two years of brother feuding at soap opera speed is enough. Bored now.

    Comment by huh — April 27, 2014 @ 8:27 am

  130. Sam: I was ready to die Dean!
    Dean: I know, But I wouldn’t let you, because that’s not in me.

    Dean is not talking about “I wouldn’t let you because I need you with me all the time. I don’t want to be alone.”

    Dean was talking about-not giving up on family-ever. (he said this in First Born). He was talking about “if there is a way I could save Sam-I will do it-whatever it takes” – the conversation he had with Henry. I have said this before but for Dean-if there is anyway whatsoever he can save Sam he will do it. But if there is no way to save Sam-and Sams dies -Dean is not going to be all mental about it. He will let Sam go. And move on.

    Comment by animal — April 27, 2014 @ 8:39 am

  131. I don’t mind the brothers fighting-but what we have gotten is a verbal smack down by Sam twice or maybe three times to Dean. Dean just taking it and not defending himself and then nothing. Just moping. If the brothers are fighting I want to see it. I want the jibes-the digs, raised voices -I want the fist fight that should have happened episodes ago. Instead we get this quiet -not talking -just working stuff that is childish and not mature in my opinion at all. So I am ready for this so called “fight” between the brothers to end now. It doesn’t make sense. It didn’t make sense then and it doesn’t make sense now.

    Comment by animal — April 27, 2014 @ 8:45 am

  132. I also don’t think we will see either Sam nor Dean killing the other. That would just be stupid. And like I said before-I believe that Dean -because of the Mark/Blade he is now immortal or becoming so. That is what I find ironic in this whole thing. Because if he is immortal that means he will have to live without family eventually because they will all have died. He would be on his own a fate worth than death I would think for Dean.

    Comment by animal — April 27, 2014 @ 8:54 am

  133. @huh. I think that Dean realizing what had transpired could be deliciously heartbreaking :D But I don’t want to see that actually happening. I prefer Sam and Dean having a bond that is deeper than either of them would believe. Plus Cain was able to stop and love Colette even after he had murdered alongside the likes of Abaddon so I think Dean’s love for Sam should stop him from crossing that line. Ultimately I want the Dean that said to Sam: “I’m here. I’m not gonna leave you.” even if it meant he was going to die vs. Dean turning into Cain and Sam ending up like Abel.

    “I can’t see how Dean realizing that he’s killed Sam would end with anything other than Dean then killing himself, end of show.”

    If we are gonna look at a what-if scenario, it is very possible that Dean would kill himself. When Jake murdered Sam, Dean felt like he had let Sam down, he didn’t care what happened to the rest of the world and he rather chose Hell than continued to feel the way he did. “’Cause I couldn’t live with you dead. Couldn’t do it.” But let’s say Dean had killed Sam while seeing red, I think Dean might be able to say: “I can fix things” and pursue that to any lengths. And if he wasn’t able to bring Sam back, he might punish himself by continuing to live. Kind of like Cain had to wander the Earth.

    Comment by San Summer — April 27, 2014 @ 8:58 am

  134. This Cain/Abel story-you guys seem to think that Sam and Dean are going to play that out in some way. But guys they already have. The conversation between Cain and Dean suggested just that. Cain said something like “we are alike” and Dean said -”yea but I didn’t kill my brother”. Cain said “yea why?” Dean says “because you don’t give up on family ever”. Cain does ask “where is your brother now?” -which to me sounds like a taunt from him. Like you might not have killed him but he is gone anyway type of thing. anyway my opinions -The only one that thinks this so -peace ya’ll

    Comment by animal — April 27, 2014 @ 9:02 am

  135. @animal. I agree that the line conveys what he told Henry. But I’m not as optimistic as you are about how Dean would deal with Sam’s death. “That’s not in me” -> I think Dean would always feel like he failed Sam.

    Comment by San Summer — April 27, 2014 @ 9:11 am

  136. I agree with that San-I do think Dean would think he failed him if Sam died because Dean wasn’t there to do something about it. And since it has been 7 years since Dean went nuts when Sam died I would hope (and the series has shown) that given those same circumstances now-7 years later-Dean wouldn’t sell his soul to save Sam. Infact I don’t think Dean would have saved Sam in s9e1 if Dean would have had to sell his soul. Dean saw that situation in s9e1 as a win win. Zeke/Gad was a “good” angel. Zeke/Gad wanted to help if Dean would keep their secret until Zeke/Gad was healed. And Dean didn’t have to sell his soul or do something that would hurt anybody. So he went with the plan. It went bad-but hey-its Supernatural-its supposed to go bad. lol.

    Comment by animal — April 27, 2014 @ 9:27 am

  137. @ San Summer #127: I don’t understand what you are trying to say, but I do agree with you that Dean was confused as to why Sam was choosing dying – I’m confused, too.

    I agree with animal #130. It is not part of Dean’s DNA for him to give up on Sam, and Sam knows that, so why all the anger and big to do? Sam decided all the brothers’ problems were because they were brothers, so brothers in name only is supposed to solve all the problems. So far this end to the season, it looks like it did.

    “Cain was able to stop and love Colette even after he had murdered alongside the likes of Abaddon so I think Dean’s love for Sam should stop him from crossing that line.”

    We all know that is where this is headed in some form, and I think it is the most predictable ending that could be imagine.

    For any who may think this episode was anything other than a Kim Rhodes episode, Beren (the writer) tweeted during the live tweets:

    “such a spotlight to Jody Mills. To those who want more action on the boys front, don’t worry– the end run of the season is LOADED;” and

    “Beautifully edited, and most importantly… SO MUCH JODY.”

    Also, that he was extremely proud to have read a review complimenting him:

    “…based a whole episode around female characters. Three-dimensional ones, even! None of them love interests. And with a recurring character to boot. What show was this? I know, I know, by now all complaints about Supernatural’s casual misogyny — whether by omitting multi-dimensional females or simply fridging them — are admittedly tired by now. But “Alex Annie Alexis Ann” proved that perhaps the complainers were right all along. This was a heavy, thoughtful, and tremendously well-written episode of television, and it couldn’t have been possible without strong female characters.”

    And my thoughts are that this is exactly what you get when women are brought into the show — a show with the Winchesters as wallpaper and the focus on women…everything the show is NOT about.

    Comment by Sheri — April 27, 2014 @ 9:32 am

  138. @124 Thanks, isleofskye. It’s great to find out you and Sheri see a buck naked Emperor, too. For me, what you say nails it:

    “The show’s uniqueness and success was based on the brothers’ charisma and their relationship. Carver doesn’t seem to understand that simple premise, or conveniently ignores it in favor of secondary characters.”

    Exactly. By ignoring or distorting the brothers’ relationship, the aptly named Carver has cut the heart out of the show, driving away its spirit and leaving behind only a formulaic exercise in horror. Werewolves are on the loose, vamps are on the loose, angels are at war, demons are at war, the world’s about to end– who cares? I can see that kind of clap trap far better done on half a dozen other channels. But no where else anywhere can I see the unique, charismatic relationship of the Winchesters.

    Kripke knew how important that relationship was; he realized the success of every episode depended chiefly on the interactions between the brothers. Carver should know; he’s been around long enough, as has Singer. So what’s wrong with these show runners? Do they actually think they can take the syrup out of the Coke and people won’t notice?

    Comment by JT — April 27, 2014 @ 9:33 am

  139. I see the “That’s not in me” -as “I won’t give up on saving you if there is any possible way I could save you that is not detrimental to me or to you. Its not in me to just give up”.

    Comment by animal — April 27, 2014 @ 9:33 am

  140. @San Summer—Different strokes for different folks. Show has already had Jensen show us 8 different variations of heart-breaking. Asking him to come up with a ninth variation that doesn’t feel Xeroxed from the other times Dean has been devastated and blamed himself for Sam’s death seems like a lot to ask. I don’t want it, period. But I agree, if show still believes that Dean and Sam have a bond that runs deeper than even they realize, as they proclaimed, then they shouldn’t end up down this road. Personally, I found the Cain could stop because of the love of a good woman an eye-rolling cliché, but if means we don’t get a Dean killing Sam scene, they can employ the parallel. I don’t think Dean is somehow not the same Dean that was willing to allow Sam to beat him to death if it meant Sam wouldn’t be alone. I don’t need to see Dean being willing to die to keep Sam safe at this point, because I already know he would. What I need to see is how far Sam would go to save Dean, because the last two years have pretty much led me to believe this point is very much in question.

    I see what you’re saying re: Dean trying to fix things if Sam were dead, but at this point I can’t see how Dean could manage it. Heaven is closed, essentially, so his angel connections are no good to him. Crowley wants control of Dean with the mark, so it’s not in his best interest to bring Sam back—Dean would be easier to control without him. But honestly, the idea of watching Dean wander the earth punishing himself doesn’t seem all that different than what show’s given us for the last several years—Dean’s already been miserable but putting one foot in front of the other because he doesn’t think he has a choice. Sam being dead would just be one more stone of guilt for Dean to carry. So even if Dean didn’t kill himself, I can’t see how it would be all that different form the Dean we’re seeing now.

    Comment by huh — April 27, 2014 @ 9:45 am

  141. I respectfully disagree Sheri-
    The brothers love didn’t stop Sam from going the distance with the Demon blood. So I don’t think the brothers love is going to stop Dean either. Sam barely got thru to Dean when he had the blade the first time. Now that its pull is even stronger I don’t think Sam will get thru to Dean. Maybe Sam being in danger but then Dean would need the strength of the mark to help his brother so I don’t see him stopping then either. I see Dean stopping Dean. I am hoping the righteous man -maybe a death of an innocent maybe has dean purify the mark/blade. Because frankly I don’t see how the writers get the MOC off of Dean’s arm any other way. Cain won’t take it back-he wants to be dead. You can’t kill him if he has the Mark (that was shone in First Born) -So what is Dean going to do with it? Or how is Dean going to be Dean again??? No other way in my book other than him purifying himself, and the mark/blade.

    Comment by animal — April 27, 2014 @ 9:52 am

  142. @Animal–Your post gives me hope that show might not just try to sweep the MoC under the rug with another melodramatic finale episode speech. Well, let’s be real, I think they probably still will. But with the way they’ve set up the MoC story, it doesn’t seem like Sam can give Dean a Collette “love of family” speech and all will be well. Dean will still have the mark, and Cain isn’t going to be willing to take it back. So Dean is still going to suffer its affects, even if Sam is able to pull him back from the brink. Which, given that it took Sam more than one attempt to get Dean back after the first time he touched the blade, is no certain thing. At this point, I think it’s important for Sam to try to reach Sam, because I do think show has set up the question in the last two seasons as to what Sam is willing to do to save Dean, and I think it’s important for Dean to be able to stop himself, because anything else just reinforces Dean’s belief that he’s poison to everyone around him. So maybe the key to overcoming the mark is . . . gasp, the Winchesters putting their tired feuds aside and working together!?!?! What a novel idea in the past two seasons!

    Comment by huh — April 27, 2014 @ 10:03 am

  143. @ huh #140: Re: “I found the Cain could stop because of the love of a good woman an eye-rolling cliché.”

    Don’t forget that Garth immediately overcame his basic animal instincts of killing because he found the love of a…well, another reformed werewolf. And Josie Banks willingly offered herself as a vessel to Abaddon because Josie loved Henry. Those are eye-rolling worthy, too.

    Comment by Sheri — April 27, 2014 @ 10:06 am

  144. Wow Sheri that is allllooootttt of eye rolling worthy stuff-so true so true.

    I am all for that huh-for the Winchesters to stop with the feuding. Its worthless because it really isn’t fighting but emoting. Men don’t fight like that. None that I know anyway. I could see that the Mark is working on Dean’s feelings of being useless and weak because of what Sam said-so if the feud is done with and Dean has self-worth again and feels positive about himself and what he has done in his life then maybe that’s what it takes for him to purify the blade. Positive and pure feelings of love, hope, worthiness, ect = purifying of the blade.

    Comment by animal — April 27, 2014 @ 10:41 am

  145. That ultimately it is Dean-and how he feels about himself is what is driving the blade and how it effects him. If he is angry the blade makes him strong. So if he can stop blaming himself for everything that has ever happened (like in that episode where Dean is on trial) and lets that all go and only feels love of humanity ect… he can purify the blade which will destroy it. And the mark will disappear!

    Ok that’s my story and I am sticking to it. lol.
    Really though-I don’t know how the writers are going to write themselves out of this MOC on Dean thing. He can’t keep it. Dean is the heart of this show-the humor of this show-you can’t keep him in this kind of mindset he is in this season-It changes the whole feel of the show. So the writers have to do something to get Dean back as Dean. The joking Dean-the humanity Dean.

    Comment by animal — April 27, 2014 @ 10:49 am

  146. @140 huh: “I don’t think Dean is somehow not the same Dean that was willing to allow Sam to beat him to death if it meant Sam wouldn’t be alone. I don’t need to see Dean being willing to die to keep Sam safe at this point, because I already know he would.”

    I was talking about Dean who is there for his brother no matter what. Cain might think he was that for Abel but it’s pretty much guaranteed that wasn’t the case. The changes in Dean’s personality point towards Dean leaving Sam in some capacity.

    Dean was able to reach Sam even when Sam was possessed by Satan. Dean saw in the future what could happen to him and his brother but Dean gave Sam strength to change their destinies. I think Sam can do the same for Dean. Of course no one can wholly save another person like that, the person in question has to ultimately overcome the burden themselves. Cain was the one who put down the blade and so will Dean. But I can’t see Dean stopping when he has all this power unless he knows there is someone to stop for and that as a person he can come back from all of it.

    Comment by San Summer — April 27, 2014 @ 10:57 am

  147. @Sheri–I know, right? Garth’s ability to overcome basic werewolf instinct didn’t surprise me, because the penny episode already proved he was quite the Mary Sue. Why shouldn’t the only person able to be completely without any resentment whatsoever be able to overcome basic monster canon? Then again, thinking about Sam killing Madison in the face of S8 and S9′s werewolves seems more than a little premature now, doesn’t it?

    Josie “sacrificing herself” for Henry was unbearably stupid. There was no reason at all to think that Abaddon wasn’t going to kill Henry anyway, especially since she did, albeit belatedly. I never knew why that little plot development was necessary. Josie got possessed, and Abaddon killed the MoL. Why was backstory necessary?

    @animal–Good point. I wish there was more fighting in the endless Winchester feuds, but there really isn’t. If Sam and Dean were allowed to fight, they might actually say things to each other and you know, resolve things. Then we wouldn’t have emotional “plots” to stretch over the entire season. Yes, Sam and Dean have always fought, even back in S1, but it didn’t last the entire season and basically suck all the joy out of the characters, as it has the past two years. I wish we could just get some fighting rather than angsty looks. It’d be a welcome change.

    I can see how the Mark is working on Dean’s issues and making them worse. Before he got the Mark, he thought he was poison and good for nothing but killing, and yes, Sam’s speeches have reinforced already present feelings of weakness and not being wanted by his family. The Mark has only made that all worse. Maybe if the ridiculous feuding could end and Dean could feel like he did have some value other than killing monsters it would help him with the Mark’s effects. I can live with Sam maybe initially saving Dean, and I think some positive feelings of love would definitely help Dean along his path. But ultimately Dean is going to have to save himself by finding value in himself, not in what he can do for others or what others think of him.

    Comment by huh — April 27, 2014 @ 10:58 am

  148. @147 Yes huh-agree 100% with what you said .

    Comment by animal — April 27, 2014 @ 11:02 am

  149. @San Summer—Perhaps Dean might leave Sam in some capacity in the future, but unless Sam’s life is somehow on the line, I don’t see how this is comparable to the 5.22 situation. Dean was prepared to be separated from Sam last year, telling him to go back to Amelia if that’s what he wanted, and I don’t think that means he was no longer there for Sam no matter what. I don’t see anything this season even with the Mark that leads me to believe that Dean would leave Sam in danger or walk away allowing him to die alone.

    Honestly, I’m not the best person to talk to about the S5 finale, because I didn’t care for it personally. I still think show left it up in the air as to whether Dean gave Sam the strength or the car did. After all, watching his own brother getting beaten to death by his own hand wasn’t enough to make Sam change their destiny—he needed to catch the glint off a toy soldier he left in the car? Meh. I know the flashbacks were all Dean and Sam and brotherhood, but still, that didn’t do much for me personally. Not to mention Kripke’s assertion that Dean’s whole role in the five season arc was to “learn to love Sam right”, which yes, apparently means accepting all of his decisions and supporting them and allowing himself to die for Sam at the right time (when Sam’s possessed) rather than the wrong time (when Sam’s dead and his sacrifice means bringing him back to life). So yeah, probably not the person to discuss this with. Sorry.

    I don’t know, I just don’t see Dean as this power-hungry person who can’t put down the blade. He’s basically run from it since he had it in 9.16. I think he’s much more scared of what the power can do to him than he is “MOAR POWER, YAY!” I do think Dean needs to believe that someone is there for him and that there’s someone who wants him to come back from all of it, and I understand why he doesn’t see that at that point. But, to borrow from an old country song, sometimes love just ain’t enough. I think the blade and the Mark are really only a symptom of the problem, i.e., Dean doesn’t believe he’s worth much of anything to anyone. While Sam, if he were so inclined, could support Dean in overcoming that, Dean does have to overcome it himself, and he has the strength to do so. He’s been putting his head down, moving forward, and following his own compass his whole life. I think he can put down the blade on his own because he thinks it’s what he has to do, because we’ve seen him make the hard choices before, and ultimately that’s what I’d like to see. Dean can’t and shouldn’t gain self-esteem because of what other people, even Sam, think of him. It has to come from within himself. We’ll see what the PTB do, though.

    Comment by huh — April 27, 2014 @ 11:12 am

  150. Not to mention I have issues with show’s double standards about Dean and Sam re: staying together. Sam’s decision to seek out normal and not look for Dean are “mature” by PTB’s standards. Dean “punishing” Sam by being mad at him in the first half of S8 was wrong, and Sam had the right to lay down his “drop it or I will leave” ultimatum in 8.6. But if Sam feels that Dean trust others above him, that’s terrible, so terrible that Sam feels compelled to die with the most “Look what you made me do” suicide speech ever and we should all feel sorry for him? To me that seems to indicate that Sam should be allowed to move on for his mental health, but Dean better not.

    And this season–Sam has every right to want to die and leave Dean behind. Dean was wrong to stop him. Fine, I agree. But if the Mark’s effects compel Dean to leave Sam, this is a failing on Dean’s part and he’s not as good a brother because he’s not there for Sam no matter what? Why is Dean held to that standard but Sam isn’t? If Sam believes it’s right for him to die, i.e., move on, because it’s best for him and others, then at this point it would certainly seem that Dean has the right to make that same choice.

    Comment by huh — April 27, 2014 @ 11:25 am

  151. @huh. Well, Dean already left Sam in 9.10 because he couldn’t face Sam anymore. It drove a wedge between them as evidenced by 9.11 and 9.12:

    Cas: Maybe we should call Dean.
    Sam: No. He wanted to go, and he’s gone. We’ll handle this.

    Dean: Hey. Uh, listen, that night that, uh… You know, we went our — our separate ways –
    Sam: You mean the night you split?

    But I’m talking more about the kind of leaving where one gives up on their brother like Cain or even what was shown in episode The End:

    Dean: You weren’t with him?
    2014!DEAN: No. No, me and Sam, we haven’t talked in—hell, five years.
    Dean: We never tried to find him?
    2014!DEAN: We had other people to worry about.

    Dean didn’t make the same mistake twice even though Bobby and Cas first tried to discourage him.

    Comment by San Summer — April 27, 2014 @ 11:57 am

  152. @San Summer–I know Sam didn’t approve of Dean leaving when he couldn’t face Sam anymore, which is pretty hypocritical of Sam, I have to say. I seem to recall Sam leaving Dean in S5, going so far as to burn his hunting i.d.s, indicating that he didn’t intend on coming back, because he didn’t think he was any good to hunting or Dean in the state he was in. So again, from Sam’s perspective it’s okay for Sam to go if he needs time or feels like he can’t get himself together, but he’s not willing to extend the same to Dean? Double standards are part of being human, but it’d have be nice if Castiel had pointed it out to Sam in 9.11 that he didn’t exactly have room to criticize on that front.

    I don’t know that we’ve seen any indication that Dean, under influence of the Mark, is going to do the kind of leaving where he never speaks to Sam again. To me, if that was going to happen it probably would have happened after The Purge, when Sam dismissed Dean as doing more harm than good and stated that Dean has never been hurt by his own sacrifices. If hearing that his brother basically thinks he’s selfish and bad for the world didn’t cause him to go, I’m not sure what else would.

    As for not making the same mistake, again, I am not the best person to discuss 5.22 with. If you think about it, Bobby and Castiel really came out poor there–first they pressured Dean into agreeing to Sam’s one in a trillion chance of not condemning the planet plan (Bobby even going so far as to lay the “We put too much on Sam/he saved 12 people I’m astonished” bit), and then at the first sign of failure they wanted to go to ground and just watch Samifer blow up humanity? Didn’t they come off as cowardly there? Or was it sensible–there was never any reason to think Sam could overcome angel possession, since no one in canon ever had, so thinking Sam would magically be able to was ridiculous. Then it actually happened, even though there was no reason to think that seeing a car or memories of his family would allow him to do so. So again, yeah, to me that finale doesn’t work as the basis for a rationale because it was never all that rational to begin with.

    Comment by huh — April 27, 2014 @ 12:21 pm

  153. This is not to say that show won’t have Dean decide to leave Sam behind now that he’s under the influence of the Mark at some point down the line–he certainly could. I could see him leaving Sam if he thought he was too dangerous to be around Sam, or if he thought he had to go up against Abaddon alone, since show has generally portrayed KoH as badasses of the demon world that can’t be killed by normal hunters. But if he does, I don’t think that being under the influence of the Mark or deciding to leave Sam in order to complete a message suddenly makes him any worse of a brother. Again, if we’re going to say it’s fine for Sam to leave Dean behind for his own mental health or for the perceived good of the world, I don’t think Dean should be criticized for doing the same.

    Comment by huh — April 27, 2014 @ 12:25 pm

  154. ***complete a mission, sorry.

    Comment by huh — April 27, 2014 @ 12:26 pm

  155. “So again, from Sam’s perspective it’s okay for Sam to go if he needs time or feels like he can’t get himself together, but he’s not willing to extend the same to Dean?”

    In 9.10:

    Dean: But I’ll do it alone.
    Sam: What’s that supposed to mean?
    Dean: Come on, man. Can’t you see? I’m… I’m poison, Sam. People get close to me, they get killed…or worse. You know, I tell myself that I-I — I help more people than I hurt. And I tell myself that I’m — I’m doing it all for the right reasons, and I — I believe that. But I can’t — I won’t… Drag anybody through the muck with me. Not anymore.
    Sam: Go. I’m not gonna stop you. —— But don’t go thinking that’s the problem, ’cause it’s not.
    Dean [pausing but not turning back around]: What’s that supposed to mean?
    Sam: Just go.

    So Sam wasn’t going to stop Dean from doing what he wanted. I think the resentment came from how Dean didn’t say he needed some space to get himself together hence Sam called Dean out on “splitting” on him and Dean said: Fair enough. It was a very different scene from 5.02 where both of them agreed that Sam leaving would be for the best. In 9.10, Dean said he was gonna find Gadreel by himself but maybe Sam needed his brother the night Dean left.

    “I don’t know that we’ve seen any indication that Dean, under influence of the Mark, is going to do the kind of leaving where he never speaks to Sam again.”

    I’m not getting that from the show either but there might be a case of “You weren’t with him?” and “We had other people to worry about.” Abaddon probably being one of them. And then coming close to how Cain was i.e. thinking that Sam is a lost cause.

    Comment by San Summer — April 27, 2014 @ 12:51 pm

  156. @San Summer—I don’t see the difference between 5.2 and 9.10 you’re demonstrating here. In both scenes, one brother wanted to leave because they thought they were bad for the other Sam was struggling with his addiction, Dean’s (deserved) distrust in him, and his belief that he’d brought about the apocalypse, and Dean was struggling with the death of Kevin, Sam’s (deserved) anger at him, and the fact that he knew what his methods of keeping Sam alive weren’t good, even if he couldn’t find it in him to regret the results, i.e., Sam being alive. In both scenes, neither brother tried to stop the other from going. Sam didn’t argue with Dean about leaving—he dropped a cryptic “Don’t think that’s the problem” but refused to explain. In fact, he said, “Just go.”

    Now, we can try to split hairs and say Sam said that because Sam wasn’t going to stop Dean from doing what he wanted. But he still agreed to Dean leaving and told him to go. So Sam doesn’t really have a leg to stand on with saying Dean split on him, as if he didn’t agree. If I’m reading correctly, you’re saying Sam’s resentment comes more from the fact that he didn’t believe Dean had a valid reason for going. I don’t think that absolves him from being a hypocrite about the fact that it was fine for him to leave Dean alone to deal with apocalypse and angels hunting him, but that Dean leaving because he believes that he’s poison was wrong. Maybe Dean needed Sam when angels were hunting him and Lucifer was on the loose, but he didn’t ask Sam to stay so he didn’t call Sam out on leaving. So to me, if Sam needed Dean to stay instead of hunting down Gadreel he should have said so at the time, not told him that he wasn’t going to stop him but resenting him for not reading his mind and realizing that he needed him. Communication is an issue for both Sam and Dean, clearly.

    As for Sam calling him out and Dean agreeing, I’d say, of course he did. Dean wasn’t going to argue with the brother he was trying to reunite with—we’ve seen Dean consistently accept Sam’s anger when he felt he deserved it, even when it’s not necessarily fair or Dean didn’t necessarily agree. That’s not a surprise.

    There might be a case of “You weren’t with him?” coming, but that’s speculation at best. If it does come, I would say again that if Sam is allowed to leave Dean to do what he thinks is best for himself/the world, I don’t know why Dean wouldn’t be allowed to do the same. I’m simply advocating for both Sam and Dean to be held to the same standards. And given how Sam has reacted since then, Dean believing their brotherhood was a lost cause isn’t that an unreasonable a belief to hold.

    Comment by huh — April 27, 2014 @ 2:24 pm

  157. @146 San Summer, I think you’re right that Dean will put down the blade for Sam. In fact, I believe Sam is the only hope Dean has. To me, Dean’s MOC is quite similar to Sam’s trials. Just as when the brothers understood that Sam would have to endure terrible, life-threatening suffering to close the gates, Sam and Dean have reached a tacit understanding that Dean must bear the burden of the mark and blade because there’s no other way to kill Abaddon.

    Sam knows Dean is struggling with the affects of the MOC, and he wants his brother to acknowledge the affects–as in the last episode when Sam tried to make Dean admit there was something wrong about the way he demanded the vamp look in his eyes before he beheaded it. (Thanks, again!) Dean denied anything was amiss–which suggests to me that the MOC is already affecting his mind to such a degree he’s having a hard time distinguishing between his own volition and the influence of the mark.

    Even without the blade, Lucifer’s mark seems to amp up anger to rage and give it a sadistic edge. I’m not at all sure Dean can control what’s happening to him, and, sadly, nothing should be done to stop his dangerous addiction from getting increasingly bad because Abaddon wants to take over the world, and she’s building an army of soulless humans.

    Despite his assertion that he’s not “like Cain,” Dean’s afraid–even terrified. He knows he has to submit to the power of the mark and blade to kill Abaddon, but he has no way of being sure he won’t become demonic. The situation is as bad or worse for Sam. He must not interfere with Dean’s inevitable downward spiral into darkness. All Sam can do is remain close to his brother and be there for him when the time comes to try to pull him back from the brink.

    Comment by JT — April 27, 2014 @ 2:45 pm

  158. @156, huh: “So Sam doesn’t really have a leg to stand on with saying Dean split on him, as if he didn’t agree.” “I don’t think that absolves him from being a hypocrite — — but that Dean leaving because he believes that he’s poison was wrong.”

    Sam: Go. I’m not gonna stop you. —— But don’t go thinking that’s the problem, ’cause it’s not.
    Dean [pausing but not turning back around]: What’s that supposed to mean?
    Sam: Just go.

    That right there.
    Dean drove away despite everything and so Sam was left feeling: “He wanted to go, and he’s gone.” and “You mean the night you split?” But I don’t think that’s an issue anymore. They quickly agreed that: “When we rode together… We split the crappiness.”

    I got a very different vibe from 5.02:

    Sam: I’m in no shape to be hunting. I need to step back, ’cause I’m dangerous. Maybe it’s best we just…go our separate ways.
    Dean: Well, I think you’re right.
    Sam: I was expecting a fight.
    Dean: The truth is I spend more time worrying about you than about doing the job right. And I just, I can’t afford that, you know? Not now.
    Sam: I’m sorry, Dean.
    Dean: I know you are, Sam. — — Hey, do you, uh, wanna take the Impala?
    Sam: It’s okay. — —- Take care of yourself, Dean.
    Dean: Yeah, you too, Sammy.

    I think Sam was a bit hurt there like Dean was in 9.10 that his brother didn’t protest more to him leaving but ultimately in both cases the one that left was the one that brought it up. However, in 5.02 they seem to have much more of an understanding, Dean offers Sam the Impala etc.

    “I don’t think that absolves him from being a hypocrite about the fact that it was fine for him to leave Dean alone to deal with apocalypse and angels hunting him”

    Except Dean was in a mind frame where he thought he could do his job better without Sam and Sam agreed. In 5.02:

    Dean: What about me? I don’t know. Honestly, I’m good. I can’t believe I’m saying that, but I am, I’m really good.
    Cas: Even without your brother?
    Dean: Especially without my brother. I mean, I spent so much time worrying about the son of a bitch. I mean, I’ve had more fun with you in the past twenty-four hours than I’ve had with Sam in years, and you’re not that much fun. It’s funny, you know, I’ve been so chained to my family, but now that I’m alone, hell, I’m happy.

    “Maybe Dean needed Sam when angels were hunting him and Lucifer was on the loose, but he didn’t ask Sam to stay so he didn’t call Sam out on leaving.”

    It went quite differently. The controversial scene in 5.03 where Dean turned Sam down despite what Sam was revealing:

    Sam: I want back in, for starters.

    Dean: Sam—

    Sam: I mean it. I am sick of being a puppet to these sons of bitches. I’m gonna hunt him down, Dean.

    Dean: Oh, so, we’re back to revenge, then, are we? Yeah, ’cause that worked out so well last time.

    Sam: Not revenge. Redemption.

    Dean: So, what, you’re just gonna walk back in and we’re gonna be the dynamic duo again?

    Sam: Look, Dean, I can do this. I can. I’m gonna prove it to you.

    Dean: Look, Sam—it doesn’t matter—whatever we do. I mean, it turns out that you and me, we’re the, uh, the fire and the oil of the Armageddon. You know, on that basis alone, we should just pick a hemisphere. Stay away from each other for good.
    Sam: Dean, it does not have to be like this. We can fight it.

    Dean: Yeah, you’re right. We can. But not together. We’re not stronger when we’re together, Sam. I think we’re weaker. Because whatever we have between us—love, family, whatever it is—they are always gonna use it against us. And you know that. Yeah, we’re better off apart. We got a better chance of dodging Lucifer and Michael and this whole damn thing, if we just go our own ways.

    Sam: Dean, don’t do this.

    Dean: Bye, Sam.

    Comment by San Summer — April 27, 2014 @ 3:17 pm

  159. @San Summer—But from the dialogue you cited from S9, it seems to me that Sam had the chance to try to stop Dean from going, and he chose not to take it. He had Dean stopped and listening (“What’s that supposed to mean?”), and if he had continued talking, he could have changed his mind. He decided not to do so, instead telling him to go. So it seems that Sam was making himself the martyr by thinking, “Dean wanted to leave, so he did”, ignoring the fact that if he wanted Dean to stay, he could have stopped him. If he had said, “Dean, you’re not poison, and I need you right now because I’m not healed. So even though I’m beyond furious with you, stay”, do you think that Dean still would have left? I’d bet not. Now to be fair, it was not on Sam to do any of that. He was not under any obligation to try to make Dean stay or to do anything beyond take care of his own feelings. But for me, if Sam tells Dean to leave, he doesn’t get to play the “He abandoned me” card here. And again, hypocritical of someone who believes he should be allowed to walk away if that’s what’s best for him.

    In 5.2, I see a similar agreement, frankly. Sam wanted to go, and Dean agreed with him. Now, this wasn’t in the first heat of anger like the conversation in 9.10 was, so the tone is different, I agree. But that doesn’t change the fact that in each conversation one brother wanted to leave, and the other brother didn’t protest or stop them. Both gave their blessing, Dean by offering the Impala and Sam by telling him to go. I don’t think Sam had much right to be hurt that Dean didn’t protest his leaving, just as I would say Dean wouldn’t have had a right to be hurt that Sam told him to just go in 9.10. They made their choice, and they left. The other brother gave his consent.

    Re: Dean’s state of mind in 5.2—on the contrary, at the end of 5.1 Dean had told Sam that they had a snowball’s chance, no pun intended, of stopping the apocalypse and by extension fighting Lucifer or the angels. He didn’t think they were going to win at all—Dena was doing what he always does, fighting the good fight. But none of this detracts from the fact that Sam left Dean alone, knowing what he was facing. Sam, by contrast, in S9 was facing nothing more than allowing Castiel to finish his recovery. So in terms of leaving a brother behind, I’d say Sam left Dean in a much worse situation back then than Dean left Sam this season. Sam had no problem doing that, so again I don’t think he has much room to have issues with Dean leaving him when he actually wasn’t facing any danger at all.

    I thought, frankly, it was amazing that Sam was fine with leaving Dean to fight the good fight against the apocalypse and being targeted for being a vessel alone, burning his ids and apparently having no intentions of hunting again, but when he suddenly was a similar target he wanted redemption and to hunt with his brother again. I don’t know how Dean couldn’t jump right on that kind of offer. But putting sarcasm aside, that conversation does not erase my point that Dean was left alone to face an overwhelming challenge alone when Sam left, but he did not call Sam out on leaving him to do so. In fact, he decided that it might actually work better for them on a tactical level. After S4, it would have been easy to conclude that they were weaker together, because they had spent so much time lying, hiding, and fighting with each other that they didn’t see the real danger of the seals or the outside manipulation until it was too late. Now, maybe Dean didn’t think that he needed Sam, but let’s be honest—do you really think that Dean thought he was going to be just fine fighting against this alone? He’s too smart for that—he just couldn’t see how Sam and he could work together, given what had happened. Much the way Sam doesn’t believe they can work together and be brothers this season. I hope Sam realizes he’s wrong at some point, just as Dean realized in 5.4.

    None of this was my point, though—my point was that Dean did not blame Sam for leaving when he felt he had to, and Sam did not give Dean the same consideration this season.

    Comment by huh — April 27, 2014 @ 3:51 pm

  160. @JT: “To me, Dean’s MOC is quite similar to Sam’s trials. Just as when the brothers understood that Sam would have to endure terrible, life-threatening suffering to close the gates, Sam and Dean have reached a tacit understanding that Dean must bear the burden of the mark and blade because there’s no other way to kill Abaddon. Sam knows Dean is struggling with the affects of the MOC, and he wants his brother to acknowledge the affects”

    I agree! In other circumstances the mark would have been a burden for both of them to carry much like Sam wasn’t the only one doing the trials. But Dean let it be known in 9.17 Mother’s Little Helper how he wanted to go about things so Sam let him have his distance. Now, however, Dean isn’t being “just the facts, strictly business” and only doing the usual when is trying to cope with something bothering him i.e. drinking, looking at cases instead of sleeping. Dean is actually showing some changes in his persona and it’s disturbing to Sam because he knows that’s not his brother yet Dean can’t see it.

    “All Sam can do is remain close to his brother and be there for him when the time comes to try to pull him back from the brink.”

    Yes! I think Sam will try to interfere because he himself has been down that road but ultimately Sam just has to have faith that Dean can handle the powers.

    Comment by San Summer — April 27, 2014 @ 3:53 pm

  161. @huh. RE: “my point was that Dean did not blame Sam for leaving when he felt he had to, and Sam did not give Dean the same consideration this season.”

    For me 9.10 was Sam going: “You wanna go? Then go. Although that is bullshit.” and 5.02 Dean: “You wanna go? Yeah, okay. I actually agree.”

    Re: “He had Dean stopped and listening (“What’s that supposed to mean?”), and if he had continued talking, he could have changed his mind.”

    What was Sam supposed to do, tell it to Dean’s back? I think that was the key thing. Sam knew Dean wasn’t ready to listen, Dean wouldn’t have believed that the things he just said weren’t the problem. I really don’t see the scene as Sam giving Dean his blessing. But Sam wasn’t gonna plead Dean to stay especially when he was so hurt and pissed off.

    Re: “But none of this detracts from the fact that Sam left Dean alone, knowing what he was facing.”

    The problem was that Sam thought he was dangerous. Sam knew Dean didn’t trust him and he realized he didn’t trust himself either. Dean told Sam was right about how it was best for them to go their separate ways. He essentially told Sam he couldn’t afford to deal with how Sam was.

    In 5.03:

    Tim: That’s fine in theory and all, but we could really use all hands on deck here.
    Sam: I know you could. But I can’t. I’m sorry.
    Steve: Why not?
    Sam: It’s personal.
    Tim: Look, man, what baggage is so heavy it can’t be stowed away for the freaking apocalypse?

    Later:

    Sam: It’s true. What the demons said, it’s all true.
    Tim: Keep going.
    Sam: Why? You gonna hate me any less? Am I gonna hate myself any less? What do you want?
    Tim: I want to hear you say it.
    Sam: I did it. I started the apocalypse.

    Comment by San Summer — April 27, 2014 @ 4:44 pm

  162. @160, San Summer, I just wanted to interrupt long enough to say I’m glad the series seems to be taking this route. I can’t even think of many instances where Sam had to be the strong, supportive brother. On with the debate!

    Comment by JT — April 27, 2014 @ 4:56 pm

  163. @San Summer—I think my point is that it’s neither here nor there whether Sam thought Dean’s reasons were bullshit, much like it wouldn’t have mattered if Dean had thought that Sam’s reasons were bullshit in 5.2. Sam believes that he should be allowed to leave if he thinks is best for himself and for others, and therefore I think he should extend the same consideration to Dean.

    As for talking to Dean’s back, umm, why couldn’t he? Dean had turned around, but he stopped when Sam spoke. He was listening. We actually have no idea whether Dean was ready to listen, but to me, the fact that he did stop and ask Sam what he meant was at least an indicator that he might. Sam could have believed that there was no way Dean would believe him, but we’ll never know. Sam could have taken the chance—he chose not to. While Sam may not have blessed Dean’s decision, he did not argue and he told him to go. Now, we agree that he doesn’t have to plead for Dean to stay, especially not when he’s pissed off. My point remains that if Sam was unwilling to explain what he meant and in fact told Dean to go, he doesn’t get to play martyr about it afterwards.

    I agree that Sam did not trust himself after the events of 5.2, even though I don’t see how he was really dangerous at that point. I agree that Dean did not trust him either, and I think that’s understandable. Sam could have tried to work to regain that trust, but he made a different choice, and I think that can be understood. Dean understood and agreed that it might be easier on them both. Dean agreeing with Sam’s choice to leave when Sam had clearly already decided to go (indeed, he’d already secured his ride) does not somehow make Dean responsible for Sam’s choice to go. Still, none of that negates that Dean was left to face the apocalypse and the angels alone, and he did not blame Sam for leaving. Sam was facing nothing of that magnitude after Dean left, so I’m not sure where his resentment about Dean leaving came from, especially when he told him to go.

    I’m not sure what you’re saying with the cited conversation between Sam and the other hunter in 5.3. The other hunter entreats Sam to stow his issues in order to fight the good fight, and Sam refuses. He did not know Sam’s circumstances. Dean did, and he gave Sam the space he requested. Was I supposed to take something else from that?

    Comment by huh — April 27, 2014 @ 5:02 pm

  164. @JT–I definitely agree with you. My hope for the end of the season is that we get to see Sam, the strong, supportive brother helping Dean as he deals with the MoC. I think it would be a great role reversal that would help him understand the protector role Dean has so often played for him and the difficulties therein, and it would let him feel accomplished at being a brother, finally letting him feel that he hasn’t let Dean down.

    Similarly, I think it would be great for Dean to view a supernatural role from the other side–in fact, I think he already is. He’s terrified of the power of the MoC and its affect on him. I also think it would be the start of healing something in Dean to find Sam supporting him no matter what, since he doesn’t believe (with some reason) that family will ever go as far/needs him as much as he would/needs them. Rebuilding that foundation in Dean’s life would help him regain some of the self-esteem and belief in himself that he’s lost, something he will have to do for himself in the end.

    So long story short, I think show does have the pieces in place to actually mend some of the damage they’ve inflicted on the poor Winchesters over the years. Whether they will or not, we’ll have to wait and see.

    Comment by huh — April 27, 2014 @ 5:08 pm

  165. @164 huh, I share the same hope. In fact, I think the major reason why the character of Sam has been so poorly defined by writers is that Dean’s almost always been given the dominant role in the relationship with Sam as silent Sam or yes man. For the most part, Sam has been individualized only when he’s been demonic, addicted, possessed, soulless–in other words, only when he’s not been Sam at all.

    However, when the writers have given the real Sam the chance to hunt on his own or take a leadership role, the difference is astonishing. Thanks to Jared’s excellent acting, Sam suddenly emerges from Dean’s shadow as a strong, clever, mature, experienced hunter. His manner is different from Dean’s, but he’s every bit as competent, cagey, and dangerous. We saw this Sam in “Blade Runner” and in “All Hell Breaks Loose: Part 1.” Sam as fully Sam also appeared in “It’s a Wonderful Life,” and “Mystery Spot.” But such appearances have been few and far between.

    I think if there’s anything that accounts for the “dysfunctional” label in the boys’ relationship, it’s that the writers have denied Sam the chance to assert himself as an individual as he did in those episodes.

    For Sam to become a strong brother who takes control of the situation would do wonders for Dean, as well. Those lines San Summer quoted from S5 in which Dean talks about all the time he’s spent worrying about Sam are apt; he has spent more of the series worrying about his brother than doing the job–though, for that matter, he still considers Sam the job, the “one job.” If that burden of fretting over Sam were finally lifted from Dean’s shoulders, I think a lot of his guilt would go with it. Dean could find an equal and a friend in Sam–a better friend than Benny–someone he could confide in and lean on for help.

    I think one of the major obstacles to that friendship is lack of trust. Dean has never fully trusted Sam–for exactly the reason you so well describe. Dean hadn’t viewed “a supernatural role from the other side.” Somewhere in the back of his mind, he probably assumed there was a certain weakness in his brother for being unable to fight off his multiple demons, as well as the fear that came with them. Now, as you point out, Dean is learning first hand what it is to be terrified, addicted, and helpless to escape an evil power far stronger than he is–not the least because it’s insinuating itself into his mind and body.

    “I also think it would be the start of healing something in Dean to find Sam supporting him no matter what, since he doesn’t believe (with some reason) that family will ever go as far/needs him as much as he would/needs them. Rebuilding that foundation in Dean’s life would help him regain some of the self-esteem and belief in himself that he’s lost, something he will have to do for himself in the end.”

    Absolutely! Well said. Now, if only the writers would read your words.

    Comment by JT — April 27, 2014 @ 7:58 pm

  166. @JT—We are definitely in agreement on desired outcome. I also agree that Dean is often given the dominant role in the brotherhood—he is the big brother one who is given the task of holding family together (being the one who can’t bear to be alone), while Sam is given the younger brother either trying to assert independence or following big brother’s lead. I can agree that Sam has been poorly defined at times, but I think that has more to do with Sam being constantly being made an object of the plot. As you said, show has Sam play so many roles that cause his personality/behavior to change it’s easier to lose the core of who Sam is.

    I’ve always seen that Sam can be a strong, clever, mature hunter—even in times where he is taking on a different persona he is able to do this. That is, if it’s what the plot calls for. We see this often with Dean and Sam, in my opinion. Their abilities and knowledge vary from episode to episode based on what the plot dictates they be able to do, who the guest star they want to highlight is, and which brother happens to be in the “right” in their view, at the moment.

    I have to disagree that Sam not asserting himself as an individual is the sole cause for the dysfunctional label in the boys’ relationship. That to me makes it sound like all the problems between them are situated in Sam’s little brotherism/not having a voice with Dean, and I think that theory ignores Sam’s strong will and the fact that he can and does make decisions about what he thinks is best and that Dean does listen to Sam and value his input. Do they both slip back into their childhood roles as brothers, with Dean bossing Sam around and Sam leaving the decisions to Dean or rebelling just because his big brother says so? Absolutely, but this is not, to me, present in every interaction. These are two very different men with two very different world views, and they’re going to clash. That, to me, is much more the cause of their dysfunction.

    I think it would do wonders for Sam to be the strong brother, because so many times when he’s tried it’s led to disaster. I also think it would be wonderful for Sam to deal with his inferiority/superiority issues that he has with his brother—I think he often feels like Dean the better hunter, better strategist, and better moral center than himself, and his mistakes have caused him to not trust his own judgment at times in favor of Dean’s. At the same time, he will cover for that by adopting a superior attitude based on Dean’s intelligence, social skills, or ability to be independent (some of this is normal brother stuff, and some of it is in response to always seeing Dean as John’s favorite). I think so often Sam has good intentions, but he doesn’t know how to communicate them to Dean it comes out hurting Dean, which isn’t his intention. For example, Sam’s repeated desire for Dean to take care of himself, Dean’s job number one, often comes out as “I don’t need you—look to yourself’, and for someone with Dean’s issues that’s the worst thing to say. I think Sam being able to step up would better help Dean see Sam as an equal partner, rather than someone who needs his help (and let’s face it, show puts limp!Sam out there enough where it is harder for Dean to step out of that role), rather than words. Dean is more of an action man than a word man, so it would help him and it would help Sam giving him the chance to be the strong one, which would help him with his own self-esteem.

    I think Dean has never fully trusted Sam, and I think Sam has never fully trusted Dean. I think this is the way they were raised by John. There’s always been secrets between them, even from the first season. I disagree, and apologize if I somehow implied, that this was rooted in Sam’s connection to the supernatural. I don’t think that Dean doesn’t fully trust Sam because of his past powers—I think it has much more to do with their birth order, John’s parenting, and the fact that Sam’s actions have in the past been untrustworthy. I think Sam has similarly not fully trusted Dean because of his growing up seeing Dean as an extension of John in some ways (following his orders, not asserting his own independence), his own issues with his supernatural issues, and Dean’s past actions. I think each brother views the other as weak/lacking in some ways, which is normal for brothers, but is another way that their dysfunction has more to do with who they are than how Sam’s written. I do agree that Dean is now facing some of the things Sam has faced, but honestly, I don’t see it as that much of an ah-ha moment. He’s gaining some insight, but I don’t think he was completely ignorant of what Sam was going through before. Similarly, I think Sam had some understanding of what Dean went through when he was spiraling, but he’s never been on this side of it and I think he’ll gain some insight there as well.

    I do think Dean desperately needs to believe that Sam will be there for him no matter what, and sadly the last two years have given him plenty of reason to doubt that. Since family has always been the center of his world, that has rocked him to the point that he’s lost a lot of belief in himself as anything more than a killer, or someone who is valuable only because of what they can do for others. Sam standing by him through a dark time and offering support would be a great step in that direction for him, and would give him the foundation to rebuild himself. We’ll see what they do.

    Comment by huh — April 28, 2014 @ 3:31 am

  167. I, for one, so desperately want it to be so. Dean needs to see that, Sam needs to do that for himself and for his brother, and we, the fans need to see it FINALLY.

    After two years of contrived, unnecessary feuding, any other ending is just not going to cut it for me, and I’m going to be pi**ed at Carver forever. And I’ll boycott the 10th season. (ok, maybe that’s an exaggeration, but still….)

    Comment by Tammy — April 28, 2014 @ 4:58 am

  168. ^^ I love everything that’s been said in 164 and 165! :)

    @Huh, you made me think of something that I hadn’t considered before. You started writing about Sam never fully trusting Dean, and I started to be like, “that doesn’t seem quite right, Sam has always trusted the crap out of Dean, that’s why he follows Dean’s lead on hunts so much.” I realized that’s mostly been on a hunting level, as you wrote above, or to pull Sam’s ass out of the fire. Emotionally, I think he could give Dean more credit- I think Sam has concluded that there’s parts of himself Dean will just never understand, so he doesn’t try. Unfortunately, that leads to Sam either repressing those parts of himself, or suddenly (to the viewer) taking a total left turn on his character in a hurtful way when he can’t repress anymore. Dean’s guilty of bottling up till he explodes as well, with other issues. Both cases can be about lack of trust and each wanting to look “strong.”

    @JT I love what you said about Sam being competent, capable and yet his own person in Blade Runners (I loved him more in MLH). I think that’s a big thing. I think in the past when Sam has tried to “mature” himself or take on a larger load, he tends to try to turn himself into Dean 2.0, which doesn’t work for him. Season 3 was a big example of that, but it’s come out other times as well. Sam maturing into…mature Sam, instead of “new Dean” works so much better for him.

    Comment by Jaytee — April 28, 2014 @ 5:36 am

  169. @166, huh, I’ve never thought the relationship between the brothers is dysfunctional. (Ridiculous!) However, it’s been labelled that way some fans and producers. If anyone’s to blame for that perception, it’s the writers who have often presented Sam as neurotic, needy, emotionally fragile brother, while Dean is the strong, supportive one.

    @168 Jaytee, so true! The writers have done terrible damage to Sam for years, but JP knows his character through and through–and when he’s given the chance to present Sam as Sam, we get a highly intelligent, patient, controlled investigator and a smooth, very capable hunter. If Dean’s the lion, Sam’s the leopard.

    Comment by JT — April 28, 2014 @ 6:42 am

  170. @163 huh

    “I agree that Sam did not trust himself after the events of 5.2, even though I don’t see how he was really dangerous at that point.”

    Sam thought he was dangerous because of all that had happened. Seeing demon blood and arguing with Dean brought that back to the surface. 5.03 demonstrated Sam believed he started the apocalypse. It’s understandable that the one who feels he started all of it needed to take a step back lest he goes too far again.

    “Dean was left to face the apocalypse and the angels alone, and he did not blame Sam for leaving.”

    And why would be blame Sam for leaving when in fact he agreed it was for the best to go their separate ways because he couldn’t trust Sam and was worrying about him more than doing his job.

    “As for talking to Dean’s back, umm, why couldn’t he? Dean had turned around, but he stopped when Sam spoke. He was listening. We actually have no idea whether Dean was ready to listen, but to me, the fact that he did stop and ask Sam what he meant was at least an indicator that he might.”

    That’s not how they are shown to go about things. If Dean was ready to hear what Sam had to say, he would have turned around. The fact that Dean left without knowing what Sam meant was a clear indication he didn’t want to find out.

    “Sam believes that he should be allowed to leave if he thinks is best for himself and for others, and therefore I think he should extend the same consideration to Dean.”

    But look at the circumstances. Sam had just found out Dean had lied to him again, that Dean had let a psycho angel possess him. Dean then to Sam’s confusion says he has to leave to look for Gadreel alone etc. I think it’s too much to expect Sam to think: “Dean says he is poison so he is going to go and he is allowed to leave if he thinks is best for himself and for others”.

    It’s pretty much guaranteed Dean would have had a similar “Go. I’m not gonna stop you. But don’t go thinking that’s the problem, ’cause it’s not.” attitude if Sam had split right after Lucifer got out. Sam could have just as easily said back then:
    “I’m poison, Dean. People get close to me, they get killed…or worse. You know, I tell myself that I-I — I help more people than I hurt. And I tell myself that I’m — I’m doing it all for the right reasons, and I — I believe that. But I can’t — I won’t… Drag anybody through the muck with me. Not anymore.”
    Instead he stayed with Dean, apologized and then came to realize he needed to work on himself because he was scaring himself and thus shouldn’t be hunting.

    “I’m not sure where his resentment about Dean leaving came from, especially when he told him to go.”

    I think the problem was that Dean wanted to leave right away because he couldn’t face the consequences of his actions. Sam told Dean point blank: “But don’t go thinking that’s the problem, ’cause it’s not.” Dean’s desire to leave was stronger than staying with Sam and hearing him out although Sam clearly disagreed with him. Thus Dean didn’t turn around so Sam told him to just go because as he said earlier he wasn’t gonna stop Dean. Sam let Dean make his own choices. For me it’s very realistic that Sam would feel they didn’t go their separate ways like they did in 5.02 — that Dean had in fact split in 9.10.

    Comment by San Summer — April 28, 2014 @ 7:42 am

  171. @ 165 JT: “If that burden of fretting over Sam were finally lifted from Dean’s shoulders, I think a lot of his guilt would go with it. Dean could find an equal and a friend in Sam–a better friend than Benny–someone he could confide in and lean on for help.”

    Definitely. Dean feeling that his one job is to watch out for Sam has sort of set him up to feel like a failure.

    And in 2.22 who could forget Dean’s watery smile after he heard Sam say:
    “You’ve saved my life over and over. I mean, you sacrifice everything for me. Don’t you think I’d do the same for you? You’re my big brother. There’s nothing I wouldn’t do for you. And I don’t care what it takes, I’m gonna get you out of this. Guess I gotta save your ass for a change.”

    Unfortunately, Sam’s side of things hasn’t always panned out. In 8.01: “People were okay, Dean. You’re okay.” but by 8.23: “You want to know what I confessed in there? What my greatest sin was? It was how many times I let you down. I can’t do that again.”

    @166 huh: “For example, Sam’s repeated desire for Dean to take care of himself, Dean’s job number one, often comes out as “I don’t need you—look to yourself’, and for someone with Dean’s issues that’s the worst thing to say.”

    In 7.08:

    Sam: Look, man, uh… When I was all dosed up, I-I said some crap.

    Dean: Oh, you mean, she — she wasn’t your soulmate?

    Sam: Shut up. I mean, I do need you watching my back. Obviously.

    Dean: Yeah, when, uh, crazy groupies attack.

    Sam: You know what I mean.

    Dean: You know, I got to say, man… For a whack-job, you really pulled it together.

    Sam: That’s the nicest thing anyone’s said to me. Look, don’t be too impressed, man. It’s still a Denver scramble up here. I just know my way around the plate now.

    Dean: I’m just saying. It’s stupid to think that you need me around all the time. You’re a grown-up.

    Sam: You know what, though? Seriously? It might be nice.

    Dean: What?

    Sam: I mean, you basically have been looking out for me your whole life. Now you finally get to take care of yourself. About time, huh?

    Dean: Yeah.

    [Sam gets into the car. Dean stands a moment longer.]

    Dean: Right.

    I think the show portrays it as taking care of Sam is such an integral part of Dean that when it is suggested he could ease up on it, to Dean it’s like taking away part of his identity even when Sam says it all in a positive manner.

    Comment by San Summer — April 28, 2014 @ 8:42 am

  172. JT–perspective is funny because I would have said that the writers portray Dean as the needy pathetic one who can’t be alone, while Sam is the mature one. But I have a hard time after two years of feuding with seeing them as anything other than dysfunctional. Sad

    Comment by huh — April 28, 2014 @ 9:53 am

  173. What do you guys think?

    Prepare for a Supernatural first and a major cliffhanger in the finale. “We leave our guys in a situation they’ve never faced before, which after nine seasons, it kind of narrows it down a little bit,” supervising producer Andrew Dabb teases. “I think once they see the last frame of the last episode, I think people are going to be incredibly excited for Season 10.”
    uk.eonline.com/news/535779/spoiler-chat-scoop-on-glee-supernatural-the-good-wife-pretty-little-liars-and-more

    For me a true cliffhanger would have to involve something between Sam and Dean. Maybe a new enemy the brothers will be facing together? Bringing in God would be too crazy.

    Comment by San Summer — April 28, 2014 @ 12:00 pm

  174. Hmm. To me, sounds more like the two being in a bad/new situation regarding each other rather than something from outside. Like a full darkDean, or a ‘kill or let Dean turn’ situation. Something with very high stakes at least.

    Wish we could jump to epi 21 instead of the Bloodlibes one.

    Comment by Tammy — April 28, 2014 @ 12:18 pm

  175. @171, San Summer, thanks for all that research. Sometimes I think SN’s writers write totally independently of one another. No wonder there’s so little continuity.

    And thank you for the quotation from Dabb.

    Comment by JT — April 28, 2014 @ 12:49 pm

  176. Hi Tammy! Yeah, my first reaction was that Dean would turn on Sam because in all the previous seasons Sam and Dean have always ended up together — even at the finale of season 4. But I’m not so sure people would be “incredibly excited” for season 10 if that happened… Maybe Dean turns dark so they are not dropping Dean’s myth arc (I’m sure the writers have heard complaints about that) but Dean would still have his wits about him. Cain didn’t seem demonic either. And then Sam and Dean would have to face a whole new plan meant for the Winchesters. There’s gotta be a way bigger reason for Dean getting the mark than just stopping Abaddon. And how Sam would figure in on all that. Michael: “It’s a bloodline. — Stretching back to Cain and Abel. It’s in your blood, your father’s blood, your family’s blood.”

    Thank you JT! Although sometimes I worry that I put too much quotes so I try to shorten a bit if possible. :D What do you think of Dabb’s words?

    Comment by San Summer — April 28, 2014 @ 12:57 pm

  177. And thank you, San. I was so excited to read the quote I forgot to thank you for putting it there :-/

    Loving all you guys ideas and thoughts. I’m nearly certain they’re all much better than what we’re finally going to get, but we can hope and guess till then at least.

    Comment by Tammy — April 28, 2014 @ 1:06 pm

  178. Yeah, I am thinking it will be a season of Winchester-on-Winchester. Maybe that is why they paraded all those “beloved” characters through the show this season — to narrow it down to a story actually about the Winchesters.

    Maybe in the finale, Dean will go nuts and Sam will try to stop him, maybe by trying to kill, since he “under the same circumstances” Sam wouldn’t try to save him.

    Then S10 is their cat and mouse game. I would love that, since Dean is a sneaky little devil, and I think it would be a fun watch (…what, no emoting!!!).

    This is the first season that has been Dean-centric and, to me, it is a rewrite of Sam’s demon blood story. Doing a story like that would narrow it down to being a Winchesters story.

    Comment by Sheri — April 28, 2014 @ 1:06 pm

  179. @San Summer—Oh, I see how Sam thought he was dangerous, I suppose. But with the God-given detox, the danger to me changed from what Sam on blood would do to would Sam touch blood again. But I can see how that was just as worrisome.

    I agree Dean did not blame Sam for leaving because he understood and agreed that they had different goals (Sam wanted to step back, and Dean knew he had to keep going) and because of their personal issues. I don’t know that Sam and Dean had different goals this season, but I’d definitely say personal issues were again a wedge issue between them.

    I’m sorry, I still don’t see a compelling reason why Sam couldn’t talk to Dean even though he was turned around. “That’s not the way they do things” doesn’t really make sense to me. Dean was listening. He stopped walking and asked what Sam meant. Sam chose not to continue. Dean left without knowing because Sam told him to go. Dean has responsibility in leaving because it was his choice. But if Sam tells him to go and refuses to explain himself when Dean asks what he means, he wasn’t all that interested in keeping him there, which is why his later martyr act about it was annoying to me. Mileage may vary, and that’s fine.

    Again, the circumstances aren’t all that different to me. Sam was suffering from guilt about what had just gone down and couldn’t deal with his personal issues with Dean. Dean was suffering from guilt and couldn’t deal with his personal issues with Sam. And I’ve already said that Sam was under no obligation to explain anything to Dean, but I do think he of all people, who shows empathy to Castiel immediately after he broke his wall, could be expected to, with time, see the similarities in their actions. Again, mileage varies.

    Dean may well have had a different reaction if Sam had said something similar to what Dean said here, but we don’t know that, do we? It’s just as plausible that Dean would have tried to shore him up before he left, because we’ve seen Dean react to Sam beating himself up before. So I don’t know that I can say it’s guaranteed Dean would have done the same, but I do think that it’s also not guaranteed that Dean would have, like Sam, told him to go and then resented him for doing so. Maybe he would, maybe he would have. It’s all hypothetical.

    I think the problem is if Sam wanted to talk, he should have. If Sam wanted him to not to go, he shouldn’t have told him to go. Sam has to say what he means and mean what he says, just like Dean. Good communication is for everyone. I think too much is being pinned on the fact that Dean didn’t turn around, even though he was clearly listening and asking questions. Bottom line, Sam didn’t ask him to stay and told him to go, and then got resentful when Dean did just that. I think Sam did see it as different—the problem is to me that it wasn’t really, which is why there’s a definite “It’s okay for me, but not for you” vibe I’m getting from the situation. But we can agree to disagree.

    Comment by huh — April 28, 2014 @ 1:42 pm

  180. @San Summer—I do see your point with this scene. I think it does have to be taken in context with the “crap” that Sam did say, which pretty much did hit Dean right where he’s vulnerable. Then Sam told him that he does need to be watched right now because of the wall being broken. When Dean pushes away from that, though, saying that it was stupid to think that Sam needed him all the time, that’s pretty much Dean saying “I need you all the time, because we’re family. Do you need me?” Sam didn’t respond to that—he told Dean instead that now he can finally take care of himself. While, yes, it’s about time, 1) obviously he couldn’t because then we had end of S7 Sam and trials Sam and possessed Sam, so Dean did need to fill that role and 2) I don’t know that you can really just say that to someone who has never at any time put himself first in his life. “You know, just worry about yourself now.” How would he even go about that? I think my point is mostly that what Dean was looking for there was a little more reassurance about his place in Sam’s life, as opposed to just needing to have his back watched because of circumstances.

    Now, I think it’s understandable why Sam missed that cue, because as a little brother it’s never been his job to consider the emotional well-being of the big brother—they’re invincible. I think that’s why we see Sam get so freaked out and not really know what to say when Dean has these emotional breakdowns that he periodically has. So I definitely agree that show has make Sam so much the centerpiece of Dean’s life that he doesn’t know how to react when Sam suggests that he shouldn’t do it anymore. To Dean, if he’s not needed, he doesn’t see why anyone would want him around at all. I think this is an example of Sam trying to tell him in as positive a manner as possible, but he still didn’t (and possibly doesn’t) understand why Dean can’t just stop behaviors and priorities that have been ingrained in him since he was four years old and why asking him to do so hits Dean right in the fear of abandonment zone. I think that would be a good moment for Sam and Dean both if somehow Sam was able to convey that even if he doesn’t need Dean to protect him (and show actually lets him not be limp!Sam long enough for that to be true), he still wants him in his life.

    Comment by huh — April 28, 2014 @ 1:54 pm

  181. No worries Tammy! :D

    @Sheri. I can’t see Sam trying to kill Dean. It feels way too soon, I think Dean would have to go incredibly far before it could ever get to that. And it wouldn’t fall under Sam’s: “Same circumstances…I wouldn’t.” But here is hoping that the finale will be about the brothers and season 10 is the story of SamnDean!

    Comment by San Summer — April 28, 2014 @ 1:56 pm

  182. Spam, spam, spam, spam . . .

    Sorry, San Summer, almost done. I just wanted to add that if Sam is able to find the right words to say to Dean, Dean has to be ready to listen to the words and not substitute his own fears into the meaning. Communication is for everyone, which mean Dean has to hear what Sam’s saying, not just what he’s afraid he means. Two way street–it’s not all on Dean, and it’s not all on Sam.

    On a different note, put me down as one who doesn’t want to see any Winchester try to kill any Winchester. If nothing else, the brother on brother rage all summer will be extremely, extremely boring. But I would definitely say yes to S10 being the story of Sam’n’Dean and not the stories of the guest stars or the latest chapter in the soap opera of feuding brothers.

    Comment by huh — April 28, 2014 @ 2:02 pm

  183. @ San Summer #181: I would prefer it if Sam did not try to kill Dean, but these writers seem to think that a “something shocking….AND THEN” is good storytelling.

    I would like Dean going nuts and Sam having to chase him around for the season. I am one that doesn’t mind the brothers being apart, as long as the story is about the Winchesters and not every other damned character that has ever been on the show.

    I would like for Cas to retire to Heaven and Dean to take out Crowley and Abaddon. I want Metatron gone. I want something new for a change– action and no angsting, and throw in a few monsters along the way.

    But, please, please, please, get done with the teenage angst all together.

    Comment by Sheri — April 28, 2014 @ 2:08 pm

  184. @176, San Summer, oh no–I love your quotations! Not only do they provide great evidence, they set me straight when my impression of an exchange between the brothers is wrong.

    As for Dabb’s remark, I’m guessing Sheri @178 is right. The series has been building up to a Cain/Abel confrontation for a year, so that bomb almost has to go off. As for the last frame of the last episode…

    Eyes wild with rage, shirtless, slathering, grinning maniacally, Dean stands above his cringing brother, the terrible First Blade arching down to swipe off Sam’s head!!!

    Or….

    Sam’s head rolls across the ground and stops face upward. Camera freezes on Sam’s wide-eyed expression of horror.

    Or…

    Eyes wild with rage, shirtless, slathering, grinning maniacally, Sam stands above his cringing brother, the terrible First Blade arching down to swipe off Dean’s head. (Didn’t the actress who plays the Reaper say there was going to be a twist?)

    Now that I’ve written the all-time worse ones, what do you guys think the last frame of the finale will look like? (btw, shirtless Dean or Sam isn’t required. I just thought it would be a pleasant memory to carry through the long summer.)

    Comment by JT — April 28, 2014 @ 3:01 pm

  185. So no one’s going to die?! B-but how else is there to end a season?

    I’ve been hoping against hope that the MOC/estrangement would be wrapped up in the finale, but it’s looking more and more like Dark!Dean into S10 will be a thing (jury’s out on whether that’s “original” given Cas’ turn in the S6 finale).

    With Revolutions and True Blood both ending, there’s some faint hope that Edlund or one of the other “classic writers” will return to the writer’s room, which would be awesome. I would love for Kripke to come back for just an episode or two and slap Carver for early S8.

    @JT (169) The brothers have always been dysfunction junction- hell, as of the Pilot they hadn’t even spoken in years. Can’t have one kid raising another, mostly isolated from the wider world without some issues in there. They’ve even been called “codependent” in-show by multiple characters. That said, I wouldn’t want to “blame” it on one brother or the other, even though Sam has materially screwed up several times. Both boys have a boatload of issues keeping them together and pushing them apart.

    Among MANY other issues, both brothers seem to idealize each other a bit- Dean sees Sam as the wide-eyed little brother, Sam seems to see Dean as the invincible big brother who always has the answers, and both brothers handle it badly when the other falls off the pedestal. I’m thinking/hoping the eventual goal is for both of them to have their eyes open to each other as flawed adults who have both made mistakes and let each other down- but who love, understand and accept each other as-is, not as they each want the other to be.

    On the Sam-tangent, I’m seeing subtle signs of maturity from him, though he’s been mostly backgrounded (as has Dean, come to that) for the last couple of episodes. He’s driving more. I just loved his “I’ll drive then” in MLH. It’s a bit of a wank on my part, but before I always got the vibe that Dean “gives permission” for Sam to drive, saying he needs a nap or whatever. Sam just saying it like that is this small thing like, “If you’re not up for it, I’ll step in, and it doesn’t have to be a Thing that I’ve done it.”

    Moreover, others have complained he’s taking too light a touch with Dean, but while I wish he had more dialogue, I like the general idea of Sam watching him and checking in and such, not nagging Dean into an argument, not forcing him into anything, and not trying to take over. It’s going to get to the point where Sam needs to take more decisive action with Dean, but right now Sam’s doing okay.

    Finally, while the “two seconds with Gadreel and sent away” was maddening, I loved Sam shelving his emotions for the greater good there- concern for Cas and Dean outweighed his desire to get revenge on Gadreel. It may have been plot necessity, but it worked in his favour for once. While Season 4 had Sam “turning dark” in the background, the back end of Season 9 seems to have Sam maturing behind the scenes while other action is going on. I hope the writers can keep up THIS Sam, and not regress him again!

    Comment by Jaytee — April 28, 2014 @ 4:11 pm

  186. Maybe they both die. That hasn’t been done before.

    I assume they’ll be at odds. Eh.

    I don’t expect this team to make anything they do interesting, but maybe I’ll be wrong.

    Comment by Lisa1 — April 28, 2014 @ 4:16 pm

  187. @185, Jaytee, the term “dysfunctional” has been so overused and misused, I don’t know of many families or relationships to which it can’t be applied. That aside, I’d expect the surviving members of a family whose mother was burned to death on the ceiling by a demon to have problems beyond those we see on sitcoms about “normal” happy families. I’d also expect a family to face more than the usual challenges if the father was forced to hunt evil entities to protect his children against attack and had to train those children to protect themselves. Finally, I’d expect that brothers left largely on their own because their father was away trying to keep demons from killing them would have more stress put on their relationship than average siblings.

    But, to me, John and his sons were like a widowed father and his children trapped at the center of the fighting during the most violent years of the Viet Nam war. Any major dysfunction came from without, rather than from within the family. Had that externally imposed dysfunction never existed, the family would likely have been as happy and “normal” as any family can be.

    What’s remarkable to me about Sam and Dean is how extraordinarily well-adjusted they are. They grew up under tremendous pressure–not only because they had to look after themselves much of the time, but because murderous supernatural entities were a constant threat: “When I told Dad I was scared of the thing in my closet, he gave me a .45….He was supposed to say, ‘Don’t afraid of the dark.’”….”Don’t be afraid of the dark? You know what’s out there”…”Yeah, I know.” Any average person who grew up under the pressures Sam and Dean did would be a mental and emotional wreck–suicidal, drug or alcohol addicted, institutionalized or under therapy, incapable of holding down a regular job or even forming close relationships.
    One can only imagine what such a person would be like had he been possessed, addicted to demon blood, or literally been to hell or purgatory and back.

    Outside of the incredible pressures associated with hunting, Sam and Dean are amazingly well-adjusted individuals. They have no trouble forming friendships or loving relationships with women; they enjoy the ordinary pleasures of life whenever they can; they aren’t drug addicts, nor do they ordinarily drink to excess; they laugh and joke around–and, yes, like all of us they’re sometimes burdened by guilt, depression, and even a sense of hopelessness. But they never break under pressure because they’re also far more resilient, determined, and courageous than most of us.

    As I see it, what’s amazing about the Winchesters is how not-”dysfunctional” they are. I think the only way to account for this is that, unlike many broken souls from truly dysfunctional families, Sam and Dean have always known that, despite all their hardships, they were and are a family, deeply loved by their mother, their father, and one another.

    Comment by JT — April 28, 2014 @ 7:14 pm

  188. I agree, JT. I don’t consider them any more dysfunctional than anyone would be under their circumstances (as children and as adults). In fact, they ARE amazingly well adjusted, good, caring human beings.

    And I’m loving this Sam also. I wouldn’t mind a little more concern for Dean, but so far, I’m not getting a not-caring, resentful vibe from him at all, as was present in early season 8. Even though he was angry at Dean earlier, with good reason, he seemed to have moved beyond that and realized that Dean is not behaving like the brother he knows, and might need his attention/care whenever he wants to talk about his ‘changes’ or if he goes beyond keeping an eye. This shows maturity and a return of the nice, caring Sam we knew.

    Maybe I should troll the Supernatural sites and write Season 10 = SamnDean in the hope that the next season will actually be about them, and without stupid, angsty fighting and highlighted guest starts.

    gotta think about the last frame… The best part about your scenario was the shirtless bit… Don’t want the boys killing each other :(

    The scenario that comes to my mind is similar to Sheri’s that Dean turns dark/demonic, and goes off somewhere (shirtless), holding the first blade obssessively, leaving behind a panicked Sam.. and cut. Next season, Sam tries to find and bring back his brother. Trouble is, I like the story theoretically, but it would mean another season (or part of) with the boys not together. I don’t like that.

    Comment by Tammy — April 29, 2014 @ 5:48 am

  189. Wow. When I saw:
    ” Any average person who grew up under the pressures Sam and Dean did would be a mental and emotional wreck–suicidal, drug or alcohol addicted, institutionalized or under therapy, incapable of holding down a regular job or even forming close relationships.”
    I just started laughing. I could literally put episode notes and quotes under every item to prove these are all true of the Winchesters. In fact, I could cite entire seasons….
    suicidal – Dean Season 3 and Season 8, Sam Season 5, 8 & 9.
    drug or alcohol addicted – Sam (addicted to demon blood) season 4 & 5, Dean, take your damn pick, he’s been alchoholic at least since season 3.
    institutionalized or under therapy – uh. well, there’s the time they were in the mental hospital and a couple times in prison – not to mention Dean in juvie.
    Trouble forming close relationships – really? REALLY? Everyone they know dies…usually as a result of knowing them. Not to mention that Dean has lied to literally every woman he’s ever been with – with the exception of Cassie. He said himself he’d never been with a woman longer than six weeks – and since he’s said that Lisa was the longest he was ever with someone. Hell, Dean said himself Sam’s relationships ended badly in 9×08… which, given that most of them were with women that were monsters and/or killed by Dean or Azazel. Ruby was literally the longest relationship Sam had…
    Seriously. It is to laugh.
    Mostly I dont’ bother to comment anymore, because you guys have such a twisted vision of the show I can’t relate, but this was so over the top it was laugh out loud funny.

    Comment by t1gerlilly — April 29, 2014 @ 7:31 am

  190. @179 huh. To me the circumstances were very different because in 5.02 the brothers pretty much agreed on what needed to happen (Sam: Maybe it’s best we just…go our separate ways. Dean: Well, I think you’re right.) while 9.01 was more one-sided as evidenced by Sam saying, “What’s that supposed to mean?” and in a raised voice after Dean had already started to walk to his car, “But don’t go thinking that’s the problem, ’cause it’s not.”

    It’s a valid criticism that Sam might have given Dean mixed messages. To me Sam’s “Go. I’m not gonna stop you,” was him seeing that Dean was set on leaving. Dean looked slightly hurt and it’s understandable he would take Sam’s words as some sort of rejection. However, what Sam said after that showed how he did not agree with Dean (“But don’t go thinking that’s the problem, ’cause it’s not.”). It was an opening for Dean to stay and for them to sort things out. When Dean asked him what he meant but didn’t turn around etc., Sam told him to just go. They weren’t gonna reach an understanding. I think Dean did get where Sam had been coming from because later he quite readily acknowledged that he had put a too positive spin on the night when he described it as them going their separate ways.

    — — —

    @180 huh. Dean’s situation is definitely complex. He was actually in a pretty good mood when he said, “I’m just saying. It’s stupid to think that you need me around all the time. You’re a grown-up.” It makes sense because just before that Sam had said “I do need you watching my back,” and also Sam was doing better mentally. So all is well, Dean is feeling the “right” way, they joke.

    But then Sam saying, “You basically have been looking out for me your whole life. Now you finally get to take care of yourself. About time, huh?” is not something Dean actually wants. Firstly, looking out for Sam is kind of who he is, despite being a badass (for a lack of a better word) Dean is also a caretaker. Secondly, if Dean were to stop focusing on Sam, he would have to really look within himself and he’d rather not do that.

    As far as Sam goes, I think the problem is more that Sam sometimes slips into thinking that he is being a burden. Dean deserves to have more time for himself but for Dean looking out for Sam is one of the main things that gives meaning to his life.

    In 8.23:

    Cas: But I’m the only one in who can. I can’t fail, Dean, not on this one. I need your help.

    Dean: Look, Cas, that’s all well and good, okay, but you’re asking me to leave Sam, and we’ve got Crowley in there tied and trussed. Now, if anybody needs a chaperone while doing the heavy lifting, it’s Sam.

    I don’t think Dean’s chaperone comment was meant to be anything negative, Dean wanted to be there to take care of Sam but to Sam it came across as Dean thinking Sam screws up everything he tries and that Dean trusts others more than him.

    Re: “I think it does have to be taken in context with the “crap” that Sam did say, which pretty much did hit Dean right where he’s vulnerable.”

    I agree that Sam talking about moving on with his life etc. is stuff that hits home. It was evidenced by how Dean reacted in season 8 to Sam saying he found something. There might have been times when Dean “let Sam go” but they have always been framed as something sad like the time when Dean suggested Sam should leave to be with Amelia.

    Comment by San Summer — April 29, 2014 @ 7:35 am

  191. @183 Sheri: “I would like Dean going nuts and Sam having to chase him around for the season. I am one that doesn’t mind the brothers being apart, as long as the story is about the Winchesters and not every other damned character that has ever been on the show.”

    I wouldn’t want the brothers to be apart as much as that. :D But I agree that it would be good if for a change Sam has to go after Dean as Dean has felt he has had to chase after Sam his whole life. What would help to restore their brotherhood is Dean realizing how far Sam will go to reach him. After all, to Dean it seemed like his brother didn’t go even a short distance although Dean had ended up in Purgatory. Dean probably thought that if the situation were reversed, he would have gone to the ends of the earth to find out what had happened Sam.

    Although I agree with Tammy #188 that even that might be too much Sam and Dean separated. I guess if the show was able to create suspense…

    @184 JT “The series has been building up to a Cain/Abel confrontation for a year, so that bomb almost has to go off.”

    You are right about that! Hitchcock’s bomb theory and everything. I guess everyone would end up feeling a bit cheated if there was no confrontation. I just hope the show can execute it in a nuanced way where neither ends up being the villain and the brothers’ relationship isn’t accidentally broken down beyond repair.

    And those last frames XD

    @185 Jaytee: “I’ve been hoping against hope that the MOC/estrangement would be wrapped up in the finale, but it’s looking more and more like Dark!Dean into S10 will be a thing”

    Yeah, at least change it up when it comes to the conflict between the brothers. It would have to be something that truly addresses the differences between them. Sam-doesn’t-care-about-Dean! is not something I’ve bought into. Despite having all the potential, the show hasn’t studied the characters like they could have. Dean got the mark before Sam had said anything about family and there are still so many issues left unaddressed even when it comes to episodes 8.23 and 9.01.

    Comment by San Summer — April 29, 2014 @ 7:50 am

  192. @ San Summer: Although I would be happy to have the brothers separated, since I am not a believer in the “brotherhood,” and I think they have taken Sam way to far (again) to make me believe in it ever again, I don’t think the writers or the showrunner will separate them.

    I honestly don’t know how they plan to clean up the mess they have made.

    Comment by Sheri — April 29, 2014 @ 9:50 am

  193. Yeah I don’t see the show separating the brothers either but eventually there has to be some stuff about trying to get the other one back.

    Maybe they need to have Dean go dark so that the characters can end up with better perspective on who they truly are.

    But I’m not really looking forward to not having the real Dean on-screen. At this point even the Cain/Abel tension feels flat.

    Comment by San Summer — April 29, 2014 @ 10:15 am

  194. @t1gerlilly—Well, thanks for stopping by then!

    @ San Summer—I don’t have any doubt that Sam sent a mixed message in 9.10 if he didn’t want Dean to go. If you want someone to stay, you don’t tell them to go. Seems pretty simple. Now, perhaps Sam didn’t want Dean to leave, but I don’t see how saying, “What’s that supposed to mean” or “Don’t go thinking that’s the problem” translates into “Stay with me and work this out”, especially when Dean asks for clarification and Sam refuses to give it. So I can’t say that it was clear that they didn’t agree that it was all right for Dean to leave. I certainly didn’t know that Sam was upset about it until he started talking about Dean split on him, which is the point at which I had to roll my eyes. If you tell someone to go, then it’s logical to think they agreed that he should go. To me, the only thing that’s different between the two scenes was that Sam apparently resented the agreement later.

    Again, I’ll say Sam was under no obligation to explain or ask Dean to stay, but if he’s not willing to do so, I have no sympathy when he complains that he didn’t get what he wants. I work with small children, and this is a bit like a kid coming up complaining that someone wouldn’t play with them. Did you ask? No, because I knew they were going to say no. To which I always say, “Well, if you didn’t try, then what did you expect?” I agree that Dean had an opening to stay, and by the same token when Dean stopped and asked for clarification Sam had the opening to stop him. Neither took that opportunity, because neither was really ready to talk. I think it’s part of Sam’s little brotherism—he was waiting on Dean to fix it, and Dean wasn’t in a place where he could do that.

    I haven’t watched the wedding episode in a while (I find it hard to watch Becky scenes), so I can only take your word on Dean being in a good mood for that conversation. Dean usually tries to play things off or play things cool when something’s hurt him, and that’s how I remembered it. I acknowledge that my perspective may have varied. Even so, I can’t say that Dean wasn’t putting that “It’s stupid to think that you need me all the time” out there as a line, hoping Sam would say he did. Dean has been raised to think that he’s kept around because he’s needed, rather than necessarily wanted, so of course that’s what he wants. Dean jokes when all is well and when all is not well, too, to my recollection, and he does hide serious things in jokes, so there’s that to consider.

    But yeah, I agree that Dean, who has had being a care-taker as the center of his life for pretty much his entire life, is not going to be able to deal with being told that he’ not needed, so just focus on yourself. He doesn’t know how, and he doesn’t know how to not take it as a rejection, since his belief about his family is that they have to need him if they stay. I can see how Sam would see it differently, even though the burden thing feels more like a recent development. I think Sam has always been the one striving for independence, so focusing on himself and his goals was for many years an ideal. It’s not that way for Dean. I don’t even think Sam is wrong, but Dean isn’t in the mindset that he can just take that suggestion and run with it. He doesn’t get it, so of course he’s going to twist it into what he does understand, i.e., Sam doesn’t need me.

    By that same token, I can also agree that when Dean is saying, I want to be there for Sam and take care of him like I’ve always done, Sam twists that into what he does think, i.e., I’m a burden on Dean. Both Sam and Dean are terrible at communication, so they’re always looking for evidence that reinforces their fear about what their brother thinks of them and will end up missing what their brother is actually saying.

    I think the reason why Dean letting Sam go is often framed as bad is because there’s no blueprint for how Dean and Sam would remain brothers if they weren’t together 24/7. All we seem to have as a reference point is Stanford, where we know they did not communicate. In S8, Sam moving on meant that he didn’t look for Dean when he disappeared, seemingly replacing him with someone else. I think there’s every reason for Dean to think that if he lets Sam go, that’s the end of being brothers as he knows it. By contrast, I’m not even sure what Sam thought their being brothers would look like if he’d been able to leave after the YED or after he came back from Hell or if he’d decided to stay with Amelia. I always thought that would have been an interesting conversation. You know, if show was more interested in conversation than OMG!ANGST!!!!

    Comment by huh — April 29, 2014 @ 11:44 am

  195. @ San Summer #194: Re: “Maybe they need to have Dean go dark so that the characters can end up with better perspective on who they truly are.”

    And that right there defines the coming-of-age story the writers have going for the Winchesters this season. While I like the concept of the MoC, I don’t like the soapish angst story the writers chose to center it around. This show is called “Supernatural,” and the Winchesters should be deeply involved in that. They should not be over on the sidelines nursing their hurt feelings.

    Comment by Sheri — April 29, 2014 @ 12:58 pm

  196. @T1gerlilly. I for one like your comments, even if I don’t agree 100% :). If there’s anything else you’d like to talk about here, by all means bring it up!

    Comment by Jaytee — April 29, 2014 @ 12:58 pm

  197. @Tigerlilly. Well, its fun and enlightening to read another perspective, so anytime you decide to stop and comment here, i’ll be happy to read your POV. Probably wont agree, but hey, it would be a boring world if everyone agreed all the time.

    Comment by Tammy — April 29, 2014 @ 1:20 pm

  198. Just saw the sneak peak for tonights episode. Baby sounds awesome-my gawd they need to use her more. Jensen has chemistry with anybody he acts with I swear. Innus?? is that the leads name in Bloodline? He is mimicking Dean with his mannerisms and speech. But Jensen and Innus_-don’t know his real name-thier scene was funny. Jared looked tired to me-and the other new guy -don’t know his name -he is a shape shifter though -is stiff as a board. With the Winchesters in the scene I liked what I saw.

    Comment by animal — April 29, 2014 @ 1:23 pm

  199. @189- BOTH Sam and Dean have lied to women! Did Sam ever tell Jess or Amelia the truth about who he was or his real life? But of course in your view, it’s always only Dean who is ever in the wrong about anything.
    So, you’re the one who is always criticizing the show because you insist that Dean is bisexual, even thought that’s NEVER been shown to be the case, and that the show is queerbaiting because you insist there’s something romantic between Dean and Cas even though that’s NEVER been shown to be the case either on the show, but OUR vision of the show is so out of touch simply because we are invested in the relationship of the brothers? Really? When YOUR vision of it doesn’t even exist?

    Comment by roxi — April 29, 2014 @ 1:29 pm

  200. And I too, am not trying to discourage you from commenting, but if you are always criticizing us be prepared to get it back.

    Comment by roxi — April 29, 2014 @ 1:32 pm

  201. @194 huh.

    If Sam had just kept it at “Go. I’m not gonna stop you,” it would have seemed much more like Sam was sending Dean away. Following it with “But don’t go thinking that’s the problem, ’cause it’s not,” conveyed that he was talking about how he wasn’t gonna stop Dean from doing what Dean wanted to do even though Sam disagreed with how Dean was going to go about things. I think that “Just go,” is something one might say when they are pissed off and worn down at the same time. “He wanted to go, and he’s gone.” If Sam had tried to make Dean stay, that would have made him look like he has different rules for himself and for others.

    Dean said, “I do know this – whatever you decide, decide. Both feet in or both feet out. Anything in between is what gets you dead.” I took that to mean that they would have to cease almost all contact if they weren’t together hunting anymore.
    In some circumstances their relationship seems very all or nothing. And I think Amelia and Benny fed into that.

    @195 Sheri. I feel like the way they see each other is so skewed right now (The Purge or in this episode “You wouldn’t have done it, too.”) that being taken closer to a Cain/Abel confrontation might be needed for them to realize that who they are to each other is much stronger. Like a mix of sticking by someone’s side (“I’ll even take Dean [Sam] as is”) and despite the changes still being able to see the real person underneath (“You’re better than all of this”) and thus seeing past the angel possession and the things that were said afterwards. Although there is a risk that part of the season would end up being swept under a rug…

    @animal. Unfortunately, I didn’t see any chemistry. To me the acting was off all around.

    Comment by San Summer — April 29, 2014 @ 1:37 pm

  202. San-I liked the “awesome” exchange between Ennis and Dean. That was funny. I thought they had chemistry there. I liked that Dean was once again the “leader” of the four. I didn’t seen any -zero- chemistry between what is supposed to be the two leads of Bloodline. The shape shifter guys acting was horrible. Sam not knowing that you can trace a phone was kind of stupid but I am used to stuff being written for Sam and Dean like that when there are “support” characters on screen with them. They dumb down the Winchesters to make the support characters so much smarter. But I liked what I saw -Probably going to be one of maybe 3 scenes the Winchesters are in. but ehh- I know it going in.

    Comment by animal — April 29, 2014 @ 2:01 pm

  203. @San Summer—I think my problem with Sam’s cryptic “But don’t go thinking that’s the problem” line is that I still have no idea what he meant by it. It doesn’t really fit that he was talking about Dean leaving, because if he was, he would have said something more along the lines of, “But don’t go thinking that’s going to fix anything.” If Sam thought Dean leaving was a problem, then why would he be telling Dean that it wasn’t the problem? Was he talking about Dean going after Gadreel? The line would fit then, because Dean getting Gadreel wouldn’t fix things between them. That explanation doesn’t seem to fit either, though, because it was never brought up again and when Dean did come back around to him to try to fix things in the way he knew how Sam wasn’t any happier. It seemed to be aimed at Dean’s words about being poison and hurting more than he’s helped, but since Sam seemed to agree with his latter opinion of himself a few episodes later that can’t be it. So when Sam refused to explain that line it basically became meaningless to me, because anyone can assign any meaning to it and it could be right, because no one ever followed up on it. As for “Just go,” Sam may have been worn down and pissed off, but he was still mad at Dean for doing what he told him to do, which is to go. So, yeah, that’s a bit rich. Sorry, I agree that Sam trying to make Dean stay would have made him a hypocrite, but to me, he’s still just as much of a hypocrite for leaving because he needed space to deal with his own actions (working in a bar = to hunting down Gadreel in this instance) but resents Dean doing the same. YMMV.

    Your quote doesn’t actually indicate to me that Dean was telling Sam that they would cease all contact if not hunting. I don’t see where that’s implied. All I see is that Dean is telling Sam that he can’t half-ass his way through hunting, partly in and partly out. I don’t see any reference to Sam and Dean themselves in those lines. That doesn’t actually help me with my question either way, though, because I was thinking more along the lines of what Sam was thinking in the early episodes of the season, like 8.3 when Sam was trying to sell Dean on the idea of hunting alone because he wouldn’t have to answer to anyone. I wonder how Sam saw Dean hunting alone while he continued with normal working in terms of their brotherhood. Did he think it would be different than Stanford?

    Comment by huh — April 29, 2014 @ 2:01 pm

  204. Oh and San- surprise- but I really -big time disagree with your assessment of “Either your in or your out-Both feet in -or Both feet out. Anything else gets you dead”. I don’t see how that translates to them never seeing each other again. To me that sentence is exactly what it says. Sam -either your in hunting with both feet or your out totally. Anything else gets you dead. He’s talking hunting -not forever separating because Sam might have a “girlfriend” -wife whatever she could have been to him if they aren’t hunting together. But then again I don’t see Dean as you do. I don’t see him totally dependent on his brother like you seem to. Never have. When other characters have said something to that effect (like when they were in the mental ward with Martin) I just thought its because that person doesn’t know who and what these two guys were. That they were hunters -you have to depend on the other to watch your back. So yea-Dean is dependent on Sam to watch his back and Sam is dependent on Dean to watch his back when they are hunting. Not during down times or all the time like you believe San. Both brothers -especially Dean- does very well with out the other when they choose to leave on their own terms. But ehh-we all see things differently sometimes on this show.

    Comment by animal — April 29, 2014 @ 2:09 pm

  205. @188, Tammy, I really like this new Sam, too. I like his confidence, his sense of control, and his willingness to hunt on his own. At the same time, though, Carver’s treatment of Sam makes me uneasy. I think one of the major reasons why many fans value SN so much is that in our cynical, narcissistic, throw-away world, the kind of bond Sam and Dean shared through seven seasons is rare at best. Carver’s first action as show runner was to call that love into question by having Sam not look for his brother when all Dean had done was disappear from a room (hardly a novelty on SN).

    It was as if Sam convinced himself Dean was dead in order to be rid of his brother–just as Sam ignored the danger Kevin was under so he wouldn’t have to be troubled by the kid. Also unsettling was Sam’s reaction when Dean confronted him about his shocking indifference to his own welfare and their friend. Had Sam explained at length that his fear and grief over losing Dean had driven him out of his mind, Dean would have accepted that without hesitation. But, at first, Sam seemed surprised and even a little annoyed that anything should be made of his behavior. Later–rather than focusing on Dean’s suffering in purgatory–Sam offered a self-serving explanation about his shock at being “alone in the world” for the first time. I keep trying to come up with ways to justify this Sam, but I find it hard to see him as anything other than a cold-hearted SOB, not the Sam of seven seasons SN at all.

    I’d hoped that Sam’s final speech in the S8 finale would lead to some sort of S9 revelation about why he acted like he did concerning Dean and Kevin. But matters have only become worse. I get it: Sam was enraged that his brother would try to save him by letting him be possessed by an angel who turned out to be a rotter. But does this justify the cuttingly cruel remarks Sam has made to Dean?

    Anyway, I don’t mean to rehash what’s already been discussed at great length–except to say that I’m at a loss as to how Carver’s going to restore the all but shattered bond between the brothers. Apparently, that’s Carver’s intent. Otherwise, why would he talk about the boys discovering that the bond between them is deeper than even they themselves could have suspected?

    I think it’s likely S10 will go the way you said. But I wonder if things might progress in a different direction so that bond–and Sam–can be restored. We know that nothing is more horrifying to Sam than being overpowered by an evil supernatural force that could use him to kill. As we saw and heard, Sam prefers anything to that–including death. So, what if, to save Dean, Sam should surrender himself to his worst nightmare by forcing his bro to give the MOC over to him? Would that be an act of supreme love by Sam? I think it would.

    Comment by JT — April 29, 2014 @ 2:28 pm

  206. @191, San Summer, how did you know I was thinking of Hitchcock? Obviously, you’re a mind reader! So what do you think? Will Sam take Dean’s mark?

    Comment by JT — April 29, 2014 @ 2:38 pm

  207. @JT 205. It’s an interesting idea that both brothers could soon be on “redemption” arcs. Debate is running high on who needs to make up what to whom at this point. Sam’s done some rough things, Dean did something HUGE to him, both have said harsh things at this point, Dean’s getting worse instead of better (what did we expect?), so I imagine there’ll be more bad behaviour from him fairly soon. The writers are finally letting Sam grow into what we all know he can be, so that he’ll be positioned to catch Dean this time when he falls. Sam in the last couple of seasons has reminded me more and more of what Bobby said about him in Two Minutes to Midnight- (paraphrase) “There’s a lot of dark there, but a lot of good there as well.” It seems to be coming down to both brothers having to apologize for certain things, change certain things, and try to do better- which I like, but as Sheri pointed out, is not a plot for everyone.

    I’ve thought about Sam taking on the MOC, but it would be tricky to write it with any novelty- we’re already getting this slow slide with Dean, would we get a repeat with Sam? Or does one brother taking it from the other neutralize it somehow? Additionally, people have been pissed before that storylines have been “taken” from Dean and given to Sam, so I don’t see Sam taking on the MOC going over too well (and the last thing Sam needs now is another dark arc).

    Comment by Jaytee — April 29, 2014 @ 2:46 pm

  208. I don’t see them as dysfunctional either. They are two guys-two brothers who are hunters-the best the world has -who have done, seen and been thru horrendous things. They keep each other human. One brother -Sam-has dreams beyond the hunting that he has known all his life but he knows whats out there and it has to be taken care of. The other brother-Dean-Is a hunter thru and thru-a leader and he knows that’s who and what he is and will ever be. I don’t this dysfunction -never have. I see a bond that they share-a reliance that they have on each other within the hunting world -I don’t see that as unhealthy. I also don’t see them not having girlfriends on a regular basis as unhealthy either. Both guys have seen the women they love being attacked by the evil they hunt so why put anybody-male or female in a position that they could get hurt. Hell that was established back in s1- Dean told Sam to cut ties with his Stanford friends-you can’t have friends in this business. He said that because you can’t be honest with them and you put them in danger. They both have tried though-Its human nature to want that love connection and it is a draw to both brothers but it has fallen flat every time they tried it. Dean stays with one night stands-that’s healthy to me. Dean drinks-I don’t think he is an alcoholic-Its casual drinking-its part of the hunting life. I don’t see that as unhealthy either. Has he taken it too far at times. yes. but he pulls off and goes back to casual drinking when things are better.

    Its strange but I just realized-With Sam-what are his vices? Have we ever seen any? What keeps him sane? Dean has many things that help him stay sane so to speak.-women, drinking, porn. All coping devices. Things that are fun to Dean. Which would be a normal thing for someone who is in the hunting lifestyle. What about Sam?? Hmmmmm interesting-None come to mind other than he is a geek who likes his laptop. Does he so rely on Dean that he has nothing else that keeps him going so that’s why he falls apart when Dean is taken from him??? Hmmmmm Ok San-JT and Jacee-you guys are the Sam experts-What keeps Sam going?? What does Sam do for fun? I really don’t have anything.

    Comment by animal — April 29, 2014 @ 2:51 pm

  209. @Jaytee–Honestly, if show did transfer the MoC from Dean to Sam, I would be one of those fans for whom it wouldn’t go over well. At this point, I really don’t think going back to the something’s wrong with Sam/Dean’s his guilty care-taker is a good idea. Show’s given itself the potential, as you say, to let Sam grow into a mature, unaffected-by-the-supernatural Sam who is able to stand side by side as a partner and catch Dean when he falls. It’s given Dean the potential to actually deal with all of the things inside him and come out with some redemption into someone stronger, instead of believing himself 90% crap. Going backwards to the old formula would be a mistake for both characters and as a Dean fan, would just be disappointing to see another storyline of his end with no real affect on the character except probably another load of guilt. And you’re right–the last thing Sam needs is another dark arc. So I definitely hope it doesn’t go down that way.

    Comment by huh — April 29, 2014 @ 2:53 pm

  210. @ Jaytee: Dean’s story this season is a rewrite of Sam’s S4 story (and somewhat like Cas’ S6 story), so I don’t see them repeating it a third time by giving the MoC to Dean.

    An interesting question to be answered for me is will Dean have the MoC forever or will it somehow go away? I don’t expect that to be seen until S10.

    Comment by Sheri — April 29, 2014 @ 3:34 pm

  211. @202 animal. Apparently it’s an ensemble show, has female characters unlike Supernatural etc. Just as well because pretty much everyone that has ever talked about Jensen and Jared has mentioned their chemistry and how believable they were right from the start. It’s hard to top that.

    I’m not too thrilled that the two leads of Supernatural will be the guest stars on their show but I expect to see some gorgeous shots of Sam and Dean finally in a big city. They better not be cooped up inside a police station or hanging out in some random suburbia!

    “Bloodlines will be almost entirely a stand-alone episode, with only glimpses at the effects the Mark of Cain has been having on Dean. However, don’t think you just skip the backdoor pilot and jump back into Supernatural next week without missing a beat. “A big shoe drops at the end of this episode, which kind of kicks off into our last three episodes,” Dabb teases.”
    tvguide.com/News/Supernatural-Bloodlines-Spoilers-1080994.aspx

    @203 huh.

    I was getting that vibe because of a combination of scenes which had a sort of an all or nothing thing going on:

    Sam: Are you saying you want me to leave?
    Amelia: I’m telling you that if you stay, against everything I believe in, I would be with you. But if you leave… don’t come back. I can’t have you with one foot in my life and one foot out there doing… whatever it is you do. That life of yours I have no idea about.

    And in comparison the things Dean said:

    - I could never separate myself from the job like you could.
    - Well, I do know this – whatever you decide, decide. Both feet in or both feet out. Anything in between is what gets you dead.

    I don’t think it would have been like going back to the Stanford era though. More of an issue of safety, keeping the two worlds apart. However, I think for a while there they were on thin ice:

    Dean: Right. Okay, well, then, what the hell do we do now?
    Sam: That depends. It depends on you. On whether or not you’re done with him [Benny].
    Dean: Well, honestly, I don’t know. — — Glad I made the drive. [Dean walks past Sam and out of the room.]

    @204 animal. I’m not really sure where all that is coming from but maybe I made myself more clear in the previous paragraphs.

    @JT, I think you jolted my memory the way you worded it so I had a feeling you were thinking of his theory! :D
    If Sam would somehow let Dean overtake him, it would definitely be a big thing… I have the same worry as Jaytee that transferring the mark would be seen as Sam “stealing” Dean’s story. But Dean does need to see Sam going the distance.

    Comment by San Summer — April 29, 2014 @ 3:47 pm

  212. @207 Jaytee, to tell you the truth, it’s never occurred to me that either brother needs redemption–though I know that’s a favorite theme of Sam’s, just as guilt is Dean’s hallmark. To me, both of these guys are exceedingly loyal, self-sacrificing, generous men, which is why I get so annoyed by Carver’s distortion of Sam. In fact, the show runner’s distorted the view of Sam that Carver himself established in MS, an episode in which Sam was half-mad with grief and despair over losing his brother. So, how did we go from that to the chillingly indifferent Sam of “We Need to Talk About Kevin”? (Odd choice of title, btw, considering it was taken from a movie about a vicious, sociopathic killer.) Maybe the latter Sam represents Carver’s idea of “maturity.”

    I wouldn’t be happy with the transfer of the mark, either. Dean’s entitled to his storyline; besides, for Sam to have the MOC would send us back to the same old possessed/demon influenced Sam. Also, part of the object of all this seems to be for Dean to walk in Sam’s shoes and the reverse. I was just trying to figure out how the brothers will discover their bond is deeper than they could ever have expected. I’m out of everything but bad ideas!

    Comment by JT — April 29, 2014 @ 4:01 pm

  213. @San Summer—While the two scenes you’re citing both have a similar all or nothing vibe, the differences are critical. Amelia is issuing a personal ultimatum—either you’re here with me or not. I can’t be with you if you’re going to be here today and not tomorrow. This is sensible, and if she hadn’t been keeping her husband as a back-up this might have been a big sacrifice for her. Dean, on the other hand, was talking about the job and did not at any time mention their personal relationship. He acknowledged he couldn’t separate from the job at all, but that Sam could. But in doing so, Sam needed to understand he couldn’t and shouldn’t flit between normal and hunting because it could get him killed. At no time did he mention their relationship or not being his brother anymore. So, yes, there are similarities, but I don’t see how Amelia’s demands of all or nothing in a personal relationship can somehow be assigned to Dean when he was clearly talking about hunting and did not mention their brotherhood at all. So, I disagree that somehow because Amelia made personal demands it means that that was what Dean was doing, too.

    Now, the conversation you cite with Sam below that is much more in line with Amelia than what Dean said to me—Sam is implying/demanding that Dean be done with Benny, or they’re done. That relates to the personal rather than the professional, as Dean’s either-or did later in the episode. So that to me does indicate that he’s ready to separate from Dean if things don’t go the way he wants. But was that what he was thinking in early S8, when he was encouraging Dean to hunt alone so he could go to normal? Well, maybe it was, in the interest of safety. But if Sam was willing to cut off Dean so he could have Amelia and normal, then Dean’s fears of having being left behind would have been pretty justified, so I hope not.

    Comment by huh — April 29, 2014 @ 4:10 pm

  214. @211, San Summer, you and Jaytee are right. For Sam to take the mark would be a self-sacrificing act, but it would ruin the myth arc–to which Dean’s entitled. Thanks for the quotation from TVGuide. I’m a lot more interested in watching tonight’s rip–I mean, spinoff–after learning about the dropping shoe.

    Comment by JT — April 29, 2014 @ 4:12 pm

  215. The “shocking bargaining chip” Abaddon offers Crowley in exchange for killing the brothers could be that she offers to let him co-rule Hell with her. I had thought that maybe Dean might take her as his consort/lover after going all the way dark, but maybe she takes Crowley as her consort instead. That WOULD be shocking.
    However, if the mark does what it’s supposed to and not only makes Dean unable to be killed but also stronger than the demons, then maybe he kills them both and becomes the King of the demons. Which would be an interesting way to leave season 9, with next season’s first half tracking Sam
    s quest to get Dean back and try to cure him of the mark and bring him out of the darkness.

    Comment by roxi — April 29, 2014 @ 5:00 pm

  216. @213 huh

    I agree that Dean’s “Both feet in or both feet out” speech was referring more to the job aspect. But after Sam went outside to think about it, Dean made a call:

    Dean: Listen, Benny. Everything you’ve done for me, I will never forget, but, uh… This is it.
    Benny: End of the line?
    Dean: End of the line.
    Benny: Yeah, well, I never liked these cellphones anyway.
    Dean: You, uh… You stay good, all right?
    Benny: You too, Dean. And, uh… Thanks for the ride.
    Dean: Yeah, man. Adios.

    To me all of the scenes put together gave an impression that Dean and Sam sort of had to choose each other 100% and it wasn’t just because it’s safer that way.

    Re:“So that to me does indicate that he’s ready to separate from Dean if things don’t go the way he wants.”

    Sam: Is that what we are? You save a vampire by making me believe that the woman I love might be dead?

    I think it was about how it doesn’t make sense for them to continue hunting together etc. if someone else comes first to a point where Sam is tricked into thinking something bad might have happened to yet another person he cares about.

    I don’t think Sam was planning to cut off Dean from his life in 8.03. He saw that they wanted completely different things so maybe Dean would be at his best on his own.

    — —

    @JT RE: “I’d hoped that Sam’s final speech in the S8 finale would lead to some sort of S9 revelation about why he acted like he did concerning Dean and Kevin. But matters have only become worse. I get it: Sam was enraged that his brother would try to save him by letting him be possessed by an angel who turned out to be a rotter. But does this justify the cuttingly cruel remarks Sam has made to Dean?”

    This reminds me of a comment someone made after 9.16 Blade Runners that went something like this: “Crowley thought he shared a moment with Sam in the church. Don’t feel bad Crowley, Dean thought so too.”
    It was sort of funny because there was a hint of truth considering how episode The Purge was 9.13.

    Comment by San Summer — April 29, 2014 @ 5:09 pm

  217. @San Summer–But to me, what Dean actually said is what he said. Show may have been sending a message that Dean and Sam had to choose each other and cut all ties to others because they are melodramatic that way, but that doesn’t overwrite the fact that they did not write Dean cutting off his brother. So those motives can’t be prescribed to him post script.

    I always find it amazing that Sam’s sins in that episode, stalking Dean’s friend through Martin and leaving Dean handcuffed and unconscious to go kill said friend aren’t seen as just as problematic and untrustworthy as Dean’s text. Dean deserves his share of the blame, but I always found it amazing that Sam was never expected to accept any blame for his part in that debacle.

    I don’t know what Sam was thinking in 8.3 or how he expected the relationship to work if they were apart. That’s actually my question. But let’s be real–if Sam knows Dean at all, he knows his suggestions weren’t for Dean’s benefit. He knows Dean wants to hunt with his brother. His suggestions that Dean would be better off alone–he wasn’t thinking about Dean then.

    Comment by huh — April 29, 2014 @ 8:02 pm

  218. To me they have always made a huge deal out of the possibility that they would go their separate ways. So it seems to be implied that they wouldn’t be in contact that much if it happened. I don’t mean it as cutting each other from their lives. There just seems to be some sort of understanding between them that if one hunted while the other one didn’t, they wouldn’t really hear much from each other. (Like in season 6 etc.)

    Re: “He knows Dean wants to hunt with his brother. His suggestions that Dean would be better off alone–he wasn’t thinking about Dean then.”

    They had been fighting right from the start (“Wow, Dean, does it make you feel that much better every time you say it?”). Their thinking was like polar opposites:

    Dean: You know, I was thinking about what Randa said about, uh, you know, what it feels like to be a warrior. I get it, man, I do.
    Sam: I know. I know you do. I don’t. Not anymore. Hell, maybe I never did.

    When one is pumped up about hunting and the other one isn’t, it seems logical that they wouldn’t necessarily be at their best together.

    And eventually Dean suggests that Sam should go back to Amelia (“I’m just tired of all the fighting. — — Hell, maybe it’s time for at least one of us to be happy.”) so it seems that Sam being there wasn’t making Dean happy in any case.

    Comment by San Summer — April 30, 2014 @ 6:22 am

  219. @San Summer—I guess it’s all perspective, because I’ve never thought they’ve made it clear what would happen when and if they went separate ways. It seemed to me that Dean expected that if they did, Sam wouldn’t talk to him again, because of past experience. Like I said before, I never knew what Sam thought would happen if they separated. I don’t think you can pretend that if they don’t talk to each other once they separated that wouldn’t be cut out of each other’s lives, though. Maybe they wouldn’t have heard from each other much, but S6 is a terrible model to judge from, as Sam was soulless and Dean pretty much didn’t know he was alive, and reacted to stay with Lisa/Ben 1) because they were in the most danger, and 2) robo!Sam had been riding high with the Campbells letting him think he was dead for a year, so.

    Yes, Dean and Sam had been fighting from the beginning of the season, but Dean also said he knew his place was next to Sam, riding down crazy street. It’s not like fighting made him want Sam around less—I think Dean accepts a certain degree of conflict is always going to be present, but that he’s also needed. I agree the difference between Dean feeling reconnected to hunting and Sam not was important, but it doesn’t mean that Dean didn’t want to hunt with Sam. And yes, Dean is fully capable of hunting alone with no one to answer to—it’s just not what he prefers, so Sam trying to convince him that that would be awesome didn’t seem to be for Dean’s benefit.

    But yes, I agree after 9.10 Dean did seem ready to accept that Sam wasn’t going to be happy hunting with him, and that he wasn’t happy with the fighting anymore. Sam, clearly, had reached the point of not being happy with being with Dean, and he’d made that clear. Sam had reached the point of wanting to be gone way ahead of Dean, which made it all the odder that he decided to turn away from normal again when he clearly had the opportunity and Dean’s agreement that Sam would be happier there to take the chance to reclaim his normal.

    Comment by huh — April 30, 2014 @ 10:59 am

  220. @huh

    I kind of feel like if they knew they would be able to stay really close while one was hunting and the other one was not, they would have tried that at one point. Instead it seems like either they choose their brother or they choose another life. And if they can’t have both then it appears that being separated would mean little contact, too. Not out of anger but still. Dean cutting Benny out of his life seems to reinforce the mentality of needing to be all in.

    Comment by San Summer — April 30, 2014 @ 12:49 pm

  221. @San Summer–I agree that they didn’t know if they could still be close if they ever separated. It was never talked about or discussed–there was never even a hypothetical about it. Which makes it sad when you think about how many times they separated, because if you’re right, it means it’s been that many times they are willing to throe their closest relationship away. I kind of hope they were n’t just assuming they wouldn’t talk to each other that much, because lends itself more to Sheri’s view that the Winchesters were never really all that close to begin with. That view honestly lends a lot more legitimacy to Dean’s early S8 anger that Sam was and would be fine leaving him behind. But again, Dean’s choices with Benny =\= his choices with Sam. Relationships are unique, and it can’t be assumed that the way he acts towards one character is applicable to all others. Or else this unique bond story show’s been selling is a sham.

    Comment by huh — April 30, 2014 @ 4:06 pm

  222. “Which makes it sad when you think about how many times they separated, because if you’re right, it means it’s been that many times they are willing to throe their closest relationship away.”

    What would those times be though? When Sam talked about going back to school after they’d kill Azazel, he made it clear it wasn’t about ditching Dean. It was Dean who thought they wouldn’t be a family unless they hunted together.

    “But again, Dean’s choices with Benny =\= his choices with Sam. Relationships are unique, and it can’t be assumed that the way he acts towards one character is applicable to all others. Or else this unique bond story show’s been selling is a sham.”

    Could you elaborate on what you mean by that? To me Benny and Amelia showed how much commitment the brothers require from each other and how threatened they can feel by outside relationships.

    Comment by San Summer — April 30, 2014 @ 5:05 pm

  223. @San Summer—Really? I never took “I can’t wait to be a real person/You gotta let me go my own way” as a firm commitment to keeping in touch with Dean. Or are you just saying Sam was saying he was going back to normal and therefore not communicating with Dean after that was just going to be a natural consequence Dean shouldn’t take personally? That would be a pretty callous point of view from Sam. Yikes. Regardless, once again I’d say that conversation is a prime example why Dean has good reason to fear that they’re not going to be a family if they’re not hunting together. Neither Sam nor John seemed to have much contact with him at that time unless they needed him for a hunt, so I’d say his worry about losing his family without hunting wasn’t coming from left field. But that conversation in Shadows leads me back to the same question S8 did—If Sam didn’t think he was going to end up ditching Dean if he left hunting, how did he see himself keeping his relationship with Dean once they were separated? Of course it would change, but would he have really have been fine going back to the radio silence of Stanford?

    No problem, I’ll try to elaborate—what I mean is that Dean has consistently shown a double standard in terms of how he deals with others, including his allies, and how he deals with Sam. Therefore, I don’t think you can take how Dean dealt with Benny and easily extrapolate that he would have treated Sam the same way. Dean, like all Winchesters, is a big old hypocrite, especially when it comes to Sam. Just because Benny stepped back from Benny because he listened to Kevin’s big speech about not letting things distract you doesn’t mean that he wouldn’t have talked to Sam—he’s fairly consistently in the past been shown as the one who goes after Sam and tries to keep communication going. So I doubt he would have told Sam not to contact him anymore because he had to concentrate on closing the gates or whatever the mission de jour was and that it would have stuck. For that matter, I’m not sure how well Sam would have been able to keep radio silence—he’s certainly shown a tendency the last two years to panic when he can’t reach/get to Dean. So could he have cut off Dean as completely as he did Amelia? I’d like to think not. If Dean and Sam’s relationship with each other isn’t stronger than their relationships with Benny and Amelia, I’m not sure why we put so much stock in it in the first place.

    Comment by huh — April 30, 2014 @ 6:48 pm

  224. “Or are you just saying Sam was saying he was going back to normal and therefore not communicating with Dean after that was just going to be a natural consequence Dean shouldn’t take personally?”

    Not at all. Dean said he wanted them to be a family again and Sam said they are a family. They were getting to be brothers again.

    I don’t think Sam was going to cut all contact in season eight either. To me Dean’s “Well, I do know this – whatever you decide, decide. Both feet in or both feet out. Anything in between is what gets you dead,” implied that they wouldn’t be able to keep in touch that much though. Not an ultimatum but just how Dean sees the realities of the hunting life. And then Sam chose Dean.

    I didn’t think of it as “Dean cut off contact with Benny so he could have done the same to Sam”. Dean’s decision seemed to be more about making sure he’d put the partnership with Sam first because the tension of split loyalties had almost pushed him and Sam to the breaking point.

    Comment by San Summer — April 30, 2014 @ 7:53 pm

  225. @San Summer—Perhaps the issue then was more that Sam and Dean seem to be defining being a family in two very different ways. I think for Sam, they were always going to be family, by virtue of birth and blood. Not being near Dean or talking to Dean didn’t change for Sam that they were family, because you can’t change blood, right I think Sam has always been seeking the more “normal” definition of family, feeling out of place in the world, a “freak”, unable to fit in, and still wants to define family in those conventional terms. In that way, Sam’s staying or leaving wouldn’t change anything, because “normal” families have members that leave and go to different places all the time, and that doesn’t make them less of a family. I remember Sam saying something about how they were just starting to be brothers again, but would that have continued while Sam went back to being “a real person” and Dean was still hunting? Did Sam believe it would? How did he envision it?

    I think Dean’s definition was very different—family is there for you and has your back every day. His “normal” was torn apart with Mary’s death, so for him family was defined as John came to see it while he was growing up—Winchesters against the world. Since John was often the only one he could depend on, family was someone who was there to take care of you or someone you could take care of. That’s been a cornerstone of Dean’s existence for a long time—taking care of family. But as he got older, when Sam left he didn’t need him anymore, and they didn’t speak. John sent him on solo hunts, and it seems Dean got used to no contact. John was seeking the YED alone, seemingly didn’t need Dean anymore, and cut off communication. So it’s unsurprising to me that Dean would associate no contact and not being together with not being needed, and therefore not being a family. I think this is a way that their growing up experiences differed and therefore causes them to view family differently. It is problematic for both of them, because Sam seems to discount the family he did have because it wasn’t normal and no one cut the crusts off his bread, and Dean’s taken normal abandonment issues to the extreme by coming to believe that if your family doesn’t stick around, they won’t contact you and have no more use for you.

    I don’t know if Sam was planning on cutting off all contact in S8 when he was clamoring to go back to normal—but I still don’t know how he thought keeping Dean as family and keeping normal was going to look like. That’s why I wish that Sam had been allowed to express some POV about that. I’m afraid I simply have to agree to disagree that Dean’s words about hunting in any way implied that he felt the same way about their personal relationship—I simply see no evidence to support that in his words.

    Then I am confused, because you seemed to be arguing above that Dean was going to cut off Sam if he’d chosen normal to concentrate on the job because he’d cut off Benny, ostensibly to concentrate on the job. I’m sorry if I misunderstood in some way. Honestly, I hate to think that Dean did cut off Benny solely to soothe Sam’s feelings. That’s a pretty terrible reason to end a friendship, and it doesn’t reflect well on Sam or Dean. Sam couldn’t deal with the fact that Dean had a friend that had saved his life and that he trusted and it clearly wasn’t just because he was a monster because before Benny Sam was the king of giving monsters the benefit of the doubt and showing empathy for them, so Dean has to end a friendship he valued to assuage his jealousy? Dean is willing to cut off a friend who did need him because Sam couldn’t deal with him having a partner he valued that wasn’t Sam? I think it’s fairly simplistic to say that it was only Benny that pushed Sam and Dean to the breaking point as well—that was really only a small part of a large morass of issues to which both Sam and Dean contributed.

    Comment by huh — April 30, 2014 @ 8:36 pm

  226. Ugh, there’s some terrible run-ons in that mess. Time for bed.

    Comment by huh — April 30, 2014 @ 8:38 pm

  227. Not sure if anyone’s still looking today, but to toss into the convo…

    Waaaay back in the Pilot, when Dean first dropped Sam back off at Stanford, Sam was telling Dean to call him, saying they should hang out, etc. So at that time, he saw them as able to keep in touch even if they weren’t hunting (putting the estrangement clearly on “the fight” and not on them hunting in general). As their relationship actually improved (remember those days!) through the season, coupled with his “too long” comment with John, I’m assuming Sam wanted to at least try to be in touch with his family again while staying out of the hunting life after getting the demon.

    8 seasons later? Who knows. I actually avoid analyzing early 8 much because (as has been discussed thoroughly before), it was awful. I suppose both brothers were both more aware that it’s difficult for them to maintain non-hunting relationships, and that SamnDean themselves come in “two speeds” where each other are concerned. All or nothing. They probably both visualized their contact as “Sam calling every now and then or Dean occasionally coming through town” but not nearly as close as they had been. That said, I couldn’t imagine even S8 Sam not picking up the phone if Dean called, or not helping him on a hunt if needed (after all, despite all that awfulness with his character he WAS with Dean and hunting at the time).

    It does occur to me that despite the awfulness of early 8, one aspect of Sam came out in the Pilot that was true through that season as well, and arguably even now. Dean pushes too hard, Sam pulls back. Dean gives Sam his own space to decide, Sam comes to him. In the Pilot, Dean respected Sam’s boundaries and where he was at by bringing him back to Stanford, and Sam responded by wanting more contact (before Jess got roasted to the ceiling). Dean’s behaviour in 8 hasn’t been discussed much because Sam was so out there (and we all knew Dean was coming off Purgatory and baffled at Sam as well), but he was leaning on Sam HARD to drop everything and hunt at first, so it was predictable that Sam would resist. Once Dean put the choice back in Sam’s hands again…Sam chose to stay, without any bitterness or resentment.

    So…conclusions? I doubt Sam would want to be completely estranged from Dean if he left hunting. I do think they both fear it could happen.

    Comment by Jaytee — May 1, 2014 @ 5:44 am

  228. “Then I am confused, because you seemed to be arguing above that Dean was going to cut off Sam if he’d chosen normal to concentrate on the job”

    No, I think it was more about how normal life and hunting don’t mix that well. They wouldn’t be able to be that involved in each other’s lives or otherwise something would always drag the other one back in.

    I think the biggest problem between Benny and Sam was how Dean kept Benny as a secret. Why did he do that? I’d think he would want to introduce them to each other because both of them were clearly very important to him. Dean really didn’t give Sam a reason to trust Benny — probably because he didn’t fully trust Benny ether. And then Dean’s phone trick made it impossible to continue like before.

    Why do you think Dean cut Benny off?

    Comment by San Summer — May 1, 2014 @ 5:47 am

  229. @Oh hey Jaytee! Wasn’t expecting someone to post at the same time! :D

    Re:“but he was leaning on Sam HARD to drop everything and hunt at first, so it was predictable that Sam would resist.”

    Yes, because of Purgatory Dean had some ideas about how both he and Sam should live that no one could really expect Sam to comply with because they were uncharacteristic even for Dean:

    Dean: You took a year off to do yoga and play the lute, whatever, but I’m back. Okay, we’re back, which means that we walk and kill monsters at the same time.

    I think it was very important that Dean didn’t frame the possibility of Sam leaving to be with Amelia and out of the hunting life as some sort of betrayal or that innocent people would get killed etc. Amelia did give Sam an ultimatum and as much as he might have loved her, she inadvertently gave Sam an out to stay away.

    8.03 was an example on how not to handle things with Sam:

    Sam: Dean, listen, when this is over – when we close up shop on Kevin and the tablet – I’m done. I mean that.

    Dean: No, you don’t.

    Sam: Dean, the year that I took off, I had something I’ve never had. A normal life. I mean, I got to see what that felt like. I want that. I had that.

    Dean: I think that’s just how you feel right now.

    Comment by San Summer — May 1, 2014 @ 6:16 am

  230. @Jaytee—I’m still here having conversations because I really don’t have anything to say about Bloodlines. ;) You make some very good points about S1 Sam here. I agree that he seemed like he did want to hear from Dean, and that maybe before he went upstairs, that he was visualizing some relationship where Dean and he did speak, and maybe Dean could come to him every once in a while on his way through town for a visit. I’d like to think that S8 Sam had some of those same ideas in mind, but you’re right that trying to analyze early S8 Sam is not a good idea. It’s also true that both Sam and Dean might have feared that this wouldn’t work by S8, because they’d both seen their attempts at normal crash and burn by then.

    I do agree that Dean pushes Sam too hard at times, for two reasons. 1) Dean does have doubts that his family will be there for him unless he’s the one to initiate and insist upon it. He has reason to believe this, but he does come on strong when a softer, choice-based approach would look better. 2) If it’s not one thing, it’s your father. Dean and Sam both grew up in John’s authoritarian household, and it affected them both. Dean was parentized, and probably was quite used to being in charge of Dean. Even as adults, siblings/parents can find it easy to go back to those roles, especially in times of stress. We see it in Dean, and we see it in Sam when he slips into the little brother role and wants Dean to take the lead. We also see Dean and Sam struggle with wanting to be in charge, because John was in charge with absolute authority and that’s the model they have. I definitely agree that Dean needs to work on this—even though Sam has been through various shades of limp!Sam where Dean’s had to be in charge at this point and he’s become reconditioned to taking care of Sam, he does need to recognize that his own behavior isn’t helpful. Holding on too tightly does make Sam step back. By the same token, Sam needs to realize that when he talks about finding normal and being a person, it scares Dean into believing he’s going to be left behind without a word again, which is going to make him cling tighter. It’s a vicious circle with these two at times.

    Comment by huh — May 1, 2014 @ 7:08 am

  231. @San Summer—I agree that both Sam and Dean have reason to believe at this point that normal and hunting don’t mix that well. They couldn’t be involved in each other’s lives to the same extent. But I still don’t think there’s proof that Dean thought it was all or nothing at that point since he did not address their personal relationship at all, and I like to think Sam didn’t either.

    I agree that Benny being a secret from Sam was a big problem, but I don’t think it can be cited as the sole cause for Sam’s OTT dislike of Benny. I think Dean kept Benny a secret for 2 reasons—1) because the plot said so because they needed more conflict, and 2) Dean was afraid that his friend might not be able to stay on the straight and narrow. Well, the third possibility is that Dean knew his stance on trusting monsters was pretty consistently no, and that he didn’t think he could explain his change to Sam, but there’s no real evidence for that. I think Dean showed that he was willing to kill Benny if he was killing in 9.9, but he did want to think the best of his friend, as Dean normally does. I would think that a reason for Sam to trust Benny was because he trusted Dean’s judgment, and also because he would feel some gratitude in Benny saving Dean’s life and getting him out of purgatory. Sam’s given many other monsters the benefit of the doubt for less. But it wasn’t just the phone trick that made it impossible to continue—it was the fact that Sam sent someone to stalk Dean’s friend and then left Den handcuffed so he could go kill Dean’s friend with that hunter. Sam was hardly innocent in this conflict. I definitely think Dean had to take responsibility for the text, and I think he did. I wish we’d see Sam take responsibility for his part in the Benny fiasco as well.

    I think Dean cut Benny off because of Kevin’s speech about not having distractions. Benny was getting more needy, and Dean had a mission to complete. At the time he cut Benny off, Sam had gone off to consider his decision to stay or go, so Dean had no firm knowledge that Sam was going to be there to repair the relationship. So I don’t think Sam can really be considered the sole and perhaps not even the main reason for Dean’s choice. Mileage may vary.

    I also agree that Dean’s purgatory PSTD did cause him to come back harder, with some issues of his own to deal with. I do think he leaned on Sam hard, though I think that can partially be credited to what I said to Jaytee above: when Dean feels like his family’s tossing him aside and leaving him behind, he tends to cling harder and yell louder in order to make them see him and stay. Which makes Sam pull away, and the cycle begins again. I do think it’s important that when Dean told Sam that he needed to commit to one direction that he didn’t lay a guilt trip about innocent lives or the mission or anything on Sam. He did tell him he thought Sam had the chance to be happy. In the end, Dean does want what’s best for Sam, even if it hurts him.

    Well, now, I can agree that Dean dismissing Sam’s talking about normal wasn’t good, but . . . he was right. It did end up being the way Sam felt right then, and he did change his mind and commit back to hunting. Show’s had Sam yo-yo so much about hunting and normal, it’s hard not to dismiss his commitments to one or the other, because it’s pretty sure he’ll end up changing his mind. Rude, but it’s easy to see where Dean got the idea that he just needed to wait and the forecast was going to change again, so to speak.

    Comment by huh — May 1, 2014 @ 7:22 am

  232. @huh

    To me it would never be about cutting the other one from their lives in any case. But Dean presenting the situation as either being 100% in the hunting life or 100% out of it because that’s how they can keep safe makes it seem like they wouldn’t be able to be there for each other that much. Cutting contact with Amelia and Benny highlighted the level of commitment that was needed.

    “I think Dean kept Benny a secret for 2 reasons — 2) Dean was afraid that his friend might not be able to stay on the straight and narrow.”

    Is it any wonder then that Sam reacted so badly to Benny? Yet Dean kept on insisting that Benny was innocent etc. If he had been more open with Sam, told him how he got out of Purgatory, introduced his little brother and his brother from another mother to each other, a lot of things could have been avoided. Dean didn’t want to come clean that a vampire had gotten out of Purgatory with him and was on the loose. How could Sam not feel suspicious that Dean was too close to the situation?

    “Rude, but it’s easy to see where Dean got the idea that he just needed to wait and the forecast was going to change again, so to speak.”

    It’d be one thing if he had decided to just let Sam come around on his own but the way Dean discounted what Sam wanted and guilt Sam wasn’t gonna help anything:

    Dean: All right, man, look, I get it. You took a year off to do yoga and play the lute, whatever, but I’m back. Okay, we’re back, which means that we walk and kill monsters at the same time. We’ll find Kevin. But in the meantime, do we ignore stuff like this? Or are innocent people supposed to die so that you can shop for produce?

    It’s especially not the way to ensure that Sam will change and be happy. In After School Special:

    Mr. Wyatt: Do you want to go in the family business, Sam?
    Sam: No one’s ever asked me that before.
    Mr. Wyatt: Well?
    Sam: More than anything, no.

    Comment by San Summer — May 1, 2014 @ 9:15 am

  233. @San Summer—Well, to be fair, it wasn’t just Dean presenting a situation as either/or. Sam pretty much did the same earlier in the episode with Benny, and that was very much relating to their personal relationship rather than their professional one. So both Winchesters were ready to burn bridges here. But even if we’re saying that Dean was presenting the situation as either/or and implying that they would mean they wouldn’t be there for each other (which I still did not see him say), Dean and Sam would both be accepting that they were essentially cutting each other from their lives then, wouldn’t it? It may not have been the primary purpose for their separation, but they were accepting it as a consequence, if we go by that theory. But again, I still do not see that in Dean’s words, so there you go.

    See, honestly, yeah, I do think it’s a wonder that Sam reacted so badly to Benny. Sam has always been the first in line to give monsters the benefit of the doubt, and what’s more, he’s expected Dean to give monsters the benefit of the doubt, including some times when he wasn’t completely upfront about them at the beginning. So if Sam thinks there are things that he should be allowed to keep to himself and he can want Dean to trust him on faith, why would he not extend that to Dean? Why would Sam not want to give a creature that saved his brother and helped him get out of purgatory the benefit of the doubt? 1) Because the plot said so for conflict reasons, 2) possibly because he remembered his own experiences and assumed/believed Dean’s would end the same, even though Sam has always been the one to judge monsters individually, and 3) jealousy. Sam had some complicated feelings he buried about not looking for Dean and not being the one to get Dean out apparently, if we’re to go by the finale. So it’s natural that he would turn his resentment on the person who did what he could/did not do, especially when Dean was angry with him and seemed closer to Benny. That’s a pretty natural emotion. So I think you’re right about part of the reason Sam reacted so badly to Benny, but that’s certainly wasn’t the only reason for Sam’s issues, and perhaps not even the biggest one.

    Again, I agree that Dean doubting Sam’s convictions was rude and not particularly conducive to good conversation between them. Dean had some reason to be skeptical of Sam’s convictions, considering his track record on this issue in the past. So, no, it was rude, but it wasn’t out of left field and Dean wasn’t precisely wrong.

    I can agree that guilting Sam is not the most productive thing in the world. On the other hand, Sam deserved to feel guilty, if for nothing else than for Kevin. He did leave him twisting in the wind. But no, it wasn’t productive. On the other hand, can we say that Sam was doing anything to help Dean come around—he was ignoring the pain under Dean’s words in hopes that it would go away, it seemed, and that can’t be seen as any more productive. I don’t think all the emphasis should be on what Dean should have done to work things out with Sam–Sam shares equal responsibility here, too.

    Which leads me to the point that I don’t think either Winchester was all that interested in making the other happy at the beginning of S8. With Dean sniping at Sam’s decisions to leave everything and not look back without showing understanding for why Sam might have done and Sam’s refusal to show understanding for where Dean was coming from and refusal to say anything beyond “I fell apart, now stop bothering me about it” (and the line about enjoying the finer things in life while Dean was trapped in purgatory can’t be seen as helpful), neither Winchester was really trying to fix things or make the other feel comfortable. Dean shouldn’t get a pass even with his purgatory PSTD, I agree–but Sam doesn’t deserve one, either. He did nothing to make the situation better, either. It’s all part of the wonderful DRAMAZ of the Carver era, where the Winchesters love each other, we promise—even if they spend 90% of the season not liking each other. Fun.

    Comment by huh — May 1, 2014 @ 12:58 pm

  234. @huh.

    Benny being Dean’s dirty little secret didn’t exactly inspire trust:

    Sam: I told you from the jump where I was coming from, why I didn’t look for you. But you? You had secrets. You had Benny.

    “So if Sam thinks there are things that he should be allowed to keep to himself and he can want Dean to trust him on faith, why would he not extend that to Dean?”

    But why hide how he got out of Purgatory with a vampire and then expect Sam to trust Dean’s judgment on Benny?

    I thought it was a little weird how Sam kept bringing up that he was a _vampire_ but at the same time there were a lot of red flags about Benny. Especially when Dean’s attitude was this:

    Dean: Look, Benny slips up and some other hunter turns his lights out, so be it.
    Sam: But it’s not gonna be you, right?

    Comment by San Summer — May 1, 2014 @ 2:14 pm

  235. @San Summer—With respect, it’s a bit rich for Sam to complain about someone keeping secrets, isn’t it? Sam’s kept secrets from Dean throughout the series, but is angry when Dean keeps them from him? This is a point about which both Sam and Dean are both gigantic hypocrites, because they both demand trust and honesty but think they should be allowed to keep things to themselves. Even if Sam was upset about the secret, it doesn’t mean that Benny is automatically less trustworthy than any of the other monsters that Sam wanted to trust on faith.

    Of course hiding Benny doesn’t equal automatic trust, but it also shouldn’t equal automatic “I need to have someone follow this particular monster out of all the other ones we’ve let go”, either. That’s what indicates to me there was a lot more that’s going on under the surface with Sam regarding Benny. It still doesn’t address the fact that Sam heard that Dean’s trusting Benny is what allowed him to escape purgatory and come back to him. Shouldn’t that make some difference to Sam?

    I don’t see any red flags that Sam could have seen about Benny himself that made him sic Martin on him. He was no more problematic than the female werewolf they’d let go in 8.4. The only problem with him was the fact that Dean didn’t tell Sam about him, which made Sam resentful. And when they had words, Sam was angry, Dean dug in his heels and snapped back, and they both escalated the situation. While Sam may have thought Dean wouldn’t have killed Benny, he did go into the hunt in 9.9 prepared to do so. So whatever Dean flippantly said to him clearly was not reflected in his actions. But he did trust Benny, which again, is something that saved Dean before, and Sam couldn’t handle that, which is why Dean ended up left behind handcuffed to a radiator while Sam went to go kill his friend.

    I am not saying that Dean doesn’t deserve his share of the blame for how the Benny situation went down. Keeping secrets isn’t good for either Winchester, and being snarky in response to Sam’s anger, even if it was over the top considering his own track record on both monsters and secrets, wasn’t helpful. But Sam is not innocent in this conflict, and there was more to his actions than just “Dean didn’t tell me immediately so Benny’s clearly a bad guy.” He allowed his resentment about Dean trusting others to affect him, as he clearly treated Benny differently than other monsters they’ve come across that seemed to have good points about them. Sam has some shady attitude and actions here, too, and I wish show had held him accountable for those the way they (rightly) held Dean accountable for the text.

    Comment by huh — May 1, 2014 @ 3:15 pm

  236. “Of course hiding Benny doesn’t equal automatic trust, but it also shouldn’t equal automatic “I need to have someone follow this particular monster out of all the other ones we’ve let go”, either.”

    It shouldn’t?

    Sam: She was different. She – you think Benny’s different? He tell you he’s not drinking live blood, or something? And you believe him. Wow. Okay. You know, you’re right. People do change.

    Dean: Yeah. I got a vampire buddy, and you turn your phone off for a year.

    Sam: Don’t turn this on me.

    Dean: Look, Benny slips up and some other hunter turns his lights out, so be it.

    Sam: But it’s not gonna be you, right?

    Dean: You coming or not? [He gets into the car.]

    I’d say the attitude that Dean was showcasing was enough for Sam not to trust that a vampire who had ended up in Purgatory and was now topside could be left out there like it was nothing.

    “While Sam may have thought Dean wouldn’t have killed Benny, he did go into the hunt in 9.9 prepared to do so. So whatever Dean flippantly said to him clearly was not reflected in his actions.”

    Isn’t that more on Dean then? He swore up and down that Benny was innocent which Sam couldn’t take at face value and Dean didn’t believe in his own words either.

    Comment by San Summer — May 1, 2014 @ 4:09 pm

  237. @Huh- ha, both brothers are still just awful about lying to each other, aren’t they. Between Sam’s S4 stuff and Dean’s drinking himself half to death over the Amy business, you’d think they would have both learned by now. In fairness, I’m not sure if Sam’s lied majorly about anything since S4? He didn’t seem to be aware of his own soullessness in S6 (and I’m not sure you could count Soulless!Sam in terms of emotional honesty anyway), and in later S8 it was fairly trivial “I’m fine I’m fine” man-stuff when he was clearly sick, and it didn’t last long (both brothers are bad with the “I’m fine” stuff).

    Sam’s reaction to Benny was weird, and unfortunately that does seem to have been writing to a degree: I heard that Benny had two potential story-lines, one where he falls off the wagon, the other where he didn’t. Sam’s reaction was either supposed to be straight-up jealousy or his instincts telling him something was off. I don’t know how often then do that kind of thing while filming, but it must have been a hard balance for JP to strike. In the end, they had Benny stay clean, and Sam’s issues seemed to be more with Dean’s secretiveness around Benny combined with jealousy, ultimately accepting Benny when he also helped him get out of Purgatory. Sam just disliking him for being a vampire made pretty well no sense for the reasons you mention.

    Talking about the brothers like this, it’s a bit easier to see how things just badly went to hell with them when Dean got back from Purgatory. They just kept *reacting* off each other didn’t they? Usually when people discuss this period of the show, it’s more trying to make sense out of Sam, but thinking of both brothers’ behaviour? Dean was already jumpy and charged up when he reacted to Sam’s not looking for him, Sam reacted to Dean’s anger and attempts to control Sam, Dean reacted again to Sam’s reluctance and attitude…yikes. I used to feel like the post-Purgatory fighting was dropped rather than resolved (well, I still think that to a degree), but it makes more and more sense that one of them just needed to drop the gloves, so to speak, so that the other could calm down too. Once Dean stopped fighting, Sam dropped his defenses and actually THOUGHT about what he wanted to do/should do, instead of reacting.

    One thing the earlier posts reminded me of, was S6 Dean. Dean, who always identified with hunting more than Sam did, still needed to ease his way back into full hunting after getting out. Even he struggled with giving up the woman he loved and the life he’d built, and at first wouldn’t hunt at all, then only hunted when Sam needed help, then tried to juggle both…until things with Lisa ended and he acknowledged himself as a full hunter again. Of course there were various different circumstances (as Sam was soulless, his feelings weren’t particularly hurt and even he felt Dean should stay where he was), but the result was that even Dean didn’t want to just hop back into hunting as soon as Sam was back. Dean had far too much on his mind after Purgatory, and was far too confused and hurt by Sam, to remember that back then, but it does underscore that he was being a bit unfair in wanting Sam to just hop back in the Impala, no ifs, ands or buts as soon as he was back. He wouldn’t have taken well to that attitude in S6 either.

    Comment by Jaytee — May 1, 2014 @ 4:16 pm

  238. @San Saummer—In my opinion, no, it shouldn’t. I would think each individual should be judged on their own actions/merits, not on whether someone keeps them a secret or not. Dean and Sam have let dubiously gray monsters go before with a tagging them with a tracking chip. The monster who got Dean out of purgatory should get some degree of consideration—you’d think Sam would be grateful.

    Forgive my memory, but is the she in this case Amy? If so, then yes, she was different than Benny. Sam knew for a fact that she had killed people without remorse and was still totally fine with letting her go without someone spying on her. I would think the monster, who, as far as they knew, had not accumulated a body count since his reincarnation would be considered less awful. But no, now after S7 when Sam agreed he’d been too close to make the call, she was again “different”? Sam totally believed Amy was only killing out of necessity, despite the fact that he knew her one afternoon 15 years ago. Dean had spent much more time with Benny and had a much better measure of him. Therefore, his believing in Benny =/= Sam believing in Amy. I’m not sure why Sam would want to draw that comparison, frankly.

    As for attitude, I’d say both Sam and Dean both showing plenty right there, which only was helping to cement the issues between them. Sam was never really willing to discuss what why he hadn’t looked for Dean—his “I was upfront with you” consisted of about three sentences with no details that we saw, and seemed to expect that to be the end of it. Dean never asked for details. Likewise, when Dean admitted that Benny was the reason he was topside, he expected Sam to take him at his word and have that be the end of it. Sam never asked for any details. Neither one of them had given the other much reason to want to listen to the other, had they?

    When did Dean swear up and down that Benny was innocent? Not when Sam first told him about Martin’s suspicions after he’d stalked him—Dean was fully agreeable to looking into the situation and went out to meet Benny armed. Sam, as I recall, seemed slightly put out by the lack of argument. Dean’s insistence that Benny was innocent came later, after he’d spoken to Benny and gotten his side of the story. So no, I don’t think it was on Dean because he didn’t believe his own words. He never stated that there was no possibility that Benny wouldn’t slip up, and met the news that he possibly had ready to do what needed to be done. At the same time, he trusted his friend enough to ask before beheading, and believed in his word. I don’t see an inconsistency.

    Comment by huh — May 1, 2014 @ 4:32 pm

  239. @Jaytee—Oh, I will be the first one to label Sam and Dean Winchester our own lovable hypocrites. They both lie to each other and keep secrets from each other and are furious when the other does the same, and they never seem to learn any differently. They are also both bad with the “I’m fine” business, because I think they both secretly fear the other believing they’re weak. Ah, boys.

    As for Sam’s reaction to Benny, I don’t know that it had to be either straight-up jealousy or hunting instincts, no matter which scenario they went with. I think it would have been a mixture of both no matter what, because in the end I do think that Sam’s resentment of Benny played a factor in his reaction to Benny and would have done so even if Benny had eventually fallen off the wagon. I did read that show had considered having Benny reveal that he’d slipped just before Dean killed him, and I don’t think it would have made that much difference in anyone’s mind. Fans predispositioned to think Benny was a bad character would have just had their opinions confirmed, and fans predispositioned to think Benny had been good could have just as easily said Sam’s actions removed him from his granddaughter/support system and therefore he wasn’t completely to blame. So I doubt it would have changed much in terms of fan reaction.

    Oh, I definitely think that Dean and Sam’s reactions to each other kept driving them further and further away from each other. Dean did come out of purgatory with some degree of PSTD, which I thought show did a good job with until they dropped purgatory completely after Cas’s return (sigh). It definitely affected his actions and attitude. I think he would have been angry and hurt that Sam didn’t look for him regardless, and I thought that was understandable. It did not mean he handled Sam the right way, and I don’t think Sam handled Dean the right way either. Their pain and misunderstanding of each other’s issues led the conflicts to keep escalating instead of subsiding. See, I do feel like the post-purgatory fighting was pretty much dropped—after 8.6, Dean didn’t mention Sam’s leaving him behind again under threat of ultimatum, but it was still clearly an issue as evidenced by the finale. Sam’s desire for normal died a strange death in 8.10, when Sam was suddenly given Dean’s blessing to go and Amelia pretty much said if you want it, come and get it, and Sam . . . didn’t. Suddenly he was back to I’m a hunter. Sam’s actions with Benny were dropped, other than a begrudging “I guess he was okay” after he essentially died for Sam, and Dean’s PSTD magically cleared up and he was back to his old self. It made sense that one of them had to give in a bit for the situation to improve (and it wasn’t a surprise that it was Dean), but really nothing got fixed. Even the finale, which tried to slap a band-aid over everything, didn’t really fix anything. So I still look back and find S8 to be a season where the PTB broke the boys for DRAMAZ and then didn’t properly handle the clean-up.

    You know, I think the significant difference between S6 and S8 is that Dean did not come back soulless. He did not hide from Sam for a year and then expect Sam to jump in the car as if that wasn’t a problem. I thought Dean had every reason to be cautious about jumping back into hunting with this Sam, who left him to think that he was rotting in hell for a year and was hanging out with the loathsome Campbells. But then he did try to juggle both, but he never behaved as if he was resentful to Sam for bringing him back into hunting or talked about how much he’d rather not be hunting with Sam. It always seemed clear to me that Dean went to Lisa/Ben to honor Sam’s last request, and while he cared about them he knew he didn’t belong. It took much less time, comparatively, for Dean to commit himself back to hunting than it did Sam, and he didn’t give Sam the impression he’d much rather be somewhere else in the meantime.

    Dean’s attitude in S8 was hard on Sam. Full stop, no qualifiers. But I never thought Sam’s and Dean’s time in normal was incredibly similar—they were different people and the circumstances were very different.

    Comment by huh — May 1, 2014 @ 4:57 pm

  240. @237 Jaytee. “I heard that Benny had two potential story-lines, one where he falls off the wagon, the other where he didn’t. Sam’s reaction was either supposed to be straight-up jealousy or his instincts telling him something was off. I don’t know how often then do that kind of thing while filming, but it must have been a hard balance for JP to strike.”

    Yeah, they tried to write it ambiguously enough so that Sam and even Dean would be guessing whether Benny would fall. He didn’t need to kill Martin the way he did etc. Unfortunately, it ended up being more like Sam had been irrational and unfair toward poor Benny — especially when Benny “sacrificed” himself for Sam.

    ***

    @238 JT. ”I would think each individual should be judged on their own actions/merits, not on whether someone keeps them a secret or not.”

    Even after Dean says, “Look, Benny slips up and some other hunter turns his lights out, so be it,”? I think it would have been very questionable if Sam had just left it at that.

    — — —

    Here is the scene:

    Dean: You want to talk about Benny? Fine. Let’s talk.
    Sam: Okay. How about he’s a vampire?
    Dean: He’s also the reason I’m topside and not roasting on a spit in Purgatory. Anything else?
    Sam: Don’t pretend I don’t get it. I know you had to do what you had to down there.
    Dean: I highly doubt you get anything about Purgatory.
    Sam: But you’re out now, and Benny’s still breathing. Why?
    Dean: He’s my friend, Sam.
    Sam: And what about my friend, Amy? She was what? ‘Cause you sure as hell didn’t have a problem ganking her.
    Dean: Well, I guess people change, don’t they? We let that werewolf Kate go, didn’t we?
    Sam: She was different. She – you think Benny’s different? He tell you he’s not drinking live blood, or something? And you believe him. Wow. Okay. You know, you’re right. People do change.
    Dean: Yeah. I got a vampire buddy, and you turn your phone off for a year.
    Sam: Don’t turn this on me.
    Dean: Look, Benny slips up and some other hunter turns his lights out, so be it.
    Sam: But it’s not gonna be you, right?
    Dean: You coming or not? [He gets into the car.]

    — — —

    But if Amy and Benny are going to be compared:

    7.03

    Sam: It’s okay. Say it. I’ve spent a lot of my life trying to be normal, but come on. I’m not normal. Look at all the crap I’ve done, look at me now. I’m a grade-A freak. But I’m managing it. And so is Amy.

    Dean: Is she? How?

    Sam: She works at a damn funeral home so she doesn’t have to kill anyone, Dean. She’s figured out how to deal.

    Dean: Okay, well, then explain the bodies.

    Sam: She’s done. Her friggin’ kid was dying, Dean. Put you or me in her position, we’d probably do the same thing. Look, you don’t trust her. Fine. Trust me. Dean, please.

    Dean: Okay.

    Sam: Seriously?

    Dean: Got to start sometime, right?

    In the next scene Dean gets Sam to leave so he can go kill Amy. Sam on the other hand didn’t lie to Dean that he was gonna let Benny go and then when the next opportunity rises, goes to kill him. He gives Dean time to investigate on his own. Then the next time they talk:

    Martin: I follow your boy… down a freaking path and trip over fresh vamp kill, and then you practically catch him in the act… of burying a second body, and you’re still taking his side?

    Dean: Vampires pick people off from the outskirts of town, okay?

    Martin: Pfffft!

    Dean: Not in the cafés that they work in with their great-grandkids. In fact, killing any human – it’s not his style.

    Martin: Not his style? Not his style?

    Sam: Listen, Dean, we came here on a dead body. You asked for some time, and now there’s another dead body. Are we just going on trust here?

    Dean: Yes.

    Sam: Okay. Because we’ve killed for a lot less, and you know how these things turn out for us.

    Dean: Yes, I do – too well. In fact, every relationship I have ever had has gone to crap at some point. But the one thing I can say about Benny – he has never let me down.

    Sam: Huh. Well, good on you, Dean. Must feel great finally finding someone you can trust after all these years.

    Dean: All I’m saying is that Benny is innocent.

    Sam: No. You’re too close to this.

    Dean: You’re not gonna find him. And if you do, I’m gonna tell you this. You’ll be lucky to get out alive. And you – you go with him, you’re a dead man – period.

    Sam: These are innocent lives we’re talking about, Dean. And you’re willing to risk that on Benny’s word alone?

    Dean: Damn right I am.

    Sam: What… was that?

    Martin: Dean made his choice. Let’s go do our job.

    What that shows is how Dean was willing to go on just trust because even though he knew how things usually turned out for them, he desperately didn’t want that to be the case that time around. Dean could only insist that the kills weren’t Benny’s “style”. He tries to convince Sam by saying Sam wouldn’t find Benny anyways — not exactly a logical reason to let a possible killer go. Dean was gonna rely on Benny’s word alone and he was prepared to risk innocents. How could Sam be expected to just trust Dean when clearly Dean’s judgment had been compromised?

    Comment by San Summer — May 1, 2014 @ 6:24 pm

  241. @San Summer—Yes, Benny should be judged on his own merits, not Dean’s slapfight with Sam. Now that I read it again, was Dean actually referencing Sam’s blasé people were fine while I was out because other hunters took care of things from the premiere with that line? I think he might have. Huh. Didn’t catch that the first time. I don’t know that it would have been very questionable if Sam just left it at that—after all, Sam had left plenty of things at that for the past year. Why would Benny be special in that regard?

    Ah, I see—the tail end of that quote was actually about Kate. Well, in truth, yes, she was no more reliable not to slip and kill some people than Benny was, was she? I’m certain she didn’t intend to harm humans, but having been a werewolf for five whole minutes it wasn’t a sure thing. Nor were Lenore and her clan, given that we really only had their word that none of them hadn’t fed on others in 100 years. All of these examples, of course, were better bets than Amy, who had murdered someone without remorse within hours of talking to Sam. So again, I can’t see why Benny warranted such ire from Sam, since he was letting to let other monsters go with just as little or less assurance that they wouldn’t harm others.

    It seems a little disingenuous to say that Sam didn’t lie to Dean about Benny when he actively went behind Dean’s back to send Martin to stalk him. But even so, Sam and Dean’s motivations were completely different—Dean wanted to rid the world of a murderous monster Sam was attached to because of a perceived kinship in freakhood and an intense afternnon shared 15 years ago but not hurt his brother, so he hid it. Sam had no intention of hiding his desire to catch Benny doing something nefarious and rub Dean’s nose in it, so once he thought he had proof he had no intention of hiding it from him.

    I will credit Sam with giving Dean a chance to investigate instead of going right for the kill, but let’s be real—Sam never expected Dean to listen to Benny and believe him. He had no intention of actually listening to Dean’s investigation when it came back with a conclusion other than Benny’s a murderer, to the point where he was completely willing to work with a hunter that had just assaulted his brother in order kill Benny. Dean has always gone on trust when it comes to his family, even when it’s come back to hurt him, but in this case he was right in saying that Sam didn’t actually have any evidence that Benny had been the one to do the killings. If Sam and Martin were secure in their belief that Benny was the guilty part, would they have really lost much by humoring Dean and investigating his lead before rendering sentence? Dean and Sam risk innocents’ lives whenever they have a theory or unproven idea of who the culprit monster is in a MotW episode, so that’s not a new idea hanging over their heads. Considering we’re basically talking about the death penalty here, wouldn’t it be just as horrible for an innocent vampire to be killed for a crime he didn’t commit?

    Sam is usually more open-minded and determined to be sure that they have the right monster, but in this case he had tunnel vision regarding Benny’s guilt. At that point, his judgment was just as compromised as Dean’s, who usually gives his friends all the benefit of the doubt he can before their wrong-doings are put right in front of him. He had no intention of listening to Dean or considering his judgment, which is apparently his issue now with the way that Dean killed Amy. So again, that’s a bit of a double standard, isn’t it?

    Comment by huh — May 1, 2014 @ 7:17 pm

  242. I’m gonna put my two cents in here about this.
    I didn’t like the whole Benny storyline, even though I thought Dean was an asshole for asking Benny to let him chop his head off to save Sam after Sam’s actions and collaboration with the very clearly mentally unstable Martin ruined his chances to have a life with his granddaughter. I also didn’t agree with Dean going behind Sam’s back to kill Amy and then act like nothing had happened( although Dean did say later that he didn’t know how Sam would react to that news after just a couple weeks prior hallucinating Lucifer and waving a gun in Dean’s face). And I didn’t care for the fact that Dean was now bffs with a vampire.In fact, I didn’t like the way Dean was written last year that much more than I did the way Sam was written.
    But that being said, although Sam may have had some valid reasons for being suspicious of Benny, to me, the attitude Sam had about it and the way he went about it, it looked mostly like he just really, really wanted Dean to be wrong about Benny, just to be spiteful, just to be hurtful to Dean.Again, this WASN’T the Sam that I knew, and it was just another example of why I HATED season 8 so much.

    Comment by roxi — May 2, 2014 @ 4:18 am

  243. @241 huh. “I don’t know that it would have been very questionable if Sam just left it at that—after all, Sam had left plenty of things at that for the past year. Why would Benny be special in that regard?”

    “Look, Benny slips up and some other hunter turns his lights out, so be it.” It was said by a guy who would usually rather be safe than sorry, it was Dean who got out of Purgatory with a vampire but lied to Sam that he had no idea how he got out and then kept Benny as a secret until he needed Sam’s help because they were stuck inside a vampire’s nest. That line was uncharacteristic of him and I’d say Sam thinking that Dean was too close to the situation was actually right.

    Re:“but in this case he was right in saying that Sam didn’t actually have any evidence that Benny had been the one to do the killings. If Sam and Martin were secure in their belief that Benny was the guilty part, would they have really lost much by humoring Dean and investigating his lead before rendering sentence?”

    In just a couple of hours another person had been killed. The problem was that Dean didn’t present the case as “Let’s work together guys, there is still reasonable doubt.” Instead it was

    Sam: You asked for some time, and now there’s another dead body. Are we just going on trust here?
    Dean: Yes.

    -> They both acknowledge that they have killed for less but Dean desperately wanted to believe that this time around was different although he had no proof.

    Dean: You’re not gonna find him. And if you do, I’m gonna tell you this. You’ll be lucky to get out alive.

    -> So he is basically saying that they should leave well enough alone because Benny won’t be found and if he is, he’ll kill Sam.

    Sam: These are innocent lives we’re talking about, Dean. And you’re willing to risk that on Benny’s word alone?
    Dean: Damn right I am.

    Re: “Dean wanted to rid the world of a murderous monster Sam was attached to because of a perceived kinship in freakhood and an intense afternnon shared 15 years ago but not hurt his brother, so he hid it.”

    The thing that really bothers me about that story is how Amy had a child who needed to eat pituitaries to survive. Dean had no idea what was gonna happen to the little boy before he killed the mother. It seems like Dean just created a monster.

    Jacob: The only person I’m gonna kill is you.
    Dean: Well, look me up in a few years. Assuming I live that long.

    ***

    @roxi: “( although Dean did say later that he didn’t know how Sam would react to that news after just a couple weeks prior hallucinating Lucifer and waving a gun in Dean’s face)”

    To me that was a low-blow. Shifting the blame on Sam.

    Comment by San Summer — May 2, 2014 @ 7:16 am

  244. @Roxi—Throw the two cents in! The more the merrier. I think a lot of the things went wrong with S8—it’s not that the storylines themselves were awful ideas (except for the Sam not looking because shut up, it was mature), but a lot of it wasn’t super well-done. I found it really hard to believe Benny would be like, “Sure, love to!” when Dean asked him to die for Sam, considering past circumstances. In fact, it would have made more sense if Benny had slipped and the guilt made him want to die, so Dean’s offer was just a convenient way to commit suicide by another’s hand. I didn’t like that they had Dean ask him, because it felt like show saying, “Look, Dean really does love Sam best!!! See?” Well, yes, of course he does, but having him kill a friend to prove it (even if he did expect Sam to carry him back and resurrect him a second time) was gross. I didn’t mind Dean being friends with a vampire, because as often as show swings him back to a “If it’s a monster, we kill it” mentality Dean has learned to see more shades of gray, and it would make sense to me that he would be loyal to Benny after fighting side by side with him and escaping purgatory together. Mileage varies there.

    I agree that Dean shouldn’t have gone behind Sam’s back to kill Amy, though I’ve never had a problem with Dean killing her, considering she was a remorseless murderer who would certainly do it again if she felt she was justified. The lie is definitely worse than the crime.

    I can further agree that Sam had some valid reasons for being suspicious of Benny, but they certainly weren’t his only reasons. Thinking back to his “I was straight with you, but you kept secrets”, it was very little brother—See, you did something wrong, too, so you can’t be mad at me anymore. I do think he wanted to catch Benny so he could shove it in Dean’s face. He felt hurt by Dean’s anger, and it felt like Sam wanted his chance to get back at him.

    Neither Winchester has looked all that great the past two seasons, because we can’t have melodrama with maturity, right? Sigh. I would really like S10 to be something other than “Let’s see how we can force Dean and Sam to be at odds for 22 episodes this season!” It doesn’t become either of them.

    Comment by huh — May 2, 2014 @ 12:19 pm

  245. @San Summer—With respect, repeating Dean’s laissez-faire words about Benny doesn’t actually address Sam’s attitude toward Benny and how it differed from his usual tolerance and willingness to give “good” monsters the benefit of the doubt. Yes, Dean is usually a rather safe than sorry guy, but even the episode before Sam seemed to be thrilled with his trying to see the shades of gray involving monsters. So it was fine if Dean let Kate go, hoping she’d stay on the straight and narrow, but not Benny, because he knew Benny better? That doesn’t quite track to me. Now it was possible that Dean was too close to the situation, but it’s also possible that Sam had his opinion swayed by his own issues that had nothing to do with Benny, as he was reacting out of character about the situation.

    Re: In just a couple of hours, another person had been killed—with respect, I don’t think Sam or Martin was thinking all that much about the innocent people that might be killed. They were pretty much thinking we have the right guy and we should go kill him but Dean’s holding up the works with his stupid loyalty and trust in his friend. Yes, they’ve both killed for less, but they’ve both held out for more evidence before as well, even if sometimes it has cost lives. That’s what investigations do. But on the other hand, Dean asked for a couple hours and there was a dead body in the meantime? Wouldn’t that point to the possibility that Benny wasn’t the killer, as Dean was tracking and meeting with him at that time? I don’t remember that precisely. Huh.

    I’ll agree Dean had no proof, but Sam really didn’t have any proof that Benny’s story was a lie and that he was the killer either. And honestly, yes, I’d say being the vampire that saved Dean’s life and brought him out of purgatory should earn him an investigation from Sam, seeing as how they met Martin and there were clearly flashing warning lights over his head.

    See, I don’t see that Dean was saying they should leave well enough alone when he said Sam shouldn’t meet up with Benny or else he might not make it out—I think he was still advocating for an investigation, but he was also warning Sam away from Benny because he didn’t know what would happen if they met. He said the same to Benny, warning him away from Sam because Sam was dangerous to him. I think the truth is that Dean was afraid that his friend would kill his brother, or that his brother would kill his friend, and he didn’t want either of those things. Dean was in a hard position there, don’t you think?

    See, that’s one of my biggest eye-rolling problems with the whole Amy story. It was just such a manipulative set-up. Here’s a pretty actress with known sci-fi cred, whom the audience never actually saw make a kill or appear monstrous in any way, who is just remorselessly murdering people to save her sick son. Who could argue with that? By that argument, nothing should happen to wendigoes, because they’re just poor creatures who are trying to feed themselves. Amy having a child does not and should not give her a pass on being a murderer, and killing for her child doesn’t really excuse her, either. If a human child needs a lung transplant, it doesn’t make it all right for the mother to kill a drunk driver to harvest their organs. Yes, it’s terrible that a child lost their mother, and maybe the child has some righteous anger. But on the other hand, the families of the people Amy murdered probably have some righteous anger, too, and they don’t even get the luxury of knowing why their loved ones died.

    Dean didn’t know what was going to happen to the child after Amy’s death, but does that mean he should have allowed Amy to continue killing whenever her child got sick until he reached maturity? Are we to assume that the child would have never killed anyone without Dean’s actions—Amy did. Why would we assume that the boy was not going to be a monster without Dean’s intervention—he already was one, because he was born a kitsune. If he chooses to kill people later in life, that’s his choice.

    As for citing Sam’s mental condition about hearing the news about Amy, I don’t think it’s blame-shifting. Sam’s mental health was a legitimate concern—he did drive off and end up talking to a hallucination in a warehouse. He did shoot at Dean. He was zoning out in the cabin. He did leave Dean behind without a word, with a broken leg and no way to escape, and refused contact. He did insist on letting a known killer go because of a tenuous childhood connection. All it all up and that’s a lot of signs that Sam wasn’t in his right mind and wouldn’t take the news well. Does that mean Dean should have lied? No. But I can see his reasoning. But if Dean felt it had to be done, he should have been upfront about it.

    Comment by huh — May 2, 2014 @ 12:45 pm

  246. @huh. I was referring to the idea that there was no harm in letting someone watch Benny. It’s not like Sam immediately reached out to his hunter friends so they could ice the vampire. An opportunity presented itself to have someone keep an eye on Benny when Martin called and needed something to ease himself back into the life.

    — —

    Re: “But on the other hand, Dean asked for a couple hours and there was a dead body in the meantime? Wouldn’t that point to the possibility that Benny wasn’t the killer, as Dean was tracking and meeting with him at that time?”

    Dean (on phone): Benny. I got a body here in Carencro with two holes in it, and I just found out you went fishing. Do I need to tell you what this looks like?

    Then he finds Benny when Benny is burying the second victim.

    — —

    The thing about Amy is that I don’t think there was a clear right or wrong way to handle the situation. She had killed people and it would be ethically very suspect to say it doesn’t matter because they were low-lives and a child’s life was saved. But it wasn’t just about her because she did have a child and had worked out a system to feed him. Dean kills Amy because he went with just his gut despite not knowing what would happen to the kid. What would he have done next if the boy had had nowhere to go? Kill the boy in the name of preventative measure? Let him live because he wouldn’t be able to bring himself to kill a child despite knowing there would be a chance that the boy would have to turn into a monster to survive or commit suicide because he didn’t have his mother anymore to take care of him? The probability that the boy would one day kill is higher after being traumatized by losing his mother at a young age.

    — —

    Dean: And I woulda told you, eventually, once I knew that this whole “waving a gun at Satan” thing was a one-time show. I think it’s reasonable to want to know that you’re off the friggin’ high dive, Sam. You almost got us both killed, so you can be pissed all you want, but quit being a bitch.

    That’s not shifting the blame on Sam? What was Dean implying? That if he had been honest with Sam and told him it was their moral obligation to kill Amy, Sam would have freaked out and started waiving his gun around? Yeah, no. Dean told he would be Sam’s stone number one, to believe in him and when Sam begs Dean to trust him, Dean pretends he does only to turn right around and go kill Sam’s friend in secret.

    Comment by San Summer — May 2, 2014 @ 2:20 pm

  247. @San Summer—If there was no harm in letting someone watch Benny, why didn’t Sam suggest it to Dean? After all, if Dean was being so casual about “Whatever, if he messes up somebody’ll kill him” and Sam actually believed those were his feelings, then suggesting that a hunter keep an eye on him would be perfectly reasonable, and Dean would have no reason to object. So why didn’t Sam say anything to Dean about his plan? Well, 1) I think Sam knew Dean was nowhere near as laissez-faire about Benny’s fate as he pretended to be, 2) Sam knew that any hunter watching Benny was likely to be searching for any reason to see evil in Benny, because that’s what hunters would think after hearing he was a vampire, and 3) Sam knew he didn’t sic Martin on Benny solely out of concern for Benny’s actions. Sam had reason to be concerned, but I don’t believe it was his only motivation.

    As for the second body information, thank you for the clarification.

    Re: Amy—Agreed, it’s a very slippery slope to start trying to say, “Well, they’re lowlifes, so their families deserve to mourn them after they’re murdered and their corpses are mutilated, because the person those murders helps is better than them.” It doesn’t matter that it was about a child, because like I said, you can’t kill someone because they’re a genetic match for your child in need of a lung transplant. I don’t know that Dean went just with his gut—he went with the moral fact that Amy was a monster who had murdered others without remorse and should be stopped. While there is a question about what would happen to the son, the alternative is to say that the son’s life weighs more than the future victims his mother could/would kill in order to restore him to health. The families of the people Amy killed did not deserve justice because Amy has a dependent child? I can’t prescribe to that theory.

    Now, what would Dean have done if he hadn’t had people to go to? It’s hard to say, and we’ll likely never know. The smart thing to do would have been to kill him, frankly, since he is a monster with a predisposition to use people for nutrition. However, he had committed no wrongs up to that point, so it’s pretty awful to argue that he should be killed for what he might do in the future. It would certainly be a dilemma. But while having his mother murdered might make him more likely to have emotional problems and kill others, it is still ultimately his choice, and he would be responsible for his own actions. And even then, I can’t see how it becomes okay to allow a murderer to go free with confirmation for her moral rationalization that she can kill with impunity because she has a child.

    I’d say Dean was implying that he didn’t think he could tell Sam because Dean did not know what his stability was at that point. He never said that Sam was going to wave a gun around he found out about Amy—he cited that the effects of the hallucinations did make Sam’s mental state and reactions unpredictable. Was that untrue at the time Dean killed Amy? I don’t think so. As for trust, it’s pretty rich of Sam to beg for trust after leaving his incapacitated brother alone in a cabin with no transportation and no way to escape if the leviathan tracked him down, refusing to even send him a text to tell him what was going on. Is there really any wonder that Dean didn’t find Sam all that trustworthy at the time?

    Comment by huh — May 2, 2014 @ 3:21 pm

  248. I will say again, though: it wasn’t okay for Dean to go behind Sam’s back and lie to him afterwards. Even if he believed that Sam wasn’t sound enough to make this decision and that his judgment of the situation was compromised, it still doesn’t mean it’s okay to lie. Dean knew it, which contributed to his little mini-spiral. But I can understand how he reached that point, just like I can understand how Sam convinced himself that he had to have someone stalk Benny and kill him. It’s not right, but it’s understandable.

    Comment by huh — May 2, 2014 @ 3:40 pm

  249. @247 huh. Re: “If there was no harm in letting someone watch Benny, why didn’t Sam suggest it to Dean?”

    Like I said, an opportunity presented itself. Till then Sam went along with Dean.

    — —

    Re: “I don’t know that Dean went just with his gut—he went with the moral fact that Amy was a monster who had murdered others without remorse and should be stopped.”

    Sam: Just be honest with me. How are those the actions of someone who knows they did the right thing?
    Dean: You want me to be honest?
    Sam: Yeah.
    Dean: I went with my gut. And that felt right. I didn’t trust her, Sam. Of course, ever since Cas, I’m having a hard time trusting anybody. — —

    — —

    The problem is that while Amy was a killer — and thus put herself out there to be killed herself — she had an innocent child. So I understand the logic “what is done is done.” The child had to be taken care of so what good would it do to spill more blood i.e. Amy’s blood afterwards? It would have been different if Dean had known the child would survive without his mother. Instead:

    [Dean catches Amy as she falls and lowers her to the bed. He removes his knife, then turns to see Amy’s son Jacob standing at the door.]

    Dean: You got someone you can go to?

    [Jacob nods.]

    Dean: You ever kill anyone?

    [Jacob shakes his head.]

    Dean: Well, if you do, I’ll come back for you.

    Jacob: The only person I’m gonna kill is you.

    Dean: Well, look me up in a few years. Assuming I live that long.

    [Dean holds up his hands, one still holding the knife, and walks towards the door. Jacob hurries to his mother’s body. Dean pauses at the door and watches them.]

    — —

    Sam was in his right mind when he presented his case for Amy. Yet Dean rather went behind Sam’s back and when Sam was understandably upset about it when he found out, Dean tried to put the situation on Sam, “You almost got us both killed, so you can be pissed all you want, but quit being a bitch.”

    And how worried could Dean have been that Sam’s judgment was compromised due to his health considering Dean punched Sam in the face?

    Comment by San Summer — May 2, 2014 @ 4:30 pm

  250. @243- San Summer, I DIDN’T shift the blame to Sam!
    I merely stated what Dean stated! Don’t accuse me of a low blow!

    Comment by roxi — May 2, 2014 @ 5:24 pm

  251. @San Summer—An opportunity presented itself to have Benny followed, but Sam didn’t have the opportunity to mention it to Dean until Sam was sure he could tell Dean his friend had probably killed some people? That’s fairly convenient. It’s amazing how “going along with Dean” looks an awful lot like keeping it from Dean until he thought he could rub Dean’s face in being wrong about his friend not being a murderer.

    Yes, Dean went with his gut that Amy wasn’t trustworthy, but that doesn’t change the fact that he also killed a monster for the reason he kills most all the monsters they kill. She’d killed people and he didn’t trust her not to do it again. Dean’s gut turned out to match the evidence that Amy was a remorseless killer. I agree that he was much less likely to trust after Cas, but let’s be real—Dean never trusted monsters much, and rarely a monster with a body count.

    Sorry, I don’t agree with the logic of “what’s done is done” when it comes to allowing someone to murder people they don’t know and never did anything bad to them for their own ends. The child did have to be taken care of, but that doesn’t mean Amy deserves a free pass. Spilling her blood ensures that she doesn’t stalk and murder any more unsuspecting humans. That is not a bad thing in my book. Having a child doesn’t mean she should be allowed to kill without consequences. Parents go to jail for murder all the time. It’s awful for the children, but they survive. They often have family to go to, and it wasn’t hard to surmise the kid did have family. It wasn’t a big leap—Amy was around 15 when she killed her mom and ran. She didn’t get a job at a mortuary then. She had to have had someone to go to. It’s logical.

    Was Sam in his right mind when he presented his case for Amy? It seemed to have a lot more to do with the fact that Sam and she spent an afternoon together, bonded over being freaks, and shared an emotionally scarring moment where Amy killed her mom to save Sam than it did that Amy was in fact guilty of murdering humans and was totally comfortable rationalizing her actions as well, my kid needed help so she deemed them unworthy of living, but she totally promises not to do it again. If Amy hadn’t been his friend and Sam had been in his right mind, would Sam have really been pulled in by the “I swear I won’t need to kill anyone again even though it’s impossible to predict whether my child is going to get sick again in his whole childhood and I’ve made it clear I have no problem murdering people if he does” so easily? I’d certainly hope not. Would Sam have run off at the clue of a hunt in the paper, leaving Dean alone and impaired and refusing to even send a text to reassure a brother he wasn’t angry with at the time and that he knew had to be frantic in his right mind? Frankly, that’s questionable to me. At least, I always hoped Sam’s behavior in that episode, especially regarding Dean, was not supposed to be Sam in complete control of his faculties and 100% logical. Yikes.

    Sorry, I can’t get worked up about the punch in the face. Except for poor spin-off hero’s fridge girlfriend, no one in this show suffers any ill effects from head injuries or punches. Dean and Sam would have had post-concussion syndrome, epilepsy, or brain damage way before S7 if there were any realistic consequences to injuries in their canon. Dean punches Sam when he gets mad, and Sam tries to emotionally eviscerate his brother when he gets mad. They both fight dirty, just in different ways.

    Comment by huh — May 2, 2014 @ 5:35 pm

  252. @roxi. I wasn’t talking about you, I just didn’t see Dean’s statement as an extenuating circumstance. Sorry about the confusion.

    @huh. To be fair, it had been going on for about a week.

    Re:“Parents go to jail for murder all the time. It’s awful for the children, but they survive.”

    Yes, but what makes this situation more complex is that there was an innocent child who had just happened to be born as someone who needed pituitaries to survive. Amy worked in a funeral home so she could provide for him. Sam and Dean didn’t caught her until she had already stopped the killings. Kill her and the boy loses his mother (who had tried to save him) and likely loses the connection to a source of food, pushing him closer to becoming “what he is” i.e. a monster (“The only person I’m gonna kill is you.”)

    Very problematic situation and it’s unfortunate Dean didn’t argue his case but instead lied about trusting Sam, killed Sam’s friend behind Sam’s back and just chalked it up to a gut feeling and after he got caught, tried to make himself look good by pinning it on Sam, “Killing Amy was not wrong. You couldn’t do it, so I did. That’s what family does — the dirty work,” and claimed that Sam had almost gotten him killed so that’s why he couldn’t tell Sam.

    Comment by San Summer — May 2, 2014 @ 6:33 pm

  253. @252- Ok, sorry I flew off the handle.

    Comment by roxi — May 2, 2014 @ 6:35 pm

  254. @San Summer—I’m sorry, but what had been going on for about a week? Do you mean Sam sending Martin to follow Benny? If so, then for me my point still stands—over the course of a week Sam never found the time to tell Dean that he’d decided to send Martin to watch Benny to make sure some hunter got him if he slipped up, just as Dean predicted. Well, that’s not really true, because Sam told Martin not to do anything until he got there, ensuring that Dean would have to either be present for his friend’s death or have to be the one to dispense the death himself. So there’s that.

    I agree that Amy’s son was born into a bad set of circumstances. Yes, if we go by Amy’s word, she’d found a way to provide for him without killing, but as soon as killing became necessary she had no problem cold-bloodedly committing the act. If we go by Amy’s word, she wasn’t going to kill anyone else by the time Sam found her—except she couldn’t guarantee that her son would never get sick again and would never need fresh kills. Kill her, and you can ensure that she never systematically chooses a human who has done nothing to her, murders them, and mutilates their corpse, causing their family’s grief and suffering. Why are those families more deserving to feel that pain than Amy’s son? It’s sad that Amy’s son lost his mother, but it doesn’t change who she was. And the son lost one connection to a source of food, but had another. So therefore, any choices he makes that put him on the path to becoming a monster might be influenced by the death of his mother, but they are not inevitable. He’ll still be responsible for his actions. Sorry, but I can’t agree that Amy should be allowed to get away with cold-blooded murder just because she has a child who might indulge in his monster side if she’s not there. If anything, that sounds like an argument for why Dean should have killed him as well.

    It is unfortunate that Dean lied rather than argue his case. I agree. Sorry, though, Amy died because she was a killer and Dean’s instincts said she couldn’t be trusted not to do so again, not out of some attempt to get Sam. Dean didn’t need to try to make himself look good, though he was trying to justify his actions. Dean knew he hadn’t done a good thing by lying—that’s why he was trying to explain and got defensive about it. We’ve seen this behavior from both Winchesters before—they tend to get self-righteous in the face of their brother’s anger, especially if there was some shadiness attached to their actions. It may not be pretty, but it is human. I don’t see where Dean pinned his actions on Sam—Sam was too close and couldn’t kill Amy, but she was a murderous monster that needed to be killed in order to spare future vicimts, so Dean did it. Sam took the same line of thinking when he killed the Amazon girl later in the season, so apparently he came around to Dean’s point of view. I didn’t think Sam was trying to pin the Amazon’s death on Dean by telling him he was compromised in making that call—he did what he had to protect his family. So I apply the same standard to Dean. Sam was compromised in more than one way in the Amy situation, just as Dean was compromised in the Amazon situation. Their brother made the hard call for them.

    Comment by huh — May 2, 2014 @ 6:57 pm

  255. @huh. Re: “Sam told Martin not to do anything until he got there, ensuring that Dean would have to either be present for his friend’s death or have to be the one to dispense the death himself.”

    I’m not sure how you got that. Would it have been better if Sam had kept it as a secret and told Dean he had personal stuff to take care of?

    “And the son lost one connection to a source of food, but had another.”

    That part of the story bothers me because I don’t think it was established that Dean knew the child would be able to survive even without his mother’s help.

    Dean didn’t exactly take responsibility in choosing to lie when he said, “I think it’s reasonable to want to know that you’re off the friggin’ high dive, Sam. You almost got us both killed,” etc.

    Comment by San Summer — May 2, 2014 @ 8:26 pm

  256. @San Summer—If Sam was intent on being honest, he should have been honest from the very beginning and told Dean he was sending Martin to watch Benny. Instead, he kept it a secret until Martin called with his suspicions, making sure that he was only telling Dean the truth once he could also point to proof/suspicion that Benny was up to no good. I don’t think Sam was overcome by honesty at that point by chance—I think he was reacting out of hurt because of Dean’s anger and wanted to hurt him back by shoving his face in Benny’s alleged killings. He wanted Dean to be there to see that the friend he’d trusted was a killer after all, which would in natural consequence lead to Dean either killing his friend or witnessing Benny’s demise. It’s a very little brother reaction—“I might have messed up, but see, you messed up, too!” This is the result Sam wanted. After all, Sam was predicting at the end of 8.6 that one day he might have to be the one to kill Benny. So from that point sending Martin to watch him and send reports of his wrong-doing is a little akin to confirmation bias. But back to the original point, Sam’s honesty was more than a little belated, and only surfaced when Sam had the desired results of his investigation, so he doesn’t exactly deserve full credit for forthrightness here, does he?

    No, I agree that it wasn’t established that Dean knew for a certainty that the son would survive without his mother’s help. It was reasonable to conclude that there were likely people who could help him, considering someone had to have helped Amy after her mother’s death, but there was no way to know for sure. That still doesn’t mean that Amy should be allowed to kill without consequences. Four people had already died. How many more people would need to be killed before her son’s dependence on her was outweighed by the menace she unleashed on humans? At what point does keeping Amy’s son’s source of food alive become less important than stopping a killer?

    On the other hand, show was never all that concerned with the son as a person—he was there to be the heartstring-pulling reason Amy had to murder humans and to add maximum melodrama to Amy’s death scene. That’s why they quickly shuffled him off screen, out of sight and out of mind. Even Sam never had any words for the son when he was upset about Amy’s death—it was much more about Dean’s trust in Sam and his honesty than it was about Amy and her son. Dean could spiral about lying to Sam, but he never had any thoughts about killing a mother in front of a child, something he had first-knowledge of. Now why is it that the son didn’t cross into either Sam or Dean’s minds after he was off-screen? Because show didn’t care, so Sam and Dean didn’t, either. This was the main reason I could never get excited about their fates, because Amy and her son were never really three-dimensional characters. They were just another in a long line of plot points, transparently created with the sole objective of creating brotherly conflict.

    Was it unreasonable for Dean to want to know that Sam was off the friggin’ high dive, so to speak? Almost getting them both killed is problematic, and knowing that you can trust your partner to be of sound mind is pretty important, especially in a life and death job like theirs. Yes, Dean was defensive, but I don’t think that invalidates his concerns about Sam’s mental state and how they affected and continued to affect his judgment. These aren’t mutually exclusive ideas or attitudes–Dean can be self-righteous about his decisions and have real concerns about Sam’s mental state at the same time.

    Comment by huh — May 2, 2014 @ 8:57 pm

  257. @huh. Re: “Instead, he kept it a secret until Martin called with his suspicions, making sure that he was only telling Dean the truth once he could also point to proof/suspicion that Benny was up to no good.”

    You have to take into account that it had lasted for about a week. If it had had a chance to go on longer and Benny just continued to live his everyday life, Sam would have dropped it. Then Sam would have had to admit to Dean he had kept tabs on Benny and the vampire had checked out clean.

    Re: “He wanted Dean to be there to see that the friend he’d trusted was a killer after all, which would in natural consequence lead to Dean either killing his friend or witnessing Benny’s demise.”

    Sam would have gone there alone to research the case if it had been too hard for Dean. Instead:

    Dean: So Martin’s saying Benny did this?
    Sam: Yeah.
    Dean [pause]: Okay.
    Sam: Okay?
    Dean: If Benny’s in Louisiana draining folks… we should look into it.

    How does

    “And I woulda told you, eventually, once I knew that this whole “waving a gun at Satan” thing was a one-time show. I think it’s reasonable to want to know that you’re off the friggin’ high dive, Sam. You almost got us both killed, so you can be pissed all you want, but quit being a bitch,”

    translate into Dean lying to Sam that he trusted him and then going behind his back to kill Amy if it wasn’t an attempt to put in on Sam?

    Why not be upfront about it? What did he really expect? That if he told Sam he would have to kill Amy because it’s his personal belief that people can’t change, Sam would have had a mental breakdown?

    Comment by San Summer — May 3, 2014 @ 7:00 am

  258. @San Summer—I’m sorry, I thought we agreed that Winchesters keeping things from each other was a bad thing. Now the amount of time something is kept from a Winchester is being used as a measure to determine whether it’s bad? How long does the secret have to be kept before it is considered bad? If Dean keeping things from Sam and going behind his back is bad (and I agree that it is), then Sam doing the same should be considered bad as well.

    As for Sam dropping his investigation if it went on for more than a week—I’m sorry, but I don’t see any evidence of that. Maybe Martin would have tired of watching a vampire, maybe he would have gone off the rails and done something rash, but I don’t remember there being any canon that Sam was only planning on stalking Benny for a short time and dropping it if he didn’t see the evidence he expected. I also don’t remember anywhere that Sam told him he would have told Dean that he’d kept tabs and he’d checked out clean. In my opinion, it’s much more likely that Sam would have never told Dean what he’d done if Martin hadn’t been able to come up with the evidence he wanted. Sam certainly doesn’t have a problem keeping things from Dean if he thinks it will cause a conflict, especially if he’s not arguing from a place of strength (see demon blood). That’s pretty human.

    Oh, I definitely think Sam would have gone down to take care of the case if Dean had refused. I never interpreted Sam’s “Okay?” as checking to see if Dean was all right with the investigation. To me, it seemed more that Sam was surprised he didn’t get more of an argument from Dean about Benny being a killer. Interpretations can be different, though, and that’s fine.

    I find it hard to come back to discussing Amy and demanding that Dean be totally upfront with what he was planning to do, when Sam is not being held to the same standards regarding having Benny followed. In each case, a Winchester went behind his brother’s back because he thought his brother’s judgment couldn’t be trusted. In both cases, it was wrong. I do think that Dean saw Sam was identifying with Amy to an unreasonable degree (Sam never does quite see things clearly when the word freak gets thrown into the mix) and was not able to see the difference between himself and a killer monster. Honestly, I can’t pretend it would be easy to predict how Sam was going to react if Dean refused to see things his way. Sam was, at that time, still being affected by his hallucinations and hell issues—just that episode his leaving Dean behind in the manner that he did makes him unpredictable. It’s not pretty, but Sam’s mental state was a factor in the beginning of S7, and it did affect both Sam and Dean’s decision making process. That’s the way it is.

    The facts were that Amy was a killer Dean believed needed to be taken down before she could murder any more humans. Sam believed Benny was a killer that needed to be taken down if there was proof he was killing people and so he could prove Dean wrong. They both went behind each other’s back, and it was wrong. Dean lying was wrong. I haven’t argued that it was right. All I’m saying is that I don’t think it’s that hard to see how Dean and Sam got to the point where they didn’t trust their brother’s judgment and went behind their backs. But if we’re going to say it was wrong for Dean (and it was), then it’s wrong for Sam, too, regardless of how long Sam kept Dean in the dark about his actions.

    Comment by huh — May 3, 2014 @ 3:02 pm

  259. @huh. You wrote: “I don’t think Sam was overcome by honesty at that point by chance—I think he was reacting out of hurt because of Dean’s anger and wanted to hurt him back by shoving his face in Benny’s alleged killings.”

    I wanted to point out that it had only been a week and if things had gone on longer uneventfully, Sam would have had to admit that Dean was probably right and Benny was on the straight and narrow. I don’t see it as a malicious scheme to hurt Dean.

    No hunter is gonna just sit on his ass eating pie even if it is served to him by a vampire. Eventually more pressing matters would arise.

    Re: “I find it hard to come back to discussing Amy and demanding that Dean be totally upfront with what he was planning to do, when Sam is not being held to the same standards regarding having Benny followed.”

    How can these even be put on the same level?

    7.03

    Sam: Look, you don’t trust her. Fine. Trust me. Dean, please.
    Dean: Okay.
    Sam: Seriously?
    Dean: Got to start sometime, right?

    -> Goes to kill her

    8.06

    Sam: I just might be that hunter that runs into Benny one day and ices him.
    Dean: I guess we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it, won’t we?
    Sam: Yeah. Yeah. You keep saying that.

    8.09

    Dean: I just need some time, Sammy.

    Martin: Oh, yeah. Let the fang take another life? I don’t think so.

    Sam: How much time do you need?

    Martin [to Sam]: You’re not actually considering this?

    Dean: Couple hours, tops.

    Sam: And what if it turns out to be Benny?

    Dean: Then it’s Benny, and I’ll deal with it!

    Sam: Couple hours, Dean. No more.

    Dean: I’ll be in touch.

    [Dean heads for the door. Martin follows him.]

    Martin: H-hey. Oh, look. Hey, uh –

    [Dean walks out the door and closes it behind him.]

    Martin: You’re joking, right? We’re doing this as soon as he pulls away.

    Sam: No, we’re not, Martin. We’re gonna give him a little bit of time.

    Martin: Hey, it’s your brother. It’s your call. How long are you gonna let him go on like this? It’s staring him right in the face.

    Sam [exhales sharply]: Well, sometimes it’s not easy to see things for what they are.

    Sam didn’t pretend that he trusted Dean on Benny and then went on to kill him anyways.

    Comment by San Summer — May 3, 2014 @ 4:26 pm

  260. @San Summer—Perhaps Sam would have had to admit that Dean might be right and Benny might be on the straight and narrow if it went on longer than a week. That doesn’t mean he was going to admit it to Dean and come clean about what he’d done. Most people wouldn’t. Now, Sam could have started to doubt Martin’s ability to adequately watch Benny since his recent release from the asylum and still suspected Benny was up to no good. I’m sorry if I indicated that Sam was only stalking Benny because he was hurt by Dean and wanted to strike back—I agree that there was reason for a hunter to be concerned. There was also reason for a hunter to be concerned about the werewolf from 8.4 or the witches from S7 or any of the other creatures Sam and Dean have let go over the years, which to me indicates that there was something else going on with Sam that watching Benny was important but checking up on the other monsters they’ve let go wasn’t necessary.

    The reason they are on the same level, is because Sam and Dean behaved similarly. No matter what the dialogue, in each scenario, Sam and Dean each went behind their brother’s back because they didn’t trust their brother’s opinion a monster in question. In each, they kept secrets and/or lied by omission. The difference to me lies primarily in the fact that Amy was a known killer and Benny a suspected one. Sam might not have said that he trusted Dean, but his actions were still the same as Dean. He still kept things from Dean and went behind his back, same as Dean did to him. But hey, at least when Dean said he trusted him and left to kill Amy, he didn’t work with a hunter that had just assaulted Sam and leave him handcuffed and unconscious while he went to go kill his friend. But if we’re sticking to the main point, Sam is admitting here that he doesn’t think Dean is seeing things for what they are, so he leaves Dean behind and goes to do the job of killing what he thinks is a bad monster because he believes Dean can’t—just like Dean. Is lying worse than allying yourself with someone who has physically hurt your brother and becoming at the least an accessory after the fact to locking him up so he can’t interfere with the killing of his friend? That’s debatable, but in my mind neither is good.

    So now I’m going to circle back around to my main point, which is that Dean’s actions weren’t right, but Sam’s actions weren’t exactly all above-board here, either. They both lied, made mistakes, and mistreated their brothers on the way to doing what they thought they had to do.

    Comment by huh — May 3, 2014 @ 4:57 pm

  261. @huh

    “That doesn’t mean he was going to admit it to Dean and come clean about what he’d done. Most people wouldn’t.”

    I think Benny as a topic would have come up and then Dean would have been curious to know what had changed Sam’s mind and he would have pressed for an answer if Sam wasn’t forthcoming at first.

    “— — but checking up on the other monsters they’ve let go wasn’t necessary.”

    This one escaped from Purgatory riding along with Dean. Dean kept it as a secret. Dean wasn’t sure Benny would be able to abstain from live blood and even admitted he might not be able to kill the vampire if it came to that, a clear indicator Dean was compromised.

    “The reason they are on the same level, is because Sam and Dean behaved similarly.”

    Sam not telling Dean he had someone keeping tabs on Benny vs. Dean telling Sam he trusted him and was okay with letting Amy go but as soon as he had the opportunity he killed her

    -> I can’t see how these are comparable.

    Comment by San Summer — May 3, 2014 @ 8:17 pm

  262. @San Summer—I’m not sure when Benny was actually going to come up again without Sam’s intervention. Dean hadn’t, as far as we saw on screen, talked to Benny since 8.5, and Dean and Sam hadn’t talked about him since 8.6. We saw Sam and Dean work on cases, reunite with Cas, find and rescue Kevin, and recommit to closing the gates of hell—all without a word. Benny himself seemed to have found a niche in his old town with his granddaughter, so it’s unknown how much he was ever going to be in contact with Dean again. So I don’t know that show made it seem like Dean and Sam were inevitably going to discuss Benny again at some point if Sam hadn’t sent Martin stalk him. I doubt Sam would have brought it up, particularly if he’d had his mind changed, and I don’t know that Dean would have opened that Pandora’s box again, considering how Sam reacted last time. Maybe they would have, but maybe Benny was a subject that would have been allowed to lie without Sam’s intervention—which is a little ironic when you think about it.

    Could Sam and Dean ever vouch 100% for any of the monsters that they allowed to go free? I mean, technically they let Lenore go free and she ended up killing again, albeit under coercion from the MoA. They certainly had no guarantee Kate wouldn’t kill again, and it was more likely than not that the witches from 7.5 would kill again. There are no guarantees when it comes to monsters, and it wouldn’t have played any better if Dean had insisted that Benny totally was never ever going to fall off the wagon, in my opinion. I don’t remember Dean ever admitting that he might not be able to kill Benny if it came to that—I remember Sam accusing him of such, and Dean not answering the question, which does not automatically equal agreement. I also remember him going after Benny fully armed and ready to do what needed to be done in 9.9. So, yes, I still think Sam was bringing his own issues to the table re: Benny, which is why his reaction was so different.

    It’s fine if we disagree about how the Amy/Benny scenes are comparable. I do find them to be so, because each brother didn’t trust the others’ judgment re: their friend and went behind their back. Sam thought Dean was too close to see the situation clearly and was bringing his own baggage to the decision (his resentment of Benny and the guilt about their purgatory fights), and Dean thought Sam was too close the situation clearly and was bringing his own baggage to the decision (Cas’s betrayal). Each lied, either directly (Dean) or by omission (Sam). I think in terms of the karmic negativity, Dean killing Amy behind Sam’s back because he didn’t want to argue any further and didn’t trust Sam’s state of mind is on par with Sam deciding to leave his brother unconscious and bound on the floor while working with the man to assault him to kill Benny before he could stop them because he didn’t trust Dean’s judgment/state of mind. So yeah, to me, you can find parallels even if the situations aren’t exact, and it’s enough for me to conclude that both Sam and Dean have done some shady things to each other and are both hypocrites. We can agree to disagree, of course, but yeah, to me there are definitely points of comparison that can be made.

    But tangentially, am I alone in thinking that Sam’s going along with Martin after what he did to Dean was not exactly an admirable thing? I remember when Dean was backing Gordon right up to the point that he tortured Lenore and hurt Sam—I would have thought that Martin’s blindside attack on Dean would have raised similar “What a minute, this is who I’ve aligned myself with? Can I really trust him?” problems in Sam’s mind and had him turn on Martin, but no—at least, not enough for Sam to actually change course. I mean, that was a little messed up, wasn’t it?

    Comment by huh — May 3, 2014 @ 8:46 pm

  263. Third paragraph–should be “work with the man who assaulted him”. Apologies for the typo.

    Comment by huh — May 3, 2014 @ 8:58 pm

  264. @huh

    I can see Sam burying the hatchet by confessing to Dean that he was right etc. I doubt he’d want Benny to be the elephant in the room and it would make Dean feel better to know his friend had checked out okay because deep down Dean was worried the vampire would slip and everyone knows Dean would feel responsible for any deaths.

    Re: “I don’t remember Dean ever admitting that he might not be able to kill Benny if it came to that—I remember Sam accusing him of such, and Dean not answering the question, which does not automatically equal agreement.”

    I’d say it was admission by silence

    8.06

    Dean: Look, Benny slips up and some other hunter turns his lights out, so be it.

    Sam: But it’s not gonna be you, right?

    Dean: You coming or not? [He gets into the car.]

    Sam: I just might be that hunter that runs into Benny one day and ices him.

    Dean: I guess we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it, won’t we?

    Sam: Yeah. Yeah. You keep saying that.

    8.09

    Sam: And what if it turns out to be Benny?
    Dean: Then it’s Benny, and I’ll deal with it!

    -> Not his usual reaction to the prospect of having to kill a vampire that was feeding on people.

    Martin: Glad your dad wasn’t around to hear that. He’d have a mind to take you both out the woodshed and show you what’s what. Half inclined to do it myself.

    [Sam pushes Martin against a wall.]

    Sam: You listen to me. I brought you into this. I can bring you out just as easy. So the only thing you’re gonna be inclined to do is shut up and follow my lead.

    [Sam grabs keys from Martin’s hand.]

    Martin: Okay. You say so.

    -> I’d say that showed Sam’s concerns regarding Martin. But he had to stop Benny (remember there had been a second body found in the timeframe when Dean wanted to go alone to research) and Dean had been very clear Sam might get killed if he went after Benny. Leaving Dean like that was not on the up-and-up but it seemed to Sam that Dean didn’t want to face what was happening (Dean to Sam: “You’re not gonna find him,” etc.)

    Comment by San Summer — May 4, 2014 @ 6:32 am

  265. @San Summer—I can agree that it’s a possible scenario that Sam would have confessed what he’d done. I don’t think it’s the most likely scenario, given Benny was the elephant in the room for several episodes between 8.6and 8.9 without either Sam or Dean bringing him up. During the beginning of S8, though, I can’t see where Sam was all that focused on making Dean feel better—if he had been, I’d have to think he would have been able to do more than say “I told you, my world fell apart. Now drop it, or I’m leaving” in face of Dean’s hurt at the fact that Sam didn’t try to look for him or help him while he was in purgatory. Sam was more sympathetic in face of Dean’s anger at himself for “leaving” Cas behind, but he wasn’t all that eager to address his own issues with Dean, and Benny was one of those issues. So I’d be surprised if Sam had thrown down his actions about Benny and admitted his assumptions about him were erroneous in the middle of their cold war. Impressed, but very surprised.

    I think it’s a matter of interpretation whether Dean’s not answering Sam was admission by silence or tired of your little brother’s baiting and taking the high road by not rising to it any longer. We can agree to disagree. I agree that Dean’s words about dealing with Benny are not his usual reaction to the prospect of someone he’s counted as an ally possibly having to be taken down, but I don’t know why anyone would expect them to be. Benny is not just another vampire to him and we all know that, so why would we be expecting the typical reaction from him? It can’t be that surprising that Dean is not gung-ho about the possibility of having to kill someone who saved his life and that he counted on for an extended period of time. He was still willing to do it, though, so I’m not sure what the problem is.

    Fair enough, Sam had some concerns about Martin—but not enough to stop working with him. He was still willing to hunt with him, and still willing to leave his brother tied up and unconscious in order to continue working with him. So I can’t say he was all that concerned. Sam still thought he was in control of the situation, despite the fact that he’d just watched Martin assault his brother and threaten to do more. This is not out of character for Sam, because we’ve seen him think he has control of his less than trustworthy allies before, only to have it come back to bite him. Essentially, you seem to be saying Sam put killing a dangerous monster above his brother’s feelings (and let’s not pretend otherwise—Sam didn’t leave Dean locked up to spare him or because he didn’t think Dean could face up to what was happening—he did it to keep Dean from stopping him, because we all know that’s what Dean would have tried to do if he’d been able to catch up to them), which is precisely what Dean did in 7.3. Sam felt killing Benny was more critical and more important than listening to his brother’s beliefs about said monster (and Sam didn’t even have proof that Benny was guilty), just like Dean felt killing Amy was more critical and more important than listening to his brother’s belief about said monster. So again, the parallels begin to emerge.

    But I’m glad we can at least agree that Sam’s actions weren’t on the up-and-up here and that he contributed to the conflict between them in this episode. Common ground is always a good thing.

    Comment by huh — May 4, 2014 @ 7:35 am

  266. @huh “I don’t think it’s the most likely scenario, given Benny was the elephant in the room for several episodes between 8.6and 8.9 without either Sam or Dean bringing him up.”

    A week before 8.9 Sam had Martin keep an eye on Benny. He wanted to know for sure. The play would run its course. I don’t think Sam would just let Dean think that Sam was gonna ice Benny if they ever crossed paths (what he said in 8.06) if he had in fact found out that Benny was living a normal life.

    Re: “Fair enough, Sam had some concerns about Martin—but not enough to stop working with him. He was still willing to hunt with him, and still willing to leave his brother tied up and unconscious in order to continue working with him.”

    I’d say Sam was definitely venting when he slammed Martin against the wall. That’s still his brother. However, Sam had sunk costs at that point, Martin knew the Benny situation better than him and two against a vampire is better than going alone.

    There are definitely parallels but where it diverges is how Sam was very upfront about what he would do to Benny. Thus Dean knew to warn Benny, present his case in front of Sam etc. Dean on the other hand led Sam to believe things were fine and didn’t give him an opportunity to fight for her when he said “okay” quickly and thus gave Sam a false sense of security.

    Comment by San Summer — May 4, 2014 @ 10:24 am

  267. @San Summer—I can understand that Sam felt he had to be sure, though why it only became important so many episodes after their conversations about Benny is a question. Sure, Sam might have only had the convenient hunter minion to sic on him once Martin called, but I can’t say Sam was super concerned about Benny when he let him go so long without checking up on him. I agree that eventually Martin’s surveillance would run its course—but at this point, given Martin’s behavior later in 9.9, I think it’s questionable whether Martin would have ever thought Benny was innocent and given up. It seems just as likely that Martin, eager to prove himself fresh out of the asylum, would have found reason to find Benny guilty for one reason or another. Now, Sam had no reason to think this before, because the Martin we met in S5 seemed perfectly reasonable—it’s ironic that he only seemed out of control once out of the asylum (and when it was convenient for the plot). I’ll come back to that in a minute.

    Now, would Sam have just let Dean think Sam would ice Benny if they ever crossed paths again? Possibly—I can’t say that the first half of S8 showed either Winchester having much concern for the other’s feelings. Dean wasn’t concerned about what normal had meant to Sam and how his words were affecting Sam, and Sam wasn’t concerned about his not looking and not explaining further upset Dean or why Benny meant so much to him. So it’s hard to say. You might possibly be right, but given the way they were acting, I think there’s reason for doubt, too.

    Sam may have vented when he slammed Martin against the wall, but that didn’t stop him from working with Martin and it didn’t make him question whether he could trust Martin at all. Sam still thought he was in control and that he could trust Martin’s word on the Benny situation, despite the fact how he’d just treated Dean when he disagreed. Given Martin’s later treatment of Benny’s granddaughter, it seems fair to say that Sam’s trust in Martin being someone to ally with was misplaced, since I can’t say that Sam would have agreed with taking an innocent human hostage and terrifying her in order to use her as bait. But Sam was so tunnel visioned on being proven right about Benny and killing him he didn’t notice the signs that maybe he shouldn’t be putting as much trust in Martin as he did and that he should have stopped to reconsider.

    Sam was upfront about what he would do to Benny, but he was not upfront about his stalking of Benny. I don’t think Sam for a minute thought that Dean was going to warn Benny or come back to plead his side to them. I think Sam fully expected Dean to realize Benny was a killer, come back, and admit he had been wrong. I think that’s a difference, too. Dean let Sam think things were fine and didn’t plan on telling him because a) didn’t think Sam was in a place where he could handle the situation and 2) Dean didn’t need for Sam to admit he was wrong. Sam very much did want Dean to admit that his trust in Benny was misplaced and that Sam was right all along. Again, I’m not defending Dean’s lies—he was wrong to do so. I’m simply saying Sam lied and had some less than pure motives for his actions with Benny. He told Dean because it was important for him to have Dean admit to being wrong. Since Dean didn’t need that and instead wanted Sam to feel things were fine (which only made things worse), he didn’t. So again, we agree there are differences. The Winchesters were just treating each other badly in different ways.

    Comment by huh — May 4, 2014 @ 11:56 am

  268. @huh

    Re: “I can understand that Sam felt he had to be sure, though why it only became important so many episodes after their conversations about Benny is a question.”

    Martin calling was the perfect opportunity to lay the issue to rest. Either he would get a confirmation that the vampire was not to be trusted or he would come to find out Benny was even more trustworthy than Dean had dared to hope.

    Although Benny’s situation was certainly shaky. When Dean got a wound on his neck in 8.09, Benny reacted to it by snarling etc. He had to turn his back to Dean. Dean, a guy he called his brother and had escaped with him from Purgatory.

    Re: “I don’t think Sam for a minute thought that Dean was going to warn Benny or come back to plead his side to them.”

    Sam was still hearing Dean out, trying to figure out how it worked in Dean’s head. Then he said, “No. You’re too close to this,” etc. whereas Dean pretended he had listened to Sam.

    Re: “He told Dean because it was important for him to have Dean admit to being wrong.”

    So it wasn’t a good thing Sam shared with Dean that Martin called, let Dean investigate on his own etc.?

    Re: “2) Dean didn’t need for Sam to admit he was wrong.”

    He didn’t?

    In 7.07 The Mentalists, Dean pushed Sam real hard (bitch speech) until Sam was putting his things in Dean’s car and made peace with him.

    Sam: You were right. About Amy. If she was… just any monster, I’m not sure I could have let her walk away. I don’t know. I mean, I’ll never know.

    It should also be noted that Dean swapped Amelia’s phone number on Sam’s cell “while back”. He had premeditated the perfect tactic to get Sam out of his way. I’d say that’s being far more calculated especially since he didn’t have a specific situation in mind.

    Comment by San Summer — May 4, 2014 @ 4:39 pm

  269. @San Summer—Oh, I agree. Martin calling Sam did provide him with the perfect opportunity to talk Benny. I was only questioning why, if Sam felt Benny was so dangerous, he had to wait until Martin called to take action. Surely if he really thought that Benny was out killing people, something should have been done earlier. His potential victims’ lives should have taken precedence over not wanting to get into it with Dean, shouldn’t they? I can’t really blame Sam for this, because it’s really a case of because the plot said it wasn’t important until it was. In terms of in universe, though, it makes more sense to tackle the monster immediately (Amy) than to wait for the right accomplice to wander along and offer help. Oh, show.

    I don’t know that Benny’s situation can be called shaky because he reacted to blood. Lenore reacted when Sam’s blood was dropped on her face, and she’d been firmly committed to not hurting him only hours before. I think it’s an instinctive response for vampires. If an instinctive reaction wasn’t held against Lenore, I find it hard to say it should be held against Benny, particularly when he didn’t actually do anything to hurt Dean and did remove the sight of temptation. That sounds more to me like someone who is in charge of their cravings.

    Whether Sam heard Dean out didn’t actually affect his mindset at all, so I don’t think we can actually say whether he listened to Dean. He’d decided way back in 8.6 that killing Benny was probably going to have to happen, and he didn’t seem to care what his brother said to the contrary. When Dean’s opinion of Benny strayed from what Sam believed, he dismissed it, just the same as Dean did. He was more upfront about his dismissal, but their actions were the same.

    I think you misunderstand me. I never said that it was wrong for Sam to tell Dean about what he’d been getting up to behind his back. On the contrary, I feel like I’ve been very consistent in saying that going behind each other’s back and lying, by commission or omission, is wrong for both Winchesters. I’m saying it wasn’t done for entirely magnanimous reasons. It was important to Sam that Dean admit that he was wrong—from the beginning of 8.6 when Sam equivocated the pain he’d caused Dean with his (non) explanation of why he didn’t look to Dean not telling him about the vampire who’d saved his life and helped him get out of purgatory. It continued when Sam equivocated Amy and Benny. Sam was looking for something to “balance the scales” between himself and Dean, and that would only happen if Dean was forced to see that Benny was actually a bad monster and that he had been wrong. There was a lot more going on here than Sam being concerned about one monster’s possible dangerousness, which I think show was careful to show through Sam’s behavior and words.

    No, at the time of his actions Dean didn’t need Sam to admit that he was wrong—on the contrary, it was a conversation he didn’t want to have at all. He did what he thought he had to, but he never intended to confront Sam with that information to force him to admit that Amy had been dangerous and Sam had made the wrong call. Now, did that change once Sam did find out and they fell out over it? Yes, and Dean get defensive in The Mentalists and tell Sam he was wrong. Sam did agree with him in the end, and subsequently adopted Dean’s mindset of judging when your brother can’t make the call, make it for him in both the Amazon episode and 9.9. But no, at the time that he killed Amy Dean didn’t need Sam to admit he was wrong the way Sam did at the time that Martin told him that Benny might have been guilty of a killing, so I think my point still stands.

    I’m not sure to what point Dean having a tactic for distracting Sam in case of an emergency is responding to. I don’t believe I’ve ever argued that Dean has no faults, or that he didn’t hurt Sam, or that he doesn’t share responsibility in his conflicts with Sam. My point is still that Sam is just as responsible and has done his share of dirt on Dean as well. My problem, at least with 9.9 and its fall-out, was that only Dean was (rightly) held accountable for his shady actions with the text while Sam was allowed to skate on his without taking responsibility on-screen.

    Comment by huh — May 4, 2014 @ 5:28 pm

  270. @huh. I don’t see the same problem as you. Most hunters seem busy enough putting down fires. Sam didn’t trust Dean on Benny but there wasn’t much he could do about it unless he crossed paths with the vampire. Then Martin called because he wanted to ease back into the game. And Sam didn’t want to put the monster down immediately

    8.09

    Sam: Not hunting, Dean – tracking. Observe and report only.

    Re: Benny’s reaction to blood. That might be an instinctive reaction but I think they deliberately put it there so they could leave it out in the open whether Benny would fall. And then he did attack Martin. It was self-defense to a certain degree but at the same time he didn’t have to kill Martin or at least he didn’t have to feed on him.

    8.10

    Dean: What do you want to hear, Sam? That I was wrong? Fine. I was wrong. Okay? But if you’d have just heard me out, if you’d have trusted me, all of this could have been avoided.

    Dean might have taken some responsibility, however, adding the ending kind of diminishes the effect. He was clearheaded when he laid down the groundwork for his plan ahead of time so I suppose it’s no wonder he tried to put it on Sam (“all of this could have been avoided”).

    Comment by San Summer — May 5, 2014 @ 7:55 am

  271. @San Summer—It’s fine if we don’t see the same problem. I suppose my point is that if Sam really thought that Benny was that dangerous and that people might be dying, he shouldn’t have waited for a hunter who could handle it—he should have gone and handled it himself. That would have required him either being honest with Dean about going to stalk Benny or lying to him a la Amy, but if people’s lives were on the line wouldn’t that have been more important than the obvious trouble that would come from either of those issues?

    And hunting or tracking—it was still Sam going behind Dean’s back, so potato/po-tot-o.

    I can agree that show put in Benny’s reaction so that there was a question about whether he would fall. I think his attack on Martin could certainly be considered self-defense. While killing him may not have been an absolute necessity, I think an argument could be made that it was safer for Benny and his granddaughter, given how unstable he’d proven in his behavior. While I wouldn’t have been happy to see it, I could have understood if Sam or Dean had killed Gordon after 2.11, considering how dangerous he’d proven to both of them. So yes, Martin was human and it probably wasn’t strictly necessary to kill him, but he had proven himself to be dangerous to others, including other innocent humans. Given what show had the hero of the spin-off do at the end of that episode, I’m guessing being human isn’t that much of a consideration anymore.

    When I was referring to taking responsibility, I was thinking more of the LARP episode, which I think certainly showed that Dean did acknowledge his wrongs ad was trying to make up for them with Sam. As for the quote above, the half-responsibility taken here is still more than Sam took for any of his actions, at least that I remember. And if we’re supposed to support Sam being trusted by Dean, I can’t say that Dean doesn’t have a point in saying that Sam didn’t trust him and had a hand in the fall-out of that episode. I’m sure from Sam’s perspective, all of the fall-out could have been avoided if Dean had just listened to him and gone along to kill Benny without fighting about it. The truth, of course, is that the blame lies with both of them. But again I’ll say that Dean at least acknowledged that the text was wrong, and I don’t remember Sam acknowledging any or his actions as wrong. So if we’re going to point fingers about not accepting full responsibility, I’d say we’d have to point them at both Winchesters.

    Comment by huh — May 5, 2014 @ 1:14 pm

  272. @huh.

    I think Benny might have been justified in killing Martin. However, he didn’t need to feed on him and further traumatize his grand-daughter. She was covered in blood that wasn’t her own. I think they foreshadowed that development when Benny had bloodlust upon seeing Dean’s bleeding wound.

    Re: “When I was referring to taking responsibility, I was thinking more of the LARP episode, which I think certainly showed that Dean did acknowledge his wrongs ad was trying to make up for them with Sam.”

    Could you elaborate more on that? Do you mean Dean suggesting they needed to have fun and acknowledging that Sam had given up on something? Dean admitted that sending the message was not his “finest hour” but it happened during a discussion with Charlie and it doesn’t really seem to be about taking responsibility.

    I’d say Sam came around more to Dean’s point of view regarding Benny in 8.19

    [Bobby is ready to stab Benny when Sam grabs him.]

    Sam: Bobby, no, no, wait! Wait! Wait! Why are you here?

    Benny: Dean sent me.

    Bobby: Dean? Not my Dean.

    Sam: He’s a buddy of Dean’s, Bobby.

    Bobby: A buddy?

    Benny: A good buddy.

    Bobby: A frigging vampire? Well, you two really went off the rails while I was gone, didn’t you?

    Sam: Hey, Benny, listen — I know you saved my brother’s ass a few times down here, and I respect that.

    Benny: Yeah, and now I’m trying to save yours. You know, I’m a disgrace to my own people. Yeah, this is the spot.

    Bobby: The seam that gets us back up top?

    Benny: Mm-hmm.

    Bobby: Is that it?

    Benny: Yeah, that’s it. You boys remember what I told you?

    Sam: Yeah. All right, Bobby, here it goes. When we get to earth and I release you, it’s an express straight to heaven. No time for goodbyes.

    Bobby: Already said goodbye to you once, Sam. Didn’t seem to take. No reason to think I won’t see you again somewhere down the road.

    Sam: Yeah.

    Bobby: But if they give me a rocking chair up there, I’m raising hell.

    Sam: Conjuncti sumus, [Sam cuts his arm while saying the incantation] unum sumus. [Bobby and Sam grip each other's wrist, Bobby turns into a stream of red and white light that shoots into Sam's arm through the cut.] All right. Come on, Benny. It’s your turn. [Sam turns to Benny, he holds the hilt of the knife out for Benny to take.] Hurry up.

    Vampire: Benny. [Another group of vampires approach.] And still working with the Winchesters.

    Sam: Hurry.

    Benny: Time for you to go, Sam. [Benny pats Sam on the shoulder and walks towards the new threat.]

    Sam: Benny?

    Benny: Go on. It’s me they want. Go on. You just make sure you tell Dean I said goodbye. I was never any good up there anyway.

    Sam: Benny, wait! [Sam tosses the Purgatory weapon to Benny who uses it to take out the closest vampire. The other two vampires attack Benny. Sam climbs up the hill to the portal. He looks back to see Benny down on the ground fighting.] Benny? [Sam is sucked through the portal.]

    Dean: Did you get him out?

    Sam: Only Bobby.

    Dean: What? I mean, that’s fantastic about Bobby.

    Sam: Dean, look — Benny, uh… He got us out. A bunch of vamps showed, and he used himself as bait. I get the feeling that even if that didn’t happen, he didn’t want to come back, you know? I’m sorry.

    Dean: You’re probably right. So, uh… Bobby — how — how’d he hold up down there?

    Dean: I buried Benny… but I didn’t burn his bones. After he said he’d try to get you out of there, it just didn’t seem right. I know you got no use for him, but –

    Sam: No, no, no. You know what? I get it. I do. He’s a… He’s a little different from what I thought. So, go ahead and leave the door open if you want.

    Dean: All right, well, let’s go check in with Prophet boy and see where he stashed that tablet.

    Comment by San Summer — May 5, 2014 @ 2:58 pm

  273. @San Summer—I agree that Benny might have been justified in killing Martin. I don’t know how much more watching Martin die traumatized his granddaughter—I’d say she had plenty of nightmare fuel already. It’s possible that knowing that Martin couldn’t come back and hurt her would help, and it’s possible that watching Benny kill him made things even worse. Since she’s a one-off character, we’ll never know, and I suppose not care.

    I’m sorry, how does Dean admitting that the text message was not a good move and accepting Charlie’s assessment that he’d ruined Sam’s relationship (which was annoyingly untrue, as Sam ended it himself—twice—when Amelia was asking him to stay) not taking responsibility? Dean did apologize to Sam, even if he was defensive afterwards, and he did acknowledge that his actions were wrong and take the blame for his actions, even for consequences that were not directly related. To me, that is taking responsibility. But if we’re not counting that, in more than one scene we found Dean being very contentious of Sam’s feelings and that he’d given up something. It seems to me that that’s a clear sign that Dean knew he’d done wrong and was trying to make amends. I didn’t see Sam doing the same at that point—he simply seemed to accept it as his due. Maybe later he said they both needed fun, but that doesn’t equal Sam actually accepting his part in the Benny debacle. So I still give more credit to Dean than Sam on that front.

    Apparently, but when did Sam have this revelation that led him to Dean’s point of view? We certainly never saw any sign of it until he went to purgatory himself. Benny appears to save Sam in purgatory—and it seems that Sam knew that that’s exactly what he’s there to do—and now Sam is willing to acknowledge that Benny saved Dean and that he deserves some respect for that? Funny, that didn’t seem to be a factor for Sam at any time before this, so why did it matter now? Was it because the plot said so? Was it because being in purgatory himself suddenly provided Sam with clarity? Was it because Benny was saving Sam now? I like to hope it was because Sam was finally able to see Dean’s point of view about purgatory and therefore Benny, who did do something pretty selfless, even if he was concerned about his grip on sobriety, so to speak. Dying for someone who contributed to ruining your relationship with your granddaughter is pretty magnanimous.

    Sorry, but I have to say that for me to balance the scales I needed more than a “I guess he was a little different than I thought” weeks to months after the matter was pretty much put to rest and only after it was clear that Benny sacrificed himself to save Sam and Bobby. It would have meant more if Sam had acknowledged around the same time that Dean did that he’d done some things that weren’t representative of his finest hour as well, instead of several episodes later and only after Benny had proven help to Sam himself. Just my opinion, though.

    And it’s ironic when you think about it—Benny dying and Dean being forced to sacrifice a friend to rescue Sam wouldn’t have been necessary at all if Sam had just accepted Dean’s help in the first place. Because he insisted Dean couldn’t help him, instead he had to accept Benny’s help, thus proving that Sam never had to do it all on his own in the first place.

    Comment by huh — May 5, 2014 @ 4:32 pm

  274. @huh

    To me these are not really on the same level:

    8.10

    Dean: What do you want to hear, Sam? That I was wrong? Fine. I was wrong. Okay? But if you’d have just heard me out, if you’d have trusted me, all of this could have been avoided.

    8.11

    Charlie: You sent Sam a phantom text from his ex? Dick move, sir.

    Dean: Yeah, not my finest hour.

    Charlie: So he found some normalcy with this chick, and now it’s gone… again. Thanks to you.

    Dean: Yeah, well, now he’s more committed than ever, so there’s that. But, trust me, this life – you can’t afford attachments. You just got to… let go.

    Charlie: Are we still talking about Sam, or did you break up with someone, too?

    Dean: Me?

    Charlie: Yeah.

    Dean: No.

    The latter reference to the message is pretty casual and it wasn’t a talk he had with Sam. “Yeah, well, now he’s more committed than ever, so there’s that.“ Also calling it “not my finest hour” is really not giving it the proper magnitude considering that Dean implemented his plan “while back” although he knows how Sam feels about Jessica and he knows what has happened to the people Sam cares about.

    I think Benny and Sam were starting to have grudging respect for each other. It’s sad in a “what could have been” way. I still don’t understand why Dean couldn’t just tell Sam about Benny since Sam tends to be pretty sympathetic towards monsters for a hunter.

    Benny wanted to help because he knows how important Sam is to Dean. He had his own personal reasons, though. “Truth is, uh… I could use a break from all this.” This is evidenced by how he had a chance to come back topside, Dean said he would be waiting for him and they would fix everything etc. but Benny wanted to stay.

    Now there is a problem that Sam went to Purgatory and Hell alone to complete the trial? C’mon. I was expecting a hand to come from the sky to smack them on the head for cheating but I suppose it didn’t actually matter if people helped to carry the one doing the trials as long as he was the one to cross the finish line.

    Comment by San Summer — May 5, 2014 @ 5:39 pm

  275. @San Summer—I’m not sure why tone of voice somehow negates sincerity, or the fact that Dean is in fact taking responsibility for his actions. It makes sense to me that he’s not going to pour out his heart or show that much vulnerability to Charlie, who, if we’re going by what’s been shown on-screen, he’s only talked to once before. The fact is that he did admit he was wrong to Dean, and he did admit that he did Sam wrong to Charlie. Discounting that because he didn’t seem torn up enough about it doesn’t seem fair to me. It sound like we’re not doubting that Dean knows he actually did something wrong and is sorry about it—he just didn’t sound sorry enough so it doesn’t count? But again, I’ll say it’s still more accepting of wrong-doing from the Benny fall-out than we heard from Sam, so I do think Dean deserves a little credit, don’t you?

    I’m not sure where it was shown that Sam and Benny had a grudging respect for each other before Benny agreed to die to save Sam. Sam certainly didn’t express any gratitude for Benny saving his brother or possibly being a good person before then, which makes his respect more hindsight than anything else, and Benny didn’t know Sam at all. I agree that there was a possibility that if things had been different that maybe there could have been respect, but that’s not the way it went down. 1) Show needed conflict for the DRAMAZ, 2) I think it’s easy to see why Dean wouldn’t trust Sam with much when he came back and thought Sam didn’t even care enough to try to find out what happened to him, and 3) Winchesters keep secrets. I agree that Sam tends to be pretty sympathetic towards monsters, which is why it’s sad that he let his anger with Dean seep over into judging Benny before he even had the chance to know him. Dean definitely carries a big responsibility there, but not all of it.

    Even if he wanted to help Dean because he knew how important Sam was to him, it’s still a pretty selfless gesture to die for someone who wanted to kill you and helped wreck the life you had built for yourself. Yes, he wanted a break and was having trouble adjusting, but it’s hard to say how much losing that chance at family and stability with his granddaughter contributed to that. If anything, I thought it was too magnanimous of Benny and an awful lot of Dean to ask. But show needed to reassure us that Dean would always put Sam first (as if there was really any doubt) and wrap up the Benny plot, so there it is.

    Well, to be fair, I’m not sure show really thinks that Sam didn’t go to purgatory and hell and free Bobby himself. In 9.1, voice of show Bobby sure did make sure we knew that Sam alone had saved him own his own so Dean could kindly shut up about it, which was a bit of revisionist history. I’ll admit, this last point is not so much about Sam, per say, as it is about show and how it can lose the thread of its own plots. If show wanted it to be important that Sam complete the trials alone and therefore had to tell Dean he was not invited, then it was silly to have him in the same episode get through purgatory and back to earth with Bobby and Benny’s help and have it still work. Why would show have Sam accept help from Bobby and Benny and indirectly from Dean, as he sent Benny to get Sam out, but have Sam insist that he had to do it alone at the beginning? Nonsensical.

    Comment by huh — May 5, 2014 @ 7:09 pm

  276. @huh. Dean knew he had pushed Sam too hard as evidenced by him saying they should go see a movie etc. But taking responsibility for the text is a different thing. I think he did partly put it on Sam. He had planned it well ahead of time so it wasn’t really “not my finest hour” moment. He probably rationalized it to himself by thinking he would never resort to that as long as Sam fell in line. And then when he did go ahead with the plan and made Sam think something similar could have happened to Amelia that happened to Jessica, he said to Sam “But if you’d have just heard me out, if you’d have trusted me, all of this could have been avoided.” Pretty cold. I can’t imagine Sam using Lisa against Dean like that. But Dean’s problem was that he didn’t see Amelia has a person, she was just “a girl” and he resented her. 8.10 was a wake-up call to Dean.

    Sam and Benny didn’t really spend any time together before Purgatory. There Sam could see him in his own element etc. I think Benny was willing to go back also because he was aware that it was about closing the gates of hell. He probably knew about Bobby, too.

    Re: “2) I think it’s easy to see why Dean wouldn’t trust Sam with much when he came back and thought Sam didn’t even care enough to try to find out what happened to him”

    That’s discounting the timeline that was shown.

    8.01 right after Dean got out of Purgatory:

    Benny: So… what now?
    Dean: Like we talked about, I guess.
    Benny: [nods] Then this is goodbye.

    Sam and Dean have a reunion and after they hug:

    Sam: Well, how’d you get out?
    Dean: I guess whoever built that box didn’t want me in there any more than I did.
    Sam: What does that mean?
    Dean: I’m here, okay?

    Dean wouldn’t have let Sam tag along either considering he wanted to find another hellhound etc. and do the whole thing again juts so he could restart the trials. (To me that was crazy.) It’s the Winchester way to rather put yourself in danger than your brother.

    I think it’s a different case to have Bobby fight monsters etc. than to have Dean come with him to get the soul which was the core of the task. Bobby and Benny were helping themselves at the same time. Sam needed someone’s assistance to get in Hell. It wasn’t expected that he would come up with a way all on his own like having to wander around Purgatory looking for a portal. It makes sense that he wouldn’t have to make it back all on his own either. Also when someone is doing the trials, many many enemies would try to stop that person so it would be too much to expect one mortal to fight completely without help. During the third trial Dean couldn’t have given his blood even though Sam was getting worse and worse. He could have fought off Abaddon, however, so Sam could finish.

    Comment by San Summer — May 6, 2014 @ 5:20 am

  277. @San Summer—I fail to see how Dean didn’t take responsibility for the text in the LARP episode. He knew he knew what he’d done was wrong, and he said so. He tried to make amends by making Sam feel better, i.e., being more contentious of his choices and offering him chances to have fun. That is taking responsibility—I can’t dismiss his words and actions just because they weren’t given in the appropriately somber tone. I also find it hard to argue that Dean’s actions took place in a vacuum, which is to say that Sam’s actions had no effect on whether Dean sent the text. The reason he sent the text does matter—he was trying to save Sam and/or Benny, because he feared that one of them would die. That does not excuse him, but he did not do it for no reason. He wasn’t doing just to get back at Dean or “make him fall back in line.” There were lives at stake. No, he didn’t trust Sam, and Sam didn’t trust him. They’ve been in this place for a long time, and even then Dean is overprotective of Sam. It doesn’t surprise me that he had a way of getting Sam out of the way of danger planned way ahead of time. Given his actions this season especially, it can’t be that big a shock. Now was he using it more to save Sam or to save Benny? I doubt Dean thought about it all that much, but Dean trying to protect his friends is part of Dean, too, so I can’t find it out of character if he did want to save Benny, whom he was convinced was innocent. I don’t see Dean as being any colder than Sam was when he refuses to acknowledge his part in the conflict at all. I wish 8.10 had served as a wake-up call to him, but if it did we didn’t really see it, at least in my opinion.

    Even so, Benny dying for a chance to close hell, which at that point didn’t affect him at all, was pretty self-sacrificing, and dying to save a friend’s pseudo-father whom you’ve never met is even moreso. But I take this to mean we are in agreement in that Sam didn’t change his mind about Benny until he was saving his life. Makes sense.

    So from the quotes you’re showing me, there’s no reason for Dean to think that Sam needs to know about Benny because he wasn’t planning on ever seeing him again. So why tell Sam? I think it’s understandable that Dean didn’t want to tell Sam right off the bat that he was back because he’d made a deal with a vampire who was subsequently running free. We’ve seen both Sam and Dean hide things that they think might cause disruption or be an unpleasant topic of conversation before, especially at a highly emotional time like a reunion (see Sam: Ruby). Then when he didn’t confess initially and then was cut to the core by the fact Sam didn’t look for him, Dean’s trust was broken and he wasn’t about to tell Sam then. Does that excuse him from keeping secrets or somehow make it Sam’s fault? Of course not, no more so than Dean’s feelings excused Sam from lying in S4. But it’s easy to see how Dean got to the point he was at.

    Oh, I agree that it was crazy that Dean wouldn’t let Sam come along as back-up on the hellhound hunt—which is why it was just as crazy when Sam did it. Still, it would have made much more sense to take Dean, considering he had navigated purgatory and knew hell and would have been a valuable ally, just was it would have made sense for Dean to take Sam to hunt the hellhound. Still, Sam didn’t talk about not letting Dean come because he wanted to keep him safe—Dean couldn’t help because he couldn’t. Right off the bat Sam was accepting help from a rogue reaper to get there, so the whole I can’t take help because the trials say so as a reason didn’t make sense from the jump. What a mess.

    Why would Dean fighting by Sam’s side be different than Benny, though? Wouldn’t Dean have been fighting for his life and to get Sam out, same as Benny? I can’t see the difference. I agree Sam needed someone’s assistance to get to Hell, but like I said, if he can accept help from other beings to get to Hell, to fight through Hell and purgatory, and to get back to earth, then there’s no reason that Sam couldn’t take help from Dean. If doing the trials is too much to expect anyone to do alone and we accept that, then there is no reason Dean couldn’t help. Dean wouldn’t have been the one to release Bobby—only Sam could do that, just like Dean couldn’t give blood to Crowley but could have watched his back. I am content to blame the episode writers, who put a big emphasis on Sam not letting Dean come because he had to do it alone and then accepting help from all sides, just so Dean could be topside to kill Benny and end his arc. I think it could have been better done, and it would have reflected better on all the characters.

    Comment by huh — May 6, 2014 @ 1:17 pm

  278. @huh

    What saves the phone message bit is indeed that lives were at stake. If Benny had killed Sam, Dean would have had to kill him in turn. And if Sam had killed Benny, Dean probably would have never been able to forgive that. However, Dean said he’d done it while back in case he needed it. That means he had planned it before having anything specific in mind, he had slept on it and still thought he could pull something like that on Sam despite knowing that Sam’s biggest fear is others getting hurt because of being associated with him.

    Of course it would have been within Benny’s right to refuse to go but I think he proved to be a bigger man. There was a way for Benny to come back so if he truly was a friend then he’d do what he could to help get Dean’s little brother back and to save Bobby’s innocent soul from Hell’s torture — not to mention they were trying to board up Hell for good.

    You are forgetting that they didn’t know Sam would end up in Purgatory first. Sam had to retrieve a soul from Hell so he had to go alone much like he had to kill a hellhound or cure a demon by himself.

    Comment by San Summer — May 6, 2014 @ 2:26 pm

  279. @San Summer—Yes, Dean had the text planned and in his back pocket in case he needed it. It’s clear what criteria had to be met before Dean employed it—Sam and Benny, his brother and his friend, were both in a life-or-death situation. I agree that if Sam had been killed, Dean would have killed Benny and lost them both. Sam killing Benny would be much more survivable for Dean, but he still would have lost his friend. Further, he would have suffered the guilt of Benny dying because of him, since he was targeted by Sam because of his association with Dean. I believe Sam and Dean’s relationship would have survived the fall-out, but it would have been pretty horrible for everyone involved. So the text wasn’t something employed lightly. I’m not disputing that this wasn’t an impulsive plan—Dean didn’t trust Sam to have his back at this point or to trust him, so he took precautions. I don’t believe he thought about the larger implications of his actions, which is why he was surprised and chastened he did realize Sam associated the text with Jessica. That doesn’t change Dean’s reasoning for creating the text planning or deploying it, though.

    I guess Benny did prove to be the bigger man. Yes, there was the possibility that he could come back, but there was also the possibility that he wouldn’t reach Sam before he was killed by a monster, or that Sam, who showed no regard for him, would refuse to carry him back. There was good reason to think he would not escape purgatory again, and that’s a pretty tall order in order to save a friend’s brother who wants you dead and the soul of someone you never met. Closing the gates of hell is good in abstract, but it didn’t directly affect Benny. So I think we’re agreeing that Benny pretty much went above and beyond in this episode.

    I am forgetting, thank you. To be honest, S8 episodes aren’t high on my rewatch list, particularly this one, as I find it was a mess of canon issues and logic issues. I concede that Sam could not have known that he would need Dean to navigate purgatory. This does not negate the fact that he accepted help from a reaper to get into hell, automatically negating his “No one can help me” idea, while rejecting the help of the only other person in the world who had been to hell and could possibly help him navigate (not that finding Bobby was that hard, fortuitously). Again, if he’d done so out of protectiveness like Dean had in 8.14, I think it would have played better than “You can’t help me, Dean, because you’re not allowed—come on, reaper, help me get to hell.” The writing does not make sense.

    Comment by huh — May 6, 2014 @ 4:40 pm

  280. @huh. Re: “or that Sam, who showed no regard for him, would refuse to carry him back.”

    I don’t think that was ever a concern. I can’t imagine Sam kicking Benny down a hill so only he and Bobby could go through the portal or something like that.

    Re: “There was good reason to think he would not escape purgatory again”

    It seems that he knew even before going in that he would not be coming back.

    8.19

    Benny: Oh, you don’t owe me nothing. Truth is, uh… I could use a break from all this.

    Dean: It really been that tough?

    Benny: I’m not a good fit, Dean. Not with vampires and, for sure, not with the humans. I don’t belong. And after a while… that starts to wear on you. Right? Cry me a river. Like you need to listen to this.

    Dean: Well, when you get back up here, we’re gonna fix all that, okay?

    Benny: When I get back?

    Dean: Yeah, you find the portal, and your ride out of Purgatory with Sam just like you did with me, okay? As soon as I send you back, I’m gonna haul my ass up to Maine, and I’m gonna be waiting there for you when you get topside.

    Benny: Yeah. That sounds like a plan, chief. Let’s get on with it.

    It would have been much easier for Dean to “chaperone” Sam during the last trial. Sam had to cure a demon but Dean could do other stuff like tie Crowley up, he could have fought Abaddon etc. The only thing he would have had to abstain from was giving the cure to the demon. But when the assignment is to retrieve an innocent soul from Hell, it seems a lot shakier to bring a friend along.

    Comment by San Summer — May 7, 2014 @ 10:00 am

  281. @San Summer—Oh, I agree that Sam was not going to kick Benny down a hill or something like that. I apologize if I was unclear. What I meant is that while the audience would not believe Sam would do something nefarious in this situation, there’s really no reason that Benny would know that. But I suppose that was academic, as Benny didn’t care to come back anyway. Even if Benny was happy to take the exit ramp, it’s still ironic he was seemingly doing so to benefit someone who wanted to send him there unwillingly.

    Really, why would have been shakier to bring a friend along to ensure success in heaven than in curing a tied up and trapped demon? To me, one of these activities was inherently more dangerous and in need of a team effort than the other. The PTB apparently agreed, as shuffled Dean off to help Cas and left Sam alone in the finale, but had a rogue reaper, a trapped soul, and a vampire all helping Sam on his trip to hell. So while I agree it would have been easier to have Dean help with the curing a demon trial than the hell trial, help was much more urgently needed on the hell trial, so it was odd that show told that Sam couldn’t have help while showing that he had plenty of it.

    Comment by huh — May 7, 2014 @ 4:37 pm

  282. @huh. What I meant by that was that the third trial would have been much easier to break into parts, the one doing the heavy lifting and the one offering support. But since the second trial required Sam to save an innocent soul from Hell, there doesn’t really seem to be a place for Dean to chaperone. Dean going to Hell with Sam would essentially mean he was doing the trials, too. Dean wouldn’t have been able to play the guide role either because he would have needed the reaper’s help to get to Hell and if he knew to give directions then he would have already done so.

    Comment by San Summer — May 8, 2014 @ 8:30 am

  283. @San Summer—With respect, I can’t see how the second trial would have been difficult to break into parts. Sam saves the soul and brings it out of hell, and Dean watches his back and protects him as he completes the task. Done. We’ve already discussed that Sam did in fact have help, so he didn’t complete the trials alone. So if the writers deemed to have Sam accept help from a rogue reaper, a falsely-damned soul, and a vampire, why would they write Sam as bristling at the idea of Dean helping him. I also can’t see your argument that if Dean went with Sam, that meant he was doing the trials, too. If so, wouldn’t that mean Dean taking point on capturing and containing Crowley mean he was essentially doing the trial with him as well? So why would it be acceptable in the third trial and not the second? Clearly having support wasn’t a problem, and I can’t see an argument to be made that Dean watching his back wouldn’t have been helpful in hell. Well, in actual hell—show really had to dumb down the prison of bone and fire and whatnot in that episode to make it plausible that Sam could waltz in and waltz Bobby out with no problems whatsoever. They might not have had to do that if they’d written the Winchesters taking on Hell together. So for me, this rationale doesn’t work, because the only reason I see for the PTB to go this way is that that’s not the story that the writers wanted to tell, so Dean had to stay behind to send Benny to tie up his character arc. Therefore, Sam had to tell him he couldn’t accept help despite accepting help from others. So it doesn’t work. But that’s just me.

    Comment by huh — May 8, 2014 @ 4:51 pm

  284. @huh Re: “If so, wouldn’t that mean Dean taking point on capturing and containing Crowley mean he was essentially doing the trial with him as well?”

    Capturing and containing is not curing. But when the assignment is to free an innocent from Hell, it doesn’t really make sense for another person to come along. When Sam had already gotten the soul out from Hell, then it was alright for Naomi to stop Crowley from trying to send the soul back.

    8.19

    Dean: Okay, let’s do this. How much for two tickets down and three back?

    Sam: Dean.

    Dean: What?

    Sam: Come here. [They walk away from Ajay.] What the hell are you thinking?

    Dean: You heard the guy — Bobby’s in Hell. We’re gonna spring him.

    Sam: We’ve gone over this, Dean. I have to do the trials solo.

    Dean: This is Bobby we’re talking about, Sam. Now let’s face it — you have not exactly been up to full speed lately, okay? We got one shot at this. We can’t miss.

    Sam: I’m not gonna miss. [Sam opens his jacket to show he's carrying Ruby's knife.] I’ll bring him back. [Sam walks back to Ajay.] I’m in, just me.

    Dean had just heard that Bobby was in Hell so he intended to rescue Bobby. For a moment Dean didn’t trust Sam to do it alone. But if it worked that way, wouldn’t they have tag teamed a hellhound and killed it together? Sam had a point. He had to go alone. Dean understood it because momentarily he hadn’t really been thinking about the trials, he had been thinking of it as a rescue mission to get Bobby.

    Comment by San Summer — May 9, 2014 @ 4:04 am

  285. Sorry, but from a story perspective it still doesn’t work for me. This is not about trusting Sam–as you pointed out above, it is ridiculous to think that one person could travel alone to hell and free a soul. The fact that they turned hell into a deserted prison for the episode is pretty much proof of that. So it shouldn’t be about trusting Sam at that point. It should be about the best strategy, and the best strategy would have been taking backup. And Sam was willing to accept help, so that wasn’t really the problem. It was because the plot said so.

    The thing about the first trial is that Dean didn’t tell Sam no because he had to do it alone. He did it because he wanted Sam safe. If show had played Sam’s motivation this way it would have made more sense than accepting everyone’s help but Dean’s. I still don’t see anything that prevented Dean from being able to watch Sam’s back while he rescued the soul. With respect, it feels like there’s a lot of contorting that has to be done in order to make the timing of Dean’s help against the rules but help from the reaper, Bobby, Benny, and Noami totally okay. Add in the emptying of hell and purgatoey to make getting through them that unchallenging, and the strings are definitely showing. If the writers (or maybe just the fans) have to work that hard to make it all sound good, then to me, it’s just not that well done.

    Comment by huh — May 9, 2014 @ 1:10 pm

  286. @huh. I didn’t like how “easy” it seemed. Getting in and out, finding Bobby, fighting their way from Hell and Purgatory should have been way harder. _Everything_ was done within one episode including finding out what the second trial even was.

    Kevin: An innocent soul has to be rescued from Hell and delivered unto Heaven.

    Nothing says the soul has to be passive in the rescue. Bobby could fight for himself. The reaper was acting as a guide which is a very typical role in stories of a hero going on a journey. It doesn’t mean that the hero isn’t doing the tasks by himself though.

    I just can’t imagine Dean going with Sam to Hell without it becoming a situation where Dean is also rescuing the soul and not merely chaperoning. The third trial would have been much easier for that because it didn’t require going on a mission to a totally different plane of existence as part of the trial etc.

    Comment by San Summer — May 9, 2014 @ 2:07 pm

  287. @San Summer—Definitely on the same page re: the ease of the second task. Remember when Crowley and Castiel spent the whole of S6 trying to get into purgatory to harvest souls for power? Turns out they could have just asked a rogue reaper (since apparently all of them are) and been there in 5 minutes. Dean fighting for a year in purgatory? Not such a big deal when a weakened Sam and an unarmed soul survive pretty well until their ride comes to pick them up. Hell itself? What’s all the complaining about, Winchesters/demons/angels? After all, Bobby’s been in general population for a year and he is totally fine psychologically. Forget the years and lives angels allegedly spent freeing Dean (even if they did only come after him once Dean broke the seal, it still took them ten years of hell time)—just waltz right in and out no problem. The amount of canon twisted or ignored to make this episode is more than likely one of the reasons that I’m never going to consider this episode much good. It was far too much for one task or one episode, so everything had to be dialed way down to make it work, which made it ridiculous.

    Nothing says the soul has to be passive, but if we’re accepting the premise that the trials had to be completed without help, then the soul fighting alongside a weakened Sam to me would have to be classified as help. The reaper was more than a guide—he had to open the doors to get Sam into purgatory and out again (in theory). That’s active help, because Sam could not have completed the task on his own. Benny was necessary in getting Sam to the gate, which was the only way to get back to earth and free the soul. These things all require another being actively assisting Sam along the way, so to me this is still show having Sam accept everyone’s help but Dean because the plot says so. Why show was so insistent is beyond me, because heroes on journeys do not accomplish feats on their own—they are helped by partners, sidekicks, supporting characters, guides, etc. That doesn’t make them less heroic—it makes them smarter for accepting the help they need to get them to their destination, so to speak. Did the PTB really think that Frodo really had to destroy the ring all by himself? Carry it, maybe, though Samwise did save it briefly, but he was helped by many along the way, and that didn’t make him less heroic. But if you tell me Frodo destroyed the ring alone, I’d disagree, and by that same token it seems clear that Sam did not save Bobby’s soul alone, no matter what his subconscious said in 9.1.

    Really? You can’t imagine that Dean could be able to understand the gravity of Sam being the one to physically free Bobby and carry him out of hell/purgatory? I certainly think Dean is capable of being Sam’s support—he’s done it pretty much all of his life. It doesn’t seem like that much of a reach to me, frankly.

    Comment by huh — May 9, 2014 @ 3:35 pm

  288. @huh. Exactly. They made a mockery out of Hell also considering how hard Sam tried to get Dean back when Dean’s soul was due.

    Re: “The reaper was more than a guide—he had to open the doors to get Sam into purgatory and out again (in theory). That’s active help, because Sam could not have completed the task on his own.”

    I think he filled the guide role that is traditionally in stories like crossing the river on a ferry to get to the underworld. He demanded payment

    Ajay: I have overhead. It will be pricey.
    Dean: How pricey?
    Ajay: You two are resourceful. One day, you will owe me a favor.

    and would only go to a certain point. He didn’t even take Sam to Hell but left him in Purgatory.

    “Rescue a soul from Hell”. Sam goes to Hell alone, he rescues a soul. If Dean comes with and kills demons while they are on a mission to rescue a soul, doesn’t it mean Dean is doing the trials also? But when the assignment is “cure a demon”, Dean could have ganked all kids of enemies sent to free Crowley. The only thing he could not have done was give the cure.

    Thus I find Naomi’s interference to be the most problematic. But maybe Sam had gotten “far enough” because Bobby’s soul was already ascending to Heaven.

    Comment by San Summer — May 9, 2014 @ 5:46 pm

  289. @San Summer—I know, right? Hell, which Sam couldn’t save Dean from and which many angels died to retrieve Dean from, can apparently just be waltzed through like it’s nothing. Nice work there.

    I don’t understand why the traditional guide role does not qualify as help. They are providing the knowledge or service that the hero needs to help them complete the quest by their very definition. The ferry to hell is still helping the hero into the underworld—demanding a payment doesn’t really change that. But even if it did, I doubt that if the angel tablet prophecy was specific on the chosen doing the task alone that there were subclauses allowing guides, as long as they were demanding payment, to fall outside the definition of help. If this is meant to resemble the simple, traditional heroic quests, then this is way too much red tape and if-thens that make this instance of help acceptable while this instance is not to really fit the trope. The heroic quest plotline shouldn’t feel like reading stereo instructions, so to speak. Respectfully, this feels like hair-splitting to me, and I don’t think the writing deserves this much leeway or fanwanking to make it work.

    You’re right, then there’s Noami, which is yet another entity that helped Sam be able to free the soul from hell and send it to heaven. Now we’re up to four, but it’s vitally important that Dean didn’t help? This concept gets more ridiculous the more we pick at it, honestly.

    No, to me Dean watching Sam’s back while he completes the trials does not mean that Dean is doing the trials with him. How is it different if Dean is ganking demons in hell/monsters in purgatory while Sam saves Bobby than it would be if Dean had ganked enemies sent to free Crowley? In both cases, he’s watching Sam’s back while he completes the trial. If Sam is still opening the door and taking the soul out of hell, then he is still completing the trial, by your definition. I cannot see any difference between Dean watching his back and the reaper leading Sam in, Benny leading Sam out, Bobby fighting by his side to escape, or Naomi mixing it up with Crowley to allow Bobby’s soul to ascend, so to speak.

    Sorry—the writers messed this one up, and there’s no amount of conjecture and contortion that makes the inconsistencies work for me.

    Comment by huh — May 9, 2014 @ 7:05 pm

  290. To me the difference is in the wording.

    “An innocent soul has to be rescued from Hell”

    If one goes to rescue a soul from Hell, isn’t one expected to kill all kinds of enemies while there? If Dean did that, I think he would be more than help. He would be doing the trial also. He would be part of the rescue mission which is the core of the trial.

    “To cure a demon”

    That means Sam has to do the cure alone. In this case purify his blood, inject it himself in correct time intervals and seal it with a bloody hand on the demon’s mouth. Thus it would be very easy for Dean to chaperone.

    The second task couldn’t have been reduced to Sam just physically freeing Bobby. If that was the case, everyone else would have been doing the heavy lifting but him. No, he had to go alone to rescue a soul from hell.

    The third task on the other hand could have been reduced to just Sam curing a demon while Dean went off to distract Abaddon.

    Comment by San Summer — May 10, 2014 @ 6:16 am

  291. @San Summer—the problem with your distinction is that Sam didn’t kill all kinds of enemies while doing the second task, at least not alone. So by that standard, Sam still did not complete the task without help. But even with that distinction, it seems like a fairly arbitrary line to draw—people can help you get into hell, get the soul out of hell, get the soul out of purgatory, and get the soul into heaven, but not to kill enemies while doing so? Why would that be unacceptable, while all other forms of help are? That still doesn’t make sense to me, unless you view it as show contorting itself to find a reason why Sam wouldn’t take Dean but would take help from others. Succinctly, this is the way it had to be because the plot said so.

    The second task was just reduced to Sam physically freeing Bobby, though—he had help every step of the way other than that specific task. So that may not have been what the writers intended, but that’s exactly what happened. I don’t see it as everyone doing the heavy lifting but Sam—I see it as Sam the hero using the help and resources available to him to save a soul from hell, save his brother. For a show that paid lip service to Team Free Will and accomplishing great things as a family, it makes no sense to me to suddenly to draw the heroic line at “But this I have to do alone with no help from you—but help from those people is okay because it falls inside the technicality lines that have been arbitrarily drawn about when I can accept help and when I can’t. “ Sorry, this still doesn’t work for me.

    Comment by huh — May 10, 2014 @ 9:20 am

  292. @291 huh. I think it would have been dubious to take Dean along when Dean said, “This is Bobby we’re talking about, Sam. Now let’s face it — you have not exactly been up to full speed lately, okay? We got one shot at this. We can’t miss.”

    It doesn’t sound like he would have been there just to support. It sounds like he thought the trials were getting the better of Sam. He would have gone to Hell to rescue Bobby but it had to Sam.

    I have no problem with the setup that Sam had to go alone but the episode overall was a mess.

    Comment by San Summer — May 10, 2014 @ 5:17 pm

  293. @San Summer–We can agree to disagree, and that’s fine. I see nothing wrong with what Dean said–Sam wasn’t up to full speed. If hell/purgatory had been written properly, he certainly couldn’t have survived alone. In fact he didn’t, as he had help the entire way. Nothing in what Dean said indicates to me that he was not going to go there to support Sam while he completed the trial. He said that they had one shot and couldn’t miss, and that common logic (and good writing) would make it an impossibility that Sam would not need someone watching his back while he completed the trial. I have still not been convinced that the rules that exclude Dean but include every other supernatural entity that happened to wander by and offer assistance make any sense.

    The set-up that Sam had to go along was ridiculous on its face, because there was no way he would have survived, so the episode had to be written as a mess in order to compensate. That’s the problem when show starts with an idea (Sam has to go alone so that Dean can kill Benny to go help him and wrap up that storyline), and then twists canon/characterization to fit it. Because the premise that Sam could and should have gone alone and would be successful was flawed to begin with, the rest of the episode fell apart. I don’t feel like Sam going in alone can be separated from the rest of the mess of the episode, because that was a causal issue of said dysfunction, but if you can make it work for you, that’s fine. Mileage varies.

    Comment by huh — May 10, 2014 @ 8:02 pm

  294. @huh. I do think Dean was showing a worrying attitude about Sam being able to complete a trial on his own.

    First saying “Now let’s face it — you have not exactly been up to full speed lately, okay? We got one shot at this. We can’t miss.”

    and later during the third trial:

    Dean: Look, Cas, that’s all well and good, okay, but you’re asking me to leave Sam, and we’ve got Crowley in there tied and trussed. Now, if anybody needs a chaperone while doing the heavy lifting, it’s Sam.

    Sam: You should go.

    [Dean realizes Sam was standing behind him and rolls his eyes then turns around to look at Sam.]

    Sam: Seriously.

    Dean: Oh, what, and leave you here with the King of Hell? Come on.

    Sam: I got this. And if you guys can lock the angels up, too…That’s a good day.

    I think Dean would have taken a really active participation if he had gone to Hell with Sam (the travelling alone makes it more than support). He would have ended up being part of rescuing Bobby from Hell and where would they be then? Maybe Sam would have had to do the whole thing over but by then Crowley would have been well aware.

    Comment by San Summer — May 11, 2014 @ 3:13 pm

  295. @San Summer—I think given the givens, Dean had every reason to show worrying attitude about Sam being able to complete a trial on his own. A major flaw of the trials arc, in my opinion, is that show wanted to have limp!Sam suffering from the effects of the trials, except when he was totally able to take on hell and purgatory all by himself, no problem. Show had Sam consistently appearing ill, weak, and at times in danger of dying. Dean was concerned about his brother’s life and health, so why would he not also be worried about Sam’s ability to complete tasks that Kevin alluded to being equivalent to having your spine pulled out in that state? I’m not sure why Dean would be expected to have anything but a worrying attitude at that point?

    I think we’ll never know what Dean would have done in hell, but I still think it’s entirely possible for Dean to support Sam and watch his back while he does what he has to do—I believe the culminating episode of the first five years was pretty much centered around that idea. Dean knew what was at stake, and I see no reason why he couldn’t work within the parameters of helping Sam without directly completing the task, just as the reaper, Benny, Bobby, and Naomi did. I fail to see how traveling with someone watching your back equals help, but someone actively opening the portals and guiding you through or stopping the force preventing the soul from actually going to heaven is somehow not. Sorry, nothing here convinces me that Dean watching Sam’s back is somehow above and beyond what all of his other helpers in the episode were doing, especially when none of the other help he received, especially if the help from Naomi wasn’t enough to be considered a rules violation. It still just seems like contrivance to fit the plot to me.

    Comment by huh — May 11, 2014 @ 5:38 pm

  296. @huh. To me it would have been weird for Sam to say to Dean “I’m doing the trials but I want you to come with me to Hell while I rescue Bobby.” All that came after is the problem of the writing. But the initial setup makes sense to me. Someone does the trials that someone goes alone.

    Comment by San Summer — May 12, 2014 @ 4:47 am

  297. @San Summer–See, to me it would have been infinitely more sensible if Sam had said, “I’m doing the trials, but we both know hell is, well, hell. So I need you to watch my back while I do the trials.” Thinking that he could navigate hell and demons and rescue a soul alone (which didn’t actually happen anyway) seems much weirder to me. So to me that is still very much a problem of the writing. Why would Sam ever think he could rescue a soul from hell alone? He of all people should have known better.

    The initial set up doesn’t make sense to me, because show had Sam accept help for the second trial–just not from Dean.

    Comment by huh — May 12, 2014 @ 9:49 am

  298. Well they both adjusted remarkably well to Sam going to Hell. ;) Dean was cooking away for Kevin while Sam was doing the trial. So it seems Dean knew the Hell rescue was Sam’s deal. It wasn’t until Naomi told him that Sam would have to go through Purgatory that Dean started to worry and thought to get involved.

    Comment by San Summer — May 13, 2014 @ 5:03 am

  299. @San Summer—Yeah, you’re not really making points in the writers’ favor here that the only thing they could think to do with Dean while Sam was off traipsing through hell alone was to have him cook for Kevin, at least not in my book. If I was being generous, I might make the argument that Dean, kicked away and told he’s not needed again, defaulted as he usually does to fixing the situation right in front of him and taking care of someone, in this case Kevin. I’d hardly call “adjusting”, and I sincerely doubt that that meant Dean was somehow totally okay with the situation as it was, which frankly feels like a disservice to either Winchester to believe that either would be just fine with the other going into hell alone. I’d call what Dean was doing avoidance, if I were to name it at all—I can’t think about this, so I have to do something. It’s a consistent pattern of behavior. But truthfully, he was just in a holding pattern until the writers needed him to kill Benny, end his arc, and send Sam help from someone he would accept it from.

    Comment by huh — May 13, 2014 @ 4:35 pm

  300. Re: “Yeah, you’re not really making points in the writers’ favor here that the only thing they could think to do with Dean while Sam was off traipsing through hell alone was to have him cook for Kevin, at least not in my book.”

    Not trying to :D

    Re: “and send Sam help from someone he would accept it from.”

    I don’t think that was where Sam was coming from. After all, he did not know he would end up in Purgatory and neither did Dean.

    Comment by San Summer — May 14, 2014 @ 3:18 pm

  301. @San Summer–I think that’s not where the character of Sam was meant to be coming from, but by the end of the episode, that’s exactly where he was coming from to me. Show has a problem with what they put on the screen not always matching their intentions, and this is one of those times for me. Show can have Sam protesting that he has to do the trials alone, but if he then accepts everyone’s help but Dean’s, that’s what I’m going to take away from the episode. I agree it was probably unintentional, but if Sam has no problem accepting help from a reaper, Bobby, Benny, or Naomi, then when he doesn’t accept it from Dean then it starts to seem as if there’s another reason one of these is not like the others. I think if I wanted to fanwank it, an argument could be made that Sam wanted to do the trial independent of Dean because he wanted to prove he was trustworthy and capable. It’s just that in this instance, no one could have been expected to do this trial alone, and in the end Sam didn’t, so show having Sam’s subconscious insist he had in 9.1 is still mind-boggling to me. There’s nothing wrong with working as a team, and it would have been better if show had remembered TFW, instead of sending Sam to pretend he was doing a task alone when he wasn’t and sending Dean to cook for Kevin because they couldn’t think of anything else to do with him until it was time for him to end Benny’s arc.

    Comment by huh — May 15, 2014 @ 3:08 am

  302. @huh. To me the difference is that the Dean thing was right off the bat. Sam couldn’t have Dean with him to Hell because that would be Dean doing the trials. Even though Bobby was getting rescued, he was still in fighting form and the soul is part of the trial. Benny didn’t come until Sam and Bobby were back in Purgatory (and no one expected that detour in the beginning). I figure that if Benny hadn’t shown up, Sam and Bobby would have tried to find a portal by themselves.

    Comment by San Summer — May 15, 2014 @ 6:58 am

  303. @San Summer–Accepting the reaper’s help was right off the bat, too, but that was fine because . . . well, because otherwise the whole story wouldn’t have gotten off the ground, so somehow it didn’t count. Except it does, because if Sam says he has to complete the trial alone and then immediately accepts help to get started, it’s a contradiction that the writers ignored.

    I simply disagree that Sam couldn’t have Dean with him in hell because that would be Dean doing the trials, because Sam had help every step of the way on this trial and it somehow didn’t negate the fact that Sam was doing the trial. You yourself made a case that Dean could have protected Sam’s back while he completed the third trial, and for me changing the setting doesn’t make it any different from the second trial. If Dean protecting Sam’s back means Sam’s still doing the trial in the third, then the same should apply in the second. I do not see the difference.

    But Bobby being the soul that is part of the trial still does not change the fact that he helped Sam get through, which means Sam had help. Therefore, help was acceptable in order for Sam to complete the trials.

    As for Benny, I’m not sure how it could be figured that it would be certain Sam and Bobby would have found the portal by itself. I would have to imagine that purgatory is not a small area, and that finding one floating portal amongst it while being chased by any number of monsters would be no easy task, particularly with Sam at less than 100%. Dean’s own survival certainly had to have been aided by a monster that knew the terrain and the players, so to speak. In the end, though, whether they could have found the portal on their own or not is irrelevant. Benny did help them, and since Sam apparently had to get Bobby out of purgatory to get him to heaven, he had help getting Bobby to heaven from Benny. This is not even touching Naomi’s help, without which Bobby would not have gone to heaven.

    So again, I have to say that this episode was written saying Sam couldn’t have help, but the reality is that in order to succeed he accepted help from everyone but Dean. Therefore, it didn’t work for me.

    Comment by huh — May 15, 2014 @ 3:51 pm

  304. I dunno if anyone is still reading :D but

    Re: “But Bobby being the soul that is part of the trial still does not change the fact that he helped Sam get through, which means Sam had help.”

    Dean was not part of the trials and if he had done what Bobby did in Hell, it’s possible that Dean would have intervened too much.

    Comment by San Summer — May 18, 2014 @ 8:07 pm

  305. Now I really doubt anyone’s still reading this, but how do you measure how much intervention is too much? Action by unrelated reapers and unrelated vampires is fine, but action by unrelated brother would totally violate the spirit of the trials? Still don’t see how the double standard works.

    Comment by huh — May 20, 2014 @ 5:16 pm

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    Comment by Alvida Episode 89 –17 july 2014 By ARY Zindagi — July 16, 2014 @ 11:46 pm

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