Skip to content

Goodbye Stranger: Supernatural 8.17 Gets It Right

March 21, 2013

More than any of the other writers on board for S8, Robbie Thompson seems to get fandom. This episode had something for just about everyone – the Dean and Cas fans, the Sam and Dean fans, the Megstiel fans (kudos for getting the ship name right on that, btw). Even the Sam and Amelia fans got a shout out. Not sure there are many Sam and Amelia fans, but if you’re out there, you must be happy too.

This was one of those episodes where the first half hour of the show went by and I felt like it had been about five minutes, perhaps because I got so wound up that I couldn’t actually sit down and just watch. (This might also partly explain why I couldn’t catch my breath.) The other explanation was that the episode just never let up, staying intense and steamrolling forward without a break. From the first frame, I was caught off guard by the fact that instead of the customary MOTW beginning, there was Dean onscreen. WTF? I sat up straighter, already on alert. Something’s off here, something’s – holy crap, Cas, WTF? It was shocking enough to watch Cas kill Dean; a thousand times more shocking when the camera pulled back to show that many dead Deans strewn across the bloody warehouse floor. I literally gasped out loud. Which, while I admit to getting overly emotional about this Show from time to time [ahem], doesn’t actually happen all that often. Way to get my heart rate up, Show!

The direction was as tight as the writing on this episode, and we learned a tremendous amount of new information about all the major players, but it never felt like an information dump. Instead, it played out bit by bit, with each new bit of understanding leaving me going “ohhh” (or even more often) “Ohgod…”

The scene where Cas pummels Dean was hard to watch, evoking the similarly wrenching scene in ‘Swan Song’ – but it was brilliantly shot. The cutaways back and forth from Cas’ point of view as Naomi and Dean alternately try to influence him were dizzying, and jarringly effective. That Cas was finally able to make an actual choice of his own seemed all the more powerful after such an internal and external tussle.

I really enjoyed Misha Collins’ portrayal of Cas in this episode. He carried off the chillingly emotionless version who’s just following orders, the sweetly naïve version who has a soft spot for Meg, and the determined individual who has finally made his own choice by the end – probably not an easy thing for an actor to pull off within a single episode. I’m not always sold on the Dean and Cas profound bond, but I’m always sold on the Sam and Dean one, so Dean’s plaintive “I need you” felt right to me in the context of what had come before – Dean does need Cas, not just as a friend or family, but as the only one who may be able to help Sam. In order to complete and survive these trials, both Dean and Sam need all the help they can get, and Cas is at the top of that very short list. That Dean flinched away when Cas reached down to heal him was even more painful than his reaction to the beating itself – to see Dean scared, cracked open, vulnerable, is wrenching. We don’t often see Dean needy, so when we do, it hits hard.

One of the things that made this episode feel so real (which then helped me invest in it so much more) was the continuity. Thank you for doing your homework, Robbie Thompson! I’m struck by how much more I care about what’s happening on my screen when what I’m watching feels like my Show – when there’s a sense of shared history between us. Meg (that is, Robbie) actually remembered that she ‘rode Sam for a week’ and has experienced his sadness from the inside. It’s not exactly a secret that Sam wants out of hunting, so I’m not sure we needed that particular revelation, but it was still nice to hear. I may have shouted at my tv, “Yes! Omg, you remembered!”

It probably says something about SPN that one of the most consistent bits of continuity over eight seasons is Dean’s taste in porn, but I still got a kick out of the MOL’s vintage version of Busty Asian Beauties. And I continue to love love love the boys at home in the batcave, Sam diligently researching and Dean gleefully settling in at the table to read porn across from his brother. Broments indeed.

I’ve always enjoyed Meg, but in this episode, Rachel Miner and Robbie Thompson together rounded her out into a fully rendered – and tragic – character. Whenever Show manages to portray the world as shades of grey instead of black and white, I want to hug it – Meg is a great example of this kind of shading. She’s a demon, she’s killed people we loved; she’s also vulnerable and full of longing, which we can’t help but relate to in a human way. She’s hurt that no one looked for her, just as Dean was when he found out Sam didn’t look for him. She wants someone to care about her, wants her death to be a sacrifice that means something. The reality is that she doesn’t get what she wants and longs for, and all of us cringe at that, empathy putting us in her shoes for a moment. I’m sorry to see her go (if in fact she is gone, this is Supernatural, after all).

The script balanced out the tragic and heartwrenching with some nice light moments, including the surprisingly sweet flirty banter between Meg and Cas. Meg in this episode is the character who gets to speak the truth, whether it’s sizing up what Sam really wants or describing how smudged the lines between right and wrong have become for all of them. “I was bad, you were good, things were easy. Now it’s all messy.” Ain’t that the truth. Even that conversation had its moments of continuity, keeping it anchored in our shared understanding of what has come before. ‘The Pizza Man’ is probably the oddest euphemism for sex ever, but it works here, because we all know what it means.

It’s no secret that the Amelia thing isn’t my favorite part of S8. (Okay, understatement….) Meg and Sam’s conversation about Amelia was the only time in this episode that I wanted to go get a snack and come back in five minutes, but I’m glad I didn’t. Partly because some of their conversation was so interesting. “You hit a dog and stopped, why?” Meg asks, and it hit me as a significant question. Is it a coincidence that the dog ran in front of Sam’s car? Is it a coincidence that there were multiple references to Crowley’s dogs in this episode too? Most likely that’s just me still frantically trying to believe that the whole Amelia thing wasn’t as useless and inorganic and frustrating as it seemed. I don’t give up my fantasies easily, what can I say? But at any rate, Meg’s synopsis of the Amelia thing after hearing it all ending with “I puked in my mouth a little”? That put me right back on the same page!

So let’s get to the scene that put me over the top as far as having ALL THE FEELS about this episode. No surprise to anyone, the brother scenes were what made this episode for me. The look on Dean’s face when his worst suspicions are confirmed by the bloody tissue in the trash. His full-out protective mode when he tells Sam what he knows, and insists he stay behind to stay safe and hands him the knife. Sam’s reluctant acceptance.

I think I tweeted Robbie Thompson about a dozen times to say thank you for the broment-in-the-Impala scene, but I could easily tweet him a hundred more. (Don’t worry, Mr. Thompson, I’ll constrain that impulse). That scene was perfect. Understated, not over the top, gorgeously filmed, beautifully acted by both Ackles and Padalecki. The weight of worry is palpable – visible – in the set of Dean’s shoulders, the expression on his face, as he opens up to Sam. Instead of hiding or covering up, Dean lets himself be honest – and vulnerable. First with Cas, then with Sam.

“I can’t take any more lying.”

And Sam gets it. He too opens up, comes clean, promises to stay that way. And we believe him. Finally the brothers are really on the same page, a truly united front, in this together.

“I can’t carry the burden of these trials, but I can carry you.”

That was the moment I reached for the tissues, as the telltale brother music played in the background and the Impala zoomed through a night lit so beautifully it looked like the boys were driving through a field of stars. Once again, the continuity and sense of shared history made the scene even more powerful for those of us who have been there from the beginning. Dean can carry Sam – has carried Sam. Out of a burning building, more than once. We don’t doubt for an instant that he can do it again.

Neither does Sam, though his response is pure Winchester.

“You realize you kinda just quoted Lord of the Rings, right?”

We grin through our tears, sniffling into our tissues.

“Shut up,” Dean says; of course he does. And turns up the music.

Robbie Thompson, that scene plays like the best fanfiction – and that’s one of my highest compliments. The dialogue is just right, not over the top and not flat, infused with the emotion that we count on to be there, that hooked us on this show in the first place. These are the Winchesters I know and love.

And whoever decided on Supertramp’s Goodbye Stranger to close out the episode? Brilliant! Fitting for multiple reasons, for multiple storylines and characters. The song has always reminded me of Dean, who has chosen a life of hitting the road and not staying in one place, but here it fits for Cas too, and is a fitting goodbye to Meg, who we never really got to know.

One small quibble. We’re probably the only ones who want to protest that not all PhD candidates are obsessive about their dissertation research or wear their hair in giant rollers from the 1960s. Um….okay, at least we want to protest the giant rollers thing. But hey, our research is on fandom, of course we’re obsessive! Anyway, I was sort of sad to see the human professor-to-be get killed along with the ganked demon. Was I the only one going “Noooo!”

On the other hand, social media makes watching Show even more interesting these days. Fun facts:

#GoodbyeStranger was trending in the US while the episode aired on the East Coast

Robbie Thompson confirms that Jensen consulted on the vintage porn. This creates all kinds of speculation that I’ll just leave out of this report. (Thanks SuperWiki for that little tidbit of important info…)

When Dean said “Megstiel” we tweeted that we literally laughed out loud. Adam from the VFX crew tweeted back that he did too – even though he’d seen it a dozen times. We felt a little less silly.

The VFX crew also let fandom know that two actual stunt men and over 1000 3D models of dead!Dean were used in that first chilling scene. *shudders*

And finally, let’s end on a high note. We’re waiting to find out who in wardrobe is responsible for Dean’s form fitting jacket and jeans. Basically because we want to buy him or her dinner. Like really really nice dinner.

41 Comments leave one →
  1. bullseye permalink
    March 21, 2013 6:42 pm

    I thought the Megstiel scene was disturbing,disgusting and OOC. It sure changed my view of Castiel. Sexual convos with a demon? It overshadowed everything else for me because it changed the way I felt about his character overall.

    • spnfans permalink
      March 21, 2013 9:37 pm

      You’re not alone in that feeling, that reaction is definitely out there – it is SO hard to have a beloved character take a turn in canon that changes your view of them. One of the risks of being passionate and not having any control over where the show you’re passionate about goes. Hang in there!

    • Kay permalink
      March 22, 2013 4:45 am

      The “Megstiel” moment was pretty disgusting to a whole lot of fans, especially since the writer was apparently going for the sexual angle for an asexual angel. But that was the only big misstep in this otherwise solid episode.

      • March 22, 2013 4:03 pm

        It’s been proven that Castiel, or at least his meat suit, got a boner watching porn. So we know he is capable of being aroused. I found his attraction to demon Meg, who is forbidden fruit to an angel, just one more piece of evidence of the budding humanity/falling angel. Meg became more human over time. I enjoyed their encounter in this episode and hope they have a chance to get together somehow in the future.

  2. Dean Grimly permalink
    March 21, 2013 6:48 pm

    Brilliant on the ‘Show;’ awesome on the write-up. You and I were in sync on this one. May be the finest episode in GR8 yet.

    • spnfans permalink
      March 21, 2013 9:37 pm

      I will never not adore your user name🙂 Thanks!

  3. March 21, 2013 7:42 pm

    As always your review reflects my feelings. I think this is the best episode this season, harkening back to the past. I’m in love with Megstiel … he’s her Unicorn!!! How much better does it get? The Boys were … the Boys and the show was perfection. I think I’ll watch it again today.❤

    • spnfans permalink
      March 21, 2013 9:38 pm

      Definitely an episode that warrants a re-watching. Or three.🙂

  4. Sue Ashworth permalink
    March 21, 2013 8:22 pm

    You DON’T put your hair in rollers? I’m sorry! I misjudged. I loved this episode. I REALLY loved the scene between Meg and Cas. I also loved the one between Meg and Sam. I cried bitter tears for Meg – big, fat salty tears. I’m tearing up again now as I type. The episode was perfect for me – the dialogue dead on, with no time for it to drag. It felt as if the whole thing was only 12 minutes long. I hope we keep Robbie for a very long time!

    I have two quibbles. Firstly, what a waste of Amanda Tapping’s ability. I do hope she gets more to do than she’s had so far before she too dies. Secondly, when Naomi and Crowley faced off, there was a reference to an incident they had back in Mesopotamia. The inference being that they’ve been adversaries for forever. So what’s with this? Crowley was supposed to have been from Scotland in the middle ages. Was it a slip or are we preparing for some other revelation? The rest of canon was so meticulously observed that I am wondering like crazy.

    Finally, based on Meg’s million dollar question to Sam, I am now second guessing my initial theory for the Amelia thing. Why did he stop for the dog? Did Naomi have a hand in that? Are Sam’s recollections manufactured? I still can’t forget that wallpaper that matched Sam’s plaid shirt. And wasn’t it Jerry Wanek who said that the motel decors in the first part of the season were clues? Come on! It was all in his head, wasn’t it? A way of stopping Sam from looking for Dean and keeping him in Purgatory for as long as possible. Your thoughts are needed!

    • spnfans permalink
      March 21, 2013 9:40 pm

      Agreed about Amanda Tapping, she hasn’t been utilized too well yet. Wonder what else will be revealed about her and Crowley? Hmmm.

      I had the same thought as you did when Meg asked the question about why Sam stopped for the dog. It’s impossible for me to get my own wishes out of the way, because I so *want* Sam’s recollections to be manufactured, or at least for him to have been manipulated into that year of not looking for Dean. Am I just desperately looking for clues that lead in that direction?? I guess time will tell🙂

  5. March 21, 2013 9:34 pm

    Loved this episode… and your review is excellent; covers absolutely everything!! I also had the WTF moment with the beginning. I was half expecting the words ‘one week earlier’ to pop up on the screen, but I was relieved (and at the same time horrified) by what it turned out to be. Way to start an episode!!

    I loved all the interactions between all the players and, in hindsight, those with Meg… as it appears to be her farewell episode (you never really know with Supernatural). But I think it was a fitting finale, if it was. She had some great scenes and more snarky lines. Loved it.

    The final scene with the brothers was perfect (and you described it so well). I was also starting to well up with tears until Sam called Dean out on his LOTR reference, which made me laugh. And Castiel riding off on a bus with Supertramp blaring…. so awesome!

    Definitely one of my favourite episodes this season. Thanks for your review.

    • spnfans permalink
      March 21, 2013 9:41 pm

      Supertramp was the final perfect touch, for both the brothers driving into the distance and Cas staring out the window of the bus, headed who knows where. I might have to tweet Robbie just one more time🙂

  6. nightsky permalink
    March 21, 2013 10:16 pm

    Thank you so much for the great review! You nailed it perfectly!

    First of all, when did Sam’s shirt match the motel wallpaper?? That is the first time I heard that!
    Now, back to the episode…
    It took me hours to get to sleep because my heart was pounding so hard! So nice to hear it wasn’t just me!

    I loved everything about this episode. I have rewatched it already, and I just can’t get enough of it. There was bromance (yeah!), there were so many answers (yeah!), but I feel there were even more clues (see my next comment – super yeah!).

    Out of all the great things I could mention, the one thing that struck me as THE most significant (because of what I want to see happen this season) was the Meg/Sam conversation. Meg saying how hurt she was that Sam didn’t look for her, not even once all year…I jumped off the couch when Robbie included that! The writers are bringing up that year again! I adamantly believe this was supposed to remind the viewers about Dean feeling abandoned (like we could possibly forget!). The story wouldn’t backtrack like this unless they are going to give us far more about what went on during that time! They answered what happened to Meg in the “lost” year – I think this was just a tease that they will give us more answers about Sam!

    Also, Meg saying the Sam/Amelia thing was “lame”. What a great shout-out to what fans have been screaming for months! Yeah! IMO, the writers just said, “yeah, we know…lame”! ….because there is more to the story than that!

    I loved the “Megstiel” shout-out too! It was just another indication that Robbie KNOWS what fans are talking about! I really felt they were very subtly on their tiptoes peeking over the 4th wall to get the fans on board!

    Last point, my husband was really upset that they killed off Meg! Everything that happened, and he was like, “I’ll be mad if they killed her for real!”

    My hopes for the rest of the season have soared!

    • spnfans permalink
      March 22, 2013 1:10 am

      I’m almost afraid to get my hopes up too much that there’s more to the Sam and Amelia story than we have now – I want it too badly! But you’re right, just having it acknowledged as lame and the possibility of more hinted at….it felt good! There are a lot of people upset that Meg as fleshed out as a character only to be killed, but who knows…this is SPN after all!

      Love the brothers on the same page and being honest with each other *happy sigh*🙂

    • Sue Ashworth permalink
      March 22, 2013 1:23 am

      The wallpaper and Sam’s shirt matched twice. The first time I noticed it was in Episode 6 – Southern Comfort. Check out this image:

      It happened again in Episode 10 – Torn and Frayed.

      • Nightsky permalink
        March 25, 2013 3:40 pm

        Thank you so much for your reply and that picture! Sam being “wallpaper” just has to mean something! Memory manipulation by angels? Symbolism of his wall flower months? With so many clues, I just can’t abandon my belief that we haven’t been told everything yet.

      • Sue Ashworth permalink
        March 25, 2013 5:10 pm

        That’s exactly how I feel. There has to be something – especially when it was pointed out by the set designer as ‘a clue’.

  7. March 21, 2013 10:21 pm

    Really enjoyed this episode. It was extremely intense, with it fair share of witty dialogue, and brilliant delivery. Some very strong scenes as well as that little bit of humour to lighten the mood here & there. I was really impressed with the sets/scenery too… especially the crypt. (I liked how the writers made an effort to please the fandom, I just hope they stay true to the story/show/characters & don’t heed to the constant whining of some of the fandom, about how things should be.) I love this show!

    • spnfans permalink
      March 22, 2013 12:58 am

      The dialogue really was witty, wasn’t it? I agree, they seem to be striking a good balance between “getting” fandom and staying true to their vision so far. Ditto!

  8. Teresa permalink
    March 21, 2013 11:30 pm

    Great review!! I loved this episode and have already watched it 3 times. : ). I too and hopeful for a BIG reveal about Sam/Amelia and not searching for Dean! I had to rewind a couple times to listen to Crowley saying something about Dogs to Sam??? A clue? Like you, I worry that I want it so much that I see clues where there aren’t any. I’m definitely enjoying the second half of season 8 and look forward to the remaining episodes but not the looooooooooooong summer break.

    • spnfans permalink
      March 22, 2013 1:13 am

      Let’s hope we’re not all just seeing things! Now that the second half of the season has such momentum, I’m not looking forward to it ending too soon!

  9. Liz permalink
    March 21, 2013 11:49 pm

    Fantastic review!! God, I love the Show!!!

    • spnfans permalink
      March 22, 2013 1:14 am

      Thanks! Soooo with you🙂

  10. March 22, 2013 12:20 am

    Was that Kevin’s mother who appeared before Naomi at the very end? I adored this episode! Meg is forbidden fruit for angel Castiel, and I wish they had gotten more than their kiss. I always liked her as played by Rachel Miner, and hope we see her again. Crowley was deliciously evil, as always, and I was glad he was thwarted in his efforts to get the Angel Tablet. As for the Winchester brothers, sheer perfection all the way around! I loved the conversation between Meg and Sam (her memories of possessing him and knowing his desire for a normal life) while Cas, caught between obedience to Naomi and love for Dean, fought with himself and beat the crap out of the elder Winchester. God, Dean’s face hasn’t looked that bad since Samifer beat him up! I had stopped breathing and didn’t start until Cas touched Dean’s face, restoring him to handsome again! I’ll never forget the expressions on the brothers’ faces when they saw Crowley stab Meg to death! Or how tender Dean’s face was when he told his brother he wasn’t taking anymore lies–from anyone.

    I’ve watched this fantastic episode three times already, and I think I’ll watch it again,

    • spnfans permalink
      March 22, 2013 1:16 am

      All of those moments you mention we’re so intense. Sometimes this show still amazes me even after all these years🙂

    • Amber permalink
      March 22, 2013 10:25 am

      No that definitely was NOT Mrs Tran in heaven with Naomi.

  11. bjxmas permalink
    March 22, 2013 3:28 am

    Awesome review! Like Robbie, you get the show and the fandom and when both worlds collide it’s heaven! THIS is why I love Supernatural so much! Robbie wrote everything I need in an episode and gave it all to me all at once! It started out intense with Cas killing Dean a thousand times and ended on an even higher note, with so many showdowns and revelations that it truly will take multiple viewings to catch everything Robbie crammed into his script!

    Most importantly he gave us insight and emotions. He gave us new reveals and a few shocks along with that continuity that I adore. I was on the edge of my seat the entire time, just waiting with my breath held for what was going to happen next. I was fully engaged and in the moment, along for a thrill ride and either smiling or tearing up and sometimes doing that simultaneous thing where I can’t even react in a logical way, I’m simply lost in this universe waiting for it to all come together and make sense of where the season is headed.

    I love that they have beautifully set up the season and I don’t know where they are going, I’m just confident that whereever it is, it will be awesome and that we are in good hands. Robbie is probably my fav writer now, always delivering on the promise and making me grateful every time I see his name as writer!

    Yeah, your review touched on all the reasons I loved this episode. It’s always awesome to have so many recurring characters pop up and to feel they each had their moment to shine. And that all their interactions with each other and with Sam and Dean added more layers to the relationships and the meanings behind what they discussed.

    With that, I believe it is time for a rewatch!

    Thanks again for sharing the joy!

    B.J.

    • spnfans permalink
      March 22, 2013 3:36 am

      That’s the best feeling ever, isn’t it? That you can just sit back and go along for the wild ride, trusting Show to take you there. I’m so grateful when I can feel that way🙂

  12. Kay permalink
    March 22, 2013 4:51 am

    Thanks for the review. I want to comment on one thing in it:

    “I’m not always sold on the Dean and Cas profound bond, but I’m always sold on the Sam and Dean one, so Dean’s plaintive “I need you” felt right to me in the context of what had come before – Dean does need Cas, not just as a friend or family, but as the only one who may be able to help Sam. In order to complete and survive these trials, both Dean and Sam need all the help they can get, and Cas is at the top of that very short list. ”

    I hope the days of Dean needing Cas (or Crowley in Season 6) just for the benefit of his brother are over for good. Unlike you, I have been sold on the Dean and Cas profound bond for a while, and I hope the show is past the season (6) of Dean simply using Cas for Sam’s benefit. It shows Dean in a bad light to many Dean fans. I hope the “I need you” doesn’t devolve into a selfish desire to simply use Cas again for their own benefit.

    • bjxmas permalink
      March 22, 2013 7:31 am

      This is actually the only thing in the review I somewhat disagreed with. I too am sold on the profound bond between Dean and Cas and I feel it has nothing to do with Sam and everything to do with Dean trusting someone and welcoming him into his life. Cas is family to Dean, which is why his betrayal hurt so deeply and why he had a hard time forgiving him for messing with his kid brother. Family is the most important thing to Dean and when he gives his trust (which he doesn’t bestow lightly) it hurts him to his core to feel that that trust isn’t honored.

      In this episode when Dean says he needs Cas, to me it was baring Dean’s soul and admitting that he is stretched to his limit and while sure, he hopes that Cas can help Sam survive these trials, that isn’t the reason he needs him. He needs Cas because Cas is family and Dean isn’t an island, he can’t do this alone. I don’t think Dean has ever wanted to do it alone, even tho he is quite capable. That was a pretty telling comment in the Pilot when he told Sam, “Well, I don’t want to.” It isn’t just tactical support or backup, it’s emotional support and knowing he’s not alone, that he has people who care about him and that he cares about, that it is personal to him. Once Dean let’s you in, you are in and he is not going to let go easily, if ever.

      I don’t think Dean ever ‘used’ Cas just to benefit Sam. I can never see Dean doing that to his friend and it’s something that never even occured to me. Dean always wanted to believe in Cas, but after all he’d done it was difficult and Dean takes awhile to sort through his needs and feelings and be able to trust again. Forgiveness doesn’t come easily simply because Dean does take betrayal personally and he does feel so deeply.

      I love that the characters are so complex that there can be different interpretations. I love that they are messy with those shades of grey and who’s good and who’s bad can shift based on circumstance or pressures. There are no absolutes except of course that Sam and Dean will always be ultimately good and victorious in the end!

      I also think that when Cas turned against Naomi and sided with Dean it was Dean getting through to that special bond but also the final push came from Naomi when she told Castiel to chose, it was us or them. The beatdown he was giving Dean was reminiscent of the one he laid on him in Point of No Return when he was furious with Dean for considering saying yes. He said then that he had given up everything for Dean, that he chose Dean and this is how he repayed him? Dean brought out the humanity in Cas and by heaven’s eyes is probably considered a corruptor of Cas, but Cas has been on the Winchesters’ side for a long time now so when he is able to think, it is clear to me that he will always choose Dean because he does know that he is a good man and his friend and worthy of such devotion.

      B.J.

    • Joyful permalink
      March 22, 2013 9:36 pm

      I have to also agree on this point (otherwise, a great review thankyou!). The profound bond between Dean and Cas is about what these two have gone through over the past 4 seasons, and how their relationship has survived the good and the bad during that time. It is special because of how they have each supported and influenced each other and I don’t think Dean is, in any way, JUST ‘needing’ Cas for what he can do for Sam. That is no doubt A reason that Dean would be happy for Cas to be around, but not the only one.

    • spnfans permalink
      March 23, 2013 3:06 pm

      Good points, all – and I didn’t mean to imply that Dean *only* needed Cas to help Sam, just that it was a part of his motivation that rang true for me. Family is of utmost importance to Dean, and it makes sense that his year in Purgatory with Benny and Cas would have deepened that bond, in spite of doubts that might have come before. I think the scene’s mirroring of Swan Song might have also contributed to it feeling off for me – it was almost too explicit a mirror, which felt a little forced to me, like they were jamming the action into that frame. It will be interesting to see what happens to their bond, however you categorize it, going forward.

  13. Andi Byassee permalink
    March 22, 2013 5:14 pm

    Wonderful episode; wonderful review. I actually had not thought there was anything hidden in the dog references. Sam would stop after hitting a dog because he’s a decent man. Meg, being a demon, wouldn’t get that. But I like your theory better. If the writers haven’t thought of it, maybe they will now!
    I loved the brother scene in the Impala at the end. To me, those moments are quintessential Supernatural. So far, no one has commented on what I thought was the funniest thing about that scene, though. Typical of Sam to point out Dean’s quoting Lord of the Rings. But equally typical of Dean to point out that “it was the Rudy hobbit. The Rudy hobbit always gets a pass.” That tickled my slightly aging funnybone to no end.

    • spnfans permalink
      March 23, 2013 3:07 pm

      I think your interpretation of Meg’s comment is probably the correct one (tho I still wish my theory was correct!) I so agree, those brother moments will always be quintessential SPN to me. More, please!

  14. March 23, 2013 1:10 am

    I thought that when Meg asked Sam why he stopped after hitting the dog, she was simply revealing her horrible demon side which was a nice, jarring moment to remind us of her true demon nature right when she was being so sweet. As in, she was really wondering why anyone would stop for an injured animal, whereas anyone with a heart would HAVE to stop.

    Really lovely review.

    • spnfans permalink
      March 23, 2013 3:08 pm

      I think you’re probably right, even though I really *want* my interpretation to be correct! lol. Thanks so much, so glad you enjoyed the review🙂

  15. Liorah permalink
    March 23, 2013 5:06 pm

    I don’t have much to add to what’s already been said about this excellent episode, except that, for those who were uncomfortable with the Megstiel scene, or felt it out of character, I chalked it up to Things That Might Have Developed When Cas Was in the Psych Ward and Meg Was His “Nurse”.

    I’d like to put a question out there about next week’s episode. I read a really good fanfic where Dean’s permanently injured, he and Sam are living as a couple, and they start a school for hunters. When I saw the promo my first thought was, Someone got Kripke’d! Or close enough, anyway. If anyone knows the story I’m talking about, could you please e-mail me the details at liorah.golomb@gmail.com? Thanks.

  16. Dean Grimly permalink
    March 23, 2013 7:49 pm

    I’ve always thought that the profound bond between Dean and Castiel is based on the orders directly from God to rescue Dean from Hell in a failed attempt to curtail Dean’s destiny in becoming the first broken seal. The ensuing, original apocalyptic-based battle for Dean’s soul and vessel is, I believe, still going on. But I now believe there is more to this arc than has yet been revealed.

    My theory is that when Castiel grabbed Dean’s soul to yank him out of Hell, that contact between human soul and angel “light” (for lack of a better term) did something to both of them that began to unfold over the next many seasons’ episodes. I believe that it centers around the one human characteristic that separates us from all other beings (monsters, angels, demons, and assorted “others”), and that is Free Will. The angels like Hester believe that Dean “corrupted” Castiel, who was lost and became fallen as a result.

    Everyone wants to play Free Will, but no one knows how — except humans (for whom it is a basic instinct). Castiel suspects that teaching angels about exercising free will is like teaching fish to write poetry! Cryptic comments made about all of this during these past (and current) seasons are few and stingy, but telling.

    Why did God put Sam and Dean on “Soul Plane” to rescue them from Lucifer? Why does the angel tablet need to be kept away from Naomi AND Dean? Why didn’t Dean’s eyes fry out of his head when he killed Zachariah face-to-face? Other clues?

    Dean’s self-chosen, free-will path seems to be leading somewhere, but where? If any others who read this comment have theories (or other clues to report), they would be very interesting to read.

    • bjxmas permalink
      March 24, 2013 5:47 am

      All very interesting points. I believe that Dean has always been special and means more to the overall story than most see. I think he is chosen by God mainly because he embodies the best of humanity. Dean has always been the one most able to maintain that humanity in the face of impossible odds and threats. I think Show has shown that God believes in humans, in the idea that they will choose right when pressed to exert their free will. I feel like Cas is the bridge between Angels, who have become too rigid and unable to think on their own, and humans who will ultimately come through in the way they were always meant to, with Dean and Sam being the leaders.

      I don’t understand it all and the whys of it, but if Sam is destined to be the one doing the trials to lock the gates of Hell, then I think Dean is the chosen one who may be the only one able to lock Heaven in the same manner. I think that’s why Naomi was so intent on Cas killing him, because that makes him a threat.

      Beyond that, the writers have set up so many possibilities it is their choice on how far they want to take it. I can’t imagine they will actually seal both Heaven and Hell away, but they’ve shocked me before. I still think that Dean as Michael’s one true vessel will come back into play in how important he truly is. He isn’t just a run-of-the-mill hunter, he’s a Legacy and one of two sons produced by a union orchestrated by Heaven itself. He has a purpose that only he can fulfill!

      B.J.

      • Dean Grimly permalink
        March 24, 2013 6:21 pm

        We are in complete accord (especially for me in what you write in your last two paragraphs)! It will be fascinating ts see what the writers conceive. We both know it will be truly great — in one way or another. Can’t wait to experience the volcanic eruptions of SPN Fandom spewing all over the writers’ choices!

      • Dean Grimly permalink
        March 24, 2013 6:22 pm

        We are in complete accord (especially for me in what you write in your last two paragraphs)! It will be fascinating to see what the writers conceive. We both know it will be truly great — in one way or another. Can’t wait to experience the volcanic eruptions of SPN Fandom spewing all over the writers’ choices!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Longreads

The best longform stories on the web

P.O.P.

Getting Along in a World Full of People.

Pondering Fandoms

From a fangirl perspective

Archaeology and Material Culture

The material world, broadly defined

The Fan Studies Network

Keeping fan studies scholars connected.

%d bloggers like this: