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Not Exactly Parenting 101: Supernatural’s The Things We Left Behind

December 11, 2014

xxxx 10.09 sil

As mid season finales go, last night’s episode wouldn’t be at the top of my list, but I did enjoy it. And once again, the moon was blue, because my daughter did too. I really hope all these blue moons aren’t a portent of some terrible evil. Oh wait, that’s a good description of mid season hellatus, isn’t it?

Fandom is split on its thumbs up or thumbs down of “The Things We Left Behind”. Some fans were ecstatic to have a Cas-centric episode and others were disappointed that there weren’t enough Winchesters in the mid season finale. I was happy with much of what we got when it comes to Sam and Dean, but there probably will never be an episode where I think it’s “enough.” I have a feeling I could have Sam and Dean on my tv screen 24/7 and still be wanting more of them, so I’m really not a very reliable barometer. The first segment (pre commercial no. 1) was noticeably Winchester-light, which didn’t make me a happy fangirl. On the other hand, the few minutes we got were, in true Supernatural style, first horrifying, then heartwarming and ominous. Simultaneously.

The CW promos made it seem like this episode would be all about Dean and the awakening of the Mark, which made sense, since it’s a mid season finale. That’s the major arc of the season, so that would be the expected focus of the mid season finale. So when we open to Dean on his knees amidst bloody corpses, looking stricken and alone and absolutely lost, I was bouncing. Bring it, Show, bring it!

Warner Bros/The CW

Warner Bros/The CW

When we didn’t really return to that story line until the last two minutes? Not so much.

Not that I didn’t enjoy some of what was in between. I did. I just want more of what that promo promised. Of course, we soon find out that was just a dream – a fact that most of fandom was spoiled for. We’re used to the promos cobbling together bits and pieces that don’t necessarily go together in order to mislead us, so that ‘twist’ wasn’t really a twist at all.

Little did we know that Show had a more complex twist in store.

The other glimpse of the Winchesters before the first commercial should have been a heartwarming brother moment. Dean Winchester laughing uproariously over a Three Stooges episode, on the surface, should just be funny. I always find acted laughter a little awkward, but I have no trouble believing that Dean loves the Stooges. That he wants to share it with Sam is icing on the cake, and I should be sitting there beaming. Especially when Sam has cooked Dean a grilled cheese sandwich that’s literally dripping melted cheese, and Dean consumes it with so much pleasure that it sounds obscene – to me and to Sam. Yum.

cap heartdoc112

cap heartdoc112

But this is Supernatural, and we know that Dean’s not okay even if he’s trying really damn hard to seem it. Sam knows it too, but he desperately doesn’t want to believe it. I felt for Sam so much in that scene – it’s like if he keeps refusing to see the warning signs, if he keeps buying Dean’s attempts to act like he’s okay, that might make it true. How many times have the Winchesters done this for each other? It’s what we all do, when we care about someone and we’re terrified they’re not okay. When your best friend is depressed and you try to believe them when they say they’re fine, try to pretend everything is like it was, try to laugh along with them even when their laughter is hollow. When your child is sick and you can’t fix it and you just want to crawl into a well of denial and pretend. We all do it. Sam, in that scene, is so heartbreakingly human. And his love for Dean is so very evident. Jared did an amazing job conveying all those conflicting emotions, as Sam schools his face from worry to a smile he can’t quite pull off. But he wants to – oh, how he wants to.

Throughout the episode, we see Dean eating with a hunger that seems insatiable. Is it the Mark that’s hungry, and Dean has just been trying to sate it? With sex, with food, with slapstick? Or are we seeing Dean giving in to the Mark already, being hedonistic like he was when he was a demon? The third option is the most heartbreaking. Is this Dean trying hard to hang onto his humanity, trying to enjoy all the things he does as a man? Sex, food, the Three Stooges, time with Sam. Is he acting as if he’s the same, trying to convince himself (and Sam) that he’s okay?

Oh Dean. You break my heart like no other fictional character ever has.

We then veer away from the Winchesters to follow Claire Novak, whose life has clearly gone down the tubes since her father became Castiel’s vessel. The young actress (Kathryn Newton) had a lot of dialogue on her shoulders and she did a credible job.

Kathryn Newton with director Guy Norman Bee

Kathryn Newton with director Guy Norman Bee

The ‘troubled teen’ is such a staple on television that it’s become a stereotype, but most of the dialogue managed to avoid being unrealistic. That said, we got way more of Claire’s story than I was expecting in a mid season finale. She’s not a character I’m invested in, and I don’t expect so much focus on someone who isn’t a main characters in a mid season finale. Especially when it means I don’t get much time with the Winchesters.

The episode, penned by Andrew Dabb and directed by SPN favorite Guy Norman Bee, packed a lot into its 42 minutes, which is always a bit of a challenge. I don’t like jumping between story lines, which happened too often for the angel war story, so I was glad that this time Castiel’s arc was integrated with the Winchesters. I was a little confused as to why Cas actually needed the Winchesters’ help, but maybe it was as much psychological as practical. Cas seemed overwhelmed with his still-new more human feelings when it comes to Claire and the Novaks.

Misha with guest actors Jennifer Copping and Kathryn Newton

Misha with guest actors Jennifer Copping and Kathryn Newton

I liked that Claire didn’t pull any punches, lashing out at Castiel with all the fury of a child who has been abandoned once too often.

Claire: You killed my dad, is that wrong enough for you?

The moment when she tells Cas that she prayed to him, begging for him to bring her dad back, was particularly poignant. And Castiel’s broken, “I know” hit hard.

Misha did a stellar job of portraying Castiel’s initial confusion as he belatedly tries to do right by Claire, and his increasing guilt as he realizes just how much he’s effed up her life. This was Hannah’s realization too, but she was able to actually leave and give her vessel back a chance at life. I really felt for Cas, that he doesn’t have that chance. I think, if he did, he would have taken it. (Of course then we wouldn’t have Misha Collins as Cas, so I guess I’m ambivalent about that. Sorry, Jimmy.)

Cas gets protective

Cas gets protective

It’s no consolation to Claire that her father is in Heaven, which was totally realistic. Congrats, Andrew Dabb, for not letting Claire fold too easily and be grateful for Castiel’s return. I imagine she would have been more than a little undone by the fact that he looks exactly like her dead father.

Congrats too for the typically SPN mix of humor and anything but. I don’t know how we got so lucky on this Show, to have four regular actors who can all do comedy as well as drama, but Misha’s conversation with the social worker had me laughing out loud. Literally.

Cas: I fight certain threats to humanity.

Claire: He’s an exterminator.

Cas: I’m an exterminator.

Cas plays dad

Cas plays dad

Also, later in the episode…

Cas: I’m extremely old, I think I’m entitled.

Apparently that was an ad libbed line. Or at least that’s what Jared says. Who can tell, when the boys are engaged in a twitter war like five year olds?

Dean’s conversation with Cas over burgers – actually one burger – kept the Mark of Cain story line woven into Castiel’s a bit, which I liked. Dean is already afraid he’s going down that dark route, can already feel the pull of the Mark, and he remembers that darkness. He remembers what it was like to be a demon. The weight of that memory must be nearly unbearable.

Dean begging Cas to kill him if he goes dark side again was heartbreaking enough. When he made sure to tell Cas not to let Sam get in the way, “because he will”, I teared up. Dean meant it, that was clear. And he knows Sam loves him too much to be the one to kill him. I think I got so emotional because I experienced that as healing, both for Dean and for me as a viewer. I think he believes it now, that Sam can’t kill him any more than he can kill Sam. That’s what I missed horribly in Season 9, that symmetry; it’s what I love about the brothers.

Sam didn’t get alot of screen time in this episode, but what he got, Padalecki made good use of. Not sure I’m a fan of what they’re doing with Sam’s hair this season though. Why so short and shaped, Sammy?

xxxx 10.09 sam

The scene in the Tiki bar was strange. I liked it, but the more I think about it, the more it tugs at me. I absolutely love getting glimpses of the Winchesters’ past, and hearing them talk about John made me squeeful while I was watching. I love that the brothers tell the story together, finishing each other’s sentences and sharing the memory. And I have no doubt that both Dean and Sam have come to terms with their father’s parenting of them, especially after his death. It’s the psychologically healthy thing to do (yes, I’m calling the Winchesters psychologically healthy for once, can you believe it?). We all need to make sense of the way we were parented, even if it was the most effed up parenting imaginable.

So I’m not surprised that Dean said that yes, he loved his dad with everything he had. I’m not surprised that the memory that both he and Sam choose to hang onto and relate to Cas is a story of being cared for and protected and saved. It’s what they actually didn’t have much of – a sense of safety and security. It’s what they’ve organized their adult lives around, trying to provide that sense of protection for other people as they literally save them. So of course they would make a time when John did swoop in and ‘save the day’ a pivotal scene from their shared life narrative. I get it, I do. It made sense, and I’m going to give Dabb the benefit of the doubt and say that he wrote it knowing it wasn’t an incident that was very representative of John Winchester’s parenting to anyone but his sons, who are invested in hanging onto the memory.

If that’s the case, the scene can work perfectly. But there’s too much canon evidence that John was far from that reliable caretaker most of the time. He might have been there that one time, but much of the time, he was not. He left two very young boys alone to fend for themselves, and shaped Dean into a caretaker himself when he was still in elementary school. Dean – and Sam – are still paying the price for that abandonment to this day, as they struggle to find ways to love each other that don’t revolve around the caretaker role forced on Dean when he was eight. That is not, in any way, shape or form, ‘raising them right.’ The Winchesters have worked their way around to believing that’s what their dad was doing, but it’s pretty damn far from true.

John Winchester. Just because.

John Winchester. Just because.

Just don’t retcon who Papa Winchester is because Jeffrey Dean Morgan might finally be coming back, okay, Show? We all want him back and we’ll take him as the imperfect father figure he is and enjoy the hell out of the complex effed up relationship he has with his sons anyway. You don’t need to turn him into a paragon of virtue – because that, I won’t believe.

Also, that story itself? What an odd choice. Apparently all that fanfiction about Dean being roofied is now canon. Huh.

Oh, but CBGB’s? Blondie and the Ramones? Awesome reference. Love that Guy Norman Bee wore his CBGB’s tee shirt during filming.

Anyway, back to the story. Oh wait, there’s another story too. My bad. This one stars Crowley and his mother, the recently returned witch Rowena. I could listen to Ruth Connell talk pretty much forever, and I feel similarly about Mark Sheppard, so I love the two of them together. (Even though what I said about this episode being busy? It’s still true.)

The theme of this episode is parenting, good and bad but mostly bad, and the legacy that leaves for the damaged children. For the Winchesters and Claire and even Cas, that means daddy issues, but for Crowley it’s all about his mum. (In part because he was conceived during the winter solstice orgy while Rowena wasn’t exactly taking names…ouch.) We’ve known for a while now that Crowley really does just want to be loved, and Rowena figures it out easily enough. She plays her son expertly, with a kiss on the forehead and the promise of being there – the things that Fergus never had and always wanted. The missing mother returns, and Crowley’s lingering humanity make the lure of having her again irresistible. As much as Crowley is a bad guy, I really felt for him in those scenes. Being abandoned at eight….and his plaintive “I could juggle…”

Mommy Dearest Rowena

Mommy Dearest Rowena

Kudos again, Andrew Dabb, for making that hurt so much. It’s just what a child would say who had been abandoned, just how hard they would try to make themselves worthy and lovable. It will be hard for me to ever hate Crowley, knowing what I now know. I hope that was the intention.

And Rowena, as much as I love her….how harsh was it when she left behind the demon who lied for her (in order to off poor loyal Gerald)?

Both Connell and Sheppard are doing a fabulous job making these characters absolutely delicious in their interactions with each other. I love Crowley’s vulnerability and Rowena’s manipulation, and I can’t wait to see where they’re headed.

Okay, back to the other story. The other other story. So Claire runs away from poor Cas (how heartbreaking was it when he ran out into the street calling after her?) and back to Randy, who is just one more example of problematic father figures in this episode (and on this Show, who am I kidding?) What makes this guy interesting is that he happens to be played by Roark Critchlow, who co-starred with Jensen Ackles a long long time ago on Days of our Lives. Also, they sang a rendition of the Beatles ‘I Saw Her Standing There’ that’s been on my playlist for about a decade. I never watched DOOL, but I love when guest actors on the show have a history with the cast or crew.

DOOL Reunion - Critchlow and Ackles on SPN

DOOL Reunion – Critchlow and Ackles on SPN

And Ackles and Critchlow back in the day...

And Ackles and Critchlow back in the day…

Anyway, that’s pretty much the only good thing about Randy, who seems to have a twisted sense of caring about Claire but is mostly interested in gambling and is frighteningly easy to convince that handing her over to the bad guys to pay off his debts is the only way to go. Claire fights like a wildcat but is about to be overpowered when other-substitute-father-figure Cas bursts in the door and knocks bad guy down. Claire then takes over, and I’m pretty sure a lot of us were cheering when she kicked him in the nuts.

After pondering for 24 hours, I like what this episode had to say about the consequences of how we’re parented. Each story commented on that theme in a different way, but the common thread was how devastating it is for a child to be the ‘thing left behind’. Claire, abandoned by her father so he could go follow his own ‘quest’ and then by her mother. Taken in by Randy but quickly left behind to pay off a gambling debt. Crowley, devalued and then abandoned at eight by a mother who was more concerned about saving her own hide. Gerald, whose mother burned him with cigarettes. Sam and Dean, who lost their mother way too soon and then were left behind repeatedly by their father as he pursued his own ‘quest’. And Castiel, whose father was always absent, whose loneliness is even more evident now that he’s experienced being human. They’re all damaged; they were all ‘things left behind.’

Then, as the episode is almost over, comes the second twist of the evening. That horrific scene that turned out to be a dream, as expected? Was a premonition. We know it before the last cut-away, as Cas takes Claire to the car with Sam, and Dean is left behind. We know it with a sinking certainty as we see the look on Dean’s face, as the bad guys don’t back off. I started screaming NOOOOOOOO at my television set, hoping Sam would burst through the door just in time, or Dean would regain control, or something else that I knew wasn’t going to happen.

It was doubly horrible because we’d seen it once and then let out a sigh of relief that it was a dream. A classic horror trope, but it was used well here. I’m pretty sure I kept babbling No No No No for an alarmingly long time, as Sam got into the car and then realized Dean wasn’t behind them. Then we got slow motion Sam turning back to the house, his long hair swept back dramatically, but I couldn’t even appreciate the beauty of that because OMG Sam HURRY UP and get to your brother! Now is no time to inexplicably move in slow motion!

And oh god.

Sam’s face when he sees Dean on his knees, bodies slashed around him, bloodied.

xxxx 10.09 dean4

The way he goes to his knees too, takes Dean’s face in his hands. It’s one of the ways the Winchesters check on each other, a gesture we’ve seen again and again over the ten seasons we’ve known them. The way Dean cradled Sam when he died that first time, from Jake’s knife in his back. The way Sam held Dean as he died at the end of last season. It holds as much power for us watching as it does for them, speaking volumes of the way they love each other. All that history makes it hurt even more when we see how frightened Sam is for Dean, how desperate he is to find an alternate explanation for what has happened. So desperate that he begs Dean to lie to him.

Sam: Tell me you had to do this.

Dean (brokenly): I did…I didn’t mean to.

Sam: Tell me you had no choice.

And Dean can’t. He doesn’t lie to his brother, he can’t do it. He just kneels there, a lost little boy cradled in his brother’s hands, terrified by what he’s done, sobbing “I didn’t mean to.”

xxxx 10.09 deansam

Cas and Claire come back into the room (why Cas would bring Claire back inside when he must have known what he’d find is beyond me – another instance of major parenting fail?) Cas is there long enough to register the horror of it too – and for a moment, we see the weight of his promise to Dean on his face before he hurries Claire out of there, trying (belatedly once again) to protect her from the carnage.

And true to its sadistic heritage from way back in the Kripke era, that’s where Show leaves me. In a puddle on the floor, with my daughter wondering about my priorities as I gnash my teeth over a fictional character. Pretty sure my voice joined a chorus of fans around the world all yelling ‘DEEEEEEAAAAAN!’

As usual, I stayed up for the west coast feed for the live tweets. Jensen was still working (Jared’s response? BOO!) but Jared and Misha tweeted back and forth at each other amusingly, essentially calling each other names. Boys.

Jared also let us know that he and Jensen really did crack up over the Three Stooges episode, which nobody who has ever seen them at a con or actually anywhere would doubt for an instant.

Jared provided the requisite “here I am live tweeting” selfie:

That was my expression too...

That was my expression too…

Mark Sheppard and Ruth Connell tweeted each other too, with her calling him “Marky” and saying “thank you my petal xxxx”. Awwww.

Misha ended up over at Lauren Tom’s house to watch the episode with a giant bowl of popcorn when his cable went out.

Lauren: They reassembled Misha Collins very well. Still cute.

Agreed.

Guy Norman Bee tweeted that Jensen ate so many of those grilled cheese sandwiches that the roof of his mouth was bleeding. Now that’s dedication!

And he also provided this priceless pic of Ackles kidding around during the filming of that anything-but-funny scene. I burst into laughter seeing it, remembering the time we were in the green room at a con waiting to do an interview. Jensen came over and out of nowhere decided to help us pass the time by demonstrating his unique ability to cross one eye and not the other, which totally freaked me out. I screamed, he was delighted, and then that continued for a ridiculously long time, as Kathy laughed at both of us acting like children. I can’t help it, it’s alarming!

xxxx 10.09 ja

And Osric Chau had the heart-rending tweet of the night when he said he hoped that this mid season finale didn’t kill him like the last one did [the death of Kevin]. Ouch.

His little tweet exchange with me was more light-hearted.

Osric: Watching Dean is half food porn. He always makes me hungry.

Me: Me too. In more ways than one.

Osric: Lol. Reading the first Fangasm book right now.. I have imagery in my head at the ready for that statement.

Me: I bet you do considering you’re reading Fangasm. Umm, sorry? #lying

Osric: Meaning I can imagine a “hungry” Lynn. And a stoic Katherine.

Oh dear. He knows me so well.

So here we are, facing a mid season hellatus. As much as the last scene tore me up, it also left me climbing the walls having to wait until January for more. And that, as always, is a good thing. As my twitter dash put it:

“NOOOO! BUT YESSSSS!” — the Supernatural fandom on the topic of the Mark of Cain

In the meantime, get through hellatus the same way Osric Chau is – try reading Fangasm: Supernatural Fangirls or Fan Phenomena: Supernatural. Or pick them up for holiday gifts, for the Supernatural fans on your list – or to treat yourself! On sale now at the links at the top of this page.

— Lynn

66 Comments leave one →
  1. December 11, 2014 5:22 am

    Loved the ep and you and I had similar takes on it. This is my review if you’re interested http://thedailyfandom.com/supernatural-things-left-behind/ . Lynn, once you finish recovering from last night’s ep do this. Watch ep 1-3 of this season then last night’s all in a row. The story arcs they are building come through crystal clear when you do. I just did it and wow…still mindblown.

    The Dad story, Claire, Cas’s need for redemption with her. They are building up something truly impressive. If you do this, let me know what you think afterwards🙂

  2. December 11, 2014 6:25 am

    I always appreciate your reviews because they are closest to my own thoughts and, like a (non-abandoning) parent with a wayward child, patient with our precious show. Thank you for that and thank you for this. Now I don’t feel like strangling the constant complainers.🙂

    • spnfans permalink
      December 11, 2014 4:21 pm

      I’m patient too. Perhaps not quite as patient as I am with my actual children, but non-abandoning? Oh hell yes!

  3. Stefania_V permalink
    December 11, 2014 7:57 am

    First of all I want to apologize for my English: I’m Italian and it’s not easy to explain myself in another language.

    May I try and offer another point of view? IMHO this episode is all about love, the only thing that we can’t leave behind.🙂

    There is an U2’s song, Walk on, which says: And love is not the easy thing/The only baggage that you can bring…/And love is not the easy thing…/The only baggage you can bring /Is all that you can’t leave behind.

    I’m thinking about it since I first read 10.09 title, and this is probably why I think that this episode is about love. U2 are right: love is not easy. Love is hard to give, hard to accept, sometimes is also heartbreaking. The love between the brothers through the years shows this very well. The love in this episode is strong, but not easy.
    Let’s begin with the scene in the Tiki bar: Dean and Sam talk about the love that they shared with John. Isn’t it true that growing up means that you understand and accept that your parents are not perfect, that they are human beings with their own issues? And that all you can ask from them is that they try and do their best, that they love you with all that they have? John Winchester loved his sons, in a twisted way, sure, but he loved them and tried to do his best, given the circumstances. Sam and Dean had finally seen that, and with that story they acknowledge it.
    The same goes for Claire: she is furious, but she knows her father loved her. She wants desperately a father, she looks for him in every man that crosses her life. Cas tries to learn how to love her too, and he asks Sam and Dean’s advice in order to understand how. It makes sense to me: he knows that in spite of all their issues they have ended up to be good men.
    The final scene between the brothers is also about love: Dean, for once, doesn’t lie to Sam: he stays there, clearly scared and broken, asking silently for help. For his brother help.

    I know, the only one that doesn’t fit here is Rowena, but maybe the future will surprise us?🙂

    Another thing that points in that direction is that there isn’t any supernatural monster in this episode. The bad ones are very human. Painfully human. The only monster is the MOC probably, but odd enough it seems that it is making the bond between the brother stronger, instead of breaking it. And I like this a lot: “You and me against the world” right?

    Have I made any sense here?

    • spnfans permalink
      December 11, 2014 4:25 pm

      You’ve made perfect sense! And I agree with you, that’s what I meant about ‘this is the Winchesters being a bit psychologically healthy for once🙂 All humans are imperfect, including parents (my own children will no doubt vouch for this. Loudly). And we all have to come to terms with that imperfection, even if it is glaring. In order to form healthy relationships as adults, we have to work through and come to an understanding of our parents’ failings so that we can have healthy attachments of our own. That’s how I interpreted Dean and Sam’s memory of John that they chose to share. I don’t think they’ve forgotten the times John wasn’t perfect, but they’re foregrounding the times when he was there for them. Perhaps they’re doing the same with each other, and it’s part of how they’re healing their own relationship this season. Thanks for the thoughtful comment!

      • Stefania_V (@s_verasani) permalink
        December 11, 2014 6:31 pm

        Thanks to you to give me the chance to talk about it!

        Trust me, my duagthers too will vouch for this, even louder than your children😉

        Maybe Sam and Dean have come to and understanding with John’s failings and have learned to love him because of his failings too.
        I mean, our issues make what we are as much as our qualities. And when you truly love someone, you love what he/she is and not what you think he/she should be.

        This is the first time that Dean and Sam talk about their father as an human being and not as a hero. It’s also the first time that Sam looks at Dean like this, in the bunker, when he watches him laughing. He throws him an endearing look that speaks volumes.

        BTW: it’s an interesting episode this one, if this thoughtful conversation is a clue🙂

        Thanks again!

  4. Kat D. permalink
    December 11, 2014 10:06 am

    I completely agree with you. The lack of Winchesters in THEIR mid-season finale is appalling, and I can only hope that there will be a big payoff when the show returns. As writers, they gave absolutely no reason beforehand for us to care about Claire, nor did they link her presence to anything vital dealing with a main stroryline. For me, having watched the show from day ONE, I am angry in so many ways. Why should I care about this girl?! It’s so difficult to think that this episode was okay, and I pray to God that it’s not indicative of the future. Cass’ storyline has completely lost interest for me and has become total fan service. There is a very specific set of fans who are dedicated to his story, so why not give him a spinoff? I love misha collins to death and his story was interesting in season four, but after that it’s been one desperate grasp at shraws after another, and it is not allowing misha to live up to his true talent and it’s also risking the integrity of the show we signed up for. His story completely and totally no longer makes sense with the winchesters. As you stated, the bar scene was awkward and they were forcing a comradarie with cass that to me will never make sense. This cry for TFW is annoying because they are trying to make cass a third winchester and it leaves a nasty taste in my mouth. I hope the writers repay us well on Jan 20th. Thanks for your reviews, I always look forward to them impatiently.

    • spnfans permalink
      December 11, 2014 4:27 pm

      I think it was an odd choice for a mid season finale to have so much focus on a guest character, and not what most of us expected. The actress did a fine job and the character was well written, and the story line was relevant, but part of me just wanted to find out what was going on with the Mark!

      • December 11, 2014 7:41 pm

        I half wonder if this was a very strategic move on the show’s part. They KNEW the S&D fans would be tuning in to see what came of Dean’s MoC arc, then they scooped up the Castiel/Misha fans by devoting a big chunk of the story to Cas’ vessel’s familial woes. Made for solid ratings, but as a mid-season cliffie, fell a bit flat.

    • December 12, 2014 2:17 pm

      The first time we heard the word meatsuit, it was an obvious slur used by an evil demon to dehumanize her victim, the innocent human whose body and even name she stole: Meg. These days that word is used pretty indiscriminately by Sam’n’Dean and the show because it’s been a long time since anybody remembered to care about any of the human vessels getting screwed in the course of all the Winchester drama.

      I was yawning my way through the angel storyline this season right up until the moment when Hannah said, maybe it’s time to put the humans first. That made me sit the hell up and take notice! Angels are supposedly better than demons because they have to get their vessels’ consent. In Jimmy’s case, the one thing he asked for in exchange for that consent was Castiel’s promise that his family would be safe, a promise which Castiel gave and then reaffirmed before possessing Jimmy a second time.

      “Why should I care about this girl?!” Because it’s about damn time someone does.

      . . .

      Hope it’s okay to jump in at random here, I guess you hit a nerve!

      • December 12, 2014 4:08 pm

        ETA: I was struggling to remember the timing of the first use of ‘meatsuit,’ after checking the Wiki I realize it was later than Meg Masters, but my point about it being a slur still stands.

  5. December 11, 2014 11:38 am

    What an in-depth, wonderful review. I especially love what you write about the consequences of how we’re parented.
    “They’re all damaged; they were all ‘things left behind.’” – this literally makes my heart bleed for all of them…
    I like John very much as a character, especially because of his flaws. I know he loved his boys, and his boys love him – even though their relationship with their father was always complicated, to say the least. But this is great storytelling – he wasn’t perfect, of course. But I see it this way: his not-so-stellar parenting forged the close relationship the boys have today – and I love that!
    I really liked this episode and can’t wait for more. Is it January 20 yet?🙂

    • spnfans permalink
      December 11, 2014 4:28 pm

      You’re right! John’s not so stellar parenting made Sam and Dean who they, and who they are to each other. And there’s no way I would EVER change that!

  6. kimba2488 permalink
    December 11, 2014 12:43 pm

    Before you mentioned it as a possibility I hadn’t even thought of John Winchester coming back. But with the story they tell in this episode and JDM being at Vegascon next year, it seems plausible they’re setting us up for it. I know a lot of people are going to disagree with me on this, but I really don’t want John Winchester to come back in a permanent capacity. I just don’t like who Sam and Dean become when he’s around.

    List of characters I do want back:
    -Bobby
    -Henry
    -Gabriel (obviously)

    It might even be fun if they got Mary back. I can just imagine her clearing out a horde of vamps, side by side with the boys and then, afterwards, wiping a bit of schmutz off Dean’s cheek, completely ignoring the fact he’s drenched in blood.

    • Rescue Writer permalink
      December 11, 2014 1:24 pm

      “…but I really don’t want John Winchester to come back in a permanent capacity. I just don’t like who Sam and Dean become when he’s around.”

      OH, I so very much agree with you on this! I hope it doesn’t happen.

      • December 11, 2014 3:43 pm

        I don’t want John back permanently either, but in either a dream/hallucination or MoC related “vision” his presence could be very powerful. Since Dean seems to be traveling down some of the same paths as Sam in the early seasons I can absolutely see some sort of “You’re turning into your psychic monster brother, Dean!” moment. It would probably be hallucinated, but we aren’t really sure where John went after escaping Hell so anything is possible.

    • spnfans permalink
      December 11, 2014 4:29 pm

      Awww, what a lovely image of Mary🙂 I do think it would be interesting to see how John’s return would affect his sons. It might shake things up, but that might be a good thing too. They would be much more on the same page now than they were when their dad was around, which I think ultimately John would understand and value. We’ll see….

    • December 11, 2014 7:43 pm

      Yeah, no way he’ll be back permanently. But as a guest shot? YES, PLEASE AND THANK YOU.

      • kimba2488 permalink
        December 11, 2014 11:54 pm

        Yeah,I admit, a one shot would be fun and have a great impact.

  7. Rescue Writer permalink
    December 11, 2014 1:28 pm

    It was a strange episode. I didn’t hate it. It was a perfectly okay episode, but I would’ve liked it better placed somewhere else in the season. It just wasn’t what I expected from a mid-season finale. The best parts for me were the few and far between scenes/moments between Sam and Dean. And I thought the ending two minutes were phenomenal. I would have liked to seen that two minutes expanded a bit more and THAT would have made for a great mid-season finale.

    • spnfans permalink
      December 11, 2014 4:30 pm

      Agreed. I was waiting for something to happen with the Mark, and we did eventually get that, but as you said, that was two minutes until the fade to black.

  8. December 11, 2014 2:54 pm

    my guess is that parenting isn’t like calculating how much love versus abandoning happened towards a child – but how much of each the child remembers. One case of John Winchester rushing in to save the day might outweigh 3 Christmases in a row when he wasn’t there for his kids.

    • spnfans permalink
      December 11, 2014 4:33 pm

      Yes, that’s what I meant about Sam and Dean making sense of their childhood. We all need to figure out how we understand the good and the bad things our parents did, and then decide how we author our own life story to reflect that meaning. Sometimes that means foregrounding those moments, even if they were few and far between, when our parents did manage to be there for us. I think this was one of those for Dean, and for Sam too as he learned from watching what John did for Dean.

  9. Rescue Writer permalink
    December 11, 2014 3:17 pm

    I’ve never forgiven John for making an effort to take Adam to baseball games and do other fun things with him all the while leaving young Dean and Sam to fend for themselves alone. That truly bugs me to no end. Up to that point, I tolerated John all right but when we found that out from Adam (and saw the look on Dean’s face!), that’s when I came to extremely dislike John Winchester.

    • spnfans permalink
      December 11, 2014 4:34 pm

      He’s been written as a controversial character, that’s for sure. And I don’t want Show to forget that or to sweep all that under the rug. It’s part of canon, it needs to be remembered — and, like Sam and Dean, we all have to make sense of what John did and why he did it.

      • December 11, 2014 4:50 pm

        Realisticallly as fathers go, when deprived suddenly of their spouses; John Winchester did a helluva job even if he was not a hunter. Why do I say that? because even though we know that John’s father disappeared when he was young, there is no canon about his mother dying or anything. Now normally in real life when a man is left with a baby and a small boy to raise, they don’t even attempt to do it themselves. they marry some wicked stepmother to do it or leave them with his mother. Obviously John brought Sam up since he was six months old. that means waking at night to feed him etc. clearly Dean also participated. Sam said he read to him from when he was very young – but if Dean was reading that means he was at least eight. so for at least four years, John was the primary caregiver. he didn’t abuse his kids, he didn’t beat them, he didn’t neglect them. (okay apart from leaving them alone from when Dean was allegedly old enough to take care of them both). My point is, he was no monster. he was just a man doing the best he could and to me that memory of New York was not discordant at all.

      • December 11, 2014 7:16 pm

        I have to disagree – John was abusive. He might not have been malicious, but he was abusive. So while I don’t think he was intentionally harming them, he did do things like use then as bait. Bait! To tempt actual monsters. And while Dean did the same thing in Something Wicked he at least told the kid that was the plan instead of leaving him defenseless and unaware.

  10. December 11, 2014 4:40 pm

    I wasn’t able to watch the episode Tuesday night, so I avoided twitter like the plague. I did get a glimpse at the trends though, and when I saw John Winchester trending I thought he might have come back…I actually believed that he would until the last couple of minutes.
    Anyways, onto the episode. I thought that (with the exception of Fan Fiction) this was the best episode of the season. It had everything Supernatural has at its best – strong supporting characters, overreaching themes, heart, horror, badassery, badasses being vulnerable – everything. To me, the episode was basically asking two questions: What makes a good parent, and who can take care of you when your parents are gone.
    The answers to either questions aren’t clear. Sam and Dean say that they love John with all their heart, and remember him fondly, yet while he was alive they fought like cats and dogs. Claire seems to have a strong memory of her father, but is abandoned by her mother. Rowena ran out on Crowley and only professes motherly love when he has her at his mercy. So, biological parents, as the episode points out, are far from perfect.
    What about surrogate ones? The episode offers both Cas and Randy as surrogate fathers to Claire. Cas makes it his mission to help her, yet he’s done it far too late. Randy was there for her when no one else was, but only as long as she was useful to him. Say what you want about John Winchester, (and I’m not his biggest fan) but he never would have sold Sam or Dean to sexual slavery to save himself. Ouch.
    Then there’s the second question: Who takes care of you when your parents are gone? Sam and Dean turned to each other, and in the later years they’ve built an extended family for themselves. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that this episode had lots of TFW scenes, as it’s the closest thing to a family dynamic that Cas ( and, to a lesser extent, Sam and Dean) has. Claire, on the other hand, turned to herself and has become a scrappy and self-reliant yet troubled young woman. I’ll say more about the fact that Claire is a surrogate Dean in a second, but it’s really telling how they both need a “father, not friend” figure in their lives – Claire needs a caretaker, not a partner. And Dean loses control in the worst way shortly after he tells a story…of his father saving him after he lost control. You sneaky Show, you.
    I loved Claire Novak, and I hope her character sticks around. My headcanon for Claire was always a badass angel-hunter, so I was a little disappointed with the delinquent at first. But her interactions with Cas were great, and she was strong without being unrealistically so. Normally I would have rolled my eyes at Cas saving the Damsel in Distress – but that scene was imo amazing. Cas got a chance to start atoning for what he did to Claire, and Claire, rather than just run to Cas’s arms, tries to crush her attacker’s lungs. She only stops and breaks down when Cas pulls her away, and she knows that she can let her guard down. She’s real, and that makes her all the more powerful. Also, I love the parallels she has with Dean, although I’m not sure where the show wants to go with them. Are they trying to show a Dean without Sam in his life?
    Dean’s storyline, though lesser in the episode until the last few minutes, was really subtle and well-done. I thought that all the food he was eating in the episode would amount to something, but maybe I’m just paranoid after Being Human (anyone who watched the U.S version knows what I’m talking about.) But it did mean something – Dean’s trying to feel like Dean again. Dean’s trying to feel human, and that means food, sex, tv. He’s trying to indulge his lesser desires in the hopes that his violent one won’t come out. I found it actually kinda hard to feel horrified over him killing all of the thugs – one tried to rape a teenager, and all the other men let it happen…from my point of view, it was Dean or them, as it didn’t look like they were about to let him just walk out the door. But I understand why Sam is so terrified, as he knows firsthand what happens when the Mark takes control.
    Call me heartless, but I didn’t find the season finale depressing at all. If anything I had hearts in my eyes over how great the episode was. Season 10 has been super strong so far, it may even be better than season 9 (which I loved). Here’s hoping!

    • spnfans permalink
      December 11, 2014 10:01 pm

      Yes, I do think that the men who Dean killed were intentionally painted with a very dark brush so he’s redeemable even though he did give in to the Mark. Sam’s terror is more for what’s happening to his brother, and what it means for Dean’s future.

  11. December 11, 2014 4:43 pm

    I was busy telling Sam how Dean really did have to kill those guys because they had him surrounded. what was he to do? then my subconscious asked me, what about Randy? and I was like OBVIOUSLY he tried to attack Dean first. Is this what you mean by denial?
    marveling at how that Critchlow guy has aged as compared to Dean er, Jensen…wow.

    • spnfans permalink
      December 11, 2014 10:02 pm

      Hah. It’s true, I’m not sure how, but Jensen just keeps getting better looking…

    • December 12, 2014 5:57 am

      To be fair, Roark Crichlow is something like fifteen years older than Jensen Ackles. I think he’s around the same age as Mark Sheppard.

  12. maermae permalink
    December 11, 2014 5:31 pm

    I had VERY similar thoughts on this episode. I thought it made NO sense for a mid-season finale. While I really like Cas, he is not a Winchester & Supernatural is not his show – this episode (a mid-season finale!!) needed to be more about the brothers, and more about the MoC – which is really the only myth arc the show has going right now. I thought the entire episode, until the last two minutes, lacked momentum. Sam, Dean, Cas, & Crowley were all just kinda..hanging out.

    It was just so frustrating that we have been Cas-less for the past how many episodes & then the writers chose the mid-season finale for him to pop up & take center stage – why? This episode would have worked so much better as like episode 6-7-8. Same Cas-insight would have been gained, without pushing the Winchesters to the B-storyline in a pivotal episode.

    I feel like the writers struggle with juggling characters. For example, as much as I enjoyed Donna/Jody, the Winchesters were pushed away from the spotlight for the guest stars in Hibbing 911 – just like they were last night. Supernatural use to be so good at incorporating guest stars – while keeping the Winchesters relevant. Like gimme gimme gimme Donna & Jody but I still want my Sam & Dean too! Like put Jody + Cas + Crowley + Charlie etc. in more episodes, but with less focus & screen time in each episode – that way they are woven more seemlessly into the story. I feel like this is why characters like Ellen and Bobby worked so well, and as still so missed. It allows for the characterizations to build more naturally, over time.

    I’m a Dean!girl, but I feel myself slipping towards a bitterSam!girl as the writers just are not giving him anything to really do, or any POV (even Osric tweeted about how little Sam was in the epsiode). I loved Sam making Dean a sandwich, and the brothers finishing each other’s sentences during the John story – but the story was a Dean & John story. I really wish it was a story about John that included both brothers. I loved how concerned Sam was in the last scene, but I also don’t understand why he left his brother in there alone for so long. It’s just lazy writing for Sam. You’re right though – with as little as Jared is being given, he is doing a fantastic job of conveying Sam’s thoughts & feelings.

    I think the other main issue I had with this week’s episode was that – aside from the MoC – it was not about anything really…Supernatural. I thought the whole Cas / Claire storyline seemed very Lifetime movie-ish & some are saying the family theme was the SPN tie-in, but I don’t see that as Cas & Claire are not family.

    That said, I’m so excited that it looks like the MoC is revving back up! I needed more of that this episode!

    • spnfans permalink
      December 11, 2014 10:03 pm

      That’s the silver lining, I think – I am SO hungry for more of the MoC story line! Is it January yet????

  13. Laura in Denver permalink
    December 11, 2014 6:09 pm

    Great comments by every one! It took me a while to organize my thoughts though. This episode was tough, the story had a lot of guilt, denial and painful regrets in it. As the product of similar family dynamic (parents ill-equipped to be parents and abandonment) I think the writer and all the actors did a great job. Each character’s pain, guilt or denial came through really well and realistically. I especially think they nailed it with the Tiki bar scene, the process a child goes through trying to understand and accept their parents failings. You don’t forget the bad memories but they do fade and you try to embrace the good memories more. Even though I knew this part of the story arc was coming it was hard to watch. It will be interesting to see where they take the story from here.

    • spnfans permalink
      December 11, 2014 10:04 pm

      Yes, your take was my take as well. That scene worked very well as Dean and Sam coming to terms with their imperfect parent, as we all must to some extent. It rang true to me as well.

  14. Tawrens permalink
    December 11, 2014 8:17 pm

    John never abandoned his sons and he did the best a single parent with a demanding job could. The show has already retconned John into someone who supposedly among other crap left young kids alone yet previous seasons Dean at 12 was with Bobby not alone. There was also Jim, Daniel and even a babysitter in one ep who knew what John did even though she was an innocent. Also Dean was not roofied. Dean remembers the evening to well where if he’d been roofied he wouldn’t remember anything or remember bits and pieces as if they were part of a dream and he’d be somewhat confused for days after. Headache, nausea, confusion, vomiting and no memory at the very least results from being roofied.

    • spnfans permalink
      December 11, 2014 10:19 pm

      Good point, though whatever Dean ingested, it seemed to render him quite helpless and in need of rescuing. I think there’s so much disagreement about John within fandom because canon has painted him differently in different episodes — there’s the John Winchester who’s heroic and there’s the John Winchester who left the boys alone on Christmas and gave very young Dean a rifle and left him to defend Sam from a shtriga. It’s hard to reconcile the disparate glimpses we got of John, as it must be hard for Sam and Dean to do as well.

  15. JoAnne permalink
    December 11, 2014 8:42 pm

    Thank you. You made a lot of points that had been niggling at me. The promo did make it look like we would be visiting MOC Dean’s little shop of horrors throughout the whole episode. In the promo, there were snippets of old scenes with Dean holding the first blade. SO, with the snippet of Crowley saying, “you haven’t changed,” I thought what if Crowley TOLD Sam he would toss that blade on the moon, but actually had kept it to ignite the killing fever in Dean. I guess my imagination went wild. LOL.

    Confused a bit about the effects on Dean. At the end of season 9, Dean’s appetite had diminished and he was getting physically ill if he wasn’t killing with the blade. Demon Dean used the blade all the time and his appetite for everything was strong.
    If, the blade is truly gone now, why is his appetite still so strong? Or…is that a false front and he is getting ill out of Sammy’s sight?

    I thought the three parts to this episode: MOC Dean with Sammy, Cas with Claire and Rowena with Crowley were all important parts to move these stories along. Having said that, I would have loved this mid-season finale to have been totally centered around the MOC and Dean’s struggles with it and Sam right there.

    The last minutes with a horrified Sammy holding a stunned Dean were so powerful.

    Dean’s eyes looked weird at the end, sort of bloodshot/extremely tired. The look on his bloodied face from what you accurately called his premonition, was, imo, completely different than at the end. In his dream/premonition, he looked mortified, horrified and the word distraught doesn’t even cover it. At then end though, imo, the effects of the Mark were still running through him. He was stunned and could barely talk, but I saw initially no remorse as in the other photo.

    I hope when the show comes back after this hiatus, they will really delve into the psyche of Dean now, the effects this has on his beloved brother and them fighting together to rid Dean of this.

    • spnfans permalink
      December 11, 2014 10:19 pm

      Your hope is my hope! Fingers crossed🙂

    • Laura in Denver permalink
      December 11, 2014 10:45 pm

      Good catch on the differing effects of the MoC from Season 9 to now. I think you are right about Crowley keeping the Blade closer at hand then he let on.

      • December 12, 2014 12:17 am

        I’m wondering if Rowena will be able to work some sort of spell to control Dean through the blade. I’ve been speculating that the blade will be needed to “cure” Dean, but it’s possible that it could work the opposite way, too.

    • December 12, 2014 12:24 am

      It’s possible the effects are different because in season 9 the Mark was killing Dean. In season 10, he’s already dead. But apparently, once again, that didn’t take.

      • December 13, 2014 10:19 pm

        BL John Winchester did not deliberately use the boys as bait. it just so happened that that…er wotsit was after children and Sam fit the bill. It wasn’t deliberate. the thing with John Winchester is, he was ruled by fear and trauma. but really as fathers go, he’s about average isn’t he? everyone has a ‘shitty father’ story. the ‘really good fathers’ are few and far between.

      • December 14, 2014 12:04 am

        Every time I see “Something Wicked” I view that scene as John leaving them alone because the shtriga attacked kids while they slept at night. Since they shared their motel rooms, it wouldn’t have attacked if John was in the room with Dean and Sam. And since it could only be killed while feeding, and Dean was supposed to stay up and watch Sam, he set up Sam to be shtriga chow. That way John could bust in guns blazing and shoot it while it sucked out Sam’s lifeforce.

        And as weird as this sounds, I don’t think that was a malicious decision on his part. He was, as you say, “ruled by fear and trauma” – which made him more focused on the ‘mission’ than anything else. He is the same guy who asked to be shot and killed to take out Azazel.

        I will grant you that the scene in question is ambiguous. I’m sure the writers wanted people to have differing opinions. I just happen to fall on this side of those opinions.

  16. December 11, 2014 11:27 pm

    I loved that they finally said something positive about John Winchester after years of being purely negative about him! The John of Season 1 had so many good qualities along with the bad, and I think there’s still so many unanswered questions about what he knew and when he knew it, and what was running through his head, and I think that’s part of why fandom is so sharply divided about him.

    Haha, I have things to say about John Winchester so bad I started ficcing, hopefully it gets into shape where I can post it!

  17. December 12, 2014 7:12 am

    I was hoping to watch the episode again before throwing my two cents in, but with nearly fifty comments I’m already late to this party. If I wait any longer, the only thing left will be to help Lynn do the dishes at 3am.

    First of all, the Mark of Cain teasers? What the literal Hell? I get that you might not spend an entire show on the effects of the Mark (even though I assure you Writers, we’d watch it in all its glory) but if it’s only going to be the top and bottom of the show, then the Marketing team shouldn’t make every preview or promo about the Mark. I probably wouldn’t have been so disappointed (okay, I still would’ve been a little disappointed) in the lack of the MoC storyline if I hadn’t been promised that story in the promos I couldn’t avoid. I was trying to stay spoiler free but the promos seemed to just be everywhere.

    I’m surprised by how much time was spent away from the brothers and/or the Mark. I’m not sure where they’re going with Claire Novak, and honestly, I don’t really care yet. She was a great actress, but my issue isn’t that she’s young or a woman as I’m sure many people will say, but it’s that she’s simply one more thing in the way of the characters most of us care about. If her introduction is to frame Cas’s story for the rest of the season, then great. But if she’s getting her own story or poorly inserted into the existing plot, then Show, you’re going to have a lot of work ahead of you to bring fans around.

    Of course, she might not stick around for long. She has long, blond, curly hair. Historically on this show that means you die. Probably in a horrific manner.

    In defense of Jimmy Novak, he didn’t know he’d be abandoning his family. He thought he was answering a higher power for the benefit of mankind (therefore by default his own family, too). He was a devout man who had the opportunity to help an angel fulfill the mission entrusted to him by Heaven. He had to do that, and he couldn’t have assumed that his family would be destroyed. In short, he had no idea that angels are winged dicks.

    And obviously, my Jimmy’s coming back prediction went nowhere as it turns out God won’t reassemble you if you’re blown apart on the sub-atomic level.

    On a completely frivolous note: Is Jensen Ackles’ one perfect man tear directly related to the wonky eye?

    The John Winchester story/Tiki Bar scene made total sense to me. If you have a friend trying to work through something, you are likely to pull whatever you can from your past to offer a comparison, a bit of advice, anything. That was a story the Winchesters could offer Cas. For me, two things stood out from that tale. 1. Sam prompted it. He suggested that Dean tell that story. Sam is as much reminding Dean of his family (those people who love him) as he is offering an example to Cas. 2. This story also shows how Dean (and to an extent Sam) view caregiving – it isn’t about comfort, security, stability, or providing – it’s about saving someone. I also like that this story about getting saved didn’t involve rescuing Dean from a supernatural being. He saved Dean from run of the mill bad people and his own mistake.

    Which also fits with the parallel between Dean and Crowley that gets a bit more evident in this episode. Both have serious abandonment issues. Both made mistakes, but it’s that big one or two mistakes in their lives that got them here. Crowley sold his soul, and well, at least he’s running the place. Dean hastily accepted the Mark after his… let’s call it disconnect, from Sam. And now he’s damned himself… again.

    The most amazing thing watching the Mark of Cain story unfold is in the subtlety and tension Ackles and Padalecki are bringing to the limited scenes that deal with this. Dean knows he’s slipping away, but he’s powerless to stop it. Dean has been many things in this show, but powerless isn’t usually one of them. There’s always been some sort of action he could take for better or worse. Now, it’s out of his control and not only does he know that intellectually, but he can feel it, too.

    Watching Sam hover between worried and terrified is just a punch to the gut, in the best possible way. He’s actively trying for denial either for his sake, Dean’s, or both of theirs, but the tight smiles and concerned glances are just heart-wrenching. I don’t think Sam abandoned Dean in there with the thugs. I think he thought Dean was behind him and that the slow motion was indicating that their separation was not very long. The “tell me you had to do this” was angsty perfection. It wasn’t over the top, but it was desperate and frightened and a little bit lost. Dean’s response was the same, but tinged with sadness and resignation.

    The last scene does work for a cliffhanger. It’s just too bad we didn’t get another fifteen to twenty minutes of it.

    • Rescue Writer permalink
      December 12, 2014 1:26 pm

      Can I just ask you all a quick question here? In that last scene, when Sam came running in and called to Dean, etc., did it seem like Dean was kind of waking up from a daze? It did to me–he looked dazed and almost confused, though he clearly knew what he’d done–but my friend who was sitting right there next to me watching, didn’t see it at all. And it’s driving me crazy! 🙂

      Thoughts?

      • Stefania_V (@s_verasani) permalink
        December 12, 2014 2:08 pm

        May I answer? I have talked about this with a follow friend on twitter. She says Dean almost sneers and frankly, after watching it again yesterday I agree: it seems almost Demon Dean chasing Sam in the bunker all over again. He comes to himself when Claire screams, he blinks and he realizes what he has done. The look on his face becomes scared and lost. It’s completely different from how he looks during the premonition, as if “the thing” has taken over.

        BTW: how good is Jensen Ackles acting if we can read so much in his expressions in a so short time?

      • December 12, 2014 2:18 pm

        Yes, he absolutely looked dazed to me. Like he had gone out of his head for a while there and was confused about what exactly happened.

      • Laura in Denver permalink
        December 12, 2014 3:06 pm

        I saw it too the dazed look, it was pretty subtle. I was thinking that the MoC takes over, leaving the person unable to control himself like possession. Dean had similar reactions in season 9 or at least it seems that way to me.

    • Laura in Denver permalink
      December 12, 2014 3:17 pm

      I agree with you on the story of the MoC. The writers are doing a nice job of letting it flow out, sometimes subtle sometimes with a punch. Jared and Jensen do a great job of bringing it to life, the way they can find the little nuances and sell it is great. It is going to be tough waiting to the end of January for more SPN!! But I guess that is the point of a good cliff hanger.

    • December 13, 2014 10:33 pm

      I saw that someone posted that the story arc goes from ep 1-4 and then this episode but I beg to disagree; as well as add something to what you’re saying. first of all the last five episodes have been dissatisfyingly Sam&Dean light in my opinion. Now I don’t know if its because they’ve been setting up pieces on the chess board. I notice that they do that, they spend the first half of the season setting up the second half – however this time its been slower than usual. also I think they’re also looking for that spin off hence less Sam and Dean, more other people. I for one, don’t like it one bit, but I’ll deal. However I stopped being sulky long enough to really think about what they’re setting up and I think I’ve got it. Its about the fact that being a monster is a choice. and how they both feel about what to do about it, and sometimes what happens to monsters even when they do make that choice. first there was ummm, human guy who was after Dean. No actually first there was Dean struggling with the choice to be human or to be a demon. It was tearing him up so much and that’s why he was drinking so much and asking that bar maid to ran off with him. He still had a conscience and was trying to figure it out. then the human guy had a choice to be a monster or walk away, same with the werewolf. she also had to make the choice to kill her sister even though she wanted to save her. at some point, she had to acknowledge that her sister was beyond saving. and even that she too might one day be beyond saving. the next episode was also about another monster who was spared (by Bobby) who made the choice to turn dark side and then had to be taken out. same thing with the vampire policeman – he made the choice to be good but got killed anyway for his efforts. and now we have Dean allegedly killing these people arbitrarily. nobody saw them surround him but him, nobody saw that he was provoked. will Dean choose to tell them what happened and give Sam the hope that he’s still not beyond saving? or will he be Dean and go for the extreme option? kill me now before I hurt somebody (before I hurt you Sam in short). Its about family, and choice and the thin line between good and evil. How Cas and Crowley will contribute to the quandrary and the ever devious Rowena…is why I keep watching. I love a good story. A good love story is the best. this one has all those elements.

      • December 15, 2014 5:36 am

        Not much left to say, and yet, so much left to say. I agree with someone here who said they would have preferred a John Winchester story that would have involved both Sam and Dean. Well, me too. I have given this “John as a dad” thing some thought before. He’s been portrayed differently over the years and I think that’s exactly how contradictory he was. I’m sure there were times when he would strive to be a good father and keep them a family. I remember a picture of the three of them fishing… but there must have been times when his “driven self” took over. I can picture him going on a hunting spree and Sam and Dean trying to keep up with him and failing miserably. I expect if he was to be back, it would be for a couple appearances, not permanently, that wouldn’t make sense, even for SPN. And I’d expect Dean and Sam would be over their own daddy issues by now. Like Dean wouldn’t be all “Yes, Sir” and Sam wouldn’t be all rebel just cause. They should be past it by now and be able to relate to him as equals, and he would just have to accept that his children are grown men now, who’ve been through a lot more than he ever was. Mid-season finale didn’t disappoint me. I think it was the perfect cliffhanger that they left us right on the verge of it. In Dean’s defense -I will always do that- I think he really acted in self-defense. Those guys did attack him first, and they were certainly not kidding. They don’t qualify as innocent AT ALL! Of course, they didn’t know what they were up against, when I saw how Dean’s expression began to change I said quietly to THEM: You guys don’t know who you are messing with… you DO NOT wanna do that, but it was too late. I think Sam’s slow motion was exactly how he felt… he wanted to get back to Dean and I’m sure he was running and still feeling he wasn’t moving fast enough. And Cas… he came back inside because deep down he is not a father. He is Sam and Dean’s friend, and he went back for them, to help Sam, to save Dean. His fatherly instinct didn’t warn him that wasn’t right for Claire because let’s face it, he must have no fatherly instinct, poor thing, however well he means to take care of Claire. And Rowena and Crowley? I mean… poor Crowley. She’s playing him, fiddling him! God knows what she’s up to… you know what I mean. By the way, I also agree with those of you who say Crowley didn’t really get rid of the blade as he promised… I’m sure he hid it somewhere waiting for the best timing to manipulate Dean again. So damn you hellatus… good thing my S9 DVD’s just arrived. Will help me through it without losing my mind.

      • December 15, 2014 9:43 am

        completely feel you. I started again from season one. in season five sometime Sam acknowledges that he has anger management issues and I think by like season 7 he has them beat. he also had that talk with his father when they went back into the past when he forgave him. I think that they might be happy to see John for about one minute before they start worrying about implications. Its funny to me that we don’t know where John and Mary Winchester are; they haven’t been seen in Heaven and John allegedly walked out of hell. Mary was a ghost until season 2; where’d she go after? will Sam and Dean ever see them again; maybe when they pay a visit to heaven on one of their ‘deaths’? I saw that they zero dark thirty Metatron. does that mean they go to heaven or Cas brings him to them? who else just loves the way Dean can go from goofy clown to dangerous killer in the blink of an eye…literally? why does he not have an emmy? why doesn’t jared?

  18. December 16, 2014 3:00 am

    In reply to amusawale
    Agree with everytning you said. But knight of hell in heaven!? Or now, cured of his demonism Dean can be allowed to paradise? Or, without first blade it’s supposed to be okay, and Dean is not “past saving”?

    • December 16, 2014 12:41 pm

      I don’t think he is. after all he hasn’t done anything really bad yet (by demon standards) plus if Sam could be allowed in after all the shenanigans he pulled…
      p.s. I just saw a poster with MORGAN FREEMAN in it. Is he gonna be like god or something? he had black eyes fyi #plottwist

  19. Vince permalink
    December 23, 2014 8:21 am

    John did raise the boys right though, he may not have physically been there all the time, but he still raised with a sense of right and wrong and morals, that they still hold onto 20 + years later.

  20. January 8, 2015 1:52 pm

    Reblogged this on jaiwhirl.

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