This episode was not what I expected. From the preview last week, I thought we’d be seeing a bit more about how Sam spent the last year. I know, I know...the CW’s promos aren’t usually the most reliable source. In fact, they usually make no sense to me at all. But as a person who enjoys sweet ignorance going into a new episode, I didn’t read any press releases or spoilers. So an episode I expected to be about Sam’s year off ended up being more of a monster of the week story. Not a bad thing, just different than what I expected.
To be honest, I was ok with a week off from the Kevin Tran story, and the writers have a great way of anticipating the need for these little breaks. It was also nice to see Sam and Dean on a good old fashioned hunt. When is the last time we saw them on a job that didn’t determine the fate of the world? It’s been a while!
While this episode might not have been chock full of flashbacks like I expected, it was very much about Sam. I’m not ignorant to the clear parallels between the story and Sam’s feelings about hunting. His heart isn’t in it anymore. When Sam looks at Dean, he sees a great hunter, someone who loves the job, couldn’t imagine doing anything else and couldn’t imagine doing it without Sam. When we learn about Brick Holmes, we hear a very similar story. His wife/mother puts it perfectly when she describes him; “married to the game, a difficult life.” But after 1,000 years of sacrifices and being the best athlete there is he gives it all up because he can’t imagine doing it without his wife. There is a lot of pressure put on Sam to be Dean’s partner in life and on the job. (And no, I don’t mean wincest!) He’s always been his brother’s keeper, there to ensure that Dean doesn’t bottle up his emotions, that he never loses his humanity. And Dean has done the same for him. Yet we find Sam trying to convince Dean that he’d be better off without him. That way, Dean could go on slashing and cutting with no one to answer to. Is it just me, or does this conversation sound more like Sam trying to convince himself that his brother would be okay without him?
I don’t blame Sam for wanting a normal life. He’s had this desire as long as we’ve known him. So it doesn’t surprise me that after a year away from hunting he’s hesitant to jump back in. Especially after seeing a glimpse of his normal life. He’s got a dog, a sweet girlfriend and all the sunshine he could possibly want. (I loved the contrast between the flashback and the rest of the episode. Maybe a little obvious, but our mind remembers things the way we want it to.) What I’m still a bit fuzzy on is where it all changed for Sam. Remember his time hunting down Lilith after Dean went to Hell? He was on the warpath and out for blood. Nothing could have stood in the way of him getting justice for Dean. And if I remember correctly, he even attempted his own deal to get Dean back. But from the sounds of it, he didn’t even try to look for Dean this time. Why do you think that is? A couple weeks ago I suggested that it may have been Bobby’s speech about just letting go when it’s your time. Maybe Sam took that message to heart? Let’s face it, he has to be exhausted. The Winchesters' lives are a constant battle, and maybe Sam thought they’d finally pulled the short straw. What do you think? What changed for Sam that made him so willing to just give it all up?
Sam’s new attitude has me worried for Dean. He isn’t taking his brother seriously and he needs to. Sam may be conflicted about leaving Dean and giving up hunting, but it would take something nasty to stop him now. Dean isn’t ready to be hunting on his own. In past seasons I think he could have done it, but now he’s in Purgatory-torture-mode, and there is no one left to keep him grounded besides Sam. The Winchesters are low on allies these days, besides Garth of course. Poor little guy wouldn’t last long around Dean. Dean’s only other real friend at this point is Benny. I’m still on the fence about him. I like his character and I’m anxious to know more about him, but whether he’s a good influence on Dean has yet to be determined. What do you think? Could Dean do the job on his own and still hold on to his humanity? Any thoughts on Benny?
As I mentioned earlier, I really liked the parallels to Sam’s inner turmoil represented in this monster of the week episode. But did it strike anyone as odd that we never actually met the god Cacao? The episode focused on a deal Brick Holmes made with him but he never showed up during the episode. Unless he was possessing Randa, which I’m still a little unclear on. I thought back to similar episodes that focused on deals and if memory serves me right we pretty much always meet the god, angel, demon that made the original deal. Can anyone think of a time that we didn’t? I don’t think this is really a problem as much as an observation.
I liked the general premise of the episode; the idea that this man’s organs carried on without him and required the same sacrifice that he did when he was alive was interesting. It felt somewhat reminiscent of the haunted kidney episode of yore. Although, I think this episode was more successfully executed. I also liked the mother/wife twist, even if I sort of saw it coming. I really felt for Betsy and it seemed like Sam and Dean did too. She was blinded by love and it made it easier for her to overlook the less-than-ideal things about him. Sounds like a couple of brothers we know. (Again, no wincest intended!)
What did you guys think? Did you like the episode? Were you expecting more Sam flashbacks? Were you anxious to learn more about Kevin and the tablets?
As usual there were some other random thoughts and quotes worth mentioning!
- First of all I have to say what a lovely job Mr. Ackles did directing. Although I’ve come to expect nothing less at this point.
- I laughed out loud at Paul Hayes running at the beginning of the episode. The way he locked eyes with the other runner was too good.
- It was funny that Dean didn’t even realize he was at a farmer’s market. I was watching with my sister and she brought up a good question. Do they still need to worry about the additives Dick Roman put into the food? Any thoughts?
- Dean: “I bought a translation app” Sam: “You bought an app?
- Sam: “I gave it away, didn’t I?”
- Dean: “Things are coming together. You and me, it’s all good.” Oh Dean, you’re in denial.
- Dean: “This last year has given me a new perspective.”
- Sam: “Maybe you’re at your best not having to explain yourself to somebody.”
- Why do they always have to eat the heart?!
- Dean: “You smell that?” Cue Dean’s smug look.
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