WARNING!!!!  If you haven't watched "Bitten," read no further!  There will be spoilers and discussion and all sorts of things you definitely want to see for yourself.  So if you haven't watched, don't read!  If you have watched, come speculate with me!


I want to say right off the bat that I adored this episode.  Loved it.  Can't say enough good things about this episode.  If you didn't like it, tell me why in the comments section. (Nicely, please!)  But I'm just going to take a stab in the dark and guess that a big reason some of you didn't like the episode was because Sam and Dean weren't in it that much.  Which is fair.  I don't agree, but I can understand how that could be off-putting for viewers.  But I think seeing the story from the victims' point of view is actually an amazing way to really flesh out what Sam and Dean do on a daily basis.

The Outsider POV
Every week, (or almost every week,) we see the "Supernatural" story from Sam and Dean's perspective, or a hunter's perspective.  On occasion, we will have an episode that shows us life from another character's perspective, like Bobby or Castiel.  But we haven't seen anything like this before.  Previously, when we've seen a monster story, it's always been through the eyes of Dean and Sam.  Even if those monsters are sympathetic, we still see Sam and Dean working out how to hunt them down and kill them, if they don't have a non-lethal-to-humans alternate living plan.  But this week, the entire focus was on Kate, Brian, and Michael.  We saw them live their lives, get turned to werewolves, try and figure out what was happening, and stay ahead of the "Feds" who were coming for them.  It was an amazing glimpse into what's at stake for the things Sam and Dean hunt.  Because you know that a lot of the monsters they come across have lives and families of their own, and they have a lot to lose.  Many of them probably didn't choose to become a monster, but once they started killing humans, they're fair game for any hunter.  This episode was important because it showed us exactly the toll hunting can take on the victims and why it's still necessary.

Sam's Parallel With Kate
She wanted to be a lawyer, got thrust into a life she didn't want, fought her nature and didn't go darkside, walked off into the sunset.  (Jury's still out on that one for Sam, though.)  And in the end, Dean let her go to live her life in peace.  Foreshadowing?  Do you think maybe that's how this season will end?  Dean will let Sam go to live out his life as he sees fit, and Sam will.  But then, of course, he'll realize that what he really wants is to hunt, so he'll come back.  And then he'll WANT to be there, and everything will be good.

Kate's Parallel With Amy
I'm sure a lot of you were thinking of Amy at the end of this episode, but there are a few key differences for me between the two.  1. Amy was killing humans.  Kate was not.  2.  Kate had a viable alternate living plan.  Amy also had a viable alternate living plan, but did her son?  I don't think so.  I really wish Dean had made the following point during that episode, because it's just so logical.  If Amy's son had gotten sick again, she would have killed again.  Of course she would have.  She's his mother.  So when she said she would never kill anyone again, Dean has no reason to believe her.  She's killed once for her son, she would do it again.  She had to go.  I'm not saying it was an easy decision, but there it is.

All right, it's getting late, so I'm gonna bullet point the rest of this.

  • This was the most meta non-meta episode ever.  Sam and Dean basically watched an episode of "Supernatural."
  • How scary was it when the werewolf's eyes flashed over Michael's shoulder when he had the night vision on?  I was freaked out.
  • I loved how the credits were at the end, and how there were really long chunks of show at the beginning of the episode.  It was like 19 minutes before the first commercial.  That's awesome!  (Clearly, I am not a Fed)
  • I liked how Sam and Dean got caught talking about the case on the front porch and in the restaurant.  One, it helped advance the story.  But two, they totally do that!  They just turn aside and think no one can hear them.  Well, people can hear you!  Two feet is not far enough away, unless you've cast cone of silence or something.
  • "Clear eyes, clogged arteries, can't lose."  BWAH!
  • Since we see the show POV Sam and Dean, it always seems like a lot of things go wrong.  But how intense was that scene where they killed the (kind of hot) werewolf professor?  It was so efficient and ruthless and Sam just SHOVED that guy off the desk.  And when he sighed "thank you," that was just incredible.  I loved that scene.
  • Kate also reminded me a little of Meg 1.0 with the short blonde hair and sassiness.
  • All the "Lord of the Flies" references had a big Purgatory vibe to me.
  • "I'm pretty sure FBI agents don't say 'awesome' that much."  And THAT'S what Dean was worried about.  Not the "office romance" line or the, you know, dead bodies and blood splatters all around him.  No, he worried that he says awesome too much.
  • Robbie Thompson is rapidly approaching Carver and Edlund status for me, i.e. when I see his name in the writer's credits, I know it's gonna be a good episode.  It feels like he just gets the show, especially the brotherly dynamic.
  • I love that "Supernatural" is willing to take risks like this episode and play around with its format.  I wouldn't want to see it every week, but it's great to have once in a while.
I'll leave it at that for this week.  Up next week, it's B-B-B-Benny and the Vamps.  I'm looking forward to seeing more of Benny because he is intriguing.  And more Purgatory flashbacks, I hope!  What did you think about this week's episode?  Were you pleasantly surprised?  Were you disappointed?

I want to commend everyone for keeping last week's discussion civil, so let's please do the same this week, yes?  Be nice to each other!  You don't have to agree, but no attacking!  Post away!

Comments  

Alice
# Alice 2012-10-25 00:40
When an episode leaves me incoherent, that's usually a good thing. Just wow. I had very low expectations, but wow. So well done. I met Robbie Thompson at Comic Con and I didn't get a chance to tell him how brilliant he was. If I get that chance again, I most certainly will. He is now in my book the Carver Edlund apprentice.
SueL
# SueL 2012-10-25 00:46
Well you were right. I didn't like this one at first but after reading your take on it I got a better feeling about it and your perspective on it makes a lot of sense. My first thoughts were, there wasn't enough Sam and Dean, that's what I was wanting to see. A second thought though was like you said. It was from a totally different viewpoint, that of the monster so to speak and not from the hunter perspective. It does make you feel for Kate and the boys for getting caught up in this kind of lifestyle, not by any choice of their own.
I also would not like to see this format too often but it was a nice change. I actually think the ending was kind of a little set up for next weeks episode where Sam is finally going to get to meet Benny. With Dean being a little more on the gray side this episode, it just might soften the news when Benny comes into the picture.
I too am also looking forward to some more time with Benny. I really liked his character and that's the first monster that I have felt that way about in 8 seasons so far.
I just saw where episode 6 will be bringing Garth back also but one has to wonder, when will we get to see Cas again? He has been missing for most the time now and no FBs for two weeks on that so I'm a little anxious to get some more back story on that.
Overall, it was a good night and as always left me wanting more.
PENNY JAIME
# PENNY JAIME 2012-10-25 00:46
I loved it. Very well done. Oh, and great job casting. Those three were wonderful.Jense n was right-very Cloverfield. I liked seeing Sam and Dean from their perspective. Oh,I totally agree. The scene where they kill the professor-aweso me. (pun intended)
Bamboo24
# Bamboo24 2012-10-25 00:52
This was the first S8 episode I went into with 'doubts'. But man, I was absolutely, 100% blown away. Are these really the same writers from S7??? What the heck happened between then and now to bring the show back to such authentically awesome storytelling? The answer must be Jeremy Carver.

The biggest 'doubt' I had was that the guest actors wouldn't be believable enough for me. But I found myself sucked into their story, feeling the terror of a situation spinning wildly out of control. I grew to care for these college kids. And I also recognized the many parallels between Michael and Brian and Sam and Dean.

The second biggest 'doubt' I had was related to the first, in that, if the story/actors weren't 'believable' enough, I'd find myself pining for Sam and Dean throughout the whole thing. But we saw just enough of them - and from such an interesting, fresh vantage point - that it kept things very interesting.

I also loved getting to see Sam and Dean's reactions at the very end of the episode. I'm like, "what is this strange thing that is happening to the Winchester brothers?" And then I realize: It's character growth! Gradual, inevitable, purposeful character growth.

Two things continually blow me away with each and every episode of S8. The first is how much substance each episode has contained. It's so much that by the end of the 40 minutes or so, I feel like I've been watching for hours; yet the stories are not rushed or spread too thin.

The second is the originality and fresh storytelling. Kudos to SPN for bringing new life and direction into this show after what was, IMO, a rather dull and directionless S7.

I'm just pleased as punch, and I can't wait to see what they bring next week!
Ripley2win
# Ripley2win 2012-10-25 00:56
Completely hated this episode and feel it is the worst written & acted episode of the entire series. It was just a filler episode about morons I couldn't bring myself to care what happened to. However, it looks like I'm in the minority here in my opinion. Looking forward to learning more about Benny.
KELLY
# KELLY 2012-10-25 01:49
Actually, I didn't love it either. I thought it started off pretty good. I thought it had a paranormal Activity feel. But I just never cared about any of three characters.

Which it a large portion of why my sister HATED it. I mean hated with a passion. Hates it the worst of any in the entire series she said, worse that Bugs. Called me up just to tell me how much she hated it. She not a big fan of the filming style but she loved Ghostfacers that was a little similar in style. She found the characters annoying and was happy to see them die and was even a little disappointed that the girl didn't.

I didn't feel that strongly but I didn't really care one way or another either. Whereas when Corbett died in Ghostfacers, I was really effected, especially when he came back to save them. It was truly touching. And that was largely a funny episode. This just didn't effect me one way or another after the first fifteen minutes. And I actually do like the Paranormal Activity movies.

Now Robbie Thompson's 3 from last year I loved. All 3 of them. And the last one was a good portion Felicia Day. That didn't bother me a bit. Maybe I'll like this more on the rewatch.
Bevie
# Bevie 2012-10-25 16:08
Hi Kelly, I actually agree with Ripley2win and your sister here. Looks like we 4 are definitely in the minority here. :P

Guess I'll have to give it another shot on Sunday to see if I can find anything in it to enjoy. Didn't like "The Blair Witch" or "Paranormal Activity" and never saw "Chronicles". Just couldn't care less about the characters. Found them completely annnoying and unlikeable. And I'm one who loved the "Ghostfacers" episode. I'd love to see Harry and Ed again.

Loved Robbie Thompson from last year and still have faith in Carver for this season. One bad apple certainly won't spoil the season for me. And yes, "Bugs" IS a masterpiece compared to "Bitten". Not saying this is the way it is, just the way it seems to me. ;-) Loving season 8 so far as the first 3 episodes. Can't wait for next week's. :-)
Michelle Kinseth
# Michelle Kinseth 2012-10-25 22:03
not the minority. I also hated it. I won't be watching it again, ever, and I'm now pretending it was just a bad dream.
NOLANOLA
# NOLANOLA 2012-10-26 12:59
SOMEONE HAS PLAYED A HORRIBLE TRICK ON US. BY NOW I WOULD HAVE SEEN IT 6 TIMES. I CANT GET THRU A 2ND VIEWING. SEE YA NEXT WEEK THANKS mybelle I DONT FEEL SO ALONE ANYMORE.
winmomwannabe
# winmomwannabe 2012-10-25 01:07
Nice review. I knew there wasn't going to be much Sam/Dean in the episode so I psychologically prepared myself for that. Ha! I totally understood why they would try this kind of episode. It's an amazingly creative bunch, the SPN crew. Sometimes I think we need to let them do their thing and take risks. It's what I love about this show.

That being said I kept wondering throughout the episode how it was going to end and where it was going exactly. Then I was totally blown away when it came. I agree with you and texted my friend right after it was over that I thought it was a perfect set up for next weeks Benny/Sam intro. And the gray area concept.

But here is where my mind went to while listening to Kate's speech at the end. Something that has been around SPN since the beginning. The question that was introduced way back in S1! Is a freak/monster a freak/monster or do they have a choice? I mean back in S1 when Dean was having concerns about Sam and his visions. I could give numerous examples, but anyone who has watched from the beginning should now exactly what I'm getting at here. 'CHOICES' and more choices, demon blood, torture. It's all there all the time.

How many times did we hear Sam say over the years that he had choices. He didn't have to succumb to demon blood, Azaezal or anyone else's plan. Are you born a certain way or do you have choices? And how many times has Dean been in a position where if it was anyone else he would have killed him/it, but Sam was ALWAYS his gray area.

It's something I've tried to explain to non fans of this show. There is so much more to it. Moral questions that we all ask ourselves. LOVING it and this episode had a brilliant way of making us think about it all over again.
Mieke T
# Mieke T 2012-10-25 01:10
I liked the episode too, although I was a little annoyed with some of the acting (by the girl specifically) Don't get me wrong, I won't ever have too much Sam and Dean, but I liked that every time I thought I missed them, they would pop up on my screen. I loved the killing-the-pro fessor scene and the end scene with the boys. Dean's face, as he contemplated letting the girl go was very informing. Of course all due to Jensen's amazing silent acting skills.

"Do you think maybe that's how this season will end? Dean will let Sam go to live out his life as he sees fit, and Sam will. But then, of course, he'll realize that what he really wants is to hunt, so he'll come back. And then he'll WANT to be there, and everything will be good."

I was very upset with last week's episode, weepingly so. I found myself almost grieving a loss.
Carver said that he was going to back away from the "heavy mythology" of seasons past and to me it feels like he has taken such a sharp turn that he has disconnected all together. I love Dean's Purgatory storyline and can't wait to see more of Benny, but I have a hard time finding Sam at all and last week's episode, Heartache, left me absolutely baffled. I found it completely disconnected, not only from stories past, but from 8.01 and 8.02.

I am very worried that we are waiting for the second part of your prediction "But then, of course, he'll realize that what he really wants is to hunt, so he'll come back. And then he'll WANT to be there, and everything will be good" or some other deeply layered, mythologically satisfying tortured pay-off, but it will never come. All we will get is what we have so far: Sam's RomCom year and Dean not understanding why Sam wants to leave. This may be all there is to Carver's story.

But I LIKE heavy mythology...
Katiki
# Katiki 2012-10-25 02:28
I had such high hopes for Carver and now I have completely lost faith in him. I have loved every single season before now (even the stuff other people were complaining about) and I'm an easy-going fan who puts a positive spin on everything, but I am not liking season 8. Mostly for what you are saying here. I cannot accept what he is doing with Sam, and I have lost trust that he has a plan to fix it. And I'm just not getting into the storytelling. I had a hard time even finishing tonight's episode.

It's weird, because I absolutely adored Carver's episodes, they're my all-time favourites. I guess a good writer doesn't necessarily make for a good showrunner.
percysowner
# percysowner 2012-10-25 13:10
I do agree that being a good writer doesn't make someone a good showrunner. I'm in a quandry about this season. The individual episodes have been strong, but Sam in particular is SO far off what I expected that I am completely thrown. I am engaged because of Sam and Dean and the basic idea of the season (not that Sam wants normal, but that he never looked for Dean) has me completely baffled, worried and angry. I hope they turn this around or at LEAST show us more of Sam's time then they have deigned to so far.

If the sum total of Sam's story is he hit a dog and met a girl, I will wish him happiness as a character and probably wave goodbye to the show. IRL what Sam is doing is healthy and understandable. In terms of what I love about the show, not so much.
LEAH D
# LEAH D 2012-10-25 01:36
Hi Ardeospina, loved this episode. It was S&D lite but I knew that going in so I set that aside and enjoyed the ride. I have to say that I particularly loved the blonde actress. Funny that I also almost instantly thought of original Meg who I also loved. All the college kids were good. Otherwise they couldn't have pulled this off. It was like a little mini movie. My only quibble with this one, and it's minor, is that Sam & Dean would surely have picked up on people filming them from only feet away. But I guess you have to suspend disbelief on that. I further think Dean's laid back attitude about not pursuing Kate has been affected by his relationship with Benny. In the past, even though she hasn't killed humans yet, he would have probably wanted to go after her. Thanks again for staying up and doing these pieces. I appreciate them.
rmoats8621
# rmoats8621 2012-10-25 01:52
This was an amazing episode. It was such a risky one too! I think it paid off. I loved seeing everything unfold from the monster's point of view. Thompson made me care about them and at the end wishing that Sam and Dean wouldn't kill the girl. I was pleasantly surprised when that didn't occur. As someone already stated, some character growth is being shown. FINALLY!

As for this season, I really like it so far. I can totally relate to Sam walking away from hunting for a year and pursuing a normal life. After all, he lost everyone and really had no idea that Dean was alive in Purgatory with Cas. How could he? He had no contact with any demons or angels and he had turned off the phones. So, he had no idea that Kevin had escaped Crowley's clutches. For Sam to be able to get a normal job, have a home, be with someone he loved and have that family pet he always wanted must have seemed like utopia to him!

As for Dean...after he got over the shock of where he was, he was able to get into survival mode and rediscover himself. It seems he's been so lost for so long, but now has a renewed purpose. He's smiling more often and laughing. He's enjoying life. Purgatory has given a reason to live life again! Has anyone noticed that he hasn't been drinking? He seems more at peace with himself and his life's choices...accep ting what may come his way...the good or the bad and it's showing through his choices.

I agree with Ardeospina. Dean's going to have to let Sam go, but I think Sam will be back. He's a hunter just like Dean and it's a big part of who he is as a person.
etheldred
# etheldred 2012-10-25 08:36
Sam had no contact with demons or angels because he didn't MAKE contact with demons or angels, for Pete's sake. He had a spell that summoned Crowley. You really think he couldn't have found a demon if he'd tried? No matter how often they repeat it, this idea that Sam had no way of investigating Dean's disappearance is just lousy, lousy writing. He turned off the phones so that even if a potential clue turned up -- which in fact it did -- he wouldn't get it.

When a student doesn't know the answer because they didn't do any research to find out the answer, you give them an F. I'm giving Sam an F on his Dean investigation, and I'm giving Carver an F- for the stupidity of writing Sam that way.
rmoats8621
# rmoats8621 2012-10-26 00:52
I couldn't disagree with you more. I really think that Sam thought Dean was dead. His whole family was gone (dead as far he knew) and so why not walk away from the one thing that had taken so much from him. I tell you what...if I was in his shoes, I would! In fact, I would run just as fast as I could towards doing something totally different. I don't fault him for that at all.

I like the direction that Carver is going. The show seems lighter and not so dark. Character growth is going forward and not being stalled. That's a very good thing in my opinion.
etheldred
# etheldred 2012-10-26 01:30
I don't have a problem with Sam walking away from the hunt; what I have a problem with is Sam not investigating the extremely ambiguous circumstances of Dean's disappearance (also with his making no attempt to retrieve Kevin, a high school kid, from a demon Sam knows is a torturer, but that's a somewhat separate point). At the end of 7.23, both before and after Crowley dropped his hint about the weapon, Sam was asking WHERE Dean and Cas were. Yet somehow, without even trying to contact Crowley to extort more information from his hints, he went from there to assuming Dean's death, even though he is an experienced hunter and has encountered situations in which disappearance did not indicate death at all (including Dean's disappearance in Time After Time).

Moreover, neither canon nor paratext has been terribly consistent about Sam definitely believing Dean was dead. Sam also tells Dean that he had no one to call; that would suggest that he failed to investigate out of lack of resources (rendered a bit absurd by the fact that they are bringing back several characters Sam could have called, and there are more in the wings), not because he had good enough cause to think Dean dead to render investigation unnecessary. This muddle has also appeared in Jared's interviews, where he vacillates between Dean being dead and who knows? Dean could have been in Missouri having a burger.

I'm not that impressed with character growth that has a large element of reset to it in any case, but it doesn't help that the starting point for the growth rests on very shaky writing logic.
kaylee
# kaylee 2012-10-26 10:02
Quote:
Moreover, neither canon nor paratext has been terribly consistent about Sam definitely believing Dean was dead. Sam also tells Dean that he had no one to call; that would suggest that he failed to investigate out of lack of resources (rendered a bit absurd by the fact that they are bringing back several characters Sam could have called, and there are more in the wings), not because he had good enough cause to think Dean dead to render investigation unnecessary. This muddle has also appeared in Jared's interviews, where he vacillates between Dean being dead and who knows? Dean could have been in Missouri having a burger.
I hope you don’t mind me jumping in on this convo, but I just wanted to say that I agree — I find Jared’s interviews really disconcerting. I was fine with him saying stuff like that back at SDCC, when he’d only read through the first three scripts, but now he’s still saying it in very recent interviews, when they’re already midway through the season, shooting-wise, and you’d think he’d know even more about his character’s potential development.

Maybe Jared’s just recycling the same lines in order to avoid giving out spoilers, but it honestly doesn’t seem like he’s trying to be misleading. And that’s worrying, because if he has no clue why Sam reacted the way he did (and, by extension, is implying that it actually made no difference to Sam whether Dean was dead or just grabbing that burger in Missouri), then that means the writers haven’t given it a second thought either.

I’m getting the impression that the writers just wanted to drop Sam in a particular situation, that we’re supposed to take it as ‘the beginning’ without worrying our silly little heads over things like character consistency and what came before. (By “before”, I mean pre-S7, other times when Sam has worked alone as a hunter and done everything in his power to find/save Dean). I’m trying to set myself up for the expectation that Sam’s reaction to Dean’s disappearance will NEVER be explained or delved into, so at least I can make it to the end of the season without being hugely bitterly disappointed.

By contrast, I feel like Jensen’s got a fantastic handle on Dean’s motivations.

From http://blog.zap2it.com/frominsidethebox/2012/10/supernatural-star-jensen-ackles-on-dean-winchesters-post-purgatory-mindset-he-just-spent-a-year-in-t.html :

Quote:

"I think that he doesn't necessarily want to validate what Sam did by acknowledging it. ... Dean's a very healthy guy when it comes to emotions," Jensen jokes.

…

It looks like Dean will deal with the reality of Sam leaving only if Sam actually leaves. "As of right now I think Dean is kind of sweeping it under the rug and not wanting to deal with the fact that his brother was a pansy for a year," Jensen laughs.
Again, I think it speaks to the writers’ focus in terms of character development. I’m not saying it’s necessarily a bad thing… I love Dean and I love the potential his story/character arc has this season, but it’d be even better if both sides were equally as compelling and convincing.
etheldred
# etheldred 2012-10-26 10:23
You don't have to go pre-s7. Time after time was less than half a season before 7.23.

I AM saying that it's necessarily a bad thing. That level of destructive carelessness in writing the crucial motivations and decisions of one of the two main characters isn't a minor flaw, it's a major failure. Jared is clearly aware in the most recent interview that this is an unpopular storyline and one that is alienating people from his character; the fact that, as of the filming of 8.10, the actor still seems to have been given no clarity on a point that is pretty darn essential to the portrayal of Sam is a huge problem.

Yes, it is still remotely possible that there is a reveal to come. But we have been explicitly told that Sam's storyline is to be taken at face value, and the storylines where there is mystery, like Cas's, have been openly addressed and teased as mysterious in the spoilers.


*some filming schedule spoilers follow*




It doesn't help that Jared had significant time off in the filming of 8.5 (described as the emotional crux of the early part of the season) and the pre and post hiatus episodes, 8.9 and 8.10, all three of those heavily featuring Benny, who is part of Dean's backstory. It's difficult to explore a character's actions and motivations very thoroughly if he isn't on screen much in pivotal episodes.

Again, it's still possible that this will turn around, but based on the information we have now I think that Carver has done enormous damage to the core of the show.
st50
# st50 2012-10-26 10:37
i agree that this is not a direction I envisioned, or wanted, for the show to take with Sam, and still seems very off canon and ooc.
Here's what I am clinging to for hope.... As you stated, etheldred, Jared - and therefore TPTB - are aware this is an unpopular or at least questionable move, and yet they decided to run with it. In every episode (except 8.04), we hear Dean calling Sam on it. Great snarky lines.... They haven't dropped it yet, and in fact keeping calling attention to it. The writers must know that will continue to irritate some of their fanbase, at least, and so I believe they HAVE to intend to take this somewhere. ( or else S&D need to have their blow up and move on).
I'm NOT liking hearing that Jared has had significant time off in so many episodes, - the show NEEDS to be BOTH Sam and Dean - and I agree that if this continues, Carver will have done damage to the core of the show, but I am clinging by my fingernails to the hope that this is not the way of it.
etheldred
# etheldred 2012-10-26 10:50
We're not actually hearing Dean call Sam on it, though. What Dean is calling Sam on is taking a year off hunting, not failing to investigate his disappearance. The latter hasn't been brought up since Dean's one question in 8.1. I fully believe that the show is setting up Sam turning his back on hunting as a major conflict of the season; what I don't see is the show realizing that Sam turning his back on hunting isn't actually the problematic part, and that resolving that will do no good to the serious problem.

Now, I think Carver himself, judging by his interviews, isn't distinguishing between Sam moving on with Dean dead and Sam not investigating Dean's disappearance or establishing his death to begin with. The infamously non-canonical promise not to look for each other (as opposed to the promises they actually have made not to bring one another back from the dead), which exists both in Carver's script and as a frequent point of appeal in his interviews, is proof that this confusion exists at the authorial level, not just in the minds of the characters.

I am hoping that TPTB do track fan reaction enough to realize that they need to fix this, and I hope they do. I am worried, though, that there will be a feedback loop, in which the unsatisfying nature of Sam's storyline will make people want less of it and more of the better developed Dean, Cas, and Benny end of things, to the point where Sam will permanently slip down a notch in the hierarchy of characters.
etheldred
# etheldred 2012-10-26 11:03
I should add: I don't think there needs to be a huge plot-type reveal, like that Sam really made a deal with the alpha vamp, or that Amelia is a supernatural being who is manipulating, or some of the other theories that have been proposed. And I have read, on this site and elsewhere, some very plausible explanations for why Sam might not have investigated: a complete breakdown due to accumulation of trauma, profound distrust of his own choices in this kind of situation based on his past mistakes (I find that a little hard to square with Time After Time, but I can do some handwaving), etc.

But the keyword there is MIGHT. This is too important a point to be left as blank space to be filled by competing fan hypotheses, no one more likely or based in text than the others. There needs to be a canon explanation, one that makes sense in both emotional and plot logic, and one that both the audience and Dean get to see or hear about. Leaving it permanently fuzzy and going on to address the hunting question again, to me at least, would be the writers not doing their jobs.
st50
# st50 2012-10-26 11:04
Quote:


I am worried, though, that there will be a feedback loop, in which the unsatisfying nature of Sam's storyline will make people want less of it and more of the better developed Dean, Cas, and Benny end of things, to the point where Sam will permanently slip down a notch in the hierarchy of characters.
God, I hope you're wrong here, etheldred. The whole show is about the brothers, imho, and if Sam is relegated permanently into the background in favour of the others, that will be the final straw for me.
st50
# st50 2012-10-26 11:10
Quote:
We're not actually hearing Dean call Sam on it, though. What Dean is calling Sam on is taking a year off hunting, not failing to investigate his disappearance. The latter hasn't been brought up since Dean's one question in 8.1.
Yes, sorry. I kind of lump the two ideas into one. The idea that he didn't look and therefore quit hunting.... Neither is palatable to me. I think if they truly investigated the supposed year off, there'd be something there to address the other. At least that's my hope. (I'm going with breakdown, not supernatural intervention, but I'd be happy with either, so long as there's a reason given, and it's not left to speculation.)
percysowner
# percysowner 2012-10-26 14:19
Quote:
I am worried, though, that there will be a feedback loop, in which the unsatisfying nature of Sam's storyline will make people want less of it and more of the better developed Dean, Cas, and Benny end of things, to the point where Sam will permanently slip down a notch in the hierarchy of characters.
This is a real worry. Sam's character took a major hit in season four when Dean's POV was front and center and Sam's story was told in the background, as Kripke admitted. Sadly, this seems to have convinced the writers that Sam's POV is not really necessary. Season five featured Dean's struggle with being Michael's vessel, but Sam's reactions to being doomed to be Lucifer's was referenced only at the end of FTBYAM and at the beginning of The End. Season six gave us soulless Sam, who was incapable of experiencing Sam's feelings and Sam with a wall, who was incapable of remembering his experiences. Season seven dropped the ball completely when it came to showing Sam's reaction to the Cage and the emotional toll it took on him. Now we are again getting a very strong, very narrow Dean POV and Sam's is not getting much if any play. We are seeing what his life was like during the year without Dean, but we are not seeing any reaction to how not having Dean affected him or why he just gave up.

For goodness sakes, Castiel, a well liked but secondary character got an ENTIRE EPISODE to explain why he made questionable choices, something I would have dearly loved to see Sam get in season four. If Cas can get that kind of focus, then Sam more than deserves a similar in depth look, not just "we promised to not look for each other" which NEVER HAPPENED!

This issue could make me turn from Supernatural permanently. The good news is that I do not have a Nielsen box and I am so far out of the demographic that advertisers care about that even if I had a NB no one cares if I watch or not. The bad news is that I am seeing my reaction from other viewers that the network may well care about.

The handling of Sam has been a HUGE misstep IMHO. I really hope we have a course correction coming, but I'm starting to doubt it.
lala2
# lala2 2012-10-27 17:28
I couldn't agree more w/your entire post, Percy! No matter what happens at this point, Sam's "story" (if you can even call it that) has been a massive failure in my eyes. We are FOUR episodes into the season and still have NO concrete knowledge about Sam's year or what is going on w/him. Sadly, it appears as if NOTHING is happening w/him.

I will never buy the idea that he just didn't bother to look for Dean or that he thought Dean was dead or that he didn't have enough resources to search for Dean. None of that makes any sense to me. It is all very OOC. That fake promise is just that - fake.

And to know that the next 5-6 episodes will give us NOTHING on Sam is infruriating.

Even if they finally get around to exploring Sam in the 2nd half of the season, it will be too late for me. Almost every episode is slightly boring to me nowadays. I'm slowly losing my interest in this show. I see good exploration of Dean and nothing for Sam, as usual. I'm sick of that.

Sam is a character on this show, and I would LOVE for the writers to start treating him as well as they do secondary characters like Bobby, Castiel, and Benny. Benny is getting TWO episodes dedicated to him, and we can't get ONE dedicated to Sam!??!!? And for me, "Heartache" had nothing to do w/Sam and wasn't nearly as well set up as "Metamorphosis" or "Fresh Blood." The parallels there were CLEAR.
Bamboo24
# Bamboo24 2012-10-27 18:04
Quote:
And to know that the next 5-6 episodes will give us NOTHING on Sam is infruriating.
We don't know that. Actually, Sam gets together with Amelia in the next episode, which will hopefully shed more light on that relationship for us. Regardless, we can't guess what an episode is going to contain from a 40-60 second spoiler or a vague episode description. It's one thing to criticize what's already been done - it's another to make judgments about things we haven't seen yet. We just don't know what the next 5-6 episodes will show/tell us about Sam. It could be great, it could be interesting, it could answer some questions or create more. It could also be none of those things. We just don't know.

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"Heartache" had nothing to do w/Sam and wasn't nearly as well set up as "Metamorphosis" or "Fresh Blood." The parallels there were CLEAR.
I disagree with this. I think the parallels were clearly there, but perhaps they weren't *enough* in light of the fact that everyone is still waiting to find out about Sam's summer from Sam, or be clearly shown what happened to get Sam to the point he is at. And the fact that we haven't gotten that bit yet has caused some to be blind to the more subtle parallels that have been shown. It's understandable.

I've found the writing to be very purposeful and meaningful, and fresh, all in stark contrast with S7, and that is enough for me to be patient and wait things out. And I think taking that patient, hopeful, "wait-and-see" perspective on things allows one to actually enjoy the unfolding of the story, giving it a real, more-than-just- a-few-episodes of a chance, rather than focusing solely on everything that's not-quite-right -yet. As my mother always said, "If you focus only on the negative, then that is all you will see."
lala2
# lala2 2012-10-27 18:45
It is my understanding that between now the mid-season break (episode 9 or 10), there are two episodes focused on Benny and two focused on Castiel. I'm not sure when they will find time to focus on Sam and his deal. I know this upcoming episode has some Sam/Amelia, but who knows . . . . it may be another 10 second scene that does not advance his story.

And to be brutally honest, I don't particularly care about Sam's relationship w/Amelia so him sitting around talking to her about their failed relationship has ZERO appeal to me. I felt the same way about Dean and Lisa. Plus, I want to know why Sam CHOSE to not look for Dean. I want a better explanation than whatever was given in the premiere. I'm not buying the whole "everyone was dead" excuse as that is horribly OOC to me and hasn't been adequately explained. So, I'm not sure how I'm going to get what I need from scenes w/Amelia.

At this point, I like to expect the absolute worst. Last year dashed all my hopes and killed my optimism when it comes to Sam. I'm taking everything at face value until I'm told something different so I have been horribly disappointed w/the season thus far.

I have not re-watched Heartache since it aired. I found it to be pretty horrible. I saw very little parallels btw the monster and Sam.

We'll just have to agree to disagree. JC has not earned my trust. The premiere was very lackluster to me, and I didn't care for Sam's explanation or the unemotional reunion btw the brothers. Tiger Mommy was better. Heartache was horrible, IMO. And this past episode just didn't feel very much like Supernatural, IMO. It wasn't horrible but could have used more S/D and should have been included in the latter part of the season when we had a handle on Sam and Dean.

People can say what they want about Sera, but EOMS was pretty clear in showing that Sam was "off." In this premiere (can't remember the name of the episode), Sam was also "off," but I have no idea if that's b/c of his story for the season or b/c of JC's interpretation of the character. AFAIC, JC has reset the character back to S1 Sam, all the while ignoring all the character development Sam has undergone.

Could I be wrong? Sure, but like I said, I'm not going to sit here and hope that they'll tell the story better for Sam later when I see no sign of a better story to come. S7 was far too disappointing and nothing about this season has settled my fears that the same won't happen again.
percysowner
# percysowner 2012-10-26 14:05
I'm starting to resign myself to the idea that all continuity for Sam's character will be thrown away and that he just never bothered to look for Dean. This is really affecting my enjoyment of the show if for no other reason than it is another instance when Sam's mindset is completely ignored when his character behaves in a way that confuses the audience and has him acting like he couldn't care less about Dean. This really has the potential to destroy the show for me and I hope the writers have heard enough complaints that they will allow us to see how Sam got to the place of not looking for Dean, instead of leaving us hanging.

I know many people say TPTB should not change a story due to the whims of the fans and I'm not asking them to change what Sam did. I'm merely asking that we get an IN DEPTH look at Sam after Dean disappeared.
st50
# st50 2012-10-26 14:21
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This really has the potential to destroy the show for me and I hope the writers have heard enough complaints that they will allow us to see how Sam got to the place of not looking for Dean, instead of leaving us hanging.
Agreed. This reveal is critical for me. If they ignore it the entire season, I will be done. The Sam character I fell in love with would not have walked away without trying to learn something any more than Dean would have if the situation had been reversed.
RMF
# RMF 2012-10-27 13:56
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Moreover, neither canon nor paratext has been terribly consistent about Sam definitely believing Dean was dead. Sam also tells Dean that he had no one to call; that would suggest that he failed to investigate out of lack of resources (rendered a bit absurd by the fact that they are bringing back several characters Sam could have called, and there are more in the wings), not because he had good enough cause to think Dean dead to render investigation unnecessary. This muddle has also appeared in Jared's interviews, where he vacillates between Dean being dead and who knows? Dean could have been in Missouri having a burger. 
It would have been very easy, too, to have Sam say, "Dean, I thought you were dead!" in Episode 1, during the reunion. In the case that he had had a breakdown, he could have made some hesitant reference to having had a hard time dealing with it when Dean disappeared. Instead, he has nothing really to say, leaving the uncomfortable impression that he felt like he'd rid himself of 180 lbs of excess weight.

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I AM saying that it's necessarily a bad thing. That level of destructive carelessness in writing the crucial motivations and decisions of one of the two main characters isn't a minor flaw, it's a major failure. Jared is clearly aware in the most recent interview that this is an unpopular storyline and one that is alienating people from his character; the fact that, as of the filming of 8.10, the actor still seems to have been given no clarity on a point that is pretty darn essential to the portrayal of Sam is a huge problem.
That's really disappointing to hear; it's not just alienating people from his character, it's alienating people from the show. It would be okay if the development of the Purgatory storyline dominated the early part of the season, as long as we were given some kind of character logic to tide us over. The writing, however, seems entirely focussed toward Dean's relationship with other people, and the core relationship is not being served. These are two contentious characters. They would be talking about this. They would be arguing about it. Instead, they just go through the motions of hunting each week, and other than Dean's occasional sniping, nothing gets said. It feels like this lack of engagement serves the writers' story arc more than it does the established relationship between the brothers.

Quote:
I know many people say TPTB should not change a story due to the whims of the fans and I'm not asking them to change what Sam did. I'm merely asking that we get an IN DEPTH look at Sam after Dean disappeared.
It's not about whims, either. We're asking them to respect their own prior work -- the characters they wrote and the rules they set up for their own universe. It's not a matter of dictating story lines to the writers to say that Sam Winchester ought to be recognizable from season to season.

As for this episode, it's more in the same vein. I neither loved nor hated it, it was a serviceable enough hour of drama, and I can see why it was here: it challenges Dean's black-or-white attitude coming out of Purgatory. It was the ending that bothered me. The obvious parallel to me is between Sam and Kate: two innocents who had a paranormal identity forced upon them and were left to struggle with the fallout. However, it's Dean who makes the decision to give Kate a chance, probably as a way of validating his decision to set Benny loose in the world. Sam is not allowed to reflect on his own similarity to Kate; he is for hunting her when he thinks Dean is, and for giving her a chance when Dean is. In short, despite his own very relevant experiences, he is entitled to Dean's opinion. Likewise, he is given no room to remember Madison and how earnestly they searched for something just like this conveniently invented bit of werewolf lore when trying to save her. None of Sam's background other than his onetime desire for a normal life has any visibility with the writers any more.
Bamboo24
# Bamboo24 2012-10-27 15:32
Quote:
It would have been very easy, too, to have Sam say, "Dean, I thought you were dead!" in Episode 1, during the reunion. In the case that he had had a breakdown, he could have made some hesitant reference to having had a hard time dealing with it when Dean disappeared. Instead, he has nothing really to say, leaving the uncomfortable impression that he felt like he'd rid himself of 180 lbs of excess weight.
I am inclined to agree with this, that if Sam thought Dean was dead, it has to be made clear at some point. Or if he just couldn't deal with things anymore, Sam needs to have a chance to express that. Otherwise, I am left with the impression that there is more to the story than what we are getting right now (which is what I'm sticking with until proven otherwise).

You raise some other very valid, well-expressed criticisms, and I'm inclined to concede with your point of view. Particularly this:

Quote:
It's not about whims, either. We're asking them to respect their own prior work -- the characters they wrote and the rules they set up for their own universe. It's not a matter of dictating story lines to the writers to say that Sam Winchester ought to be recognizable from season to season. As for this episode, it's more in the same vein. I neither loved nor hated it, it was a serviceable enough hour of drama, and I can see why it was here: it challenges Dean's black-or-white attitude coming out of Purgatory. It was the ending that bothered me. The obvious parallel to me is between Sam and Kate: two innocents who had a paranormal identity forced upon them and were left to struggle with the fallout. However, it's Dean who makes the decision to give Kate a chance, probably as a way of validating his decision to set Benny loose in the world. Sam is not allowed to reflect on his own similarity to Kate; he is for hunting her when he thinks Dean is, and for giving her a chance when Dean is. In short, despite his own very relevant experiences, he is entitled to Dean's opinion. Likewise, he is given no room to remember Madison and how earnestly they searched for something just like this conveniently invented bit of werewolf lore when trying to save her. None of Sam's background other than his onetime desire for a normal life has any visibility
Your thoughtful, balanced critique has helped me understand more and respect where some of those who are frustrated with the first few episodes of S8 are coming from. I believe we will get more of Sam's story as the season progresses, and I certainly hope these uncertainties and concerns clear up for everyone the farther along we get.
etheldred
# etheldred 2012-10-27 15:54
It's a truism of Spn fandom that they've tended to give Sam more of the weird stuff happening to him and Dean more of the explored reaction. Like most truisms, there are plenty of counterexamples , but I do feel that when it comes to exploring character reactions, there's a tendency for the writers to fall back on Dean, even when it might make more sense to look at Sam. The weighting of Sam's reaction to Cas's betrayal in The Man Who Would Be King, for instance: sure, Dean and Cas are closer than Sam and Cas, but it was Sam who was chiefly affected by Cas's actions, who was brought back soulless, and yet there was very little exploration of how he felt. Or Krissy, in Adventures in Babysitting: I enjoyed her interactions with Dean, but it would have been interesting to hear SAM talk to a young hunter about the possibility of doing something different, maybe going to college. It was also Dean who had a conversation with Kevin about how much it sucks to be chosen by the supernatural in late season 7.

I do feel that the writers are aware of this and have been making some effort to work on it: Sam and Cas's conversation after Cas healed Sam in s7, the greater development of rapport between Sam and Kevin in s8. And I think the oblivion to past history is something that has affected Dean's characterizatio n as well: if I was yelling at the screen urging them to remember that Sam had once had psychic powers in the Mentalists, I was equally annoyed that Dean's stint as a vampire didn't come up at all in their late s7 encounters with the alpha vamp.

I've heard it said that the writers need to avoid too much in the way of references to past canon in order not to alienate newer viewers, especially now, when the new night is giving them a chance to try for a new audience. That may well be part of the reasoning behind some of their decisions, but, speaking purely for myself, when I plunge into a series of books or a TV show at a later point, I find it exciting and intriguing to hear hints of a whole history and set of associations back there to be explored. It would make me much more likely to not only tune in another week, but go back and watch what I'd missed. You want your audience engaged in both directions, wondering what will come next, but also figuring out the relationship of present to past. So I wonder if there are a lot of people out there who share my taste on that point, and whether the writers, if that is their thinking, aren't misjudging the best way to snare new audiences.
lala2
# lala2 2012-10-27 17:38
Remember during 8.02 when Dean tells Tiger Mommy about possession and soullessness when he's NEVER been possessed or soulless! Why wouldn't they let Sam talk to her about those things? He's the one who experienced both. It's like the writers don't want Sam associating w/the the guest stars or forget Sam's own history. When they went to that town of psychics last year, I thought Sam might relate but his past experience as a psychic wasn't even mentioned. A new viewer wouldn't have even known that Sam had psychic visions at one point. Additionally, a new viewer this season would think Dean had been both possessed and w/o a soul when that's not the case!

I just don't understand the writers when it comes to Sam. Ever since S4, Sam has been relegated to the background in some form or fashion. That's not helping the show or the brothers' relationship any. They are still far apart and have been so for far too long, IMO.
etheldred
# etheldred 2012-10-27 17:50
The fact that Meg possessing Sam has never come up in any of the later encounters the boys have had with Meg is one of Spn's most egregious oblivions for me.

Sam did have a line about the soullessness in 8.2, though -- he said that Mrs Tran would want to die. I find it interesting that he also made a remark about suicide in 8.3, but I have no idea if they are going anywhere with it.
lala2
# lala2 2012-10-27 17:59
He did? What did he say? I must have tuned that out!

I love Dean, but I don't even know why they had him respond to Tiger Mommy on that issue. That was a time meant for Sam, IMO. He got a line, but why won't expand on his experience some more.

I mean what is the point of Sam going through these crazy things if Sam never speaks about them or they never impact his life in any way.
etheldred
# etheldred 2012-10-27 18:08
In 8.3? I can't remember the exact line, but he was wondering if Brick thought he'd burn to nothing in the car crash, and Jared delivered the line with a kind of odd, intense look.

I'd think a major point of giving Sam a less plotty, more human storyline would be to get him talking and processing some of his experiences, but given the spoilers that he wasn't open with Amelia about his past, and the Carver interview about how Sam had too much history and it got confusing, I think they are aiming for reboot rather than reaction. It's a huge pity if they don't bring up the past -- especially given Sam's history with sex and romance, having him establishing a new relationship won't be convincing without some pretty explicit discussion of the kind of baggage he's bringing to it. Not to mention that he owes it to Amelia to at least obliquely warn her about the potential dangers of being his partner or even his ex.
lala2
# lala2 2012-10-27 18:53
WAIT?!?!?!? JC thinks Sam's history is too confusing? How could he possibly think that?

Ugh . . . .that does not bode well for Sam! I've had the feeling they were resetting the character since the premiere, and if JC thinks Sam's history is too overwhelming for him to incorporate into the story, then I'm sure that's what he's done. As you said, he's just reset the character and starting over.

Hey . . . I bet that's why Sam no longer remembers Jessica or college as a good time in his life! Oh my goodness. I can't believe JC feels that way! Where was the interview?
etheldred
# etheldred 2012-10-27 19:02
Here's the quote: "One of the things that struck me, and I think it’s almost inevitable when you’re doing a genre show, is sometimes a show gets buried under the weight of its own mythology. And particularly with the brothers, if you zero in on someone like Sam, that guy has so much stuff — the wall’s up, the wall’s down. It gets a little confusing, even to me as I was catching up, exactly what is happening. So I think one of the things I thought was maybe we can pull back on the mythology and instead start a new myth story this year. Obviously we’re not disregarding anything from the past, but at least from the get-go, we’re starting everyone off on a new ride that hopefully lasts two, three, whatever many seasons."

http://www.givememyremote.com/remote/2012/10/01/supernatural-jeremy-carver-on-season-8-having-an-endgame-and-more/

It feels like he's looking on what's happened with Sam more as part of the show's mythology than as experiences that Sam has had that would shape his reactions.

Though I don't think Sam doesn't remember Jess or college as a good time; I think he doesn't remember it as NORMAL. And that makes a whole lot of sense to me, given that he and Jess were both pawns in a demonic masterplan that used their relationship and her death to orchestrate Sam's destiny. I don't think that devalues Jess -- 6.22 showed how much she still meant to Sam -- but I can completely understand how that period wouldn't represent normal life, a life that he got to carve out for himself instead of having it shaped by supernatural forces.

Back to the interview, I also didn't like Carver's "Why not?" take on the romance, though I get that he was being facetious. I think the idea of a relationship for Sam is potentially fascinating, though I haven't been impressed with the writing of Amelia so far, but there is a lot in Sam's history that makes it anything but a "why not?" step for him, and I need them to deal with that, to make it a relationship that's convincing for Sam, as he is now, with all his cumulative experience.
lala2
# lala2 2012-10-27 19:24
I am not trying to be rude, but there is absolutely nothing confusing or overwhelming about Sam's experiences. He was Lucifer's vessel. He jumped in the pit to stop the apocalypse. Castiel "saved" him. He was returned w/o a soul. Death returned his soul and put up a Wall to prevent a complete mental collapse. memories. Castiel dropped the Wall. Sam suffered some hallucinations. Castiel transferred Sam's mental illness to himself. End of story.

S7 didn't explore anything w/r/t how Sam felt about anything that happened to him so I'm not sure why JC even thought he had to deal w/any of that. As usual, Sam's experiences had very little impact on his actual day-to-day life.

My problem w/JC starting Sam off on this "new ride" is he has essentially ignored how Sam would truly behave and react. Sam would NOT cut and run if Dean mysteriously disappeared. He just wouldn't do that. No one speculating over the summer thought he would do that. It was a shock to everyone to learn that Sam didn't do anything to help Dean. The fact that the entire viewing audience was shocked to hear that means it is horribly OOC.

I feel like Sam resigned himself to a hunter's life a long time ago so for JC to just have him suddenly wanting to return to college makes no sense to me. There was no set up for this story from last year. Dean disappears so Sam gets some college applications!?! ?! Really?!?! Come one! The problem w/Sam's "reset" is it trashes his character. Dean's arc doesn't harm his character at all.

And we'll just have to agree to disagree about Sam's time in college. As I wrote elsewhere, IMO, Sam had no intention of contacting Dean/John when we see him in the Pilot. He seemed pretty content w/his life. I sensed no underlying fear that the supernatural was around the corner or any guilt from Sam about living his own life. IMO, he would have had "normal" more so back then when he was younger and more naive than now when he's a well-read, well-traveled hunter.

That is just my opinion though. In my eyes, Sam had normal when he was w/Jessica. At the time, it was normal for him. Yes, he later learned that Brady introduced them, but that doesn't mean much to me. He may now view that time in his life differently, and if that's the case . . . . fine. Just have him say that. Have him explain why his time in college and w/Jessica is now tainted b/c I don't get it.

Even if Sam stopped hunting for the year; he was still a hunter. I'm not sure why his time w/Amelia would be viewed as completely normal when he knew Crowley or something other demon could bother him whenever they chose. Or possess his girlfriend. Or interfere w/his life. This tiem, Sam was not some 18-year old kid presumably leaving hunting behind. He was a 30-year old man leaving a life he knew could call him back at any time as it has.

Honestly, I'm confused when I hear people say Sam had "normal" more so this time around than when he was leaving for college. When he left for college, I think Sam truly and genuinely left hunting behind him! He had no intention of returning, and that's why I think he had "normal" more so then. It's like the put hunting at the back of his mind.

Anyway, that's JMO. Maybe, Sam will actually explain his thought processes to someone. Who knows?
Bamboo24
# Bamboo24 2012-10-27 19:55
Quote:
There was no set up for this story.
There was a set-up for this story. Sam's story in particular. Carver stated that his story for Sam was based on Crowley's last words to him, which were: "It looks like you are well and truly alone." That's a set-up. But because a year passed between S7 and S8 - a year we haven't seen all of it yet - of course Sam and Dean look OOC right now. We have hints, suggestions, a few flashbacks, and some pretty thin explanations, but we don't have the whole story yet on either of them. We are missing a whole year of these guys' lives - they are not the same guys we saw at S7's end. What we're seeing now is the finished product - and it seems Carver is going to show the process of how they were made, how they got to where they are now, albeit slowly. Granted, you might not like the process - or the outcome- and I can't help you with that. But I think this story was set up very specifically, with a particular goal in mind. And kudos to Mr. Carver for that.
etheldred
# etheldred 2012-10-27 20:07
Honestly, that doesn't wash for me. "You are well and truly alone," is not a story set up. For Dean's year with Lisa, we had the interest Dean has expressed in something other than hunting since the first season, we had Lisa introduced in 3.1 and figuring in Dean's dream in Dream a Little Dream of Me, we had Dean going to Lisa in 99 Problems and telling her that when he imagined himself happy it was with her, and we had Dean's promise to Sam. Sam, on the other hand, expressed a lack of interest in normal in Swap Meat, reconciled himself to being a freak in Girl Next Door, and was consistently in s6 and s7 the one to uphold the value and importance of hunting.

Carver has explained that Crowley's words, plus speculation for what would happen if Sam or Dean kept their (not actually canonical) promise not to look for each other, were his inspiration for the story he wanted to tell. But the place where an author gets an idea is not identical to or sufficient for a set up for the logic of the idea for the reader or viewer, especially when an author is dealing with an established canon for which he was not responsible, rather than shaping a story from the beginning.

More essentially, since I do think it may be possible to account for Sam's shift in attitude towards hunting and normal through flashbacks to his year, Sam not investigating Dean's disappearance isn't the end result of a year of development. It's what happened right after the closing credits of 7.23. If Carver's account of Sam's reactions and actions then doesn't ring true -- and for a lot of viewers it doesn't -- there's no year of change to fall back on. That's why Dean's behavior is working a lot better for most people than Sam's. Dean's changed outlook really is the product of a year of experience, and a plausible outcome. Sam's changed outlook is the precondition for his year of experience.
lala2
# lala2 2012-10-27 20:12
When I refer to there being no "set up" for this story, I'm talking about Sam not looking for his brother. I can only speak for myself but it is entirely unclear how we went from a S7 finale Sam asking Crowley about Dean's whereabouts to a guy who didn't bother to look after Crowley disappeared. Huh? Why did Sam just get in the Impala and say, "Screw it all." That's what I don't understand, and that's what I'm afraid I will never truly understand.

I fear that JC feels it's been explained by Sam "being alone" or having no one to help him research or thinking Dean was dead, but those are really lame reasons/excuses in my opinion. They make no sense to me and don't respect the character I've watched over the years. Sam would look for his brother, so they need to really explain why he chose not to do so! Short of a mental breakdown after Crowley disappeared, I'm not sure if they can explain it.

But if it works for you, that's good! I wish I was enjoying the show this year.
cd28
# cd28 2012-10-27 20:28
I agree with etheldred on this a lot of the other comments stated, but I just wanted to bring up one more point that I haven't heard stated before. Wasn't Sam, for all intents and purposes, alone for the 180 years he was in Lucifer's cage? Lucifer surely wasn't considered better company than Jody, Garth, and all of the other people still in the world when Dean disappeared. Sam has been in Lucifer's cage much longer than he has been in the world, so I would think being alone would feel more like his natural state now.
lala2
# lala2 2012-10-27 20:44
Great point!!! Sam has spent a considerable amount of time alone. He was also alone for 6 months or so during Mystery Spot.
Bamboo24
# Bamboo24 2012-10-27 19:40
Quote:
It feels like he's looking on what's happened with Sam more as part of the show's mythology than as experiences that Sam has had that would shape his reactions.
I agree. And isn't that a complaint we've had for some time? That because Sam's been the focus of all this mythology for so long, we haven't gotten to understand SAM. We haven't gotten much of his POV. So to strip all the Supernatural effects away - the demon blood, the hallucinations, the wall, the soullessness, the psychic visions - the question becomes - who IS this guy? And how do we find out? The most plausible answers was to stick Sam in a "normal" situation - no Supernatural funkiness going on - and see how that affects him, getting back to his natural motivations, dreams, and inclinations.

It's NOT a reset. It's a reminder. This is who Sam is. This is who Sam has always been - unchanged at his core despite all the Supernatural crap he's been afflicted with. Carver is not just ignoring all that has come before in Sam's experiences - but he is putting Sam in a position we haven't seen him in since S1 - and even then (though we didn't know it at the time) it wasn't "normal."

"I think [Sam] doesn't remember it as NORMAL. And that makes a whole lot of sense to me, given that he and Jess were both pawns in a demonic masterplan that used their relationship and her death to orchestrate Sam's destiny. I don't think that devalues Jess -- 6.22 showed how much she still meant to Sam -- but I can completely understand how that period wouldn't represent normal life, a life that he got to carve out for himself instead of having it shaped by supernatural forces."

Regarding the relationship with Amelia, Carver also said in one of his interviews that the relationship she and Sam have is a very "emotionally honest" one. I am looking forward to seeing how that plays out, as well.
lala2
# lala2 2012-10-27 19:52
But it is a RESET for me.

As far as I'm concerned, Sam would NOT ignore Dean's disappearance. He would investigate it.

I'm actually not that hard to please. If JC wanted to take Sam out of hunting and give him a GF. . . . that would be fine. I just want a good, coherent story. I want something that respects the character I've seen on my screen for the past SEVEN years. Even if Sam thought this was his chance to get out of hunting, I don't see him doing that w/o first investigating Dean's disappearance. I don't buy that he thought Dean "died" b/c in the S7 finale, Sam asked Crowley where Dean had gone. Those are not the words of someone who thought Dean had died.

The season could have started out w/Sam saying he searched for Dean but came up w/no answers, met Amelia, and then settled down for awhile. What's wrong w/that? That respects the bond btw the brothers and the character of Sam.

Writing Sam as essentially shrugging his shoulders at Dean's disappearance is horribly OOC to me. If there is more to Sam's thoughts/feelin gs, then we need to be told. The tease has gone on too long, IMO. I'm fast approaching the point of "who cares."
Bamboo24
# Bamboo24 2012-10-27 20:13
Quote:
I don't buy that he thought Dean "died" b/c in the S7 finale, Sam asked Crowley where Dean had gone. Those are not the words of someone who thought Dean had died.
Right, Sam asked, "where's Dean?" And Crowley answered, "that God bone had a bit of a kick to it; God weapons often do - they should put a warning on the box."

In light of that exchange, it does actually make sense that Sam would think Dean had been killed by the God bone's effects. But even at that, you're talking with someone who thinks it is actually in character that Sam didn't go running off to open the gates of Purgatory to save his brother, (even if he DID know) considering a) S7's "Born Again Identity" where a world-weary Sam asked Dean "why bother?" when Dean wanted to find a healer to save him, and also said, "it's all snake oil" because every time they've tried to save each other worse things have happened. I actually take it as a sign of maturity that Sam would not go running off to make a deal with someone to try and save his brother from parts unknown. I suspect we'll have to agree to disagree on what is and is not in character for Sam.
lala2
# lala2 2012-10-27 20:27
I never said Sam had to make a deal to save Dean.

I'm just saying Sam should have investigated Dean's disappearance. That's all. According to Sam, he had no idea where Dean had gone. As of now, Sam didn't bother to investigate or look for Dean. He just got in the Impala and left. That does not respect, IMO, Sam as a character or the bond btw the brothers. That action makes NO sense to me.

In order for Sam to determine it was too dangerous to rescue Dean, he would have had to investigate Dean's disappearance. He could have researched into God's weapons and their effects or just done something to locate his brother. Let's say he learned Dean was in Purgatory and decided it was too dangerous to open the door . . . . that would have been fine w/me. But he has to investigate first to get to that point!

They're saying Sam didn't even do that much. That is OOC to me and bad writing. Sam would look for his brother. If Dean disappeared in this week's episode, I'm sure Sam would look for him before heading back to Amelia's house. At least the Sam I've watched since S1 would.
etheldred
# etheldred 2012-10-27 20:28
And Sam replied to Crowley's hint about the weapon by asking again where Dean and Cas were:

CROWLEY
So did you. Without a master plan, the Levis are just another monster. Hard to stomp, sure, but you love a challenge. Your job is to keep them from organizing.

SAM
Where's Dean?

CROWLEY
That bone... has a bit of a kick. God weapons often do. They should put a warning on the box.

SAM
Where are they, Crowley?!

CROWLEY
Can't help you, Sam.

None of us are objecting to the idea that if Sam knew Dean was in purgatory, it might make sense for him not to rescue him. But as of 8.1, unless Sam was lying, he was surprised to learn that Dean was in purgatory. We know that the storyline that Carver did not decide to use, of Sam knowing where Dean was and choosing not to rescue him, would have made sense. That only adds to the problem of why instead Carver decided to go with a muddled storyline (with Sam at one moment saying he thought Dean was dead, without giving any reasoning to support that, at another simply taking Dean's accusation that he hadn't looked for him rather than protesting, as he might well have, that he thought Dean dead and they didn't bring each other back, and saying at a third point that he had no one to call -- irrelevant, if he truly had good cause to assume Dean was dead, suggesting instead that he was unable to investigate for lack of resources).
lala2
# lala2 2012-10-27 20:38
Exactly! I certainly wouldn't have been upset if Sam learned that Dean was in Purgatory but thought it was too dangerous to open or was looking for a safe way to withdraw one person. That story makes sense and doesn't disrespect Sam.

Why JC would choose to go w/a story that set ups Sam to look cold, callous, and uncaring is beyond me? Sam could have still looked for Dean and had a girlfriend. The two aren't mutually exclusive.
Bamboo24
# Bamboo24 2012-10-28 00:14
I can see we aren't going to see each other viewpoints on this, and that's okay. :)

But I do want to suggest one thing: Do you really think that if Sam HAD investigated (assuming he didn't think Dean was dead), and actually discovered that Dean was in Purgatory with Cas (assuming he was able to find anything), that he would actually be able to walk away? And further, that it would be acceptable for him to do so?

No. He'd drive himself crazy before he'd walk away, knowing where his brother was.

That's the difference between S8 and S3, S4. In S3, Sam went all super-hunter after Dean was killed in "Mystery Spot." That wasn't healthy in any respect - it was also jarringly sad and a little disturbing. In S4, Sam KNEW definitively where Dean was - and look what it did to him. He went to extraordinary lengths to get his brother out of Hell - tried to make a deal, and when that didn't work, started drinking demon blood, etc. He was a wreck. And all that led up to letting Lucifer free.

Here, Sam didn't look for Dean. It's plausible he thought Dean was in heaven, we don't know. But regardless, Sam didn't investigate. Because if he would have found where Dean was, he would have been compelled to try and save him, regardless of the cost. Because that's what the Winchesters have done over, and over, and over again - with varying degrees of collateral damage.

Maybe it was just the not-knowing - the willful ignorance if you will - that allowed Sam to walk away from this life of horror and death. Quite frankly, I don't think it makes him anything less than what he is - human.

Regardless, I don't need to know right now why Sam didn't look for Dean - quite frankly, I see too many plausible reasons why he wouldn't have, or why he maybe did but we don't know it yet, and all that's enough for me until I get the full story (we're only, what, 4 episodes in?).
percysowner
# percysowner 2012-10-28 00:38
Quote:
I see too many plausible reasons why he wouldn't have, or why he maybe did but we don't know it yet, and all that's enough for me until I get the full story (we're only, what, 4 episodes in?).
You are right, we are only four episodes in. The problem is every indication we get is that we are NEVER going to know the full story, because the full story is Sam shrugged his shoulders, hit a dog and met a girl PERIOD. There is NO other insight that the writers are going to give to Sam. Maybe they are hiding something, Lord knows I hope so. But we have always been explicitly told and shown what Dean feels and why he feels it. We spent season four with Sam going down a dark path and he barely got a 3 speeches to explain why. When Castiel went dark we got an ENTIRE FICKIN EPISODE devoted to the thoughts, feelings and pressures that made him go dark. Heck, we went back to how Castiel felt about the beginning of the world so that we could understand what he did.

Right now it looks like Sam call Ollie, Ollie Oxen Free and when Dean didn't show up Sam simply shrugged and said Sucks to be you, Dean and went and got a normal life. We were shown previews that indicated we were going to see some of Sam's life in episode 3 and by golly we saw a whole 90 seconds of it. Right now I know more about what BENNY did during that year (found Dean, saved Dean's life, told Dean there was a way out of Purgatory, told Dean he could come out with Dean, helped Dean find Cas, defended Dean and told Cas he was a crummy friend to desert Dean) than I know about what Sam did (fixed the car, hit a dog, met a girl, had a picnic). When a main character, whose POV has traditionally been kept obscure at best and nonexistent at worst is getting less POV than a newly introduced character AND his character has changed greatly from his previous character, yes, I get concerned.

Misha said at the latest con that he had asked for some time off this year and instead he has worked every single day in September and October. Jared, has been off enough that we know he has spent days in Austin. That is great for Jared and Gen and Thomas, but it shows a severe lack of interest in Sam. And THAT is why I'm upset.

ETA: I shouldn't have to make up plausible reasons for a main character to be acting the way he is. I should be given some information so I don't have MANY plausible reasons. And this has happened again and again from demon blood addiction to soullessness to walls in the head to being the sanest guy in the room while hallucinating 24/7. I am simply losing patience.
Bamboo24
# Bamboo24 2012-10-28 00:48
percysowner,

We may not agree on much, but one thing we do see eye to eye on is the issue of Castiel. I love his character to death, but the way they dealt with him, particularly toward the end of S6 and the whole of S7 made me so sick of the character that I wished I never would see him again. Even seeing him in the brief flashbacks of S8 made me cringe, and I am not particularly thrilled about his reappearance.

I'm sure I'll like Benny up until the point where he becomes "too much." :P
cd28
# cd28 2012-10-28 08:37
Quote:
But I do want to suggest one thing: Do you really think that if Sam HAD investigated (assuming he didn't think Dean was dead), and actually discovered that Dean was in Purgatory with Cas (assuming he was able to find anything), that he would actually be able to walk away? And further, that it would be acceptable for him to do so? No. He'd drive himself crazy before he'd walk away, knowing where his brother was.
No, you're right. He wouldn't be able to let it go. But so what? That's a very human response. Much more human than walking away without looking.

Back in the earlier days the points in which the characters went wrong were really clear. Loving each other wasn't the problem. Crossing a line and doing something you knew was wrong to try to save each other was - i.e., John selling his soul to a demon, Dean selling his soul, Sam drinking demon blood and using his demon powers (which he believed were evil).

Taking risks for each other was not. Sam and Dean countless times put themselves in risky situations to save each other - i.e. Sam in Hunted when he knowingly walks into Gordon's trap to save Dean, or Dean risking his life to ask Death to bring Sam's soul back.
lala2
# lala2 2012-10-28 13:19
Bamboo, I think the disconnect we are having is you accept and find it plausible that Sam would choose to not look for Dean, and I don't. The idea that Sam wouldn't look for Dean is implausible and incredible. Nothing about Sam's actions after Crowley vanishes rings true for me.

Based on what I know about Sam, everything in my gut tells me he would look for Dean. Everything tells me that he would not shrug off his brother's disappearance and drive around for months to only settle down once he hits a dog and gets a GF. I find that entire concept completely implausible and against character. I honestly believe the entire viewing audience was either surprised to find out that Sam didn't look for Dean or were surprised when the spoilers came out that Sam wouldn't look. Not even the adamant Sam haters speculated that Sam wouldn't look for Dean. Every comment I read assumed Sam would look. I believe the reason everyone was shocked to hear the direction JC was taking w/Sam was b/c it goes against every single thing we know about Sam. What we know and have learned about Sam tells us that he WOULD investigate his brother's disappearance. Why would he NOT look for Dean?

Okay . . . we know Dean takes a "personal day" this week so if he never returned, are we saying Sam would shrug his shoulders, mail in his college apps, and drink a beer? No. We would expect Sam to look for Dean or try to find out what happened to him. To me, that same idea applied at the end of S7. Crowley did not imply that Dean had died. There was no body for Sam to see. Crowley clearly knew what happened to Dean. Sam also questioned what happened to Dean. To think that after Crowley vanished, Sam just looked around and said, "Oh well. Good luck to you Dean wherever you are," DESTROYS the foundation of this show, which is, IMO, the relationship btw the brothers. This show is supposed to be about two brothers who would die for each other. And don't get me wrong, I'm not saying Sam should kill hmself to rescue Dean, but I would expect Sam to put some effort into locating Dean just as he would have if Riot or Amelia suddenly vanished. I mean that is the very LEAST Sam could have done, and the writers have implied that he didn't even do that much. And so far, they've given NO reason for his decision. AFAIC, having no resources is not an excuse. Having no leads is not an excuse. Being alone is not an excuse. Sam has been in that position before, but he didn't just abandon everything and give up. There needs to be a reason for his actions, and I, personally, don't want to wait until Episode 20 before finding out that reason. But as Percy pointed out, I don't think the writers intend to give us any reason for Sam's action. He just didn't look. There doesn't appear to be anything else but that, and that is not a compelling or relatable story to a lot of us in the audience.

I watch this show for the brothers and their bond. That bond is slowly being chipped away. The problems that started in S7 after TGND are, IMO, being carried into this season when it comes to the boys. They are partners, but not brothers. The reunion was unemotional and lackluster. They barely speak to each other nowadays. This will be different for everyone, but I'm not feeling the love btw them. At this point, I'm not even sure why they are together. Sam clearly wants out so I wish Dean would let him go. For me, the show is no fun if one of the brothers resents being there. And learning that Sam didn't even look for Dean is further damaging the brotherly bond.

But I digress - if I have the option of (1) Sam not looking at all or (2) Sam looking but stopping after deciding it was too dangerous to attempt a rescue, then I'm going w/Option #2. I'd rather learn that Sam looked but stopped once learning it was too dangerous to rescue Dean than Sam shrugging his shoulders, fixing the Impala, and getting a GF. I'd take Option #2 any day of the week over the character destroying (IMO) Option #1.

I do agree w/you that I don't think Sam would EVER stop trying to find a way to rescue his brother, but that doesn't mean he also has to lose himself in the search. That could have been the "change" in the telling of this story. Instead of showing a Winchester making a deal or drowing himself in alcohol, show one being strong but still searching.

And if JC just had to include a female LI, iIt would have been more interesting, IMO, to see Sam searching and driving himself crazy, but Amelia being the person to stop him from going over the edge and completely losing himelf in the loss. I imagine the writers could have written something similar to the movie "The Vanishing." In that movie, this man's GF disappears from a truck stop. He spends years looking for her, meets another woman during the search and begins dating her. But he never forgets the first GF and continues the search, not as intensely as before but he still goes on talks shows to discuss her disappearance and writes about it. That's what JC could have done w/Sam.

How does Sam live or move on having NO idea where Dean is? That would have been an interesting story to tell. How does he handle having no family anymore? What was his journey to accepting that Dean was gone for good and that he wanted a normal life? Unfortunately, JC skipped all that and had Sam immediately accept Dean is dead/gone/whate ver on the basis of this false promise btw the boys that they'd never search for each other, thereby making Sam shallow.

This season could have given Sam some much needed character growth and development, but unfortunately, that doesn't seem like that's going to happen.
etheldred
# etheldred 2012-10-27 20:18
I'm sorry, but I strongly disagree with that. What you are suggesting makes everything that has happened to Sam, all his experiences, purely external circumstances. But the whole point of stories, for me, is that people are changed by what happens to them, by the choices they make, by what they learn, how they grow, how they are damaged. Sam can't have "natural" motivations unaffected by supernatural crap that has happened to him any more than he can be unaffected by the kind of person John was, by the kind of person Dean is, by their influence in his life. If the answer to who a person is is some impermeable, unchangeable core, there would be no point in telling a story about them.

To understand SAM, to understand his POV, I need his take on what has happened to him. I need the guy who was a blood addict, the guy whose last relationship was with a manipulative demon wearing the body of a dead woman, the guy who was soulless and then got his soul back, the guy who was in the Cage and hallucinated Lucifer for a year. I need to know who Sam is after all these changes and taking all of them into account.

Maybe Carver will give us that. But so far I am not convinced.
cd28
# cd28 2012-10-27 19:44
Jumping in here ... I think the mythology, not just with Sam but with the power of souls, soullessness, demon blood, angel vessels, etc. got twisted into a giant knot, especially in the past couple of seasons, and I don't blame Carver for not wanting to spend his time untangling it and trying make sense of the nonsensical.

In Sam's case, how exactly do you follow 180 years of torture, not just by a normal demon but by Lucifer himself? You can't. But with that said, Sam should more closely resemble the Sam of the later seasons and not Colin Ford's Sam who wanted more than anything to run away from his family and be normal. Even if they don't try to tie up all of the loose ends of the mythology around his character, the character traits and values should remain.
lala2
# lala2 2012-10-27 20:01
But for all the mythology and issues Sam had - everything was either dropped or ignored. Sam overcame everything thrown at him b/c NONE of it had any consequences. Sam is not some bumbling mess that JC had to figure out how to incorporate on the show. In the S7 finale, Sam was left mentally healthy and perfectly fine.

All most of us wanted to see was Sam looking for Dean. His doing so has nothing to do w/his psychic visions, blood drinking, soullessness, or anything else.

I completely agree that we have reset Sam to S1 Sam w/o any explanation.
cd28
# cd28 2012-10-27 20:22
Exactly. Everything was dropped or ignored, which is why it all became such a tangled mess. Instead of watching his character evolve slowly with each event, Sam was pushed into the next event before the last one had been dealt with yet.

The not-looking-for -Dean is a different issue. I think part of the issue is that Sam did come across to many people in 8.1 as not being very happy that Dean was back. Whether Sam was anxious to get back to Amelia and his normal life or not, Sam should have still registered more relief that his brother was OK. It's not like Dean could ever force Sam not to leave if he wanted.
lala2
# lala2 2012-10-27 20:31
Being that everything was dropped, and Sam, for the most part, is a highly functional, normal guy, I'm not sure why Sam's past would confuse JC or cause him to reset the character.
cd28
# cd28 2012-10-27 20:34
The mythology confuses the heck out of me when I try to figure out what the normal, in-character response by Sam should be to a lot of situations.

(Why does normal suddenly seem like a bad word now?)
lala2
# lala2 2012-10-27 21:00
The thing is Sam's experiences have shaped him as a person (though we've seen none of those effects), so JC can't really reset Sam to S1 Sam and have it make much sense.

From what I've seen, Sam has accepted his life as a hunter. Like others have mentioned, Sam was the one touting the hunter lifestyle to a despondent Dean for the past three years. He was the one who wanted to keep one fighting. He's the one who jumped back into the fight. I think Sam has found meaning in what they do. If that has suddenly changed, then I just want a well-written explanation for that change in attitude. In the S7 finale, I never thought Sam was done w/hunting.

I honestly think the Sam I have come to know would have investigated his brother's disappearance. I have a difficult time buying that Sam got in the Impala and drove away w/o a second thought. The concept is completely foreign to me.
etheldred
# etheldred 2012-10-27 20:49
They represented Sam's response to the Lucifer experience with personality splits and with a psychotic break. Both were reasonable enough choices to me, and neither is unrepresentable . I wasn't happy with the fact that we didn't really see Sam struggling with being the guy who had hallucinations while he was having the hallucinations, but even that I think is defensible as a characterizatio n decision: Sam does tend to cope by compartmentaliz ing parts of his experience, by becoming hyperfunctional , rather than falling into paralysis the way Dean does. Once they cured the hallucinations (I would have much preferred that they remain a chronic, manageable condition than that they become a medical crisis followed by a miracle cure, but what's done is done), you have a man who has memories (because I refuse to believe his actual memories were wiped) of a traumatic experience and a man who has had an experience of major mental illness. Neither of these are impossible to write or imagine. Of course the fantasy element of Supernatural makes some kinds of realism not only impossible but inappropriate, but they set themselves up with ways of exploring impossible experience through analogy.

I'm not saying they need to go back and explain, say, why Sam's soul and the soulless part of him were both capable of forming memories when only one had neurons to store them in (the same question applies to Dean having memories of hell) or why soulless Sam didn't need to sleep (it works for me symbolically if not medically, since dreams and sleep are associated with ideas of the soul). But I don't think they can simply brush off the supernatural aspects of Sam's experience as unrepresentable , or forget to translate into the human terms of a torture victim, a recovering addict, and a person with a messy and violent relationship history.

I realize that I have a much more favorable view of s6 and even large parts of s7 than most here, so I guess I don't think that the task of conveying Sam's experience has been as unattempted and unattemptable as some others do.
cd28
# cd28 2012-10-27 21:11
This was a good response. I'm a little too tired right now to respond too intelligently to it, but I'll just put out a brief response. I get that they tried to deal with Sam's trauma through a lot of symbolic supernatural storylines (like the soullessness, the wall, the Lucifer visions). But what I've been missing, and what I was alluding to here, was that at some point I lost track of knowing how this all was changing who Sam was - how his values might have changed, what his thought processes are now, etc. That makes it difficult for me now to visualize how Sam would respond to situations.

Going off on a tangent now - you mentioned the soullessness and the sleep. I read book last summer by Dean Koontz, and in it his characters had gone through a physical transformation in which they lost their emotions and ability to feel. It was explained that because emotions take such a toll on the body, this made their bodies much more efficient and they eventually reached the point where they didn't need to sleep anymore. I had noticed that Gamble had referenced Koontz in Let It Bleed, so I was wondering if she was a fan and had gotten the idea from this book.
etheldred
# etheldred 2012-10-27 21:28
That's interesting, about the Koontz book. Thanks, maybe I'll look it up some day.

I do agree that there are real problems in extrapolating what Sam's reactions might be at this point in canon; I do think they've tended to tell Sam's story more allegorically, and Dean's more in the manner of the traditional novel, and that this can cause real difficulties if they decide to switch or balance modes. And Sam, on the human level, has become a much more reserved character than he used to be -- it's revealing that we haven't really seen him laugh or cry since Dean's death in s3. I think that, in itself, is a plausible human response, but it does make it way too easy for the writers to make Sam opaque and lose track of the fact that they need to have an imaginative idea of what's going on behind his defenses. We end up getting our insight into Sam mostly in intense doses where we are actually trapped in his head, like 6.22.

I don't think Carver has an easy task, but I would be much more hopeful if he seemed to conceptualize it in terms of "how do we imagine the headspace of the guy who has experienced these things." If I were suddenly made showrunner for the day, I might try, fairly early in the season, giving an episode that used the genre possibilities for getting this kind of insight: truth curse is too crude, but something like an AU, or a djinn vision type thing, or a monster that used memories. They've done that with Dean, quite effectively: the djinn sequence in 6.1 tied his fears with Lisa and Ben to the trauma of his family's past. Something like that could work as a kind of airlock of subjectivity (to muddle my metaphors) to make the transition from more allegorical Sam to more psychological realist Sam. Because it feels like what's happening at the moment is that Carver is (and fair enough) dissatisfied with the allegorical Sam mode, but it feels like he's responding by reverting back to Sam the last time his story was told that way, rather than imagining how Sam might be represented that way now.
cd28
# cd28 2012-10-27 21:53
The book's title was Midnight. If I recall correctly, the characters quoted some research about sleep and emotions. I have no idea if the research was real, but it would be interesting to investigate.

I agree with what you're saying here. I've had a lot of problems with some of the things I've heard coming out of Sam's mouth this season. It's not satisfying from a fan perspective to see Sam seemingly revert to such an earlier stage. But then maybe what we're seeing isn't 100% correct yet.

In Carver's defense, I'll give him credit for realizing that "nothing affects Sam" is not an acceptable way to write the character, so it seems like he is trying. And I do like seeing Sam speaking up for himself again lately - something I haven't seen much of in the past couple of years.
percysowner
# percysowner 2012-10-27 19:02
I will hate it if they are simply resetting Sam. If someone is a show runner, they should be willing to deal with the history of the character, not just wave their hands and say too confusing. Or if they want a reset, then good old fashioned amnesia does the trick and doesn't leave your audience scratching their heads and getting mad.

I too would like to see the interview where Carver said that Sam's history is too confusing. That opinion would certainly explain some of how Sam is being treated and if he really feels that way and we are never going to get a coherent explanation of Sam and his actions, I don't think I can continue. I want the story of Sam and Dean kept as maturing from their respective experiences, not the story of Dean and his friends and Sam the useless brother with no past, no present outside of how Dean views him and really no future, except to either be written out or to simply cave to what Dean wants, no questions asked.
KELLY
# KELLY 2012-10-27 20:39
I'm still giving them the benefit of the doubt on Sam's story, especially since we haven't even had a Edlund episode yet and he has a tendency to write a lot of the mythology episode. I admit this one doesn't look like a mythology one, but you can never tell with him.

Regardless, I have to agree that Sam not relating with any of the characters, even when he is the one that definitely should, is incredibly frustrating. Even in episode 8.1, JC had Dean give Kevin the suck it up speech and Sam didn't say anything really, even though he had also lost a girlfriend to a demon. When Dean left the car I really thought that it was going to happen, but no.

And thinking over the past couple years, I can't remember think of one time where Sam related to a victim or victim's family member. In fact, besides Cas the only people he's related he's related to was Amy and she was the monster and was promptly killed by Dean.

Like you mentioned etheldred, all the conversations were with Dean. That definitely used to be more balanced. I did like the conversation you mentioned between Cas and Sam. I would like it if they became closer as well. Since they should be able to relate. And I don't want to be a Sam girl here but it would be nice if he had a firmer connection to someone other than Dean, who has potential to remain on the show. Especially since Dean has made yet another new bond, although I don't see this one going well.

But since vampires don't HAVE to kill to survive and aren't inherently evil, if he is popular enough he might stick around for awhile.
etheldred
# etheldred 2012-10-27 20:54
To prove I am not totally negative and can be optimistic


SPOILER COMING


it's reported that Sam and Cas are interacting more in the upcoming Cas episodes, and I am very much looking forward to that. I really enjoyed the dynamic between soulless!Sam and Cas, and was sorry there wasn't more interaction and reaction after Sam was resouled, but Sam reaching out to Cas in 7.1 and seeing the parallels in their stories, and their conversation at the end of the season, were some of my favorite s7 moments, and I'm delighted that Carver seems to be planning to continue the trend of having them relate more.
RMF
# RMF 2012-10-27 23:30
Quote:
"One of the things that struck me, and I think it’s almost inevitable when you’re doing a genre show, is sometimes a show gets buried under the weight of its own mythology. And particularly with the brothers, if you zero in on someone like Sam, that guy has so much stuff — the wall’s up, the wall’s down. It gets a little confusing, even to me as I was catching up, exactly what is happening. So I think one of the things I thought was maybe we can pull back on the mythology and instead start a new myth story this year. Obviously we’re not disregarding anything from the past, but at least from the get-go, we’re starting everyone off on a new ride that hopefully lasts two, three, whatever many seasons."
I don't have a problem with this statement as far as it goes. I can understand his urge to move on from the "wall" story and break new ground, because the story should have been dealt with in the season in which it was featured. However, throwing Sam's character arc out the window with both hands so he can position the players in their proper starting positions for the season isn't the answer either. Judging by what I've seen so far on screen this season, Carver is using this "confusion" to justify drawing a big ol' line through whatever doesn't fit his story arc. It's quite surprising from such an able writer, but then even able writers get tunnel vision.

Quote:
I did like the conversation you mentioned between Cas and Sam. I would like it if they became closer as well. Since they should be able to relate. And I don't want to be a Sam girl here but it would be nice if he had a firmer connection to someone other than Dean, who has potential to remain on the show. Especially since Dean has made yet another new bond, although I don't see this one going well. 
I too liked the Sam-Cas conversation. It made sense that Sam would forgive Cas, because he knows very well what it's like to go dark side trying to do the right thing. I also fancy the idea that even though Dean is the brother Castiel gloms onto first, he could also unexpectedly build a strong bond with the other brother, the "abomination", while trying to recover from his own mistakes. Speaking of parallels, there is a strong potential one between Sam's dealings with Ruby and Dean's relationship with Benny. Just as there was a definite temptation for Sam to put a positive spin on Ruby's actions, so is there for Dean with Benny, because otherwise Dean may have done a bad, bad thing. Maybe it's the cynic in me, but I like the idea that if you play with fire, you get burned. If they're serious about maturing Sam rather than just making him indifferent, then Sam should have some wisdom to offer Dean about getting played by the dark side. If we're unlucky, however, it'll be no more than Sam yelling at Dean for fraternizing with vampires, and we'll have wandered off into artsy-fartsy territory where monsters are now all shades of gray.
percysowner
# percysowner 2012-10-27 23:56
I don't mind the idea that some monsters are shades of gray. The show has played with that over the years. I do mind that every time Sam sees shades of gray he gets burnt and every time Dean makes a distinction, we never see it going off the rails. I hope that Benny burns Dean. I'm afraid that Sam is going to warn Dean about the dangers of going to the dark side to do right things and then he will be totally completely wrong and look like a bad guy because he didn't trust huggable Benny. Many people worry that Benny will be a repeat of Ruby. Although I don't want a complete repeat, I also don't want Dean to be the brother who is always right about who to kill and who to let go, and Sam to be the brother who is always, always wrong.
etheldred
# etheldred 2012-10-28 06:51
"I can understand his urge to move on from the "wall" story and break new ground, because the story should have been dealt with in the season in which it was featured."

That's a yes and no for me. The Wall story, yes. But Sam's experience should still be part of him, and discernibly so. The main arc of Sam and Dean dealing with their upbringing and different takes on John was in s1, but it's come up constantly since then, because that's not something you sort tidily away and never circle back to again. The main arc of Dean's hell aftermath was in s4 (and I agree with those who feel it could have been handled much, much better), but it didn't end there. It's persisted, in Dean's increased drinking, in his tendency to sleep clothed on top of the covers, in his attitudes to torture and demons, in direct and indirect allusion.

I don't want another season of Wall aftermath as Sam's arc, but I do want to see Sam's experiences -- all of his experiences -- permeate his character and reactions. Sam and Dean had different years and those years changed them has been the point Carver has been drumming home. Apart from my major practical gripe with that line of thinking -- that the greatest unexplained anomaly in Sam's behavior occurred at the very beginning of that year, and can't be explained by the events that followed it -- it feels like Carver is shirking his job by exploring only the impact of the material he controls, rather than the cumulative impact of everything up to now, the story he's inherited.


As for Benny, I think that the darker shades of hunting and the lighter shades of monsters have been one of Spn's most longstanding and successful themes, myself, and I hope that Benny does have shades of grey. The capacity of Sam, Dean, and Cas to cross over into elements of monstrousness themselves and come back loses meaning for me if that's a privilege they get as Our Heroes and not a possibility that we can see on the other side of the fence, in monsters with the desire or potential for humanity.

But if they reduce Sam's complex and hard won history of identification and sometimes overidentifcati on with monsters, struggling with his own monstrousness, and belief in the possibility of change to "How dare you associate with a vampire," I will indeed be upset. I don't so far see Benny as Ruby-like in the sense of having a clear game and deliberately playing Dean, though obviously he used Dean in his escape. What I would like is to see Benny as a temptation to Dean to escape back into the the parts of purgatory that were easier for him than life topside: the "pure" world where you do what you have to do and bond with the person you are doing it with, rather than the world where there are always questions and you and your partner have different wants and different goals.

Just as with Sam and Ruby, the ultimate fight shouldn't be about getting duped into evil plans (after all, the duping was on all sides in s4), but about holding onto humanity. Ruby tricking Sam into starting the apocalypse, for all its impact, was really incidental: Ruby tempting Sam into undermining his own humanity with addiction, with arrogance and the craving for power, and with goal-driven ruthlessness was the real problem. But Benny eroding Dean's humanity and Sam standing in opposition to that can coexist with Benny having shades of grey. I don't need him to be a bad guy in the sense of having an agenda, I just need him to be problematic in Dean's own internal struggles, and I need Dean's struggle to be Dean to be the crux of it for Sam, not the question of whether they can trust a vampire.
RMF
# RMF 2012-10-28 17:56
I like the toughness of the idea that the only choices available to Dean in Purgatory were bad ones, and he just had to knuckle down and pick one if he were ever to get out of there. And there will be consequences. Every time prior to this, when someone has crossed a line, there's been a price to pay. John paid a price, Sam paid a price, Castiel paid a price, and Dean himself paid a price. I don't know what form the consequences may take; unlike Ruby, Benny may not have had any intention of manipulating Dean into anything other than helping him escape and allowing him to stay alive. There is the possibility that Benny will or has already backslid, and Dean may be tempted to minimize, excuse, or cover up for his pal's actions, leaving him at odds with the hunter community. Or, as suggested, he may be drawn to the simplicity of his interactions with Benny and lose perspective on what his real goals ought to be. There are probably multiple things that can go wrong.

On the other hand, I would have a problem with Dean magically running into the one vampire in Purgatory who can be trusted and who will keep his promise to toe the line topside. I dread a scenario like the one percysowner describes, in which Sam's input is valueless and hypocritical, and Benny must be embraced because we the audience need to be taught a lesson in shades of gray for its own sake. That's the territory I just don't want to head into.
lala2
# lala2 2012-10-27 17:14
I agree w/you both. I, personally, felt bad for Jared in a lot of the interviews he's done b/c it's felt like he's been scrambling to come up w/motivations for his character or for anything to say about his character. It's gotta be hard to sell "nothing."

Nothing seems to be going on w/Sam. I can't say I'm shocked. Well, I guess I am surprised that they're not even giving him the "appearance" of a story. I'm sorry about his life w/Amelia is not a story. And AFAIC, we have not rec'd (and probably won't get) an adequate explanation for Sam "giving up" on Dean. So far, this story has been a huge failure for me. I didn't like it when I read the spoilers, and it's not playing out any better either!
rubbykri
# rubbykri 2012-10-25 02:16
funny fack... I like it .. I thought the way it was filmed was awesome, the writing and pretty much everything. I do think the performances were a little ..."too much!" but . I thought it was okay. I don't know what is bugging me about this epie because I didn't love it. ... well, I hope when I get to re watch it I'll fall in love. I'm crazy abt next week!!!!!!!!!!! !!!11
Katiki
# Katiki 2012-10-25 02:19
Interesting review. I could not enjoy this episode for the life of me, but I enjoyed reading your points about it. Here's my review:

I have always greatly admired Supernatural's willingness to take risks and film outside the box and they have always pulled it off with flying colours. But this one just didn't work for me. Here's what they could've done to make this episode more appealing to me.

First of all, if you're going to do a "Doctor-Light" episode, then you need to make it something as engrossing and compelling as the Weeping Angels. That is one of my favourite Doctor Who episodes in spite of the fact the Doctor only makes a cameo appearance. But this story was not engrossing or compelling. It was run-of-the-mill werewolf, and the addition of the pure-blood angle was nowhere near enough to make it interesting. Heart, with Madison having to deal with turning into a werewolf, was compelling and heartbreaking stuff. This was not.

Secondly, they should've cut down on the irrelevant non-supernatura l stuff. Taking 10 minutes to set up the characters and the fact they film everything through shots of mundane boring college life was way too long. The tall guy and the girl should've already been in a relationship so we don't have to sit through them meeting and hooking up, and it should start with them helping the short guy with his film project and immediately stumbling on the crime scene and Sam and Dean. We could've gotten to know them as the story unfolded. For example they could've easily shown the short guy's feelings of inadequacy while they're shadowing Sam and Dean, like the tall guy easily jumping a fence and the short guy having a hard time getting over it.

Thirdly, there was way too much teen angst, it was really getting on my nerves. I think this concept would've worked a lot better with some humour rather than wall-to-wall over-the-top emo drama. One part I did like is when they are at first treating the tall guy's new-found strength as an alien-induced superpower.

Fourthly, they should've maximized the presence of Sam and Dean for what little time they were there. Almost every time we did see them, they were far away and their voices were often distant as well. They practically could've just used their body doubles for those. For what time Jared and Jensen were on set, they should've been interacting with the students a lot more, like catching them spying on them and things like that, so we're actually getting some Sam and Dean up close and personal instead of just glimpsing them in the distance. They also could've been doing much more interesting things than just sitting around eating and looking at papers, or asking routine questions. They at least could've been breaking into the morgue or stalking in the woods at night. This could've lent to some entertaining encounters with the college students.

Fifthly, I think a golden opportunity to see Sam and Dean through outsider POV was completely lost here. Other than a funny reference to a "workplace romance" (which was way off the mark anyway) the students don't actually discover anything about the boys other than that they're hunters posing as FBI agents. The short guy is a hacker. They could've done research on the boys and found out all kinds of interesting things about them, as well as spying on them, and we could've found out what a hunter's life looks like through their eyes. And this could've made us feel like the episode still contained Sam and Dean, because even if they weren't there on screen they would've been discussed and analyzed. Instead, it was all about these three characters who are total strangers to me, all about their angsty issues, and I just never grew to care about them at all. In spite of all the time used to set them up, I didn't even retain their names.

Finally, though the amateur camera work was part of the concept, it got to be too amateurish. They were cutting off heads (and not in the good way, with spraying blood and all) and jerking around to the point where it got distracting. It's natural when they're in the middle of some violent action, but they were even doing it when they were just talking. Okay, we know these are amateurs using hand-held cameras, we get it. Now make them better amateurs. This guy is supposed to be able to make a movie for Chuck's sake, and the girl is supposed to be all camera-savvy.

Ghostfacers had a very similar concept to this, but it succeeded where this one failed (for me anyway.) Although I also felt Ghostfacers took a little too long to set up the characters in the beginning, it was done in an amusing way, and once the action started it was highly entertaining. It was funny, scary, dramatic and jam-packed with non-stop action. And I cared about the characters, they were colourful and endearing. And I enjoyed seeing Sam and Dean through their eyes.

I have loved all of Robbie Thompson's scripts up until this one, and I'm sure I will love his work again in the future. They can't all be winners. This is obviously a love-it-or-hate -it script, so at least it was a winner for some people.
Bamboo24
# Bamboo24 2012-10-25 04:15
I think one of the main differences between Ghostfacers and this episode is that Ghostfacers was intended to be comedic. There were serious moments in the episodes, but for the most part, the kids were like caricatures. They were there to be the butt of jokes and the fun, and because of that, we didn't need so much backstory. THIS episode was very different, in that it was intended to be serious. There were very few, if any, "ha, ha" moments in this episode. And in order to take these characters seriously, you needed a lot more backstory and set-up. Also, since they were the focus of the episode, there needed to be a connection with the audience. We needed to understand the nature of their relationships with each other as well as their motivations. And the only way to make that connection was to give a well-rounded introduction to the characters, which I think they did.

As far as the "Teen Angst" goes - I totally get where you're coming from, but from my very limited experience watching horror movies, and Paranomal Activity specifically, this is par for the course in terms of genre.
Ripley2win
# Ripley2win 2012-10-25 08:17
Thank you for putting into better words my feelings for this episode.

IT was a HUGE negative for me that they took so freaking long to get to the MOTW point, 10 or 12 minutes. By the time they finished establishing the characters I no longer gave a crap.
ciar
# ciar 2012-10-25 08:31
Thanks for your detailed comment-review, it very much summed up how I felt about this episode.
Rosetta
# Rosetta 2012-10-25 12:21
Hey, you just put into words what I've been trying to say! Except that I found the plot very poorly-written, to be fair. We have wonderful writers on this show, and all the episodes Robbie Thompson wrote before were at least kind of good, but that one was a total miss for me. I really think it was the worst episode the show ever did! And I'm not even complaining about the lack of Sam and Dean, that was the idea anyway and I loved the concept, I thought it would be great. I think my expectations might have been to high. It was a waste of time for me, by the first commercial I felt like giving up on the episode already. The characters were not compelling, the girl was downright annoying and the storyline made me cringe. Predictable. Werewolves can be interesting too, you know? The show has done it before!
I think that the least this kind of episode had to have was the horror aspect. It needed to be scary, it needed to make you think and you it should scare the s*** out of you. It just didn't, at all. I was yawning and thinking why they decided to produce and film such an episode. I love that they take risks, I just think they took it too far this time.
I wish I could see it like many people here seem to have seen it. Making parallels with Sam's story, I just don't see, I don't think even re-watching will solve that. I think it's mainly because the characters were so stupid teenagers that it made me want to cry, because this show did so many wonderful things before!
This season was perfect for me up to this point. I need the next episode to be great to make up for it. Clear and simple, not even Dean's worry about saying awesome too much made it up to me. I was already too upset about the episode to care! xD
I'd just like to add I loved Ghostfacers and I don't have a problem with the concept. I loved the idea at first, it just didn't reach any of my expectations
Bevie
# Bevie 2012-10-25 16:16
Terrific post and if they had used your ideas I would have loved this episode instead of being completely indifferent to it.

Completely agree with this. You should be on their writing team just to keep them on the right track. :-)
kaylee
# kaylee 2012-10-26 09:05
Katiki, you bring up some interesting points! Agreed with you that the ep was heavy on the teen angst, but I still really enjoyed it, despite the simplistic plot.

Quote:
They also could've been doing much more interesting things than just sitting around eating and looking at papers, or asking routine questions. They at least could've been breaking into the morgue or stalking in the woods at night. This could've lent to some entertaining encounters with the college students.
Yeah, I was thinking this as well. I’d fully expected to see S&D staking out those woods the night Michael killed that jock. Opportunity missed, for sure.

Quote:

They could've done research on the boys and found out all kinds of interesting things about them, as well as spying on them, and we could've found out what a hunter's life looks like through their eyes. And this could've made us feel like the episode still contained Sam and Dean, because even if they weren't there on screen they would've been discussed and analyzed.
I feel like we get enough of that in the forums. ;)

No, in all honesty, you’re right, they did miss an opportunity for what could’ve been some really interesting meta-commentary. At the same time though, I wonder how they would’ve handled it without it becoming really unrealistic. One of the things I enjoyed about the episode is that the kids were so self-absorbed that we only got to see the bits of S&D that were directly relevant to them. They were completely wrapped up in their own lives, their own situations (just like normal teenagers), that I could see why investigating two strangers (even strangers who pose as FBI agents and talk about mayan gods) would just seem unappealing. They only cared about S&D as it related directly to their own contexts.

Quote:
Finally, though the amateur camera work was part of the concept, it got to be too amateurish. They were cutting off heads (and not in the good way, with spraying blood and all) and jerking around to the point where it got distracting. It's natural when they're in the middle of some violent action, but they were even doing it when they were just talking. Okay, we know these are amateurs using hand-held cameras, we get it. Now make them better amateurs. This guy is supposed to be able to make a movie for Chuck's sake, and the girl is supposed to be all camera-savvy.
Actually, I thought the camera work was one of the best things about the episode, and I normally avoid hand-cam movies. I think they (”they” meaning the director/editor /whoever was in charge of setting up these shots) made a great distinction between the kids using the cameras for filming vs just holding them, using them as extensions of their bodies. A great example of this was in the very beginning, when Kate first met the boys — she was in film-mode, keeping focus on Michael, steadying the camera with her hand, and meanwhile Michael was completely focused on Kate and seemed like he’d completely forgotten he was holding a camera.

It gave the impression that these kids just carry these cameras around and film themselves ALL the time. (I mean, duh. Kate took it into the bathroom with her, for pete’s sake.) But I liked that the camera work was shakier the more emotionally distraught they were. It made sense to me. It would’ve seemed odd had they been in film-mode and focused on making a movie the whole time. Loved that moment towards the end with Brian just thrusting the camera at Michael’s face, shouting, “You think I hide behind this? I hide behind you!”

I think they made great use of reflections in glass and mirrors, too, and of moments where they’d just drop the camera down in a ‘random’ spot and have it pick up a great shot. It seems like an awful lot of work and planning went into making this ‘found footage’ seamless, but I don’t know. I’m not at all familiar with the genre. I’ve only ever seen Blair Witch, which I hated and made me motion-sick.

Jensen’s said in a recent interview, “Make sure everybody writes in and says 'We want more found footage episodes.'" Haha. I think that’s unlikely. I don’t want any more episodes like this, but I thought it was brilliant as a one-off.
Kylie
# Kylie 2012-10-25 04:59
Very nice review :)
Can someone tell me what the sentence - ""Clear eyes, clogged arteries, can't lose."" mean?
meagan
# meagan 2012-10-25 10:57
Quote:
Very nice review :)
Can someone tell me what the sentence - ""Clear eyes, clogged arteries, can't lose."" mean?
Hi Kylie,

It's a reference to a TV show, Friday Night Lights. The Dillon football team's motto is 'Clear eyes, full hearts, can't lose.'
Geordiegirl1967
# Geordiegirl1967 2012-10-25 05:39
Hated this ep. Just dull, dull, dull. Didn't care about the characters, found footage has been so overused it has lost all its effectiveness/o riginality, the shaky camerawork was annoying in the extreme, and - my main criticism - it wasn't an episode of SPN.

SPN is Sam and Dean's story. Without them or any other character we recognise; Bobby, Cas, even Garth or Frank, there was no connection between the audience and the characters they care about. So the whole thing was hugely unengaging.

Decision to put this so early in the season was a bad one. We have lost all the momentum set up for the main story arcs in eps 1 and 2, then we had an ep that was supposed to focus on the emotional story arc - the motivations of the brothers. But that one fell flat for me too as I don't believe in the actions of either brother (particularly Sam) or in the way they are depicting their relationship (cold, and like Sam doesn't care, or even actively resents, that Dean is back). Then we have this one that doesn't advance any element of the SPN story at all - as ep 4. Big mistake IMO. I will be interested to see how big our 2nd half hour drop off in ratings is. IMO we are totally squandering the huge opportunity to attract new viewers that Arrow is giving us. I mean seriously - even those who loved this ep might acknowledge that it is hardly one that would pull in a neutral. And if it did won't they be surprised when they tune in next week! They'll be all 'who are those 2 guys?'
percysowner
# percysowner 2012-10-25 13:23
I could not agree more about the timing of the episode. We still have not seen everything that took place in Purgatory. We still have had almost no insight into Sam's year alone. We don't know what happened to Castiel. We don't know about Dean's new BFF, but they throw a totally stand alone episode that has nothing to do with the current mytharc or the badly needed character insight HERE in episode 4. In the back half where we have had more feel for what the heck is going on with Sam and Dean, okay. Now just seems off.
Ginger
# Ginger 2012-10-25 07:07
This may be the worst SPN episode ever.

I don't know these characters.

I don't care a thing about cardboard teenage characters.

I don't care a thing about sympathetic monsters and, quite frankly, I think we've seen enough of that in S6 and S7. The show is about hunting monsters, about good and evil and overcoming evil. So, Kate is a human Lucky the dog. Let me say this again, I don't care.

Overall unimpressed with the dialogue. "You've never been in love." Seriously, Robbie?

The jumping camera work in the first 20-30 minutes was so distracting, I couldn't even understand the dialogue.

If the jumping camera didn't give you a headache, the Dean/Benny anvils should have.

Wasn't at all impressed with the three teenage actors.

I think this little 'risk' was a terrible mistake (and I loved Ghostfacers). New night, good lead-in, and if I were a new viewer trying SPN out for the first time this season, between last week and this week, I wouldn't be back. I expect next week's viewership to be down, as viewership is usually affected by what went before.

I'm really feeling major disappointment in Carver and S8 at the moment, and other than 8.05, the spoilers aren't giving me a lot of hope that things will get better. *sigh*

Jeremy, this is NOT the way to repair fan relations.
etheldred
# etheldred 2012-10-25 09:07
" The show is about hunting monsters, about good and evil and overcoming evil."

I couldn't disagree with that more, actually. The ambiguities and grey areas of hunting have been a big part of Spn from the very beginning. If it were a show about good hunters overcoming evil monsters, it would be infinitely less interesting to me. The fact that Sam and Dean have both questioned the role of hunter and identified with the role of monster at various points has added greatly to the depth and richness of the characters and the show's moral universe.

Agree that this season is disappointing, though.
Ginger
# Ginger 2012-10-25 10:57
You take my words too literally. I'm all for ambiguitities and gray areas. I am an intelligent viewer, after all, and actually expect that from a TV show. But this was not an intelligent script done with good, solid acting. It was a script about cardboard TV teenagers with cardboard college student dialogue, with the twist that one was unwillingly changed into a monster, one insisted on it, and Kate was so in love with her 'man,' the one she met...what...tw o or three days before, that she was willing to cover up, hide, and live with a monster who had killed a human and ate its organ.

I am not in favor of episodes being dedicated to support characters that we have never seen before and, in all liklihood, will never see again. (I have heard that Kate is recurring, but don't know that to be a fact.)

I am tired of sympathetic monsters, although I did like some of them in the past (Jack Montgomery in Metamorphorsis, the feral girl in Family Remains for instance.) I even particularly like when the MotW story is an analogy for one or the other of the brothers, if it is well done (as it was in the early seasons).

Do not take that to mean that I didn't like it because it was Sam/Dean-lite. I loved Ghostfacers for the simple fact that it was well done. It was also from an outsider POV and, in being so, it contrasted civilian wannabe hunters from the hardened experienced Winchesters very nicely. I liked The Real Ghostbusters for the same reason, despite Becky Rosen.

What is infinitely interesting to me when I watch a show is to see the humanity in it. I want to see humans being special in that they are something more than monsters. I want to see that there is a possibility of good triumping over evil and that that can be done by mere mortal humans. I want to see what makes human human. I want to see that humans can achieve something, despite their fears and insecurities. A monster achieving all that they can be in spite of their basic tendencies is not a story that interests me.

Any depth and richness of Sam and Dean's characters was achieved years ago. I expect Carver to bring that back and even add to it this year. It won't be done with epsiodes like this one, and there wasn't the slightest intention of that being done in this one other than the Benny anvils. I prefer that he get on with it and don't waste any more of the 23 we got this season.
percysowner
# percysowner 2012-10-25 13:34
I have seen one site making analogies between Sam and Dean and these characters. I was, too put it mildly, infuriated by their interpretation. Short version Dean=Michael with a monster inside that he isn't responsible for and wants to control, Sam=Brian wanting power and willing to kill his BFF/Brother figure and then force an innocent to become a monster. Reviewer then went on to say that no she didn't mean Sam was as bad as Brian, but you know he's still the mirror of Brian murderer/rapist.

So Kate could be recurring. I suppose that could make this episode relevant. I didn't hate her, so I'm willing to wait and see.
E
# E 2012-10-25 16:12
If I was going to connect any of the characters we saw in this episodes with the brothers it would be a connection between Kate and Sam.....
percysowner
# percysowner 2012-10-25 13:26
I will give Kate a little credit, she really hasn't killed any humans yet and she has a viable plan to not kill them. Lucky the dog killed three people and we were supposed to sympathize with him. I HATE and LOATH Lucky the dog. I don't want to see Kate again, but I'm more sympathetic to her than I am towards Lucky.
NOLANOLA
# NOLANOLA 2012-10-26 13:03
CO-SIGNED MISS GINGER. NUFF SAID.
Sylvie
# Sylvie 2012-10-25 08:30
I rather did like this episode. I'm a fan of the "Cloverfield", "Blair Witch" type movies, so it was kind of fun to watch. Yes, it was a little light on Sam & Dean, but I did enjoy the times we did see them. Good point Ardeo about them talking about matter of fact things just two feet away from people. Here's a clue, they can hear you! I loved the throwback to the whole monster/human thing. That's been Sam's thing all along. You may be a monster, but you can still be human. And yes, I am glad they decided to let the girl live.
ciar
# ciar 2012-10-25 08:40
I found this episode frustrating and boring. I actually started doing other things while it was playing in the background - normally, I give even poor episodes of SPN more attention than I gave this.

I liked the Ghostfacers ep from seasons past but, even with some similarities between it and this week's episode, I couldn't get interested in this episode. @Katiki's review in the comments above sums up my problems with this episode and @Geordiegirl196 7 and @Ginger's comments also mirror my thoughts about it.

I watch Supernatural for the story of Sam and Dean, not for filler episodes about random characters. I understand that the show runners like to try new things from time to time, but, for me, this one didn't work :/

I prefer to be spoiler-free for SPN and, after this week's episode, I'm desperately hoping for an episode I can get my teeth into next week :D
Nemi
# Nemi 2012-10-25 08:45
I didn't hate it, but I wasn't blown away, either. It was just okay. I think I would have enjoyed it more if there had been something more interesting between the teens than just a simple love triangle. That made the story a little too predictable, so I wish there had been a little more creativity with that. Otherwise, it was good enough.
Stephanie
# Stephanie 2012-10-25 09:03
I'm divided about this episode. I thought the concept was really interesting and it was neat to have an outsiders view of the boys, but, I didn't think the actors playing the college students were very good so I wound up not really caring about them the way I should for the storyline to pay off. The only one I sorta liked was Michael, but not really enough to care about him.

It also bothered me that those kids took the cameras EVERYWHERE. I mean, in the bathroom when she's flipping out over being bitten? Really? I just thought that was ridiculous.

And finally, I was disappointed that we got absolutely nothing about Dean's time in Purgatory or Sam's year off. I would have liked to have seen that story move along a bit more. Especially Sam, since we've only gotten a short glimpse of him.

So, for me, the concept was good, but the execution, not so much.
hedi
# hedi 2012-10-25 09:17
Nice take on episode.
well , I got to say , this wasn't my favorite episode of SPN , since ghostfacers wasn't a favorite one for me either. but i'm with you on taking risks and all and doing something completely different. I just think it was too early for this episode. we are on episode 4 and things about Sam and Dean lives are getting complicated and then BOO! we have this out-of-ordinary episode.
no matter how good it was , i just feel like we shouldn't have this episode at this stage of the season. maybe on episode 14 or 15 or something.
promo for next week looks pretty awesome though! Can't wait.
Amy
# Amy 2012-10-25 09:18
I simply can't enjoy any of the episodes knowing - or is it NOT knowing anything about Sam. All i can think is yet another wasted opportunity to tell us something about Sam. To get inside his head. Heck even for Sam to have a meaningful conversation where another charector asks Sam the questions..or point out things to him that the fandom is already discussing amongst itself.

I fear Carver has plans for Sam's story but he's taking so long to actually tell it that ultimately between Dean, purgatory, Castiel, Benny, Kevin and the random filler that he will simply run out of time.

I need Sam to have a relationship with a charector that allows me to get inside Sam's headspace...his heart. His soul. And if Dean (the only charector Sam is allowed to interact with cause its looking like Ameila might actually be imaginary) doesn't talk to Sam, ask the questions we all are asking...As a viewer, I see this relationship as useless.
Scullspeare
# Scullspeare 2012-10-25 09:43
I'm a fan of Robbie Thompson and love that even after eight seasons, SPN continues to think outside the box but this one fell flat for me.

I liked the hand-held camera found footage approach but that couldn't overcome the episode's biggest weakness - the three main characters. If you're going to sideline your stars and turn the spotlight on three previously unknown characters, you have to make me care about them, or at least be emotionally invested. I didn't, and I wasn't.

Is that possible in such a short time? Yes. I recently started watching The Walking Dead. In the first episode of Season 1, about 10 minutes in, after listening to Shane blather on about women and light switches, I remember thinking, "I hope somebody eats this guy." Then I smiled - that was good acting and writing; less than ten minutes into a show, they had already elicited an emotional reaction from me.

That didn't happen last night. For me, the inexperience of the three young actors became more and more apparent as the episode played out. They had some good moments - and cut into a more traditional format, I think those would have shone and the weakness been less evident - but by the time the climactic scene began, I couldn't see past the puppet strings. I was watching three actors running lines rather than three scared kids fighting for their lives.

I applaud SPN for taking the risk but this was a big disappointment.
eilf
# eilf 2012-10-25 09:56
I am not a huge fan of shaky-cam movies but having said that I thought this episode was a well done one. It was interesting to see the hunters from an outsiders point of view. I think there are other ways of doing that as well and I hope that the writers take another pass at this idea at some point - but with standard camera-work!
For me the acting was fine and the 'studentness' of the students was sadly very believable...

Actually the most awkward acting was Sam and Dean in the last scene. It surprised me a little - but I think when I go back and take another look at it it is going to be that their decision to let her go is rushed and awkward (and they both do it while not looking at each other) because Dean is justifying his deal with Benny, and Sam thinks that Dean has realized that he made the wrong decision about Amy - and boy is Sam going to be pissed next week when he realizes the truth!
Should lead to even more sparks than we were previously expecting.
st50
# st50 2012-10-25 10:08
I've not read all the comments here, so forgive me if this is repetitious.
I resent the implication (here, on twitter and on other sites) that, for people who don't like this episode, it's mainly because of screen time for S&D. SO not true. I may be shallow, but not that shallow.....Unl ike last week (where we were led to epect a Sam fb episode), what we saw is what we expected to see. 95% kids. Got it. Not disappointed about that. I have no problem with a S&D light episode, when it's done well.
Getting an outside monster POV would've been great. I've been waiting for more of that for quite a while. But not in this manner, thanks. I'm still waiting for a good view from that side.
The shaky cam thing, college kid love triangle.... Not for me. I've never seen any of that type of movie because I dislike it intensely, and that's not what I came to love Supernatural for. It may take some skill to pull off, but the changing camera angles, supposedly edited in by these kids to look that way, is ridiculous. Never worked in the movies, doesn't work here.
Plot was intensely weak and predictable. Geeky guy loves the girl that jock guy gets. Sets out to get 'what he's got' and win the girl. Fails horribly..... I expect better from Supernatural. Parallels were stretched between Amy and Sam and Dean, but, again (unlike last week, where I thought some folks were really stretching for symbolism), this one seemed to want to slam the viewer in the face with them.
Sorry for the negativism, but I'm starting to view this season as "Season Not-So-Gr8".
Hope they get back soon to what they do best.
LEAH D
# LEAH D 2012-10-25 10:55
Hi st50, Just wanted to pop back on and say, since I used the expression S&D lite, that I was completely talking about myself being a little disappointed because of that. I AM that shallow. I have trouble enjoying the episodes where S&D are mostly MIA. I did like this one though but I had to work up to giving it a chance. Anyhow it always turns out there are people who like and dislike every episode. I am always interested in reading the comments pro or con. I agree that they should do what they do best :)
st50
# st50 2012-10-25 12:07
Quote:
Hi st50, Just wanted to pop back on and say, since I used the expression S&D lite, that I was completely talking about myself being a little disappointed because of that. I AM that shallow. I have trouble enjoying the episodes where S&D are mostly MIA. I did like this one though but I had to work up to giving it a chance. Anyhow it always turns out there are people who like and dislike every episode. I am always interested in reading the comments pro or con. I agree that they should do what they do best :)
Hi Leah D.
I hadn't read your comment when I'd posted mine. I appreciate your response, and regret my choice of words. Sorry for the slight. Not intentional.
LEAH D
# LEAH D 2012-10-25 12:18
st50, No slight at all!!! Just making sure you didn't think I was implying anything.
Ardeospina
# Ardeospina 2012-10-25 11:10
st50, if you read back through my review, you'll notice that I said "some" people wouldn't like it because Sam and Dean weren't in it that much. I don't think that's an implication that everyone who doesn't like the episode didn't like it for that reason. Sorry if you felt lumped into that category, but that wasn't the intention.

Also, people not liking an episode because Sam and Dean aren't in it enough for them isn't necessarily shallow, just a different taste. Please try not to label other viewers.
st50
# st50 2012-10-25 11:15
Quote:
st50, if you read back through my review, you'll notice that I said "some" people wouldn't like it because Sam and Dean weren't in it that much. I don't think that's an implication that everyone who doesn't like the episode didn't like it for that reason. Sorry if you felt lumped into that category, but that wasn't the intention.

Also, people not liking an episode because Sam and Dean aren't in it enough for them isn't necessarily shallow, just a different taste. Please try not to label other viewers.
I apologize for that. You're right. I'd edit my comment if I knew how.
percysowner
# percysowner 2012-10-25 13:40
If you are logged in the same way as when you first posted, under your post is a little notebook and paper icon. If you click that, you can edit your post. At least that's how it works for me.
Ardeospina
# Ardeospina 2012-10-25 22:29
No problem, and thank you for the apology.

If you'd like me to edit your post for you, I can. It seems like that's a probable yes, but I just wanted to check with you first since it's not bad enough to need an automatic admin edit.

Or what percysowner said! My editing tools are different!
st50
# st50 2012-10-25 23:25
Go ahead and edit, Ardeospina.
I can't seem to figure it out myself.
Ardeospina
# Ardeospina 2012-10-25 23:29
Will do! Thanks!

Okay, I've edited it a bit, but let me know if you want anything else removed there. Thanks for cooperating with me on this! I hope I didn't go too adminy on you there...
meagan
# meagan 2012-10-25 11:08
Well, I'll pipe up and say that I enjoyed this episode. Were there weaknesses? Yes. I thought the Brian actor was the least believable, especially as he became hysterical. I don't know if that was actor related or writing related---his spin out just seemed a bit too quick.

I enjoyed seeing S/D from an outsiders perspective. I enjoyed the Lord of the Flies subtext. I thought that Kate getting bitten against her will was particularly affecting, and strangely relevant to some things happening in American politics right now.

The other thought I had was that maybe Dean is not only reluctant to kill her because she hasn't killed anything yet--but also because he's *been* to Purgatory. That's where she'd go. How do you think he'd feel sending a petite blonde girl, innocent as of yet, to Purgatory? I wonder how much that kind of thinking will affect him in future episodes.

I'm predicting we'll see Kate again. I'm really interested to see how that pans out!
Lindab30
# Lindab30 2012-10-25 19:53
Meagan, thank you so much for pointing out that Dean may have been thinking about not wanting to send Kate to Purgatory. I never would have thought of that on my own and I think it is a very real possibility. Good job. I really liked this episode a lot and I enjoyed seeing Sam and Dean from the outside. I won't mind it at all if your prediction comes true.
Sylvie
# Sylvie 2012-10-26 09:43
Dean not wanting to send Kate to Purgatory, mmm. Thanks for pointing that out Meagan, that makes perfect sense.
lala2
# lala2 2012-10-25 11:56
I thought the episode picked up some steam toward the end. I greatly enjoyed Ghostfacers and I've watched every single PA movie - the first one being the best and this last one being the worst. I have kind of a "meh" feeling about the episode. It's the same feeling I had for the premiere. Last week's episode was downright bad, and Tiger Mommy was all right/okay. This season is definitely not GR8 to me.

Back to this episode - I found the beginning very boring. As someone mentioned upthread, the set up for the kids was way too long. It just seemed to keep going and going. I found myself bored and waiting to see Sam and Dean show up. There were multiple shots of Brian's sad face as Michael and Kate kissed, etc. "Okay. We get it. He's jealous. Let's move on." I just feel they could have cut that crap and gone straight to the action like Paranormal Activity. And I know I haven't been in college in a while but they behaved more like HS kids than college kids.

Anyway, this season, I have found myself bored during each episode except 8.02. The show will be airing and I find my mind drifting or an urge to flip the station. Oddly enough, that didn't happen for me very often last year. It happened a couple of times (i.e., that episode where that guy killed that dog, TAT, Repo Men). If they cut down all the talk and set up in the start, the episode would have been stronger to me.

I felt bad for Kate and Michael though. I liked those characters. Brian was a loser, but he didn't have much character development. I knew he liked Kate, but he must have secretly resented his friend b/c he turned on Michael rather quickly. They could have set that up a bit better, IMO.

Like I said, I enjoyed Ghostfacers and maybe that's b/c we knew who the main players in Ghostfacers and there was a lot of Sam/Dean in the episode. I didn't hate this episode, but it got off to a very slow start in the beginning. It was okay.
vivian
# vivian 2012-10-25 12:19
Well, the episode was brilliant, IMO. Just saying. I had to say something because I'm beginning to get annoyed about the level of greatness some people are expecting from the show. And all so impatient! This show is wonderful and continues to be wonderful, and original, even in its 8th season. This is comming from someone (me) that gets bored easily and absolutely hates cliches.

I think it is not a cliche to portray a situation that is ordinary, like the 3 college kids, in order to tell a story which center is not, exactly, the 'boring' relationship between the 3. They were normal, ordinary kids in an abnormal scary situation - that was the point.

Also don't think it is repetitive to revisit the same conflict from other perspective, state of mind or life experience. The same person may change his mind and make a total opposite decision depending on these factors. Apparently Dean did! What does it tell you about what he is thinking now?

And it's not strange to me for a person to get through so many things and discover that what he really wanted was what he dreamed about when he was 18, like Sam and his 'normal' life. And then, circunstances change and you also change!
etheldred
# etheldred 2012-10-25 12:39
Well, from the ratings, more viewers seem to have agreed with the negative reviewers than the positive. Not only is Spn down sharply from last week, it lost a lot of viewers between the first and second half hours, which indicates people who were initially interested got bored and switched away.
Ripley2win
# Ripley2win 2012-10-25 12:51
Quote:
Well, from the ratings, more viewers seem to have agreed with the negative reviewers than the positive. Not only is Spn down sharply from last week, it lost a lot of viewers between the first and second half hours, which indicates people who were initially interested got bored and switched away.
Ya think?
fanotheboyz
# fanotheboyz 2012-10-25 13:18
There ya go. And it's not entirely because we're ignorant slobs that can't appreciate artistic interpretation or because we only want S&D time. Thanks for quoting this.
vivian
# vivian 2012-10-25 13:11
I'm not part of the ratings, so I don't know what to say about that.
lala2
# lala2 2012-10-25 13:19
That's not surprising to me. The episode was really boring in the beginning. Nothing happened for about 22 minutes. And then the only thing that "happened" was Sam and Dean showed up. Maybe 5-10 minutes later, the kid got bit. . . . finally!
HADES
# HADES 2012-10-26 08:38
actually the half hour split for the episode was 0.7/0.7 it dropped 300,000 viewers during the episode but stayed the same in the demo.

The 0.3 drop may have had more to do with Arrow fans who sampled the show for the past 2 weeks dropping it. Episode 2 had a lot of viewers around 2.5 million it then dropped to 2.1 million in episode 3 and then to 1.8 million in episode 4. There is a strong possibility that people just arent liking what they're seeing?
percysowner
# percysowner 2012-10-26 09:01
Arrow dropped slightly in the demographic as well. This may all be normal drop off, or it may be because the World Series was our competition this week. Both Arrow and we pull in men 18-49 in about the same proportion as women, unlike the other CW shows and men tend to watch the World Series. In any case, we are still doing well for the CW with only Arrow, TVD, B&TB doing better for scripted shows. And B&TB dropped sharply last week.

In any case it may be just one episode. It was promoted as being very different and I know many people who just don't like shaky cam, so they may have decided to skip the episode based on that.
Sylvie
# Sylvie 2012-10-26 09:46
Thanks for pointing that out. I don't really check on the ratings statistics.

Did anybody notice a flag saying that next weeks SPN would be presented on Saturday November 3 at 8:00 p.m.? This would be the CW's WGN handle. I'm in Montreal, so maybe it's just in the East?
Alice
# Alice 2012-10-26 10:00
I'll chime in here on the ratings. It's a pet interest of mine!

The ratings declined for a few reasons. For one, the World Series was on. Big live audience draw. Arrow declined .2 in the demo, Supernatural .3. When against live sporting events, the later time slots see less viewers as the game progresses.

Second, this episode's promo wasn't that appealing. That means it becomes a "must DVR" episode. When your competition is highly rated shows like "Modern Family" and "Criminal Minds," sometimes the episode promo plays a huge role in what gets watched live and what gets watched by DVR. I'm certain the DVR ratings will be higher. Heck, the season premiere increased 75% when DVR +7 was factored in. That's huge.

I haven't seen the half hour ratings, but Supernatural's ratings traditionally decline in the half hour. It's a problem with most of the CW's 9 pm shows. That's because people tend to change the channel at 9:56, which means the half hour doesn't count.

I can also guarantee that TPTB aren't worried about SPN's ratings. They still at a .7 did way better than all of Friday, Monday, and Tuesday, and tied Beauty and the Beast for last week. It's all good.
judyann
# judyann 2012-10-25 12:42
I really like the eposide, becoming a fan of Robbie Thompson. I have enjoyed most of his eposides. Did miss seeing the "boys" more. The only point of contention I have is the "new" Dean letting Kate go. Doesn't jive with the go get them Dean. But I agree it might be a sign of the end of the season and Dean letting Sam go back to a "normal" life.
fanotheboyz
# fanotheboyz 2012-10-25 13:16
OK, so I'm way down on the list and you're all bored and probably won't even read this, but I gotta say, I also got the feeling that we're just "non-artsy", uneducated idiots if we didn't like this ep.

I didn't like it. I liked YOUR REVIEW of it. I Did! And, I get it. It has merit, but I didn't like it. That's allowed, I hope. Here's why:

Too soon in the season to yank screen time of S&D. Need to see where their heads are. Now, given, they may tie this in when Sam meets Benny. That's a good point, but it's not what I wanted to see.
Also, I absolutely HATE hand-cam shows. Hated Ghostfacers, but I hated the characters there. Here, didn't hate the characters, just didn't care about them enough to want to spend time watching their "how I became a monster" ep unfold.
I totally get that this is a point of view of the "becoming monster". Not saying that's not good. We saw it in Metamorphosis, which I LOVED and it related directly to SAM at the time. Not like I can't appreciate that sort of thing, but this vehicle left me wanting to reach for the dramamine and wait for the second hour, where OUR GUYS assessed the situation, worked through some of it, had a conversation in the Impala about it...something.

So, that's what I didn't like. I appreciate all the artsy fartsy effort, but it's not my cup o tea. I want brother interaction, in-my face character development. Maybe next week.
st50
# st50 2012-10-25 13:22
Quote:
OK, so I'm way down on the list and you're all bored and probably won't even read this, but I gotta say, I also got the feeling that we're just "non-artsy", uneducated idiots if we didn't like this ep.
I'm hearing that kind of thing too. Mostly on twitter and in other reviews, but I have heard the "if you don't get this, you don't get good TV" comments. I guess that's why I've got my dander up over this one.
Shutting up now.
Ardeospina
# Ardeospina 2012-10-25 22:37
Of course you're allowed to like my review even if you didn't like the episode! ;)

I'm not sure where in the review you got the idea that I think people who don't like the episode are uneducated idiots, or are you getting that from comments and other sites or something? Because that's definitely not what I intended!
st50
# st50 2012-10-25 23:28
... I didn't hear it from you, Ardeospina, and I don't think it's on this site anywhere else, but I've definitely heard it - and not just implied, but fairly explicitly stated.
Ardeospina
# Ardeospina 2012-10-25 23:34
Well, that isn't very nice!

Thanks for clearing up that we're not furthering that rudeness on this site, though. We try to run a more welcoming place here, though sometimes things slip through the cracks.
NOLANOLA
# NOLANOLA 2012-10-25 13:22
Cause I love & respect "You People"......An nDRomney Prez Candidates wife in USA; I will read some replys. For NOW my view is: THIS IS THEE WORST EPISODE OF SPN EV-VAH. EVER EVER EVER. MISS NOLA HAS SPOKEN. BBL PEACE.
Bevie
# Bevie 2012-10-25 16:39
Haha! NOLANOLA. Agree with you about 'worst episode ev-vah'. :D
NOLANOLA
# NOLANOLA 2012-10-26 12:52
BEVIE & GINGER THANKS. I THOUGHT I WOULD BE THE ONLY ONE WHO FELT THIS WAY.

I KNOW ITS THE CAMERA WORK, BUT I CANT EVEN WATCH IT A SECOND TIME. I LOVE ROBBIE THOMPSON, AND THAT'S NOT HIM. I DONT KNOW WHO THAT IS BUT BRING MY ROBBIE BACK PLEASE. :)

HAPPY WINCHESTER WEDNESDAY. I PROBABLY WONT BE BACK UNTIL THEN. HELP ME LAWD, HELP ME.
digyd
# digyd 2012-10-25 13:29
First of all I am astounded. Just like during our lovely election process, I am amazed by how differently people can react to the exact same thing. In this case, I am amazed by how many people loved this episode! Really! I am shocked, given how I swear so many folk are about ready to commit mutiny.

Me? I felt like I was watching a version of Chronicle. I liked that movie a lot. These kids? Eh. I mean I love the idea of getting the perspective of the monster. I loved loved loved S&D popping up when I least expected them, and maybe that's the point. I fast forwarded through the ep this morning and realized we DO see the guys a good amount and being a fly on the wall in this way? I admit, I kinda liked it. I also admit that I felt a little deflated at the end, even though I am generally very open-minded about the way these eps are done. I figured I will need to watch again, but I don't know if I can! I honestly don't care to be in the world of these kids again.

So, now that I am really thinking about it, maybe it wasn't so much I was let down because it was an S&D-lite ep (and as a fan, I do appreciate that the guys got a little time off and I want that for them). I think maybe these kids' stories bored me a little! AHHH! I hate to say that. I never want to connect the B word with my beloveds because it's not them at all. Maybe if the monster story they chose to tell was more interesting. ASIDE: It didn't help that I watched American Horror Story after this and that too left me scratching my head. My built-up Wednesday night felt a little underwhelming overall in the end.

What's the possessed guy's name who turned out to be a serial killer? Now his story I could have deep dove into. I would have been ok doing this same setup from his POV.

But I really am very happy so many people were happy with this ep so I don't have to set in front of my computer going, "Suck it up! It's a TV show!" (The negativity can be exhausting to even speed read sometimes). I did love the brother moments though and the comments the kids were making about them. Gotta love that and Dean asking if he says awesome too much was so darn vulnerable, it circled back around to being cute. :-) Gotta love Sam for lying about him saying it too much. Hugfest for all!

Great review. Thanks for this perspective and I will watch it again - at least once more - and then I'm sure I'll let it go.
percysowner
# percysowner 2012-10-25 13:54
I'm one who has mixed feelings about this episode. I went in knowing what to expect and I decided to view this as if it were an episode of another show. I did enjoy it from that perspective. I didn't mind the build up about who the kids were before they changed. All in all the plot was pretty good. I'm not a big fan of the handheld camera technique, but it doesn't make me dizzy or nauseous like it does some others. I did have issues with being unable to hear dialog, IF I ever watch this again, it will be with closed captioning on. I was unhappy about the cliche and obvious Brian is going to go all power hungry and evil and bad part of this.

I'm sure that these kids are supposed to represent Sam and Dean, but darned if I know which parallels they wanted to be drawn. Is Sam Brian who craved power enough to do evil? I he Michael who had being a monster thrust upon him and then reacted by not controlling the violence? Could they be comparing him to Kate, who only wanted a law degree and a normal life and who can't have either because of something done to her without her consent? Is Dean Michael, the innocent victim who had monsterhood thrust upon him? Is he Brian who embraced the monster around him just like Dean embraced Benny and the purity of Purgatory? Is he Kate, forced to see the person he loved turn into a monster and not being able to kill him, then being corrupted because of it? Am I just grasping at straws and there is no parallel there at all?

I do feel that this was shown in a very odd part of the season. We have been ramping up to the "what happened to Dean and Cas in Purgatory" storyline. We have been moving at the pace of a turtle on the "what happened to Sam during the year" story. This episode totally threw off the momentum of both stories at a time that I wanted them to be getting more attention.

My first gut reaction to just the plot was that it was pretty good. The more I think, the more issues I have with this episodel
digyd
# digyd 2012-10-25 15:16
Quote:
IF I ever watch this again, it will be with closed captioning on.
That's how I do it quite often, actually, because my dah-ling Dean tends to mumble too sometimes so I get more via CC. I never watched Friday Night Lights so I CC'd specifically to make sure I was hearing what I thought I heard and even then it didn't mean anything to me. Meagan explained it so all good now.
Ardeospina
# Ardeospina 2012-10-25 22:41
I used to do the closed captioning for this show! I did a handful of episodes in season 5 and like 2/3 of season 6! Then I quit my job to have a baby...

Anyway, my point is that it's nice to know that people are getting good use of the captioning.
supdean
# supdean 2012-10-28 03:12
To be honest, I didn't like the episode that much, not because of the story line or the format, but it was the acting.

Yes, the 3 main guests look good for the camera, however being shot on handheld cam, it didn't felt real for me. You can clearly see that they're acting less awesome than the brothers and the edits while they were fighting is just beyond the normal way Supernatural way.

But I guess, we always get that 'episode' where not everything is perfect. I'm just glad we got this early in the season so they could focus more on the big elephant in the room (that'll be Sam's struggle for normal life and dean's attitude after purgatory and letting go of Cas) on the coming episodes..