Today's thought bending contribution comes from Randal.  Inspired by Jasminka's "Warriors of Light" he takes his brain twisting knowledge of literature (as well as occupational hazard) and has come up with a rather inspired analysis of texts and their role in Supernatural.  You'll never look at a book the same way again!  I'm still in awe over the creative minds this site attracts.  Enjoy!   

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Remember What The Dormouse Said

We are the hollow men
We are the stuffed men
Leaning together
Headpiece filled with straw. Alas!
Our dried voices, when
We whisper together
Are quiet and meaningless
As wind in dry grass
Or rats' feet over broken glass
In our dry cellar

Shape without form, shade without colour,
Paralysed force, gesture without motion;

Those who have crossed
With direct eyes, to death's other Kingdom
Remember us -- if at all -- not as lost
Violent souls, but only
As the hollow men
The stuffed men.

- T. S. Eliot

On that violence thing, Henriksen, Masters and Reznick might beg to differ. But I digress, and probably will often. Like each and every one of us, the Winchester brothers started out as wee hollow rugrats and needed the straw in their collective craw to not simply lie there like lazy bums chowing down bags of Funyuns with a carbonated soda chaser, but actually learn something useful, make something of itself.

Go west, young scarecrow, and watch out for monsters.

Sam and Dean – Guilty As Hell?
 
The Double-Edged Sword of Guilt of the Winchester Psyche
 
‘Guilt is the very nerve of sorrow’, Horace Bushnell once said. Everyone who ever felt guilty will easily second that quote, and it doesn’t matter really why the emotional condition we call guilt entered our system. We might feel responsible for negative events that have befallen others. Or ourselves. We might be certain to have violated moral standards. We might have not responded to an important situation in our typical manner – or we have, thus creating a harmful effect. We might feel shame for not having said or done something to significantly change our lives (or the lives of others). We might feel loss and pain for not having cleared a misunderstanding with a person no longer available to us.
 
Sound familiar? All those statements are definitions of guilt, and it is a deeply subjective emotion. It often bears signs of feeling inadequate, incapable, irresponsible – in short: guilt often comes with an array of irrational beliefs or negative self-scripts. Suddenly, having fallen victim to guilt, sentences like the following will pop up in our thoughts: ‘I had one job, and I screwed it up.’, ‘I’m a piss poor excuse for a son.’, ‘I guess that’s what I do: I let down the people I love.’, ‘If you’d been there to protect her, she’d still be alive.’, ‘I guess I’m not the man either of our dads wanted me to be.’… …
We have a winner in the "first to write an amulet article" among the creative minds on this site!  The Sera Gamble interview sparked the debate, so Jasminka was inspired to do her take on the whole thing.  As usual, it's a very thoughtful look.  Enjoy!   

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Once Upon a Time There Was an Amulet…
 
 
A Christmas gift. A memento for a brother rotting in hell. A powerful object that ‘burns hot in God’s presence’. An item fans care intensely about, a fact I learned just recently, following the discussion on this site, and it came as a surprise. I had never expected the mentioning or the seeming neglect of this amulet to be such a hot topic. Well, let’s have a look…
 
Dean has worn that amulet ever since we’ve known him. It was always there, just as the other ‘jewellery’ he wears – there’s a ring, a bracelet with skull-like pieces, a leather band, a men’s man-watch.  I’ve noticed all those things, thinking they might be – in part – trophies of some kind, pieces Dean had gathered during his life as a hunter, and warriors of all cultures have always liked to adorn themselves with items to enhance their strength and confidence when going into battle.
 
This amulet in particular did strike me as an exceptional artefact from my first encounter with it – judging from its looks and design it could be of Central American or Ancient Persian, Mesopotamian origin (to my knowledge it has never been explained where it came from), probably very old, perhaps made of gold, bright colour already aged.
Elle2 has been spending some time recently going through old episodes and has completed season one.  As a result, she has couple of articles to share on this part of her journey.  One thing we've never done on this site is take a good look at the pilot (putting it on the episodes to recap list), but now elle2 has rectified that.  Enjoy!   

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I'm on a new mission, as it were, to rewatch all the episodesideally in order but I'm not going to be legalistic about it but I do plan on enjoying itshouldn't be hard. This past Friday night I snuggled up with The Pilot and I thoroughly enjoyed the 42 odd minutes of that episode. So, in trying to warm up my writing muscles it occurred to me that it might be funor at least a way to pass a few minutes on a Sunday afternoonto put into words why I still love watching The Pilot.
This is the part where I still get to feel like the luckiest person alive. Sera Gamble, Executive Producer for Supernatural, was again kind enough to answer some burning questions that surfaced during the first half of this apocalyptic fifth season. Considering the lengthy list I sent her, which included a lot of my own tough questions along with ones from the other writers on this site, I'm thrilled with what she sent back. 
 
Sera, just like my previous interviews with her, is coy with spoilers, although she does drop a couple about the next episode due to air on January 21st, "Sam, Interrupted." As you all remember, the preview shows the boys in a mental hospital. She also offers some teasers about the archangel Michael and his interest in Dean, what she thought about some of the episodes already aired and plans for the 100th episode.  She did avoid some speculative questions about season six, the future direction of the brotherly relationship, and season five ratings so far, so we graciously accept her silence as a "no comment" for those.
 
So, I'll issue the warning now, SPOILERS AHEAD. For even the worst of spoilerphobes though, it's mostly Sera having fun with us. Which I do love. 
 
Remember, we are uber fans on this site, so the questions tend to be a bit more detailed than the normal "Give us some juicy spoilers." After all, we are a curious bunch here at The Winchester Family Business. So if the questions seem longer than the answers at times, that's just the way we roll.
 
Anyway, on with the Q & A. Enjoy!

Okay everyone, have those boxes of Kleenexes handy? Good, because as far as tear-jerkers go, this is the gold standard.

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A limo pulls up under an overpass. An older man with a tin box and a shovel gets out, but not before he steps in a puddle. I have no idea if that was a symbol for something, Ben Edlund being cute or a happy accident but there you have it. He finds an area that must somehow be a crossroads and puts the box into the ground. Ah, I smell a crossroads deal coming. A man in a dark suit shows up. It's Mark Sheppard! Wow, this guy has been on everything. He's been awesome doing it too.

Mark Sheppard identifies himself as Crowley, calling the other guy dead meat, I mean Mr. Pendleton. Old guy looks surprised for before he was dealing with an attractive lady. Crowley knows, but this banker dude is a big fish so he was sent. I’m sure he was sent because banker dude is a homophobic jerk and demons love twisting that knife of irony. Lord knows they do it to Dean enough times. You know, demons like Ben Edlund J. Crowley wants to seal the deal personally and banker all too well knows the deal would be sealed with a kiss. “That’s right,” Crowley says with delight. Banker gets really uncomfortable. “Your choice. You can cling to six decades of deep seeded homophobia, or give it up and get a complete bailout of your bank’s ridiculous incompetence.” So now Ben Edlund is linking bank bailouts with crossroads deals? That actually makes sense.

I remember when recapping “I Know What You Did Last Summer” I thanked heavens that the crossroads demon there didn’t accept Sam’s offer, otherwise that kiss would have been awkward. You know Ben Edlund has been dying for this opportunity since then. As for those thinking this is risqué for TV, this is the CW for God’s sake! They just heavily publicized a threesome on Gossip Girl. Male kissing is so passé. Banker agrees after Crowley does the whole “going once, going twice thing” and this is no light peck on the lips. Full-on deep pressing and maybe some tongue. Gotta give them credit for doing it right. Continuity is important on this show.

Meanwhile, in the distance, someone is behind a pillar watching. It’s Castiel! Pervert. He’s on the phone. “Got him.” Title card.

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Back to the lip lock and Crowley lets the now squicked out banker go. Castiel tells Dean on the phone the demon Crowley is making a deal. “Even as we speak its, going down.” I never tire of the Cas dry humor. Even Dean finds that one odd. “Going down? Right, okay Huggy Bear.” A Starsky and Hutch reference! Perfect for two guys hanging out with their beautiful car. I saw that exact 1975 orange and white Gran Torino at the classic car showroom at the Imperial Palace in Las Vegas. Herbie the Love Bug was there too. I fully expect an Impala to be there when the show is over. Hear that guys! Procure this item now!

The banker tells Crowley “Damn you.” Crowley isn’t about to not rub it in this guy’s face. “Enjoy the obscene wealth. See you in ten years.” I like him. Crowley walks off and disappears in thin air. Castiel follows and then disappears into thin air. He may be a fallen angel but he still gets to do cool things. Castiel finds the house that Crowley is at, but he can’t go in since it’s layered in Enochian symbols. As we find out, he wants to avoid one pretty big angel, so don’t take it personally Cas. Dean tells Castiel he did great and they’ll take it from there. Yeah, how about that for weakling humans! No symbols of any kind can keep us out! We don’t even read “No Trespassing” signs.

Crowley is in his elaborate living room, pouring himself a drink, listening to classic R&B and strangely watching footage of Hitler. The only Hitler I like to watch is “Springtime for Hitler” from The Producers. The Third Reich never looked so fabulous! Crowley smiles while watching the Nazis march and takes his drink. It's so nice to be able to kick back after a busy day at the office.

Jo

Outside the gate of this gorgeous Spanish style estate woman walks up in a backless black dress with skimpy skirt and high heels. Yep, it's Jo. Man, she doesn't look like a schoolgirl here. She does the whole "my car broke down" thing on the intercom. The gate opens and outcome two creepy and large guys. One has this evil smile and tells her “We’re the only help you’re ever gonna need.” She does the whole backpedalling thing, pretending this was a bad idea. Considering the one guy grabs her and he eyes go black, they obviously know who she is. Man, what would they have done if this was a real innocent girl?

Jo takes the guy down with a kung fu chop and out of nowhere the demon killing ginsu goes through his neck of the other guy. This week's brutal and lightening fast knife kill comes from our dear Sammy. Then he takes out the jerk in the same brutal fashion. Remember the early days when he was our gentle giant? Our boy has grown. Judging by the crazy killing eyes he has going for him now, something tells me he still craves that demon killing power. I don’t think his issues there are done. But hey, that’s me speculating. I do that.

While Sam is doing his crazy eyes thing over the body, Dean shows up and tells Jo nice work. They’re ready to move onto the next task and we go back to Crowley inside who calmly watches the lights go out. He smiles like he’s expecting this sort of thing. Probably because he is. He walks into the other room and Sam says “It’s Crowley, right?” “So, the hardy boys finally found me.” We haven’t heard that nickname in a while. I think the last time it was used was “A Very Supernatural Christmas.” I could be wrong though. I’m such a freak for knowing that off the top of my head.

Sam and Dean are standing in the long hallway side by side holding weapons and Crowley steps toward them, stopping short of the badly placed devil’s trap under the bunched up rug. Come on guys, at least lay the rug flat. Sam and Dean are disappointed it didn’t work. Duh! “Do you have any idea how much this rug costs?” You know, I’d be upset over that too. Sam and Dean are then grabbed from behind. Come on guys, you didn’t expect the ambush either? Coasting on fumes these days?

Crowley pulls out the colt. He obviously knows what they’re there for. He raises the gun and then takes out the two demons holding Sam and Dean. Interesting. Sam and Dean are certainly shocked. Sure I could nitpick and ask why the shock since they’ve seen it all, but then again I like drama so I’ll shut up. Another thing I noticed about this scene, an all new Smallville is coming on Friday. I’m going to take this moment to do a brief commentary on Smallville season nine so far. It’s been really decent and I enjoy how it’s embraced the darker comic undertones, despite the fact that we know Superman isn’t Batman. However, that hokey “Save Me” intro has to go. This is not farm boy Clark Kent anymore. They really need to rebrand the whole thing as Metropolis.

Sorry, back to Crowley who tells the boys they’ve got to talk privately. Sam and Dean both look at each other perplexed but follow him into the fancy study anyway. Crowley shuts the door with the wave of his hand and tells them he could have buried the colt. There’s no reason anyone should know it exists at all. Except that he told them. He was the one spreading messages through the grapevine. Castiel has some real seedy sources, doesn’t he? Sam asks why. You know Sam, you do that a lot. More times than not it gets you into trouble. Luckily this isn’t one of those times. Crowley tells them that he wants them to take the colt to Lucifer and empty it into his face.

Dean isn’t buying the act at all. “Uh huh, okay, and why exactly would you want the devil dead?” Tell me Dean, would you believe anything this guy says no matter what he answers? Crowley says it’s for survival. “But I forgot you two at best are functioning morons.” Dean flubs another comeback. I don’t mind that once in a while, but here a snappy line would have been cooler. Ben Edlund comes up lame. I love Crowley’s answer though. “Lucifer isn’t a demon, remember? He’s an angel and an angel famous for his hatred of humankind. To him you’re just”¦filthy bags of puss. That’s the way he feels about you, what can he think about us?”

Sam points out he created them. Crowley knows that to him they’re just servants, cannon fodder. If Lucifer does exterminate humankind, they’re next. Wow, that’s really interesting, but it makes so much sense to me. Angels hate demons, period. Crowley asks Sam and Dean to help him. “Let’s all go back to simpler, better times. Back to when we could all follow our natures. I’m in sales dammit.” You know, one thing that has always stuck in the back of my mind is why Lilith approached Sam during “The Monster at The End of This Book.” Why did she want to go back to the way things were? If Crowley was her lover, I wonder if something he said convinced her and she was being genuine with her offer to Sam. Maybe her botched attempt to kill Sam, for if she succeeded Lucifer would stay caged, convinced her she couldn’t tempt fate. This is consistent though!

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“What if I give you this thing and you go kill the devil.” Crowley hands the colt to Sam, who looks at him strangely. Then Crowley shakes it a little and smiles. I really like this demon! Eventually Sam takes it, albeit reluctantly. After a long awkward pause Sam asks if Crowley knows where the devil is. He as a matter of fact does. Carthage, Missouri on Thursday. Now this smells like a setup. I love ambiguous situations on this show but I want to believe this guy. He’s fun and seems like a straight shooter (pardon the pun after the kissing scene). “Great, thanks,” Sam says matter-of-factly before putting the colt to Crowley’s forehead and pulling the trigger. It clicks but doesn’t fire. I love Crowley’s reaction to this! He’s so calm and doesn’t even flinch. “Oh yeah, right,” he says like he forgot something, “You probably need some more ammunition.” He goes to the desk and gets some. Ah, the cheeky demon.

Sam and Dean are tired of the act now. Dean asks the daring question of whether Crowley is signing his own death warrant. What if they go against Lucifer and lose? “Number one, he’s going to wipe us all out anyway, two, when you leave here I go on an extended vacation to all points nowhere and three, HOW ABOUT YOU DON’T MISS OKAY! MORONS!” He throws Dean the ammo and vanishes. Yeah, that didn’t leave Sam and Dean with a lot of warm fuzzies.




On comes Santana! Have I mentioned how much I love that the classic rock is back this season? They’ve really picked some good ones too. “Oye Como Va” kicks off the last night on earth party at Bobby’s house. There are shots lined on the table and Dean’s slamming them, right? No, it’s Castiel! He’s having a drinking contest with Ellen while Jo watches. After downing about five shots in a row, he pulls the classic Lord of The Rings: Return of The King (extended version) line, “I think I’m starting to feel something.” Yeah, drinking against an angel. That’s an even contest.

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Sam and Dean are at Bobby’s desk and Sam’s asking if it’s a trap. Dean smiles. “Sam Winchester, having trust issues with a demon. Better late than never.” Sam gives him a sarcastic look back. “Thank you again for your continued support.” Then they clang beer bottles. You know, I love seeing the brothers like this again, but are things really that perfect now between them? I suppose they aren’t going to fight if this is their last night on earth, but still you have to wonder if there’s still some stress there.

“You know, trap or no trap, if we’ve got a snowball’s chance we’ve got to take it, right?” Sam supposes. Dean isn’t sure it is a trap. Carthage is “lit up like a Christmas tree with Revelation omens.” Six missing persons in town reported since Sunday. He thinks the Devil is there. Dean then gets to the uncomfortable part. “If you think about it, you can’t come with.” Sam naturally objects. Dean’s rationale is he gets it fine he’s just one missing piece but if Sam’s there they’re handing the Devil’s vessel right over to him. Wow Dean, you have a point about Sam but you’re so selling yourself short. Plus the angels will find you and resurrect you.

Dean says it’s not smart. “Since when have we done anything smart?” Sam asks. Dean’s serious but so is Sam. “Haven’t we learned a damned thing? If we’re going to do this, we’re going to do it together.” He has a point Dean. Divided you two have had some really crappy results. Dean stares into those puppy dog eyes and reluctantly agrees. “Okay, but it’s a stupid freaking idea.” Yeah, so is the colt but we won’t get into that yet.

Both brothers see Jo in the other room and Sam says “talk about stupid ideas.” “True to that,” Dean says and then goes over to Jo anyway. He comes over all smooth, watching her ass as she fetches a beer out of the fridge and pulls the “dangerous mission tomorrow” line. Smooth Dean, smooth. Anyone think Jo would actually fall for that? “It’s time to eat, drink, and make merry.” Bad Dean, bad. Does that line work with other women? Jo pretends to fall for it. “Are you giving me the last night on earth speech?” At first Dean says no then, “but if I was, would that work?” Jo gets all sultry, moves in real close, strokes his ear goes to kiss him and then pulls away. “No. Sweetheart, if this is our last night on earth I’m going to spend it with a little something I call self respect.” She leaves. “If you’re into that kind of thing,” Dean says. Aww, wittle feelings hurt?

Bobby calls everyone over. It’s time for the photo. You know, five seasons and there’s never been a last night on earth gathering shown, so I wonder if the picture is an old hunter’s tradition. We find out later why the picture is needed so it makes sense, but it’s just strange we’ve never seen it before. I know, there’s only so many things that can be done in episodes. Ellen protests but Bobby won’t listen. “Shut up, you’re drinking my beer.” That’s a winning argument in my book. “Anyway, I’m going to need something to remember your sorry asses by.” Yep, definitely an old hunters tradition.

They line up and Ellen jokes, “It’s always good to have an optimist around.” Castiel, who’s all serious, states the fear that’s on the back of everyone’s mind. “Bobby’s right. Tomorrow we hunt the Devil. This is our last night on earth.” While Castiel is rather stoic about that, everyone else reacts privately to that idea and those expressions show on everyone’s faces as the picture snaps. Whoa, that’s brilliant. So bittersweet, so sad. As the final staccato notes of the song plays, the developed picture in black and white is shown as though it’s in an album. We’ll that’s got me jumpy for the rest of the episode. Foreshadowing with a capital F.

Picture



There are missing people posters on a telephone pole, all women. The Impala, looking mighty fine in the rain, is slowly cruising through an empty downtown block. I’m guessing that more than a few are missing. A jeep is behind them carrying Ellen, Jo, and Castiel. Wow, those girls really like him. I love how they bonded. Sam and Dean have their cell phones out, but no signal. We know that’s never a good sign. Dean waves Ellen and Jo over and tells them they’re going to check out the PD. They should stay there and try to find something. Ellen pulls over and she and Jo get out. Jo notices Castiel is still in the back seat and knocks. “Ever heard of a door handle.” She turns around and poof, Castiel is behind her. “Of course I have.” Show off angels.

Castiel looks around, something is definitely not right. Of course only he can see what’s really wrong. The perks of angeldom I guess. I love this shot. Castiel looks around at the empty street all alarmed and Ellen asks “What is it, Cas?” Castiel says the town’s not empty. The camera starts from Castiel’s right showing Ellen and Jo’s point of view of an empty street and swipes to the left behind Cas. Then on the other side of Cas there are tons of older men standing there in formation wearing dark suits. Great shot! The director in this one is the always talented Phil Sgriccia and he does wonders again.

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Castiel says there are reapers. Ellen asks if there’s more than one. Judging by the way Castiel is looking all around, even on rooftops, I’d say yes. “They only gather like this in times of great catastrophe. Chicago fire, the San Francisco earthquake, Pompeii.” Carthage, Missouri? Population 3? No, I’m sure there’s more than that but these small Midwestern towns don’t scale like that. So yes, something else must be up. Castiel tells them he needs to find out why they’re here and walks off to do his mysterious angel act.

Castiel walks around and the reapers don’t respond, except he spots one up in the window with white eyes staring at him before walking away. Within a flash Castiel is up there and goes down the hall to investigate. It’s a trap Cas! Someone says “Hello brother” and Castiel is bathed in white light. Oops, too late. I must say, the feeling of this whole scene is really creepy. It’s so good to see Castiel finally getting something meaty this season. His storylines have been so lacking so far. Back to Ellen and Jo, who are reuniting with Sam and Dean. They both got nothing except for Cas finding the reapers. A shared glance of brotherly worry.

They should be worried! Castiel is in a room trapped in his own flaming circle of angel doom. Ha, the shoe’s on the other foot, huh Cas? He turns toward the corner and it’s the big bad himself. Lucifer in a Nick suit. Cas knows who he is. “So I take it you’re here with the Winchesters,” Lucifer surmises. I get that he’s smart, but come on, that’s not much of a stretch. They’re like yin and yang these days. Castiel gives the most unconvincing “I came alone.” Aww, his loyalty is so endearing. Lucifer even notices that. “Loyalty, it’s such a nice quality in this day and age.”

Might I comment here that the way the light from the ring is reflecting off of Misha’s face, his eyes come across as black as night. They’re quite entrancing. I thought I was blown away by his baby blues. Great job to the crew on this one. “Castiel, right?” Lucifer asks. “I’m told you came here in an automobile. What was that like?” Castiel gives the honest answer. “Um, slow. Confining.” Cas doesn’t understand that Lucifer is using that humiliation as a chance to convince him that joining him would be cooler. Lucifer calls him peculiar. Oh yeah, well Castiel’s meat suit isn’t rotting. “What’s wrong with your vessel?” Castiel asks Lucifer. Nick isn’t doing so good. His eyes are gaunt and his skin is peeling in some bad ways.

Lucifer, who doesn’t lie, even when being purely evil, confesses that Nick is wearing a bit thin. He can’t hold him forever. This riles up Cas who tries to charge Lucifer, but that flaming ring stops him. Pesky angel traps. Then this part is so great! Castiel gets all tough. “You are not taking Sam Winchester. I won’t let you.” Whoo hoo! I just fell in love with Cas ten times more. Lucifer doesn’t understand why he’s fighting him, of all the angels. After all, they both rebelled and were cast out. He kind of has a point there but their intentions were hardly similar. I think that is an issue being raised here with the whole Sam and Dean betrayal and being vessels thing. Do good intentions matter? Will motives in the end save Sam and Dean? Who knows?

“Almost all of heaven wants to see me dead and if they succeed guess what, you’re their new public enemy number one.” I think you’re overestimating Castiel’s importance in the food chain there Luci. “We’re on the same side like it or not, so why not serve your own best interests, which in this case just happen to be mine.” That’s the cool thing about Lucifer, we know he’s speaking the truth. Or his own twisted version of the truth. “I’ll die first,” Castiel says and I know he’s telling the truth. “I suppose you will,” Lucifer replies.

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Back to Sam, Dean, Ellen and Jo walking alone in the town. Dean notices they’ve only been in town twenty minutes and have lost the angel up their sleeve. The theory is Lucifer got him. “I don’t know what else to think,” Dean says. “There you are” someone says from a distance. It’s Meg. I guess I’m not shocked since I saw this in the preview. She’s quite a bit sassier in this one compared to the premiere. “Meg,” Sam says, just in case we’re confused. She says they shouldn’t have come there. Dean charges forward and points the colt at her. She isn’t scared.

“Didn’t come here alone Deano.” Hey! That’s my pet name for him bitch. Invisible growling beasts pop up around her. Dean knows hellhounds when he sees them. I mean hears them. “Yeah Dean, your favorite.” She tells them her father wants to see them and Sam says they’ll pass. She gives them the “make it easy or make it really, really hard” ultimatum. They’re completely surrounded by hellhounds. Those are the best things to use on a low budget. It’s like Jaws. They’re totally scary because you know they’re there, the horror in which everyone is reacting shows they’re in deep trouble, but there’s nothing really there. Thanks to a few strategically placed growls though and they become the boogeyman.

Dean shoots a hellhound next to Meg. At first I wondered why he didn’t shoot Meg, but that wouldn’t have helped them with the invisible hellhounds. Better they take one of them out while they know where one is. They all run and during the jagged sequence we get the view of the fleeing hunters from the eyes of the hellhound. Awesome. One gets Dean and pulls him to the ground. Jo then jumps in and blows one back with the shotgun. That’s enough time though for another to turn on her. She gets knocked to the ground and is sliced and diced, must like Dean in “No Rest For The Wicked” (still crying!) Sam shoots that hellhound and Dean picks up a Jo, who’ pretty well gored and spattered with blood. Sam and Ellen keep shooting and Dean with Jo in his arms leads the charge into a local hardware store.

Sam is the last man in holding off the hounds while Dean takes one bad looking Jo over to the counter. Blood is trailing everywhere. While Ellen tends to her Sam and Dean chain up and salt down the place. This all happens in classic Phil Sgriccia shaky camera action, which adds to the intensity. He is the master of action on this show. Sam and Dean come over and while Jo is reeling in agony Ellen pulls back Jo’s hand off the wound. Her guts practically pop out. Ugh, she’s a goner. This is where Ellen, Sam and Dean only communicate with their eyes and worried faces and it’s pure gold. Man, why aren’t these actors together more often?

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To say that could have gone better would be an understatement.

Ellen is nursing Jo and a devastated Sam brings over supplies. He goes over to Dean who’s trying to get a short wave radio going. I suppose I believe an old fashioned hardware store in a small Midwestern town still has one of those things. Dean asks how Jo’s doing and Sam is at a loss for words. He looks like he’s going to cry. He tells Dean the salt line is holding up. They’re trapped like rats. Dean, whose acting in complete control, reminds Sam what Meg said. Her father is there. This is their one shot no matter what. Sam doesn’t like it, but doesn’t question Dean either. What amazes me is how this is all an act for Sam’s benefit.

Dean gets the radio working and Ellen asks Sam for help. Back to Bobby who is trying to call the boys on the cell phone. Oh yeah, that doesn’t work. Bobby hears Dean on the radio and swiftly answers. “Bobby, we’ve got problems,” Dean says. There goes that understatement thing again. How about, “Bobby, we’re totally screwed.” Bobby has about one second of worry and then answers. “It’s okay boy, that’s why I’m here. Is everyone alright?” Back to Dean, who’s losing it. He tells him no. It’s Jo and it’s pretty bad. Bobby takes another second to take in the bad news and goes on. It’s time to figure out what to do next. Dean can’t, for its time for his mini-meltdown. He’s fighting everything within not to bust out in full fledged sobbing. Bobby gets all tough as if he knows exactly what’s happening to Dean. “I said what do we do next Dean?” Dean takes another second of two to fall apart, even burying his head in his hand. Come to me Dean and we’ll have some ice cream and a good cry together.

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Dean pulls it together, because that’s what heroes do. Bobby wants to know what he’s got. Fade to later and Bobby is asking how many reapers Castiel saw. Dean isn’t sure and judging by the edge in his voice, he’s still pretty upset. Does the number matter? Yep. Ellen comes over and says that by the way Castiel was looking around, over dozen reapers probably more. I’d go with the probably more. Bobby doesn’t like that. Dean knows it’s bad but why. “It sounds like death son. I think Satan’s in town to work a ritual.” He’s planning to unleash Death.

Dean needs clarification. “You mean like this dude and taxes are the only sure thing?” Yeah, I’d say that Death. The horseman, the pale rider in the flesh. Dean thought Death was always walking the earth. “Hell, I’ve died several times myself.” Yes Dean, you and Sam both. You’re both like cats, even though Sam looks like a puppy. Bobby clarifies not this guy. This is big daddy reaper. He’s kept in a box 600 ft under. Last time he was unleashed Noah was building a boat. You want to know how many people in New Orleans took the Katrina flood to be a sign of the apocalypse? After seeing this, they could be right.



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It all snaps into place for Bobby. The place is crawling with reapers because they’re waiting for the big boss to show. Both Bobby and Dean take another pause to crumble over the revelation of what’s happening. The glances in this episode from everyone are so devastating. Dean with cracking voice again asks for anymore good news. Yes, Bobby has more. The angel of Death must be brought in at midnight through a place of awful carnage. There was this Civil War battle in Carthage years ago so intense it was called “The Battle of Hellhole.” Where did it go down? The land of William Jasper’s farm. Which I think by now would be a Civil War battlefield memorial. It seems every open field in Pennsylvania and Maryland was converted into one.

Back to Castiel and Lucifer, just to break the monotony. You know, in case we get bored with Dean losing it. Lucifer watches Castiel through the fire and a smiling Meg comes in. She’s very pleased with herself. She’s got the Winchesters pinned down. She wants to know what to do with them. Lucifer tells her to leave them alone. Meg doesn’t understand. “Trust me child, everything happens for a reason.” Yeah, your reason being you don’t want Sam and Dean interfering with your plan to raise Death. While Lucifer and Meg are pre-occupied Castiel calmly sees piping overhead. It’s a way to escape. Lucifer asks him if it’s time to change his mind. Castiel says nothing.

Ellen is tending to Jo, who looks horrible. That’s a great acting job for a young girl that looks so good. Sam and Dean are going through the odds. They have to get to the farm by midnight but have to get by eight or so hellhounds to do so plus get Ellen and Jo out of town. As Sam gets ready to look for a stretcher Jo speaks up. If for some demented reason your Kleenexes weren’t close by, fetch them now!

“Stop guys, stop. Can we be realistic about this please?” Jo can’t move her legs. She can’t be moved and her guts are being held in by an ace bandage. She isn’t going anywhere. Ellen tries to pull authority on her but Jo goes on. They’ve got propane, rock salt, wiring, iron nails. “Everything we need?” Sam asks. “To build a bomb Sam.” Ellen and Sam look at her alarmed, Dean instantly says no. Jo asks him if he’s got a better plan. Yeah, argument actually works for Sam too. Jo also mentions that these are hellhounds that have all their scents. They will never stop coming after them. I love the idea mind you, but it’s interesting that bombs like this can kill hellhounds. I’m sure since no canon has been established on how to kill one, why not?

Flash on the somber faces of Dean, then Ellen, then Sam. They know she’s right. They hate she is, but they know it. Jo’s plan is to let the dogs in. They climb up to the roof and make a break for it while Jo waits with her finger on the button. Ellen is in tears now and the reality is hitting her hard. She won’t let Jo do it. “Which is why we’re here, right? If we can get us a shot on the Devil, Dean we’ve got to take it.” Going to Dean for the practical response? Sorry, but I’d be making my plea with Sam.

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Ellen tearfully protests more, taking her objections to both Sam and Dean. Jo stops her. “Mom, this might literally be your last chance to treat me like an adult. Might want to take it.” Ellen’s too busy bawling by now. I’m a mom, I don’t blame her one bit. She finally looks up at Jo who bravely smiles at her and nods. Ellen nods back. I honestly do think death is harder on the loved ones than the one actually dying. Ellen sobs some more than pulls it together. “Well you heard her, get to work.”

There’s a little montage of Sam and Dean putting together the bombs that I won’t cover too much. Nails, buckets, wiring, a door buzzer, propane tanks, salt, BOOM! Oh wait, not yet. The bombs are in place and Dean does the final setup for the wiring on the buzzer. Sam is holding Jo’s hand, doing his trademark Somber Face of Despair. He squeezes her hand in goodbye and she gives a slight nod back. Again, these guys don’t need words. They all know.

Dean arrives with the buzzer. He looks completely torn apart. He’s putting Sammy’s trademark look to shame. So much so, this is the part that starts the waterworks for me. “Okay, this is it. I’ll see you on the other side. Probably sooner than later.” She gives him a smile and hands him his shotgun. “Make it later.” Oh man”¦talk amongst yourselves. (Deep breath). Dean isn’t taking her bravery well and really struggling internally. We all know that look. He somberly pauses and then places the buzzer in her hand. BOOM! Oh wait, not yet. Sorry, I have to joke in order to get through this.

Dean gently strokes the back of her hand with his thumb and looks at her with no clue what to say. They both exchange heartfelt glances of goodbye. Dean then leans forward and kisses her on the forehead. The sad score starts playing as Jo gets emotional. Dean pulls back, looks into her eyes and then gives her the most tender kiss on the lips. Oh that does it. **profusely sobbing now** Their relationship has always been so understated yet special. As two kids of hunters, they knew the life wouldn’t bring them together as a couple, but they have this special bond that’s unlike any other one they’ve had in their lives. It not love as much as deep admiration and respect.

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Dean pulls away and as he holds her one last time, the distraught look on his face says it all. He’s heartbroken. Dean quickly pulls away and moves on. You know, Jensen has always proved he could bring it in the big scenes, but I think this is the most vulnerable we’ve ever seen Dean. The losses are really starting to take their toll. The acting here is some of the best work Jensen has ever done.

Ellen comes over next and I can’t tell because my freaking eyes are too watery. (Reaches for the tissues). Okay. The camera goes back to Sam and Dean now side by side. Sam is hurting, Dean is outright freaking devastated. This shot, even though it’s quick, is amazing. They’re really playing to all the actor’s strengths here. Take Ellen and Jo. Best performance from Samantha Ferris and Alona Tal ever on this show.

Ellen takes Jo’s hand and bravely smiles. Jo is weeping now. They both communicate with glances and nods. Jo loses it. “Mom no.” “Somebody’s got to let them in. Like you said, you’re not moving.” Back to Sam and Dean, still sad and devastated. Ellen states her reasons and as a mother, I back her 100 percent. “You’re right, this is important. But I’m not going to leave you here alone.” Jo weeps. Sam says “Dean” obviously not liking the idea, but Ellen orders them to get going. Then Dean protests with “Ellen” but she tells them again. They know never to doubt Ellen’s orders.

Okay, if ANYONE wasn’t crying by now, this is the bust out in inconsolable sobs moment right here. Especially for a diehard fan. As Sam and Dean go to leave Ellen says her final words. “Oh and Dean, kick it in the ass. Don’t miss.” Oh that does it. Back in five. I’m a wreck. We love you and really miss you Kim Manners.

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(Ten minutes later). Still sobbing. Oh, where were we? Ellen gives them her brave glance, then to distraught Dean then to distraught Sam and back to Ellen again. Again, bouncing between the glances of these three really adds huge power to an already loaded scene. Sam and Dean go and Ellen gives her heroic smile to Jo next. Jo smiles and cries at the same time. Suddenly the hellhounds are making noise. They must have figured out Sam and Dean have left.

Ellen goes to the front door and undoes the chains. She kicks away the salt line and turns on the propane tanks. She takes her place next to Jo’s side and yikes, Jo isn’t looking too good. Not that she was before, but now her eyes are fluttering. There isn’t much time. I’m so damned nervous now! Ellen puts her arm around her and holds on tight, grasping the trigger in the other hand. “I will always love you baby.” Ellen hears a hellhound and then goes back to Jo, who’s slipped away. Ellen shakes her and then busts out crying, saying Jo’s name. Aw man, I was wreck before. This is making me worse! No mother should have to see their child die, even if she’s only beating her to the great beyond by a minute. Ellen weeps and I weep, for we mothers have an understanding. She tells her it’s okay and kisses her on the top of the head. Like I do with my daughter every night. Oh crap. Excuse me, I’m going to hug my kids right now.

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(Ten minutes later). Okay, I’m better. No, actually I’m not. Let’s just get through his heart crushing, stomp on it until there’s nothing left scene. The hellhounds burst in. Ellen holds onto the trigger while Sam and Dean get away. Finally Ellen feels the breath of one at her ear. “You can go straight back to hell you ugly bitch.” She presses the button and blows the store to kingdom come. Sam and Dean watch with horror outside and then run. Welcome to the distinguished Supernatural death pool Ellen and Jo. You’re in perfect company and adding some real class to it.

On a side note, the day this episode aired, a well known activist for breast cancer in Ohio, Stephanie Spielman, passed away after an 11 year battle with the disease. In that time she offered so many women and their families hope in fighting breast cancer. She went through five rounds of it herself. Through her name and fundraising efforts, she started a goal to raise $100,000 for the James Cancer Hospital at Ohio State University. She ended up in her 11 years raising over $6 million. Her husband, Chris Spielman, former OSU Buckeye and NFL football player, does a radio show here in Columbus. For years we got firsthand accounts of this family’s struggle and bravery. I was already an emotional mess when I watched this episode and then found out afterward Stephanie had died. I was a complete wreck at work that Friday. Both of these things are the smack you in the face reminders that life is fragile and should be cherished.

(Pulling myself together to move on, because that’s what heroes do.) Sam and Dean arrive at the field in time to see Lucifer digging a massive hole while people look on. That’s where the townspeople went. Sam asks, “Last words?” Dean ponders this for a second. “I think I’m good.” “Yeah, me too,” Sam says. Yeah, it’s not much, but it’s what these guys would say. They share one more troubled look. “Here goes nothing,” Dean says.

The devil keeps digging and Sam walks through the crowd with the shotgun. “You wanted to see me?” Lucifer tells him he doesn’t need that gun. He’d never hurt him. “Not really.” Then we see the barrel of the colt at Lucifer’s temple. “Yeah,” Dean says, “well I’d hurt you.” He cocks the gun. “So suck it.” He blows Lucifer away right in between the eyes. Lucifer falls to the ground. Sam and Dean don’t exactly know what to think. They’re on the brink of possibly being relieved when Lucifer wakes up. Oops, I guess it doesn’t work. “Oww,” Lucifer says. Okay, it doesn’t kill, but at least it stings. Sam and Dean are not happy as Lucifer gets up. “Where did you get that?” He asks Dean before tossing him across the field and into a tree. The mark of death of his forehead disappears. “Now, where were we?” He asks a very troubled Sam. Yeah, I’d put that as the right time for a commercial break. So much to absorb!

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“Don’t feel too bad Sam,” Lucifer says while Sam looks more than bad. Outright terrified actually. “There’s only five things in all of creation that thing can’t kill and I just happen to be one of them.” Five things huh? Let the speculation begin! Lucifer will get to Sam in a minute though, he’s almost done. Sam takes this opportunity to rush over to Dean to see if he’s okay. Well at least he has his priorities in line. As Sam checks out an unconscious Dean, Lucifer stops his digging and asks if Sam wouldn’t happen to say yes right here and now. Judging by Lucifer’s tone, he doesn’t seriously think Sam will.

Sam’s answer is more than predictable. “It’s never gonna happen.” Oh, but Lucifer thinks it will. In less than six months. In Detroit. As someone very familiar with the town (being born and raised there) I can’t think of a better place for an apocalypse. I think it’s already started there. I’m still dying from speculation over what happens to Sam between now and then that gets him to say yes. I’m sure Kripke is somewhere in LA rubbing his hands in evil delight over driving us fans crazy about that.

Sam stays defiant. “You listen to me, you son of a bitch. I’m going to kill you myself. You understand me. I’m going to rip your heart out.” Uh Sam, angel, remember? No heart. Lucifer loves hearing this. “Good, you keep fanning that fire in your belly. All that pent up rage, I’m going to need it.” None of this though prevents Lucifer from throwing dirt on the big pile. Why? That’s Sam’s next question. What did he do to this town? Lucifer claims he was generous with this town. One demon for every able bodied man. “And the rest of them?” Oh Sam, why do you ask these things? The answer is never good. You notice that mass grave he’s digging? That’s everyone else. “I know, it’s awful, but these horsemen are so demanding. So it was women and children first.” Sam is horrified. Um Sam, Lucifer remember? Total destruction of the human race? Ring a bell?

Lucifer tells Sam he has to do this. “You of all people should understand.” “What’s that supposed to mean?” Sam asks. Fine, if he must spell it out for you. “I was a son, a brother like you. A younger brother. And I had an older brother that I loved. Idolized in fact. And one day I went to him and I begged him to stand with me. And Michael, Michael turned on me. Called me a freak. A monster. And then he beat me down, all because I was different. Because I had a mind of my own.” Could it also be because you’re a misguided homicidal jerk? I can’t wait to hear Michael’s side of the story.

“Tell me something Sam. Any of this sound familiar? Lucifer drops it for now since midnight is calling and he has a ritual to finish. He tells Sam not to go anywhere, not that he could. Sam stands and broods more then goes back to Dean. Lucifer says his mumbo jumbo to the pile of dirt in front of him, then turns to the demons watching. “Now repeat after me. We offer up our lives, blood, souls, to complete this tribute.” The demons repeat and then start falling lie flies, each going out in a flash before dropping to the ground. Dean is awake now and watches with Sam in disbelief. “What?” Lucifer says with repugnance. “They’re just demons.” So Crowley was right! Wow, does Lucifer want everybody dead?

Back to Castiel. Remember Castiel? Pretty boy angel in a ring of fire? He’s turning with his mind a screw to an overhead pipe while talking with a smug Meg. “We’re gonna win,” she gloats. “Can you feel it? You cloud hopping pansies lost the whole damned universe. Lucifer’s going to take over heaven. We’re going to heaven Clarence.” Castiel smirks for he gets to gloat too. “Strange, because I heard a different theory from a demon named Crowley.” Meg doesn’t believe he knows Crowley. “He believes that Lucifer is just using demons to achieve an end and that once he does he’ll destroy you all.” While doing this Castiel is unfastening the bolts one by one and Meg doesn’t notice. She’s not exactly the sharpest demon in Hell. Meg thinks he’s wrong. “Your God maybe a dead beat but mine walks the earth.”

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Castiel takes offense but gets payback by loosening the last bolt. The pipe swings down and knocks Meg right into Castiel’s arms. The scene is actually steamy. Castiel puts his palm to her forehead and nothing happens. Uh oh, angel can’t kill demons anymore. It’s a bummer Sam can’t either. That really hurts to lose both demon killers on Team Winchester. Meg of course taunts Castiel for not being able to kill her. “So what can you do you impotent sap?” “I can do this,” he says and pulls her closer. Just when it looks like he’s going to kiss her he throws her down to the ground on top of the ring of fire. While Meg screams in agony Castiel steps over her freeing himself from the circle. Awesome! There’s the Cas with balls we all know and love. I knew he was still there!

Back to Lucifer who’s doing the ritual thing. The ground shakes and Sam and Dean watch completely helpless. Then Castiel shows up! Suddenly there’s a flash of light reflecting off Lucifer. The three are gone. Lucifer isn’t too worried. He knows he’s not done with the Winchesters. Something rises from the ground and Lucifer greets it with a smile. “Oh hello Death.”

The final scene is short, tragic, and to the point. Back at Bobby’s house and the news is on. It seems a bad storm touched off a string of tornados that went and wiped out Carthage, Missouri. The loss of life and property is staggering. Those are the only words heard in this scene. Bobby, Sam and Dean are by the fire. Bobby holds the picture he took and throws it into the fire. It’s the closest thing to a salt and burn they’ll ever get. They all watch somberly as the fire burns away the images, especially the part of Ellen and Jo with Dean in the middle. Dean especially is looking at Jo. The flames over take her image and burn it away.

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Roll credits. Damn you Ben Edlund! Damn you Phil Sgriccia! Damn you all. I need nine weeks to recover from that one.

The idea for this compilation came to me while I was sick. I was given Paul Coelho’s book ‘Warrior Of The Light’. Now, I’m not exactly a fan of his writing, though I liked ‘The Alchemist’. When reading his ‘warrior manual’ I sometimes felt reminded of our favourite show and its leading characters.
 
The last episode in mind, everything is possible now. We don’t know yet where this road will lead to, but Sam and Dean have already proven, via countless pains and sacrifices, that they will do the best they can within that apocalyptic scenario forced upon them.
 
So, I felt like putting together inspiration and a bit of craziness and came up with this. I hope you will enjoy it.
(All quotes are Coelho’s, and I found the screencaps at homeofthenurry and screencap paradise, stills are property of CW)

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‘Warriors of Light … are of this world. (…) They do not always make the right decisions.
They suffer over the most trivial things; they have mean thoughts and sometimes believe they are incapable of growing. They frequently deem themselves unworthy of any blessing or miracle. (…)
That’s why they are Warriors of the Light. Because they make mistakes, because they ask themselves questions, because they are looking for a reason they are sure to find it.’


 
 
 
 
‘Every Warrior of the Light has felt afraid of going into battle.
Every Warrior of the Light has, at some time in the past, lied or betrayed someone.
Every Warrior of the Light has trodden a path that was not his. 
Every Warrior of the Light has suffered for the most trivial of reasons. 
Every Warrior of the Light has, at least once, believed that he was not a Warrior of the Light. (…)
Every Warrior of the Light has hurt someone he loved.
That is why he is a Warrior of Light – because he has been through all this and yet has never lost hope of being better than he is.’
 
 
 
I was very pleased to get a review from Elle on "Abandon All Hope."  It's one of those episodes that takes a while to sink in, so I'm thrilled she took some time to absorb it all and come up with this great review. 

Before I present Elle's review though, I should note that Tigershire let me know about her review for this episode at her blog.  So take time to check this out as well, for she too has some great thoughts regarding this saga.  

http://tigershire.blogspot.com/2009/11/abandon-all-hope-review.html

Also, my recap is coming.  I did make some progress on it today, so hopefully it'll just take another day or two.  The pretty boy screen shots are what's taking the longest amount of time.     

Okay everyone, enjoy Elle's analysis and send some feedback her way! 

It's Thanksgiving Day here in the US.  I'm sure several of you are thinking, "There's no way Alice would stoop to something so lame as doing an 'I'm thankful for' article.'  So overdone!"  Yeah, well this is the mark of a desperate and totally stuffed woman who had to do something themed for the day.

So here it is, the things I'm thankful for.  It's not a comprehensive list.  Just some off the cuff ramblings of a tired mind that's coasting from daylong exposure to oven fumes.