Season 8 of Supernatural has played with various themes. It has looked at choice, personal responsibility, good intentions, and grief. In "A Little Slice of Kevin," we see another theme, that of perception, addressed directly. It has been there in various ways throughout the season, yet here we see it thrust out into the open, causing us to question and rethink. 

First, let us address the other themes touched upon in this episode. 

Choice is a large portion of season 8. Sam "chooses" to walk away from hunting. Dean "chooses" to escape Purgatory. Dean "chooses" to take Benny topside with him. Sam and Dean "choose" to let Kate, the werewolf, walk away. Castiel "chooses" to stay in Purgatory. After Crowley warns Kevin about the Winchesters, Kevin "chooses" to part ways with them. In "A Little Slice of Kevin," Mrs. Tran "chooses" to hire a witch.

Each choice gives us its own set of consequences and its own conclusions. Some are good results, others are not. 

The season is weaving choice into its tapestry, reminding us that each action has its own equal reaction. It reminds us---and the characters---that choice is a crucial component of the story. It is choice, after all, that gave Sam and Dean strength to face down the Apocalypse their way---and for Castiel to "choose" to join them. It is a culmination of choice that has led them to this point, and it is choice that is still rippling through each character's portion of the story. Each thread is being strung together to make the whole. 

Without the Winchesters to guide them, the Trans are on their own. They must find a way to make their own defenses, make their own weapons, and make their own stands. However, it is the poor choice made by Mrs. Tran that puts them in danger. She foolishly hires a witch to gather all of the ingredients needed to make demon bombs. Her intentions are good. It is a theme laced throughout the entire series, and again having good intentions doesn't always mean the right choice is being made. Mrs. Tran is doing this to protect her son. Her heart is in the right place---and yet her choices are dangerous.

The witch agrees to help them, but she is most certainly not to be trusted. It's obvious that Mrs. Tran doesn't by her squirt of holy water to Delta's face. 

Nevertheless, letting the witch in their midst puts them in danger. Delta has made a separate deal with Crowley, the King of Hell, and thus has sold Kevin Tran out. This poor choice by Mrs. Tran has many consequences. Without the Winchesters in his way, Crowley signs her death warrant and reacquires Kevin. In doing so, Crowley's choice has played into Sam and Dean's hands---possibly all without his realizing it. 

Before taking Kevin into his possession, Crowley had gathered a large group of prophets-in-waiting. If he couldn't get Kevin, he was going to use one of them to get the information off the tablet. Unfortunately that meant that Kevin had to be dead for any of them to be able to read it. It's also the very thing that puts the Winchesters back on his trail. 

Crowley's choices also come with their own set of consequences. He has Kevin where he wants him---at his mercy. Until they rescue him, Kevin has no idea that his mother is alive. He has nothing left to lose. Crowley uses his muscle on the would be prophets to convince Kevin to do his bidding. In private, he cuts off Kevin's finger. The horrific actions cause Kevin to cave. He agrees to read the tablet to Crowley, letting the King of Hell know its secrets.

In doing so it is discovered that there are other tablets yet waiting to be found. One about Angels has to be out there to go with the tablets covering Demons and Leviathans. The information on all these tablets can be dangerous for each species if placed in the right hands---namely the Winchester's hands.

Once the Winchesters rescue Kevin, Sam tells Mrs. Tran, "You get that it was hiring that witch that got you into all this, right?"

It is her choice that put them in danger---and yet it is her choice that has given Kevin the resolve to close the gates of Hell, to seal away all demons forever, and to join the Winchester cause. He is adamant when he says, "I want to seal those bastards up forever." 

Crowley's choices and Mrs. Tran's choices combined to make this happen. 

Yet, aside from this, we also see Dean struggle with choices he has made in escaping Purgatory. He is haunted by visions of Castiel and flashbacks of their difficult escape. He is not handling leaving Castiel behind well, and he confesses to Sam, "You know, I could have pulled him out. I just don't understand why he didn't try harder."

Sam replies, "You did everything you could."

Castiel made a choice---to remain behind in Purgatory. 

These events touch upon the other themes this season have presented: that of grief and personal responsibility. 

Grief has laced through season 8 in many ways, too. It is a tangible and powerful thread, an undercurrent that gives the story a somber flavor. We see it in Dean and his distress over leaving Castiel behind. We see it in Benny mourning the woman he loved---now turned vampire and monster. We see it in Kevin's quiet determination and loss of innocence. We see it in Sam's somber and sullen presence. We see it in his fear of losing his brother yet again. We see it in Sam, Dean, and Garth's collective grief over Bobby. 

Here, we see Dean focus on his grief. He reveals, in a rare moment, his vulnerabilities about losing his friend. Dean admits openly to Sam, "Yeah, but why do I feel like crap?"

Sam answers sagely and with a weary expression, "If you let it, this is gonna keep messing with you. You got to walk past it."

It is a crucial line---revealing in one simple statement Sam's own grief. It's apparent that while he is with Dean and he is back in the life that the wounds of his grief are still raw, still bleeding, and still present. It is a warning to Dean that he will end up like him---broken, tired, lost, weary---a shadow---if he doesn't deal with it and quickly. We've seen Sam struggle with his grief in various ways since Dean's return. He has been detached. He has been sullen. He has been angry. Sam frantically tried to reach Dean when he was hunting with Benny---and dropped everything to go to him. He has a deep scar ripped raw about losing Dean yet again that will not and cannot heal. 

And now Sam is watching Dean walk the path he's already been on---haunted by the loss of Castiel. 

Dean has attempted to bury his grief over leaving Castiel behind in various ways---by hunting as many things as he can, by going after Crowley, by helping Benny, the friend he did get out of Purgatory---but none have soothed the frayed nerves of his grief. He still carries his grief like an albatross around his neck---encased in his guilt and his sense of personal responsibility. Dean feels that he shouldn't have gotten out if his friend did not, too. He feels personally responsible for failing Castiel---as he feels he has failed everything he loves.

He states brokenly to Castiel, "Look, I don't need to feel like hell for failing you, okay? For failing you like I've failed every other godforsaken thing that I care about! I don't need it!"

Perception is a huge portion of this season, too. They say there are three sides to every story: mine, yours, and the truth.  "A Little Slice of Kevin" leaves us to wonder just what is the truth on many of the story lines. Much of the story this season has been told through Dean's perspective. We have seen his memories of Purgatory, his reactions to being back topside, and his interactions with his brother, Sam. He remembers leaving Purgatory clearly, and tells Sam, "Sammy, I remember every second of leaving that place. I mean, I remember the "“ the heat, the stink, the pain, the fear. I have that whole ugly mess......right here, and he says he has no idea how he got out? I "“ I'm just not buying it." 

It isn't until Castiel tells him point blank, "No. No, you think you know. You remembered it the way you needed to," that we realize how unreliable Dean may be as the filter for which we see the story. 

To further this, we see even Castiel himself manipulated. He is taken by another angel to a secret area of Heaven. There, he is told to report on the Winchesters, to answer when they call, and to be the ally he once was. The most troubling? That Castiel will not remember any of these discussions. 

If an angel can manipulate not only a human's memories but that of another angel, how much of what has been shown thus far truth? The angels have an agenda yet to be revealed. Why does Naomi want Castiel to report to her about the Winchesters? What are their goals? Are they trying to keep the brothers from reading the Angel tablet---and if so what is on it that is dangerous to them? Since the Demon tablet states how to banish all demons, could the Angel tablet say the same thing about Heaven's Host? 

Naomi's influence on Castiel---her ability to take him from the brothers without them realizing it, to suppress his memory of her doing so, and the knowledge that this will happen again calls so many things into direct question. How much manipulation have the angels done in the past year? How much have the manipulated recently? And why?

We've seen the angels warp perception before. Gabriel, then as the Trickster, put Sam through a timeloop in "Mystery Spot," forcing him to watch his brother die repeatedly---and then follow a six month period in which Dean was dead and gone.  In "It's A Terrible Life," Zachariah places Sam and Dean into alternate reality where they are office workers, living normal lives, yet drawn to hunting by a planted ghost in the created reality. He sends Dean to another reality in "The End," where Dean confronts his potential future self and his brother, possessed by Lucifer. In season 6 Balthazar sends Sam and Dean to a reality where they are TV stars in "The French Mistake," and disrupts the correct timeline by unsinking the Titanic in "My Heart Will Go On." This is not a new trick for the angels---but it is a new method to employ it. It has always been on humans---never on their own. 

That also begs us to question Sam's experiences with Amelia. How much of his year off with Amelia is truth? How much of his life with her is either created by his own mind to deal with his grief---or has he made her significance greater than it should be in retrospect? Did the angels concoct her and place Sam in a separate reality without his knowledge---one that ran alongside the real timeline---all without either brother knowing? Have the angels somehow, with Sam, played upon his raw grief in a way that further damages his already fragile psyche? 

It begs to question if Sam stepped away of his own accord or if perhaps the angels pushed him in that direction then. If so, could it be that they needed Sam not to find a way to get his brother and Castiel out of Purgatory for their own means? 

From the very first episode of the season, we've been playing with this theme. Perception is the key to everything happening in some form---be it Dean's time in Purgatory, Castiel's reasons for staying behind, Sam no longer hunting, or Kevin choosing to side with the Winchesters. How each character perceives things---right or wrong---could impact the story at every level. It could ripple out in its consequences almost as deeply as choice does. Without the proper perspective the wrong choice could be made---what reaction would follow has yet to be predicted. 

The phrase, "trust no one" comes to mind here, and we are left to bob and weave between the lines to put together the mystery surrounding perspective in this season thus far. Somewhere within its fabric is the truth, whatever that may be. 

Cyrina Fiallo plays a snarky witch well. She is cocky, untrustworthy, and sarcastic. Delta has an aura around her that instantly makes her suspicious. Fiallo gives her a flippant attitude that fits in well with the character. She is disdainful of Mrs. Tran---especially when she is confronted about providing her witch services before payment. After Delta sells out the Trans to Crowley, we see Fiallo add a layer of childish naivete as she tries to acquire the King of Hell's approval. 

Lauren Tom reprises Mrs. Tran. She is feisty as always, and a treat to see return. Tom gives Mrs. Tran determination and desperation. She wants to keep her son safe, and it shows in Tom's performance. Mrs. Tran may be misguided in her methods, but she is doing what she thinks is right. She is fierce and resolute in her actions, and Tom makes sure to put on a brave face---especially when Mrs. Tran is confronting Delta. Once Kevin is taken from her, we see Tom make Mrs. Tran a frantic civilian, coming to the Winchesters for help. She is desperate and afraid, begging them to return her son to her. Tom makes Mrs. Tran's fear tangible. 

Osaric Chau shows us a frustrated and overwhelmed Kevin. We see it in his exasperation with his mother dumping holy water and hiring Delta. He is struggling to figure out his next move---and without the Winchesters he is uncertain. Chau gives Kevin a bit of humor, too, shown in his appreciation of Delta. He then shows us a crushed Kevin when in Crowley's grasp. With nothing left to lose, Chau shows us that Kevin's defiance is half hearted. He shows Kevin's agony after Crowley cuts off his finger---and his resignation as he reads off the tablet. Chau gives Kevin his fire back after the brothers rescue him from Crowley in his adamant statement, "I want to seal those bastards up forever." 

Mark Sheppard gives us a snarky and cruel Crowley. He seems to enjoy torturing first Samandiriel and then Kevin for pure sport. There is a smugness in both scenes that Sheppard presents well. His smooth, "I lied. I do that," is delivered with such finesse.  Crowley wants to know what the tablet says out of pure survival, and his shocked face when he discovers that the spell to close the Hell Gates is real is genuine on Sheppard's face. He shows the King of Hell's frustration upon realizing the group of would-be prophets is largely useless to him with simple facial expressions and small sighs. His bewildered expression when they accuse him of being an alien is subtle but funny. His faux patience with one of the prophets trying to read the tablet continues that beautifully.  Sheppard shows Crowley's lack of patience with underlings later when he thanks Delta for helping him find Kevin, only to say wearily, "Presumptuous twit." Sheppard shows both Crowley's disdain and respect for Castiel later when they are in direct confrontation. He makes swipes at Castiel's power, convinced that the angel can't touch him, only to have a flicker of fear over his face as Castiel unfurls his wings. Sheppard relishes playing the despicable Crowley, and it shows in every performance.

Ty Olsson continues to add to the Supernatural fabric well. He makes Benny seem real---and yet he adds in just enough subtle body language and tone of voice that leaves us not trusting his character, even if Dean does. Olsson may only appear in spurts through the episode, but we see him connect with both Ackles and Collins in those scenes well. He has a charisma that makes Benny tangible on the screen. 

Misha Collins returns to the present as Castiel---more like the angel of the past rather than the one at the end of season 7. And yet, we sense that there is an air of remorse and grief about the angel in Collins portrayal. He is childlike in his enjoyment of television, expressed beautifully in the line, "I missed television." Collins gets to unfurl Castiel's power literally in a display of the angel's wings. It makes for an intimidating sight, regardless of the special effects. His determination and power is etched onto Collins face already. He shows two very different Castiels well---that of the desperate and left behind angel in Purgatory---the one Dean sees---and the strong angel choosing to stay behind with a firm, "Go!" Collins shows Castiel's brief distress at being returned after Naomi's conversation in a flicker of confusion across his face. We can see that the angel is already doubting and trying to remember something---but can't. Now that Castiel is back on the chess board---and not just in Dean's memories---we'll be seeing more of Collins certainly. 

Jensen Ackles gives us a grieved Dean. He is struggling with seeing Castiel---and instead of pure relief upon his friend's return, Dean is suspicious and distraught. Ackles shows Dean's anguish in little gestures---particularly that as he approaches the window he spotted Castiel in, and in his voice. He gives Dean a somber flavor this week. Ackles really turns on the emotional impact when Dean confesses first to Sam and later confronts Castiel. He makes us feel for Dean deeply. Ackles makes Dean's fear tangible when he thinks that Castiel is in danger facing Crowley. We see him vent his fear in frustration as Dean yells at the angel for doing so. Ackles breaks our hearts when Dean says that he feels he has failed everything he loves. It is a moving and heartbreaking moment, one that belies that tumultuous emotions buried underneath Dean's warrior exterior. Ackles makes sure to make it subtle to increase the impact, tugging all the more on our heartstrings. 

Jared Padalecki shows Sam's smarts, his grief, and his determination through this episode. He is subtle in his use of the exorcism over the phone to test their witness for possession. Padalecki shines best here in his scenes with Ackles and Collins. We see him put so much impact in his soft spoken conversation with Dean, hitting home that Sam is struggling. It is heartbreaking and moving, telling so much in so few words that Sam is warning his brother from his current trajectory. It's tragic that Sam knows what is ahead for Dean if he allows his grief for Castiel to consume him. In that subtle moment, Padalecki convinces us that Sam is still walking that path. Padalecki impacts when expressing Sam's relief upon seeing Castiel. There is a soft joy in his exclamation, Unbelievable, man. I-I cannot believe it. You're actually here."  Later, we see him be resolved to help those held by Crowley, distracting demons and fighting back. He is defiant when he tells the demons, "Looks like you guys got me." It was also a treat to spot the moment Padalecki mentioned in his meet and greet in this episode, where we see him turn to look at the camera after following Dean into Crowley's latest lair. 

Best lines this week are:

Benny: I lie. I don't get lied to. Aren't you guys all about faith? 

Crowley: I lied. I do that.

Sam: If you let it, this is gonna keep messing with you. You got to walk past it. 

Crowley: Blah, blah, blah. Doesn't anyone ever edit this stuff? So far, as a writer, God's a snooze. No fun at parties, I hear. 

Dean: Look, I don't need to feel like hell for failing you, okay? For failing you like I've failed every other godforsaken thing that I care about! I don't need it! 

Kevin: Mom! You've got to stop drowning me in holy water every time I go out! 

It'll be interesting to see how the dynamic changes with Castiel back with the brothers and how the angels continue to manipulate the situation as the season progresses. Just what perspective will emerge?

Comments  

aelaine
# aelaine 2012-11-23 18:36
Thank you Far Away Eyes, very good review. Perception, yes the essence of this season, I agree, and that choices has been the ongoing theme. Free Will/Choices are all being questioned this year. Loved your review, lots to think about and makes me even more excited to see how it all plays out!
Far Away Eyes
# Far Away Eyes 2012-11-24 12:25
Thanks for the comment. I'm glad you liked my take. I was really struck by perception from the very first episode of the season, and as we continue it seems to be a bigger issue.

I think it'll make for a good ride, especially as the truth emerges.

Thanks again!
Joyful
# Joyful 2012-11-23 20:03
Excellent review, Far Away Eyes, thankyou! It's so amazing how deep our little show gets and you have written a wonderful explaination of all the nuances and themes that run concurrently in this episode. Wow.... a lot to think about. I agree, all actors brought their A game to this episode, especially Jensen and Jared and Misha. Bravo. I have rewatched the episode numerous times, and still get the lump in my throat during some of the conversations. Interesting introduction for Samantha Tapping - can't wait to see how her character and the angel storyline unfolds (and indeed, how much influence have they had on the activities of this season so far?)! Reading this review has made me even more excited about what this season will bring! :-)
Far Away Eyes
# Far Away Eyes 2012-11-24 12:28
Thanks for the comment.

I really think that there is so much going on with perception that the truth is lurking somewhere. I think the angels are up to something---and judging by their cloak and dagger behavior it can't be good. They know if the Winchesters know about their endgame they'll derail it, so I think it's partly why they're doing what they're doing. They are intending on using the brothers for something. I just don't know what yet.

I absolutely loved the portrayals this week. I thought my heart would break for so many of them.

Thanks again for the lovely comment!
st50
# st50 2012-11-24 10:52
Great article, FarawayEyes! Thanks!
I agree the season so far is all about choice and perception, and you've outlined it very well, here.

Some of those choices I agree with (Dean getting out of purgatory in any way he could), some I don't (Sam turning off his phones and quitting). Some have already bit the characters in their proverbial arse (The Trans!).... I hope some will yet (Benny, Kate)... and some choices have already provided the viewers enough fodder for long weeks of agonizing... :o

The perception issue is both intriguing and worrying... The questions you raise.. how much are these new angels interfering , how much of what we've seen is the whole truth .... NOW we have a season with potential!

Naomi is just creepy! Who is she? What department is this, and where do they fit into the hierarchy of angels? Archangels? Are they reporting to 'God', or is there a new commander in heaven? What is their 'endgame' this time? Apocalypse 2.0, gain control of the tablets, interfere with - or aid in - gate closing?

I REALLY don't want them to have invented or manipulated Sam's relationship with Amelia... The man needs to have at least one true friend aside from Dean, even if they don't stay 'together' in that sense. I am beginning to think, though, that the angels were the ones keeping an eye on Sam in the premiere ... I'd love to speculate that they either helped in rescuing him from his mind-numbing grief (Survivors Guilt!! :cry: ), or that he had been dealing with them towards achieving Dean's rescue, but I'm not sure that's where Carver is heading with Sam this year. Can't quite wrap my mind around where he is.... I guess in that respect, they're doing a great job with the perception theme. :sigh:

I also perceive Benny as not quite as innocent as Dean sees him - and I hope that becomes more of a question in ep.9... but we'll see.

How much is Cas being manipulated and used? With all he's been through in the past few years, I'd love to think he'd start sensing something isn't right.

The speculation games have begun.....

Thanks again for a great review... Hurry up Wednesday!
Far Away Eyes
# Far Away Eyes 2012-11-24 12:36
Thanks for the comment.

It's going to be very interesting to see just what the angels are up to, isn't it? I think there is so much manipulation and cloak and dagger, and yes, Naomi creeped me out. I think she's either the bad angel on the block or she's working for that angel.

I don't know if Amelia is created by either Sam's damaged psyche or an angel or if she was real and they just used his connection/rela tionship to her to distract him or what, but I don't trust his memories of her and I think there is so much more going on there. It's the brightness of those scenes, the almost too colorful and happy (ie the birthday cake moment) that makes it seem like something isn't quite right, and now with angels playing mind games I wonder how much of that is real. I think it's going to play some into what Sam's story ends up by season's end, too. I just wonder, if the angels pushed Sam into his time with Amelia or fabricated some of it, why? What were they doing while they were pulling Sam around? What didn't they want him to stop or know about? THAT is what I keep wanting to find out.

Benny is going to end up being a bad news bears situation for Dean in the long run, I think. He knows that he has Dean's sympathy and trust and I think he knows enough how to play it up for Dean so he'll help him and not turn against him. At some point, Benny will either do something that Dean can't dismiss or some truth about why he wanted out of Purgatory will emerge. Either way, I don't see it ending well for the vampire.

And yes, I think Cas is sensing something is wrong. He shook it off, but that moment after Naomi sent him back made me take notice. He sensed something had just happened. I don't think Naomi will be able to stop him from remembering entirely.

I do look forward to the rest of the season, and I think it's going to be a very interesting ride.

Thanks again!
st50
# st50 2012-11-25 15:57
Quote:

....
I don't know if Amelia is created by either Sam's damaged psyche or an angel or if she was real and they just used his connection/relationship to her to distract him or what, but I don't trust his memories of her and I think there is so much more going on there. It's the brightness of those scenes, the almost too colorful and happy (ie the birthday cake moment) that makes it seem like something isn't quite right....!
I agree that Sam's initial memories of Amelia seemed overly romanticized and not to be trusted.

His memories in this most recent episode, however, didn't seem quite so unnaturally bright, to me, so maybe that indicates he's getting a better hold of himself/reality ?
Or are the angels backing off from manipulating Sam now that they have Dean and Cas to play with??
Far Away Eyes
# Far Away Eyes 2012-11-25 17:28
That's a good question. Or is he remembering now when it started to go sour and become a bad relationship? And if it did, why?

I think, if the angels are involved, you might be onto something. They do have Dean and Cas to play with now, so they might not fool with Sam nearly as much or as intensely. I'll be curious to see what ends up being reality in the end.
st50
# st50 2012-11-24 11:25
Dean's perceptions, as revealed in this episode, are enough for an entire book! :P

His self-esteem has always been tied to his success in the hunt, in saving people, but did he really NEED to alter his memory of the Cas situation?

Cas: "You remembered it the way you needed to" ? Why? Would he have had less guilt if he'd remembered that Cas didn't WANT to leave purgatory with Dean? He'd choose to stay in that kind of hell rather than be with Dean??Wouldn't that cause all kinds of other questions and self-esteem issues?

Does Cas even remember it correctly? Is that angel interference for both of them? Benny was already "in" Dean's arm, so we don't have a third point of view...

I really don't like the thought that Dean 'needed' to remember himself failing to save Cas. That line really bugged me... I hope they don't choose to develop that reasoning any further. Hopefully this is where Dean will mature... stop looking at the choices of others as his own failings or a reflection on his character. Perhaps that will lead to some healing with Sam. (Although I need a bunch more info from Sam's side to be content.....)

But that leads us into the 'personal responsibility' theme you mentioned, and this has gone on long enough....

Wow, I've gotten rather long winded. I guess I had more to say on this episode than I thought. Apologies!
Far Away Eyes
# Far Away Eyes 2012-11-24 12:40
Ah. Dean. Yes. I wonder how much of Dean having this dilemma in his face is there to force him to look at his own responsibilitie s and those of others around him. I think Dean feels the way he does about responsibility because of John and his childhood and I don't think any of his experiences since John's death have done any good to help that.

I think that perhaps they forced Dean to remember it a certain way only to have Cas show him another way (and is that even the truth?) to force him to think about this. He has to learn that he is only truly responsible for himself and his actions. Not Sam's. Not Cas's. Not Benny's. Not anyone else. I just hope we see him have to deal with that issue now that he's had it shoved in his face. Dean will only heal those self esteem issues if he can acknowledge, address, and deal with them. Until then, I think Dean will always feel he's the responsible one---no matter what the situation or choice was made and by whom.
Fluffy2107
# Fluffy2107 2012-11-24 14:08
Quote:
Dean's perceptions, as revealed in this episode, are enough for an entire book! :P

His self-esteem has always been tied to his success in the hunt, in saving people, but did he really NEED to alter his memory of the Cas situation?

Cas: "You remembered it the way you needed to" ? Why? Would he have had less guilt if he'd remembered that Cas didn't WANT to leave purgatory with Dean? He'd choose to stay in that kind of hell rather than be with Dean??Wouldn't that cause all kinds of other questions and self-esteem issues?

Does Cas even remember it correctly? Is that angel interference for both of them? Benny was already "in" Dean's arm, so we don't have a third point of view...

I really don't like the thought that Dean 'needed' to remember himself failing to save Cas. That line really bugged me... I hope they don't choose to develop that reasoning any further. Hopefully this is where Dean will mature... stop looking at the choices of others as his own failings or a reflection on his character. Perhaps that will lead to some healing with Sam. (Although I need a bunch more info from Sam's side to be content.....)

But that leads us into the 'personal responsibility' theme you mentioned, and this has gone on long enough....

Wow, I've gotten rather long winded. I guess I had more to say on this episode than I thought. Apologies!
It´s pretty obvious actually. At least it is to me.
It´s easier for Dean to think, he failed, than to think, someone left him.
Dean has those huge abandonment issues. And Cas trying to get rid of him? Uhm.. yeah.. no... Not good.
But Dean failing? I mean come on, he DOES think, he´s failing everybody. He DOES think he is responsible for everything. That is, who he is, what he knows and frankly, his usual state of mind.
So yes, it does make an aweful lot of sense.
And it makes an aweful lot of sense to finally have someone calling him on his crap. With evidence.
What surprised me though, was Dean starting the discussion. The way he frankly stated, how wrong this is?
And what it does to him, instead of carrying it around and letting it drag him asunder?
Wow! Someone's finally growing up and dealing with issues.
sweetondean
# sweetondean 2012-11-24 19:39
Quote:
What surprised me though, was Dean starting the discussion. The way he frankly stated, how wrong this is?
And what it does to him, instead of carrying it around and letting it drag him asunder?
Wow! Someone's finally growing up and dealing with issues.
Fluffy2107 That was something that I thought was really surprising and really great. It was a little moment of self realisation. I thought, wow Dean...owning it is the first step!

Thanks Far Away Eyes for a great, thought provoking piece on choice and perception. I think we're going to find that a lot of what we thought at the beginning of the season is not quite how it is and I'm looking forward to that.

Choice/mistakes. Abandoned or left/Walk past it or moved on.
Leaving someone behind/Choosing to stay.

How much of it is just the perception of the characters, who are coming at the issues from their own place, with their own baggage and how much of it is angelic manipulation? I'm looking forward to finding out.

It's all such a mystery and I dig it!

Glad to see you back. Keep writing!
Far Away Eyes
# Far Away Eyes 2012-11-24 20:16
Hey Amy!

Thanks for pushing me to finish.

I agree. There is so much going on here that we don't quite understand yet. And I'll be curious to see just how that plays out in the end. What clues have we misread or missed entirely that will be very obvious after the whole puzzle is in place??? It's going to be an interesting ride for sure.

I look forward to writing about this coming week's ep. Something tells me it's a screwball comedy, SPN style.
tigerlily2
# tigerlily2 2012-11-24 12:30
Perception seems to be a concept that arises out of the overarching theme of the recent seasons of the show: Free will and choice vs. fate and predetermined outcomes.

The characters all have been affected immensely by fate and matters out of their control. Sam's fate was determined before his birth, Dean's was determined when his father placed his baby brother in his arms and told him to run; Castiel, as an angel, has always been a creature of obedience and devotion to a higher power. They have each fought against their fates, or struggled to come to terms with them.

Sam's story, told over the first four years of the series, culminated in the ultimate act of taking control. Although his control seemed successful (although at great price), he was ultimately manipulated by higher powers - placed against his will is situations where he had no control. His perception of his life is one of constant striving for freedom from a fate he did not ask for. I don't believe Amelia is a manipulation (and I hope she isn't). I believe she is simply a person Sam connected with when his perception was that fate had again taken everything he loved away. I find it in character that Sam left hunting and sought a "normal" life, that he found comfort in small acts like fixing things, and taking care of a stray dog. Dean had the same impulse in season 2 when he angrily shouted at Bobby, "Then let (the world) end! Don't you think I've paid enough? Don't you think I've given enough?" That was years ago. Look at what these brothers have lost since then.

I believe Sam loves Amelia. His telling Dean her full name seemed to be an attempt to tell Dean that she meant something to him. She was not just "a girl." But Sam is obviously grieving the loss of that relationship, and I don't think it had anything to do with Dean. I think she found out about Sam's life and sent him away rather than suffer losing him to violence like she lost her husband. Sam's storyline is the most understated this season, but it is the most heartbreakingly human one.

Dean has sought to control his fate by being in control. First he became the perfect soldier son to his father and vigilant caretaker of his brother. When John died, Dean assumed the role of head of the family, the decision-maker, driver, leader, protector. But so many times, fate got the better of him. His perception is that he failed every time, but who he is will never let him give up, he just finds more and different people to protect: and angel, a vampire, a prophet, a host of strangers. It comes across sometimes as an almost narcissistic sense of responsibility, but Dean doesn't know anything else. It's why he is so hard on Sam about leaving hunting. He can't comprehend it.

Castiel is the character I have the most difficulty with, because his actions are so often not human. Angels, at least until God checked out, were beings of great power, but also of complete obedience. Being obedient, they had little understanding of personal responsibility. They did not feel guilt, or understand it in others.

Castiel's journey with the Winchesters has shown him responsibility and guilt, but only as abstract concepts. He has tried to understand free will and personal responsibility, but he often doesn't get it. He was almost completely amoral at the end of season 7, but surprisingly in Purgatory he seemed to gain a clarity, accepting responsibility and deciding to stay there as penance.

But just like Sam when he took control of Lucifer and jumped into the cage, Castiel's control of his fate didn't last. He is being controlled to a frightening degree by angels again. It is worse than season 4 when he just didn't know the angels' plan. Now he is not even aware that he's part of it. His free will has been stripped away, and he doesn't know.

Sorry to be so wordy. I have not commented before and apparently I built up a lot of opinion! ;) There is a lot - A LOT - about the writing this season that is making me crazy. I crave more attention to continuity and detail - and yes, more SHOW and less TELL - and a more evenhanded treatment of the main characters. But there is still much to love about the show, and I am looking forward to the rest of the season.
Far Away Eyes
# Far Away Eyes 2012-11-24 20:24
Thanks for the well thought out comment.

I agree. Each character is most certainly looking at this season's issues from their own place in it and that is how the whole emerges.

I love your take on Sam. I wonder how much is manipulation now, but like you, I find it to be a very human and heartbreaking story. Sam has always wanted/craved control and he will take it where it can find it. In season 4, after Dean went to Hell, he took control by drinking demon blood and using the powers granted to him by Azazel because he felt that could be his control over the situation. It was his macro response to losing Dean. Here, Sam has gone micro. He can't control things and he knows if he tries to do something with supernatural origins to get Dean back he'll end up burned again, so he fixes things. THOSE are things he can control safely without much repercussion. I also think you're spot on that he's grieving his relationship with Amelia as well as worrying he'll lose Dean again. I will be curious to see just what ended it between him and her, too.

You also captured Dean. He is a caretaker by nature and he can't help but follow through. I think it'll be interesting to see if he keeps this new realization in mind later on. I think he's going to have to face it much more extensively not through Castiel but through Benny this season. I think it'll be a difficult growth for him, and that it will come with a lot of pain.

I agree that Castiel is harder to read. He's not human, and as much as he tries to learn from the Winchesters about being a human, he is a poor imitation of it most of the time. He is getting a bit better about the expected responses, but he never quite gets it right. Now that he's being used as a tool---without his knowledge---by the angels I wonder what he will do when he learns that and how it'll impact him.

I think it'll be a fun ride throughout this season. So much has lead to detailed discussion already!

Thanks again for the great comment.
Fluffy2107
# Fluffy2107 2012-11-25 09:26
Great points, both of you.

I have been giving it all some thought and am finally in a place, where I can say, I understand.

I´m rewatching all episodes of season 8 now to see, if it adds up.

And it does.

It´s kind of sweet actually, the way Sam treats Dean. HE is the one who is doing the protecting right now, just way more subtle, than Dean would.

Ordering him a burger, when Dean is not even able to deal with a vending machine?
Pure sweetness.

Sam knows, where Dean is right now. He gets it, that Dean can´t deal with alot of things at the moment. He even comments on it in episode 1. "Look at you, you still got that look, you´re shaky, you´re on edge"

And aside from Sam being super mellow, that is , I think a good part, of why he is taking all that mean little crap from Dean, without fighting back.
He just swallows all the mean stuff, that get´s thrown his way. He just jumps in , when Dean gets carried off too far.
(Mama Tran in 8.02, the suspect in 8.02 and so on) I can´t even count the times, he´s been talking him down from the edge in Season 8.

Right now, they´re polar opposites. Dean is riding a killing edge all te time and Sam is so lost, he barely can bring himself to care sometimes. Where Dean is point sharp and constantly ready to fight and needing the fight, Sam is all over the place and more than a little lost inside.
(as evidenced by his talk with Kevin in Episode 1.
"I don´t know how to get from here to there"
"Yeah, I used to feel like that as well")
They need to level each other out. Sam needs to get some of Deans activism and Dean seriously needs to lose some tension and take a page out of Sam´s book.

From that point of view, Southern COmfort was an extremely important episode. Not so much, because of Dean's outbreak, but because of Garth and what he said and how it registered with Sam and Dean.
And of course the ending.
Sam dishing out and Dean taking it without complaint.

On rewatch, I find some seriously, seriously important quotes, I need to collect them all at some point.
It´s a shame, we all got damaged by season 7 so much, that we are trying so hard to find evidence of brotherly moments, that we overlook all the obvious stuff.
Far Away Eyes
# Far Away Eyes 2012-11-25 12:26
I'm intending on doing what you're doing with a rewatch during the Hellatus. I think the puzzle pieces are there. They're just masked or subtle that we need to reexamine to see.

I absolutely agree with you on Southern Comfort. That episode dealt so much with grief and letting go. Garth was speaking to the brothers from an outside but friendly place about seeing each other's sides and coming to common ground. I truly hope that it gets to both of them.

I think it's interesting that you see Sam as taking Dean's crap because he's keeping Dean from teetering over the edge. I like that perspective. I think I've seen some of it, but with your comment I totally see it all now. Sam is walking a dangerous tight rope himself. On one hand, he is caring for his brother in a subtle Sam way with small gestures and brief words of warning/encoura gement and on the other he is so frantic and afraid Dean will die/disappear on him again that he has had times where he's been short (see his mistrust of Benny for instance).

I do think Sam and Dean are the heart and soul of this season and they will have to find their way back to one another. They are the only ones that truly can save each other.

I've been very touched by so many brotherly moments. They don't need to have wide sweeping gestures. Their love is quiet and always there, and no matter what they face in the future, they're always brothers first.
st50
# st50 2012-11-25 13:07
Quote:

I do think Sam and Dean are the heart and soul of this season and they will have to find their way back to one another. They are the only ones that truly can save each other.
That 'way back' is gonna get even more painful to watch, I'm afraid! I don't think they've hit bottom yet, but it's coming. :cry:
Hopefully all past hurts will be healed and the relationship will be properly mended. The relationship between them is and always has been the heart and soul of the whole show, imho.
Fingers crossed!
aelaine
# aelaine 2012-11-25 15:33
Quote:
Great points, both of you.

I have been giving it all some thought and am finally in a place, where I can say, I understand.

I´m rewatching all episodes of season 8 now to see, if it adds up.

And it does.

It´s kind of sweet actually, the way Sam treats Dean. HE is the one who is doing the protecting right now, just way more subtle, than Dean would.

Ordering him a burger, when Dean is not even able to deal with a vending machine?
Pure sweetness.

Sam knows, where Dean is right now. He gets it, that Dean can´t deal with alot of things at the moment. He even comments on it in episode 1. "Look at you, you still got that look, you´re shaky, you´re on edge"

And aside from Sam being super mellow, that is , I think a good part, of why he is taking all that mean little crap from Dean, without fighting back.
He just swallows all the mean stuff, that get´s thrown his way. He just jumps in , when Dean gets carried off too far.
(Mama Tran in 8.02, the suspect in 8.02 and so on) I can´t even count the times, he´s been talking him down from the edge in Season 8.

Right now, they´re polar opposites. Dean is riding a killing edge all te time and Sam is so lost, he barely can bring himself to care sometimes. Where Dean is point sharp and constantly ready to fight and needing the fight, Sam is all over the place and more than a little lost inside.
(as evidenced by his talk with Kevin in Episode 1.
"I don´t know how to get from here to there"
"Yeah, I used to feel like that as well")
They need to level each other out. Sam needs to get some of Deans activism and Dean seriously needs to lose some tension and take a page out of Sam´s book.

From that point of view, Southern COmfort was an extremely important episode. Not so much, because of Dean's outbreak, but because of Garth and what he said and how it registered with Sam and Dean.
And of course the ending.
Sam dishing out and Dean taking it without complaint.

On rewatch, I find some seriously, seriously important quotes, I need to collect them all at some point.
It´s a shame, we all got damaged by season 7 so much, that we are trying so hard to find evidence of brotherly moments, that we overlook all the obvious stuff.
Yes! totally agree! I have watched every episode many times ( too much time on my hands)and this is what I have wanted to say, but couldn't put into words, thank you. great discussion you guys! Wednesday please!
Leah
# Leah 2012-11-25 16:09
Completely agree with you all!!! I am not in sync with those who think the brothers are beyond repair. No matter what harsh exchanges they have it is BECAUSE they love each other, not that they dont. It is always apparent to me in a myriad of subtle ways. In spite of the vast differences in their personalities they have always found the way back to each other because they WANT to.

I am and will continue to be excited about this season. I want to see more of the "choices" that are made, more of the "perceptions" as they emerge and see how "perspectives" change as the season unfolds.

Thank you Far Away Eyes for the great review. Much food for thought!
Far Away Eyes
# Far Away Eyes 2012-11-25 17:22
Thanks for the comment.

I'd be way worried about Sam and Dean and their relationship if one or the other was utterly apathetic. They care too much, so much, and sometimes that love is expressed in bursts of great anger. As long as they care that deeply, it'll work out in the end.

I, too, am excited to see just what perspectives end up in the end and what choices will be made because of them. We've already seen a couple reversals as things change.

Thanks again!
Fluffy2107
# Fluffy2107 2012-11-26 03:15
Quote:
Thanks for the comment.

I'd be way worried about Sam and Dean and their relationship if one or the other was utterly apathetic. They care too much, so much, and sometimes that love is expressed in bursts of great anger. As long as they care that deeply, it'll work out in the end.

I, too, am excited to see just what perspectives end up in the end and what choices will be made because of them. We've already seen a couple reversals as things change.

Thanks again!
Right now, they are just on completely different sides, emotionwise. Heck, they might just as well be on compeltely different planets!
They can´t connect.
Sam isn´t coming through to Dean, who watches everything through a lense of constant war and Dean can´t relate to Sam, because basically, Sam didn´t live this past year, he just drifted along aimlessly.

Dean´s experience was, as he said it "pure", Sam's was the complete opposide. There was NOTHING direct, or straight forward in the last year for him. Partly by choice and partly, because he was just a lost little boy, simply not knowing, what to do.
Dean has spent a year following two straight directives without any distractions: find Castiel and find the gate.
Period.

Also, mind you, Dean talked to exactly two persons outside of interrogation/k ill situations for a whole YEAR.

Which btw. is the lense through which to see his relationship with Benny (and Cas).
The Benny thing is straight forward. Fight together, survive together.
Benny WAS a better brother to him the past year. And why? Well, he hasn´t had a chance to screw up (yet)
Benny couldn´t really hurt Dean, because there was nothing murky, nothing ambivalent in Purgatory.
There were no choices, where he COULD go wrong.
In a fight, in a situation, where they are on the same side and both have the same objectives, Benny basically can´t do wrong.

Which is why I am so excited for 8.09. Because suddenly Benny is in a situation, that involves doubt on Deans side.
And I hope it will kick Dean off his high horse and will elevate Sam up a few levels, when it comes to making the right decisions.

From what I read so far, it will.
No matter, if Benny screwed up, or not, if Sam really gives Dean the chance to handle it, and sticks to that, he will finally have true leverage to hand some of the crap back to Dean.
Because frankly? Dean frash out of Purgatory is an jerk. I adore that character, but right now, he is nothing but a petty, hurtful idiot, who goes right for the throat, and he hurts Sam.

I am totally expecting some bombshells in Sams past year. Things he kept to himself to protect Dean from things, he wasn´t able to deal with fresh out of Purgatory.
And things, that Dean just didn´t care about to know, because it isn´t fighting related and Dean can´t bring himself to care.
You know, suicide attempts. Major depression, a stint at the psych ward. Stuff like that.
Enough that the angels decided to intervene to keep him safe.
Just because this is, what my head decided, happened.

We´re watching Sam from Dean´s perspective right now. And yeah, it isn´t very favorable.
In his mind Sam was safe and good and let him down in the worst possible way.
Emotional wreck? Oh yeah... no.
Dean just doesn´t care about Sam´s emotional state. He can´t! He forgot how to. Frankly, he forgot how to truly be human.
But from that perspective he´s reigning himself in pretty good. Only a little jab here and there.. like every ten minutes...

But I bet my little brother, when the truth hits, he will pay for it. Because THAT will hurt.


PS: edited to be just a little less offensive
SPN Fan
# SPN Fan 2012-11-26 09:02
Quote:
Because frankly? Dean frash out of Purgatory is an asshole. I adore that character, but right now, he is nothing but a petty, hurtful idiot, who goes right for the throat, and he hurts Sam.
I've heard a lot of fans complain that there's a lot of Sam bashing going on. But do the fans not mind if people engage in Dean bashing??? Calling a lead charater on the show an asshole, idiot, dick etc is not bashing is it? In recent times I've seen a lot of Dean hate on a lot of websites. Its misplaced anger really. If JC thought this was the best story for Sam it does not mean people have to take that out on Dean. Anyway this is just my opinion. Such hurtful posts make me sad. I love both brothers and feel bad that there is such a divide among fans.
Fluffy2107
# Fluffy2107 2012-11-26 10:12
Quote:
Quote:
Because frankly? Dean frash out of Purgatory is an asshole. I adore that character, but right now, he is nothing but a petty, hurtful idiot, who goes right for the throat, and he hurts Sam.
I've heard a lot of fans complain that there's a lot of Sam bashing going on. But do the fans not mind if people engage in Dean bashing??? Calling a lead charater on the show an asshole, idiot, dick etc is not bashing is it? In recent times I've seen a lot of Dean hate on a lot of websites. Its misplaced anger really. If JC thought this was the best story for Sam it does not mean people have to take that out on Dean. Anyway this is just my opinion. Such hurtful posts make me sad. I love both brothers and feel bad that there is such a divide among fans.
Dean is a fictional character. I can´t hurt his feelings.
I love that guy. I understand, why he is, the way he is. Believe me, I spent the last ten years living with someone with PTSD, and I see some things reflected here. Thank god, not the real stuff, that makes PTSD PTSD.. because then, he might just as well have attacked those kids in the parking lot, coming right fresh out of a flashback.

I don´t say, he generally is a jerk. But right now? Often enough, he acts like one. Uncaring, hurtful, petty and mean.
He reminds me a little of SoullessSam. (who btw, I loved)

Don´t take my words out of context. Because that sentence, standing alone will do, what it did to you, hurt you.
Read the rest of the post. And I stand by my words.

PS: removed the most offensive words
SPN Fan
# SPN Fan 2012-11-27 03:07
I didnt think u would hurt Dean's feelings. I said u hurt mine cos am a fan of both brothers and the show. Ur last line for eg. reads "But I bet my little brother, when the truth hits, he will pay for it. Because THAT will hurt." It almost seems like a threat. U're wishing for something to happen (in the last year) to Sam so that Dean comes off looking bad and hurt. And to me this sounds anti-Dean. I too want some explanation that makes Sam look good in the eyse of Dean and the audience but I dont want Dean (or Sam) hurt. So I guess thats the difference and why I still find ur post offensive, though I do understand ur take. Maybe its a perception/lang uage issue.
And since maybe others do not feel that way I guess I have to let it go. I will not be continuing this thread. It was just my opinion and I will leave it at that. But thanks for the reply. I appreciate it. Am out of here.
CJ
# CJ 2012-11-27 03:52
I normally dont reply to SPN Fan's thread cos she's my friend and roommate. So I feel I might have a bias :)
But I just couldnt resist this time.

Fluffy am sorry u had to deal with someone who had PTSD. In fact I have too (sort of). Which is why I find ur post surprising. The last thing u tell someone who had a torrid year (always at war) is how happy or normal ur past year was. U dont rub that in their face. U dont keep threatening to leave them. U dont act detached and tell them that they are better off on their own so that u can pursue ur dreams. U dont act like their return has put a thorn in ur plans. To me that is more uncaring and selfish. That is not being supportive at all.
Now pls note that I'm not implying Sam is all the above. It just seems that way for now and am sure as JC said there are some perception issues at play here. My point is that from Dean's POV this is what he sees and he is reacting accordingly. I dont find his attitude mean or petty. He is human afterall. If there is no explanation at all for why Sam did what he did then I have to say that it is Sam's actions that are totally off.
But until then I think both brothers are right in their own way, they have always loved and cared for each other. They have always been there for each other. Am an optimist and feel this season too will see them both united in the end. IMHO the divide is only among the fans not the boys :-)
The crux of my post is that u are probably being too hard on Dean's character right now (like a lot of people are). I'm actually surprised at so much venom being spewed on Dean on other sites (not here). Its bad on both sides actually. Too much negativity and retaliatory hate. Hope it ends soon.
Fluffy2107
# Fluffy2107 2012-11-27 04:28
Quote:


I normally dont reply to SPN Fan's thread cos she's my friend and roommate. So I feel I might have a bias :)
But I just couldnt resist this time.

Fluffy am sorry u had to deal with someone who had PTSD. In fact I have too (sort of). Which is why I find ur post surprising. The last thing u tell someone who had a torrid year (always at war) is how happy or normal ur past year was. U dont rub that in their face. U dont keep threatening to leave them. U dont act detached and tell them that they are better off on their own so that u can pursue ur dreams. U dont act like their return has put a thorn in ur plans. To me that is more uncaring and selfish. That is not being supportive at all.
Now pls note that I'm not implying Sam is all the above. It just seems that way for now and am sure as JC said there are some perception issues at play here. My point is that from Dean's POV this is what he sees and he is reacting accordingly. I dont find his attitude mean or petty. He is human afterall. If there is no explanation at all for why Sam did what he did then I have to say that it is Sam's actions that are totally off.
But until then I think both brothers are right in their own way, they have always loved and cared for each other. They have always been there for each other. Am an optimist and feel this season too will see them both united in the end. IMHO the divide is only among the fans not the boys :-)
The crux of my post is that u are probably being too hard on Dean's character right now (like a lot of people are). I'm actually surprised at so much venom being spewed on Dean on other sites (not here). Its bad on both sides actually. Too much negativity and retaliatory hate. Hope it ends soon.
Dean is acting in character and absolutely logical for someone, who just came home from a year of constant fighting. It´s not PTSD (yet), but he is very much on edge.
As the show is set up right now, we see the world from Dean's POV and it is rather unfavorable towards Sam. Understandably so. But is it fair? No.
To Dean, yes, it seems, as if Sam has spent the last year with flowers and sunshine, while he fought for his life.
But what Sam actually said was: I didn´t hunt. First I didn´t know, what to do, then I hit a dog and met a girl.
What we see in the flashbacks is of course something else. It´s colorful and happy and bright, but that´s not, what he tells Dean.
His words are actually as neutral as they can possibly get.
When Dean starts a talk about hunting being his life, and this is what he wants, Sam answers, but still very careful.
(Too careful in my opinion, this new mellow side of Sam is really weirding me out)

What Dean´s makes of it is: I left you to rot and gave a damn, because a girl was more important, than you barely surviving in Purgatory.

a) because it´s Dean and b) he´s still in fighting mode.

Everything we see, everything we hear, is colored by our own state of mind, general mental makeup and our experiences. If Dean had spent the last year in heaven, or simply unconcious or without memory, he would be much more forgiving. Perhaps even happy, that Sam finally found some peace and could rebuilt some strength after the ordeal with his hallucinations.

In my opinion Sam is dealing pretty well with Dean´s problems. Yes, he slips up here and there, but besically, he´s doing nothing but keep things easy and simple and have Dean´s back, when he goes overboard, gently pulling him back from the edge, or reminding him, that killing off a suspect is not acceptable behaviour.
And Sam only threatened to leave Dean after.. well Dean told him that a VAMPIRE is a better brother than him, which is just... ouch.
Not exactly Dean´s fault perhaps and he would never say it, but OUCH!
But that as well is in the eye of the beholder.

BUT It´s not like Dean came back from hell. Yes, Purgatory was stressfull and dangerous. But he liked it. In a way, a very basic and simple way, he liked it.

Which is not to say, Sam perfect. He might just as well have let the things, Dean said, while under the influence of the specter, go. And threatening Benny? Oh well, yes, I see, where he´s coming from (panic attack! worry! big brother is acting strange!), but it wasn´t the most clever thing to do.
We will see, how he will ACT when it comes to Benny next week (and please Loflin, don´t f... this up...)


I would never spew hatred on any of the two of them. Because ... well frankly.. why should I? Where is the point?
It´s a fictional series about two brothers. Their troubles, their problems and their connection.
Sometimes, it´s more troubles than connection, but hey...
That´s the way it is, when you have two guys with completely different character and world view.
Which btw, is their strength, they just need to butt heads now and then to reinforce that connection.

And that pretty much is exactly, what is happening now.
They need to find each other again, in their differences and their similarities.
And the only person in the world who can mellow Dean out is Sam. Just as Dean is the only person you can help Sam find his fighting spirit again.
They only need to get there.
Alice
# Alice 2012-11-26 10:09
Hey Fluffy2107! You have some good points and I've been enjoying this discussion overall, but you've got to watch the character name calling. It's a sensitive topic, and it does read (intentional or not) like Sam vs. Dean. Just FYI for the future, since there was a complaint.

Thanks!
Fluffy2107
# Fluffy2107 2012-11-26 10:48
Quote:
Hey Fluffy2107! You have some good points and I've been enjoying this discussion overall, but you've got to watch the character name calling. It's a sensitive topic, and it does read (intentional or not) like Sam vs. Dean. Just FYI for the future, since there was a complaint.

Thanks!
The site is eating my comments.

That´s not nice.

I had typed a deeply heartfelt and frankly ingenious explanation/apo logy and it just ate it.

Ok, it was neither, but I´m too lazy, to type it again ;)

I´m trying to word my opinion more neutral.
If I fail, be patient, I´m German and no matter how good you know another language, nuances will always be lost.

There was no offense intended toward any person, biologically alive, or not.
Alice
# Alice 2012-11-26 11:07
I'm so sorry that the commenting system ate the post. We are having system issues of late, but the commenting system has always been tempermental (you're right, it isn't nice!). We are looking at all options right now, including upgrading our server. I guess that's techno speak for something isn't right. I'm asking everyone to copy their posts before hitting send, that way if something goes wrong you'll have what you wrote handy.

No worries, you certainly aren't in any kind of trouble and I definitely believe you meant no offense. Thanks!
kaj
# kaj 2012-11-25 21:31
Great review Far Away Eyes!!

Yes, we've seen how memory manipulation is at work here. Even when I think that Dean's memory alteration is unnecessary to build his grief because we already understand the amount of Dean's grief and his tendency to blame himself for things that is often not his fault.

That memory alteration is put there as an exposition, a tool to move the plot a long, to give a hint that the characters in the show (Dean, Sam, Cas) are prone to memory alteration too. Either bu angels or by their own mind. ALso Sam had hallucinated Lucifer for the better part of a year, right?

That's why I'd like to reference this post by ash48. She points out symbols in numbers and decors in the show that perhaps gives hints about Sam's state of mind in S8.

http://ash48.livejournal.com/286661.html?view=5326789#t5326789

It's interesting if you are into symbolical and speculation.
Sylvie
# Sylvie 2012-11-26 12:41
I really like your take on season 8, it's turning out to be such a great season. Our characters will have to live with the consequences of the choices that were made. Mrs. Tran is lucky her son didn't die at Crowley's hands, hopefully lesson learned. God knows the Winchesters have always learned the hard way about some of the choices they have made over the years. They haven't always been the right ones, but then again, that's human nature and they've grown in maturity because of those choices.

I hope Sam made the choice of not looking for Dean on his own and not through any supernatural interference. It was hard enough for him, and though we may not all agree with it, I think it was the only one he could make at that time. Should he have turned off all his phones? Maybe not, but I don't think he was in a state of mind to deal with hunting anymore having lost everyone that meant something to him.

As for the angels, what oh what are they up to! Are they changing the perception of things again? As you stated, they have done this to the Winchesters many times in the past, but our starlwart heroes always beat them at their own game. By using Castiel as a spy (unwittingly) maybe they hope to gain the upper hand this time round. If God had a tablet on how to close the doors to Hell forever, what might He have in store for the angels? Whatever it is, I don't think it was their game plan to have the Winchesters back together hunting. Dean escaping Purgatory probably screwed something up for them. Ha! :D He reminds me of Jack Reacher. God forbid the fool that tells him don't, because he will, just because.

I'm embarrassed to say that for once I'm actually anticipating hellatus so I can rewatch all episodes from the beginning of the season! :P