There’s a challenge in reviewing an episode like “Party On, Garth.”  Much like the guest hunter himself, it’s lovable, goofy, rough around the edges, downright embarrassing at times, but grows on you.  This episode wasn’t perfect by any means, and it’s not exactly the lighter fare we’re expecting to see this late in the season.   

Of course, anything I have to say about the episode must be separated from the last four minutes, which is it’s own entity.  In order to depict my super excitement over that ending, which ranks up there with “Lazarus Rising” and “Nightshifter” for me, why don’t I share a couple of my reaction tweets:

@WinFamBusiness:   BEST ENDING EVER!!!!

@WinFamBusiness:  Shh, don't tell the west coast (the spoiler). Luckily, they can't see me jumping around my living room. :)

So it’s a coin flip on where to start first, the review of the ending or the review on the rest of the episode?  Let’s get the happiness out of the way first.

 
That Ending

OMG, OMG, OMG!!!  IT’S BOBBY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I so missed him!!!  Yes, I was one of those gullible fans (there were probably a million of us) that honestly believed Jim Beaver was filming an abominable snowman movie.  After all, he tweeted pictures!  He came to the Burbank con talking about frozen toilet seats and sending warnings to never work on an abominable snowman movie.  We in the crowd felt his pain.  He deserves a freaking academy award. 

I have to admit, it wasn’t just the antics of Jim Beaver that had me not thinking we’d actually see Bobby.  It took from episode 7.02 to 7.17 to bring back Castiel, so I didn’t think they would use this fluff episode to reveal the source of the strange things that have been happening since Bobby died.  They so did!  I figured the subject would come up again (a la “The Slice Girls”) and Sam and Dean could ride off in their AMC Pacer (that’s another topic) both set in their disagreement over what’s been happening. 

I couldn’t breathe at first.  Poor Bobby, standing there dejected, next to the old flask that Dean absentmindedly left behind.  He so misses his boys and wants to be a part of their lives, but the frustration is growing now.  Dean can’t see him.  Sam has tried to contact him and hasn’t been successful, although my suspicions are because Dean had to the flask in his possession so Bobby wasn’t around at those times.  Then again, Sam would have figured that out after the conversation in “The Slice Girls,” right?  


Then it’s nothing but waterworks for me when Bobby stands there with face lit up when Dean returns for the flask, thinking Dean had seen him.  It’s so crushing to think Bobby’s really there helping while Sam and Dean are at odds over whether he’s really there or not.  Once upon a time these boys used to be so open minded about things like spirits.  Garth certainly was.  Is it years of bitter disappointment that have driven them to this point? I don’t like this skeptical Sam and Dean.  But that’s another analysis.  

Dean walks away and Bobby is clearly frustrated.  Is this perhaps what drives ghosts to malevolence?  This opens up all sorts of theories, starting with why can’t Sam and Dean see Bobby?  Especially Dean.  I’m sure that’s something that will be answered in the next episode, but I’ve got nothing.  Dean wants to believe, even if Sam doesn’t.  That should be enough to see him, shouldn’t it?
  
The Rest

It’s honestly hard to not let the excitement of a great ending the skew the rest of the episode.  I was so happy come 10:00 on Friday that the skepticism I had about the rest was quickly overlooked.  After a few days though and few rewatches, the issues became glaring again. 

Whenever I see Adam Glass as the writer, I have deep reservations.  I remember Elle2 in the review of his first episode, “Two and A Half Men” commenting how odd it was that Adam Glass was on this writing team.  She was familiar with his previous work on the procedural drama “Cold Case.”  He writes like a procedural writer on this show, which is a problem.  Too much focus is given to story and not enough to characterization.  I keep holding him to his one and only win in the script department, last season’s “Mommy Dearest.”  That was the perfect balance of fun, emotional moments, drama, action, and a great mytharc story.  It had the dinger ending too.  This could have been “Mommy Dearest.”  It should have been “Mommy Dearest.”  It wasn’t.  


Most critically are in agreement (at least from the reviews I’ve read) that the episode was weak.  Was it enjoyable though?  Sure.  I didn’t hate it.  I like Garth, but honest, I’ve never found humor that thrives on the awkwardness of people funny.  That’s why I’m lukewarm on “The Office.”  Perhaps it’s all those memories of being bullied as an awkward child, but that could be just me.  Maybe that’s why I like Garth more than most other guests, because he has a ton of heart underneath that strangeness.  DJ Qualls has really developed this character nicely in the two appearances.  Supernatural needs fun loving goofballs.  I do want to see more of Garth next season. 

Garth is a perfect compliment to Sam and Dean.  He’s far more relaxed about things, and determined to enjoy life more.  I for one support his way of thinking that end of each grueling day should involve a hot tub!  His motel room is hilarious, as is his old 1977 Ford Ranchero.  To think, that wood grain was considered a luxury upgrade in the day!  


He’s also more intuitive too, which I do wonder is the norm for less experienced hunters.    They’re still open minded about things.  Garth spotted clues much quicker, like figuring out that Baxter had a secret son working at the plant as well as Bobby haunting the flask.  It actually saddens me that Sam and Dean don’t pick up on things like that so quickly anymore.  They don’t seem to be as open minded as earlier seasons, especially season one.  But again, that’s another topic.

I’m giving Mr. Fizzles a pass.  It’s mildly amusing and a worthwhile attempt, even though the intent is the humorous equivalent of watching a train wreck.  It’s supposed to be strange.  It certainly got people talking!    Even though Dean is there to show in his sarcastic way how absolutely ridiculous Mr. Fizzles is, it worked.  I would have been a little happier though if the girl, who is old enough to tell the difference, would have said “I’m not three you know.”  It’s my guess CW standards and practices couldn’t make her younger though considering she had some “adult” drink.

Adam Glass in his many scripts has proven one clear thing, he doesn’t get Sam and Dean.  The brotherly dialogue again was flat, scenes together often too short, and together they were almost mechanical most of the time.  What does it take to get these two to open up to each other?  In defense of Glass, that has been a season long problem though.  Even the talk about Bobby is missing something.  Maybe because we’ve heard the lines before.  Sam doesn’t believe it’s true, Dean wants to believe it.  They end the whole thing at a impasse.  It’s quite frustrating to watch all that rehashed, especially when it frustrated us the first go around in “The Slice Girls.”    


Glass’ strengths usually lie in laying out the MOTW story, and I really liked the whole Shojo story line.  It’s a different kind of monster.  I still chuckle my ass off over Sam and Dean consulting their weekly “expert” at the back of a Japanese steakhouse.  That chef is awesome.  He acts completely normal the entire time like none of this was at all bizarre.  I love it when characters are good sports like that.  I didn’t care for any of the other characters though, like everyone at the brewery.  There’s no personality in any of them, but there’s only so much time to introduce.
 
There were moments of fun, but when you’re basing your premise on the brothers and their goofy friend needing to get drunk to see a ghost, that sets up a whole crop of amazing possibilities.  Instead, it becomes another opportunity lost (a common theme in my reviews this season).  There could have been so much more.  Yes, that would have come at the sacrifice of some the MOTW story.  Would that have been such a bad thing?   The humorous bits in between the terrifying horror is what’s always defined this show, but the balance was off on this one.  I did love the setup during the final showdown in the warehouse where a drunk Sam had to talk a sober Dean through killing the Shojo, but even that was too short.  

If we recall from other episodes, like “99 Problems”, Sam is a happy drunk.  The same can be said about Dean (the very few times he’s actually gotten drunk).  If anyone needed to be lighthearted and happy this episode, it’s Sam.  My God, the guy just went through a horrific ordeal which he admitted at the beginning he’s still recovering from.  The whole thing took it’s toll on Dean too.  Would a few more extended scenes of those two letting loose and having drunken fun killed us?  Instead we got a very short (yet very amusing) inebriated chat between the brothers in the office, but two long weak Friday The 13th themed scenes and the other traditional story telling elements that chewed a lot of time that didn’t need to be chewed.  

Here's one thing that could have happened.  How about Dean bitching at Sam over getting them of all things an AMC Pacer to drive?  Those cars are more shameful than Pintos!  Not a Chevette though.  Sure, I loved seeing big guys in a little car again, but Dean has standards.  Remember when the brothers used to harp on one another like that?  I should also be impressed that last weeks intense drama got a mention, but man, why can’t they talk about that more?  A few lines and done.  I’m never happy when they brush something under a rug like that, especially something huge like the issue of Sam’s sanity.  There are ways to work that into the conversation, like perhaps Sam’s sanity issues being a reason why he won’t believe Bobby is there.  



This is where the focus of the episode is lost.  Did they want it to be horror, crime procedural, drama, or comedy?  There are ways to blend all three seamlessly (it’s happened plenty of times before) but it was poorly done here.  This episode never clearly figured out what it wanted to be.   
 
The Episode Is Only Part of The Problem

I’m just going to warn now, a rant is coming.  For those choosing to read this, please don't take this to mean I hate the show.  I don't, but there are growing frustrations that I just need to get out.  If you are happy with everything you’re seeing in this episode and this season, please continue your bliss and bounce on down to the last paragraph where I give this episode a letter grade.  I am not here to ruin anyone's fun, but I have a critical thinking side that won’t shut up.  I accept this voice is not for everyone.  Also do not to take the opinions of mine to be reflective of all the writers and the overall message on this site.  I'm honestly just one reviewer.  When it's all over, we can go back to joining hands and singing "Carry On Wayward Son."       

 

rantrantrantrantrantrantrantrantrantrantrantrantrantrantrantrant

 

I know many people are just happy with regular episodes every week and don’t want to look at the big picture.  I so wish that could be me.  It’s habit I know, but I’ve been trained now to look at an episode from two sides, how it works individually and how it works in the overall scheme of things.  Considering I watched and wrote about in detail seasons 1 - 5 with careful study, noticing all the nuances of how a season was built under the Eric Kripke era, seasons six and so far seven remain big disappointments.

Yes, the tone of season seven is overall better compared to six, but it does sincerely frustrate me that the writers/producers are clinging onto such desperate filler with episode 18.  This is supposed to be the heart of the action!  Even season six was cruising at full throttle at this point.  Garth was introduced during a perfect time in 7.08, “Seven 7: Time For A Wedding.”  Heck, it was Garth that saved that episode from being a complete disaster.  Now is just not the time for his antics though.  I’d rather see this in episode 8.03 or something like that.    

Other CW genre shows like “The Vampire Diaries” and “Nikita” are in the thick of their season arcs now and they’re amazing.  This was 37 minutes of filler and 4 minutes tacked onto the end of addressing something that’s been lingering since the end of episode 7.10.  That’s not embracing the crucial part of the season.  Episode 18 in season four was “Monster At The End of This Book,” an epic story that introduced a crucial part of the mythology.  In season five, it was “Point of No Return,” another epic adventure that really moved the angel arc forward and gave us some of the best character bonding moments ever.  Even last season’s “Frontierland” is a crucial arc story, given the lighthearted premise.  It was everything you would expect from a classic Supernatural episode.  Yes, I’m expecting more at this stage of the season.  

I wrote this as a comment in one of Elle’s recent articles, and this will be further explored in mini hiatus article, but I do have serious concerns that “Supernatural” is going too procedural in a lot of its stories.  As a result, it’s affecting what used to make this show distinctive.  Procedurals are not known for strong character development and I swear I don’t know Sam and Dean anymore.  The story is now taking precedence, and the character dynamics are a very distant second.  That’s the polar opposite of the approach of the first five seasons.  Character dynamics were usually on the same level as the story.  Sure, that last minute of Bobby was all heart and the emotional return of a beloved character, but that came after 40 minutes of by the book story telling. 


I have a new challenge for next season (yes, there will be one).  Can we please NOT have Sam and Dean be FBI agents anymore in the suits?  Can we not get the standard interrogation scene of the witnesses?  Can we not get a coroner’s visit every week?  Can a story be drummed up in the season eight premiere where the FBI has finally figured out that these guys have been going around pretending to be FBI agents all these years  and alert everyone?  Remember the first few seasons when they got info by just talking to people as regular guys?  

The FBI thing has become a crutch now and it’s killing the tone of this show.  These by the book investigation scenes are getting way too routine and taking up way to much time.  As a result, emotional and fun scenes, the scenes that give this show it’s identity,  are being cut (if they existed at all).  If that rule is in place, maybe it’ll challenge the writers to stray from their creative rut and try to mix it up every week.

I’m not saying I’m against MOTW plots.  Heavens no.  I love MOTW plots.  But look at MOTW plots in seasons two - four compared to six and seven.  They were far less structured in the earlier seasons and rarely followed the same MO.  I swear I’m watching “Sam and Dean Winchester: FBI Investigators” every week now.   

Sure, a lot of my frustration stems from last week, when major issues were dealt with too quickly and then we get this time wasting filler again the next week.  It’s just crappy story building.  It’s also kind of lazy.  They keep saying that these episodes are now for the fans, but it’s really hard as a fan to get into stories that are just a shell of what used to entertain us.  Most fans are smarter than being entertained each week by cute gimmicks.  Where’s the fun, where’s the emotion, where’s the action?  Where’s the Impala??  

Remember The Impala?
Remember this?

Sam and Dean are distant and aloof, they aren’t enjoying themselves, and they’re not doing this with any conviction where they believe they’re making a difference.  They’re going through the motions and doing it because they don’t know what else to do.  I feel like that Sam and Dean anymore are really projections of the writing team, because they too just seem to be going through the motions each and every week and aren’t working together very well (Excluding one Mr. Ben Edlund).    

Okay, deep breath, done.  Thank you.

 
rantrantrantrantrantrantrantrantrantrant


Overall grade of “Party On, Garth” is a C+.  An A+ for the ending.  It’s not that what we got wasn’t acceptable, but once again, the theme is missed opportunities.  Now let’s finally move this Bobby story line forward!  I can’t wait.   


Comments  

alysha
# alysha 2012-04-03 16:23
I think your rant was excellent. I think you articulated my frustration. Sam and Dean seem flat. They lack the dynamics that made me fall in love with them. In another review I may have offended by stating they werent heroes anymore. They just dont seem to be the heroes Kripke created upon the Campbell tradition.

I have to have my theme and big picture. I dont want filler or weekly procedurals that lack soul.

I enjoy Garth. I liked Bobby in small doses, but he became too all knowing and that annoyed me. I always felt the paternal thing was forced.
Alice
# Alice 2012-04-03 20:46
I always go back to season four, where even the MOTW episodes there was a tie in at some point to the overall arc of the season. That season wasn't just about angels. It was about Sam and Dean's disintegrating relationship. Sex and Violence comes to mind. It was a siren, but that person drove a huge wedge in the already fracturing relationship. It made for AWESOME drama.

I don't know if they're not heroes anymore, but they aren't the heroes Kripke created. I don't like my heroes going through the motions. They're boring that way. I'd like them to think they're doing something meaningful. But hey, I can't explain why people love all those procedural cop shows either. It's just a preference in the end.
alysha
# alysha 2012-04-04 17:38
Alice, I came on board live with season four. You're write that everything connected, that set the bar high for me and its tough to let go.
Cebe
# Cebe 2012-04-03 16:27
I'm with you on this review. I love the show so much that I would be happy if they read the phone book for an hour, but something really is missing this season. I have to admit that I was even confused in this episode, thinking "what did I miss"? I don't remember all of those little moments that were meant to be indicators that Bobby was around, and so it made little sense to me when the sword moved across the room to Dean. I'm thrilled Bobby's back, but they have allowed the heart of this show to fall away. Bring back the Impala, bring back the music, and bring back a little more focus on the boys' relationship. I like that they solve a new mystery every episode, but we do need more - much more.
digyd
# digyd 2012-04-03 16:35
Well, Alice, I enjoyed the whole episode, but you aren't wrong to rant in this way. The FBI thing, funny enough, I didn't notice IS getting tired - not until you mentioned it!

I watched the series in order once, then I jumped all over the place multiple times. I am currently rewatching it in order as I finally buy the DVDs and get all the lovely extras. I have also finally successfully dragged a friend/co-worke r into this madness with me so as she watches and I think ahead about what she's going to watch, I can take a moment to think about how I feel about the big picture. I gave her season 1 telling her this is good stuff and will either hook you or not (she had seen a lot on TV already, though not in order, so she was already mostly hooked. Success there.) Then I was giddy to give her season 2 and tell her it's lightyears above 1, though you NEED 1, obviously. But 2 really gets that ball rolling and things are so much meatier. And it's just pure joy for me from 2-5. Now I don't hate any season so far, but 6 is when I start to feel something shift. Still, loads of reasons to hang in. I have yet to see 7 in order but it does feel like maybe we're on the hold-your-breat h-while-going-u p part of this rollercoaster ride; clearly allowing the potential excitement to build hoping that we'll head down - the best part - soon and that 8 will continue that falling feeling of giddiness. But I know that's a hope.

I rewatched Jump The Shark in season 4 wondering if there would be an actual jump the shark moment in the series and I am hoping we haven't hit that. I'm just trying to stay optimistic about it all, trying to have faith that the writers will pull this together in a great way by the time the season ends. I laughed to myself as I watched the season 4 DVD and listened to the commentary. Repeatedly it was mentioned how much the fans scrutinize things and people on the show; how much we notice. That firmly planted in my mind that they DO notice what we say and hopefully take to heart anything that is truly constructive criticism in their eyes.

It would be cool if they had some sort of contest where a fan could win some creative input into the script for one episode. That ever been done? My guess is those writers are probably thinking, "If only they knew!" That would be a great way to share their perspective.

Anyway, keep hope alive!
NOLANOLA
# NOLANOLA 2012-04-03 16:36
SOMETHING I KNOW, IS THAT THIS IS AN EDITORS VENUE. FILM PERIOD. WHAT A WRITER WRITES, AND DIRECTOR DIRECTS DOES NOT ALWAYS MAKE IT ON THE SCREEN.

WE ALL HAVE HEARD ACTORS SAY 'THE MOVIE I SHOT WAS GREAT' BUT THAT CAN BE VERY DIFFERENT FROM WHATS ON THE SCREEN.

MAYBE THERE WERE LONGER SCENES WITH THE BOYS DRUNK & TALKING MORE SOULFULLY WITH ONE ANOTHER. C'EST LA VIE!

I WATCH FOR THE BROTHERLY & FAMILY LOVE. 'FAMILY DONT END WITH BLOOD.' bobby singer. I MISS THAT BUT I MUST SAY I LIKED THE EPISODE. AND I LOVED THE ENDING!!!

I THINK FRANK FAKED HIS OWN DEATH, SO HE WILL BE BACK. I KNEW IT WAS EITHER GOD OR BOBBY HELPING THE BOYS. I DONT KNOW WHATS GOING TO HAPPEN TO CASTIEL BUT HE WILL PROBABLY BE BACK. OK, GETTING THE BAND BACK TOGETHER.

THE LATER EPISODES ARE USUALLY HEAVY & AWESOME BUT MAYBE THE EXTRA EPISODE IS THROWING TPTB OFF SOMEHOW.

HATE THIS I HOPE, LAST BREAK. THEN WE SHALL SEE.

LOVE THE BOYS BEING BROTHERLY & LOYAL. BRING THAT BACK & ALL WE BE RIGHT WITH MY SPN WORLD :)))

THANKS ALICE & MY SN FAMILY!!
Airbat
# Airbat 2012-04-03 16:37
Hey Alice. Great review - even the rant ;-)
I love to read your reviews just BECAUSE they're not all lollipops & candycanes but have a critic eye on Supernatural. I love the show but I had the same issues this year you mentioned in your rant.


For all the people who find this season great and are ecstatic over each & every episode: I ENVY you. Not in a sarcastic way, but I truly and wholehartely do! Because I used to be like that with earlier seasons. Hell, I used to be like that at the beginning of this season. But all the things you mentioned started bothering me too (and then some...!!!) to a point where I just couldn't put it aside as "one bad episode" anymore.

I miss how I used to burst in tears over the "Impala conversations", now they barely affect me. I used to feel the brotherly connection, now to me it seem that they seldom spend time in the same place together in one episode (yeah, the "bourn-again identity" is still a thorne in my side).

It's like you said:

Quote:
I swear I don’t know Sam and Dean anymore
I know many will think: "If you think that way than shut up and stop watching!"
As if anything with Supernatural is ever that easy. This show dictated my life for a couple of years now. I grew attached to it and felt things for some fictional characters I never felt for ANY other show. I gathered new friends because of it to whom I talk dayly now. I started drawing again because it inspired me. I even confess that those fictional characters became somehow a role model for me. Where I used to give up fairly easily I now stand up again when on the ground and keep going.
So you see, if I gave up on Supernatural I'm afraid I'd give up on everything I gathered from watching it. Not ready to do that. So I keep hoping from episode to episode that they somehow magically get back their groove and give us back those two characters I fell in love with.
Cathia
# Cathia 2012-04-03 16:45
I second your opinion, Alice!!!!

As much as I love MOTW episodes, it's quite too late to feed us with fillers. I have a feeling that Sera isn't very good when it comes to the whole story, the same was in Season Six, which I really like. Big bang, nothing happens, big bang, nothing happens, big bang, nothing, nothing, nothing, nothing, nothing, filler, filler, big bang, the end. No, this is really tiresome...

You know, ok, all beloved deceased are somewhere around again (why didn't Dean feel cold around Bobby's ghost?), but show is going in a direction that I am almost wishing that my fav character wouldn't show up, because he could be killed. Ok, Crowley and getting killed is a long story, but I am truly scared for him.

And where the hell is Impala?

Don't get me wrong, I loved the episode, Garth was funny, and Bobby, Bobby!, but... I didn't like one more thing. Yes, we have noticed constant weirdness happening around Dean's flask. When Garth hit the topic, I felt like a stupid child, who got the main idea pointed out. We have noticed, dear writers. Boys would have noticed. So?
Meredith
# Meredith 2012-04-03 17:13
The thing about Garth for me is that I feel like he's a replacement for Cas, just like I feel Frank is a replacement for Bobby. They spent all this time telling us they wanted to take away all of Sam and Dean's allies and resources, and yet here they are giving them new ones in every episode. If it's not Frank or Garth, its some old girlfriend or character that they knew from way back but has never been mentioned until now.

And the thing is, Garth and Frank are just not as good as Cas and Bobby. I don't care about them as much. I've never thought Cas and Bobby were frivolous to the storyline, and I've never once felt they got sufficient stories of their own. Why are they removing two important supporting characters, replacing them with cheap imitations and then bringing them back?

The thing is, I don't know where this show's head is at anymore. They make one decision, they change it. They tell you one thing, they realize its not feasible and do something to try and fix it. With Seasons 1-5, it seemed like there was a coherent storyline that was properly planned to fit together and flow all the way to the end. Seasons 6 and 7 just seem (for the most part) tacked on.

That's not to say I haven't loved some of their episodes (Repo Man was absolutely brilliant). I just don't think they're on their A-game, and part of me is not sure they ever will be.
PENNY JAIME
# PENNY JAIME 2012-04-03 18:03
Man, I hate to admit that you are right. Every week I tell myself,well, I'm not writer so I can't complain. Also, I think Jensen is THE best actor on the planet; BUT....Dean used to be so intense and emotional. I haven't seen that since season 5. Brotherly to. he would be close to getting killed, but as soon as he is on his feet, he would go check on Sam. I can't remember the last "bitch" "jerk" moment. Some things about brothers never change, no matter WHAT they have gone through. My motto has always been "If it's not broke, don't fix it". They have a good formula with Sam and Dean, they should stick to it
KELLY
# KELLY 2012-04-03 18:12
I agree with your assessment of the season and I don't. Looking back over the season 7 ( and I find this with season 6 too). There are only a few misses (this one might have been a miss except for Bobby, there were definitely missed opportunities).

In six season at this point, it seemed their were a lot of balls in the air, but by the end of the season I thought they came together beautifully (with the exception of the Campbell's that didn't really work from me. Well a couple episodes and scenes did), even if Soulless Sam could have been a few episodes less. Switched some the MOTW to real Sam and a the 8's would have been 9's or 10's.

This season has 23 episodes so it would be more apt to compare this episode to Hell House, Heart, Mystery Spot, It's a terrible Life, 99 Problems and My Heart Will Go On. Neither Hell House or Heart directly related to the seasons overall theme (well maybe Heart a tiny bit). Mystery Spot is a grey area because it wasn't until the very end that really related to the character arc. Terrible Life was to get Dean back on track but didn't have any major reveals. Now 99 Problems DID definitely relate to arc. My Heart Will go on did, but like this one was more an enjoyable filler, except for the end.

This season all the balls, with exception of the Leviathan(which I suspect to continue over to next year), seems to be emotional or personal. I think (hope) that means that in the last 5 climatic episodes a lot of these are going to be cleared up and we can have a Sam and Dean who are a bit more stable with renewed purpose next season, more like the first. Because while I'm not sure about the procedural, I have longed for more brotherly moments this year. There were some but they were hit and miss. I hoping this relates to the arcs, not something frustrating like some of the writers thought they were becoming cliched. So I will hold my opinions of the overall season arc until it ends.

But on the individual episodes, I'm really good.
Meet the Boss loved it. 9
Hello Cruel World loved it. 10
Girl Next Door loved it 9 (despite controversial ending)
Defending Your Life Meh. Missed opportunity despite a couple cool scenes. 7
Shut Up Dr. Phil - 8 (I know a lot people loved it and I wouldn't mind seeing them back)
Slash Fiction -LOVED IT 10
The Mentalists - 8 I loved the first Sam and Dean scene.
Season 7 - 7.5 Much maligned. I thought parts of it were really funny.
How to win... 10 Biggersons, Turducken, stoned Dean. Moments with Bobby. WIN.
Death's Door -11 But hate that Bobby died
Adventures in Babysitting- 8.5 Loved parts but a few miss ops.
TATAT Loved 9.5
The Slice Girls. 9 or 8.5 I know it was a uneven but had the best Dean sex scene (and the most gruesome sex scene) AND lots of brotherly moments.
Plucky's 9 Every moment Sam was on screen with the clowns was hilarious. Rainbows!
Repo Man 10- Loved it.
Out with the old 8.5 maybe 9. Loved it
Born Again Identity 9 Loved it despite missed opportunities
Party on Garth most of episode 7 end 10. I liked it just could have been better. I agree less time on story build up more with brothers.

Sorry Alice I can take down or repost somewhere else but I was just trying to point out that when I look at individual episodes the season as a whole has been great for me. (12 - 9&10's and 4 eights out of 19 episodes I'm good. And like I said I'm holding judgments on the season arc as a whole until it ends.
Alice
# Alice 2012-04-03 20:08
No need to be sorry! You're exactly right. I go back and look at the individual episodes and aside from a few stinkers ("Defending Your Life" and "Season 7: Time For A Wedding" are the huge stinkers for me), the eps aren't bad. "Meet New Boss," "Hello, Cruel World," "Slash Fiction," "Death's Door," and "Repo Man" are really great ones. As a matter of fact, one of the best underrated brotherly moments of the season is in "Slash Fiction" when Sam finds out about Amy. His devastation in that interrogation room still makes me weepy! The trouble is, together they don't add up to a lot.

I've been going back and watching a lot of season four and season five. The episodes just flow together better in those seasons and aren't repetitive. Even those seasons had stinkers, like "Hammer of The Gods", but it all amounted to something in the end. Season six had good individual episodes, but overall it was a cluttered mess by the end. Plus I'll never forgive them for what they did to Castiel. :-)

A lot of the eps in S7 have a very repetitive structure like a procedural. Even Plucky Pennywhistle's follows a procedural mentality, although I loved that ep just because Sam got his ass kicked by clowns.

Mostly, I don't like how Sam and Dean are drifting apart emotionally rather than together. But like I said, I'll have that all better explained in an upcoming article.

Thanks for the comment!
KELLY
# KELLY 2012-04-03 22:12
I still don't see the repetitive procedural nature. The main problem I have is the reduced use of the brotherly or emotional moment. They've had them, but they are shorter and less poignant (except for "stone #1-love that!) Again I'm hoping this is deliberate and we'll some resolution to their individual and relationships problems.

But I had a different reaction to season 6 too. I thought a few of the Soulless Sam episodes would have been better served as Sammy episodes. Or if they'd put Dean's distress at the forefront, right from the beginning that would have been better. But I totally love the season itself. I thought it did have a rougher start. The first two episodes were good, but not great. But the Third Man and Weekend at Bobby's I fully enjoyed. And Live Free or Twihard I freaking loved,will admit Twilight's a guilty pleasure, but even without that I haven't talked to one person who did not have the same reaction when watching Sam let Dean get turned. My niece, who I finally convinced to start watching this year, literally screamed from the other room "WHY DID SAM JUST STAND THERE?!!!"
It's freaking cool, completely gutwrenching moment. Definitely not procedural. And Dean's badass vampire moves-SWEET!
The next one is ALL about the brothers and when Dean beats the crap out of Sam. I was heart sick. Clap If you believe was one of the funniest episodes ever. That alone would have almost made the soulless version worth it. After that it was all 9's and 10's for Me, with the exception of Mannequin 3, but I thought that one was pretty good too, not fantastic, but I love the scene at the beginning.

Also I'm comparing them to seasons 1-3, which had a lot of character development and relationship development, but also a lot more MOTW that didn't really touch on the season's arc. And I loved those season too,maybe not as much as 4 and 5, but a hell of a lot. And there are individual episode that I adore and are freaking fantabulous. I guess that how I feel about the last 2 seasons. Especially if the character there is resolution to Sam and Dean's problems this season, both together and individually.
Alice
# Alice 2012-04-03 23:17
I'll definitely explain the procedural argument in another article (it'll take me a few days to finish) but I'm really talking about episode structure. Not all of them have been that way, but an alarming many of them.

I'm with you, I LOVED "Live Free and TwiHard." LOVED it. I was screaming at my TV when Sam stood there letting Dean get turned. That shook me to the core I tell ya. And Dean's experience as a vampire? Chilling. Very chilling.

My other season six favorites were "Clap Your Hands If You Believe," "Unforgiven," "The French Mistake," "Frontierland," "Mommy Dearest" and what I think is truly the best episode of the season, "The Man Who Would Be King." From a filmmaking perspective, that episode was a masterpiece. I know it wasn't a fan favorite though.

I'm sorry, where was I? Oh yes. Better analysis coming soon!
KELLY
# KELLY 2012-04-04 00:37
No I Love Loved The Man Who Would Be King. Without that I probably wouldn't have love the season as much as a whole. But seeing poor Cas' perspective made me feel for his position.But he was still a butthead for tearing down Sammy wall. I assume that's what you meant before about what they did to Cas. And Edlund's snarky sense of humor always get me. "but really you can only stack dried dung so high."
Sharon
# Sharon 2012-04-04 06:06
Ben Edlund wanted to make sure we had Castiel's perspective hence why we got Man who Would be king so regardless of how people felt they had at least given Castiel's side of the story.
Pity they never thought of doing that for Sam in season 4 instead of throwing him under the bus .


I dont mind fillers in the right place except TFAW which never should of happened but otherwise fillers can work in this case I dont really think this episode was necessary but it was not terrible.
KELLY
# KELLY 2012-04-04 10:23
I understand your point, but IMO we did get that at different times, such as in I Know What You Did Last Summer. And Monster at the End of the Book and Head of a Pin. But to some extent it came down to storytelling devices. They didn't want all the big reveals at one time.
But I always felt for Sam even if I thought what he was doing was wrong. I still felt like he was TRYING to do the right thing and that if had more info he WOULD have done the right thing.
I have to admit I would like it if we found out what was going on with him the couple times he disappeared THIS season. Maybe its was nothing, but THAT to me would be cool if we found out he was completely loosing it some place we he was gone.
Sharon
# Sharon 2012-04-04 10:37
Both those episodes were alright but neither did much for Sam in how alot of the fandom viewed him.I know what Eric was trying to do with the scene with Chuck but it was to late because Sam was already unsympathetic so hiding the demon blood sl made no difference really.
But I am not a season 4 fan so I am to be honest very hard on it. :-)

This season has been hardwork for me not every thing but Sams story has been hardly developed, the hand rubbing was stupid and now Castiel shifts his crazy not very good for me I thought we started so strongly then the Amy episode happened and it just went south with all the storylines including Dean's.I appreciate those that have loved this season and enjoyed it but it hasnt been a great season and the fillers like the Garth one dont achieve anything and like I said I enjoy fillers in the right place but they are becoming the norm rather than the occasional episode that gives the audience breathing space.
anonymousN
# anonymousN 2012-04-06 05:10
We have a saying-You strike the iron when it is hot.Well they did that when Sam died and dean had that heartfelt soliloquy,They did that with Castiel but not with Sam when Dean died.Just imagine this scenario Season 4 starts with sam dealing with a crossroad Demon and the Demon refusing.Then supernatural is shown and Dean rises from grave.Dean asks Sam whether he is responsible for his escape.Sam denies..till Castiel is revealed we believe Sam to lie (maybe a doubt) then we know that something happened in 4 months for Sam to be not that drunkard and in Ruby's arms.We get Sam's initial reactions immediately and the story still is interesting.The vegas scene was a waste for me atleast like a tradition the writers invented at the last moment would have served better in knowing what Sam was doing.
lala2
# lala2 2012-04-04 11:38
Quote:
Ben Edlund wanted to make sure we had Castiel's perspective hence why we got Man who Would be king so regardless of how people felt they had at least given Castiel's side of the story.
Pity they never thought of doing that for Sam in season 4 instead of throwing him under the bus .


I dont mind fillers in the right place except TFAW which never should of happened but otherwise fillers can work in this case I dont really think this episode was necessary but it was not terrible.
Yeah . . . I remember posting that Sam needed an episode like TMWWBK in Season 4. I loved Season 4 when it aired, and I still love it. But in retrospect, Sam's POV was sorely neglected and disregarded.

I was so angry w/Sam at the end of Season 4. Maybe if the Show had taken the time to give him some perspective and reason for all his whacked out actions, he wouldn't be so hated today.

I never realized I hated filler episodes until Season 5. I honestly don't think the prior 4 seasons had very many filler episodes, and the ones they had were really good like the very first Trickster episode. That was good! Or Ghostfacers, Hell House, Hollywood Babylon, etc.

Now we get TFAW, TCCODW, DMDWP, or IBTCATF. I don't know. As I'm writing, I think I hold the position that there should be less filler when stakes are high. That's why the filler annoyed me in Season 5 and now. Time that could have been spent developing Sam's Hell and actually "showing" him having problems went to Becky or the witches or - I'm sorry - Bobby's death. I probably in the minority but I was much more interested in Sam's Hell problems than Bobby dying. DD and WAB weren't the best episodes ever written on the show, IMO. They were all right.

Just my thoughts.
Gerry
# Gerry 2012-04-03 23:18
For me, this season has been all about the emotional arcs, with almost every episode tying into Sam's and Dean's individual struggles. I think the overarching theme of this season is Sam vs Sam and Dean vs Dean. The boys are having to battle the consequences of the lives they've led.

Sam is facing his hell damage in a way he couldn't last year and Dean is facing a lack of belief in the worth of what he's doing, which is closely related to his lack of belief in himself.

I think that's why Sera G et al decided to get rid of all the boys' supports--so they have to face themselves.

Because their struggles are internal, Sam and Dean can only offer love to each other; they don't have any weapons or allies to fix these particular problems. I've seen both of them do that--for example when Dean told Sam he was his first stone and when he refused to accept Sam was dying. Sam has been worried sick about Dean's drinking all season and he outright told Dean he couldn't bear it if Dean died.

I do recognize Sam and Dean--I think their issues are based on their lives. I love that this show is a hero myth wrapped around character studies of Sam and Dean. Supernatural shows the personal cost of being a hero. I think it's believable Dean has lost his faith he's making a difference. I think it's as necessary for him to have a dark night of the soul about hunting as it was for him to try a normal life last season.

I think Sam's damage for the most part was well handled, but I do agree it could have been better woven in here and there. Just hints, though, because I think we were supposed to travel Dean's path and get complacent with Sam's damage. It was all the more shocking when we saw inside him in Repo Man. I don't think that episode would have had near the punch if it had come in the beginning of the season, when we were expecting Sam to fall apart.

But overall, I've found the boys' emotional lives to be the central narrative. They are not alright. They have reason not to be alright. I think this season will give Dean back his hope and Sam back his strength. Then they will be ready to take on Leviathans.

That's my perspective. (-:
Alice
# Alice 2012-04-03 23:59
You know I always love reading your perspective Gerry! So many great points here. I do think Sam and Dean will be better for this in the end.

I suppose a lot of this is based on the fact that it was the brothers leaning on each other and fighting with each other in the first five seasons, that on-screen chemistry, that bond, that tension, is truly the distinctive mark of this show. The humor too! You're right, now they're both internalizing and dealing with personal struggles. Sadly, that's blown a lot of the emotional and fun elements of the show that we grew to love. Internalizing isn't translating on the screen very well, or making the drama more compelling.

Intent is one thing, execution is another. I think the execution has been sloppy, but then again, we got really spoiled by the first five seasons. Really spoiled.

Change is okay, evolution is okay, but it's just jarring when you go back and watch an episode like "Point of No Return" (I'm just throwing that one out there off the top of my head). It isn't just the main characters that have had everything taken away. It's the fans too. That's okay for a few episodes, but when you're asked to endure an entire season of this, there better be one hell of a payoff. I guess we'll see!
KELLY
# KELLY 2012-04-04 00:58
Gerry, that was beautiful. That what I was generally getting at in my haphazard way. But Alice I can see what your saying about it maybe not translating well. But again I reserving judgment on that until the last episode, because they've pull it off before for me when I didn't think they could.
Gerry
# Gerry 2012-04-04 09:12
Thank, Alice! I love reading yours, as well. All our different perspectives are valid and it really helps me process to hear others' views.

For example, I don't find season four to be a season showng of the brothers leaning on each other with their bond at the forefront. To me, that was a season which showed the boys separating and having the bond severely tested. Season five reversed the dynamics of which brother was pulling away. They did slowly come together and the final episodes showed that bond at full strength.

I loved "Point of no return" too. I also loved "Hello Cruel World." They're both powerful expressions of the brothers' love. "Slash Fiction" was a wonderful ride, with fantastic performances, and "Death's Door"--sob. Watching the boys try and cope with that death was incredibly wrenching and so in character. Now that we know what Sam was dealing with, it's even richer.

For me, "Slice Girls" was a nuanced pick up on "The Girl Next Door", which in itself picked up on "Mommy Dearest" with Lenore. And they all explore how Sam and Dean struggle with the idea of dealing out death--and that they fill in for each other when something gets too personal.

"Repo Man"for me stacks up to any season four episode about Sam's struggles with Lucifer--partly because for me, Mark Pellegrino is a more compelling actor than Genevieve Padalecki was as Ruby.

And I thought "The Born-Again Identity" was a great payoff for both Sam and Castiel. The emotional punch for both was there for me--I didn't feel Sam's issues were swept under the rug.

I think season seven has had many excellent episodes with an emotional punch.

Funwise--I do think some of the lighter episodes didn't hit as well as in some other seasons. I join you in thinking "A Time for a Wedding" for the most part was a misfire. Mind you, I didn't love Plucky Pennywhistle, either and I know many fans did. So, different strokes, again. But I loved loved loved Dean singing to Air Supply and Sam side eying him. That's a perfect brother moment right there.

I think Frank was a hoot, too--him with his "Cupcake" and "Mine says supervisor!" And EvilSam and EvilDean were way more fun than mass murdering brothers should have been.

So while it's been wrenching to lose so many friends, I can't say I feel this season has been funless. I can say I've cried, I've laughed and I've gasped and talked to the TV like the characters could hear me. That's pretty good for a show in its seventh season. By the time "House" got to this point, I'd lost all belief in the central character and felt disconnected to the story. So not there with Supernatural!
KELLY
# KELLY 2012-04-04 10:41
I can't tell you how many times I've watched that Air Supply scene. In fact, I kept showing it to people to convince them to watch. It's so freaking hilarious. "No puts Baby in a corner."
I miss Baby.
lala2
# lala2 2012-04-04 11:23
Quote:
Internalizing isn't translating on the screen very well, or making the drama more compelling.
Alice, I couldn't agree more w/this point. This internalization is not translating at all for me.

Take Sam for instance. I believe you may agree w/those who feel his struggles and problems were shown throughout the season in subtle ways. I feel the exact opposite. I saw no struggle. I saw no problems. I saw nothing leading up to the breakdown at the end of RM. He broke down in 2 episodes, and then it was over. If the clues were there, they flew right past my head, and I was really looking hard for them. LOL!

I, personally, don't think the show is doing a good job of telling their stories. If they were, there wouldn't be so many different opinions and interpretations on scenes, etc. Some things can be left to interpretation, but some shouldn't. If Sam was slowly losing his mind all season, we all should have seen it.

I don't even know what to say about Dean's story b/c I'm still puzzled as to why he was so depressed this season. I'm fine w/things being subtle, but can't the writers be "obvious" and "blatant" as well. What's wrong w/that?
KELLY
# KELLY 2012-04-04 11:53
If the season not working for you okay. But I don't think you can use the idea that a lot of opinions and interpretations necessarily means bad writing. Look at how many different interpretations there are of Shakespeare or Dickens or for TV look at critical darlings like Lost or The Sopranos or my personal fave X-Files.
lala2
# lala2 2012-04-04 16:25
I hear what you're saying, Kelly, but I just feel there should be more clarity in the storytelling.

A little bit of interpretation is fine, but if every viewer has his/her own view/interpreta tion on what is occurring and why, then I can't help but think there's a flaw in the writing.

That's just my opinion though.
ryder21
# ryder21 2012-04-04 06:06
Well said Gerry. I too believe that this season is about the boys internal struggles. They have been stripped of their support systems and forced out of their comfort zones so that this internal struggle is the focus of our attention. I am not sure that the writers are doing this job justice, but I can see the intentions there.
We have all travelled on this journed with Dean and Sam for over six years, and I agree with you that they have a right to be weary and heart sore. I will be interested to see how they pick themselves up steer the bus away from the edge again.
KELLY - I loved Season 6 as well, Twihard, Caged Heat and Clap Your Hands being on my favourites list.
percysowner
# percysowner 2012-04-03 22:41
I generally agree with this. When I look back at season six it really does come together pretty well for me. I have also liked the individual episodes for this season. I'm hoping that the last run will tie the season up the way it did for me last year.
Alice
# Alice 2012-04-03 18:19
I totally forgot to mention the time that Sam got drunk in "Playthings." Wouldn't it have been wonderful to have a scene where drunk Sam opens up to Dean about the recent ordeal with Lucifer. Another missed opportunity. :sad:
BK
# BK 2012-04-03 18:34
Wow! high-fives! To say the writers are lazy is way too perfectly stated.
 I wish Gamble (&Glass) would read your suggestion about the boys' FBI getup. The FBI would definitely catch on by now, especially since Slash Fiction. They used to give the boys a variety of getups, which kept it fresh.
(I've also noticed that most of Glass' episodes may look good on paper but not on tv).
Garth's outlook is much less gloomy, and overall a nice compliment to the boys, but he hasn't been to hell either. I hope he comes back sans Mr. F.
I agree: this late in the season demands more meat & less filler. I like the way you parallel this season w/ those passed.
 I also think they royally screwed up by sweeping Sam's meltdown under the rug & possibly painted themselves in the corner with the Bobby issue. They're heading for cliché-ville.
What happened to their brotherly conflict? Those tender moments by the car sipping beer? Dean saying "I miss these talks" (when they weren't talking about anything deep) seemed odd. It's like the writers tried so hard to shake things up but forgot why the hell they did. 
I think much of season 7 is an embarrassment & I get crooked glances from recent recruits.
I'll never give up on the show, but continue to call seasons 1-5 the perfect storyline.
I THOUROUGHLY enjoyed your review!
Bevie
# Bevie 2012-04-03 18:38
I just can 't agree with your rants Alice. Sorry! I'm so glad I haven't been trained to be a reviewer and can just be ignorant and enjoy the show. It's so much better for my well-being and blood pressure.

Fell in love with the show with "Supernatural Christmas" and it is a love affair that even season four couldn't tarnish. Funny! that season seems to be everyone else's favourite, but for me it was the most depressing and hardest to completely enjoy. There were diamonds among them, but the separation of the brothers was so very depressing.

I loved the interactions of the boys in this episode, especially them drinking together and both of them drunk and liked the dialogue Adam Glass wrote for them. I think he does get them. But what do I know? Of course I would like to have more of those moments, but we are getting more of them this season than since season 3.

Love Bobby entirely and Garth is an endearing character that I liked even more after my second viewing. So refreshing and dare I say a sweet character. Love all his hugging! :P

I'm not hung up on long mytharcs so I don't get disappointed with fillers. In fact, I usually ENJOY them a little more.

I'm hoping this show lasts longer than I do, so I don't have to ever say good-bye to my boys. But if it does, I'll still have all the dvds.

Thanks Eric Kripke and Sera for this my most favourite TV show ever! :-)

And thank you Alice for the best Supernatural site on the net. (just my opinion of course) ;-)
KELLY
# KELLY 2012-04-03 19:35
You know my brother fills the same way he loves this season because there HASN'T be as much obvious mytharc.
percysowner
# percysowner 2012-04-03 22:46
You are not completely alone in your dislike of season four. I can appreciate that the arc came together. I can appreciate the individual episodes. The season is almost physically painful to me because of the increasing separation of Sam and Dean. I'm not wild about season five either, but at least they worked toward repairing the gap, so that helped.
Gwen
# Gwen 2012-04-03 18:54
First of all...excellent rant, Alice. Pretty much agree with everything you said.

As for this week's episode...apart from a few niggles I liked it. I didn't think I would but I did. I was disappointed with last week's episode and went into this with low expectations but I was pleasantly surprised.

I like Garth a lot and I wouldn't mind seeing him again. I think DJ Qualls is fabulous in the role. I'd also like to see that hunter guy from last week (Mackey?) again. And Jodie Mills.

I liked the talks about Bobby, the drunk!Boys scenes, Sam's line about the 'thingies' made me giggle as did Dean spitting out the alcohol and Sam's grin when he sent Dean off with Garth. I also liked Dean's 'we'll talk about this later' - I've always loved Dean getting all parental with Sam, even if it drives Sam up the wall sometimes. :lol:

I was quite surprised to hear them chat about Sam's issues. With my pessimistically low expectations I was expecting no mention of it at all. The blink and you'll miss it moment still had me sighing in despair though. I hate it when such huge issues get swept under the carpet. I'd read the spoilers for the episode and I found myself daydreaming over a scene where a drunk Sam would be opening up to Dean about his Lucifer ordeal but that wasn't to be.

It's a bit silly of me but the scene I have replayed the most is the one where Dean claps Sam on the shoulder as he gives him the bottle of alcohol. I always loved these little physical signs of affection between the boys. We don't get them so much anymore.

I was pleased to see Bobby back. Although I wish they'd never killed him off in the first place.

I'd not thought about the FBI scenes but you are right. We get them all the time now. As much as I love Sam and Dean in a suit I'd be happy to see a lot less of these scenes.

I was really excited for S7 after Hello Cruel World but I have been very disappointed by the way Sam's storyline has been handled. My main disappointment though has been the lack of connection between the brothers. I'm not a fan of procedurals, I'm a fan of character development, and I want the brotherly relationship dynamics back. I'd love to see more focus put back on the brothers' relationship.
boydo1
# boydo1 2012-04-03 18:59
why are they not out searching for Frank - since when did the boys leave their 'friends' in the hands of the monsters?
Alice
# Alice 2012-04-03 23:20
Trust me, there are plenty of head scratchers like that. It's on the list. Castiel applies too! Meg is hardly a saint.
Kate1
# Kate1 2012-04-03 19:09
I so agree with your rant. The show has lost something… I think it's a pale imitation of what it used to be, and that getting rid of Cas was a huge error indicative of a mindset that has sucked the emotional connect out of this show.

I'm not interested in Garth, or Frank, or witches, or however many stunt casting examples there have been in this season. I want to see regular OCs I have become emotionally invested in over several years interact with the brothers as part of Team Free Will. I want to see the brothers' story play out alongside the stories of those they love and who love them.

I think the showrunners have lost touch with their audience and have no real grasp of how to tell a story that makes sense and has an emotional buy-in. And I don't see the show getting any better in season 8 with this team running things. Supernatural is no longer must-see TV for me and I no longer watch it live. Sometimes I don't even remember it's on. Grimm is filling the space very ably for me and at this point I actually would prefer the principles to find something they deserve that can better showcase their talents than this dross.
Ginger
# Ginger 2012-04-03 19:10
Right on, Alice!!! It's time these things were talked about. The poor plotting is inexcusable. Throwing out canon right and left is inexcusable. Having some story (and I STILL DON'T KNOW WHAT THE STORY IS) driving the characters, instead of the characters driving the story is inexcusable. That little rule is basic, elementary writings, so what's the problem?

Fan manipulation is not writing episodes just for the fans. It's lazy and covers up a lack of creativity.

The sad part is that when all of these mistakes are piled on at one time and repeatedly, I think a lot of fans lose interest in the plot. I don't give a damned about the plot anymore...if there is one, that is. I just want the Impala back (and I still don't understand why it was taken out in the first place).

Remember how Dean was shown to be an alpha in Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid, when Dean and Digger did their mano-on mano-stare? That was less than a second on-screen, but we knew Dean Winchester's core from millisecond.

Remember the "just be my big brother" Sam speech in Fresh Blood? Sam Winchester at his best.

I watch for those few glimpses of the brothers I used to know.

Remember Ronald in Nightshifter. He was quirky, but he didn't take over the episode with vaudeville humor. Same with Ed and Harry.

I don't know Sam and Dean anymore either, I certainly don't recognize them as loving brothers who would do anything for each other, and I haven't understood why they are still hunting at all.

I firmly believe the writers are not interested in the series anymore, and I've often wondered if they are concentrating on developing other projects and just collecting their paychecks with this one until they get some bites on something else. Oh, and that disinterest seems to have filtered even into the editing department.

Unfortunately, as much as I love the 2Js, they are struggling this season to keep the two characters recognizable, IMO. In this last episode, I didn't feel they were on top of their game. The drunk scene was an exception, as was the two scenes with the Japanese guy. God, I loved those three scenes.

Excuse my rant, but I am really, really disappointed right now. I'll finish up the season, but after that, I'm not sure right now.
hades
# hades 2012-04-04 11:44
I dont remember Dean being shown to be an 'alpha' in DMDWP I think it was actually Sam who chose to save the whole town while Dean chose to stay at home to babysit Bobby.
Ginger
# Ginger 2012-04-04 12:01
I'm speaking of the scene between Dean and Digger...saving the town really isn't the point. I was illustrating how little screen time it takes to give the brothers' characters some in-depth insight.

It doesn't matter now, though, because Dean hasn't been depicted as an alpha for some time now.
hades
# hades 2012-04-05 09:08
I dont remember that sorry.

The writers seem to flit between having the boys show leadership roles over the course of the season. Sometimes its Sam and sometimes its Dean. Theres no one real leader and rightly so, they're equals and thats the way they should be.
nancyL
# nancyL 2012-04-03 19:25
If Sam and Dean had driven away after talking in the car, then this episode would have been a total waste of time.
But, because of those last minutes with Bobby :D , the episode was saved from the heap.

Now that we have seen the 'return' of Cas and Bobby, I agree Alice, where the fudge is the Impala?
Valgal
# Valgal 2012-04-03 19:36
Thank you, Alice for your comments and concerns.
A friend suggested Supernatural to me at the end of 2010 and I became hooked after watching a few episodes. I fell in love with the characters of Sam and Dean. I loved watching their strength, their honesty, their vulnerability and their ability to love and persevere despite all they had to endure. I empathized with the brothers working through their different traumas. I cheered for their triumphs and teared up when it seemed like all hope was gone. Watching these fictional characters helped me find the strength to handle some very emotionally difficult events that have occurred within the past year.
To love someone is to notice the nuances of their behavior. When they stop behaving in a a manner you’ve become accustomed to, of course, it is natural to become concerned. There are ample instances this season when I have been worried. I wonder:
Will the real Sam and Dean stand up?
I feel like the actors are working harder than ever to make their characters the ones we’ve come to love. So, what’s missing? It is a deliberate ploy by TPTB to show that so much has occurred between them and to them that the relationship is broken?
Is it bad writing?
Is it that the TPTB don’t know and love Sam and Dean the way we fans do?
Or it is something else?
This season and last I watched Sam and Dean suffer and succeed, struggle and argue, tease and tangle. I want to believe that no matter what happens to Sam and Dean, the core of Supernatural is about a relationship between two siblings who can find solutions so that they survive anything.
Sam and Dean are broken men and I get that TPTB want to show that they are "alone" in the world. I do not believe that Castiel "healed" Sam from his trauma in Hell. I believe that Sam still suffers from guilt over Jessica's death. I believe that Dean's soul is sick with grief not only from Bobby's death, Castiel's betrayal, his stay in Hell and the other defeats he feels he has caused.
I love watching Supernatural and can always find something redeemable in almost every episode. (Yes, even in Season 7: Time for a Wedding.)
But I question that if the writers cannot find ways to heal these fictional characters of the maladies that face them and who are at the mercy of the writers' skill, humor and wit, what does it say to us, the viewers, who watch Supernatural for solace, for enjoyment, for sheer love and for the belief that if we just keep at it in our own lives, we will overcome what faces us?
Melanie
# Melanie 2012-04-03 20:14
Party On Garth wasn't one of my favorite episodes - just like Ghostfacers and Wishful Thinking weren't and even Weekend at Bobby's wasn't (I seem to be one of the few who didn't especially care for that one). The reason they're not on my favorites list -- the episodes are Sam and/or Dean light. There's some kind of clock in my head and if I get a certain amount of story time that doesn't feature a Winchester, I'm tapping my foot and looking at my watch. So in that respect, the beginning of Party On Garth that featured too much victim of the week (OK, waaay toooo much victim of the week) and Garth before Dean and Sam got there, didn't do much for me. I like Garth alright, but its the contrast with and the reaction of the Winchesters that is the fun part for me.
But the MOTW episodes are my favorites. I love it when the boys are working a case. I love it when they wear the suits. I don't need an overarch - to me the show got so weighed down in the mythology once the angels were introduced that the balance between the MOTW and mytharc shifted so far toward the mytharc that the show I fell in love with -- the guys on the road with chainsaws in the trunk, hunting things & saving people was all but unrecognizable.
BUT -- I loved the 'new' incarnation of Supernatural with the angels too.
And now I love the 'new new' Supernatural where the balance of mytharc & MOTW seems to be shifting back toward MOTW again too.
I never refer to the MOTW episodes as 'filler' - to me that is insulting and dismissive of episodes that have always purposefully existed within the framework of Supernatural. To compare the show unfavoarably to the highly serialized Vampie Diaries and Nikita is really not an apples to apples comparison.
To prefer mytharc episodes over the MOTW episodes is certainly your choice, Alice. And I will agree with you that Mr. Glass' episodes are more than a bit clunky, but I wonder if some of your rant isn't as much about the actual quality of the show as it is about your preferences for what they 'should' be doing in the overall structure.
Its not that I don't see some of the same 'flaws' that you do, I really do see them, but they aren't enough to mar my enjoyment of the marvelous stuff that the show continues to do very right. So, I agree with a lot of the criticsm of the episode and not at all with the overall criticsm of the season.
Alice
# Alice 2012-04-03 20:29
A well noted dissent! I should clarify though, I never did say I prefer mytharc over MOTW.

A balance is good. However, when it's all put together, it's really clunky. I even think season 3 flowed together better, and that was hampered by a months long writers strike. That one wasn't mytharc heavy either. The fact is, in these MOTW stories, the emotional bond between the brothers that was once there isn't. It's okay if you don't miss that, but I do. Sorely.

Quote:
but I wonder if some of your rant isn't as much about the actual quality of the show as it is about your preferences for what they 'should' be doing in the overall structure.
I'm not really sure how to respond to this. I think I'm just throwing out examples. I do take a risk by doing that, for people could think I'm trying to rewrite the show, and I'm not. I'm just offering examples of opportunities that used to be taken with the episodes that no longer happening. It's obvious just by studying the structure of episodes in seasons 1-5.

To be honest, I do put stock in creative license. I don't want to tell people how to write their show. However, stripping the emotional bond of the main characters, the biggest strength of this show and what sucked many of us in, and sacrificing character development for story just isn't working for me. But hey, IMHO. I'm certainly no authority!
Melanie
# Melanie 2012-04-03 23:44
You're right, Alice. I'm sorry I didn't mean to put words in your mouth. You didn't say you liked mytharc episodes better, however, that's just the sense that I have gotten from your reviews.

I absolutely do miss the emotional bond between the brothers and Show is a goddamm tease about that. I think it is the entire point of the 'take everything away' from the brothers that it is currently missing. Not missing exactly, but I will say that it is - muted.
Muted because of Dean's crushing depression. Muted because of Sam's fragile grasp on his mellon or custard or whatever Dean is calling his brother's lack of sanity this week. Muted because of the devastating losses they both have suffered. I think it is purposeful on Show's part and not a function of bad writing that Sam & Dean are 'off.'

I would not think it was true to the realism that SPN has always brought to the exploration of these characters if they were hugging it out. I don't really see any missed opportunity with the episode in terms of character development. I would be off-put and perhaps a little angry if too much hijinx & hilarity had been included in this episode. I thought the drunkeness allowed just enough - Dean's 'I miss these talks' and understanding Sammy's unhelpful non-descript description spoke volumes about the relationship that is still there.
We have been privy to a remarkable character journey with these two men. They have cycled downward, literally to hell and back and are in the process of picking up the shattered pieces and getting on with it. I so hope that we get a season eight so that this remarkable journey can continue.
Bevie
# Bevie 2012-04-05 15:16
I feel they stripped the "emotional bond" of the main characters in season four. The season everyone loves the best. (except me and a very few others). And I think that bond has been slowly being brought back since then, and is still evolving in season 7. Which is why I am liking this season the best since season 3.

I could see that bond in the latest episode (as short as the scenes were) in a few delightful touches They were talking without holding back secrets, teasing each other again and when drunk Dean saying he missed their talks and 'ME LIKEY'. And Dean touching Sam affectionately. It's been a LONG TIME since seeing that! That's what I loved about the show and I can see signs of it returning.

As Gabriel (love him) said: Can't we all just get along?
KELLY
# KELLY 2012-04-05 15:59
Oh I love that too. In fact I want more of it. And I can totally get what you're saying but I still love season 4 and 5 because the story is so compelling even if the relationship did suffer. I mean look at the first 3 seasons, who would have thought I would buy a woman coming between them. And the juxtaposition between Sam hooking up with a demon even as Dean hooks up (physically with Anna and partnership with Cas) with angels. But Sam still wants to believe he's doing the right thing, even as he's descending to his darkest hour. And Dean who had just returning from Hell after going for is brother, has to face the Sam he left is not the same Sam. The fear that he might finally be witnessing what his father warned him of. Along with Dean desperately wanting to believe that he is still a good person, despite what he did in hell because the angels say he will be the world's savior. ARGGH. Heartbreaking and wonderful. Plus just some over the top kickass episodes.

And Sam just breaks my heart through season 5. He wants so hard to change- to be good. And the evidence keeps piling up that he is destined for this darkness. And all he wants is redemption. The person he loves and trusts the most no longer trusts him. Even though Dean said he will never give up on him he does for a while.
And Dean's been betrayed by the person he loved and trusted the most (and went to hell for) and can't seem to truly forgive him. And he's loss of faith in Sam equals loss of faith in everything. If he couldn't save Sam how can he expect to save the world. And all the evidence says that one day he will have to kill his Sammy-even though he swore that day would never come. ARGGH.

OOPS Got a little carried away and can totally see how that wouldn't be to everyone tastes. But it is glorious storytelling. It's like watching a Shakespearian tragedy but with characters who you love like family.
Bevie
# Bevie 2012-04-06 14:46
I see what you mean Kelly and you are right. Season 4 was entirely gut-wrenching in the way it turned the relationship around. There is no way I wouldn't want to watch to see that gap healed.

And I liked season 5 and 6 a lot as it seemed to me that things were improving in the relationship parts after they got back together at the end of "The End'. Too bad the next episode was "Fallen Idols' which did nothing to improve the relationship, along with Sam's rant that Dean was the one who forced him to go with Ruby. Can't remember who wrote that, but what was he or she smoking? :-x

Agree it is glorious storytelling (I prefer it to Shakespeare) and it is interpreted so differently by so many fans, according to their likes and prejudices. I love the boys, Bobby, Ellen and Jo and others like family myself. That's why it hurt so much to watch season 4 unfold. Although I was truly delighted when Sam held Ruby and Dean skewered her with her own knife and they grabbed each other as Lucifer rose. :P A deep breath was taken and subsequently I looked very much forward to the next season.

Never mind, it's easy to get carried away and ramble on and on with one's outlook on the show. It shows what an impact this little show has on all of us fans. Totally agree with you re season 5. Poor Sammy wanting Dean's trust and poor Dean losing trust in his most beloved family member. Dean must feel like father, mother and brother towards Sam and can be hurt that much more cruelly for that. I hope the complete trust can be restored in the future episodes.

Sorry. Got carrried away myself. :oops:
KELLY
# KELLY 2012-04-06 16:31
Fallen Idols fell a little short for me, but that part with Sam saying Dean had to let him grow up I kind of understood(alth ough I thought it could definitely have been said better).

I didn't see him as saying he blamed Dean. What I thought he was saying was that, until Ruby he'd almost always followed whatever Dean said (not without question, but he almost always ultimately fell in line). If Sam wanted to do something different from what Dean said, he had to either convince Dean or go alone. Sam wanted desperately to believe that he what he was doing was the right thing, turning the curse into a blessing. But he couldn't convince Dean, (Dean was pretty closed-minded about it-he wouldn't even listen to Sam in Metamorphosis). So he took off with Ruby, who made him feel strong-in control and told him what he wanted to hear. IMO he wasn't saying it was Dean's fault so much as saying he didn't want to recreate that pattern of behavior that led him to rebel. Where Dean made all the decisions and Sam would follow until he got sick of it and took off for awhile or lied about his behavior. I think he was trying to be upfront with Dean and stand his ground with him (this theory is supported by the Sam we've since season 5).

Maybe I understood (or thought I did) what he was saying because I had a similar dynamic with my sister, who practically raised me in a lot of ways. If she said something, that's it. If I'd say something I'd have to plead, cajole and convince her of the wisdom of my ways. I sometimes made bad decisions because they weren't the opposite of HER decisions (and, like Dean, she was/is usually right). They were still MY decisions I still made the mistakes. But it was in counter to feeling unheard.
It wasn't until I grew up a little more that realize I could listen to her advice and choose to follow it or not. Either way I WAS choosing. Funnily when I recently convinced her family to start watching, she thought Dean was bossy and sheepishly admitted she saw a similarity. And her entire family was like, "Already noticed."
Josie
# Josie 2012-04-03 20:19
Pacing has been Supernatural's #1 problem for the past two seasons.

In fact, Supernatural's pacing is unfortunately starting to remind me a bit of AMC's The Killing, which started with a fantastic pilot and then soon started spinning its wheels with filler episodes and red herring after red herring, bidding its time for a conclusion that they then didn't bother to give to its viewers. Yeah, I'm still bitter about The Killing, can you tell? Not a good sign that Supernatural is starting to remind me of it.

It's telling that when the Leviathans showed up in "Out with the Old," my response was to throw my hands up and yell, "OH MY GOD, FINALLY!" That was also my reaction when Lucifer showed up in "Repo Man." We seem to have spurts of actual story progression scattered between a whole lot of filler.

In season five, Lucifer was off screen from episode 10-19. However, in the episodes between, the Winchesters:
-went back in time to save their parents and faced off against Michael
-fought Famine
-fought off a hoard of zombies risen by Death
-died and went to Heaven (literally) and confronted Zachariah and met Joshua
-defended a town from the Whore of Babylon
-had to stop Dean from saying "yes" to Michael, deal with the newly risen Adam, and kill Zachariah

None of these episodes featured Lucifer, but they all tied into the apocylyspe/vess el storyline. The story felt like it was moving forward, and I wouldn't miss an episode. Now? I initially didn't bother to watch "Party On, Garth" because it was a filler episode. Once I heard shouts about the ending, I fired up the DVR…and skipped to the final five minutes, because they were clearly all I needed to watch. I hope, should Supernatural get an 8th season, the first thing the writers do is sit down and carefully pace the season out.
Alice
# Alice 2012-04-03 22:57
It's so funny you mention this string of episodes! Just last night I sat down and watched "Dark Side of The Moon," "99 Problems," and "Point of No Return" when I was struggling with a way to word this review. It is amazing how well they worked together. I often pretend "Hammer of The Gods" didn't exist though. :-)

Good thing I never watched "The Killing" huh?
Gerry
# Gerry 2012-04-04 09:24
I love that string of episodes, too! Very powerful stuff. But it shows how differently people can view this stuff, too, because in one of the article comments last week, there was a lively discussion on how horrible Dark Side of the Moon was and how little exploration Sam has gotten as a character since season three. Not the way I see it, but in a story this rich and complex, people enter into it for different reasons and see different things.

Dark Side of the Moon is one of my all time favourite episodes.
Ann
# Ann 2012-04-03 21:22
I enjoyed your review, Alice. Unfortunately Garth is not growing on me. The character simply does not make any sense. I don't need him to have a lot of angst, but he should at least seem a little affected by his job. He's just too silly. His presence also takes the show further away from how it used to be - gritty. I miss the creepiness of Seasons 1 & 2. I also miss the strong supporting characters who were so memorable in the past but are no longer present. Lastly, what I miss the most about the show is its heart. The brothers seem to be on auto-pilot. Maybe, if it goes one more season, some of the original writers can come back and give the show the send-off it deserves.
MisterGlass
# MisterGlass 2012-04-03 22:07
I am vividly reminded of "Changing Channels", during the CSI spoof, in which Dean rants about hating procedural cop shows. It was hilarious then, but not so hilarious when Supernatural is trending that way.

Procedurals have there place, and can be good, but Supernatural cannot thrive that way. If its characters stagnate, it will not survive. I keep thinking that they should not have abandoned Lisa. She was an imperfect character, but she was a sign of change, and Dean, at least, growing as a person. Now, there is no development. No change. I like the idea that the brothers can now work things out more or less like adults, but they should have something to be passionate about. Something driving them.

Hope.

It's like they have become the hunters they dreaded in seasons past, living rough and without connections until they die bloody. Talk about soulless. And somehow, even Season 6 and all its soullessness still had some feeling behind it that Season 7 lacks.

All that ranted, I had fun with this episode. I would have liked it better if it came five or six episodes ago, but it had some good moments. I love the Japanese chef, and Dean's bottled water improvised blessing.

Thanks for the review Alice.
Melanie
# Melanie 2012-04-03 23:22
I don't think its 'like' they have become the hunters they dreaded - they have become them. I believe that is the whole point - the show showing us in agonizing detail how it happens - even to the Winchesters. I believe that as the story continues, we will see them work their way back - and find a balance.
vivian
# vivian 2012-04-04 12:21
Melanie, I completely agree with you, and I truly hope that at the end the brothers find this balance.
MisterGlass
# MisterGlass 2012-04-04 21:08
Agreed!
olivia2000
# olivia2000 2012-04-03 22:43
alice, omg i couldn't agree with you more! thank you so much for voicing my frustration with the season. gwen also captures my sentiments, right down to my uber-high expectations after the awesome episode Hello Cruel World ... she wrote: "I was really excited for S7 after Hello Cruel World but I have been very disappointed by the way Sam's storyline has been handled. My main disappointment though has been the lack of connection between the brothers. I'm not a fan of procedurals, I'm a fan of character development, and I want the brotherly relationship dynamics back. I'd love to see more focus put back on the brothers' relationship." yes! i MISS the brotherly dynamic. how their love, humaness and imperfections were explored thru their relationship is what made SN one of my all time favorite shows. i hardly recognize sam and dean anymore -- the characterizatio n is so flat (yikes -- dare i say boring) & sorely lacking. i really hate criticizing ... but honestly, i've lost my hope for the show. i, too, hate how they have a BIG episode/issue and then bang, it's barely, if at all, woven into subsequent episodes. (such as sam's hell time and mental state). sigh.
olivia2000
# olivia2000 2012-04-03 22:51
i may not continue to watch the show after this season and like kate1, i find myself wishing better roles for J & J -- they deserve better writing and deeper characterizatio n than what they are currently getting.
percysowner
# percysowner 2012-04-03 22:57
One additional problem with this episode was even the procedural part was sloppy. I have seen several reviews and there is no consensus on whether the woman the Shojo killed was Jim's wife or his daughter and was the little girl his granddaughter or his daughter. I'm convinced due to context that the woman was his daughter, because the spirit was targeting the children of the other owners, but some reviewers think wife and others just say they aren't sure either way. To me that shows that someone either the writer or the editor dropped the ball big time.

The end was great with Bobby, but the rest was meh. The again I don't connect with Adam Glass as a writer.

Speaking of Bobby, I can see why the boys may not want to know he is still with them. In early seasons, putting down a ghost was an easy decision, it had to be done. What do they do when it's Bobby? Hope he stays sane and doesn't become angry? After all Mary held up pretty well for 22 years. If Bobby is like Mary does that mean that one day Sam and Dean will have to watch him destroy himself? Bobby being a ghost has some very unhappy implications and I can understand why Dean and Sam would shy away from wanting to deal with them. Of course, none of this has come from anything the show has gone into thus far. It's just my thought process.
SecretWillow
# SecretWillow 2012-04-03 23:03
I agree with a lot of what you said Alice. Don't try to shut up your critical thinking side. It's much appreciated. And thank you for addressing the procedural feel that seems to be taking over lately. I knew there was something that felt off to me, but I couldn't put my finger on it. Thank you for clarifying it for me.

What's rubbed me the wrong way, is what alysha said about Bobby taking on the paternal role. After muchos amounts of thought on this, I'm not sure how I feel about Bobby becoming a surrogate father for the boys. Don't get me wrong-I love Bobby dearly. I adored the man the first time I laid eyes on him. It's just that, like alysha said, it feels like the paternal angle has been forced. I loved Bobby for saying that family don't end with blood. Bobby is family, definitely and forever. But why was it so important that he take such a paternal role? Somehow, sometime when I wasn't looking, John's character took a nosedive, which I can't say I'm thrilled with. It was hinted at or alluded to in Dark Side of the Moon that John might have gotten aggressive with Dean when Sam ran away to Flagstaff for two weeks. But Dean idolized his father. Sure, he had his issues with the man, as evidenced by his conversation with himself in Dream a Little Dream of Me. But I just can't see him having that kind of adoration if his father was the type of person prone to physical abuse. Sam, himself, admitted more than once, that John did the best he could. He said that he and Dean turned out all right because of their dad. He told young John in The Song Remains the Same, that his dad was trying to keep it together in this impossible situation, and that he finally understood his father. John loved his boys, lots of people told them that. He wanted what was best for his sons. But now it feels like John's role has been diminished and it's been forced on the audience that Bobby would have made a much better father. If it was so important to establish him in that role, shouldn't it have been done seasons ago? Young Sam in A Very Supernatural Christmas said that Uncle Bobby had given him the amulet to give to John. At what point did he go from Uncle Bobby to surrogate dad? It might have made more sense if he had taken on that mantle after John's death. But it was never addressed until S6 when Sam wanted to scar his vessel. Dean trying to prove himself to Bobby in Lazarus Rising, said that he was about the closest thing Dean had to a father. And while that was incredibly touching and heart-warming, it's still a far cry from the heavy emphasis it's received just this season. Bobby has given the boys so much: love, guidance, care, support. Does it have to be shoehorned into a fatherly sense? Can't it just stand on its own as family helping one another? I'm not complaining, even thought I know that's what it looks like. I just don't get it.

At any rate, Jim did a tremendous job, and I think I was still smiling an hour after the show ended. I thought it was a very enjoyable episode over all.
KELLY
# KELLY 2012-04-04 01:50
I'll start out by saying that I've never been a big fan of John, not even from season 1. I don't hate the guy and I like the actor but I NEVER liked how he treated his boys. But I understand others feel differently and its all good. So take from this what you will.

But you CAN have more than one father figure. IMO Sam has three. Dean, Bobby and John. Dean has both Bobby and John. With Sam, Dean both brother and parent. (Although I will admit at times Dean seemed almost more maternal than paternal but somehow that seems sexist so nevermind)

I think that the boy's changing views of their father are perfectly natural. Dean idolize and followed him to an unhealthy degree IMO and Sam instinctively fought against him.

I think it's pretty obvious Dean's opinion of him started to change when John told him he might have to kill Sam. Sam's opinion softened about the same time because he had died. After he lost Dean, I think he fully understood his father's obsession, even more so than after Jessica's death.
In the Song Remains the Same, I think Sam had the understanding of his past mistakes and could fully forgive his father for his mistakes. And love for the flawed character that he was.

I don't think Dean was grateful to his father for his demon deal I think he started resenting him (for the guilt it laid on him) on top of his anger about what he said about Sam. As Dean became more and more disillusioned his opinion of his father seemed to plummet. And being with Ben and Lisa showed him how easy it could be to turn into his father while trying to protect them and the revulsion he felt at doing so. I don't think he's fully made peace with his father's memory yet.

But Bobby for both boys, but especially Dean, has been there during his moments of greatest suffering and doubt. Sam's death, his deal, the hours before his deal was up, Sam's detox then his betrayal and aftermath. Then he stabbed himself rather than kill Dean. He showed up in the cemetery just to be with Dean and Sam's meatsuit. Even though he had no hope left. He showed him another version of unwavering love.

I do think they've increased past Bobby's role over the years, but since it was never established how much contact he had with them will never know.
vivian
# vivian 2012-04-04 12:42
Kelly, very well writen. I think it summons up perfectly the relationship and perception of Sam and Dean regarding Jonh and Bobby, and the changes during the seasons.
Gerry
# Gerry 2012-04-04 17:41
Kelly, that's wonderful post on John. The only thing I would add is I think we were shown John's issues as a father as early as season one, in "Something Wicked." In that ep, Dean is at most 10 or 11 and John not only makes him responsible for Sam with a shriga in the area, when he returns to find the shriga attacking Sam, he completely blames Dean.

Rather than telling his young son he's so glad he was back in time to save them BOTH, he yells at Dean. And at the time of "Something Wicked," John is still blaming Dean and letting him know he's responsible for the new deaths of the shriga.

I think we were also shown John drank too much and let the boys down in terms of showing up for holidays. Dean was the one who stepped up and tried to provide the family atmosphere for his brother.

The other side of John was also on view--the man who loved his boys, who gave up his life for Dean. But his love appeared to Dean to be conditional, whether John intended for that or not.

With that in mind, I was relieved when we got solid evidence Bobby stepped in and tried his best to just love the boys unconditionally from the time they were young. Dean and Sam needed all the love they could yet. As Kelly said, you can have more than one father figure.
digyd
# digyd 2012-04-04 19:18
Quote:
And at the time of "Something Wicked," John is still blaming Dean and letting him know he's responsible for the new deaths of the shriga.
Gerry, when you said this did you mean at the time when they went back as adults to fight the shtriga? Because I thought Dean understood it to be his father sent them back so he could get closure on this because he was still blaming himself, as opposed to John still blaming him.

My dear John. He's ex-military and so a little hard to wrap your arms around. I think people have put way too much blame on him for this incredibly special circumstance that I doubt anyone in real life could compare to anything they have experienced. But I won't go into all that here. I think there is an article on him somewhere else on the site and I'll have to go back and see what that said. Maybe even comment there.

But I will say this - as a kid, my mother and I butted heads. As I got older, I could recognize we were indeed a lot alike, thus the butting of heads. I took all my 20s to get all that worked out in my head and when I became a parent...well you know how that goes. She never changed. My understanding of her did and I was able to love and appreciate all of it at that point - years later.

I wish folk would forget Sam's and Dean's perspective just for a moment and put themselves in John's shoes and then be honest with themselves about how they may really react to something or how they think any normal person might react and maybe give him a little room to be the flawed person he was and everyone is at all times.

Off my soapbox I go.
KELLY
# KELLY 2012-04-04 20:14
I not trying to dump on the guy exactly, I've already had a debate recently with John's merits as a father (HI TIM!) and understood the points being made. I don't think he was physically abusive (although I wouldn't surprised, given there lifestyle, that things sometimes got physical on both side when they were teenagers-but not to the point of abuse). A case could be made for neglectful, but I agree with Sam he tried to do his best. I think obsession just got in the way of actually taking care of his boys too often.
But without him taking a hardline the boys might not have been prepared for such difficult lives. Still ,to me, it doesn't make him a great father, as I see it, but I can see how others would think differently.
digyd
# digyd 2012-04-04 22:25
I hear you, Kelly. John was absolutely not a great father. I don't think anyone can successfully make the case he was "great." I just don't think "bad" is the word to use either because that's a black or white term, but it's not a black or white issue. Like him or not, the Sam and Dean we love wouldn't be who they are without his influence. I say take the good, throw away the rest (after they have made their peace with it preferably).
Gerry
# Gerry 2012-04-04 23:39
Digyd, all we got in the show was Dean's perspective that his dad sent him to the town because he had unfinished business. However, we got a flashback to show why Dean would think that and John was clearly blaming him as a kid. So for me, I don't see much evidence John quit blaming Dean and wanted Dean to quit blaming himself. We didn't get that from John.

I actually really like John Winchester as a character and hope he comes back to the show. But I think he was shown to be so obsessed with revenge that he hurt the loved ones he had left--this is a theme in Supernatural--S am went down the same road in season 4.
digyd
# digyd 2012-04-05 00:13
umm hmm, Gerry. Got ya. But we didn't get anything from John on the topic once the boys were adults, so my point? Speculation about what John meant by sending them there is all that can be done and when you say, "John is still blaming Dean and letting him know he's responsible for the new deaths of the shriga," that is a definitive statement based on speculation and either one cancels the other.

I too like John, but JDM just got his own series on Starz so I suppose it's going to be harder than ever to bring him back even for a little bit. But I hope they do. Even if it's just once. I so want him to have his say.
lala2
# lala2 2012-04-05 08:29
I think you would agree that Dean felt like John always blamed him for that incident and "never looked at him the same again," right?

Unfortunately, we never got John's perspective because the show follows his sons, not him. We do know John was hard on his boys, and we know that both his children felt he didn't love them. That tells me that John failed in his duties as a parent.

JMO.
digyd
# digyd 2012-04-05 10:21
Agreed, lala2. What we intend does not always translate to our children and in the end what matters most is the kids' perception - at least while they are children and aren't fully capable of looking at things from another point of view. Unfortunately, John didn't get a chance to rectify that side of things before he sacrificed himself. So yes, he seemed to fail in his duties as a parent.

But Sam and Dean are grown now so hopefully that sacrificial act opened the door to beginning to understand the man was a closed book, but it didn't mean he didn't love them. The work falls to them if they want to have any peace at all and Dean is the only one who still needs to get to that place of peace with his father. Sam already made his peace and told his father so - without his father realizing it, of course - in The Song Remains the Same. Sam found the positives and I believe he no longer saw his father as a failure as a parent, just flawed. (My speculation, I know.) If the child no longer feels the parent failed, I won't come behind him and say, "You're wrong. He failed." Hopefully Dean will find that peace too since their father can't come back and defend himself (or can he?!).
digyd
# digyd 2012-04-05 10:32
Oh and lala2? Given the way talk seems to go around here, I want you to know it's all just a friendly debate for me. I admit that no matter what anyone says, I'm pretty much in John's camp and can't be talked out because I just feel like people are purposely putting blinders on with this man. It's that whole people who live in glass houses argument for me, but darn it all, I am not married to the man! :lol: Whomever decides I'm just nuts and decides to make a million points to prove me wrong will just get the last word on it and I will live to fight another day. ;-)
Gerry
# Gerry 2012-04-05 10:58
I guess it's a "Agree to disagree" point because I think we can use what the show has given us, and it needs further information to cast doubt on it. Since we got nothing from John in the present day to upset the impression younger John created when he blamed Dean, it's not speculation to accept Dean's impression his dad holds him responsible for the shriga still being around.

If we were supposed to think Dean was missing the point that his dad actually doesn't blame him anymore and just wants Dean to let go of the guilt, that needed to be set up somewhere. I didn't think we got John rethinking the way he treated Dean until he was saying goodbye to him.
Kate1
# Kate1 2012-04-04 14:50
Quote:
I just can't see him having that kind of adoration if his father was the type of person prone to physical abuse.
Speaking from professional experience, you would be surprised how often children continue to adore parents who physically abuse them... it tends to stem from a desperation to make the parent love them in a healthier way.
Sharon
# Sharon 2012-04-04 15:29
I dont think there is any need to go there with John though .
lala2
# lala2 2012-04-04 16:32
Agreed!

John has already been portrayed as a neglectful, emotionally abusive horrible dad. There's really no reason to slap the "physically abusive" label on him.

I do agree that children can be physically abused - even sexually abused - by parents, but still idolize and love that parent. That's not uncommon.
alysha
# alysha 2012-04-04 17:54
Thank you. I think you had some great examples of what Bobby became. Think of Bobby at the start of season two. He helps Sam, but hes not directing him or telling him what to do. He is supportive, but more an equal. I do like that though not blood he is still family. I very much like that, but he need not be their dad.
kazkriz
# kazkriz 2012-04-03 23:34
gosh I hate to say this.. but I agree woth a part of your review... yep I loved to see bobby again... but yep, I haven't notice the FBI thing unlit you mentionet.. and you're rigth.. dear god this is hard.. even though I started watching SPN two years ago I can tell the differece between Dean from season 1-5 and dean from s6-7-(8?) well... I don't know what tosay, just hope that what Sera said in an interview becomes true.. abt everything making sense when they pull it together at the end.

now let me say something please... not to you or to your review but to the creator of this show.. I've been thinking abt this for two years since I finished watching the whole spn epies all over again.

ERICK, you damn sob YOU CREATED THIS .. YOU CREATED spn AND THEN YOU LEFT!!! you left!!! HOW CAN A FATHER CAN DO THAT???!!!! you little SOB I love supernatural with my heart but you moved on!!!! how could you do that when the show wasn't over yet? and you left leaving the show to Sera? (I like her.. but we DO NEED EK goddamnit!) this IS a different show and that kills me!... I'm getting so damn tired of this.. you know what would make EVERY SINGLE FAN HAPPY you moron? I f you decide to come back for next season because we need you ... you idjit we do need you... because if you're not here the show is gonna become irecognizable. We need you because you're ERICK!! and you and only you know better than anyone how this show works.

***happy place ... happy place*** I sorry but I needed to say that :/


I have nothing left to say
kmarie
# kmarie 2012-04-04 02:45
I have to say that I am of two minds about the filler vs. mytharc debate.
Let me just start out by saying that I love the big, complicated mytharcs. Seasons 4 and 5 were my favorites by miles, even though I have adored all the others. But I have to say I enjoy "filler" episodes just as much. I get a little frustrated when other fans (not you, Alice, but some fans on other sites I visit) talk about MOTW episodes as if they're nothing more than a distraction from the REAL show. After all, I consider these episodes to be the real heart of SPN, the classic episodes where the boys ride into town, gank the baddie, and ride off into the sunset. There's nothing wrong with that - it's the whole concept that this show was built around in the first place. Especially in seasons 1 and 2, where the overall mytharc was basically "Where's Dad? Where's Dad? What's wrong with Sam? Where's Dad?" I know I'm not alone in wanting some more info on what those Leviathans are cooking up ASAP, but I'm willing to accept that they are, in general, more secretive about their evil plans than some of our other Big Bads have been (probably due to the not entirely unwelcome fact that their plans, for once, don't appear to be revolving around Sam and Dean). I believe that the writers do have something planned for the Leviathans which will be revealed to us in due course. In the meantime, I will enjoy the diverse and always (ok, almost always) entertaining MOTW stories that the writers cook up.
As for the characterizatio n of Sam and Dean, I haven't really felt that anything specifically is "off" about this season compared to the others. Yeah, Sam and Dean have changed from who they used to be. They are fundamentally the same, but their outlooks and attitudes have changed, particularly Dean's. I can't really say I blame them, after everything they've been through. I do hope they can come back around to a little bit more how they used to be, but people (and TV characters) do change. They have to, or else what was the point of everything they've been through? As sad as it is to admit, Sam and Dean are long past the days of "Bitch" and "Jerk" moments. I almost feel like if they tried to do that now, it would be... I don't know, awkward. The brothers are a lot more beaten down and world weary than they used to be - and who can blame them? Whether that is intentional to portray their inner struggles or merely an example of sloppy writing is up for debate (as we are all doing now). I don't know which it is. I trust that Jared and Jensen's interpretation of their characters is the most accurate after portraying Sam and Dean for so long, so if they don't feel that anything is egregiously "off" then I won't get upset about it (and as we all know, the J's can and will argue if they feel that their characters are being written incorrectly).
So... yeah. I, for one, am willing to see how the whole shebang plays out and then cast my judgements. However, I will be extremely disappointed if they don't talk anymore about Sam's sanity and hell issues. Heck, I still don't think they talked enough about Dean's hell issues, but I accept that that ship has probably already sailed. I was hoping they would do a better job with Sam. I will hold out for more exploration of Sam's hell in the rest of the season, enjoy myself in the meantime, and cast judgements when it's all over.
lala2
# lala2 2012-04-04 10:54
Great article, Alice! I really agree w/a lot of your main points about how the season is going, but disagree that this season (7) is better than last season (6).

Season 6 gets a bad review from a lot of people, but for me, it was a great improvement over Season 5, and it's miles better than Season 7. Were there far too many plots? Sure, but I can honestly say I wasn't bored during Season 6. Sadly, I can't say the same this season. I enjoyed Soulless Sam. A lot. I found him very entertaining. I couldn't wait to see what was wrong w/Sam, when he would get his soul back, how the Wall would impact him, etc. I liked the Campbells. All of them. I loved the snarky comments btw Christian and Dean. I like the silent, cute one that died too quickly. I liked Grandpa and the girl. Did they give Grandpa a lame excuse for his actions? Sure, but they still had a lot of potential. I wish they hadn't all been killed off. I thought Castiel was used more appropriately in Season 6 than in Season 5 when he was just there for comic relief most of the time. I hate, hate, hate that scene in the strip club w/Castiel and Dean. I know they directed Misha to act terrified, but it wasn't cute or funny to me. It was stupid and simply didn't feel "right." I never thought that was how Castiel would behave, so it fell flat for me. I didn't care for Cas watching porn either. Just stupid. I thought his presence was better used in Season 6. I hated Lisa/Ben, but they weren't shown enough for me to be truly troubled by them.

So while Season 6 had its problems, it was quite enjoyable to me and a great improvement over Season 5. Now don't get me wrong. I found almost all of the episodes in Season 5 good except for Fallen Idols, but Season 5, IMO, was not very cohesive. Like this season, it had, IMO, way too many pointless, filler episodes as well. I never felt or understood the complaints re: "filler" episodes until Season 5. IMO, all the episodes in the four prior seasons had a purpose, a point. What was the point of Jesse, the Anti-Christ kid or whatever? What was the point of Bobby's dead wife coming back as a zombie or whatever? What was the point of that evil card game episode? Plus, the Apocalypse, IMO, didn't get the attention or time it deserved. It was played too much in the background. I know they couldn't show a lot, but they sure could have talked about all the strange things happening. I'm not a huge fan of Season 5. This season is like Season 5 to me - but even more pointless and boring.

Many of the episodes this season have zero "re-watch" factor for me. Of the 18 episodes we got, I'd watch about three again (MTNB, HCW, and Plucky's) and that's it!

I'm just going to go down the list of my problems w/the season:

(1) Leviathans - boring, underused, undeveloped, bad enemy
(2) Dean's emotional arc - overused, unresolved, never-ending, inexplicable (this year), pointless
(3) Sam's Hell - undeveloped, sidelined, rushed, non-sensical, vague, pointless
(4) Amy - (Yes, I put Amy in her own category since that "arc" took up FIVE episodes.) - complete waste of time, pointless, filler, ate up too much airtime that could have been spent on developing Sam's Hell or Dean's depression arc
(5) Bobby's death - dumb, pointless (esp. since he's still around)
(6) Boys being "isolated" - inconsistent, pointless, hasn't led to a stronger bond btw the brothers

This season has been (and will likely continue to be IMO) primarily filler. I couldn't possibly care less about the Leviathans than I do. The boys will likely kill, and if they don't, they'll just do it next year. All the Leviathans do is eat people. Sam's story - the one I was most interested in at the start of the season - is over and done with before it even started. Dean's story is resolved . . . . still happening. . . . I honestly don't know.

I'm beyond ready for this season to end. I worry that this may be the best Sera & Co. can offer, so I cannot even get excited about an 8th season. For me, it will probably be another disjointed, pointless wreck!

I want to love the show again. I'm happy for those getting enjoyment out of the season. I wish I could say the same, but I just can't. It's not doing anything for me this year.

I wrote somewhere that Supernatural and I used to be in love w/each other, and now, we're just acquaintances. I'll still watch the show b/c it's entertaining, but it's not the"best" anymore for me. There needs to be some direction for the show, some overarching goal/story for the boys.
Jen
# Jen 2012-04-04 13:05
Just a question. I was thinking about that all the weird things happening to Dean are - supposedly - now explained by Bobby being a ghost. There is however one thing that I can't quite put my finger on and that is when Dean falls asleep for - what? 20 hours? straight? Okay, I get it maybe he was really really exhausted and tired and really actually slept that long without any "help", but this isn't typical ghost acting/doing, right? Sending someone to sleep? Or did I miss something and some ghost in all 6 seasons of SPN did that.. Someone tell me if I'm wrong. As far as I can tell this is something angels do, put you to sleep by touching you. Maybe there is still another thing going on, apart from Bobby. I doubt it strongly though. But I just really really hope for a good twist and storyline still...
hades
# hades 2012-04-05 09:10
The sleep thing was adressed by the writer of that episode, Dean slept that long without any help because he needed it. There is no bigger storyline behind that. Sorry to dissapoint.
Sylvie
# Sylvie 2012-04-04 15:10
I'll have to come back and read everyone's post later, just wanted to chime in with my two cents.

Although I did enjoy the episode very much, I agree for the most part with your rant. Some of the episodes are becoming a little bit too much "by the book". I've been watching some of the old episodes from season 3, and OMG the writing was so tremendous, and that was a season cut short by the writers strike!

But I think you should add Sera Gamble along with Ben Edlund that still writes very much from the heart of SPN. I've always loved her characterizatio ns of the boys. Hey, here's a thought, maybe Cathryn Humphries can come back now that "Ringer" is dead!
buffsgirl
# buffsgirl 2012-04-04 15:27
My views tend to fall more in line with what Gerry has said and I am one of those who do really enjoy the show still. I look forward to Friday nights and every week and I make myself a nice dinner, crack open a bottle of wine, and sit down and watch my favorite show.

For me it is hard to compare earlier seasons with the current seasons. I do understand in these discussions that the character behavior / interactions of the earlier seasons are being used primarily as a point of reference and are not meant as “we want them to act exactly the same." But, to me, it would seem incongruous for the characters to behave the way they have in seasons past. I’m not going to provide an entire laundry list of what they have been through individually and together since we are all intimately familiar with their journey. But, they HAVE to have been changed by those experiences and for them to be driving around the country in Baby, having sport sex with every waitress they encounter, acting like they are thick as thieves and saying “bitch” and “jerk” to each other would negate their ENTIRE experience. If that is what we want then they should just have stuck with the MOTW format and never introduced the whole mytharc /apocalypse/hel l storyline.

They are both seven years older (assuming we don’t take into account the hell math :-) ) and in those seven years the things they have seen and done have changed them, changed their relationship to each other and depressed them and their world view. And….. who can blame them? Certainly not me! The fact that they are still standing, still talking to each other and still hunting is a testament to their strength, their bond, and their love for one another.
There is a lot said in these discussions about how we don’t get enough of this storyline or that storyline and, I can’t really argue with those points. This show could be on 24/7 and I still think I would feel that way. They only get so much screen time and I’m sure choices have to be made weekly about what makes the final cut and what doesn’t. But, for me, the thing that does not and has not been cut is the character development. For Sam and Dean to have gone through everything they have gone through they are behaving just as I would expect them to. Do I miss some of the brotherly love moments of seasons past? Yes. Do I crave more levity and less angst sometimes? Sure. But, if that were the case then what I think would be being discussed here is less about a storyline being dropped and more about how Sam and Dean have become caricatures and I for one would rather have the whole “they dropped the storyline discussion” any day.

I agree with an earlier post from Melanie when she said:
Quote:
I don't think its 'like' they have become the hunters they dreaded - they have become them. I believe that is the whole point - the show showing us in agonizing detail how it happens - even to the Winchesters. I believe that as the story continues, we will see them work their way back - and find a balance.
I do trust that they will come back around. I think both Sam and Dean will find a way out of their current depression and will reunite with a renewed interest in fighting and an even stronger bond. And, I think the character development we have gotten over the past two seasons will make it more poignant and emotional when they do.
KELLY
# KELLY 2012-04-04 15:43
Yeah I think so too. I think by the end of the season they'll be back in the saddle mentality.
Yirabah
# Yirabah 2012-04-04 15:46
Alice you summend my thoughts on season 7 very well. Although I must say I enjoyed this ep. And at the end I was so happy to see Bobby again, yet so torn inside feeling with him that the boys couldn't see him.

But I was on the edge of my seat from the very beginning when it stated the location this ep is sat in. Junction City, Kansas. Used to live there and so I was waiting for something where the sorroundings of town are shown just to find out if they hit it good or not so good. Unfortunatly there is only two things I can say. When the kids get drunk in the woods - big no no. There are no woods sorounding Junction except on the giant military post For Riley (which is an open post) so they could have driven there to do it. Which brings me to the second thing I liked. I know that SPN is well liked by Soldiers and their families and therefore to set an ep right outside on of the largest posts in the state is a nice thing to do and acknowledge that fact by letting Garth wear a uniform is making it even better since you can't drive around Junction without seeing a uniform.

My dissappointment with that ep is, that Lawrence wasn't mentioned in one way or another since it is only about 1 1/2 hours drive down I 70.
Tim the Enchanter
# Tim the Enchanter 2012-04-04 17:22
Whatever it was about this season, I think, from the first episode, it was chock a block full of stories that needed to be told. Coming into the season there were four storylines due; Dean’s personal storyline, Sam’s hell storyline, Castiel and the Leviathans. Add to that we had to deal with whatever mini storylines popped up during the season ie Bobby and Amy. That’s a lot of balls to be juggling in what is, after all, a relatively short season (damn season’s never long enough, is it??).

However, despite these storylines, which all need time to develop and reach a fulfilling conclusion, there were a buttload of standalone episodes (or what I’d consider standalone episodes as they didn’t have any real connection to the four main storylines); The Girl Next Door (unless it could be used to heap misery on Dean), Shut Up, Dr. Phil, The Mentalists, Time For A Wedding, Adventures in Babysitting, Time After Time, The Slice Girls, Plucky Pennywhistles and, if you take the last two minutes out of it, Party On, Garth.

This overreliance on standalones, which contributed only marginally, if at all, to the bigger storylines has led to storylines being underdeveloped and now, with a mere 5 episodes left in the season there is a load to get through and, as we saw with The Born Again Identity, there seems to be a rush on to get storylines done and dusted. It’s as if the showrunners realised there are only five episodes left and they’re going ‘Jaysus, wrap ‘em up quick before it’s too late’.

Before Party On, Garth, I heard/read an interview with Bobby Singer where he said (re Garth) something along the lines of ‘We liked him so much we decided to have him back.’ Unfortunately, this seems to have been the ethos for a lot of episodes this season, a sort of ‘We like an idea so let’s run with it’ and it’s hard to know how much consideration went into how that idea fitted in with the overall theme of the season because, for me, very often they felt like they were there just for the sake of being there.

It’s strange, it’s as if the extra episode this year has thrown things seriously out of skelter. It’s almost like the writers/showrun ners etc come up with an idea that they like and, because of the extra episode, feel they have the extra room to run with it. Or perhaps they know more than we do about season 8 and are saving the conclusions of some storylines until then? (Touch wood, no jinxy.)

Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with standalone episodes, and there have been some excellent ones. They were necessary, and are still necessary, especially in earlier seasons when the boys relationship and the show itself was developing. However, standalones can contribute to an overall storyline while remaining standalones, it’s just that, for me, the majority of standalones in season 7, haven’t done that.

For me, one of the problems of the season was that a lot of the episodes went absolutely nowhere. Shut Up, Dr. Phil (we learnt witches can stun Leviathans and it went nowhere from there), Time after Time (felt like that episode was written just for the opportunity to dress Dean up in 1940’s garb), The Slice Girls (cos Dean’s not depressed enough, let’s give him an adolescent daughter and have her killed, by her uncle. Well, that’s one way to avoid those teenage years. And let’s then never mention her again. Talk about kicking the shows ‘Family is paramount’ ethos on its ass) are just three examples.

They could still pull it out of the fire, God knows they have before but, for me, thus far, the season could have been a lot tighter. It’s like getting a ten page essay when four pages would have been more than enough. You have to read through so much faff to get to the meat of the essay.

I know that a lot of the standalones I mentioned could be tied in to Dean’s storyline but that’s so up in the air I don’t know what’s going on with it. He’s been depressed for years before this season, he’s been depressed for the bones of 18 episodes this season, and there doesn’t look like there is any end to his depression in sight. It would have been great if we got another episode, or even half an episode re Sam’s storyline, or even from his POV, but look, his storyline is what it is. He admitted in this episode that he’s still not okay but he’s getting better so I think we’re over the main hump of that storyline. That still leaves Dean, Bobby, Castiel and the Leviathans to be dealt with in 5 episodes so unless they are going to be five jam packed episodes, it’s going to be a damn unsatisfactory summer hiatus.

To be honest, many of these stories I don’t particularly want to carry over. Dean’s, while I know it’s an emotional arc, could definitely have a bit more oomph to it. It’s hard to separate his individual storyline from his general demeanour. The dude has to start seeing the light at the end of the tunnel at some stage, even if it’s just some guy with a torch cos I'm ready for a bit of 'old' (in temperament and action) Dean . I kinda hope they put the Bobby storyline to rest one way or another by 7.23 and the Leviathans, I can take them or leave them. They haven’t done enough to be a threat because, let’s face it; a trip to the supermarket and someone sending in an objection to their planning permission will be enough to stop their grand plans.

I know that the showrunners are in a precarious position in that they need to try and cater for new viewers and seasoned viewers so they need to walk the thin line between continuity with past seasons (to please the aged...), and standalones (for the newbies and casual viewers), and maybe that’s where much of my discontent with this season is coming from, it feels like they’ve eschewed much of the groundwork established in past seasons in favour of the ‘procedural†™ type episode (I googled it, I know what it is....)

I dunno, it just feels like a season that has so much going on in it, there’s very little that has actually happened. Hopefully the remaining five episode will go a long way to solving that.
merannoeu
# merannoeu 2012-04-04 17:33
I am with you...but on the other hand... the line of Dean's --"I miss these talks" spoken with just him and Sam, no inhibitions, makes the entire episode, the entire season worth it. What I saw in seasons 1-5 makes me continue to want to watch everything as well--though, again, I agree with you!!
mer
# mer 2012-04-04 20:33
I think I could be married to Sam and Dean for the fact that I think of s6 and s7 as being married for 6 or 7 years. There's somethings that drive me crazy but Dean's line in that episode "I miss these talks" touched my heart in a way like when my husband remembers to give me flowers or the times he is being a great dad to our kids. It is that which keeps me loving the show/interested !
Gerry
# Gerry 2012-04-04 18:43
To me the standalones have connected with Dean's story line in particular, so I don't see them as not advancing the over all story. I think The Girl Next Door connected back to Mommy Dearest and forward to Slice Girls, for example. Those episodes showed how both Sam and Dean sometimes cannot keep the emotional distance they need to do their job, but fortunately, rarely at the same time. The Girl Next Door played into Sam's issues about seeing himself as a freak and Dean's issues trusting that Sam wouldn't implode. I think all the MOTWs resonated with different Supernatural themes. They don't connect with the strength of something like Repo Man, but not every episode can.

I also think many seasoned viewers love the more stand alone eps, which have always been part of the show, so the writers are not just catering to new viewers or casual viewers with them. I don't envy them trying to find a balance that will please the entire audience. It's not really possible--as much as season four gets a lot of love, it also gets a lot of dislike. Some people love the big mytharcs, some love the MOTW.

Fortunately, I love them both!
Pragmatic Dreamer
# Pragmatic Dreamer 2012-04-04 23:54
My two cents (Although I`ll be so blabby it will be a dollar`s worth instead!)

I really enjoyed this episode, and I felt I got a lot of it.
I laughed at the drunk-Wincheste rs. It somehow made them younger, and more vulnerable, innocent even. They were sweet and goofy and like drunk teenage boys. I loved it, and would have been happy to see more of it, but I wonder if it was a standards thing. Maybe you can only show gentle drunks for so long, lest we think drinking is enjoyable. (Violent drunks are fine for some reason. We always get unlimited viewing time with them. Strange rules)

I also felt verklempt on more than one occassion - Dean imploring Ghost!Bobby to reveal himself, Dean trying to convince himself that Sam was right and then just seeing Ghost!Bobby standing there.

I liked how Garth`s brightness showed the toll this life is taking on both brothers. I found it illuminating. It can be argued that the Winchesters were supporting him, rather than the other way around. But I`m choosing to see it like a peripheral vision situation. Ever noticed how some things become clearer when you`re not looking directly at them? I liked looking at the boys from a sideways glance. In this episode the brothers reminded me of the X-Files.

Dean SO wants to believe Bobby is really with them. He is leaning towards that hope and possibility just like he leaned into the loving touch of his mom in WIAWSNB. I like Dean's willingness to believe it could be Bobby. He's like Mulder - I want to believe. But I also understand Sam being rational, a la Scully, and saying they're finally doing something normal. They're grieving like regular folk and seeing their dead loved one everywhere. Plus I’m not sure Sam, like Dean, is willing to trust his instincts at this point, or on this issue.


However, I really get the frustration of another FBI suit & another coroner visit. I miss when they used to pretend they were rangers, or journalists (Garth & Dean did that once this year) or like you said, just regular old Sam & Dean.

I really miss the Impala, because of the vibe it brings to the show and to the brothers. Somehow the emotional moments are more emotional in it. It`s like because they`re at home in it they`re freer to talk. And I think Dean figures if it`s not the Impala why bother driving. So, yet more depression is created. Oh Baby, Baby please come back!

Couple of quick points. The writers did actually clarify that the third victim was the daughter, and it was the granddaughter who talked to Mr. Fizzles. On a rewatch I caught Mom saying to little girl “go say hi to grandpa” or words to that effect. So the writers had it clear, but somehow the message was lost in production.

Finally, as for Ghost!Bobby and his invisibility.. It is troubling that the air was not colder around him. That’s odd. But I can buy Dean not seeing him. Generally the only time the ghosts are seen is when they’re venegeful and trying to kill, or when they’re trying to pass on a message. Generally ghosts have been invisible until conjured or forced to manifest themselves. I think it’s in keeping with canon that just because Bobby wants to be seen, doesn’t mean he can be seen. (For instance, the boys never saw Cole in DTAH until Pamela helped them “pass over”.) I think Dean’s hesitation at the door was because he heard or felt something. I think he’s afraid to admit anything now because he doesn’t want to disappoint himself or Sam. And he wants to show his faith in Sam by believing Sam’s theory that they’re just grieving regularly. I think the reason they’re so closed to the possibility of Ghost!Bobby is exactly because they were so close to him.

And just to be speculative, maybe a Reaper can take away your ghost-visibilit y juice? Bobby’s frustration did a good job of illustrating how a stuck spirit could get pretty angry though.

A final thought.. Garth talked about burning his cousin Brandon and he got stuck. I sniff a future story!

A few of my thoughts.

Pragmatic Dreamer
luciano
# luciano 2012-04-05 07:07
I found this episode to be very entertaining right up their with Plucky. The brothers dont seem flat but theyve grown they changed. Go through all things they went through and check if u wuld change. Acting brilliant no surprise their. Fine the deaths might have been a bit to Friday the 13th for my liking but anyway. true i dont get why they are not looking for Frank. This episode was one of the best of the season it held so many emotions crime love comedy just pure brilliance. I have to agree the Levithans are lame but they will get better this season is getting better i love it
Freebird
# Freebird 2012-04-07 13:25
Hi Alice, thanks for another great review!

I agree with what you said in your rant. This has been bothering me all the way since season 6. When I think back, during seasons 1-5, I'd regularly rewatch episodes, and I couldn't wait for the next episode to air. I remember scenes and texts from those episodes. For seasons 6 and 7, I am sad to say, that I don't. Sometimes I think that it would have been better for the show to have ended with season 5.
Seasons 6 and 7 have some great episodes, no doubt about it. The mytharc is exciting as well. They have all the ingredients to be great seasons. And yet, I feel, that something's missing. Your review, Alice, has put into words what it is I feel is missing, as well as many of the comments here.

Sam and Dean are traumatised to an extend that they should be put into a mental care unit. People have gone crazy because of lesser things. What I would like to see in the show is their healing. Yes, this may sound crazy, but I think it would make for great drama. In the story there has been too much loss, despair and tragedy. Some say, that everything in the universe is in balance. Well, I would love to see some balance in Supernatural. Sam saved the world from the apocalypse by sacrificing himself - where is his award? Isn't it, that good always comes back with good? I don't expect it to be executed in a sappy, melodramatic way, no, Supernatural can do better than that, they have proven it many times. I'm aware, that the boys will never be healed completely, not after what they have been through, but maybe to an extend where there would be room for fun and lighthearted stories like in the past.

The ending of this episode was OMG!. It made me cry. I loved it!
yam26
# yam26 2012-04-11 00:47
Hi Alice

Great review

I so agree with you on the FBI thing, i get so annoyed by that. I mean Dean and Sam used to do so many different things to get information and now this is the only thing they do. It's getting boring and like you said they really should have gotten busted for this by now.

The countless filler episodes is frustrating. Before in past seasons fillers would still have a great dean and sam scene but this season its been like nothing. I'm really getting worried on how the season is going to turn out with there not being many episode left and we still really know nothing. Especially after the whole castiel story and sam's time in hell story all got smushed into one episode, the one I was waiting for practically the whole season and now we're just back to filler, bad filler.

I'm starting to think that supernatural was better off ending at season 5, but I will keep watching I love this show too much.