Thoughts on 8x02 - "What's Up, Tiger Mommy?"

What's Up, Tiger Mommy? was a thoroughly enjoyable episode. It had good writing, was well paced, good characterization and, like last week, felt reminiscent of the Supernatural days of yore. So, let's break this down shall we?
 

Safety Deposit Boxes, Finger Bones and Virgins

alt

The opening of this episode was quite strong and a decent throwback to the MOTW storylines. Both of these characters were sufficiently acted, one being particularly nasty and the other bending over backwards to keep her customer service smile despite the over the chart creeper levels of this particular customer.

Mommy Dearest

alt

Kevin, still stung from the image of Channing's neck being snapped insists they visit his mom and check on her safety. Playing on Dean's heartstrings with the mom card they go against better judgment (which later proves would have been the right call) and find the surveillance team as issued by Crowley overwatering the flowers and delivering a few too many pieces of mail. Dean is always the more blunt of the two brothers however it seems that he is even more straightforward then before and more keenly aware (if that's possible) that pre-purgatory Dean. This isn't to say Sam isn't all of these things, it just feels somehow sharpened in Dean as compared to previous seasons.

Linda Tran is a brilliant character. Taking everything in stride she brings a point of humour and a certain degree of badassness that would serve her well as a hunter. Though I was hoping for a "cristo" utterance from one of the brothers, the dousing unexpectedly in holy water was a suitable gag, especially the shock of it during the emotional and delighted reunion between mother and son.  Sam impressively reverse-exercises the demon in Eunice, something Dean apparently didn't know how to do, allowing Ruby's knife to silence this particular minion of Crowley. Now the fact that Dean did not know how to do this after all this time but Sam does leads one to wonder: was Sam really as retired as he says during that year? Maybe he wasn't actively hunting per se but was he instead researching? It's hard to imagine that Sam could just back out of the life entirely, give it up cold turkey after his brother disappeared. Maybe he learned this trick while researching ways to get Dean back from wherever he was (since Sam apparently didn't know Dean was in purgatory). It's also hard to imagine Sam has known this incantation all this time but this is the first use of it. Pure speculation on my part but it was a curious detail within this episode.

Honestly, I'm surprised that the boys let Linda come along with them ultimately. It wouldn't have been out of character to give superficial agreement and then lock her down somewhere for safety. In the end though, I'm glad she did go along for the ride, if for nothing else that the reference to the devil's trap tattoos again (and the flash of Sam's - yum).
 

50 Shades of Dean Winchester

alt

For Dean's part he doesn't hesitate for a second when it comes to killing the demonic hosts. Nor does it appear to affect him. This is not a criticism of Dean but a note on another side effect of Purgatory. Am I the only one reminded of Future!Dean from The End these days? The interrogation of the tablet thief gave us our first purgatory flashback of the episode. Dean seemed to be flipping between selves and making use of the "skills" he picked up in Hell. Purgatory is a world of very clear black and white (except for Benny) and not just in colour. Dean is holding onto this, it would seem.

Cocky Lyle was no match for Linda "mail order" Tran. Between Kevin and Sam's lightening fast mental calculations and Linda's threat of an audit Lyle quickly turned over this information about the tablet. This was a great scene - something different from the usual FBI threats on the part of Sam and Dean. One more perfect Linda Tran moment? When she snaps her fist into Crowley's snarky face. Not that this stops his commentary and Moose remarks.

alt

Let's talk about for a moment about Beau. Colourful, unexpected, clever characters like this are one of the reasons I fell in love with Supernatural in the first place. Refreshing over the angel/leviathan/demon storyline of last season, this particular character doesn't use blanket threats and violence to get what he wants and instead puts on a charming smile and gives an enticing invite to a supernatural auction. Beau functions as the right-hand of Plutus and far more classy than the actual God of Greed who was decorated like a smarmy pawn shop owner.

"System only works when everyone participates."

Sammy, Sammy, what were you thinking even suggesting the Impala being used to get the tablet? I know it's the Word of God and all, but the Impala?! Still, this did give us a great moment where Dean came to the hard defense of his baby. This makes up a bit for his somewhat lackluster response to Her last week during their reunion. This was followed by another piece of comedic relief where Dean is made to walk through a metal detector. Was anyone really not expecting that thing to go off like a fire truck en-route to an out of control blaze? Sam's "dude, really?" look to Dean was classic. The weapon unloading here reminded me of a scene from the film Ms. Congeniality.

 "I guess we have to ask ourselves, what is sane?"

Purgatory

We also meet Samandriel a.k.a. Alfie the Weiner Hut worker who stops Dean to ask about Castiel. Alfie was quite forgiving of Cas and almost emotional (for an angel) about his loss. This brings us to our second purgatory moment in which we (finally!) come to Cas. Castiel and Benny clearly have no love lost between them from their first meeting, not that I expected differently given the angel/monster components. This meeting with Cas seems to take place a ways into Dean's time in purgatory. Either that, or Benny has an unusually defensive almost protective (?) attitude towards Dean. He was pretty unimpressed with Cas' "abandonment" of Dean on their arrival in the middle of the hellish wasteland. One must wonder at the motivation then - isolate Dean? Ensure that Benny is the only one Dean trusts (more or less) in purgatory? Time will tell I suppose.

Castiel as always brings some unintentional humour with his straight-faced and serious responses. I know there are people out there who don't like Cas and/or his relationship with Dean however I personally like it. It was a good reunion (not to start a comment war, but this was what I'd expected between Sam and Dean last week actually; which serves to further illustrate the differences in Dean - less emotionally open) and good explanation of Cas' disappearance. Dean was not willing to leave without Cas no matter the danger to himself - not going to lose another brother-in-arms no matter what.

Going Once...Going Twice...Sold!

promo011

Back in the real world at the auction there were some funny moments regarding dwarfish gold plans A through D (for dumbass) and the moon but the real heartbreaker was Linda bidding her soul after Kevin was made a gift-with-purchase to up the bidding on the tablet. Now, this was the one spot in this entire episode that was a touch shaky to me. It seems to this reviewer that Linda's soul wouldn't be worth much to the god of greed as it's bidding was a selfless act. This is a minor point but it's been a nagging one.

While Alfie was quite the angel - much more personable than most angels we encounter, he nevertheless was unable to get Linda to hand Kevin over to the protection of Heaven's forces. Crowley and Beau burn off Linda's devil's trap tat and I really enjoyed seeing the red crossroad demon eyes during Crowley's possession of Linda - continuity how I love thee. I also loved watching Sam swing around Thor's hammer. One question though - Beau's motivation for betraying Pluto was a little murky - for an island, really? 

It's unfortunate but also intriguing that Crowley was able to pluck from Linda's head the real plan for the Word of God. Further was his cruel yet to some extent accurate statement about the Winchesters that motivated Kevin to take his catatonic mother and go into hiding. I will say that while understandable, I felt Kevin's anger toward Dean and Sam was misplaced as they tried to keep her away and safe somewhere but neither Tran would hear of it. To be clear, Sam and Dean don't deliberately, as Crowley made it sound, use people and then sit back to watch them die. It's a consequence of the lifestyle and an unfortunate one at that. Kevin's note felt unnecessarily harsh given that he was the one who insisted on going to his mother where Dean was adamant about not allowing this.

"People I don't need any more, they end up dead."

alt

Alright, let's talk about that closing clip of Castiel shouting for Dean. Inspired by Kevin's words in the note, this memory seemed to imply that Dean made a conscious choice to leave Cas after he'd gotten what he needed out of him. On closer review of this clip it looked like Castiel lost his grip on was I assume was Dean's hand - not that he let him go. Additionally, this was a very closely cropped image and with Supernatural things are very rarely what they seem. Considering finding Castiel was a condition of Dean's before he was willing to work with Benny and his insistence that Castiel come along, not to mention everything we know about the character and loyalty of Dean Winchester, I refuse to believe this was (and pardon the pun) as black and white as it seems.

Final Thoughts

So that was episode two. So far, I'm thoroughly enjoying season eight. This may be premature to say only two episodes in however the entire tone of these two episodes feels so much more classic Supernatural than last season did. This isn't to say that I didn't like season seven, per se, it's just nice to return to the classics after a while. Season eight also seems to have a much less dark and depressing air about it. Once again, I'm not criticizing previous season that have delved quite deeply into the heavy dark and depressing, however it is refreshing this season be a touch on the lighter side.

This was largely a Dean-centric episode to me as it gave us a great deal of information about the effects of purgatory, another piece of that storyline and an indication as to where his head is at right now. The repercussions of purgatory appear to have scarred and hardened rather than instilled such profound guilt on Dean as significantly and deeply as Hell did.  Next week seems to delve more into Sam's life the previous year and where his head is at right now. I already have some thoughts on that after watching the preview, one comment in particular has already given rise to a mental paragraph for that review, but I will reserve these thoughts for next week. Until then, sound off below as to your thoughts on What's Up, Tiger Mommy?

(Thank you to everyone who shared their thoughts last review and apologies for not responding to comments on my last review - was a nutty week getting ready to host family etc. for the holiday weekend and then the post-holiday clean up - promise to respond this time!)

Comments  

Spencer
# Spencer 2012-10-14 20:28
Season 8 definitely feels classic - its like the perfect blend of season 4 and season 2, with a little 6 sprinkled in. I am loving the season so far, and I hope this continues (Though I am wary of episode 3s - I hated The Girl Next Door and The Third Man).

Its interesting that you mention seeing Crowleys eyes as continuity, because this is the first time we have seen them, squashing a lot of theories that he is more than just a demon.
elle
# elle 2012-10-14 23:25
Hi Spencer:
I agree this is a good mix of 2 and 4 - particularly 4 as mentioned in last week's review. I have a good feeling about episode 3 - but we'll see!

Thanks for sharing.
Ginger
# Ginger 2012-10-14 21:49
I'm with you on S8 being classic SPN, and I did not like S6 or S7 one bit.

I missed that Crowley got the plan for the Word of God while possessing Linda Tran. I'll have to watch that part again and see what I missed.

Me likey MeanDean. He is, however, one messed up little guy. Loved the inter-lacing interrogation scene. I am thrilled with this Purgatory story, and I'm looking forward to when Sam finds out about Benny and his reactions to it.

I thought all the support characters did a really good job in this episode, except for Orsic. I don't think he can deliver the doe-eyed look all that well. Of course, the writing for his character this episode didn't do him any favors, focusing more on Tiger Mama, IMO.

I didn't care much for the ridiculous items bid in the auction and, honestly, I thought the auction scene didn't give the emotional impact to Tiger Mama bidding her soul.

No comment on Cas, except to say I do like the Dean/Cas friendship. I'll wait to see what role Cas and which Cas we get this season. I sure didn't like Cas in S6 or S7 (especially), so the character has some work to do with me. Right now, I'm loving the Dean and Benny friendship more. One thing I am very interested to see is where they take Dean and Sam's relationship this season. So far, I like it very much, with Dean mad at Sam for not looking for him (lots of slap down comments coming from Dean) and Sam not interested all that much in having Dean back. I see a bad moon rising on that front and its intriguing.

Overall, I loved both episodes and welcome SPN back on track. We'll see what they have in store for Sam next week. I'm not warming up to his love story at all, so don't expect my comments to be so favorable following that episode. Let's hope I'm wrong. And isn't this the one Ackles Sr. is in. I'm looking forward to seeing him, too.
elle
# elle 2012-10-14 23:30
Ginger:

Crowley mentions he got the plan for the Word of God just after he vacates Linda's body and reappears in his usual Host. I too am enjoying the purgatory stuff and look forward to watching how this unfolds over the next months.

Interesting how you mention the relationships - so far their seems to be a good focus on these relationships. Not to say there wasn't before but I feel like there is a particularly good balance and build up happening right now. I know - only two episodes in, hard to make an accurate prediction at this point, though it feels like we're moving in that direction.

Glad you've shared your comments - some things have me thinking about the ep and make me want to watch again (for the fourth time now, haha).
Grace232
# Grace232 2012-10-14 22:36
Spencer, I think the continuity is that the other crossroad demon had red eyes and Crowley was a crossroad demon before he took over Hell.

Thanks for this article. I also am feeling really good about the season after these 2 episodes. Between what little Dean said and the small clip, I also think Cas let go and Dean could not get him out.

Like everyone else, I think Dean is on fire so far this season Great to have him back in badass mode. I had not thought of future Dean in The End, but now that you mention it, I see the similarities. I am looking forward to watching Jensen deconstruct and reconstruct his character this season, and also to seeing more of Sam's story next week.
elle
# elle 2012-10-14 23:33
Hello Grace -

You're right, the continuity I meant was the overall red eyes of the crossroad demons - not specifically Crowley.

Glad you enjoyed the review - and I agree that Dean is wonderful this season. I like the boys in sharp hunter mode rather than, as has happened before, when they are thwarted because of "rookie" mistake (rookie hunter mistake that is) or something along those lines. He's not exactly Future!Dean but he certainly reminds me of that Dean - which I guess makes sense give that both were/are the product of an especially harsh kill-or-be-kill ed environment.
Spencer
# Spencer 2012-10-15 06:55
Ah, I see. Thanks for clearing that up.
boydo
# boydo 2012-10-15 00:03
I really loved episode 1 and really liked parts of this episode. What I'm not on board with is Dean standing flat footed staring at Crowley when he picked up the tablet and left - WTF? A villain whose biggest weapon is sarcasm isn't all that suspenseful.
BTW I looked back at reviews of eps 1 &2 from season 7 - " It was a brilliant episode all round and continuing the trend of making season 7 a classic SPN year". - so I remain optimistic but not completely head over heels.
Ginger
# Ginger 2012-10-15 08:43
It's even more than that to wonder about, as a poster on another board reminded me. Remember Reading Is Fundamental when the Word of God was opened. Earth shaking weather, Kevin is activated, angels are alerted, Cas awakes from his catotonic state, Kevin isn't in control of himself and clings to the tablet at all costs, and the angel garrison is sent to protect Kevin. Now Crowley has a second Word of God tablet and what? Kevin wants to go see his mama, the tablet is up for auction in a back street warehouse for any supernatural thing to get it and Alfie the Sweet is sent to bid on it? WTF?

Still, I enjoyed the episode, but I wonder where they are going with this.
E
# E 2012-10-16 19:21
I guess that I took the earth shaking bit to be about the awakening of the prophet. Maybe that tablet was the first word of God to be found, thus awakening the prophet and setting off the storms and the births etc... now that Kevin's up and running, finding the other tablets wont' have that same earth shattering effect. We've seen two tablets so far; Leviathan and Demons. I am sure there must be more.
elle
# elle 2012-10-15 08:56
Hi boydo.
It's interesting that you comment on Dean, as you say, standing flatfooted staring at Crowley. I hadn't thought much about it to be honest, but now that I have I wonder if it isn't (a) a symptom of his whole purgatory thing or (b) more related to the whole standing between Kevin and Crowley thing - they did tell Crowley to try and get Kevin to which Crowley appeared to think twice about while the knife was poised in his direction.

I wonder if the writers know how deeply we analyze everything? ;-)

Regarding my season seven, ep. 1 & 2 reviews - I still think they were good episodes and I certainly felt, at the time, that season seven had enormous potential in the Leviathan/evil Cas storyline. When I say that I am enjoying this season more so far, it isn't to say I don't necessarily like previous seasons. Also - when I comment on any previous season in my reviews, save for mentioning a specific episode, I am talking more about the overarching themes and attitudes (for lack of a better word) of that season as compared with the only couple episodes we've seen here. And of course, I didn't have a season 8 to compare season 7 to back in the day. What's really drawing me into season 8 so far (because who knows what could happen next week) is the more positive feeling it has - I find it refreshing. Deep, heady seasons are good too (Season 4 and 5 are pretty dark at some points and I love those seasons) though after a few of them it's nice to switch gears.

I hope these episodes do continue on this path and that by the end we'll all have an entire season to be in love with :-)
kaj
# kaj 2012-10-16 02:08
Quote:
Dean standing flat footed staring at Crowley when he picked up the tablet and left - WTF? A villain whose biggest weapon is sarcasm isn't all that suspenseful.
You mention good point boydo. Last night I re-watched the episode again. And I want to add about when both guys struggling to stand up from being flown to the wall. Sam got up first and jumped on Crowley. Then, he deliberately stood away from him. I mean, he got Crowley right there, why didn't he just grabbed the tablet from the floor or from Crowley's hand when the demon was struggling to get up?

Instead Sam got up and STEP AWAY from him.

Is it bad editing? Bad camera angle? (a bit of advise from Jacky Chan when shooting a fight scene is never show the audience the lull in the fight. Like a fighter following instruction. What's best is just to show how the punch and the kick keeps coming and coming. Don't show the enemies standing by waiting for their turn.)

Is it because they need to deliver Dean's line? It's not that good of a line IMO. I think the episode would not suffer if they edit that scene. It will benefit from that I think because the Dean chasing Linda was a good scene. If they went from Crowley killing Plutus THEN straight running away with the tablet, with Dean directly on pursue and Sam halting Kevin, they'll show a tight pack fighting scene.

Also Beau was just dilly dallying behind the Winchesters, somehow? He could have retrieved his weapon sooner when Crowley and Dean having their stand off and threatened to shot Kevin that time. Or just shot the Winchesters from behind.

Bad fighting scene IMO. It makes the Winchesters look scared and less badass.
Tigershire
# Tigershire 2012-10-15 02:06
HI Elle. I enjoyed your review. Couple of your comments got me thinking.

We don't really know what Beau is. Or his arrangement with Plutus. Beau could be fae, and perhaps like the leprechaun who is compelled to count every grain of dropped sand or salt, maybe Beau has something he is compelled to do, or not do.

We also don't know if he's voluntarily working for Plutus. He could have been waiting for just that opportunity to betray him. And who knows about the island. Some might say Australia is an island. :lol:

So while I can see your point, we just might not have enough info about Beau to judge. I, for one, would like to see him again. I found him interesting and entertaining. Kind of trickster like.

And in regards to Kevin's behaviour towards the Winchesters after his mom's possession. I think you are looking at it too logically and I would say that Kevin is being 100% emotional where his mother is concerned. Once his logic centre starts functioning again, I think he'll see it wasn't Sam and Dean's fault, but he's not there yet. Crowley knows it too, so it was very easy for him to push Kevin's emo buttons. Just my 2 cents...wait, pennies are going out of circulation here in Canada. I guess it'll have to be 5 cents now! GRIN

I look forward to reading more of your reviews.

I have enjoyed these first two episodes of Season 8 and I also like the "lighter" feel so far. I'm looking forward to episode 3 and every Wednesday night!
kaj
# kaj 2012-10-15 02:11
Quote:
And in regards to Kevin's behaviour towards the Winchesters after his mom's possession. I think you are looking at it too logically and I would say that Kevin is being 100% emotional where his mother is concerned. Once his logic centre starts functioning again, I think he'll see it wasn't Sam and Dean's fault, but he's not there yet. Crowley knows it too, so it was very easy for him to push Kevin's emo buttons.
Hi, Tigershire. I agree with what you think about Kevin's action. I also think he somehow overhear what Dean said to Sam outside the room. That's why he got scared. He found out that Dean really does not care about his mother or him. For someone who just met the Winchesters last year and very brief meeting too, he does not know who to trust. So, he better be on his own.

Perhaps later he will realize the real danger. And I think Dean's state of mind at this time is not fit to protect anyone, other than Sam of course. he's still too caught up with Purgatory war and he is too dangerous to be around. Other than Sam, I think Dean would not hesitate to kill anyone to serve his purpose.

But He'll get better, he has to. I think Sam's speech to Kevin about things will get better has set the tone of this season. Everything will get better, or will get worse depend on how you look at it. :D
elle
# elle 2012-10-15 09:01
I don't know that Dean is quite at the point where he'll kill anyone to serve his purpose. He is experiencing guilt or something like it about some of his actions in purgatory so I don't think he's completely on the level of say, Souless Sam whom definitely would have killed endless numbers to meet his end.

I like you're comments about Sam's speech and setting the seasonal tones - good way to look at it.
elle
# elle 2012-10-15 08:58
Hi Tigershire,
You make a good point about Beau - we don't know what he is or his motivation. I would like to see him again too - if for nothing else than his flashy outfit.

I agree with the statement about Kevin reacting emotionally rather than thinking clearly. I also think he let Crowley's comment get inside his head. (I don't know what we're supposed to do to make proper change w/o pennies - but I like your 5 cents!)
Tigershire
# Tigershire 2012-10-16 00:42
This is totally not the time or place for this but I'm gonna put it here anyway. GRIN

Rounding is how the no penny thing will be dealt with and ONLY when cash is involved. If you are using debit or credit card it's a non-issue.

So. 1 and 2 cents rounds down to 0, 3 and 4 cents up to 5. 6 and 7 down to 5 and 8 and 9 up to 10. Have I confused you yet?? GRIN
elle
# elle 2012-10-16 11:04
Not the place at all, but thanks for the info anyways ;-)

We thought that it would all just be rounded up to the nearest ten - happy day for retailers everywhere! I guess it's alright to round down though.

So much fuss over one little copper circle, eh?
hedi
# hedi 2012-10-15 06:15
Quote:
I really loved episode 1 and really liked parts of this episode. What I'm not on board with is Dean standing flat footed staring at Crowley when he picked up the tablet and left - WTF? A villain whose biggest weapon is sarcasm isn't all that suspenseful.
.
Oh my god that is the thing is bothering the hell out of me! Dean obviously had time to go after the tablet , he could've least tried to get to it and Crowley could've smash him and what ever!
it just doesn't make any sense too me! they could've done it much better way!
nice review Elle! I love these 2 episodes from now and let me tell you that i did not liked the first 2 eps of season 7 or 6 so keeping us wanting to see the next episode badly is a very good thing they've been doing this year!
anonymousN
# anonymousN 2012-10-15 06:46
Quote:
Oh my god that is the thing is bothering the hell out of me! Dean obviously had time to go after the tablet , he could've least tried to get to it and Crowley could've smash him and what ever! it just doesn't make any sense too me! they could've done it much better way!
So i am not alone in thinking this.I too found it weird..
elle
# elle 2012-10-15 09:03
Hello hedi,

Thanks for reading - glad you enjoyed the review!
I've (obviously) really enjoyed these first two episodes as well - and I am looking forward to next Wednesday as soon as the clock strikes 10:01 on Wednesday nights!
Sylvie
# Sylvie 2012-10-15 08:49
Hi Elle, I don't think you're being premature in saying that this season seems like it's going to be a very good one. I feel that way also. I've only had a chance to watch the episode twice, but I really enjoyed it.

I love snarky Crowley, and oh my, we finally got to see his red eyes. Loved Mrs. Tran, what a badass. I think her soul was worth so much because it was selflessly offered, she didn't want anything in return, so I guess the god of greed could get some mileage out of it, IMO. Dean does feel a little like the Dean from "The End", all black & white (except when it comes to Benny). I'm so anxious to find out more about him.

Now onto Wednesday and Sam's year! I think their is more than meets the eye when it comes to our "little" Sammy.
E
# E 2012-10-15 09:24
Very nice review! I liked this episode very much and found the pacing the be snappy while at the same time giving us necessary details to keep the story grounded. I agree about Crowley though; we need to see more about why it's difficult or dangerous for S&D to go after him. They seem to kind of stand around and do nothing when they are confronted with him. If he had flattened them against a wall or something in the scene where he picked up the tablet, that would have worked better for me. Also, they still haven't explained why Crowley doesn't just kill the Winchesters. If he's as powerful as they are making him out to be, why doesn't he just get rid of them? I hope that this little plot item is explained in some way, and soon. Maybe the Winchesters are still under the protection of angels some how?

While I am loving this hyper alert, battle ready Dean, I don't think he can stay this way all season. He's mean and inconsiderate, and while that is interesting in the short term, I am going to grow weary of it if it goes on too long. He continues to try and bully his way through situations without wanting to hear why people might disagree with him. Not a good combo. The Dean I know and love was a badass man of action and yet he had compassion too. I really hope that we begin to see that Dean start to filter through this one. It's kind of an interesting take on the character; he literally is going to have to re-learn how to feel compassion for others again. I hope that it's through feeling compassion for Sam that Dean learns this lesson. That would make me a very happy fangirl.
DT
# DT 2012-10-26 05:01
Good point True about Crowley...why doesn't he just kill Winchesters? But the reason I keep on hypothesizing are these ideas: That the Winchesters have endured so much, had Castiel on their side all that time and such, that I think somehow Crowley is afraid or concerned they will just come back to take him down even worse... Maybe he has bigger plans to do them in. Maybe by some mysterious Grace of God, they are still being looked out for, given the fact God has mysteriously saved either Sam or Dean or BOTH of them time and time again, by direct intervention or through sending Castiel to their aid instead....and maybe that is protecting them now the same. Very interesting idea to think about. Thanks for bringing it up.
Shelby
# Shelby 2012-10-15 13:38
I have to disagree with E, I don't think Dean is being "mean," I think he's being realistic and pragmatic. I also don't think he's being a "bully." Dean is in survival mode, and that means for Kevin and Mrs. Tran too. Dean tried to talk her out of coming with them, he wanted her somewhere safe, but she decided against it. That's on her, not Dean.
E
# E 2012-10-15 21:18
Hi Shelby, check out the other thread, I responded to your comment with a "I'll have to disagree" post over there! That's kind've funny. I guess we are on opposite sides of the fence on this one. I understand where you are coming from, but I guess I see things differently. When I think about the Dean of previous seasons who would go to any lengths to save an innocent, the Dean who was almost destroyed by his guilt over torturing souls in Hell, I find this Dean very much changed, and somewhat unnerving. I understand his motivation perfectly given his Purgatory trauma, but I don't think we are supposed to overlook or condone his decisions or his actions. If he had killed Mrs. Tran, he would have been no different than Soulless Sam who shot the waitress to get at the demon holding her hostage or sacrificing the Sheriff to get at that weird spider thing. Both of those actions were "realistic" and "pragmatic" but they weren't right and they weren't humane. I feel that the same is true for Dean as well. I am interested in Dean's journey here, the return of his humanity and compassion. How far down this dark road will he go before he turns the corner? What will make him find his compassion once again? This is great story telling, and wonderful material for Jensen. He's burning up the screen with his intensity. Now, if only the writers would give Sam something equally compelling (sigh).
emmau
# emmau 2012-10-15 21:46
In my humble opinion, comparing an innocent hostage like the waitress in 6.22 to Mrs. Tran isn't really a fair comparison. I think a more apt comparison is Mrs. Tran to the other demon hosts the boys dispatched in this episode. Yes, it's considered sad when demon hosts are killed in order to save others, but it's treated as a necessary evil. How would Mrs. Tran's death be different? Yes, it would be sad that she was dead, but no more sad than Eunice's death, and in fact her death would serve a greater purpose in ridding the world of Crowley.

I agree that the Dean we knew in the past would have been more concerned with saving innocents, and that he is adopting more of Sam's viewmaster of big picture vs. small picture. I would like to see him (and Sam) return to caring more about the hosts and the victims of the MotW, something that has been missing for several seasons now.

Again, we can but hope.
emmau
# emmau 2012-10-15 21:58
Oh, and sorry to just jump in, but I've seen this point a few places around the internet, and I just have found it very interesting that Mrs. Tran's possible death is considered more heinous than any of the other vessels we saw die in the episode. I can see where Kevin would consider it to be so, and I understand the impulse that led him to run away. I just think in terms of overall canon her death isn't really that different from many others that we've accepted without question. For example, in 99 Problems, Dean killed the preacher's daughter, presumably possessed by the Whore of Babylon, right in front of her father, but we weren't supposed to consider that anything but a terrible consequence in saving a town from damning itself. We also didn't see Dean particularly angst about having to kill her in order to kill a larger evil. So again, why is Mrs. Tran different?
elle
# elle 2012-10-16 11:08
This is an excellent point. I think the only reason Ms. Tran is different is because she is someone we know, more or less (let me clarify though I don't personally think she's different, I'm just making guesses as to why people react to her differently than a plain old demon host).

My thoughts are usually this: when the demon is done with that person they may end up dead anyways - at least there is a high probability of that - so killing the host to kill the demon, well it's a necessary evil and almost inevitable anyways.
anonymousN
# anonymousN 2012-10-16 11:17
Quote:
presumably possessed by the Whore of Babylon
I thought he killed the whore of babylon herself but i may be wrong ..rewatch is in order for me.
anonymousN
# anonymousN 2012-10-16 11:24
Yes it was whore of babylon not the preacher's daughter
E
# E 2012-10-17 09:13
How is an innocent woman who had a demon jump inside her against her will not an innocent hostage? Both are being manipulated by a demon and both end up paying a price.
Shelby
# Shelby 2012-10-16 09:03
The problem, in my opinion, with how the show tried to set Dean's issues up here is that, in this same episode, Sam put a demon back in an innocent host just so she could be killed. So, to me, Sam's actions are similar to Dean's.
elle
# elle 2012-10-16 11:11
This is another very good point.
E
# E 2012-10-16 19:32
Very true, very true. At the start of the episode, Sam and Dean killed three demons with nary a twitch or an "oh well." Only Kevin and Mrs. Tran seemed at all disturbed the the loss of life.

As Percysowner stated on another thread; Sam's demon blood ability to exorcize the demons and send them back to hell while sparing the host is, ironically, looking better and better all the time.
etheldred
# etheldred 2012-10-16 19:43
Part of me is pleased that this episode (rather like Repo Man, though that was a very different approach) is bringing up the issue of demon's meatsuits. Someone mentioned somewhere that every possessed person who is killed in this episode is named, even the postman; that's at least a slight reminder that people are dying every time Sam and Dean (or Cas, who'd done his fair share) kill demons.

But part of me just thinks that ship has sailed. Probably as long ago as s3, when Bobby, who had brought up the innocent girl Meg was inhabiting, shot Ruby 1 in the chest just to test the Colt. I could maybe construct elaborate meta about how and why Sam and Dean became hardened and how and why (if preserving meatsuits becomes a theme) they might be recovering their humanity, but the truth is that I will never be convinced at this point that it's really consistent characterizatio n behind it, and not that sometimes the writers care because of the need of the moment, but usually the writers don't care.
emmau
# emmau 2012-10-16 20:40
Totally agree, ethedred. I think the writers might pay lip service to the idea of caring about the hosts occasionally, but I don't think they really do most of the time. Killing the hosts is expedient, and it's easy to justify by the fact that demons who have ridden their hosts for long have generally killed them already. Even when they make it a plot point, as it was clearly intended to be here, they have examples of the same nonchalance towards hosts in the same episode with the complete opposite reaction, which somewhat negates the point. In 8.1, Kevin obliterated two hosts himself and showed little sign of caring about the three other demons in this episode. Really, only Mrs. Tran showed some concern for those three, and that was because she's new to the demon game. I'd imagine in time she'd become as jaded as her son and the Winchesters on that point, because that's show's typical mindset, unless there's a plot point to be delivered.

Don't get me wrong--I like it when they bring up the consequences of being possessed like in Repo Man as well as taking the time to consider that the hosts killed were real people with families and all that. I just don't know that they'll ever hold that attitude consistently again, though I really think they should. But it is what it is, so it's something that has to be dealt with.

E, I'd agree that if Sam could utilize the demon powers without blood and its subsequent addiction/perso nality change that would be ideal. Unfortunately, I think they've pretty well tied the drinking of blood to so many undesirable consequences (outside of 5.22, where they threw all that out the window) and also tied Sam's powers to the blood, so they really can't bring it back in. At least, not without negating Sam's arc about choosing his humanity over the demon blood, which I think would be a mistake. Then again, that's probably be just as big a get out of jail free card as Castiel's powers by the end, wouldn't it--no problem facing a demon again, Sam can just exorcise them all with his mind! So I can see why that's a device they've had to leave behind. It would still be nice if they'd find a device that allowed the boys to save the hosts again.
percysowner
# percysowner 2012-10-16 21:08
Quote:
Then again, that's probably be just as big a get out of jail free card as Castiel's powers by the end, wouldn't it--no problem facing a demon again, Sam can just exorcise them all with his mind!
Yes and no. If they are really planning on closing the gates of Hell, demons shouldn't be much of a problem. Sam's powers never worked on any other supernatural creature, so once the demons are gone that should be that. Now you are right that it negates Sam's choice to be human, but sometimes I wish he would stop being so scared of his powers and remember that Ruby told him he didn't need the feather to fly and find out that he can exorcise demons WITHOUT demon blood. It won't happen, but it would help with some of the moral ambiguity of killing the hosts.
emmau
# emmau 2012-10-16 21:17
You make a good point in saying that Sam's powers are only good against demons, which is possibly something that could be mitigated by the closing of the gates of Hell, should that come to pass. I think if show had done more than throw the feather to fly line at the idea of Sam using the powers without the blood then it would work, but they haven't. Therefore, Sam probably can't use them without going against his choice to remain human and not have his personality twist like a corkscrew because of the blood. In some ways, it's too bad that show never went further down this avenue than to say, "Demon blood is bad, and it leads to bad things", but I think it's probably too late to go back to make Sam's powers part of the story again. For all we know Cas removed any trace of demon blood from Sam's body when he retrieved him from hell, same as he apparently healed Dean's handprint after leaving it there for years. So I doubt it will ever come up again.

Too bad, though, since that would be a way to work around killing the hosts, even it would push Sam into magic fix territory until the gates are closed. I'd still like to see show come up with a way to stop demons without killing the hosts, but we can only wait and see.
anonymousN
# anonymousN 2012-10-17 07:11
Quote:
I'd still like to see show come up with a way to stop demons without killing the hosts, but we can only wait and see.
I agree
Adina
# Adina 2012-10-15 14:04
I hate to be the one who comments just for a correction, but before I read the entire thing, I'm going to be that girl.

In this episode, Linda Tran was played by Lauren Tom. (She was played by Khaira Ledeyo in 7.21 Reading is Fundamental.)

More thoughts coming on the review in general!
elle
# elle 2012-10-15 16:45
Ah, thanks - I got my info from SPN Wiki - I've corrected (or eliminated) the mistake now.
Adina
# Adina 2012-10-15 14:07
Quote:
Additionally, this was a very closely cropped image and with Supernatural things are very rarely what they seem. Considering finding Castiel was a condition of Dean’s before he was willing to work with Benny and his insistence that Castiel come along, not to mention everything we know about the character and loyalty of Dean Winchester, I refuse to believe this was (and pardon the pun) as black and white as it seems.
I agree whole-heartedly . Dean would not have left Cas willingly or without a good reason. I'm looking forward to seeing what the real story was!
elle
# elle 2012-10-16 11:05
Me too!
Rick D
# Rick D 2012-10-16 01:49
Elle, I only have one major disagreement with your review, and despite your stated like of Castiel, I hope you'll see where I'm coming from when I ask about it.

What is it about Cas' statement that makes it a "good argument for Cas' disappearance"?

Because it sounded to me, like something Edward would say to Bella in Twilight.
Why not a single word to Dean before leaving? Why leave at all? Does he really think Dean is safer ALONE? Especially when Cas obviously still has powers. Why not a single word of apology for Dean risking life and limb for God knows how long to find this oblivious "angel"?
elle
# elle 2012-10-16 11:02
Hi Rick:

I do understand where you're coming from though I do have to respectfully disagree. Of course we can only make inferences and assumptions at this point, but I wonder if Cas disappeared as suddenly as he did because Leviathan were right on his heels - and as you stated he still has his powers and maybe power that big and bright is a shining beacon to all the baddies of the land.

As to whether Dean would be safer w/o Cas (in the angel's opinion) perhaps he felt given Dean's hunter abilities he can take care of himself - he has managed to scrape by in a number of tight scenarios and Dean is a seasoned hunter after all. Maybe Castiel didn't make the right decision (though that isn't to say I think he made the wrong one, personally), but in my opinion he at least made it for the right reasons. Also, I think Dean would have been fighting and at risk whether he searched for Cas or not, given the nature of his environment.

That's just my opinion on the matter :-) Thanks for making me think more about it though - I hope I've answered your question to some degree and you can see where I was coming from with that statement in the review.
Rick D
# Rick D 2012-10-17 11:09
Well, I appreciate your reply, even if I completely disagree. I'm just so surprised that I haven't seen anyone wonder if this was the moment that Dean started to question whether or not he was correct to put his faith and trust in Cas, because that was my first reaction when I saw that scene, and it seemed to lead to a logical conclusion at the last scene.

If the Levis were right on his heels when they arrived, were they not also on Dean's heels? They arrived together. Cas took off without a word.
Why would the Levis be after Cas more than Dean? Dean is the one who put a bone in Dick's throat (hee hee), all Cas did was donate some blood. Cas is the one who let them run around topside. Maybe the Levis are actually after Cas, because they want to give him a fruit basket?

As for the "right reasons," I certainly don't accuse Cas of malice, just truly blind obliviousness and lack of consideration.

Dean can take care of himself? True. Not sure why one is lauded for avoiding Dean, another criticized for not looking for him.

At least you acknowledged the idea may not have made the right decision (even for the right reasons), that's more than I've seen elsewhere.
elle
# elle 2012-10-17 11:59
I'm not sure all the things leviathan do, need, etc. but perhaps they were tracking Cas because of his powers - for consumption or possession or something. Who knows -all speculation at this point.

Thanks Rick D - glad we can agree to disagree on this.

For the record - I don't criticize Sam for not looking for Dean - I find it suspicious and don't necessarily believe him but if he didn't look, then he didn't look and I can get behind his reasons for that and if he managed to carve out a happy normal life for a while, good for him.
Sunset
# Sunset 2012-10-17 05:49
Maybe he didn't say anything to Dean before he left because he knew Dean would come looking for him if Dean knew he was "protecting" him. If that is the case, guess he wasn't banking on Dean's loyalty...*shrug*

And powers or no, Cas looked pretty worn out. Whatever was tracking him (leviathon?) seems pretty lethal, which makes me understand why he left Dean. Maybe Cas knew/thought that the leviathon would be attuned to him specifically.
E
# E 2012-10-17 09:16
How come Cas grows a beard in purgatory but Dean doesn't?
????? seo
# ????? seo 2014-03-06 10:55
I do agree with all of the ideas you have presented on your post.

They're very convincing and can certainly work. Still, the posts
are very short for novices. Could you please lengthen them a little from
next time? Thank you for the post.