When commenting on another friendâ€™s blog prior to this weekâ€™s episode, I had an epiphany. The last few episodes â€“ in particular, â€œAs Time Goes Byâ€ and â€œEverybody Hates Hitlerâ€ made me realise I missed something I wasnâ€™t even aware I was missingâ€¦ I missed Sam and Dean.
Sure, they were there every week fighting the good fight and invariably each other, like they had been since season 1, but that something, that lightning in a bottle, that connection they had with each other that made me connect with themâ€¦â€¦
I knew it wasnâ€™t the same, thatâ€™s ok, it shouldnâ€™t be the same, but I didnâ€™t realise, how much it wasnâ€™t the same and how far theyâ€™d moved away from what made me love them in the first place.
Thenâ€¦all of a sudden, there they were again, cautiously, slowly making their way back to each other and back to me and in doing so, making my heart beat and melt simultaneously.
I suddenly realised Iâ€™d been missing them terribly. Iâ€™d been missing Sam and Dean.
This probably seems weird coming from me, me who always champions the brothers and itâ€™s true, Iâ€™ve never doubted their love and dedication to each other and I never will, itâ€™s justâ€¦it was hard to see it sometimes, in amongst the anger, hurt and pain.
Then I had a second epiphany (thatâ€™s probably my 2 for the yearâ€¦ peaked so soon). All of a sudden, the second half of this season â€“ post hiatus â€“ brought into focus the first half of this season.
I know a lot of you have struggled with many aspects of the first 10 episodes of season 8. I havenâ€™t necessarily shared those views, though I understand a lot of them. I didnâ€™t have issues around Samâ€™s flashbacks. Their incongruity seemed purposeful to me. I felt like we werenâ€™t supposed to understand them; that they were supposed to feel off, because they represented an ideal that in the end didnâ€™t exist. I didnâ€™t have issues around Dean and his post Purgatory personality, or how quickly he recovered. If he felt it was pure, I couldnâ€™t see why he would be tortured by the experience. I understood his misunderstanding of what went down with Cass and the misconception that he left his friend behind, because thatâ€™s Deanâ€¦good or bad, like it or not, thatâ€™s who he is, itâ€™s not the first time heâ€™s worn guilt for something heâ€™s not been responsible for. I was ok with Deanâ€™s friendship with Benny, though Iâ€™m pretty suspicious of it now â€“ not Benny as such but who flung Benny into Deanâ€™s path, because how did Benny know that spell, let along about the portal, but beyond that, I enjoyed that friendship. But it ran its course and when Dean walked away, I was cool with it. That relationship was never supposed to exist outside of Purgatory. They were never supposed to contact each other in the living world. I didnâ€™t have issues with Sam giving up â€˜the lifeâ€™, who could blame him after everything heâ€™s been through, not me thatâ€™s for sureâ€¦the not searching for Dean, as shocking as that was, made some sense to me when looking at it inline with their past experiences, though I do agree that a little explainer wouldâ€™ve been nice, not a great big scene, just a little oneâ€¦even nowâ€¦just to put it to restâ€¦but Iâ€™ll be fine without it. I moved past Sam suggesting Dean hunt alone and Deanâ€™s outburst under the influence of the spectre. I just kept looking to the future, because I assumed we were going somewhere, I assumed there was a reason for all of this. Then everything exploded in â€œCitizen Fangâ€ followed up by â€œTorn and Frayedâ€ and thenâ€¦it all started to make senseâ€¦
Last week I got to thinking, as we experienced for the first time in a long time a harmonious Sam and Dean, that maybe this was Carverâ€™s plan all along; his genius in action before our eyes.
In season 6 and 7 the brothers were all over the place. They were struggling with soullessness and then trust, with depression, with craziness, with friends betraying them, with friends dying in front of themâ€¦damn it, they even lost the car! Jeremy wrote for â€œSupernaturalâ€ during the heydays of seasons 3 â€“ 5. I wonder what he thought when he came back and saw what Sam and Dean had become? Maybe this is where his plan took root. How could he bring the heart and soul of â€œSupernaturalâ€ back to the show, how could he reunite the Winchesters in a realistic and meaningful way.
After being apart and living opposing lives for a year, the brothers would be in different places emotionally. So reunite them, but explore that. Put obstacles in their path, which pull them in different directions, which essentially end up pulling them apart. Make them hit rock bottom. Bring them to a place where they no longer know whether they want to be together and then force them to make a choice. Make them choose between the other people in their lives or each other. Make them choose between walking away from their brother and everything thatâ€™s always been important to them or recommitting to each other and their ongoing quest. Then when they choose to move forward together, bring in the new mythology about the Winchesters. Introduce mythology that allows Sam to connect to hunting on a level he hasnâ€™t in the past. Allows him to have a purpose in the hunt, other than out of duty to his brother. Allows Sam to find some happiness and through his happiness, see Dean gain some comfort and equilibrium. Put the focus squarely back on the origins of the show - family and legacy - and in doing so, bring the show back to its roots. Bring back the heart and the soul.
Then back all this up with an episode where the brothers actually speak to each other, tell each other their dreams. Deanâ€™s is to see Sam happy, Samâ€™s is to be happy but with Dean by his side. Let the brothers see what they still mean to each other and that this is a journey they can make together. Reconfirm that bond, that loveâ€¦ and make the fanâ€™s hearts explode with joy.
Whether this is what the plan was all along or not, whether you see it like this or not (and Iâ€™m sure plenty are in the â€˜notâ€™ camp) this is certainly how itâ€™s worked for me. I feel like Iâ€™ve been taken on a journey of rediscovery along with the Winchester brothersâ€¦a journey to patch up all our broken hearts, that will let us move forward with hope and I like it.
Which brings me to â€œTrial and Errorâ€.
My twitter was going CRAZY after this episode. I of course, was at work! But everyone was tweeting me about how I was going to love it. Then my emails lit up with comments on the Spolier-lite previewâ€¦which I didnâ€™t read (the willpower that took). Then my friend Hazel texted me a message all in CAPS, yelling at me to get home and watch it! Geesh. I was a wreck driving homeâ€¦yelling at all the cars in front of me, â€œMOVE IT I HAVE SUPERNATURAL TO WATCH!â€
I popped it onâ€¦then after Kevinâ€™s scenes and the title, there was Dean caressing his new Zeppelin vinyl, smoothing out the weapons on the wallâ€¦pulling the photo of Mary out of his wallet â€œHey momâ€â€¦o-ohâ€¦lump in my throatâ€¦but it wasnâ€™t until Sam was alone in Deanâ€™s room and looked around, saw the photo, looked over his shoulder at where Dean had walked out, and smiledâ€¦and then looked back at Deanâ€™s perfectly made bedâ€¦with its one pillow. Yepâ€¦I burst into tears! Ugly crying. Okâ€¦Iâ€™ve been a little emotionally wobbly in recent months but that moment â€“ both Deanâ€™s pride in his room and Samâ€™s obvious understanding and how touched and happy he looked for his brotherâ€¦yep tearsâ€¦I may be welling up a little at the thought of it! I even loved Samâ€™s bratty and playful gum wrapper toss. Little bastard! I giggled. Brother shenanigansâ€¦how Iâ€™ve missed thee. Warm and fuzzies abound. I cried at least three times in this episode. Happy cries. Big happy Winchestery cries. Itâ€™s been a while.
So every one of you who tweeted meâ€¦yes you were right, I loved this episode. It felt like such a wonderful continuation of the work that started at the very end of â€œTorn and Frayedâ€ and then tentatively continued in â€œLARP and the Real Girlâ€ and has been making little steps, little bits of character progression each week to get us here, which is way better than where we were!
This trials thing is equal parts exciting and troubling. I donâ€™t like what completing that trial did to Samâ€™s head and then his arm, which seemed to glow like Cass glowed when he took away Samâ€™s crazy. What on earth does that mean?! Iâ€™m assuming Kevinâ€™s nosebleeds and whatnot are because heâ€™s read the trials â€“ that connecting with the trials in any way, either physically or intellectually, causes something unpleasant to happen to youâ€¦unless Kevin was just in need of vitamins, but I thought, after the effect the trial had on Sam, it was more likely a physical side-effect of getting this close to Godâ€™s message and the endgame.
For Sam to be the one who completes Godâ€™s little obstacle course has arc symmetry for me. Heâ€™s Luciferâ€™s vessel, he unlocked the cage initially, heâ€™s been plagued by his dark destiny since season 1. This is his chance to put all of that to rest, atone â€“ to himself, because I think itâ€™s only Sam who needs to forgive Sam. Demons have been manipulating Sam since he was a child. Time for payback. Dean will be kicking butt beside him all the way. Iâ€™m expecting the brothers to work these trials together â€“ with Sam just being the one to deliver the final blow. The brothers are going to have to work together now more than ever, to keep each other safe. It was pure happenstance that Sam ended up being the one that killed the Hellhound â€“ not through any will of his own, but because he was there and that bitch needed putting down before she ate his brother! But I like the way it turned out. I have a sneaking suspicion Dean will be involved in working out whatâ€™s happening with Cass. Once againâ€¦symmetry, being as what their Biblical destinies were and also, recognising Deanâ€™s relationship with Castiel. I like this. I think I like this a lot.
Then there were the speeches that the brotherâ€™s both gave, which were awesome and I think, quite representative of where theyâ€™re at.
Dean, having seen Sam struggle and have a reinvigorated desire for a safe life, wants to see that for his brother. Thatâ€™s Deanâ€™s happy ending, Samâ€™s happiness. Dean has always been cavalier with his own life. I think thatâ€™s equal parts heroism and self-loathing. At his heart, he still doubts his own worth, but at his heart he also has Samâ€™s heart. Sam is his most perfect expression of love. He wants the best for his brother. Who doesnâ€™t? Okay, most of us arenâ€™t willing to toss our lives away, but we all understand wanting happiness for those we love the most. Deanâ€™s speech made me cry. I cried at his sentiment for Sam but also at how sad it made me for Dean, that he can be so damn awesome but just not see it, that he can really think of himself as a "grunt"â€¦which I think has been reinforced by Henry and the Men of Letters thing. Dean sees himself as the â€œapeâ€ hunter where as Sam is the MoL. Dean not recognising his epic strategic skillâ€¦Samâ€™s right the dudeâ€™s a hunter savant! And then Samâ€™s broken-hearted face, he simply looked shattered for his brother. It was an great speech, I love Deanâ€™s unabashed heroism, I love what Dean wants for Samâ€¦but I wish he also wanted something for himself, like you knowâ€¦life.
Sam, well he needs to be believed in again, because Iâ€™m not sure he believes in himself and Iâ€™m not sure he has for a long time now. So much has happened to Sam to shake him to his core. And I do believe that Dean believes in Sam, but most of their heart to hearts in recent memory have been angry onesâ€¦itâ€™s been a long time since they spoke to each other so open and honestlyâ€¦and POSITIVELY! I absolutely adored that Sam said heâ€™d lead Dean to the light at the end of the tunnel. Damn Sam Winchester, that was the perfect thing to say. Thatâ€™s all Dean really needs to hear, that Sam does want him by his side. That they are in this together and that no matter what the outcome and even if Sam does walk away from hunting, he still wants Dean there, part of his life. I hope Dean had his ears on. He needs to hear his brother and take that into his heart.
I donâ€™t know about these boys, but I sure as hell needed those speeches. Oh and yesâ€¦I cried during Samâ€™s speech too. The brother scenes had me three for three!
One of the other aspects of â€œTrial and Errorâ€ I really enjoyed was the continuity with past seasons. The â€œTHENâ€ was fantastic! It went back to season 2 and â€œCrossroads Bluesâ€. We saw Crowley and his huge hound from season 5â€™s â€œThe Devil You Knowâ€. Then we brought Crowley and his deals into the present story. Plus I seriously love Hellhounds and I totally dug seeing them. How cool was that? Great effect. Awesome goopy blood goo all over Sam too! I was yellingâ€¦KEEP YOUR MOUTH CLOSED! Gross. Demon hound blood in your mouth, ick. I think it missed though!
I like where all this is going. The tablets, the MoL and the supernatural mother load, the trials (though Iâ€™m frightened by them), the brosâ€¦ I get a sense that thereâ€™s a clear plan in place for the rest of the season, like all these elements that are running concurrent are going to connect...because it already feels like thatâ€™s beginning to happen.
I feel season 8 has been consistent and well structured and thereâ€™s this awesome momentum building as we hit the back straight. Itâ€™s not been since season 5 that Iâ€™ve felt this anxious build towards the season endgame. Having season 9 locked and loaded so early in the piece, will also allow the creative team time to plan out the strategy for the end of this season into the new season, which is incredibly exciting.
â€œTrial and Errorâ€ was another classic â€œSupernaturalâ€ episode. That's 3 in a row where I've gone...oh yeah baby!
Not only that, the brothers are talking, theyâ€™re expressing their love for each other, theyâ€™re offering trust and support to each other. This makes me optimistic and happy. These are the guys Iâ€™ve been waiting to see. These are the guys Iâ€™ve been in love with for 8 years.
Welcome back boysâ€¦now behave yourselves and letâ€™s never speak of that other stuff again!
Thanks for reading. See you soon.