Reading the reactions to “The Things We Left Behind” has been very interesting. Alice very eloquently presented the reasons why the show completely failed, not only as a mid-season finale, but even as a filler episode in this series. I couldn't disagree with a single argument she made, yet I also understand the viewpoints of viewers who loved the family theme of the story and were shocked by the last two minutes.

I didn’t have a passionate response to this episode, either positively or negatively. From that standpoint, it failed me because I like being on the edge of my seat through an episode that is supposed to showcase a series. I also didn’t think this episode compared well to other series’ finales that hit a homerun (Arrow, for example). The mere fact that so many people were disappointed by this highly anticipated episode says something. It should have been one of the season’s best episodes, not one that generated such an evenly split debate about its merits. Supernatural is more than capable of generating shows that are a resounding success, as most recently exemplified by “Fan Fiction”.

Still, while “The Things We Left Behind” wasn’t an intense episode from beginning to end, I enjoyed it. It was a good story that was well acted, and there can be no doubt that it set up the plots for the second part of the season, which is the ultimate objective of a mid-season finale. It previewed that Dean is in real trouble in his battle with the Mark of Cain, that Castiel will spend some time helping Claire, and that Crowley and his mother will be playing mind games with each other, probably in a power struggle for the throne of Hell (this last plot is particularly odd since Rowena hates demons. She’s a survivor, though, so opportunity over bigotry I guess). The MoC has a lot of potential for action, dilemma, tragedy and triumph. I’m on board with that. It’s exciting and unpredictable. While Dean will certainly be rid of the Mark by the end of the year, how that is going to happen while still avoiding the demon dead-end that he hit before isn’t obvious, so there’s tension at every turn. Cain has to be involved somehow. That plot line is interesting, and worthy of the lead characters (IF they are both equally involved). 

It is hard to imagine what can possibly happen in the other two plots that would take 14 episodes to unfold, however. How much can really happen with Claire, and so far, Rowena and Crowley aren’t a threat to each other or to our heroes, so where is the tension in those plots? Family reunions?  Still, two-thirds of the season is ahead of us so there is ample time to develop intriguing twists in all of the season’s themes. I enjoy these characters so I’m curious what journeys lie ahead for them. So let’s pause and look at where the mid-season finale left all the main themes of the season.

MoC…and Addiction

The opening scene of Dean's nightmare foreshadowed a massacre induced by the Mark of Cain. It was dually interesting, though, in that it showed Dean sleeping! I believe that was the first time in either season 9 or 10 that we have seen the MoC!Dean asleep! His insomnia was emphasized last year, so we have to conclude that he could have slept the first time the Mark took him over but his repeated late nights were meant to highlight either that his body was so pumped up on adrenaline that he couldn’t fall asleep, or that his rage and violent thoughts wouldn’t allow him to gear down.

Dean also seemed to be eating a great deal this episode. He ate both his and Castiel’s burgers and fries, the grilled cheese sandwich, and the hotdog at the Weiner Hut. He seemed to be burning through the calories but that doesn’t negate the appearance of gluttony. Talking with his mouth full of both the cheese sandwich and the hamburger (although he has done that often enough) might have been done to additionally emphasize the eating. His ravenous hunger would also explain something that seemed a little odd. In front of Sharkie’s, Sam suggested that he and Dean “go ask around at the group home”. Dean was very definitive, though, that he wanted to stay at the restaurant with Cas. I believe he did that because he needed to eat again.  Sam also specifically noticed Dean was eating again when he saw him with the hotdog. Is it possible that Dean is trying to self-medicate? By that I mean he is seeking ways to satisfy himself without giving into the addiction to violence that the Mark wants him to pursue? In addition to gluttony, in “Girls Girls Girls”, Dean pursued a different deadly sin – lust. He is also distracting himself with other leisure interests, like The Three Stooges.

Dean laughing 0463

Recovering addicts often substitute gratifications to feed the pleasure centers of their brain and distract them from their primary craving. Ex-smokers often substitute munchies for cigarettes, for example. Season 9 obviously presented Dean (and Crowley’s) addiction, so perhaps season 10 is introducing coping mechanisms for an addict desperately trying to not return to the well.

Despite his attempts to resist the violence, though, the Mark clearly succeeded in pushing Dean to ruthlessly kill when he was threatened. He was also in danger when captured by the vampires in the last episode, but he said he felt he was making his own choices about his lethal response.  This week he admitted that he lost control. Yes, he had been attacked, but he slaughtered humans. He was completely capable of surviving by defeating instead of eliminating the threat. After all, it would not have been long before both Sam and Cas returned to the scene to back him up.

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Dean said, “I didn’t mean to.” He knew afterward that the Mark had won that round. Since the Mark’s influence on him is now obvious, I went back over the entire set of season 10 episodes and reviewed Crowley's expositions about the Mark’s power.  In the season premiere, “Black”, we heard that ambiguous conversation that confused us about the ultimate effect of the Mark on Dean,

Crowley: “The Mark needs to be sated, otherwise…”

Dean: “…otherwise I turn into a demon. Yeah, yeah. Sort of got that 6 weeks ago.”


Crowley and Dean had this conversation when Dean was killing with the Blade. If our conclusions after 10.02 were correct about the differences between the effects of the Mark and the Blade, the Mark was pushing Dean to murder but it was the Blade’s power that was killing human Dean (the blade’s power can be absorbed by a demon’s body but not by a human body). Here is that conversation again, clarified:

Crowley: “The Mark needs to be sated, otherwise…”

Dean: “…otherwise [the withdrawal from the Blade’s drug will kill me. Once dead,] I turn into a demon.”


How did I not understand this at the time?? I elaborately explored how not sating the mark would turn Dean into a demon, yet it is clear now. Dean can only become a demon after he is dead. Not killing meant withdrawal from the Blade’s drug. Withdrawal would lead to Dean’s death. With his soul corrupted, death meant he turned into a demon.

In the following conversation between Crowley and Dean in 10.02 “Reichenbach”, Crowley clarified further:

Crowley: "The fact is you need to kill now. Not want to, not choose to - need to…..Do you want to spike a civilian or someone who has it coming?"


The Mark pushes (to use Dean’s word) its bearer to kill continuously. The Blade addicts the bearer to the high that results from murder. At the beginning of the season, DemonDean was still using the Blade. Once he was captured by Sam, though, Crowley took the Blade, so this time around MoC Dean is being pushed to kill but isn’t physically addicted to the lethal infusion from the Blade. If he can resist the temptation, or the “push” to kill, he may believe he can survive indefinitely while still bearing the Mark. That might be his current game plan. He may be trying to outwit the Mark and save his soul by distracting himself with other pleasures and biding his time with pure stubbornness and strength of will.

In his conversation with Castiel in the diner, Dean said:

Dean: “If I do go darkside, you gotta take me out”

Dean Worried 1074

Dean always has a Plan B. If Dean loses his battle with the Mark, he is asking to be killed before (or after) becoming a demon. His plea that Castiel smite him is a direct reference to how an angel can kill a demon.

So it seems we need to slightly correct the attributes of the Mark that we created after “Reichenbach”:

As a human, the Mark:

1.       Drives the bearer to kill
2.       Each kill corrupts the soul a little at a time, making the bearer lose their humanity. If they become a slave to the mark (lose their conscience and their will to choose mercy over murder, i.e. become evil), they turn into a demon upon their death
3.       Strengthens fighting skills superior to humans

As a demon, the Mark:

4.       Strengthens fighting skills superior to all other demons
5.       Makes it bearer virtually immortal, impervious to normal demon killing methods

What do you think? These new theories fit all the information we’ve been given so far in both season 9 and 10! Did I get it right this time?

Monsters…and Their Families

RandysDinner 1343

Claire thought of Randy as family. We were shown her sitting at their dinner table to sharply contrast what “family” meant to them versus the caring meal provided by Sam to Dean, that Dean and Castiel shared, or even the personal, happy stories shared by TeamFreeWill over a drink. When things got rough, though, Randy betrayed Claire to save his own skin. The loan shark was also despicable when he “bought” and attacked a young girl. Both stories continued the exploration of how humans can become monsters through their own behavior. Dean ended up killing all these “monsters” but we are still left with the ethical dilemma of whether his actions were justified.

Another primary theme this season is whether a family’s love can save someone from the supernatural. Sam’s extraordinary measures beat all the odds, cured the “monster” in Dean and restored Dean’s humanity. None of the other monster stories this season have ended so happily. Kate/Tasha, Bunny/Olivia and Lester/Starr, were all examples of families trying to save their loved ones, but the supernatural corruption was just too strong. In the parallel plotline, Crowley is the “monster”, but I suspect we are going to see that his family’s dedication to him isn’t altruistic and won’t finish the job of restoring his humanity. The question that is obviously being teased, contrasted and foreshadowed this season is whether the love of family can pull Dean back from the brink of evil a second time.

Season 10 is also examining the damage that the supernatural does to individuals and whether the love of a family can repair people after they have been ravaged by the supernatural. Joe/Caroline, Jody/Alex, Castiel/Claire, and Cole and his family are all examples of the healing that must take place both within the individual and within the family.

CasHoldingClaire 2554

Both Sam and Dean need to find healing after they themselves were turned into supernatural creatures. Alex briefly became a vampire, as did Dean years ago. Caroline and Claire were briefly possessed by an angel, as was Sam. The parallel stories are powerful. In any case, Sam and Dean both have to find their own internal healing from their most recent ordeals.  Can they heal each other while healing themselves? Sam and Dean are masterfully the intersection of both of these family themes.  

SamLookHolding Dean 2622

Redemption

When Castiel first saw Claire in this episode, she asked why he returned:

Cas: “I came here to help you.”

Claire: "Why?"

Cas: “Because I’ve hurt you so much….Claire, I’m sorry, and I can never replace what I took from you.”


Cas is taking responsibility for his actions. He is seeking redemption before the death that he expects awaits him. This may be a rather subtle redemption thread, but Cas is clearly trying to make right any damage he caused on Earth before he dies. He sought to return the rogue angels to Heaven, because he feels responsible for their presence on Earth. They belong in Heaven, not interfering in humans’ affairs so he took on his “mission” to find and return them all.

Cas Claire in alley 1654

Now he is trying to rectify Claire’s broken life. Not unlike a terminal patient, he is trying to make amends before his time on Earth is over.

As I was considering his actions, and the title of this episode, an extremely unsettling thought occurred to me. The writers of the show seem to be doing the same thing as Castiel, i.e. they seem to be tying up all the loose end of things they’ve left behind. Bringing closure to Claire, who was left dangling in the series’ plot line years ago; letting us know that Alex is with Jody; and showing us Kate’s fate after her decision to wander. Castiel still has to resolve Heaven and the veil so Kevin’s story may yet be put to rest. Is it possible that the writers really don’t know how much longer the show will be aired so they want to bring closure to as many plot holes as possible before the series ends? This is the last year of everyone’s three year contracts and the new contracts have not yet been signed. Several key people have hinted at conventions that they may move on, plus we know that Jeremy Carver is writing a pilot for another network. Are they trying to clear the deck of all the old baggage just in case they have only a short time (say one year) more in the series? It certainly looks like that could be the case. Don’t get me wrong. The show has all the network and fan support it needs to keep going for several years yet, but without signed contracts, nothing is for certain. (Now that I’ve scared the tar out of everyone, let’s look at the rest of the themes!)

The story…vs the Truth

Cas Interview 0364

This episode again explored the stories we tell versus the truth. Cas tried so hard to not lie to the group home administrator. He “fights certainly deadly threats to humanity” as an exterminator! Every word of that was true! She didn't believe him, though, saying "I don't do well with liars, Mr. Novak", which specifically called attention to his truth versus what she perceived to be the real truth.  Castiel also called Dean out on trying to cover up his pain.

Cas: "How are you, Dean?"
Dean: "Fine. I'm great."
Cas: "No, you're not."


It's about time someone demanded the truth, even though it was obvious and difficult to accept. Dean's melt down at the end of the story revealed the truth to everyone, though, in no uncertain terms. Maybe now the brothers will work together to solve their problems.

Crowley and Hell

11

How many people realized that the dungeon and the throne room are on Earth, not in Hell?

The demon locked away beside Rowena said,

"I’m here because I shouldn’t be here. ..Crowley only lets certain demons to come earth-side”


She said she shouldn’t be here, on Earth. Then she said only certain demons are allowed to come Earth side, not to go Earth side. Her specific choice of words finally clued me into the dungeon and the adjacent throne room being somewhere on Earth.

Throneroom 1233

The more mundane location may appease those who thought the depiction of the supposed center of Hell was cheesy and inadequate. It is completely acceptable as an abandoned warehouse!  I’m not sure if that was clear before and I just didn’t pick up on it or if this dialog (and the daylight. Duh) clarified the matter for the first time. Did you all know this before me? How many also think that the cellmate was put there as a spy for Crowley, to test the deviousness of his mother? That would be just like him.

Crowley Rowena 1860

Other than this big revelation for me, Crowley and his mum are now united. How much more of their family tree will reappear? When Crowley said that he “had a family”, I wondered if he was thinking about his son. Wouldn’t that be an interesting reunion? Person who is supposed to be dead and is living out of time meets grandmamma. I suspect Doctor Who time paradoxes!

Curiosities

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-          The scene where Sam brought Dean the grilled cheese sandwich reminded me of when Sam was sick from the trials and Dean made and brought him his meals in the library. They take turns caring for each other. Awww.

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Dean eyeing Castiel’s food…at Sharkey’s!                                                            The WFB Location Hunting group eating at Sharkey’s!

-          The restaurant featured in this week’s episode was Sharkey’s. During the WFB staff’s recent location hunting trip to Vancouver, we all ate in Sharkey’s! We sat at the long table shown behind and to the right of Dean and Cas. The chairs, banister, walls and bar are all the same! Add some blue tablecloths and wood panels to cut down window size and we could have been there with them!  Farawayeyes promised to include more pictures in her review!

-          We got a definitive answer about Jimmy Novak, finally! We carried forward that dangling thread all through season 9! It’s nice to be able to put that to rest! I appreciated the nod to continuity in the explanation that Jimmy’s body (occupied by Castiel) was “ripped apart on a subatomic level” by an archangel, that Jimmy’s soul couldn’t survive that and that Jimmy is at peace in Heaven.

-          I did not find any references to other major themes of season 10, namely:
      ·         Let Me Go/ Let it Go
      ·         Reversals
      ·         Heaven – opening its gates, the fate of the veil, and the ultimate purpose of Castiel’s grace
      ·         “You were right”

Let me know if you saw anything that I missed on these themes!

So…

Overall, I am content with “The Things We Left Behind”. It wove several themes into its stories and set up the rest of the season. It may not have been a barn-stormer to some fans, but we don’t yet know how it will fit in with the rest of the season. I’m willing to wait and see.

What is your mid-season assessment of themes this year? Did I miss any?

Screencaps courtesy of www.screencapped.net.


Comments  

LEAH
# LEAH 2014-12-16 23:06
I agree, nightsky, with your reaction to this episode. I didn't love it exactly but I did enjoy it. I expected more from the finale and if I were already unhappy with the show it might have affected me more negatively. The promo's promised more than was delivered IMO. I think they may have put a lot more energy and thought into the 200th which I loved. Did this one suffer as a result? IDK. It did set up the second half. I am the worst at speculating so I have no idea where this is all heading. Or what the endgame for Rowena might be. Or why Crowley would trust her for one millisecond. I keep thinking she might be somehow connected to the massacre, since we didn't see any actually slaughtering. It's not that I don't think Dean could or would do that under the influence of the MoC, I just like the idea that Crowley may be cooking something up behind the scenes. Either way I am looking forward to the 2nd half. I did want to add, as have a few others, how great it was to see the guys actually have a laugh or two and in spite of it all to be united.
cheryl42
# cheryl42 2014-12-16 23:21
I just re watched the episode again. I also noticed for the first time that Rowena's cell mate commented about being on earth. But yes the window with the sunlight and tree should have been the big giveaway. This episode worked for me. I thought it brought all of our key players in and set them on their path without giving away the farm. Rowena spinning her web, Crowley playing along (I had forgotten about Crowley's son). Castiel trying to set things right (I have more fear of losing our favorite angel than the end of the series. But good job freaking me out). I hope we get more than another meandering road trip with Claire instead of Hannah though. Sam and Dean are in a lot of trouble. How is Sam going to let Dean out of the Bunker now? Dean has to know on just about every level he can't be trusted. They need to find Cain asap.
This has been a quieter season and the midseason episode followed that pattern. Carver has said several times that this season will see more personal stories for the four main characters. I thought I also read that there really wasn't going to be a big myth arc for this season. So I wasn't expecting one. I thought that Dean slaughtering a room full of humans (at least one of which meant him no harm) was pretty shocking and I thought the moment with Sam cradling Dean's face begging for it not to be true was quite powerful. It worked for me.
Thank you for the review you brought up little details I hadn't seen.
elle2
# elle2 2014-12-17 10:11
Nightsky,
Each time I look forward to these article, and each time you surpass yourself. This was excellent again. I love reading about an episode a week after it has aired and seeing where I am with it now. While I didn't love it, it does sit somewhere around the top five of nine midseason finales for me. (My review is on TVFTROU and you'll understand why I only count nine and not ten if you read it) While Cas's and Crowley's stories are not exciting, nor frankly interesting, to me, I do see what they are starting to do with them. I, like you, see Cas's story as being finished by this season's end, and I do think that's a good idea. If there is to be another season after this, it would be really nice (for me at least ;) ) if they bring it back full circle and perhaps address why John and Mary couldn't be found by Ash in heaven (aside from the fact that JDM wasn't available for filming). That would sort of bookend the series with finding dad in Season 1 and finding the thing that killed mom with finding dad and mom in heaven and then (gulp) joining them there. Hey, if it gets an 11th season, go for some schmaltz while you're at it. :D

Anyway, I do see all the threads you mentioned and the themes and I do agree, at the center of them all is Sam and Dean, if not literally, certainly metaphorically. I like the season so far. And the ending had me very excited for the show's return in late January, and after all, isn't that at least half of what a midseason finale should do: get the viewer excited for the return? It succeeded there. ;)

As always, thanks for writing these. The time you take to organize your thoughts and put them down really shows.
nightsky
# nightsky 2014-12-17 14:00
Thanks so much! I'm so happy that you look forward to reading these articles. Your comments are always so positive! As you guessed, threads takes more time and thought than just about anything else I write!

I have to count myself among those who think Castiel is in the series until it ends. I think his fan following is just too large to lose. I also envision an end that does NOT kill the brothers. I have 2 possible endings in mind, both of which are happy endings. I have worked out both in detail and I refuse to hear (lalalala) anything to the contrary! I also personally strongly believe the show will go beyond season 11, probably to 12 or 13 for sure. I'm just not sure that any of the show's writers agree with me!
Elle2
# Elle2 2014-12-17 14:56
I agree with you, Nightsky, that Castiel's following is too big to ignore. My disappointment with that is that the writers seem to have no idea what to do with the character, so he often seems very 'stuck' to me, and thus I'm bored with him. Perhaps though he is going to somehow become human this season and thus end up a hunter, who also takes care of Claire. I don't know, I could kind of, maybe, get behind that. I think Misha is great; the material he is given, um, not so much. :-)

I do like the idea of a happy ending, but I've heard enough at Cons how both Jared and Jensen have less than happy ideas for the ending and their reasons why, and I can also get behind that point of view. At one of the cons this past fall Jared was kind of teasing out how many seasons Jensen had left in him and Jensen was agreeing with 11 and even 12, but when Jared gently and slightly hesitantly tried to get him to go to 13, there was a very definitive NO from Jensen. I think the reality is that these devoted husbands and fathers (and my how refreshing that is, not only for Hollywood but more and more in the world) really are feeling the time away from their wives and children. I really like the smaller scope, so if they go another one or two seasons, and we don't have end of the world drama, but more personal stories, I'm cool with that. :-)
Anna
# Anna 2014-12-17 15:11
me too.

I also have this image of show ending after one last big battle with the boys simply getting in the car after that that grin they give ea,. Other after a successful hunt, and drive off to a cool rock song. If the boys go out in a blaze of glory, I want the last scene to be the boys at the gates of heaven with cas waiting and bobby along side saying......wel come to the party idjits
sugarhi15
# sugarhi15 2014-12-17 10:56
I have a thread regarding s10 you haven't yet mentioned. Origins. Season 10 is going back in format to how show began and show's focus....sam and dean and their brotherly bond. I've seen so many complaints and comparisons over kripke's early years vs gamble vs carver and the call for days of yore. well seems to me carver is giving the fandom exactly what it's been asking for. As you may recall, season one, when no one knew what show was about, was about sam and dean and their relationship, their bond. of course we had monsters and the family business, but the season focused on the boys and their story. at the end of kripke's reign he brought in angels...but at the heart of the story was sam and dean. Kripke never lost focus. While i loved s6 and had no problem with s7, many began to compare gamble's years with kripke's. she had quite the task...topping the apocalypse and she tried, but you can't really top it....but her souless sam story was amazing in my opinion and she never strayed away from sam and dean's bond in s6....s7 felt a bit more distant between the boys and that's when the fans started to show concern and displeasure. where is the connection between sam and dean is all i heard...in her attempt to isolate them by killing off their surrogate family, instead of drawing them closer, their pain isolated them from one another and the fandom felt it. carver came and changed all that....he brought the passion back to the boys....he connected them again and he focused on their bond....he touched on what was wrong in their relationship and is now in the process of having the winchesters grow into a more mature relationship, based not only on love, which was never missing....but on understanding.. .understanding themselves and ea. other like they never have before, thus enabling them to grow closer and stronger. this is all leading to them finally coming to accept who they are and liking even perhaps loving themselves, just as they love ea. other. I love season ten and the fact that show has gone back to it's original format, and it's original theme. we still have myth arc mxed in, but show has truly gone back to what makes this show great....sam and dean and their personal story.:)

as for the episode itself, i thought it well written and it certain accomplished what it was meant to do as far as midseason finales go. The second half promises to be very proactive and exciting for all our characters and i'm very excited to see the story unfold. I loved every minute of sam and dean. though i would've liked it more if cas was involved in their case instead of vice versa, i'll let that one go as cas has always answered their call so i think the boys owe him one. ;) I already had postulated the mark vs the blade, but i didn't realize that crowley was topside....than ks for that. i kind of like that because now i could still envision crowely's new hell...an endless line of evil just waiting for their turn only to get sent back to the end of the line...awesome. ...and i know we saw cells in taxi driver, but i think hell to be quite vast and divided into sections....so i can see crowley choosing who stands on line and who gets tortured in a cell as bobby had been.:)

as far as sam and dean....they were awesome....from beginning to end. i agree with your take and elle's as well regarding dean's hunger, sam's vigilance and watching over dean, trying so hard to give dean those moments dean needs but knowing all the while the other shoe will drop. i enjoyed the talk about jw. the smiles on both boys faces as they recollect their time with their father....authe ntic.....both boys have issues with dad, but they both loved him and are both letting go....so there's that letting go theme you spoke of.

i think the letting go also applies to cas as well and his attempt to let go of his sins by trying to make things right. dean of course ...letting go of the mark and all it entails....sam letting go of his inner demons and failings....and the process of letting go of the old relationship to a more honest and stronger one between sam and dean.

all in all.....excelle nt start to the season....so looking forward to what's to come.

oh...and not really worried about closure to threads because the end of show is in sight. i think it's more along the lines of testing characters and fans' reactions to them for ideas for new spinoff that the network really seems to want.

i see a few more years in store for us....i know jensen wants to beat out smallville. :D new babies, steady paycheck.....i think the boys might hold out for a couple of more seasons....i do think spn could become the longest running show in the networks...wb and cw. :D
nightsky
# nightsky 2014-12-17 14:08
Origins is an excellent addition. I will watch for it in future episodes. I also really appreciated your viewpoint on letting go plus why they are going back to the beginning and tying up loose ends. I wish I had a crystal ball, but I too think the Js can last a few more years, especially if they keep getting more and more days off!
Sylvie
# Sylvie 2014-12-17 15:07
Thanks for this Nightsky, you bring out some really interesting points that I had not noticed at all. I love your clarification of Dean having to sate the MoC and his turning into a demon good and proper. I love your explanation, it makes perfect sense. Definitely his eating in this episode and the sex in the last few are surefire signs of someone trying to stay away from an addiction by any means necessary, I've known a lot of smokers and a few drug addicts that would do just that, but that addiction is always just around the corner. I knew as soon as he was left alone with the bad guys that the s*** would hit the fan and the MoC would make him do something he was deathly afraid would happen to him again. Sam realized too late that Dean had not made it out of the house with him and Cas.

You scared the bejesus out of me though by saying that it looks like the writers are tying up loose ends! But I have to thank Sugarhi15 for reassuring me. ;) I think as a midseason finale, it was pretty good. Was it a great episode? no, but it opens up the storyline for the rest of the season. Now I can go back to worrying about Dean. :(
njspnfan
# njspnfan 2014-12-17 18:18
Nightsky - great job with finding some threads to follow up on, particularly since things are moving along at a snail's pace this season. I do wonder, though, whether they're going to pick up on the early season sentiment of who the real monster was? That was dropped like a hot potato.
nightsky
# nightsky 2014-12-17 20:43
They haven't used the exact words of "Now I'm the monster" or "who's the monster now" like they did at the beginning, but I think they are still exploring that theme. Lester was a vampire, but he reformed himself and was "ethical" by not killing so he wouldn't be considered a monster by altruistic measures. His "children" though, were monsters. Randy and loan shark guy were humans that could be called monsters. MoC Dean was a monster when he lost control. Kate was another ethical monster. Her sister and her pack, though, were monstrous. So I think we are going to see this theme repeated more, just maybe not as obviously.
dashnjo
# dashnjo 2014-12-18 03:31
I rewatched the episode and I've realized I like it, but I don't at the same time. I understand Alice's angst that it's become a soap opera to a certain degree but i would counter that with, but it's always kinda been that, especially since season 3 for me at least. Yeah, I love a good ghost or vampire episode or something more exotic like the djinn but at the end of the day all any of us do is worry about Dean, Sam or Cas (yes, I know not everyone worries about him and that's fine but some of us do so I'll let you not care if you let me care) and analyze and overanalyze what so and so said and what that means. Season 3 is when I started to realize I was more worried about Dean going to hell if they couldn't find a way out of the deal he made rather than "cool, the myth of the phantom (whatever new and interesting ghost legend)". Seasons 4 and 5 were a bit more along the "OMG, the world is gonna end" but the episode to episode thoughts for me were more along the lines of worrying about Sam drinking demon blood and whether or not Dean was going to say yes to Michael but aside from that it's been a soap opera draped in the supernatural. I say this as someone who went to film school and looks at the core of what's going on. Yes, the fact that we have hunters (and a fallen angel ... not sure how appropriate that is at this point) trying to stop the bad supernatural creatures from killing humans still makes it "Supernatural" but that's not the whole story anymore and into the 10th season there's only so much new stuff that can be introduced. Not to mention the fact that Carver said that this season is going to be more personal in terms of story which is something I'm fine with. There hasn't been a big bad so far ... Metatron is in jail, Crowley doesn't seem to have a grand scheme and the world isn't about to end.

It's also not the first time time that we've had stories where the focus is less on the supernatural and more personal. The only two examples (and I'm biased, but would love to hear other examples) are The Rapture and The Man Who Would Be King. The Rapture was mostly about Jimmy and how he ended up being a vessel in the first place, how he ended up staying one and what he gave up in order to do that. first just because and then to save his daughter from having to go through what he'd gone through. Yes, I think (I might be wrong here so kindly let me know) it was the first time Dean saw Sam drinking demon blood to send demons back to hell and also Cas being sent to angel prison (and retconning it probably had Naomi go into his head) and coming back with Heaven's orders firmly in his to-do list. Then with The Man Who Would Be King it was mostly about Cas explaining how and why he came to be working working with Crowley while also being about the boys (especially Dean since he was in denial until the whole Superman and Kryptonite flub on Cas' part) finding out that someone they'd trusted had been lying to them. Granted both of those episodes where a lot better done than this one but while there were angels and demons in both of those, as well as this one, they were mostly personal stories, although way better done. I mean, complain about Carver as showrunner as you will, but he used to write some awesome episodes and Edlund, well, he's the best and that's all I have to say about that.

So, in conclusion, I'm glad they finally sorted out what happened to Jimmy, I've always wondered about his family, I'm glad that Claire running off caused Cas to need to ask the boys for help in order to bring them all back together but I'm not sure the midseason finally was the best time. I am on the edge of my seat wondering how much Sam is freaking out, how much angst is Dean gonna feel having killed humans (not the best examples of humans by any means, but still), is the hunger to kill sated for the time being, and is Cas gonna actually try and kill Dean? I doubt that, as they cut off the conversation in the diner and we never hear what he says back to Dean but it's still got me worried. So, I liked it, but I didn't. I'm patient however, and am waiting to see what they have in store for us the rest of the season ... I watched Angel (and Buffy, duh) and season 2-4 were a long story arc but it was so worth it in the end so I'm not going to freak out yet. It's too early and there's at least 14 episodes left for sure so as long as the payoff's good them I'm gonna wait and see.
cheryl42
# cheryl42 2014-12-19 01:01
Those are all great points. For me the show has always been the journey of the characters. The supernatural stuff is just the catalyst to get our heros into the predicaments that they have to deal with personally and together. The first episode I watched of SPN was Heart. It really wasn't about a werewolf was it? And maybe this wasn't the most stellar episode in the history of the show but I loved the little personal glimpses into the lives of our heros and villians. And I loved how it set up the story for each character going forward.
PENNY JAIME
# PENNY JAIME 2014-12-19 09:04
YOU TOUCHED ON MY BIGGEST FEAR RIGHT NOW. THAT THERE IS NO SIGNED CONTRACT BY JENSEN AND JARED. THEY KEEP SAYING THAT THEY ARE WILLING TO DO MORE SEASONS; BUT WITH NO CONTRACT, I FEAR THEY ARE JUST SAYING WHAT THE FANS WANT TO HEAR. NOW, THEY COULD BE WAITING UNTIL THEY GET PICKED UP AGAIN TO NEGOTIATE A BETTER DEAL; BUT UNTIL THEY SIGN ON THE DOTTED LINE, I AM AFRAID THIS IS THE END OF THE ROAD. I MEAN, THEY WOULD WANT THE ENDING TO BE A BIG SECRET FOR THE FANS. SO OF COURSE, THEY WOULDN'T WANT ANYONE TO ACTUALLY KNOW THAT THE SHOW WAS ENDING. THEY WOULD NEVER SAY IT. SO WE WILL JUST HAVE TO SIT BACK AND WAIT