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I'm not sure what it is about "Shadow," but it's not one of my favorites.  After re-watching I figured out why. For a good chunk of the episode, it isn't thrilling. It's boring actually. Since the plot isn't so great, the strengths of the episode easily come from the Winchester family drama. 
It's really interesting how much Dean has changed in season five since this. For one, he's quite the master of research now. Heck, he even has his own laptop! Second, his desperate need to be together as a family just isn't there anymore. Sure he still cares about Sam and feels obligated to save him, but it isn't the most important thing. It seems like he's going through the motions. Here nothing matters more than family and it's so endearing to watch. So positively heartbreaking too. 

I did like how Kripke, this episode's writer, brought up the burning question, "What if it was all over tomorrow?" Dean should be shocked that Sam wants to go back to his old life. This is where the writing continues to be all over the map with Sam's character. He said he didn't fit in at Stanford in "Skin" and when reconciling with Dean at the end of "Scarecrow" he acknowledges that mom and Jess are gone. All they have are each other. So now he wants to go back? I had a super hard time buying Sam's speech, but I let it go once I saw how crushed Dean was over Sam's brutal honesty. Oh poor guy!   


Speaking of hug, isn't that Winchester family reunion something? That is until it came to a quick end that I still don't understand. Dean's logic made no sense, nor did Sam's acceptance of it. I only don't harp on it because they saw the error in their ways a few episodes later.  John's ominous warning that this is far from over and they'll play their parts is probably when rumblings about a season two started happening. That's the first sign so far that this isn't a "one and done" showdown.   Is this the point that Sam begins to rethink his attitude toward family?

The episode also has it's gratuity!   The boys in blue jump suits. Dean flirting with cops and barmaids. Jokes about perversion, especially that hilarious scene with Sam. Oh, and tied up Winchesters. Let's not forget about the tied up Winchesters.   Meg's "playing" with a tied of Sam is an awesome tease. We've seen that happen to him a lot from female demons, haven't we? I wonder what makes him a demon magnet. The blood?   
Here's something I never caught. Dean asks Sam why he didn't leave the weapons in the car. Sam replies, "I've said it before and I'll say it again. Better safe than sorry." Hmm, so Sam had that "feeling" when Meg was around too? I think psychic visions would have been cooler.  
My overall grade is a B. The monster story gets a C-, the family moments an A.    


# elle 2010-01-27 10:58
Shadow isn't my favourite episode either, aside from the family stuff which, as you said Alice, was pretty great.

That weapons thing is an interesting point, given that (a) Sam, to my knowledge, never said "better safe than sorry" up to this point and (b) it's the only time they bring EVERYTHING in to the room.

This episode always tugs at my heartstrings because Dean's desire to go back to the way things were is so sad. He wants one thing in life and that's to be with his family. It is sad that now, he doesn't even have this anymore - it was like the last piece of innocence left in him, if you ask me.
# Randal 2010-01-27 13:41
I'm with you on the family moments, but I give the monster bits at worst a B+. I love this episode. I can see where the story might seem boring since it's pretty action-less until the last acts, but I like the simmering, almost noir glimmer casting about here and there. Plus shadow demons are just cool and Kim (and the editor, can't remember who) did a fantastic job keeping it off the hokey-meter.

Inconsistent!Sam (is that how you kids do the variations?), just chalk that up to season one. 8-)
# Bevie 2010-01-27 15:36
I too love this episode. And don't find it boring in the least!

Love the brotherly moments, Dean's hurt when Sam wants to quit after finding mom's killer, nasty nasty Meg!, and the reunion with big daddy. The guys tied up and bloody was a bonus. LOL!

Love Dean's flirting and shock when Meg was less than impressed by him. Loved the way Meg slithered around on the floor between them when tied to the posts. Like a snake!

Another one of my favourites. (Aren't they all though) ;-)
# Evelyn 2010-01-30 17:27
I really liked this episode. It is a 'go to' episode when I want to watch something Supernatural.

I especially love the brother moments, oh and Dean is wearing my favorite shirt. I don't think we've seen him wear it since AHBL. Although there was once awhile ago where we saw it in his duffle bag.

My favorite moment was the reunion of the boys with their father. When Dean and John walk towards each other and embrace. It gets me every time and I have to watch that scene numerous times before I can proceed. Despite everything, Dean really loves and admires his father and that really comes across in this little scene. I just wish they would have made it a little longer and allowed us a little more bonding time before the 'Shadows' attacked.