In terms of brotherly drama it can't get much worse for Dean and Sam Winchester, or can it? This fourth season will tear them apart, and there's not much we, the audience, can do about it. 
 

 
I am still amazed that I am able to care this much about fictional characters. They are well drawn. Authentic. Brilliantly acted. Their story pulls us in, sometimes reflecting personal experiences of us. Their courage is an inspiration. And it's plain, great fun to watch, albeit it proves us to be textbook masochists. Who in his right mind loves a story that, to quote Randal, keeps ‘Kleenex in business'. Well, clearly a rhetorical question. Personally, I have never loved any TV show more. Or invested that much time in writing or talking about or promoting it.
 

 
  
Lazarus Rising (4.1)
 
Dean crawls back into life after being pulled out from hell by ‘the one who gripped you tight and raised you from Perdition'. The brothers re-unite, but are different men. Ruby is there from the beginning, a fact Sam lies to Dean about. We meet Pamela, great, suddenly blind psychic. And, ahem, angels are real. You can't deny it anymore, Dean. They are devastatingly real.
 
Two fave moments here (sorry, folks, I am a weak woman…)
 
Sam and Dean finally in each others' arms. Yes, Dean, he is still alive.

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The best introduction to a new character: bad ass angel Castiel, in the coolest trench coat since Columbo.


 
 
Are You There, God? It's Me, Dean Winchester (4.2)
 
Okay, apocalypse starts slowly, breaking of 66 seals afoot. Rising of the witnesses. And they are angry. Sam is beaming about the angel news (at first, that is) – he was right all the time, there is some greater power watching! Fortunately, he doesn't know yet how hard the rock bottom is he's going to hit soon when the truth about the celestial dicks comes out. For now he is granted a moment of happiness and hope, while Dean still struggles with the idea.
 
Fave moment of many: The tragedy behind Meg. A parallel to the Winchester brothers. We hear about more terrible things the demon did to her. She had a little sister who killed herself.   How beautiful she was when not possessed. Too bad she had to be evil after being risen.
 
Megspeaks
 
 
In The Beginning (4.3)
 
Yes. Angels are in possession of DeLoreans. Castiel throws Dean back in time to stop the Winchester-Soul-Selling Tradition.
 
Two favourites:
 
Dean: Sammy, wherever you are, mom is a babe… I'm going to hell. Again.
 


 
 
Dean tries to explain to Mary not to get out of bed on the day in the future. Watching Dean torn up as he is in this scene makes me break out the tissues again. Looks, like I'm gonna need them writing this thing, as if weeping when watching the show wasn't enough, come on!

 
 
Metamorphosis (4.4)
 
Dean finds out about Sam's secrets with Ruby (well, the exorcising-with-the-mind thing, the blood drinking will remain a mystery to him for a while longer). Sam, for knowing how it feels like to be an abomination, sympathises with the rugaru.
 
Iconic moment of this episode: the brothers' fight which shows in a nutshell Sam's condition.
 
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Sam: You want to know why I've been lying to you, Dean? Because of crap like this!
Dean: Like what?
Sam: The way you talk to me, the way you look at me – like I'm a freak!
Dean: I do not.
Sam: You know, or even worse, like I'm an idiot. Like I don't know the difference between right and wrong.
Dean: Do you know the difference, Sam? I mean, you've been kind of strolling a dark road lately.
Sam: You have no idea what I'm going through. None.
Dean: Well, then enlighten me.
Sam: I've got demon blood in me, Dean! This disease pumping through my veins and I can't ever rip it out or scrub it clean. I'm a whole new level of freak! And I'm just trying to take this… this curse and make something good out of it. Because I have to.
 
 
Monster Movie (4.5)
 
The Winchesters look fabulous in black and white! More of this, please! I can't watch this anymore without hearing Jensen's tale from the L.A. convention March last: Todd Stashwick, the actor playing the shifter (as Dracula) went up to Jensen (in Lederhosen), saying: ‘remember, Jensen, we're grown men' – ‘I was like a basket case' Jensen admitted.
This episode is one single favourite moment. But I'm gonna pick this one out:
 
Sam corners Ed and tries to tear off his ear.
Sam: this is supposed to come off.
Ed: No, it's not!


 
 
The look on Sam's face is priceless.
 
 
Yellow Fever (4.6)
 
Ghost sickness! Bobby speaking Japanese! Scaring a ghost to death, ha! Jensen singing Eye of the Tiger! Dean screaming at the sight of a kitty. His vision of evil-Sam.
 
Best, to my mind though, is Dean's rant at Sam (could anyone check if the guy breathes at all???):
 
C'mon, we hunt monsters! What the hell? I mean, normal people, they see a monster and they run. But not us, no, no, no, we search out things that want to kill us! Or eat us! You know who does that? Crazy people! We… are insane! You know, and then there's the crappy dinner food and the skivvy motel rooms and the truck stop waitress with the bizarre rash. I mean, who wants this life, Sam? Seriously? Do you actually like being stuck in a car with me eight hours a day every single day? I don't think so! I drive too fast and I listen to the same five albums over and over and over again and I sing along and I'm annoying and I know that. And you… you're gassy! You eat half a burrito and you get toxic. You know what, you can forget it.. Stay away from me, Sam, because I'm done with it. I am done with the monsters and the hell hounds and the damn ghost sickness and the whole apocalypse. I'm out. I'm done. I quit.
 
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It's The Great Pumpkin, Sam Winchester (4.7)
 
It was about time a real Halloween episode came up, and man, this one really nailed Sammy to the wall -  the angels are dicks. There goes his belief and his trust. Even harder to fight the good fight now. Gory story. (With the impact of the story, I didn't really mind that they messed up the Samhain mythology here.)  
Super-Sammy being immune to demon ray-gun stuff… and Dean's devastated expression at realizing what his baby brother is capable of doing.
 
I wanted to go with all kinds of fave Sam scenes here, but I love the scene in which Dean tries to comfort Sam most:
 
Don't give up on this stuff, is all I'm saying. I mean, Babe Ruth was a dick, but baseball's still a beautiful game.
 
 
 
And: Astronaut!
 
astronaut
 
 
Wishful thinking (4.8)
 
Oh,my, be careful what you wish for. Sam reveals (not news, actually) that he isn't the guy who left for Stanford anymore. Not by far.

All kinds of crazies in this episode but, and I guess I'm preaching to the choir (so forgive me for not being original at all): my favourite is the suicidal Tedd.y
 
Teddy: Tea parties? Is that all there is?

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Yeah, right, teddy bear doctors...but adorable one!
 
 
 
 
 
 
I Know What You Did Last Summer (4.9)
 
Another episode I need to put on my all-time-fave list. After wondering for almost the whole first half of the season what happened to Sam when Dean was gone, this episode is an eye opener alright. Plus: we meet Anna.

And it is "again" a testimony to the marvellous actor Jared is. Playing e.g. a drunk well is as hard as it gets. I've hardly seen in well done. Jared nails is. His desperate Sam is so painfully at the end of his wits that it almost hurts physically to watch him. Well, done, Jared. Well, well done.
He gets close up to Ruby, but more than that she is able to get through to him. Finally, Sam reveals to Dean some of his past without his older brother.
 
My fave scene is (although the hot sex scene was a close contestant, who am I kidding) the one Ruby finds a way to touch Sam's depressed soul. And, frankly, Sam Winchester is, no matter how exhausted he might look, some fine eye candy. There you have it. Shallow woman, again.
 
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Heaven and Hell (4.10)
 
Pam, blind, but still gutsy as hell, returns. She helps Anna find out that she is, in fact, an angel. Uriel, again, turns out to be a major dick. Alistair tortures Ruby (which is part of a huge con plan, brave of her to go for it, because the pain was real for her, well we know what prize she was expecting for her loyalty). Dean and Anna make love. And Dean talks about hell.
 
There are two scenes I particularly love:
 
Pamela and Sam meet again. He is movingly sweet with her.
Pamela: Sam, is that you?
Sam: I'm right here.
She takes a grab: Oh, know how I can tell? That perky little ass of yours. (and Dean likes this moment, too)
 
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And, of course, there could be no other. Dean's big revelation at the end:
 
Dean: they sliced and carved and tore at me in ways that you until there was nothing left. And then, suddenly, I would be whole again. Like magic. Just so they could start in all over. And Alistair, at the end of every day, every one, he would come over and he would make me an offer: to take me off the rack. If I put souls on. If I started the torture. And every day I told him to stick it where the sun shines. For 30 years I told him. But then I couldn't do it anymore, Sammy. I couldn't . And I got off that rack. God help me, I got right off it, and I started ripping them apart. I lost count of how many souls. The...the things that I did to them.
Sam: Dean, Dean, look, you held out for 30 years. That's longer than anyone would have.
Dean: How I feel...this inside me...I wish I couldn't feel anything. Sammy, I wish I couldn't feel a damn thing.

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There are no words to express how fabulous an actor this man is.  If you follow Sam's reaction to Dean's words, you will notice how accordingly Jared responds here, a evidence of his talent. Both actors are actually listening to one another, crucial to play a scene like this well. With moments like this I am hardly able to say how much I respect and admire their abilities.
 
 
Family Remains (4.11)
 
Creepy children again. Disgusting, too. And Supergirl.
 
Best scene here, and, I admit, again not the most original suggestion: Dean's second part of revealing how he feels about his time in hell and giving the perfect description of a man who survived torture (I addressed this in an article 'Torture and Survival of Dean Winchester', in case you want to look into it again or - those of you who haven't read it might be interested to understand a tiny bit more about the psychology behind it).
 
Sam: You were in hell, Dean. Maybe you did what you did there, but you're not them. They were barely human.
Dean: No, you're right. I wasn't like them. I was worse. They were animals, Sam. Defending territory. Me? I did it for the sheer pleasure.
Sam: What?
Dean: I enjoyed it, Sam. They took me off the rack and I tortured souls, and I liked it. All those years, all that pain, finally getting to deal some out yourself. I didn't care who they put in front of me. Because that pain I felt, that just slipped away. No matter how many people I save, I can't change that. I can't fill this hole. Not ever.


 
Someone get me a drink. Oban. Double. Neat.

 
 
Criss Angel Is A Douchebag (4.12)
 
Sam sees their future mirrored in two magicians. A tragic tale. One of two best friends is forced to kill the other in the end for the greater good. Sound familiar?
 
Favourite scene: Dean stumbling into...ahem...
 
Chief: You are really gonna get it tonight, bit boy.
Dean: There's been a misunderstanding. I think I've been had.
Chief: Oh, you ain't been had, till you've been had by the Chief. Oh, and before we get started: what's your safe word?

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Afterschool Special (4.13)
 
Ah, some more of young Dean and Sam. Love it! Plus a moving story the experienced back than, another tragic one. Yes, this show monopolizes tragedy. I'm gonna need another funny scene here:
 
Dean in red shorts, looking downright ridiculous: The whistle makes me their God!


 
 
Sex And Violence (4.14)
 
Wow, talk about venting. Ugly truths. The Siren from True Blood. Sam's love-em-and-leave-em premiere with a lovely, yet screwed up doc. Bobby saves the day.
 
My fave scene is again the last one - the Winchesters 'talking' it over, and although they are quite economical with words, they say pages of dialogue in between lines. And my heart breaks once more for these amazing guys.
 
Sam: Dean, look, you know I didn't mean the things I said back there, right? That it was just the siren's spell talking?
Dean: Of course, me too.
Sam: Okay. So...so, we're good?
Dean: Yeah, we're good.
 
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Whose brains are you trying to salt here?
 
 
Death Takes a Holiday (4.15)
 
Astral projection actually works? Thank God for Pamela. Damn you guys, though, for dragging her back into it and to her death. The creepiest Alistair ever (Christopher Heyerdahl is as charismatic a villain as it gets).
 
The best scene, yes, one more time, a forlorn one. Pamela, after having been stabbed, laughing in the face of death (a desperate try to keep her head up) and slapping Sam verbally for getting them to this point, warning him about his 'good intentions'. What a great, brave woman. I'm gonna miss Pamela.
 
"If you think you have good intentions, Sam, think again."

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On The Head Of a Pin (4.16)
 
How can I pick a favourite scene here? Angels die. Dean decides, under duress, heartbroken, to become a torturer again, though he dreads what that might turn him to. We finally learn what else Sam has been doing with Ruby, getting strong enough to destroy a demon like Alistair. And Dean, ah, finds out that he has been weaker than dad and jumpstarted the apocalypse.
 
Now, the scene I picked is one more proof for Jensen's reduced and understated brilliance. Alistair shoves the truth into his face with so much drive that it makes me sick every time. Dean turns away, trying to hide from the truth, denying it at first, but you see in a split-second that he knows immediately the whole dimension of it.

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Alastair: And it is written that the first seal shall be broken when a righteous man sheds blood in hell. As he breaks, so shall it break. We had to break the first seal before the others, only way to get the dominos to fall, right? When we win, when we bring on the apocalypse and burn this earth down, we owe it all to you, Dean Winchester.
 
 
It's a Terrible Life (4.17)
 
Who would have thought that Dean could make such a lovely manager? And Sam playing around with a Dracula jiggle head? Come on! Zachariah, the angel I will soon hate the most. Plus: the Ghostfacers return!
 
This is my favourite moment:
 
Ed: Next little trick, we learnt this from those useless douche bags.
Harry: That we hate.
Ed: The Winchesters. Gun.
Harry: Shotgun shell.
Ed: Pack it up with fresh rock salt. Very effective.
Harry: Very effective.
Ed: Winchesters suck ass though.
Harry: Affirmative. Suckage, major.
 

  
 
The Monster At The End Of This Book (4.18)
 
Fandom references. Slash. Oh dear. Chuck the prophet. Lilith growing up (I would have loved to see an actress of more charisma in this part, sometimes pretty just isn't enough. Guess what someone of the calibre of  Kate Winslet or Rachel Weisz could have brought to that role)
 
Best introduction ever: I am the prophet Chuck!
 
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Most moving scene - Sam's biggest fears are being confirmed:
Chuck: It must be hard to know that it all rests on your shoulders.
Sam: Does it? rest all on my shoulders?
 

 
 
 
 
Jump The Shark (4.19)
 
John Winchester was not a monk. Anyone out there who thought so? Great storyline. Gory, disgusting creatures. Dean saving Sam for the first time in a long time like in the old days - and getting out of the crypt via an angel-window - what attention to detail!
 
My favourite scene is the ghouls tying Sam down and torturing him, in fact trying to bleed him out. This was terrifying. And I might just be the sick scientist from hell.
 

 
 
The Rapture (4.20)
 
Finally – Castiel's background, respectively Jimmy's story. Are there no happy tales on the planet anymore? Sam drinks blood, openly, as he can't hold it back any longer (and wants to save Jimmy's wife). He ends up in Bobby's panic room.
 
The best scene here is Jimmy offering his body to Castiel again in exchange for his daughter. That girl was absolutely fantastic in that scene. What a phenomenal young actress.

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When The Levee Breaks (4.21)
 
What could I possibly say about this amazing episode that hasn't already been said? Acting-fest for Jared, what an incredible job he does. Everyone is great, Jensen, Jim, Misha, one actor spurring on the other, what a joy to see.
This episode breaks my heart every time I watch it. Every bloody time. I sound like a broken record.
 
My favourite scene (which was really tough to choose) takes place in Bobby's scrapyard. Bobby tries to hold Sam back.
 
Bobby: We're trying to help you, son.
Sam – placing the gun's barrel over his heart: Then shoot. (I am convinced – for a moment he wants it)


 
I'll place a few more pictures here, without comment, just moments that move me beyond description.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 
And, lastly, Dean says it.
 
Dean: Because it's not something that you're doing, it's what you are. It means…
Sam: What? No. Say it.
Dean: It means you are a monster.


 
 
 
My heart is scattered all over the room. I'll be back in a minute. Where is that superglue when you need it?
 
 
Lucifer Rising (4.22)
 
The celestial, yet quite infernal holodeck. Ruby manipulates Sam...as he is without hope...she succeeds. She gets killed, finally. And, of course, Lucifer rises.
 
Best loved scene: Bobby can't keep his mouth shut any longer. There's so much love in this scene. Don't we just love Bobby?!


 


 
 
 
Bobby: You stupid, stupid son of a bitch! Well, boo hoo. I am so sorry your feelings are hurt, princess! Are you under the impression that family's supposed to make you happy? Make you an apple pie, maybe? They're supposed to make you miserable, that's why they're family!
Dean: I told him "if you walk out that door, don't come back," and he walked out anyway! That was his choice.
Bobby: You sound like a whiny brat. No, you sound like your dad. Well let me tell you something: Your dad was a coward.
Dean: My dad was many things, Bobby, but a coward?
Bobby: He'd rather push Sam away than reach out to him. Well, that don't strike me as brave. You are a better man than your daddy ever was. So you do both of us a favour: don't be him
 
 
Off to season five. It doesn't get easier for our dear Winchesters and their allies. If you needed tissues for this season, stock up on them, as you're going to need them again. Part five to follow soon.
 
May the good angels watch over you. As for the others: Kick 'em in the ass (Kim Manners, we miss you).

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See you in a while for more favourite moments of season five! Or, that said, it might be a better idea to wait it out four more episodes and deliver a full account of the fifth season which, I think, is my personal favourite so far, though it's hard to actually choose. So, well, see you after the fifth season's cliff-hanger...I'm sure there will be one...and I my greatest fear is: Sam will be dead. Oh my!