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Dean’s journey is Season Ten was indeed a rich one, but in a way it bothered me.  Sure, it’s a compelling story of fighting the evil within and Jensen knocked it out of the park, but for someone damned with such a dangerous curse, his path ended up being rather predictable.  The plot certainly wasn’t rocket science.  He’s a demon, then he’s cured, then he fights that monster within all season and then some tragic death sends him off the rails for the big showdown with brother Sammy.  It all seems textbook.  In this deeper look though, I hope to find some nuances that take this basic story and give Dean a few extra layers beyond the basic plot.  They’re there, but just like Sam’s plight, there are times you have to look hard.  

Dean’s mission was to simply keep on hunting and try to do good until he went bad.  It took until episode 19 for him to openly question that plan.  How successful and/or interesting was it to watch Dean fight that inner monster?  Just like with the inconsistency of the episodes, sometimes it worked and sometimes it didn’t.  


I found it an interesting choice that instead of becoming ruthless, Dean just resorted to lazy fun.  Sure if he turned on that switch he could be very lethal, but he had to be prodded to do so.  He mostly wanted to do the things that Dean Winchester normally likes to do for fun, drinking, screwing around with hot women, and I can only imagine that the real Dean had a go or two at Karaoke.  It was Dean just letting go and not caring about anything.  The difference is being a demon, he could also be a dick to anyone he wanted.  He’s there for the party and nothing more.  

Is this possibly the real Dean Winchester at his most primitive core, minus the moral values? I can’t help but make comparisons between Demon Dean and Soulless Sam after seeing this episode.  The two are pretty similar.  Soulless Sam, aka Sam without the inhibitions, had sex with numerous women anywhere (public restroom!) and was pinpoint focused on the hunt, not to mention being a dick to whoever he wanted.  Just like Demon Dean, he was also a bit of a loose cannon.  That’s what happens when self control isn’t a requirement.  I’m sure that parallel was in mind when the story of Demon Dean was constructed.  

Overall though, what did we learn from this display?  The same thing Crowley did, Dean Winchester makes a shitty demon.  


Now this is what happens when Dean Winchester goes evil!  It’s delicious, and very jarring as well.  


This episode raised the question much better, is Dean’s soul truly corrupted?  There was plenty of evidence it was and this is the only time that evil Dean really gave us chills.  It definitely proved once and for all, as a demon Dean could be very deadly.  His only problem, just like we saw in “Black,” was motivation.  He didn’t want to serve an agenda.  He was enjoying the free form life of “howling at that moon.”  Well, he really wasn’t, but he didn’t want to do anything else either.   At least with hunting he had a purpose.  Dean showed exactly though it wasn’t a good idea to push him.  Crowley learned that the hard way in sending Dean to deal with Lester.   Crowley also knew better to fight back when Dean resorted to physical violence.  He had a better plan, call Moose!  (I love how smart Crowley is).  

Dean was hardly welcoming to Sam, challenging him to try and kill him, then mocking him and his trademark puppy dog look!  He didn’t want to be cured (what demon does?) or go home with Sam.  He’s even snarky when Cole interrupts their reunion.  “Right, right.  You’re the guy who’s supposed to put a bullet in Sammy’s brain.  Did you miss?”  Eventually Sam is able to step in and capture Dean during his encounter with Cole, and it’s so not pretty.  

Dean’s chilling words in the Impala easily make us think if he’s too far gone.  He even calls his baby just a car!  (Take that back you spiteful demon).  Sam refuses to believe that though, mentioning to Dean that let Cole live.  Dean doesn’t see that as being good at all.  “You call that mercy?  Imagine you spend your whole life hunting down the guy that knifed your father.  When you finally find him…he whips you like a dog.  How do you think that feels?  That kid’s gonna spend his whole life knowing that he had his shot and that he couldn’t beat me.  That ain’t mercy. That’s the worst thing I could have done to him.  And what I’m gonna do to you, Sammy…Well that ain’t gonna be mercy, either.”    


“Soul Survivor”

And the deliciousness ends with a giant thud.  So much for the “Year of the Deanmon.” 

“Oh, I know how to thwart my determined brother from curing me, I’ll insult him!  I’ll make him cry!  That’ll stop him!”  I was not impressed that Demon Dean didn’t know how to hit Sammy where it hurt until he hurled a hammer at him and forced him to make the decision to kill him or not.  Sam Winchester has taken about every verbal insult imaginable.  He won’t break that way and Dean knows that at his core, demon or not.  I would have been more impressed if Dean pretended to be near death just to get the drop on Sam (leading to a longer cat and mouse chase) or made chilling threats because he could, rather than bringing up the whole Lester thing (you know, throwing guilt around about a guy none of us care about) or AGAIN bringing up that “my mother would still be alive” line.  It just didn’t work on many levels.  

My take away comes from the closing scene with Castiel.  No doubt, Dean feels very awkward about the situation.  He isn’t celebratory, he’s freaked out.  He feels awful that he tried to kill Sam with a hammer, but knows all to well this isn’t over.  The MOC is still there and same thing  could happen again, or even something worse.   It’s the impending sense of doom!   This is not a happy ending.  


“Paper Moon”

Dean has a double problem.  Not only does he have to find his own footing again, but he has to deal with his jumpy brother watching him like a hawk, waiting for him to go postal at any second.  He deals with it by going back to work.  R&R is definitely not working.  When Sam asks if he’s okay, Dean deflects.  He brings up Lester, wondering if Sam is okay.  Dean can justify what he did to Lester, he was a demon.  But can Sam justify what he did?  Dean backs off, deciding to end the point with the fact that they both aren’t okay.  

Oh, but there’s more.  Dean even hints to Sam, when they are debating over whether to kill Kate and Tasha, that all he did for him was futile because he still has the Mark.  That maybe the collateral damage wasn’t worth the price.  Sam doesn’t want to equate their situation with the two sisters.

Dean finally admits he feels embarrassed by the whole thing after Sam brings up the trauma of having to carry his dead body back to the bunker.  He even tries to say “thank you.”  The brothers are square for now.  

“Fan Fiction” 

Nothing like a dose of appreciation for your brother and life on the road.  At least Dean realized his crappy situation was better than robots and space. 

“Ask Jeeves”

There are a few ways to interpret Dean’s first kill since being cured.  The way I see it, he scared himself.  When he does that, he refuses to talk about things, especially with Sam.  It’s consistent with what he said at the end of “Paper Moon.”    

“It’s about getting back in the saddle.  Okay?  Doing something good instead of stewing in my own crap.”  

He’s trying to stay focused and not completely lose it.  Is he okay?  Not really.  But he has to keep hunting.  It’s the only way to do the right thing.  

“Girls, Girls, Girls”

Dean is finding some very interesting ways to cope.  He’s finding dates online now?  That’s one of his vices, demon or not, hooking up with hot women and looking for one night stands.  It’s one of his coping mechanisms.  Granted the whole thing was a setup from the writers to have some teasing from Sam, but it does make you wonder why he’s sliding back like this.  He’s drinking on the job again too.  Perhaps the incident in “Ask Jeeves” really hit him hard.  

The showdown with Cole is significant though.  He wants to make things right with Cole and set the record straight about what happened this time.  He owes Cole that much after what his demon self did to him in “Reichenbach.”  Dean remembers the case.  He remembers that Cole’s dad was a monster.  His speech is one of the most earnest things Dean has ever said:

“I get it, that was your story. Look man I got one of those too, okay but those stories that we tell that keep us going. Man, sometimes they blind us. They take us to dark places -- the kind of place where I might beat the crap out of a good man, just for the fun of it. The people who love me, they pulled me back from that edge. Cole once you touch that darkness... it never goes away. Now the truth is... I'm past saving. I know how my story ends, it's at the edge of a blade or the barrel of a gun. So the question is is that gonna to be today? It gonna be that gun?"

DeanWorried 2244

We know that he was being honest, but why did he tell Sam that he was telling Cole what he wanted to hear?  Was it to cover the fact that he doesn’t think he’s coming out of this alive?  That he can’t tell Sam what he is truly feeling?  Sam knows Dean, he should know he wouldn’t say those things to someone just to talk them down.  But clearly Dean isn’t really to share those deepest fears with Sam, thus causing more doubt in Sam’s mind that Dean is stable.  This behavior is classic Dean.  

“Hibbing 911”

Dean is clearly frustrated with research by now.  Obviously they aren’t finding answers.  Working sounds better than digging through more MOL books.  In the end, killing felt like him, not the MOC.  “All I know is, back there, killing those vamps…I felt like me again.”  They’re going with that.  As we all suspected, it lasts one episode. 

“The Things We Left Behind”

Let the homicidal nightmares begin!  Time to feel the aching Mark!  Something is off!  

No, all kidding aside, this was a big turning point for Dean.  It showed us once and for all that the world is starting to crumble around him.  He’s back on the path of losing control and it’s scaring the crap out of him.  For Sam’s sake though, he’s not letting it show.  Castiel though isn’t as easily fooled.  

Dean BloodyVision 2590

It all starts in the first frame with the nightmares.  The next frame in the MOL library, the way Dean is laughing at classic Three Stooges, is certainly weird.  Sam notices.  Then Dean’s a bit snarky too, throwing out the best zinger of the season.  “An emergency is a dead body, okay?  Or-or a wigged-out angel, or the Apocalypse, take three.  Some chick bolting on you is not an emergency.  That’s, that’s every Friday night for Sam.”  Dean’s behavior is demonstrating one clear thing, the MOC is all about extremes. 

It’s some very weird advice that he gives that tips off Castiel though.  “The people you let down, the one’s you can’t save…You got to forget about them.  For your own good.”  When Castiel calls him out on that, asking if that’s what he does, Dean does confess it’s the opposite of what he does.  “But I ain’t exactly a role model.”  Now Castiel sees that something isn’t right and the whole thing takes an interesting turn.  Once Castiel presses, Dean entrusts him to do something that he knows Sam can’t do.  

Dean:  If I do go dark side, you got to take me out.
Castiel:  What do you mean?
Dean:  Knife me.  Smite me.  Throw me into the freakin’ sun.  And don’t let Sam get in the way, because he’ll try.  I can’t go down that road again, man.  I can’t be that thing again.  

Perhaps we would have gotten a better reaction from Castiel if they didn’t cut to the other fluff…Rowena…Claire and Randy…Randy and Claire…Claire acting out…Rowena and Crowley filler…Claire in trouble…my finger on the fast forward button…

Okay, I do have to comment on this, and I know I probably ripped on this in my original review, but why was this John Winchester story even in here?  To prove that Dean still cares for his family?  I won’t even touch how the whole story makes no sense knowing Dean as a teen, but let’s just say that the whole trip down memory lane didn’t really enhance Dean’s current struggle at all.  It’s filler.  

So, after that big opener, we had to wait through a bunch of Castiel and Claire fluff until the big end.  Dean was provoked by assholes.  It reminds me of that classic Incredible Hulk line (the TV series with Bill Bixby), “Don’t make me angry.  You wouldn’t like me when I’m angry.”  Dean commits a massacre of horrifying proportions and…Castiel must not have promised to take Dean out.  If this wasn’t the sign of going darkside I don’t know what was.  Good to know Castiel doesn’t have the guts either.  One thing for sure, judging by Dean’s dazed reaction, he has no idea what happened.  That’s definitely not good. 


“The Hunter Games”

A remorseful Dean is finally getting on board with getting rid of the Mark, instead of telling Castiel to take him out.  “That was a massacre, it what is was.  There was a time I was a hunter, not a stone cold killer.  You can say it, you’re not wrong.  I crossed a line.  Guys, this thing’s got to go.”  I don’t think Brad and Eugenie read the script before this one.  Anyway, Castiel decides that if anyone has the answer, it’s Metatron, and he’s not wrong there.  

There are still some takeaways from this that make some sense.  Dean losing it on Metatron was predictable, but expected.  After all, Metatron did kill him!  Still, you have to wonder if Metatron got in his head with this line:  “My morality is being judged by Dean Winchester?  How many people have suffered and died because they believed in you  How many times have you lied to Sam, including, oh by the way, when he was possessed by an angel?  And you say, ‘oh well it’s for the greater good” but lately buddy, that greater good thing went away, didn’t it?  And now people die because you want them to.”  

But the whole thing turned out to be a dead end and now Dean is again without an option.  He’s clearly out of control, so Sam proposes that it’s really Dean Winchester losing control, not a man under the influence of the MOC.  He just needs to fight it.  “Maybe part of that powerful force has to be you.”  Hee, things went back to not making sense.  There’s no way that’s going to work, and both of them know it.  

“There’s No Place Like Home”

There’s some of those layers!  No doubt that Dean is losing control of himself, and this episode really digs at Dean’s inner battle.  Dean is doing what he can to be a better person, even trying to eat healthy like Sam.  Yeah, we knew that wouldn’t last long.  While getting ready to leave, Dean’s hand is shaking.  It only takes one harsh interrogation early on in the case to confirm that doubt Dean is very rough around the edges.  

The two Charlies story is rather brilliant, one good and one dark, so they could pair Dean with the darker half.  It only made sense since they both were dealing with their ominous and sinister halves.  To watch Dean face the dark side of someone who he loves and adores is a great parallel for forcing him to stare at his own darkness.  

“Our Charlie?  Yea high, wouldn’t hurt a Hobbit, practically sparkles?”  

No doubt seeing that side of Charlie disturbed him  and got him thinking about his own demons.  He gave her the benefit of the doubt around the guy who killed her parents in the auto accident, and Charlie deceived him by killing him anyway.   It’s definitely on Dean’s mind when they talk in the bar:

Dean:  You lied to me.
Dark Charlie:  You lied to yourself.  That’s kind of your move.  Something’s off about you, though, isn’t it?  It’s always something with you boys.  
Dean:  I’ve made mistakes.  But I’ll pay for mine.  And you’ll pay for yours.  
Dark Charlie:  Come on, Dean, I’m not the monster here.  He was.  He got what he deserved.  You know I’m right.  You know what I learned about being dark?  It sets you free.  And part of you knows that’s right too.  

I wondered what Dean meant about him paying for his mistakes.  Does he think that he’ll die from this experience?  Does he think Castiel and possibly Sam will really take him out?  It’s definitely a nice clue following his conversation with Castiel in “Things We Left Behind.”  The fact is though that Dark Charlie knew exactly how to bring out that inner monster in Dean, provoking him at Clive’s house, and it worked too well.  Dean in retaliation almost killed Charlie, and Sam stopped him just in time.  As Sam comforts a wounded and distraught Charlie, Dean is left to realize that he’s losing control of that monster inside.  

Oh, but Dean in his self loathing gets a gift.  It’s the real Charlie again, the one who’s all heart, the one who will do anything to save Dean from himself.  “I’m not letting what happened to me happen to you.”    Dean still won’t forgive himself. 

Charlie:  You’re a Winchester.  I forgive you Dean. 
Dean:   Yeah, well, I don’t.
Charlie:  I know.  Kind of your move.  How’s that working out for you, huh?
Dean:  I’m so sorry kiddo. 
Charlie:  Then prove it.  

Dean and Charlie share a big hug before she leaves, aka the hug of forgiveness.  Dean tells Sam he’s not okay after Charlie leaves, but his hand is steady now.  Is this a sign of self control?  Has the inner beast been tamed for now?  TBD…


Coming up in part two, Dean eventually goes off the rails.  Something we saw coming all along.  Will a better man come out the other side?  


# Jen 2015-09-22 09:54
Thank you a interesting read. Mmmmm It was supposed to be a big season for Dean -- but from your writings I feel you saw more change in Sam, even though he appeared to be a mere "coat hanger" in season 10. Were you disappointed in Demon Dean / Dean's script in S10. In Sam's deeper look you really clarified alot of things for me, and I did see alot of change in Sam, because of that. Do you feel that the writers did a BIG dis-service to DemonDean/Dean in S10 - I will be interested to read P2 Thank you
# Alice 2015-09-23 09:37
Thanks Jen! Yes, overall I was disappointed with the whole Demon Dean story. It didn't last long enough, although if it had gone a half season like Soulless Sam, that would have been too much. I'm not exactly sure how they should have done it, but it was a disappointment. I don't think the writers did a good enough job bringing out that inner conflict inside Dean the whole season. The Things They Left Behind was the best to show Dean's inner struggle in the first half of the season. As for the rest I felt most writers (not named Berens) were too busy getting in their "awesome" monster stories and building up supporting characters.

I'm not sure we saw more of a change in Sam, but it was easier to follow his path. Probably because he was in action mode while Dean was doing all he could to stay steady. One could easily argue that the entire ordeal was harder on Sam than Dean, but I think the impact was equal. There is evidence of stronger development with Dean in part two, especially with "The Executioner's Song," "The Werther Project," and "Brother's Keeper." Otherwise, I didn't see a lot of big changes happening. Dean dealt with his problem as long as he could and then went off the rails. Watching him "deal but not deal" for most of the season wasn't very riveting. Honestly, I think that what happened to Dean in season 10 will have a bigger impact in season 11. Now that he no longer has that burden, he should have a new perspective on life, especially given the dire circumstances. I hope anyway! I really hope.
# AlyCat22 2015-09-25 05:12
Okay Alice, Dean girls back. I wasn't going to write anything but then found that I really could not. You pretty much covered it all and yet I still had to put something down on "paper" just because. :) My take? Too much subtlety when everyone and their mother were expecting just the opposite.

Don't get me wrong, I loved DemonDean. I loved the first three episodes, just not the Cas/Hanna road trip to boredom or the other sideshow, but I'm talking about the MOC/DemonDean/F irstBlade storyline so I'll leave that for another discussion some other time. I enjoyed watching DemonDeans progression from karaoke fool to bedding AnnMarie to coldhearted bastar- tho I gotta say, I still wonder what that thing with the thing was.. Sorry, I digress. I loved DDean and Crowley together, his fight(s) with Cole. I thought the scene where he was sitting at the piano and played the first three chords to Hey Jude before "picking a side" was masterful. Sam seeing Dean alive again for the first time since he laid his corpse down on the memory foam mattress. So painful. The back and forth between them both. Sam's hesitancy and fear when DDean picks the Firstblade up off the top of the piano not knowing what DDean is going to do and then Sam's quiet steadfast resolve while Dean is warning him to take advantage of the opportunity to leave before DDean rips his throat out with his teeth. By the end of the episode with that look at Crowley and the promise to Sam to show him no mercy, I was so excited I may have fallen to the floor, flailed about and ended up underneath my couch... not really, but close. Close. The coffeetable blocked my way. ;) Then we get Soul Survivor and the dark, taunting, hurtful, evil, bad, naughty, brother killing "simply because you pissed him off Sam" DemonDean. That cat and mouse! DemonDean smelling the air, stalking Sam. Picking a hammer as the weapon of choice, saying he wasn't going to leave, "not till I find you"! That final moment where Sam gives in knowing he can't kill his brother, willing to die rather than having to do so and then Cas shows up at the last second... the couch flailing had begun again in earnest and then- it's over. WHATTT!?! I picked myself up off of the floor staring incredulously at the black screen with white letters giving credit to the exec producers Robert and Jeremy. Surely that isn't it, is it? Look at how Jensen played that last look after DDean was cured. That didn't look like "I'm glad to be back", more like "I'd like to be gutting you both right about now!" But alas, it was not meant to be, (no, not the gutting part!) DemonDean was no more.

So, I thought to myself, the MOC/FirstBlade is still on the table, there's more dark, taunting, hurtful, evil, bad, naughty, possibly still wanting to kill your brother "simply because you pissed him off Sam" MOC/FirstBlade Dean!!! Right? Nope. We got Kate the Werewolf and a highschool musical. Oh and then what seemed like more fillers than you could shake a stick at. And let's not forget subtlety. So much subtlety when it came to the MOC/FirstBlade that even when it was touched on in an episode if you blinked you might have missed it. And what I found extremely frustrating and that I really don't remember quite to this extent in other seasons, was that when we finally did get an episode where something big actually happened like Dean under the influence of the MOC wiping out a bunch of would be rapist scumbags or the moving confrontation with Cain...leading us to believe that there would actually be some solid progression regarding the MOC storyline, Show would just yank the rug right out from under and instead spoon feed us some crappy episode like Paint It Black the following week. By the time they got around to actually having Dean finally go off the rails I couldn't help but think that we should have been at this point several episodes back. Pacing. They suck at it anymore, and yes, I understand they have to have fillers but is it too much to ask that more of them be good ones? Or that maybe they could have tied them into the MOC stronger? Supernatural did a much better job of that back in Season Three, Four and Five. Oh and if you are going to have Sam run around convincing everyone that Dean is losing it, then SHOW us. Stop with the tell. Too much lazy storywriting going on and several of them are guilty of it.

So Season Eleven. Cautiously optimistic, though I can't promise I won't heave a brick at my TV if anyone representing The Darkness!! shows up in any form of corporate attire. Or if Show cheats us all, both Sam and Dean girls, by cutting short the promised, long awaited, way overdue, car wash scene. Oh and Show? You are on notice. Flailing. I want you to make me want to flail again. It doesn't have to be the kind of flailing that would make it into the Guinness World Book of Records - I can't afford to replace my furniture- but major. I expect major flailing. A flailfest, if you will, and fellow viewers, you are all welcome to join me.
# Vince 2015-09-28 04:09
I thought Demon Dean should have gone 4 episodes, and then they do the cure in the 200th. Same basic episode as "Soul Survivor" except have it be a bottle episode, just 100% in the Bunker with Sam and Dean, no cutting to Crowley or Cas. And then have "Fan Fiction" as a pallet cleanser, and then the season would go on as it originally did.
# cheryl42 2015-09-22 14:06
Great read. My biggest quibble with demon Dean is they didn't take him far enough. We don't know what it was like for Cain but it sounded to me like Cain wreaked havoc on Mankind, created armies and was generally a badass demon until he met Collette. I don't know what Crowley's plan for Dean was (maybe being his hired gun?) but sleazy barfly wasn't what I was expecting. The influence of the MOC as the season progressed made for some compelling episodes I just wish that we didn't get so many fillers with no progression at all. From TNPLH on though Dean was struggling with the Mark more visibly. I felt like that episode kind of kicked off the second half of the season and the gallop to the end, with a few hiccups here and there.
The John conversation in TTWLB I thought (even though it didn't fit with any other backstory we ever heard about Dean's relationship with John) was more as a teaching moment for Cas. In how to deal with a rebellious teenager I suppose. That episode kind of epitomized the whole season. Exciting beginning to puzzling middle to exciting end.
I just finished The Werther Project in my S10 re-watch. I am really looking forward to the 2nd installment of your closer look at Dean.
# Brr 2015-09-22 18:26
Cheryl--I see Dean's barfly tendencies both as indicative of what real Dean might love to do with no responsibilitie s weighing on him, and more importantly, as a stalling tactic with Crowley. He didn't want to be a lackey, and he was stretching Crowley's "howl at the moon" offer as far as he possibly could. That they wound up in a dive in North Dakota? Just shows that the ride is almost over--
# cheryl42 2015-09-22 18:46
I agree that was what Carver was going for in Black. Dean with no inhibitions. I had hoped though that Dean was going to be a fearsome opponent for Sam and Cas. A cat and mouse between them from the get. Instead we had a time jump where weeks went by, a sick and ineffective Cas and Dean being pretty much Dean only sleazier.
Like I said the implication with Cain was that he (under the orders of Lucifer) created a demon army to wipe God's creation from the earth. I didn't understand the buddy comedy that Crowley had going with Dean. What was the purpose and why wouldn't he want Dean to do what the MOC was meant to do?
Dean could have walked away from Crowley any time he wanted. He wasn't having any fun. He was depressed and somewhat conflicted about being a demon even though his soul was supposed to be twisted beyond anything human. With the MOC he should have been fearsome from the beginning.
I guess I was just expecting something different.
# Jen 2015-09-23 06:39
When Dean became DemonDean all they appeared to play on was his drinking and his sex life. There is more to Dean than that. They could have really played it out for more episodes than they did. His a great hunter and a great taction so why didn't they show him fighting more demons and demorilizing Crowley - maybe going as far as stalking Sam & Castiel. Maybe even play more on his inner fight between good and evil. They missed a good oppurtunity here to make Dean shine (it would have been a great acting challenge for Jensen). I feel a lot of people felt let down by The Season of the Deanmon It should have been called the season of the MOC
# Vince 2015-09-28 04:16
Honestly how Demon Dean was portrayed made a lot of sense, and was frankly more interesting than if he went on a murdering rampage and acting like the typical cocky demon. Dean didn't have his humanity burned away over centuries, so some part of the original Dean still lingered in there. When Dean had to go dark, Jensen sold it amazingly with just his body language and demeanor, it made him more scary than having stalk and kill people ever could be.

As for the "Year of the Deanmon" thing, marketing is a different department for which the show really has no say in. I mean Berens has gone on about how much he hates the next episode previews, and would rather there be nothing shown at all.
# Brr 2015-09-22 18:23
I'm just going to throw this in, because I've been wondering about this for some time. Is it possible that the lack of love for the Twosome might cause an automatic downgrading of their episodes? Don't get me wrong, they are not my favorite writers on staff, and their nun episode (hot nun, time-fake-out, and confessional scene aside) was my least favorite of the season. BUT I thought that Soul Survivor was really well done, and on re-watch, the 3-act arc of Demon Dean is more than satisfying to me. I'm with everyone else in that I wish the storyline had lasted longer, but I'm not sorry that we now have the musical episode, and I understand that both the constraints of making that episode work within the context of the season plus external constraints that were outside the writers' control caused the story to be shortened. I'm okay with that.

I also really liked the mid-season episode, John W. story and all. It was just a sweet scene, made sense in terms of Dean trying to tell Cas something about parenting, and was beautifully acted by all three.
# cheryl42 2015-09-22 18:52
I also liked Soul Survivor better than some. Except for the road trip with Cas and Hannah it was pretty a good episode I thought.
# Suzkatoon75 2015-09-23 07:36
With the reactions I have seen the answer is yes. It starts immediately even before the episode has aired depending on the writer/writers. I couldn't care less who writes and what. I sail with open mind to every episode. After the episode I cast my vote.
# BoGirle 2015-09-23 07:42
I'm just going to throw this in, because I've been wondering about this for some time. Is it possible that the lack of love for the Twosome might cause an automatic downgrading of their episodes?
There might be some truth to that idea. I for one expect very little from this team's writing effort. I basically brace myself for the worst when I know the episode is theirs. Still though, the opposite also rings true. My expectations are often so low that I am, on occasion, pleasantly surprised when the episode isn't a compete disaster. Soul Survivor is one of those times.... from any other writer on staff I would have considered Soul Survivor a mediocre episode at best, but from the nepotism duo, it wasn't half bad. And because of their seniority they are often given very crucial, mytharc related episodes to write, which does not work in their favor IMO because they often take the easy way out when it comes to creative detail. But in general my expectations are pretty low and they manage to meet or even exceed those low expectation each and every season so their bad reputation is not without merit. Paint It Black? OMG was that BAD!.. That ep was pretty much one of the worst 5 or 6 eps of all time IMO and with the likes of Bloodlines, and Man's Best Friends with Benefits (also theirs) keeping it company, that's saying a lot.
# Alice 2015-09-23 09:09
While I definitely have problems with Brad and Eugenie's writing, the problems I had with "Soul Survivor" was lofty expectations that started at Comic Con. I was there in the audience during the panel and since that episode was shot first, the preview clip came from that episode. The preview clip was 800 times more exciting than the actual episode. They needed a whole episode of cat and mouse if you ask me and the dialogue was so off. Also, the first "cure" episode, "Sacrifice," was so riveting that a comparison was inevitable. This one didn't live up. It felt so anti-climatic after all Sam went through to get Dean back. The pacing was also sluggish and erratic. So that's why I personally had issues with "Soul Survivor."

A fun fact: It was Jared's injury that had an impact on shortening the storyline. It limited greatly what they could do from an action standpoint. That's why they went with the musical episode for the 200th. It also was the reason they went for more "personal" stories early on.
# Vince 2015-09-28 04:22
They honestly aren't as bad as people go on about, their episodes tend to be good to average in my opinion. They have their stinkers, but you know so does Robbie Thompson, but no one gives him shit. They're biggest problem is they sometimes get saddled with episodes that require more than 45 minutes, and since the show for whatever reason doesn't like doing 2 or 3 parters they have the task of jamming as much info/story/expo sition.
# Fazzie 2015-09-23 15:05
Interesting read and I agree that you have to look hard with demon Dean because they screwed up the sodding pacing of the whole season because they had to have the musical fan appreciation episode for 200 and not like episode 100 stick to the sodding story. Even if Jared's injury was the thing that made them rethink what they wanted to originally do couldn't they have come up with something else and not let the duo write the Soul Survivor???

As for Dean's story. Personally I kind of think the idea was grand but not the execution. That Carver's idea for Dean was to actually bring the whole previously ignored PTSD issues of Dean to a head by giving him a new traumatic event he survived to bring it up again (purgatory) but he did it over three seasons which was way too long even though I get why it wasn't a single season thing - because it isn't something you get over a la Sam getting his madness taken away by Cas.
# SueB 2015-09-28 22:35
Good read. I've been saving this article for a while (til I could sit down with a cuppa and have a good read). It didn't disappoint.

I didn't know about Jared's injury and the DD story. I thought it was all about having them together for the 200th. I don't think anyone (including Carver, the writers, the actors, etc...) were happy they truncated the Demon Dean time. Which means... really, they should have worked harder to find another way.

Other thoughts:
- I asked Jensen in the MinnCon M&G about how open Dean was in S10 and would that continue. Much to my dismay, he said the openness was all the Mark of Cain. That the more frank he was, the more it was a reflection of the "not caring" that the Mark had on him. He said he wanted to show he was losing the battle all year. I was so stunned I blurted "even in the Confessional?" and he said yes. Of course later I felt terrible for implying that what he was doing with a character was something that didn't come across to me. BTW...he didn't seem surprised by my surprise and apparently Lynn from Fangasm had asked a similar question. So... maybe it wasn't that bad. So, I went back and did a S11 rewatch, looking to see his POV. And it became one of those things that once I saw it, I couldn't UNSEE it. I think I WANTED Dean to be more open with Sam so that's what I saw. And he was, in a way, but mostly this was an indication that Dean's inhibitions were dropped. So we got to see Dean, unvarnished. But that wasn't a sign of healthy acceptance of feelings. That was a sign of not giving a shit about stating your feelings. It makes me a little sad but it also make the season progression more obvious. I am still hoping the writing for Dean in S11 has him more open. I'm reminded of when I gave birth to my first child. Once those labor pains are REALLY kicking in, you don't care WHO is at the foot of the table -- let's just get this baby out. Using that analogy, given that Dean was pretty much "out there" for S10, perhaps he will drop some of those inhibitions for real.

[code type="xml"]or AGAIN bringing up that “my mother would still be alive” line.

- I gasped when Dean said this. I didn't realize he said this before. Can you tell me what episode that was in? I remember him being harsh about many things, but accusing Sam of being responsible for Mary's death? I don't remember that at all.

- John story: I'm with you, it was a bit out of the blue. I get they wanted to give Cas an example, and it worked.... but it was a bit clunky. Personally, I thought 'She's hanging out with a guy named Randy. She's in trouble." was enough.
Nate Winchester
# Nate Winchester 2015-09-30 14:30
Nope. Wrong wrong, all wrong. All aboard the train to wrongville!


Nah I'm kidding.

I know you and I have talked about how Carver prefers a "hands off" management style in the story department. It's rather interesting comparing in that last season, this style along with no direction for plot ended up with a mess of an arc, this season they went with something super generic ("one of the leads goes EVIL") that all the writers could do whatever with and have continuity matter far less.

I would have been more impressed if Dean pretended to be near death just to get the drop on Sam (leading to a longer cat and mouse chase) or made chilling threats because he could, rather than bringing up the whole Lester thing (you know, throwing guilt around about a guy none of us care about) or AGAIN bringing up that “my mother would still be alive” line.
Huh, I can't believe I missed yet ANOTHER instance of them just skipping over huge swaths of canon. Let's see... if I was scripting evil Dean, to get to Sam, off the top of my head...
"You want Jessica to help you out, Sam? Oh right, she's dead because you turned your back on the life and ignored the signs she was in danger until it was too late. Sure you don't want to just give up? Just run away again, Sammy. You've got room to set up a dog kennel down here."
"Putting blood INTO a demon? That's a fresh twist for you isn't it? Sure you don't want to save some of mine? Guzzle it down later? You let Lucifer out again and we could have a party."
"Soulless you wouldn't have bothered with all this. He would have finished me off already. You know... I miss him. He was efficient, ruthless, didn't whine... ever. He really knew how to have a good time."
"How do you know this is all real, Sammy? Maybe you're just going craaaaazy again. Better hug yourself to make sure."
[after loose] "You're losing, Sam! Maybe you should ask an angel to hitch a ride and give you the juice you need. Gadreel did know how to do an execution after all..."

Yeah, now that I think about it... this show has become very "goldfish" style. Like only things that have happened recently count. (probably why I liked Claire returning so much, it acknowledged something that happened before!)

At least Dean realized his crappy situation was better than robots and space.

YOU TAKE THAT BACK! Robots and space would have been AWESOME this season. :P

Okay, I do have to comment on this, and I know I probably ripped on this in my original review, but why was this John Winchester story even in here?
*double checks* It's for Castiel's edification. I know the show's all about the boys, but I think it's healthy for it to occasionally expand beyond them.

Though after thinking about it... I wonder if Dean is actually missing his dad in that scene. Like, "He pulled me out of trouble then. I wish he was around to pull me out of trouble now. He would have never let me get this mark. I miss him."

I don’t think Brad and Eugenie read the script before this one.
Do they ever? Like S7, this was one where they needed to have things planned, and they didn't, and as a consequence, a lot of things felt very out of place or miss-ordered.