Another season has come and gone - how the time does fly! And it's time to update my Road So Far Seasons. If you're new and haven't read them and are dying for some fabulous insights, sparkling writing, witty and pithy thoughts - yeah, you guessed it, don't read my stuff. However, if you're looking to pass Hellatus with as much reading as you can, feel free to see how I worked through Seasons 1, 2, 3 and 4 during 2009's Hellatus. 
Those can be found in the archives, and it also appears that on the episode guide pages Alice is listing general articles, so you'll find links to them there as those pages become active.
So here we go, my thoughts on the 22 episodes that comprised Season 5:
Sympathy for the Devil:
In typical Kripke fashion there is a lot packed into this episode. Lucifer finds a vessel, Dean is Michael's vessel, Castiel mysteriously returns from wherever he was "smote' to, Bobby is possessed, Meg slithers out from under whatever rock she's been hiding under for the last several years and the brothers are further apart than ever, oh, and did I mention we get douche, dick and ass-hat all before the nine-minute mark.
Mark Pellegrino is excellent as Lucifer although here we only see him as Nick. Lucifer is first introduced to us as Sarah, Nick's recently murdered wife. It's a credit to Pellegrino that he picks up and carries with him some of the mannerisms first displayed by Bellamy Young. Throughout the season we'll see the soft sincerity first displayed here, but be not fooled, there's a devil behind that gentleness.
Kripke carries on his fun with the fandom as well as poking jokes at Supernatural itself for we got not only super[annoying]fan Becky but we also get another moment where the brothers speak aloud the insanity of what they do.
Dean: "So we've just got to find -- the devil." [Sympathy for the Devil]
Dean: "I'm going to go stop the big bad wolf -- which is the weirdest thing I've ever said." [Bedtime Stories]
Dean: "All right, so this killer truck--"
Sam: "I miss conversations that didn't start with, this killer truck." [Route 666]
As a good season opener should do we get lots of new packages to unwrap and enjoy for the rest of the season, so I'm on to Episode Number 2.
Good, God, Y'All:
Rufus and Ellen and Jo, oh my! Castiel embarks on a journey to find God and Bobby is wheel-chair bound for Cas has lost the ability to heal. Dean gives away the amulet and Sam wants to drink what he thinks is demon blood and a horseman (War) arrives on the scene; the brothers part ways but more amicably than before.
Whew, tired yet? Sera Gamble clearly has been paying attention to Eric for she packs so much into this episode that frankly it is too much. Ellen and Jo could have been any hunters helping out, aside from the reunion between Ellen and the Winchesters there really isn't a lot about their return. Thank goodness they come back for another (although much more fatal) episode later in the season.
This second episode continues the trend of all the seasons' second episodes, further reveal the storylines for the season as well as incorporate a bit of a closed-ended story in itself. Wendigo did it, with the brothers thinking dad would be in Colorado; Everybody Loves a Clown reveals John knew other hunters, a whole network of them; The Kids Are All Right revealed Ruby as a demon who knows things about Sam while Dean learns that perhaps he'd like to have a kid and a home "“ but he knows it's not his life; Are You There God, It's Me, Dean Winchester reveals that seals are being broken and Lucifer can rise,here the first of the four horsemen is revealed, and dealt with, and Sam and Dean part ways as Sam realizes he's not safe to be hunting.
So that means the third episode will be no comedy ride, it's a ride of discovery and separation,
Free to be You and Me:
Apart yet in sync in what they do,and another musical montage to enjoy. Sam gets a breather from the hunting life but it's short. Lindsey is determined to find out his secrets and more importantly helps Sam realize that no matter how bad someone has been or what bad things they've done they can be forgiven. She's right. Part of the step is to admit your wrongs which Sam has done in Lucifer Rising, Sympathy for the Devil and Good God, Y'All and now it's time to get back in and make it right as best you can. It's a long journey for Sam but so was his descent; it's worth it.
Jessica brings out the softer side of Sam again, something that's been missing as he's mired himself in revenge and the relentless pursuit for answers,too bad it's just Lucifer messing with Sam and thus begins a season-long dance of Sam loudly decrying he'll never say yes and Lucifer opining that yes, in fact, he will. Lucifer was right in the end but I don't believe he knew what he was getting,truer words never spoken, "be careful what you wish for.'
Dean gets a reprieve from being the big brother and while he pretends with a brave face that all is well it clearly is not. Sure he takes Cas out to a brothel and buys him some beer and ultimately they make a mad dash to safety leaving Dean rolling in laughter that we haven't seen in a long time but give him a moment to digest and he quickly shows what he's trying to keep hidden; Sam is missed.
Another angel makes a brief appearance, Rafael, and there is the all-too easy joke about Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles which is fine except Rafael seemed to have no purpose other than to taunt Castiel for the futility of his search. On the other hand, the jug of holy oil is used to great purpose in future episodes so all is not completely lost.
Most important lesson learned here but shown in the next episode; Sam doesn't try to hide things anymore,he's just learned that Lucifer intends to "wear him to the prom.' Sam of past seasons would have hidden that but not anymore. Episode 4 opens up with Sam giving Dean a call,he wants back in.



The End:
A middle of the night call to Dean from Sam and now Dean is up to speed, Lucifer wants to wear Sam. Sam wants back in but it's not revenge anymore it's redemption. Dean for his part is tired and sees no choice for the brothers but to stay apart so he hangs up and goes back to sleep. Too bad Zach has adapted himself and reached out through "fringe elements" and found Dean. The next morning for Dean is five years in the future and he gets dumped into the frying pan of an out of control Croatoan virus, Castiel as fully human - except he can "see' the differences between Dean of 2009 and Dean of 2014 whereas others cannot. Chuck is no longer a prophet apparently but he is a quartermaster of sorts, clearly he's thrown in his chips with Team Free Will (even though they are not yet named). 
Dean gets a chance to see himself five years in the future and does not like what he sees. We're treated to several excellent Dean on Dean scenes and much like Dream a Little Dream of Me I have no difficulty discerning which Dean I'm looking at at any given moment. Dean of 2014 is killed by Lucifer/Sam of 2014 and Dean of 2009 supposedly is taught a lesson by Lucifer that it is all futile to resist and that he best consign himself to his role and say yes now (that is when he's back in 2009) but Dean, for his part, employs that independent streak of his and learns a greater lesson. He needs Sam; Sam needs him; together they keep each other human.
Buckle up, Supernatural fans, Season 5 is on a roll,oops, big pothole ahead, times two. The next two episodes I could have done completely without but for a few moments, these will be quick.
Fallen Idols:
Save the scene with Dean going under the car and Sam "helpfully' asking him if he needs a flashlight. It's funny and well-timed and gives a lighthearted feel to their relationship.
Otherwise it's way out of character for a season devoted to stopping the apocalypse.
I Believe the Children Are Our Future:
If they are it's not Jesse. Adorable as the actor is and as great a job as he did in the role I wish this one had sat on the board in the writers' room. It's a huge thread that dangles begging to be pulled - Jesse in Australia, munching prawns on the barbie - with no life skills and no support system to help him just how is he to grow up and not become dangerous?
Also, while Loflin and Dabb gave us the fabulous Dark Side of the Moon here they hit new lows, whoopee cushions and joy buzzers are fine but hair on the palm,did they really have to go there? Again, in a season of mistrust between Dean and Sam (mostly Dean to Sam) and attempts at rebuilding trust and the apocalypse building around them, this was out of place. Bring on some Bobby angst and let's get back to the heart of this show, family!

The Curious Case of Dean Winchester:
First off, I'm betting Jensen was glad for a break in the filming schedule after his work in The End. As for how to make an episode that is light on one of the leads without making it seem like it's light on one of the leads,bring on a guest actor like Chad Everett. His chemistry with Jared and Jim was spot on and the only way this could have been done any better was aging Jensen - but then he wouldn't have gotten some down time. This was brilliant casting!
While there is little to nothing happening on the apocalypse front in this episode there is plenty on the emotional front going on and since that is the heart and soul of the show I have no complaints.
If you're going to take one of your vital characters, Bobby, and put him in a wheelchair you'd better follow up with some repercussions. Here it is Bobby who stops being the voice of reason and does something he'd surely take a stick to either of the boys if they did. True to form Dean is in Bobby's face for his "stupidity' and then rushes in to save him,results = disastrous! 
Sam gets to play the hero here and he clearly has the support of both Dean and Bobby as he faces off against Patrick "“ a complex witch given to helping some win or at least not allowing them to lose while at the same time making sure there is appropriate punishment spread around. Sorry, Sam, but you get the embarrassment here! Clap, Clap, Clap "“ oooh, that is good! 
Don't know much about you, Jenny Klein, but you and Sera wrote a good one here. Enough humor to go with the heavy emotions and not so much heavy emotions that I needed tissues -  well, all right, maybe I needed one as Bobby declared he wasn't a hunter anymore, old and useless. [Never, Bobby, never!]
This was a great episode for Bobby to emote and he gets several more chances this season,bring them on! But first, a word from our sponsors,



Changing Channels:
Jeremy Carver is brilliant, Mystery Spot, A Very Supernatural Christmas, In the Beginning, Death Takes a Holiday, Changing Channels, Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid, Point of No Return, perhaps Sin City and The Rapture and Family Remains and Long Distance Caller and Free to be You and Me don't rank up there (at least in my opinion) as overall magnificent episodes but each of them (yes, even Family Remains) have moments that really soar, okay, not so much Family Remains.
But this isn't the article on Jeremy Carver; that will be later this Hellatus.
Changing Channels, from saturated colors to laugh tracks [I hate laugh tracks so here it was brilliantly used to poke fun!] from "son of a bitch' used in just about every tone and inflection that on paper it's bland and overused but spoken in dialogue it changes to meet the needs of every scene. Sam being the pawn in a cruel joke two episodes in a row - sorry, Jared but you even got double-dipped here! Dean speaks Japanese - didn't hear of any fan complaints on that one this season, the Impala/Sam = K.I.T.T. complete with theme song and talk about theme songs, love, love, love it. We've got a Ghostfacers theme song and a Supernatural theme song,come on CW, isn't it time for a soundtrack CD yet!? And if all that isn't enough, the Trickster returns after nearly two years and does he have a little secret that is about to be revealed,
There are only two named angels in the Bible, Michael and Gabriel. Gabriel is always shown as an angel bringing a message while Michael is shown to be one who contends on the side of Israel against Satan, just a little extra information there for you.
Now, back to our program. I have zero problems with Gabriel and the Trickster being one and the same, it actually answers quite a lot about our beloved Trickster starting with why he likes to take "dicks' or those full of themselves and "hoist them on their own petard' the issues he has with his family make it clear that he does not like those who are arrogant or who go about hurting others. He's not that well-adjusted however so here he gets a little taste of his own medicine as the Winchesters use his arrogance against him and trap him using one of the newest additions to their arsenal,holy oil.
We're left with the glimpse of the Trickster pondering Dean's words and left wondering if he's changed his mind about his role in "current events'. We get our answer later in the season, one that leaves me cheering and sobbing at the same time but that's Supernatural,or is it,
The Real Ghostbusters:
Just when we got the apocalypse back in alignment and the season back on track we switch up from a gigantic reveal to a convention. Huh? Admittedly I first did not like this episode at all. It has grown on me considerably mostly because I truly believe that Eric Kripke enjoys a good laugh and truly enjoys what he's created and all that comes with it [although I'm still sure he keeps a steady supply of medication on hand for those daily migraines otherwise called as "checking the fandom sites]
I have two main issues with this episode one that is now resolved because the season as a whole is complete and the other I choose to ignore as much as possible; timing is everything and the positioning of this episode after Changing Channels jolts the head of steam the series had built out of TCCODW and CC; now that the season is over I can speed through that jolt either by moving where I watch this episode or timing my viewing so I see this in conjunction with enough others that it doesn't matter. The second is harder to resolve so I just ignore it; Becky knew who had the Colt. Nope that just does not work for me at all.
Other than that I enjoy this episode actually a lot. I like that Sam and Dean get an outsiders' vantage point on their lives, much like Sam had back in Simon Said when he met Andy who was well-adjusted despite his "abilities'. I like that Dean got a lesson from two guys whose lives exemplify what Zach was trying to teach in It's a Terrible Life. These two guys were having a good time living a fantasy to escape their bored realities but were completely aware of what was and was not real "“ well, until they learned a thing or to courtesy of the real Dean and the real Sam.
I pick out little things from time to time for continuity's sake and I liked that Rufus and Bobby were Sam and Dean's "sidekicks' Castiel would not have been known by the fandom yet Rufus would so it's a good move on the writers to get this right. There are also many mirror moments that make this a lot of fun, Dean and Sam drinking to the pretend Dean and Sam drinking, pretend Sam with the EMF meter to the real Sam with a real EMF meter, pretend Dean saying he'll toast the ghost extra crispy to the real Dean saying similar. And yes, as any good fangirl I do love it when they talk in unison! 
This is an episode that has grown on me and I now look forward to watching it with a bowl of popcorn at the ready and the phone off the hook (or ringer off) so there are no interruptions. No tissues required for this episode, good thing for the next one needs a double supply times two!
Abandon All Hope:
Demon Crowley is no fool, Lucifer will kill demons once he's killed humans so he turns over the Colt and some information on where to find Lucifer. Ellen and Jo meet Cas, Cas can hold his liquor, Jo grows up and proves herself a match for Dean in several ways and does as well as he does with the hell hounds on her first encounter - which is to say not well. 
This is a heartbreaking episode from Ellen and Jo's courageous deaths to Dean leaning heavily on Bobby to make it through to Sam's second encounter with Lucifer and the silent memorial at the end,which also ushered in a nine-week mini-hellatus. Ouch!
Samantha Ferris and Alona Tal brought their A+ games to this episode and thankfully they were given A+ material to match. I still tear up during their final scene but at least I'm not as stricken by it as I was initially. See, last summer I put my 11 year old German Shepherd to sleep and as he was sedated and the final medication was being administered to stop his heart I was petting him and whispering to him that he was my good boy and that I would always love him. To hear Samantha Ferris as Ellen utter those same words a mere four months later tore my heart anew. It was real.
I wasn't surprised the Colt couldn't kill Lucifer but I am glad it was back in the arsenal of the Impala. Demon Crowley's arrival was a breath of demonic fresh air and I'm very glad he returns later in the season and perhaps will return in Season 6 "“ the door is certainly open. I trust not the demon Crowley but I like Mark Shephard's portrayal and it shows that added dimension to demons that we first heard about in Sin City - and also mirrors the angels' dimensions - that not all are on the same side.
Castiel's and Lucifer's scenes were excellent; hard to do when they're just two men talking as they stand mostly still. The piano score that underlies those scenes is discordant and haunting much as I would expect an encounter with Lucifer would be, wonderful.
So the first half of the season is past, the mini-hellatus arrived here but thankfully we won't have as long to wait for the second half of my article ("cause I know everyone is dying to read the rest) as I suspect it will be posted very, very soon.
Thanks for reading, Elle2.