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Wishful Thinking:
I laughed and thoroughly enjoyed this episode. Audrey was adorable without being sicky sweet, that she absolutely believed her teddy bear came to life made me want to hug her and at the same time admire her ability to ‘keep it together’ as her precious bear stole alcohol and girlie mags. She was quite practical about the whole thing, my bear is sick, my parents are in Bali…frankly Audrey was the only sane one in the whole zany episode. Much as I adore Sam and Dean, they aren’t exactly sane – just think back to Dean’s rant in Yellow Fever and you’ll know all the reasons why.
I still crack up to think that some suit at a network thought it too disturbing to show the fluff exploding out of the back of teddy’s head – hey, have you seen the two-part Criminal Minds episode “To Hell and Back”? Oh, wait, that was the season ender so by this time it hadn’t even been shot yet – silly me. Still – really?
I like how this season wove the overall storyline in each and every episode, it may have been in small ways but it remained. Sam wanted Lilith dead and admitted, openly, that he’s no longer the person we met so very long ago in The Pilot. Dean’s nightmares are on the increase and the cracks in his strong defense are clearly showing. There may not be a seal being broken in sight but the overall threads of the season weave their way in each and every episode. Sam should be careful what he wishes for, not only for Dean to tell him about hell but for wanting Lilith dead. As for Dean, hide all you want in alcohol and wishing well sandwiches…in the end, it’s going to come out and it’s not going to be pretty.
I Know What You Did Last Summer/Heaven and Hell:
Finally we get to know what Sam did last summer, it was worth the wait. From drunken Sam to suicidal Sam to so rock bottom I don’t even want to breathe Sam…it was great. I totally got the nod to Monsters Ball and it was perfect. Ruby is a great character – this past season’s choice for portrayal not so much – but the character is pure evil and will use everything and anything at her disposal, so much so she grants Sam’s wish and finds him a morally acceptable meat suit and then goes for the big guns with her whole… “I used to be human; I know what it feels like to lose someone.” Sam was so far down in the abyss he never had a chance. For Jared it was yet another in a growing list of tour de force performances. 
Anna was quite intriguing here with, as Dean phrased it, her whole ‘girl interrupted’ bit and I truly wondered, and worried, during the week between this and Heaven and Hell what she could have done that would make Castiel and Uriel – well, all right, Castiel for I’m pretty sure Uriel likes smiting things – want/need to kill her. The ultimate reveal was both exciting and underwhelming…that she was a fallen angel was cool, that all it took was a brief doze under the wiles of the lovely Pamela Barnes left me flat. Clearly Jim Beaver was not available for this episode and the writers went back to the drawing board. I like/d Pamela very much, it just didn’t make a whole lot of sense. How about a cup of chamomile tea and a biscotti? Or better yet a shot of bourbon?

Alastair was a wonderful addition, I shuddered at his ominous presence and truly feared him in IKWYDLS, somewhere between filming that and HAH he underwent an accent change…not for the better. Had he continued it a bit more subtle I’d have liked it a lot more, truly less is more…yes, that even applies to chocolate having overindulged a bit of late.
Heaven and Hell did not complete all that IKWYDLS promised but it didn’t completely miss the mark either. Anna’s whine was annoying but in the end she did what she didn’t want to for the greater good and when she returns in a few episodes I like her a lot more, she’s got more focus, less poor me. Sam’s reveal to Dean was every bit as awesome as Dean’s reveal to Sam, so between the two episodes they scored homeruns with both those huge moments. I love the jump through the glass, followed by the even better first aid/triage in the hotel room – about freaking time!
We get questions and answers and more to ponder and eight weeks of hellatus in between, it was a ripping first ten episodes to the season and more amazing, we got all ten in a row…way to go CW. (And you’ll not likely hear/read that from me too often.)
I liked both these episodes and because elements of one bleed into the other I decided to lump them together…they’re better as a whole than they are separate. I didn’t mind grace in a bottle…I couldn’t come up with anything better, and there was plenty of humor and angst to go around. For those out there whining that by this time there were two sex scenes and by gosh there’d best not be anymore ‘cause this isn’t 90210, relax. Sex scenes have always been about character exposition without the monologuing. If you’re really nice, perhaps I’ll even follow that up with an article that I’ve written and thrown away twice now…then again, perhaps not.


# Randal 2009-09-07 10:12
Ovaltine isn't all that good, even my kids won't drink it, and they love A Christmas Story.

As for the subtlety/blindi ng light of Sam's storyline, given their life of encountering monsters and spirits and whatnot that are hungry for 'something' (blood, revenge, human flesh, etc) or troubled, the odds are decent that they're going to encounter something that could be considered obvious as the Rougaru, and I think it was handled without a heavy hand, helped by deft acting.

Re: Yellow Fever. I can live with the 'oh shit, my gun!' (he WAS afraid of the fourth floor, after all, heh) but given that the husband had *killed* in a rage, I would imagine that those drawings would've have been destroyed/found and removed in the aftermath, not exist years down the line.

Grace In A Bottle (should that be trademarked?) didn't bother me as it's not as if there isn't a tradition of magical containers. I'm with you on the Pamela Barnes thing. Something that monumental is discovered through a 'lay on my Freudian couch' session?

And one thing that might be 'whatever' to most, but bugs the hell out of me is the choice of song for the Anna/Dean Let's Get It On: instead of Bad Company's version of Ready For Love, they should have used the original Mott the Hoople version. The instrumentation is a bit more melancholy, and Mick Ralphs' vocal is far more sad and longing than the rock god style of Paul Rodgers. I think the sentiment of the scene and the impending near-death would have been better served. But I'm probably more of a classic rock geek than the average viewer. :-)
# elle2 2009-09-07 16:58
Hi, Randal,

Great comments on the first 'almost' half of the season! Yellow Fever had a lot of holes but I give the new duo some credit for rising as the season went along, After School Special was an improvement and Jumpt the Shark really was quite excellent...sur prised the heck out of me they could do that so well.

As for your classic rock comments, admittedly (many times I've admitted) I'm not that in tune so I'm not able to appreciate fully your comments, however your analysis is excellent. The scene was a bit deeper than that song evoked so I'll be taking your word for it.

Great thoughts!
# Randal 2009-09-08 06:56
Thanks! Despite the holes, I loved Yellow Fever (another example of an episode that, if not perfect, still has something to offer. How many shows can say that?) but the others you mentioned are stellar. Jump the Shark played perfectly with the subject; even simple stuff like "Cousin Oliver's" helped deflate the inevitable 'oh shit' vibe of the unknown family member and the actors knocked it out of the park. The viewer him/herself could feel thrown for a serious loop along with the actors.
# elle 2009-09-08 13:47
Great examination of the first "half"! Those first ten episodes had me reeling and frankly, it was a relief to have a bit of a break. Yellow Fever, ah, I can't help but like that episode, gapping holes and all. I recently re-watched this one with my mom who was asking about said holes, I told her to just ignore them and enjoy the funny stuff. Plus, let's not forget - Eye of the Tiger! Perhaps that is what endears this episode to me so much.

I, like you, cannot fathom why there is such sniping about Sam's lack of focus/developme nt this season. Metamorphosis was pretty clear. This is one of my lower ranked episodes of the season simply because the ick factor was too much for me. Blood and gore is all well and good but there is something especially disturbing about the idea of consuming human flesh. Maybe that's just me. I loved how they handled the reveal - the Dean and Sam confrontation, it was well done in my humble opinion.

Wishful Thinking - ah, another classic. That Teddy Bear Suicide kills me each and every time - no matter how many times I watch it. As does the speech in the Impala to Wes(ley) about how humans are meant to be miserable. And of course, "Kneel before Todd!" All around great episode - laughs, emotion and character advancements.

IKWYDLS/H&H - I enjoyed these episodes, plain and simple. I didn't mind Anna, and I didn't even mind that she and Dean had some comfort nooky. The grace in a bottle - okay, that was little hokey but at the end of episode 10 - the big reveal about Dean in Hell totally eclipsed any flaws and made this a fantastic episode.

Off to read part 2 now! 8-)