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What’s this, a recap from Alice???  As you may or may not know, because of time issues, I decided to take a break from writing recaps right after “Like A Virgin.”  Would you know that “Unforgiven” came up as the next episode, one of my absolute favorites of the season.  I thought about ending that break right then and there, but, as I expected, time constraints won out.  Now that I can go back in hindsight and tackle the remaining season six episodes, none thrill me more than taking on “Unforgiven.”  It’s loaded with so many great things. 

Anyone that’s read my reviews this season know how lukewarm I’ve been on soulless Sam.  In “Unforgiven,” I absolutely loved soulless Sam.  Why?  Because his deplorable actions tied into the memories of the re-souled Sam, thus delivering horrified reactions that were genuine and raw.  You know, like that of someone experiencing a deep trauma.  You know, the very thing Dean fought to protect Sam from.  When soulless Sam is coupled with a current Sam memory, suddenly the coldness takes on a different meaning.  When forced to face yourself, the truth is brutal.  Enough of the commentary though; let’s go through scene by scene and see for ourselves.
 

In going through the previews, it’s pretty clear Sam’s wall is dangerous.  He’s told not to poke at it or scratch, but yeah, Sam Winchester.  He’s so poking and scratching!  Did Dean not figured this out after “Don’t scratch your nose” in “Bad Day at Black Rock?”  You can’t blame Dean, though; what else was he supposed to do?  As we’re about to see, the soulless version of Sam couldn’t be allowed to walk the earth.  

Bristol, Rhode Island, One Year Ago.  Judging by the very weird and ominous score in the background, bad things are happening.  A gun is fired, and to no one's surprise, one cold-looking Sam is behind it.  Judging from the blood spatter on his face, he’s been doing some killin’.  What is interesting is the entire scene is in color, where the flashback scenes later are in black and white.  There isn’t much dialogue in this scene.  Sam shoots, and Samuel looks rather unhappy about it.  No, he’s actually very disturbed.  Not enough, though, to actually stop Sam from doing this.  

They leave a warehouse.  There’s a lot of great director’s tricks in this episode, like focusing on the overhead lamp as they go.  This episode is meant to have a noir-ish feel, definitely more noir than others this season.  Which seems right since this is supposed to be a noir season.  Considering David Barrett is new to “Supernatural,” maybe he comes to the show actually knowing what noir is.  

It’s raining (shocker!) and Samuel is asking Sam about his bleeding arm.  Sam’s in pain for sure, but he’s not going to worry about it until they get out of town.  You see, even RoboSam can suck it up.  They’re in the Campbell mobile (aka the totally suspicious-looking brown van that doesn’t attract any attention at all) and both are pretty quiet.  As in Samuel is disturbed and RoboSam is looking sociopathic.  They get pulled over by a cop.  What a stupid fool.  You don’t pull over two guys in a suspicious van at night without any backup.  

Samuel acts all cooperative, and the Deputy calls them “Agent Roark” and “Agent Wyman.”  I usually get aliases on this show, but that one stumped me.  As soon as Supernatural Wiki told me it was from an Ayn Rand novel, I stopped there.  We’ll put them in the “not fun” category.  Anyway, the deputy wants them to step out of the van.  They do so.  Um, dude, two against one? 



The deputy is in a bit of a snit.  Seems he can’t find the sheriff.  He sees blood all over Sam’s arm and tells them they’re coming with him.  Yeah, I’m shaking my head, too.  They offer to follow, but the deputy commands them to get into his car.  Uh oh, now you’ve gotten RoboSam’s attention.  “You’re going to arrest two federal agents.  Really?”  Then he laughs and Samuel isn’t laughing with him.  Sam gives him a curt  “Have a good night.”  The deputy reaches for the walkie talkie, and that’s enough to uncork the unstable soulless dude.  Sam beats the living crap out of the deputy, leaving him an unconscious heap in the middle of the road.  He must be going on pure adrenaline since he’s beating him with his bleeding arm.  I’m sure that’ll hurt more later. 



“You think there are maybe calmer ways we could have done all that?”  “Do we care?” answers Sam, coming off his little fit of rage.  No, Samuel isn’t bothered by this at all (sarcasm!).  He gets in the van with Sam anyway and they drive off, leaving the fallen cop behind.  I love how the deputy is shown in the background in the middle of the moonlight road with the flashing lights of his squad car in the foreground.  Great shot!

Shattered glass.  This week, it’s a metaphor for shattered psyche.  Cool!

The caption says “Present Day,” just in case we’re confused.  Considering souled Sam is watching current events on TV about Mel Gibson, I’d say we probably didn’t need that.  Dean walks in, wondering what he’s watching.  Sam is trying to catch up.  “So, Mel Gibson really took a turn this past year, huh?”  Dean has what I think is the best explanation ever, and likely accurate.  “Or he’s possessed.  Seriously, think about it.”  Ding, ding, ding!  I say we have a winner.  He throws Sam some food while Sam actually ponders that.  Yeah, it makes sense. 



Dean just got off the phone with Bobby, and they got nothing on Mother of "I don’t care about her" this week.  Sam’s phone goes off, indicating he has a text message.  Coordinates.  From an unknown source.  Oh, yeah, that’s not unsettling at all!  Sam gets on the laptop, and they’re from Bristol, Rhode Island.  No bells are ringing.  Three women just disappeared.  Sam still couldn’t find the source of the text and is willing to believe it’s from another hunter he met while working with the Campbells.  That is some pretty blind faith there, Sammy!  

Sam wants to go, Dean smells the obvious trap.  “You got mysterious coordinates from a mysterious Mr. X that leads to a mysterious town. That doesn’t throw up red flags at you?”  Sam’s wall obviously comes with a crap load of naivety, for he thinks they shouldn’t ignore missing girls.  Oh. Sam, you fool.  What’s even more foolish, Dean goes along with this, believing if it’s a trap they can just up and leave.  Oh, yeah, when has that ever worked?  Sam agrees.  Well, at least they’re on the same page in the harebrained scheme department.
 

Comments  

Sylvie
# Sylvie 2011-07-12 10:52
I'm so glad you've decided to do more recaps, since I found this site I have gone back and read all of the ones you did for the previous seasons. I will take my time and read this one later as my laptop battery is about to die on me, but I'm sure it'll be a good one. Catch you later.
Bevie
# Bevie 2011-07-12 15:52
Hi Alice. I thoroughly enjoyed your recap of this episode, much more than I enjoyed the episode itself, I'm afraid. I think I just have a hard time dealing with sociopathic RoboSam. He is so scary and really so very cold and unemotional in all his evilness. I believe Samuel would have tried harder to get through to Sam if he hadn't been actually afraid of his grandson by that time. And, the way Sam was back then, he had good reason to be afraid he would get in Sam's way and be tossed aside without a qualm. :cry:

Anyway, again, loved your recap! :-)
maggie
# maggie 2011-07-12 17:12
Sam is burning alive and laughter is heard in the background. Really??? I don't remember the laughter, I'm going to watch it again.

wow you know?
on Sunday I was remembering that you did this recaps, and I was wishing you did this again, at least for the bests episodes and you did :lol:

You don't know how much I enjoy your Recaps.

Im going to quote Bevie here "I enjoyed, much more than I enjoyed the episode itself".

I loved the scenes with Sam struggling with his memories and Dean trying to protect his brother but I don't know why I didn't enjoy a lot the arachne part, cause I love the Spiderman movies....

My favorite favorite episode of the season is 6x19 "The man who would be king" I have watched that episode a lot of times :lol:
maggie
# maggie 2011-07-12 17:33
"Dean is at the box-wine lady’s house" hehe
"You can buy wine in that many gallons?" I would have thought someone in the set decorator made a mistake... so that's a common size in Canada? wow :)
Alice
# Alice 2011-07-13 00:38
I was able to finally go back to the episode and get the shot of the box wine. I put it in the recap. It's definitely a size only sold in Canada. Wow!

alysha
# alysha 2011-07-12 22:04
I enjoyed the recap and revisit to what I consider one of the best episodes in season six. It was just very well put together and the mystery and the monster were cool.

I disliked them calling/conside ring the bathroom woman a cougar. What is she at most: 10 years older than Sam? The box of wine cracked me up, and of course I'm looking at the label, but wine is sold by the liter in the US. 750 mL is the standard bottle and 1.5 L being the big one. Boxes of wine are labelled by liter and I think the biggest is 5 L. So that was kinda weird for the set people to mark the box that way.

I love soulless Sam! I love the fact that, for the most part, soulless Sam is the closest thing to Lucifer there is. He is soulless and emotionally vacant and will do anything that suits his agenda. Sounds pretty much like the angels on Supernatural.

I think Grandpappy was way in over his head with that "boy"!
Sylvie
# Sylvie 2011-07-12 23:04
Well I finally read your recap and it was thoroughly enjoyable. I loved everything about that episode. I'm with AndreaW, I loved RoboSam. Jared played him so brilliantly and with such coldness, exactly like the sociopath he was without a soul. The cinematography was absolutely gorgeous, I love b&w movies and those flashback scenes were pure film noir. It gave me chills, especially the end with Sam on the floor burning in Hell. OMG!!!

I'm on vacation and away from home and I already miss my SPN DVD collection. I am so suffering from Supernatural Obsessive Disorder! Thank God I brought my PC with me so I can check into the WFB every day to get my SPN fix.
Madison
# Madison 2011-07-13 01:28
Oh wow, Alice. I never noticed the laughter in the background before. It's very faint, but you CAN hear it if you put on some good headphones and listen closely. I honestly never noticed that before. Thanks for pointing that out! So I wonder if that Lucifer laughing at Sam? Hmmm... very interesting.
Tim the Enchanter
# Tim the Enchanter 2011-07-13 14:01
So glad to see you’re back recapping. It was kind of a case of ‘You don’t know what you’ve got til it’s gone’ with you!

Your narratives and jumping between thoughts as you write are such fun to read. It’s kind of like sitting next to you on the couch while you’re watching, after that box of wine....

And thank God you came back to such a gem of an episode! An investigative one into Sam, body and soul (though temporarily without memories) was always going to be good. And your heart can’t help but ache for Sam and Dean, both during the episode and after it because while Sam has to deal with Soulless Sam and the wall, he certainly won’t do it alone. Dean would climb into Sam’s soul himself and shoulder that wall for an eternity if he could.

Poor old Dean seems to be floundering in this one. His desperation at Sam's desperation is palpable. It’s not that Sam won’t stop thinking about his time as Soulless Sam, I don't think he can’t. How hard would it be to actively put something like that to the back of your mind? The more you deliberately don’t think about it, the more you end up thinking about it. Even if he and Sam had scarpered after they realised he was there before, it wouldn’t have done any good. I think the seepage through the wall would have been greater had they left, to be honest. This new, glued together Sam is something Dean doesn’t know how to deal with yet. In fairness, he hasn’t met his real brother for over 18 months and now that he’s back gung ho, he’s bound to be tentative around him.

My expectation before this episode (based on speculation) was that we’d learn things about Sam we didn’t known prior to it; how Sam and Samuel hooked up, the order of their relationship (and thank God we have season 7 to possibly address that), shit, even small things like how Sam arrived back topside. We had that amazing scene in Lazarus Rising where Dean dug himself out of a grave to see he was surrounded by fell trees, I’d like to know what greeted Sam when he got up, how he processed things in those first few weeks, months etc. Even Soulless Sam had to have had a degree of confusion there. Anyway that’s my wishful thinking list for today!

I know that we learnt nothing new about Sam but it didn’t make a blind bit of difference. Sam’s gradual realisation of what he learnt about himself more than made up for it. The dark of Soulless Sam makes Souled Up Sam seem to shine all the much brighter. Yaay!

Plus, given that this was the last we saw Soulless Sam before The Man Who Knew Too Much, I’m glad he got to such a big episode. He such a unique, complex character. I kinda want to tie him to a chair and say ‘Dude, whassup?

In regard to Sam, I think inwardly, Samuel was a wee bit scared of Sam. I mean, who wouldn’t be? A guy he’s never met but is his grandson turns up. We’ve no clue under what circumstances they met ie who approached whom etc (though it is on my top 5 list of things I want to see) The scene in Two and a Half Men kinda indicated to me that Samuel deferred to Sam, and Soulless Sam made it very clear that he answered to no-one.

It’s interesting that while Samuel obviously found what Sam did um... distasteful, he never once stopped him. Perhaps he kept quiet because he knew they did what they had to do, and he was relieved he didn't have to make the hard calls.

I appreciate that we got the opportunity to see Samuel as a (somewhat) likeable man before he ends up selling out Sam and Dean. The way he speaks about his daughter shows how deeply he loved her and that does go some way towards explaining his actions in Caged Heat. He did what he felt he had to do, and somehow got lost in the enormity of it. He gradually chipped away who he was bit by bit and he did it for love; same as John, Dean and Sam. Guess the Winchesters and the Campbells aren’t too different after all.

On an aside, it’s good to know that while the puppy dog eyes are potent they’re not potent enough to have a woman, whose husband Sam set up to be turned into a big spider and then killed, twice (once right in front of her), forgive him. Maybe next time he should stick out his tongue and pant?

Re: the laughter. I hadn’t noticed it but when I rewatched there’s definitely a chuckle oh sweet Jesus, it ups the horror factor in that scene by a million. (Michael and Lucifer, you pups! What did you do to my boys baby boy?)

Anyway, thanks so much for this. Looking forward to your next recap (hopefully soon.....)
Julie
# Julie 2011-07-14 03:37
Hi Alice
Cant tell you how pleased I was to see one of your recaps back. They have always been one of my favourite things around here. I have really missed them and I know am not the only one.

It was very interesting to read with distance between viewing and the episode, I think it made it even better. It made me want to go and watch again.
I know they take a lot of time to produce but I do hope you intend to do more
Thanks Ju
Alice
# Alice 2011-07-14 17:14
I want to do them, but we'll see how my time constraints go. I can at least get the next one started for Mannequin 3: The Reckoning. I love writing recaps for bad episodes. I have a lot of fun ripping into them with little guilt. Oh, but then there's the French Mistake. I really ought to do that one too. Maybe I'll have time on vacation.
Miggymom
# Miggymom 2011-07-14 07:29
Wonderful recap. I will anxiously await the next one, which is one of my favorite episodes (tho others disagree it seems) but I liked the flow from "I can fix this" to the futility of their jobs and the realization that sometimes there just aren't any easy or correct answers; but there is hope.
Jasminka
# Jasminka 2011-07-15 13:50
Alice, basically there's no need to tell you how much I love your recaps. I've told you countless times, eh?

That you took this particular episode on, despite your tight schedule, was a real treat. Thank you!

If you found time to do more of these in the future, I'd be frightfully happy... But only, of course, if putting them together remained fun and not stress... you've got enough of that at work (as do I). And we're not stressing with things we love!

Hugs, Jas