Supernatural is first and foremost a television show. Nothing else. People in offices of downtown Los Angeles thought the idea Eric Kripke had some years back worthy of investing money. The parts were cast, the crew assembled and so far five seasons have been shot and the sixth is already in preparation. It's just a TV show. Nothing else. Or is there more to it?
There is Something in the Closet
One of the perks of a long summer hiatus is the possibility to watch the occasional Supernatural episode without the curiosity and the passionate dread of waiting for new turns in the story. I try not to watch the seasons too often, as I still want to be able to spot something new or to feel as if the story was not completely familiar to me.
Upon watching Home again, after quite a while, I felt again drawn into its tragedy almost like at my first encounter with it, having to use a tad too many tissues for my taste! So, I had the idea of inviting you all to an Open Couch of episodes that have moved and continue to move me! The whole show does that, but some episodes have got under my skin in a way I had not exactly believed possible.
It's that time of year, another chance to go through the season gone by and examine closely how the beleaguered Winchester brothers fared in their fight against all odds. Needless to say, we're talking some major damage to their emotional and physical well being. Thanks apocalypse! Up first, the elder Winchester. 
Dean's character progression, much like the past two seasons, took a really intriguing turn in season five. Season three was Dean's season of self actualization. Season four was all about his character test. Season five too had plenty of tests, but for Dean it all ended up being about survival. Not just his though. So much more was at stake than his and Sam's safety. He had to step up and save the world. By the end he suceeded against impossible odds but it cost him everything. He became exactly what he didn't want to be, the last man standing. He reluctantly went into a new life mired with huge survivor's guilt, shattered faith, and a lost sense of purpose. Once again, Rufus Turner's "There ain't no happy ending" rings prophetic for poor Dean.
I've read a lot of complaints where the promise of Dean's character direction at the end of season four went nowhere is season five. I don't see that to be the case at all. Dean's character did go through some big shifts in season five, sometimes perplexing shifts. However, I think there was consistency with season four as well as the prior seasons in the direction he took. Sure he was more vulnerable this time, but considering how much has been thrown at him becoming worn down by it all was understandable. He came out of it all the tragic hero, which was a bit better than Sam's outcome, the martyred hero. Or, maybe not. Dean would have traded places in an instant.
As I left off in my season four analysis, Dean's major shortfall and biggest hanging issue was his relationship with Sam. He fought the good fight against Zachariah and convinced Castiel to fall from grace for doing the right thing, but his handling of the Sam situation led to disaster. Lucifer broke free. So that's how he started season five. He had to take on the Devil and try to rebuild his broken relationship with his brother.    Let's look at the key episodes and see how Dean progressed from that point. 

Sympathy For The Devil

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Dean tried, he oh so tried. Lucifer was free, Castiel was dead, he was wanted by angels, and he tried to derive a plan out of a hopeless situation while at the same time having lost complete faith in Sam. After all, despite his intentions, Sam did the unthinkable. He betrayed him for a demon. Dean tried to see past it and focus on task but the hurt was too deep and the betrayal too raw. He couldn't forgive. Despite all that emotional turmoil though, Dean drew the line in the sand that defined the battleground of the season. He wouldn't be a vessel. He'd fight his way. He just didn't believe that Sam had his back. This all kicked off his feelings of isolation that grew throughout the season.

Good God Y'all
Dean saw the hard reality, his life's mission had to change. Sam no longer could be his main priority. Despite all the mistrust and the hurt protecting Sam at this point was instinctive. It was what he wanted to do, but the world needed him more and this great burden from here until "Point of No Return" ate away at him slowly. When Sam suggested they part at the end Dean agreed without a fight. He made the decision with his head instead of his heart. Sam leaving meant one big burden off of him, freeing him to focus on the world alone. Yeah, reality caught up later in a hard way.

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Free To Be You and Me

Dean was still pretty delusional here. The burden of Sam may have been gone, but the emptiness of being alone became the issue. He tried to convince Castiel he didn't need Sam but who was that speech exactly for? I didn't buy it. I doubt Cas did either.

The End

Dean saw a lot of crap in this one. Was the future real or fabricated by Zachariah? I'm going for the "what if " reality. What if Dean and Sam stayed apart? Sam did eventually say yes to Lucifer for reasons we found out were purely strategic, so we could assume the same reason happened in this reality. So, what went different in this scenario? Easy, when Dean chose the world over his family he let the Impala rot and he let his morals slide. Without the Impala there to trigger the memories, without that strong brotherly bond, Sam failed in this reality in his plan to overtake Lucifer. In other words, neither could take on the world alone.

So, what made Dean see the light? What made him realize that he and Sam could only be stronger together?   I can only assume seeing Sam become Lucifer did the trick and I'm sure he didn't like his future self either. He had to go the other way. He didn't take Sam in with open arms though and an "all is forgiven" attitude. There was still some reluctance there but at least he followed his gut instinct. The pain over Sam's betrayal was still too raw though. So, enter the bittersweet reunion.

Fallen Idols
No, he didn't forgive Sam. He put his brother through the ringer instead. Many thought his actions were out of character but I thought they made perfect sense. He knew that he must stick with Sam but there was still that lingering resentment. In the end he got it out of his system and took Sam up on his request to meet him halfway. It was a good step forward that lasted about one episode.

The Curious Case of Dean Winchester
There was way more to Dean than meets the eye in this one. Dean essentially proved that older is not wiser. He and Bobby both had tremendous blinders on when it came to Sam and both were too caught up in their own sorry predicaments. Neither could fathom that Sam was a crafty poker player that could have gotten them out of this the honest way. Both instead stayed overprotective of the "snot nosed kid." In Dean's case though, his blinders extended beyond Sam. He took on the burden of Bobby's welfare too and tried to fix this mess by himself. This contributed to that long spiral downward. He had faith in no one but himself, even when given the limitations of being an eighty year old man. He may have convinced Bobby he wasn't useless, but he still didn't have much faith in Sam and only added to his growing internal pressure.

The Real Ghostbusters

This ended up being a refreshing perspective for Dean, his life isn't all that bad. Too bad that lesson that went nowhere. Still, it was nice for Dean to see the other side for once, wasn't it?


Abandon All Hope
If any episode drilled a nail deep into that Dean Winchester fractured psyche hard it was this one. The title was meant for no one but Dean. His self imposed burdens took their toll and the losses of Ellen and Jo were a major turning point for him. A turn downward. Losing people to Dean has always been hard but he couldn't take losing friends anymore. Especially people he always considered more than friends, more like family. His failure to kill Lucifer on top of Jo and Ellen's demise made it even worse because their deaths were for nothing. To Dean, there's nothing worse. This outcome will haunt him for a lifetime.

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Sam, Interrupted

The Dean Winchester mind bender. It was a very rare glimpse at what goes on inside that noggin and it was not pretty. We had to wonder how the boy could even function. He admitted to not sleeping much, that he drinks way too much and has never been involved in a long term relationship (except for the glaringly obvious choice, but I assume the question was about an intimate relationship). Sam insisted that they take the job because of Dean's depression over Ellen and Jo, showing us his already fragile state. So when the crazy spell started working, Dean's inner frailties surfaced in a stunning way. His single handed burden now involved saving all six billion people on the planet. That intense internal pressure surfaced, that inner fear that he can't save Sam, he can't save the world, he can't save himself. It all was going to burn and it was his fault. Once he got free of the spell, he took all that anxiety and did the worst possible thing. He buried it. Then he ordered Sam to do the same. Oh yeah, it came back to bite him.    

The Song Remains The Same
Poor Dean. He still clung onto that hope that he could save his parents from their awful fate. He was even willing to not be born to make sure that happened. Sadly he was too late. Mary was already pregnant and Michael found his way to hit the reset button. His conversation with Michael especially led to more discouragement and contributed to his increasing hopelesslessness. Still, there was some fighting spirit left, aka Team Freewill. He wasn't not ready to back down yet. 

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Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid

Yes, I'm putting this before "My Bloody Valentine" because it was filmed first and always intended to be first. Dean's world order view had changed, likely because of "Abandon All Hope." He wasn't about to lose another person close to him and chose to protect Bobby over saving everyone else. He was perfectly willing to let Sam go save the town. So, did this mean he was losing hope? Was he losing the will to fight? Maybe. I know seeing Bobby crushed emotionally at the end didn't help his crumbling psyche. Especially when Death raised the dead in Sioux Falls to break Bobby so Sam and Dean would say yes. Guilt doesn't do Dean favors.


My Bloody Valentine
The one were Dean falls apart. It was about freaking time! He had good reason. His faith in Sam had slowly been getting stronger and he had been able to rely on him more recently. That all was shattered here. No, sucuumbing to Famine's spell wasn't Sam's fault but it was enough to shake Dean to the core. He was reminded under no uncertain terms how dangerous Sam was, how the demons knew how to manipulate him and exploit his weaknesses. He also figured out that without Sam by his side, he couldn't do this alone. He needed help. His breakdown at the end was his somber admission that he was human afterall.

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I know, what about Famine's chilling words that Dean was already dead inside? He had no deep hunger. In a way that was true. At this point, he was just going through the motions. His faith in everything he ever believed in was dwindling. He was tired, discouraged, and so hopelessly lost. He didn't know what else to do.   A weeping man though pleading to God for help is not someone who was completely dead inside. It was more like the act of a completely broken man. Sam couldn't help him and even Castiel was growing more vulnerable too. He really believed he couldn't save himself either. He may not have been dead inside, but he thought he was.

Dark Side of The Moon

Dean's hopelessness and disillusionment hit rock bottom. He had only had one hope left, finding God. Seeing Sam's happy memories being when he ran away from family, aka Sam's best being Dean's worst,   was the final straw with his brother. Sam could not be trusted and would eventually leave him. When he got the message from Joshua that God wouldn't intervene, that was all it took for Dean to lose all hope and faith in everything, especially Sam. The tossing of the amulet symbolized that everything he held dear didn't matter anymore, including family.

99 Problems
Sure he was killing so called demons, but this was all the backdrop to Dean comtemplating his next move. He was again going through the motions. Sam tried his plea to him, but Dean figured he had no choice left. He wanted all this to be over and saying yes to Michael was the only option left. His thinking was the last act of a beaten man.   He didn't consult Sam and Castiel on the plan though, probably because he knew they'd try to stop him. Which they did. 


Point of No Return

Sam and Castiel stopped Dean, but he reacted by going into defensive mode. He was rude to Bobby, he squabbled with Castiel, and the heart crushing things he said to Sam...oh it still breaks my heart. Sam didn't lose faith though and Dean finally saw the light in an extraordinary way. He couldn't find it within him to disappoint Sam after Sam put a huge amount of faith in him. Heck, Sam risked the welfare of humanity in the belief that Dean would do the right thing. How could he not go back on his "yes"? He wasn't dead inside after all. He finally made peace with Sam too, his decision being the ultimate act of forgiveness. 
Dean also had this angel/whore killing mojo going which may or may not have been related to him thinking about saying yes. It was perplexing, but I think it was meant to show that Dean was a true servant of God. So Sam wasn't the only one with the extraordinary faith in Dean. I'd call that a pretty big character leap. The guy is special. 

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Hammer of The Gods

A rejuvenated Dean tells Gabriel to go kill his brother. I don't get it either, especially after his big reconciliation with Sam. We cover our ears and pretend it didn't happen. Lalalalalala!!!! I can't hear you!

The Devil You Know
There's a big role reversal here. Dean in a desperate situation, just like Sam in season four, choses to trust Crowley, going against Sam's protests. He figures out that uncertain times call for the previously unthinkable, like trusting a demon. Just like with Ruby at the end of season three, the consequences of that choice remains to be seen. 

Dean was back to his subdued and somewhat depressed self (told you Hammer of The Gods was a fluke) but this time he had fight in him. He was still leary of their chances though. He had to have a cool head though to hold together an increasingly destabilizing Sam. He handled Sam perfectly. He didn't judge or chastise and even let Sam see Brady knowing what he would do. His attitude toward Sam had definitely changed. Sam's cold blooded calm when he killed Brady though unnerved Dean pretty good. He didn't hold that against Sam though. That was his way of seeing how much his little brother was changing.

Two Minutes to Midnight

Speaking of unnerving, this had to be the most intensely frightened Dean has ever been in his whole life. After all, not too many mere mortals get to have pizza with Death and live to tell about it. This visit with Death didn't do much for his already rattled state, but that was nothing compared to the deal he was forced to make. In exchange for the ring that they needed to trap Lucifer, he had to let Sam handle his own fate and not intervene. In other words, he had to go against everything he's ever done in his life, aka his identity. Such a thought was so heartbreaking for him that he actually considered going back on his word to the most powerful being in the universe. Luckily, Bobby saw the light and convinced him otherwise. So what was he afraid of, losing or losing his brother? Clearly the latter. Even the world ending wouldn't be worse to him than losing Sam.

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Swan Song
Oh Dean, what did this boy not go through? He had to let go. He had to let Sam take control of his own destiny.   All he could do was be there by Sam's side and watch while his brother took on the most horrifying burden imaginable. He wasn't happy at all about the plan but said nothing, brooding for the most part when it came together. When the plan failed at first, Dean was crushed but not broken. The end of days was here and all he could think about was Sam musn't die alone.
Dean managed to get through, or the car that he drove there did, but it was their brotherly love that saved the world. Still, it was an empty victory. All Dean could do was helplessly watch knowing either Lucifer/Sam would die or Sam would fall into the cage, thus spending an eternity in the worst possible Hell imaginable. When the latter did happen, Dean's fulfillment of his promise to have that apple pie life with Lisa was done with an empty heart. As Chuck said, all he wanted to do was die or bring Sam back but did neither only because he promised. His worst possible fear came true. He may have been with Lisa but had never felt more alone.
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So how does Dean go on in season six? He doesn't look comfortable in his life with Lisa but will he give it time out of obligation? Is it possible he won't have that luxury if duty calls, especially when Sam returns? How about his emotional state? Will he have anymore fight left in him? Does saving the world matter to him anymore? Will he end up like season one Sam and be a reluctant participant dragged into the life? I must admit, I'm far more intrigued about the season six possibilities for Dean than the beginning of season five. Adjusting to a normal life is the harshest test for any warrior returning from the battlefield. I can't wait to see how Dean fares.
So that's season five Dean Winchester in a nutshell. Coming up, season five Sam. Talk about having inner demons.
Monster Movie
--Robin's Rambles by Robin Vogel

Thunder and lightning fill the sky as the credits roll just like they would in an old time monster movie. The Impala turns a corner, passing a sign that alternately reads, "Welcome to Pennsylvania" and "Welcome to Transylvania." While Sam thinks they should be addressing the coming end of the world, Dean is delighted to have a black and white case involving nothing more than a few vampires to behead.

Oktoberfest 2008 - The proper music plays as prettily dressed girls walk the street. Dean and Sam, suited up, exit the Impala. Dean wants to see the new RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK movie and is upset to learn Sam saw it without him. "You were in hell," Sam reminds him. "No excuse," says Dean. Dean runs over to grab big pretzels for the two of them as Sam fondly shakes his head. A sweet honey greets Dean. "Guten tag yourself," says Dean. Agents "Angus" and "Young" meet Sheriff Dietrich, who takes them to the morgue and shows them the young woman who was killed--two bite marks on her neck. A Satan-worshipping, Anne Rice-reading Gothic psycho vampire wannabe, suggests the sheriff. There was a witness, Ed Brewer, but not the most reliable guy. We see the brothers and the sheriff from the dead woman's viewpoint as the drawer is shut.

Sam and Dean enter a crowded bar where he sees and flirts with Jamie, the pretty bar wench he saw earlier. Sam asks where they can find Ed Brewer. Jamie doesn't think Dean "comes on like a Fed." He tells her he's a rebel, a maverick with a badge, and one thing he doesn't play by are rules. Sam asks again where they can find Brewer. Ed is drinking from the biggest beer stein I've ever seen, upset that he's the town joke. The Winchesters assure him they have lots of experience with strange. So Ed describes coming across a man biting a woman's neck. He was a vampire with fangs, slicked back hair, cape, medallion--Dracula! Right down to the accent! "Stay avay from me, the night is mine!"

Behind the bar, Jamie talks to her friend, Lucy, who blots her lipstick and lays down the napkin she used. Jamie admonishes Lucy for calling Ed crazy. Lucy reminds Jamie that Ed tips her in 20's. Dean asks Jamie for a beer after Lucy goes to another customer. Jamie asks if he's off-duty. "And then some," smiles Dean. Sam picks up Lucy's discarded napkin. Dean and Sam agree this isn't their kind of case, but Dean's cool; their room is paid for, it's Oktoberfest and they have beer and bar wenches. Sam suggests today's women don't like being called bar wenches. "Hey, bar wench, where's my beer?" demands Dean. "Coming right up!" says Jamie cheerily, making Sam shake his head. "Dude, Oktoberfest," says Dean. When Jamie asks Sam what he'll have, Dean says his partner doesn't drink, and is a real drag on stakeouts. He tries to pick her up, but she doesn't bite. "It's time to right some wrongs, Dean tells his brother. He came back from the furnace with a perfect body, "Which leads me to conclude, sadly, that my virginity is intact--I have been rehymenated--and the dude will not abide." Laughing at how ridiculous that is, Sam heads off to get some sleep. Dean tries again to ask Jamie for a date, but she refuses, "I promised Lucy a girls' night out." Besides, no self-respecting girl lets a customer pick her up on the first try--"Try again tomorrow night, G-man." "I don't think we're staying on the case," he explains, "not weird enough."

Full moon. . .a wolf howls. Rick and his date, Anne-Marie, make out in his car. He tells her if a man doesn't get all the "stuff" out of his system, it can cause all sorts of medical problems. They return to passionate kissing. Two hairy, wolfish hands head their way. Anne-Marie hears something, but her impatient date says, "There aren't any wolves in Pennsylvania." A wolfman breaks the window on his side of the car and drags him out. Anne-Marie screams.

Anne-Marie, drinking a huge soda, sits before a skeptical Sam and Dean, explaining, "And then it tore him into little piece." Asked to describe the creature, she replies, "It was a werewolf--from the old movies." They thank her for her time.

Morgue - Sam and Dean examine Rick's smelly remains--bite marks down to the bone--but the heart wasn't taken. What's up? Sheriff Dietrich joins them; canine hair was found on the body. Dean squeezes the bridge of his nose. I'm getting a headache," he complains.

Bar - Over a meal, Dean remarks it feels like they've stumbled over a midnight showing of DRACULA meets WOLFMAN. Jamie brings over more beer and says this case just got weird enough for their department. "Beers are on me," she says, and to Dean, "I get off at midnight tonight." Not another girls' night out, she says, gesturing to Lucy, who's blotting her lipstick behind the bar. Dean's thrilled. He wonders if this Dracula can turn into a bat. "That'd be cool," he says, leaving a cute beer mustache on his upper lip.

Canonsburg Museum of American History - A mysterious delivery shows up, something Egyptian, looks like a sarcophagus. A guard is on the phone describing it to someone when a creature rises from it--the Mummy! The guard drops the phone, screams out, "Holy mother of crap!", pulls out his gun, shoots the thing coming toward him (futile). He is lifted off his feet and strangled to death. We see the Mummy's hideous teeth and the poor guard's open mouth as he utters his death cry.

Museum - There is a flurry of activity as the Coroner's office wheels away the guard's body, photos are taken, and the Sheriff confers with his deputies. Sam and Dean examine the sarcophagus. "This isn't ancient," declares Sam, "it's from a prop house in Philly. There's a bucket of dry ice from the same place, which Dean finds inside. Whoever is doing this has quite a sense of showmanship, says Dean. He checks his watch - he's late for his date with Jamie! He leaves the crime scene to Sam and races off.

Bar - Jamie waits, checks her watch, decides she's given Dean enough time. "Your loss, G-man." She walks away, hears a noise and turns--Dracula! "Good evening," he says in his Transylvanian accent. Jamie runs, he throws his cape over one shoulder and follows her. When he catches up, his eyes are highlighted, just like in the movies. "I have watched you for many nights from afar," he says, "my passion knows no bounds, Mina, you are the reincarnation of my beloved, I must have you!" She reaches into her purse and sprays him in the face with Mace. "Son of a b-!" he cries, his voice no longer accented. Jamie races away, "Dracula" in pursuit. She runs right into Dean and they turn and face Dracula. "Son of a bitch," says Dean. "You should not use such language in the presence of my bride," scolds Drac. "OK," says Dean, and punches him. When Dracula stands, his fangs are showing, and he backs Dean into a brick wall. "Run, Jamie!" shouts Dean. She does. 'You have no choice in the matter, Mr. Harker, Mina is mine!" says Dracula, homing in on Dean's jugular. Dean grabs the vampire's ear, trying to push him away, but the ear comes off in his hand, and Dracula runs off, Dean in pursuit. Drac leaps over an iron gate and takes off--on a motor scooter! He toots his horn and rides away, leaving Dean looking at him through the bars of the gate. A curtain with the word INTERMISSION written on it lets us know we're halfway through the show--time for my big brother to buy me popcorn!

Bar - Sam joins Dean and a shaken Jamie. Sam looks at the ear Dean ripped off Dracula, then touches it--shapeshifter skin, just like in St. Louis and Milwaukee! Dean also pulled off Drac's medallion--another article from the prop shop. They conclude this means the shapeshifter has been all the creatures, and they have to stop him before he, as Dean puts it, "Creature from the Black Lagoon's" somebody. Jamie asks if they're like Mulder and Scully from the X-Files. That's a TV show, says Dean, THIS is real. Sam points out that it's like he's trying to reenact his favorite monster movies, right down to the murders--Mina is Dracula's intended bride, Jonathan Harker her real fiance who stands in his way; Dracula is fixating on Jamie. Dean asks if anyone strange has come to town who's taken special notice of her. It's Oktoberfest, she's a bartender, so what can she say? Hmm, Ed Brewer has a crush on her, but she doesn't think he's that type. Dean sends Sam to the old movie theater, where Ed works, to check him out. Dean will guard "Jamie." (Later) "So shapeshifers can turn into different people," muses Jamie. "This one is turning into great monsters of screenland," says Dean, "a new one for me." "So you and your partner tramp around the country on your own dime, looking for some horrible monster to fight?" she asks. "Some people paint," he says. "Wow, that must suck," opines Jamie, "you're giving up your life for this terrible responsibility." Dean explains, "Last few years, I started thinking that way, and it weighed on me; a little while ago I had this near-death experience, very near, and when I came to, my life's been different, I realized I help people, I save them, I guess it's awesome, it's like a gift, a mission, a mission from God." "So does that make you some kind of monk or something?" she asks throatily, moving in close, celibate?" "Man, I hope not," says Dean, leaning in to kiss her. They're getting into it greedily when Lucy turns on the light, interrupting them. She apologizes, she was just getting a bottle for her own private party, and she'll just go. Jamie invites her to stay for a drink, and Dean agrees, with much sarcasm, because this will stall his long-awaited de-hymenation.

Sam goes to the theater where Ed works. Phantom of the Opera is playing there. Sam draws his gun and enters. In a very cool, creepy effect, we see only a shadow playing the keyboard. When Sam enters, Ed adds a little jazzy extra to the music that really doesn't fit, but is very funny. Sam points the gun at him, bends him back over the bench and makes accusations: "I know what you are!" Ed assures him he just likes to play the Casio. "Had time to grow the ear back, huh?" asks Sam, pulling hard on Ed's ear. When Ed yowls in agony, Sam, puzzled, says, "It's supposed to come off." "No! It's not!" cries Ed. Sam, embarrassed, makes a cute face at his faux pas Ed is NOT their shapeshifter, but he sure is weird!

Bar - Jamie, more than a little drunk, brags to Lucy how Dean flew in and saved her from Dracula. "I didn't exactly fly, but it sure seemed that way at the time," says a modest Dean. Lucy blots her lipstick and leaves the napkin on the table, then asks Dean, "Are you like a black belt or what?" Dean notices that Jamie looks close to passing out, then that his glass of booze appears to be twirling round and round. "I guess they train you to fight at the Academy or whatever," says Lucy. Dean abruptly punches her in the face. Jamie passes out on the bench. "It's you, isn't it?" demands Dean. Lucy puts her askew mouth back in place. Dean kicks her. "What did you put in our drinks?" he asks, picking up the bottle from which they'd been drinking. He smashes the bottle's bottom on the edge of the table and menaces Lucy with it. "I'll skin you myself!" he threatens, but instead falls face forward to the floor. Lucy gazes down at him, smiling. "End scene," she says, before she stomps on his head.

Spooky castle - Dean, who has been changed into a Hansel outfit, complete with Lederhosen, has been clamped to a Frankenstein-type table. He awakens and stares down at his attire. "Come ON!" he says. He spots a poster on the wall--Lucy, who Dracula explains was bride #3 from the first film. She never got the acclaim she deserved, but he chose her form to walk among the mortals. That's when he saw his bride had been reborn in this century. Dean, laughing, can't get over what a pumpkin pie eyed son of a bitch he really is! "You're not Dracula!" says Dean. "And even if you are, what the hell's up with the Mummy?" Dracula punches him. "I am ALL monsters!" proclaims Drac. "Life ain't a movie, you sorry sack of sh-" Drac punches him again, then says, "Life is small, meager, messy. The movies are grand, simple, elegant. I have chosen--elegance!" Dean reminds him of those he murdered. "Of course, it is a monster movie, after all," says Drac. "You do realize what happens at the end of every monster movie?" asks Dean. "Ah," says Drac, "but this is MY movie, and in it, the monster wins, the monster gets the girl, and the hero is electrocuted! Tonight, Jonathan Harker, you will be my hero!" He reaches for a lever, with hilarious sloth, to do just that, as Dean chuckles nervously, trying to struggle out of his bonds. The doorbell rings. "Please, excuse me," says Drac, throwing his cape around himself dramatically. He runs upstairs. Dean drops his head to the table with relief. Reprieve! Upstairs, Drac has ordered a pizza--their repast! "Continue to be of such service and your life will be spared," promises Drac. He annoys the delivery guy by asking if there's garlic on the pizza, but the kid, irritated, says there isn't if he didn't order it. Oh, and Drac has a coupon, too!

Bar - Returning to find Dean and Jamie gone, Sam calls Dean's cell to report that Ed is not their guy. "I'm guessing you're home with Jamie, so give me a call." However, he notices the broken bottle, three glasses--and the napkin with the lipstick stain! "Lucy!" realizes Sam.

Castle - Jamie awakens in an ornate, candlelit bedroom. A gorgeous gown hangs nearby. "You wear the gown," says Dracula, "it suits your beauty." He assures her "Harker", aka Dean, is resting, and she is to put on the gown so they can have dinner--"We are having pizza." He gestures to the pie, which is on a silver platter. "What's wrong with you?" she asks. "You made up Lucy, pretended to be my friend." "I had to know if you were the one," he explains. "You should try talking to people," she says, but instead you become THIS? I don't want to play your stupid game, I just wanna go home." "PUT ON THE GOWN!" he screams, his accent gone. She reaches for the dress. Downstairs, Sam has broken into the house and pulled out his gun. Jamie looks very fetching in the gown. Dracula, accent missing, says, "I scared you. You're the only one I didn't want to scare." He gestures to their surroundings. "I just love the movies." "They aren't real," says Jamie, "you can't make them real." "Real is being born this way," he says, "different. Real is having your dad call you monster. The first time you hear the word, and he tries to beat you to death with a shovel. Everywhere I tried to hide, people dragged me out, attacked me, called me freak, monster. Then I found THEM. Great monsters. In their movies, they were strong, feared, beautiful, and now I'm like them, commanding, terrifying." "Lonely," says Jamie. "WAS lonely," he corrects. He reaches out to touch her face, but she flinches away. "Now I have you," he says. "Ever think it's only because you KILL people?" she asks. "Or I kill people because I'm lonely?" he says. "Did you hear that?" "What?" she asks. "Dean? Dean!!!!!!" Drac smacks her so hard, she falls to the bed, unconscious. Drac covers his mouth, horrified over what he did to his bride.

Sam finds and frees his brother. "Just in the nick of time," says Dean, "the guy was about to Frankenstein me!" "Hey there, Hansel," says a grinning Sam. "Shut up!" orders Dean. Sam kicks at heavy wooden doors, which simply fall down. They move on. Sam spies Jamie on the bed, but Drac attacks him from behind and throws him through a very thin wall. Sam lies unconscious. "You will never win, Van Helsing!" says Drac, accent back in place. Dean attacks him, and Drac gets in a flurry of hard punches. "Now, Harker, you will die!" declares Drac. "How about you shut the hell up?" suggests Dean. Drac is about to put the bite on Dean, who's on the floor, but is shot from behind. "Silver?" asks Drac, confused. He turns. Lucy has picked up Sam's gun and shot him. Syrupy violins play. "Twas beauty that killed the beast," he says, "no, Mina, do not weep, perhaps this is how the movie SHOULD end." He falls artfully into a chair and dies. The camera pans away, leaving us looking at Dracula through a small hole, which then closes altogether.

Oktoberfest Square - Dean and Jamie kiss lingeringly. "Thank you, G-man," she says, "you've been of GREAT service to your country." "Very, very patriotic," he agrees. Sam watches uncomfortably. One last kiss, and Dean joins Sam. "You guys saved my life, you know," says Jamie, "so, thanks." "I like her," says Sam. "It feels good to be back on the job, doesn't it?" asks Dean. Sam agrees. "Hero gets the girl, monster gets the gank," says Dean, "all in all, happy ending--with a happy ending, no less." "Real classy," says Sam sarcastically. Dean thinks it would be nice if life was like a movie, but if it was up to him, it wouldn't be this ABBOTT AND COSTELLO MEET THE MONSTERS crap. He's sure Sam has no idea what movie he would choose, but Sam nails it, to Dean's annoyance: PORKY'S 2. "Lucky guess," says Dean sullenly. THE END. . .?

Credits run over a slate gray sky as the movie score plays over them. What a different, brilliant episode! I absolutely loved this!

It's a Winchester Family Business exclusive! Since we've been honoring Ghostfacers recently and their bid for an Emmy nomination, Ardeospina was able to get a list of her burning questions answered about this innovative web series. We are most honored to present some great answers from the core members of the production and creative team. The following questions have been answered by these members involved in Ghostfacers:
With a four month summer hiatus ahead of us, the question arises, how do we get our needed dosage of the Winchesters? For me, I read, and have found the tie-in novels for the TV series really fun to get lost in. I read for the same reason I watch TV, relaxation, entertainment and escapism, and the novels do not disappoint. Currently, there are five in the series and a sixth, War of the Sons by Rebecca Dessertine and David Reed, is due for release in August 2010. Keith R. A. DeCandido has written three of the Supernatural tie-in novels Nevermore, Bone Key and Heart of the Dragon. The first of his novels is the gist of this review.
When I first heard about the books, I was hopeful, but cautious. From what I've seen, media tie-in books run the gambit from great to unreadable. I was very pleasantly surprised with Nevermore. Published in August 2007, Nevermore was the first in the series, and involves a ghostly haunting and a series of bazaar murders based on the stories by Edgar Allen Poe. 
Set in the second season between episodes Crossroad Blues and Croatoan, Dean and Sam head to the Bronx to help out Manfred Afiri, Ash’s friend, and every bit as colorful as Ash himself. Manfred is a local rocker whose house is haunted with a lovesick blond apparition in a '80s heavy-metal T-shirt. But that’s not all they find. A far more macabre crime catches their attention. Not far from the house, two university students were beaten to death by a strange assailant. A murder that's bizarre even by New York City standards, it's the latest in a line of killings that the brothers soon suspect are based on the creepy stories of legendary writer Edgar Allan Poe.
Set in the Bronx, and written by Bronx native Keith DeCandido, the novel brings forth a knowledge and emotion of the city that adds richness to the story. The great historical facts mixed in with the tale give it a very non-fiction feel.
Keith DeCandido is no stranger to Sci-fi novels either. He has authored more than 40 novels most of them in media universes such as Star Trek, but has also written tie-ins for other popular sci-fi and fantasy series as well, such as Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Doctor Who, Andromeda, Farscape and now Supernatural.
He is also a professional music and his love for the art and Dean’s love of rock music are really brought to the forefront in the book. At the back of the book, DeCandido added a list of songs he listened to while writing the novel, and recommends it as a listening soundtrack while reading, including the Supernatural favorite AC/DC’s Back In Black. I found this a really fun and enjoyable addition to the book.
Another nice addition is the ability to be able to see the action from the perspective of the other characters, including a ghost, something which the time constraints of a television show doesn't allow. Another other nice touch, the author gave a tip of his hat to Jim Butcher's ‘Dresden Files’ by mentioning  a female cop named Murphy, in Chicago, who happens to be part of the inner circle of paranormal secrets. And I loved Dean’s little dig about CSI, and how there were better things to watch on Thursday nights. Yep.....the joke about CSI started way before Changing Channels!
This book is the early Winchesters is all their glory. It is 352 pages of a fast-paced, action-packed supernatural murder mystery complete with blazing shotguns and secret incantations. From Dean’s frustration with driving in the Bronx (so Sam did it), and the ‘hunter knowledgeable’ Detective McBain (a friend of John Winchester), to Dean’s reading the Poe stories and Sam’s Latin spells, the story never gets dull. The plotline is engaging and full of bantering between the boys. 
Throughout the book, the dialogue and rapport between the two were so vivid, I could actually
visualize Jensen Ackles and Jared Padalecki acting the scenes out.
Sam: I’m a little freaked out.
Dean: C’mon, Manfred’s an okay guy.
Sam: It’s not Manfred, Dean, it’s you. It’s like we’re in Dean Disneyland in there with Fillmore East posters and the amps and the record collections. I’m worried we’re never gonna get you outta there.
Dean: Dude, I can focus.
Sam: Hope so. ‘Cause we got a spirit we know’s gonna show on Friday night, and a murder that we know’s gonna happen Monday night, and we’re staying with a guy whose house is full of illegal narcotics when we’re both wanted by the feds.
Dean: Anybody ever tell you you worry too much, Sam?
Sam: You, about four times a day.
Dean: Then consider this number five.
Priceless, huh! The book is filled with them. Sam’s deliberate hassling of Dean when he’s in his ‘womanizing’ mode results is a playful retort that ends with Dean threatening to pour a beer over Sam’s head. Oh, and FBI agent Hendrickson makes and appearance, just to further complicate things for the boys.
‘Nevermore’ gave me many laugh-out-loud moments. And even though it is set in season two, is it still a wonder to read.  It’s like a step back in time for Supernatural fans, a lost episode and just as enjoyable (but no commercials!). Even a non Supernatural fan would enjoy this story. It’s a good way to spend a lazy summer afternoon and a good way to get a much need ‘fix’ of our beloved brothers during this ever long hellatus! 
Season 4 is a lot like Season 3 in that there are several episodes to choose from, notably In The Beginning, I Know What You Did Last Summer, On the Head of a Pin and Monster at the End of This Book, not to mention the fact that Dean was brought out of hell by none other than the Angel Castiel following orders from God! So there was a lot of awesome stuff happening in Season 4 (yes, and Sam broke the final seal and set Lucifer free) still I was able to find one episode that packed so much into it that it just set it head and shoulders above the rest [there is a pun there, folks.]

So, we’ll do a quick review of the rules and then I’ll present my case for my choice for Season 4’s pivotal episode.

Rules for pivotal episodes:

As I’ve learned from Alice, rules are necessary when embarking on such an adventure. Thus, I have some rules regarding how I decided upon the pivotal episode of each season.

First off, it must add to what we know thus far, either for Sam or Dean or for the storyline as a whole

Second, it must be built upon in future episodes and events.

Third, the episode as a whole must be strong, this is the pivotal episode, not necessarily the most powerful episode of the season but in no way can it simply have a pivotal scene while the rest of the episode is flat or uneven or even forgettable.


On The Head of a Pin:


There is so much packed into this episode I’ll just pick a starting point and move on from there, it is in this episode that we open on Castiel thus heralding a much bigger angelic involvement henceforth. Castiel and Uriel kidnap Dean to torture the information out of Alistair as to who is killing angel. Not only are we given some backstory on Dean’s time in hell as we watch Dean torture Alistair and witness their interactions but we learn that Dean broke the first seal and that without the first seal being broken none of the rest could. That’s pivotal.

What happens next is Alistair escapes his bonds, how, well because Uriel is a rogue angel and he’s the one who has been killing the angels who won’t join him. Uriel wants Castiel to join him and he wants Dean dead; add rogue angels to the ever-growing list of Winchester enemies.

Sam calls on Ruby for assistance because he no longer believes Dean capable of doing the job; Ruby not only provides Dean’s location but provides the necessary ingredient for Sam to win the day, demon blood. It is here we learn that Sam has been drinking demon blood to hone his exorcising skills and not only that, now Sam can kill - and he does. Also it is here we see what the demon blood is doing to Sam, it is slowly taking him over as his eyes transition to black as he drives to save Dean.

Anna returns and proves herself a valuable ally as she saves Castiel and slays Uriel, Anna also is a catalyst in Castiel beginning to question his orders. It is after this that Castiel helps Dean save Sam in MATEOTB by pointing Dean to the perils of anyone presenting possible danger to a prophet; up to now Castiel had been toeing the company line.

The events unfolded in this episode directly lead us to the next episode where Zachariah arrives to teach Dean that he is a hunter and that it is part of who and what he is and that he’s born to it. It’s a Terrible Life would not have been necessary if not for the utter brokenness of Dean after OTHOAP and from this Zachariah reveals himself and we know what a grand manipulator he was now a full season later.

In addition to all the above goodness OTHOAP introduces us into what will become a valuable addition to the Winchester arsenal, angel swords. There is a lot of discussion out and about that Dean must somehow be “special” because he was able to kill Zachariah in Point of No Return but it is all the way back in this episode that the answer is found. 

When Uriel confronts Castiel and admits that he’s trying to raise Lucifer, he states that only an angel can kill another angel. What’s important here is not just what is said but what occurs as the words are being spoken; from his sleeve he releases a sword, the kind of which we have never seen before. It is because only angels carry these swords that angels are able to kill angels; however, should anyone else get a hold of said sword then all bets are off.

I back this up with what Gabriel told Dean in Hammer of the Gods after Dean wondered how it was Kali didn’t kill him. Gabriel told Dean that he “allowed” Kali to lift a fake sword because there was no way he’d let her have his real sword that would kill him. Again, it’s the weapon, not who holds it that’s important. 

In Point of No Return Castiel heads to the spot where “something is happening” - we know this to be Adam being reconstituted from ash - encounters two rogue angels and dispatches them with the sword he has carried since Uriel was slain. Castiel brings back not only Adam but the two swords that he prominently places on Bobby’s desk. Later in the episode Sam and Dean go with Castiel to Van Nuys to rescue Adam and both brothers carry the swords that Castiel delivers. We see that Dean goes in to rescue Adam and distract Zach so that Sam can come up behind him; Sam is carrying one of the angel swords; Dean the other. The swords are the key.

As a little extra gem I get out of this episode is that I can now fully appreciate Sam’s comment back in Metamorphosis: “I’ve got demon blood in me, Dean.”Well, yeah, Sam, you do but it’s because you’re drinking it. Blood cells only last four to six months before dying off and being filtered from the body as they are replaced so what was dripped into your mouth at six months’ of age wouldn’t really have a whole lot to do with who and what you are 22 plus years later; drink the stuff like Kool-Aid however and see what we get.

So much is unveiled in this episode that what came before and what still is coming today hinges off the events and revelations here.

On the Head of a Pin is Season 4’s pivotal episode.

Thanks for reading, Elle2

God, who?
‘If there is no God, everything is permitted.’ Fyodor M. Dostoyevsky once wrote. We have been wondering, watching our favourite show, where God has been. Castiel has looked all over for Him and we know that He doesn’t speak to everyone, well…

Michelangelo, Fresco at the Sistine’s Chapel
Greetings fellow Hellatus survivors! I'm remiss in getting this article out - it's much later than I'd intended but a friend and I took a trip States-side to the Big Apple in honour of our graduation - if there are any New Yorkers here - you have an incredible city! Anyways ,while putting together the Guests feature in honour of the hundredth Supernatural episode way back when, it was increasingly difficult to choose a mere 100 from the many, many faces who have appeared on our great show in the last 104 episodes. Hence, we have what I'm calling the Bonus Round. I am going to try, to the best of my ability, to include every person who has ever guested on Supernatural as I put together this list over Hellatus. Once again, there isn't really a rhyme or reason to the order in which they appear. (Thanks to SupernaturalWiki for suppying the pictures!)