‘Abandon all hope, you who enter!’
 
- Dante Alighieri’s inscription at the entrance to Hell
  
We don’t know much about hell. In Supernatural’s universe it is a place where one month becomes a decade. It is a ‘prison made of bone and flesh and blood and fear.’ It is ‘a pit of despair’, where human souls are turned into demons via endless years of agony.
 
All we have seen of hell are a few peeks, as Dean, after being torn up by hellhounds, hung suspended from hooks violently forced through his wrists and ankles, shoulder and abdomen, screaming for help and for the one soul who meant everything to him – Sam. No one heard him. No one cared. Another glimpse of hell was given by flashbacks Dean experienced when he awoke in his coffin, remembering fragments of his time there – his panic stricken, wide open eyes, blood everywhere, accompanied by jarring screams.
 
And we are aware of what he told Sam: ‘…they sliced and carved and tore at me in ways that you… until there was nothing left. And then suddenly, I would be whole again, like magic. Just so they could start in all over. And Alistair… at the end of every day, every one, he would come over and he would make me an offer: to take me off the rack, if I put souls on. If I started the torture. And every day I told him to stick it where the sun shines… For thirty years I told him. But then I couldn’t do it anymore, Sammy, I couldn’t… And I got off that rack. God help me, I got right off and I started ripping them apart. I lost count of how many souls. The things that I did to them… … how I feel? This…. inside me… I wish I couldn’t feel anything, Sammy. I wish I couldn’t feel a damn thing.’
 
We don’t need to become familiar with any more details. To watch Dean and his reactions to the memories coming over him is more than enough. And, frankly, does anyone of us really want to know what the demons of hell did to him? What ever it was – it changed Dean profoundly. The man who returned from hell was still, essentially, Dean Winchester, loving brother and hunter of the paranormal, but he was also a broken, stunned and devastated survivor of torture. Being that, his reaction to an abnormal and unspeakable experience was absolutely normal and natural – in clinical terms it is described as posttraumatic stress.
 
Before explaining more about that, I will take a look at torture and the psychology of it. I believe it imperative to understand the phenomenon to be able to realize what it does to a person subjected to torture.
In honor of Supernatural starting in US second run syndication on TNT today, I thought that since I didn't start writing reviews until season three, when I actually started watching the show, for each season one and two episode aired I'll write a quick 500 word review. It's a nifty little challenge because once I get my analytical hat on, 500 words becomes impossible. Even for bad episodes like "Bugs" there's plenty to rant about.  Still, I'll try, for brevity with older episodes that already have been overanalyzed is probably desired.  Naturally, first up is The Pilot. Word counter starts"¦now.
Sam’s and Dean’s Good Intentions for 2010
 
 
It’s a celebrated tradition in several countries to begin a new year with putting down what we’d like to achieve that year or what we will stop doing.
 
Using suddenly emerging telepathic skills (New Year’s Eve-Champagne will do that to you), I sneaked into the minds of our dear brothers, had a look around, and – boy – what did I find there….
 
 (As usual, stills are property of CW and the copyright owners, screencaps were found at screencap-paradise.)
 
  
‘I’ll become the world’s gargling champion!’


 
Almost every episode has them.  Usually episodes can be categorized as either not a winner, dividing the fandom, or being a major classic. With almost every episode though, there is a small little moment between the characters that make us smile or giggle.  Subtle reminders as to why we love this show. They aren’t earth shattering or ground breaking, just enough to give us fond memories when looking back.  It also keeps us coming back for a rewatch.
 
In 2009, there were 22 episodes. 12 for season four, 10 for season five. So out of those, which ones gave me those little quick, happy moments? More than I thought.
 
Family Remains
 
A terrible episode, probably the worst of season four, but I still get all giddy over the shot of Sam Winchester trying to sleep in the back of the Impala. I still try to picture how uncomfortable that might be for a man that’s 6’ 4”, even if the car they’re driving is a boat. Dean’s angst only made Sam’s inability to sleep even better. 

 
It's been my goal to clean up and improve my Season Three recaps as I can.  I so far have only fixed "Mystery Spot," so in honor off the holidays here's my new and improved recap for "A Very Supernatural Christmas."  Enjoy!

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What a better way to celebrate this special holiday season than to re-experience the twisted, gory, heart-wrenching, fast-paced, cynical, and downright brilliant version of Christmas the Supernatural style. Kripke and Company are a bunch of sick bastards, and we love them for it.
This episode contains an overwhelming attention to detail so it’ll be impossible to overlook most of these elements that made up one of the most outstanding episodes of the series. It went all out, beyond the usual great writing and acting, giving us several unique camera shots, extreme set decoration, a brilliant cast of supporting characters, loads of eye catching background details, and even a clever cover story as to why Ypsilanti Michigan was looking so lush in December.
The writer of this episode, Jeremy Carver, gives us his first solo script here, and I must wonder how many Andy Williams Christmas specials he’s seen in his lifetime (I assume enough to drive him crazy). As with his other masterpiece, “Mystery Spot”, this script is very diverse, offering snappy and outrageous (in a good way) dialogue, a multitude of jabs at the history of Christmas culture, a progression of scenes going at a wild yet seamless pace that blended laugh out loud moments, powerful emotional ones and very disturbing ones.  Plus, it ruined Christmas. What could be better?
The directing on this episode is phenomenal as well, coming from J. Miller Tobin. This was his second outing for Supernatural. Considering his first episode was the stellar “Born Under A Bad Sign”, he already had an excellent track record with this show. What he did with this episode was nothing short of incredible.
Dearly Departed…by Elle2
 
Inspired by Randal’s recent One Night Stands (and yes, I totally went the way of the gutter while preparing to read that…) I decided to write briefly about some of my favorite recurring characters who alas are no more. I’m putting them in my order of favor, least to most, although any ordering is not meant to disparage because the following characters I truly enjoyed each and every time they came to visit.  Be it on the side of the light or the side of the dark, they were all ‘good’ characters who enriched the storyline.
 
“This guy’s no genius, he’s a Lynyrd Skynyrd roadie.” -- Ash
 
Ash was the first wacky character that truly was a character: genius, drunk, opportunist, Dr. Bad***, unabashedly comfortable in his birthday suit, keeper of secrets – until pressured by Ellen and then he folds – and loyal.
 
Ash staggered drunkenly into the Winchester’s lives in ELAC and quickly proved himself able to decipher John’s research (the man who writes like Yoda), to be a keeper of Sam’s secret psychic abilities, a helper to Jo who tried to ditch (unsuccessfully) her mother and hunt with the brothers, and very aware of the dangers abounding as he sensed the importance of his discovery and the need to keep it safe (AHBL I&II).
 
Ash came seemingly from nowhere (well, all right, MIT) and for some unknown reason found himself settled in a back room at The Roadhouse. There’s much unknown about Ash, including his death – to this day there are those that hope (against hope) that he somehow escaped the fiery explosion, that somehow the watch that was highlighted during his phone call to Dean and the burnt watch on the charred remains found at the devastation of The Roadhouse was somehow a ruse…I’m thinking Ash is gone.
 
He was fun, funny, outrageous and a mystery; in the end he did not fit anywhere in the landscape and it was best to remove him…before he outstayed his welcome; as it is, I miss him.
‘Unconquerable Souls’
 
 Poetry That Could Be Supernatural
 
 
As some of you will already have noticed I read a lot, and I have a soft spot for poetry. Give me Shakespeare at any time, and I’m happy. Now, some of my best-loved poems have begun to remind me of my favourite tv-show and its characters…
 
This is meant to be my Christmas gift for all of us, to carry us into the New Year on the immortal words of some of the world’s greatest minds, and their visions of hope, courage, human strength and human flaws, and the many faces of love.
 
On this site it’s all about love, don’t you think?, and it comes indeed in numerous forms – it’s the love we share for a tv-show, the love we give to one another by respecting each other’s comments and thoughts, the love we send via the web to console and/or appreciate someone who told us a personal story, the love that hides within relaxed banter and the fun craziness we unfold here.

And it’s about shapes of courage – it takes some guts to de-lurk and post a comment, thereby subject your thoughts and opinions to possible criticism, to defend or condemn an episode or this hellatus…, and, also, guts are needed when accepting another’s point of view. Don’t mind me; I’m a sentimental soul sometimes.
 
So, when winter embraces you with its icy wings (read too much poetry lately, Jas?), let the shadows go and remind yourself that there is a lot of kindness, compassion and warmth in this world, and it’s worth fighting for (what else is being human about?).
 
Our Winchesters do it in fictional stories, and each one of us does it by accepting another’s weaknesses, by helping up the old lady who stumbled in the street, by smiling at a stranger (and receiving a smile back),  by reaching out to someone we have issues with… the list could go on…
 
The other day I came back from a trip, and as my plane was late I missed all my trains and got stuck at a station. There was no other train that late in the night, and I prepared myself to order a cab and pay a ridiculous amount of money only to sleep in my own bed. A couple at the station noticed my predicament and offered to take me home. So they drove many miles just to get me there, and when I offered to pay them for it, they simply said: ‘No, this is not for sale. Do something for another person in need.’
This is what I mean – that is the kind of gift each one of us is able to give to others. 
 
So, have a most wonderful and peaceful Christmas, allow yourselves to be enveloped in love and friendship, and  may angels watch over all of you.
 
Merry Christmas to you all
 - and to the cast and crew, everyone who works hard on this show, and all the creative minds of Supernatural.
 
You’ve given us the best show we could have possibly wished for, and with it fun, inspiration, creative debates and nourishing ideas… Thank you.
 
Enjoy.
 
(And, of course, copyrights lie with the authors entirely, I found the screencaps at screencap paradise, stills are property of the CW.) 
  
 
 
 
 
 
Invictus
 
 
Out of the night that covers me
Black as the pit from pole to pole
I thank whatever Gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.
 
In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud;
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbow’d.
 
Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds and shall find me unafraid.
 
It matter not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate,
I am the captain of my soul.
 
William Henley
A Christmas Dream
 
It was Christmas Eve in the State of South Dakota.
The snow was falling gently and adding to the quota.
The new laid snow glistened, from the reflection of all the lights.
Coming from the homes lit up all through out the nights.
Seven Reasons to Be Grateful for During the Holiday Season

Santa never came down your chimney. More to the point, Santa never ripped you up your chimney.

Boot