It is hard to believe we are already on the threshold of the season nine finale. It feels like this season just began and I have to admit I’m feeling unprepared for the end. “Stairway to Heaven” didn’t feel like the second to last episode of a season. I’m not sure if that’s just denial on my part, or if there is something different about what is at risk for Sam, Dean and Cass this season.

Last season was fairly straightforward when it came to stakes. Once we learned about the trials, it was clear how the rest of the season was meant to unfold. Would Sam, Dean, Cass and Kevin be able to figure out what the trials were and could they successfully complete them? Then, throw in the surprise twist that completing the trials would kill Sam and you’ve got yourself some pretty high stakes. Now we have season nine. Metatron has a god complex and plans to take over Heaven. While that is interesting, it’s unclear what that would mean for the angels, or anyone else for that matter. It’s hard to know if he’d really be any worse than the other angels who have tried and failed at playing god. Then we have the Mark of Cain which I personally find much more gripping. But even though Dean spinning into a frenzy of rage is totally thrilling, it’s still hard to know what’s at risk; even now that we’re so close to the end of the season. It clear that killing is becoming an addiction for Dean. So the easy answer seems to be that Sam and Cass should just take a page from Supernatural’s history and lock Dean up far away from the blade. In all fairness, that may not be how the mark works, but we don’t really know all that much about it, do we? In my mind, it might have been helpful to gain a bit more insight into what it means to carry the Mark of Cain. Is it a life sentence? What would have to happen in order for Dean to remove it? So, it’s not that this season hasn’t been interesting, it’s just that it hasn’t been quite as clear in its intent.
9.22 DeanTessa
Despite the uncertainty, “Stairway to Heaven” still packed a punch. Dean is really losing his marbles. We’ve seen him getting more and more angry over the course of the season, but something about killing Abaddon really seems to have set him off. It wasn’t only his outbursts of violence against Tessa or his even more animalistic burst of rage toward Gadreel. It’s the little things too. It’s how mean he was to Cass about his past failures. It was pretty low of him to question Cass’ loyalties and bring up his past indiscretions. The Dean we know wouldn’t have been so quick to jump to conclusions, and express them out loud in front of an audience. The Dean we know would be fighting his instincts and pretending there wasn’t an issue. Not to mention how rude Dean has been to Sam these past weeks. Dean lied about leaving the First Blade behind which wasn’t much of a shocker. He did the exact same thing with the Colt back in the day. But it was his conversation with Sam afterward that really hit home. According to Dean, until he kills Metatron he and Sam are not in partnership, it is a dictatorship. And he is in charge. Dean doesn’t often put his foot down quite so hard unless he is directly trying to protect Sam. If it wasn’t clear before that the mark is having an effect on Dean, it certainly was after this episode.
13
After last week’s episode, I think we were all counting on Gadreel coming around and agreeing to act as a spy for Castiel. I actually had a sneaking suspicion that he was already at work collecting information for Castiel during the episode. But it wasn’t until he saw just how crazy Metatron can be that he finally made a decision about where his loyalties lie. The level of manipulation Metatron achieved was actually kind of impressive. As it turns out, Metatron’s group of elite recruits were posing as Cass loyalists and crazy people. That’s really not a bad strategy. The more of them that nuked themselves in the name of Cass, the more it chipped away at his credibility. And on top of that, Metatron was able to use a “Cass fanatic” to take control of the only remaining group of angels that hadn’t already sided either of them. Oh, and then he tore Castiel’s own army apart with the revelation that he’s running on stolen grace. He’s an evil genius I tell you! Too bad he’s not on our side.
14
Speaking of Castiel’s stolen grace, it’s supposedly wearing thin. And soon it will burn right out and take our beloved angel with it. But where are the signs? It seems like Cass is running at full strength at this point. It’s not that I think Metatron is lying about Cass’ stolen grace, it’s just that with no signs of deterioration, it’s hard to know how much longer he has. If the writers want us to feel the fear, they have to show us something to get anxious about. Telling a viewer that something terrible could potentially happen is not quite as gripping as showing them that it is indeed starting to happen.

So that’s where we are. I’m so looking forward to this season finale. I’m hoping it will provide the answers we need while setting us up for a mind-blowing cliffhanger. There is a lot of potential in these storylines and I’m ready to explore how some of them might carry over into next season. So what did you guys think? Did you enjoy “Stairway to Heaven”? Any non-spoilery predictions for the finale?

As usual, there were some good quotes and stray observations worth mentioning.  

So, Gadreel is still alive, right? Dean sliced him, but he didn’t stab. There’s a definitely possibility that Gadreel could have survived. At least long enough to give us some of Metatron’s secrets.

Dean testing Sam’s reflexes was one part hilarious and one part troubling.

Dean: “He is a weird guy, okay? He’s a weird, dorky, little guy.”

Agents Spears and Aguilera. Hilarious. I take back what I said about being sad that Cass knows pop culture references. Cass knowing them and using them inappropriately is actually pretty good too.

Cass: “I noticed your aliases are usually the names of popular musicians.” Oh Cass...

Metatron: “Castiel has this simple charm, he’s like a mentally deficient puppy. But I’m loveable, and funny. I made God laugh. Twice.”

Cass: “They like to hear me say their names.”
Dean: “I know a few women like that.”

Cass: “Abaddon is dead.”
Sam: “And then some.”

Tyrus: “I hear you’re losing and I hate your face.”

“You believe every problem can be solved with a gun. You’re a killer with oceans of blood on his hands.”

Cass: “Step aside, I got this…..I don’t got this.”

Cass: “Prime numbers can be intimidating.”
06
I thoroughly enjoyed the nod to The Last Crusade. Not to mention the Home Alone reference.

Josiah: “No, I would rather die than owe my life to you. Play at being noble. Play at being one of us. But I look into your eyes and I don’t see an angel staring back at me.”
What does he see that we’re not seeing?

Tessa: “Dean, what have you done?”
Dean: “What I had to.”
Tessa: “Welcome to the club.”

Metatron: “Dean, always with the b-grade action movie wit.”

Metatron: “The only thing he cares about is himself and the Hardy Boys there.”

Cass: “Dean, those bombers. You don’t really think that I…”
Dean: “Cass, you just gave up your entire army for one guy. No, there’s no way you blew those people away.”
Cass: “You really believe we three will be enough?”
Dean: “We always have been.”

Comments  

njspnfan
# njspnfan 2014-05-14 15:45
...
NOLANOLA
# NOLANOLA 2014-05-14 18:01
I hope GADREEL is not dead. He is a victim maybe THE ORIGINAL VICTIM....

I did not think the 1st BLADE could kill anything......d oes that mean DEATH and/or GOD......

The bow definitely wont be tied after the Finale. This is an ongoing tread. I hope its all tied up by the END OF THE SERIES, WHENEVER that may be.
lkeke35
# lkeke35 2014-05-14 20:07
Did anyone else get the sense that Metatron is just a clueless bumbler? He seems to have no idea what he wants. He kicks the angels out, then has a made up fight with Cas ( where he cheats like crazy, showing none of the honor that Gadreel seems to want in a leader), then let's all the angels back in... What's he going to do with all those human souls crying out in the hallway?

I do hope they kill him next episode, cuz he's really annoying and I'm tired of looking at his smarmy face but I guess that's the point.
NOLANOLA
# NOLANOLA 2014-05-14 20:17
He said he KNOWS THE ENDING, but I agree with you he does not act like it. HE lost the bowling game, the NEW GOD certainly would not have LOST...or is it just me......
Puck
# Puck 2014-05-14 20:28
THANK YOU SOFIA for pointing out the hilarious bits! The guys made my head spin last night with all the comedy-suspense -action-anger and I mean that in the best possible way. Cas passing through a "Moira" gate (solved by "7 ate 9" no less! :D ) instead of St. Peter's Gates before having to slip through the first of Indiana Jones' three trials aided by Sam Winchester who completed two of three trials was so awesome now that Metatron has done the one good thing of updating Cas's pop culture. Now the archangel is just an annoying, arrogant ass, but I also hated him from the start.

Love your insights, and while I was confident Cas wouldn't gank Dean (despite Dean not looking like he agreed) I did wonder what Toasty meant when he told Cas he didn't see an angel looking back at himself. Also on the "appearances are deceiving" list: what's up with Crowley's red smoke?
OnceUponanSPNFan
# OnceUponanSPNFan 2014-05-14 20:35
Sugar and spice and everything nice...

By the second last episode of the season, a reasonable idea of the overall plot should be pretty darned clear. Now, given that since S7 the writers have tended to leave out story development for 3/4 of the season and stuff all sorts of exposition into the last 3 episodes, it's not exactly a surprise that they've done it again this season. There was more meaning in the Then segment than in the entire episode. I see that the "angel beacon" symbol has been implied to be the magical portable hole doorway to Heaven. How convenient. Likewise, a new faction and angel leader are chucked in when the previous episode (mistakenly?) killed off the Malachi faction offscreen and reduced the numbers for an angel "war" back to down to a figure that might be more properly called a "skirmish".

Does anyone else truly not find Metatron's so-called references to movies completely trite and banal? These aren't "nods" to movies and/or tv shows (hello, Cas' command centre bears a remarkable resemblance to the set of '24', complete with interrogation rooms and curving concrete tunnels), they're ripoffs and poorly executed ones too.

Metatron has no plan. The writers have no plan for Metatron. It seems from the dialogue in this episode and from the hiring of Curtis Armstrong that Carver's 3 year story arc is homage to "Revenge of the Nerds". This is what Supernatural has been degraded to? A bumbling, insecure and stupid angel desperately wanting to be God and powerful and... sigh ... popular??!?!?!? That's the "big bad"? Really? I realise that the writers have very limited life experience and obviously equally limited general knowledge but come on.

There are a lot of comments about Dean becoming "addicted to killing" - I'm darned if I can see what people mean by that. Is he skulking around looking for the next person to kill? Correct me if I'm wrong, but Tessa threw herself onto the First Blade and Gadreel had betrayed Dean's trust by killing Kevin - is that the addiction? Addiction is usually defined as a compulsion that cannot be resisted and Dean seems to be resisting the urge to kill just anybody quite well. He didn't yank out the Blade and go berserk in Cas' command centre, even when he was being held. Perhaps it's a mistaken idea of what 'addiction' means that's confusing me.

The angels fell. Metatron got bored in Heaven. Abaddon and Crowley agreed to run a political contest for the rulership of Hell and Crowley figured he'd better kill her or get someone else to kill her in case the numbers were too close. Then there were the multiple, consecutive deaths of friends and multiple, consecutive resurrections by Gadreel and nothing much else happened. Angels divide into factions. Skirmish around a little. Metatron recruits Gadreel by promising him his reputation back (and was anyone else ASTOUNDED by the fact that the writers failed to (a) tie the Serpent to Lucifer and (b) tie Gadreel trusting and betrayed by his brother and unjustly imprisoned and (c) without the bite of the apple, sex and shame and knowledge there would be NO HUMAN RACE according to the biblical mythology used here, at any rate - but I digress madly). Then Metatron suddenly becomes Alfred Hitchcock for some reason, and decides to be the story-teller of the world. His "story" is an underdog fighting to keep Heaven secure against the rebellious Cas and apparently most of the angels on Earth. But that's unclear and implausible. Happily Abaddon is dispatched with a minimum of effort on Dean's part, and the Hell side of the plots have more or less finished without ever having been developed. What a relief. Back to the angels. Cas seems incapable of making a decision. Dean seems impatient to just get the season over with. Sam seems to feel that he has a responsibility to tell Dean what weapon he can and can't use despite the fact that he stated very clearly that they are not working as brothers - or was it that they weren't brothers any more? I get so confused by Sam's fleeting angers these days - first he wanted to die, then he's pissed because he was possessed, then he's distraught about Kevin, then he doesn't want to have Dean as his brother etc and then all of that is dropped without a murmur of explanation and he becomes self-righteousl y his brother's keeper once again. Yawn. Nearly as inexplicable as being enraged for having to leave his relationship with married Amelia because her husband inconveniently returned home from war and blaming Dean for it. Oh, yeah, and after telling Dean to cut his friend loose, he decides that actually he's not in love with Amelia, doesn't want a normal life and says no more about it.

Rambling ... that's what happens when there is no plot, no characterisatio n and no amount of speculation will enable a coherent way forward. Apologies all round for taking up valuable bandwidth and time spewing out the same kind of incomprehensibl e mish mash of crap as the show has.
Trucklady
# Trucklady 2014-05-15 15:05
OnceUponanSPNFa n I have to wonder why you even continue watching if you are so disappointed in the show? Your name says it all so why stick around? It's a TV show and the writers and show runners have a direction in sight and it's not going to be everyone's cup of tea but I for one am in for the ride and have faith that those that are getting paid to give us this wonderful show each week know what they are doing. If I was as dissatisfied in a show as you appear to be I would stop watching and certainly wouldn't inflict my negativity on those that are still enjoying it. Just saying, you write very well so why waste your talents on something you are not enjoying.
artsydenise
# artsydenise 2014-05-15 22:15
You seem to be saying if someone is disappointed with the show they're obligated to stop watching so you and fans who think everything is fine don't have to know about others dissatisfaction . If you're a dedicated fan of the show- one who's watched every episode multiple times--one who analyzes meta or endlessly postulates theories with friends, then this kind of lazy storytelling is maddening and painful to watch. But we're fans, too, aren't we? We may be upset with the direction the arc is going; or the endless rewriting of canon, which may not bother you in the least; but our opinions are no less valid.

It's been obvious that certain things in the SPN verse have been retconned to serve the ill-conceived spinoff: shapeshifters that no longer need to tear their skin off, for instance. Those kind of things bother dedicated fans tremendously. Not to mention the fact that they point out how willing TPTB are to mess with a cherished story and beloved characters. It's hurtful. But are we supposed to sit in the corner and not say anything so we don't offend with our "negativity"?

Sure, the writers and Carver may have a wonderful endgame in mind, where they leave us amazed at the way they played us for 2 seasons- but I don't know too many people who believe this is the case. Instead, we're left with accepting stupid mistakes like farty donkey and the Grand Canyon and mysteries like why didn't Sam look for Dean.

If you think expressing an opinion that isn't all flowers and ponies is "inflicting negativity" on you- then I'd have to say you're the one who's proven to not be the serious fan- because to serious fans, these things mean something. Even the most cheerleader fans have expressed disappointment. So no- I will not sit down and color to make you feel good about accepting a sub-par effort by showrunner and writers. I'll continue to say what I like and what I don't like. If you choose not to hear it, that's your choice, but don't demean others for caring so much about a show that's meant a lot in our lives- yes- only a TV show- but to some of us, it means a whole lot more.
novi
# novi 2014-05-14 22:29
Thank you Sofia!
I made God laugh! - I want a t-shirt with these words.
I think the writers decided to concentrate on psychology this season, not on mythology, that's why angelic-demonic wars look a bit out of focus, not like the major problem to be solved. What is really on stake now is relations. You see after leviaphans it's become pretty clear that in the outer world there is no enemy the Winchester brothers couldn't win when they are united. So at this stage of their story it's inevitably come to the fact that the greatest threat to them is ... well they. Maybe not a mortal treat, though I tremble at the thought, but surely something that makes the fans feel so uncomfortable before the season finale. Because we know, sometimes people break off and never make up again. So I don't agree that there is no characterizatio n this season, it has plenty, maybe too much for genre show. And I don't think that it would be productive to analyze this story applying such mechanical logic :"He says he doesn't want it, now he shows he wants it more'n anything, how come!?"
ThisOldBag
# ThisOldBag 2014-05-14 23:09
I've only watched it once so far and I did enjoy it. It was a bit slow in parts and a bit over-done on the monologuing but as usual with the penultimate episode, it's setting up the finale so I consider it to be only half done. I've often waited to watch them both together, but I decided to not wait this time.
I do hope Gadreel dies, but perhaps his final act of goodness will be to give Cas his grace (angel recharging station). I also think it was pretty blatant the references to dictatorships, "not a team" and various other "me right - you wrong" statements and actions from Dean. Perhaps the finale will have the "talk" or other resolution between our brothers, I sure am getting tired of waiting for it.
My problem has been that I listened to Carver when he said he wanted a more mature relationship... I just wish he had told me it would take several years to get there. He's either clever at keeping me baited and waiting for it, or he's a good liar.
But on the whole things moved forward and team free will is trying to get it together. And I am interested to see where it goes from here.
Lilah Kane
# Lilah Kane 2014-05-15 06:55
Nice review!

I have a faiding wish that Gadreel stays somehow (and the actor) on the show. Penikett's performance as Gadreel mirrors how Padalecki acted the angel. Probably because the actor also many have fell in love to the character. The angel has a back story that could blow up most stories out of the water. If this is the way it ends for him... Him turning around, offering help and by a handshake deseption killed I would be very VERY sad. The up cheer of that character go to the respective actors that played him. Still holding hope we haven't seen the last of the misguided, flawed honorable angel.

I loved the Sam's bedroom scene. It felt so brotherly but also the hidden acts. Dean's testing Sam's refleces and Sam holding the gun in a safe bunker? That made me have goosebumps.

I love the nicknames Cass gave the boys. He has the knowledge but he is only half there to use them and understand them completely. I laughed a lot to that.

Metatron: “Castiel has this simple charm, he’s like a mentally deficient puppy. But I’m loveable, and funny. I made God laugh. Twice.”

The plot that Metatron did in this episode... Even if you hate the character you must admit that it was genious. Also trying to trap Cass with the information he himself gave him? All Book, movies, series etc references. He is such a nerd... It was a game. Would Cass understand and survive to the end to find the "decoy" Stairway to the heaven? Metatron didn't expect he would but by the help of Sam he did. I knew all the movies and scenes referenced and I could do nothing but chuckle and smile. Cass and Sam working together was also awesome. And how they are opening up made me smile.

First I didn't like Metatron maybe I still don't but he has his good moments.

The stolen grace from Cass has me worried but so is a lot of things before I see the final. Will miss Tessa. She was mind controlled and it was seen in her actions. And I can think that billion screaming voices from suffering doesn't leave anyone sane. In little moments with Dean they were like old acquaintances.

Anyway, there are a lot of speculations where things will go and it can go in so many different directions. Dean works -alone- at this moment. There is no -we- to him. How he is now pains me but MoC story is not meant to be happy. Dean is drowning and when he is pulled back it is all more rewarding. Dean shot brother ship and partnership down and that was really an anvil on Sam's head. He was coming back when Gadreel interrupted it. I think he wasn't going to let Dean get off the hook that easy anymore... And then all hell broke loose.

In a week we will know and I can't wait.

- Lilah
mary9930
# mary9930 2014-05-15 07:56
Thanks Sofia. It's hard to review the 2nd to the last episode of the season for probably the 2nd to the last season. This episode could be setting up for reveals next week or it may be setting the stage for a well concluded final season. Emotions and expectations may be at an all time high. I agree with novi's earlier post. While I love the angel/heaven story line, I don't think that is the main focus of this season. As Dean said, the 3 of them have always been enough before to deal with whatever comes their way. Now Sam & Dean dealing with each other seems to be the biggest obstacle.

Since Revolution was cancelled, my dream is to have Kripke return at the end of next season as God Quote:
:)
sofia
# sofia 2014-05-15 09:14
Kripke returning as God would be the greatest thing in the world.
sylvia37
# sylvia37 2014-05-15 08:24
Very Nice review. Here's my prediction. Dean will end up either almost killing or actually killing Sam and Castiel and Gadreel will save him, Cas using the last of his stolen Grace and Gadreel dies redeemed. Season 10 will open with this and then Sam and Castiel will have to restrain Dean in the dungeon while they try to come up with something to get rid of the MOC.
nappi815
# nappi815 2014-05-15 13:46
i guess that's one way, but i keep thinking that metatron is actually more clever than he's letting on. i just think that metatron has been planning this for a very long time. i think he chose the vessel he did because he is so easily underestimated and deemed a bumbling fool. i think he's read all about the winchesters and knows their history and the ins and outs of what makes them tick. i still believe metatron put that dog in front of sam and had benny protect dean. i can't help but feel that metatron has been manipulating many people for quite some time now. i could be way off base, but it wouldn't surprise me at all to learn that metatron is already aware of gad's disloyalty towards him...that he may have actually expected it all along. i don't think metatron is going to die . i think metatron is going to offer dean a deal. i don't believe metatron wanted gad as his second in command in heaven. i think metatron wants dean as his personal killing machine. i think the cliffhanger will be more along the lines of dean not killing metatron with the blade, but dean taking metatron on his offer. i think it's possible that metatron will tell dean that not only will dean be able to keep the blade, but he can yield it as often as he likes. he can be humanity's little clean up crew...killing those metatron deems worth killing. dean won't only be subjected to killing monsters/ghost/ demons, dean will have the freedom to kill anything. not only that but dean will be able to feed off of the blade and feel the power that he yearns to feel at all times. he can do all of this and still hold a place in heaven, by metatron's side. now the typical thing for dean to do would be to slay metatron where he stands after an offer such as this....i think the cliffhanger would be that dean actually takes metatron up on this offer.

just another way to go...most likely not the way...but still...who knows right?
NOLANOLA
# NOLANOLA 2014-05-15 08:58
OK, Sylvia37 you know sumptin sumptin ;)
sylvia37
# sylvia37 2014-05-15 09:19
:D Ha, Nope, just a prediction. I was thinking about it last night while I was trying to sleep and this is what came to me.
Amyh
# Amyh 2014-05-15 09:53
Maybe I'm stoopid but exactly how can there be a Team Free Will when Deans declared a dictatorship? Dean testing Sams reflexes....wow never thought of that. If its true...why? Does Dean see Sam a threat to his maintaining control of the MArk? Is it a Cain v Able thing? Can any comparison with Cain/Able work without an Able POV?

You know....i've been thinking. Gadreel has been villianized because he let Lucifer into the Garden of Eden. Question is...did Gadreel know Lucifer was evil at the time? Or did he simply see his brother? Someone he trusted? ANd knew to be one of Gods' Angels?

Castiel.....may be...the dying Angel didn't see an Angel in Cas because of the stolen Grace? Isn't grace unique to each Angel?

The biggest problem for me beisdes the entore not showing anything is that the writers simply are not commiting to anything. As far as I can see it seems the writers are hedging their bets. Carver wants the boys to walk in each others shoes. BUT...narrative ly speaking they can turn on a dime on the Marc of Caim, make i into something good good and wonderful. ANd Dean will yet again be shielded from serious consequences. I think it will happen because the writers haven't made Sam proactive. he hasn't done much research...he hasn't sought out Cain for concrete information.

Apparently the audience is supposed to be deeply concerned for Dean but when Sam and Cas have a conversation about Dean "he seems more...angry." Sriosuly? Thats it? The two closest people to Dean think all that is happening is Dean is more angry? Sam should have been frantically telling Cas how changed Dean is, on edge, quicker to kill. Hell even show Sam telling Casz Dean reminds him of Sam when he was at hisk worst on the demon addiction...and that he's sometimes scared of his own brother. then worrying guiltily that maybe his thinking is clouded. have Cas tell Sam his concerns are validated.

God, this could have tiied into that opening scene of Dean waking Sam up and Sams having a gun while he sleeps. This could show Sams confliction and deep concern and worry for Dean. It would certainly help with why Sam suddenly left aftger Dean declared a dictatorship. And show Castiel having heard that exchance and show concern while walkiing on eggshells with hsi conversation with Dean.

When Sam had the mytharc...Dean was front and center talking to Sam about how wrong whatever he was doing was wrong. Sam was kept in the background...a myster. Now that Dean has the mytharc...Sam is STILL In the background..... still a mystery. Isn[t Sam supposed to be walking in Deans shoes? Can we at least see this??

I do predict that next week Sam will place himself between Dean and GAdreel. "You have to go through me to kill him." Nad I fully expect Dean to do that as he sees Sam neither as a brother or a partner. Just an obsticle in his way.

One other thing. People have mentioned that Crolwy is Deans' Ruby. But honestly? Dean is his own Ruby. Where Sam needed someone pushing and prodding him practically all the way to killing Lilith (and he's questioning himself all the way...to the point he even gave up drinking demon blood for a short time on his own). Dean doesn't ask questions, have any doubts and doesn't need any outside influence. Dean is doing all this on his own.
sofia
# sofia 2014-05-15 10:21
You made some really good points about how the writers have had Sam handle the Mark of Cain vs. how we would know Sam to act. I am surprised that there was virtually no research surrounding the Mark of Cain. Normally Sam would have been all over that! That was definitely a missed opportunity for us to gauge what is going on in Sam's head.
Claire63
# Claire63 2014-05-15 12:24
I really enjoyed “Stairway to Heaven”. I’m finding the Dean MOC story arc interesting and feel it finally gives JA the scope to actually show us Dean being taken into a very dark place and the struggle between his humanity and the evil influence of the MOC. It must be similar to the nightmare battle for his soul experienced in hell although this was only hinted at following his rescue by Castiel (e.g. when Dean was forced to torture Alistair in “On the Head of a Pin”). My one gripe is that I wish the writers would allow Sam to voice his concern more or show him secretly trying to research the effects of the First Blade – it would take only a few seconds out of the episode. I think JP is trying to show visually that inner concern but my personal preference would be for the writers to hammer that home a bit for the audience! I feel it's always been in Sam’s nature to initially walk away in anger from his big brother, though, so nothing out of character there. I really, really hope we get the chance to see Sam risking all to save Dean. All in all I’d give the episode 8/10 – in fact that’s the first time in a long while that I’ve watched an episode again the same evening because I couldn't wait to view it again!
Puck
# Puck 2014-05-15 20:29
Yeah I was pleased with this one and the end steeled my nerves for my heart getting ripped out and jaw dropping fear/action of next week's finale.

Hey Claire! You think that's the underlying problem? Sam walking away? So much of what Dean has held over Sam's head is some variant of Sam walking away. He hated that his little brother ran away from home as a kid ("Darkside...") . He hated Sam ran off to Stanford. He hated Sam ran off with Ruby. He hated that Sam ran around for a year soulless. He hated that Sam ran away from Kevin, and hunting, following Dick Roman's demise. Speaking of Kevin, there was that moment when our Boy Wonder asked them to quit fighting and Dean turns around to do that and...Sam has already walked away. To me that was the breaking point for Dean's descent. I angrily shouted at the screen before feeling sorry for Big Bro. Then I watched it again and saw how exhausted Sam was there and it made sense *gasp* logically (besides narratively) that he would walk away. Jared showed us how much it hurt for Sam to see Kevin's ghost, to tell Mrs. Tran her only family was dead by his own (possessed) hand when he promised her to keep Kevin safe despite likely still recovering from the return of his near death state. That's a lot to deal with, let alone the fight with Dean, so the poor guy just went to sleep.

Regardless, Jared is making the best of the hand Sam's been dealt, but shame on the writers for spending so much of the back 9 benching him. Maybe they'll surprise us with Sam's secret research, maybe they have something better in mind or maybe we're still gonna be mad. They made such progress in "Mother's Little Helper" with Sam calling Dean constantly to check on him or the fear and concern the next week when Dean beat up Gad in "Meta Fiction." The steam was building nicely before the wrecked it with "Bloodlines." I hope the finale builds it back again even if it doesn't resolve the issue.

Final (unrelated) note: Timing was my chief annoyance with the spin-off apart from "Bloodlines" lifting whole plot lines. Then again Ennis reliving Sam's past was actually kinda genius. It reminded Moose why he doesn't just leave and let Dean run off the rails at a time when few would judge him for it.
tvmonkey
# tvmonkey 2014-05-17 13:29
Hopefully Sam risking his life, dying or allowing others to die will finally hammer home how much he loves Dean, apparently its the only way to prove his love. As long as Sam saves Dean in the finale from the MOC and we dont have to deal with an evil Dean next season it should be fine. Dean can spend all next season wallowing in his guilt and self pity and Sam can.... who knows? Next season Carver needs to have the brothers work separately more because the brothers suddenly being ok and Dean using his guilt to manipulate Sam into just going back to how they were before isn't going to cut it and it isn't going to make those 'brother' moments seem anything but forced and unbelievable.
Fedelynn
# Fedelynn 2014-05-16 03:42
Cain losing his loved one stopped him from being a demented killer. Maybe, the one thing that can 'wake up' Dean is him stabbing his beloved brother, Sam.