"PointofNoReturn" is very, very special to me.  As a classic brotherly angst, "good guys struggle against bad" episode, this is the gold standard.  It doesn't get any better than this, and this is from a series loaded with these themes up until now.   A big deal was done over this episode since it was the 100th, so it had to mean something.  Oh, it did.  Loads.  In this case, it was Bobby, Castiel and Sam coming together, taking charge of this supercharged situation while Dean hit his lowest low.  They all rallied for one another because they are family.  Sam Winchester had his grand coming of age, taking charge of this delicate situation when his brother couldn't.  I still grin like a silly fool knowing that it's because of them, and mostly Sam's faith in him, that Dean pulled himself up out of the trenches and got all badass on Zachariah with the angel sword.  Our hero saved the day, and with rejuvenated spirit is taking on the fight his way.  Sam wasn't the only one smiling at the end.  Pure classic Supernatural.  I still squeal every time I think of this one. 


There's a big bittersweet element to this episode though.  It was the last episode Jeremy Carver wrote for the show, which is probably why I've taken the news of his return in season 8 with great jubilation.  That's because in the 49 episodes that have aired since "PointofNoReturn", the show has never found the mojo that was so brilliantly done in this one.  Castiel and Bobby were both disposed of in meaningless ways, and Sam and Dean haven't quite risen to the occasion in such badass fashion to save the day with rock solid resolve.  They've turned into uninspired heroes, limping along because it's expected of them.   It's been very, very sad from that perspective. 

However, I'm going to cling onto every bit of love that I have with "PointofNoReturn," so I'll dismiss misguided forward plots to give this episode the due it richly deserves.  Be prepared, major love fest coming!!!!

  • You got to admit, it's kind of inspired, Zachariah in a bar talking about being "downsized" with another guy.  As it is on Heaven, it shall be on Earth.  Oh, except for the burning out the ears and eyes of everyone in the bar because the boss is giving him another chance.  Gotta start off with a big, gory bang I suppose.

  • Fine, a depressed, ready to give it all up Dean Winchester, drinking heavily, sadly packing up his things to send to Bobby, and writing the farewell note is a bit anvilicious, but I eat it up every time.  I just want to jump through the TV, give him a big hug and make it all better!

  • The only expression that crushes me worse is when Sam appears.  Oh man, we've never seen him so hurt and betrayed, and this is a guy that gets screwed at every turn.  Lucky for Sam, he also had his head on straight and brought backup.  One very pissed off powerful angel should do the trick! 
  • This is one of my favorite episodes with Castiel.  He's so snarky in his anger, just whoa!  He has nothing to lose.  He seems very human and I love that.  Yes, the Destiel angle fell in that borderline going too far territory, but aren't these two more interesting when they're having a lover's quarrel?  Castiel even shifts his complete allegiance to Sam, following his orders.  Well that's one way to make someone jealous, go for the brother.   Oh, I kid.  I found that following Sam means that Castiel cares.  Considering how he lost all faith at the end of "Dark Side of The Moon" and was completely downtrodden in "99 Problems" I adore how Castiel is all in considering his mindset.
  • Dean in this scene needs to be smacked upside the head.  I realize his despair is now transgressing to anger, but turning on Bobby like that was a low blow.  Ah well, Dean will get that much needed whooping later. 

  • Whoo hoo!  Badass Castiel!  No one is more ruthless with an angel killing sword.  He can fight two at once.  Helps that he's got that nimble vessel.  More importantly, he's an angel on the edge! 
  • If there was any weakness in this story, and it really became more of an issue with the end of the season, it was bringing Adam back.  I was okay with him being used as bait here, but him actually becoming Michael's vessel after all the Dean destiny drama?  What a cop out.  If they were going to do that, they should have used young John Winchester instead.  He made a far better Michael.  However, that's irrelevant to "PointofNoReturn."  Hi Adam!  Welcome back from the dead.

  • I love the interaction and dialogue from the scene where Sam, Dean, Adam, Bobby, and Castiel are talking about the angels' plan for Adam.  This is what Jeremy Carver does best.  Dean is in full sarcastic mode, Castiel is in snarky pissed off mode, Sam is speaking volumes just with his bitchface and puppy dog eyes, and Bobby is just being wonderful Bobby.  Have I mentioned I will never, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, a thousand times ever, forgive them for killing off Bobby.  But that's irrelevant to "PointofNoReturn."
  • Castiel:   Maybe they're desperate. Maybe they wrongly assumed Dean would be brave enough to withstand them.  Dean:   Alright, you know what? Blow me, Cas.  Okay, that did push the line with Destiel, but I love it.  The BEST line here though, Dean joking that they're working on saving the world with the power of love, followed by a classic Sam bitchface.  It's really funny that exactly ends up being what does it!      
  • Adam is definitely a Winchester, and leans toward the oldest brother for sure.  The way he gives Sam crap during their talk is funny.  "Great. You know, you pitched this whole dewy-eyed bromance thing, but the truth is, I'm on lockdown, aren't I?"  Poor Sam, it's bad enough he's getting flak from Dean.  What's worse, this is nothing compared to what Dean's about to say to him. 

  • Someday, I need to do a top ten list of scenes that make me bust into tears.  This would be on it for sure.  Sam has no choice, Dean must be locked in the panic room.  He's a flight risk.  At least they start off this tearjerking scene right with another funny Destiel exchange.  Castiel stands outside, giving Dean the evil eye.  "Well, Cas, not for nothing, but the last person who looked at me like that"¦I got laid."  He even winks at Cass.  Oh yes, Carver decided to go there.
  • Poor Sammy!  He needs his brother on his side and only wants to talk some sense into him.  Dean's decides to go for brutal honesty, and my heart still hurts over all this.  No, I still get teary over all this:

Dean:  I just"¦I"”I don't believe.
Sam:   In what?
Dean:   In you. I mean, I don't. I don't know whether it's gonna be demon blood or some other demon chick or what, but"¦I do know they're gonna find a way to turn you.
Sam:  So you're saying I'm not strong enough.
Dean:  You're angry, you're self-righteous. Lucifer's gonna wear you to the prom, man. It's just a matter of time.
Sam (tears in his eyes):  Don't say that to me. Not you...of all people.
Dean:  I don't want to. But it's the truth. And when Satan takes you over, there's got to be somebody there to fight him, and it ain't gonna be that kid. So, it's got to be me.

Sam leaves devastated, but still determined to hold everything together.  Oh, screw it . 

       

  • Aww, Castiel goes to see Dean all angry after Sam comes upstairs all upset.  What a friend!  I know this show loves to mess with Destiel, but there's a whole Sam/Castiel dynamic there that doesn't get well explored on this show as well.  It's a silent understanding I guess.
  • Hee, I love the exchange.  Bobby:  "Where's Cass?"  Sam:  "Blown to Oz."  Just isn't Sam's day, is it?  
  • I still don't like how angels, dreams or not, like having conversations at playgrounds.  That's just kind of creepy, isn't it?  

  • I'm sorry, but sometimes Dean just won't take a hint unless it's applied with a sledgehammer.  This time that sledgehammer is one angel who has just about had enough.  This scene is so wonderful!  I felt Castiel's rage, and it's like all his frustrations over everything since "Lucifer Rising" just came out in this one act of brutal violence on Dean's face.  Yes, Dean took a horrible beating, but as he even acknowledges later, don't piss off the nerd angels.  You just don't know what can happen.  
  • Sam's getting a bit stressed, don't you think?  

  • I love how Castiel shows up with an unconscious Dean, and as soon as Castiel confesses it's him, Sam and Bobby actually understand that and move on.  Granted Adam's disappearance was a distraction. 
  • Can Zachariah just die already!  Pick on someone your own size.  We know he'll get his real soon.

  • I get weepy thinking about this every time!  Dean has crushed Sam's psyche, or at least tried everything he can to do so.  Yet there's Sam, choosing not to listen to Bobby and Castiel and throwing his total faith and the entire balance of the world on his brother.  This is even after Dean delivers another zinger about how if the tables were turned, he'd let Sam rot in the panic room. That little, sharp, heartbroken sigh from Sam tells how hurt he is, but he just claims, "I guess I'm not that smart."  Oh Sammy, you are flipping brilliant.  You've grown up and we couldn't be prouder.    

  • Man, just when you think Castiel can't get any more badass.  This is amazing!  I was stunned the first time I saw this, I'm stunned the 80th time I saw it.  An angel banishing sigil carved in his chest?  That's how you get rid of four angels at once.  He definitely had nothing left to lose by doing that.  Some behind the scenes info, Misha has joked at cons before that he had trouble filming that scene due to all the blood loss from carving that thing on his chest.  He only found out after arriving for shooting that day all mangled up that they had prosthetics planned.  Honest, it's way funnier when Misha tells it.  He has that dry tone and I just die.  I've heard that story two or three times now.  Note, that was the first time we saw bare chested Castiel.  
  • I just don't have words.  The scene in the room is um, wow, er, oh, I told you there are no words!  Dean seems so distraut, ready to say yes, only being persuaded to finally do so because Sam and Adam are suffering.  When Dean Winchester gets badass though, even a very powerful angel doesn't stand a chance!  This has everything.  I died over Sam just being crushed over Dean saying yes, but then...he notices something.  Dean gives a wink and a smile and...GAME ON!  Best line, and one that had millions of fan girls nodding simultaneously.  "Before Michael gets one piece of this sweet ass"¦he has to turn you into a piece of charcoal."   Hell yeah!!!

  • I still wonder how Dean was able to kill and angel like that, just like he was able to kill the Whore of Babylon.  That mystery was never really solved, was it?  No matter, because it was totally awesome to watch.  
  • To think, what happened to Adam here is not the worst thing that will happen to him.  Curse of being a Winchester i guess. I think he'll be back, for the series finale. 

  • Just when this couldn't get anymore perfect, the final chat in the car.  Yes, it would have been better if it was the Impala, but I won't split hairs considering what we got.  Dean totally vindicated himself for every rotten, soul crushing thing he said to Sam.  Even Sam was smiling.  I think Sam was just glad the old Dean was back.  So are we.  So are we.  
  • "If you're grown up enough to find faith in me, least I can do is return the favor."  Excuse me...

     
           

     

Thank you Mr. Carver.  You may have left the show, but I remained your bitch forver.  That ends our countdown of the Jeremy Carver episodes.  Up next, a new episode!!  Happy dance, happy dance.  We really, really missed you Mr. Carver.  

 

Comments  

Grace232
# Grace232 2012-10-03 02:05
Love love love this episode! With the exception of the Pilot that started it all, this is still my favorite, for all the reasons you gave. Thanks for such a wonderful review. I am also doing a happy dance in anticipation.
PaintedWolf
# PaintedWolf 2012-10-03 02:14
Oh Alice, Point Of No Return is so utterly special isn't it? I actaully adore that they didn't do anything too crazy or out there, but kept it low key. They stuck to the heart of what this show is about-family-an d it melts my heart every single freaking time. Usually by the end I'm simultaneously fist-pumping with one hand, and wiping my eyes with the other. This episode proves that you can, in fact, have your cake and eat it too.
And yes, I too, have been Jeremy Carver's bitch ever since...
anonymousN
# anonymousN 2012-10-03 02:16
Loved this episode and loved your article.This was one episode which had everything for everyone i.e Adam,Bobby,Cas, Dean and Sam.
I liked how you have presented the article with those Smilies (cry-ies) .
I loved how Sam got through to Dean that is the highlight of this episode for me.
Affy J
# Affy J 2012-10-03 02:23
WOW.....!!!!!!! !!!! :D
A great review for an amazing episode.

Good Job Alice :)
sylvia37
# sylvia37 2012-10-03 03:45
I think I may be one of the very few people that wasn't as thrilled with episode as everyone else. I wanted to love it. I wanted to be so happy that Sam got through to Dean and that they were finally on the same page after practically two years of watching them hurt each other again and again.

But the build up to this episode seemed so contrived to me that I couldn't enjoy it. It's like they decided early in the seaon that they were going to wait for the 100th episode to finally give us the reunion that we wanted, but they had to figure out how to get there. So they made Dean go backwards from the progress he'd made in forgiving Sam in the beginning of the season, and poor Sam just kind of being remorseful and oooh, lets make the reasons for Sam's choices in season 4 that Sam was angry and self righteous rather than guilty and alone and lost. Not that Sam wasn't angry and somewhat self righeous, but they totally tossed out anything else like it was never there.

And as glad as I was to hear Dean apologize at the end, it sort of irritated me too. "I guess since you almost died and all, I'll have faith in you now. "

And then to top it all off, the last few episodes just rushed headlong into throwing Sam off the cliff rather then them FINALLY working together to come up with a solution.

LIke I said, I know I'm in the minority and I thought the acting was great and I did love seeing Sam, despite how hurt he was, deciding to believe in Dean. And the moment between them when Dean made his choice was really great. So not a complete loss for me.
lala2
# lala2 2012-10-03 08:04
I'm with you in that minority. PONR was not a bad episode but I never understood all the love for it. It was okay.
percysowner
# percysowner 2012-10-03 10:19
Although I do enjoy this episode, I agree with many of your points. The Sam is angry motif that was used in season five as to why Sam would say yes, came out of nowhere for me. Until Sam, Interrupted I had never seen Sam unreasonably angry. It really did rub in the "Dean made the deal because he was a good, loving brother, Sam allied with Ruby because at heart he is a bad person" a mindset that is making me uneasy about JC as a showrunner.

I was also less than thrilled what it took for Dean to believe in Sam was for Sam to believe totally and completely in Dean. That was moving back to the dynamic of previous seasons where Sam is loved only if he remains in the role of adoring little brother.

I did appreciate Sam and Dean coming together, however, although to this day, I don't think the reconciliation has ever been complete.
Geordiegirl1967
# Geordiegirl1967 2012-10-03 06:01
I LOVE this episode. It is one of my favourites of all SPN eps. I hate the Destiel crap, but leaving that aside, this ep used Cas in a balanced non divisive way that I enjoy. I like the character of Cas as part of TFW. I can't stand the tendency to use him as a wedge to pull him away from Sam.. I never got Cas as Dean's 'spechul fwend'. This ep uses him well I think in a way that few others have managed.

This ep was fantastic for the brothers relationship although I agree to an extent with Sylvia's point about the pacing and artificially stringing their complete reconciliation out too long.

For all those who bemoan what they perceive as Dean's demotion in Swan Song (a point I don't accept) I say that THIS was Dean's heroic moment in s5. He was IMO a huge hero in SS, but this was where he mustered his courage and said 'screw you' to the angels, to destiny, to his predetermined fate, and embraced free will / family whatever that might cost them. He backed himself and his brother (the latter being a big step for him) and I thought it was moving, totally consistent with his character, well written and brilliantly acted.

If JC can bring to s8 what he brought to PONR, MS, AVSC then it should be great. The spoilers so far have knocked my faith severely that he can do so, but thinking about this ep surely he can't have so completely lost sight of Dean and Sam's characters and the bond they share as the spoilers imply?
Karen
# Karen 2012-10-03 06:14
Hi Alice and Ardeospina
Thank you for the Jeremy Carver countdown. I enjoyed reading all the mini reviews.
Out of the twelve, Long Distant Call and Family Remains were my least favourite episodes.
All the others I loved immensely, especially Mystery Spot, Changing Channels and the Christmas one.
I will forever miss the Trickster/Gabri el and now Bobby too.
Bad Writers! That was very naughty of you!
I’m so excited for tonight episode to see where Jeremy will take us and the brothers this year.
I’m once again strapping myself in to the Supernatural Roller Coaster.
I plan to hang on tightly through all the twists and turns, as we get tossed and flipped upside down and will take on all the ups and downs. Wow what I’m willing to endure for this wonderful show.
However I will have all my necessary supplies beside me.
Blanket to hide behind during the scary.
Pillow for the ‘I need to hug something’ moments.
Kleenex for those heart breaking moments or simply from laughing too hard.
A soft plush toy to throw at the TV during those ‘WTF’ moments.
Of course will have to have some libation (Vodka) to calm the nerves during those stressful moments.
And 911 on speed dial for those “I’m having a Heart Attack” moments.
Happy Episode Everyone!
Ginger
# Ginger 2012-10-03 07:35
I love your crying smiley faces. Too cute.

Our show, the Little Show that Could -- 100 episodes, something not achieved by most TV shows every.

For me, there are two outstanding, powerful episodes throughout the whole run of SPN: Dark Side of the Moon and Point of No Return. I pick DSotM as my favorite, only because there is no Adam in it. Otherwise, my choice would be PoNR.

This is my favorite Sam. He was so sincere and honest in his faith in Dean, which Sam doesn't do easily. This, to me, was Sam's redemption for what came before. This is the Sam I want to see, but the writers threw it all out.

I liked mean, clever Dean, because it showed how lethal Dean can be; not in the fact that he killed and archangel (and didn't we all cheer for that one), but because it showed when Dean wants to be mean, he hits straight and hard. He called Bobby out on being surrogate John. He took back his faith and trust in Sam. And he mocked Cas and their 'profound bond.' They had all disappointed and hurt Dean repeatedly in the past, Dean was basically telling them that, and I cheered him for that.

The strength in Carver's writing shows in this episode, and I believe that is what we will see in S8. Every character, even annoying, pointless Adam, and even Zachariah...all in 42 minutes...plus the very basis of the episode is what this show is all about -- the brothers and their relationship. How could it go so sideways after this.

Dean apologizing all the time to Sam was driving me nuts by this point, but I thought it was necessary here because that apology to Sam validated Sam's faith and trust in Dean. Sam's actions, redeeming himself to Dean for his past actions, was the whole point of the episode, and Dean acknowledging it solidified Sam's effort, IMO anyway.

I feel the entire episode ended up being a one-shot with lots of unfulfilled potential, and that is the reason I hate Swan Song and what followed afterward so much. But, as a one-shot, this was an excellent episode.
Sylvie
# Sylvie 2012-10-03 08:36
I loved the crying smiley faces! Too cute. You pretty much summed up everything I feel about this episode, it was a little slice of Heaven. Now I'm ready to see what Jeremy Carver has up his sleeve for season 8. Judging from everything he wrote before, I think we will be in for a thrilling ride.

Thanks for the great write ups of all of JC's episodes. It brought back some really good memories.
percysowner
# percysowner 2012-10-03 10:38
Quote:
If they were going to do that, they should have used young John Winchester instead. He made a far better Michael.
I agree with you here, however at the time they were committed to John and Mary are missing in action and no one, angel or demon knows where they are. John reappearing would have meant the angels knew where he was. I'm guessing they are saving Mary and especially John for an important moment, possibly the series finale.
Lindab30
# Lindab30 2012-10-03 11:43
"I still wonder how Dean was able to kill and angel like that, just like he was able to kill the Whore of Babylon. That mystery was never really solved, was it? No matter, because it was totally awesome to watch. "

Okay, I still haven't been able to figure out how to put a quote in the brown box, but, you get the point.

Every time I read that someone is wondering how Dean was able to kill the Whore of Babylon and Zachariah I wait for someone else to point out how, but it never happens. So, I went thru my DVDs and found the scene that always comes to my mind whenever I see this question raised. In When the Levee Breaks, while Sam is in the panic room, Dean goes outside and calls for Castiel. This scene ends with Dean swearing to be "a servant of God and his angels". That makes Dean a servant of heaven. A servant of heaven was required to kill the Whole of Babylon and apparently that also made it possible for him to kill Zachariah. If I'm missing something here I'm sure someone will point it out but I think I'm right. Anyway, I never wonder about it because of this scene.

I have enjoyed the recaps of the Jeremy Carver episodes and I am sooooo excited for tonight and the new season. I am one of the few commenters that didn't strongly dislike or outright hate seasons 6 and 7, but, having said that I will admit some of season 7 did fall short. I have complete faith in Jeremy Carver and the episode recaps reinforces that faith.

My thanks to everyone who wrote the recaps, and to everyone who writes the articles. I appreciate your writing talents and your willingness to share that talent with the world.

Now, BRING ON SEASON 8!
Sylvie
# Sylvie 2012-10-03 12:47
I haven't figured out how to quote in "the little brown boxes" either. LOL. Your theory sounds pretty good to me. Dean did accept to be a servant of Heaven, so maybe there are some fringe benefits that come with it, even though he ended up doing it his way!

And you are not the only one who liked seasons 6 & 7, I did too. There are quite a few of us actually.
anonymousN
# anonymousN 2012-10-03 13:13
I will tell you how i do it. When you press reply a dialogue box opens .First there is space to fill website???...wh atever that is.Then you have many squares.Copy what ever you want to quote then click on the eighth square from the left side.Paste the quote into the new box opened then click on OK.Then continue your posting.
Lindab30
# Lindab30 2012-10-03 14:28
Quote:
I still wonder how Dean was able to kill and angel like that, just like he was able to kill the Whore of Babylon. That mystery was never really solved, was it? No matter, because it was totally awesome to watch.
Did ti work?
Lindab30
# Lindab30 2012-10-03 14:29
Thanks AnonymousN, it did work.
anonymousN
# anonymousN 2012-10-03 14:50
I too when i first came to the site did not know how to.happy that i was of help.
KELLY
# KELLY 2012-10-03 13:14
As with Mystery Spot, there aren't words to express how much I love this episode. It is a masterpiece beginning to end. That seen with Zach at the beginning is hilarious. He's the character I most love to hate. He's such a "corporate" dickhead, I actually cheered when Dean stabs him through the throat.

That first scene with Sam and Dean is the start of long list of scenes in this episode where I get a lump in my throat. Sam is at his best in this episode. He DID finally grow up.

Another lump came when Dean yells at Bobby that he's not his father. But my favorite part of that scene is where Sam looks at Dean and gives him this "REALLY?" look and Dean's does look a little contrite.

This was hands down my favorite episode of Castiel, he was so completely kickass and bitchy. The hand to hand at the burial site. Kicking Dean's ass. Carving the sigil into his chest. Fantastic. I am definitely not a Destiel person, in fact when I watch the show the first time I wasn't aware of Destiel shippers. But my reaction to Dean's flirty bitchiness was laughter. I figure it was Dean's way of making Castiel uncomfortable, since he is always so uptight and clueless about such things. And Carver way of lightening the situation. I didn't feel like it was over the top, but I wasn't really looking for it either. It still cracks me up every time. Maybe even more now that I know they're messing with the fans. (I don't mind it at all when they're using it for a laugh, but I did find that coat scene in BAI uncomfortable).

I never minded Adam. I'm not saying I want him to be a regular cast member, but I didn't mind that he took over as the vessel. (I do want Adam out of the cage and back in heaven.) I thought Carver dealt with it well. The angel were always so arrogantly convinced that Dean would say yes (that they both would). But I think Michael finally accepted that that was never going to happen in this episode. Matt Cohen did do Michael better than Jake Abel and Jensen would have kicked ass. But I don't think it worked for the story for Dean to say yes, so I'm good with the change.

Those 2 scene in the panic room between Sam and Dean are an arrow straight the heart. Especially when Dean says he doesn't believe in him and Sam looks so hurt. Definite tears on this one.

The beautiful room scene is one of my all time favorites. This is Dean at is best. He was so torn up over his brothers and says yes. And talk about silent exchanges, they had a whole conversation in a few glances. And then Dean winks and I shouted with joy. And then again when he kills Zachariah I think I even clapped.

Just such a spectacular episode. Loved it so much.
Bevie
# Bevie 2012-10-03 16:10
Great review Alice of a great episode!

Cass was at his best in this one, and the brother moments were heart-breaking and heart-warming together at the beginning and end.

Dean packing up his meager belongings just tore me apart. :cry: Is that the last of the leather jacket? I hope Cass transported that box along with the boys back to Bobby's,

Those flirty snarks at Cass made me laugh out loud. I took them as Dean making him uncomfortable too. Love them on rewatch also. :D

Poor Sammy freaking out with both Dean and Adam gone.

Loved the wink and the snark to Zach and I also cheered when Dean skewered him. I surmised, when Cass said only a true servant of God could kill the Whore, that it would be child's play to gank Zach with an angel killing weapon and proved that Dean was beloved of God, despite himself.

Never was a fan of Dean being a condom for Michael. Dean is my very human hero, and where would that hero be if encased inside an archangel?

The brothers were so together at the end of the episode it left a satisfied feeling. If only they were still like that. I'm sincerely hoping for that this season, and since it was Jeremy's episode, I have faith he will succeed in that.