I'll admit up front, I went into "Southern Comfort" with super low expectations. For one, the past two Garth episodes haven't been very good. Two, the writer of the episode is Adam Glass. I've been his greatest critic and have been appalled by his inability to understand Sam and Dean. So when I saw in the previews this was going to be a big "brotherly blowup" episode, I was all prepared to see something wrong on many levels.
I'm very pleased to say that Adam Glass got it right. He nailed the characterization this time, and all in all I really liked "Southern Comfort" by the time it was done. I even re-watched it in the same night (after re-watching the completely amazing Arrow), a ritual I haven't done in a while.
I'm not calling the episode perfect or brilliant. It had some issues. The ghost story was pretty bad and there was little originality to it. BTW, did anyone notice that the lady who played Mrs. Lew was also the same woman who was Mrs. Tanner in "Croatoan?" Anyway, I also get very irritated when the by the book formula is used in these FBI investigations. Interrogating the witnesses chews up a lot of screen time that could be otherwise used elsewhere. I found Sam interviewing Mrs. Alcott to be a complete waste. I honestly felt at times I was watching a cop procedural.
However, I did love Garth this go around. I howled over him in his Texas ranger guise giving Sam and Dean a small jab for being boring in their suits. Amen! I've been saying that for a while now. But most important, he's taken his affection for Bobby and carrying on what he learned. Garth in this role didn't come off as goofy. He is the anti-Bobby, aka Bobby the new generation. He's fun and cool about things and not cranky at all, but his knowledge has vastly improved. He's been doing his homework! He also had Sam and Dean pegged, and I loved how he got through to both of them in some ways. I was very impressed the way he talked Dean down from trying to kill Sam and finally won his favor at the end. I also think Sam's talk with Dean at the end came partially after the words he got from Garth.
We also got to know a bit more about Garth. He's quite an intellect. Don't let the Southern drawl fool you! I didn't laugh at the tooth fairy thing or at his attempts to pick up Bobby's phrases, but I did enjoy how he's keep multiple cell phones in his pocket and that he's a Civil War nut. He also has one of Bobby's trucker hats (awww). Garth though showed a big maturity this time and Adam Glass was far more comfortable writing the character in his second try.
Before I get to the real heart of the episode, the brotherly scenes, let me say how much I LOVED the montage scene of the penny passing from the unknown soldier's grave to Dean, all to "Fell On Black Days." Not only was that a cool reveal for the offending object, the way that whole montage was shot by director Tim Andrew was nothing short of awesome. The close ups on each person, showing their states of mind when they got the penny is why I geek out about storytelling on this show all the time. The bloody sheriff going down didn't hurt either. Way to use available footage! Just perfect. Well done Mr. Andrew and Mr. Glass. Please, keep taking more chances like this.
The brotherly scenes were long overdue and count me in the very happy camp of how it all played out. I'm on the mindset though that there's more to come and this was just one harrowing chapter of a long saga. This type of confrontation falls in the premise of an "Asylum" or "Sex and Violence." These brothers don't know how to talk to each other or how to listen to one another. I know that often times that doesn't sit well with the fans and many hope by now they wouldn't have gotten over these hang-ups, but these brothers have rarely been on the same page with one another since season three. We know they aren't there now. So yes, sadly, it takes a supernatural possession intervention to get things to surface.
This time, it happened to Dean, which is very appropriate since he hasn't openly talked about things since he got out of Purgatory. He's been avoiding a lot of questions. I loved the scene in the bar, when Garth asked Dean how he got out of Purgatory. Sam in the background lit up, all ears for that answer. It's sad, but typical, that Dean wouldn't have shared it by now. Of course it didn't help that Sam dropped the issue as soon as Dean avoided it in the season premiere and hasn't brought it up. In the past, he's always waited until Dean decided to openly share. So instead of prodding, these issues linger and the two let such things fester. It was no wonder that Sam shook his head with a "typical Dean" type reaction when Dean avoided the question. That is not healthy. And they've been this way for years. I'm not saying that Dean hasn't experienced any character growth since "Sam, Interrupted" (he's had lots) when he shared his coping mechanism of "burying it," but he certainly hasn't been able to progress with that one character trait.
Knowing this pattern in Dean, supernatural intervention is really the only way he can open up. While the tactic is heavy handed, I sense the writer went with what he was given. The only approach I wish they would have done differently is that Dean could remember what he said. What I found most shocking about the whole confrontation is Sam responded to Dean's rant as though he was talking to a Dean sharing his true feelings, not a possessed out of his mind with rage Dean. Garth tried to remind Sam that it wasn't Dean, but Sam didn't buy it. What Dean said though shows that he's still clinging onto issues he's had through the years. He brought up Sam's past betrayals, the demon blood, running off with Ruby, being soulless and running around with Samuel for a year while Dean believed he was dead. Sam called them mistakes. Dean called them choices.
There's the word. Choices. The series long issue coming back again. Dean is still harboring resentment (and probably always will) that every of Sam's "choices" are to leave him alone. This time, choosing not to look for him while he was in Purgatory was essentially Sam leaving him to die. Ouch, ouch, ouch. That's going to be extremely hard to let go of when you have that long history of abandonment issues. That ties into Garth's advice at the end. He's got to let this resentment go. Sam's all he's got left.
On a side note, this all but invalidates then end of "And Then There Were None." Dean couldn't follow his declaration of a clean slate after all (that's a criticism on a creative choice BTW, not Dean's character). Or we couldn't chalk it up to Dean's comment in the beginning, "People change."
Dean was certainly calmer with Sam in the end, giving his brother the opportunity to vent. So, does this mean he's learned a lesson or is he back to burying stuff? That's TBD. It's interesting he mentioned Castiel too in his rant. There's still a lot of resentment there too. So guess who's back next week? I see more issues surfacing on the horizon.
I came out of this episode more worried about Sam than Dean. Sam's frustration level at the beginning of the episode hit a boiling point, and the one thing we know about Sam is that when he hits that boiling point, he's really raw. I couldn't help but think about his mindset in "Metamorphosis" after watching him in this one. He called out Dean for his double standards of allowing his monster friend Benny to live while he had no problem ganking his monster friend Amy. He finally started to push back to Dean over his sideways comments of taking the year off.
I thought that Sam's flashbacks with Amelia were oddly placed in the episode, but I really enjoyed seeing them and I think they revealed a lot about Sam learning to connect with someone that wasn't his brother. She got weird over sharing her story about her dead husband (after having sex), thinking Sam would dismiss her as pathetic. When Sam reached out to her, telling her about Dean, this was a huge jump for Sam. He's not the kind to reach out to people. Something inside him has clicked, and he doesn't want to bury it anymore, or be alone anymore. I do admit to getting a little teary over seeing him mature like this.
The trouble is, he still can't be that open with Dean. Maybe because Amelia may have been listening, but Dean isn't. Dean has learned to connect with Benny, Sam has learned to connect with Amelia, but the two still can't connect with each other. It's sad, but perhaps that is the struggle for this season. Hey, it worked for season one, didn't it? I was still torn apart over a bloodied nose Sam on the floor listening to Dean's grievances and not flinching. I don't think he was all that surprised over what he was hearing. But he wasn't all that hurt either. Maybe because he's learned that he can live without Dean? Either that or Sam is done beating himself up over the past and wants his brother to do the same.
I loved the ending scene. Sam didn't bury his frustrations and anger this time, deciding not to hide anything from Dean. I've gotten too frustrated in the past with watching Sam give a big bitchface and get in the car in silence. He even threw Dean's rage rant in his face. "Or what, you didn't mean it? Oh please. You and I both know you didn't need that penny to say those things." He told him Amelia's name and where they lived. And of course he brought up Benny. "Enough of your crap Dean. I told you from the jump where I was coming from, why I didn't look for you, but you, you had secrets. You had Benny. And you got on your high and mighty and have been kicking me since you got back. But that's over. So move on or I will."
Dean claims he hears him, but Sam's not done. "Good. Hear this too. I just might be that hunter that runs into Benny one day and ices him." Dean counters with, "I guess we'll just cross that bridge when we come to it, won't we?" That doesn't sit well with Sam. "Yeah, you keep saying that."
So what can we take away from Sam's speech, besides the fact that he's really pissed off? It goes back to that foreshadowing thing. Sam is drawing his line in the sand. Everything does look like it's becoming a major setup for Dean to choose between Sam and Benny. Dean doesn't remember saying that Benny was a better brother to him than Sam ever was. We think anyway. Maybe Garth told him later, or perhaps that's one of the things that will filter back to him. Sam remembers it though, and is going with the impression that Dean really meant that (based on the penny comment). I think Sam threatened Benny out of anger, not jealousy. He felt he needed to remind Dean what Benny really is and that he doesn't feel the same loyalty. I think this mindset is putting Sam in a very dark place.
My, my, my, this brotherly relationship is in quite a pickle isn't it? I don't object to this tension, because it's brought far more fire and emotion in these brothers than all of last season. I'm also dying to see how it will all work out. With Castiel arriving next week, things can only get more interesting.
My overall grade for "Southern Comfort" - a B+.
Dean - "Because Sam, Kevin's in the wind, you're sulking around like a eunuch in a whorehouse, and I can't help but ask myself, "When is decapitation not my thing?"
"The spectre likes you." Dean - "Yeah, well why doesn't he come out then and we'll make promise bracelets."
So, what do you think? As a reminder, this article is subject to our new commenting guidelines. So share your opinions, but take off topic discussions to the "Let's Discuss" thread.
The Winchesters and where they are now: I'll give a counter interpretation to my prior Dean the Doormat and Sam the Sanctimonious viewpoint.
The ending scene between the brothers could be interpreted as the armour was on, the guns were loaded, the walls are up, and both brothers have thrown down the gauntlet. That's very likely, since we know the confrontation can has been kicked down the road. If that is the case, then only Dean knew what the conversation really meant and Sam was just reacting (and that is in character for Sam).
What that does is set Sam up to look petty in the future, IMO, because he will be the one that pulls the trigger on the confrontation. Dean won't. He'll "cross that bridge" when he gets to it. Sam knows that, even said it, and Sam is the one that will keep pushing.
Adam Glass and Jeremy Carver: I found Glass' script to be very immature, and this was approved and positioned by Carver.
First off, Sam has been given a very weak excuse as to why he didn't hunt for Dean, and that excuse has not been brought out or backed up enough from episode to episode.
Same with Dean and his PTSD. It was shown clearly for two episodes and then pretty much dropped. Dean is still shown as a hardened hunter, but there is no connection to PTSD or even hardened Dean from episode to episode.
Both of these are problems with consistency in telling a story, both a mytharc story and the individual stories. And the other thing is that it gives the appearance the writers are immature or incompetent (except for Edlund).
Revealing information and strong story points should be in every episode, addressing both the mytharc and the character stories. EK was pretty good at this. At least that would give the audience a clue as to what the hell the plan is supposed to be and have a feeling that things are moving forward. Thatâ€™s not happening right now.
Carver has said the brothers will mature this season into two individual men who accept that each is different from the other and that each can lead separate lives without the other. If there were consistency in working towards this goal, Sam wouldn't come off as sanctimonious and Dean wouldn't come off as a jerk or a doormat, depending on the episode.
Garth: I never thought I would see the Winchesters taking orders from a character like Garth, or letting someone like Garth take the lead in a caseâ€¦and thatâ€™s exactly what we saw.
Do I find that endearing? No. Do I think that makes Garth adorable? No. Do I believe for one minute that Garth should have saved Sam, while Sam lay on the floor? No. Do I believe that 2014 Dean Winchester wouldnâ€™t have shot the fool between the eyes? No. Do I like that the show, through Dean, has promoted a character like Garth to Bobby 2.0. Most definitely no. (And Dean did that by giving Garth the ball cap back and by not starting to throw punches when Garth's phone started playing MC Hammer there at the end.)
Garth is here to stay, I know that. So from now on, when I know that Garth is in the episode, I won't be watching it live. I'll catch it the next day and FF through Garth scenes. (And that holds true for the other upcoming character that I don't like.)
Sorry to disagree, Alice. I'm glad so many fans approve of stuff like this. I don't, and I am terribly disappointed in what Carver is giving us this season....not S6 or S7 disappointed, but pretty darned close.
At this stage I agree it looks like a 'choose between me and Benny' thing and I am sad about that because it was never necessary for either of them to choose before (I need to go back and look at the fight at the end of season 4 and see whether Sam really chose Ruby over Dean or whether he chose his right to make his own decision over Dean's telling him what to do, but I think it was the latter).
The one thing I don't necessarily agree with is the last scene. I think that that was a lot nastier than drawing a line in the sand. It was threats on both sides. Hard to come back from!
It reminded me of the scene where soulless Sam had tried to kill Bobby and was locked in the panic room. Dean looks in, having made up his mind to kill Sam, and Sam looking him in the eye realizes it - and neither one says A WORD out loud. Amazing scene.
That last scene is murky at best. It needs to play out for a few more episodes at least.
Love that scene in "Appointment in Samarra!" So chilling. Oh yes, that was the end of soulless Sam for sure.
I liked 'we won' though it seemed a touch antagonistic to some of the fan-base I imagine? What side was Texas on? *she asked innocently* I assume Kansas was on the 'we won' side...
The infamous Quantrill's Raiders operated in Missouri and Kansas. That whole period was known for it's bloody violence and guerrilla warfare. Many members of the Jesse James/Cole Younger gang were former members of the Quantrill Raiders, and they used the same kind of guerilla tactics that Quantrill used against union supplies and soldiers when robbing banks.
And agreed, I've never seen a confederate flag in Missouri.
Although I've got to admit that I'm finding this season a bit of a struggle. The brotherly relationship is what got me hooked right from The Pilot but their relationship is so very broken right now and I find it hard to imagine how they are going to come back from all this. I'm looking forward (and kind of anxious at the same time) to seeing what the writers do with the relationship from now on in. I have my fingers firmly crossed that eventually things will be much better between the boys.
I want a real, honest, heart-on-your-s leeve, don't-kick-me-w hile-I'm-down, love-me-or-leav e-me blow up!
Forget the spectre, and the murky who remembers what, what's he really feeling - and stop with the lying and avoiding. Get it all out!
Let's deal with it already (8 yrs is enough! to wait for the 'maturity')
There's the part I'm waiting for - although this is Sam and Dean, so I'm not likely to get it.
Quote:Do you really? Because I can't see how. If Sam really didn't look for Dean that undermines the strength of the bond between the brothers that the show is built on. It is a huge betrayal, and puts the brothers permanently on unequal terms with Dean wearing his 'best brother in the world' crown while Sam is consigned to the 'nothing I can do will ever make up for this' bad brother corner. Even if Dean forgives he will never forget. It will always be there coming between them.
Quote:But he hasn't got a leg to stand on if he didn't look for Dean. He should be full of guilt, apologies and regrets, not anger and bitterness. And the way he stood up for himself - even allowing for the provocation and hurt from what Dean said - was childish in the extreme.
Which brings me to my main Q
Quote:I genuinely don't get this interpretation. In what ways are either of them acting more maturely? They are definitely different. I'd argue totally ooc. But more mature? What do you base that on? As far as I can see they are behaving like children and repeating patterns, like lying, not talking, keeping secrets, that they have learned over and over aren't good. That isn't maturing.
Quote:Hmm. Do they really? Although we are all capable of growing up a bit, in reality people change very little in the key essentials like fundamental values, the kinds of people we love/hate etc. For fictional characters it is vital that changes are driven by believable reactions to the events we see them go through. When characters change to suit plots or to give the writers another way to go we are in bad writing territory. That is what I believe we are seeing at the moment.
Do I believe for one second that Dean thinks Benny is a better brother than Sam has EVER been? Never in a million years
Do I believe for one second that Sam wouldn't look for Dean? No way. Or that, regardless of any mixed feelings about hunting, he wouldn't be ecstatic to have Dean back? Nope.
So I am afraid I don't share your perspective on this ep, but I'd be very interested in your views on my questions.
They are older and wiser, and when the anger finally settles down, I trust they will see that.
Just a reversal of Asylum. There Sam expressed his frustrations with Dean, here it was the other way around.
I don't think Dean would murder Sam, but if he is really protective of Sam he could well react violently trying to protect Benny.
One of my gripes with this episode was in the fact that the meat of the emotional confrontation was forced by a supernatural entity and that it was terribly convenient for Dean to get to forget everything while Sam got to live with the "Benny's been a better brother than you ever have" comment. But I've changed my mind a little bit to think of it as I have stated above. My thought now is that S & D will get to this point again, and maybe some long unresolved issues will be confronted anew. I don't mind that kind of thing as long as it leads to some type of greater understanding among the brothers.
I can't decide if it is enough info for Sam to tell himself that on some level Dean was aware of what he had said. After all Sam knew exactly what he said in Asylum. If Sam believes Dean is faking it (with good reason after the whole hell memories thing) then he has a right to both be angry with Dean, hurt (though actually he doesn't seem to be exactly 'hurt') and a little afraid of what Dean might do if provoked.
I agree with the pot-stirring point.
Now, if they keep doing this in episode 18, I might start raising a fuss!
Another good line:
Sam: Torch the bones of a Confederate soldier in a town full of rednecks?Sure!
When she said it, she didn't know Sam was a warrior. If at some point Sam told her something about anything, she mustn't have been happy when he left her, putting himself in a scenario that could risk his life.
Man, I'm just dying to know why did Sam leave her in the middle of the night.
And why is Dean is being so stubbornly silent about how scaped Purgatory. What so big a sin did he commit.
Dean had every right to be annoyed with Garth. Garth was *way* too familiar and trying too hard. Dean called him on his behaviour, but Sam simply zoned out on him. Also, while Garth may have had a year to begin dealing with his grief over Bobby, Dean hasn't. Somehow, I think that Purgatory left him a little too busy, so Dean is in a much different place than either Sam or Garth. Why does nobody acknowledge this? Why is it continually swept under the rug? And why did Dean once again get the (Garth version) suck-it-up-prin cess speech?
With regard to Amy, it's a good thing she recognized Sam just before gutting him. He would have been victim number 4. Of course, everyone seems to forget that, since Jewel Staite is such a cutie.
That was the short and sweet version of Dean grieving for Bobby episode, I think. Now on to remembering his blanket approval for everyone... Just sayin'.
I would be willing to accept Garth as a coordinator between hunters, because it would take someone either as sincere and innocuous as him or as authoritative and knowledgeable as Bobby to maintain contact with such strong personalities. Garth's sudden wealth of knowledge is forced; it would be better if he had a list of hunters who were experts in their own individual fields that he could connect to the person seeking information.
I object to Garth trying to use Bobby's words, look, and position with Sam and Dean to step in to Bobby's role. I know that on some level this is Garth's form of tribute, and he had some right to say that Bobby belonged to all of them. That Garth thinks he has an equal share in Bobby to Sam and Dean, who knew and loved Bobby from childhood, is presumptuous.
And yet, somehow, Garth was the most interesting part of this episode.
Dean being annoyed with Garth was a bit out of character since he was so restrained with Garth the first two times. But then again, Dean isn't exactly his tolerant self lately, is he?
There's a lot to acknowledge in these episodes, especially with the characters. I could write novels for every episode about the character nuances. Perhaps your point about Dean would be well served in a review comment? That way, you can show us something we didn't realize. I do agree with you BTW. Thanks for mentioning it.
Why did Dean get the "suck it up" Garth speech? Because Garth is more familiar with Dean, plus he could tell Dean was the one harboring the resentment. Sam would like be less hostile if Dean wasn't being so passive aggressive with his comments. That isn't me pointing the finger of blame at Dean though. Remember, he told Sam they weren't listening to each other too.
I'm not going there with the Amy thing. I made it very well known last year that whole drama was pointless.
I liked that Sam stopped letting all the jibes slide and finally stood up for himself, but I do wish theyâ€™d scrapped the â€œMove on or I willâ€ line, because that just seems a little unfair. How can Dean move on when Sam is going on about leaving? That one line was the irritant for me in this entire episode. The rest of Samâ€™s speech I attribute to raw nerves and his shock at Benny, and Iâ€™ll just fan-girl here and call Deanâ€™s supernaturally influenced. It WAS a shock to hear him spout grievances supposed to be long buried, and poor Sam saying nothing during the â€œyou let me downâ€ speech. Sigh.
Moving on, the sequence with the song was just PERFECT. My TV is huge and cuts off the credits at the beginning due to aspect ratio, and I sat and fiddled with it for a while because I didnâ€™t know who had directed the episode. Awesome work by Tim Andrew. Also, the ghost appearing on the mirror once used to be a common sight on SPN, I like that itâ€™s back. I donâ€™t know much- if anything- about the Civil War except that there were two sides, so the â€œWe Wonâ€ line was just one hell of an awesome super-bitchy line from Dean, I loved it.
When I posted in the Letâ€™s Speculate thread, I kind of ignored Garth because I was still excited about the brothers- I really liked Garth in this episode. Though the hat had me wailing for Bobby, I think itâ€™s sweet that Garth tries. Sure it could rub the wrong way for many, but Garth is that socially awkward kid who does and says things youâ€™d all rather ignore, and it just seems right somehow. Though he should stop saying, â€œballsâ€ and â€œidjitâ€ (Iâ€™ll even let him wear the hatâ€¦)
I noticed the lady was the one from Croatoan- itâ€™s incidentally one of my favorite episodes that is permanently on every re-watch, so I didnâ€™t even have to think twice about having seen her on SPN before.
And Alice, you are right about the FBI interrogations. Nothing bogs down pacing as much as victim interrogations, and while it was interesting in Heartache with the muttering guy, this one- not so much. Maybe Garth should really drop the funeral director line a couple hundred times to get Sam and Dean to try something different.
as for dean's comment about benny being more of a brother, i don't think he really meant it. it's like when your kid tells you that they hate you. yes, they may feel that way at the moment, but your kid doesn't really hate you. it hurts to hear none the less. i think that remark hurt sam...maybe enough to fuel is present distrust and anger at benny. but a year in purgatory with a vampire will never trump a lifetime with sam. sam is his brother. and like it or not, family at one time or another will let you down..that's family. they've both let ea. other down in the past.
as for sam, it was blatantly obvious to me that there is more to sam's story that has yet to be told. the flashbacks seemed to promise a future eppy where sam will talk about dean...whether that's on screen or off screen i do not know, but it will be a conversation he will have with amelia and i think that's important. the flashbacks also had sam say he lost his brother a couple of months ago. there are 2 months of unaccounted time. what did sam do during the time he left the lab til he hit the dog? another thing i noticed was that during dean's tirade right when dean pointed the gun at sam, sam was about to say something, but garth stepped in. at that moment i wanted to punch garth in the nose. ugh, sam was just about to speak. but even though sam got interrupted, what's important here is that he was about to say something..sam has something to say.
i think now that dean has gotten all of that anger out of his system he will be in a calmer more reasonable state. maybe now his focus won't be his anger and only his point of view. i'm hoping now that the anger has finally been expressed, that he will recognize that sam has a point of view as well. i know dean really listened to garth when garth told him that all sam and dean had was ea. other, and that's not a bad thing, you can see that by his expression..he had that same expression when the fake dean in the real ghostbusters explained how important the winchesters were. when sam told him he'd had it with the potshots ...dean really seemed to acknowledge and agree with sam that enough was enough. i just feel like now that dean has let out all that crap he has a clearer head and i really believe now he'll finally ask sam the one question that he hasn't asked......"why didn't you look for me?" what happened that nite? and i think we will all finally get the real truth as to what happened the night dean disappeared. i believe that with all my being. i don't think it's going to happen in eppy 7 or 8...my hope is that it'll happen in eppy 9 or 10...before xmas break.
regarding sam's anger at benny. i'm not sure if it's anger or distrust. sam learned the hard way from ruby that just because a monster makes nice, it doesn't mean they don't have an agenda. benny may not have let dean down yet...but with the way the eppy ended...i think that's foreshadowing of what's to come. i have no doubt that benny will kill again. it's in his nature, no matter how much he tries not to. that's the bane of being a monster. i don't think the question is will benny get killed, i think the question is will sam be the one to do it? or will dean kill benny who maybe tries to kill sam? i look forward to finding out.
i loved garth and i'm glad he's there for the boys since bobby isn't . what i thought he brought to this episode is important insight regarding sam and dean, and what's amazing is that he knew this just by the brief time he spent with the boys. he knew what bobby knew from a lifetime and that's that sam and dean need ea. other. not only does he know it, but he points it out to dean. what i like is that he told dean off when he was being mean to him about being bobby. garth was just doing what bobby taught him to do....and for bobby to have taught garth what to do, well maybe bobby figured his time would come someday and he knew the boys would need backup. i also liked that garth pointed out to sam that the boys were talking but not really listening to ea. other. he's a refreshing buffer for the boys and he apparently isn't as inept as i first thought he was. i hope to see him again.
I think there is at least a kernel of truth to Dean believing Benny is a better brother than Sam. Not totally, but Dean is fairly all or nothing. The brotherly relationship never really recovered from Ruby and apparently Dean held Soulless!Sam against Sam more than they ever showed. Heck he held Sam working with Samuel against Sam as well. So I think that right now Benny stood by Dean in very dark times and all Dean can see is how Sam has let him down. He may love Sam, but he doesn't like him a lot for now.
I tend to agree that Sam's reaction to Benny is distrust more than anger. I do think he is angry that Dean decided to trust Benny but dismissed Sam's trust of Amy and he does know that monsters can behave like your friend and turn out not to be. He did learn that the hard way.
Right now I don't see a way for them to reconnect because Sam now KNOWS that he can never do enough for Dean. And yeah, that happens IRL, but IRL people don't go to the lengths Sam went through to try to make things up to Dean. And what does he find out? That Dean still hasn't let go of the fact that Sam went to college or ran away when he was 12. I can't see the relationship working anymore at least not without Sam giving up way to much of himself to constantly reassure Dean that Sam loves him and even then, Sam knows it won't ever be enough.
I think they'll reconnect, but they won't in the same way.
Thought I saw a slight glistening of the eyes, though, a bit of hurt that Dean still feels this way... perhaps more of an 'aw you poor bugger' look?
It seems Dean has a resentment for everyday of the week and also Benny is a better brother and now the genie is out of the bottle you cant put it back. Like I said you cant have a brothers relationship built on those foundations because even if you resolve those resentments how does Sam get past Dean's words how does he truly ever really feel comfortable within their relationship? at the end of the day it isnt just about Dean resolving his resentments because if he hasnt by now he never will .
One more line I loved that you did not mention:
Sam: I forgot he was a hugger.
This type of detail also helps with Garth as a character. We now know that he's been working with Bobby for at least three years. This lends credence to his knowledge as a hunter and shows that he came by his experiences honestly, over a number of years and as it's been implied now twice in this episode under the master hunter himself.
But that's the thing. I love it that we seem to be able to get this whole review and explanation from an episode but the episode is not written as good as your review.
Let me quote you
Quote:If the crux of the problem with Dean is Sam's bad choice, then I agree with him. Sam CHOOSE not to look for Dean, right? He choose to do something else instead but up till now we don't know exactly what Sam did. What was it that make Sam Winchester decided Not To Look for his brother. Not even open a damn book. Not even make a phone call. We are not shown Sam's effort at all. That's the crux of the problems right? And for Dean that's what matters.
Dean will not care if Sam met a dozen of girls and slept with them. he will not care if Sam raised a fund to help animal shelter. he wouldn't care. As long as while he did all that things Sam was ALSO trying to find Dean, LOOKING for him. I think Dean (and me) would understand.
But the dialog written for Dean's speech is bad. By bringing up Sam's past bad choices. The writer write in such round about way by bringing up pointless issues that should've been resolved two seasons ago.
It maybe more clear if Dean said : Cas let me down and you let me down too bu not looking for me, Sam. So, that I have to rely on a Vampire to get me out of Purgatory. Which is against all my view on monsters. I am not happy that Benny is the one who got me out ant not you. I wish it to be you who did it but you left me there to die by not even lift your finger to look for me. You don't get to be angry at me for relying on Benny because you didn't do shit. If you look for me maybe you'll find a way and I wouldn't have to make a deal with a vamp.
See, that's clear. All the script do is just hitting the wrong button and spicing up more unnecessary problems.
Sometimes, you have to look beyond the weaker dialogue and look at the sentiment. Dean is still harboring all that resentment, even though he supposedly let all that go after "And Then There Were None." I guess blanket forgiveness is not as easy as it looks.
I'm just interpreting, not writing the way I think it should be.
I've heard others, as you allude to in your review, play several cards in terms of justifying what we are seeing in the brothers relationship this season, eg
- there has always been conflict between them
- at least they are being honest
- they have to break them down to rebuild their relationship healthier
I don't believe any of this is happening.
What I am seeing is conflict that arises out of a totally incredible, ooc, event - Sam not looking for Dean - that I simply will never believe is anything other than rank bad writing and character assassination for no other reason than to artificially create angst and storylines for the show. That is an insult to Sam's character, a betrayal of the bond that has underpinned this show for 7 years, and an insult to the fans of those elements of the show.
Just to look at those justifications in turn
Has there always been 'conflict'?
To an extent, but apart from the brief period of Sam/Ruby - which hard as it was to watch at least sort of (if you squinted) organically and believably came from Sam's character - all the other conflicts have been based on their love for each other and have never remotely threatened the strength of the bond between them. For example;
- the argument in Scarecrow was a difference of opinion over tactics and over big bro bossing around little bro. But Sam's love for Dean and his worry about him brought him straight back, and they were in each others thoughts and trying to understand each other whole time
- their other arguments in s1 were about whether Sam would stay hunting. They were never about whether they really loved (hell Iâ€™d accept â€˜likedâ€™ atm) each other or wanted to be brothers.
- in s5 they argued over tactics, but a lot of what was behind that was each wanting to save / protect the other from their destinies as vessels. And the bad guys used their strong bond with each other to manipulate them many times in that season which demonstrated its strength
- in s3 they argued over Dean's death wish. But it was only because Sam so desperately didn't want to lose him and both were scared
- in s2 they argued over Sam's 'curse' with Sam trying to persuade Dean to kill him and Dean refusing. Again the whole argument was about how much they cared about each other
- in s6 the conflict came from soulless Sam and wasn't an issue between real Sam and Dean. After Samâ€™s soul got back they were really good with each other
- in s7 there was no real conflict apart from the Amy thing. That was mercifully brief but as with this season felt artificially created (requiring some ooc behaviour) in order to generate a conflict that wasnâ€™t all that believable just to provide a storyline.
The conflict this season is MUCH more serious because it arises not from a misunderstandin g, or from a disagreement about tactics, or from their need to protect each other. It comes from an actual betrayal. A really serious decision that (it appears) one of them really took that clearly showed the other that their relationship is completely unequal ie that Dean loves Sam a lot more than Sam loves Dean. This is a fundamental undermining of the brothers bond. It isnâ€™t just a â€˜oh theyâ€™ll talk it out and get back on the same pageâ€™ issue. It isnâ€™t a â€˜just wait until D sees what really happenedâ€™ issue. It isnâ€™t a â€˜once they calm down itâ€™ll be okâ€™ issue. Sam not looking for Dean is a real genuine action that is forcing Dean (and the audience) to accept that the relationship weâ€™ve seen to date wasnâ€™t real. They arenâ€™t co-dependent. They wonâ€™t do anything for each other. Sam really did abandon his brother. I canâ€™t get past that. How can Dean get past it? You said it yourself Quote:But how can he let it go? If Dean forgives Sam, Sam still comes off as a coward and an even worse brother in who doesnâ€™t love Dean as much as Dean loves him, and Dean comes off as a great guy, but also desperate and emotionally stunted because heâ€™ll forgive Sam even this rather than be alone. In what universe is that a) credible and b) a sign of maturity as JC claims weâ€™ll see.
Your info and that from others tells us that there is no big reveal coming that will satisfactorily explain what Sam did. He just didnâ€™t look. So if someone can please come up with any scenario that can square the circle that Sam really didnâ€™t look, but that someone some honest talking it out can put their relationship back together again stronger than ever then I am all ears.
On the honesty issue
What they were honestly telling each other in this ep is stuff you canâ€™t come back from; that Dean is bitterly (rightly) disappointed and let down by Sam. That Sam resents Dean for making him hunt. That they donâ€™t even seem to like each other any more. That Dean prefers Benny. That Sam is jealous of Benny (again ooc but this is going to be long enough without getting into that). Again Iâ€™m not seeing a way back.
On the â€˜breaking it down to rebuild it issueâ€™
This is my biggest concern. Just how many times can they do this before it stops being believable? If you keep smashing and rebuilding Humpty Dumpty too many times you end up with something so broken and different it is no longer worth it.
I believe that the obstacles they have thrown in their way this time are insurmountable. Of course they will find some way of showing on screen that they have sorted it out otherwise the show would end. But can they do this in a way that leaves the bond stronger and is believable? I just cannot see how that is possible.
Another big concern about s8, and a big difference with how the show has been before is the lack of light and shade. In the past arguments / disagreements have simmered along for a while, but in between there was banter and affection and frequent illustrations of how in synch they were, how much they shared, how well they knew each other, how they were friends as well as brothers. There is NONE of this now. So it makes us wonder why are they still together? What are they trying to save? Hell â€“ they donâ€™t even seem happy to see each other after their year apart.
Sorry to go on. I am very unhappy with this season and this ep was the worst so far (yes even worse than Bitten). That they had Dean say â€˜Benny was a better brother than youâ€™ve EVER beenâ€™? Just heartbreaking, not fun to watch and Iâ€™m seeing no way back.
No matter how often I say I'm done, I just can't quite seem to let go.
Obsession? Yup. Damn these boys!
BUT I think they have a very different idea of what the 'the brotherhood being the heart of the show' means. I think they believe that if the brothers are united, solid, and clearly love each other (as they did in s1 to 3) that the show is dull. I think they believe that they have to keep creating obstacles to them being united as a big element of the storyline. I think they believe we all love angst - but take that too far, so push the issues the boys have to get past beyond the limits that ANY relationship could realistically take. I think they believe they can break them apart and put them back together ad infinitum and we'll never stop buying that that is possible. They have done it so many times now, and then made it look like they were OK again, only for old issues they are supposed to have forgiven/got over/redeemed themselves for to keep getting throw back in each others faces. eg
- Ruby / demon blood
- Sam leaving for college
- Soulless Sam (which was totally unjustified)
- D not telling S about John's warning, plus various other secrets they've kept
We see these things happen. We see them argue. We see them sort it out eventually and tell each other all is good between them. We even saw Dean in ATTWN give his 'all is forgiven' speech. Then next time they need to fill a few eps before we get to the main big-bad arc they artificially create yet another bone of contention between them. It isn't believable. It isn't fun to watch. It is a law of diminishing returns because every time they do it the relationship is a bit more damaged, is weighed down with another load of baggage, and it is less credible that they'd ever get over all these many issues. And worst of all, it does serious damage to the underlying premise which is that these boys would do anything for each other. I know some think that the co-dependency is unhealthy and they should grow past it. If they were my friends in real life I'd totally agree. Of course it isn't healthy for 2 real people to be so inter dependent. But these are fictional characters and that co-dependency has kept them alive all these years doing an incredibly dangerous and important job. I have no interest in seeing them 'grow out of' being the most important people in each others' lives, of 'maturing beyond' doing everything possible to save each other (even if experience has taught them that those efforts have a price and should have limits).
Basically what I am saying is that I think the writers think they are focusing on the relationship, but this is based on a false premis that what we want is angst, arguments, obstacles, and characters changing out of recognition to deliver that angst, when what I believe most people want is for the brothers to be united with each other against the bad guys.
For example this season they have talked a lot about the boys 'maturing'. About how you relate differently to your brother when you are 30 to when you were 20. About how their year apart has changed them. About their new relationships etc. And they have been VERY clear that Sam just didn't look. No red herring. No mystery. The way they describe it they seem to think that him not looking was credible, in character, a sign of maturity / moving on, and a fulfilment of a promise that they - in fact - have never made. If they really think that then I cannot, as you have, keep any faith in the writers because that action by Sam is simply inconsistent with his character, illogical, contrary to how he has behaved every other time Dean has gone missing, and requires a rewrite of canon (re the 'promise').
I desperately want to keep the faith that you have E. And I am jealous that you haven't lost it. You are still hoping that the writers have something other than 'Sam did something bad, but Dean did something even worse' up their sleeve. I cannot tell you how much I hope you are right. But sadly all the signs are to the opposite. I desperately hope you never have to eat that humble pie. And if I have to come back here in a few eps time and say 'Sorry E - I should have had more trust in the writers' I will be absolutely delighted to do so.
Demon blood and Ruby are product of the demons manipulation. Soulless Sam and Sam running around with Samuel are product of Cas' ignorance and arrogance.
The only Sam's choice that Dean resent during the first 5 seasons are Sam choose to leave for college. Leaving Dean. I understand Sam's reason in wanting to go to college but I also understand Dean's feeling of betrayal because Dean always has an abandonment issue.
Now, it happens again. Sam choose not to look for Dean and he choose to run away from the problem.
It's just odd that Dean doesn't mention Sam's leaving for college in his rant. Does it mean Dean understand Sam's reason at this point? maybe yes. Because he has been Ben's father for a year and he always says to Ben that he can pick any life he wants. Hell, pick five. Dean doesn't want Ben to only have one choice to be a hunter like what happen to him growing up.
At this point now, I think Dean finally understand Sam's reasoning and finally forgives him. The only thing that Dean can't understand at this point is why didn't Sam look for Dean or at least trying to look for him. But, Dean's rant about all of those manipulation by other parties is a low blow. Unnecessary and IMHO bad writing.
Dean cant get past Sam not looking for him and how does Sam get past Dean telling him' Benny was a better brother than you have ever been'.
The story has hurt Sam's character for no real reason .
Thanks for the review Alice.
The confrontation was forced, and if it had to be resolved by an outside party, Garth playing Bobby was not the right approach. Straight up Garth would have been better, because the idea that he would assume Bobby's position in the brothers' relationship rolled into the other duties he has assumed is presumptuous to the point of offensive. Garth lost a friend and mentor in Bobby, and Sam and Dean lost a second father. I do not mean to belittle Garth's loss or to deny him the right to mourn and pay tribute, but this was a step too far.
I had so hoped that "The Mentalists" was a turning point for the brothers in that furious as they could be with each other, they could still somehow manage to resolve future disagreements like grown-ups and family without the inherent need of a third party. Instead, we are back to the hidden secrets and dishonesty of the past. I am fine with the brothers disagreeing with each other, but there needs to be discussion outside of Supernatural possession. Maybe Sam and Dean really shouldn't be together.
And somehow I cannot warm to Amelia. She is just so prickly and uninteresting to me. Another poster mentioned the last of continuity between episodes. I found it a lack of continuity for Sam to tell her only that he has lost his brother. He has lost Jess, his near fiance, his mother, his father, Bobby, Rufus, Ellen, Jo, and a variety of girlfriends. Perhaps he did not want to frighten her, but there should at least have been an allusion to the shear volume of people that Sam grieves for. And for her to turn around and say now she pities Sam when she hates that? It's annoying. Everything about Sam's flashbacks leaves me feeling flat.
To end on a more positive note, I will say that ins pite of all my objections to Garth aping Bobby, I understood his motives and I appreciated what they were trying to do with the character. I love that a little of his backstory was filled in, that he is educated if clumsy, and that he was a dentist. Garth would have been a good dentist, because no one could ever be afraid of him. That last part is an aspect of the character that the show has embraced while still keeping him competent enough to survive as a hunter. That is the part of Garth I like. For the rest we'll see how it works.
Agree about Garth. I don't have a problem if he assumes Bobby's duties because someone clearly need to. But for him to insert himself in the brother's problem is too presumptuous. Sam and Dean don't even share that much with Bobby. They kept at least half of their problems to themselves. Writing Garth as the Bobby's substitute in emotional level just proves that the writers don't have anymore creative ideas left to develop the plotline.
"This time, it happened to Dean, which is very appropriate since he hasnâ€™t openly talked about things since he got out of Purgatory."
How have you reached the conclusion that Dean has not openly talked about what happened to him in Purgatory? He has! He told Sam about it from the very beginning in the 1st episode. Dean revealed to Sam that "I was knee-deep in God's armpit killing monsters", that he was "running for his life", and that "It was bloody. Messy. 31 flavors of bottom-dwelling nasties. Hell, most days felt like 360-degree combat."
Is this just not descriptive enough? He told Sam that he thought Cas was dead. And now he's also told him about Benny. Dean has explained to Sam about the horrors he endured in Purgatory.
"I loved the scene in the bar, when Garth asked Dean how he got out of Purgatory. Sam in the background lit up, all ears for that answer. Itâ€™s sad, but typical, that Dean wouldnâ€™t have shared it by now. "
Sam's reaction here was no different than his mocking "Yeah, tell us all about hell, Dean, and don't spare the details!" after Dean returned from Hell. And why should Dean be required to share this information? Dean keeping this to himself doesn't change anything. As he told Dean, Sam is still planning to leave once the Kevin/tablet situation is through. So I don't understand why it's so important that Dean talk about exactly how he escaped? And certainly, I don't agree that it's something that should be held against Dean, by anyone, especially Sam.
"The trouble is, he still canâ€™t be that open with Dean."
Well let's see, what has Sam revealed to Dean about his last year...
He told Dean that he was all alone, with no family, so he fixed up the car and just drove. He told Dean that he hit a dog and met a girl. He also said, "I had a year off. I took the time to enjoy the good things." While Dean was trapped in Purgatory, Sam enjoyed the good life. That's where Sam "was coming from" in Dean's view.
Dean explained Benny to Sam. Dean told him that he was knee deep in monsters and blood, and he was living in a combat zone 24/7 and running for his life. And that's why he befriended someone who had his back in this combat zone and who helped him escape. So what is Sam's response?
â€œEnough of your crap Dean. I told you from the jump where I was coming from, why I didnâ€™t look for you, but you, you had secrets. You had Benny."
Dean "had" Benny? Does Sam think that Dean went to Vegas last year and bonded with this guy over drinks and poker?
And I don't know about Dean, but I know I'm still not clear why Sam didn't even TRY to look for Dean. I can only imagine how Dean feels about the situation, especially when he hears Sam talk about how much he enjoyed the good life while Dean was gone, and how miserable he is hunting, and how he just wants to leave Dean to go back to his great, normal life.
And then to top it all off, Sam gives Dean a final ultimatum. "So move on or I will." Sam always knows exactly which buttons to push to hurt Dean the most, and being abandoned is what Dean fears the most. Of course, Dean is screwed either way. Sam has already made it clear that he's going to leave no matter what. It's just a matter of when at this point. And Dean knows this. His dejected face at the end of that scene makes that crystal clear.
I do agree with you about Garth. I did rather enjoy him this time. Dean too. Sam... not so much.
Sorry but Sam is entitled to feel the way he feels just as much as Dean is.
My take on the move on line was that he was telling Dean to quit with the snide comments because he wasn't willing to take it any more. That is Sam's right.
You are right about the move on line though!
When I mean "talk," I mean spending hours sharing thoughts and experiences. Anyone who's married knows what that means. It's a major part of any relationship.
You see though, those few lines are all Dean has said about Purgatory. We haven't gotten any kind of impression that these two are talking in the car. You're saying that three or four lines is enough? Sam didn't say anything about Amelia until the end of this ep. He tried in the season opener in the motel, he even tried to explain his last year, but Dean wasn't really listening. I'm not slamming Dean though. He was still feeling really raw coming from where he did and Sam could have tried to bring it up later at a better time.
Why should Dean be required to share the info about how he got out of Purgatory? Because Sam asked. The fact that Dean is getting on Sam's case constantly about not hunting in the last year and won't answer Sam's basic question is perfect grounds for lingering friction.
Hey, none of these brothers are in the right. It's what Garth told Sam. They're talking, but they're not listening.
Sam's past year,Dean's purgatory experience are all what the show has to give us and this particular episode has made me hopeful that both are going to be wound up satisfactorily.
I just want these guys to fill the other one in on their year though. The both keep talking at each other, like they've told the other everything, but they've both basically had one statement they keep rehashing. Neither has given any kind of insight and yet somehow they feel like them have.
I want to sit them down and give them a good talking to! But hopefully all that happened this week is a step in the right direction and they'll get there, in their own Winchestery way.
Based on the emotionally charged ending in â€œBlood Brotherâ€, I was really expecting, really hoping, that â€œSouthern Comfortâ€ would include an open and honest confrontation between the brothers. I wasnâ€™t expecting all the answers, but at least a face to face acknowledgement / discussion/figh t of the tension, confusion and resentment they are both feeling. What I felt after watching the show for the first time was simplyâ€¦frustr ation. The strength of some of the earlier seasons, and a shortcoming with season 7 IMO, was the precision, the poignancy of their â€œtalksâ€. At first, I felt this episode tried, but failed, to hit this mark. They each said some things, but when Dean spoke his mind (albeit â€œunder the influenceâ€), Sam just stood there and took it. When Sam vented his anger, again, Dean listened and said simply â€œI hear you.â€ I was hoping for a two-way dialog, i.e. that the boys finally talk to each other. When that didnâ€™t happen with the intensity that they are obviously burying, I was disappointed. After reading several comments and rewatching the episode, however, I appreciated this episode for what it did have, and have regained my hope that this was still setting the stage for a later blow-up. If I take away my expectations and just watch the show as is, I see that it is truly a strong building block for the long term arc. I know other people were satisfied with this weekâ€™s pieces to the puzzle. At first, I wasnâ€™t at all satisfied, but maybe I can alter my thinking to the view that what I so intensely want to see just didnâ€™t happen this week.
I believe a large portion of the fandom is still being influenced by what happened in the last one or two seasons. SweetonDean posted a great conversation with the boys. I would add to that advice a conversation with Mr. Carver:
â€œJeremy, many, many of us (not all, but certainly many) have a tremendous amount of faith in your past work. You had our trust going into this season. We were very excited when you came back to run Supernatural. Please understand, though, that we got burned the last year. We are analyzing every nuance in every show to determine if your plan for the season will deepen the characters we love so much, and strengthen their relationship, thus amplifying the showâ€™s core strength, or if you are only going to skim the surface leaving us disappointed and the show weakened ,or worse yet, change the show into something we donâ€™t recognize. Time is the problem here. If the most recent seasons were the best ever, you would have our indulgence to take the whole season if required to show us the plan. But our anxiety over the direction of the show has been building for a long time, so our sensitivity to each show is heightened and our concern is pressing. Sorry for the pressure but could you find some way (interviews, spoilers, plot dialog, something) to reassure the fans that this really is going somewhere good, and that we can relax and enjoy the ride?â€
Of course, I donâ€™t expect that Mr. Carver will ever read this advice. Even if he did, the next 6 or 7 episodes have already been filmed, so I for one am going to try to let go of my expectations, and choose to believe that Jeremy, Jared and Jensen will continue to deliver the best show on TV, as they have done so many times before.
Perfectly said. Thank you.
And I've recently come to the same realization as you, that I react to each episode based on my expectations, rather than just to enjoy the experience.
(I'm working on it!)
Thanks again. I appreciate your post here.